Friday, November 27, 2009

Mess of the Day #31: Oh, Rats!

Sorry I don't have a pic for you, but you'll have fun imagining this one. We have been staying with a friend, helping her recover from knee replacement surgery. Pete came to me, saying that Screech was using Windex on the family's rat cage. It was actually worse; she had sprayed the Windex on the poor rats! Their fur was blue and soaked. I asked her why she did that, and she replied earnestly, "I was trying to make them go to sleep!"

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Screech is Not Amused

I don't know who I feel sorrier for. Screech, because Pete sprayed Silly String in her hair? Or Pete, because he got blamed for it when actually, DADDY was the culprit?

Monday, November 2, 2009

We're Alive!!!!

"Finally!" you're saying, "I don't have to look at a picture of that kitten anymore!!!!" I am SO sorry I haven't posted in ages. It's been so long that I forgot my Blogger password and it took me several tries to login! Here, in a nutshell, is what has been going on with us:

- I have discovered Facebook. 'Nuff said!

- This past summer, I went through a bad bout of clinical depression. Nothing brought it on, but life was a daily struggle for awhile. I truly didn't care about anyone or anything. After some medication and lifestyle changes, I am finally back to 100%!

- As if that weren't bad enough, soon after my depression set in Hubby lost his job due to the economy. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as he was there to help me cope everyday and took over all the major household duties. I don't know what I'd have done without him! Please pray for him, though, as he hasn't found work yet. He is looking for a management position in Health/Safety/Environmental or in Quality. We would prefer to live in the southeast if at all possible. If you know of any such openings, please let us know!

- Drama Queen and Pete will be in a play soon, "Hansel and Gretel". They will be playing a brother and sister who get lost in the forest. I am proud of both of them: Drama Queen for being so expressive, and Pete for having his first major role and memorizing his lines so quickly. I am in charge of costumes, which is SO much fun!

- We're still homeschooling and loving it! Drama Queen is especially loving math, thanks to Teaching Textbooks. Wonderful program! Here the kids are modeling the Egyptian costumes I made for them:

- Pete is thriving in Taekwondo. He recently earned his purple belt.

- Pete tried to scam the Tooth Fairy and received this note (created by a most clever fairy), which was later found wadded in a tight ball in the outside trashcan. (It was MIGHTY unusual that he offered to take the trash out by himself for the first time ever!) Any fairy communication was vehemently denied.

(You can download a blank copy here!)

- As you can see, Screech is still Screech! Yes, she's eating with her feet.

She is cracking us up lately with her affinity for bugs, dead or alive. She lets the live ones crawl all over her, then she plays with them for hours until they die. Here she is holding a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach. The people at the nature center had to beg her to get it back!

The only reason she is petting this LARGE tarantula so delicately is because we bribed her. She'd have grabbed it out of the man's hand otherwise!

Here she is playing with dead beetles in lieu of dolls:

Last but not least, Sylvester the cat is growing like a weed! He's no longer that tiny kitten, but he's as sweet and cuddly as ever!

That's it for now. I promise, I'll update regularly now that my love affair with Facebook has begun to wane!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Our New Kitty!

As you know, we recently lost Doodle H., our cat of 17 years. My neighbor recently took in a stray mother cat, and tonight we got one of her kittens! Isn't he adorable?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

In Which Mammarino Gets a Teeny Bit Political

My mother-in-love just called to thank me for the lovely Christmas card she received from us today - which was postmarked Dec. 13, 2008! Gotta love the trusty ol' US Postal Service. Doesn't it just make you want MORE of what our government has to offer? Just think of the possibilities! Health care! More control over education! Ahhh, my heart flutters with anticipation . . .

Friday, April 3, 2009

I Ain't Got No Vee-Hicle

This has been the condition of our yard for the past week. All we need is a tattered, threadbare couch on the front porch and we'll be bona fide, certified rednecks!

I might ask mah cuzzin Billy Joe Jim Bob tuh brang me sum chickens and a coon dawg.

(In my poor Hubby's defense, it rained ALL WEEK, and the parts for my van had to be ordered!)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

WFMW: Pete the Perfectionist

This week's WFMW is a backwards edition; this week, I get to hear your tips! Here's my dilemma:

Persnickety Pete, my 1st grader, is painfully perfectionistic. (Try saying that 10 times fast!) He is very bright but feels that everything is "too hard", and he often refuses to do his work for fear of messing something up. For the record, I am extremely patient and try my best to make school fun and laid back. I never, ever criticize; I try to stay really positive. Here are some examples from our homeschool:

One day, he had a complete meltdown because his work was "too hard". His assignment? No, it wasn't to calculate pi; all he had to do was draw four small circles and cut them out! He either forgot or didn't hear me say to draw them first, and he was left with a paper that made Swiss cheese look solid!

Today, he was to think of words that begin with the letter "n" in order to finish a simple project. (Keep in mind, he is reading very well at this point.) I showed him lists in dictionaries, on the web, etc. and nothing satisfied him. He never did do it.

Sometimes he cries and refuses to continue if he's drawing or writing something and it doesn't look good enough in his eyes.

