On a Learning Curve

Life may not be easy, but it's always an adventure.


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Sprung!

Spring has finally arrived in my corner of the world. Sure, the daffodils bloomed last month and the temperature has been slowly creeping up the thermometer. April was full of showers–mostly on Tuesdays just in time to cancel soccer practice. And we’ve seen several sets of birds pairing off and building nests. But spring didn’t fully unpack her bags until yesterday.

Instead what convinced me is the fine layer of yellow that miraculously appeared just yesterday. Tree pollen is everywhere, tinting my world in shades of yellow. It’s trying to enter my house since it’s already conquered the front porch, back deck, roof, sidewalk, and driveway. As I sit here typing, I’m watching visible grains falling from our collection of trees; it’s spring’s equivalent of snow.

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The Crayola chalk is for size reference.

We also met this little guy yesterday. Or he may have been a she; if so, she’s not very pretty. Though a friend helpfully tried to identify this caterpillar as a misplaced mustache or eyebrow, it turned out to be a wooly bear. Once the girls and I rounded up appropriate food and cage for him/her, s/he had wandered off. At some point this wooly bear will become a not-so-wooly tiger moth. If you decide to raise your very own wooly bear, here’s a helpful fact sheet that I found. Additionally, I counted 31 swallowtail caterpillars on my 5-mile run yesterday. (Since I resorted to counting caterpillars, you can bet that my legs are still feeling last week’s half marathon.)

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Yes, that is a pink zebra wrap.

Today H adopted a swallowtail larva that she’s named Fred. She found him on the back steps of the Leonardtown Art Center; she didn’t want anyone to step on him, and now he’s gorging himself on my parsley. Pictured above is Rumpetta. We met her last Friday in the grass outside the same art center. Rumpetta is a sweet pygmy goat with an injured leg and has been keeping her owner company at work for the past week or so. I wanted to take Rumpetta home with me; instead we have Fred.

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This guy continues to visit our yard from time to time. I did some research after his first appearance, and he is technically a grey squirrel. Though he is mostly white, he is an albino since his eyes are black. Apparently Brevard, NC, is the self-proclaimed white squirrel capital and has its own White Squirrel Research Center.  Who knew?! If you’re in the area later this month, don’t forget to check out the White Squirrel Festival.

???????????????????????????????I also suspect that two blue jays have set up a nest somewhere in our trees. As noisy as these blue things are, their nest is hidden enough that we haven’t spotted it yet. Another family of tufted titmice has set up shop in our nesting box. Because I’ve told the girls not to open the box, I have to obey my rule, too. Instead I like to sneak up and listen for baby bird noises. Nothing so far.

DSCN0943Speaking of noise, this is just part of the parade that rolled up and down our street yesterday. That’s H steering Sofie with J, Pilot, and their father Ed. Sofie was a very good sport since H is not an experienced driver. Pilot, on the other hand, played a game of dodging small feet, fast wheels, and moving wheels. My heart swelled as I watched H include her friend in their old, familiar games.

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The smiles say it all!

As I wrap up this post, we’re preparing for H’s 7th birthday tomorrow. While S and G both decided they were no longer my babies at this age and were way too mature to hold my hand in public, I think H is several years away from this stage. She’s definitely still the baby of this family. So lift a juice box, swallow your Allegra or Zyrtec, and join me in wishing a happy birthday to H!


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Update for Yesterday’s Readers

Believe it or not, today is the first day of spring. Around southern Maryland, this week’s earlier snow has almost finished melting and we have almost a week before the next predicted snowfall. The sun has arrived this morning in more glory than I’ve seen in many days, and I have good news to share with you.

Sofie is resting in her hospital room this morning. I’m hoping that her parents managed to get some sleep last night, too. Instead of six hours, Sofie spent more than 12 hours in surgery yesterday. Her surgeon was cautious and meticulous and was able to remove most of the tumor. Sofie is such a fighter that she kept trying to wake up last night when she was supposed to be  resting.

Thank you for praying for this little girl and her family. They will continue to need your prayers over the next days, weeks, and months. There may be other surgeries, and there will be therapy and rehabilitation. The tumor is cancerous, but pathology will take another day. Sofie’s mom is pregnant with their third child–another girls to add to the 6 girls who already live on our little street–and I know that both of them could use your prayers, too.

Today I plan to spend some time outside in the sunshine with my girls. It will be hard to find a spot that isn’t muddy or soggy, but the brilliance of this morning’s sky is a reminder that God hears our prayers and can bring good things out of difficult, dark days.