On our backyard walk tonight, we found 2 great critters. The first was this beautiful bug above. I actually took almost 40 photos of him and only got one that wasn't blurry! A lot of the time he was moving, but sometimes he was sitting still. I have to figure out what I'm doing wrong. Alexandra got a photo that was just as good, though not as close up, with my old camera. Way to go!
(I haven't identified this yet - if anyone has an idea, please let me know! I thought it might be a box elder bug, but it looks somewhat different than the photos I saw.)
We also found a Spiny-Backed Orb Weaver Spider. These guys are little bitty (maybe 1/2 inch or smaller) and I couldn't get a good photo, so I got this photo off of this site. Tonight's Spiny Orb was white, but we'd found a red one back in October. What is neat about learning to identify the "critters" we find is that we can usually remember their names when we find them again! I think this little spider is just an incredible example of God's beautiful creation.
Lastly, Alexandra found a live worm on our walkway today. What was neat is that she actually picked it up! This is a first for her. Then, she proceded to make it a habitat (though we let it go a few hours later). This is just a great reinforcement to me that our experiences with nature are making an impact. Alexandra used to be afraid of worms and now she is finding them and wanting to name them and take care of them. It's wonderful!