you're invited

ok, this is UBERLY last-minute, but i am starting a Nike+ running challenge for the month of september.



WHO'S INVITED: NOOBISH RUNNERS (if you have run 5+ miles in one workout in the past 3 months, you are NOT noobish...go with my love and respect, but do not come into this contest, you dirty ringer)

HOW:  friend me on Nike+ STAT (like in the next 12 hours

thanks to really cruddy interface (or i'm stupid...it's possible) i cant invite people to the challenge AFTER i create it (even if it hasnt begun yet). so we need to be friends on Nike+ (i believe its only on iPhone or possibly if you have the nike chip or the fuel band) BEFORE i create the challenge.

so friend me and then i'll make the challenge tomorrow morning and invite all of the people on my friend list at that point. 

DONT run tomorrow at 6 am or something. wait until you get the challenge invite if you want it to count toward the challenge. 

ok thats it. here's hoping lots of new-ish runners (or totally new) also love reading blogs on saturday nights and will see this in time.


if not, i will start another challenge for everyone.



remember that time that i revealed my struggle with (aka hatred of) reading the bible?

it was over a month ago, and i thought i'd give a little update on how things are coming now that i'm putting real effort toward getting that lamp unto my freaking feet.

this may be shameful, but (yeah right, when has that ever stopped me from telling yall?) buying new things gets me excited for a new activity. maybe it shouldn't but it so does. having new running shorts  MAKES me more likely to work out. having a garlic press or a pastry cutter makes me want to cook.

in that same vein, the first thing i did after publishing that post and deciding to change my habits was order a new bible. this one specifically.

i like that its a new translation for me (NLT, a good mid-way point between the message's easy-to-read, paraphrasing and the NIV's more literal, yet sometimes harder to understand, interpretation), and i am liking it lots. i also like that there are no notes at the bottom (beyond VERY brief translation options sometimes). and i love that its small and zip-uppable so that if/when i put it in my purse, i dont find chapstick smears, dirt granules and squished raisins between pages when i pull her out again. and i like that the design is pretty cool (i mean, for a bible and all. i cant be too picky; i'm just grateful that my copy is 0% vellum).

the second thing i did was to take cindy's recommendation from the comments section and to buy Jen Hatmaker's book, A Modern Girl's Guide to Bible Study: A Refreshingly Unique Look at God's Word. jen hatmaker is a million percent hilarious (not something i say about chicks very often because i am stingy and insecure), and sold out to jesus. these are my prerequisites if you want me as your bible book customer.

while i waited for these gems to arrive on my doorstep from the dark heart of the amazon (seriously, they should get some domestic distribution centers, right?), i sat down with my hubface and talked about what we could do in our daily life to make spending time studying god's word more likely (since a lifetime of pretty much just NOT trying and waiting for the fire to light hadnt brought me far).

we landed on the super obvious, yet avoided-for-years, solution of waking up earlier. i confess: i make sleep an idol very often. for years...YEARS, yall, my husband has been waking up with the kids and letting me sleep for an extra 1-2 hours EVERY DAY. he is amazing in that way and knows that i legitimately need sleep more than he does. i feel like such a spoiled brat admitting that in public, but it's true, and while i've appreciated this SO much, this "extra" sleep had started to be a serious stumbling block to a lot of things in my life.

we started small though. the kids usually wake up around 7-7:30 (so jesse informed me). i get to work around 9. so formerly i would sleep until like 8:30 and leave (taking care of only myself...shame!) at the last possible moment. we decided to try both of us waking up at 7 every day for a week (regardless of when the kids woke up) just to see if i died of sleep-deprivation and to see how life felt after our trial run.

miraculously i lived. it was a close thing though.

actually not really. it was pretty easy and made it all the more ridiculous that i have been avoiding being a wearer-of-the-big-girl-panties for so long now. but dont be too impressed (as if you would) with my panties just yet...i made jesse a deal that he has to set the alarm, and then he, his beautiful self, has to wake me up personally, WITH iced coffee in hand. (i KNOW that he is too good for me, yall, but good luck convincing him). these were my demands.

so the entire first week we did exactly that. the first thing i learned: WHOA COFFEE! hoo boy, i usually drink coffee as like a dessert, and then only rarely. i get it now. drinking coffee in the morning = life. i can almost literally feel the first molecules of caffeine making contact with my brain and sending it into action. and i see that it is good.

study buddies!

the second thing i learned: jesus is on board for this.

how do i know? BOTH kids slept past 8 am every day that first week. jesse was GOBSMACKED (and i do NOT throw that word out lightly because it is very heavy). he says that not one child has ever slept past 8 for him, much less both of them for five days in a row! it really was amazing to hear this. call me the Nutty Confessor (please?), but i totally believe jesus did this to show me that reading his word is something he really wants from me

