Friday, March 27, 2009

Break out the firewood

Two words: Wintery Mix.
I'm tired of the cold. I'm tired of winter clothes. I want to play in the dirt!

Ok, if I can't play in the garden I guess I can do something fun while Mira naps. We're a bit tired here - yesterday while I was at my conference she played extra hard at my friends house. My friend has 4 cats. They're probably alot more relaxed to day :). Then this morning we had to be out of the house before she is usually even awake. Sarah had an early ENT appointment, and yes, there was more deterioration/hearing loss in her right ear, with added fluid that wasn't there several weeks ago. She'll have that tube replaced in a few weeks. Hopefully the other will stay put!

We haven't really mentioned her hearing to her, not wanting her to make an issue out of it especially not knowing if it would self-correct, but have been noticing the decline ourselves.
A telling sign: She just nodded her head when the nurse asked her a question this morning and after the nurse left she confided that she really didn't hear the question.

I think I'll go sew a bit - I have a few unfinished projects I could work on. When Mira wakes up we are going to look at those Spring Break trip photos and make her a Zoo/park with Oma & Grandpa book.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Green grass and sun, aaaaah

Yes it is. The grass is actually greening, thanks to last weeks warmer weather and this weekends rain. Yes yes, snow bits forecasted for Friday (she waves that all away), right now the grass is turning a beautiful shade of ALIVE, the sun came out and the skies were a beautiful blue this afternoon during school pick-up drive time.

Oh Happy Day!

Yes, I promised photos. Unfortunately the day I last posted I became ill, as did Mira, with what the other kiddos had. Then we shared with Rich. Weren't we sweet? Knocked us off our feet! And now I'm finishing up a few projects before going to an all day conference on Thursday and and early early Friday morning appointment to have Sarahs' hearing rechecked. Wasn't so great the last time around - fingers crossed.

We did manage to enjoy some of the weekends warmth though, including a lovely afternoon with my cousin Karen on Saturday. We did keep it low key - a neighborhood walk and time at the park before dinner instead of a local hike, but always love just chatting with her. Hope she's staying dry on her Spring Break travels.

Until Friday...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lions, Legos, Fevers and Spring break

How's that for a title? Laugh. We are enjoying ourselves this week, despite the fact that Mira has caught the high fever/cough thing that the other two had last weekend while at Oma and Grandpas'.

Last week we started Spring break with a beautiful day, great school conferences, and a day of hanging out packing.

Friday morning saw us off to Chicago to spend the weekend with my parents. Poor Natasha woke with a fever and bright red cheeks, but after a long nap we spent a few hours at the park, giving Grandpa a bit of exercise chasing the girls.

Sunday afternoon we visited the Lincoln Park Zoo - always fun. A bit cool, but sunny and warm enough to enjoy being outside. Lovely, except Sarah began to feel rather ill halfway through. The Lion and the Leopard were growling/roaring - definately the highlight for Mira. Just ask her - she'll be glad to demonstrate the roaring for you.

The rest of the weekend was filled with girls naps, another trip to the park, playing board games with Grandpa & Oma, painting, and a pierogi run. Oh and a stop at the Lego store to fill the free boxes we earned at Christmas and to gather a variety of blocks from the pick-a-brick wall before heading home, but that's really another post. In other words, a mostly lovely relaxing trip.

Strange coming home to no Ramses though. Silvara and Horatio seem to be adjusting, a little more bold with laps and sleeping on our bed. Wonder what they're thinking?

Despite a lingering cough Natasha and Sarah have recovered quickly so Mira should be up and running before my cousin Karen stops by this weekend on the beginning of her spring break week. Hoping the weather will cooperate so we can do a little hiking? No matter, it'll be fun even if it rains. Hoping to plan some summer camping trips with her as well.

Now, I need to go join my girls - it's still break and they are up late watching our current fave movie, Mamma Mia!

Monday, March 9, 2009

13 years is not long enough

Some of you know how this handsome, fierce, loving fellow came into our lives. But I'll tell the story anyway. One day, two new homeowners went for a walk in their new neighborhood. A beautiful sleek grey cat meowed, we answered. He started to follow us. Not wanting to lead him too far from his home, we decided to head home, just two blocks away. He followed. He hung around. We fed him (do this and a cat will never leave). We fed him while thinking he must live nearby - he had obviously been loved as he was very social, although Athena and Calypso didn't think so. Being indoor cats who were rarely granted the pleasure of walking in the grass during our years of apartment living, they treasured the warm days of open windows and being able to chatter at the tasty looking birds who frequented our yard. As soon as we fed him, this grey cat immediately thought he was in charge, though we refused to let him in the house. He would jump up on the sill of any window Athena or Calypso were in, and hiss and swat at the screen. They hissed back and moved.

Our vet confirmed that he was healthy and that someone had cared enough to have him, ahem, fixed. We called vet clinics, the animal shelter, and placed an ad in the paper all while feeding this stray and making him a bed in the garage. He also started hunting - he loves to eat the (ahem) skulls of small animals, saving the rest for later. Unfortunately for him, we often found and disposed of the rest before he came back for it.
Eventually it became obvious no one was missing him and he was not leaving. We slowly let him spend time in the house, named him Ramses, and learned that he was going to train us instead of the other way around. He learned to come running for food when we whistled, he taught us that being an outdoor sort of cat he was not going to use a litterbox. Oh he would wait until we returned home, but if we were sleeping and he wanted out? He had no problem waking us up. And if he wanted in? Just stand under the bedroom window and yowl - we were trained fast and well. To this day he prefers the outside to a litterbox, unless there happens to be 2 feet of fresh snow at the door (and then he would run to the next door, just in case that one had no snow behind it).

