Saturday, March 28, 2009



The vet's office I used to work for occasionally accepts litters of kittens. They check them over, test them for feline leukemia, spay or neuter, deworm, give first vaccines and treat for fleas before selling them for $100. Yes, I could have hunted down a "free" kitten or else gotten one from the shelter for $60, but once you pay for all the previously mentioned services, a free kitten costs about $250. A shelter kitten costs about $100-$150 more than its adoption fee. Another great thing about the vet's office kittens is that they quarantine the kittens for several days before putting them up for adoption to be sure they don't have upper respiratory disease which is quite common in shelter and pet store cats.

The vet's office had six kittens. None were orange tabbys, but there was one adorable calico. She was sweet and calm and allowed both kids to hold her. There was a gray tabby male who was very nippy and scratchy and was immediately ruled out. Three of the other kittens were calm and seemed very nice. Tiger was an instant favorite. He was active and played with all the toys in the cage but when you stuck your fingers in to play with him he licked them instead of biting. He was the only kitten who batted at the kids with his claws retracted.

We've had him at home for two hours and so far, I think we made the right choice. Tiger felt right at home, exploring all over the house and playing with his new kitten toys as well as Logan's cars and toy parking garage. He put up with the kids dragging him around and following him everywhere. Right now he's curled up in his bed sleeping with Logan hanging over him sighing loudly because he wants to play some more. Tess (our old cat) has so far refused to meet Tiger. She hid in the closet while he was playing and only came out and sniffed his toys after he was asleep. She doesn't seem nearly as distressed as when we've watched Sharon's adult cats so hopefully her adjustment won't be too long and stressful. Isn't he cute?

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The dreaded event of second semester came Thursday evening. Parent-teacher conferences. Ugh. For the most part both kids are well-behaved and good students. However, I just never know what silly or unexpected thing they might have done. Last year Kaylin colored her entire desk top with a pencil and last semester Logan was using the bathroom 8 times in a 6 1/2 hour day. What dumb things had they done this round?

The conferences went unexpectedly well. Kaylin's teacher praised her creativity and literally laughed herself to tears showing us some of Kaylin's crazy assignments. Mrs. J admitted that Kaylin's antics sometimes drive her crazy, but said mostly she'd miss having Kaylin in her class. She lectured us about Kaylin's organization skills (or I should say lack of) but also said she's improved over the year. Yeah.

Logan's teacher surprised me by saying she thought Logan was much more focused and well-behaved since returning from our vacation. That was probably the LAST thing I expected to hear! I had been somewhat concerned about his reading ability because Kaylin was much farther along at this point. Mrs. L said that many boys prefer non-fiction to the picture story books that tend to be reading level appropriate. I hadn't really thought about it, but Logan definitely falls into that category. He must have 20 books about sharks, but none of them are written for beginning readers. We recently bought a series of "Bob books" (simple, phonics books, thanks Tara!) and he's been proud that he can read an entire book even if he would rather be doing something else. The Bob books have also given me peace of mind because I now KNOW he can sound out words and read words he's never seen before.

Our big project for today is looking for a kitten. Yes, a kitten. Yes, I'm crazy! Before becoming a parent I always thought that if I ever had kids we'd have TONS of puppies and kittens. I've changed. I love puppies, but I'm pretty sure I'll never have another. Having a puppy would be like coming home from work to do hours more of the same work. The neighbors' horrible puppy cemented the "no more puppies" idea in my head. My kids hate their puppy anyway :)

A kitten will be less work and will require less attention. I think the kids are at the perfect ages to really appreciate a kitten. They aren't involved in too many extra activities and are spending most of their spare time at home. Now I just have to convince myself to get a kitten based ONLY on personality! I would absolutely love an orange tabby or a calico. Must. Resist. Cuteness.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Annoying neighbors

I took today off to get rid of the last of my e-time I had to use before the end of the month. I didn't have any obligations so I decided to spend the majority of my day reading and relaxing. At 9am, Little Boy came over, pounded on the door, walked into the house and was very upset with me that the kids were at school. I sent him on his way and he was back about 30 minutes later. Another half hour later I decided to quick use the bathroom before I left to go to Barnes and Noble. I heard the front door open and little footsteps running through my living room. I just kept quiet and seconds later when I left the bathroom there was a child's snow shovel that was covered in dog poop in my hallway. Uh... I grabbed the shovel, threw it outside and headed for my car. Horrible Neighbor Dog spotted me and TORE over to jump on me. I nearly slammed his stupid head in my car door, but I beat him.

