Monday, September 26, 2011

Dear Chloe:

Dear Chloe,

Thanks for all the lovely memories.  I will never forget discovering you for the first time in my parent's garage, with your two tiny siblings.  While they were meek and timid, you were ferocious!  I knew you had some spunk in you when I tried to pick you up, and you hissed and spit at me like you were capable of taking off my hand.  You were so small, and puffy, you looked like a tiny mottled cotton ball with a wisp of a tail.  It was love at first sight.
I gave you your name, Chloe, after I got to know your personality a little bit better.  It means "a thriving, green shoot" - you never stopped finding ways of getting into mischief, and you were always good for a laugh!
Our first few nights together, you cried and cried, I think because you missed your mother - I sat up with you and played with you, and you cuddled in my lap.  After that, my lap was one of the places you felt most secure.  After a long day at the office, I looked forward to those cuddles.

Being a college student on top of working full time was tough.  Late nights were lonely as I sat up working on papers, or reading.  You were always there to keep me company.  And of course, to keep an eye on my mouse!
You loved my undivided attention.  If I had other things to do, you just made sure that I didn't forget about spending time with you first.  After all, you didn't mind if I was wearing smelly clothes, so why should everyone else?

You were very good at helping me stay organized - even down to the nitty gritty:

At times life could be stressful, but you always helped me not to take myself too seriously.

I am notoriously forgetful, but you were great at helping me remember the important things.  Like feeding the dog:

When I began my courtship with Nate, it was exciting, and terrifying all at the same time.  So many life changes to think about!  I often laid awake at night, unable to sleep for all the noisy thoughts in my head.  You helped me to think outside the box with a new sleep solution.

Unfortunately for me, it didn't work out so well.  With a wedding on the way, there were so many preparations to take care of!  People to call, reservations to be made, invitations to print . . . thankfully, I could count on you to take care of that last one.

After the wedding, you graciously agreed to help me pack for the honeymoon.  With the suitcase so full, I wouldn't have been able to close it without your help!

After the wedding, you decided to start your new adventure of apartment living.  You journeyed across the state, and into a new one in the back of my car (much to your dismay, I'm afraid!).  It wasn't quite what you were accustomed to, but you adjusted fairly quickly.  We lived on the second floor, with a great big tree outside the window.  There was a very chatty squirrel that you grew rather fond of watching.

And of course, you were very protective of me.  You always kept one eye on Nate to make sure he was behaving himself.

You moved again with us, this time to the third floor.  There was no more chatty squirrel to watch, but we had a lovely view of the sky, and you could see birds again!  They would make a commotion outside, and you would sit on my piano (mussing all of my sheet music, I might add), and stick your head under the curtain, just to sneak a look at them.  If your tail began twitching, I knew you'd found something exciting to watch.  It was always confirmed by your strange chattering afterward.  Nate doesn't share my love of winter weather, but you always enjoyed a good snowfall.  You would sit with me in the living room and watch the lacy flakes fall from the clouds.
Our third move was into a house.  Finally!  A place of permanence that wouldn't require you to add "gypsy" to your pet description.  Since I knew how much you hate moving, I decided to give you a mild sedative.  I've never seen a drunk cat before, but I'm pretty sure you nailed the definition.  No one got much sleep that night.  It was also your first time meeting another addition to our family, Sadie.  At first, you weren't all that enthusiastic.

Especially given the way Sadie liked to play!  She seemed to have forgotten that just because you squeaked, it didn't mean you were one of her toys.

After a while though, you got the hang of it.  You grew more cunning, and found her weak spot - you fought back!

After that, she grew to respect you a little more.  You regained your Queen status, and if Sadie had upset you, she came over afterward to grovel.

You were very thankful for the bed we bought you.  It gave you a perch to escape to!  You felt much more comfortable letting yourself relax on it . . .

Eventually, you and Sadie became friends.  You even missed her when she was gone (even though you pretended not to care . . . ).  She made an especially warm pillow.  You always enjoyed snuggling up to her for a nice nap.

And then, the biggest change of all came into your little life.   There was a miniature human on the loose!  You weren't quite sure what to think.  She took over your "safe space" upstairs, and replaced it with a whole lot of furniture, and all the late night snuggles you used to enjoy in my lap, were replaced with sitting patiently on the carpet and watching me pace the floor long into the night.  She made more noise than you ever knew a human could make, especially one so small!  When you noticed that I was feeling weary with my new responsibilities, you would make sure I knew you were on my side.  You had a tendency to pop up in unexpected places, just to make me smile.

And even though you weren't thrilled about us bringing her home, you knew how important our newest addition was to us.  You made sure you watched over her, and let us know (by clawing up the carpet under the door, unfortunately) if anything was wrong.

