Thursday, January 29, 2015

Meet Otis

If you remember, we got a puppy named Milo last summer.  Well, Milo has a new friend!  Meet our new kitty, Otis.
Otis has quite a story behind him.  We found him a couple months ago while we were taking a walk in our neighborhood, in some bushes behind a grocery store.  He was so friendly, and came right up to us, looking for attention!  But when I picked him up, I realized how absolutely SKINNY he was- just skin and bones!  I knew he must not have a home, and could tell that he would not survive on his own for much longer, so we brought him home.
We didn't necessarily intend to keep him (we have two other cats, in addition to Milo, who is a handful by himself!), but we at least knew we needed to take care of him immediately.  We brought him to a vet, and it turned out that he was disease-free, although he had two kinds of rare parasites, the worst case our vet had ever seen!  He also had a broken rib, which had already healed on its own (poor thing, was probably hit by a car at some point...).
So we decided to treat him, and hold off on deciding whether or not to keep him.
We brought him back home, and let him meet the other animals.  The other cats were pretty stand-offish (nothing new for cats, right?), but Milo absolutely fell in love!!  He could not get enough of this little kitty!  And so, we decided to keep him, and named him Otis.  If you're not familiar with the movie, "Milo & Otis", it's about best cat/dog friends named Milo and Otis!  In the movie, the cat is actually Milo, and the dog is Otis, but oh well!!
These two are absolute best friends, constantly playing and wrestling with each other, but all in a very loving way- it's so fun to watch them together!
However, Otis's story doesn't end there!  About a week before Christmas, we took him back to the vet to make sure the parasites were all gone.  The vet was listening to his lungs and got a very worried look on her face.  She said, "We need to get an X-ray of his lungs ASAP!"  He was x-rayed, and it turns out he had a hernia- his intestines and liver were in his chest, severely impeding his lung function.  Most likely, the hernia had developed as a result of whatever broke his rib at some point, and then had worsened over the couple weeks we had him.  But regardless, it was an emergency situation, and he needed surgery right away.
So here we were, a week before Christmas, with a cat we had found only a couple weeks previous, needing to decide whether to save his life with a $2500 surgery!  Tough decision, but how could we not?  He is such a sweetheart of a cat, and Milo was absolutely in love with him.
And so he got his surgery, and did fantastically.  When he came home, they told us he may be sluggish for a few days, don't let him climb on things, etc.  Holy cow, this cat was the happiest cat alive!  You'd never know he had just had major surgery! There was no stopping him, so after a day, I just let him do what he wanted!
And so that's the story of Otis.  He's doing great now, and growing like crazy- having a digestive system that works properly, and having food on a regular basis sure makes a difference! 
 We are so glad we made the decision to get him the surgery, because he has turned out to be the sweetest cat I've ever owned (and I've owned a LOT of cats in my lifetime!). 
 And as you can see, he is fitting in very well around here!! 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Rich Dollhouse with Yellow Shutters Tour

