Wednesday, December 21, 2011

True Love

Here is Punky, looking lovingly at his beloved new pets. I do so love the caretaking nature that having pets brings out in a child. Can you tell he's smitten?

Welcome home, Lewis and Clark.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Nine months...

Sweet Pea is nine months old today.

Every month marker is shocking to me, so I'm not sure nine months feels any more shocking than eight or seven or four or two months felt... each month comes with such dizzying speed I just can't quite catch my breath.

But nine months does sound big for my newborn baby girl. ;o) Sure she has a couple of teeth, can crawl and pull up to stand, and is starting to say "Mama." But she's just a very advanced newborn.

How can time go by so crazy fast? How can my baby be nine months, three-quarters of a year old?

How can I be the mother of six children - my oldest rounding towards the decade mark?

But there it is. She is nine months old. He is turning ten. The days do keep whizzing by.

And I just want to savor every second of it and treasure it up in my heart. Because I know that in the blink of an eye it will all be behind me, and nine months will be a lifetime ago and my babies will have their own babies, and I won't be the Mommy any more.

So I am cherishing. I am basking. I am enjoying each day. And it's a good thing... because there is so very much to enjoy each day.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


We have rats in our house.

On purpose. ;o)

I know most people hear the word "rat" and cringe - but really, they do make really great first pets. They are smart, social, playful and affectionate. They are big enough to be fairly sturdy when curious hands get a little too rough, but small enough to not take up too much space or need too much care. They are smart enough to be litter trained and can learn to come to their names and even to do a few little tricks.

So for a few months now Punky has been saving up money to buy a rat plus half the cost of the gear for it. Along the way we discovered that there are rat breeders - and if you really want a good pet you go through a breeder, not a pet store. So we tracked down breeders and got on waiting lists and waited and waited for babies. Then we learned that you should always get at LEAST two rats, because they are so very social that they are not happy to be the only rat. So we began waiting for TWO rat babies. We bought a cage. We tracked down the healthiest foods and the cleanest bedding and litter. We made a rat hammock and got training and care books. We approached the whole rat acquisition like, you know, a homeschooling family. ;o)

The kids picked out the names for the future rat brothers - Lewis and Clark. (A good pair name after studying US History last year) All we needed was an official pair of rats to stick the names to. But all the leads kept falling through. Waiting lists full. Litters having fewer born than expected. That kind of thing. Poor Punky was getting a little anxious...

Until Friday. We sent in an email on a pair of 5 week old baby rats that he got all excited about - only to find out they were spoken for. But the breeder had two "teenage" boys that had been returned to her after their 10 year old boy owner's mom had developed allergies. These boys were sweet, snuggly, and super well cared for, according to the breeder - but no one wanted them because everyone was looking for babies. Punky was bummed to miss out on the babies he had set his heart on and didn't really want to settle for these older rats - though he did feel bad for them that no one wanted them. We had sadness, we had tears. So I sent him off to pray over the situation (God cares about the big things as well as the small things - and though pet rats may be a small thing to us, it feels big to a 9 year old, so it's a big deal to God, too.) and see where God led him. I told Punky that God knew who and where his pets were, and if he prayed over it, he'd be given direction.

Sure enough, he came down feeling real direction and confidence that these were the ones. He actually liked knowing that they had already been socialized and trained, he liked that they were bigger and sturdier for the little ones' curious hands, and that they were owned by a boy his age, too. And he liked that they were ready NOW. ;o)

So we made all the necessary arrangements and this breeder, bless her heart, was willing to drive all the way up here from Oregon. OREGON! She really wanted these guys to have a good home, so she drove 3 1/2 hours so get them to us for only the cost of the rats and gas money. What a blessing! So our whole family got to pick them up and meet them for the first time. We met in a parking lot off the main freeway to save her the winding drive off the I-5 corridor to where we live. The rats were curious and friendly from the word go, and Punky was in love at first sight. And of course the rest of the crew is fascinated and excited, too.

The little guys are tucked snuggly in their new cage tonight, and my biggest boy is dreaming sweet, ratty dreams, no doubt. ;o)

Now of course Finny is pining away for his very own rat, one he can snuggle in his lap for a good read any time he wants without having to share him with all the other eager siblings... Oh goodness. What have we begun?

Pics to come, I'm sure. Tonight was just a little too busy with picking them up and getting them settled and teaching Lellybug not to climb up the cage and all that jazz.

So welcome home, Lewis and Clark. We're glad you're here.