Sunday, February 16, 2014

Building a Bear

Katherine's 2nd birthday party will be a teddy bear picnic birthday.  There will be teddy bears, baskets and gingham everywhere.  We'll have bear-themed food: honeydew melons, gummy bears, Teddy Grahams, beary fruit cups, little smokies, honey barbeque wings and the list goes on.  She's even going to have a teddy bear shaped cake.  In keeping with the theme, I decided to knit her a teddy bear.  I've never knitted a stuffed animal before.  (Well, I made my nephew Aiden a weird monster dude thing a few years ago but it wasn't as involved as a teddy bear.)  I searched patterns on Ravelry and found one that I liked.  There are a lot of ugly teddy bears out there and there are also a lot of teddy bears with strange complicated patterns.  The pattern I settled on was the Diamond Jubilee Bear.  The bear is absolutely adorable.  The bear wears a crown because it was designed for Queen Elizabeth's 60-year celebration.  Initially I decided to not make the crown for Katherine's teddy bear.  Now, however, it will depend on when I get the bear done.  I have made a few adjustments already.  The pattern calls for size 3 knitting needles.  For you non-knitters out there, that is size super tiny.  I started over twice.  The second time I started over I switched to a size 5 needle.  Size 5 needles are still tiny but are a little bit more manageable for me.  I'm almost half-way done with the teddy bear's head.  I need to get moving or, to be more accurate, knitting.  I have two arms, two legs, the body, 4 paw pads and the nose to knit before September 8th.  Right now I knit during my lunch hour but can usually only knit 2 rows due to time constraints and my hands starting to hurt (because of the needle size).  I want to work on the bear in the evenings as well.  Even if I only knit 1 row at a time during stolen moments, it will be better than nothing.  Now I know all of my knitting friends are wondering what brand of yarn and what colors I chose.  I'm happy to share that information.  The pattern did not give a brand of yarn or on second look, it did: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK... whatever that it is.  On the actual pattern, it doesn't list any specific yarn so I choose Caron Simply Soft because it had colors I liked and it was on sale at Michael's.  For the body of the bear the pattern said light brown, so I chose Bone.  Yes, the color is called Bone and no, I didn't know that when I bought it.  It's a very nice tan color.  The paw pads are a darker brown.  The color I chose is Chocolate and looks very similar in color to, you guessed it, chocolate.  I also bought some black yarn for the nose.

Wish me luck during this adventure!  I'll try to post pictures and updates during this process.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Bedtime Stories

           One of my favorite parts of the day is the end.  We all pile onto our bed and we read a chapter of a story out loud.  Sometimes Steve reads, sometimes I read.  This all started before Christmas.  I decided to read A Christmas Carol because I had never read it before.  Figuring it would be a fun Christmas tradition for Katherine to listen to, I read it out loud to her.  She didn't always enjoy it and usually ended up falling asleep.  For my birthday Steve bought me a book that contains all of The Chronicles of Narnia.  I've never read those either, if you can imagine that.  It was Steve's idea to continue reading out loud.  (Previously we would look at board books and read picture books to Katherine.)  We've already finished The Magician's Nephew and have started The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.  It's such a nice relaxing end to the day.  I hope it will foster a love literature in Katherine.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Leela's Dental Saga

Dental health is extremely important... for cats too.  When we adopted Leela, we were aware that she might have a few health issues coming from a shelter.  At her initial vet exam after adopting her, the vet told us she had gingivitis.  The vet explained to Steve that at least one tooth would need to be pulled and this caused her awful cat breath.  (Take regular cat breath and multiply that by at least 10.  That was Leela's breath.)  Steve was told to bring her back in sometime within six months for dental work.  

At Christmas my grandma was generous enough to give us some money.  I decided to use Grandma's money to take care of Leela's gingivitis.  I scheduled her appointment for Thursday January 16th so Steve could drop her off on his day off.  I carefully wrote down the instructions from the vet's office about when to stop her food and water before the procedure; no food after 6 PM the night before, no water after 6 AM the day of.  Getting Leela into the carrier is quite the job.  She hates it more than The Fuzz does.  And who can blame her?  One time when she was put into a carrier, someone took her somewhere and left her there until we adopted her.  I would hate it too.  Somehow Steve managed to shove her into the carrier.  He and Katherine left to take her to the vet at the same time I left for work.  Leela had to be at the vet's office by 8:30 that morning.  The receptionist told us we could call after noon that day to check on Leela.  

When I came home for lunch, I called.  My heart sank when I heard Leela's diagnosis.  She didn't have gingivitis.  She had somatitis, a gum disease in cats.  This disease causes the gums to reject the teeth.  This means the teeth and gum tissue around the teeth rot.  The only cure for somatitis is to pull the rotted teeth.  I was told Leela had 4 teeth left, the canine teeth.  The receptionist explained that the vet industry has done numerous trials and studies and keep coming back to that conclusion.  She also said Leela's quality of life would be improved and she would not hesitate to have the same done for her cat if the cat had somatitis.  My poor little Leela.  The receptionist's words did make me feel better about Leela's surgery but I felt bad for Leela for having to go through it.  Steve called later that afternoon before picking up Leela to see if she was ready to come home.  The vet was not satisfied with how she was coming out of the anesthesia and wanted to keep her overnight.  

The next morning I called to check on her.  I planned to pick her up during my lunch break but wanted to make sure she didn't need constant supervision when she arrived home.  She was doing great and could go home whenever I could get there.  When I arrived at the vet's office, I was pleased to hear she actually has seven teeth left instead of only four.  I chatted with the secretary and vet tech about somatitis and Leela's one eye.  I took Leela home and watered down the dry cat food per the vet's instruction.  We were given antibiotics and pain meds for her.  Have you ever tried to give a cat a pill?  It's about as easy as it sounds.  After trying to give her the third pill on Saturday and having her meow and bat at face as if to say "Why are you being mean to me?", I reached out to Steve's cousin who is a vet for help.  Thankfully she was able to give us some tips including buying some treats called Pill Pockets.  Basically the treat has an opening on the one end for the pill and you pinch it closed around the pill.  They worked like a charm.  Leela wanted another treat after having her first one.  We also gave The Fuzz an empty one so he wouldn't try to eat Leela's.  

Overall Leela's quality of life has improved.  She is much more active than she used to be.  She still plays with her cat toys, biting them and carrying them in her mouth.  I was concerned she wouldn't be able to do that after having her teeth pulled.  I hope this is end of Leela's health struggles and she can enjoy living with us.  She really is a sweet kitty.  After this surgery, we've been told by family and friends Leela is lucky to have us.  I disagree.  We are lucky to have her.  She is a sweet cat who tolerates Katherine's loving smacks and tail pulls.  Because of Leela, Katherine will grow up knowing that just because someone looks different or has a disability does not make them less of a person or scary.  And that, to me, is priceless.