Monday, November 30, 2015


It appears we have a new cat. His name is Harvey. He’s a stray that Tom sort of caught. Actually, this kitty has been hovering around our house/yard for months but during the summer, when Orville was still our one and only, Harvey would sneak into the garden and eat our scraps, then scamper away when Orville spotted him.

Last week, Tom didn’t tell us that he’d caught the cat in our detached garage. He kept him in there for over a day then went out with some food and coaxed the hungry kitty out for breakfast.

We’d bought a bag of cat food the weekend before Orville was hit. It hadn’t even been opened.

Last Tuesday, Tom casually mentioned that he’d been feeding the stray that we’d seen throughout the summer.

I got a little snippy and said something about that was fine, whatever, that stray would never be Orville. Alyssa and I might have both cried a little. The memories are blurry. Ahem.

Tom ignored my maudlin comment and said that he’d noticed that the bag of cat food we’d planned to give to either my mom or my brother but that had instead sat in the garage for a month, had been chewed open by the wily cat who was obviously hungry.

So he’d been feeding this kitty for a week or so before he told us about him. By that point, the cat was feeling a little more trusting of Tom and even let me pet him the next day. I reminded him that if he was feeding this cat, he was staking a claim on him.

He replied, “Not necessarily.”

I retorted, “Oh yes, necessarily. Once you feed a stray, you are telling that animal that he’s found his home.”

Tom shrugged but didn’t comment further.

Then Alyssa made his acquaintance. And a love match was made. That little stray cat, a cat who had no reason to trust that we wouldn’t hurt him, followed Tom and Alyssa around our yard after she’d finally gone out to meet him.

He is scared of the road traffic and much prefers to stay in the barn where Alyssa visits him every few hours, staying for quite a while because he tries to block her from leaving. He meows at her when she gets there, climbs into her lap to make sure she has easy access for petting.

We’re hoping to plump him up and keep him healthy. He has an appointment with our local vet soon. He’s already proving to be an excellent mouser and an even better pet.

As I posted on Thanksgiving on Facebook, I’m so thankful for healing hearts, both mine and Alyssa’s.

I think Harvey is glad he’s found us. I know we are.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Social Butterfly

Seventh grade has brought quite a bit of social fluttering to Alyssa’s schedule.

Not only is she busier with school (homework every night, weekends included, band and choir performances, art projects/shows) she’s also got a lot of social invitations going around.

In the past three weeks she’s either spent the night with a friend or had a friend over to our house for a night on each weekend.

Last night, a Tuesday! she was invited to go with a friend and the friend’s mom to a Bingo game.

Because she’s doing so well in school, always gets her homework done, practices her flute without cajoling from me and/or Tom, we tend to let her do these social things as they come up.

But…Alyssa is like her mom. She’s an introvert. She loves spending time with her friends but not getting enough down time, alone time, she wears out quickly and easily.

Last night after the Bingo game, which ended around 8:00 and she got home from at 8:30, she was worn out.

She said to me, “Please don’t let me go with any friends to anything for at least two weeks.”

I hugged her close and laughed, “Even if you swear that you want to go?”

She shrugged. “I love my friends but they make me tired.”

“How about if we have a couple of friend-free weekends in a row?” I suggested.

She nodded her agreement. We do love her friends but sometimes the best things in life are best enjoyed in small doses. We are having the Porch girls over on Friday, but only for a few hours. That’s just enough to get friend time in without wearing a girl out.

Overnight events are just sometimes too much. Alyssa is not a night owl. She needs to be asleep by 10:00 each night in order to be functional the next day. Most of her friends would rather be up until 3am and then sleep until noon.

That’s not our schedule. We go to sleep early(ish) and get up early(ish). We like it that way and so going friend-free for a couple of weeks seems like a good plan.

After that, we’ll try to space it all out for her.

She has told me she appreciates that I am willing to be the ‘bad guy’ when she doesn’t really want to go to a friend’s house but doesn’t want to tell them. I will say no and she can tell her friends that her mom is mean and won’t let her do something.

I’m okay with that. That’s just one more aspect of parenting that I’m getting pretty good at, even if I have to say so myself.

I am just glad she’ll tell me these things so I can help her get her alone-time needs met even as she and her friends meet each other’s social needs.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

So Thankful

I’d like to think that I’m thankful for all my blessing, luck, whatever you want to call it, all year long but today is the day to express my thanks and so here goes.

I’m thankful that we’re all healthy.

I’m thankful that we have a home, food in our fridge, clothes on our backs and shoes on our feet.

I have a job that provides much for our family, allows us to provide the necessities with a little left over to enjoy some frivolities every so often.

I’m thankful for extended family. There is something to be said for multi-generational families. My girls get so much from being in close contact with my mom. She’s an amazing source of information and support for me and the girls just adore her so, so much. I love the love the flows from the generation before me to the generation after me. I am so lucky to get to watch their relationships grow and prosper.

I’m thankful for a supportive husband. I mean, he’s pretty amazing. As much as I might grumble or roll my eyes when he gets ‘lectury’ with me, I’m lucky to have him in my corner, on my side, at my back. I really wouldn’t want to do this alone and I do know how lucky I am that I don’t have to.

On this day, and every day, I try to focus on the good, the wonderful, the blessing, the luck that I’ve encountered, that I received each day. There’s something to be said for greeting each day with a grateful heart.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

AM Chaos

Sometimes our mornings are nice and smooth, everyone getting up right on time (or *gasp* early), everyone (the girls) eats their breakfast in a timely matter and there’s even time at the end of breakfast, after shoes are donned and teeth are brushed, for everyone to do something fun before hopping into the car or onto the bus.

