Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May 31, 2011

Ben is crazy about batman and robin right now and has been for a while now. Yesterday at Target I got the boys each a small batman and robin coloring book / activity book. This morning, he was coloring in that book and said to me, "Mommy, you know what's a pity? I only have one more batman to color in this book". I had to ask him, in case I had misunderstood what he said, "It's a pity?" and he said yes and then repeated it again.

Isn't that a pity?

He catches me by surprise like this every once in a while, by using a word like this that is not a common word in our house or with anyone else that he sees frequently. When he hears a word that he is not familiar with, he always asks what it means. He stores it away and, eventually, he will use it, just out of the blue and seemingly without fore thought. Isn't that funny?

Monday, May 30, 2011

May 30, 2011

We have not blown away, although we were close to going to the storm shelter the other day. I have not posted lately because I just have not felt like it.... plus I am still finishing up a few things around here, such as hanging pictures, so we can feel settled in and at home. I'm almost done. Just a few more touches and that will be it, thankfully.

Not much new going on around here really. The boys are still taking violin and we had a very good week with it this week. They are now learning to use their fingers on the neck of the violin and they have learned several new notes that allows them to play the beginning of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and all of Hot Cross Buns, or at least all of the version that is in the book we use. I'm sure it is not the entire song. This is the first week that they have been able to play something they recognize and they have been so excited about it. It is fun to see them get excited about it and I am hopeful that it will mostly be downhill from here.

They are taking the summer off of soccer and next week they will start gymnastics for the summer instead. After the summer, they will have to choose which they want to do for the school year. They have had two weeks out of swimming lessons but will also start that again next week. They are both doing very well with swimming now. They can both jump off the diving board and swim over to the ladder or to the side of the pool. They can also swim across the pool, coming up to take breaths when needed. So they are doing pretty well but I would not call them strong swimmers, by any means. We are planning to have them continue to take swimming lessons through Kindergarten and possibly through next summer and then we will reevaluate.

My goal is to have them in only one sport, plus violin lessons, when we start 1st grade. However, if we really feel they need to stay in swimming lessons, I'm sure we will manage to fit it in. I just know that we will have a lot on our plate then, so trimming out everything we can would be best. We will also be adding a once a week meeting with the homeschool coop and once a month field trip with them, so we will have plenty to keep us busy.

I started looking through our Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading today to see where we left off several months ago. It has been quite a while since we have done any lessons but I would like to start up again soon. Nick is really reading very well these days, definitely past where we left off in the book, but I know he will progress even faster when we start lessons again. And Ben is reading very well but probably a bit behind where we left off in the book. He is so into pretending that he is not very motivated to pick up a book and sit down on his own to read. Nick is always reading something and stays up reading something or looking at pictures after we tuck him in at night.

Speaking of bedtimes, I am quite surprised at how late the children in our neighborhood are up in the evenings. There are two little boys who live across the street who are around the same age as Ben and Nick and I know at least one of them definitely stays up much later than Ben and Nick. Our schedule is that they normally start getting ready for bed around 7:00 to 7:15ish. Then we sit and read for a good amount of time and say prayers. Then we go upstairs and brush their teeth, tuck them in and give them hugs and kisses. Our goal is to have them tucked in around 8:00ish. We try to stay with our schedule most of the time but there are times when things come up and we run late....or if we are reading a really good book and just can't find a good stopping place for a while. But the vast majority of the time, they are in bed sometime between 8:00 and 8:15 and they normally sleep until 7:00am. The two boys who live across the street both have older siblings so I am sure that plays a big role in the schedule they keep.

I still miss my Zoe, although the painful part of it all is not as bad, of course. I do still have my moments and one of them was just tonight, when I saw her picture on my blog. When I let myself really think about her, my heart hurts so much and I miss her so very much. It is so sad to think that I will never see her and hold her again. I am very blessed though that I still have my Dancer boy. He has decided that the screened-in back porch is his new favorite place. He sleeps out there most of the day in one of the two lawn chairs (we really need to buy some new outdoor furniture and are looking for some). I have to make him come in at night so I can lock the door. I'm glad he is enjoying it so much.