It was ~10:30am and I was already thoroughly disgusted with the neighbors. Why don't you watch your 3-year-old? Why do you allow him to keep coming over and bothering me when my kids are obviously not at home? Why do you allow your awful dog to run around off leash to jump on everyone he sees? And most importantly, do your kids come into my house when we're not home?

After lunch I was back home, relaxing and reading. I locked my door so the brats couldn't just walk in. Now Little Girl was home from school so they BOTH came over and when they couldn't walk in they pounded on the door and rang the bell over and over and over. Every time I dozed off, they were back, pounding and ringing the bell. WHY? They knew the kids still weren't home. It's so hard to communicate with the parents. I guess I'll have to write them a note. Grrrrr.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Nasty apples

Last night Logan was eating an apple. He was really mad at me because I refused to get out the apple peeler/slicer thingy and therefore his apple tasted gross! I glanced up from my book and told him his apple didn't taste gross because of the skin, but because of all the BLOOD on it. He showed me his (first) loose tooth and it was at one of those cringe-inducing angles one can only view for a split second before looking away repulsed. I told him to go look at his wiggly tooth in the mirror and yank it out. He did.

I was in shock. He actually did it! No crying. No whining. No weeks and weeks of a tooth dangling by a thread... It was a little disgusting when he spent the next 20 minutes wandering around with a bloody paper towel, but he was so proud of himself it was worth it. Logan was kind of disappointed at the idea of the tooth fairy because I think he kind of wanted to keep the tooth, but well, he really likes money, so anything for a buck!

Kaylin was a little jealous of all the attention Logan was getting. She's lost at least 8 teeth now, but not ONE of them has come out intentionally! Kaylin absolutely refuses to wiggle/pull/allow anyone else to touch her loose teeth so Gene and I probably made a bigger deal than necessary about Logan just yanking his out. Still, Kaylin made Logan a nice envelope with a drawing of Logan and the tooth fairy that said Logan's First Lost Tooth. Sigh.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Big Day

Littlest Neighbor Boy hasn't been over since the day he came with his mom. I kind of forgot about him until yesterday when the neighbors' entire driveway was filled with cars. Cars full of celebrators of the Big Birthday. Littlest turned two! Ugh.

I was extremely happy when I pulled into our driveway after work tonight to find NO cars at the neighbors' house. Unfortunately, they pulled in just as the kids were finishing dinner. Within seconds, all three kids were over. Little Girl and Little Boy dragged Littlest into the house, proudly announcing his being old enough to come over now! I said "Hi Littlest" and scared him half to death. He spent about three minutes looking around before he decided to run home to mom. Bwa ha ha ha. But seriously, the kid is still a baby. There is NO WAY he should be coming without an adult and NO WAY I'm going to babysit every night after work. I have a feeling this could get ugly. I'm going to explore my legal options. MY kids are plenty old enough to play in our yard without constant supervision. I'm just not going to babysit someone else's kids after a hard day at work!

I took the kids to Holland's Mercantile in Washington on Saturday. I was sure they'd been there before, but they didn't remember. They were quite impressed with all the candy. Logan is totally obsessed with fire extinguishers and found some cherry spray candy in a fire extinguisher toy. Kaylin got a candy paint brush with powder candy "paint." I got Zotz and Grapeheads :) Kaylin loved their toy section, but Logan just wanted to look at the candy. Both want to go back ASAP!

