Our Crazy Cat Story

While we were camping, something kind of crazy happened.

Remember when Josie’s cat, Cleo, went missing around the end of February? We posted her on Facebook, called shelters, etc., but she never turned up. She had a collar with our number on it, but nobody every called. So we just assumed she had been killed.

Anyways, I get a call from a random number while we were camping. They left a message saying they had found our cat. I assumed they mean Poppy, who was home. I called back, and it wasn’t Poppy- it was CLEO! 5 months later!! We couldn’t believe she was still alive, and that her collar was still intact with our number on it. But she was! So I called my friend Megan to see if she would go pick her up and keep her until we got back from vacation, and she said yes.

Later that evening I get this text from Megan:

She picked up Cleo….and Cleo started having KITTENS!!! IN HER CAR! BEFORE SHE EVEN GOT HER HOME!

Isn’t that completely wild?! She had 6 in all:

We were so grateful that Megan and her family weren’t mad, and didn’t mind watching them for us until we got back. They were actually thrilled to! 🙂 Megan’s high-school aged son even said that watching the kittens being born was the best thing that happened all summer, LOL!

The other twist to this story is that earlier this month one of my friends had posted that they would have kittens ready for new homes after we got back from vacation, and I had asked for one, since, at the time, we only had Poppy. So not only were we coming home to Cleo and her new kittens, we also were coming home to a new 9 week old kitten! The kids and I were excited about her, and had even named her already- Zany Lou, so we went ahead and got her, too.

So on Monday, we went from being owners of 1 cat, to being owners of NINE cats! LOL.

Meet Zany:

And here is Cleo, all settled in our barn with her kittens-she has been such a good momma cat!

Our house has felt a little like a cat farm this week, but it has been fun! And the kids are SO thrilled with the newborn kittens- they can’t wait for them to open their eyes!

Dale Hollow Trip

A couple of weeks ago we went on our annual Dale Hollow lake July camping trip. This year’s trip started off a little bit differently, because I ended up in the ER just a couple of nights before we left. The panic disorder I was diagnosed with earlier this year has now turned into something different- I have now been diagnosed with non-epileptic seizures. The day I went to the ER, I had three in one day, the most I had ever had in one day. They didn’t stop that day. We managed to pack and get up to the lake thanks to my parents, who took the kids with them, and Mama Judy, who came over to help me pack while Jake was finishing up work. We thought maybe the seizures would stop once we got up to the lake…but they didn’t. I continued to have several a day for the first few days of our trip until they eventually tapered off. I managed to have three completely seizure free days on the trip, which was a blessing.

Anyways, seizures aside, it was a good trip. This year the Roses got to come with us again, and the Grays also joined us for most of the week! This was their first camping trip, and we were so happy to have them. Most of my family was up there, too, of course.

We took the days- lots of sleeping late, slow, lazy mornings, and boating in the afternoons, followed by late dinners and staying up late to drink coffee and talk and laugh. The kids played hard every day. One nice thing is that we had a campsite by the water, and our kids were all big enough that we were able to send them down to the water together and just watch them swim and kayak from the campsite, instead of having to go down to the water or be in the water with them. There was lots of dock hopping and ice cream eating. We got most everyone up on the kneeboards. One night we all ate at Sulfur Creek for dinner. One day (after the Grays had left) we took the kiddos to jump off the cliffs. All the kids spent entirely way too much money at the dock shop, LOL.

Now for a picture dump, in no particular order at all.

Suffice it to say, none of us were ready to go home at the end of the trip, which is always, of course, the mark of a good trip.

June

June was a full, busy month. There were fun, happy moments, and some not-so-fun, not-so-happy moments, too, but I’m just going to focus on the fun here. 🙂

I read several good books.

There was lots of good food. Jake and I tried rolled ice cream on a date night one night while the kiddos were at VBS. And one day while Jack was at skate camp, I got my favorite coffee- a Cuban from Crema. Literally the best Cuban to be had.

The kiddos are in love with Shshr’s new puppy. One day we went to Nana’s (with Hannah in tow), and they gave her a bath. 🙂

Attempt one at summer hair dyeing: This way did NOT work, so I have no after pictures! Hair dyeing fail.

We love the swimming hole at the farm!

This app is waaaaayyyyy TOO MUCH FUN.

One day Jack got to go fishing with Pappy. They caught a TON, and a lot of really big ones!

