Archive | Siena

The Sweet, Squishy, Furry Faces of Maine Coon Kittens

becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-3-weeks-1 becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-3-weeks-3 On Saturday morning, we got the kittens out of their nesting box (which they are almost big enough to escape from!) and played with them for awhile in a corner of our living room. Kids, kittens, and Magnatiles… I can’t think of a much cuter combination.

becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-3-weeks-2 They were three weeks and two days old when these pictures were taken. They’re all maturing into their own coloring and personality.

becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-3-weeks-4 becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-3-weeks-5 becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-3-weeks-10 They’re beginning to play together, and sometimes I sit there for half an hour and just watch them and laugh. They bat at each other, wrestle, roll, and nibble (their teeth are mere nubbins), and then they both stop and look like this:

becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-3-weeks-11 “Whew! Ok, let’s do something else.”

becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-3-weeks-16 This little cream-colored guy on the left is still looking for a name (as long as he’s ours, that is!). I’m trying to come up with something literary. Any ideas?

Lena named our pretty calico girl Pippi, after Pippi Longstocking, and it’s such a perfect name for her.

becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-3-weeks-6 “The cream one” and Carrots, who is named in honor of Gilbert Blythe.

becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-3-weeks-12 becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-3-weeks-13 becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-3-weeks-7 Siena is getting more comfortable with her kittens being out of the box and playing with us, but she always interrupts their play date every few minutes to chirp and coo at them, the way Maine Coons do. They always come waddling to her as fast as their little legs will carry them.

becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-3-weeks-8 The “orangest” one is Gimli, after the red-bearded dwarf in The Hobbit. So far he’s the most serious and least adventurous of the four, so the name suits him, I think.

becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-3-weeks-17 Carrots is the most playful, as well as the most quizzical, and he’s totally stolen my heart.

becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-3-weeks-14 becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-3-weeks-15 Annnd snack time, a signal that they’re ready to snuggle up with their mom in their box again! We’re loving these precious little kittens, and they get more fun every day as they become more engaging and curious. However, I have a feeling some busy, mischievous days are ahead of us once they are roaming around our house…!

11 :: in kittens, Siena

We Have a Surprise!

becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-20 Our cat had kittens!!!

Siena, our Maine Coon, gave birth to four little kittens on April 2, 2015. We’ve been loving them for the past week and a half. They’re thriving and ready to show their faces to the world!

becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-7 Here the kittens are just a few hours old. I’ll write more about the labor and delivery soon, but it was amazing! Siena very clearly wanted Elliott (who, coincidentally, is a veterinarian) to be her labor doula, and he stayed up all night with her.

becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-1.jpg Now here they are two days old! We set up a “nesting box” for Siena in our closet and have carefully guarded her privacy during these early days. This was the first time we held the kittens. They were so tiny, about 4 oz each, and their eyes weren’t open yet.

becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-8 You’re probably wondering how our (exclusively indoor!) cat got pregnant. In light of Elliott’s training as a vet, this was a BIG family decision. Given the abundance of mixed breed animals everywhere in the world, we wanted to be really sure of the value of letting Siena reproduce.

Siena is a purebred Maine Coon, which means she carries traits like her friendliness, large size, and the unique tufts of hair on the tips of her ears that make her look like a lynx. We do think it is worthwhile to maintain certain characteristics that have been developed in animal breeds over centuries. We love Siena and her breed, and we wanted to give a few other families the joy of having one of her kittens.

Elliott had a friend at work who also had a purebred Maine Coon, a huge silver mackerel male. He is a gorgeous, friendly cat, and I would adopt him in a heartbeat! He came to stay at our house for a week in January, and by mid-February it was evident that our “arranged marriage” had been successful.

There is another reason we’re excited to have kittens in our home, and that is for our children. We want to raise them around animals who procreate, live, and die, teaching them about the circle of life in a natural and healthy way. One day we’d love to have chickens and goats and a bigger yard… and the dreams go on. I’ll write more about this another time, though, because involves another layer of the kittens’ birth story.

And now here they are at six days old, eyes open:

becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-9 Tiny little faces! There are two gingers, one cream, and one calico. The first three are boys, but the calico is a girl (obvious from the beginning because she has more than three colors in her coat).

becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-3 Here the kittens are a week old. Lena helps every evening with weighing the kittens and then holding them gently in her skirt for a little while. We continue to be very respectful of the nesting box in the closet, visiting quietly and not disturbing Siena when she’s nursing.

becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-2 Whenever Siena leaves, the kittens pile on top of each other to stay warm and sleep. It’s the sweetest thing! Here’s a few more of six-day-old kittens:

becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-4 becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-5 And now they are a week old! Lena has fallen head over heels in love with the calico, named her Sally, and says, “This one is going to be mine when she grows up.”

This is a problem because we are not planning to keep any of the kittens…!

becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-10 becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-11 And here are a bunch of photos from this past Saturday evening, a nine days old and more precious than ever.

becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-12 becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-13 becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-15 becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-16 becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-19 becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-21 becca-garber-maine-coon-kittens-22 More photos to come! :)

lena-kittens-nine-days-old

19 :: in kittens, life lately, Siena

a moment to be still.

Lena is sleeping.  The kitty is lounging.

The menu for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving meal is looming.  The kitchen is dirty.  The floors are dirty.  The laundry is clean, at least, but needs folding.

But for just a moment… let me sit still.

