Friday, August 14, 2009

Happenings ...

The boys love to help shuck the sweet corn. They must be Iowans at heart like their mom and dad.

Jayden has told us many times that when he grows up, he wants to be a fireman. During the National Night Out block party, Minnesota's finest were on the scene with horns and sirens blaring. Jayden was beyond excited to sit in the cab and pull the airhorn. Then the guys got him all dressed up in their protective gear, which weighs about 50 lbs. He was delighted!

The raspberries were HUGE this year and the batch we picked was gone in one afternoon, and enjoyed with vanilla ice cream.

It's been plenty busy here lately and school is just around the corner. I know school has started in many other states, but here in MN, we are enjoying the dog days of summer and school does not start until September 8! But the kids have received their teacher assignments and class schedules, and the phone has been ringing off the hook with friends wanting to compare schedules and planning for the new school year. Emme and Maea will both be in middle school this year (7th and 6th grade) and Jayden will be starting 2nd grade.

Jayden's great aunt, Mary, has spent quite a bit of time with him this summer to brush up on his English language skills as well as reading, spelling and math, so that he is more prepared for 2nd grade. He has only been in America for 8 months and when we first brought him home, he barely spoke English. It has been amazing to watch the words and sentences start to flow from both of the boys!

We've had a busy summer - between soccer season, basketball camp, sailing school, swim lessons and a few family vacations too - summer has flown by. The kids will be busy with the start of the school year and school soccer season.

I am coordinating 2 seminars this Fall for Amercia World Adoption ( to inform prospective families about adoption. I'm also scheduled to take a photography class from Ria Lee in September ( Check out her blog and be blown away by her INCREDIBLE talent - she creates the most beautiful images of children, babies and families!

Of course, I can't blog without posting a few pictures of all the kids and recent happenings. I know I've commented a few times on facebook about the baby turtles that are hatching, so I am posting a few pics of them as well. Here's the nutshell version of the turtle story ...

Our oldest daughter, Emme (12) will spend hours a day in our little oar boat on the pond behind our house. She has an eagle eye for the tiny little turtle heads that pop out of the water to breathe, and she'll silently and slowly paddle the boat right up to them, and then scoop them up in a net. We usually have several baby turtles in our aquarium during the summer and then we release them again in the fall. The kids love to watch them sunning themselves, and swimming around the tank.

After seeing a few turtles actually laying their eggs earlier in the summer, Emme did quite a bit of research on the web as to how to incubate turtle eggs. So we went ahead and let her find a female turtle as it laid its eggs, and then mark the location of the nest. A few days later, Emme carefully dug up the nest and delicately lifted each egg from the hole in the ground, careful to keep its exact position as she transferred it to an incubator she had made. She told us that the eggs should hatch in about 60 days as long as she was able to maintain the temperature at about 84 degrees and keep the environment moist. I must admit, I wasn't really expecting any survivors, but over the past week they have begun to hatch and what an amazing process that has been.

The eggs themselves are oval-shaped and pliable (soft). At first, they kind of crumpled in upon themselves but as the weeks went by, they began to fill out and plump up. When the baby turtle is ready to emerge, it slices through the egg with its "egg tooth", a sharp little temporary "beak" on the front of its nose. The turtle then lays in its shell for about 3-5 days absorbing the yolk through its umbilical cord. Which means that turtles have "belly-buttons" which heal up about 5 days after they are done absorbing the yolk. At first, the belly-button protrudes from the bottom of the shell, but then it slowly turns into a flat area. Just the process of hatching has taken nearly 1 1/2 - 2 weeks. Once fully hatched, they bury themselves in the sand for a few days before emerging and becoming more active - which means they are ready for their first swim!

1 comment:

Team Dragovich said...

Karen, I am sooooo amazed at your daughter's dedication and research and careful care of the turtles!!!! I am going to have to show my boys this post, so they can be inspired :D... Your family has been very busy this summer, such wonderful memories for all of you, for sure!!

Be sure to tell you daughter how impressed your adoption/bloggy friend is and that I think she is a great example to her younger siblings to pursue their passions and expand on their interests as well!! Have a great start to school!