Home » Family » …a 9th birthday, pet bunnies, and Christmas!

…a 9th birthday, pet bunnies, and Christmas!

Woah.  Where in the world have I been?!!  It’s been over a week since posting and I just kinda realized it had been that long.  But let me tell you why…..we’ve all been basking in a whole lot of celebrating and other hoopla.  Our oldest kiddo (Elli) had her 9th birthday, we added our first real pets to the family, my parents flew out to Oklahoma, we enjoyed a busy Christmas together, our town iced over and we lost power, and wow…..I’m just bummed it’s all over!

So, in order to catch up with you all…..MERRY CHRISTMAS!!  I hope your Christmas was filled with family, friends, and lots of sugar!  (We kinda overloaded on it here…..and extra calorie consumption LOVES company!)

In the time I’ve been absent here, I was posting over on Instagram pretty regularly and was able to see what some of you were up to also.  It really is so fun peeking in on your lives too; seeing what you’re making, where you’re traveling, who’s making messes at your house, etc. (So, if you’re not over on Instagram…..join me!)

It’s also the place that you’ll sometimes see my face, since I’m usually the one behind the camera for blog pictures here…..however, I can’t promise that it’s not some sort of poorly executed selfie of Steve and I (because we’re still no good at them, and we forget to look at the camera, and not the screen.  Ooops.)


So, I already shared little bits of today’s post over there on instagram…..but here are more details of where we’ve been hiding during the past week and a half.

First of all, on December 20th, Elli turned 9.  NINE!!!  She’s practically driving, but I don’t want to talk about that. ;)  But this girl, let me tell you….she’s such a sweet little thing.  She’s kinda caught in this stage of really wanting to be big but also misses being the little girl of the house.  Her heart wants little toys and dolls and everything frilly and girly….but her brain is starting to tell her that she should start asking her mom for make-up, nail polish, and jewelry.  Sorry, but her brain better slow the heck down! ;)

Her birthday is tricky, since it’s right before Christmas, but we try to make it special.  We decorate and keep her presents separate but I’m not going to lie, it gets a little tricky. (For example, I didn’t keep good track of what I bought for her birthday and Christmas and on Christmas Eve, I realized she only had one gift….the rest had been given to her on her birthday.  So, off to Target I went! Ooops.)

Per tradition, we decorate the house the night before any birthday so that the birthday child wakes up to a surprise.  But it makes me laugh because Elli always adds to her decor each year.  She blows up a few more balloons, hangs a few more streamers, and this year, she made herself a birthday crown.  Ha…..go for it!!!


And of course, everyone is equally excited to be having a party….doesn’t matter whose it is!



I’ve explained this in years past, but we don’t do fancy cakes.  We somehow hot wrangled into adding toys to the top (a fun tradition from Steve’s childhood) instead of fancy decorations, which I kinda love because it’s a lot easier to do!  However, when I asked Elli what type of cake she wanted this year….she told me, “Ummm….I don’t really like cake.  But if I don’t have one, I won’t get the toys on top, right??”  Haha!  So, this is actually a pan of brownies with a layer of ice cream on top….and then of course, TOYS!!!


One of the sweetest things was the little card that Chloe (age 4) made for her big sister.  Chloe has become obsessed with drawing on a notepad and making us all pictures and letters with a few words on it that she knows how to write (which includes all of our names….not much more).  So, this year, she was so excited to make Elli a birthday card.  She colored on it, wrote some names, and wrapped it all up!


Sentimental things are Elli’s love language (which is why she makes love notes/cards in surplus)….so she loved on Chloe for that sweet Birthday card!  And then — my momma heart melted.


Elli received a few toys and a her very own pink hairdryer (which she later told me wasn’t her favorite present, because she’d rather have toys)……but the biggest surprise of the day, was something she wasn’t expecting AT ALL.  Elli is our animal/bug/creature lover.  We haven’t had any family pets (other than some fish about 4 years ago) but they have asked many many times for a pet.  The time just hasn’t been right and frankly, Steve and I weren’t ready.  So, in the meantime, Elli has been collecting bugs and creating colonies in the backyard in her little bug catcher.  We finally decided it was time…..and purchased our first pets — BUNNIES!

To break the surprise to her, we put some bunny toys in a bag (that didn’t say anything about bunnies on them) and told her to open it.  She was so confused.  Steve ended up telling her that when you’re nine, your teeth need to be sharpened and this toy was a chew toy to help sharpen her teeth.  She was skeptical….but she tried it.  (Ha…our poor kids!)


We led her outside to a bunny hutch on the side of the house……and she was absolutely speechless.  (I forgot to adjust my camera settings and all the pictures were completely overexposed.  Rookie mistake.  And so sad!)  She peeked inside and couldn’t really tell what was inside.  I think Connor was the one who noticed first and kept shrieking, “there’s a bunny in there….a BUNNY!”  We opened up with door and showed them that there wasn’t only one bunny but 2 BUNNIES!!!!  They were ecstatic…..all 3 kids!  (Oliver was napping by this point.  But we was excited later on!)

