Blessed Birthday and – Surprise! We Found a Hitchhiker in Our Milkweed

Mommy’s Birthday Nature Walk
Buckeye Butterfly – Shawn took the picture for me


Those flowers that looked like milkweed, which is what Monarchs lay their eggs on because the caterpillars eat their leaves, must have actually been in the milkweed family.
Look what we found when we got home with some of those flowers!

We found this little guy by accident. We picked flowers and when we got home Katie found a tiny Monarch caterpillar on them. A wonderful birthday present for me.
The ice cream cakes Gary got for me. Yes, that is Elmo on there. I guess he’s trying to keep me young!
The bouquet the kids picked for my birthday
Monarch caterpillar on the second day – he’s growing!
Now we have our very own very hungry caterpillar – and he’s still growing!

Update on Monarch Caterpillar – Day 3:

Look how big he is now!

This is our caterpillar on Day 5.

Here is our caterpillar on Day 6. You can see that his antenna or “whiplashes” are getting longer. They will droop down as they get longer. He has two sets of them. The ones near his head are getting very long. The ones in the back are the “fake” ones. He doesn’t do as much with them. They just throw off birds and other possible predators. But the birds don’t bother him, because they know he tastes bad. His bright colors warn them that he’s one of those nasty-tasting caterpillars just like those Monarch butterflies that taste so bad.

Anna and I went Milkweed hunting today. We saw lots of them in the ditches, but I didn’t want to stop by the busy road. So we went to some real country roads with little to no traffic. We got on a dead end road and found a whole bevy of Milkweeds and butterflies, including several Monarchs.

Anna bravely went out amongst the weeds and snake holes and snatched up a milkweed plant by the roots. I still haven’t figured out if this Milkweed we’re finding is a cousin to the Milkweed I’ve always known and loved or if it’s an earlier stage of it or what. I need to do some more research. There’s no milky stuff coming from the leaves. The leaves aren’t as thick as the ones I knew of. The plants aren’t as tall or straight up. And there are no milkweed pods! I will let you know what I find out.

I rewarded Anna with a McFlurry and myself with a chocolate shake. Then we went home and fed my caterpillar some fresh leaves.

Day 7 – our caterpillar grew a lot today! We took him upstairs to get him away from the noise. I think it helped him to grow more!

Day 8 – Our caterpillar is about 1 and a half inches long now. When he’s 2 inches long, I think he will be ready to make a chrysalis. I think we’ll stretch some nylon hose across the top soon so he can hang his chrysalis from that.

This is another picture from Day 8. He got so excited about the new leaves and flowers that I decided to take some pictures of his animated movements.
He made a U-turn to get over to those flowers.

Did you know that Milkweed is pretty??? I didn’t. Just look at the beautiful photos here at Butterfly Encounters. Guess what kind of milkweed we have? SWAMP MILKWEED!!! I’m not surprised.

I thought this video retelling of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” was good.

And this one is good. Eric Carle actually reads “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” himself.

This Very Hungry Caterpillar unit is taking on a life of its own! I just explained to Abby that our caterpillar is going to turn into a butterfly like the one in this video. I wonder if she understands.

WARNING: This is a “home movie” to the max. I could watch it all day, but it’s really just Abby responding to the pictures and videos from my birthday. Probably not the most interesting to anybody but her mother. You might want to skip this.




Happy Birthday Dear Mommy from Penney Douglas on Vimeo.

You can click on “Happy Birthday Dear Mommy” and see me blowing out my fake candles and see Garrett’s adorable face as he’s begging his Daddy to let him take a picture of Mommy. This is for you, Kristi!


  1. I LOVE your ‘home’ video! We watched and re-watched the part where Abby says the butterfly is gonna get you and then she growls! We were cracking up! She is SO cute!!! I’m gonna have to limit my viewing, though. I start getting that ‘maybe just one more’ feeling… I did miss seeing you blowing out your candles, though. 😀 Happy Birthday a bit belated! Looks like it was happy! Thanks for sharing…..

    1. Only you, Kristi! Thank you so much for loving my family! Yeah, you caught her growling for the butterfly. I didn’t hear it at the time. She is just so cute I can’t get enough of her.
      You also caught my blowing out the fake candles. We didn’t have enough. Didn’t even try to find out how many we have. You know how smoke alarms and fire extinguishers can spoil a party!

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