My backyard – where the wild things are (BSM)

Jody has been joking with me lately that I have turned into Snow White, Cinderella or some other character that all of the woodland animals love and are attracted to, as our backyard is turning into quite the animal sanctuary.

We by no means have a large yard (our whole lot is less than 1/4 of an acre), and, much to my chagrin, are surrounded by neighbors on all sides (not near a forest or field or anything), yet in the past few weeks we’ve had the following critters cohabitating in our yard:

  • 4 2 garter snakes (the first two made the unfortunate decision to venture into our redneck neighbor’s yard and soon met an untimely death)
  • 2 baby Blue Jays who were unable to fly (as well as their mother and father)
  • Several little green caterpillars
  • Bees
  • Oh, we also have another bird family living up in the eave of our house

Baby blue jay standing on my sunflower 6/5/08

Two baby Blue Jays - 6/7/08

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve undoubtedly seen me tweeting about the baby Blue Jays in our backyard over the past week and a half or so. First there was one on the ground for about a day, then it hopped it’s way up into a tree. The next day there was another baby on the ground, but this one stayed on the ground for about four days (and caused me endless worry the whole time) before getting up into the tree itself. I’m thrilled to report that as of Saturday, they were both up in the tree (and often sitting next to each other) with their parents. Hooray!

Ava and “Poozey” the caterpillar - 6/7/08

Ava has grown very fond of the caterpillars and names each one she catches “Poozey” (from ::groan:: Dragon Tales). She carries them all over the place (yes, even in the house) and puts them into a jar in hopes that they will build a cocoon and become a butterfly. When they haven’t metamorphosized by day 2 (and are generally looking a little peaked), she lets them go, finds a new one and starts the cycle all over again.

The snakes are another treat in our backyard. Everyone gets excited when we spot one and Julian exclaims, “Snakey! Snakey!” I tried to get a shot of “snakey” the other day, but it must not have been feeling very photogenic, as it was gone by the time I returned with my camera. I am hoping the snakeys will stay in our yard (or our other kind neighbor’s yard) though so I don’t have to witness any more snake killings. One was enough. :( And who kills harmless snakes for no good reason anyway? Arg.

As for the bird family living up in the eave of our house, once again this year there just doesn’t seem to be enough room there for all of the babies. Each year one or two of the tiny birds fall down onto our back patio. They are so newly hatched that they don’t have any feathers and, thus, really never had a chance at survival. This year Julian was the one to discover the fallen baby bird. He picked it up and started waving it around saying “birdy, birdy, birdy” until Jody realized what he had and shook it out of his hand. Oy.

The bees keep us on our toes. I realize they perform a valuable function and I welcome them, but I am still a bit skittish around them. I’m trying not to pass my fear onto my kids, but I also want them to be cautious around bees so they don’t get stung. The other day there was a bee buzzing around the flowers. Ava exclaimed that she didn’t like bees because they can sting, so Jody and I tried to educate her about the importance of them and mentioned that they pollinate the flowers. Julian then went walking by the flowers and, Ava, who was concerned for his safety yelled out, “Be careful Julian, or you might get pollinated!” Cue peals of laughter from Jody and me. :)

Yes, our backyard is full of nature, stories of both life and death, lots of learning opportunities and funny times as well. It certainly keeps things interesting around here. :)

I think I’m going to call the shot above of the lone baby Blue Jay perched on my sunflower plant my Best Shot for this week. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to step outside, sing a song and see what other woodland creatures I can summon. ;) Feel free to head on over to Mother May I to see what everyone else has in store for their Best Shot Monday posts.

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Best Shot Monday – 5/19/08

I’ve been slacking in the photography department and am going to use today’s post as an attempt to play catch up. My “best shot” will be at the end.

Between my birthday, Mother’s Day, Ava’s preschool May Pole Celebration, and every day life, there have been a lot of photo ops lately. Here are just a few (from the point & shoot and SLR). Oh, and I should mention I didn’t take the ones that I’m in. (Mouse over for captions.)

