Tag Archives: zee babies

A Thursday Gratitude List

All last weekend I had been thinking about life was going really well right now. I was just feeling good, feeling driven, feeling happy. Then I took Daphne back to the vet Tuesday and the vet (who was incredibly nice) told me that Daphne probably wasn’t going to get better and that I needed to prepare myself to let her go. She couldn’t tell me how long I had left with my girl but I know I’ve still got some time. *makes choking noise* I am crushed. Daphne is secretly my favorite (don’t tell the others!) and it’s hard knowing what’s coming. *sigh* I got some good advice from a good friend and I am determined to just take things one day at a time and I have decided that I can’t let all the good habits and all the things I’ve been working on fall apart! My girls really helped me feel better mentally (see post here and here about how sucky depression is) and I feel like I owe it them to keep moving forward. (I am definitely anticipating some major snuggle sessions and copious photo taking in the coming weeks though.) To remind myself of all the goods things I do have going on in my life, here is a little gratitude list:
#1) I am grateful we have a vet that I trust. As hard as it is to hear, I feel good knowing that Tij and I have done/are doing everything we can for Daphne and that she’s in good hands.
#2) One of my cousins is in town! She’s so much fun and such a wonderful distraction right now.
#3) I started subscribing to a DIY dinner service and it has done wonders for me in the kitchen. Everything they send me is already perfectly measured and the directions come with pictures (which is so helpful for me). I don’t have to think about what to make for dinner 3 days a week and they send me ingredients and recipes I would never try on my own. And everything has been delicious!
#4) I’ve indulged in a little retail therapy recently.
#5) I attended a Women’s Conference at my church a couple weeks ago and it was lovely. I felt very peaceful and loved – just the feelings I need right now!
#6) Thanks to a little workout group my friend started, I have been exercising pretty consistently. Being outside more and getting my blood (and happy endorphins!) pumping is great. I feel much more prepared to “take on the day” when I’ve started it off right.
#7) Tij came home with flowers and chocolate the other night. What a guy! I’m so glad he’s my guy.
#8) I have been keeping up with my New Year’s Resolutions (for the most part). They’re important to me so I’m happy that I’m knocking them out.
#9) It’s been raining a lot here in Vegas which is a treat. Sunny days are great but it’s always fun to mix things up!
#10) The 4 year-olds that I teach at church are hilarious! It’s such a fun calling to have and I love how excited they are when they see me outside of class. Little kids can make you feel like you’re super cool :)

I hope you all are having a great day! Life is good.

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Kisses from Bianca

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My Daphne

Daphne has been sounding congested and has had some labored breathing so I took her to the vet last week. The vet wasn’t sure if it’s her lungs or her heart so right now we’re giving her antibiotics. If we don’t see an improvement, we may need to take her back to get an X-ray. Daphne would need to be sedated to get a clear pictures (rats are so wiggly!) so I really hope that it doesn’t come to that. She’s still grooming herself and eating and doesn’t seem to be in any pain, but it’s worrying to think about the future. The average rat lives 2-3 years and my girls are almost 1.5 years old. I’m doing my best just to enjoy my girls and not over think things, but it’s been a rough week. So instead of grocery shopping like I should be, I took some “glamour” shots of Daphne. Fingers crossed that she gets better!
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A Wednesday Gratitude List

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Olive loves her applesauce

Happy Hump Day everyone! Daphne has been having some breathing issues so I took her to the vet yesterday and they put her on antibiotics. The vet and I are hopeful that they will clear up her lungs and she’ll be breathing normally again soon. It was a little scary though! I don’t want anything to happen to my girls! I’m trying to stay positive so I thought I would write down 10 things I’m grateful for and things that are going well in my life.

#1) Netflix has all 9 seasons of “The Office” available. I kind of missed that boat when it was actually airing, but I’ve always heard it was good. I decided to give it a try and before I knew it, I’d burned through all the episodes in a month. Jim & Pam forever!
#2) Podcasts! I started listening to them while I clean the apartment and they’re awesome! I’ve learned so much already and they make washing the dishes much more palatable. (Actually, one of the podcasts I was listening to was talking about 5 habits of successful individuals, and one of them was gratitude! That’s something I can always work on…)
#3) The weather in Vegas has been glorious! 65 in the middle of January?! I have been going for walks to enjoy all the sunshine and fresh air.
#4) I’m trading babysitting for a photo session with a friend from church. Tij and I haven’t gotten nice pictures taken of us in over 4 years, so it’s time. I’m really looking forward to taking them!
#5) I’m grateful for Tij. I think I list him every time but he is just the best.
#6) I love having a second bedroom and bathroom. We’ve had friends stay with us a few times in November and December and it makes playing hostess much less stressful if you have a nice place to “put” your guests while they’re visiting.
#7) I’m grateful to be done with school. I was just talking to my sister (who’s trying to go back to school) and while I’m grateful I got to attend university and graduate, I’m grateful that chapter of my life is over.
#8) Our local library is really nice and I love that it’s close by.
#9) I’ve been using my Fitbit and I love that it motivates me to be more active. I need all the help I can to stay healthy!
#10) Daphne has been extra snuggly. It’s sad that she’s not feeling well, but I love it when she cuddles me after I give her her meds. (Fingers crossed that the medicine does the trick!)

