Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Baby gerbils at two weeks old (video)

Dolphin Watch Field Trip

I'll start off with the status update I shared on Facebook last Thursday:

"Today's field trip was great: the kids played with a variety of small sea-life straight from the net, watched pods of dolphins romp in the waves, saw an oil platform being towed out, waved at the Coast Guard Station (last in the string along the Gulf Coast) and then had lunch on the dock. What a difference from the field trips I experienced in Montana!"


I made sure to fully charge the camera battery the night before the field trip -- but then when I tried to take pics, I realized that I'd left the SD card sitting on the desk.  Ugh.  Thankfully I was able to get these shots with my phone - not the best, but still some great memories.

There are six fourth grade classes (each with just over 20 students) and we were divided up amongst two boats.  Just imagine telling sixty 10-year-olds that dolphins like noise, "So get loud!"  Um, mission accomplished ;)

This is an annual trip for the 4th grade class, and the teachers commented that this was the most dolphins they'd ever seen.  It was so fun to just watch them swim together - there was even some small jumps, and I saw one eat a fish.  Very cool to be able to witness that in their natural habitat, and I'm really grateful that I was able to be there.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Spent this morning sitting in the hospital waiting room with a friend while her husband underwent quadruple bypass surgery.

Thankfully all went well, but still a reminder that there is *so* much that we all take for granted in this life...

Friday, May 10, 2013

Gerbil Update and a Friday Funny

Our "babies" are now 4 days old, and seem to be doing well.  At this point it looks like we've got 4 black-eyed and 1 red-eyed; two are definitely going to be darker in color, and jury is still out on the other 3.

I gotta admit, the cage is starting to stink, and I wish I could clean it (but then again, my whole family swears my nose is hypersensitive).  I think their little squeaky sounds are adorable, but hubby finds 'em annoying.

And finally, just for fun, I'd like to share a funny gerbil story we came across when googling about unexpected gerbil babies. The website isn't formatted very well, and it's 2 pages long, but hubby and I both found it pretty funny: Population Explosion Story (scroll to the 4th paragraph on the page)

A few highlights:
"The pet shop guy seemed as reliable as a crepe paper seat belt."
"I showed 7 my gerbil care books, pointing out to HER that SHE was dancing like a man. She didn't seem to care. Illiterate gerbils."
"The joys of gerbil parenting were wearing out faster than five dollar jeans."

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Baby Gerbil Update

When I picked the kids up from school, I told them I had a surprise when they got home - they were both trying to figure out what I'd bought them, and I just kept laughing and saying, "Nope, you'll never guess!"  When I told them the big news, they were both super excited.  D was like, "Wait, I thought we had 2 boys?  Ooh, maybe we have 2 girls and we'll have lots of babies now!"  Umm, I'm absolutely POSITIVE that is not the case, kiddo ;) We did tell him it takes a mommy and a daddy to have babies, and thankfully he didn't ask any further questions (for now, anyway)

Last night, hubby and I were talking, concerned about what we would do with the babies in the wheel.  They're very fragile the first several days - their skin is so thin that you can actually see their white bellies after they've nursed!  We decided we'd leave them alone for a week, and then somehow move them after the weekend.  Just to clarify the situation: she gave birth in what wheel over the top of the cage, so there's quite an expanse of tube, not to mention three stories in the cage (there used to be steps, but Mr & Mrs Destructo chewed those up)  Well, mama took matters into her own hands, and this morning the new family is all on the bottom.  No idea how she did it, but wow, those mothering instincts are strong!  At least now we can see the little wiggly pups better - there are 5, and all seem healthy.  It's cool to watch the 2 of them work together - she'll go eat, and Dad will come snuggle with them for awhile..  We have about 5 weeks before we need to split them up; will probably use our old aquarium to set up another habitat, plus will be giving some young'uns away.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Catching up: Easter

 Easter Sunday was a "nametag" day at church - obviously our son's back was having an identity crisis by the end of service ;)

(On a random side note: that guy he's standing next to is one of the youth leaders, and temporarily our church secretary.  He's also the son of our son's 1st grade teacher.  The crazy interconnectedness of a smallish town still surprise me)

Ooh, a family picture in which we all look presentable!

