Saturday, August 29, 2009

How do you teach a Toddler to be nice to animals?

Dear Readers,

I would like to solicit your advice on how to teach a Toddler to be gentle with pets. Any experience or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

We have three cats and one Cavalier King Charles.

The dog huddles in a corner near my feet or in the corner of his dog bed as the Toddler attempts to hug him, sit on him, pat him, pull on his ears and tail and the dog does nothing but attempt to escape. He's a very sweet dog and our chief concern here is the dog's safety.

Two of the cats have taken up permanent residence in the garage (one of which is possibly turning feral). Zorak, the oldest cat, refuses to give up house residence and puts up with the never ending stream of love from Toddler. He has a history of temperamental behavior with us but thus far has shown no aggression towards the Toddler. He will change locations but lately just seems to "put up with it". Our chief concern is the cat getting fed up and smacking the Toddler.

Here is a photo of Toddler laying her head on Zorak.

The question of how to discipline a Toddler needs answered. Repeatedly saying Gentle, Be Nice to Kitteh, Stop hitting Kitteh, HEY, Enough are met with a curious look and then action repeated.

Completely dismayed, and confused.

Again, any recommendations would be appreciated with the exception of recommendation to get rid of said pets because we feel it's important for Toddler to be nice to animals and they are part of our family.

It's Saturday and we went to the beach

It's our routine and we see no good reason to stray from a good thing. There may come a day when we no longer live in South Florida and now is the time to make sure we get the most for our "investment dollars" --- or one might say "live every day like it's going to be your last", or "why pin for the future when you can enjoy life now?"

Speaking of investment dollars, I've been meaning to write about how owning property that's dropped 50% in value isn't all it was supposed to be but that's kinda depressing and isn't most of the country in the same boat? So this blog will continue to focus on the positive's of South Florida - or at least until our 5 Year ARM mortgage is reset in October 2010. Until then we have big plans to enjoy life and squirrel away as much savings as possible for that inevitable day.

Moving onto the fun part, we hit a milestone! Walking on the beach!!! Charlotte has alternated between crawling and walking for several months in our home and so it was pretty cool to see her stand up and walk on the beach:

and then she fell down,

and picked herself back up without a fuss

as Grit once said, I was over the moon with pride!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I could swear I had several ideas for a post

But I can't think of a single one, mind has gone blank. So here's a few general updates:

1. Guest cat is gone, yeah!
2. I'm back to pre-pregnancy weight and clothes, yeah!
3. Tired of Jillian Michael's Shred DVD and only to level 2. I'm not sure if I'm wimping out or if I just really need to keep it to every other day because it's making my knees hurt from all the jumping and frankly speaking, I really miss walking outside with my iPod at 6am. Doing this DVD has helped me lose the rest of the weight that wasn't coming off with walking but now that it's off, I want to do relaxing exercise like walking and yoga. If I keep writing I just might talk myself out of finishing the DVD and well I should probably at least finish it. Okay I'll finish it but then that's it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

In between work, beach going, vacations & occasional church posts is an extremely frazzled mommy, a scratched daughter & locked up guest cat

Back story -

Husband has had classes every night this week which means I rush home at 5:30 and we pass each other in the doorway. I then attempt to make dinner with small child underfoot who hasn't seen me all day and wants attention.

Cue current evening, dinner was made and while sitting at desk I fed Charlotte some cheerios while eating salad. The entire time she was really grumpy and kept wandering off for other entertainment - ending with her in the hallway out of sight with the guest cat who scratched her hand and I think she might have bumped her head.

Feeling horrible barely describes it.

Locking guest kitty in bathroom - requirement for the next 3 days.

Request to husband - please make dinner for me to take to work, eat at 5pm BEFORE coming home to baby on your class nights. It can be a simple wrap, PB&J, I don't care, as long as it's a food option. Your everlasting loving but frazzled wife.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cooking - while child plays in cupboards

It's still challenging to cook with a small child of 14 months. Tonight I found a compromise - let her pull everything out of one cupboard and then step lightly over the pots and pans.

She then proceeded to get in and out of the cupboard.

On a separate but related note, I was making a salad and upon researching toppings, found this:

And this:

Well we were on vacation for a week - recently...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Totally worth it!

In case you hadn't noticed I was having a bit of home bound anxiety. After a week cooped up at work I was just itching to get outside and play with my baby. A series of fortunate events lead to a perfect morning.

First the rain subsided enough for us to escape by 10am and get a Chick Fil A sausage, egg and cheese biscuit (I love these things way more then I should).

I threw a piece of Naan bread at Charlotte to keep her happy on the 1/2 hour drive and thankfully she fell asleep on the way.

Due to the morning rain, the preferred parking meter spots are empty! At 11am this is astonishing and most unexpected.

Sleeping baby gives me time to eat breakfast, put on suntan lotion, organize our beach gear AND put lotion on the baby. Hee hee, I'm sneaky that way. I even saved some biscuit & egg for her which upon waking she promptly grabbed in her firm little grip.

