Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Charlotte Eve: 4 years old

Charlotte swinging with Gray Kitty
I am almost a week late in writing about Charlotte!  She turned 4 on the 21st, although she was telling people she was already 4 for a few weeks before it actually happened.

Charlotte at 4. As always, she is ahead of where her brothers were at her age. Whether this is because she lives by their example, or because that's who she is- who knows. She is now writing her name, and knows how to spell it both forwards and backwards.  She doesn't always tell me much about what she is learning at school, but then will come out with all kinds of information at other times (how to count in Hebrew, what God created on which day, the months of the year in order). She seems to remember almost everything she hears, for better or for worse.  Charlotte is still in a class with kids 6 months older than she is, and they will soon start getting ready to read. She has a real interest in letters and how to spell things, and I wouldn't be surprised if she picks up reading quickly.

She seems pretty athletic and is quite competitive. In the fall she competed in the Healthy Kids Running Series and took first place in her age group for the 50-yard dash. In the spring she will be in the 4 & 5 year old girl group, so might not win, but she sure enjoyed winning her trophy. She is currently taking swim lessons, and is continuing because she wants to get permission to slide down the big slides. She said she would like to take dance class again, but last year's dance ended terribly, so I am not too eager to sign her up again. (In case I never blogged about it, Charlotte's dance career ended in the spring when my mom took her to class and Charlotte was asked to do her "solo" for the dance recital. All the other girls did twirls or curtsies, but when it came to Charlotte, she got down on all fours and started meowing.)

Charlotte has turned into a real girly-girl. She only likes to wear things that are "beautiful," and prefers dresses. A couple of times she has put on leggings that she decided didn't feel right, and had to come home and change into a new outfit. Other days, she tries to wear tights as pants.  She has her own fashion sense.
Snuggling our foster kitten while the kitten eats her cheek
She is also newly interested in makeup.  She came with me to Bed Bath & Beyond and helped herself to numerous blushes.  I have a video of her as she sampled them saying, "ooh, I look GOOD!" and "Just one more..." and "I look like a ROCK STAR. Cool."  Did I mention she is also modest?
Makeup perfection
I let her wear the blush for the rest of the day. People commented on how beautiful she looked.  Later that day, she took some water color paints and painted her eyelids to give herself eyeshadow. And then I found her in our powder room, standing on the toilet, brushing her face with the little brushes we use to clean sippy cups.  She has begged me to wear makeup to school and I say "not yet."  If this is Charlotte at 4, I really don't know how I will make it through her teen years!

She is quite opinionated and vivacious in her arguing. At times she will say, "I'm going to ask you something. And you say 'no,' and I say 'yes.' Ready? Ok. Can I have cake for breakfast?" 

She has developed into a somewhat picky eater. She has given up almost all meat. Occasionally she will like something and eat more than a few bites, but mostly she has to be begged to try a bite of any meat. She loves carbs, high-fat dairy (fancy French cheese, yogurt, ice cream), and some fruit. She uses her good looks to get as many desserts as she can in any given day, and is quite successful.

Charlotte gets a lot of attention for being pretty. I have mixed feelings about it- on one hand, I take vicarious pleasure in it, as if somehow I am pretty by extension, and as if somehow this is an important trait that might even be indicative of the quality of her (and my) character. On the other hand, I consider myself a feminist, and don't want my daughter growing up to think that the most important part of life is to be pretty.  Earlier this month, she was given a box of 12 candy canes "because you're pretty." I told her that we should share the candy canes with other people and make them as happy as she was when she got them. She was ok with that and happily distributed candy canes, yelling a variation of "Happy Hanukkah!" or "Happy Holidays!" or "Happy Christmas!"  In any case, people seem to find her appealing, and her cute personality doesn't hurt, either.

Some of Charlotte's favorite things are: her stuffed animals (she has a growing collection of them that she carts around with her), her brothers, seeing her grandparents, seeing her friends, cats, desserts, and accessories. She loves her family.  She can be as sweet and charming as can be, but then can be a bit of a "mean girl."

For example, one day she watched me get dressed for work and said, "mommy, you cannot wear that to work." When I asked why not, she said, "Because it's not beautiful, and your clients will not like it."  I told her that my clients don't care what I look like and that it would be fine. Another day, I told her I wanted to go on a quick jog with her in the jog stroller (we still go for jogs together, which I love. I play pop music and she sings along). She said, "Mommy, our jogs are never quick because actually you are not a very fast runner." Mm hmm.

I baked and decorated her birthday cake
Charlotte celebrated her birthday numerous times over the previous week. First we had a big birthday party for her at the gym where she takes gymnastics. We had 25 kids attend, and Charlotte had a great time. 
Charlotte at her birthday party
She thinks this face is really funny
Our family at the party
She got a massive stack of presents- people were extremely thoughtful and generous.  She broke into the presents right away- Shopkins, crafts, an apron to wear when she keeps me company in the kitchen.  The following day we had a mommy-Charlotte day, and I took her for her first manicure and pedicure at the nail salon, and then for lunch with Meema at Panera.
4th birthday present: first manicure and pedicure
 Then, on her actual birthday, I made her sprinkle pancakes for breakfast, then she went to school and had cupcakes with her friends. Meema picked her up at noon and they had a fun day together, and that night she had Japanese noodles and chocolate cake!
Birthday breakfast with her brothers gooning around in the background
The birthday girl takes a rest with the ipad and her birthday crown
 On Thursday, we had her 4 year well visit. Charlotte is:
40.25" tall
37.5 lbs
The doctor seemed pleased with her growth, and agreed with me that she seems quite healthy and well. She is hitting all her milestones ahead of time. The only point of concern is that she doesn't eat enough protein, but I am hopeful she is making it up in cheese and hummus.
At the doctor's office, reciting the alphabet
 Then we went up to Maine, where she has been spoiled by grandparents and great-grandparents.  She has gotten endless gifts and desserts, and I think she may have even reached her limit- tonight she told me she wants VEGETABLES for dinner tomorrow.

My gorgeous girl
Another year where I have enjoyed her company, her hugs and her kisses.  She makes me crazy, but I miss her an hour after she goes to bed at night.  I love that she is growing into this funny little person, who is quick-witted and clever, even if it gets used to my disadvantage. She has always brought such joy to our lives, and is adored by everyone around her.  I get such pleasure out of doing the girly-girl things I had hoped I would get to do with a daughter some day, and I look forward to what the future will bring.  She is still so sweet and delicious, in that place between toddler and big kid, still soft and round, but also smart and strong.  My baby is four, and I am so proud of her.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

More than 2 weeks after Thanksgiving and I decided it must be time to write about our holiday.

This year, we had a big Thanksgiving, with lots of family. In addition to my mom and her sister (my aunt Jane) and their offspring, and their offspring's spouses and offspring, my uncle Richard, his daughter Hannah and her fiancĂ© were there; my mom, aunt, and uncle's cousins Steven and Jim and their spouses, plus 2 of Jim's children. I think we were over 30 people, which meant 3 turkeys and a heaping table full of sides.  As usual, the food was delicious and the company warm and welcoming.
Charlotte at her swim lesson
I took Wednesday off from work, but managed to have so much to do that I didn't get to relax. My friend from high school came for a few hours and we tried to catch up, but I also had to take care of Charlotte and take her to swimming. We had dinner on Wednesday night with some of the out-of-town family, and then on Thursday morning I ran the 5 mile Turkey Trot with my sister, her boyfriend, and my cousin Jess.  It always feels good to do that and get my exercise out of the way so I can devote the rest of the day to consuming calories!  Elana and I ran a respectable (for me) 9:22/mile and her boyfriend ran it 2 minutes/mile faster and waited for us at the end.

Elana giving the turkey its pre-roasting massage
The women of our family
After dinner we moved into the living room and sat by the fire and talked. My kids tore apart the 3rd floor of Jane and Ed's house, and Charlotte misplaced her stuffed animals and we spent 30 minutes looking for them at 9 pm at night, which annoyed me. On the way home I lectured the kids about bringing their toys places and then misplacing them, and we then instituted a "no toys outside the house" policy, which has only partly been respected and enforced.

I woke up on Friday morning to no milk in the house for coffee, so Charlotte and I went to CVS at 7:15 to buy milk. She asked me to carry her, so I did, and while I was kissing her cheek I noticed she smelled like vomit. And then I noticed she was in different pajamas than she had been at bedtime... I asked, "Charlotte, did you throw up overnight?" and she said, "Yes!"  I had moved to the couch in the middle of the night because I couldn't sleep, but apparently she had gotten sick in bed and Eric dealt with it! She seemed totally fine and wanted food and water, so I assumed it was from eating only a plate of whipped cream for dessert.

