Sunday, August 31, 2014

Vetting the Bunnies...

We decided that since we are rabbit novices, we'd better have an expert take a look at them for us.  He confirmed that they are a bit underweight (we have a plan for that) and have a pretty gnarly case of wool mites (so they have some antibiotics, which should clear it up in a few weeks), and that they are both extremely sweet and good-tempered.  Basil got his bigger mats shaved and then he and Victor got the seal of approval from Dr. Cologgi. 
After talking to the vet today, though, I have plans in the works for a slightly bigger living space for our bunny brothers.  Until I can make that happen, though, we needed an immediate solution.  So Dave and I moved their hutches into the studio and I set to work making them a little indoor run that they can explore (under supervision until they are litter trained).  So far, we've only had one accident out of the hutch, so I think that's great progress!  (I lined the floor with a sheet, and covered it with "tiles" of thrift store rugs so I can easily wash sections).  We have a ramp, a "bunny agility jump", some boxes and tunnels and plenty of hay and grass to eat. 

 They have two supervised play times a day-- once in the morning when we clean their litter and once in the evening when we clean again.  It's not the perfect situation for bunnies who need lots of space, but once they are litter trained they can have a bit more free-range action.  I think they're doing AWESOME for some outdoor rabbits to are transitioning to life inside.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Getting to know you...

This morning we had a quick cuddle session with our new friends.  They have obviously been loved before, and are very gentle and sweet.  We have a bit of work to do with their coats, but we're taking it slowly- day by day. 
They both hopped about the classroom for a bit, exploring their new domain.
 Justin and Victor had some grooming time.  I'm not quite sure how much grooming to do at once, since I don't want to stress anyone out, but they seem to enjoy it. We'll probably have another little exercise session this afternoon.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Welcome Home, Bunny Brothers!

So-- as you loyal blog readers have gathered, Alex has been rallying for a bunny.  Dave and I supported her in her quest by allowing her to learn about rabbits and start to save up her "bunny money".  We thought that maybe next spring a well-researched and pedigreed bunny would be in her future.  God had other plans.
 I 'liked' the local Sheep & Wool Festival on Facebook, and occasionally their feeds come across my main page.  Three days ago a lady posted that she had two Angora bucks in need of a good home.  It seemed like Providence, since that was the breed we'd settled on.  Dave and I talked about it and decided that we could be a family for these bunnies.

So today, without telling the kids anything, we loaded up the car and drove to Amery, Wisconsin (about an hour away).  Alex received a 'note' on the way that she read aloud to Justin to explain what our "Adventure Day" was all about.

"Dear Alex & Justin,
Today we are going to adopt two animal friends who need a new home.  They are six years old.  The girl who took care of them does not have time to feed, groom or play with them anymore.  Alex, when you asked us for a bunny, God heard you and sent these two brothers into our lives.
They are used to living outside, so they may need some time to adjust to being house bunnies.  It is very important that you both remain very calm and quiet while they are getting used to being part of our family.
They will be our whole family pets, but you will get to each pick a name from Mama's list and then make up a middle name on your own.  Alex will get to name the brown boy.  Justin will get to name the black boy.
We love you and know that you will help take care of our new friends.
Love, Mama and Daddy"

We arrived in Amery and were shown "Basil" and "Gandalf" (which was amazing, because "Basil" was one of Alex's picks for a name...and I had joked about naming them Bilbo and Gandalf only hours prior).  Their former owner let us take their crates with us, as we had no current hutch set up.
 We stopped at Fleet Farm on the way home and bought new hutches for the gentlemen.
They hung out in the garage while we assembled their shiny, new, clean homes.

 Then it was time to introduce our bunny bachelors to their new apartments.

 Basil (pronounced Baz-il) kept his first name, but, as is custom in our family, gained a middle moniker.  "Basil Hawthorne" is a very sweet boy.  He lives on the top floor.
 'Gandalf' became "Victor Cornelius" (Justin picked 'victor', if you can believe it!).  He is a bit more reserved, but was very calm when I held him for a bit this afternoon.  He let Justin pat him and also enjoyed a ukulele concert that the three year old put on.  His coat is soooo soft, it will be really fun to learn how to spin angora fiber!

They're a bit underweight, but we'll get some high calorie food coming their way soon (just not too steps with changes for bunnies!).  Hopefully I'll get to groom, de-matt and spot clean them soon as well.  Welcome home, gentlemen!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Nature Hike- or "Attack of the Mosquitoes"

It's been so rainy/overcast/rainy/overcast lately that we've been inside a great deal.  While I've gotten a bunch of organizing and planning done, we haven't been in nature for a long time.  This morning I loaded the kids and pup up for a little hike on an unmarked trail fairly close to the house.  The trip started off splendidly-- everyone was super excited to be in the woods. Alex worked on some photography, Kolachi reveled in the smells and sounds of nature, and Justin ran full-steam ahead being "an explorer". 

 (Alex's photo)

And then.....about 20 minutes in the mosquitoes suddenly decided that they were immune to our bug spray.  We were bombarded on all sides.  The camera was stowed so I could swat mosquitos.  The panic and tears started (Alex), poor Kolachi was shaking her head and rubbing her muzzle/ears with her paws, Justin wanted to keep going, so we tried taking a side path that I assumed would lead us back to the parking lot.  I was wrong.  20 minutes LATER, we turned around to backtrack the whole way out.  Mama-guilt made me stop at Target, where each child got to pick out a pint of their favorite ice cream to bring home.  Next time we wear our bug shirts!  Now THAT was an Adventure Day!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Go, Go, Wojo!