Hair dyeing attempt #2. This way ALSO didn’t work……..

…..Which led to hair dyeing attempt #3…..this time with food coloring.

Success! Sort of. Slightly green hair. Didn’t last long, but they loved it anyways. 🙂

Father’s Day was the day the kids left for church camp, but we woke up and cooked a big brunch to celebrate. Josie made Jake muffins with eyeballs, which was a big joke between the two of them. 🙂

Later that day we went down to the creek at the farm. It is so peaceful down there.

That night we went to Mom and Dad’s to celebrate Father’s Day with Daddy. It was weird to be there without the kids! I went on a hike with Kinley. 🙂

On Wednesday while the kids were at camp, Jake and I went to Nashville for an appointment, and then had some time to kill before going to Hattie B’s for dinner, so we went over to Radnor Lake. These deer didn’t care a lick about getting close to us!

Part of Jake’s Father’s Day gift was tickets to a Nashville SC game. We both love going to the games, and it was a perfect weather night to be at a game. It was an awesome game to watch, too-Nashville won in extra time! We enjoy being in the city at night. It had been awhile since we’d done something like that at night.

I love this time of year when everything is blooming in our yard.

We did some projects on our camper-replacing some broken doors with curtains, and Jake made us a custom shoe cubby!

We love our farm, so much. It is so relaxing and peaceful.

One night Hannah spent the night, and she and Josie decided to paint one of her walls-they did such a good job, and had absolutely no help whatsoever!

Mee-Maw’s house is getting closer and closer to being finished. The kids are enjoying playing on the big piles of rocks that is currently in her driveway, LOL.

So there is June in pictures!

Church Camp

This year our kids went to church camp with some friends. They were supposed to go last year, but COVID. So, they were pumped that this year was getting to happen. This was Jack’s first church camp experience. This was Josie’s first camp experience like this one-she’s gone with our church before a couple of times, but it was on college campuses. This one was a lot more like the camps I grew up going to.

They had a BLAST. They are already talking about going back next year!

We dropped them off on Sunday (Father’s Day). They rode a big bus to camp.

They came back on Friday around lunch time. They didn’t stop talking until Josie crashed, LOL. She took a looong nap. Jack, however, seemed full of energy. He and Jake played a long board game. It took them a couple of days to fully recover, though. I caught them both taking a nap on Sunday, something that doesn’t ever happen voluntarily!

Josie’s 13th Birthday

I am super behind on blogging, but I wanted to go ahead and blog these things for memory’s sake. This blog is how I make my yearly family scrapbook!

The night before her birthday, we let her pick a restaurant to eat at-she picked the Greek restaurant in Springfield. Then we went to Walmart and she had a BLAST picking out candy and decorations for her party.

On Josie’s actual birthday, we started with our normal birthday tradition, and went to the Donut Palace to pick up donuts. I also took her by Dunkin to get a mocha :). She made me laugh, because she has been sleeping super late, but she got up early that day because she was so excited about being a teenager.

She really wanted to go swimming in our neighbor’s pool for her birthday. So that’s what we did!

Then I took her shopping for some make up. Because we told her a long time ago she could start wearing make up when she turned 13, and she had not forgotten!

While I was cooking her birthday dinner (spaghetti, of course), Jake took her to the farm for some driving lessons!

Nana and Shshr came to dinner. We had spaghetti with strawberry milkshakes for dessert (her choice). Shshr gave her an electric guitar for her birthday! She was SOOOOOO excited.

Later that week Grammy took her shopping for her birthday. They hit up all the bargain stores, and then for her birthday lunch she picked fries from Arby’s, and burgers from Krystal, LOL. Then they went to the park to eat. She’s spoiled rotten!

Finally Saturday came-the day she has been waiting for for a looong time-her friend party! She decided she wanted to have her whole class over to the farm for swimming at the swimming hole, and then grilling burgers. Instead of a cake, she wanted a candy charcuterie board. Almost her whole class got to come, and they had a blast! It was a great party, and made her super happy.

All in all, I’d say she had a FANTASTIC birthday! Happy 13th, Josie!

13 Years

Dear Josie-

Today the day finally came. The day you have been you have been eagerly anticipating for a long, long time. You are a TEENAGER. And you couldn’t be happier about it. 13 means you get to sit in the front seat of the car, wear make up (in moderation), and ride in a boat without a life jacket. You can get your boater’s license and we’ve also decided it means you get to start learning how to drive…in the field, anyways.

