Tuesday, November 17, 2015



Two weeks ago, Kai hit 100 points on her behavior charts (well, sort of, we kind petered out on the behavior chart at about 70 points, which Kai pointed out, and then we reconstructed a few weeks and... well, we let her get to 100 points).  Anyway, Kai THINKS she got to 100 points and, to her credit, she has been better about helping out around the house (unless she's in a mood.. and then she complains and drags her feet and gets in trouble).  She also has been doing a LOT better behavior-wise at school.  The first few weeks of the school year, she was getting her name on the board quite a bit.  Having your name on the board is a warning.  A check next to your name is a step up from that.  Kai had gotten quite a few checks. 

But, following the school election, she's only had her name up on the board once.  She has really been making an effort to listen in class, be a good member of the community, help others out, and stay on task.  Her teacher has commented on her efforts to us. 

So, the combination of doing better at home and school got her to her point goal, and two weekends ago, we visited a home that advertised on craigslist as having two 6-week old kittens to adopt.  They are tuxedo cats, and from the moment we saw them, we knew they were going to be part of our home.  We rushed over to the K-Mart and bought food, litter boxes, a kitten carrier and some toys and then trekked back to the home that was giving the kittens away and, the next thing we knew, we'd adopted a couple of very tiny, adorable tuxedo cats (they are 1 pound each) -- Dash and Flash. 

Kai was super excited.  The kittens were super nervous.  And the first night home was a bit of a disaster.  For some reason, we decided to take them out in the kitchen. We should have taken them out in some kind of enclosed area.  Think excited 7 year old, excited 1 year old who is HOLLERING about DIT-TTIES, and terrified kittens.  The kitchen was not the place to properly introduce ourselves to them. 

At first, we were holding them, but then Dash (who immediately earned his name), dashed between the refrigerator and the cabinet (a space about 3 inches wide, if that).  I yelled, "oh no!! no!! get him!" and we peered down the stretch of expanse leading to the back wall, where we though he'd stop. But, no, he turned left, heading behind and UNDER the broom closet cabinet, which gave him about 2 inches in space above him. 

Kai burst into tears.  Alden was hollering.  We figured there was no way that kitten would ever return.  It was, in short, a total nightmare.  We pulled the fridge away from the wall -- which took more than a little doing as that thing is HEAVY.  Eric had to rig up a pulley system.  I put Alden in the pack and play to get him out of the way and he was hysterically crying.  We pulled the dishwasher out, but that was futile because there was no way to the cabinet area through that route, which meant that there was only one way that the kitten could come back out (good news). 

Both Eric and I had visions of a dead kitten on the first night home and the trauma that Kai would endure from that experience . We were determined to get little Dash back out.  

I put Alden to bed.  Eric and Kai retreated to the guest bedroom to strategize.  The kitten stayed hunkered down, mewing pitifully.  We finally decided to drill a hole in the broom closet floor so we could poke something in and prod the kitten out.  Kai thought for sure we were going to drill the kitten, and I shared her concern.  But, somehow it worked -- the kitten emerged.  I grabbed him, hunkered down as I was behind the fridge (ouchie knees!)  We put the kittens back in their container, put Kai to bed, and set about reassembling the kitchen. 

Man alive -- it was a rough first night.

The next morning, Kai dressed as a black and white kitten and headed to school.  We were just relieved that both kittens made it through the night!

But, now it's been two weeks and the kittens are AWESOME.  They spent the first week in a large gated area that we created, putting a fitted sheet on top to keep them contained.  And, they got to know us.  They got used to having Alden should DID TIIES in their face repeatedly.  They got use to the chaos. We cuddled them frequently.  Dash is a brave little kitten, despite his first night of terror.  He plays with Alden, accepting his "gentle" pets and obliging him in games of chase.  It's adorable.  Flash has taken a little longer to come around, but she is starting to spend more time on our laps on her own accord and likes to nuzzle next to me and Dash at night (yes, now we have kittens AND Alden in our bed at night). 

Kai has also been fantastic about cleaning the litter boxes every day.  She loves cuddling her new kittens and playing with them. They have been hours of entertainment; although, I'm wishing they wouldn't do their entertaining at 2 AM. Sigh.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Upping Our Game -- Halloween Style

Man oh man am I behind in posting.  This fall went fast.  Well, technically, it's still fall.  But, we are hurtling towards winter.  Sometimes I wish I could slow it all down a bit. 

We had a BLAST at Halloween this year.  Last year, we had only recently moved into our house when Halloween rolled around.  Halloween is a thing in this neighborhood.  We handed out about 600 pieces of candy last year.  This year it was 850.  Crazy.  And, people decorate their houses and make an event of it.  We put a few things on the lawn last year and tossed some pumpkins on our stoop as the sun was setting and the first of the trick-or-treaters were coming to the door.  And, several kids last year commented that "usually this house is scarier."  In other words, we were a disappointment.

But, not this year.  This year, we bought a ton of pumpkins of all shapes, sizes and colors.  We had them out on the stoop for a month leading up to the holiday.  We got a Halloween flag and bought a flag pole (since our house has a place for a flag pole... go figure).  And, we bought a GIGANTIC spider from Costco, which Eric hung from the huge oak tree in our front yard, the rope going into the upstairs bedroom so that we could lower it onto unsuspecting passer-bys as they walked down the street. We had a bunch of Kai and Alden's friends over for the afternoon of Halloween.  The intention was to do some holiday crafts and decorating... but they ended up just playing.  We ate a big dinner of lasagna and then everyone got ready for trick-or-treating and headed out into the neighborhood.  The kids only lasted around the block and then wanted to go back to count their candy, run around the yard in the dark, hand out candy to others, and take turns lowering the spider onto people.  It was so much fun! 

Alden really loved dressing up, too.  When Kai was his age, she'd keep the costumes on for about 5 minutes before tearing them off.  But, he kept his on for hours.  He didn't seem to mind being in costume at all.  We bought him a Yoda/Dobbie costume, but couldn't find it the night Halloween rolled around -- so he ended up trick-or-treating in his dog costume. It's a little baggy on him, but makes it that much cuter.

Kailey went as Hermione from Harry Potter.  Max was Harry Potter -- so it was really cute.  I didn't get a picture of the two of them together (what is wrong with me?!) but, suffice it to say, they were quite a cute pair.  Penny was a sorcerer... which also went along with the general theme. 

So, despite losing a costume, not doing my crafting projects, never carving the pumpkins, and not getting all the decorations up -- our house was a huge hit on Halloween, the spider lived up to the standards of scary, the kids had a blast, and we can't wait to do it again next year.  It's good for me to learn how to not get to hung up on the details and go with the flow (not my strong suits). But, next year, I do want to get more pictures.  That is definitely an area for improvement!

These are the only pictures I have that are Halloween related and include those leading up to Halloween (we tried out the costumes in advance), the night of the party, and post-Halloween.