Wednesday, April 29, 2015

First Vet Visit

Luna is a riot.  Like most puppies, she is a complete goofball, clumsy and enthusiastic.  The kids think her little manic-puppy episodes are hysterical, and thankfully, she's only dashed head first into the sliding glass door once.  They don't really care for how often she pees in the house, despite walking her all.the.time (Lachlann texted my dad and told him that he walks Luna 50 times a day).

Just look at how little she is, though!  This is our coffee table she's sitting under, which isn't any higher than other coffee tables.  She's just minuscule.  Fiona is especially entranced with her.  When Luna is napping, Fiona will just lie down next to her and stare at her, occasionally looking up at me and whispering, "When will she wake up?"  Like all animals everywhere, Luna adores Lachlann.  I don't know what it is about Lach, but Luna just loves to climb all over him and lick him like crazy.  

This is how Luna sleeps.  Look at that puppy belly!  She always chooses to snuggle up to a stuffed animal (provided a human is not available).  Speaking of bellies, I called and pushed up her first vet visit because her belly was pretty distended, while she's practically skin-and-bones elsewhere.  She's also fond of rubbing her butt on the grass, so I suspected worms.

The vet was super nice, as always.  We'd just brought each of the cats in for their vaccines, in three separate visits.  We were a little reluctant to go back to the vet where we'd brought Maddy to be put to sleep, worried that it would be too emotional.  But it's the closest vet, and more importantly, everyone there was just incredibly sweet and supportive when we brought Maddy in.  Sure enough, I got choked up a few times during the first visit, and cried on the way home, but I've been okay since.  Our vet really loves cats, it was pretty sweet to see.  He especially likes black cats, and thus spent several extra minutes playing with Indy.  He was complimentary on the health of our kitties, and was positively impressed with their size.  I wasn't aware that our cats are bigger than average, but he said his three cats are all about 8 pounds, and ours are all around 16 pounds.  He didn't say they were fat, he seemed to think it's all muscle (as he put it, "My cats wouldn't stand a chance against yours!").

Anyway, back to Luna.  He checked her out and agreed that her belly looked wormy.  However, the test came back negative, so he decided to do a quick scan, free of charge, just to make sure it wasn't fluid in her belly.  When he came back, he said it was 'all stomach' and nothing to worry about, that she'd grow out of it - or into it?  I dunno.  But he gave us de-worming medication to be on the safe side, especially now that she's not one of fourteen puppies, eating each other's poop.  Ick.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Welcome, Luna!

Ever since we had to put Maddy to sleep in December, we've talked about getting a puppy.  At first, it was, "We'll definitely get a puppy, but in a few months, after we've had time to heal."  Then it was, "Ostara would be a good time to get a puppy."  Then the grown-up and kid voices diverged a bit.  The grown-ups started saying things like, "Well, maybe April would be better than March.." and the kids were more like, "But Daddy, I'll just die if I don't get a puppy.."

So there was a little bit of tension for a few weeks, but finally we started looking more seriously at shelters and Petfinder.  We saw that one of the rescue groups that we liked had a litter of fourteen lab/pointer/boxer puppies, so we made plans to head out to see them on Sunday.

The rescue group has a storefront in a run-down mall about a half hour away.  They're only there on the weekends, from noon to maybe 5pm.  We got there a few minutes before noon, but the group was a no-show until almost 1pm.  It was torture sitting there waiting, but boy, did our patience pay off.  They started carrying the puppies in a few at a time, and they were so tiny and adorable.  After they got settled, we spent a while watching the puppies play with each other to get an idea of their temperament.  After narrowing it down to a few choices, we started taking them out one at a time and doing 'puppy tests.'

There were several other families in there checking out the puppies, and a few of them were clearly intrigued by what we were doing, and started trying it on the puppies they had out.  It was kind of funny, because they clearly didn't know what they were looking for.  Monkey see, monkey do.

So we finally narrowed it down to a boy and a girl, then after some more snuggling with the girl, we decided to go with her.  We were a little worried about the application process, mainly because our property management office is closed on the weekends, and we didn't know if the rescue would need to call them.  I was also keeping in close contact with my sister (our reference), to make sure she'd answer the phone if they called.  Well, I filled out the application, the rescue person looked it over briefly, asked if the kids knew how to be gentle with puppies, and then took our payment.  It was the least strenuous adoption process I've ever been through.

