Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gardening Eden

I have a cautionary tale today for moms everywhere. Learn from my mistake so you won't suffer like me! A couple of months ago, Mia became obsessed with the Japanese anime cartoon Hamtaro. I ordered the movies for her from the library, and she watched them over and over again. The show is about a group of pet hamsters who secretly help their owners. This obsession turned into a desire for a hamster of her own. She got Molly on board with the idea, and when the girls presented the idea to me, I sent them off to Jesse (mistake #1). At first, he was a bit hesitant, but all three kids promised they would take care of it. We did some research online to find out prices and the type of care a hamster would need, and we agreed to get a hamster. We've been pretty busy the last few weeks, and so the opportunity to pick one up hasn't come up (personally I was half hoping Mia would just forget about it), but Mia asked almost daily when she would be getting her hamster.

Her enthusiasm ratcheted up considerably after we saw the movie Bolt two weekends ago, and we decided to name our hamster Rhino after the character in it. Yesterday, Mia stayed home sick from school. She was sick at my mom's house all weekend, and Sunday evening she was miserable, but after sleeping in a little yesterday and then resting, she bounced right back and was her normal bubbly self. Jesse called me on his lunch to let me know that he wanted us to pick up the hamster after work and he wanted to discuss housing options. I was still ambivalent about the whole thing, so I told him I trusted him to get what was necessary (mistake #2) and for him to take both girls so they could have the fun of picking out their own pet. I would stay home (mistake #3 and the biggest one of all) to watch Dancing with the Stars.

While watching my fave Melissa do the Argentine tango, I got a text message from Molly letting me know that they had found the perfect hamster...and named him Checkers. Checkers? What happened to Rhino? She said I would see when they brought him home. Somewhere about the time Lil Kim was rhumbaing, I got a Twitter update from Molly: Just got a new hamster and two rabbits. Dexter and Rose and Checkers. I texted her immediately: Two rabbits? She replied: LOL. A few minutes later, all of the dancers were just blurs on the screen due to my shock I received another Twitter update from Molly: Change that. Pets are now Charlie, Checkers, Charlotte, and Chip. I haven't even met the new pets, and they've already had two different names! Apparently the girls decided to stick with the "ch" theme of Charlie the dog we've had for almost a year and Checkers the hamster.

I missed the group dance routine, because I was busy welcoming the Netherlands bunnies and bear hamster to the house. The rabbits will be in cages outside, and Checkers is on a table in the living room. He's much larger than most hamsters, and I have to admit, he is very cute. But I still don't understand how one hamster turned into two rabbits + a hamster. And to top it off, Jesse and Mia want to get a Beta fish to go in the container Checkers came home in. If I do agree, you can guarantee that I will go along to ensure that one Beta fish doesn't turn into an Arowana!

Gardening Eden
by Michael Abbate is a thoughtful response to global warming and Christianity. Global warming has been a hot topic on the news for the last several years, and the Church's response has varied from disdainful denial to eager embrace of the news. Abbate takes the stance that whether you believe that the world is suffering from major climate change or not, God gave dominion of the earth to mankind during Creation, and that requires us to be good stewards of the earth's resources. He gives weight to the various arguments against environmentalism, and takes a common sense approach to how Christians should act. The world is a beautiful creation on which every single thing belongs to God, and it's our responsibility to take good care of it, and that means making changes in our everyday lives. Abbate includes big and small ways to be more green, including some easy changes. I try to bring reusable bags every time I go grocery shopping, and I've become a lot more careful about how much driving I do in my gas-guzzling van. Abbate offers solutions even for those who may not have a lot of cash to start buying organic food or completely remodel their home. I appreciated Abbate's reasoned response to the issues. Without taking sides in the political debate or making the reader feel guilty, he encourages responsible living as a requirement of faith.

I'm giving away a copy of this fantastic book! To enter, just drop me an email before 10pm tonight. I'll post the winner tomorrow and kick off a new contest.

The top pic for today is Molly with Chip, next is Mia with Charlotte, and last is Mia again with Checkers.