We brought them in after a while and let the bunnies hop around the house for a while and then eventually, Elli was able to hold one.


And then Connor got in on the fun….and was just as smitten! :)


These bunnies are 8 week-old Mini Rex bunnies!  They have the softest fur that is impossible not to pet……and ahhhhh, they are the sweetest little bunnies!

We let Elli name the bunnies (since they’re mostly hers) and she decided to call this smaller black/white one Rexy…


….and the bigger grey/white one Lexy!


We didn’t know this before getting our bunnies but they are actually pretty clean animals.  I mean, yeah, they poop and all that…..but they clean themselves like cats and even at 8 weeks old, they groom and lick and make the cutest little movements while keeping themselves clean!


They even reach up and grab those ears and scrub them clean!  It’s probably my kids’ favorite thing to watch….and makes them all laugh!


These bunnies have been handled since birth and are pretty tame.  But they still like their own space.  We keep them outside in a hutch and sometimes bring them inside the house but they mostly play outside, inside of a collapsible pen that we set up while we’re out there, so they can freely hop around inside. We bring their food and toys inside the pen and Elli has the most fun in here with them.


They really are sweet little creatures and will hop all over and around us and love to explore!



Lexy doesn’t like to be held much but she likes to be pet.  However, Rexy doesn’t mind being pet or held… Elli loves that and takes any opportunity to snuggle her little bun bun!


So fun!!!

And a great 9th birthday for our little Elliana Grace!


A few days later…..Grandma and Grandpa Silk (my parents) arrived for Christmas!  This was their first time to Oklahoma and I just realized, they were most curious about our tornado storm shelter but we forgot to show it to them (…they have already gone back to CO).  Ooops.


For as long as I can remember, my mom always made graham cracker gingerbread houses with us at Christmas time.  She continued that tradition with my children while we lived in Colorado, so my kids loved that she gathered all the supplies and made houses with them this year too!


And finally…..Christmas morning.

Like most kids, my kids were beyond excited.  They were wiggly and squirrly the night before and had the hardest time going to sleep.  We told them we could start the morning at 7am and to not come out any sooner.  In our family, we all come out to see what Santa brought, at the same time… at 7 am, we went down by the bedrooms and gathered everyone up and told them it was time to come out and see what Santa delivered!  Oliver is a rule breaker, so he started charging ahead of everyone else. :)


Lots of big eyes and happy little faces emerged that morning.  Christmas morning is just the best!  So much anticipation…..I just love it (and already miss it)!!!

Oliver has a few things that he absolutely loves and one of those is — BALLS!  He thinks anything round is a ball too; oranges, ceramic shapes up on a shelf, the pearl earrings in my ears…..yep, he tries to yank them out, while shouting, “ball! ball!”…..little turkey!

So this ball popper toy made him very happy!


Chloe was so indecisive about what she wanted this year… this gift wasn’t even something she asked for, but I swear, the star of the whole day, was this PonyCycle.  Oh my goodness…..ALL the kids love it, ride on it, and even use it as their transportation while cleaning up toys and other odds and ends.  (It goes up to 90 pounds, so it’s okay that everyone loves it!)  But if you stand up and sit down, it propels the pony forward on its wheels.  It’s such a cool and sturdy design!


The exact one we bought can be found HERE……and if you want to see it in action, click on the video below and it will take you to my Instagram account, where I posted a short video.  Haha…..last minute random Christmas gift for the win!


Connor is very easy to please….and he’s always so animated about everything.  I love this kid!  And Steve loves that his son is into Legos, Star Wars, and flying helicopters, you know… he can play too! ;)


Elli received half toys, and half bigger girl stuff….like this bracelet making kit!  She’s getting so big (but I really love that she still likes little girl things)!


And that Oliver……he played with everyone’s toys!  He thought the whole day was about him and that everyone’s toys and candy—-were HIS toys and candy!


What a great day!  And a great week!  And so fun to be with family!


And even though Christmas day was warm and in the 70s…..we had an ice storm that rolled in the next day and caused us to be without power for most of Sunday.  But that’s okay….it was kinda nice to huddle together  and to get back into our jammies (after getting ready for church and then finding out it was cancelled)!

Picture taken from Instagram


Hope your holidays were warm and filled with loved ones!  There’s definitely more to come on the blog and a lot of new things and a few changes/additions to share starting in 2016….but until then, enjoy the rest of 2015!!  (And be sure to check back tomorrow, because there’s a fun tutorial ready to go!)


Thanks for reading friends!  And Merry (belated) Christmas!



Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. Paris says:

    Just as with any pet, the more you socialize your bunnies, the more happy & friendly they will be! You are starting off great since you got socialized babies. Look online for easy/free diy bunny toys you can make and buy cat or bird toys too! My 5 year old (4 lb) Billy tosses small balls & toy Easter eggs (when they are open!) he also goes everywhere with us in the car (to stores, parks, vacation, grandma’s). He is litter trained and plays in the yard with no fencing (with us outside too!) He is a love! Everyone can hold him, too. He is so chill. We are lucky. Bunny proof your tv/computer/charger wires and have a great time! Your kids are lucky to have 2 wonderful pets for the next 10+ years!

  2. Jenny says:

    Your little Oliver is so big! And your kids are all so cute. I have followed your blog for years and some of my favorite posts are family posts.

  3. Nancy says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your Christmas with us! Looks like everyone had a blast! Our’s was very quiet this year as family is far away or out of state. And Happy Belated Birthday to Elli! My sisters birthday is December 30th. so I know what you mean about making sure there are birthday gifts and Christmas gifts and they are kept separate. Cause I still think people who have birthdays close to Christmas always feel a little cheated. Thanks again for letting me peep in on your Christmas. Happy New Year to you all

  4. Karie says:

    Wow! Looks like you guys had a wonderful, fun-filled birthday and Christmas last month! And bunnies?!! You’re so brave! :) They look simply adorable!
    Do you mind me asking where you found your kitchen chairs? We’re building a farmhouse table right now, and I love the look of your white chairs! Thanks for taking so much time to share your talented-self with the rest of us! Looking forward to what you have in store for 2016. Happy New year!

  5. Karla maynor says:

    Fun to see all their excitement. ArE the bunnies okay with the cold outside?

    1. Ashley says:

      The bunnies came from a breeder close to where we live, who raises them outside. In fact, she said the winter is much easier on them than summer. We have a pretty spacious hutch for them that has lots of coverage and so far, so good. We do always worry about them and give them extra hay and are always checking to be sure they are dry and safe from wind, etc…..but they’re doing great so far!

  6. lindsey says:

    ooohh bunnies are the best pets we have a female lionhead who is a very fiesty diva ha……shes not aggressive at all but boy does she have attitude… glad you all had a good christmas – happy new year to you all too!

    1. Ashley says:

      Awwww, our friends just got some lionheads and they are the cutest fuzzy bunnies!

      Thanks so much Lindsey!

  7. Vanessa says:

    Your kiddos look so cute! My 4 year old girl is very involved in writing everyone letters right now- it is very charming. And I’m sure you know this already but just in case, make sure you get those bunnies neutered! I am an exotics veterinarian and see a lot of heartbreak with female unneutered bunnies as many of them end up with an aggressive uterine cancer at a young age unless they are neutered. They are very personable pets, I love them!

    1. Ashley says:

      Awww, you have the same little letter writer in your house…it’s pretty sweet! :)

      And we’ve heard that several times, we plan on taking them in. However, we keep hearing different times as to when to get them neutered….can I ask what age you’d recommend?

      Thanks Vanessa!

    2. Vanessa says:

      I prefer to spay early, my ideal age is 3 months because they don’t have much fat at that point so finding the uterus is easier. The easier it is to find, the quicker the procedure and shorter anesthesia time leads to less risk. But I would ask your vet what time frame they prefer because personal preference comes into play a lot with these things.

  8. chloe | boxwood avenue says:

    That sweet sister hug just melted my heart!! I am on the bunny fence, so I will be excited to read about your bunny journey!

    1. Ashley says:

      Thanks Chloe…mine too! :) And I’ll have to share updates here and there!

  9. Sarah says:

    You will love having bunnies. I had them since I was 10 and absolutely loved them. I had to leave my rabbit at home when I got married and it really bummed me out. I can’t wait for my little girl to get one.

    1. Ashley says:

      Awww, I love hearing that! So much fun!

  10. Jen says:

    Soooooo cute! We have a bunny, his name is Daryl and he is a 10 pound English Lop…. He is the best, he’s an inside rabbit, Michigan has cold winters so he stays inside and will sometimes come outside to play. He spends a ton time outside of is cage, he’s like a cat and uses his cage like a cat would a littler box (well a tray inside his cage). He knows his name and loves to cuddle. He follows me around the house, and loves when the kids pull him onto their laps while they sit on the floor. You will love having bunnies. Our kids school has a pet bunny who is a Mini Rex his name is Bay… Such a cutie too!

    1. Ashley says:

      Awwww, how sweet, little Daryl! I hope these little girls will last a long time and will get more and more used to my kids loving on them!

  11. Ally says:

    Holy Cow, your kids are adorable. I’ve always wanted a rabbit, but at the moment, my dog wouldn’t welcome it.

    1. Ashley says:

      Awww, thanks Ally!

  12. Grandpa Rob says:

    Thanks for sharing!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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