There’s more advice than I care to read about how to introduce a new cat to an old cat. Cats are territorial so it’s evidently important to introduce cats slowly so they have more time to get used to the new cat’s scent. Whatever.

If I didn’t have kids, a job, the Internet, food, shelter, and all of the other things going on, then yes maybe I’d have time to make a special room for the new cat and move a litter box in there and then actually spend the extra time with her in this special room to play with her and all that jazz.


But I live in 2013 and in this day and age I believe in survival of the fittest.

So I just let Mia out of her bag and said “good luck – there’s a big, fat, fuzzy orange cat who lives here, but he’s cool and all!”


And the big, fat, fuzzy orange cat let this new young thing know who the boss is in this house as he hissed, growl, whacked, and basically kept her hiding under a chair for three days.

But after three days, he let her out and now they nap together, play together, eat together, and just generally act like they’ve been together forever.


And that big, fat, fuzzy orange cat is happy. He’s been so sad since his brother died. And for the first time since January – Truffle cat is truly happy, joyful, playful and his old self.


The night we brought Mia home I told him that he would be happy again..he’d just have to trust me on that. He was not convinced.

But now he’s so glad that she’s here.


I’m a sink or swim kind of mom and I don’t apologize for it. I don’t hover and react to tears. I love my kids to pieces and they know that I am here for them…but they need to learn to do things on their own. I don’t react to boo-boos and I cannot negotiate and fight all of their battles. I hope that I’m giving them the guidance they need to make good decisions and work through conflict. So I want them presented with challenges.


My daughters completely freaked out when Truffle hissed and growled at Mia – they yelled at him and tried to protect her. I told them to just let the cats be and they’d work it out..but they would just have to trust me.

I admit that sometimes I don’t know what I’m doing – but I knew that these two would work it out.


And sometimes I yell at my kids. And sometimes I try to protect them. When this happens I have to remember that the happiest place for all of us is when I just let them work it out for themselves.

See cats, really are just like women. Smart, beautiful, powerful, independent, and they have the ability to overlook some simple differences to become lifelong friends.


Wordful Wednesday.


Wordless Wednesday – Mystery Edition…What is missing from these photos..

..can you be the first to figure out what went missing this week?




Speaking of my favorite child…this week. I am guest posting at Alison’s place today.  She is having her 2nd baby soon and asked me to reassure her how awesome it’s going to be to bring another baby into their home.


I’m not sure I did a great job. Maybe I scared her a little(insert evil laugh)..also I hope she gets an ‘Esther baby’ for her 2nd as this child didn’t fuss. ever.


So pop over and visit me there. I may have used the ‘f’ word though if your eyes are sensitive.


Also – there is one more day for our HUGE giveaway for a timi & leslie Annette bag over at Pin Savvy Social…so go pin and enter! NOW!


Linking up to Wordful Wednesday with the gorgeous Dumb Mom.



All Signs Point to Two…

Monday, July 18th –  8:30am until 9:00am

“Astrid you either need to ride in the stroller with your blanket or walk without your blanket. You cannot walk in the dirt and drag your blanket.”

Astrid stiffens up in the stroller “out mama out” – I take her out so she can walk – “no walk me stroller no walk” – Astrid throws herself onto the ground crying.

I sit down on the grass near the sidewalk finding the shadiest spot for my own comfort. I watch Astrid scream about being in the stroller or not being in the stroller – having her blanket or not having her blanket – walking or not walking – and then crying “home home me want to go home now mama.”

And me replying ” I am not the one keeping us from home. Figure out what you want and I will make home happen.”

More thrashing and crying ensues.

When I can no longer listen and witness the scene, and perhaps the neighbors are annoyed, I forcibly pick her up, put her in the stroller, and hold her down in the stroller as I strap her safely in and start the long three block walk home.

She screams for one block and settles in perhaps happy to realize we are going home.

Monday, July 18th – 9:00 until 10:00 am

“Do you want to help me vacuum, Astrid? We need to vacuum, mop and dust while your sisters are at camp this morning.”

Astrid replies that she wants her toy vacuum to “do like mama” -so I get hers out and start mine up.

Astrid throws her vacuum to the ground shouting “no like vacuum, me like mama!!” I ask her if she would like to hold my vacuum and help me.  Astrid walks over and grabs on and starts to help – then drops it suddenly and shouts “no, me no like vacuum!’

