Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cinderella & Belle

Meet Cinderella and Belle. They are the newest members of the Alexander family. Yes...they are birds, I know this. And who would have thought that these cute little birds are so damn messy. I mean it! They are messier than the girls on their worst day. So I have made Delaney the new dust buster girl. She is in charge of dust bustering under their cage like a million times a day. Because they are messy! We went into Petsmart for fish and came out with two parakeets instead. The only word that is springing to mind right now is....S-U-C-K-E-R. That would be me, momma bear. I feel so badly about how things ended with little Joey that I let Delaney talk me into birds knowing damn well that I am NOT a bird person nor is Doug. Honestly, I think these poor birds wish sometimes that I'd open their cage and so they could fly far far away from our little two year old terror who likes to try to pet them all the while rattling their cage and shaking the life out of them. Any time Hadley comes near the cage, the birds politely shuffle to the other side hoping that she'll not notice them. It's really just a matter of time before I find one or both of them flitting around the kitchen. Mark my words....

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Gingerbread Sweatshop

As you can see, KC and I decided to open up our own cookie shop. We've decided the kiddos can be put to work with all their energy & obvious creativity. KC was so hard on Jasper he couldn't even wear his shirt! Yep.....we run a tight ship around this place! Let us know if you have any available kiddos that need to be put to work over the holidays. Openings are slim as we only have a few spots left to fill.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

This hectic season that I love so

"Are you ready for Christmas?" This is the question we ask anyone & everyone at this time of year. You don't even have to know the person you are asking said question to because it's definitely universal. For the most part I can always answer yes. I am one of those people that start Christmas shopping in October. I put up our Christmas tree after Thanksgiving and have even done so a day or two before Thanksgiving. I mail out Christmas cards by the second week in December. I start baking cookies the first weekend in December. I light candles scented as cinnamon or fake Christmas tree scent (the latter one is especially nice considering we have a fake tree). I drive the girls around for weeks throughout the month to see all the Christmas lights. Yes...I LOVE Christmas. But the last few days always serve to make me a feel a little unprepared.

How is your day going? Here's a peek at what it's been like here today:

1. Hadley who has had a cold that has lasted f-o-r-e-v-e-r, woke herself up in a coughing fit at 6:30 this morning and was unable to go back to sleep. I tried desperately to hold out until 7 to get her out of bed but by 6:53 she was ALL DONE DAMMIT. Went in to get her up completely annoyed by her ranting to be rewarded with the sweetest little look of bed-head I've ever seen. So now I'm smiling at her because she seems to have this effect on me.

2. At 7:45 a.m., my girlfriend, Shona, calls to tell me that Henry is coming down with something. We reschedule our play date and I mentally review all the last minute things I need to do. I decide that we will grocery shop for Christmas today because according to the weatherman, we are getting 3 inches or more of rain ALL day long on Christmas Eve so I will have no patience to try and drag two kids & myself out into the pouring rain.

3. I break up a huge fight over a Dumbo coloring picture. Delaney is shrieking that it is her picture not Hadley's (even though it is uncolored at this point). I find the Dumbo picture from last night that Hadley scribbled on for two seconds and give it to her so she can finish. I scold Delaney for crying & whining about a coloring picture. "We can print a million more if you want. There's no need to scream at your sister." She is still insisting that it was her picture. Whatever.

4. Doug calls to tell me that he finished up our Christmas list. He is truly a last minute shopper and I gave him 2-3 items that I needed him to pick up as a way of helping out. I have about 3-4 more presents stashed away that I need to wrap and get under the tree but I decide to wait until he brings me home the rest of our list so I can wrap at once. Tick tock tick tock.

5. Get girls dressed and buckled into the car. It is time to go grocery shop so I make sure I have my bribery candy necklaces so I can accomplish said task in somewhat peace. Hadley is demanding a snack (goldfish) so I'm fumbling around for a bowl. Give her the goldfish while Miley Cyrus is blaring in the car. About a minute later I hear, "Here Mom!" I reach my hand back and she hands me her bowl still slap full of goldfish. "Juice!" I hand her her cup. Twenty seconds later, "Here Mom!" I reach back for her cup. Ten seconds later, "Fish back please!" I hand her back the bowl. Two minutes later, "Here Mom!" I reach back and again she hands me her bowl. "Juice!" Oh my GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!

