Sibling Rivalry With The Cat

Yesterday, Harper was watching cartoons and I sat down with her. Five minutes later, Willoughby (the cat) came and sat in my lap.

Harper looked over and said: "Hey, I was going to sit in your lap!"

I said, "Okay, you can. I can move Willoughby."

She said, "Well do it!"

I laughed and nudged Willoughby off, then my big girl came and sat in my lap for another five minutes until it was time to brush teeth. 

Bye Bye Bibs and Perfect Sundays

I was cleaning up my computer desktop and found this image:


It's from October and represents a Perfect Hilarious Family Sunday. All of us on the bed playing Hot Wheels. As you do. Hopefully Kurt will not try to recreate this scene with the new slot car track he Harper got for Christmas.

I love this picture. Pure relaxed fun.


When we moved out to remodel the house, things that had been jammed into the tiny old kitchen ended up at the new rental. I cleaned some stuff out, donated them to charity, etc but some stuff stayed. Like these bibs which were on a magnet on the fridge.


When we moved back to our house, these got donated. Harper hadn't really used a bib in ages, but somehow they stayed. They are one of the last baby things to go from the house. The other is the monitor which I'm weaning Harper off of. If I'm honest, I'm weaning myself off of it. It's really been a year or two too long to still have a monitor. Harper is adjusting to not just calling my name at night. I'm the one who jumps when she opens her door when we are watching TV after she's gone to bed to say, "Mama, I want to read a book." For some reason she needs me to come in and watch while she picks books to "read" then get back into bed with them. It's sweet and why I ever tell her no to reading?

At the doctor for Harper's Five year check up, the nurse asked her to put on a paper gown! OMG it was really Big Girl time. Additional cuteness was when the doc when to check her ears, on her own, Harper held her hair away from her ears for him. Adorable.

Next year is a new year with some travel and then kindergarten to look forward to. Yowza.



Milestones: Of House Cats and Houses

MouseOn December 30, we said good bye to our cat, Mouse. She was 18 years old and lived her long lucky life indoors, mostly trying to snuggle with Bunny, and not always succeeding.

In the fall of 1996, a friend's alley cat had kittens and since I already had Bunny and was working a million hours at Sony, I thought a new cat would be good for Bunny, so I adopted Mouse. She got her name from the fact that when she was just days old I saw her for the first time and she was grey all over and looked like a little mouse.

It was purely coincidence that I named both cats after other animals.

Mouse was an odd cat. She never slept in your lap or curled up and slept next to you. She liked attention but always seemed riled up and a bit frantic when asking for it. She sort of liked to be petted, but not in the usual cat ways. In her old age she would ask for attention, you would pet her and then she would bite you. That got a little tiresome, I'll be honest.

Bunny151Bunny died about six weeks after Harper was born and poor Mouse grieved heavily for the loss and massive changes in the house. Every night for almost a year she would yowl in the wee small hours of the morning. The first few times I thought something was horribly wrong with her and would leap up and come and see but she would just be sitting in the living room (not unlike that photo above).

She seemed comfortable this last year, though clearly getting quite old. Rather quickly, her heart gave out during the day on the 30th and we made the quick call not to resuscitate. Her time really had come and with average life span of cats at 10-15 years, she had a lot of time on this planet.

We tried to explain to Harper, very directly and honestly, that Mouse had died. Harper didn't seem too interested, just wanted to watch Curious George. But a couple of days later she and I were having breakfast and she told Willoughby not to play with a cat toy. I told Harper it was okay for Willoughby to play with it. Harper said, "It's Mouse's toy." And I said, "But Mouse isn't here any more." She said, "Mouse is in the hospital." And I said, "Well, I took her to the hospital, but Mouse was very old and she was sick and she died." Harper thought about it for a minute then she said, "Can she get a new battery?" That just warmed my heart. I said, "No sweetie, only toys can get new batteries when they die. Animals and people only get one battery." She then moved on to another topic.

Good bye Mouse, thanks for being part of our lives, sorry you only had one battery.

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Another milestone is that January marks 17 years that I've lived in this house. I'm amazed it's been this long already! I'm also amazed that we've made it work all this time with very little change. I'm proud of myself for buying it all those years ago (when houses were affordable!) instead of blowing my down payment on a car. But in those days (like it was 50 years ago) this would have been considered a "starter home" and five years later I would have upgraded to a larger one. But five years later we were already two years married and both freelance, so we made the space work.