*it should be noted they have NOT done this again since...but they are made to stay quietly in their rooms until at least 7:30 so that we get at minimum a half hour alone with our bibles*

so i read the first few chapters of jen's (we first name tight like that) book sunday night before my first day of actual reading (jitters! i hope the teacher likes me...oh wait, he died for me and i am his child...i'm so in. yeah, nepotizz!). 

i love that she had a suggestion and example of a prayer to pray BEFORE opening the bible. to ask for guidance, revelation and protection from distraction. this is a very helpful exercise as it reminds me every day before i start that it's not ON ME to find something meaningful in god's word. it's in his hands to unfold exactly what he wants me to receive. that's a load off already and it changes my mindset of how i view a daily devotion from work i have to do to a blessing i am going to receive. straight up. 

she also strongly encouraged journaling. i have ALWAYS sucked at this, vowing to journal my life so my daughter can read about young-me one day, and i always make it no farther than 2 days. despite my dismal track record, i do love an excuse to buy cool school supplies so i scored a sweet graph-paper journal from target that makes my heart really happy. it has triangles and awesome all over it. it's the really well-bound kind that you can open all the way flat without breaking the spine. you dont have to feel the same, but i've just never been a big fan of spine-breaking, in general. 

first i went all the way through the book of james, and am now in the gospel of john. 

so here i am 6 weeks in. i'm still totally NOT that lady who talks about her bible like it's a secret lover. i'm not getting visions or stigmata and havent met a single seraphim (yet!). sometimes all i write on a journal page after a morning's reading is, "um....what???"

but it feels right. it feels like the beginning of a good work in me that he IS going to complete. so i keep showing up because jesus does too.

and, doy, bonus: life is a million times better when you get out in front of your day rather than hitting the ground reacting to it. i'm a better mom, wife, worker, crafter, runner, citizen, humanoid with my new, more disciplined routine.

standing ovation, please, for the 30 year old who learned to wake up at 7 am (movie contract pending for this gripping tale of heroism, in a world).

so my final verdict on this experiment-turned-habit? hold on to your hats, because it's the shock of the universe, and you wont hear this anywhere else, folks, because i am dropping a cutting edge truth-bomb: reading this bible is good for christians

blammo. *throws down mic*

dukes out


Viley Vyrus at the VMAs

*please be sure to read the comments section and my updates...especially if you think i am being too harsh (because you are right!). while i wont erase or take back what i wrote, i will apologize and say that i wish i had shown more grace and used a gentler, more thoughtful approach to how i was feeling.*

i watched the VMA's for the first time in like 10 years last night (not counting the comeback that must not be named). only the rumor of an N'Sync reunion could impel me to intentionally land my TV on MTV and i did so at my own risk by watching live rather than tivo'ing it. (PS, that was big of justin to let his bros perform a bit with him but i was DYING at fast he had them sucked back down into their holes of obscurity).

i pretty much already thought/knew that miley cyrus had jumped the shark and was really leaning in to the whole, "i'm not a disney kid anymore" thing (or rather, "i aint no mickey youngin', yall *TONGUE*"). yet, i somehow managed to be utterly shocked and revolted by her performance nonetheless.

i facebooked my dismay:

Keight Dukes
miley cyrus just gave my brain an STD. beyond VILE! gimme britney and a python ANY DAY!

Keight Dukes Jessica  i would say to youtube it tomorrow, but it seriously made me stupider and disgusted and sad that this is what some kids are dying to be. if i had two free assassinations i might be using them on her and kanye. I JUST WANT TO SEE NSYNC!! but now i need to bleach my eyeballs and give myself an enema made of classiness to undo the damage.

i am not going to link to it on this blog (the url alone might give my domain digital herpes--not to be confused with digital getdown), but you can definitely find it easily if you want to see what i am referring to (gird up your loins, because she is going to try to touch them).

i have never seen so little clothing and so much tongue in my life. i had never seen a 20 year old use a foam finger to fondle a 36 year old married father (not that he was innocent or unwilling by any means). the amount of air-humping, violent twerking, and crotch grinding/grabbing positively overloaded my sensors. 

it managed to go way past my (rather liberal) sense of "lol this is ridiculous" and land squarely into disturbed and saddened for miley, her parents, and basically the parts of our culture that say "yeah, that's what we're looking for."

so is this a new thing?

i think the last time i intentionally watched the VMA's as a show (and not just for one performance) was 2001. that year might not ring a bell, but i'm sure you remember one of its most iconic scenes.

even at age 18 i realized it was a tad ridiculous, but i feel like britney spears' huge yellow snake number was somehow a million times classier than the garbage i watched last night.

am i deluding myself? is it because i was in the target age group when britney performed, but have since aged out and am too old to understand miley's gyrations?

admittedly, i was asking jesse--who had turned away in utter disgust and sorrow--"what if this was layla!?!?" which is a typically fogey-ish mindframe, and, NO, i would not be thrilled with my lay-lay being a slave 4 U (or anyone really), but while i have a double standard for my pop stars and my offspring, there seems to be even a "too far" for that category (which layla is obviously never allowed to be in) and litte miss montana found it. 