My cousin Jay's football team was "in town" (Hopkins is technically in the Twin Cities, right?) for their first game of the season.  The kids had never gone to a football game, and Rorie and I hadn't been to any since our own high school years.  Because of their extraordinarily early bedtimes (and a game that didn't start till 7pm), we tried hard to get them to nap during the day, but it was not to be.
 We were able to get there an hour early so we could watch the Superior Spartans practice.  It was really fun to spot #74 on the field.  Crazy that our "littlest" cousin is now a powerful starting offensive lineman!
 The kids had fun watching Jay--  Justin had tons of questions about the game which I was unable to answer.  We really needed GranPapa with us to unlock the mystery of football.  The best part was that our #74 was on the field a LOT during the first quarter.....and he's an underclassman!
 Alex was very, very, very tired.  We made it till the end of the first quarter before we pulled the spectator plug and drove the hour back to Woodbury.  There were tears and drama AND an emergency potty stop (thanks, Rorie).  This is the stuff memories are made of.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Office Reorganization / Redecoration!

My early-birthday-present came in the mail yesterday, and I was so excited about it that I spent the entire day purging, reorganizing and redecorating our office space! 
My new Cricut Explore now has a beautiful home in which to live :-)  This machine will not only help me prep cut paper goodies for the birthday parties that we all know I love planning for, but it can also cut vinyl (for making personalized ANYTHING- including t-shirts and glassware) and even fabric (hello, quilt appliques!) and balsa wood!  It's basically a plotter with a razor blade (but you can also use it with a pen attachment to draw OR a scoring stylus to score if you plan on making 3-D objects). 
 So....I replaced Dave's Leinenkugel Beer Mirror that I've graciously allowed in the main living space of every house we've occupied for the past 11 years of our marriage.  I'm not quite sure where it's new home is yet, but I'm throwing an eventual 'man cave' into the negotiations.
 Isn't that artwork stunning!  It's actually a piece of fabric that I bought in Gotenborg, Sweden this past summer.  Mom and I were in a department store that had an unbelievable fabric section.  I didn't know WHAT I'd use it for, but I bought a full panel, just in case.  Today I stretched it over two pieces of cardboard that were in our recycling pile and secured it with heavy duty duct tape.  A few 3M Command strips later, I have a custom wall hanging!
 Justin likes watching the Cricut cut.  We started in on some snowflakes for Alex's 7th birthday party: Theme:  Ice Castle Princess Party (who am I kidding.....we all know what she really wants the theme to be, but I'm kind of anti-Disney in my own home, so I can't admit that it's really a Frozen party quite yet)
 Because an office with a craft cutter needs a bit more table space, my card table has now taken up residence in here.  Restoration Hardware it is not...but it's practical!
 The kids' picnic table was relocated to the other side of the room, and (perhaps the most DRASTIC part of my remodeling), all they have left to play with is a bowl of crayons.  All the rubber stamps, crazy pom pom balls, 'invention box', tons of crayons and workbooks and papers of every size and shape have retired to the "sick toy bin" to keep kids entertained when they need it most.
 A bowl of crayons.  I can't tell you how great this feels!
 They still have access to high quality supplies, though-- they just get to share Mama's (with permission).  The mason glass jar racks that I removed from my former art studio (the room that became the classroom) found a perfect spot.
 Even the butterfly net has a new space that is (hopefully) dog and cat-proof. 
 Yay!  A new, uncluttered space always makes me feel awesome!

Soup Night

With the advent of the new school year quickly approaching, we had a family meeting the other night to determine our meal plan for the next few months.  With homeschooling and trying to keep an orderly house, I have no time or energy for anything involved, so everyone chose one favorite meal and we worked around that.  So-- without further delay, here it is:

Monday- salad night (I promised Dave meat would be an ingredient in the salad)
Tuesday- soup night and fresh bread (Tues is baking day)
Wednesday- spaghetti
Thursday- crock pot meal
Friday- meatloaf
Sunday- open

Today is Soup night, so the kids prepared dinner early this morning (I love slow cookers).
 Alex is getting quite adept with the knife.  I pretty much trust her not to chop her fingers off now...

 Justin was our 'veggie transfer truck', onion peeler and stock pourer.

Add salt, pepper and a few cloves of smashed garlic.  Simmer for 6 hours.  Add a cup of milk, puree or mash and enjoy!  Yummy corn chowder!
I think I'd like to share?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Chrysalis #1: Sparkles

Our first chrysalis!  We noticed "Sparkles" hanging upside down in J-formation last night, and wondered how long it would be until she shed her outer skin. 

This morning we found our answer!  She developed a brown chrysalis to match the twig that she attatched herself to.
We transferred "Thomas the Tank" into the same jar as "Rainbow" to give the chrysalis some breathing room, and got to work creating a butterfly cage (two 10" embroidery hoops and 36" of bridal veil tulle- voila!) so our brand-new butterfly will have a wonderful place to get her bearings.