Friday, May 30, 2014

48 inches

With her boots on, she reached the line! Let the fun begin!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Meet Squeegee

One of our cats passed away about a month ago. His name was Pounce. We still have Rascal. I don't talk much about them on this blog simply because they really never interacted much with the children. They were 7 years old by the time Ellie was born, and to be honest, they were kind of anti-social grumps. Pounce was better than Rascal in that regard so it was hard to have him go, but we've always wished that the girls could have that childhood experience of bonding with a cat of their own.

And so we decided to get another cat! I know, it was a shock to me too. With nearly 14 years of dealing with hairballs and lots of shedding, I definitely had no interest in another long haired cat. But a short-haired one? Now let's talk more about it!

The girls originally wanted a kitten. Who can blame them? Kittens are super cute and I even had a hard time not falling in love with the ones we saw. However, what really surprised me was Addie's response to the kittens. She was actually SCARED of them! She did not like their high level of energy and their lack of understanding on how to be gentle when playing with her. There is a fine line between play and biting/scratching and Addie simply didn't understand that the line even exists.

Combine that with the guilt trip we gave Ellie about how kittens find homes easily because everyone wants a kitten, but older cats have a hard time finding a family to love them, and we got Ellie on board with the idea of an older cat. The problem with the older cats, though, was that it was nearly impossible to get a feel for their personalities in such a short timeframe and in the confined space of the shelter's observation room.

After a few failed attempts at finding a perfect fit, we found ourselves at Petco, where they had kitties up for adoption from yet another shelter. And we found her! It was really quite amazing how different our initial meeting with her was compared to the previous kitties. I think it took me all of 2 seconds to love her, the girls all of 20 seconds and Michael... perhaps a minute.

Meet Squeegee. She is crazy social! She talks a lot and loves attention (though she doesn't like to be held). I've never seen a cat warm up to so many people in such short amount of time. She's 9 months old, which is actually not as old as we would have liked, but no doubt she is just the right kitty for the girls.

She's now been home for 2 days and locked in the guest room for most of that time. However, when we do let her out, it's impressive how quickly she has explored the house. I got a kick out of the way the girls just followed her EVERYWHERE. She chirps and meows and purrs and hmmms... I think she likes to talk.

There is still the unknown of how Rascal will behave with the new addition to the family. So far so good with only a couple low-key moans leading to Squeegee leaving the room. I think she's smart to "not go there" with the old grump that we call Rascal.

And Squeegee? You may ask how such a name came to mind? I once had a dog named Sebaca (Russian for Dog). Nana had a black cat named Snowball. Uncle David had a cat named Breakfast. I love naming cats with completely random and unusual yet perfect names. Squeegee has always been on my list of favorites and it even fits her. She loves to drag herself across the floor to get more attention.

Though Twitch would have been a good name for her too because HOLY SMOKES!!! She has an expressive tail!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


I loved watching Addie be so proud of her present to Ellie. Her body language squealed with delight at how happy she made Ellie.

It was raining.  We were driving home.  The girls had their heads out the windows squealing with delight every time a raindrop hit their faces.  This is the life.

I love love love Addie's imagination. She has always had such a wonderful sense of imagination when she plays and not it's coming out in her story telling. Where Ellie just states the general details, Addie elaborates and gives emotion and conversation and even twist endings. It is so much fun to listen to her go on and on and on telling a story. When we sit around the fire pit, telling stories, she now takes more than her fair share of the story telling time.

I love that even after all this time, if Addie is having a difficult morning and breaks down when she realizes that she's not going to be able to sit and eat breakfast with her sister because Addie's class is leaving to go to their own classroom, Ellie doesn't hesitate to offer to join her just so that they can sit next to each other. Such a good sister.

ELLIE: I want to do Girl Scouts!
MOMMY: Do you even know what Girl Scouts do?
ELLIE: Of course I do. They sell cookies!

I love how songs affect Addie to the core. Intermission of Shrek the Musical followed a sad song about Shrek wishing he could be a real hero. Addie had tears streaking down her face. "Mommy, that song made me really sad. I am trying to be brave and calm down but I am really sad for Shrek!"

I love how my husband sings as though he is performing on Broadway.

New Addie-isms:
"Anything is possible! You just have to imagine-ate and it can come true!"
"Thank you Mama for the good remind-a-me. I almost forgot to do that!"

Oh, and did I mention that I love how Addie sincerely calls me "Mama?"

Monday, May 26, 2014

Married to my best friend

ELLIE:  Some people think that just because I'm a girl it means I should marry a boy. 
MOMMY:  What do you think about that?
ELLIE:  I think that it shouldn't matter just as long as you marry someone you really love.
MOMMY:  I agree completely. 
ELLIE:  I want to marry Brynn because she's always been my best friend and will be my best friend forever.  I want to be married to my best friend like you and Daddy.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Family Photos - Outtakes

I have to say, that if *THESE* are the photos that "didn't make the cut," then DAMN!!! Did I mention that life is JUST. THAT. GOOD.

