Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Picture Woes

Why is it so, so difficult to get one decent picture of my kids?

I mean, is it so hard for all three of my boys to look at the camera on the count of three and say cheese?

Apparently it is:

Just smile, dag nabbit!

Those smiles look a little forced, guys.

Things are finally looking up.

At last, 30 pictures later, one decent shot.

Sweet Brothers:

Thank goodness Mom is done. We are EXHAUSTED!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

It's for the Birds

There is a poor, deranged cardinal that lives in a tree near my backyard. As I am typing this post, I am hearing the rap, rap, rap as the cardinal slams his beautiful, red-feathered body against the french doors leading out to the back porch. This suicidal tendency of my scarlet friend has been going on several times a day for the last two weeks. At first I thought I was the one who was nuts. I would be cleaning the house and hear someone knocking on the french doors only to find no one there each time I came to look. I decided to get clever and I snuck up to the door very quietly the next time I heard the noise, and LO and BEHOLD! I caught my friend red-handed as he dashed away in a red-feathered flurry. Why does this poor, beautiful bird continually pummel himself against the glass? Does he like the color of my red-hued family room? Is he mistaking his reflection as a rival or a potential mating partner? Or has he just lost his poor bird-brained mind?

Speaking of birds--Our dear, dear mourning doves have returned. Jonah did a report on mourning doves for school last year, so we learned all about them. They are beautiful, graceful birds. The coo--coo sound they make sounds like someone in mourning; hence the name. A mourning dove pair mates for life. They stay faithful to each other until one or the other dies. Each Fall, they fly south; each Spring they return to the exact same spot to build a nest and have their young. Both the birds labor together to build a loose grassy home for the eggs. The father also takes a turn sitting on the eggs while mother goes to get food.

This is our third spring living in this house, and each spring our mourning doves build their nest in the exact same spot, where the porch roof meets the porch. The nest is practically eye level with Todd, so we get to see everything up close and personal. The mourning dove mother always lays two eggs. The new hatch lings are called squabs. They stick their little beaks in the beaks of their parents and gulp down regurgitated seeds. It is very fun to watch. The mother and father mourning doves are very protective of their young and they never leave their children unguarded until they fly from the nest. Last year, I sat on the floor of the family room watching the squabs try out their wings with mother dove gently edging them out of the nest. I was determined to see the squabs' first flight. After two hours, the squabs still hadn't flown the nest, so I gave up on them. Later that afternoon, I walked by the french doors and saw that the nest was empty.

Here is a picture I took this afternoon of mother mourning dove sitting on her eggs:

I can't wait for them to hatch!

Here is a picture of my three squabs trying to catch some rays last weekend after sliding down the slide into the kiddie pool: