Saturday, August 25, 2012

Today's Mail


Amy was very busy while I was working at my desk today. Then she delivered the mail. 
These are all my leftover (and meant for the kids to play with) wedding-reply cards, scribbled on and properly tucked into their envelopes.  

Most had only a mark or two, but this one was the best of the bunch: 

Not sure what the latter part of that message is, but the first line is pretty clear - she wrote that all by herself without asking me for help with spelling - a first! 

Speaking of love, here's some furry-boy affection from the other day: 

Happy Weekend! 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and The Pretty

We had a lovely long-weekend visit with Don's parents, here. A rarity, and very very good.  We went pretty places and I took pretty pictures (I'm getting more comfortable with my camera in manual mode - go me!). 
It was all good.  

Then they left Monday morning. 
So did Don. 
(Oh, and yesterday was our seventh anniversary - wow!)
Took Amy to the doc for a quick physical and her last round of shots for school. 
She popped a fever almost immediately. 
I spent all of yesterday wondering if it was from the shots or just the typical post-visitor/busy week kind of virus that she seems prone to getting. 
I have anxiety issues when my kids are sick. 
Most mommy stuff I like to think I do pretty well. 
I do not do sick well. 
But we manage. 
Today - quiet. Amy spent most of it on the couch with rotating complaints of dizziness, headache, and stomachache. We watched a lot of tv. She was a good patient and drank lots of water. And ate goldfish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 
She told me tonight (after feeling better) that the goldfish were in her tummy eating all the bad germs.
I think that's great. 
Meanwhile, William spent the day cool as a cucumber and in fine energy and humor. 
But he also spent it sneezing and coughing like there's no tomorrow. 
Which means that means that my week is looking like two kids with two separate bugs that they will inevitably share with each other and with me. Bad. 
Particularly since we've hardly had a chance to get into a "school" routine and have already missed a day. And this week starts Little Gym classes, too. 
And did I mention I'm flying solo right now?

Anyway, thus concludes my mommy-rant of the evening. Sometimes you just have to put it out there. 

And to thank you for your patience I will now shower you with lovely pictures.  

PS - My plight is nothing compared to Amanda's - I don't know them personally of course but through the wonders of blogland feel like I do, and that's a family that could use some prayers for sure. Thanks.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Terrorizing Tadpoles


This weekend, we added to the list of Things I Never Thought We Could Do In Our Backyard.  There is only so much nature one can expect to experience in a freshly landscaped community of new constructions.  Our backyard is sod.  Our "woods" are a stand of eight pine trees.  It's not the acre of trees and rocks and kid-scale wilderness that I grew up with, but all the same, we're finding quite a bit of wildlife and adventure here for the exploring.  Thunderstorms almost every afternoon have made some soggy spots in our neighborhood, and the area behind our house, where the kids took a kayak ride in the spring, has become a tree frog breeding ground. 

So Saturday and Sunday morning were spent catching tadpoles. 


Don and I dorked it up first, by going out in our boots late Friday night, with a flashlight, to get a look at the frogs who have been making such a ruckus out there.  Their cacophony suggested dozens of little chirpers but only two let themselves be spotted.  We could hardly wait to take the kiddos out in the morning. 

Trying to teach the skills of "step slowly, scoop quickly" took some time.  William really just wanted to stomp through the puddles up to his knees.  Amy was determined to catch the tadpoles herself, and with some practice, finally got the hang of it. Don kinda ruined my fun by pointing out just how many bacteria and parasites were likely thriving in the stagnant water.  Yum. 


After catching a whole slew of the little wiggly guys we decided to "keep" the biggest one that already had legs and two of the teeny tiny ones.  They are living rather happily in their muddy little aquarium on the back porch right now.  Within a day our big guy sprouted arms, and his tail is diminishing. What fun to watch this transformation.  


Kinda like watching these little tadpoles grow up... 

Thursday, August 9, 2012


See that blue sky reflected in the window?  Much better than the string of rainy days we've been having. Though I will remember this stretch of summer when (if) winter is as dry here as it was last year. 

This temperature, at noon today, is much better than 94, which seems to be the standard these days.  Not that I'm complaining.  Just saying.  It's steamy here. 

The living room currently looks much better than it does in this picture.  Last night I went on a tear and found better places to keep a lot of the favorite toys.  And by better, I mean, not lined up around the edge of the room. 

This young lady starts preschool in just a few short days.  She can't wait.  Yesterday she and I wrote a novel.  She dictated, I wrote, she illustrated.  The story involved airplanes, neighbors, swimming pools, and "Juliett's spirit."  Would she be better off in kindergarten this year? I wonder a little, but I am glad we're starting it off easy. 

My garden is doing better with all that rain.  The potted hibiscus is blooming again.  The blooms are the size of dinner plates.  Well, almost.  Absolutely unreal. 


