Thursday, May 16, 2013

Act Your Age

This was the conversation I overheard while the kids were setting the table for lunch:

James: "I'm 5. You're 3."

JoyAnna: "Lydia is 1."

James: "Mama is 29."

JoyAnna: "Daddy is 16."

I HAD to interrupt... 

Me: "HOW old is Daddy?!"

Both: "16!"


Saturday Excursion

Heading Towards Sanibel!
Our weekends are terribly busy. I don't have a car during the week, so Saturdays are when I go grocery shopping and run my errands. Our time together on Saturday is also the only quality (and quantity) time that we get with Daddy. This past Saturday, instead of running errands we decided to rebel! We spent the morning taking care of business at home. Then, we went out to lunch! And after that...we visited Sanibel!! What fun!

This was Lydia as soon as we left the restaurant!

First we went to Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. We had been there recently with Grandpa Beaver, so the kids weren't quite as curious about the museum part this time. We built a bird again, we pushed all of the buttons on the audio and video exhibits, we got to go into one of the conference rooms that was loaded with amazing photographs of local wildlife. We went to the birding room and tried out their binoculars. No birds. Except on the wall. There was a big picture on the wall of the local wading birds so I asked the kids to point to their favorite bird. They both immediately ran to the roseate spoonbill, but then JoyAnna changed her mind in favor of the little blue heron.

After walking around for a bit, touching animal pelts and making fun crayon rubbings of different animal shapes we decided to get back in the car and take the Wildlife Drive, which is something that we couldn't do last time we came because it was closed. But before we could get back in the car, James explained that he had to go potty. For those of you who know us, this is no small ordeal.

So the girls and I waited outside on the deck. They entertained themselves by racing back and forth and peeking through the railings. I sat on a bench enjoying the breeze and my carefree girls!

JoyAnna found a shiny penny under my bench. It reminded me of going to the grocery store with my Granny and Gramps as a little girl and getting so excited over finding pennies in the parking lot! Gramps would say: "Find a penny, pick it up. All the day you'll have good luck!"

When James and Daddy finally emerged from the restroom we eagerly climbed into the car for our adventure through the wildlife drive. We were really hoping to see some alligators and identify new birds.

 Immediately after we passed over a weir I noticed a horseshoe crab by the shore. Josh pulled over and we all jumped out of the car to check it out. Despite having grown up in New Jersey, I have never seen a live horseshoe crab in the wild. That one turned into dozens! As we looked up and down the shoreline, we noticed them all over. Pretty neat!

 Down the road a little bit there was a boardwalk that led to a pier. We saw mullet jumping and more horseshoe crabs. We even saw fiddler crabs all over the trees. One lady who was visiting from Colorado said that when she first saw them she thought they were big spiders. Then she realized they were crabs. Walking back to the car and said, "You can always tell who is a tourist and who is a local!" But, seriously, thanks, tourists, for paying our income tax for us!

 While we DID see a species of bird that we had never seen before, we did NOT see any alligators. And THAT was very disappointing to certain individuals.

Josh was guessing that these were some kind of stilt. James, JoyAnna and I have the bird book out now. First we thought it could be a long-billed dowitcher. But their beaks are not long enough. Now we believe they are willets. What do you think?

We were all hot and tired by the time we got back in the car! We had wanted to hike the Indian Mound Trail towards the end of the drive, but it would have been too much. Josh promised we would come back to Ding Darling and do it another time. The weather was surprisingly nice for May, but it would be better to go back in October or November.

By the time we got back into town the kids had taken a nice little nap in the backseat. So we picked up sandwiches at Publix, got a large lemonade and then visited the local mini-golf course. This was the first time we've ever taken the kiddies mini-golfing. They were VERY excited! JoyAnna kept saying in the most incredulous voice, "I can't a-bleeve I'm mini-gaw-fin!!" (Translation: "I can't believe I'm mini-golfing!!") Lydia didn't get to play really. We let her drop the balls into the holes after we finished. JoyAnna enjoyed petting the fake zebra. We learned that James might do better at the driving range. Josh made two holes in one, I made one and JoyAnna made one. And out of those 4 holes-in-one, not one of them was the mystery hole! No free games for us. Oh was a blast anyway! (And Josh said he might take me back so we can do the batting cages together!)

