He’s a little guy. His hands are little. His features are small. He’s a little guy. (We should have named him Garmin!)
I know this is starting to seem a little bit like the whole fish tank affair what with the getting the new guy, a new cage and a bigger cage and even more supplies, but the thing is, these guys are furry and cuddly. FURRY AND CUDDLY. Totally worth it.
Yesterday was the first day back to school after a short spring break and oh, it was ROUGH waking up. I don’t remember back to school after Christmas break being this hard. I think it has something to do with the longer days and pleasant weather and having had a little taste of what summer feels like. The kids love school, but they also really love summer vacation. After enjoying either of those things a while, we start to anticipate the shift back to the other. We are at the counting down point of school. 28 school days until summer vacation!
Lucy turned nine on Easter, though we did a lot of the celebrating the day before. Here she is making her birthday wish.
And here she is holding her birthday present.
That’s the most adorable guinea pig in the world. She calls him Spotty.
Oh my goodness, WE LOVE HIM.
It was a lot of fun to welcome a new pet, especially after losing one recently. Our cat Fluffy died last Thursday. Julia always claimed him as hers, but he found his way into all of our hearts. We spent the first day of break weeding and putting mulch down in The Jungle and it was lonely without that orange snaggletoothed beast winding his way around our feet and arms and brushing against us as we worked. He was the most talkative cat I ever met. And he had an incredible ability to hop in a lap as quickly as it appeared. His breath was as horrible as his personality was sweet. He loved us. He always wanted to be with us, which is not the usual way of a cat. His absence has left a gaping wound and, even this morning, the ache is incredible. We really miss him.
Since Lucy’s birthday happened during break, they didn’t celebrate it at school until this week. I sent in cupcakes.
Not just three, though. I made 30 for school and 18 more for Dave’s work and our dessert. It took all day to make them. It would have been so much faster if I’d had Wilton tip #233 to make the grass! I need to buy it! The cupcakes are meant to be eggs in a nest because Lucy is ALL ABOUT hatching eggs right now. There’s a bird’s nest full of eggs in the lid of our propane tank we’ve been watching and they’ve been incubating chicken eggs in Lucy’s classroom for weeks. They did some candling before break and yesterday during school one of the eggs hatched! The kids got to see it in real time which was THE MOST EXCITING THING EVER for Lucy. She really wanted us to be an adoptive family for some of the chicks, but we’re just not ready for that, yet. We just got a guinea pig! And maybe we’ll get one more. Some people say it’s best to have two. I only had one when I was a kid and he seemed very satisfied with our life together. But last night we were watching a video about what guinea pig noises mean and when Spotty heard those sounds, he was like, “WHERE ARE MY FRIENDS?!?!?” So maybe we’ll get another. Probably. Maybe.
Jackson cannot be trusted with scissors. Do you see why?
He cut his hair. This is not the first or second or third or even fourth time. He does this a lot. And it isn’t as if his bangs were long and he cut them to get them out of his face. This is just random snipping. For what purpose, son? He has no answer.
Haylee’s cat Spooky is finally warming up to us.
He’s moved from Julia’s room to mine, though he is venturing out of it now and then. He likes to sit next to me while I sew. He enjoys being near me and rubbing up against me. He does not enjoy being picked up or held or petted too much. He likes me best when I’m standoffish. He’s teaching me to be cool.
There was a nice article in the paper about the piano competition. Julia is still flying high from it all. (Me, too.)
This is a cake configuration I call Bunny in a Carrot Patch. (Thanks to inspiration from here and here.)
You know, for Easter, or rather an Easter party which the cake attended without me because Phoebe and Jack were sick.
And here’s the cat.
He is aptly named Spooky. He spent his first days with us in hiding. We were able to lure him out with tuna and now he’s rooming with Julia until he gains the confidence to take on the rest of us. He belongs to Haylee, Julia’s best friend since Kindergarten who moved about 1,000 miles away last weekend. He is the balm for our broken hearts. We all love Haylee. She’s like a member of the family.
She and Julia have been friends for eight years. They made a cake to celebrate that their last weekend together before the move.
We made Haylee a blanket with this photo collage on it for a going away gift.
And we’re keeping Spooky to give her one more reason to come back and visit us now and then.