A sincere thank you to Jenna Dancy Photography. A new friend gained and new memories captured.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Family Photos

LOOK! LOOK! I wasn't sure the blossoms would last through the Mother's Day snow, but they weren't too shabby. Perhaps they were a little less pink, but I'm thrilled with the results! Life is good.

In fact, life could not be any better...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Next Year's Photos

I stumbled across a grove of blossoming crab apple trees. How could I have not noticed them sooner? I pass this grove every day! But alas, it's likely too late to use this stunning grove as the backdrop to our annual springtime family photos. By the time that Daddy gets back into town, these beautiful blossoms will likely be gone. Or covered in snow.

So what's a Niffer to do? Of course, she makes the most of her options. If I can't have family photos, what's the next best thing? Sister photos! The girls LOVED this tiny corner of magic, and as they ran around the grass, I saw blossoms drop to the ground like snow with every giggle from the girls.

My fingers are crossed that the blossoms will hold out until next week when I get a chance to do family photos, but if they don't, you can rest assured that this will be the location of our 2015 spring time photo shoot!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Happy Mommies

The girls designed jewelry for Mother's Day...



But mine is the best!

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Bears and the Dragon Race

"The Bears and the Dragon Race" illustrated & written by Addie for Grammie on Mother's Day.

Once there was a race in a deep dark forest and the dragon meeted the bear.  "Hey do you want to go by me when the race is done?" asked the dragon.  
The bear answered "Why yes!"

"But how does the race go?" asked the bear.
"Oh there are yellow boards you follow.  If you fall off then you can get back up because there are crocodiles in the water!"
The bear said "UH!"

"Don't worry," said the dragon, "I will hold your hand so you won't be scared."  
And so the race began!

And then they raced and raced and raced.  They raced as long as they could!  They just kept racing!

Then at the end, the one who got the trophy was the one who made it to the end.  The bear and the dragon won but the dragon raced faster.

And the bear said "Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you for letting me go slower.  I didn't know that the slowest one would win!"

And so they both walked away with trophies.  The bears and dragons were friends forever!


Friday, May 09, 2014

The Easter Bunny Race!

"The Easter Bunny Race!" illustrated and ritten by Ellie (for Grammie on Mother's Day)

On a hill beside a stream a mother bunny was so exited because she was going to have her first baby bunny born!

finily her baby bunny got born.  She was so cute.  She was so tiny and her ears wear so small her nose twitched.  today was her Birthday.

then another baby bunny was born!  the mother bunny was now so exited!  She hopped around exidedly in a circle!  another baby bunny!

Then another baby bunny was born.  he was just like his brother and sister just he was tiny tiny! than his mother said you are so cute and tiny.

than the mother bunny said it is now time for the easter bunny race.  the little bunnies wear so exited the mother led them to the race.

they started raceing.  thay won! the mother bunny was so exited to see the trophy.

they took the trophy home and than took a nap!

Thursday, May 08, 2014

My Very Own Horse Tale

"My Very Own Horse Tale" by Ellie, written for Grandmommy Jeanne for Mother's Day.

Once upon a time there was a family of horses who loved to play games!
(Horse #1:  Tag!)
(Horse #2:  I am it!)
(Horse #3:  I did not get tagged.)

The more fun games they did the more funner it got!
(Horse #1:  Tag!)
(Horse #2: Tag!)
(Horse #3:  I am it!)

It got so much fun they all laughed until there sides hurt!
(Horse #1: My sides hurt)
(Horse #2:  My sides hurt to)
(Hors #3:  My sides do not hurt)

When they got tired of playing games, they took a nap!
(All horses:  zzzzzzzz)

The horses dreamed that rabbits where bowncing on a hill!

Than some ants joined the bunnies!

When the horses woke up they said lets play a game!

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

The Happy Bear and the Bunny Family

"The Happy Bear and the Bunny Family" by Addie, written for Grandmommy Jeanne for Mother's Day

Once upon a time there was a big big family of bunnies and rabbits.  You could call them bunnies or fools because they always got into trouble with the bears.

But the bears were the real fools because they tried to kill the pegasus.  The pegasus said "Hey you fool!  You can't kill us!" and they flew away.

The bears started crying because the pegasus did not let them eat them.  "You don't really know how good they are unless you are nice to them," said the bunny.

"How about a spot of tea with them?  And you have to be very nice to them," said the baby bunny.

The bear said, "I will be nice to all of you if you could just let me eat one of you.  Do you know a stranger of your kind that I can eat?"
"Yes," said the baby pegasus, "but then you have to be nice to us!"
"OK," said the bears.  


Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Magic Pee

ADDIE: Do you know what is real magic? Ellie has magic pee.  No really, she does for real!  When she says "stop"her pee stops and when she says "go" it goes again. She can even do stop and go stop and go! She is so lucky because she has real magic, not like the kind in the books with the frog turning into a prince.  This is real life magic!

Monday, May 05, 2014

Inspiring Parenting Moment FAIL

She's just a girl and she's on fire
Hotter than a fantasy, lonely like a highway
She's living in a world and it's on fire
Filled with catastrophe, but she knows she can fly away

Hmmm... I kind of like this song...