The new cat news is that we are getting another bengal girl cat, well, kitten actually. She is just a baby kitten and she is a lighter colored bengal like Zoe was. The soonest we can get her will be July 2nd. I am very excited about it but I also feel a little guilty when I think about Dancer and I wonder how he will react. I know his initial reaction will likely not be very positive, which is natural, but I am really hoping and praying that he will come around to like her and be nice to her.

In other news, we have been enjoying our new neighborhood and yard a lot. Bike riding around here is great. The boys and I biked over to the nearby elementary school the other day and they enjoyed playing on their playground. We took the boys to the Renaissance Fair on Saturday. They enjoyed it and there were parts of it that were good but, overall, had I known then what I now know, I probably would have skipped it. There were just too many things that were not kid-appropriate, in my humble opinion. Oh well. Live and learn. Our neighborhood pool is under construction so, hopefully, by the beginning of July, we might be able to start using it.... that's what they say but I seriously doubt that it will be ready by then. I have really enjoyed being home more since we moved here. I'm not sure when I became such a homebody but I sure am. Who'd have thought??

Time for me to get some sleep. Sorry I have not been updating as much. Maybe I'll have more to write about once we start schooling.

Monday, May 16, 2011

May 16, 2011

As expected, I find that it is a bit easier each day. Of course, I still miss her a lot and there are moments when something happens that really brings it home again but I am having a lot more moments of fond memories too. Thanks so much for your heartfelt calls, emails and comments and also your prayers. I really appreciate them.

This morning I was looking for something in my night stand drawer and I found about 8 or 10 straws that I had collected there from Miss Zoe. She used to love to play with straws. They were pretty much her favorite toy, straws and pens. The boys have straws and connectors for building structures and they are always missing some when they put them away. Zoe would always find them and have a ball playing with them. I would sometimes give her a drinking straw too and she loved those. She would carry her toys from room to room, following me around, so she could play in the room where I was.

She was also always stealing pens from the husband. He has a basket on his night stand where he puts whatever he has in his pockets when he is getting ready for bed. He always has pens in there and also there are always pens on his desk. Zoe was a little snooper because she discovered that he kept pens in that basket and she was always taking them from there and also from his desk. She sometimes knocked the whole basket to the floor, while trying to steal a pen.

We would come in from being out somewhere and there would be a pen in the hallway and/or one in our bedroom or on our bed. She would carry them to where ever she wanted to play. I picked up at least two pens a day normally, sometimes even three or four.

Here she is, caught in the act:

The reason I had so many straws in my night stand drawer was because she would find one at night, carry it to our bed and start playing with it on top of me. I would wake up, take it away from her, tell her "no no Zoe" and go back to sleep. There was a night or two when I had to take two or three of them from her before she quit bothering me. After that, I made sure the straws were picked up when the boys were finished with them. Even then, she found them on one of the bottom shelves of the bookcase and we had to relocate them to a higher shelf so she could not get them, the little snooper.

She was quite a character and had a wonderful personality. She was a bengal cat, as is my other cat Dancer. They are really a wonderful breed of cats. I have had cats all my life but I have never had a cat like a bengal before. They are really a very different acting breed, as cats go. They are very social and very smart and many people say they have a lot of dog-like qualities. I don't know about that but I do know they are very unique. Some of them have very very soft fur, more like a pelt. Zoe had fur like this but Dancer does not. A lot of them like water and enjoy playing in it, such as in a bathtub with a small amount of water in it or just playing in running water. They are also normally stronger and can jump higher than a normal cat. Dancer used to really like to play with wads of paper.

I spend some time yesterday gathering all of the pictures I have of both Zoe and Dancer and putting them in one folder. Here are a couple of my favorites of Zoe.

She used to love to lay down in this bowl. I would have to quickly clean it out for her or she would use her paw and do it herself. She had not done this in such a long time and then she did it again just recently, after we moved into our new house. She was a funny girl and frequently did things to make me laugh.
Sleeping in the sun, a favorite:

I had forgotten about this until I ran across this picture yesterday. When I had a broken foot last year, she wanted to ride with me on the knee scooter, even if it meant being uncomfortable in the basket.

And this is the last picture I took of her, when she was sleeping next to my bed and feeling pretty bad, not wanting to eat or get up for very long.