i'm sure folks were appalled by britney and the snake and  "i'm a slave 4 U" (i mean, not THE most empowering anthem for women, undoubtedly), but it must be said that she could dance, she could PERFORM and i think that while pushing it (as is expected at these things) she managed to look womanly and still leave something to the imagination.

 i feel like miley ONLY cared about shocking. and last night i learned that the last three syllables of the word "titillating" make a WORLD of difference. 

it's bad when i find myself hoping that a 20 year old is on drugs and not actually making these decisions with a sober brain.

i am making fun of miley a lot, and i definitely want to put her in a very long timeout (and inside a firmly locked chastity belt and on a course of strong antibiotics for good measure); however, the main emotion i feel is sadness for her. and for all the girls who want to be a "star" like her (aka "horny alien on MDMA") and probably will have to sell out even more as they fall short of even that low standard. sadness that they really think of this as the best possible story for them. 

did yall see it? what did yall think? am i just painting my own generation as better when actually it was just as bad? am i just old? are we being given what we've asked for or is MTV responsible for pioneering new horizons of trash? is it miley's fault or is she just a product of child stardom? how the hell do i keep my daughter from lionizing this?

all this miley thinking got me singing one of her hits in my brain, and i was darkly amused remembering this line:

Hopped off the plane at LAX with a dream & a cardigan
Welcome to the land of fame, excess. Am I gonna fit in?

YES. sadly. please put your cardigan ON!

UPDATE: thank you to a sweet and gracious reader who reminded me to be clear on the difference between the person and the behavior. hear me: i want to direct my hatred, disgust, homicidal tendencies and cutting jokes toward the LIAR (satan) and the behavior, and to shower the hurting, confused 20 year old girl herself in love and grace. my apologies if that isnt how this post sounded; it IS my heart though, all jokes aside.

i feel very convicted that i wouldnt want a hurting miley to ever read this post and think it was how christ felt about her. i think christ would say: "i love you. YOU are enough. i have a better story for you than this."

(thank you, kai!)

better, more thoughtful perspectives than mine:

1. why this bothers women, particularly. (this one is 100% me...because i WAS like miley at 20!)

2. why we are so sorry for the life that got here here, but why her behavior really isnt okay (disagree about the best voice thing)


GE Appliances: $100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway

if you asked me about “brand loyalty” the first thing I would do is have a flashback to my last marketing class in 2002 and fuzzily recollect that if you're a business, brand loyalty =  good. This is the beginning and end of my knowledge.  (Dean’s List, baby!)

but since I have been a grown-up for a good 10 years now and have navigated the “market” (as it were) as a consumer, i have learned that I am pretty much a straight-up brand mercenary with loyalty to practically nothing but my own wallet/whims.

there is ONE major exception: Appliances.

when we moved into our Built-in-1990-and-it-shows house 7 years ago, we were greeted with a delightful (nope!) smorgasbord of wood-paneled appliances. how magnificent! we could have all the modern luxury of 1990 without sacrificing the freshly-whittled charm of Ye Olde Frontier.

I can still hear my teeth grinding in displeasure as I realized the beasts actually worked fine and I would have to wait until they were dead to upgrade.

thankfully the day came when the oven stopped working (though its built-in ANALOG CLOCK kept on ticking…seriously, am I Betsy Ross?!). the terminal mishap: I was adjusting a shelf to go from cooking a spinach dip to baking a cake (these were olden times before my children stole my home-making mojo and I could pull of such feats without pharmaceutical aid) and it slipped out of my hand, clattering to the bottom of the oven and somehow shattering the decrepit base of the oven. HUH!?! that can't be good.

so it was time to enter a new world sans faux wood grain. we took ourselves to the appliance store (official name) and bought the first one that was both pretty, would fit, and was in our price range: it happened to be a GE.

as soon as that baby slid into its parking spot (covering up the last vestiges of original wallpaper - pastel striped flowers!) and its Power Boil setting had a pot of water rolling at 212 Fahrenheit in about 3 minutes, I was smitten. we loved the sleek, contemporary design and the completely approachable controls (me no cook smart). GE Appliances is obsessed with learning what their customers want, love and need, and in turning out products that innovate new ways to bring it in all 3 ways.

in the following few years our old dishwasher contracted a terminal case of diarrhea, the fridge refused to freeze,  we added a deep freezer, we had to change washer-dryers to make a pantry happen and finally we decided to install an above the range microwave to maximize counter space. every single one of these new fellas has been a GE because of how happy we were with the growing list of GE appliances we already owned. Not a one has disappointed in either the design (so pretty!) or functionality (it’s like they know my weird, dirty family and exactly what we need).

looks like I found my loyalty after all!