After brunch at my mom's, we took Asher and Charlotte home to nap, and Benjamin went hiking with my sister, her boyfriend, and my cousin Kyle. He promised me he would walk and no complaining, but apparently he lied to me, because he complained the whole time, made the guys carry him, and then facetimed me in a panic because he wanted to come home.  Another situation I was glad to miss.

Post panic-attack
When they got back after their hike, my cousin Kyle showed Asher a very important skill- making fart noises with your armpit.  Asher thought this was the most amazing and hysterically funny thing he had ever seen- he asked Kyle to do it the rest of the weekend, and laughed til he cried each time.  He wasn't able to perfect the skill himself, though.

Friday afternoon I did my obligatory Black Friday shopping, and then some wrapping.  Later I did MORE shopping, and then we had a Friday night dinner at Jane and Ed's. While I was on my second round of shopping, Eric texted that Charlotte had thrown up again! So we decided she should stay at home at dinner time, and I went with the boys.  She didn't get sick again, and no one else did, either, so if it was a bug, it was not a bad one.  Thank goodness! I couldn't have handled a stomach bug and Eric gone for the week.

On Saturday, Eric and I took the kids to a 10 am showing of the movie Trolls, and then Eric had to get ready for his trip to Germany.  He was gone for a week!  He did that 3 years ago, and this time was a hundred times easier for me.  Saturday night was more time with the family, but a smaller crowd- it was relaxing and pleasant.  I don't know if I am an oblivious idiot, but I really enjoy my extended family and I think they like me, too.  There is a great deal of fun and laughter, and the kids all play well together. I always look forward to seeing family and love that we are welcome at all of their homes.

On Sunday I took my 3 to the zoo. It was a little cold and the zoo was very quiet, but the kids played in the Treehouse, which is unchanged from when it opened 30 years ago.
In the Treehouse, on the dinosaur 
I will post my emails to Eric in another entry- I tried to detail the fun and excitement that went on in his absence. It was a memorable weekend with family we don't see often.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and this one certainly lived up to my expectations!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Half Marathon #5

Pre-race- fresh and full of energy. We hope.
On Saturday I ran my 5th half marathon.  Why? I don't know. But here is how it goes in my brain:

  • Run a race of any distance.  Feel triumphant and inspired, so sign up for a race of increased distance, preferably a half marathon.
  • Calculate how long I have to up my mileage. Immediately reconsider whether I want to do this.
  • Contemplate selling my bib and dropping out of the race altogether.
  • Begin training, adding a mile on to my long runs each weekend.  6 miles? Ok. 7 miles? Fine. 11 miles? WHAT WAS I THINKING?
  • Enter depression and negative self-talk. I can't do this, I am too slow, why can't I just feel good? Is that my knee hurting???
  • Week of the race: begin checking weather obsessively. Begin listing possible outs: bad weather, illness, fatigue. Also begin incessant complaining to all friends and family about what a bad idea it is to sign up for a race like this.
  • Night before: try to sleep. 
  • Day of: wake up early, in fear that I won't hear the alarm. I have my morning ritual of coffee and an English muffin with peanut butter, then I go pee about 6 times because I don't want to use a port-a-potty. 
  • Get to the race and still need to use the port-a-potty.
  • Start running. Run for 2+ hours, counting every mile and wondering why I paid money for this.
  • Finally cross the finish line.  There are then two possibilities:
    • I feel a sense of elation at a job well done, which leads to a desire to sign up for my next race, hopefully also a half marathon.
    • I feel disappointed at my performance, and decide I need to sign up for another race and seek retribution. 
  • Sign up for another race and start all over again.
Post-race glow. I am crusted over with salt from my sweat.
That said, I really had a good race.  The weather was unseasonably perfect. I drove in and out of town with two friends/running buddies, even though we didn't end up running together.  I ran 5 miles with my friend Lori before her foot started to hurt (she had a broken toe, she is amazing that she did it anyway!) and then ran by myself until around Mile 11, I noticed a man who looked quite similar to my OB, who had delivered all 3 kids... and so I decided I would say hello, and it was him!  We ran together for a little over half a mile and talked a little- he was encouraging and supportive (probably more than he was when I delivered my kids!) and it gave me the boost I needed to get through the end of the race.  He said I look like I am in great shape- not hard to accomplish when I probably weighed close to 200 lbs the last time he saw me! Then when I crossed the finish line, he was waiting for me to high-five me! It was really exciting. And then I checked my results and found out I had run my fastest half marathon yet!
With my OB- who is in better shape than I am
My friends finished after me and we sat and stretched and enjoyed the sunshine before heading out of town to our families.
Lori didn't like my taking her picture
When I got home, we had brunch with Eric's college friend from Maine and her husband, who had also run the half marathon. We spent a couple of hours out on our patio talking in the sun and relaxing. Now I have the long Thanksgiving weekend to look forward to, with family and lots of food!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Goodbye, Grandma Tenny

