June 22, 2011

Newest Family Members

This could be an exciting post about new family members of the human variety. Sadly, it's about family members from the furry and feathered world. I could have titled it, "How I found myself getting a cockatiel on Wednesday and kitten on Thursday."

When we visited close friends, we never expected Ella to spend the evening on the porch with a sweet, stray cat. A few weeks later, the stray had grown quite large around the belly. By now, the four little boys in the family had thoroughly initiated this mellow cat into their family. Though she still lived on the porch and was free to leave, she chose to call the cardboard box home. Then she welcomed five adorable kittens into the world.

The pleading began around our house before we even saw the litter. The day we visited, the kittens' eyes still weren't open. Their mellow mama allowed the kids to handle her new brood. My five immediately began making a case for their favorite to join our family.

How could I say no to them? A friend's comment kept ringing through my mind, "Our kids are only with us for such a short time, really. Why not build forts and have pets? That makes the memories."

So, we said we'd like the sweetest kitten that our friends had.

Two weeks later, another friend 'rescued' a cockatiel from being set free into the cold Ohio weather because he was "too loud." Elijah happened to be with me when we heard the story of this poor bird. He had mangled feet, very smart, but needing a home. Eli's parakeets died in late winter because of a gas leak (a story I never wrote). He has been asking for birds since, but I kept putting him off--unable to forget the sight of four parakeets dead on the bottom of the cage. I found myself listening to my friend share news of this cockatiel and watching Eli's eyes, wide with anticipation. When I told her about our birds, she gasped and said, "Oh, you must take Wally!"

When we brought Wally home he had just begun whistling at my friend's house. It was rumored that he had a dog friend in his previous home, but I was a little skeptical. We walked in the door with a cowering bird in a small cage. Manny raced to greet us and immediately Wally climbed onto the side of the cage. He started wolf whistling and making kissy sounds! Since then, we can tell if the dog is near the bird cage because Wally will start kissing and whistling to him. He only tolerates humans, but he loves the dog.

The kitten arrived and Manny became her stalker. He corners her and begins bathing her. She emerges sticky with dog slobber and looking humiliated. It's an interesting love triangle that has been created in the house with the addition of the cat and bird. The bird hisses at the cat, kisses at the dog; the dog could care less about the bird, but worries after the cat all day. When the kitten isn't being manhandled by children or the dog, she's sitting on the ground staring up at the bird.

Somehow, it all works.

June 7, 2011

Lego Olympics Around Our House

We missed the local Lego Olympics and pacified the upset family members by promising to do one at home. Only a few rules: no pre-made Lego creations and everything must be an original. Pretty simple family fun.

I awarded five prizes (mini-figures) for:
Most Original--Everett (2 ships, one with a tissue as a sail)
Most Functional--Elijah (Lego roller coaster and ship with working propeller)
Most Beautiful--Sally (House with palm trees, pond, and lawn mower)
Most Unusual--Josiah (What we called 'The Odd Couple', ninja and pig in a house)
Most Legos Used--Ella (Very large Lego town)

I had to add an honorable mention for Most Square because Seth participated; he didn't win a mini-figure. He also didn't spend the entire amount of time creating his large...square.

The kids had a blast. It ranked high on my list because it was something new, easy, and cheap.