I like doing a travel series and sharing photos with you, but in the middle of that it’s hard to share what’s going on right here, right now, this week.  So here’s a bit about life around here, and why it feels so good to sit, and why I would like to curl up with a book until the end of nap time.

This holiday season is a busy season.  I think I didn’t quite realize it until all at once the deadlines were approaching and the holidays were upon us.  I also recently decided to get much more involved in my community by joining or taking positions in my women’s Bible study and the All Officers’ Spouses’ Club, and with these commitments comes a lot of (joyful!) responsibility.  While most of the year these two organizations have minimal commitments, around this time of year there are holiday parties, book club meetings, Thanksgiving potlucks, and party planning committees galore, not to mention creating all the sweets and treats that are fun to bake, cook, and prepare to share at all these events.

The biggest upcoming event is Night of Noel, a beautiful evening of food and fellowship for the women of our community, and I am responsible for all the decorating for the event (yikes) as well as hostessing a table and making a dessert.  I’m thinking multiple Christmas trees and twinkle lights, gold spray painted pine cones, and fondue, in that order.  Thoughts?

I also somewhat randomly decided to sell my handiwork at my first craft fair ever.  (Double yikes!)  The craft fair will take place on December 1… a little over a week away!  I spent most of last Saturday at my sewing machine and spend every evening with my knitting needles between my fingers.  (Why is it that I only get crafty in the fall and winter?  I need to stay crafty all year so that I have a good inventory!)  Honestly, I’m somewhat ridiculously excited about actually attending and selling at a craft fair, even though it’s only three hours long and I fully expect to sell nothing.  It’s the anticipation… the camaraderie… the officialness of it!  I’m a real craftswoman. 

Anyway, that’s a little bit of what is constantly running through my mind these days.  “Knit gloves… finish book for book club… email about decorations… run over shopping list again for Thanksgiving… sew fabric beach balls… etc. etc. etc.”  Not to mention playing with Lena, cooking meals, keeping the house clean, dealing with our chimney repairs (still not finished!), and all the other sweet trifles of life.

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the holidays or just caught up in the joyful busyness of it all? 

6 :: in holidays, knitting business, Siena, thoughts

to fix a leaky chimney

what is actually happening in my life vs. what I wish was happening in my life

Well, I was thinking of sharing some fun photos from our time back in the States.  (See above right photo.)  However, at 7:40 this morning (5 minutes after I woke up) the door bell rang and there was a work crew on the front step.  What?!  So early.

It’s okay, though.  Early can be good.  I knew they were coming to do an assessment today because we have an issue with our faulty chimney leaking smoke into our house.  After the assessment we planned to decide on huge chimney repairs vs. getting a wood stove installed in the fireplace instead.  Suddenly, a few minutes after they arrived, I heard a hammer hitting the wall and chunks of plaster hitting the floor.  “Stop!  What are you doing?!”  Well, so much for an assessment.  The chimney will be fixed this week!

Well, maybe not this week.  But in “a few days.”

My house is a total disaster, with dust everywhere, a man pounding on the chimney, and huge chunks of plaster falling to the floor.  (See above left photo.) My baby, meanwhile, is trying to sleep in the other room. I think she actually is sleeping, but that’s only because I have the White Noise Lite app on my iPhone turned up so loud that at first she couldn’t sleep at all.

Oh living in Italy!  I really love it, but it’s definitely hard with the language/communication barrier sometimes.  I only wish I spoke fluent Italian and could be trusted to do all the communicating on my own.  But instead every conversation has to go through an interpreter, often over the phone… and when you’re cell phone doesn’t get good reception in your house, that adds to the complications!

Anyway.  Here’s a fun video of Siena and Lena to end today’s post.  (I keep calling Siena “Luna” because that’s my sister’s cat’s name.)  You can see one of Lena’s greatest interests every time I take a video of her… oh vanity, you start so young!

5 :: in Italy, Lena, life lately, Siena, video

to fix a leaky chimney

what is actually happening in my life vs. what I wish was happening in my life

Well, I was thinking of sharing some fun photos from our time back in the States.  (See above right photo.)  However, at 7:40 this morning (5 minutes after I woke up) the door bell rang and there was a work crew on the front step.  What?!  So early. 

It’s okay, though.  Early can be good.  I knew they were coming to do an assessment today because we have an issue with our faulty chimney leaking smoke into our house.  After the assessment we planned to decide on huge chimney repairs vs. getting a wood stove installed in the fireplace instead.  Suddenly, a few minutes after they arrived, I heard a hammer hitting the wall and chunks of plaster hitting the floor.  “Stop!  What are you doing?!”  Well, so much for an assessment.  The chimney will be fixed this week! 

Well, maybe not this week.  But in “a few days.”

My house is a total disaster, with dust everywhere, a man pounding on the chimney, and huge chunks of plaster falling to the floor.  (See above left photo.) My baby, meanwhile, is trying to sleep in the other room. I think she actually is sleeping, but that’s only because I have the White Noise Lite app on my iPhone turned up so loud that at first she couldn’t sleep at all.

Oh living in Italy!  I really love it, but it’s definitely hard with the language/communication barrier sometimes.  I only wish I spoke fluent Italian and could be trusted to do all the communicating on my own.  But instead every conversation has to go through an interpreter, often over the phone… and when you’re cell phone doesn’t get good reception in your house, that adds to the complications!

Anyway.  Here’s a fun video of Siena and Lena to end today’s post.  (I keep calling Siena “Luna” because that’s my sister’s cat’s name.)  You can see one of Lena’s greatest interests every time I take a video of her… oh vanity, you start so young!

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7 :: in Italy, Lena, life lately, Siena, video

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