Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ask and You Shall Receive

...if your name happens to be Chloe, that is.

After Pattycakes passed away early this spring, Chloe and I visited a local Petco to cuddle the kitties. We found the most perfect kitty. She sat contentedly on my lap for a full ten minutes, just purring her little heart out. She allowed Chloe to pet her while still purring. Her name was Minnie Mouse. I immediately called James at work and described this kitty to him. I explained how well she would fit into our family and that she would help me get over the loss of Pattycakes (who was my lap kitty). James said, "NO!" I don't blame him. I really don't. Three cats can be a lot. Three cats along with four, possibly five (if Searchy didn't eat Willie 1) hermit crabs make for a small zoo in our little townhouse. But, oh, how Chloe and my hearts did break when he so adamantly said,"No!" It was so final. So resolute.

I gave up. I thoroughly enjoy the two kitties in my life. Bumblebee and Twillerbee. My fat cats. My babies.


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Even after adding three new hermit crabs to our tank, Chloe still insisted that she needed a new kitten. Daddy promised her a fish. So, when he arrives home, we will be adding a new fish to our menagerie.

Oh...and Chloe still begged for a kitten. Cats tend to be slightly more responsive to human interactions than fish. And after another two weeks of pleading, imploring, beseeching and downright begging, Daddy said yes.

WHAT???

Yes! He said yes! So, we are getting a new kitty next week. And a fish. It will resemble a proper zoo around here.

I have researched the best ways to introduce a new kitty to Chloe for optimum bonding. So far my research has found that maybe a 1-2 year old kitty might be the best option, contrary to my original belief that a kitten would grow up around Chloe and be used to her. What I have read is that if a kitten becomes frightened by the loudness and lack of gentility of the child, they grow to be skittish. Well, we have two extremely skittish kitties right now and I now believe that we most likely created this problem. When James arrives home, we will head to the shelters to greet some 1-2 year old kitties and see who bonds with Chloe.

One thing I must keep in mind with a new kitty is safety. Big monsters live in our house and threaten the kitties happiness.


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Bumblebee protects us. He takes down the monster by walking slowly around it, sniffing it from all sides and then guarding the door so the beast is trapped until I lock it away in the dark, dungeon of our closet.

Thank you Bumblebee. It is now save to play.


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Although, Twillerbee always keeps a watchful eye out in case the monster escapes. You will often see her staring up at the ceiling with a look of fear in her eyes. But Bumblebee is never far. He watches over us and protects us from whatever he warrants we need protection from. (Steam cleaners are down right evil, let me tell you.)


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Although, even heroes need a rest now and then.


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We are officially ready for kitty number 3. Way to go Chloe! (Maybe you should start asking for a puppy now.)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Flying Lessons 101

Chloe dreams of flying. Not in an airplane. Not in a hang glider. No, she believes she can truly fly. If only she could find the right supplies for the wings.

Got wings? Check! Got wand? Check!


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It can be quite intimidating standing on the edge of a precipice. Jumping off into the wild blue yonder. Soaring into worlds unknown.


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Muster that courage and take the leap of faith.


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But sometimes, you stumble and fall. Sometimes you don't reach your dreams.


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Pick yourself back up and smile. You are someplace different than where you started. You have learned new things and met new people and have seen some amazing sights on your journey.


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It can be frustrating when you fail again.


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But that just means it is time to think things through.


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If you want to fly without an airplane, you are going to need an elaborate plan. A scheme. A strategy. It will be complicated and involved.


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But don't give up. Never give up. Don't ever stop dreaming, baby girl.

Imagination Destination: Candyland

While laying down the yesterday, trying to catch a quick catnap, Chloe popped onto the bed and promptly asked, "Will you play with me, Mommy?" I asked what she wanted to play and she responded, "Ummmmmm...Family."


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She grabbed Lotso, Little Lamb and Eeyore and announced that Lotso was Daddy, Eeyore was me and Little Lamb was none other than herself. I played Eeyore and Chloe played both Lotso and Little Lamb. Our first round of "play" involved me (Eeyore) baking cupcakes with Chloe (Little Lamb). Daddy (Lotso) came home right as we were pouring the batter into the muffin tins. When Little Lamb asked if he would like to help us, Lotso said, "No!" quite emphatically and hastily removed himself to the living room at the bottom corner of the bed. We finished baking the cupcakes and boy were they delicious. Of course, Lotso joined us to eat the cupcakes.