Now that there are three of us, the house does seem to be getting smaller and smaller! I have to remind myself to put on my "perspectacles" because we own a house with heating and plumbing and modern appliances in a great school district. Okay okay, but I'd like at least another bathroom soon (now that all three of us are potty trained) and modern sized counters in the kitchen (they are still original to 1938).

The house is cozy and has a working fireplace and sweet period details. I am so glad I found it and bought way back when. Happy anniversary little house!

October Fun and Catch Up

It's been a busy fall. It's been a HOT fall. God I hate Fall in LA. TOO HOT! Temps in the 100s day after day? No thanks.

We've stuck close to home, focusing on writing and getting used to the preschool routine. Harper seemed to adjust pretty quickly, but I've been waiting for a crash of sorts. I think it has come last week and this. She hasn't been napping as regularly at preschool and comes home TIRED. Makes sense. Last night she came home and didn't want dinner. Then we turned around and there she was. So sleepy.


To beat the aforementioned heat, luckily there is the beach. We went early on Saturday and our little Beach Bunny enjoyed it very much.


I think Harper is now a STAR in China. A tour group came through and they were crazy for her. They saw her on the beach and wanted to talk to her and take pictures with her. They weren't weird or creepy, honestly, just very enthusiastic. We saw them again in the parking lot and they took more pics! Yes, I stood close and made sure Harper was fine, she seemed to enjoy it though also seemed a bit confused. "Who are these people again?" A funny LA moment. If you go to China and see her picture anywhere, let me know...


Harper has mad Hide N Seek skills. I love hearing her at home "Papa, you go hide. I count. ONE! TWO! SEBEN! NATEY!" She would also let Kurt count and then "hide" by laying face down on the bed. "Papa, you count. I hide right here." Here you can see her outdoor H&S style. Where's Harper?


The artwork collection has started. I know it will pile up as time goes on, but these first ones are soooo fun to put up. She was quite pleased to put the wreath up in her room. Her Self Portrait is still on display at Happyland.

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Speaking of artwork.


One day, Harper didn't really seem too interested in napping. She usually plays in her room, chills out, whathaveyou if she doesn't sleep. I didn't hear anything too alarming on this day. But when it was time to get up...oh boy. You can't see the walls in this picture.

Thankfully those pens are true to their word: "Washable". Notice the arm though. Mmm hmmm.


Well at least if you were wondering, this was a good exercise to confirm that Harper is mostly right handed...


And as for the youngest in the family...Willoughby is enjoying having Harper be at Preschool. She now has many more places to nap.


She's also keeping the changing table warm, as Harper barely uses it anymore.


But the "kids" get along great.

This is one of my all time favorite pictures ever in the whole history of the world.


Catching Up With Willoughby Some More

Willoughby is growing into a fine young cat. She is frisky and sweet and cuddly, all the things you want in an almost one year old cat. She sleeps on the bed and likes to lay on my chest when I'm waking up. So sweet to wake up to that. She also likes to hang in the bathroom when I (or Kurt) are showering. It always cracks me up to see this:


She is FASCINATED by the refrigerator. On a hot day she especially likes it.


Of course a nice pile of dirt is also fun. Look at that expression, pure bliss.


Catching Up With Willoughby

Our new cat, Willoughby, is truly a member of the family now. She clearly was ready for a house to live in because it really took her no time to figure out the cat box and to be comfy all over the house. She's not too pleased now though. We got her spayed last week and she's living with the Cone of Shame for about ten days. Check the stinkeye.


The saddest part is watching her try to just have a bath. She sits in all those regular cat positions, but she can only lick the inside of the cone. It's hilarious, poor thing. Man, when the cone comes off and the stitches are out, it's going to be a huge lick fest.

It had to be done, of course, we are responsible pet owners and she has been and indoor/outdoor cat even when we brought her in, officially. And we knew it was time as she was desperate to get outside at night and making all kinds of crazy meow sounds. Plus there were a few other cats who suddenly showed up in our backyard from time to time.

Did I mention desperate to get outside?


She and Harper get along well, though Willoughby is still a kitten and can sometimes scratch Harper when she gets excited. That's no fun. But Harper is learning to be careful around Willoughby and does give her gentle "pat pats". They can be pretty cute together.