Monday, April 14, 2014

6 Days Of Pictures

Wednesday was so warm!
Gigi decided to have a tea party on the pool deck. 
These are her guests...
Deer skull
Deer pelvis (how will it eat?!)
Headless baby (again, no mouth)

Later pelvis left for found baby's head. 
They had a dirt cake. 

Thursday Zoe had her spring music and art show at school. 
She sang three songs with her fellow third graders. 
Songs ranging from the 1930s to the 1950s. 
They were to dress in clothes from those decades. 
She's wearing a poodle skirt that was mine!
That thing is like 35 years old. 
So old that my mother can't even remember if she made it or if my grandmother did. 

Friday was another glorious day. 
Warm and 75 degrees. 
Gigi and I took dad to work and then headed to the park next door to Millikin University. 
We exercised on the bike path. 
She rode while I walked/jogged. 
It's a beautiful place to exercise. 

Saturday we decided to let the chicks go outside. 
We put them in the horse pasture all by themselves. 
They were nervous, but then started to get the hang of things. 
This was their first time ever touching the earth with their chicken feet. 

On Sunday Zoe went to a swimming birthday party, so the rest of us did trash pickup in the woods in our yard. 
We found plastic bags and many super sized McDonald's cups in the creek. 
Gigi is the only one of us who is small enough to walk on the derelict old bridge that crosses the creek. 
Looks like something Grandpa could fix up! 

Yesterday, Monday, it was cold. 
So the girls and Firecracker played on the Wii after school. 

A Cat Named Don

We have cats. 
Many cats. 
I won't bore you with the exact number, but if you really must know, it's less than 8 and more than 6. 
Don't judge. 
The majority of our cats are barn cats. 
Meaning they go outside and hunt mice in the barn and in the pastures. 
And they catch birds. 
And drink the water on the pool cover. 
And for some reason all of our cats look alike. 
There are subtle differences. 
Popcorn has an all-white underbelly. 
Cali is a tortie. 
She's a beautiful mix of browns and blacks and golden reds. 
But everyone is a tabby. 

Meaning brown and tanish/gray with stripes. 
Everyone except one fella. 
A fella named Don Diego. 
He sticks out like a peacock amongst poodles. 

He's part Siamese. 

Siamese cats have large ears, a pointy head, a long body and a 20 foot long tail. 

And they yell. 
I walk into the room where Don is and fall over backwards from the volume that comes from within his body. 
He's just saying "hello", but it comes out as "HEEEEELLLLLOOOOO!!!!"
He yells because the water bowl is empty. 
He yells at the back door because he wants to go into the basement (which is his version of outside.)
He yells at 4 AM when I get up to pee. 
As if he's saying "HEY, YOU'RE UP!!  ME, TOO!!!!

We got Don in 2007. 
We had only been on the farm a few months and only had one cat. 
See what farm life does...makes you get cats. 
Tiger was that cat and Zoe was 2. 
Tiger did NOT want Zoe or anyone messing with him. 
All a 2 year old wants to do is mess with a cat. 
So, one afternoon Zoe and I wandered over to the humane society. 
I may have told Chad. 
Or I may not have. 
Anywho, we saw this 4 month old kitten with his brother hanging in the kitten room at the shelter. 
I had had a black and white cat as a child and always had a fondness for them. 
What really got me was his "freckle".   
The big black beauty mark to the left of his nose. 
Alrighty, we'll take that one!

We were told he was born at the shelter and his mother was black and white short hair. 
Nothing about the dad. 
But he must have been the Siamese. 
Don can stretch out on our queen size bed and he touches both sides.
No lie. 

He follows me around and really only likes to sit with me. 
Chad calls him my puppy. 
He likes to sleep on Zoe's bed. 
He will only eat his cat food on the table in our laundry room. 
There are food bowls on the floor, but he won't have any part of them. 
He has many names. 
He's officially Don Diego de la Vega (Zorro's real name!)
But we call him...
Be Quiet!
Shut Up!
Hold It Down Will Ya!
You don't need an alarm clock with this guy around. 
Want to wake the kids at a certain time?
Get a Don Diego and have him stand in their room when he's hungry. 
He'll wake them up in no time!!

Part 2 in a series titled "Pets" I'll be doing. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Things In My Yard On A Sunday

After the rain ended on Sunday, we put on our boots and went in the yard. 
This is what I found...

A guy...

Broken glass.
Our yard tends to grow broken glass. 
As it was on farms of yesteryear, glass was just thrown outside. 
There were piles all around. 
Bottle shards, pieces of dinner plates. 
Recycling as we know it now did not exist. 
When it rains (and especially in the spring after the long, cold winter) glass can be found sprouting from the earth. 

I love my chives. 
A no nonsense, no maintenance onion that returns year after year. 
Why, hello there chives!


A baby bottle bottom.
Say that three times fast...

A purple pony...

A yellow something. 
We don't know what this is or where it came from!
The leaves emerging all around this yellow wonder are those of our bright orange lilies that bloom in the heat of July. 
Who is this beautiful yellow intruder?

A little Old Glory...

What remains of the neighbor's mean cat who died last year...

This beautiful red tree fungus. 
The colors in nature can be quite amazing, don't ya think?!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Friends Everywhere

The twins were found lounging on Gigi's bed. 
Firecracker is on the left and Jumper is the big guy. 
They often cuddle together like this. 
So darn cute!

Gigi's friend Ella came over to see our baby chicks and to play. 
They get along famously and her mom said she's going to bring her by more as the weather gets warmer. 
So they can run and play in the good ol' outdoors!

