Have you ever watched a caterpillar eat a leaf? I mean really up close? I hadn't until today, right alongside my kids.
I caught a tiger moth caterpillar for Isaac yesterday and placed it in his bug box so I could show him when we came outside. (Unfortunately, I actually forgot about it until today.) Upon seeing the box, I asked Isaac if he wanted to see the cool caterpillar I caught for him. Isaac responded positively and I pulled a branch off a black cherry tree to entice the caterpillar out of the box. The caterpillar seemed to be in quite a rush. I can't imagine why. I mean, it hadn't eaten in over 24 hours. (Ooooops.) So the fuzzy insect made a mad dash for the leaves on the branch and immediately began eating devouring his lunch. :)
We watched him for a solid 15 minutes eating a portion of a leaf. Not only did we watch, but we listened too. He smacked--and let me tell you he was LOUD. :)
He had half of the black cherry leaf consumed in a mere 15 minutes. He was hungry I tell you! After that he was full I suppose because he turned around and headed back down the branch. Talking about a very hungry caterpillar triggered Isaac's memory of his beloved book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and he ran inside to retrieve it. Isaac then proceeded to read to his new fuzzy friend.
After being read to and sure of having a full belly we released "Racer" (To be so little this caterpillar could move!) onto the black cherry tree, bid him "farewell," and watched as he climbed out of sight.
After returning inside Olivia, Isaac, and I drew "Racer" in our sketch books.
Watching a tiger moth caterpillar up close and personal was fascinating, as well as entertaining. I'm so thankful I had the privilege to be a part of this amazing experience with my children today.
Lesson I learned today: Roly Polies are not actually insects. They are instead terrestrial crustaceans.
The roly poly has been a part of of my life for as long as I can remember, possibly as young as 3 or 4. I have always been fascinated with nature and love being in it. As a child my cousin, Brandi, and I would collect roly polies each summer every time I visited my grandmother's. I have such fond memories of watching the cute little ones ball up and then try to run away before we scooped them up again to see them ball up again. We always called them roly poly bugs, but as of today, I know they aren't really bugs.
Isaac recently has become interested in learning different types of bugs and he was calling the bug he found today a beetle. When I realized it was a roly poly I went to my National Audubon Society Insect and Spider Field Guide to help him with the scientific name (I was a biology major in college after all!). After not being able to locate it in my field guide, I turned to my Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock. Again I was unsuccessful. So I turned to the internet where Wikipedia informed me the tiny roly poly was definitely not a beetle. In fact, it is not even a bug at all, but a crustacean. And all these years I thought they were bugs. I even took entomology in college for goodness sake! :)
The new things my kids teach me and point out to me intentionally or not are on a daily basis. :) Thanks to Isaac I now know all about the roly poly, or Armadillidiidae.
Isaac with Mr. Roly Poly The Crustacean
I also learned that they can be kept as pets. Let's not tell Isaac though because he definitely would want to keep the next roly poly he finds. He had a very difficult time letting his Mr. Roly Poly go today, even after handling him for 2 hours. :)
Olivia made her third appearance on the theatre stage recently, just two months after her last theatrical production. She was happily cast in two roles of the play, The Fisherman and His Wife. The play was adapted from a Brothers Grimm fairy tale about a satisfied fisherman who has a very dissatisfied and greedy wife. One day the fisherman caught a magical fish and although he released the fish, his wife demands that he return to the sea over and over and over again asking for more and more each time.
Olivia was cast as the Wife's Neighbor and the Royal Announcer. It was a very comical performance and included many of Olivia's fellow thespian friends. What also made this play extra enjoyable for Olivia was the writer of the play was also the director. Olivia had a grand time under his direction and got to see first hand how one directs his own written creation as he has foreseen it.
This play was unusual from the others that Olivia has been a part of. Although the final two shows of The Fisherman and His Wife took place in the theatre, the first six were traveling school shows, meaning they traveled to 6 different schools with their production, taking all their costumes, props, and curtains on the road with them. It was a positive experience for Olivia and allowed her include a different dimension of acting to her performing career. :)
Olivia backstage before the final shows with Cat and Dog (who were her siblings in A Christmas Carol)
Dog, Cow, Rat, Magical Fish, and Cat
Olivia with her amazing and fun director
Olivia as The Royal Announcer
For her Friday evening show, Olivia had her granddad and grandma who had come from out of town to see her performance along with her mom, dad, and brothers.
Then for her encore show her sweet friend and children's minister came to cheer her on and even presented her with white sweetheart roses.
Olivia truly loves the life of theatre. This time she dedicated 55 hours to the play and again was truly sad when it was over. I look forward to seeing how the Lord is going to use this talent in her life - He is definitely giving her confidence and training her for the spotlight. :)
On the evening of April 7 our family was fortunate to take part in a special commemoration.
April 6 and 7 marked the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Shiloh in the US Civil War.
23,746 men lost their lives during these two days.
One illuminating candle represented each man who perished during the horrific conflict.
The engagement at Shiloh was the first large scale battle of the US Civil War and took both the North and South by surprise.
We followed a 10 mile illuminated path through the park.
Many fields were lit in places that actual men would have been standing 150 years ago. Several places we drove through the center of the battle.
Candles surrounded ponds reflecting the memory of men who fought.
Cannons were illuminated by the lights of the night.
On this special night, lights memorialized men, like the stone and cannon ball memorials have during daylight hours for decades.
A giant star in remembrance of fallen men lit the ground as
the full moon and stars above lit the night sky.
It was a cool and sobering night. On this one special night, lights memorialized the fallen men unlike any stone, cannonball, or other memorial ever has before in Shiloh National Park.
Each time my camera snapped a picture of the illuminated candles I was reminded how truly honorable these 23,746 men were. These souls who 150 years ago fought for reasons they believed in all the way to the point of perishing.