This year has been strange, and good, and interesting, and hard, and sweet, all rolled together. Middle school is a strange and awkward time. You are trying to figure out who you are and who you want to be. You are trying out all kinds of new personalities and interests, just to see if they fit. Your daddy and I are equal parts annoyed and enamored with you, all the time. We get to see small glimpses of future, grown up Josie, and we still see some of our sweet, happy little girl Josie, but a lot of the time is the awkward, annoying, silly Josie….or the moody, narcissistic, and emotional Josie. But we love all the versions of who you are. Every single one, even when we are annoyed.

Here are the things I want to remember about this year of your life:

-Covid was still very much a presence in our lives, but you rolled with it and handled it as gracefully and with as much patience as possible. You didn’t complain about mask wearing, you patiently endured quarantines, and you were happy (albeit very scared) to get your vaccine.

-You were officially diagnosed with dyslexia. And it has been a wonderful thing. This was your best year of school in several years, mainly due to the fact that you were finally getting the accommodations you were needing, and because you had Mrs. Rose for a teacher. AND because we finally KNEW. Just knowing was a relief. And you did one of the hardest, bravest things you’ve ever done. You stood in front of your whole class, and you told them about your diagnosis and what it meant. And it was so, so good for you. You felt immediate relief to have that “secret” out in the open. And it helped some of your classmates open up about their learning differences as well. We were so, so proud of you.

-You are slowly but surely giving up “playing.” You play with your brother, and I still catch y’all in make believe games sometimes, but your free time looks a lot different than it did even a year ago. You listen to music ALL the time, either through headphones or on the speaker in your room. Your current favorites are Old Crow Medicine Show or the Jonas Brothers. You are constantly redecorating your room. You will hole up in your bed and read for hours on end. You love, love books. You like to draw house plans and do art projects- especially if they involve melting crayons. You LOVE to roller blade. You will do that for hours in the driveway, listening to music. You and Jack also love to play on the slack line and create obstacle courses for each other.

-You had your first official “boyfriend” this year that we called your “scrunchie buddy.” (Nathaniel) Having a boyfriend didn’t mean much more than you talking to him at school and occasionally texting with him, though.

-We gave you a smidge more freedom with electronics this year. Partly because of isolation with Covid, and partly because you have proven yourself (so far) responsible in that realm. You get to chat with your friends on Google hangouts and you have a (monitored) list of people you are allowed to text. You inherited my old cell phone (without service) and Apple watch.

-You are growing like a WEED. Seriously, since Christmas, you’ve had your first major growth spurt of your life. You can share some clothes and shoes with me, and you have officially outgrown the kids’ section. And you definitely have an opinion about your clothes now. You are developing your own style. Sometimes your daddy and and I approve, and sometimes we don’t. You chopped your hair off big time this year, and it looks so good! You have learned to fix it really well.

-Growing like a weed also means you are eating us out of house and home. You literally eat more than any of us now. Your favorites are spaghetti, hamburgers, Greek food, and any kind of dessert (but especially caramel and dark chocolate). You also LOVE coffee, especially mocha lattes, and will drink it anytime you are allowed. Dr. Pepper is also a favorite.

-You love to write. You published several issues of “The Edwards,” a school newspaper you created all by yourself. You are also currently writing a chapter book.

-You love sarcasm and are starting to learn when it is/isn’t appropriate. You and your daddy have a lot of fun together.

-You are unpredictable-one second you will do something grown up and big and responsible and then the next minute run away like a little kid kicking and screaming from something you are are irrationally afraid of.

-You simultaneously have the best and worst memory of any kid on the planet.

-You learned to mow this year.

-When we ask you to name your best friends, Hannah is always first, followed closely by Josie B., Nathaniel, and Joseph. You are learning that not everyone is your friend….and that that is perfectly okay.

I could never list all the things that make you, YOU. But I do love you, so much, even through all the attitude and sarcasm and awkwardness. And because of it. Even though you are undeniably growing up, you will always be my little Josie girl.

Love you to the moon,
Momma

Summer so far

The kiddos have been soaking up their summer break and enjoying some unstructured free time. Josie has broken some sleeping late records, and Jack just enjoys having so much time to play with his sister. Here are few moments of summer happy that I want to remember.

I’ve been reading all kinds of books. These are two that I really enjoyed.