Our next game involved the entire family playing Candyland together. Chloe informed me that I must switch roles and play Lotso (Daddy) but I needed to lower my voice to sound deep.


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We moved imaginary game pieces around an imaginary game board. I was quite impressed with how many times in a row the players would draw the same cards as the previous player. I began wondering if maybe Eeyore was not placing hers at the bottom of the pile as instructed.


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We ended the game celebrating Little Lamb's amazing victory (in just 3 turns, no less) by hoisting her up on Lotso's shoulders for a ride around the bed.


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Childhood passes by so quickly. I am so entirely blessed that I have moments like this to share with my daughter. I could have slept. I could have gotten my 20 minute catnap. But I chose, instead, to enter fairyland for a few minutes of delightful play with a darling girl who will grow up before I even blink. And really. Who doesn't love a frolic through peppermints and gumdrops with Eeyore?

Chloe's Photography

I love handing my camera to Chloe and then peeking at what she captures. It helps me see the world through her eyes.

Cats. Her favorite subject, both to talk about and to photograph.


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Me. Chloe always takes a few pictures of me when she gets a hold of my camera. She manages to capture faces I would never intentionally give to a camera.


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Photographers (or any artist in general) should always try to branch out and learn new skills or techniques. They should push themselves to new limits, new heights. Chloe ventured into the "staging" element of photography. She spent a good five minutes placing her mouse in proximity to the new kitty toy and then peering through the viewfinder to see what it would look like and then back to the placement and then back to the viewfinder, back and forth, back and forth before she finally felt satisfied enough to snap the picture.


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The next skill to try is self-portraits. It didn't take Chloe more than 2 tries to get it just right.


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I believe we have a photographer on our hands. She is already just as good as I am with the camera.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Meet Searchy and Willie 2

Once upon a time (this past Easter), after much discussion and mild debating, James and I agreed to enhance our home atmosphere with hermit crabs. Such a fascinating little creature to study. We purchased an aquarium, substrate, shells, bathing pool, lava rock, climbing twigs, thermometers, heaters along with three little Hermies.

Unfortunately, being pet store hermit crabs, one promptly died within a week. RIP dear Sleepy. The other two lived for a couple of months. Searchy and Willie.

We engaged the help of a few friends to care for our beloved creatures while we vacationed with Mickey, Minnie and gang. Upon arriving home we found that Willie had vanished and a day or so later, Searchy too disappeared entirely. My only conclusion was that Searchy ate Willie and then buried himself to die. But I failed to smell that dead hermit crab smell. (Think seafood restaurant on a beach here...yea...gross.) Anyways, no such smell.

After 2 months with no hermies, Chloe began begging for a new kitten. (In all actuality, she's been begging since Pattycakes passed away in March, but James adamantly said "NO!" so I gave up asking. Chloe on the other hand persisted.) She poured on the charm and tears and downright pleading this past month though. I felt terrible that she lost her hermit crabs and I hadn't replaced them. I figured if I replaced the crabs she would lay off the kitten requests.

We hiked to the pet store and purchased 3 more hermies. One, immediately upon being set on the substrate, ran to the corner and buried himself. We've yet to see him again. His name is Nilly. I believe he was desperate for a molt.

Three days after I inserted the new hermies into the tank, guess who popped up for a midnight snack rocking new skin? Yup. Searchy! So, now we have four hermies in our tank when my intention had been three. Three hermies is a good number. Four? A bit larger. But then I got to thinking...I wonder if Willie is down there molting too. Maybe Searchy didn't eat him. That would make a grand total of FIVE hermit crabs. Oh me, oh my. Oh me, OH MY! What have I done?

So, let me introduce to you Searchy.

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Searchy comes out to greet me when I pick up his shell. He loves grated carrots. He also plays with me on the couch, coming up close to my face to study me and then backing away. He will feel my arms with his "feelers" (sorry, don't know the technical term for them) as he scouts around for a good climbing location.

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Chloe named her three new hermies Willie, Nilly and Silly. I told her Willie needed to be Willie 2 since we already owned a Willie. And now to think that we might own two Willies at the same time. Wow! Confusing.