My Grandma Tenny- my last living grandparent- passed away Thursday two weeks ago.  I haven't written much about her in my blog because she wasn't a regular presence in my life, or my children's lives. But she gave birth to my dad, and she raised him, and for that I am grateful.

It is hard to write about Tenny.  I try to only say nice things about people in here, and it's hard for me to have many nice things to say.  Tenny showed her love through criticism- or at least that is how I have chosen to understand her criticism of me.  Although I cannot imagine that she didn't love me, it was hard to feel loved by her. My relationship with her, while not complicated, was distant.  She had a hard time showing love or sometimes even being kind.  If you know my dad, you would have a hard time believing that someone so demonstrative and affectionate came from Tenny.

Here are the good things I can say: She was fiercely independent. She was never bound by other people's expectations or rules. In a time where many women married, stayed home, and had children, she got a college degree, married, had children, and worked.  I think she tried to stay home and be a "wife" to my grandpa, but she never felt fulfilled by that. She traveled the world, sometimes for work and sometimes for pleasure. She raised 3 children to be productive members of society, and they went on to marry and have children of their own. She never thought of herself as "old," and up until the end she found ways to get out and keep busy. She liked to shop, and would buy my kids little treats when she could- we have a huge collection of crazy hats that mean I don't have to do any planning or shopping when "crazy hat day" comes at camp.
Charlotte talking to Alexandra. My grandparents' wedding picture is next to them.
Today, on what would have been her 96th birthday, I took Charlotte and Asher to DC for her memorial (originally planned as her birthday party). Asher got a kick out of exploring the cupboards, finding unopened packages of paper plates and napkins, trinkets, and birthday candles.  My cousin Alexandra brought out some of Tenny's costume jewelry, and Charlotte channeled Tenny and beautified. Asher would have loved exploring my grandparents' house the way it was when I was a kid- he loves a good treasure hunt and is always able to find something.
Charlotte channeling her inner Tenny. She later sashayed across the room making the jewelry rattle.
Gray Kitty got in on the action
We reminisced about Tenny- unfortunately it seemed like the most fond memories were held by the people she knew in the final years of her life, who saw her as an eccentric and amusing grandmother-type. For those who knew her longer, relationships weren't nearly so easy.  Unlike when I lost my mom's parents. I haven't experienced sadness or grief.  My only sense of sadness is that we could never be close, that she kept me at such a distance that I can't feel her loss.  She lived a good and full life, always on her terms, and that is what I will focus on now that she has passed.  Happy Birthday, Grandma Tenny.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween 2016

The benefit to Halloween on a Monday- the whole weekend is Halloween events, and then you have an extra day after that!

All month, between Eric's bike riding, my training for the half marathon, the kids' Hebrew school, bad weather, we hadn't managed to do any Halloween events.  My feelings of guilt overtook me, and I attempted to make up for everything at once by cramming a full day of fun into Saturday.

I began by taking the three kids to the zoo, by myself, for Boo at the Zoo.  It was a perfectly beautiful day, and the place was mobbed.  It's a testament to how well my children are growing up that they were on perfect behavior, stuck by my side, and said "thank you" for all their treats. We lasted two good hours, and then left as the crowds continued to flow in.

Queen Elsa and the polar bear

Queen Elsa is upset because Asher touched her
Notice the kids' costumes. Only Benjamin is wearing the costume he chose the month before- Asher was supposed to be a SWAT team member, and Charlotte was going to be Tinkerbell. But that morning, Asher said he wouldn't wear his SWAT costume because he'd misplaced all the weapons when he had taken the costume out to play with it when the babysitter was here (because we'd told them no costumes until Halloween).  Charlotte decided her costume was too small. I had no energy or time to argue.