Before we knew it, we were in the car with our new puppy!  We headed over to Petsmart to pick up a few things:  dog food, some bones and toys, a collar, etc.  I can't get over how tiny she is (6 lbs!), we had to get an extra-small collar and make it as small as we could.  We hadn't had a chance to order a big crate from Amazon, so I'd been worried about where she'd sleep for the first few nights.. but she easily fits in the cat carrier, so we can put off purchasing a big crate for a little bit.

We started tossing around names on the way home.  Niall liked Iron Man and Trainette.  Fiona liked Elsa and Cutie.  The rest of us liked Mabel, Daisy, Daffodil, Luna, Lilo, Minnie, and a few others I'm probably forgetting.  Finally by bedtime, we had it narrowed down to Mabel, Daisy, and Luna.  We couldn't choose, so we wrote the names on paper, crumpled them up, and tossed them to her, to see which one she'd pick.  She started chewing on Luna, so Luna she is!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Where Did Two Months Go?

I can't believe it's been two months since I posted last.  Bad, blogger, bad!  To be fair, the last month (literally, it's been four full weeks), I've been knocked out with the flu and then a lingering, really unpleasant head cold.  It's all I can do in the evenings to zone out in front of the TV, with my cough drops and Kleenex on my lap.  I've also made some other big changes - I decided working at Downtown Disney is just not for me (mainly the hassle of the construction/commute and the torture of standing still for six hours) - so I managed to get another job, and for the last three weeks, I've been working two jobs (yes, while sick - maybe the reason I haven't been able to kick this cold?)  Five day work week, can you imagine?

So, I'll try to go back and recap the last two months, with a few photo highlights.

The biggest event was my parents' visit.  They were here for ten days and we had a fantastic time.  We did a little bit of everything, from ice creams at the Twistee Treat... a visit to Palatlakaha Park, complete with lots of photography... mini-golf at Fantasia Gardens (a much better experience than the last time we went)... a fun dinner at Friday's, where I caved and allowed myself to be photographed...

and even to a trip to the Polynesian Village Resort for dinner, then a boat ride to the Grand Floridian Dock to watch Wishes, then a monorail ride back to the Poly.

We also took my dad to Animal Kingdom Lodge to photograph some of the animals (Mom wasn't feeling well, so she stayed home).  Fiona brought a notepad so she could draw the animals.

We stopped at the Mara for snacks and silly selfies.  Most everyone opted for the peanut butter brownie...

But I went for the Zebra Domes.  Mmmm.. so, so yummy.

After my parents left, we went to the Magic Kingdom to cheer ourselves up.  This was our first trip to MK with just one adult, and I goofed.  I got us Fast Passes for the Barnstormer, among other things.  When we got there and started scanning our Magic Bands, the Cast Member asked if we had another adult to ride with the littles.  The cars only hold two people, and both Fiona and Niall are too young to ride by themselves.  I realized right away that I had screwed up and waved Colwyn and Lachlann through, telling them I'd meet them by the splash pad (the kids had worn swimsuits to try it for the first time).  Fiona and Niall were super good about it, didn't whine or fuss or anything, but their faces fell and they just looked so sad.  The CM felt bad and asked if someone was joining us later or something, and I said no, that it was my mistake, not a big deal, we'd go do something else.  Well, she told us to hold on a minute, then gave us one of these babies.

With this magical yellow slip of paper, we would get to ride any one ride as a Fast Pass, for all five of us.  She was also quick to point out that this would work at the Mine Train (which is very difficult to get Fast Passes for), and that they would let Fiona and Niall ride next to each other, with me right behind them (it has a similar set-up to the Barnstormer, but for some reason they'll allow that on the Mine Train).  So we got to ride the Mine Train!  Oh my god, the boys were so excited.  Fiona was nervous because she had never ridden it before, and Niall balked at the last minute because he wanted to ride with me, but we managed and everyone had a good time!  Oh, and the splash pad was pretty fun, too.. we'll definitely have to do that again.

