In Memory of Cadbury: A TMI Packed Tribute

This morning I had to take one of our pet rabbits (one of three) to be euthanized. Cadbury was no doubt the bitchiest of all of our bunnies, but we went through a lot together, so I was smitten with the old bat despite her faults (e.g. grunting and trying to smack the shit out of you when you feed her food).

A little over two weeks ago, Pete and I noticed Cadbury wasn’t eating as much food as usual. I took her to the vet and after a few xrays, they told me she had gastrointestinal status, which is the worst news for a bunny owner. This is definitely TMI, but basically it slows down intestinal movement until the critter can’t eat or drink anymore since everything is lodged up with…well, poop.

She went from five pounds to under three pounds during this time, so the hardest part was having to syringe-feed her food, water, and antibiotics every 12 hours in an attempt to treat her back to health. Pete was a huge help when we were told to try needle injections (ack) to help get things moving again.

At this point you must think I’m totally a crazy pet fanatic. Watching her turn pale this morning (it still astounds me that bunnies can turn pale) was all I needed this morning to take her to the vet to make sure she wasn’t suffering during her final hours. Although it was awkward when the nurse at the vet had her pre-teen daughter with her for “Take Your Daughter to Work Day” (which was totally yesterday!). Trying not to turn into a blubbery mess in front of an 11-year-old when the vet is starting to cry-talk while talking about the process of euthanasia is not an easy feat. I totally blubbered three tissues worth of tears, but I assured the pre-teen girl that I would not ugly cry in front of her.

In less morose ramblings, we wouldn’t have our bunny Applesauce without Cadbury. When I adopted Cadbury from the PSPCA, the shelter told me she was a male rabbit. I didn’t see any male bits, so I took her to a vet (that apparently wasn’t well-versed in exotic pet knowledge), and they confirmed that she was male. I questioned her manhood a bit during that car ride home, but I figured vets are paid to be smarter than me.

A few weeks later, I woke up in the early hours to the sight of five moving turds on my kitchen floor. Or what I thought were Betty White poops (lord knows she was always pooping inside then since I had recently adopted her from the shelter). Turns out they were baby bunnies, which confirmed that my intuition was correct. Cadbury did, in fact, have a vagina.

Unfortunately she was the worst. mom. ever. and tried to kill the babies, which is also not uncommon for traumatized rabbits that have been bunny-raped at the shelter. She quickly succeeded in injuring one of the five, and the little guy/girl ended up passing away soon after. I was at work during this time and didn’t realize rabbits could become aggressive with their kits due to nerves, so when I came home I put the four remaining babies in their own box and nursed them individually with her from then on. It was an incredibly stressful situation, and my new vet was telling me not to expect the kit to survive since I was handling them so much (not recommended). Luckily, all four grew up to be completely adorable little fluff balls and I ended up keeping the runt of the litter (Applesauce) and finding the rest of them homes.

Cadbury had a lot of health issues over the past year and successfully defeated the onset of head tilt (don’t Google that, I repeat, do not Google that) since she was a pro at taking injectable antibiotics. She also had this neurological thing where her eye wouldn’t close for like a week, but she survived that as well, which is why I thought this would just be another medical condition to add to her growing list.

Alas, it was not, but she lived to be at least 7-years-old (I don’t know how old she was when I adopted her) and she had an enjoyable life filled with lots of veggie treats and hump-filled evenings with her stuffed candy corn toy. I’ll miss you Cadbury, you were the sweetest, most bitchiest bunny ever.

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Remember That Time Easter Happened?

I know Easter was forever ago, but I wanted to share some photos, just in case you didn’t get your fill of pastels and candy.

One of my favorite holiday memories is drawing white crayon designs on eggs and dyeing them as obnoxiously bright as possible. Pete and I still keep the tradition alive, taking turns using the bendy wire egg holder to decorate a half dozen each.

This Easter was a special one for me, since my parents and Grandma (and their dog Whiskey) decided to visit us from Delaware. My family is big on surprises, so when my parents asked if they thought my brother (Ken) and his wife (Stacey) could also visit from NYC, I said they were busy that weekend (lies!). Ken and I knew we wanted to surprise them with their visit, so we planned a big scheme upon our parents’ arrival.

