Busy Bee Birthday Beach Week

Someone celebrated her 49th birthday last week….and my oh my how this chick loves to draw out a celebration for as long as SHE can!!!
At a charity auction last year we purchased a week in a beach cottage on Fort Myers Beach and decided to use it for my birthday week with our good friends Don and Kelly. 
It was just a small place; two little bedrooms, a full kitchen, small family room, a shared bathroom in the house, a covered deck and a (semi) open aired bathroom under the house. 
I wish I’d had a picture of the outside potty…it was essential as we’d declared immediately that no one was to do #2 INSIDE….that would be done OUTSIDE. It worked out well…and we learned that we’re all pretty ‘regular’ people!
We arrived on Saturday. (my actual birthday) Kelly had been saving this bottle of champagne from her birthday in February and then from our vow renewal in May. Apparently we don’t drink enough champagne!
We were only 30 minutes away from Lolo and Linds so they joined us for dinner on Saturday to celebrate the person who birthed them. (also Lindsay’s sweet boyfriend) 

We grilled burgers, had cake and then played a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity. 
I highly recommend playing this game with people who have an open mind and a wicked sense of  (very dark) humor. Also….it was Lolo’s last weekend as a civilian; she started the police academy this past week! 
We went into the week with NOT a plan in place; and that worked out perfectly. 
 We went out to eat one night and decided that our cooking was of much better quality than any of the touristy beach restaurants….so we cooked some great meals each night. 

 We had a few rain showers and a lot of gorgeous sunsets!
The Coach went into the office a few times, but was able to do most of his work from the cottage. 

 We walked every day getting our vitamin D and some exercise too. Callie’s first trip to the beach….she didn’t mind it at all. Cocoa was happy to just be with us. 

 I’m reverting to a 6 year old again…collecting treasures from the sea. 
It was a great week relaxing with some of my most favorite people. 

Cheers to growing older and enjoying every minute of it!
Happy September my friends.
XO

Butterfly-ing

Remember back when I started planting milkweed in my yard to attract and feed the (disappearing) Monarch butterflies? Well, I just couldn’t leave it at that. 
Thanks to my friend Claudia, who showed me I could take this (obsession) a few steps further to assure the birthing of monarchs. 
And it works.
And I didn’t get stretch marks this time!
A few milkweed plants being devoured by a gang of monarch caterpillars. *nom nom nommmm*
See the other chrysalis on the top of the enclosure? I sure wish they’d do that in a more convenient spot. 
I brought in several caterpillars to a few enclosed containers with milkweed cuttings. 
They ate. They pooped. They ate and pooped. They ate and pooped. 
They turned into chrysalis. (sometimes before my very eyes-the coolest thing ever!)
This was my very first release. I was super excited. 
And apparently one went rouge, escaped and made his chrysalis on our outdoor dining chair. 
(I moved the chair outside so he could give birth in the open air and not in our screen enclosure)
I stared a few weeks ago and I’ve (given birth) to at least 7 now. They’re the prettiest things with wings!
In the wild the caterpillars have a 20% of survival because of predators.
(I’m battling wasps and hornets who think my babies are yummy!) 
In captivity, they have a 90% of survival!
Sometimes they like to linger on my finger….saying “thanks FOR my life human lady”! 
Here’s a before and after IN the garden. 
I hope ya’ll are doing well and enjoying your summer. 
We’re super happy it’s almost over…..it’s been a steamer! 
XOXO