Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Mighty Roo

Luka Grizzlefrizz was laid peacefully to rest on December 20th at the age of 13 years old. 

He had many names:  Rooka Roo, the Mighty Roo, Frizz, RooTah, FrizzFuzz, Salt N Peppah Frizz, oh you know how it goes.  He was essentially a rescue.  Matt and I had been living together for a short time just after graduating from college.  I had D'Artagnan, my applehead Siamese mix/partner in crime and began campaigning that we get him a buddy.

Matt had wanted a Russian Blue or similarly colored cat but at some point after visiting a few shelters and the Humane Society we turned to the news papers.  We found an ad and followed up.  There were actually two kittens, and to this day we wish we had grabbed Luka's brother as well.  They were small and covered in fleas.  Their mother was a mix and there were cats wandering here and there.  The kittens were being toted around by smallish kids and the woman wanted to make sure that Matt and I weren't taking the kitten for some "Fraternity or Sorority thing."  I'm not exactly sure what her fear was for this tiny kitten as she wasn't exactly caring properly for him anyway. 

Regardless, we scooped him up and absconded with this wee flea bitten kitten. 

He and D'artagnan got along like two peas in a pod.  D'Ar was pretty easy going and I think Luka was thankful for the peaceful environment.  Matt picked out his first name and I chose his middle name (from a children's book - Hooway for Wodney Wat.)  He was adopted in Florida, moved twice with us in Maryland, twice with us in Maine and finally ended up in Vermont.  He lived for 1 year and 10 days in Vermont and I'm pretty sure he loved it here too.  Along the way (and over the years,) we adopted Cricket Weenog  and so our furry children count grew to 3.  Later we added two guinea pigs (weeeeeek!)  Then we lost the guinea pigs and D'Artagnan.  But gained a Baxter Rufus.  Then I had to go liven things up by bringing two rambunctious boys into the house.  Through it all, Luka was a trooper.

He was a love.  A huge ball of fluffy love and my heart just breaks in a million pieces that I'll never get a head butt from him again.  But that is okay.  I have memories and pictures and I'll always carry him in my heart.

I am so thankful you are at peace, Luka, I'm so sorry for any discomfort you went through while mommy had to try to beat that nasty cancer.  But, you know, I had to try.  I would have never forgiven myself if I hadn't tried for those "extra 2 years" that chemo usually gives cats with small cell lymphoma.  So, it didn't give you any extra time . . . I'm not okay with it to be honest, but I'm okay with you being at peace. 

Luka GrizzleFrizz's first day.  Mommy insisted on a flea bath!
All dried off and relaxing on his first day home with us.
At first, D'Artagnan wasn't so sure about this lil' rascal . . .
But they became fast friends!
Friends forever.
Luka was the King of Inventive Sleeping!
Also the King of Hiding Places . . .
Although some places weren't so hidden . . .
And then there was a Cricket Weenog . . .
She was a bit of a scruffy urchin kitten . . .
But they became fast friends as well.
In his prime!
Sweetest pink nose I know . . .
Along came Baxter after we said goodbye to D'Artagnan . . .
He was a little stinker but Luka loved every minute!
And then I brought home something different!
But Luka loved him too . . .
He put up with all of my shenanigans . . .
I always imagined that Luka was the King, Cricket was the Queen and Baxter was the Jester . . . . (D'Artagnan was a Prince of course!)
He lived for 13 long years . . . but it didn't feel long enough.
His last day on this earth.  He was so very loved.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The "I'm Still Alive" roundup!

The month of December has been a bit rough thus far.  Hence the silence on my part . . . not wanting to be Debbie Downer.  So instead I remained silent.  Through sickness and disappointment we arrive a week before Christmas ill prepared.  But, I have a tree up!!!  Woot!  In a very un-Jennifer-like move it is a fake tree.  There are many reasons for this . . .

- Toby (18 month old)

-  Baxter Rufus (Brother FourPaws the rowdy Maine Coon)


Maybe in a few years when I don't feel like I'm constantly drowning and being resuscitated weekly then we'll get a real (and gorgeous) tree.  But this'll do for now. 