We hid 50 plastic eggs all around the house in preparation of their visit. The plan was for us to welcome my parents and Grandma inside, while Ken and Stacey hid upstairs. Pete and I planned to distract my parents with an outdoor Easter egg hunt, while Ken and Stacey would sneak back downstairs to hide in the sunroom. This plan also involved them wrapping pink lights around each other, to make it extra festive. Because Ken just happens to own pink Easter lights.

There were a few kinks in our plan, one of them being my family arriving with a car sick dog that needed a bath immediately. We also didn’t fully consider the fact that Ken and Stacey would have to haul ass past a very startled Grandma, who was watching our parents search for eggs outside through the kitchen window. Needless to say, she didn’t have a heart attack, but she was very, very surprised/terrified to see Ken and Stacey stampeding through the kitchen to head for the front sunroom.

Little did Ken realize that they didn’t have to rush, since Pete and I led my parents on a search for plastic eggs outside for a good 10 minutes. When my parents finally opened the front door to search for more eggs inside, they were completely shocked and turned into blubbery messes. It was awesome.

Of course it wouldn’t be Easter without my dad insting on having an Easter egg hunt of his own, so he had all of us kids search for metallic, money-filled eggs in the backyard. Stacey was a total champ and knew all of the typical hiding spots, like under the grill cover.

Ken decided to take it upon himself to climb the tree and do his best impression of a demented Easter bunny. Yet another shining example of how I just might be the normal one in my family.

Lets pretend like this family photo isn’t totally awful (it was taken under our green patio umbrella, so everyone looks slightly seasick, and by everyone I mean me).

There were an abundance of unfortunate bunny face photos taken that day, all of which will hopefully be framed at my parents’ house in the near future.

In non-bunny news, our foster dog Donald Sutherland has been happy in his new home for a couple of weeks now. I’ll admit, I miss the little wart-butt a ton. He’s been visiting fellow seniors like himself during the day since his new mom is an activities director in a nursing home.

I’m going to attempt to be a bit more timely about my upcoming posts, since this one was uber belated. I’ve just been swamped between work, weekend shoots, wedding planning, yard work and nursing a very sick bunny. What’s new with you guys?

Under the Magnolia Tree

Since we purchased our house last May, we never really got to see our magnolia tree during its bloom, so watching the transformation over the past few weeks has been really lovely. The flowering season has come and gone over a short amount of time, leaving our grass sprinkled with pink pedals (which are so slippery, I’ve almost fallen on them a handful of times).

Our yard looked like it was straight out of a Monet painting for a while there, so I snapped some shots of the flowers during their full bloom. Pete even encouraged me to make a flower angel one Sunday afternoon, and I obliged (scroll to the very end to mock me in all my flower angel glory).


At the end of the day, it was a bit of a flower angel fail, but I’m fine with it. Next up, our dogwood tree will be blooming come mid-May. I’ll be sure to share photos of that as well since I’m not-so-secretly a sucker for all things pink and pretty.

{A Honeymoon in Italy} Gelato and Pesto, Here We Come

{Photos courtesy Hotel Artemide}

Our honeymoon has officially been booked and we couldn’t be more excited. We’ll be departing the day after our wedding to head to Rome, an eight and a half hour journey from Philadelphia. For the first leg of our trip, we’ll be staying at Hotel Artemide in Rome for two nights (the photo above is an example of the room we’ll be staying in). We’re total TripAdvisor stalkers, so the 4 1/2 star rating (out of 1,822 reviews) definitely made it a stand-out hotel with a convenient location.

For those of you who have been to Rome before, what lesser known sites should we scout out? I’ll admit, I’m looking forward to a tourist-y night walk to the Trevi Fountain and Colosseum (preferably while eating loads of gelato).

