Monday, November 19, 2012

A Tribute to Zippy

It doesn't take long for a pet to make a permanent place in a family.  The way they follow you around, bother you when they're bored, and need constant attention.  The amount of food and care they need makes it impossible to forget that they are around, but it's more than that that makes them special.  The way they seem to know when you need a nudge, the way they snuggle up to you while you're reading a good book and keep you comfy and warm, the way they constantly find some mischief which makes you laugh, the way they show you that they love you just because you're YOU and not for anything other than that.  It doesn't take long until you find that you're looking for them as you pull in the driveway or come through the door, you look forward to seeing them in the morning, you look forward to all of their silly shenanigans and eagerly look forward to spending time with them each day.
 
Our family got it's first pet in May of 2006 while we were living in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.  One of my great friends, Sabrina Atwood, saved a mommy cat and her litter of kittens who were abandoned.  She called me up to see if I wanted a kitten for my kids.  I couldn't resist...I remember going over to her house with Tay and Rachey to choose which one we wanted.  I remember kind of wanting a different one than the gray stripey one...but Rachey especially was set on the little gray striped boy kitty.  So we took him home.  I have been thankful ever since that we took that cute little stripey kitty home.  He was perfect for our family.
4 yr old Rachel with baby Zippy
Everyone loved our new fuzzy kitty boy...and one of the first orders of business was to choose the right name.  The FIRST name the kids chose.....was "Tiger."
6 yr old Taylor & 2 yr old Brooklynn with "Tiger" AKA:  Zippy
 Well, he had stripes like a tiger.  And sometimes when he yawned...he looked like a tiger...
 
but it didn't take long for us to figure out that he was a rambunctious little guy who would zoom and zip throughout the house.  He would jump out from under the sofa and bat your legs and then zip off around the corner and you wouldn't see anything but a flash of gray.  Soon we started commenting on how "zippy" our little kitty was....and so his named was officially changed to
ZIPPY
Zippy lived as a part of our family for almost 7 years...and we all loved him.  Two weeks ago, he was out prowling in the early hours of the morning...and was hit by a car in front of our house.  Taylor, who walks to middle school, found him by our mailbox.  Andy sent Tay on to school, while he gave Zippy a nice burial out behind our garden by the canal bank that he loved so much.  We all miss him very much...here are some of our favorite pictures and memories of Zippy.
 
One day I went for a washcloth in this linen closet...and actually cried out in shock!  I opened up the closet door to come face to face with a very annoyed and put out Zippy.  This linen closet in our Cleveland House was double-sided...Zip had climbed up through the girls' bedroom side and found what he thought was a nice soft, quiet, private place for a cat nap...I sort of messed up his afternoon plans.
Ever since he was a tiny baby...Zippy loved sleeping with the kids.  He started out with Taylor...but Tay had allergies to him so we wouldn't let him sleep in Tay's room anymore.  No problem, he moved right in with Rachel.  He slept just like this...head on her pillow for years.  Some mornings I'd go in to wake her up...and she was completely off the pillow while Zippy was all sprawled out.  Rachel loved it.
Zippy liked taking long afternoon naps...usually curled up on Rachey's bed.
One year we Stake YW leaders cleaned out the stake YW closet...otherwise affectionately referred to as "The Cavern"...and we found these odd looking value-colored ball things.  With ribbons attached.  And bells.  We didn't know what to make of them...then I thought, "Hey!  Perfect cat toy!!!"  We attached it to Zippy's fishing pole, and he thought it was awesome.
I love this picture.  It is a rare moment for Andy and Zippy.  They didn't always see eye to eye...but on this occasion...I'd say they were getting along just great.  I'll never forget the time when Andy decided he was going to teach Zippy that he couldn't try to drink out of the toilet.  (This was a bad habit that I couldn't get Zippy to stop!)  He stuffed Zippy into the toilet, shut the toilet lid down, and SAT ON IT.  I came running in because of all the wailing and meowing I was hearing...it took me a few seconds to figure out what was going on.  There was my husband.  Sitting smugly on the toilet...which was literally exploding with cat howling and loud splashing sounds.  After just a few more seconds...Andy let him out, gave him a BATH...and poor Zippy never got near the toilet again.