Willie 2 tends towards shyness. It takes him quite a bit longer to come out of his shell when you pick him up. We wait a good bit for his little eyes to peep out.

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I am trying to play with the Hermies every day to get them used to humans. We are planning on studying them for school soon and so I thought it might be good them get them out in our hands to play with. Willie 2 actually did a great job in Chloe's hands. He walked back and forth across them for a good bit before hiding in his shell. I think the shutter click of the camera grates on his nerves after a while though.

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Even after adding three new hermit crabs to our tank, Chloe still insisted that she needed a new kitten. Daddy promised her a fish. So, when he arrives home, we will be adding a new fish to our menagerie. Just a goldfish in a bowl. Or maybe a beta behind our kitchen sink. Nothing fancy. Just a fish in a bowl. With an Ariel figurine and some fish flakes.

And I have another surprise for you in another post on another day. Exciting news but it will have to wait. This post is about Hermit Crabs. Have a delightful day everyone.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I am...

I am a child of the King of Kings.

I am a joint heir with Jesus Christ.

I am bought with a price.

I am loved.

I am chosen.

I am created in the image of God.

I am beautiful.

I am a work-in-progress by the Holy Spirit himself.

I am victorious.

I may not be anything or anyone to you. I may be just another face in the crowd or another warm body in the seat to most people. You may forget my name in a week or a year. You may not even realize I exist, or love, or feel hurt or pain. But I am the apple of my Father's eye. I am His pride and joy! I am the reason He sent His Son to die on the cross. He wants me. He loves me. He cherishes me.

I am His.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Little Lamb

Chloe's favorite stuffed animal for quite some time now has been a little, white, stuffed lamb. Her fluffy fur and floppy body make her the perfect companion for squeezing during slumber or wiping tears from eyes during a moment of sadness.

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In one of those precious moments that appear unannounced, Chloe and I sat cuddled together this morning talking about when Jesus will return to earth. She mentioned that he will come down to take us to heaven. I discussed with her that one of two options will happen. Either we will die and go to heaven, or we will be here when Jesus comes down out of the sky. You should have seen her eyes light up at the mention of Jesus coming down in the sky. She thinks it would be better to stand outside to see him coming because it might be difficult to see him from inside our window. Oh how precious was this conversation with my daughter this morning. I loved watching the joy in her eyes as we chatted.

Her eyes started filling up with tears and her words became choked.

"But little lamb won't be able to come to heaven with us," came her garbled words.

"No. Your right. She won't be able to come with us," I quietly replied.

"Because you said that we can't take anything with us when we go."

"Yes, your right. We can't take anything with us when we go to heaven."

The Holy Spirit prompted me to mention Jesus as the Lamb of the world. I did so and the joy returned to Chloe's eyes. Jesus is a Lamb? Yes, not quite like her little lamb, but yes. I then explained to her that when we get to heaven, we will be with Jesus for all of eternity. Sometimes, I need to leave to cook dinner or prepare for her schoolwork or return books to the library. But when we get to heaven, Jesus will cuddle her for 20 years if she so desires. He is her lamb and she will have his undivided attention for all of eternity.

These moments amaze me.

They take my breath away.

I cherish them.

I want to remember them forever.

Precious moments when I get to share Jesus love with my little girl. This is what motherhood is all about. It's not about the cupcakes, or the math sums, or the painted rocks, or the bike rides in the park. It's about sharing the Love of our Savior with our children. Nothing, and I do mean nothing is more important than that.

Thank you Jesus for this treasured moment. Thank you for your love!

I kissed Chloe on the nose and said, "Jesus WILL come back. He promised."

(Chloe is quite excited about meeting Jesus in the air. She has waited her entire life to fly. You could say it's her lifelong dream. And if Jesus returns in her lifetime, her dream to fly will come true.)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Backyard Birding

We've been bird watching in the back yard quite a bit lately. To entice our feathered friends to our yard we are adding some little touches here and there. First we painted some terracotta pots that I stacked and glued together for bird feeders.