Not much better than this.  Smiley boy on bike.  One of many bikes.  He likes to carry his matchbox cars around in a purse these days. He loves knock-knock jokes almost as much as Amy does.  Neither one of them understands what makes a proper knock-knock joke, but nevertheless, they crack each other up.  

Yup, not much better than this. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

this moment

I'm gonna end this week a la Amanda Soule, and simply share this moment
Thanks to everyone who sent virtual hugs and support this week. It's all good here. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


This past Saturday we very suddenly and very unexpectedly lost our dear kitty Juliett.  She was just barely seven years old and was part of our family for six of those years.  She died of what was most likely an undetected heart condition, according to the vet who cared for her.  She was her normal self in the morning, and left us far to quickly that afternoon. 

All of us who have shared our lives with a pet know just how hard the loss is. 

Juliett was so thoroughly part of our lives that I feel her absence keenly throughout the day.  I even think of her when I feed the fish, because she always was there to "help" and lick a few flakes of the fish's food. 

She was always there to finish the ice cream in my bowl, or steal the pepperoni from the frozen pizza.  I scolded her far too often for jumping on the table or scratching at the back door.  I would have let her scratch all the doors in the house if it could have granted her a few more years with us. 

She was a cat who would sit up on her hind legs to rub her head against an outstretched hand.  She'd give forehead kisses to anyone at eye level.  She didn't run when babies cried; she came to the room to see what was wrong.  She came to me if I cried, or even if I didn't cry - she still knew if something was bothering me. 

She tolerated the addition of not just one fluffy kitten (Ollie), but THREE more two years later.  She even let Humphrey lick her ears once in awhile. She accepted the new human lives we brought home, and enjoyed them with more than the usual feline tolerance. 


Juliett knew just how to strike a balance between family affection and feline aloofness.  No matter what, she was always there.  

We walked her on a leash, endlessly.  We packed her up and took her on weekend trips with us. She moved with us from Rhode Island to Maryland to South Carolina, and all the little stops in between. 

Juliett spent her first year as a stray, and was taken in by a kind woman around the time she gave birth to three kittens.  She was brought to a shelter where her kittens were quickly adopted. I went looking for a pet - dog or cat?  I didn't know; we had just started our Coast Guard life and were, after a year of marriage, finally living in a house that allowed pets.  There were so many cats to choose from. While I talked with a shelter volunteer I absent-mindedly reached my fingers through the cage of a playful tabby at eye level.  She chose me and I brought her home that day.  Her name then was Chloe - my family had just lost our own 15-year-old Chloe earlier that summer.  It seemed appropriate. 

She was a serious cat.  And by that I mean, serious about being a cat.  She depended on those daily outings on her leash for a chance to be out in the green grass.  Those outings gave purpose and routine to my under-employed, pre-motherhood days. Once we moved to Maryland and she proved trustworthy off the leash, she showed off her prowess as a hunter, catching everything from birds to voles to rabbits to skinks. Those she would find in the garage, and bring into the house, loudly announcing her catch.  Her proudest moment was catching a squirrel - twice, in fact - shortly after we moved here.  Most afternoons she begged to go back outside, just so she could snooze in the sunshine. 

In seven years I dare say Juliett lived a more fully feline life than many twice her age. 

And like Don said, she always came back.  She jumped fences, climbed trees, wandered too far, disappeared in the marsh grasses and even once down a storm drain, but always, she came back.  Most of the time she came when I called her.  She didn't have to; she was so comfortable and competent in the great outdoors, she could have up and left, but she didn't.  She always, happily, came back.  

Saturday was so devastating because for the first time, she didn't come back. 

No, now she is waiting: 

"Just this side of heaven lies the Rainbow Bridge. When a beloved pet dies, it goes to the Rainbow Bridge. It makes friends with other animals and frolics over the rolling hills and peaceful lush meadows of green.  Our pets do not thirst or hunger.  The old and sick become young once more; the maimed and the ill become healed and strong.  They are as healthy and playful as we remember them in days gone by.  Though happy and content, they still miss someone very special, someone they had to leave behind.  Together, the animals chase and play, but the day comes when a pet will suddenly stop and look into the distance... bright eyes intent, eager body quivering.
Suddenly recognizing you, your pet bounds quickly across the green fields and into your embrace.
You celebrate in joyous reunion.  You will never again separate.  Happy tears and kisses are warm and plentiful, your hands caress the face you missed.  You look once more into the loving eyes of your pet and know that you never really parted.  You realize that though out of sight, your love had been remembered.  And now, you cross the Rainbow Bridge together." -Author Unknown

 And so for now we must content ourselves with a thousand memories and hundreds of pictures.  Now I do not need to fear losing her.  I know that sweet Juliett will always be with us, close in our hearts.