We thought he was beautiful. Rich would stand in the yard and tap his chest and Ramses would jump right up. In the evenings Ramses insisted on sitting on my chest - no matter if I was cross-stitching or reading, he would sit on top of that too, insisting that his presence was all that we required to be happy.

Athena was besotted - she would follow him around the house while he ignored her. He fell asleep on the couch, she would carefully lay down next to him. He'd move, and so would she.

Calypso didn't much care for him. She would hiss and swat. If she was in his path, he would walk around her while she glared at him.

Then the girls came. He sniffed their carriers. He walked away. He slept in their crib - more than they did. They learned when to be careful - and sometimes went to far and were scratched anyway. He learned to love them, though sometimes a little too much. Summertimes in the yard he loved to play chase the ankles. Poor Natasha often had to be carried out of the yard to avoid being taken down as Ramses charged her feet. Even I had to walk slowly backwards to avoid the same fate. Mira he ignored for 6 months, then decided she was a lovely nap partner. Mira doesn't want him to go to Heaven, because then we'll only have two cats and she will miss him. We all will.
When Natasha was 4 or 5 he went on walkabout. I left on an early October business trip. Ramses went missing. I came back - he remained missing. Once again we called around. We started to prepare Natasha, thinking he had gone off to be by himself as cats do when they are ill. Or perhaps he had attacked another animal too big for him - in his time he has swatted the noses of large dogs and taken down a (sick) raccoon. We eliminated the possibility of someone taking him - with all his claws and as fierce as he could be they wouldn't have managed to get him across the yard much less into a car. Even if they had, we reasoned that any catnapper would soon despair of trying to keep him indoors with his refusal to use a litter box. After 6 weeks we assumed the worst. The weather was turning cold and blustery. Then one morning as we were getting ready for the day, there he was up on the kitchen windowsill, very thin, asking to be let in. Wish he could tell us of his adventures.

He was an only cat for a number of years until we brought the kittens home two years ago. After one angry summer spent outside (by choice), he learned once again to share us and even to accept Horatio and Silvara. Sometimes Silvara even sleeps next to him.

He has had other adventures, but these are the legends we'll keep telling. He is a hunter, a lover, and protector with a fierce will to live. It's been a difficult 3 months, but a wonderful 13 years. Calypso and Athena will be waiting to show you the way this afternoon, along with Jester, Alex, and Rumpleteazer. We love you.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Just a few of the sweets I made for my family. The heart 'jail' at the top and canvases below original to Wilna, from the Valentines Class I took - with a few twists and my own papers. She has the most creative ideas. She used two large canvases together to make one piece of art which was stunning, however I decided to make a small one for each of the girls. I really wanted to stay away from duplicating the measuring tape she used to be different but when I found I had tiny ones (Amy Butler die cuts for K & Co.) I couldn't resist - they really were perfect for suggesting a measure of love. Wilna used a strip of photos, I wanted to highlight each girl with Ramses (while he was still with us). Loved the papier Mache hearts... those were fun to make, and I had so much fun painting and using alcohol ink to age the paper heart. I had some old hymn sheets (from a SISTV kit) that were perfect to cut up and use for this.

This little Valentine page is 6x6 - based on Kelly Purkeys' Super Sketch Challenge at Two Peas. This little page is going in another Wilna project, a little heart book for Mira. The book is finished, as are 4 6x6 pages. Slowly working on a few more in between babying Ramses.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Preschool conferences funnies

Will winter never end?
Probably not, now that I've asked the question.

It's cold down here in the basement which is not helping my already achy fingers. I know - why am I not upstairs where it's warm, blogging on my lil' laptop? Because I have work to do. Things that involve e-mail. I know, I need to get e-mail set up on the laptop. One thing at a time, one thing at a time.

But I'm taking a break to share some bits about Mira's preschool conference. Nothing earth-shattering, nothing new really. She draws well, is good with scissors, knows her numbers, alphabet, and colors. She has great coordination and motor skills. She's good with friends. Listens to her teachers. Helps clean up. Great at describing things. Plays in groups and on her own.

The following comments though... well. Keep reading while I giggle. Apparently she gives her teachers much to laugh about. Thank goodness she has another year left in preschool!

  • She holds grudges. Not against the girls, but against the boys. She makes mad faces at them.
  • She talks a lot. During snack time she rarely starts eating until everyone is almost finished (sounds a lot like Sarah actually). Except when everyone is finished and she has to clean up when she wants to eat, well, she gets mad. And holds a grudge against her teacher. "You didn't let me finish my snack!" Insert Mira mad face - Miss Meggan does a great imitation!
  • She talks a lot. At home her stories can go on and on, even about the smallest things. Oh, and she likes to tell you the same story 3 or 4 times in a row. Just in case you didn't hear it the first time. It's really not a good idea to interrupt her because then she sputters and feels the need to start over. Apparently she occassionally does this during circle time. The child who didn't speak or play the first 4 weeks of preschool now can't say enough.
  • She calls people weird. Other kids say "Teacher, Mira said I was weird." Miss Meggan them it's good to be weird, it's not a bad thing. Weird is just different and who wants to be the same as anyone else? The next day Miss Meggan had a new haircut and Mira said "Miss Meggan you look weird."