GE Appliances spends countless hours studying consumer insights about appliances - looking to improve the design and functionality of each one. As I take a look at the latest beauties that GE Appliances has designed—in their dreamy  virtual “Kitchen Reimagined“— I can't help but drool.  Can you imagine the wonders I could perform in this kitchen?

that little "oven-floor-smashing-while-rack-juggling" mishap would have NEVER happened had i been working with GE Appliances' amazing double oven range from the get-go.  just think of all the times I WOULDNT have to get up off my butt to get my kids a cup of water because they would use that french door fridge's auto-fill water dispenser and do it themselves!?! oh the uninterrupted sitting I could do...

Who wants to win a $100 Visa gift card? 

Here’s how to enter:

Leave a comment below telling me, "If your kitchen could study you, what would it learn?"

Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner  will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 08/23/13-09/29/13.
Be sure to visit the GE Brand Page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!


i haz a sad: waffle's story


we had to have waffle put down last night.

i reeeeeeally, like really really, do not want to blog this all out and relive it, but since he was more than just our cat, thanks to yall saving him so that he could be ours in the first place, i owe it to you. i also feel like i owe it to him to share the impact that loving him had on us. it wasnt for nothing.

let me say, i KNOW this is a first-world problem. i KNOW a lot of people hate cats. i KNOW we only had him 39 days. i know that. i get it that maybe i shouldnt care so much.  that if this is the worst thing that ever happens to me that it would be a great life. I GET IT. but that doesnt help any. i can only be where i am. please give me grace even if you cant empathize. 

this is the story of a tiny cat that we spent 39 days loving.

i first laid eyes on waffle on july 11th. my friend and 3-doors-down neighbor, megan, had found him in her back yard and had sent an email out to our girls group seeing if anyone wanted him. i said i would talk to jesse because i had been wanting a cat to defend (and de- fiend) our garden. 

in the meantime, she posted another "anyone want a cat?" on facebook and when i saw it i was so protective
because in my head, this guy was already ours. 

when i got home i took the kids over to see meet him and kind of instantly fell in love. despite being tiny and clearly having had a rough time on the streets, this little guy was nothing but cuddly, trusting and chill. we did notice a big bump on his side that looked like a tumor, but it didnt seem to bother him so we closed the deal and took him home, naming him "waffle" along the way. 

after some googling, we realized that night that the bump was probably pretty serious so we rushed him to the vet at petsmart (they were the only place open) and found out that it was an infected abscess and would cost about $300 to treat. this for a cat i had known for 2 hours.  

 on the way to petsmart. oh, i'm a wild animal who has never ridden in a car, but i'm just going to curl up and be adorable here.

we took him home to figure it out, falling in love with his sweetness more every hour. 

so excited to sleep on concrete and a broom.

the next day was friday and jesse took him to a low-cost mobile cat care place to at least have him neutered, vaccinated and checked out for the wound, hoping they could help him for much less money. well, overnight the abscess had burst, and was now a huge gaping wound that prevented him from being able to be vaccinated OR neutered and gave us a grisly visual of just how injured he was (since they shaved his fur around the wound we could now see it). 

we took this news hard. we had JUST met this cat and the cost of getting him just to baseline health would be more than it would cost to adopt 3 healthy, fixed, vaccinated kittens. but, again, i felt like this was OUR little fella and we had to help him. 

so i posted about him and asked for help with the cost of fixing him up, and holy man, yall helped. in less than 3 hours, at $10 each, yall had donated the money to get our little man better. 

 prancing around despite a gaping flesh wound, as yall contributed money for him.

he loves you!

we took him to the vet the following week and got him all checked, out, fixed up and set right. during the exam we discovered that all of this probably had happened from a fight with another cat. he had probably been bitten on his side, on his face by his mouth (which was just a tiny wound, healing fine, compared to his side), and probably scratched in the eye (it was kind of closed and goopy). 

we were thrilled that this guy would be ours and when the vet said that after care, he would do great. over the next week,  he healed so fast from the gross side wound and we had him neutered and vaccinated the next week. he did brilliantly.

the next 5 weeks we spent loving him and settling in to life with waffle. he continued to be the chillest dude in the world. layla, hesitant about him at first and kind of afraid, became his biggest stalker. he was HER BABY. and despite her sometimes-rough 2 year old love, he never once scratched or bit or even seemed remotely miffed by her. he really just seemed happy to be here. 

judah was in love too. he would kiss him goodbye whenever we were getting in the car (he lived in the garage/outside since he needed to be litter trained...we learned this after he pooped thrice in the house, being an older cat it would take him longer to learn) and would call for him as soon as we returned home, "WAFFLY BOY!"

my heart. oh. 

exploring with his pal.

jesse was the most anti-adopt-this-cat at first and then fell hard for waffle as his personality came out. all he ever wanted was to cuddle up next to us, purr his brains out and nip our toes. he was beyond laid back and sweet and this won jesse over like whoa. 