Zippy helped me move into our current home by inspecting all of our moving boxes that I had stacked 6 feet high in the kitchen.  There were a few boxes that I had opened up and then left to unpack later...and when I got back to them, there was Zippy in the box.  I really think he had a goal to startle me as much as possible during his lifetime.
One of the things we all liked about Zippy was that he was so big!  He was a huge, heavy cat...
Ya...what a life, huh?  Rachel got up to go to school...it didn't take long for Zippy to scoot over and be in the very center of the bed and take up the entire pillow.
Staying up late to read with Rachel

One of Zippy's favorite places to sit was in this front window.  He liked watching the kids play, and the birds in the bushes.
This was in Cleveland...we were raking up all the fall leaves...and Zippy was watching out the front door.

As a kitten, it didn't take long for us to realize that Zippy loved climbing and being up high...Andy made Zippy this cat condo out of the weird pole thing that was in our upstairs bathroom (another story for another day) and a cardboard box, carpet remnants and yes, ugly silver duck tape.  It was hideous looking...but Zippy loved it.
Rachel and her preschool graduation certificate.  Of course, she had to have Zippy in the picture.  Zippy wasn't always patient enough to allow the kids to pick him up and carry him around and hold him like this...however...one night after he scratched Rachel, he and Andy had a "heart to heart" similar to the toilet training...and after that we didn't have any problems.
This was the year that Santa brought Zippy his fishing pole.  We had so many good times casting for him.  We'd cast out his cat toy...and slowly start reeling it back in and then you'd have to reel in as fast as you could because Zippy would chase it down and pounce on it.  One time we put it down the laundry chute while he was down in the basement....he kept jumping up to try and get the toy that was hanging down from the chute.  Over and over again we'd lower down his little fishy...just to watch him jump up to get it.  Silly kitty!
Zippy's first Christmas...he wasn't too thrilled about the red bow I tied around his neck. 
We had a little family of chipmunks that lived near my front flower bed.  I also had a bird bath in the front bed...so Zippy would sit just like this and flick his tail back and forth as he watched the wildlife outside. 

Zippy loved hanging out on top of the window casements and stalking us from up above.
Merry Christmas 2006!  Zippy made it onto our Christmas card.  He would have rather been chasing after his fishing pole toy.
I had just finished this quilt for Rachel...and she was trying it out...so of course Zippy had to come check it out too!
Baby Zippy playing in his cat condo. 
Taylor sleeping with the little fur ball the first night home.  I don't have pictures...but after years of not being allowed to sleep with Taylor because of Tay's allergies...Zippy started sneaking downstairs in the middle of the night to sleep at the foot of Taylor's bed.  He would sleep right on top of Tay's feet.  Andy and I wonder if it's because Tay gets up in the middle of the night to eat snack food from the storage room...did Zippy secretly eat Doritos?
This is one of my favorite pictures of Zippy and Rachey...too cute.
And poor Zippy even endured a 5 day long car trip across the United States after dental school graduation.  He went from Cleveland, Ohio to Dayton, Oh...through Indianapolis...through Nauvoo, IL, Kansas City, across Arkansas...to visit Uncle Clay and Aunt Liz in Kansas...through Colorado, up to Utah to visit Roger & Megan...and finally across the Idaho border and straight across to Nampa. 

We all miss him...but for a cat we think he lived a pretty adventurous and full life!  And we're sure he's stalking us from up above in kitty heaven.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

FOOTBALL...What It's All About

FOOTBALL...
Before the game...2012 Nampa PAL Championship Game, Nampa High School "Bulldog Stadium"
An American sport.  A game that we're all familiar with.  Something that most people get excited about.  Most families have their favorite teams.  Look in closets around America and you'll find sweatshirts, t-shirts, hats, jackets, socks, and other articles of clothing in a wide array of colors representing those favorite teams.  Say "football" and we think fall weather, sweaters and boots, fleece blankets on cold stadium seats, hot cocoa and salted pretzels, popcorn and noisemakers.  