“Astrid, you don’t have to vacuum – why don’t you pick out some books to read for when I am done.”

Astrid spends time going between my vacuum and her vacuum yelling at them both and making circle tracks in the carpet with her rantings and back and forth.

I finish vacuuming and get the mop out. Astrid asks for her mop.  The same mop tantrum mirrors the vacuum tantrum. I wish the mop was at loud as the vacuum so I didn’t have to hear it.

I finish mopping and get the duster out. Astrid asks for her duster. The same duster tantrum mirrors the vacuum and mop tantrum.

I hum to myself which seems to infuriate her more.

Monday, July 18 – 10:00am until 10:15am

“Astrid do you want a snack?”

Astrid replies “yes mama, juice and cereal and milk and fruit snacks!”  She smiles and I take a deep breath and think that we are going to move beyond the last one and half hours of getting it all wrong.

She sets up her little snack table and helps carry the snacks. She sits down and frowns. “Me no like cereal, me no like juice, me no like fruit snacks!” She starts to cry, gets down from her chair and throws herself onto the family room carpet.

“But Astrid this is what you requested for snack.”

“BUT OH ME NO LIKE SNACK!!” She wails.

I go to her table and take the snacks away. Astrid runs after me yelling “my snack, my snack, no touch my snack.”  She holds onto my leg as I take her snack and throw it all into the garbage.

Monday, July 18 – 10:15 until 10:30

I decide that today nap time comes early. I grab her blankies and her and we go up to her bedroom. We rock for five minutes. She sobs.  I tell her that I love her more than anything else in the world and that I am very sorry she had a hard morning. I wish her a pleasant sleep and say a silent prayer that her afternoon will be better.

I close her door softly behind me. I shake my head in disbelief at the last two hours of my life.

And I think to myself – I can tell my daughter is turning two this week.


More wordless/wordful Wednesday and beautiful pictures at Project AliciaSevenClownCircus and Parenting for Dummies


What a difference a school year makes…

When you live with your kids day in and day out, you don’t notice the subtle changes. Sometimes you don’t even notice the not so subtle changes.

So one of my favorite things to do is to take a picture the first day of school and last day of school and compare them side by side.

I am always amazed at how sweet they look on that first day. Sometimes a bit unsure. A bit nervous.

But on that last day they have a confident smile, a maturity of another year, an excitement for Summer.

That second grader who now would not be caught dead in plaid shirt or a cardigan sweater. Who now wants tank tops and peace signs adorning them.

It’s always written all over their sweet faces.

That kindergartner who started the year still looking like a preschooler but now is fully a grade-school girl in body and mind.

And while I may not notice how much they change in a school year – now I have proof that everything just goes too quickly.

More wordless/wordful Wednesday and beautiful pictures at Project AliciaSevenClownCircus and Parenting for Dummies


Wordful Wednesday – Chalk Interpretations..

The sidewalk chalk emerged last week.   All down the block there are toddler scribbles, preschool stick figures, grade school rainbows, flowers and hopscotch games.

You cannot help but hop yourself down the sidewalks as you fully digest this first sign of Spring.

The girls and I spent the afternoon drawing suns and rainbows, making our names in multi-colored bubble letters and creating elaborate flower gardens.  Eloise’s hopscotch game went down by 4 houses and numbered to 65.  Astrid licked the purple chalk a few times.

We walked down the block to join our neighbors in the craft and came across this drawing by one of them.

A girl running with a handgun.

It stopped me in my tracks.

Now I don’t have a toy gun policy but we don’t own any for them to play with. Not on purpose, they’ve never made that request.  We do have squirt guns I guess. I frankly have never thought about it.  I also am not naive and if you don’t buy them guns – their guns are made from sticks, toothbrushes and fingers.  I grew up in the 70’s when cowboys and Indians and cops and robbers was in it’s prime.  My brother made me play.  He had toy guns. I’m okay with it.  I am also related to many hunters that I love dearly. I believe my husband also may belong to the NRA, but we have a don’t ask don’t tell policy.

And if this picture was of a great bear hunter with a rifle or an old West cowboy it probably wouldn’t have bothered me – but a modern day girl with a handgun and a sinister look – I disapproved.

