Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Foster Fail. Again.

Oops, we did it again.

When we decided we wanted to adopt Plié, we also decided that we didn't want to adopt her brothers, Adagio and Bourreé. They were - ARE - the sweetest boys and they got along wonderfully with each other, but neither of them got along all that well with Plié. We knew, however, that we eventually wanted a second kitten (the saying, "one cat is half of a cat, two cats is a whole cat" is true - cats become their best selves when they have a friend/companion/sibling) and figured we'd find one we and Plié loved as we continued to foster.

We happened to see on our rescue's Facebook page a post about a little pip-squeak - appropriately named Popeye - who would need to have his leg amputated. My friend, Jenn, casually brought up that "Plié" and "Popeye" sounded really cute together, and when I happened to mention what Jenn had said to our rescue friend, she asked if I wanted to take Popeye home to see if the two might be a good pair in real life. Just as I had worked harder than ever before to keep Plié alive, she had worked harder than ever before to keep Popeye alive, and she desperately wanted Popeye to find just the right home. It turns out that just the right home is our home. 

It didn't happen overnight. Popeye was ready to be besties with Plié from day one, but Plié did NOT like Popeye at first. It took almost a week for her to stop hissing at him (meanwhile, he grew somewhat leery of her), but eventually she came around and they started interacting peacefully. A few days after that they started wrestling, and the rest is history. 

Wrestling was an exciting development because they were getting along, but it also made us nervous because Popeye was only a couple of weeks post-surgery to remove his back right leg.

In addition to being ridiculously adorable, Popeye is playful and fun. He is tough as nails, works incredibly hard to keep up with his new older and bigger sister, and doesn't let only having three legs slow him down. He also expresses all emotions by nibbling/biting, so while it's endearing now, it's also something we'll have to work on as he gets older, bigger, and stronger. All in all, he's a delight and we feel incredibly lucky to have him.   

Welcome to the family, Popeye Ferris. We love you as much as the Sailorman loves spinach. 

Friday, June 24, 2022

High Five for Friday (6.24.22)



Ballet was never Hallie's favorite genre of dance. (For a lot of reasons, the primary of which being that slow, controlled movements are particularly difficult for someone with Tourette's.) But since she started pointe, ballet has quickly risen to the top of Hallie's list of favorite ways to spend her time. I don't know how long this new-found passion will last, but it's been incredibly fun for me to see her so excited about trying and working so hard at something new and different.


We have a new internet provider! We've had Suddenlink since moving to Texas, and we've never liked the company or the service - our internet is tolerable, but with it comes mediocre cable (it cuts out periodically, almost always during the WORST possible moments, like at the very end of a season finale or during a World Cup shootout) and subpar DVR. We've wanted to ditch cable for a while, but held onto it because it didn't make sense to drop Suddenlink cable while still paying for Suddenlink internet with the bundling discount. But now that we no longer have Suddenlink internet, we can ditch cable too!

I'll share a review of Frontier Fiber in June or July's Monthly Medley!



After qualifying earlier in the spring, late last week my nephew, Carter, competed at the United States Tumbling Association (UTSA) National Championship in Orlando, FL. He earned FIRST place on Double-Mini, FIRST place on Floor, and FIRST place on Trampoline! He's a THREE-TIME UTSA National Champion! Congratulations, President Carter!


Happy (belated) Father's Day! The boys played disc golf (Tom's favorite way to spend a day) in Waco, so Hallie and I went out to lunch and to see The Theatre Company's production of Newsies.


Lastly this week, a little PSA about Juneteenth.

In case you missed it, last Sunday was Juneteenth. Until a couple of years ago, I knew nothing about what celebrating this holiday - also called Jubilee Day and Freedom Day - meant.