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Christmas Card Outtake

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I’m attempting to send out Christmas cards this year, but naturally I waited until the last minute to commit. I realized last weekend that we didn’t have a family picture to send out with our card and I needed to do something about that. After church, I forced Tij into some festive flannel and set up our camera with the self-timer. We somehow managed to get some pictures that looked nice enough. (Not great, but not terrible. Maybe next year I’ll be on top of things and we’ll actually have some professionally done!) Then we just got silly and used the timer to get pictures of us with zee babies! I love the few decent (not blurry) photos we got of all 5 of us, but I decided that it would be best if we sent out cards with just our human family. I wanted to share this gem though because it is very “us”, furballs and all.

(Oh, and I chopped all my hair off. Surprise!)

Merry Christmas –
from Bianca, Olive, and Daphne
XOXOX

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Just Zee Babies

I have spent a lot of time on the couch this week watching HGTV on netflix and my girls have been keeping me company. They’re so sweet. Traveling a lot can be hard. Every time I leave, I spend a lot of time cleaning and packing and getting someone to watch the rats. Then when I come back, my fridge is empty and I have tons of laundry. After San Diego I was just exhausted. Snuggling with zee babies was just what the doctor ordered. With some sleep and cuddling I am feeling good again and ready to get back in the swing of things! Here’s a few pictures of my girls doing what they do best: being super cute.
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Girl’s Weekend in St. George

I have been lucky to make such wonderful friends here in Las Vegas. There is a little group of us who get together every week and I so look forward to those evenings where we get to hang out and be goofy and just be ourselves. A few weeks ago we decided to plan a girl’s getaway. And where do you go to “getaway” when you live in Las Vegas? St. George, Utah of course! Haha. St. George may be much smaller than Vegas but it is definitely different and has some attractions of its own.

To start things off right we went to see Thriller at Tuachan theater. (Tuachan is an incredible outdoor theater. I have never experienced a performance in perfect evening weather, under the stars, with the majestic red rock of the desert all around me. Seriously so cool.) Thriller is 2 hours of dance with just a hint of the creepy macabre thrown in: zombies, would-be chainsaw assassins, Chucky dolls, etc.

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creepy zombie dancers greeted us as we headed to our seats

Next morning, we ate brunch at this hidden gem of a restaurant called Xetava. It’s in this designer community (Keyanta) where all the houses are adobe and low to the ground and blend in with the natural desert all around. Then we hiked up a trail behind Tuacahn. I’m really glad we went back in the daytime – there was so much I couldn’t see when it was dark. And surprise! Our hike looked a lot like Red Rock. Mother Nature did not disappoint, as usual.

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Later we got pedicures, did a little shopping, ate delicious doughnuts, and got tasty Mexican food. It was a short trip but it was the perfect blend of relaxation and getting out and exploring. And of course, getting to spend time with my friends and feel their love and support was the best. (We travel well together! Everyone was chill and we just had a good time enjoying each other’s company.) I came back just feeling so happy and content with the world!

Sunday was our ward Primary Children’s Program. I have been looking forward to this all month! My Sunbeams have been practicing their little hearts out and I was so proud! They all had their parts memorized and they were about as reverent and quiet up on the stand as 3-4 year-olds can be. Later, Tij and I had the opportunity to go to a musical fireside put on by the missionaries in our area and it gave me goosebumps. It was just one of those magical Sundays where there was peace in my heart and a smile on my face.

Life is good. We are so blessed.

Happy Monday everyone! This is going to be a good week!

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here’s a cute picture of zee babies to help you get through your day

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Bath Time With Zee Babies

I give my girls a bath every week when I clean their cage. (Rats spend a lot of their time grooming so you don’t have to bathe them unless you want to. I just like to put clean smelling rats back into a clean smelling cage.) Most rats don’t like water, and zee babies are no exception. I have, however, perfected the art of bath time and now I can bathe all 3 of them in under 5 minutes. BAM! Tij was home yesterday so I recruited him to take pictures for me. (Thanks babe! I really can’t take pictures myself with wet hands and a squirmy rat baby.)

