Wednesday, April 22, 2009


The MacDonald house has a pretty pathetic butterfly garden, but it has been a huge hit this spring. When I say pathetic, I mean we have a bunch of milkweed (still in pots because it gets eaten so quickly we have to replace it all the time), and a few penta plants in our garden area.

Since we are considering an addition to our house in the near future (square footage, people, not two little feet), we haven't ripped out the existing plants and gone full steam ahead with our plan to turn the garden outside our living room into a full blown butterfly smorgasbord. However, we definitely wanted to encourage the butterflies to come to our house, and come they have!

Two weeks ago I counted over 36 monarch caterpillars on our six little milkweed plants. I made an emergency food run during nap time one day to replinish the stash, because we didn't want to lose any caterpillars. I even had the guy at Palmer's take off the hitchiker caterpillars because we didn't want any more mouths to feed. They've all gone to chrysalis and since come out and flown away, but apparently they have decided to have babies. See?

The little white things on the leaves above are just three of the many, many eggs I counted earlier today when we were out playing with the butterflies. It appears that a run to Palmer's will be in order again in just a few days.

At the top of the most prominent leaf in this picture is a very tiny monarch caterpillar. It's just about a centimeter long. This photo makes him look huge! Earlier today he was still an egg, and after naps today I checked again, and there was this little guy. He will quickly eat me out of house and home.

This is what the flowers of Milkweed look like. We don't get to see them too often, especially when we have 36 very hungry caterpillars to feed. Seriously, Monarch caterpillars will eat every part of a Milkweed plant, including the flowers (which the Monarch butterfly drinks necter from) to the seed pods (necessary for producing more Milkweed). One would think that caterpillars would be a little less agressive with the plant that nourishes them as butterflies and tries to repopulate the earth so it can grow new plants for its offspring.

So, yes, a trip to Palmer's is in our near future. Although we can't offer much for the butterflies as far as variety because we are constrained by space, they seem very happy to live in our garden. We have spent hours out there with the caterpillars, holding them and watching them eat, grow, turn to chrysalis and then butterfly. The boys have learned so much about butterflies this spring. It's been a great experience!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Faith Restored

I received an e-mail last Monday from the pastor's wife at our church. She asked if Dan and I would be willing to share a little bit of our story on Easter Sunday in the form of a cardboard testimony. I had just seen this kind of thing done the weekend before when I went to Tres Dias. I responded pretty quickly and said we would be happy to participate. E-mails between Kelly and I happened, Dan came in and offered his opinion, and our wording was set.

We've never been particularly reserved when it comes to sharing about our journey to parenthood, and how we endured much tragedy before we were blessed with the adoption of Nicholas and Matthew in 2007. Since our pregnancy losses have been the "big deal" in our lives, and the one obstacle in our faith walk, it probably won't be a surprise to anyone that our cardboard testimony reflected that.

Honestly, once I sent Kelly the verbiage of our sign(s), I didn't think about it again. I went about the rest of the week, keeping busy with the boys, preparing for my other roles at church on Easter weekend, and generally going out my daily life. It wasn't until Saturday, when Dan and I were handed our signs, and we stood backstage that I even remembered what we were doing in the service tomorrow. Even in that moment it didn't seem like a big deal.

And then we did our first run-through.

Really, I was good with that. It was no big deal. Hold a sign, walk across the stage, attach sign to velcro. But the second run-through wasn't easy. That's the one that got to me. I admit, I started crying. Dan started crying. We stood off stage, looked at the picture we helped create, hugged one another and sang along with the final words of the song..."O Praise the one who paid my debt, and raised this life up from the dead". In that moment, everything was just as it should be.

Yes, we still have four babies in heaven.

No, that's not what we wanted.

But we have been blessed beyond measure before, during and since those sad, sad days. And in moments like Saturday evening, I am reminded again of the deep love of our Savior, our parents, our friends and most of all, our children...the precious ones we are privileged to parent on earth, and the beautiful ones who are waiting for us in heaven.

Yes, our faith was shattered, and yes, our faith has been restored. Sharing our story on Sunday morning allowed us to take another step toward healing.

The signs we held on Easter Sunday, 2009.

Video to follow in another post. :-)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Makes my heart melt...

Seriously, is there anything sweeter than kids holding hands?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Magic Kingdom with Stellan

My last blog entry was all about taking time to just be with my kids, knowing that each moment is precious. MckMama has learned that lesson, and taught it not only to me, but to so many others all over the world. When Stellan was first diagnosed with heart problems, she was only 20 weeks pregnant. In an effort to get his name out there so people would know him and be able to pray for him, she started something called Stellan's Gallery. In the gallery are pictures from all over the world with his name in them. MckMama wanted Stellan to see the world. Since he's been sick these last few weeks, she has resurrected his gallery and asked people to take Stellan with them. So....
Nicholas, Matthew and I took Stellan to Magic Kingdom with us. Here's what Stellan looked like today.

Nicholas and Matthew wanted their picture taken with Stellan, so I obliged, and had it shot in front of the castle.

Mary Poppins wanted in on the Stellan action.

So did Chip & Dale. I wish I'd had a video recorder with me because Chip communicated with me in sign language that he loves Stellan.

Pluto got a shot in, too!

One last shot with a statue of Mickey before leaving.

Tomorrow the whole family is going back to Disney (not sure which park we'll go to yet) and we're taking Stellan for an encore visit. One of my twin mama friends from GOMOTT took Stellan with her to Animal Kingdom. He did a quick clothing change before heading over, but it looks like he had a pretty amazing time with Amanda, Lani and all the kids. You can check out their pictures at Amanda's blog here.