A Time to be Sad

Today is International Cat Day, it’s also exactly 4 weeks since Duckie escaped the pet sitter’s house while we were at the beach. It’s been a rough four weeks here. Mostly because I get sad, but then convince myself that she well come back, or we will find her, or someone will recognize her from the flyers or she’ll “homeward bound” her way back to our house. It’s a lot of back and forth and wishful thinking. Duckie is a part of our family and the house just hasn’t been the same without here begging for more food, sleeping on our faces and teasing Belle. However, after four weeks I have to come to terms. I think it’s time I let myself be sad and start to say good-bye to the best cat that there has ever been.

I don’t want to be anymore depressing than that, so we’ll just leave it with some of my favorite pics of Duckie for us all to enjoy. After all, it is National Cat Day.

The Best of Duckie

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Me and Ducks when I was about 8 months pregnant.
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Duckie’s favorite spot in the house.
Belle pretending she doesn't see a cat in the bad.
Belle pretending she doesn’t see a cat in the bed a couple of days after we rescued Duckie and brought her home.
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One of the first photos taken of Ducks.
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When Luna and I came home from the hospital and took a nap. Duckie just had to be the one closest to me.
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And, when we first got home from our 10 day hospital stay…we had the sweetest welcome home crew!
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Duckie’s first Christmas

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In case you missed the story of how we found and rescued Duckie almost two years ago, you can read it here.

We love you Duckie.

Cheers

Belle’s Birthday

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Yesterday was Belle’s 8th Birthday! I can’t believe I’ve had her for 8 years, or that she’s 56 in dog years. She’s still super energetic and drives us just as crazy as she did 8 years ago. We were too busy having a lazy day yesterday to celebrate so we had a “Belle Day” today instead.

First, we took her to Petsmart to have a little puppy shopping spree. Of course, she mostly barked at other dogs and begged us to hold her.

Daddy trying to help her pick out a toy
Daddy trying to help her pick out a toy

Then, we took her to Sonic to have her very own ice cream cone. We never give her table food, but we know she loves ice cream thanks to my parents. While we were living in Albania for a year, Belle lived with her Grandparents in Texas, where she was slightly spoiled…and gained a few pounds.

ordering her ice cream
ordering her ice cream
and enjoying her ice cream
and enjoying her ice cream

We ended the day at the park because her favorite thing (besides chasing sticks) is going for walks with the family.

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That’s her new bone in her mouth..I think she likes it

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I think Belle had a perfect Birthday, she even got what she wanted most…to have the cat locked out of the house.

Just kidding...I let the cat in immediatly
Just kidding…I let the cat in immediately

Happy 8th Birthday Belle!

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Cheers!

Thankful Thursday

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She loves her bath time!

A few years ago, when my anxiety was at a high point, I started a habit of thinking about, or thanking God, for the things I am thankful for each day. Even when the anxiety subsides, this habit sticks around. I started doing this to ease my mind when I was trying to sleep. Night time is when my mind tends to run a muck, and I have to work extra hard to change my thinking track to something positive and to quiet the negative thoughts. Focusing on what I’m grateful for turned everything around for me.

This habit came in handy during my recent hospital stay, and even now it can quickly turn a bad day or just crappy moment around. This morning I was so very tired after nursing Luna for what felt like the 100th time. Even though she is sleeping more, I am not. I kind of go into a half-sleep, just awake enough so I can hear every little grunt and sigh Luna makes. I’m sure most new Moms go through this, but I can’t help but sleep on edge just waiting for her to wake up and need me.

Anyways, I was exhausted this morning, trying desperately to decide to either go back to sleep or get up and make breakfast. (Food and sleep are the two things I need most and I can often only pick one.) However, right at that moment I glanced at Luna, who was sleeping soundly and she had pushed her tiny foot out of her carefully swaddled blanket and so much gratitude came over me.

Then I thought, what am I thankful for right at this moment…forget the lack of sleep, the hunger, the pile of dirty dishes, the mound of laundry, the bills stacked on the kitchen table, the worries streaming through my head…what do I have to appreciate right now.

Well, first there’s the most perfect baby sleeping peacefully who I am lucky enough to call my daughter. Then there’s the hot cup of coffee I just brewed sitting in my hands. Good Morning America  is on and Robin Roberts always makes me smile. I have my favorite huge fluffy warm blanket wrapped around me keeping me warm. There’s my little Belle curled up in my nook fast asleep, and on the arm of the couch is Duckie, also sleeping. Even Husband is fast asleep down the hall. I have my whole little family together all sleeping around me.  And so so so much more…

Instantly, the groggy sleep-deprived morning felt like the best morning ever. How lucky am I to be surrounded by so much love? When you look at life with a little more gratitude, nothing else seems to matter much.

