Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Building a Bat Box

I hope you didn't open this post hoping to learn how to build a bat box.  I couldn't tell you.  You can google "How to make a bat box" and you will find plans and detailed instructions.  I'm going to write about our experience building one and hopefully inspire someone out there to make their own.  We made one this year for my mom's birthday. 

Day One

My job was to decorate the front of the bat box.  I toyed with several phrases and finally decided on "Tina's Bat Bed and Breakfast."  This seemingly simple decision would end up causing my near nervous breakdown.  I purchased a wood burning tool at Micheal's because it appeared to be a fun (and easy) way to make a beautiful box.  I forgot to buy stencils, so I made my own by printing out letters and punching holes in them.  I recommend driving back to Michael's to buy stencils.  Oliver helped me pencil out my design.     

Glenn was busy outside sawing groves into the wood facing the inside of the house.  Bats need the groves so they can grab on and climb into the box.  He set up his circular saw to create the groves.

I began the slow process of wood burning.  Since Glenn and I were working with dangerous tools, we put Pearl in a motorized vehicle and made sure Oliver kept her out of the street.  Children can really slow down the creative process, so they have to learn to fend for themselves at a young age.

I imagined the wood giving way to the burning tool like butter.  I discovered wood is hard to burn in some places and easy to burn in other places.  My goal was to finish my job on day one, but only made it through one bat. 

It took so long, Pearl can now drive on her own.
Day Two

Oliver was busy, so Pumpkin filled in as the babysitter.  Glenn finished up cutting the sides and top of the bat box.

Days Three, Four , Five and Six

After I put the kids to bed on day three, I pulled out my board and began working.  I finished another bat and began weeping about the adorable phrase I chose for the box.  Each night, I struggled through a couple of words before I would give up, cursing at the wood or screaming, "My arm Glenn!  My arm!  I'm going to die!"  My mom gave me life, so I found the strength to carry on until I reached the final "T."

We have to paint our nearly complete bat house after the Christmas break.  My mom was very happy to receive her bat box for her birthday.  In summary: use a circular saw, buy stencils, pick one bat or a short phrase for the box, buy a motorized vehicle for your toddler and help your local bat population by building your own box! 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Card Outtakes

One of my favorite things to do this time of year is dress my kids in nice clothes and take them outside to try and get the perfect Christmas card picture.  The hardest part is picking out just one picture.  Generally all of the "no" pictures go into a folder never to be seen again.  This year I decided to publish the cute, funny and imperfect pictures from this year's sessions (Glenn didn't like my favorites from session one so we had two!).

So many of the pictures captured the love that Oliver and Pearl have for each other.  I nixed these sweet pictures because the kids weren't facing the camera.

Glenn thought we should have one of the pets in the card this year.  Pumpkin was featured in our card a couple of years ago, so we thought it would be nice to include Lotta.  Lotta really wants to eat our cat, Otter.    Otter decided to tease Lotta and walk by the photo shoot meowing.  Here we almost got a good shot, then Otter caused Lotta to jump up and knock the kids off of her.

Again, Otter disrupted this perfect scene.  All eyes are on him!

Not Christmas card worthy, but sometimes I love the "set up" pictures when I am checking the light.  Pearl is having a nice talk with Lotta in this picture.

Here are a few more of my favorites.  I hope those of you who receive our card this year agree with our final pick.  And if you are not on our list, but would like to be, please send me your address!