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We're not the only ones nesting!

This morning, we heard a commotion coming from the laundry room. This is not unusual, since Cookie often attacks the rug there. But when we went to look, we found Cookie transfixed, staring at the dryer from which emanated the sounds of a trapped bird.  So, we went about setting up an escape route for the bird which was surely in peril: we duct-taped a rug over the window to hide the light, opened the garage door, and closed off the laundry room. It was silent when at last we opened the dryer. We steeled our nerves against what we would find - a pile of feathers, or something worse? But it was empty.

We went back to making breakfast. Not long after, we heard it in the dryer again. We checked to see if the bird had gotten stuck, but, looking out the window, we saw that it was freely coming in and out - it was building a nest! We guess it's not a bad location - certainly protected from the elements, a bit unique, occasionally warm, and offering a little lint for extra nest-lining. But we really can't risk the bird knocking out our ventilation duct.  So, we duct-taped over the vent until we can get a wire grate for it. Add the dryer to the list of appliances we can't use (the dishwasher is back on the list due to an electrical failure after our reinstallation)!


Why is Cookie so embarrassed?

Cookiehidingbig.jpgCookie is a trick cat - mostly in the mornings.  When the heat comes on around 6am you can hear her squeeze in through the bathroom door, then shut it behind her to keep warm.  She then waits for us there  so that she can bask in the heat of the hair dryer (if we don't share she yells until we do).  When Cortney is brushing her hair, Cookie paces the counter, arching her back until she is rewarded with her own brush strokes.  She waits until we are gone to roll in the water on the bottom of the tub, then paws the linen closet open so that she can dry herself on the towels. 

But this morning she took things a bit far.  After her preening ritual it would seem that she decided to dress herself also, and made her way into the top drawer of Jon's dresser.  When Jon went to shut the drawer, he heard...a cat.  We couldn't see her, so we opened the next drawer down, which was accompanied by a quiet "thud," as she fell down one more level.  We repeated this with each of the remaining three drawers until she was safely on the bottom, then removed the final drawer, revealing a sheepish blond kitty.  That is why she is embarrassed this morning.


A quiet weekend.

Spring is beginning to return to our barren winter land.  Cortney got outside for a walk with friends Leah and Kristin last week and had such a good time that we went out together both days this weekend - even the dogs got in on the action, going out for their first walk of the new year.  But before the warmth of the weekend, we ventured into the chill of Friday night with friends Andrew and Erin for a stab at Thai food, which is somewhat new to us, and we had a great time.  Who knew curry came in three colors?  We've only ever had yellow curry, but on Friday Cortney tried red curry, and green is also an option.  What they didn't have was burnt umber...oh well.  The rest of our weekend was quiet, filled with cat sitting, lunch with Cortney's mom, potluck dinner at church, lunch with our confirmands, and a quiet Sunday night at home.  One would think we were getting chores done, but we gave those up for Lent.


Bear and Peacock are friends!

I know we surprised all of you with Pudu and Capybara are friends last summer (who thought the world's smallest deer would hang out with the world's largest rodent happily?), but isn't it just as surprising that bear and peacock can hang out together?  bearpeacock.jpgGranted that most brown bears aren't really avid carnivores, but isn't that what we come to believe from childhood on?  Not Raspberry!  This weekend was his first trip to the zoo - Detroit, of course - and he got to witness a large population of peacocks taking refuge from the biting wind in the Grizzly Bear enclosure, complete with two bears.  Maybe there really is safety in numbers - ten peacocks, two grizzlies?

It was really fun to see all of our zoo friends again, cold weather and all.  In fact, the cold weather meant that we got to see some things we never did during the heat of summer.  zoofeb06.jpgThe arctic fox was busy and in white for the season, and there were actually four!  All summer we thought there was just one lazy guy, but today they were all up shuffling around!  We could see the tiger's breath - that's a lot of breath!  And the wolverines were all sprawled out on their backs in little sun holes they had dug, enjoying some warmth from the now nearing sun.  Raspberry loved it.  How do we know?  He was tired the rest of the day.  We can't wait to bring him back in July or August!


Weekend whirlwind

How many family members does it take to reorganize a house? In our case, five, as Cortney's parents and Curtis joined us to tackle a broad range of fixes and furniture moves toward getting the house baby-ready. Jon started by installing a new shower head. Next up was the unexpected necessity of fixing the drainage hose for the dishwasher. cribassembly.jpgThis required a major battle with the floor to pull the dishwasher out (and we thought that with this trouble was behind us with the new linoleum!). After that was done, we could get down to the real business of hauling Cortney's office furniture downstairs, and the crib furniture brought in from the cars. Cortney's dad installed classy corner shelves and a key rack in the laundry room, and helped Jon assemble the new nursery furniture. Meanwhile, with the kitchen sink now available post-dishwasher-fix, Cortney's mom taught her how to make the family recipe for hand-made noodles that go into Bot Bie. After dinner, the crowning glory of the day was in hanging a special piece of metallic artwork over the stairs. hangingray.jpgThis was definitely a team effort, but would really not have been possible without Curtis' Spider-Man moves. Affectionately known as "Ray," the artwork was courtesy of Cortney's godmother Lonnie. It was a favorite of Cortney's godfather, Bob, and its reddish-bronze hues are a perfect match for our maroon living room accents. It was a productive weekend. Still on the docket for March: wiring a light in the basement, taking a look at the weak water heater, and painting the nursery. We don't want to give away the nursery decor too early, but we've included a picture of the crib mid-assembly in the empty room and we'll give you this hint--we had to buy two colors of paint! More nursery info coming in three weeks. Thanks, family!