Wednesday, September 26, 2012

hamster tragedy: the sequel

The mama hamster did great with her babies for the first two days.  At the end of day two, the kids walked in from school and peeked over the cage just in time to see her gobbling up one of the babies.  We had done our research.  We knew not to touch them, not bother them, to make sure she had plenty of food and water.  We knew that sometimes the mama will "take out" a few of the babies if she thinks she cannot care for them all, so I thought maybe that was the case.  I tried to get the kids to walk away, but they couldn't.  We then watched as she got rid of another one.  The kids got upset.  Bev told me that I had to stop it.  Jessi said that maybe the mama was confused and though they were treats.  Then Christian said, "Mom, stop her...she's on a rampage."  I opened the cage and pushed the mama away from the babies with a stick.  She kept going after them.  After a bit, I let her go back with them just to see her go after another one.  So, I just grabbed her and took her out of the cage.  Bev held her and through her tears said, "Ash, why are you doing this?  Stop eating your babies."

After a few minutes I put her back in the cage and she didn't stop.  I knew by intervening that our chances wouldn't be good, but I decided that they were better with us than with her.  I googled what to do and learned that I needed come kitten formula.

We then fed them with a tiny dropper, every hour.  We kept them on a heating pad and Bev made them a little nest.

We started with 8 babies.  6 survived the first night.  The next day, I could tell they weren't doing well. Google told me that the #1 danger is that they aspirate the formula and get it in their lungs.  We tried to give them tiny drops, but I could tell that was happening.  Mike got home from work and walked in to the kitchen to find me trying to burp them after I fed them.  The second day the rest died and we were left with one.

There was much discussion about which person should have the baby hamster because he wasn't safe with either of his parents.  Andrew argued that it should be him.  Bev and Kiki agreed and she wrote up this contract. (The medical bills refer to the $8 I spent on the kitten formula.)

We pinned all our hopes on the little guy, but the next day he died.

So, what have we learned from this tragedy?  That I never want baby hamsters again.  That as much as they may be in love, Chris and Ash must live separate lives.  (When I told everyone that I wanted them to stay in their own cages, Drew said that we should rename them Romeo and Juliet "star-crossed lovers that must remain apart.")

Just yesterday, Christian, out of the blue, said, "Mom, having pets is important, cause it teaches you important stuff for life, like how to take care of things and feed them, and how to bury them."  Indeed, many life lessons were learned.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

it's where the fun is...

Mike and I took Andrew and Bev to Lagoon eleven years ago--he was two and she was a few months old.  We have intended to take them, but it just never worked out.  A few months ago, Mike looked at our Saturday schedules and decided that today was going to be the day.  When the kids' games ended at 10:30, we got them showered and headed out.  Immediately, Christian and Jessi partnered up.  He gave her piggy-backs and held her hand as they walked from ride to ride.  Andrew and Bev took off for some big kid rides while I the little kids did some of the kiddy rides.

Right off the bat, Andrew started counting the number of people in line to see if we would make it in the next group.  I mentioned to Mike that he was definitely his progeny.  Mike then said that he had just been counting the people himself.

I had a little incident while on the Air Race.  I was holding a few items--my phone and Bev's glasses in my "bra purse."  I didn't even think about the role gravity plays in that.  The ride starts spinning us upside down and I had to use one hand to hold in the contents.

Then we hit the roller coasters and I was all in.  After about the fourth one, I was not feeling so well.  I then sat a few out.  We did some calmer rides and then it was back to the roller coasters.  At one point, Andrew felt "pukey."  We took a break for dinner and watched a show, then we were all ready for the big rides again.  During the ride on the old roller coaster, all I could think was, "pain...lots of pain."  I did not remember the rides being so jolting.

Whenever I was on a scary ride with Jessica, I couldn't scream because I was laughing too hard.  She has the funniest scared scream.  Whenever the kids screamed, we could tell they were ours--Bev and Christian have about the same high-pitched scream.

At about 8 p.m. we headed over to the log ride and Rattlesnake Rapids.  The kids and Mike all got soaked--just in time for the sun to go down.

They were so grateful and excited, you would have thought we had taken them to Disneyland.  Mike and I were grateful for such a great day with our kids.  Grateful, and sore.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

labor and maternity ward...again

After the great hamster disaster in July, Bev and Christian got Ash and Chris.  We hoped they would get along, but not too well, if you know what I mean.

Well, a few weeks ago, we noticed them "getting along" several times.  At first I wanted to separate them, then we decided to just let nature take it's course.  These last few weeks Ash has been visibly great with hamster children.

This is after their water had run out.  When we filled it up, they drank together.  I have to say that it is pretty cute to see them snuggled up together, sleeping.

Well, we did a little reading and found out that we needed to separate Chris from the whole labor and delivery, as he might eat the babies.  We also discovered that Ash might eat her babies.  Yikes.  So, Mike and I got another cage and set up the man cave for Chris.

Monday, as we were getting ready for school, Mike noticed that she was having the babies.  We were careful not to disturb them.  We saw Ash with two and it looked like she was cleaning them up/biting them.  They were either stillborn, or bitten to death.  I about opened up the cage and rescued them.  Then I read on my phone that in order for a human to care for hamster pups, they have to be fed by dropper every hour, round the clock.  We just decided to watch and wait.  After a few minutes, Ash moved and we saw eight living babies.

Google told me that sometimes when she has too many babies, the mama hamster will get rid of a few, knowing that she can't take care of them all.  She left the nest to get water and I snapped this picture.  Every few hours, we take her water bottle up to the nest to give her a drink.  We gave her more bedding, and we have given her lots of food.

I don't know how it will end, but it has been an adventure so far.  I told Mike last night that Google also says that after a few weeks we have to separate the pups.  He announced that he was drawing the line at two hamster cages in the house.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

15 years and counting...

We hit the fifteen-year mark today, and man do I feel old.  Old, and grateful.  Grateful that I chose to marry him.  Grateful for 15 good years.  (There were some pretty great ones in there too.)  

Grateful for the four kids he gave me.

Grateful for his hard work.

Grateful for his sense of humor.

Grateful for his family and for his loving mine.

Grateful that he supports me in everything I do.  (And encourages me to simplify my life.)

Grateful for his being a great dad.

Grateful for his commitment to me and his kids.

Grateful for the fun and work and experiences we have together.

Grateful that we balance each other out.

Grateful that we make a great team.

Grateful that he makes me laugh every day.