Friday, September 27, 2013

Take one down, pass it around, 2 fat squirmy caterpillars in the hospital now...

so. some of you have been curious about my chubby running partner from the other day. well, he cocooned that evening, and upon research, we think he'll probably be there until spring. (which means we get to keep that cocoon nice and cozy for months on end. yay.) the cool thing is, we think he's a luna moth! 
not my photo
AND, even more interesting is that this gorgeous moth only lives about a week when it emerges. long enough to find a mate and lay eggs (if you're of the egg laying gender). they DON'T EVEN HAVE MOUTHS!!! we better be on the ball come spring! im not being held responsible if the tribute from district castro is late...

so then, today, i was preparing the yard for the storms this weekend, putting the insect hospital tent away and all the tables and chairs and limbs that needed to be cut and tied and such and such, and i came upon this adorable little guy.
(please ignore the elephant skin...)

now, before i go on, i must say that if you find one, STOP! some people have gotten welts or rashes on their skin from these little pomeranian looking caterpillars. i didn't, but i have pretty tough skin, and he only crawled around my hand a bit, i didnt touch the black "lashes" on top, which, apparently can cause these "stings". (think dory and the jellyfish, only, NOT the tops). Probably wont let the einsteins handle this one, even though hes so darn cute and cuddly you want to wear him on your necklace.

he's an american dagger moth. or, he will be. one day. i hope. 

not quite as pretty as luna, but then again, how many moths are? 
our particular caterpillar is actually almost white, which means he's almost ready to cocoon up for the winter. do you think he minds sharing a room with luna? im running out of critter cages! ;)

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Thursday, September 26, 2013


Yesterday was one of those days of deep thoughts. after all, waiting in a hospital room for 12 hours waitin' on a little tiny woman to make her appearance gets you thinking. and we all know how my thoughts ramble, but amongst the insane squabble that is my brain, there are often many moments of thanks, of enlightenment, of wonder.

i was thanking God yesterday for so much. for babies, for infertility gone fertile, for adoption, for pregnancy, but also for friendship, for loss, for the unexplained painful questions, for the bottom dropping out, because without them, i dont think im the kind of girl that would lean over and smell the roses. turns out, this girl is the kind that gets pushed down time and time again to be reminded that there are, in fact, flowers to smell. and so.

but back to yesterday.

i was listening to the heartbeat of this little one, and my thoughts began to wander down the years and wonder what that tiny heartbeat would be doing when she turned 5, or 10, or 35. and i thought of my own little ones and how theyve turned out. and i thought that i think (cover your ears here if you cant stand the sound of horns being blown by their own) that weve done a pretty darn good job with these two. now, by no means am I saying that they are always well behaved and have great posture and read war & peace for bedtime stories, but ive always felt that if i were to ever have kids, id want them to be like the castro kids. but then i start thinking of all the ways that ive gone wrong, or potentially wrong, and now that we're creepin into tween times, all the horrible, no good, very bad things that i could mess up in THAT mess of a decade.

so late in the evening when the daddy was snoring on his hospital couch, and the mommy was finally resting her anxious last hours of baby belly, i told God that i was scared. that i needed him to guide us because we are scared of the new part of life where boys are interested in our little girl and she has a crush, and all i can do is smile and giggle with her and remind her that when the time is right. and calm the hubby and remind him that this is only a 10 year old crush and we were there, too (right?! werent we?) and it isnt what we have in our heads, as adults. and i asked him to laugh with us and cry with us and grab a chair and some popcorn because goodness knows heidi castro puts on a good comedy when it comes to life and a tween girl in the mix is gonna start a whole new season.

and then this morning happened.

the kids were in the office playing with legos and i heard a civilian yelling for help because there was a robber int he hot tub! IN THE HOT TUB, people! and then the police came and got him out. and then they laughed and i heard the most precious thing come out of my little boy's mouth.

"Emma, thank you for making me the hot tub. its so fun."

and that's all i needed to hear to set my heart still and remember that we've made it this far. and if my kids are respectful and loving to each other, even behind closed doors when no one is looking, we can do this tween thing. we can do the teenager thing. we can do the empty nest thing. (well, maybe not that last part...)

as long as we're in this together, hubby-love.

we got this.

and a totally unrelated photo for you, because, let's face it, you didn't come here to hear me ramble, right?

sept. 2011

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Monarch Migration Festival!