After church, we came home and had a simple lunch (yes, we were all traditional and had ham), then the kiddos were off on their Easter Basket hunt.  I wrote up a few simple clues, and they were off and running... the grand prize was in the closet, and included (da da da daaaaaaah) SKYLANDERS!

Still spinning...

Whew!  Things just never seem to slow down, do they?  Still lots going on at the D house:
  • Had part of our garage ceiling collapse. This had happened to us a few months after moving into this house; we chalked it up to residual damage from Hurricane Dolly, added some bracing in the attic, replaced the ceiling (plain sheetrock) and moved on.  Clearly something else is going on here - hubby's best guess is that the beams are spaced too far apart to properly anchor the sheetrock (and since our garage is not climate controlled, the heat and humidity take their toll).
  • I opened the fridge to put groceries away, and the bottom fridge door broke out.  That's where I stored out lesser used condiments, PLUS our deep fryer oil (used once, then filtered and saved).  Did I mention I had it in a big glass jar?  Yep, big oily, glass shard mess seeping over a tile floor with lots of grout lines.  Joy.
  • Winding down my "service time" in the kids ministry at church.  We've had a lot of teachers step down in the past couple weeks, and we've had to cut back to only run the program during first service (we've always offered the same program during both worship times).  Still haven't had anyone step up to take over, either.  I've been spending even more time on this, just trying to tie up loose ends and prepare as best I can.  Commitment seems to be a real issue for our entire church right now - we're growing, but there's a very small core group of people who actually do 90% of the work, and you'd think we were asking for millions of dollars when we ask for people to step up.  Lots of weariness and frustration - would appreciate your prayers.
  • My Mom had a knee replacement done a week ago, and she seems to be fighting a low grade infection or something.  My grandmother (Mom's Mom) fell again while Mom was in the hospital, and even managed to break her nose, so she also ended up in the hospital at the same time (just as a precaution).  Sheesh, when do we get a family discount?!  Could also use some prayer with the whole family situation - there are some hard things going on and really need wisdom.
  • I took the kids to get haircuts on Wednesday.  As our daughter's hair was being finished, the stylist waved me over (I was assuming that she just wanted me to approve the length).  Nope - turns out it's lice again.  This is the THIRD TIME since Christmas.  There are clearly 1 or 2 parents in 2nd grade who aren't fully treating the problem, as I know of 2 other families that have had multiple outbreaks as well.  Grrrrrrr.  Yet another reason I am soooooo looking forward to summer vacation!
Onto happier things.... the second graders had a really cute musical performance last week.  It had a fish/ocean theme, and I've almost gotten "Down by the Bay" out of my head (of course, just by typing that, I'll probably be singing it the rest of the day).  Here's one part of the performance: A is in the light blue group (look for the long shirt) They're singing "I's the B'y"

A and her BFF after the performance:

This same friend just had her birthday this weekend, and we celebrated with her at Bass Pro Shop.  They have a bowling alley ("The Fish Bowl") that is all underwater-themed and it was super fun.  Hubby and I had a good laugh, though, as we looked at all the attendees and realized we were the only white family - we're really good friends with the Mom, and asked her if we were the token white people. She laughed.... and then as we were doing the cake later, there was actually a "white" sticker on the cake board which she gave D as a label.  Yes, we laughed entirely too hard at that.

And finally: a gerbil update!  Spike and Rocky were acting a little odd this weekend, so hubby and I decided to go ahead and clean the cage on Saturday afternoon "just in case."  This morning, I discovered that Rocky had made herself a nursery in the wheel (drug a whole lot of bedding material up the tube - gerbils take the term "nesting" to a whole new level!), and I told hubby that there'd probably be some babies waiting for him after work (his response: "Well, as long as they're not yours we'll be fine."  Niiiiiice :)  I took the kids to school, then came back home and found that yes, the babies are here!  Mama hasn't left them alone much (gerbils are actually very attentive parents, unlike hamsters that often eat their offspring) but there are at least 5 in there, if not 6.  The kids are going to have quite a surprise when they get home from school today!