Monday, July 6, 2009

Welcome to Our Zoo

Everyone got baths today.

Sadie is our 16 year old dog. Here - Olivia is making sure the dog stays nice and warm, on a cold day in March. Man, I love that dog... I will need some serious therapy when she passes on. She is the BEST dog in the whole world. She follows me everywhere, and I like it. Her understanding and companionship is incredible... I'll stop now.

I am going to attempt to introduce you to our zoo. This is Nick's gerbil, Shiny Eyes - he is 3 years old already. What an easy pet! He's hilarious and gets a diet rich in fresh seeds, fruits and vegetables. Maybe that's why he is still a crazy gerbil. I got him for Nick on the day he accidentally slammed Olivia's pinky finger in the door. Poor Nicolas... he felt soooo bad. It was an honest accident and in my efforts to teach our kids NOT to eat when they feel sad, mad or bad, I bought a gerbil from an animal shelter. I also bought a gigantic bag of bedding, which now - after 3 years, is only half gone. It is the most amazing bedding as it does something wonderful by not allowing our gerbil's cage to smell. Honest! You cannot smell rodent in our home (if cleaned regularly), which is a very good thing.

And, this is Bet. Short for Beta. Yes, he's a siamese fighting fish. This picture was taken on the day the kids received him as an Easter gift from Katie, Andrew's girldfirend. He now lives in a much larger vase with his hydroponic peace lily. He is also very easy to care for and only requires cleaning every 10 days. His diet consists of freeze-dried blood worms, which is the only thing he will eat. None of that fake fish food for this handsome guy.

The tank on the left is home to 2 crayfish, and is divided; the crawdaddy on the left is going to be 3 years old the one on the right will be 1 this summer. Nicolas caught them a couple of summers apart in a creek, from a nearby village. I swear that I will not allow any more crustaceans in the house. No more. It's not that they aren't entertaining; they are very fun and amusing. If we rearrange things while cleaning their tank, and they don't appreciate the new arrangement, they will stack their rocks and gravel to keep themselves busy and get their home to their liking. Who would have ever thought it? The really cool thing about crayfish, is that they shed their exoskeletons 2 - 3 times a year. Each and every time, it appears as if they have died, but - not to worry. They just shed all of their parts, that's all.

The tank on the right has platties and a big old plecostamus. Did I spell that right? The fish are a pain. Filters, ph, temp, etc. I would like to end the fasination with fish soon.

This is our 2 year old Cairn Terrier, Ginger Snap. She has terrible manners and in this photo, she is talking back to me. She hates the new addition to our family and is so jealous! I would never have guessed this bahavior out of her. Every time she hears me talk to Nick's new birthday bird, she barks the loudest -- and most annoying bark. She protests and I have to figure out what to do about this. Right now, I put the radio on near her, and she can't hear me work with our baby cockatiel.

Here he is! The newest member of our family: a 10 week old little boy cockatiel. He is so dang sweet. He came over to the side of the cage when he saw me (and my crappy camera). The breeder that we got him from said that most of her cockatiels live to 22 - 25 years. Some longer. Wow - I had no idea. Did you? We keep him in our former dining room, which now has 3 desks and a keyboard in it: our homeschool room. It's really the only place where he won't get a draft and Shiny Eyes is in there.

Nicolas did get a Petsmart gift card for his birthday and was so excited to get his first pair of fancy hermit crabs. Guess what? they kinda creep me out, but - I used to feel that way about the crayfish too. Please don't tell anyone though, or they'll be putting the hermit crabs and their pokey little eyes on me all the time. Ew...

Needless to say, with a child like Nicolas - who obsesses like a pro, we know a whole lot about hermit crabs, gerbils, dogs, fish, crayfish and now cockatiels too. Unit studies and lapbooks are part of Nick's education on a regular basis.

Moving on...

I had a migraine last week and still haven't caught up. And ,as often happens afterward, I am enduring the "migraine aftermath"... of being shaky and feeling weird. So, I am setting my thoughts on good and positive things, which can be a challenge. Taking care of the kids and animals gets my mind off of myself. No time for self...

The good news... we survived a gluten-free, casein-free and nearly sugar-free birthday for Nick.

The bad... my camera took awful pictures. I desperately need a new camera.

The ugly... after a migraine, my house is always a wreck. I need serious help... and guess who the help is? Me! So, I will conquer later... tonight.

As for the birthday bid, he has no name. Since I am cleaning him, I get to name him. Don't you think?

Whoever works with him the most, gets to name him.

Whoever cleans his cage daily and feeds him, gets to name him.

Are you getting the idea. I have named him "Nigel". I named him before we got him.

Hubs wants to call him "Chirpy". Duh. I had 2 American Budgies; one as a child and the other when Andrew was about 2... they both had the names of "Chirpy". Parakeets chirp. Cockatiels talk. There is a difference, thus substantiating my point that the bird needs a name more fitting for such a wonderful pet.

He is called "Pretty Boy" a lot. Kids... Hubs...

And, our smaller, younger dog...again, she would like to eat him. It is a bit of a problem when working with a hand-tamed bird. My fear is that the bird will bark, woof and scream, taking after the noises he hears most.

I wonder... will the bird talk? Will he cry? Again, he's really sweet and a nice addition to our zoo.

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