I really want him to have a good school experience and feel good about himself. This is driving me NUTS! Any ideas?

Here are my previous WFMW posts:

Checkout Line Pastime
Cheap Capris
Save a Life! (Not WFMW, but an important post!)
Cooling Oatmeal
Backseat Entertainment
Gifts to Spark Your Child's Imagination
Reading Motivation
Finding a Babysitter
Charging a Cell Phone
Swim/Shower with a Cast
Free Tech Support
Calming Injured Children
Choosing a Phone Number
What NOT to Soak Contacts In
Broken Glass Cleanup
Cheap Rolling Cart for Conventions
Chocolate Recipes
Tooth-Tugging Tip for Terrified Tots
Handy Earache Relief
Uses for Leftover Bread
Leaky Diaper/Pull-up Fix
Snack Mix Recipe (at the end of the post)
Awesome Stain Recipe
(at the end of the post)
"Fun"damentals of Family Life
Removing Wite-Out from Everything
When NOT to Save Money
Public Service Announcement

For more WFMW, stop by We Are THAT Family!

Monday, March 30, 2009

She's Just as Unpredictable

Introducing . . .
"Hippie" Longstocking (as she calls herself!)

I love this age!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Happy $%&@#*$ Day!

(If you have little ones looking over your shoulder who know how to read, you may want to shoo them away or read this later!)

March 26 is Create Your Own Holiday Day. Pete declared that it was Stay Up All Day and Night Day, which I promptly nixed. (Aren't I a meanie?) He decided to join Drama Queen in her celebration of Backwards Day.

When Screech inquired as to why Drama Queen's clothes were on backward, her sister patiently explained that it was Backwards Day. Screech "corrected" her, saying, "No! It's B*st*rds Day!"

Alright then. Let me be the first to wish you a very happy B*st*rds Day!

It's right up there with Festivus.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mess of the Day #29: Secret Stash

Apparently, Screech has been stuffing miscellaneous items into a hole in a speaker for several months now. Contents:

- 9 snowman and Santa figurines
- 1 Hot Wheels truck
- several large wads of stuffing
- various lengths and styles of yarn
- 1 pencil
- 4 other miscellaneous toys

Sunday, March 22, 2009

We'll Miss You, Doodle H.

I am so sorry I have been absent lately! Even though we've been extremely busy, there's really no official excuse. It was simply a matter of getting out of the habit. I have really missed blogging, though, and look forward to getting going regularly soon! ("Getting going regularly?" See, it's been so long that my grammar has gone out the window!)

There is tons of news, but the main news is that we lost our cat of 17 years in the wee hours of St. Patrick's Day morning. It was hard, but we knew it was coming. She started getting sick a few months ago, and although she had moments where she perked up quite a bit, she never did get completely back to normal.

(Wasn't she gorgeous?)

A little history of how I got her: I was living in an old apartment just before I finished college in 1992. One night, as I returned from my shift as a waitress at Chi'Chi's - man, I miss that place (the food, not the work)! - my headlights caught some movement as I pulled into the driveway. A stray cat was living under our house with a litter of the most adorable kittens you've ever seen. When my landlord (a grumpy, 90-something-year-old codger) got wind of this, he declared that he was going to beat them all to death with his cane. Horrified, a neighbor and I captured the cats one by one and took them to the Humane Society. Molly was the very last one, and she was so beautiful I just had to keep her.

At first, Molly was terrified of me and all humans. Gradually I got her to trust me, although for years she hid from most everyone else. She never was very friendly to anyone until Drama Queen was born. After that, she was so desperate for attention that she would cuddle on any stranger that came by! By the time Screech was born, she would endure anything if it meant getting a little attention. You can see how much her personality had changed by these pictures:

Like most cats, she had lots of quirks. She was fascinated with watching toilets flush. When I showered, she meowed anxiously and pawed at me as if to say, "Oh! The horror of my beloved owner being blasted by that water! Grab my paw and I'll pull you to safety!" Every time I took a nap, she burrowed under the covers and curled up by my legs. When I practiced piano, she insisted on sitting on my lap. She had a penchant for car seats and loved to curl up on them. (Once, I left one in the house while I was on a weekend trip and found that she had used it for a litter box. Bad kitty!)

Well, she did have an excuse. Someone had accidentally left a baby gate closed, and she was unable to squeeze underneath to get to her litterbox because she was so fat! At one point she weighed over 17 pounds. The vet had scrawled "OBESE" on her chart in gigantic letters and put her on diet cat food. I had to limit her to such a tiny portion of food that I gave her half in the morning and half at night to space it out so she wouldn't be so hungry. She snarfed it down in seconds, slobbering and scattering it everywhere, then meowed all day long, wanting more. After many months of this, she never really lost weight. Her constant begging for food drove me batty, so finally I just kept her cat bowl piled high. Funny thing, her weight came down after that!

Molly had several nicknames (thanks to hubby):

Molly Wolly
Molly Wolly Doodle All the Day
Doodle H.M.N.N. Buggen (which stands for Doodle Henrietta Matilda Natalie Nicole Buggen)
and finally, we simply called her Doodle H.