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Chloe painted hers to "scare away the birds." I couldn't figure out why she felt the need to scare the birds away from her bird feeder. Who can fathom a 6 year old's logic? Sometimes, I don't think she even understands herself. The top pot is painted like a bee's eyes. (Note the black "eyes" on the yellow head.) She then painted tiger stripes on the next pot and completed that with a tiger grin. "Tiger's attack birds so the birds will be scared of this feeder", Chloe explained to me.

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Unfortunately, her plan failed and little house sparrows visit her feeder whenever there is seed in it.

After the feeders we decided to paint bird houses.

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Now I just need to figure out how to hang these on my fence so they are stable enough. We plan on constructing some nesting boxes this fall/winter to place around the yard. Hopefully next year we will entice some birds to nest in our yard and raise their babies so we can see them.

Every so often, after weeding the garden or filling the bird feeders, I will let the hose run down the back walk. This sure captures the bird's fancy. They fly to our yard by the dozens to jump around in our trickling "brook". I caught a Common Grackle sunning himself after a bath on our back stoop. He hopped up the steps...

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...and ruffled his feathers and sat there in the warm sunshine.

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Of course, this sort of behavior outside arouses the kitties curiosity inside. They don't quite know what to make of all these bird noises.

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What on earth is out there? Did you hear that noise? I know it's something to pounce on. I can feel it!

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Birds we've seen in our yard so far:
- Common Grackle (which we do NOT like so we stopped feeding black oiled sunflower seeds for a time to get rid of them.)
- Cowbird (we feel much the same about cowbirds as we do the common grackles)
- House Sparrow
- Mockingbird
- House Finch
- Mourning Dove
- Robin (we love to watch the Robin's antics as she hops around the grass, picking up worms in her beak. It is amazing to watch how quickly she sucks that work down her throat)
- Pigeon (for some reason I LOVE these pigeons. Don't ask me why. They just make me smile)
-Northern Cardinal

And now I must be off to get ready for a birthday party with Chloe. Have a fabulous afternoon. Spend a minute and watch a bird. They can be quite fascinating as they feed their babies or slurp up worms. You may even become a "bird watcher" yourself.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Our Altered Book

These next few pages in our altered book came from Chloe's vivid imagination. Problem is, her imagine far exceeds her fine motor capabilities so I ended up doing most of the work. When finished though, they took Chloe's breath away.

Her first request was a pop-up flower. I found a tutorial online for a giant flower. Chloe didn't think it would work out, but when I opened up the final results for her, she literally gasped.

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She was in charge of adding little details to the page whilst I created the flower. She cut out a butterfly and a frog from cardstock with my paper punches and then informed me we needed to make a lily pad for the frog. She painted the water so I could add the lily pad. She opted for an orange frog.

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I couldn't help but add the little scroll details behind the flower. The page practically screamed for them.

Tangled has quickly become my new favorite Disney movie. (It should be after I waited 3 hours in line to meet Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder at Disneyworld this past May.) Chloe envisioned Rapnuzel's tower for a page in our book. We dreamed and schemed for at least an hour of what we wanted our tower to look like. I handed Chloe the flower paper punch and let her go crazy with it and my paper scrap bin. She cut way more flowers than we could fit on the entire layout, let alone the small portion of the tower we wanted them for. She helped me braid the embroidery floss for Rapunzel's golden hair. And against Chloe's better judgement, I went ahead and painted a waterfall in the background. There is a waterfall in the movie and I just needed to have one in our scene. I believe this is Chloe's favorite page. The pictures do not do it justice one single bit. It really is a beautiful page.

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I came up with the idea for our last page. Okay. So, it did not originate in my brain. I actually spent some time googling "altered book" images and boy...you would be amazed at what is out there. People really take this to a whole different level. Our book will remain pretty basic but I just had to try out a technique I stumbled upon. A double door window in our page, revealing an outdoor scene when you open the window. We used rubber stamps from Close to My Heart for this layout and one from Stamping Up. Chloe picked out the sparkly brads for the flowers and the door handles. We used a pop dot behind the butterfly inside our picture window so she would stand up from the page. (Chloe seems to be fascinated with anything "3D" at the moment.)

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I just knew we would enjoy this project. It really has been delightful working on it every Sunday afternoon with Chloe. She has already started talking about the next few pages we will work on this next Sunday. We are thinking of ways to do them and how we can make them special. This book is going to be an heirloom for both of us. What a treasure it will be someday.