snuggling jesse at the vet.

i was so excited that he had started using the litter box in the garage this past week and that we could bring him inside soon. i had even talked to the pediatrician about allergy medicines since layla got itchy around him. we needed a long-term solution for living happily with our new forever family member.

poop in the potty and come do this forever!

well, on friday night i was bringing him in to eat and said, "wow, waffle-man, youre getting big!" and then i noticed that most of his bigness was in his face. i got down on the floor to look at him and was horrified to see ANOTHER, WORSE abscess on that "minor" face wound. i guess it had healed up so fast but that there was still bacteria in it from the mean cat's mouth and it just slowly infected itself over 5 weeks until it escalated so fast last weekend and overnight it was huge.

yikes. that cant be good.

we were so bummed. his side would was completely healed by this time and his fur was growing back and here we were with another massive ordeal. despite looking like an oral surgery patient, he was just as happy-go-lucky as ever. jesse and layla took him back to the vet on saturday and they pin-pricked the swelling and gave us antibiotics.  

we gave him his meds saturday night and then put him in the garage to sleep. he hated the medicine and while trying to hop down from my arms while jesse fed him it, he accidently scratched my arm. so tiny and yet such a fighter. 

surprisingly, we didnt see him at ALL on sunday. this worried us. he still wasnt back yesterday morning when i left to take the kids to school (he would ALWAYS come around when he heard us leaving or returning from a car trip) and i was getting really concerned. despite looking scary at first, the vet had assured us that the face abscess really wasnt a big deal, so we couldnt figure why he was missing.

it seemed so weird that he would be somehow worse (bad enough to "go to ground" like animals do when theyre sick) after seeing the vet and having the infection treated. 

when i brought the kids home from school i told them that we couldnt find waffle and we should pray that he was okay. i called for him a few times just to show the kids that i didnt know where he was. all of a sudden he appeared from inside the garage, walking out toward us. we were thrilled and i ran up to greet him.

he looked beyond terrible.

i noticed that his face was completely better so i was confused about why he looked so sluggish. i looked closer and he was all wet along one side of his body with what seemed to be vomit. this was a big red flag since cats are so clean. the fact that he hadnt cleaned himself up was alarming.

he just walked all wobbly over to us and plopped down on the ground. his breathing looked labored and i got worried. i put the kids down for a nap and called jesse. he came home and agreed that our guy was sick. 

he wouldnt eat, wouldn't move and when i lifted him, he made the most pitiful yowling noise. if he did stand up it looked like he was drunk: so unstable and weak. 

we figured that maybe the infection had gotten into his blood and the antibiotics werent working fast enough to get it out (despite the site of the wound clearing up). we decided that rather than take him BACK to the vet, and paying more money and prodding him with tests and such, we'd give the meds more time to work. i gave him another dose (he wasnt even strong enough to resist...he just moved two feet away to hunker down under the car). 

it just didnt make sense that he could decline SO FAST and out of nowhere.

as i googled his symptoms i did get more worried, but they all appeared to be side effects of an abscess. we left at 6:30 for a church cookout. i tried to get him to move from under the car but he wouldnt budge or even move a muscle at my voice. i had to drag his limp little body out from beside the tire.

he meowed so weakly at me, and i felt my heart freeze. 

i put him on a soft beach towel in the garage with some food and water next to him (which he didnt even glance at despite not eating for 2 days)  it was like i was moving a stuffed animal around. he just didnt move a muscle and was utterly limp and felt like he weighed nothing. when igo to church, i told jesse that waffle was really suffering and that i would be surprised if he was alive when we got home.

i left the cookout by myself so that the kids wouldnt have to see anything if the worst had happened while we were gone. i was so scared when i opened the garage but was happy to see his sides moving with his breath.

but he hadnt moved more than 5 inches in 2 hours. he had pooped and was just laying in it. he had inched his head and shoulders up under laylas doll's bed (instinctively hiding while sick) and was just the saddest little thing i had ever seen.

i decided at that moment that i just couldnt let him suffer and die in our garage without doing something. even if it was just to hear a vet say, "yes, it is in fact the infection, he needs more time to recover" i needed to hear it. at that point, after only 6 weeks, i loved him enough to pay for the exorbitant after-hours vet bill.

i RUSHED him to the hospital in his carrier box (he only gave two faint, pitiful, yowls as i loaded him in) and prayed that it would be something so easy to fix or that he would already be gone when we arrived. the thought of having to choose between thousands of dollars of treatment and letting him die in pain was too much for me.

i handed him over to the nurse immediately. about 5 minutes later they came out and moved me to a private room with a bench, a metal exam table and a box of tissues. i still didnt totally get it.

the doctor came in and had me repeat what was going on. he said that he had examined him (he had actually been the one to neuter waffle and remembered how sweet our guy was) and that it was really bad. 