Around Thanksgiving this past year, Doodle didn't eat well, didn't use the litter box much, and threw up about once a day. She lost weight and got really dehydrated. When I took her to the vet, she weighed only 7 pounds! They admitted her for three days and gave her IV fluids. (I needed medical care myself when I got the vet bill.) She had a problem with her kidneys, which is common in older cats. When I got her home, I had to give her some of these twice a day:

It was no picnic, as she wet on my leg every time I did it.
Every. Time.

The freaky part was giving her THIS every day:

Yes, me. At home. This was some kind of subcutaneous fluid treatment she needed. I had to jab a GINORMOUS needle into the scruff of her neck and let this stuff drip into her for 10-15 minutes every day. It was the weirdest thing I've ever had to do in my entire life. Believe it or not, she did fairly well with it. It was actually kind of funny, because for awhile after each treatment it looked like she she had these big blobs of fat on her legs.

Screech also did her best to care for her:

Doodle rallied for awhile and started eating again, but at some point last month she started eating less again. About a week before she died, she completely stopped eating. I tried everything: every brand of cat food, table scraps, tuna, you name it. She got weaker and weaker. The day before she died, she couldn't jump up on the bed anymore to cuddle with me. When I picked her up, she just laid her head on me - something she never did. I knew that it would be a matter of hours, so I camped out in the recliner and cuddled her for several hours until she died in my arms.

Hubby was so supportive during this time. The moment she died (12:25am), I woke him up to tell him that I thought she was gone. (Funny, although I had watched her take her last breath and no longer felt her heartbeat, there was still that residual denial.) He hugged me for the longest time, then we talked for awhile. He went back to bed, but got up extra early and buried her before dawn. (Isn't he AWESOME?)

Doodle H. was a really good cat. She was a good listener:

She even guarded the mountain laundry for me during our lice crisis, lest some evil person might have come and tried to steal it:

You were a good kitty, Doodle H. We'll miss you.

Doodle H.M.N.N. Buggen
March ?, 1992 - March 17, 2009

By the way, if you ever face the loss of a pet, I highly recommend the books Dog Heaven and Cat Heaven by Cythia Rylant. These picture books can be precious keepsakes for a pet lover of any age, but they are great for helping children through those first hard days. Each describes the special things that animals get to do in heaven. In Cat Heaven, cats get to eat on God's kitchen countertop and sleep on His bed, and cuddle on angel laps. Here's an excerpt:

There are trees
in Cat Heaven
trees made
just for cats,

trees growing

so green and so high.

But no one

gets stuck

in a tree
anymore -

if a cat

wants down,
she will fly!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mess of the Day # 28: Cat Door

The cat door is just too tempting not to play with.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

WFMW: Checkout Line Pastime

I love those miniature books that come on the front of the large Cheerios boxes. They are the perfect size to tuck in a purse or diaper bag. Even for their tiny size, though, the books are complete; they're not abridged or watered down. Whenever we are stuck in a long checkout line, I get them out to pass the time. (Bonus: Distraction from all those indecent magazine covers!) Reading aloud to children is SO important and this is a wonderful way to read to your children even more!

The books are only available for a limited time and are on the Cheerios boxes now. If your kids don't eat Cheerios you can always donate the cereal to a food pantry, church nursery or preschool (you can easily get the book out without opening the cereal). Click on the picture to learn about the latest offerings:

P.S. Look at what Screech has been up to. This one's a lulu!

Here are my previous WFMW posts:

Cheap Capris
Save a Life! (Not WFMW, but an important post!)
Cooling Oatmeal
Backseat Entertainment
Gifts to Spark Your Child's Imagination
Reading Motivation
Finding a Babysitter
Charging a Cell Phone
Swim/Shower with a Cast
Free Tech Support
Calming Injured Children
Choosing a Phone Number
What NOT to Soak Contacts In
Broken Glass Cleanup
Cheap Rolling Cart for Conventions
Chocolate Recipes
Tooth-Tugging Tip for Terrified Tots
Handy Earache Relief
Uses for Leftover Bread
Leaky Diaper/Pull-up Fix
Snack Mix Recipe (at the end of the post)
Awesome Stain Recipe
(at the end of the post)
"Fun"damentals of Family Life
Removing Wite-Out from Everything
When NOT to Save Money
Public Service Announcement

For more WFMW tips, stop by Shannon's blog!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Mess of the Day # 27: A Sad Day

I have dreaded this day.

I knew it was coming.

Drama Queen never did this.

Pete never did this.

But of course, we knew Screech would do this eventually.

Here's a "before" picture. Note the length. See the beautiful, golden curls.

Okay, enough suspense.

It really could have been worse.

There's enough length left in the back to put it in ponytails and no one will notice the difference.

If I leave it down, though, she definitely has that redneck look. Sort of a modified mullet:

Next thing you know, she'll be wearing nothing but a diaper everywhere we go, and I'll start calling her "Sissy" and her brother "Bubba" . . .

Mullet Girl was really proud of herself . . .

. . . until she realized I wasn't.

You just keep talkin', Mamma! I'll get into something bigger! Bigger than Wite-Out! Bigger than cereal! You just wait!!!!!