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Butterflies in our house


 


We love butterflies in this house! They remind me of pretty thing that make life more pleasant: green meadows, quiet afternoons, blue skies, and dancing clouds. So we decided to take a closer look at their awesome metamorphosis.

For this project, I bought a netted butterfly habitat and mail ordered caterpillars from an online company called Insect Lore.

They arrived a few days later: inside were 2 lidded clear cups and five tiny caterpillars in each of them. The bottom part had a layer of brown-colored paste that would sustain them as caterpillars.

Right out of the box the caterpillars were sluggish. However, in the following days they became avid explorers and ravenous eaters leaving big holes in the brown paste. Web-like strands, which is actually silk spun by healthy caterpillars, according to the Insect Lore instruction booklet, also appeared around the cup’s interior and around their bodies.

Of the 10, 8 eventually formed chrysalises where they hung in a J-shape on the bottom of the lid. A brown golden-specked shell covered their fuzzy bodies and the outline of their wings could be seen as pointy dots.

Most hung still except for 2 feisty chrysalides that swung back and forth. I feared early demise for them; as the kids commented, they may “get dead soon.”

When we finally witnessed the results of the metamorphosis, our whole family was amazed and awe struck. Cognitively we knew what to expect but actually seeing the process made the process more dramatic and exciting. Their small wings gradually expanded with the wing colors becoming more colorful over time. As indicated in the instructions, drops of sugar water, orange and cantaloupe slices, and garden flowers became their main food sources. To our surprise, the butterflies did not immediately devour the food, so the kids drew pictures to cheer up the butterflies and to stimulate appetite.

Three days after their metamorphosis, they were fluttering faster and stronger in the small habitat. We realized that they needed more space and nectar from new flowers.

When I shared this update, Elliot seemed ambivalent. He said, “Maybe they want to stay with us longer.” Ellis agreed and chimed in saying that butterflies liked being in the wild. When I said “yes,” she looked downcast for about a second; then she immediately smiled and asked if she could dip her finger in sugar water so that Snowflake, her pet butterfly, could walk on her finger before letting it go.

Overall, this experience taught me that for something beautiful to materialize it takes time. Also, it reminded me to look with child-like eyes at the world around me; a butterfly is a special house guest who needs fresh flowers and fruit to eat on a daily basis, a cracked window to keep them cool, and colorful pictures to adorn their habitat.

Elliot wonders if they will come back to say “hi” to us. With the kids saying they want to do this project over again, I’m reconsidering whether we should try raising goldfish again. Last summer (2016) the kids and I took a spontaneous field trip to PETCO and walked out with 2 goldfish and its supplies. I didn’t quite realize how often I had to replace the water and the kids didn’t understand that overfeeding the goldfish would kill them.

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Maybe this time around we’ll have more insight into raising goldfish and coming up with names other than Hamburger and Ice Cream Flower. I do feel a name change will likely occur since those names are already taken by 2 goldfish that are swimming with the dolphins in the ocean somewhere.

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Talking about the heart with small kids

Recently I had a whimsical conversation with my oldest son about his sister’s heart condition.

Out of the blue, Elliot my six-year-old son asked, “What’s that line on her body?,” referring to the vertical scar on the center of Ellis’ chest, his 4 year old sister. This was the first time he noticed.

Taken aback, I stammered an answer.

“Remember how I told you baby has a fragile heart?,” I said putting down down the kitchen towel I was holding.

He nodded yes and went right back to slurping his soup.

“The doctors had to work on her heart to make it better,” I continued.

“You mean INSIDE?,” he said looking up at me abruptly.

“Well that’s where the heart is,” I said.

In a louder voice he asked, “You mean they (the doctors) SHRUNK themselves to do that?”

Out of the corner of the couch, Ellis darted out in her diapers frowning at us: “Are you guys talking about ME?”

This conversation was not going anywhere productive. In their world of make-believe and magic, Elmo is definitely not a puppet, cars develop superhero powers, dinosaurs still roam the earth somewhere, people on TV shows do not live on Earth but inside the TV, and their mommy was born and will continue to remain mommy.

I’m looking forward to meeting with the Child Specialist at the hospital next month: this will occur the day before her heart cath procedure in July. I will learn which words to use, how to approach this delicate topic, and ways to explain surgery to a small child.

This meeting will set a positive precedent for future conversations. It’s a relief that this kind of service is available to stressed-out parents and children facing surgery!

 

 

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Why I started this blog

napa pic of kidsI wanted to start a blog for almost 6 years. Whenever I got the nerve to begin, some life event occurred and it had to be delayed. Momentum would be lost and I had to talk myself into starting again. Yes, this took all those years. Underneath those life distractions was the nagging insecurity that no one would read my blog or someone would disagree with something I wrote and tell me off in the comments section.

I realized that a perfect time or perfect circumstance will never occur. But the persistent nagging insecurity plagued me and I would talk myself out of it. Now I am learning to quiet the negative thoughts in my head and to just move forward. I realized that if I am not proactive, I would still be blog-less this time next year.

With much thought and contagious encouragement from a special friend, I decided to plunge into these unknown waters. The main motivation started with the loneliness I felt in raising two small kids. I read lots of other mom’s blogs and heart blogs; they were comforting, informative, challenging, and encouraging. However in my naivete I could not find an experience just like mine. That was a serious duh? moment for me. Of course I would not.

Everyone has a unique, personal story to tell specific to each person’s life. My story is about me, but just maybe I could help someone in similar circumstances or encourage someone in their life challenges.

My story is about me as a Korean-American homeschooling mom of 2 kids, dealing with the medical challenges of my 4 year old daughter’s congenital heart condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), trying to help my 6 year old son and his sister to have a fun childhood despite being home so much, crafting and building Lego with my kids, aiming to be a good wife (on most days) to my husband of 11 years, and seeking God in all my experiences. One other thing about me is my fascination with beautiful paper, reading reviews about cosmetics, and looking at pretty clothes. I’m no fashionista but I do love to appreciate beautiful clothes and its workmanship

This is an exciting journey to embark for me, and I hope you will journey along with me.

Thanks reader for visiting and reading my first blog entry!