Juneteenth commemorates the day - June 19th - in 1865 when Union General Gordon Granger read aloud the federal orders that all previously enslaved people in Texas were free. Though these individuals had been formally freed by the Emancipation Proclamation more than two years earlier and the Civil War had ended in April of that year, Texas was "the most remote of the slave states, with a low presence of Union troops, so enforcement of the proclamation had been slow and inconsistent". Festivities began the following year here in Texas, and grew gradually throughout the last 150 years until just last week, Juneteenth became a Federal Holiday.  Popular Juneteenth activities include readings, lectures, exhibitions, and historical reenactments, as well as prayer services, street fairs, cookouts, reunions, rodeos, and parties. The day is about celebrating African American* freedom and achievement, but also about celebrating heritage, instilling pride, and honoring influences.

* I used "African American", rather than "Black", here because that is the terminology used on the official Juneteenth website.  

Want to learn more about Juneteenth? Check out www.juneteenth.com and the What is Juneteenth? episode on the podcast First Name Basis with Jasmine Bradshaw.

Happy weekend, friends!

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

The Summit Drives Us

While I wouldn't say that rock climbing has ever appeared on my bucket list, I would say that I've always thought it would be fun to be the kind of person who exercises and recreates in such a cool way. But given that I could never even get off the ground when it came time to climb the rope in middle school PE, I didn't think rock climbing and I would be a good fit.

So when a rock climbing establishment arrived in College Station and a friend invited me and a few others to join her for 1/2 price Women's Wednesday, I said "yes" (wanting to be the kind of person who exercises and recreates in such a cool way) even though I wanted to say "no" (knowing I'm actually the kind of person who can't climb a rope). 

It's important to learn to say "no", but it's equally important to learn to say "yes"...if we don't, at some point we'll miss out on new experiences. And I hadn't said agreed when Anne suggested rock climbing, I would never have known that I - WE - can actually do it!


We interspersed climbing "sessions" with beverages, snacks, chatting, and photo taking, appreciating the opportunity to work at our own pace. We didn't feel badly in the slightest when we needed to rest our hands. 

I took Will here with a friend a few weeks after our climbing session and he loved it as well. We're looking forward to visiting again - and perhaps even bringing Hallie so she can become the kind of person who exercises and recreates in this way - this summer!

The summit is what drives us, but the climb itself is what matters.     ~ Conrad Anker

Ok, this quote is a little dramatic for this post, but I like its meaning and how it can apply to other areas of our lives.

Friday, June 17, 2022

High Five for Friday (6.17.22)



We took care of our friends' kitty, Teaka (who used to be Bob, of Hallie's Hairstyle Babies) for the last week while her family was on vacation. It's important when kitty sitting to take lots of pictures to share with kitty's mom, dad, and siblings, and to check on the pool periodically to make sure everything looks and feels up to snuff. I think we did a pretty good job! 

On the first day, Teaka didn't want to come out to see us.
She usually lives with five humans and four dogs, so to be
by herself all of a sudden was a difficult transition for her.
The kids were so patient, and eventually convinced
her it was safe to emerge from under the couch. 

Her favorite perch in the house.

She doesn't like the blinds closed, so every night, after we close them,
she choses a few to open. (She does this when her family is home too.)

She knows she's not supposed to be on the counter...

Teaka destroyed her ice cream cone, but Hallie -
who is now a better seamstress than I am, thanks
to pointe (sorry, Mom) - sewed it back together.

I kept her plants alive and found this beauty!

I'm also pretty proud of myself for managing to let us in and out every day without setting off the alarm system. We have a different kind of alarm system than they do, so I was very worried about having to disarm and arm it. Whew!

Funny story #1: On the first day, Will didn't realize they were out of town - he thought we were just there to hang out. He didn't say anything at first, but after I'd opened their garage, unlocked the door to the house, and turned off the alarm, he said something like, "so we're just like...going into their house like this now?" 

Funny story #2: I was explaining to Will that we were only taking care of the cat because they had boarded their dogs, and Hallie asked, "you mean like on a boat?" 


A few fun videos of combos from one of Hallie's dance intensives last week. 