Where were the rainbows, the sunshine, the flowers, the kittens, the butterflies?  Where was  foursquare, the hopscotch, the tic-tac-toe.  Why do young children feel compelled to draw pictures of gun-toting bad girls?  Why do they even know?

So weigh in readers – no wrong or right answers.  Am I a rainbow smoking overprotective prude?  Do you see nothing wrong with this?  Not looking for an intense debate, I just am curious as I was just so shocked and sad and needed to explore my feelings, ahem. Maybe it is really no big deal?

Oh motherhood, how hard you are.

More wordless/wordful Wednesday and beautiful pictures at SevenClownCircus and Parenting for Dummies…


Paper Dolls

Almost every Saturday, and sometimes on a Tuesday or perhaps a lazy Wednesday, Esther comes to me with paper and scissors.

“This time I want short hair and short dress and leave room for shoes.  Maybe the dresses should be sleeveless this time? Or for Spring coming, maybe just some short sleeves?”  These orders are given to me as I carefully and evenly fold the paper.

Back and forth.

She stands next to me as I cut free-hand.  She picks up the scraps of paper that fall to the floor and hurries them to the trash so she is back for the unveiling.

“Momma, do you think that one day I will have a piece of paper long enough to go across the whole world and we can make millions of people holding hands?”

Her face lights up every time.  Every time I carefully unfold her tribe of paper dolls.  Click click click the paper sounds as it is unfolded, letting go of the cut marks, letting go of each little girl.

Hand in hand they emerge.

She still claps in delight and runs to the table to make their dresses, their shoes, and put bows in their hair.

Every time she names each of them.  An Eloise, an Astrid and an Esther, and then more sisters that she doesn’t have but still dreams about.

When they are dressed, she makes them dance. Sometimes she makes many and hangs them around the house in various happy places.

Sometimes I go into the bathroom and 6 happy girls are starring back at me from the mirror.

It only takes that moment for me to just close my eyes and see my daughters one by one and hoping they will hold hands forever.


Turns out someone wants a paper doll making tutorial.  I will post sometime with pictures – but for basics..

1. Take a piece of paper and cut it long-ways to about the height you want your dolls(so a long strip).

2. Fold it accordion style over and over upon itself in equal sections until you come to the end. (this will also determine the width of your dolls and how many you will have)

3. Draw the outline of your doll on the top piece – making sure her hands go over the edge of the paper so they are holding hands when you open it – you can also have the skirt and/or shoes connecting if you would like.

4. Cut around making sure to not cut through where you are making the doll connections.

5. Open up and voila – a chain of beauty.

6. Oh and decorate for hours.

More wordless/wordful Wednesday and beautiful pictures at  SevenClownCircus and Parenting for Dummies…
Sweet Shot Day


Wordless Wednesday – Astrid Faces

You go ahead and put a pretty dress on your baby and try to get her to smile.

You know the face you get?

It took me 75 shots and she basically just gave me the finger.

She doesn’t know who she is messing with, I have powers like making her go to bed without dinner or no Cat in the Hat tomorrow.

Tomorrow the child will like me.

More wordless/wordful Wednesday and SevenClownCircus and Parenting for Dummies…


Wordless Wednesday – Gals and Dolls…

Eloise has been going through a bit of an identity crisis the last year.  She is still really a young girl – but is struggling to be cool and old.

She has 2 little sisters though who like little girl play – the dolls, the tea parties, coloring,  and dress-up.  Our home is one big pink parade of girl power.
But Eloise spends her time either reading or glued to my arm, reading my emails over my shoulder, asking me how to sew a seam, what is the right temperature to cook chicken, but still somehow finds something else to do when I propose folding laundry, cleaning toilets, or loading the dishwasher as a fun togetherness activity.

She hasn’t touched her dolls in nearly a year.  At 8 this seems so young to me. I am sure I played with dolls until almost middle school.  Her best friends play with their dolls a lot – but all of her bestest friends are only girls, with only brothers to play with.  Maybe their dolls are like their sisters to them?  Eloise probably doesn’t need anymore girls in her life.
So when I bought a Bamboletta doll for Esther and then found one for Astrid..I thought they would be the perfect Valentine’s present…and proceeded to look for something more mature for Eloise, like a spatula or in her dreams, a phone – NOT.  Until one day a Bamboletta came for sale named Eloise and I had to have her.  Through hell, high water, the Internet superhighway, Al Gore, a dear friend, and probably with a little prayer from Oprah – I managed to get this doll for Eloise. And hide her in my closest for over a month.
On the eve of Valentine’s Day when the girls opened their dolls, I fretted that Eloise would hate her and think of her as a baby gift and toss her aside.

