Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Scribbles and Marker Tops

Somethings come easier...

With Brianne and Bryce being so close in age - it's noticeable when things come naturally to Bryce - yet B might have to work at them.  The simple task of flipping a light switch:  Bryce's little fingers quickly mastered the lights on and off - but for Brianne - this is a task that requires more practice and concentration.  I know there are bound to be so many of these times when things are natural/easy for Lil Brother - but B has to focus on them.  But give the girl some help and practice things with her, have a little patience and persistence - and she'll master these things in her own time.

Snapping marker tops on and off was another one of these things - watching Bryce easily manipulate the tops on and off, but Brianne struggling and asking for help.  But we kept working at it - and with  practice - she's getting so much better at it!  So proud of my little lady!

Working on drawing lines and circles
She's working so hard to get the top back on!
This requires my serious face!
I did it!  (and I'm beautiful!)

 Sibling Love

It is so fun to watch Brianne and Bryce together.  My heart melts when Bryce grabs Brianne by the hand and convinces her to come along with him.

I brought Brianne to the table - is it breakfast time already?!?!

Puppy Love

Oompa is the most laid back pug - and Brianne loves to snuggle up with him.
Hmmmm - not sure this is close enough...
Ahhhh - that's almost it....



 I first saw these at Bryce's daycare - I couldn't comprehend how the kids were running around with bubbles.....don't they just spill it everywhere??!!!  Not with Fubbles - it's like bubble magic in a fancy/clever container that is no-spill - ingenious!!!!! :)  I highly recommend these for little kids - saves a lot of tears and lost bubble mix!

 Sunday Morning Playdough Fun


Banana Boats

It's so entertaining to see the kids learning new things and doing things their own way.

Bryce has a very unique banana eating technique.  Don't try peeling the banana for him - he's got it all under control!


My Cheese is Broken!

Whoa - don't try to give this boy a cheese slice that is in pieces.....you will see some very serious tears....
OMG - those tears kill me!!!!! Welcome to the Terrible Twos!
Whoa - all is right with the world....my cheese is together!

 DSPNT Swim Party!

I LOVE this event!  It is so much fun to see the families and kids from the Down Syndrome Partnership of North Texas having such a great time!!!  I always feel a bit nostalgic since this was one of the first events that Brianne participated in.  The first year that we went - Brianne was just a wee little gal, she was pre-heart surgery so she was lethargic and un-energetic.........(but still so very cute in her pink polka-dot swimsuit!).

Fast forward just three years....and WOW!!!!!!!!!

Watch out world - this little lady is growing and thriving!!! 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Farewell Kitty Cat


We had the most amazing orange tabby cat for almost 7 years.  He came to us as a stray in our old neighborhood.  When we finally decided that we were claiming him and put a collar on him, he came home the very next day with a busted-up-super-swollen foot that required a trip to the vet - welcome to the joys of pet ownership and vet bills. :)  But he was ours - and we were happy.

Initially we didn't have a cat/doggy door - so we would just open the bedroom window to let him in and out.  Somehow we developed a system that when he was ready to go outside he would  knock juggling balls off the dresser.  If we were too lazy to get up and open the window by the time the 3rd ball dropped - watch out - anything else on the dresser was being swatted to the ground.

At first (okay - for at least the first 5 years) I was always panicking that he was gone.  I would cry to Mark that he was gone (for real this time) and Mark would go outside and give a few whistles and a few moments later - Catia would come leaping over the fence and be home.

When we moved to our current neighborhood - we really tried to make him into an indoor cat.  

The first few days in the new house he was okay - but then he got stir crazy...and he climbed on top of the counter, on to the fridge, onto the top cupboards and knocked over one of those decorative olive-oil-pepper glass jars from a height of about 14 feet...which likely made quite the CRASH when it slammed onto the kitchen floor and cracked - leaving a very potent olive oil and pepper and garlic stench in the kitchen - and a nice chip in the floor (which is still there and makes me smile when i see it).  So after that incident we decided he was meant to try his luck outside - and he fared well.  

It wasn't long before the neighbors knew him - and most of them loved him.  (Perhaps not the neighbors that worked in their flower beds since Catia was never much of a litter box cat....which we didn't mind!).  I loved pulling into the driveway and he would come scampering from a neighbor's yard to greet me. 

