July 23, 2012

We Said We Would Never Adopt a Kitten

We are definitely a cat family. At one point we had four cats living with us. It proved to be way too much work and it has been much easier being a two cat family. Hubby and I have both volunteered at animal shelters and we've always said we will only add adult cats to our family. Kittens don't have trouble finding homes. Adult cats are often overlooked, even though the right cat can be the perfect addition to a household. Last week, though, our no-kitten policy flew out the window.
Hubby's parents own a storage unit business. About a week ago Hubby helped his dad with maintenance work on some of the units. It involved a loud crane and cement blocks, but I won't bore you with the details. Four days later a customer asked my in-laws if they were missing a cat. No, their two cats were accounted for. The customer said he kept hearing a cat while he was in his unit and it sounded like the cat was under the neighboring unit. After hours of digging and moving cement blocks, Hubby and his parents finally found the source of the noise... two kittens had been trapped under the unit. They were dirty, scared, dehydrated and hurt. Both kittens had sores on their heads from trying to dig out, plus they dug their nails to the quick. 
The day after their rescue they received a clean bill of health from the vet. One is a boy, the other a girl. The boy is a feisty little thing and is quickly learning how to play. His sister is a little timid, but is slowly coming around. And, long story short, this is Murray:
Yes, Murray is a kitten and yes, Murray will soon be joining our household. My daughters are very excited about the prospect of having a new furry friend. We are excited about the playfulness he's about to bring to our house. He goes against our "no kitten policy," but we couldn't bring ourselves to not bring him home. I feel better knowing his rescue story and knowing we didn't overlook an adult cat to add him to our house. Murray is definitely ready to come home with us, but his sister is still healing and not ready to be separated. In another week or so, though, Murray will become a permanent part of our family! I hope our two other cats are ready!

July 19, 2012

They Want to Do Different Things

I knew this day would come, I just thought it wouldn't happen until middle school or high school. My daughters are starting to figure out they have different likes and dislikes. They excel at different activities and they want to do different things.
I think this is probably the final summer that I can enroll them in the same activities. All four are in swim lessons. That won't change. They will stay in swim lessons until they have mastered swim strokes and have confidence in the water. However, one of my daughters has expressed interest in joining our local competitive swim team. She likes to swim. She likes learning new strokes. She has watched swimming competitions on TV and says she wants to do it. One of our swim lessons a few weeks ago happened to take place during the swim team's practice. She's not ready for the team just yet, but I think by next summer she could be. 
All four of my daughters are also in a gymnastics class this summer. They have been begging to take gymnastics and I found a class that fit our schedule. One of my daughters is quite dedicated to the class. She pays attention to the coaches and works really hard to master each task. She's already asking to take gymnastics again next summer (I'm not telling her the classes are also offered in the fall). Her other sisters enjoy the class, but don't take it as seriously as she does. I don't see the rest of them moving on to the advanced class.
And so it begins. I am destined to be a chauffeur, indulging my daughters by letting them take part in the activities they choose to participate in... and trying to figure out how to get everyone from point A to point B without running myself ragged!

July 16, 2012

I Can't Trust Movie Ratings

It's a rare treat for us to go to the movies as a family. A matinee will cost us at least $30, which is a splurge we don't often indulge in. Instead, we wait for family movies to come out on DVD and have movie night at home. Unfortunately, it seems if the movie isn't animated or rated G, then it may not be a true "family movie."
My daughters now have the attention span to enjoy live action movies. A few months ago I rented We Bought a Zoo, thinking it would be a fun movie night flick. It was definitely a cute movie, but I almost turned it off mid-movie. The movie is rated PG. I expected a few questionable moments. I counted several uses of "sh*t" and Matt Damon's character even calls one of the animals an "a-hole," except he says the actual word. We happened to be watching the movie the weekend of Easter. Matt Damon and his older son have a conversation about how they live in a house with a young girl who still believes in the Easter Bunny. Oh brother. Fortunately, my daughters somehow didn't hear that part.
The other night Hubby and I were watching a movie (without our daughters) that was rated PG. One of the characters said "a-hole." When exactly did that become a PG word?
I say bad words, but not in front of my children. I fully expect them to hear these words and some day use these words (and then we'll have to talk about whether it's appropriate, etc., etc.). However, when I watch a PG movie, I don't expect to hear such extreme swear words, especially if the screen where they tell you why the movie is rated PG only says "mild violence." Yes, I understand PG means "Parental Guidance," but if the material is that unsuitable for someone under, oh say 13, shouldn't the movie be rated PG 13?! I'm starting to think I need to pre-screen our movie night movies to make sure they're truly PG.

July 12, 2012

Ask a Simple Question...