In our house you say "football" and it means Taylor having 1 hour after Jazz Band practice to eat, do homework, and change into gear before he hops on his bike and heads down the hill to do drills and work hard until 7:30 at night.  It means Andy is finishing up with his last patient of the day to rush home and change out of his dockers and into warm-up pants and a sweatshirt and rush down the hill to help coach Tay's team.  It means I am washing dirty mud and grass-stained uniforms twice a week.  It means that we're talking through plays in the kitchen at meal-times, and it means that I will walk around the corner into the kitchen to find Andy and Taylor facing each other in 3-point stance firing out against each other.  And sometimes it means that 30 minutes before a church meeting, I find myself in the backyard wearing a skirt and kicking off my 3 1/2 inch heels to play catch with my son.
I wouldn't be completely honest if I said it wasn't about the win...because it certainly is.  And this year, Taylor's team won the title of 2012 Nampa PAL Junior Tackle Champions.  And they definitely deserved it.  But for me, for the mama in the stands...the biggest part is not the win.  It's the thrill of watching my son in each play make a hit, sack the quarterback, make a beautiful kick on kickoff, or make a catch in the end zone for a 2 point conversion.  It doesn't matter to me where he plays or what the other boys do...for me it's all about him.  The game is his position...every play, every time.  And having his dad help coach the team is an added bonus.  I get to watch two of my boys down there.  Andy striding along the sidelines, and Taylor out on the field.  I love it all.  Football...it's about a lot of things. 

I asked Andy and Taylor individually what Football meant to them...and this is what they said...this is what it's all about.
Andy says it's all about:


TEAM
EXECUTION
TENACITY
GRIT
Tay making it through the O-line to make a tackle. 
SPEED
EXPLOSION
DESIRE
WINNING
Tay and Andy after the game
GETTING BETTER
TO GET UP WHEN YOU'RE DOWN
TO FIGHT WHEN YOU'RE BEATEN
Tay at kickoff...beautiful 40 yd kick to the 20 yd line.  Perfect.
THE POP
SATISFACTION FROM EXPLOITING THE OTHER TEAM'S WEAKNESSES AND EXCENTUATING YOUR STRENGTHS
Taylor and Coach Andy waiting on sideline, end of game.

ACCOMPLISHMENT
GETTING IN SHAPE
HARD PRACTICES
WHEN YOUR BEST IS GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU AND YOU WIN
 
And Taylor says it's all about:

ATTITUDE
HOW TOUGH YOU ARE
DURABILITY
ABILITY TO HANDLE THE BALL
WORK HARD TO GET THINGS DONE
Team huddle
TEAMWORK/ NOT A ONE-MAN THING
NOT TO GIVE UP
Stopping your man.  No matter what.
THE HIT
COMPETITION
THE CHALLENGE
IT'S JUST FUN
FUN TO BE A PART OF THE TEAM
Cheering his teammates during the trophy ceremony
TO HELP TO VICTORY
FRIENDSHIP
pre-game lineup with one of his best friends, Brett Ashcraft
DRILLS
BUILDING SKILLS
2012 Nampa PAL Champions!
(photo courtesy of Emily Flint) 
Here they are...after a season of hard work and determination...our team not only came out Champions, but they were undefeated all season and only had two touchdowns scored on them.  Way to go guys!
 
What else is Football all about?  The fans!
We're number one!
 

Matthew...always cheering on big brother Tay.
Tay's cousins Lexie, Carson, and Kylie came too!
 
Uncle Kyle and Aunt Ashleigh's family and Grandma and Grandpa Belnap came to cheer Tay on!
And of course proud parents...Rachel and Brooklynn had basketball games, and Lainah was sick.
 
Football...that's what it's all about.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Busted!

You know when you go into your carefully stocked and organized storage room only to find that you have had a "mouse" intrude?  And this mouse seems to have a taste for chocolate chips, honey, granola bars, pudding cups, and...snack chips?  And when you ask your five "mice" which one gave in to the temptation and indulged...and not one speaks up, or even better one little "mouse" points at another one and says, "He did it!"  Maybe this only happens in my house...
 
The other night, Andy and I came home and found the "mouse" sound asleep on the downstairs sofa. 


The storage room door was wide open and the light left on...she was totally busted.

