Saturday, January 24, 2015

Library Field Trip

We took a little field trip to the country's first all-digital public library which opened right here in south San Antonio in 2013. 

But first, a van full of crazies. This is what we do on co-op day 
if it's too cold and rainy outside for the kids to play. 

Ashley is the lovely head librarian who gave us a tour. 
We were there before library hours, so we had the place all to ourselves. 

That's a lot of iMacs. 

They do a lot of technology help and training. 
They do not lend out physical books, but they do lend out eReaders (Nooks, I think) through which books can be checked out.
They go out into the community to do events and training. 
They have a specialist on staff who helps legally blind constituents with devices.
They do lots of other stuff too, but I can't remember it right now. :-)

Once Ashley showed us this room, there was no leaving. 
And how nice to have it to ourselves for an hour or so!
There were two Xbox Kinects on the wall, several Surface Tables, iPads, 
and other computer-type devices filled with kid-friendly games.

It's a county library as opposed to a city library, so we got another set of library cards so we can use all the wonderful resources they offer online. They're a little far to drive to very often, but you can check out everything online (of course), so there's no need to drive. Elizabeth is excited about having a new set of books to browse through. I'm excited about (which is free access only from the physical library) and Mango (online language lessons for the kids!). And there's a number of other resources I need to look into. 

It was a fun excursion. A first for our country (I'm sure many more will follow; they're already planning another all-digital location on the West side of San Antonio). And we had some great talks with the librarian about the direction of our culture and ebooks and paper books. She was homeschooled growing up as well, so that was fun to talk about. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Braces Off!

On the way to the orthodontist two years ago.

Braces on for two years! Two years of no popcorn or chewy candies or hard chips.

And the satisfying finish. A beautiful smile without having any teeth pulled to make room in her mouth. We appreciate Dr. Flannery!

Saturday, December 27, 2014


Phoebe was an angel in the Christmas Eve service at church. 

She's practicing the sign language for the song they signed.

 We came home from Christmas Eve service, snacked a little, and listened to Phillip read a story.

 Mimi in the kitchen cooking for us.

Christmas morning, Harrison is putting together his Millennium Falcon Lego set. This is the first year in a long time that Jonathan did not get Legos and I think this is the first time Harrison has ever gotten Legos.

 Phillip made Jonathan a drawing board and we got him drawing utensils and a book on perspective drawing. 

Looking cool. Don't they jest. 

We listened to some good stories from family history, played cards, FaceTimed and called distant family, ate plenty, and enjoyed being with family. 

Mimi and Papa, Uncle John and Aunt Kristy were here this year. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014


We found a new little park hidden away in a neighborhood. It had a short paved trail through a wooded area with a ton of deer roaming around. We saw fawns, does, and bucks. And the kids liked the hike because of all the deer. Always a plus!

Co-op day.

This was a new recipe we tried for Thanksgiving. And they were delicious! Cranberry JalapeƱo Poppers. Recipe here

Harrison was really into the State Puzzles on Thanksgiving. He had Mimi help him with a couple.

Phoebe's into photobombing lately.

H got Dad down on the ground to help with the floor State Puzzle.

The kids like watching some Macy's Day Parade on Thanksgiving. They watched a good portion of this one on YouTube and then I found out it was last year's parade. Nice.

Writing down what we're thankful for on a table runner to be saved for posterity.

We tried to spend either Thanksgiving or Christmas at Grandma's house with all the cousins while I was growing up. Grandma had a handful of movies that we would choose from and Princess Bride was one of them. So this year we continued the tradition of Princess Bride on Thanksgiving.

A little family backyard campfire.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Cabbage Whites VIII

This will probably be the last post on our Cabbage White Butterflies. A lot has been learned and it's been very enjoyable. I'll keep the cycle going for a while if our current eggs hatch. Once you have the supplies, it's pretty simple.

The girls can't fly, so we've been able to get them out of the netting and hold them and even get them to eat out of our hand. 

We got three butterflies from about a dozen eggs (five eggs hatched). Goldilocks, alas, did not make it long. She died yesterday. Her wings were crinkled the worst of all three and she didn't seem to be able to get around very easily. 

Carol has some trouble too. I often find her on her back just waiting for someone to pick her up and put her back on her feet. She seems amiable and enjoys climbing onto our fingers.

These are some of the 15 or so eggs that Carol has laid. No sign that any have hatched yet.

This is Goldilocks feeding. 
You can tell when the proboscis is out because it's a dark color and the legs are a lighter color. Butterflies taste with their feet, so when they're on our hand, we can watch them place their foot on the sugar solution on our hand before they put out their proboscis. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Last Week

A couple more Trick or Treating pics.

 With Mimi and Papa at the Alamo.

 These two are usually big buds. 
Sometimes Jonathan runs out the door too quick and Harrison gets really upset because Jon left him. Sometimes H gets into Lego creations and "accidentally" destroys them and Jonathan gets pretty frustrated with him. 
But this captures their typical relationship.

Cabbage Whites VII

Our hope and prayers were not unfruitful.....

We have three emergent butterflies!
 Of the non-heretical kind, of course.

The first one to emerge was a female. This picture is very close to her emerging. I didn't get a picture of the last stage of a pupa where you can see the eye spots. Once you see the spots, you know they'll be emerging very soon. You can see the tape we used to hold her on after she was dropped several times last week. The silk carpet the chrysalis was attached to is hanging off the bottom.

Microscope picture of the carpet the caterpillar weaves to attach itself to a surface for metamorphosis. 

Microscope pic of the exoskeleton after the butterfly emerged.

The first to emerge, the kids named her Carol.

 A day or two later we got our male Roy. 

And this little lady had some trouble emerging. The Travis kids named her Goldilocks. We actually got to watch her come out. Her chrysalis was formed down low in the plastic container and I think she had trouble getting a foothold to help pull herself out. Then her wings got all stuck in the carpet and silk belt that held the exoskeleton in place and they never did unfold very well. I wonder if the same sort of thing happened to Roy and Carol because Carol has one wing that is curled and she can't fly. Roy can fly but one of his wings is a little bit curled too.

So now we hope for eggs. We put some radish plants in the cage for ovipositing (hopefully!). And I wouldn't use the plastic container for feeding anymore. I would just put everything in the cage and let the caterpillars form their chrysalis on the plant or branch. 

And I need to learn to leave them alone! Sometimes I try to help them and it ends up being hurtful. A lesson in letting go of control can be found somewhere around here....... Hmmmm.