Enjoy this little video of the entertainment we had during out long drive:
Baa, Baa, Baa-Baa!!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Introducing: Dylan!

Introducing Dylan to the family!
The day after we picked up Tea Cake in Bradenton, I received a phone call from our 4-H leader, Mrs. Flowers. She had a friend who needed to find a new home for her 1 year old English Angora buck named Dylan. Dylan was bred by Mrs. Flowers so we knew he was top quality, and he was already litter trained. So we said that we would be happy to have him!

We drove up to Punta Gorda to pick him up on April 11th and brought him home. We were very encouraged when we were NOT sprayed with urine at any point! Nor were we nipped when we handled this sweet boy. Neither did he scratch our arms and legs when he held him so that we looked like we had been attacked by Edward Scissorhands. Pretty promising!

JoyAnna meeting Dylan!
Dylan is such a sweetie!! He has such a different personality than Tea Cake. He's more like a dog. In the morning he runs around in circles in his cage because he's so excited to see you. Adorable! Dylan just loves, loves, loves to be affectionate. He is gentle and sweet. Whenever I hold him, he likes to climb up and nuzzle my neck. Tea Cake, on the other hand, is more like a cat. He loves his space. Of course, there are times where he does like to be appreciated, too. He is just not quite as snuggly as Dylan is.

Josh and I introduced the boys after the kids went to bed the evening we brought Dylan home. Let's just say it wasn't pretty, folks. So we put them back in their cages and thought we'd try again in the morning...this time separating them with a baby gate. Bad idea. James and I spent the rest of the day scrubbing the lanai and the baby gate.

Tea Cake and Dylan staring each other down through the gate.
 Dylan does not use the litter pan that I was using with Tea Cake. I don't know if it's because it's not the same as the one he had before, or if he is going through a "I'm-Not-Sure-About-This-New-Family-Rebellion thing". He does not discriminate when it comes to places to relieve himself. And, unlike Tea Cake, he does not have a "favorite" spot. He goes all over. He goes while he is running. He goes while you're carrying him. He goes while you are holding him on your lap and burying your face in his nice soft wool. Still...we just love him! Anyone know any tricks for getting urine stains out of bunny wool?? Help!!


Now, I find this odd since Tea Cake is supposed to be the "uncivilized" bunny. He lived outside! But Tea Cake WILL NOT go potty if he is not inside his cage. He will hold it for hours if he is having playtime on the lanai. Or he will occasionally use the litter box. I've even given him playtime in the laundry room where I have their cages set up and Tea Cake will actually hop back into the cage, go potty, and then hop back out. No one trained him to do that, he just does.

I went to Tractor Supply to get some more pine pellets, sweet PDZ and a litter box...the kind used for bunny cages. I figure that's probably what he's used to, so maybe he'll recognize it and say, "Hey! Now THAT'S where I'm supposed to do my business!!" But they were ALL OUT of bunny litter pans.

A handful of fluff

I decided that I would trim Dylan down. He wasn't happy. Probably because I had no idea what I was doing. I have never given a rabbit a haircut before. (James took the pictures for me... I think he did a pretty good job!) I was never able to do his belly or tail area by myself because I couldn't figure out how to hold him still by myself. Now I know that I need someone to hold him for me. Duh.

I couldn't help but laugh when Josh came home from work and greeted the bunnies on his way through the laundry room from the garage. I heard, "Helloooo, Wabbits....Dylan! What happened to you!? You poor thing!"

Then I had to convince him to hold Dylan so I could trim the rest of him. That was harder than actually getting the job done!
Dylan hated me for a whole day and a half afterwards.