We had lunch at the zoo, then came home. Asher had a date with his friend, Leila. We'd tried a play date with 6 kids, but the mob mentality took over and it ended in disaster, so I took Asher and his friend out for one-on-one time. We went into Narberth for a witch scavenger hunt, and I treated them to rainbow ice cream cones.

 After our time in Narberth, the kids played together some more, and then we had a Halloween party at our friends' house. We ate pizza and played mummies.
Benjamin and Asher mummies

All the kid mummies
Then the spouses wrapped each other up.  I am not posting pictures of our friends, but I have one friend who I would describe as Type A+++ and she wrapped her husband quite neatly!
Sent this picture to my mom and said, "How much for orthodontia for this girl?"
Sunday we took it easy- the boys went to Hebrew school and I ran 11 miles, and then Eric and I went to a grown-up party in the evening.

Today, Halloween, I went to the school as room parent for Benjamin's class. I had planned a small craft, and brought 36 cupcakes. Other parents contributed other snacks, and the other room mom and I helped the kids put on their costumes and get ready for the parade.  Eric and Charlotte met us outside- I had asked Eric to bring our big camera, and he did, but I took a bunch of pictures before I realized it said, "NO CARD." Argh! None of the pictures were actually captured. So frustrating, and on top of it, now we can't find the card. I hope there wasn't anything on there I really wanted. Fortunately our friends had a working camera (the Type A+++ friends, in case you were wondering. That Type A+++ thing definitely pays off, too bad I can't achieve it myself) and got some good pictures for us.

I popped in to visit Asher during his party
We hosted an early dinner at our house before trick or treating around our neighborhood. In just over an hour, the kids entirely filled their candy buckets!  
At our neighbors'. They had no candy.
Our group of friends
The most beautiful girls in Wynnewood. Charlotte finally wore Tinkerbell, but the wings fell off.

My handiwork this year. The pumpkin on the right was Asher's design

Our group on our porch
We met up with many neighborhood friends as we wandered the streets. Now that the kids are in the elementary school, we know many more neighbors and kids.  It is fun to run into friends- I have almost as much fun as a grown up as I did as a kid. The kids are all independent now, and I can hang back on the sidewalk while they walk up and get their candy.

Notes for next year- No costumes from Target. Charlotte's costume fell apart, Benjamin's costume split at the seam despite being too big, and Charlotte's bucket broke, dumping her candy all over the ground. I have to up my game. No homemade costumes, because that is pushing it, but better than the polyester crap we had this year!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Catching up

I commented to Eric that I haven't posted in a while. He asked why.  I said, because there isn't anything to write about.  He suggested that I write about a little trip that we took last weekend. I know I used to write about our everyday activities all the time, and now I don't. I'm really not sure why, because I love to look back in my blog and remember what our lives were like at different points in time.

Here is what I have been doing in lieu of blogging:

  • Watching all 3 presidential debates
  • Watching episodes of Shameless on Netflix
  • Looking at Facebook
A constructive use of my time, if I do say so myself!  I have also been working some more hours- after a very sluggish summer, my private practice has continued to grow, so I am working two different jobs and running between the two of them, plus home. Plus I am a room parent in Benjamin's class this year.  And I am again preparing to run the Philly Half Marathon, at my usual "tortoise" pace.

Last weekend we took a trip to Virginia to see our friends and go to Cox Farms, which we did last year while the Pope was in Philadelphia.  This year, though, the boys had a full day of school, and we didn't get on the road until almost 4 pm on Friday.  Is anything worse than rush hour on a Friday? No.  the drive took us 3.5 hours!  Eric was glowering the whole way. 

Our friends had a hot and delicious dinner waiting for us, which was a warm welcome. We ate, put the kids in bed, and my friend Alissa and I sat and caught up while the husbands played video games and drank beer (their past time together since we all started dating our now-spouses back in 2004).  

In the morning we made pancakes (chocolate chip!) and packed up again in order to get to Cox Farms as soon as they opened.  Surprisingly, even with 5 kids between us, we did it! The day before, Charlotte had started to get hoarse and get a cough.  She said she felt fine and wanted to go, but once we were at the farm, she seemed to go downhill.  This definitely tempered our enjoyment, but we made the most of it.

