Birthdays, raccoons, Easter lilies and caterpillars…

The biggest raccoon I have ever seen (and I’ve seen a lot of coons) wandered in and out of the scrub thickets along the creek a few days ago – at noon. The only other time I have seen a raccoon out in the middle of the day, it was rabid and I had to call on a neighbor to shoot it. That coon was obviously ill, but this one didn’t act ill at all. I still wondered why he was roaming about in the middle of the day.

The photo was taken from the relative safety of my screened in back porch, which explains the blurry image. Between the bobcat and the coon, I was beginning to wonder what else was lurking in those bushes. I was much happier when it was the painted bunting.

Eighteen month old Gavin spent Monday and Tuesday with us while Nick and Kristin were on a cruise. I had hoped to let him play outside with fingerpaints and then in the water, but with the possibility that a rabid coon was nearby, I decided to keep him inside. Emily worked a music camp this week, so most of the time I had Gavin all to myself.

He still doesn’t sleep through the night, so obviously neither did I. I slept with him on the futon, and throughout the night he woke up, looked at me puzzled as if to say “what are you doing in my bed?“, then snuggled up under my chin as close as he could get. Frequently I had to move him over because he had pushed me to the very edge of the mattress.

When Louis asked me how I was doing and I told him I was exhausted, he said with a smile, “Well…you’ve been doing your grandmotherly duty.”

“No,” I stated emphatically. “I’ve been doing my grandmotherly pleasure.”

Two of my favorite people in the world have birthdays this week. Gavin was here to help us celebrate Louis’s birthday on Monday, and Mason’s birthday is Saturday. I can hardly believe that Mason is already two years old.

I added Mickey Mouse to Mason’s birthday banner this year. He LOVES “Miee Mou”.

I also made a few changes in the design of Mason’s birthday banner from the ones I made for Nick, Casey and Emily. I decided to add the number (for the age) by each addition to the banner, rather than a row of felt candles. I think that over the years it will look less cluttered. I also sewed ribbon loops for hanging along the top into the seam. A small spring tension rod inserted through the loops will make it easy to hang at the top of a doorway. Mason’s banner is on its way to Texas. After his birthday, Jessi will mail it back to me and before Mason’s third birthday I’ll add something that reflects his current interests, the number “3” and send it back to fly again on that big day.

My Easter lilies are blooming, but recent heavy rains had beaten them down so I cut a few, put them in a vase with a little asparagus fern stems and suddenly the house smells like spring.

The caterpillar I left outside.

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