6. I pull into the driveway from grocery shopping and I notice both girls have stripped off their socks and shoes. I ask Delaney to pick up both before getting out of the car. She breaks down crying because she's sooo hungry and doesn't feel good and has to carry her horses which means she can't carry both. Really? I wonder what she would do if I starting crying and acting like a lunatic over something so trivial. Actually, I may try it. Lord knows that I should have enough experience with all the temper tantrums that go on around here.!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Something is wrong. In my heart I'm hoping it's a cold, just your average cold that every human being on the planet gets several times a year. But as Doug looks at me and says, "Some thing's just not right with Joey," I know what he means. All day yesterday our new sweet Joey has been laying around the house seeming very lethargic, not playing or doing much. Just sleeping a lot. It doesn't diminish his sweetness. He still looks for a warm lap to snuggle up on. He still cries if Hadley holds him too tight. He still allows Delaney to hold him and play with him during her quiet time. Once I look at his food dish and realize that he has ate nothing all day long, I know something bad is about to unfold.

So this morning after I drop off the girls at preschool, I take Joey to his first check-up since adopting him on Friday night. He lays in my lap sleeping soundly while we wait for the doctor to come examine him. I rub his fur and he snuggles closer. Oh I just love kittens. I love how small they are. I love how they can fit in the palm of your hand. I love their little meows. I love when you walk into a room they come flying in behind you at 60 miles per hour.

The doctor comes back into the room after we have agreed to run the kitten parvo test "just to be safe." The look on her face tells me what I need to know. Joey has feline panleukopenia virus which is a severe intestinal tract disease that destroys the lining in the GI tract allowing bacteria to infect the bloodstream. It is extremely fatal in kittens because of their underdeveloped immune systems. I know I will have to give the doctor the okay to put sweet Joey to sleep. Can I do this? I call Doug at work because I need him to tell me what to do. In my mind I know the answer but I still need Doug to give me the go ahead. After I hang up, I can't help it any longer. The dam of tears that has been threatening to spill over bursts forth and I am full fledged sobbing. Our vet tells me it will be okay. She will stay with Joey so he won't be alone. She tells me to get my girls another kitten. She tells me it's just bad luck this time. What if it happens again I think? I have to tell Delaney still. What will this do to her? She loves Joey so much, even if it has only been 5 days. He is her baby. She wanted this kitten so badly. She even picked him out herself. Oh shit, why did this have to happen to us?

I leave with my empty cat carrier. I go out the side door that I'm sure was designed especially for situations like this. I go home and put away Joey's things. I throw out the cat box & try to disinfect so we can kill the virus that's now living inside our home. I throw toys away because that's what I'm supposed to do.

I have not even pulled out of the school parking lot when Delaney asks, "Can we go get Joey from the doctor's now?" So I try my best to keep it together and tell her the truth. I tell her that Joey was really sick and had to go to heaven. I tell her that I'm sorry she lost her sweet Joey. I hate that I'm having to tell her this from the front seat while driving. It makes the whole thing feel impersonal. She accepts my answers and seems to be okay. We make it home for about maybe 10 minutes when things start to come apart. Delaney wants to know where Joey's things are. After explaining why we have to throw out some things and just wash others, she melts down. She had the same kind of moment I had back at the vet's office. She is openly sobbing. She goes on to tell me how much she loved Joey and how she wants another kitten EXACTLY like him. After about 20 minutes she stops. I'm holding her and rubbing her back. I smooth her hair away from her face and tell her that it's okay to miss Joey. I promise her that when the time is right we will get another kitten. We will try again. Even when it's hard and hurts, you have to try again I tell her. She looks at me with tears all over her face and floors me with what she says next. "I hope that the other kittens who were with Joey don't die too." It's like she knew that this was bigger than just Joey. But I don't have the heart to explain to her that they will probably die too. I just hope for the best. I just know that we will do this again.

RIP Joey....we will miss you so!

Monday, December 14, 2009


Allow me to introduce the newest member of the Alexander clan, Joey aka Joe (Doug calls him Joe, no one else does). Actually, thanks to a recent show of The Closer, Doug really wanted to name him Joel, but after much protesting from a certain family member (Nana), the girls and I agreed that Joey is awfully cute for a kitten. So, meet Joey.