The next day we went to Epcot.  Ho hum, right?  Well, we also got to meet up with some of our very best friends from Beverly there!  We did a few things on our own (Test Track, where Lachlann lost his phone for a short time), Ellen's Energy (which we'd never done before, and which freaked Niall out.. guess he won't be riding Dinosaur any time soon!), and Spaceship Earth.  We met up with them in Sunshine Seasons so we could have lunch.  We let Colwyn, Lachlann, and their friend Jack ride Journey into Imagination by themselves while the littles and I hung out in the gift shop, and while our friends took their littles to World Showcase to try an Agent P mission.  We spent a few minutes at the playground, then checked out the butterfly house, then met up with our friends at Club Cool.

We were all hot and tired by then, so we drove back to their resort, Port Orleans, to go swimming.  I know, I know.. resort guests only and all that.. but it was pretty quiet and nobody minded that we were there.  The boys had an amazing time swimming with their friends.

Fiona and Niall swam a bit, too, but then Niall got tired and actually fell asleep on a lounge chair for a good long while.  When he woke up, he and Fiona just watched videos on my phone.. they were too tired to go swimming again.

It was so wonderful to see our friends, and such a bummer to have to go back home!  But we'll be heading north in August, we hope, so we'll get to see all our old friends then.

In other news, this is Whitman:

No, he's not ours.  He's one of the dogs we pet sit.  I found this awesome site that connects pet owners with dog sitters, and even includes insurance for each booking.  We've watched a bunch of dogs so far, and had a couple of repeat clients.  It's such an easy way to earn money, and it's lovely having a dog around again.. even if just for a short while.  We are planning on getting another dog soon.. probably after finishing our next pet-sitting gig.

So.. this new job that I'm doing.  It's a night chaperone job for student groups.  Basically, I show up to a hotel around 11-11:30, introduce myself to the tour group, and wait for their chaperones to get all the kids in their rooms for the night and make sure everyone is where they're supposed to be.  Then they go to sleep, and I make sure the kids stay in their rooms.  I get to position a chair where I can see as many of the rooms as possible, and read or play on my phone (or however else I want to entertain myself), and make rounds as often as necessary.  Sometimes, if I'm watching multiple floors that I can't see, I do rounds every 15 minutes.  Sometimes, if I'm just watching a small number of rooms that I can see easily from my chair, I just walk around once an hour or so.  Around 5-5:30, I go home and go to bed.

It's really not a bad job.  It pays better than Downtown Disney, I get to sit and do pretty much whatever I feel like.  I can have snacks/drinks, and I can use the bathroom when I need to.  I'm a night owl anyway, so it hasn't been difficult to stay awake.  The kids are old enough that they'll let me sleep until 11am or so, maybe later, with minimal interruptions.  I told Colwyn and Lachlann that I'll pay them $1 each for every hour I get to sleep without getting woken up.  I can pick and choose whatever days I want, so I've been doing 2-3 days per week.  We'll see if I like it over the longterm, but so far, I like it a hell of a lot more than Downtown Disney.

And last but not least, today the boys started free homeschool classes at the Microsoft Store at the Florida Mall.  They opted for the Minecraft session first, mainly to see if they like the set-up.  Hopefully they'll do one of the coding ones next.

The littles and I explored the mall.  I am not a mall person by any means, but we had a good time.  The highlight for Fiona was definitely finding the American Girl Doll store.  She was in heaven!  Even as we were just entering the store, two women coming out said, about Fiona, "Now that little girl is excited!"  We also checked out the Disney Store, Gamestop, Claire's, a toy store, and Children's Place.

The class was from 11am-1pm, so despite giving the kids granola bars on the way there, the littles got hungry.  I'd told the kids that we'd get fast food after class (a rare treat), so I figured we might as well go crazy and split an ice cream at noon.  Fiona and Niall were very impressed.

We also found a little play area that the littles really liked.  I think next week we'll spend more time there, and less time browsing shops.  We're also going to have to reassess lunch, because stopping at three different fast food places on the way home was ridiculous.  Packed lunch it is!