I watched The Pirates of Penzance with my parents last weekend. I had forgotten how much we loved that movie! It pervaded our family life for most of my eighth year. (I explained it to Lucy like this: It was my Trolls movie.) I spent much of 1984 in a bonnet in front of my mirror attempting the coloratura in Poor Wandering One and wishing to be Linda Ronstadt who played…Mabel.
Speaking of Mabel, our Mabel and Dipper have been enjoying their new cat tree.
They like to play.
And do battle on it.
It makes me happy to watch them.
Speaking of happy, I discovered Gretchen Rubin’s podcast Happier and it’s great, as you’d expect. (She is sponsored by my favorite tea! And speaking of my favorite tea, I have a new favorite flavor.) Her regular podcast episodes are around half an hour, which is perfect for the school drop off and pick up commute. Plus, she has these A Little Happier segments that last just a few minutes. I am most certainly happier for having found it.
Speaking of podcasts, Missing Richard Simmons is riveting, whether you love Richard Simmons or not. But who doesn’t? No one. That’s the answer.
Really, he does.
I need to stand that cat on a glass table or something and take a picture from underneath so you can truly understand the incredible oddness of Dipper’s paws. First off, obviously, he has thumbs. He has two claws on each thumb – one at the top and one that juts out the side. This gives him a total of six claws on each of his front feet, which are enormous, by the way. They are truly a wonder. And while his thumb isn’t as strong as a human thumb, he is able to grip with it and I find myself daydreaming about all the things we could teach him to do given the fact that he has thumbs. And while we’re talking about oddly gifted and strange cats, let me tell you about Mabel. She loves to climb and has scaled to heights in our house no cat has ever reached and if you know me at all you know we’ve had a shit ton of cats which means I know what I’m talking about when I tell you Mabel is an exceptional climber. She is mesmerized by all the things high up, like the ceiling fans, particularly the pull strings. She sits beneath them and gazes up so often and with such intensity that now and then we have to pick her up and hoist her above us so she can bat them around. I wonder if she believes we put them there especially for her and if so, does she think one day she’ll grow big enough to reach them on her own? Does she think that perhaps we used to have giant cats that played with them?
These are the things I am thinking about when I’m trying not to think about the news. I’ve also been cross-stitching.
Jack and I planted some sunflower seeds. We thought it’d be fun to have a sunflower or two in the house this winter. We’d planted seeds from the same packet last spring and they grew to be about 12 feet tall outside. I’m not sure how these will do in the house, but they’re off to a great start.
It’s been pretty gloomy this past week. Planting some bright, yellow flowers seemed like a nice antidote. And it made me think of a sign I saw from the Women’s March that read: They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds. (Here’s an interesting article about the source of that ditty.)
Our Mabel cat has discovered our resident Peeping Tom. Her name is Lizzie.
My mom is the only one to ever touch Lizzie and that happened at the vet after we had captured her to have her fixed. She won’t get close to us, except when we’re in the house. She loves to watch us through the window. She is endlessly interested, but completely terrified by us. I’m not sure what this says about us.
No school today! And Dave is off from work! What a glorious gift the freezing rain has given us – time together! To play Minecraft! Is “squee!” still a thing? Meanwhile, look at these kittens.
The girls have been on Christmas break from school all week and it has been wonderful. We’ve had plenty of time for making cookies, watching Christmas shows, playing games and just being together. I love the pace of life on break. The kids have been playing together – all of them, even Julia, which is glorious for the younger kids as they have missed her so much lately. As the world opens up to her, she’s spending more time in it. She is growing up. Lucy had told me that even Julia’s bedroom feels far away from the rest of the house and I knew just what she meant.
Julia invited them to have a sleepover in her room the night before last. We blew up the air mattress and they all piled into the Big Kid Room and felt very special. They don’t remember sharing a room with her so much anymore. I sat in there with them to ask our three questions (What do you need help with? What are you thankful for? What made you say “wow” today? An idea inspired by this post at Left Brain Buddha.) and do a Dr. Puff Meditation (Oh, how we love Dr. Puff.). As the giggles faded and their breathing got deep, I realized that the time these kids have under the same roof like this is slipping away fast. Julia is twelve and a half. They have less than six years before the big sister goes off to college. (Oh, please, please let her go to college.) I just feel so grateful for this Christmas break.
I am also thankful for our Mabel and Dipper.
The last thing I thought we needed were more cats.
I was wrong.