You were such a good cat, Chloe.  I loved you all the time I had you.  Your intelligence always amused me, even if it sometimes got you into trouble.  Your love of sparkle balls was forever a source for my entertainment, and you knew the value of a good conversation, as evidenced by your constant chatter.  You were a good friend, and lap warmer, and I know things won't be the same without you here.  There was just something about your purring that was soothing to the soul.  I will miss witnessing you leap three feet off the floor in pursuit of your feather toy, as well as your comforting presence at the foot of my bed at night.  I hope that you are happy, and content in your new home, and that you feel like a queen once more.  I know you will bring just as much joy and mirth to your new owners as you have to my heart.  Farewell, my sweet feline friend!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Farmer's Market Finds

We are fortunate enough to have a Farmer's market in our downtown district twice a month during the summer months.  Today was the last one for the season!  Needless to say, we couldn't miss it.  We loaded everyone up in my tiny Saturn (including my wildabeast named Sadie!), and off we went to see what we could see.  It was a chilly morning, with temps hovering around 50, but that didn't put a damper on my enthusiasm.  I really enjoy Farmer's markets!  There is an incredible number of vendors, limitless (locally grown!) produce to peruse through, flowers, music, zany entertainment, you name it.  There is a lot of ground to cover!  My browsing this trip was somewhat limited by the reach of Sadie's leash, but I still managed to find a few things to bring home.  Our first stop was at my favorite coffee shop's booth.  I have been looking forward to that cup of coffee all week!  The husband found a booth that sold breakfast burritos, and he was set.  I am a sucker for anything that blooms, and there is one local farm that always manages to pull off the most captivating displays of all things floral.  Of course, I had to stop there.
I also found a booth with all sorts of trinkety things for little girls.  Check out their beautiful handcrafted goodies here.  Since my sweet Olivia now has enough of a little tuft on top of her head to clip things in, I couldn't resist the temptation to snag a few things for her as well.  Here are a few of my finds:

This last one I particularly loved.  It will look so sweet with some of her sweaters!  All in all, it was a perfectly successful morning, and a certainly a fabulous way to welcome Fall!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fall Cleaning!

I don't know what it is about this time of year, maybe the cooler weather, everyone going back to school or back to a solid routine, it's hard to say for sure.  Whatever it is, it seems to bring out this primal urge in me to go through all my closets and purge, clean all the windows and even *gasp* baseboards in my house, organize my kitchen cabinets, etc.  Whether all this is actually accomplished, on the other hand, remains to be seen!  This is my third Fall season in our house, and I am really excited to get started.

The windows are first on my list to tackle.  They were largely ignored this Spring, due to my settling in as a new Mommy.  I like to use a solution of water with ammonia, and just a few drops of dish soap (too much, and you'll have too many suds).  I wash the windows with a terrycloth rag, and then use a squeegee and a microfiber cloth to dry them.  This combination usually leaves me with beautifully clean, streak free windows!

My oven and fridge also get a good rub down this time of year.  The oven, thanks to my recent escapades with homemade cinnamon rolls, already got checked off the list.  I have a self cleaning oven, so it's really just a matter of running the clean cycle, and then wiping it out with a water/vinegar solution.  For the stove top, I disassemble it, and then spray the parts individually with oven cleaner.  All the crusty crud wipes right off!  I don't even break a sweat.  :)

I try to clean out my fridge every other month, just to help me keep track of what I have on hand so that I don't waste as much.  I just do a quick wipe down, and throw away anything that's expired, or should be relegated to science research.  Cleaning it out in the Spring and Fall usually isn't so bad if I've stayed on top of it the other months.  I do take the crisper drawer out (my fridge only has one drawer), and wash it out, as well as defrost and wipe out the freezer.

This is also the time of year when I go through closets, and the attic storage to gather things to take to Goodwill, or the crisis pregnancy center.  A good rule of thumb for me when it comes to clothing is, if I haven't taken it off of the hanger all season, I won't wear it next season either.  The exception to this rule for me this year has been clothes that I am still working to fit back into after pregnancy.  I usually am able to purchase one or two new things to wear each season, so I figure I should be able to donate at least that much.

What about you?  Do you have any tried and true cleaning tricks that you pull out for Fall cleaning?  What kind of things do you put on your list?  I'd love to know your secrets!

photostock /
Ambro /
dan /

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Reason Why

Writing is like breathing for me.  It's been so long since I've come up for air, I've almost forgotten what it feels like.  This blog will hopefully be a place where I can stretch those breathing muscles now and again, preserve some of my more intelligent ramblings, and who knows?  Maybe even learn a few things!

I don't pretend to be profound, or even knowledgeable.  I am merely a small, created mind trying to grasp the mysteries of her Creator.  I want to be transparent as I share what I have learned, and am continuing to learn.  I want this to be a place where others feel free to impart their wisdom as well - and perhaps even hold me accountable.  Wisdom cries out in the streets, and I am praying for the ears to hear her.  She is worth far more than rubies!  (Proverbs 8)  I know she resides in many of those around me, and to be given some of that wealth through advice, stories, or life experience would be a precious gift indeed.  I welcome your comments!

I plan to share as much of my life, as often as my life allows.  I am, and will always be committed to my family first, and as the internet tends to be the mother of all distractions, I will guard against letting it consume too much of the time that I have to offer in service to them first.  I want to know that I have invested all that I could, however feebly, into the health and growth of their faith.

I pray that this will be a ministry to some, and sow seeds to many, for the glory of the God who gave me the ability to write at all.  It is in His name, and for His purposes that I hope to share from my heart.  I believe the written word is powerful, as well as a love language of my Savior.  It was through his Word that I fell in love with him, and continue to be drawn to his heart daily.

As I begin to tread in this new world of blogging, I hope that you will be encouraged, edified, and challenged.  Here's to many more adventures, lessons, and glimpses into my heart as I work to cultivate the faith I long to work out with fear and trembling.  Please join me on the journey!