On saturday, in the very last minute, we decided to drive on down to the monarch migration festival. we had planned on running the juke joint jog again this year, but with some of us just recovering from the dreaded strep throat, we decided to pass and do a less wearin'-out-the-body type dealio. 
We have been trying to get to this festival for years now (along with the bigfoot festival!), but there always seems to be something that takes priority. but not this year! Not this time! (rises fist in the air)
we hopped in the car with two pairs of old butterfly wings from the dress-up tote in the garage and headed south.

 the monarchs migrate down to mexico every fall. the festival had been cancelled the past two? years now due to drought. this year was better with the rain, but the monarchs were still in Kansas this weekend. Still, we saw a few marathon fliers that were leading the pack.

evan decided that a dinosaur would compliment his green wings well, and who ever heard of a turquoise dinosaur who knows, but she didn't have green and that was that and he pulled it off well. cowboy boots, green wings, and a turquoise dinosaur pained on his face. 
this kid ROCKS.

 we got to go get educated on different butterflies and moths from a branch of the OSU extension. Evan was pretty upset that we don't get these giant, pretty, monster sized butterfiles in our yard. But who am I kidding, I was feeling pretty jealous, too. gimmie those wings, south america!!!
 em waited in line a little longer for the "prfessional" face painter to do hers.

 they each caught a sulpher butterfly and put them in the "to be tagged & released" tent.

 and then we waited.
and while we waited, we researched monarchs and how we go about getting our own tags for next year.

this guy was tagged and sent back on his way to mexico! 
 at last, there was the butterfly parade, led by mother milkweed.

theyre all sitting in a giant caterpillar!
happy travels, monarchs!
see you next year!

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Running Ramblings & Big, Fat, Hungry Caterpillars

I really should make a whole separate tab for these running ramblings, as they are so bizarre on their own that I'm not sure my kids would enjoy reading them one day, realizing their mother may have been a bit mad, but then again, I guess i never claimed to be all that normal anyhow, right?

I'll start with some background here. the einsteins rebuilt their tree tent yesterday and up went also a sign that said "Insect Hospital". From the pages of their nature journals, I could tell that especially Em was really digging the whole bug observing thing, and we've been finding different bugs since, so this was no surprise to me. I had found them a wasp of a blue color. It was really gorgeous. Had nice proportions, im guessing close to Pam Anderson or Dolly Parton, around 5mm chest, 1mm waist and 8mm butt. But whose counting anyway, right? As Em observed her, she found that two of her legs were not whole, and one was "shaking" on and off, so thus started the hospital for injured insects that obviously they would not touch, but by golly, they would observe them back to health! Can I get an amen?

(please note, the doctors have butterflies "riding" on their shirts because they are so thankful for the healing powers...

So as i collect specimens for them throughout the morning, among a blue-tailed skink that drops the tail when you touch it and, no, you canNOT glue it back on!!, the blue wasp with her broken legs, and a couple ants, theyre really loving it and i wish i were noah, and i could call all the insects (that i wanted to call, that is) and they would come, two by two, for the einsteins to collect and draw and observe and heal and send back to whence they came, but those powers i have not, so i just went along my day.

This morning as they left for school, they told me to be on the lookout for any new patients for the hospital, and i told them i would. and heres where the story gets good, and Katrina, you can go ahead and forward this part on to Jesse now. ;)

I went on my morning run. It wasnt going to be very long, seeing as how my IT bands have decided to surprise attack me on random runs, so i laced up and headed out. i couldnt find my arm band, or the twenty others that have gone missing before it, so i had to take my beautiful turquoise one that, at its smallest setting, could serve as a loose garter belt. today, my friends, i would be carrying the band like a water bottle. (which, actually, i prefer to do on short runs anyway). off i go!

About half a mile in, though, i see it. a big, fat, hungry caterpillar running? squinching? blobbing? across the road. First thought: good LORD that is gonna make a HUGE splatter when it gets hit! (which is also the reason i cant eat shrimp - the texture reminds me of eating a big fat insect that pops. #WeirdFactsAboutHeidi)
Second thought: I should save him.
Third thought: Oh geez. I HAVE to save him for the insect hospital!
Fourth thought: I have a wayyyyyys to go on this run still.....
Fifth thought: Theyll never know... (little red Heidi with pitchfork and Brooks in candy apple red says)
Sixth thought: shit.