I love this picture of her. It is so Zoe and she loved that blanket. I carried her to the vet's on that blanket and she was laying on it in my lap when she fell asleep, before the vet took her away to give her the medication that would put her down.

For those of you who really don't like hearing about my cat, I am thinking this will be the last post about her but I can't promise:). I find it very therapeutic to write down my thoughts and I also want to remember these little things about her. So, I don't plan to write again but I cannot promise that it won't come up. It probably will but hopefully in smaller and smaller spurts.

Today was my first full day of not crying and I was actually fairly happy all day. I'm making progress.

Friday, May 13, 2011

May 13, 2011

My little kitty (the one on the right), who was not little and was actually 13 years old, died yesterday. She had a few good days after coming home from the hospital last Saturday and then she took a turn for the worse again. She was spending almost the entire day in her bed and was barely eating anything. She was losing weight very fast.

I think taking her to the vet to be put down was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. She was my first baby. She was my buddy, my faithful companion. She loved me unconditionally and she loved me so much and showed it every day.

When I woke up in the morning, she was sitting on my bed, waiting patiently. When she saw I was awake, she would frequently start meowing at me and come over for a pet or a cuddle. When I went into the bathroom to get ready for the day, she came along and sat up on the counter watching me. She would drink some water out of the faucet while I was putting on my makeup. She followed me from room to room as I did my morning chores, hoping I would pick her up or simply talk to her. She was very talkative and, when I spoke to her, she would normally meow back at me, usually loudly (she was very opinionated). When I picked her up, I normally carried her up high, with her front paws on my shoulder and her back paws in my hand, cradled next to my chest. She would purr so loudly and, when I pet her, she would make the funniest sounds, telling me again how much she loved me.

She normally slept from mid-morning to late afternoon and then our routine would start all over again. She would sit nearby while I made dinner. She would sit next to me in my chair if I sat down for a bit. She would talk to me a lot, mostly because she really wanted me to pick her up and carry her around more than I had time for right then.

When I came out of the boys' room after putting them down for bed, she would be right outside of their door, waiting for me. She would immediately start meowing loudly, wanting me to pick her up and carry her downstairs, which I always did. When we got downstairs, I would put her down so I could turn out lights, close blinds, finish putting things away and gathering my things in preparation for some down time in my room. She would again follow me from room to room, knowing the routine and looking forward to retiring to the bedroom.

Once in the bedroom, the morning routine was repeated, only backwards. She looked forward to her drink of water (the cats do have a little water fountain they can drink from but she preferred the faucet, if she could talk someone into turning it on for her). She would sit on the counter, watching my every move. When I was finished, I would usually carry her back to the bedroom and put her in a chair or on the bed and she would settle in for the night.

If I left the room for a quick refill of my water, she would stay put and wait for me to come back. But if I left the room for a longer period of time, she would come find me and meow at me loudly, as if scolding me. If I did not return to the room soon after, she would start running back and forth through the house as if her tail was on fire and then she would play wildly with something for a few minutes and then start following me and meowing at me loudly again. She did not like it when I varied our routine. On days/nights when the husband works, she was quite happy because I kept to the routine most of the time.

She was actually a very demanding diva cat and would meow quite loudly when she was not happy about something, such as noisy boys who came too close to her or boys who were trying to irritate her in some way, or if I was not picking her up when she wanted me to or if I was not going to bed at the normal time. But she was my diva cat and she loved me completely. Her life revolved around me and I loved her so much. I feel as if there is a big hole in my heart and in my life. My stomach and my heart hurts. If I stay busy, it is easier. And I frequently have to remind myself that she was not feeling well and was not acting like herself for the past two weeks or so. She was clearly not a happy girl and I could see it in her face and body language.

I have never experienced this feeling before. I have always had cats, since I was just a little girl. Many pictures that were taken of me when I was just 3 or 4 show me holding a cat. I have had many cats that have died, as they were all cats that went outside and they just don't live that long. I got Dancer and Zoe when they were both little kittens. I was single and so they were my first babies. They were with me through thick and thin for so long. They have adjusted to so much over the years - me getting married, which was no issue because they both love the husband, moving from Houston to Oklahoma, adopting two little baby/toddler boys (this was the biggest adjustment by far) and then moving two more times. They have been through a lot with me and have always loved me and trusted me unconditionally.