surprisingly, he said the illness probably was completely unrelated to the abscess. something was attacking waffle's red blood cells. his skin and gums were totally yellow. the vet guessed that he had contracted some blood-borne illness from another cat or a mosquito or tick back before we even got him and that it had just slowly drained him until he couldnt fight it off anymore. he said if we hadnt brought him in he wouldnt have survived the night.

i'm thinking...okay, so blood sickness, there is a pill for that. we're okay. thank god i brought him.

then the vet said, we had two choices: we could draw blood (difficult since his BP was almost nonexistent and he was so dehydrated), run tests, order a transfusion and keep him in the hospital for days treating him. he said even with all of that he very well might not make it. i was thinking, "ugh, option one sucks!" 

but the vet didnt continue.

i said, so naively, "okay, so what is option two?"

and the vet looked at me so empathetically that it just hit me all of a sudden what i hadnt wanted to face: he said option two is to euthanize him now.

i 100% never expected to cry over this cat, even though i loved him so much already, i had only known him 6 weeks. but in that moment when i heard those words, i realized how much i did love this little guy: for trusting us so completely from day one. for never getting mad at my smotherly-loving kids. for being the first cat i have ever seen to act grateful and just happy to have a family.

i freaking lost it (and am losing it again as i type this).

i begged the vet to tell me what to do. he reiterated that waffle really was suffering. that treating him would be very expensive and invasive and painful to him. that even with thousands and thousands of dollars of care, there was a good chance he would still die just because his little immune system wasnt strong enough to rebound.

he assured me that there really was nothing we could have ever done for him. that life as a stray cat was really really hard and despite us giving him a great home, we could have never known how sick he had been from the beginning. he promised me that we would take really good care of him either way.

i said, "do you think we should just let him go peacefully?" and the vet looked at me so sweetly and said, "yeah, it totally sucks, but i think that is what i would do."

he left me alone to call jesse (the enormity of being all alone for this was just hitting me) and jesse was crushed but agreed that ending his pain was the way to go. i told them our decision and signed papers and paid so that afterward i could just leave.

and then they brought waffle in to say goodbye.  i know he is just a cat, but my heart broke.

they handed him to me in a red fleece blanket. despite seeing his head sticking out, for a moment i thought they had forgotten to put him in because it was just so light. as soon as i looked at him all sad and bundled and just so, so sick, i melted down.

i had expected the sadness of saying goodbye. i had not expected the guilt and feeling that i had somehow failed him. i just held him and cried, "i'm so sorry buddy. i'm so sorry we couldnt make you better and keep you forever. you are such a great pet and we love you so much. i'm so so sorry."

seeing him fighting to remain conscious and alive and just to breath in and out and keep his eyes open, all the while knowing i had already made the decision to end that fight was unbearable.

i spotted his little arm where they had shaved him to try to get an IV in and it was just so tiny and pitiful. more sobs.

even in the midst of this fatal sickness, jaundiced from his blood being attacked, in terrible pain and close to death already, as soon as they gave him to me and he opened his eyes and saw it was me, he started purring. 

even then,  it seemed like he was just so grateful to have been loved. 

i kept waiting for the disney miracle. for him to bounce up totally healed. it never came. it seemed that despite my heart begging it to not be, this was old school disney, old yeller style. 

they had told me to crack the door open when i was ready to hand him back, and standing up to walk over and do this was just so painful. 

the sweet nurse came back him and i handed him over but she could tell i just wasnt in a good place. i told her not to give him back to me even still because i would really never be ready to let him go and would just hold him forever while he suffered.

i asked her if she thought this was the right thing to do and she said absolutely. i looked at him there so tiny and trusting and holding on, trying to peep out through his heavy eyes at me and i knew i had to let him go. that delaying my pain was only prolonging his.

while he was in her arms, i took one last picture (he opened his eyes during this and was so out of it that it nearly killed me) and put my phone away as slowly as possible to delay the inevitable. 

fully knowing this would be the last time i ever touched our little guy, i reached out and cupped his face in my hands and then kissed his head and said, "i love you, waffle."  then i just closed my eyes and turned away as she took him out. 

i cant explain why this is hitting us so hard. maybe it's because i've never said goodbye to a pet before. all of my pets either ran away or died while i was at college. i was never present for the end and they were all so old or completely crazy that it wasnt unexpected. maybe it's because we only got such a short time with him and it feels like he deserved more. maybe it's because so much love from so many people helped to bring him to us to begin with.

jesse says it's none of that. jesse says he really was special. jesse's had cats all his life and says that waffle was by far the best one. i like this theory.  

for whatever reason, we fought hard to have this guy for the short time that we did. we were supposed to have him and to go through the love and heartbreak of being his. i am so glad to have known this funny, weird, ever-chill, endlessly sweet, adorable little animal.  my heart grew while loving him. even as it's breaking now, it's growing.