Luka Grizzlefrizz is not doing well, I guess cancer sort of does that to cats and others similarly afflicted.  I was hoping he would perk up before the holidays but he just seems worse by the day.  I can't adequately describe how deeply this pains and affects me and I'm loathe to say goodbye.  It is one of our greatest burdens as caretakers of furry children to have to make a decision at the end of their lives. 

Ethan is amazing - bright and talkative and astoundingly astute.  I love these sponge years and hope that I am doing him justice.  I hear tell from my sister-in-law that he is about to get spoiled mercilessly this Christmas and I'm hoping he doesn't let it go to his head!

Toby weaned himself.  BOOM.  Just. Like. That.  Cold frickin' turkey.  It was amidst a stomach plague that descended upon us and the whole week was quite nightmarish.  On top of the emotional blow, I'm battling some pretty heinous clogs that are quite tenacious.  I have ordered some No More Milk tea and so hopefully that will help me dry up.  As far as my fears for soothing him?  Unfounded.  He goes down just as well without nursing (*sniff sniff*) and doesn't seem to miss it in the least.  I'm fairly certain it still hasn't sunk in for me!

I have so many pictures just chilling on my camera, I vow to upload them and share them soon!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

She did it again . . .

Kathleen from North Photography has once again wielded her mad Kung Fu skills in wrangling the Jeans clan into some gorgeous photos.  One evening in the fall, we crashed the backyard of a neighbor, waded through some weeds and wrangled some seriously fussy boys and yet . . . and yet . . . MAGIC.  I was there, people, I saw what we looked like . . . true MAGIC.  Thank you again Kathleen!

This is the one we will be hanging in our living room!

At this point the boys were done.  So opened a can o' Mommy Silliness and got them to laugh a bit!

Monday, December 2, 2013

4 years ago yesterday . . .

(I had written this a few days ago and forgot to post it on his birthday!  D'oh!  In my defense, I forgot because I was out of my mind crazy busy with his birthday party but still . . .)

It is hard to imagine that Ethan has been on this earth for 4 whole years and yet it is hard to imagine life without this brilliant child.

Now, I'm not saying he is a genius or anything (even if I think he is pretty bright) but he is BRILLIANT.  His energy, his attitude, his love and cuddles.  I take pride in the fact that together, as a team, Matt and I have helped to nurture the good and tried very hard to steer him away from the bad.

Being present and aware as a parent doesn't seem to be the norm these days.  How many parents have I heard say, "I just don't know what to do/say/treat him or her!"  In this day and age of information it seems to me that maybe they just don't want to change.  I am not perfect, as I'm fond of mentioning, but I feel like I'm trying very hard to be present for my children.  To respect them and know who they are.  Not bend them to my will, not ignore them or brush off their questions.  I absolutely lose my patience sometimes and have to give myself time outs.  But at the same time I want my kids to know that I have their backs.

Even when I'm disciplining them or being especially stubborn.  I want them to know why I'm acting the way that I am.  Sharing my feelings and emotions is important to me.  I know that not every parent does this and I've received criticism for being so "open" with my kids.  But that is okay.  Because no one lives in my world except my family.  So, how can anyone judge?  See what I did there?  Just the paragraph previous to this I judged other parents.  Despite our best efforts to be open minded it is just plain impossible not to see another situation and feel judgment based upon your experiences and knowledge.

But I digress . . . my Ethan Alexander Charles is the most amazing 4 year old I know.  I can only hope that years from now I look back on this birthday as a milestone.  We survived thus far, we survived the third year with all of its changes and struggles.  New brother, new house, new state, new school.  He was a wild one.  A lot of what we experienced was completely normal, a lot of it was the aforementioned changes, but all of that boundary testing helped to forge who he is.

He is an amazing brother.

He has a love for nature and a curiosity that is boundless and I'm so darned proud of that.  He loves the pursuit of knowledge, just like his father and mother do and I can only hope that carries through his whole life.

He loves to question everything and I do my best to answer in a quick but truthful manner.

He is attune with emotions and feelings and is the most affectionate lil' boy, always quick for a cuddle.

He loves his friends and is in his element amongst the hordes of other toddlers.  No shrinking violet, he is quite the social butterfly.

He is just the most special Ethan I know.