So, I challenge you, the next time you are feeling down, worried or angry to take a minute and reflect on what you are thankful for at that very moment. See if it can turn your day around.

Cheers!

Finally A Nice Day!

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This past Sunday was GORGEOUS.

 

Like, most of the U.S., Tennessee has been freezing for what feels like an eternity now. The worst part is that it has been in the single digits with zero precipitation. It should be illegal to be that cold with no snow. What’s the point? No one wants to go out in play in dry 7 degree weather, so we have felt as if we are under house arrest. I’ve enjoyed the hot soups, tea and warm fires, but we have felt stir crazy lately.

But, Sunday was nice. Sunday it was sunny, blue clear skies and 55 degrees outside! It felt like summer. It’s amazing how warm 55 can feel after it’s been only 4 degrees. There was no way we were going to waste the day indoors, so we decided a hike was in order and headed off the the Natchez Trace. We found ourselves back on Garrison Creek trail, where Husband and I hiked back in the fall. This time, we found a different section we’d yet to explore.

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The lookout
The lookout

Since I am now 37 weeks pregnant, enormous and uncomfortable I assumed we would hike about a mile before I got too worn out, or had to pee and then have to go home. I don’t know why I ever considered this a possibility. Did I forget who I was married to? We ended up hiking 3 miles, which really isn’t that bad…if you are not about to have a baby. I tried to be a trooper for the most part, but we did take a break halfway through so I could sit and rest.

37 weeks and 1 day pregnant...20 days to go!
37 weeks and 1 day pregnant…20 days to go!

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Towards the end of the hike we came to a creek that we were supposed to cross, but the bridge had been demolished and the water was half-frozen over. Our friends and I decided to stay on our side of the river and follow where the trail should lead, like any logical person would do. Husband, of course, managed to get across the river, not once, but twice because the other bridge at the end of the trail was also demolished.

The first broken bridge.
The first broken bridge.
Belle probably had the best time.
Belle probably had the best time.

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It was such a pretty day. I could feel the sun on my skin and actually enjoy being outdoors. Even some of the plants looked beautiful, which I didn’t expect during the dead of winter. We had a really nice time just walking, chatting and enjoying the scenery. By the end, I was done and hoping I’d somehow convinced Luna she was done too.

Belle was exhausted! She immediately climbed into the carseat and rested the whole way home.
Belle was exhausted! She immediately climbed into the carseat and rested the whole way home.

Back home, Husband and I worked out for another half-hour. I’m doing whatever I can to convince this baby that it’s time to come out and meet us. So far, she still seems happy where she is, but I’m excited to see what the doctor will say today!

Cheers!

More on Duckie

Our little baby rescue kitten isn’t quite so little anymore. Since her last update she has gained a couple more pounds and managed to rule over our entire home. She is now about 21 weeks old,  small for her age (probably stunted from her difficult first few weeks of life), but still manages to boss the dog around and take over all of our furniture.

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She is no longer afraid of the outdoors, in fact she often stands at the door and meows, just begging to go out and explore. She  caught her first animal, a mole, and brought it inside to show her gratitude. Thanks cat. I have accidentally locked her out twice now, which appeared to be a much more traumatizing experience for me than for her.

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Last week she was spayed and I was terrified that she would never trust me again or be the same after having surgery. However, she has been just as lovable and snuggly as ever, and is certainly just as feisty. The vet asked us to do our best to keep her calm the week after surgery. We tried, but by day 3 she had already pulled out her stitches. Naughty kitty. The doc threatened to staple her stomach, but luckily he changed his mind.

Help Mom!
Help Mom!

cat tongue

 

Today, she had her first snow day! I didn’t think she’d want to go out, but the second the dog ran out she was right behind her. I just love watching the animals step in the snow and then shake their wet feet off. There were four deer playing in the front yard too… I felt just like Snow White.

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snowday our yard

Belle in the snow.
Belle in the snow.

We love having our little rescue cat and are so happy with how healthy and happy she is with us.

This is what every night looks like...
This is what every night looks like…

Duckie and Belle seem to still be getting along fine. We just hope neither one of them tries to smother the baby in a couple of months!

sleepy kitty

Cheers!