{Photos courtesy Grand Tour in Florence}

After we explore Rome for a couple of days, we’ll take the train an hour and a half to the Grand Tour in Florence, a five-star B&B I’ve been smitten with for years. The original structure was an 18th century garden theatre, which the owners brought back to light during its restoration and converted into nine suites. All of the doors open onto a courtyard garden with a fountain, which sounds all sorts of dreamy. I fully expect for there to be cartoon birds hanging our clean laundry on a clothesline when we wake up in the morning, that’s how good it sounds.

The Actor Suite, which we’re staying in (above), has a large bathroom with a private sauna…yes please. The shower has handmade majolicas (decorative earthenware tiles), that are so, so lovely. I love the old marble sink that is featured in the bedroom, along with the headboard that has some really pretty details.

{Photos courtesy Rificolona-Paper Lantern Festival}

Florence is a great central location for day trips, so we’ll be spending 4 nights in Florence, with excursions to Venice (Peggy Guggenheim Collection!) and Siena. I’m really excited about the Rificolona-Paper Lantern Festival, an evening parade through the Piazza Santissima Annunziata, with children carrying paper lanterns lit with candles, while the older kids try to set the lanterns ablaze with pea shooters. It’s all in good family fun since it is tied around tradition, plus there’s live music and carnival food, so it shouldn’t be too crazy. Supposedly most of the lanterns end up burning by the end of the night, so it should be interesting to see.

{Photos courtesy La Poesia}

After exhausting ourselves in and around Florence, we’ll be heading to Cinque Terre. I’ve been wanting to go to Cinque Terre forever, but then this happened last year, and it made my heart sink. Alas, the cliffside villages are rebuilding and need the tourists now more than ever, so we will be spending four nights in Monterosso Al Mare, one of two villages extensively damaged in last fall’s flood. Pete really wanted to stay near the beach, so that’s how we landed on Monterosso, however we’ll also be hiking and traveling to the other villages—Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.

We’re staying at La Poesia, a charming B&B not far from the train station, with homemade breakfasts served on the outdoor terrace, complete with lemon trees and a breathtaking view of the beach.

{Photos courtesy here, here, and here}

I’m most excited about hiking around Cinque Terre, with a day trip to the port town of Portofino and loads of relaxing. Pete seems to think he can convince me to jump off of a 30-40 foot cliff into the Mediterranean Sea, but I have a feeling I’ll have to jump from the little kiddie spot that is only a few feet above the water.

Have you guys ever been to Italy? What spots should we be sure to add to our agenda (restaurants, museums, anything)?

Wedding Stuff: Tree Decor & Vintage Rings

Since we’re planning a backyard wedding, we have been trying to come up with thrifty ways to dress up the dogwood tree we’ll be getting hitched under. I really wanted to take strips of fabric, cut them at different lengths, and dye them, ombre-style (Pete: “What’s an ombre?”). Our colors are technically yellow and grey, so I decided to go with golden yellow RIT dye. I loosely followed the tutorial by Green Wedding Shoes on how to make an ombre fabric backdrop.

I need to stop pretending like DIY projects will go as smoothly as they look on wedding blogs. I have discovered that I am not especially crafty. I might be able to take lovely photos and draw illustrations, but when it comes to cutting fabric or handling a hot glue gun, I. Am. A. Mess. For this project, I measured out the different amounts of fabric dye in the pans, with the hope that the strips of fabric would have different monochromatic tones. Unfortunately, when I went to get the pot of boiling water from the kitchen, a gust of wind swept the pans upside down, sending the dye all over the place. Sigh. Pete came to the rescue and salvaged the dye while putting rocks into the pans to weigh them down, but we had trouble getting the dye to stick to the muslin fabric since it was often folded over and not fully dyeing.

When I was cleaning up and feeling fairly defeated, I glanced down at the newspaper our bucket was sitting on and saw an entire front page written by our officiant, Naila, complete with photos of her and her boyfriend. It was just what I needed to remind myself that all of these DIY projects might not go perfectly, but at the end of the day, Naila will marrying Pete and I, which is kind of the best thing ever as far as I’m concerned (although Turkey Hill’s Choco Mint Chip is a fierce competitor for runner-up).