Speaking of fire extinguishers, Logan and Gene have the most boring morning ritual EVER. Every morning Logan climbs into bed with Gene and they look up fire extinguishers on Gene's laptop. They read about all the different varieties and what types of fires they can put out and how much money they cost. How Gene has the patience to do this day after day I will NEVER understand :) Good Daddy.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Achievement Tests

This week the 3rd and 4th grades at Kaylin's school took the state achievement tests. I vaguely remember filling in the circles with a Number 2 pencil. I think we spent one day testing and the teachers treated it as a necessary inconvenience. I don't recall ever practicing for the tests and I don't remember being at all nervous or stressed about them.

Kaylin's class has been practicing for weeks. She talked about the tests like they were the most important thing in the universe. The tests stretched out over five days. Parents were asked to bring in healthy snacks and according to Kaylin, there was a daily "buffet." I had kind of been ignoring Kaylin's dramatic explanations about the tests until Monday morning...

Kaylin woke up so nervous she didn't want to eat breakfast. She was actually terrified about achievement tests! Gene and I calmly explained that the teachers are incredibly concerned about the tests because it has to do with how much money the school gets. They want every kid to do their best because it matters to the school. We went on and on about how doing her best IS good enough, and that is ALL that is required of her. If she doesn't know an answer, fill in a dot and move on. No big deal!!!! She calmed considerably after our talk. Kaylin even ended up enjoying the week of testing with tons of snacks and extra recess and free time. She was kind of sad it was over.

Still, Kaylin told me Monday night that one of the other girls was so nervous she "peed herself." WHAT???? I love Kaylin's teacher and find her significantly more realistic and reasonable than past teachers, but c'mon! A group of 8 and 9-year-olds shouldn't be THAT stressed-out about a test! Sheesh! Something needs to change! I would imagine the level of stress that would cause a THIRD GRADER to pee her pants would also reflect poorly on her overall test scores! Wow. Just wow.

Moving on, it seems we're all finally out of our post vacation funk. The kids are both back into the school routine. All make-up work is long finished. Logan's whining about having to go to school has stopped. I'll say it one last time, I'll never again take the kids out for two weeks! It was the Best Vacation Ever, but it was soooo hard to recover!

I like going to work so my funk hit me at home on my days off. I had to FORCE myself to do any and all of my routine obligations. Laundry was the most horrendous chore in the universe. The thought of grocery shopping was torture. When I finally gathered my tax forms yesterday, the terrible chore I'd been avoiding (calculating the kids' daycare expenses) took about 3 minutes. I also spent the past FOUR weekends avoiding getting a haircut because the thought of waiting in the haircut place was too overwhelming to consider. Yesterday, it was (gasp) no big deal. I'm quite glad to be back to normal because seriously, WHAT A BUNCH OF WASTED TIME AND ENERGY OVER NOTHING!!!!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Mii Fat

I think it was last weekend I finally got around to setting up the Wii Fit. I bought it before our vacation, but I'd read so many things about it weighing you and telling you you're fat, etc. I just didn't have the energy to hook it up. Hey, I'm no couch potato! I have a physically demanding job AND I run and work out regularly. I could STILL stand to lose a few pounds, but my weight honestly doesn't reflect how FAT I am. Muscle weighs more than fat and you can't spend every day shoveling hundreds of pounds of rhino doo without gaining muscle!

Anyway, I set up the Wii Fit and did my body imaging test (or whatever it's called.) I KNEW it would call me overweight, so I wasn't a bit surprised when I fell into that category. What DID surprise me was the chubbing of my Mii! The Mii I lovingly created ages ago appears to have gained 50 pounds! My Mii appears way heavier than the real me! So annoying, but whatever...

As far as the Wii Fit itself goes, I can't believe how much fun it is. Balance games, yoga poses, "aerobics" and strength training. All are fun but I have yet to break a sweat. Kaylin LOVES the thing! She's unlocked most of the extra games and poses. I haven't dedicated that much time to it. I do really enjoy learning the different yoga poses and the stretching is great, but otherwise Wii Fit is certainly not a replacement for the gym. Probably because it's a video game :)