i cant help but feel like we failed him, or failed yall who gave money to save him. the only thing that comes close to the sadness is this feeling of, "could we have done more?" "could we have acted sooner?" "would he have been better without us?" "should i not have given him up last night?"

i know it's just a pet and like any grief, big or small, it will heal and get tons better. probably to the point where i can identify how i'm feeling now as silly or an overreaction. but right now i just miss my sweet waffle so so much.

goodbye, my sweet guy. thanks for being ours. we love you.


adorability, thy name is bob.

i took the kids to get their end-of-summer haircuts yesterday. i'm not big on back-to-school festivities just for the sake of them (i.e. the kids backpacks from last year are just fine again this year), but since this was the state of aff-hairs (eh?....eh?), BEFORE, it was fairly necessary:

 i called these looks "summer rabid"

judah's haircut is filed under "big whoop." he gets them all the time because his hair grows ohsofast and we like  it long (even when cut) so it gets shaggy quickly. i wont say anymore about his haircut, besides the fact that after his hippie shag, he always looks so nerdy with his classy/conservative 'do, AND that he maaaaay be too big for the hummer seat at the haircut place:

it looks like Yao Ming driving a smart car (he only got to go here because layla was...he's a regular at the plain old barber now)

so laya. her FIRST EVER HAIRCUT! it felt like sacrilege to even consider trimming her tresses since we waited so long for them to arrive. she was still a barely-mulleted fuzzikins at one and a half so the thought of moving backwards to LESS HAIR after just over a year with piggies and ponies was almost inconceivable. 

but her hair was officially "long,"constantly unruly, crusted with food, and a nest of wispy messballs because of the superfine baby hair along the ends.

 enjoying a popsicle, or "popculuh," sunday morning (sand and sticks)

and so on monday i french braided her into pigtails for what would be the last time and took her to the dr. for a well checkup. she got 3 shots and we discovered she is in the 99th percentile for height (!) and the 96th for weight. i LOVE this. (FTR: 40 inches tall and 36 lbs. that doesnt SEEM big for a 2 year old).

showing off her muscles after losing the fight against the shots. (such angst)

yesterday when i finally committed to cutting her hair  this was how things looked before we loaded up:

 messy and adorable and they will definitely be back. 

without telling jesse (i am the sultan of kids hair/fashion in our home so i'm allowed to make these calls) i took them off to the kiddie salon and plopped lay lay down and requested a chin-length bob. i figured go big or go home. if we were going to get a haircut i wanted to GET A HAIRCUT. i had been around a few little girls with bobs lately and thought, "this is the perfect age to rock this look," and also: "hey, that looks easy to get oatmeal out of!" i was going to make a game-time decision on whether or not to go for blunt, straight across bangs too.

 sis was not remotely fazed by the scissors or the idea of a haircut.

"wha dat?!" she demanded when these appeared on her head. then she answered her own question, "dey budda-fies."  yes, those ARE called butterfly clips, lay. great guess!

she reinforced an unpleasant recent development by immediately choosing the barbie bug to sit in. somehow, she loves barbie even though we have never talked to her about it, showed it to her or remotely encouraged this. i guess she learned it on the streets. she asks me all the time, "you lahk bah-bie?" and i have to grimace and go, "mmmm, no honey. barbie is dumb. real girls dont look like that and are generally much smarter." this is not working at all and she continues to love the impossible plastic bimbo (i am at least comforted that there are now "smart" barbies who have educations and gainful employment. but call me when one has a realistic waist to bust ratio). 

i was SHOCKED with myself as i sat down to watch the first snip. i was gripped with panic and nostalgia and the urge to PULL THE PLUG on this haircut and whisk my baby and her virgin follicles away. i did NOT expect to be mushy or weird about a first haircut at ALL, but i swear cutting that first hair was more traumatic for me than cutting the umbilical cord!

and then minutes later the cut was done and the dryer came on to finish:

OMG that tiny squnched face inside that adorable big girl haircut being nervous about a hair dryer... can you even stand it? i CANNOT.

little prissy-bot got a side-bangs pony (i decided to NOT to blunt bangs and stand by this choice) without my permission and it brought a whole new level of sugar-sweetness to the look that even that nasty rootbeer flavored dum-dum couldnt compete with.

obviously, this is how we show off a haircut.

we went to church to surprise jesse where he A: failed to notice the cut for a good minute and then B: tried to get huffy with me about not asking him first. then he came through with awesome daddy praise for this pretty thang.


great side shot of the cut with hula arms.

we got her BFF (and mine) steph, our childrens minister, to pin her down for a forced photo. layla passively resisted via elvis-lip. well-played, young padawan.

dont be fooled. this is not compliance...it's smiling because i whipped out a paci. oi.

for the record: she is still quite able to get food in her new hair. 

heavens to mergatroid, this munchkin has amped up the sassafrass!

now everyone look away while i tearfully stroke the leftover scraps of hair that i salvaged off the salon floor and spirited away...nothing to see here.