The first thing we do is survey the beach front and note the red flag is out which means Hazard, Rip Currents. Wind is strong so no beach umbrella today. Good thing we are both covered in 50spf sunblock, resolve to walk the beach and take less gear.

Upon finding a nice deserted spot, we settle close to the water because the sand is wet and cool and there's lots of sea weed to play with.

Here is Charlotte surveying the waves:

Moving onto sand flinging (notice the biscuit still in her right hand? she covered it in sand and ate it shortly after - I swear I was thinking in my head she won't do that!):

Drawing in the sand:

Happily surveying the waves:

Practicing a bit of yoga (downward dog pose):

And then whoaaaa girl, getting really close to that water! I thought you didn't like the waves rolling over you. Remember 2 months ago when you clung to me for dear life as we sat in the calm peaceful water????

At this point I throw my camera into the bag and referee the beach front as she repeatedly crawls into the water and giggles as the waves wash over us. Just to give you an idea of how hard they were hitting - in order to remove some of the sand caked on us, I walked into the water till it was about knee height and a wave hit me so hard from behind it knocked my sunglasses off. Yeah - at that point I took her back to the front of the water and just knelt in the sand in front of her with a bear hug as the waves washed around us.

My baby, almost 14 months old, is a wild women!

On 3rd thought...

It stopped raining!

First thing, walk dog, then make a break for sandwich at Chick Fil A.

Oh look! Mama Duck's babies are finally too big to be swallowed by big evil white bird. Good job Mama Duck!

Moving onto Chick Fil A sandwich.

On 2nd thought...

In the 15 minutes it took to repack my purse, put on bathing suit, acquire beach umbrella in garage and pack beach bag it began to pour rain

Lest you think me slightly batty for not checking the weather, it was sunny out when I walked husband to his truck one hour ago. What did I do for the past hour???

Guess we will have to make do with playing under the desk with the dog:

And sitting in the dog's bed:

Back in FL means back to the beach!

I need to go to the beach, I keep telling myself that as I contemplate pulling the gear from the garage, finding my 2nd bathing suit (since the first one is wet), repack my purse, pack babies bag, find towels and pull baby out from under the desk - poor unfortunate soul, she needs a day in the sun don't ya think?

But first we are going to walk the dog.

And then we are going to Chick Fil A for a sandwich b/c we have no eggs and I can't live without a morning egg - it holds me till 1pm and that's really helpful these days.

Finally, guest kitteh has gotten comfortable and no longer hisses at us (mine are still in the garage)

Right-O then on with the day!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Foreign Exchange Kitteh

Co-worker had an emergency trip to Colombia and I volunteered to cat-sit. I say "Foreign Exchange" because she speaks Spanish to her cat. Not sure if new Kitteh understands us. We've considered leaving Telemundo on all day for her comfort.

Many years of cat experience has taught us to not mix cats so ours are in the garage for the week.

Day 1 had new Kitteh in carrier and under couch. She's nervous and hisses at us frequently.

Day 2 has her out visiting the dog, trying out our couches and avoiding the baby.

Co-worker is trying to find a home for Kitteh since she is young, single and likes to travel - unfortunately for her, Kitteh is not happy with the travel part and is desperate for attention - co-worker claims Kitteh cried real tears when she came home from a weekend away. We don't wish to be the recipients of a 4th kitteh. She's very cute but we have our hands full. Seriously - no more kitteh's!

Here's our gorgeous calico visitor:

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Things I love about a small town

Growing up we spent the summers buying or picking food from our garden for canning or freezing for the winter. Cherries, strawberries, raspberries, peaches, apples, corn, etc. Get a few family members involved and it's a day of cleaning, cooking and preping large quantities of food. Sounds old fashioned right?

Yesterday we got a call asking if we wanted to pick up 200 ears of sweet corn (1/2 for mom and 1/2 for her sister). It would seem that my mom was waiting for this call because she quickly packed us in the car and off we went to the Mennoitte farm. I really forgot how conservative Mennoitee's dress and while I put a skirt on, my tank top was embarrasingly - how do I put this - "immodest". We arrived to find at least 20 family members shucking corn - grandma, aunts, cousins, children down to the age of 4 months - okay the 4mo was cooing in a car seat but even the 2 year old was helping. The women wear bonnets, long dresses, black hose and dark closed in shoes. I have such high respect for these women. Really wished I would have remembered to wear a blouse. Kinda like showing up to church in a bikini!

Here is Charlotte's first visit to a farm (where I don't take photos of the people because my husband told me to show some respect - and I think he would have taken away my phone)

Okay maybe one little photo of the girl who babbled stores to me while my husband collected the corn - she was adorable!!!

And here is Charlotte hanging out in the wheelbarrel with about 50 ears of corn:

The last photo is our corn shucking station with cousin:

What a fun day!

Side note - I grew up in a family that attends a very strict church that does not allow women to cut their hair, no pants, no jewelry, etc. My mom fits in quite well with the Mennonite women with the exception of a bonnet and black hose. I've left this world for the fast business world of toys and a beach life in South Florida - coming home I often wonder what kind of person I would be if I stayed here in farm country, there is a certain kind of nostalgia that grabs me when I'm home.