And now my little shadow is gone. When I walk into my bedroom, bathroom or closet, somehow my breath is kind of taken away and I don't completely understand how it happens but I know it is because she is not there. There is such an empty hole in my daily routine and in my heart. It physically hurts and I don't like it. I miss her so much and I have questioned and doubted, wondering if I gave up on her too soon or if I didn't try hard enough to determine what was wrong so maybe she could have lived longer.

But, when I am thinking logically, I know that God provided the exact time and circumstances. When she first got sick last week, I thought I would have to put her down then and I was really really not ready. It took me a while and some prayer but, before she came back home from the vet, I was finally in a position that I was thinking more of her welfare than of my feelings and emotions.

When she came back home from the vet, she was almost like her old self. She was happy and playing and enjoying life again and she was totally loving me, wanting to be with me all the time. The only thing was that she was not eating very much. I thought she had just had some sort of infection and the antibiotic took a couple of days to really kick in and that she would be completely back to normal in no time. But I never could relax. I watched her like a hawk, looking for anything that just was not right, mostly because I knew she was not quite back to her old self, even though she was pretty happy for a few days. It did not last long.

But God had given me time to adjust to the idea of her dying and He had given me a few extra days to enjoy her. My mom and sister had already planned a visit for yesterday. They come to visit us about once every two weeks and that just happened to be the day they had planned. I had no doubt that God had orchestrated it such, so I would have someone to watch the boys (my mom) and someone who understood how much Zoe meant to me to go with me (my sister).

It was definitely the hardest thing I have done, to let them give her the shot to put her down. It is hard being without her. I know it will get better but, for now, it is just hard and I am sad.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

May 7, 2011

My kitty is home and seems to be back to normal, although much thinner. They xrayed her again this morning and said everything looked fine. She ate and drank during the night and this morning. They said yesterday she hid under her blanket all day and peeked out at them but this morning she was standing at the door of the cage and letting them scratch her neck.

She was very happy to see me and purred a lot on the way home, in between wandering around the van and meowing loudly. Her fur looks back to normal today also. Yesterday it was fluffed up and a friend of mine said that was because she was dehydrated. She drank a lot of water after we got home. Then she wandered around the house for a long time meowing very loudly. I'm not sure what that was all about but I was glad when she settled down for a nap.

The vet thought that maybe she had some sort of virus and it just took a little while for the antibiotic to start working enough for her to start feeling better. Hopefully we will not have any other issues and it is good to know that her overall health appears to be very good for her age.

Jana, thanks for your sweet message and your prayers. Much appreciated. We miss you and love you bunches!

Friday, May 06, 2011

May 6, 2011

So my little Zoe girl is very sick right now. She recently turned 13 years old, although I am told that indoor-only cats often live much longer than that. She started acting sick on Wednesday evening, although not enough for me to be positive that she was sick.

Thursday morning I was positive and I took her to the vet. He checked her out and took some blood to run some tests. He really thought she was diabetic because that is quite common with older cats (although this was new information to me). He quickly determined this was not the problem.

The other things that he rattled off that could be the problem were all big things, such as renal failure or liver problems. The tests would come back the next morning. He also gave her an antibiotic shot that would act for two weeks, just in case she might have some sort of infection. I was concerned she might have a UTI, as she had had one once before, albeit a very long time ago. She was not running a fever though.

I took her home yesterday morning and she spent the next 24 hours sleeping, hanging out in her bed and sometimes wanting me to hold her. I never saw her eat or drink anything though and I could tell she was becoming dehydrated and growing weaker.

When she was not better by yesterday evening, I really thought she was dying. I prepared myself for bad news from the vet on the blood work and that I would likely have to have her put down this morning. I spent a good deal of time crying. She is such a dear, loyal little friend. She has been my little shadow for so many years now. She sits on the counter, watching me put on make up. She follows me everywhere, including into the bathroom. If I shut her out, she sits outside and meows at me quite loudly or she tries to get in. She just loves being with me or near me. If I am relaxing in bed, watching tv or reading, she is either on the bed with me or on me, or she is sitting in a nearby chair.

