Friday, July 19, 2013

Because We Weren't Crazy Enough Already

Sometimes we lead a crazy, hectic life despite homeschooling.  I can't pretend it would be any better if Amber was in a traditional school, since we've done that already.  Still, you'd think we might want to minimize the craziness.  Apparently, you'd think wrong.

Moving into middle school subjects should warrant, perhaps, a slow down outside of school.  In all fairness, Amber is taking fewer dance classes this fall, even if her remaining classes are tougher. Although, she still wants to add flute to her activities, but we have not yet set that up. She also wants more time for practical arts lessons with Grandma.  I think she just means playing at Grandma's house without Mom.

Half-birthday shopping & lunch with Grandma, then goofing off at home with Pet University stuffed animals.

Amber did also give up all scouting for the next school year.  But... this summer she is finishing up her Girl Scout Bronze Award.  Back in late Winter, Amber left her Girl Scout troop to become a Juliette, which is basically a girl who wants to be in Girl Scouts but can't find a troop that meets her needs or schedule.  This all means that I am, essentially, Amber's GS leader allowing me to make all the GS project decisions and approve the awards. We decided that our normal family service for the Spring and Summer would be completed at a single organization so Amber could earn the Bronze Award. 

Amber choose Heartland Humane Society, which is where we adopted our beloved Biscotti two summers ago.  Amber has baked for their bake sale fundraisers (with one more to go), and worked to earn money to purchase items from Heartland's "wish list".  Heartland utilizes volunteer fosters for their animals, and we can't thank them enough for the wonderful care and training our Biscotti received.

Recently, Heartland had been putting out on Facebook that they were sorely in need of donations.  While Amber was not finished earning her shopping funds, we decided to use what was already available.  I made a deal with Amber that I would match whatever she earned, so in total we had roughly $90 to spend.

Biscotti, my "little dude".
This past Saturday, all three of us went shopping for donations at the pet store where I had unused reward dollars to add to our funds.  Then, to drop off the donations, we trekked over to the other pet store (Petsmart) that Heartland uses as their adoption base.  Fred and I were firm, no kitties would be coming home just because there would be tons of cute, adorable cats and kittens needing forever homes.  That is how we got Biscotti.  A simple, last minute, while we are out shopping detour to pet the kitties turned into a cat at home.

All went well, we dropped off the donations and Amber had her picture taken with the supplies for Heartland to use in their PR stuff.  Except, I recognized the kitty Amber was holding for the picture.  I had seen the kitty the night before on Facebook with her siblings as a newly available kittens. She was so adorable and the best looking one of the litter.  I purposefully did not let Amber see that Facebook picture.

Amber with her donations (there are bags of food hiding in the litter box)
The adorable Angora kittens from Facebook, dubbed "bowl full of furries" by their foster mom.  Amber is holding one of these in the picture.

Can you guess what happened?  Fred has soft spot for kitties, and can rarely tell his only little girl no (especially after she has been so sick, and is now again).  I held out for as long as possible.  But honestly, Biscotti needs a buddy that is not me.  I can't entertain that cat all day, and it seems he bonded to me since I was the only person home all the time shortly after we adopted him.  Biscotti loves Amber and is a good guard kitty when she is sick, but he trails along behind me.  Ever try to mop a floor with a kitty-shadow?

Introducing, Rosetta.  Amber's new kitty.  She is a calico Angora, and the runt of her litter.  She is so extremely small that I think Biscotti might squash her without even noticing.  She's actually smaller than Biscotti's water bowl and is already 15 weeks old.

Rosetta, the tiny kitty.  A sweet little calico Angora.  Nicknamed "little scrapper".

Biscotti was not happy with the interloper, even going so far as to hiss and growl.  We've not heard him growl before, and he has only hissed twice.  At least he wasn't aggressive.  Slowly, utilizing the meet-and-greet through a cracked door method, he stopped hissing, became curious, played through the cracked door, and even has done well with a couple of supervised meetings. At each meeting, one of them ends up afraid and we have to end the play time.

Biscotti did get a new cat tree / condo thing out of the deal. The old one, which is not designed for the size cat he turned out to be, is still in the guest bedroom.  I gave in and let him have one in my bedroom, since that is his favorite hangout spot.  The bedroom is quite spacious and somewhat empty even with the new king bed and large (mostly antique) furniture.  What decor isn't enhanced by a carpet covered cat tree?  Maybe now Biscotti will quit walking across my new bed putting paw dents in my new bedspread.

We also installed a few pheromone diffusers on the vet's recommendation.  Biscotti has always been such a nervous little dude and he needed some help even without the new kitty stressing him.

Biscotti on his new cat tree.  King of the back corner window that nobody used.
Biscotti and Rosetta pawing at each other through the door.  She was playing and he was confused.  I'm not sure he realizes that he is a cat like her (but bigger).
Biscotti watching Rosetta's door, in case she comes back.  He watches the birds like this.  I'm slightly concerned.

Yet another unexpected detail popped up.  Rosetta was a bottle fed kitten that was accustomed to being in a bedroom with her three other siblings at the foster home.  She's terribly lonely when she doesn't have a human.  We can't let her out in the main part of the house quite yet because of Biscotti.  It will be months, due to her size, before she can be left out while we sleep or are away from home.  Right now someone has to hang out with her in the guest bedroom (er.. cat room) much of the day.  Then, she cries at night when we are trying to sleep.  Fred actually slept in there two nights because Rosetta was so upset.