But something miraculous happened, Eloise’s eyes sparkled and she hugged this doll close and said “this is the doll I’ve been waiting my whole life for!” and this doll hasn’t been put down since.
I knew my little girl was still in there somewhere.


Do your girls still play with dolls? Or your boys with trucks?  At what age did they stop?  I truthfully am not ready for the video games, i-pads, computer time…etc.  They have their whole life for that stuff or the new stuff that comes along.  Can’t they just really play for a little longer? Please?

Linking up this week to Wordful Wednesday at Seven Clown Circus and Parenting by Dummies, and Sweet Shot Tuesday.


The Fur Cape..Wordless Wednesday..

The most popular item in our dress-up chest is the fur cape.

Astrid wears it almost everyday and walks around like the princess she is.

And since we keep out home at about 59 degrees in this cold Winter’s chill – it serves it’s purpose doubly good.  Cute and warm.

Linking up with Seven Clown Circus.


Wordless Wednesday – When it’s really not Frostbite…

Wednesday is getting away from me.  I am sitting here jealous as I watch the news of the snowstorms out East.  Lucky Ducks.

We have about 48 inches of snow so far this year – but it is never enough.  I love snow – and the map of the United States showing 49 of the 50 States with some snow cover right now just makes me giddy.  Global Warming my ass.

And I wonder if when I post these pictures, do the moms in Florida gasp that my baby needs to get inside to protect her precious cheeks ,and do the mother’s in Finland think she can make it a good 2 more hours outside in the cold?

No matter – as this mother in Minnesota thinks her cheeks just look more edible.

Linking up with Seven Clown Circus.


Wordless Wednesday – Not Getting the Shot…

I’ve given up.  We have kittens – the cute boys have been here for 2 weeks, and for  2 weeks I have tried and tried to get a shot of them together..sitting nicely and smiling at the camera.

Okay, maybe not even smiling. Just sitting still.  Turns out kittens do not sit still unless they are sleeping.  And if you have 2 kittens, if 1 moves, the other one chases.

This is all for me to say that you will never see a cute picture of both our kittens awake and together. EVER.

Not that you care.

So I have hired body doubles.
Just pretend they are a cute orange tabby and a darling black tuxedo cat.

Would it be inhumane to glue their kitty butts the floor just for a few moments?  Wait, don’t answer that.

More Wordless Wednesday at  Never Growing OldParenting by Dummies and A Beautiful Mess


Wordless Wednesday – A Potty is better than a Piano..

Santa brought her a pink baby grand piano..and a potty chair.

Santa ran out of ideas of what to buy a 17 month old who likes music and poops in her diaper – so these are the 2 gifts Santa thought of.
She received nothing else from Santa.

The potty chair is a hit – you can store toys in there, you can stand on it, you can move it around the room to get to high places.

You can even use it to sit on to PLAY the expensive pink baby grand piano.

Next year parents – have a toddler at home, forget the toys, just buy them a potty.  Guaranteed entertainment.

More Wordless Wednesday at  Never Growing Old 5 minutes for momParenting by Dummies and A Beautiful Mess


Wordless Wednesday – Why Santa isn’t coming…

Me: ESTHER! What do you think you are doing shooting a dart at your baby sister!?!?

Esther: I didn’t just shoot a dart at her, I aimed it right at her forehead because I wanted her to look like a baby unicorn.  She didn’t mind and wants it to stay there.

Me: You are GROUNDED, young lady! Grounded!

Esther: What does grounded mean?

Me: It means you can’t go anywhere but to school.

Esther: Mom, I’m 5, where do I go?

Me: It doesn’t matter – you are GROUNDED!

Esther: So, tomorrow when I am grounded, it will be pretty much like today when I was not grounded?

Me:  Don’t challenge me, child!

Esther:  So, can I make her into a unicorn tomorrow if I am grounded since I am not going anywhere?

More Wordless Wednesday at The Snyder 5Never Growing Old 5 minutes for momParenting by Dummies and A Beautiful Mess