 Well, it's time for another dollhouse tour!  This one is a sweet Rich Dollhouse that my mother got from an estate sale for me a couple years ago.  It always takes me a while to furnish my houses, to get all the details done, but finally, this one is ready!
I'm going to name this family the Tiny's because they are very small- Dad's only about 4" tall.  They are such an interesting group of dolls- I haven't seen any others like them- I believe they must have been handmade.  The heads are handpainted clay, and the bodies seem to be painted tape wrapped around wire.  And they've got adorable handmade clothes!
But anyway, enough talk about how they are made, let's meet them, shall we?  In our family, we have Father Tiny, Mother Tiny, Big Sister Tiny, Little Brother Tiny, as well as their Housekeeper/Nanny.  Hmmm, I just noticed how Father Tiny's hand is reaching quite close to Housekeeper/Nanny's hand- I wonder if perhaps there's more to the story than I realized...!
 We'll begin in the kitchen.  Father and Mother are sitting down to have some sweets at the table.
 The children are due home any minute, and the grown-ups would like to have a little peace and quiet before they come through the door!
 Mother Tiny would like to point out her beautiful Dol-Toi appliances and the kitchen-themed decals she applied to the walls herself.
 Aaah! The children are home.  And just as Mother and Father have set down for their tea!
 Little Brother is already climbing on the couch, and Big Sister is pestering Mother.  "Housekeeper/Nanny!  Please take these children upstairs so we may have our tea in peace!"  The Tiny's won't be winning any Parent of the Year awards, I'm afraid!
 Finally, some quiet to finish their tea.  Father remarks that he likes Mother's new decorating scheme of mis-matched fabrics on all the furniture and curtains.  "It's quite....eclectic...., isn't it?" he says.
 Upstairs, the children are going wild in the bedroom- riding bikes and running around!
 They're even jumping on Mother and Father's bed!
 Housekeeper/Nanny directs them to sit on their beds nicely so that we can view the room in peace!  As you can see, the children don't have a separate room from their parents, so they all must share.  Perhaps that's why Mother and Father are so quick to dismiss the children- they have to put up with them all night long!
 Finally, onto the bathroom.  Housekeeper/Nanny decides that the children can have their bath.  
 She'd like to point out that she was not consulted about the very PINK bathroom- that was Mother's decision, obviously.  Frankly, both Housekeeper/Nanny and Father think the room reminds them of Pepto-Bismol!
"Let me help you take off your shoes, Little Brother, so that we can get you in the bath!" 
And now let's give the children some privacy as they get cleaned up!  We can take one last look at each of the rooms...
 The "decals" are really just printouts from the computer that I taped up to the wall, but I love the vintage, homemade vibe it gives the kitchen!
I think this may be the only house I've done without a fireplace!  But the piano takes its place rather nicely, I think.  And although Mr. Tiny may have been a little sarcastic with his comments about the mismatched fabrics, I actually quite like the "eclectic" look!
 This adorable handmade bed came with the two handmade dressers.  Such a cute little set made by some mother and father years ago!
This is the first bathroom set I have with a shower!  I'm not sure whether it was original to the tub, or added by the former owner, but I love it!
And so we bid the Tiny's farewell!  We hope you've enjoyed the tour of their home as much as they enjoyed having you!  (Between you and me, I think Mrs. Tiny may need to keep an eye on her husband and Housekeeper/Nanny from now on though!!)

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Christmas Leftovers & What I've Done the Last Month

Well, guys, sorry I've been absent for close to a month!!  You know how it is when the kids are home from school- there's no time for anything!  I know that by now, we're all pretty much done with Christmas, but I thought I'd sneak in just a few more pics to show you what we've been up to since I last blogged.
 I was able to convince Avery to go see Santa, although the boys would have nothing to do with him!
 I made a couple more Advent Trees for my sisters for Christmas.  The  adorable ornaments were from Hobby Lobby.
Our Elf on the Shelf, Silly Pinnochio, found some fun places to hide every night- in the drawer of this doll dresser was my favorite!
 And, of course, the kids got some fun presents for Christmas- Lincoln Logs for Riley,...
 ...a Nerf gun for Noah,...
...and a Journey Girl doll (Toys R Us version of an American Girl) for Avery.  I've lamented here about Avery's lack of interest in dolls, so when she expressed interest in American Girl dolls, I was ready to oblige!  She was fascinated with finding a doll that looks "just like her", and wearing matching clothes.
So I went all out with it!  I replaced the doll's original name and description on the package with this one I wrote up about Avery.  And she totally believed it-she was amazed that there was a doll that was exactly like her!
The doll came with glasses, so she went and found my glasses to put on- ha!
 And of course I also got several matching outfits for Avery and Avery Jr. (what she decided to name her).  It makes my doll-loving heart smile!

I got several homemade presents from the kids, which always makes me happy!
 Another BIG project I worked on last month was creating Moortgatopoly.  My kids, Riley especially, love to play Monopoly, so I thought it would be fun to create a personalized one.  Well, I didn't know what I was in for when I started, because it ended up taking hours upon hours to do it.  But in the end, it turned out great- all the properties are personalized, as well as all the Chance cards, etc.  I hope it will become a great memory for the kids, sitting around playing it!
 Ah, and finally, moving past Christmas...  Avery learned to ride her bike last month!  She's so excited!
 We've spent lots of time outside, because the weather's been so nice.  We went on a hike and ended up by this pier.  All those birds back behind the kids are pelicans!
 Also some time at the beach...
 Don't let these kids fool you though.  While they're running around in the water in shorts and bathing suits, I was dry up on the sand, feeling chilly, because it was only like 65 degrees with the wind blowing!
I don't know how kids can do that!
 But they were as happy as can be, despite being soaked and cold!
And our last bit of news is that Avery lost her first tooth a couple days ago!  Unfortunately, she didn't even realize she had lost it- we think it came out while she was eating pizza, but we couldn't ever find it!  It makes me sad, because I've kept all the teeth my kids have lost, and those first ones are extra-special! 
Well, I hope everyone is having a great new year!  I'm working on another dollhouse tour, so that should be up within a few days!  See ya then!