Attempting to Meet Santa

no one looking

Five years ago I found out that Petsmart has a “Santa Claws” photo event. They set aside a few days in December for your pets to come in and take photos with Santa. Adorable! I took Belle that year and the next, with the idea of making it a yearly tradition. However, we then moved to Albania, then NYC and the so-called tradition was forgotten. Until this year…about a week ago my friend Bella informed me that the Green Hills Mall in Nashville was hosting their own “Pet Photos with Santa” event.

We decided it would be fun to go together with ALL of our pets, including our newest addition, Duckie. I texted Bella beforehand to see what she was wearing… I decided to go all out in Christmas colors and elf looking socks and I didn’t want to be the only cheeseball. She responded with a pic of a red sweater bedazzled with sequins. Thank God, I’m not the only one who likes to play dress-up.

The Green Hills Mall set aside two hours at the end of the day for crazy people and their pets to take their photos with Mr. Claus. We arrived a few minutes early to beat the crowd. However, when we arrived there were already about 100 people and their pets of all sized in line and Santa was taking a break. When he returned he took photos with some kids who had waited first, and then took another break! After waiting for 45 minutes, not one pet had its picture taken with Santa and the animals were getting restless. We decided it was not going to be worth our wait (at least another hour) and created our own photo-op in the mall. We grabbed our pets, headed to the big tree behind Santa’s chair and took our own family and friend photos!

Unpacking the cat
Unpacking the cat

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I think our photos turned out great. Who needs Santa anyways? We weren’t the only ones with restless animals either. Lots of people started following our lead, taking their own photos and heading home.

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My Christmas sweater won’t even cover my big belly!
my babies
All 3 of my babies!

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It may have been a failed mission, but it was pretty exciting just to stand in the crazy line and watch the hundreds of pets and owners. There were dogs of all sizes wearing costume of all sorts. It was worth the wait just to watch them. Although, we may still try going to Petsmart next weekend to get an actual Santa photo.

bad kitty
naughty kitty attacking her sister

Anyone else crazy enough to attempt pet pictures with Santa?

Cheers!

P.S. The cat was much better behaved and more calm than our dog… Husband was probably the least happiest to be there, but he’s a good sport when it comes to my ideas of festive fun.

Duckie Update

We have had our new kitten Duckie for over 6 weeks now. In that short amount of time, a lot has changed! When we found her she was starving, weighed only half a pound, covered in scrapes and bruises and was not exactly trusting of people. NOW, after living in a house where animals are spoiled rotten, she has quickly become a loving house-cat that sleeps right between us and drives Belle (and us) insane.

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She has gained 3 pounds in 6 weeks and is not shy about telling us when she’s hungry, or when she wants our food, or when she wants Belle’s food. She has definitely not learned the word “No!” yet. In fact, I’m not sure she knows her name yet. It’s probably my fault though…I call her everything but her name… “sweetie, kitty, duck-duck, littles, goose, lovecat, baby, kitcat, kitten, booboo; everything except “Duckie”.

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The first few weeks we had her she did nothing but sleep on our chests and eat. She has now become the feistiest little kitten ever. Her favorite pastime is hiding under our bed and jumping out to attack our feet and scare the life out of us 87 times a day. She also loves jumping on top of every table, knocking every single thing onto the floor and then hiding those things under the nearest rug. She thinks this is a really fun game…we, on the other hand, do not.

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Her and Belle are typical sisters. For a while bed time looked like this…

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or this..

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Now, they sleep fairly close together most nights. Neither one wants to give up their spot, and they both like to be touching us… yay.

Now this one like to steal my pregnancy pillow...sometimes they are both in it.
Now this one like to steal my pregnancy pillow…sometimes they are both in it.

They also kind of play together now. If you consider taking turns chasing each other and swatting each other in the face playing, then they play all the time.

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Our biggest challenge is getting her to go outside. When we carry her out she freaks, claws us and runs back inside and hides. We have now discovered that if we just leave the door open, she will wonder in and out as she pleases, but she only walks on the deck and the stairs. She loves catching bugs and bringing them inside (awesome), but still won’t touch the grass.

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It’s been a lot of fun caring for Duckie and watching her grow. Husband won’t want to admit it, but he is loving it too. I catch them snuggling ALL the time. And, sometime he catches me snuggling the animals…

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I hope she’s enjoying the attention now, because she won’t be the baby for long!

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Cheers!