Here is what we did in our time there before we fled with a lethargic Charlotte:
Family selfie on the hayride. Benjamin refused to look at the camera
  • Hayride through various randomly-themed (UFOs and former presidents, witches, Wild West Town, cartoon characters) areas
  • Big slides with burlap sacks

    Eric with Charlotte. She was fading fast.
    • Drank apple cider
    • Ate kettle corn
    • Corn maze
    • Various photo ops
    Possibly going on our holiday card!
    Asher flying on the rope swing
    We stopped for lunch and Charlotte refused to eat and just lay down with her head in Eric's lap.  We left pretty quickly and drove home. Charlotte napped and seemed a little better, but had started a low fever, so we didn't go to the birthday party she had been invited to, and then Eric and the boys went out to dinner while I stayed home with my sad girl.

    Sunday she wasn't much better, but she and Asher had their running series race that night, and I doped her up with Advil and took her.  She had a great race- she has finished 1st for 3 weeks in a row!  Then she fell apart and went to bed without dinner.
    The leader of the pack
    She STILL wasn't better on Monday, but her fever broke Monday night and she has improved every day since.  She's still a little hoarse, but is eating more and has more energy.

    And finally, a picture of Asher doing his homework while I cooked dinner on Monday night.  I fondly remember doing my homework at the kitchen table while my mom cooked, and now my own children are keeping me company while they do theirs.  Asher got his first homework assignment- a packet that he has all week to do- and sat down and did all of it immediately.  He and his teacher are two peas in a pod and I think he is in heaven this year!

    Friday, September 30, 2016

    Cat Party, continued

    The cat party as imagined never materialized.  Which, in a way, is good, because I didn't know how I was going to procure mouse popsicles.

    We did, however, take in 2 gray kittens to foster.  They came with the names "Taylor" and "Trudi" (which is funny because the kids have cousins named Taylor and Trudi), but we couldn't figure out which was which at any given point. We eventually settled into calling them Bitey and Snuggly, based on their behavior.

    They were quickly adored.  They tolerated the kids' affections, and at night when the kids were in bed, they would snuggle up with me on the couch while I watched the Olympics, and often snuggled with each other.
    evening snuggles
    Laundry snuggles
    Kindly tolerating affection
    More evening snuggles
    Find the real kitty!
    They became party of our family.  But of course we knew we couldn't keep them- 3 kids and 2 cats already puts me over the edge.  So my mom found them a home through her synagogue listserv, and one day the family came over to visit, and a couple of days later, they came back and took the kittens.  The house felt strangely quiet without them.  The worst was when Asher got home from camp and Eric told him the kittens were gone.  He broke down crying, sobbing that his heart was broken into pieces.  It broke my heart.  Then we agreed that the fostering thing wasn't such a good idea, because we all got so attached.

    Following the kittens' departure, we found out that our cats had fleas. (Ugh.)  Then we went to the Cape, and when we got home, Trouble was acting strangely- he wasn't spending time with us, didn't seem to be eating or drinking regularly.  After a week of this behavior, we took him to the vet, who found nothing wrong. Trouble improved almost instantly.  We think he was just depressed because we'd left him for so long.

    So we decided to devote our attentions to our own cats, who are boring now that they are old and sedentary and pee in our shower when they are mad at us.  That lasted until two weeks ago, when we broke down and agreed to foster a little kitten named Walnut.

    He wasn't quite as affectionate as Bitey and Snuggly, but he was sweet and super tiny and had a funny short tail.  He was also very energetic and would fly around the house and take everyone off guard.  Of course we grew to love him, too, and he would sit with me while I did laundry or on my chest in the evenings.  
    Helping me with laundry
    Then we found ear mites in Peanut, and he had to go to the vet.  So even though the cat fostering cost us nothing, we were out a few hundred in vet bills and vaccinations.  Not my favorite.  We decided Walnut needed a new home.

    On his last night with us, Walnut figured out how to climb up to our bed, and in the morning I woke up with him snuggled up to my back.  I went to work, and while I was at work and the kids were at school, a family came to meet him and they loved him so much that they took him.  We didn't get to say goodbye!

    When the kids got home, it was more hysteria, from Asher and Charlotte.  Big, fat tears.  Questions from Charlotte about why Walnut's forever home can't be with us.  I miss him, too.  Again we have agreed no more fostering- the cat party is certainly over for the time being!