Ohhhh oh oh oh oh
She got both feet on the ground
And she's burning it down
Ohhhh oh oh oh oh
She got her head in the clouds
And she's not backing down

Nice lyrics about a girl who grounded yet hopeful... I'm liking it even more...

This girl is on fire...
This girl is on fire...
She's walking on fire...
This girl is on fire...

Yeah she is! You go girl! OK... OK... I shouldn't try to pull of the "you go girl" thing.

Looks like a girl, but she's a flame
So bright, she can burn your eyes
Better look the other way
You can try but you'll never forget her name
She's on top of the world
Hottest of the hottest girls say

She's awesome! Look how strong she is! Girls, are you listening?

Ohhhh oh oh oh
We got our feet on the ground
And we're burning it down
Ohhhh oh oh oh oh
Got our head in the clouds
And we're not coming down

Listen closely girls... This song is for you!

This girl is on fire...
This girl is on fire...
She's walking on fire...
This girl is on fire...

Yep, that's you! You're on fire!

Everybody stares, as she goes by
'Cause they can see the flame that's in her eyes
Watch her when she's lighting up the night
Nobody knows that she's a lonely girl
And it's a lonely world
But she gon' let it burn, baby, burn, baby

Be strong, my daughters, be strong! Let them all wish they were you!

This girl is on fire...
This girl is on fire...
She's walking on fire...
This girl is on fire...

Oh, oh, oh, oh ohhhhh oh oh oh ohhh oh oh oh ohhhh... [4x]

She's just a girl and she's on fire!

No doubt this is a great song for little girls to listen to and know that they can grow up to be awesome. Right? Who's with me on this?? Can I hear a "Hell yeah!" Right???

ADDIE: It's sad that they put the girl on fire, right Ellie? That's not very nice!
ELLIE: Yeah. I hope that someone is able to help her out soon. I wonder what she did to make them so mad at her.

"Girl On Fire" by Alicia Keys

Friday, May 02, 2014

Black Fish

I admit that we were a bit torn on the idea of taking the girls to Sea World. There is something about the idea of such a beautiful animal being stuck in a large/small (depending on your viewpoint) swimming pool that breaks my heart. That being said, I have similar (though not quite as strong) feelings about any animal in even a common zoo, so we were able to look past those feelings and let the girls have this experience. I'm glad we did.

Daddy and I watched Black Fish a couple nights ago. We purposefully waited until AFTER our trip to Sea World because we knew we were already on the fence about the whole "orca in captivity" topic in the first place.

Watch it if you want. It's heart-breaking, for sure. There are definitely parts of the video that I agree with and other parts that I'm sure are one-sided and a bit jaded. Make your own opinion, but I think my general conclusion is that "documentaries" are likely to be misleading in order to make their case.

In the end, here is what I hope my children grow up to remember...

1. PEOPLE MAKE MISTAKES. I think what happened in the 70's and 80's in capturing wild orcas was despicable. But that was then. This is now. I could be wrong, but I don't THINK that stuff happens anymore. What we know now about Orcas is different than what we knew then.

2. MAKE THE MOST OF A BAD SITUATION. Now there are a bunch of not-so-wild orcas in captivity who likely would not survive the wild if they were released anyway (remember Willy?). So, why not make the most of what you have? Creating awareness and inspiration to get involved is HUGE. Zoos do so much for the outlook and respect that children have for wild animals. They participate in conservation in ways we may not appreciate. I'm sure Sea World is the same.

3. THERE ARE TWO SIDES TO EVERY COIN. For whatever reason Orcas have always pulled at my heart strings more than any other animal. Honestly? I wouldn't be surprised if that originated with Sea World. On the other hand, there is no denying that what you see in Black Fish is absolutely heart breaking. I have found myself going in circles on my personal level of support but I think it's OK to see both sides of the story and be torn and not feeling like it is a topic that leads to a black or white opinion or conclusion. I fall somewhere in the grey.

4. RESPECT NATURE. Ultimately I think Sea World has its place, but no matter how awe-inspiring animals interacting with their trainers may be, it does not come close to the level of inspiration one obtains when seeing the beautiful animals in their natural setting - free to roam/swim as they were meant to be. Now THAT fills you with awe.

5. CREATE STRONG RELATIONSHIPS. Ok, so this one is more specific to Orcas than about animals in general. Orcas are truly a social animal, and they create bonds with their family members that even we may never understand their strength. We can look at them for inspiration on how we can better appreciate our own family. Cheesy I know, but I think there are cases where we, as humans, can learn from others what is truly and universally important.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

The Other Side of Sea World

There was a whole side of Sea World that I did not remember from nearly 20 years ago (UGH! 20 years? REALLY?)

There were lots of rides, lots of water and lots of Elmo. Even Addie was big enough for a few of the rides (we avoided the others). Fun times.

Grover even tried to mess up Ellie's hoola-hooping! But my personal favorite photo? Addie hoola-ing with Elmo.