The fabric might all be the same color, but I still think it will look pretty (when it’s less wrinkly and thread-filled). Here’s an idea of the look we were going for (below), with pieces hanging at different lengths above us during the ceremony.

In other wedding news, Pete and I got our wedding bands at Halloween in Philly. I went with a delicate, art deco/victorian ring to match the 1915-1920s era engagement ring.

Pete went with a really simple, thin gold band that looks a bit like his father’s, which I think is nice. He has never worn jewelry before, so he just wanted to go with something as comfortable as possible.

Our wedding is five and a half months away, so we still have some time to play around with more projects. We’ve mostly been focusing our attention on fixing up the yard…I’ll be sure to share more about that soon!

Wedding Stuff: Our Hunt for Vintage, Mismatched China

Sorry if it’s been quiet here lately, between my full time job, wedding/honeymoon planning and pooch fostering, I haven’t had much time to blog these days. I know wedding planning isn’t the most thrilling subject to most, but I intend on sharing little details anyway. Pete and I are on the hunt for vintage, gold-rimmed china for our mismatched dinnerware. Here’s a glimpse of our collection so far, we’re only about 30% complete. I really enjoy going out when we have free time to search for items to add to the table.

Right now we’re mostly focusing on getting large dinner plates, small plates, bowls and saucers. We’ll also have to get tumblers (for yummy alcoholic drinks) and drinking glasses (for water), in addition to teacups/coffee mugs.

We still haven’t gotten any napkins, but at least we won’t be using tablecloths on the wood tables, so that makes things a bit easier. It will be a few more months before we can cross this item off our to-do list, but I think it will look lovely once it comes together. We’re thankful we’re having such an intimate wedding, because I can’t imagine trying to pull this together with more than 20 guests.

We’ll also be having homemade jams of different flavors at each place setting (strawberry, blueberry, and blackberry variations). We did a test run with a ginger peach recipe, but we were less than pleased, so we’re hoping a mixture of berry recipes will be a hit.

We just rented our yellow and white striped canopy tent to dine under, so I’m excited for our yard to become an explosion of color this September. Hopefully we can bring our lawn back to life so there’s some green stuff beneath our feet. I’m looking forward to hanging string lights, paper lanterns, giant balloons, and streamers galore. Hopefully our neighbors won’t think a piñata threw up in our backyard. Cross your fingers it won’t rain…eep!

Introducing Our New Foster Dog: Donald Sutherland

Meet Donald Sutherland the dog. Last night we decided to give fostering another go (our second time ever), so we went to the PSPCA in search of “Buster,” who we saw listed on their website as being shy, old and blind. After waiting two long hours, we finally met this little wiry haired guy, who has the body of a Dachshund and the combover-esque hair of a terrier.

We fell in love and scooped him up and now he and Betty White are in cahoots (and by “cahoots” I mean he sniffs her and she  runs away and escapes to higher ground). We’ll see how well he and Betty end up getting along before I consider hiding him in my pocket and keeping him for good.

We’ve renamed him Donald Sutherland because we think the resemblance is pretty uncanny, but maybe you have to meet him to see it.

Likes: Rubbing his face on our shaggy rug. Romping around in the backyard. Artfully peeing without lifting his leg. Being mistaken for a member of the Sutherland family. Devouring Beggin’ Littles. Trying to get Betty White’s attention by playfully barking at her in a guttural tone.

Dislikes: Being returned to the shelter for “not being very playful” after just one day of readjusting to a new home. Not being tall and limber enough to jump on the couch. Being mislabeled as “blind” when he really has nuclear sclerosis (which in his case, doesn’t affect vision).

He isn’t doing a ton of smiling in these photos, but I’m sure that will change once he’s grown more comfortable here. We get attacked with tail wags and kisses whenever he’s not sleeping, so we think he’s pretty happy (even though we I dress him in a sweater sometimes).

I’m looking forward to sharing more about Donald Sutherland as we get to know him better. Do you think we picked an appropriate celebrity to name him after or would you have gone with a different long-haired gent?