I pick the thing up, and it contorts in my pincer grip. Im waiting for the combative poop or barf that usually accompanies creatures as such, but it never came. It just wiggled and felt nasty. I finally decided that it would be better if i just put the thing in my fist. 

ummm, no.

it started like, trying to bury itself in my sweaty finger cracks! oh my GOSH it was disgusting! I ran past little old Nelly Faye on her porch (have i told you about her? Another day, perhaps) and was glad she cant see well enough to see the look of sheer disgust and panic on my face. and thats when the running ramblings arrived. and they went a little something like this...
(and, as a warning, just so you about 5% sure i didnt use potty words in this episode...)

if this thing poops on me, i cant wash my hands for at least a mile. ill have poop smeared all over my hand AND the caterpillar for EVER!! what if it digs into my flesh?!? can it live inside my skin?? what if its n alien pod and its going to dig in, immediately crawl into my brain, turning me into a zombie of sorts that LOOKS like me, but is actually being controlled by the little creature in my brain (thinking Krang, here), and for that matter, how MANY Krangs are there ALREADY walking around that we have no IDEA about?!?! Or what if im ALREADY a krang and i dont know it and this is like a, replacement krang because mine is so old hes going to die soon and good lord if i poop out an old looking caterpillar im going to KNOW it was old krang! but then, would i really know, because if i AM a krang, i wouldnt be freaking out about this, right? oh man, im glad that no one can hear me in here. uh oh, theres kristy. shes going to wonder why im running past her with a fist! shes going to think im going to punch her! runner on runner violence! maybe if i just wave with a friendly fist! try it! here we go! (fist wave) oh shit, now shes going to think i was making a mad fist shake at her! or maybe not. maybe she thinks i was all arsenio hall-ish, being that im probably old enough to pull that off, right? OH MY GOD IT JUST BIT ME! ITS GOING IN! MAYDAY MAYDAY! ALIEN TAKEOVER!! oh, it was just its nasty clawlike feet trying to climb me. nevermind. hmm, no wonder my husband and kids say i overreact to things. good thing they cant hear me now..

it actaully went on for awhile. for over a MILE after that. a MILE with that squirming, fat, hungry caterpillar clutched in my sweaty fist like Lenny and his mouse. (do you get that reference, people? you MUST read the grapes of wrath. You MUST). 

So i get the chubby guy home safely, snap a couple pics of him just in case he evolves into a crysalis before they return home (dont laugh - its totally happened) and dumped him into the critter cage. 
There was no poop or barf OR tunnels into the depths of my hand bones. all was okay.

pink polka dots - not bad, mister God, not bad! :)

cell phone cameras are almost TOO good now. Thanks, apple, for giving me a complex about my arms maybe being too hairy? LOL

do you know this chubby friend of mine? what he will be?
help a blogger out!


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Monday, September 9, 2013


fall hasn't yet arrived, but the mornings are cool now.
i have to rest my I.T. bands again, so running is on a small break, and coffee on the back porch makes for an earlier, less sweaty breakfast.
saturday was perfect out. 
like one of those mornings you wish you could bottle up in a jar and use on a cold frosty day. the warm sun slowly rising, the trees lighting up with its glow inch by inch.
the einsteins were busy this perfect morning, with no dew on the ground, but cool breezes through the branches.

the summer heat arrived a couple hours later, and forced us all inside again. 
but for a few hours, a romantic morning from childhoods past was here in our backyard.
and the renovations were forgotten about, and pajamas were the prefect attire, and the coffee was warm, and the day was cool.
and i was reminded just how very very blessed i am.

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Opening Day of OSU Football Season...

edible osu burger tattoo from Sonic?
yes, please.
good lord, i love this town.
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Natural Falls State Park

To celebrate Labor Day and Eli's Birthday, and the weekend, and, well, just everything in general, we headed off to Natural Falls, which is on the border of Oklahoma & Arkansas. I mean, after all, a waterfall? In Oklahoma? Gotta see this. I figured, now is the time! With all the rain, it's probably as falling of water as it's going to get. We woke up early, grabbed a lunch of epic proportions (water and jerky, folks! livin the life!), picked up Grandad & Garndar, and headed east.
The initial hike down to the falls was steep, but easy.

it was no niagra falls, but it was falling, and it was shaded and pretty. The 2010 movie Where the Red Fern Grows was partially filmed here. The grands bought the movie, and sure enough! Natural Falls was on there!
We left the falls to hike along dripping springs trail, which followed the stream and had a swimming hole (too mossy to swim in).
Can you believe this view??
(btw, if I were a bigfoot, I'd SO live here!)

One day, when the leaves change color and the weather is a bit cooler (and all that poison ivy is gone!!), im heading back to walk all the trails. I think the lady told me that all of them put together equaled 4 miles. Some were tougher than others, but they were all well worn. 
It was a great day, and they all fell asleep on the ride home. (well, except me, who zonked out as soon as I got home and slept until balloon time!)
Know of any waterfalls you can actually swim UNDER? Lemmie know! Em is just dying to do it!
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