This morning was not one of those easy, smooth, carefree mornings.

This morning was full of frustration, dawdling, admonitions to EAT ALREADY, scowls and annoyances. It felt chaotic, hectic, unbearable.

When I finally made my way down a little after 7:00, Tom was just about ready to throw both girls out on the snowy deck. Alyssa wouldn’t look up from her tablet long enough to eat her breakfast and Olivia wanted to ‘write’ as she ate her cereal. It’s hard to hold a pencil and a spoon at the same time unless your ambidextrous and Olivia is not. She kept asking why she had to feed herself when Tom has two perfectly good hands and could feed her so she could write while he did.

He looked up at me in exasperation.

I told Alyssa to go put the tablet away and took O’s pencil and paper away.

All that did was create grumbling from the under 13 crowd but, alas, sometimes a grumble or two have to happen when parenting occurs.

We’re a team here but there are days when one or the other needs to step in and take up the slack. We’re human, we get tired, we get frustrated, we loathe repeating ourselves and parenting is one long track of repetition.

So we fight through the chaos with the hope that tomorrow will be smoother, easier, less grumbly.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Yellow Note

I got an email from Olivia’s teacher last week. It was to tell me that Olivia was coming home with a yellow note. A yellow note is a note from your child letting you know what they did that was unacceptable at school that day.

The child writes out their infraction, they sign the note, they bring the note home so parents can sign it and then it goes back to school.

Olivia wasn’t following directions. While at the school computer with instructions to work on math facts, Olivia was instead, surfing the web, looking at dresses.

Yes. It’s true. She was looking at dresses instead of doing math.


Okay then.

How do we address this?

Obviously, we talked to her about not using school computers to look at dresses. School computers are for school work, dresses are not school work.

But damn, I had to fight the smile and the laughter over this one. I’m sorry. I really am but it was funny.

I mean, come on, who else out there would rather look at pretty dresses instead of doing math facts? Duh, all of us, right?

Of course I held it together until after Tom and I had a stern talk with Olivia, asking her if she understood what she’d done wrong, telling her that the school computers are for school work, blah blah blah.

Then, after she left the room he and I stifled laughter and had a moment of shared amused exasperation. Our youngest child is so awesome and yet so awesomely frustrating in all the best ways.

When she came to my bed at midnight on Sunday night, I groggily asked her what was wrong. She stood there for several seconds before coming up with, “I’m just so lonely in my own bed.”

I scooted over and let her climb in next to me but as I did I told her, “Okay, but tomorrow, you’re going to sleep all night in your own bed because we both sleep better when you do.”

She gave a contented sigh as she leaned into me and whispered, “Maybe you sleep better when I stay in my bed but I sleep better here.”

She’s got me there. Actually, it’s pretty obvious that this kid has me wrapped around her little, sleepy finger.

To end on a positive note, last night, she DID sleep in her bed all night long. Not a peep out of her, no cries of loneliness, no sighs of grief at not being in her bed, just deep, sweet sleep for all of us. Sometimes giving in doesn’t mean starting all over with attempting consistency.


Monday, November 23, 2015

She Shines

This girl melts my heart even as she exasperates me to the point of throwing grown up tantrums.

We had a group birthday party for Olivia, who will be nine this week, Jaxon who turned eight last week and for Sabella, who turned ten last week.

If O had been born on her due date, her birthday would have fallen right between Sabella’s and Jaxon’s. As it is, she gets to be eight a few days longer while Jaxon has already joined her in the world of eight year olds.

My mom was gracious enough to throw the birthday party at her house. It was wonderful.

We invited the Porch girls to join us along with all the family that was there. Olivia was in her element as one of the birthday girls. She got dolls and jewels and dress-up clothes. She got to play games and blow out a candle. She ate cake and laughed at jokes.

Eight has been awesome with this girl. I imagine that nine will be just as wonderful if not better. She’s growing and maturing and learning. She never stops asking questions and trying to figure out the world and her place in it.

When she’s not following me from room to room sharing her very vivid imagination, she’s wrestling with her dad, playing outside in the freshly fallen snow and bugging her sister.

Those things in the above paragraph? They’re what typical eight year old do. While we get that she’s not completely typical, we are so, so lucky that our Livie lives such a perfectly, wonderfully life just this side of ordinary.

She shines a bright light where ever she goes and I feel blessed to be able to bask in it and watch her as she changes the world to suit her.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Secret Doors

While at the mall last weekend, Alyssa’s friend purchased a book. On the way home, she was reading the book and found a quiz. Both A and S took the quiz and then they asked me the questions.

When we were done, I was declared to be a purple chair. Not sure what that means but S began reading the personality traits of a purple chair.

I didn’t actually pay that much attention to what she was saying until she mentioned my love of secret doors.

“I DO love secret doors,” I gasped. “I’ve always wanted to have secret doors and passageways all through my house.”

Everyone in the car laughed but I was actually serious.

I’ve had so many dreams involving secret doors and rooms and passageways.

I’ve imagined cutting a secret door between the closets in the girls’ room and the guest room in our house. There are other places I’ve considered putting secret doors or rooms.

It’s all just so fascinating.

I mean, imagine the zombie apocalypse. Now imagine roaming walkers and hungry people who are willing to do just about anything to take what is yours.

If we had a secret room in our house, we could hide in there, with all our supplies, until the zombies and humans finished ransacking the rest of house, finding nothing of use because, duh, it’s all in the secret room, that’s…yep, a secret!

I might have given this too much thought.