Sunday we went to our friends' new home in Normal. 
I went to college in Normal. 
Meet these boys' father in Normal. 
It's so sweet to see my kids and his kids as friends now. 
We went to lunch at an Illinois State institution, Avanti's. 
It was a beautiful day so we went on a walk to get ice cream and to enjoy the sunshine which no one has seen in 6 months!
We walked through the campus. 
Saw the old and new of my alma mater. 
It was really fun. 

I didn't take any pictures Monday. 
But yesterday (Tuesday) the girls and I went to our local zoo. 
It opened for the season and we saw our friends, the wolves and the penguins and the camels and the zebras and the list goes on and on and on. 
Gigi wanted to swing in the baby swing at the playground. 
Ummm, I think she's too big. 
And long. 
Zoe talked to Tilly the wolf. 
Tilly is the alpha wolf of her pack and sometimes the girls can get her to howl. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

To Love A Dog...

Either you're an animal person or you're not. 
You either don't mind the extra work a pet takes or you do. 
The extra finances, not just the extra time out of your day. 
It's a yes or no question. 
And I'm a yes. 
In fact, I can honestly say, I like animals more than people. 
My husband calls me Dr. Doolittle. 
The animals and I can just communicate really well. 

I don't recall having some "it" moment as a child that made fur and paws a must for me. 
I've always had a pet in my life. 
I was that kid who wanted to pet or pick up anything fuzzy.
My own children are the same way. 
Especially Gigi. 
I wanted to take care of every creature I came across. 
I would occasionally find a stray dog and put it in my family's garage only to find out later it lived two blocks over. 
My parents always had a dog when I was growing up. 
The dog we had the longest was a peekapoo named Puggy. 
She was 10 pounds of black moppy fur and by far, the dumbest dog that ever lived. 
But, she would let me dress her up and put barrettes in her hair. 
Our family got her as a puppy when I was 3 and she lived until I was 20 and in college. 
My parents buried her in their backyard after my mom and brother and I took her to the vet to be put to sleep. 
And we always had a cat. 
Bonkers was around the longest. 
A great looking black and white guy who disappeared a few weeks after his friend Puggy died. 
I always just figured he went looking for her. 

I had cats in college. 
First Jack. 
He hated me. 
Then I got him a friend. 
She loved me. 
When I moved to Chicago I had Jack and Molly and then decided to get a puppy. 
Madison he was named. 

My roommate Bill and I raised him. 
Madison met many future boyfriends of mine. 
And ultimately clicked best with the man who would become my husband. 
Madison was essentially my first child. 
He went everywhere with me. 
The beach. 
He had play dates with dog friends, mostly Elwood and Petey. 
He was the most obedient dog I've ever seen. 
If I walked with him to the store, I could leave him unleashed outside of the 7-Eleven and he would calmly sit there and wait for me to return. 
Sometimes he would walk to the door and stare in, wondering what was taking me so long. 
But if someone walked around him and opened the door, he would just quietly move over, let them enter, then go back to looking in the door. 
I always said he was a little boy who dressed in dog clothes. 
If we had lived in Paris he could have ridden the subway with me.
He only got to do that once, though.
In Chicago where he was raised. 
He took a ride on the El.  
He was then small enough to fit into a carrier. 
He was the greatest. 
End of story. 
Not really. 
He was also Zoe's first friend.

And they were best friends.

He was with her when she got sick. 
But at that point in his life, he was having his own struggle to stay alive. 

We watched him go downhill as we tried to keep our daughter on an uphill path. 
His back legs stopped working. 
We had to take him to the emergency vet. 
This was a doctor we hadn't seen before and he saw the struggle we were going through with our elderly dog and his best friend who had cancer. 
"No charge" he said. 
I'll never forget that. 
Madison only lasted a few more weeks. 
We came home from a doctor appointment with our weak and chemo-filled 6 year old daughter and he couldn't hang on anymore. 
He couldn't get up. 
He had had an accident in the house and had fallen in it. 
He tried to bite me when I went to help him. 
He was in pain. 
We had to say goodbye. 
We had tried and tried to keep him alive. 
Because Zoe needed him alive. 
But even she knew it was time to let him go. 
Her first best friend. 
Our family's best friend. 
My first child. 
I wrapped him in his blanket that he had had since he was a pup. 
Zoe walked up to him before he left our home one last time. 
He licked her face when she said her final  goodbye. 
He was with me for 15 1/2 years. 
And I miss him every single day. 

Part 1 in a series titled "Pets" I'll be doing. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

4 Pictures

On Monday, Firecracker was found sunning under the heat lamp while lying over the chicks. 

On Tuesday, Yogurt had an itchy neck. 
The concrete water trough makes the very best scratcher around. 
Tulip had just used it to scratch her butt. 

On Wednesday, Gigi found this toy at Walmart. 
She ran up to me "Mom, you've got to see this, it's so gross!"
"Who would want that?" she asked. 
Ummm, not us honey. 

Today it's been raining all day. 
I bought this coat last year, but rarely wore it for some reason. 
I'm gonna wear it, by gosh!
I snapped this shot of myself in my new-old trench coat as I walked by a big reflective door today. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Quotes And Kids

Recent things out of my kids' mouths...


Watching a guy crawl over a small fence to get to the sidewalk...
"He's gonna bust his round thing that holds his pee!"

Seeing a picture on the news of Mick Jagger and his girlfriend L'Wren Scott. 
"What happened?"  
She died 
"Who died?" 
the lady 
"which lady?"
"The old lady?"
(If you're not following her strange thought patterns here, she thought it was two ladies and that lady Mick had died.)

"Croc a doodle do you got a big butt"


You left out P
"No I didn't, it's in my pants."
-followed by hysterical snort-inducing laughter from her-

"I need a new butt, mine has a crack in it."
-more snort-induced laughter-

Oh, thank you, THANK YOU public school for all of Zoe's knowledge.