Julian LOVES his fruit. (Shirt from Polly Tod):
Julian eats a pear while wearing his “I love fruit” shirt - 5/4/08

My 33rd birthday (with a delicious carrot cake made by yours truly):
Happy birthday to me - 5/7/08Me and the kiddos - 5/7/08Julian is very eager to get his hands on the cake - 5/7/08

Mother’s Day:
a Mother’s Day walk with Julian and Ava - 5/11/08

The kids playing in the yard:
Julian in his new hat - 5/12/08Ava on the “new” playset - 5/12/08

I couldn’t pass up this photo op when I woke up before everyone else Saturday morning. Julian and daddy co-sleeping. :
Julian cosleeping with Daddy - 5/17/08

Ava’s Waldorf preschool May pole festivities:
Ava waiting patiently for her “crown” at the Maypole Celebration - 5/17/08Miss G putting on Ava’s Maypole crown - 5/17/08Watching her friend get her crown - 5/17/08Maypole dancing and singing - 5/17/08

More Maypole dancing - 5/17/08

– And my BSM –
You give a boy ONE piece of chocolate, step away for two minutes, and this is what happens…

Chocolate-faced Jules - 5/9/08
(Shirt from Trendy Tadpole)

Head on over to Mother May I to see what everyone else has in store for their Best Shot Monday posts.

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Moo, Baa, La La La (Best Shot Monday 5/5/08)

On Saturday we packed up the kids, met up with my sister and her beau, and took a trip to our local farm.

We saw…

little piggies,


and cows.

And then we learned to moo like them.

Ava brushed a horse and went for a ride on a pony. Both kiddos fed the goats. Ava took a turn on the tire swing and played in the tree fort, while Julian took a turn on the horse swing.

We also saw chickens, llamas, rabbits, a turtle, ducks, a donkey,

a beautiful view,

and this pretty calf (my BSM).

It was a very fun afternoon. :)

Head on over to Mother May I to see what everyone else has in store for their Best Shot Monday posts.

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Best Shot Monday – 4/21/08 – Together, but apart

I had a wonderful weekend. The weather was amazing. Hooray for spring!

First, I enjoyed a night out with my friends including dinner at a very tasty Japanese restaurant on Saturday night. Three and a half hours of good food, good company and good conversation. Oh, moms’ night out – how I need you more often! ;)

Then Sunday Jody and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary. It’s amazing how much our lives have changed in seven years, though definitely in a good way. We took the kids out to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner. Things got a little chaotic between the appetizer and main course (let’s just say you could tell Julian hasn’t been out to eat much), so I took the kids outside to listen to a street busker play the saxophone (which Julian was enrapt by) until our food arrived. That did the trick. Jody called me on my cell phone when the waiter brought our meals and the kids were ready to dig in. Trying to head off any further restlessness, we rushed through dinner, which was delicious, then got a couple of pieces of cheesecake to go. (So much for the Buy Nothing challenge this weekend. Oy.)

I have a couple pictures of Julian to share from this week, one just being cute and then one enjoying his hummus.
Julian (almost 17 months) - 4/16/08 Julian, lovin’ him some hummus - 4/18/08

And then this one of Ava and Julian is my Best Shot for the week. Of course I wish they were both looking at the camera, but I also love the far off look in Julian’s eyes, while Ava looks cute as a button.

Ava and Julian - 4/16/08

Head on over to Mother May I to see what everyone else has in store for their Best Shot Monday posts.

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Hint of spring (BSM 4/14/08)

Spring is finally in the air around here, and we enjoyed a nice weekend. :)

Went to “work day” at Ava’s preschool on Saturday and helped plant flowers and do other yard work before enjoying a potluck lunch. It was more fun than I was expecting and it felt good to get my hands in the dirt.

Sunday was a beautiful day with temps in the 60s and lots of sun. The kids played outside for much of the day. The spring-like weather inspired me to wash the windows on the house and do a little pruning of some of our bushes.

We’re expecting more weather in the 60s and 70s this week and I am thrilled. :)

My best shot for the week is of the lone daffodil in our front yard.

Daffodil in the yard

Head on over to Mother May I to see what everyone else has in store for their Best Shot Monday posts.

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The Truthiness of the Matter (BSM – 4/7/08)

Ever since Sweetney did her Truthiness Self-portrait post about a month ago, many women I know from around the ‘net have joined in to share themselves – no shower, no hair brushed, no makeup, no teeth brushed – first thing in the morning too.

I took these pictures over a week ago and have been holding them hostage onto them, but the time has come for full disclosure. Here I am – the “real me” – moments after I woke up (oh, and my little friends joined in too).

Me in the morning - March 2008 Me and Ava in the morning - March 2008 Me and Julian in the morning - March 2008

Head on over to Mother May I to see what everyone else has in store for their Best Shot Monday posts.

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