Introducing Catia to our brand new puppy, Chai
He occasionally would go on sprees of bringing us 'gifts'.  There was one week where I would come home and either find feathers scattered everywhere - or a bird flying around the house that must have gotten free after being brought in the doggy/kitty door.  My all time favorite was when I arrived home to find a beautiful orange and purple bird that I first feared was someone's pet, perched on a window...but after a little research - I learned that Catia had brought me a male painted bunting - very cool - and a great little venture into the bird watching world right from my living room.  I'm fairly certain avid bird watchers would be jealous of my close encounter.

The Painted Bunting (which I did manage to let out the door - and I think he lived happily ever after (despite the few little puncture marks from dear ol' Kitty)

One of the first nights that Brianne was home, Catia brought a baby bunny into her room (and I may have started screaming at 2am when i saw the fluffy bunny tail) - but that was a 'gift' for the new baby - he was a thoughtful cat to welcome her home with a gift.

The cat and dogs got along rather well - until the kids came along.  Apparently the dogs were bored and lacking attention so they took to chasing the cat - thus the cat spent the past few years in the front of the house - avoiding the monster pugs.

Neighborhood Walks

One of my favorite things about Catia was that he would join us for our neighborhood walks.  He would stay near by - trodding along the sidewalk with us, or stalking thru the neighbor's bushes - but always keeping pretty close. 

Since the kids were greeted by Catia practically every time we entered and exited the house - I credit him with helping Brianne learn to sign and say "cat". 

He was such a great pet - so much easier to care for than our monster pugs.  When we went on vacation we would ask a neighbor to check in on him...but really we just needed to leave out a bunch of food and water and he was fine (and probably spent a major portion of his time with a nearby neighbor who took him in as his own from time to time!). 

 My Dad and Catia

The true test and proof that he was an amazing cat - is this picture of my dad petting Catia.  My dad is NOT a cat person - but he thought Catia was okay.

True story:  when I was younger, we had a barn cat.  She stayed out in the barn and was fed - but rarely pet or paid attention to.  I remember taking her to get her yearly shots with my dad.  While I waited in the car with the dogs, my dad took the cat in.  A few moments passed, and then he came back to the car and asked "what's the cat's name?".  I can still giggle at the fact that my dad had no idea that her name was Crystal and was stumped as he tried to fill out the vaccination paperwork.   To say the least - he is not a cat person, but he thought Catia was alright (I'd go as far as saying he liked him, even though he might not admit it!).

Farewell Catia

While Catia had some serious street smarts to last as long as he did.....over a month ago he vanished and we haven't seen him since.  For a while we maintained hope that he would reappear, having simply been off visiting a neighbor or on a big cat adventure.  When the neighbor that often took him in came knocking on our door to ask if we had seen him - I knew Catia was really gone for good.  Every time I'd pull in the driveway a sad pang would shoot thru me when he didn't come to greet me.  I was out for a walk a few weeks after he disappeared - and I spotted a painted bunting - the orange and purple bird that he brought home once - and I teared up and smiled, thinking it was Catia's way of saying goodbye - and I knew then that he really wasn't coming back.

Farewell Catia - you were the best kitty cat we ever could have hoped for!  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Farmer Bryce Turns TWO!

Crazy to think that Bryce is already two years old!  It's such a treat to see him learning new things every day and hear him talking more and more....and watching his unique little personality start to emerge.   Happy 2nd Birthday to my little guy - I love you so much!!

 A few pics from way back when....

Brianne was less than thrilled about her brother's homecoming - but now they are best friends! :)

Fast forward to now - and we celebrated with a Barnyard Bash.  It was perfect that while we were up in NY we had an impromptu photo shoot where Bryce happened to be wearing overhauls..so we managed to get some great pis to use as decorations for the party!

Very thankful to all of our friends that came to help celebrate at the Barnyard Bash!  We had a house FULL of babies and toddlers - but it seemed like all the kids played really nicely and it went really well!

Hard at work making hand print farm animals!

I started to take pictures of the party action...but Farmer Bryce snagged the camera and who was I to tell the Birthday Boy to give it back to me.......so when you leave a two year old to be the party photographer....the majority of the pictures are of his grimy little finger covering the lens...but he managed to get a few party pics:

 I'll spare you the rest of his work....he might need a little practice before he can be left in charge as the official photographer....but the boy has skillz.

 I'd say the Barnyard Bash was a success!!  A huge thank you to our many friends who spoiled Bryce with tons of new toys!  It looks like Christmas in July around here....so we are having fun with all of the new goodies!

Since we'd just gotten back from NY/Canada - we'd postponed the party until we had time to settle back in.  But on his actual B-day we still managed to pack in some fun.  We did a little car shopping at Toys R Us and then made our first venture to Chuck E Cheese, and then stopped for icecream - a pretty busy day for a two year old!