So... Introducing Milori.  Amber's other new kitty and Rosetta's brother who we adopted 4 days after Rosetta.  10 points for you if you know where Amber got the new kitties' names.  Milori is also an Angora cat, but gray / white instead of calico like his sister.  He's, thankfully, a bit bigger than Rosetta.

Milori, the brother.  He's a beautiful Angora and shy compared to our other kitties.  Nickname pending.

We are hoping the two new kitties will entertain each other during their young phase at the times they are alone in the "cat room", but also play with Biscotti too.  Biscotti is a nervous cat that's very set in his ways and really enjoys human interaction.  It's not clear that he understands that he is a cat like the newcomers. Biscotti is also very, very large (did I mention that he's a Maine Coon mix), and already up to 19 pounds at age 2 years, 3 months.  He can continue to grow until somewhere between age 3 & 4. 

Now, because we weren't crazy enough around here, we have added two new kittens. I'm sure our neighbors think we are quite wacko.  We are the odd people who only mow their yard once a week, who do not spend every sunny day maintaining their requisite botanical garden (aka landscaping), and do not have a dog (or three) that we walk around the street every evening.  Then, we became the only homeschoolers in the subdivision, and now we are the crazy cat people too.

That's okay.  We're happy, homeschooling, cat people.

Beginning biology notes while hanging out with kitties.  Amber loves using the guest room since we moved the queen bed in there.

In actual school related news, Amber kept up with Latin and Biology.  She also had blood tests run, attended dance classes, and did her best to care for one and then two new kitties.  She felt crummy off and on during the week, had dairy products removed from her diet again, and is learning to just deal with feeling yucky.  Last Friday the GI doctor said it really looks like Amber may have these symptoms long term, depending on the final diagnosis.  We are still awaiting the blood results and there may be another endoscopy in Amber's future.  Thankfully, it is getting narrowed down, even though it may not be something easily treated.

I was very proud of Amber this week.  She gave up all her free time to spend with the kitties, so that I could be Biscotti's buddy while doing household chores, completing needed projects, and setting up our home for additional cats. On tap for next week is the reorganization of the school area, more basement cleaning, and cat herding.

Happy weekend!

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  1. Hi! Followed over here from A Great Balancing Act. Saw that you live in Missouri. We do too! Just wondering whereabouts.

    1. Far, Far western suburbs of St. Louis, in St. Charles County. Just about where rural meets suburbia :)

  2. How does being a Juliette work for her? Although Cati has LOVED her troop in the past and the girls have been together since K, the leader has been focusing on things - One Direction and dancing for example - that have taken some of the fun away for her. Cati would like more DOING - practical skills, outdoor activities.

    What adorable new kitties! Maine Coons are like dogs! LOL I'm a softie too! I didn't mention on my blog but we returned with a dog, Canadian Toller, last week. My sister works too many hours to properly care for her. She's almost 9 and wouldn't easily find a new home in a shelter.

    I hope Amber's feeling better!

    1. The Juliette is a national program inside the Girl Scouts, but your council will have to guide you on how to get going with it and each council has the own way of implementing it. They used to be called PEGS. Basically, I handle everything, and she can sign up for any girl scout function sponsored by the girl scouts. She can sell cookies, but I would have to do cookie training, etc. And then she is lumped in with the other Juliettes in the area for totals. Or she can work with a troop. Amber became a Juliette after cookie sales this year, and she isn't returning next year, so that worked out for me :)

  3. Wow! Congrats on the new cats :-) I was wondering how Amber was feeling this week. I'm praying for her.

    1. Thanks! We just heard from the GI doctor this afternoon. It looks like Amber has IBS-c (that's with constipation) and gluten intolerance. The treatment is the obvious, no gluten, and a "mild" cleanout for the next month. Then she has to do 3 day clean outs anytime there are symptoms. It could get to the point where she does a clean out for 5 days every month as a preventative.

      Basically, she's stuck this way and just has to manage it as well as possible. I asked what caused this to suddenly start. The dr said, if she knew then she'd be rich. LOL

  4. The kitties are so cute! :-) My husband is not a "pet person" so no pets for us (something I knew before we even got married, so not really a point of contention)...but I love to see other people's cute pets (and hang out with friends who have pets to get some cuddles). :-)

  5. Those kitties are adorable. I was smiling from the beginning because I KNEW where the story was going. But I thought ONE new cat, not TWO :)So sorry that Amber is still having problems. I know that is hard on her and all of you. Can't wait to read more 'cat' stories. :) Not sure about the names. I think Rosetta is a fairy in Disney Fairies?? Happy weekend!

    1. Ding Ding... it is the Disney Fairies. Rosetta is a garden fairy that's basically in all the Tink movies. Milori is named for Lord Milori who is lord of the Winter Fairies in Secret of the Wings. There weren't a lot of boy fairy names to choose from.

  6. Oh, I know my Anna wishes she could come live in your house. She has been wanting a kitten for a long time, but I just don't think our dog would go for it!

    Enjoy your weekend!

  7. wowee, what a week for you! Sounds like some great changes/transitions going on. A new school year always exciting, with a clean slate and new discoveries.
    We have 2 kitties at our house too. They are growing big very quickly, though. First time for house cats and it's been an adventure!

  8. I do so totally understand the cat thing! We love cats over here! A few years ago a stray adopted us. She grew very fast and a couple weeks later had 5 kittens! Sadly, one died and our son took one, but we kept the rest! Unfortunately, after getting them all fixed three of them disappeared. So now we are back to one cat who we are desperately trying not to let get outside.