Hallie's been attending this intensive - led by one of her favorites, Ms. Darby - for quite a few years, so I thought it would be fun to share the older photos of them together. I think I'm missing a couple (and the intensive didn't happen in 2020), but the ones I have are cute!


From 4:30pm last Friday afternoon until 7:30am on Monday morning, we had nothing (other than taking care of Teaka) on the calendar. In general I don't mind being busy, and there's nothing I'd rather do than watch my kids participate in the activities they love, but an occasional completely free weekend feels like a gift.


We have a new foster! Late last week Adagio and Bourree left us, and in their place we now have an accurately-monikered, three-legged little darling named Popeye.

Popeye and Plié were NOT friends at first - Popeye tried to get to know her, but Plié had to work through her issues first - but now they love to play and wrestle together...to the point that we're having to separate them to protect Popeye's still healing incision. 


Happiness Highlights 

This is my nephew, Carter. He's supposed to be a baby,
and yet here he is in his official competitive soccer team
photo looking all old and handsome.

She's feeling right at home these days.

A terrible picture, but it captured them playing together
at the swimming pool. I love that they'll still play together.

We went to a movie! In a movie theater! For the 
first time in two years and four months! (The kids
were with us but didn't want to be in our picture.) 

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Foster Fail

We made it through 46 kittens before our first foster fail. 

Meet foster kitten 47: Plié...Ferris.

When Tux was alive, we regularly acknowledged our plans to add a second cat to our family when we found a foster we ALL - Tux included - loved. We never found a cat Tux approved of though, so he remained an only cat until his death late last December

We knew we could never replace Tux, but we also knew that at some point we wanted another cat and that we would find that cat through fostering...we just didn't know it would happen so soon.

Plié, along with her brothers Adagio and Bourreé, came to us on March 31st at three weeks old. Adagio was the biggest at barely half of a pound, and all three were so tiny their entire bodies fit in the palm of my hand. They were terrible eaters - they couldn't figure out nor did they seem all that interested in the bottle, any kind of food out of a dish, or water - and didn't yet understand how to use the litter box. I fed (attempted to feed?) them every four hours around the clock, with varying levels of success, and after a week of struggling to get them to gain weight and choppy nighttime sleep, I was exhausted. For a period of time I had to "rake" wet food into their mouths (putting the food on my finger, and then raking my finger across the roof of their mouths so the food would catch on their tiny teeth and they would *sort of* eat it) and all of my fingers were cut up and raw from the process. At various points they all had diarrhea and coccidia and were on medications for these ailments, and Plié's got so bad that her entire behind and the insides of her back legs became horribly raw and inflamed (and her legs lost most of their fur) and she needed another special medication to heal those areas. After their spay/neuter surgeries, Plié and Adagio developed an uncommon side effect to the anesthesia: they stopped eating completely. We tried EVERYTHING to get them to eat, but nothing worked, they each lost a significant amount of their body weight over a span of five days, and eventually both had to go on yet another medication to control their nausea and increase their appetites. I had never worked harder to keep kittens alive, but Plié in particular needed SO much help and intervention - and she was/is the sweetest of the bunch - and there was a point at which I just knew I couldn't give her to someone else to raise.

I saw a Tiktok challenge that had people post the moment they knew their foster would become a foster fail. Here was my moment:

When Plié had coccidia and diarrhea and her little butt and legs were raw and inflamed, we had to regularly rinse the poop off of her back/bottom half. Tom was particularly good at this job, and she seemed to feel safest and calmest when he bathed her compared to when Hallie or I did it. On this day I was standing at the ready with the towel, and thankfully my phone was nearby so I could capture this moment - I knew right then that she wasn't leaving us. 

We decided not to keep Adagio and Bourree because while they were/are delightful kittens, they didn't actually get along with Plié all that well. So because cats almost always do better in pairs, we're now "in the market" for a sibling for Plié... 😉