heat it: UP

our kitchen is probably the most made-over room in our house. in the past 2 years of being self-aware and DIY-ish (seriously, WTFRICKINGFRACK were we doing those first 4.5 years?!?!) we have:

-tiled the backsplash
-painted the countertops
-added custom beadboard
-upgraded every single appliance as the originals have died off (slowly and with 12-month no interest financing)
-DIY'd new barstools (already recovered for the second time)

this is what it looked like the last time it was photogenic (circa april)

and lest we forget how far we'd already come by that point-- here is may 2011, before we tackled the cabs:

quelle dommage :(    this actually makes me very punchy.

despite ALL of this work, we continue to find pretty significant projects for this room. certainly soon it will be utterly perfect and ready to cage-match any living kitchen to the death for supreme dominance. (we see you, Kitchen Stadium, we're coming for you!!!)

there are 2 underway projects that i cant show you yet (i am being assisted by the geniuses at shepard lighting for these) but i CAN show you the most recent one that we wrapped up, and it is just a raging little pile of OUTSTANDING.

it concerns this corner of the kitchen:

pay no attention to that egg. (though i should tell you: it was delicious).

bloggy people, meet our microwave. her name is Oster and we got her for our wedding. i think my aunt wanda and my 3 girl cousins gave her to us at a shower they threw me (isnt weird how you can remember things like this?!?! obsessing over a registry really sticks with your subconscious, i guess).

if you remember from  the top photo, there really wasnt anywhere else to put this microwave since she's girthy (it happens) and our counter space is limited. so we have had her nestled diagonally in this corner for nigh on 6.5 years.

then one unusal tuesday in may, i had a brain hurricane and all of a sudden just couldnt deal with the microwave being there anymore (probably something i should get checked out by a neurologist...).  we couldnt figure out any good option for where else to put it to recapture or better-utilize the counter space.

and then we realized: OVER-THE-RANGE-MICROWAVE!

i swiftly begged jesse to do the hard work of moving the cabinets and promised him i would score us a sweet deal on new micro with a coupon AND on sale AND with no interest for 12 months (this financing that we do is built into our budget for beneficial tax reasons with jesse being clergy). 

before he could really protest, we had ripped out the cabinets (carefully and with a screwdriver, for the record, but i would love it if you just pictured us doing it Hulk-style) over the stove and the vent hood (sold on craigslist in 3 days!). 

and now we are committed to this project! this is also a gorgeous tapestry of our kitchen's history. luckily that wallpaper was never seen by us in full force: it was covered by a frosty ice-blue when we moved in. the painters tape-looking blue is the former color we painted.  its just whatever.

i forced down the bile when i caught a glimpse of the old cherry veneer that had escaped the purge of last summer, and soldiered on bravely.

jesse did some genius math and some impressive electric work (seriously, this year he has taught himself all there is to know about creating, moving, combining and rewiring outlets in our house...it's AWESOME) and figured out exactly where the top cabinet would need to move to to seamlessly combine with the new microwave.

this was all the more impressive because he didnt have the microwave while he was figuring. we ordered it online and had to get the cabinets ready before it was delivered. using only the online specifications and his monster brain he was able to remount the top cabinet to perfectly accommodate the new micro...we hoped

the cabinet moved up by about 6-8 inches so that the bottom of the new micro would align with the bottom of the neighboring cabs, and it had to come out about 2-3 inches off the wall to flush up against the microwave's depth. he added a spacer piece of wood behind it to get it just perfect.  he NAILED it (see what i did there? oh geez, sorry...i've had coffee, and caffeine over-stimulates the pun-centers of my brain). 

he also had to instal a new plug behind the top cabinet since the microwave would need a place to plug in up there. boyfriend ROCKS.

the microwave was delivered two days later and when the delivery dudes installed it, we were tickled pink stainless steel to see that jesse had planned flawlessly!

the depth: like a glove! (hey, it looks pretty good with two microwaves in here!)

and the height is b-e-a-u-tiful! 

i quickly painted the exposed cherry around the edges (must hide our secret shame!) and extracted our old Oster-girl (another craigslisting). 

and just like that: about 4 extra square feet of counter space freed up and my no-longer stricken-kitchen has made me a smitten kitten.  (i hate myself)

i mean, it'd be awesome if i had like a gorgeous kitchenaid stand mixer to be featured in this new space, but our toaster and a loaf of bread was all i could muster at this moment.

now, when our food is cooked, we hear the microwave's "ding-dong" from merrily on high (MAKE IT STOP)

happiness is a lofted microwave. also: besides being in a way-improved location, the microwave itself is pimp-nasty and amazing. lest we forget...

this project was really very easy (who knew cabinets arent that hard to move?) and cheap (we only paid for the microwave, which was the final appliance to be upgraded in our home) and gives the kitchen a much nicer, expensive feel with the built-in microwave and "custom" looking cabinetry. i declare a hard WIN.