I woke up at 2:00am this morning and could not go back to sleep. She was curled up on a soft blanket next to my bed. I felt physically sick thinking about taking her to the vet to be put down. I really had to pray about it to make the switch from selfishly thinking of how much I would miss her to thinking about her and how she was feeling or what she might be experiencing in the way of pain or miserable-ness. The husband had to work today so I would also have to take the boys with me to the vet. I was not looking forward to it.

The vet called me soon after opening and gave me the great news that all of blood work came back really good. Nothing to be concerned about at all. After I told him that I thought she had probably gone 36 hours now without food or drink, he said to bring her back as we were clearly missing something. So the boys and I took her back and the boys behaved quite nicely. The vet examined her again and still found nothing. He decided to keep her for a while, take an xray of her abdomen and give her a B12 shot and some fluids. He called later and said the xray looked good. There was one thing they wanted to watch and do another xray tomorrow morning. I think they are concerned there might be an obstruction in her bowel. We agreed the best thing to do would probably be to let her stay there for the night so they could observe her. It is hard for me to see exactly how much she might be eating or drinking or using the bathroom, since I have another cat here too. Plus my attention is also on the boys much of the day.

I am hopeful that tomorrow morning will bring good news and my little buddy will be feeling better. I will be praying for her and hoping for the best. Hopefully I will also sleep a bit better tonight, knowing she is in good hands.

I hope she will get to come home tomorrow. I really miss my sweet little shadow.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

May 4, 2011

We finally got connected to the Internet - just now! I have had withdrawal pains:).

We are in the new house and have been for a week and a day now. We are all adjusting quite well and the unpacking continues. We have most of what we moved from the rental house unpacked but still have lots of stuff (junk) to go through from storage. Until we finish, we cannot park in the garage, so we are very motivated. We are giving lots of stuff away.

The new house is awesome. What a wonderful blessing. This neighborhood is so incredibly peaceful and beautiful. I think my blood pressure went down quite a bit after the move.

Our yard is still dirt/mud, depending on the weather. They started putting in the irrigation system today so, hopefully, sometime next week we will have grass. Until then, the boys are quite happy to play in the dirt.

This house seems quite a bit smaller than our old house, although larger than the rental of course. The husband assures me that it is close to the size of the old house but it sure does not seem so to me. Most of the rooms are smaller than the same room in the old house, although we do have an extra room upstairs so I guess that makes up the difference. I'm not complaining. I am happy to be getting rid of tons of stuff and living life a bit lighter on stuff. I am trying to figure out how to sneak out some toys because we have too many but Ben has a real issue with letting things go.

My favorite room in the new house is actually two rooms, the living room and kitchen. I love being in here and having the screened in back porch is awesome. We can open the doors and enjoy the breeze and the sound of the wind blowing through the leaves and there are lots of windows so we see lots and lots of green. It reminds me so much of when I was a kid at my grandma's and grandpa's old house. The cats love going out on the screened porch also. I moved one of their basket kitty beds out there and Zoe is hanging out there now.

The boys are loving being here too. We are all so happy to be able to stay home and not have to be driving back and forth all the time. It is very clear to me that our overall stress level has gone down tremendously.

The boys love having their own rooms and we have not had any issues with that at all. I had thought Nick might have an issue staying by himself but he really loves it. I made a big deal about letting them each pick out their own bed-side lamp and that they can stay up for a little while and read a book at bedtime. Nick does this every night. Last night he was up too late and I had to talk to him about being responsible about it if he wanted to keep his lamp. He loves to read and I frequently see him reading books throughout the day. Ben is capable of being a very good reader but is behind Nick on ability currently, as he is just not the type to want to sit and read by himself much at this age. He is Mr. Pretend and that is how he spends the majority of his day. He loves to be read to and he enjoys taking turns reading with Nick when the dad or I sit down to read with them. Nick wants to read everything these days so, even if we sit down to read with them, if it is close to his level, he wants to help read it. I really believe Ben will eventually love to read because he really enjoys a great story and loves to be read to. His constant pretending has been very good for Nick too. I don't think Nick would have been quite so much into pretending if it were not for Ben. They are both very good for each other in so many ways.

I am going to catch up on some online reading now. I have been away way too long and need to catch up on what is really going on out there:). Have a great day.