The cutest little kitten ever. Really. EVER. He's so sweet and cuddly. I bought the girls this kitten, besides the fact that I am a total sucker, but mainly because I wanted them to have an animal that's all "their" own. We have our sweet dog, Buddy, but Buddy is really my dog as we adopted him when he was a baby 12 years ago. I didn't think it entirely fair to make the girls await his demise one day to get a new pet. I also didn't want them wishing the poor dog dead just to get a new pet. So...I caved and let them pick out a kitten from a huge litter of baby gray kittens at the shelter. In this house we are big believers in getting animals from shelters.

Joey is turning out to be an adorable and exciting addition to our crazy house. Delaney, of course, has become his mother hen and carries him around like her little baby. This in turn makes him follow her around ALL the time when she's not carrying him, crying on her heels to be acknowledged. He even follows her into the bathroom and cries while she takes a shower. He LOVES her. Hadley, also, very much loves the "kitty." Perhaps a little too much. What is it about two year olds that they instinctively pick up any animal by it's neck? Geez! So we have a Hadley watch where she's not allowed to be alone with Joey for fear that she could accidentally end his very short life. That said, it doesn't lessen the fact that this girl also really REALLY loves this baby kitten. And for some really strange reason, even though she affectionately gives him the neck hold, Joey also adores Hadley too.

Friday, December 11, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year....

We are walking through our neighborhood one chilly evening so the girls can admire all of the Christmas lights. This is so very exciting for them. Christmas time is here again and there are so many things we love to do as family that it's hard to know where to begin. For us, the Christmas season will officially be kicked off with a stroll through the neighborhood to oooooh and aaaaaawe over all the decor and lights. Some people like to use lights (us) and there are others like to use inflatables. I personally am NOT into the inflatables at all but I realize that kids love them so as we are admiring all that's up I act like I too am very excited to see the 15 snowman that is waving to us as we stroll past. It's not that I don't think the inflatables are cute it's just that I grew up seeing Christmas lights. "The more the merrier." I held out hope every year that this would be the year that my parents would make a replica of Clark Griswold's house from Christmas Vacation. 25,000 lights. In my mind, that darn house was beautiful! Really. So as we're strolling through the neighborhood looking at all the decor, my kids are getting thrills from the inflatables, and I am thrilled to see the lights. As we pass one of my neighbors, who yes does have the giant snowman I was referring to, they also happen to have a nativity scene in front. Delaney lights up like a tree herself and says, "Look Mom, it's God!"

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Shana Abe

Okay, for those of you that know me well, you know how much I LOVE to read.  Seriously, I read whenever I get a spare moment.  I read if the girls are playing nicely together and don't require my attention.  I read while waiting on dinner to cook.  I read while the girls are at preschool.  I read at night when the girls are sleeping so peacefully.  I read in the morning sometimes before the pitter patter of little feet greet me.  Okay, get it!  I LOVE to read.  So anyway, a few months back my good friend, Shona, received a book from her husband, Jon, and she called me up squealing into the phone that I just HAD to read this book.  

Just to back up for a moment and give you a small history between Katie and Shona, we both LOVE to read.  Shona is like my soul mate when it comes to reading.  It's seriously like we were separated at birth.  She also reads whenever time permits and we are constantly on the phone dishing about whatever book we happen to be reading at the moment.  We do daily chats about the characters in our books and how we feel about them.  We read almost the exact same books.  If I get a new book and fall in love with it, chances are that Shona will also feel the same way.  

Anyway, so Shona calls me panting into the phone that I HAVE to read this book she got.  Jon travels quite frequently and sometimes he snags her a little gift from the airport because he's thoughtful like that.  He happened to grab the book "The Last Mermaid" by Shana Abe.  I've never heard of her (not that that would be unusual) and up until this moment, I had never read anything she'd written.  Knowing Shona though, I tell her I will read it as soon as she passes it my way.  So we meet for dinner one night and we swap books.  I take home her book and completely forget about it because the latest installment of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon has come out and NOTHING is going to keep me from devouring every single page of it.  Even Shona's latest addiction.  

Three weeks later I pick up Shona's book.  Holy shit!  Shona rules!  Shana Abe rules!  Jon rules for buying the damn thing!  This book was awesome!  LOVE it!  Oh my God how I love it!  And typical that I am, I go online and look up a few of Shana Abe's other books just to see what's out there.  I order a couple because I'm curious to see if they're all as awesome as this one was.  So then yesterday I get "The Dream Thief" in the mail and sit down last night to read it.  It's not a long read; 335 pages total I think.   I seriously finished it less than 24 hours later.  It was so flipping good!  I mean really good!  So now, I am on a quest to get all of her books so I devour them one by one.