(Emma did the honor of naming her)
it seems as though i am not the only one "giving birth" this Fall. my dad, who is an annual tomato planter, went to check his plants this morning when he came across a pleasant surprise...a snapping turtle who was laying eggs in his (one of many) garden. we took the older kids out one by one and watched as her shell would slowly raise and lower as she laid her 20-30 eggs in the soft ground. it was like watching the Animal Planet up close and personal...an experience, i am sure, the kids will remember forever. we quietly sat in the grass and watched her cover the eggs and pack the dirt for about 45 minutes until we could tell she was ready to make her way back to the small creek that sits behind my parents' house. of course, we did a little research to see what exactly we were getting ourselves into having these eggs in our backyard. according to the website, it should take, on average, 80-90 days for the eggs to hatch. with higher temperatures we could end up seeing the little guys in as early as 60 days. we also learned that if the eggs are turned or even touched in any way, the eggs will not hatch. in order to preserve the eggs and protect them, my dad is going to buy some fencing and enclose the "nest" to keep the kids out of the dirt. we also want to make sure that the little ones get to the creek (which is a decent distance from where the mother laid the eggs). i am very excited to watch this whole journey take place.
here is a picture of Bertha...
Bertha is a full grown snapping turtle and was by far the largest snapping turtle i have seen in the wild. to get a better understanding of her size, i took a picture of her next to my dads hand. as you can see, she was HUGE and was clearly ready to protect her eggs.
i attempted to take a picture of her face, but was a little too scared to get close. i didn't want to threaten her in any way or make her fear for her eggs' safety.
i wanted to get a picture of the eggs, but she was guarding them pretty well!! when the shell would raise, we could see the slimy white eggs under her body. unfortunately this is the best picture i could get. what you are seeing is her muddy nasty shell, back left foot, LONG thick tail and a sliver of her back right foot. the eggs were under her back right foot!!
i think the most interesting part was watching her cover the eggs and pack the dirt. you would be SHOCKED at how high she could lift the back of her shell and extend her legs. she would take one leg at a time and grab dirt with her foot. she would then pull the dirt over her eggs and then sit on it to pack it down.
i couldn't help but feel a little connection to Bertha when she would raise her head and stare at us as if we were the enemy. lol. i often feel this same way when i have 5 kids climbing all over my expanding belly. what is even more exciting is that the eggs should be hatching around the time that i am due...give or take a few weeks. :)
we had DQ last night and the twins were loving it. here are a few pictures of their messy faces!
Alyssa after church!!
Allison reading a book!
Alyssa trying on everyone's clothes for a quick fashion show!! she is such a diva :)
stripping the clothes off...with Nana's help.
now she wanted to be completely NAKED! haha
Allison's attempt to get naked! haha
everyone is doing great and we had a wonderful weekend. the twins are napping at the moment and we are planning on taking them and the older kids to the park today to play in the water. it should be a good time. :) today is also the last day of school for everyone and the summer is officially beginning!! i am so happy to be here at such a fun and exciting time in the kids' lives. school is ending, turtles are laying eggs, vacation bible school is next week, swimming, water balloon fights and catching fireflies!! oh what fun! i think the best part of it is the fact that my girls are old enough to somewhat enjoy these activities too. it should be a fun summer!
2 days until my "BIG" ultrasound
17 days until Johnny is here
19 days until the twins turn 2 years old
26 days until the 4th of July