Yesterday my daughters had their first orthodontist appointment. (Yikes!) It actually went better than I thought it would. Three of my girls are now on an "observation track," meaning we'll go in every six months or so and see how things look. They'll likely be on this track for several years as we pull teeth and try other things to make space for their adult teeth. One of my girls goes back in six months and will probably need braces at that time due to a crossbite (what I would call an underbite). I guess if we do this one at a time it won't seem like such a financial blow, right?!
It was really funny watching them interact with the orthodontist. My normally shy daughters were talking over one another to get his attention and he thought they were all hilarious. I found myself trying not to burst out laughing at the following conversations:

Orthodontist: "So your mom says you like to swim. Where do you like to go swimming?"
M: "At the pool."

and then later....
Orthodontist: "You like to draw? What do you like to draw?"
K: "Pictures."

My husband summed it up best: my daughters are smartasses without even trying.

June 27, 2012

Let the Games Begin!

I love the Olympics. I enjoy watching most of the competitions and find it thrilling when either the USA takes the gold or an underdog comes out of nowhere (regardless of what country the athlete is from). In the summer games, I like to watch gymnastics, swimming and diving. I used to be able to tell you all the athletes on the women's gymnastics team, but now I'm not sure I could name one.
This week, my daughters have actually been very excited about the Olympic swimming trials. An athlete from our area is competing and we are all eager to see how she performs. I've had to set a reminder on our TV to make sure we don't miss anything. Last night, Michael Phelps competed in a semifinal, so I was able to explain gold medals, records, etc. to them. 
I'm looking forward to the games this summer. Instead of arguing with my girls about why we're not going to watch some mindless TV show, we can watch the various competitions and root for our favorites. One of my girls has expressed interest in competitive swimming... who knows, maybe one day we'll be rooting her to the Olympics!

June 25, 2012

Busted! (With Photographic Evidence)

When my girls were born, they received an abundance of blankets and stuffed animals. We moved to a different state shortly after their first birthday, so many of the stuffed animals ended up in boxes. Over the years, I've pulled out those stuffed animals to give my daughters on their birthday or Christmas. It has been nice to give them these gifts when they're at an age to actually appreciate and use them. Unfortunately, yesterday my scheme began to unravel.
This past Christmas, Santa left a stuffed bear in each of my girls' beds as she slept. They thought it was great to wake up and immediately find a gift from Santa. They all still play with these bears (which most parents will agree is an accomplishment, since stuffed animals tend to get tossed aside fairly fast). Yesterday I was purging an area of the house that was long overdue for cleaning. (It's part of the purging I started in January. I said it was going to be a slow process). I found a cute photo book I made from birth to age one and knew my girls would enjoy looking at the pictures. Soon after looking at the book, R approached me and said "Aren't these the same bears Santa gave us for Christmas?" Busted! Um, why yes, the bears you are posing with at your first Christmas are indeed the same bears you just received! I took a deep breath, avoided eye contact with Hubby so I wouldn't laugh and said "Well, look at the picture. The bears are bigger than you! Santa realized you weren't ready for the bears, so he saved them and brought them back when you were older." She seemed to buy my story.
I don't mind that my daughters may have figured out my regifting error. What I'm not ready for is for them to figure out who Santa really is. The excitement leading up to Christmas morning is always so much fun. I'm not ready to give that up just yet. So I guess I'll need to go through my picture albums and see if they have any more secrets to tell!

June 22, 2012

It's Time for the Orthodontist Already?!

When my daughters went to their first dentist appointment, the dentist told me all four would eventually need braces. This didn't surprise me, as Hubby and I both wore braces. I was lucky and only need mine for about a year and a half. Hubby wore his a bit longer and needed one of those palette cracking torture devices. What did surprise me is that at our last check up the dentist said he wanted me to take all four of them to the orthodontist... now. 
What?! I wasn't prepared to take them this young (age 6). In fact, I've really been in denial about the whole thing. I'm just not ready to think about sinking thousands of dollars into my daughters' mouths.
The most common reactions I receive when I tell people I've scheduled orthodontist appointments for my daughters is "Get a second opinion" or "They're too young." The thing is, I actually think the dentist is right. My girls all have tiny mouths. Their teeth are "crowded" in there. As they lose their baby teeth, their adult teeth are bigger than the space allotted for them, so they're knocking out other baby teeth. Case in point: Q had to have two teeth pulled this week to make room for her adult teeth. 
Several of my neighbors recommend the orthodontist we're going to see. He will apparently tell you if it's easier/better to have a few teeth pulled versus putting on braces. One of the neighbor girls who is going into third grade only has braces on her two front top teeth because those teeth were hitting her bottom teeth and could have caused major damage. Our first orthodontist appointment is in two weeks. Wish me luck... my wallet and I are going to need it!