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suds-ing Bianca up with baby shampoo

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giving Bianca a rinse

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“oh, that’s better!” drying off is their favorite part

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you can see how well they “tolerate” bath time

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Part Two: Discovering Happiness (And Other Emotions) Again

Today we get to the good stuff, the “happy ending”, of yesterday’s post (read it here). I was in such a dark place when we moved to Las Vegas. I couldn’t get out of Salt Lake City fast enough. As I followed our moving truck south, I remember feeling hopeful for the first time in several years. Things would have to be different in Vegas, right? They had to be, didn’t they?

Thankfully, they were.

I wish I could say that I had an epiphany one day. I wish I could say that through Tij’s unflinching love and support I was healed. But it wasn’t that dramatic or that quick. It just kind of…happened. Allie, from hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com, said her big turning point was when she was crying on her kitchen floor and she spotted a piece of corn under her fridge and started laughing hysterically. Depression is kind of nonsensical like that. It comes, it goes, it does whatever the crap it wants.

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picture courtesy of hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com

Those first few months in Vegas were like an extended vacation. My only real responsibilities were to keep the house reasonably clean and food in the fridge. I slept (real sleep, not escapist sleep) as much as I wanted. I rarely went out, preferring to lay at home, reading, watching BBC, or listening to audio-books. i detached myself from the world. It was a relief that I didn’t have to “fake” it anymore. I didn’t have to go to work with a smile on my face. I didn’t know anyone in town yet so I didn’t have to socialize and pretend like I was enjoying myself. I wore pajamas. I rarely did my makeup. I just let myself be me. No prodding, no telling myself to “get it together”, no pressuring myself to “be better”. If it didn’t sound interesting or I didn’t want to do it, I just didn’t. That included showering and cooking dinner. (Tij is obviously a very patient, kind person. He has been incredibly supportive. He’s been through a lot with me and I’m relieved he’s stuck it out. He’s just the best.)

And then we got the rats. Pets can do wonders for your mental health. (There have been studies conducted that prove that petting a dog or cat can lower your heart-rate and stress level.) At that point, I didn’t care about much in my life, but boy did I care about my girls. I could 100% be myself around them. There were days when they’d sit on the couch with me for hours while I held Netflix marathons and they didn’t judge. They just made me feel loved and didn’t ask anything of me.

And have you ever heard of SAD (seasonal affective disorder)? Some people call it the winter blues? Yeah, that’s not really a thing here in Vegas. Being able to spend time outdoors and getting back in touch with nature has been really beneficial too.

Slowly, but surely, I mended. I went from feeling miserable, to feeling ambivalent, to actually feeling contentment. I remember truly laughing at one of Tij’s jokes and he looked at me and said “I haven’t heard that in a while”. Tij and I started dating each other again. I entered the social scene, tentatively at first. I still feel like I have to keep my social schedule small to keep myself from getting overwhelmed, but I’ve made some really good, supportive friends here. I tested out old hobbies to see if I still enjoyed them. I tried to look for new hobbies, but set no expectations for myself. I looked for my happy. I tried getting to know myself again.

I am not depressed anymore. But I am on guard. I know now that I am susceptible to depression and I want to avoid going through it again at all costs. I try to exercise (endorphins), I write (vent), I get enough sleep, I try not to over-schedule myself, and I pray. But it’s an ongoing process. The bad habits of self-criticism and self-abuse remain. I still struggle to manage my stress and anxiety. I get easily tired and overwhelmed. I am doing my best to better cope with life. I know that in the future I will not be so fancy free and more responsibilities will come my way. I want to be prepared so that I can enjoy them and not just survive them. Still, I am so, so grateful for this time in Vegas where I didn’t have to work, didn’t have to worry, and just got to heal.

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picture courtesy of hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com

Again, thanks for listening. Writing about my life and experiences helps me so much. It’s all part of the process. What makes you happy? Are you finding ways to relax and deal with stress? I hope so. Life is a funny thing. It should be fun too.

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Finger Lickin’ Good

Just a quick video of zee babies overcoming their fear of the sink! They like to explore my bathroom vanity but they would run away every time I turned the faucet on. I showed them that they can drink from the sink and now they’re okay with it. You can see Ms. Bianca’s “nub” (which you can read about here) when she is holding my finger at the end of the video. It’s on her left paw. See if you can spot it!

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Blog Touch-Ups

First off: I love One Direction and I love string instruments. This is the perfect marriage of the two. Enjoy! (I am totally unembarrassed to admit that I know almost all One Direction’s music by heart and can even tell you which of them is singing. I missed out on The Backstreet Boys and N’SYNC craze so I am getting in my boy band obsession a little late in life – much to Tij’s chagrin.)

Second, this blog is such a fun project for me, but a definite work in progress, so I made a few changes: I  just updated the “Zee Babies” and “About” pages. Check ’em out! (There are some great new pictures of the ratties on their page. Just in case you haven’t got your fill, I’m looking out for you.)

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