Lainah:  3 yrs
But she's such a cute little "mouse," what could we do? 
Just one thing, kiss her and snuggle her up in a blankey.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Warning: Take With Food, May Cause Dizziness

I believe that we are all familiar with what happens when we get sick.  When we get sick with something that requires a prescription medication, we take our little slip of paper from our Doctor (or if we're really lucky, our Doctor just calls it in) and we then take a trip to our favorite pharmacist where we wait.  And wait.  And do some shopping.  And finally after anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes we are happily paying for some medicine that is going to miraculously make us feel better in two to ten days.  It's amazing. 

I think the most amazing part of the entire process, however, are the warning labels found on the outside of our medication bottles.  Go ahead, look in your medicine cabinet and read those little warning labels...they warn us about a variety of things including how and when to take the medication, what NOT to do with the medication, what TO DO with it, how long to take it, where to take it, and what side effects can be expected while taking the medication.  These simple little phrases put on stickers which are then slapped onto the side of the little brown medicine bottle can literally save our lives.  Phrases such as:  Take with food, Do Not take with food, Do Not Operate Heavy Machinery While Taking This Medicine, May Cause Drowsiness, For Topical Use Only, and Not to be Taken By Mouth are little life savers and help to make our days go by much smoother.  Can you imagine what would happen if warning labels were done away with?  What chaos would ensue! 

Some recent experiences in my life have led me to the conclusion that if only people were given warning labels to wear on their foreheads...that our lives would be so much easier.  How simple it would be, to go to our closets each morning, and as we are choosing our apparel for the day to also choose a warning label to go along with our moods.  We could have labels such as, "Warning:  Pop-Up Blocker is Malfunctioning," or "No Self-Control" or "Will Have Emotional Outbursts Spontaneously," or "Experiencing Involuntary Spasms of the Mouth," or "Intelligent Vocabulary was Erased Overnight by Aliens,"  or "Chocolate Needed"  etc, etc.

I had our 6th baby in June, just about 4 months ago, and I am a lot heavier now than I was a few years ago.  When I married Andy 14 years ago, I weighed 103 pounds.  I am 5'8''...so at that height I was...slender to say the least.  I was also in very good physical shape, I had been working out each day doing aerobic type exercises mixed with weight lifting for toning.  Ahh...those were the days.  Then I got married...and then 12 years ago I had my first child.  After I had Taylor, I was able to get to within 5 pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight before we discovered that I was now expecting baby Rachel!  Taylor was only 9 months old when we found this out, so I was pretty proud of myself for working that hard to lose the baby weight.  After Rachey, I was able to once again get down to within 5 pounds of where I started with her.  See a pattern here?  Okay, so over our 14 years of marriage, and 6 children...I've put on some weight.  In fact, to be completely candid, I now weigh 158 pounds.  I went from being a size 4-6 to now wearing a size 12 in jeans. 
Miss Idaho 1997:  103 pounds. 

And here's the big surprise!  I actually buy my own clothes!  Which means that yes indeedy!  I KNOW how big I am compared to what I used to be!  Ha ha!  Imagine that!  I see pictures of myself, and yes, we actually have mirrors in our home and I LOOK in them everyday!  I know what I look like!  Even more than that, I can FEEL that I am not nearly as in shape as I used to be.  My muscle tone is not great.  But, I am okay with that.  I like who I am, and hey!  I feel like over the past 14 years I have accomplished some great things...and being the mother to six children is not an easy task nor does it give me much spare time to do things for me. 
June 2012:  Day of Addyson's Birth:  170 pounds

However, there seem to be a few random people in my aquaintence who feel that it is their responsibility to help me know myself better I suppose.  Here are some fun little friendly comments I've had made to me in one on one conversations, over the phone, by email, in facebook, and sadly, through the grapevine. 

"Wow!  You're a lot bigger than you used to be!"
"You don't work out anymore, do you."
"Well, you're not fit, are you?"
"What size are you wearing now?"
"Well, you have six children, so at least you have an excuse to be overweight."  (This just might be my personal favorite!!!)
"So just because you used to be Miss Idaho doesn't mean that you'll always look like a beauty queen, does it."  (huh?  I'm fairly certain that this was MEANT to be...not very nice!)
"So, are you giving away any of your clothes that you don't fit into anymore?"  (ahem... NO!  So there!  I still have dreams okay!?)

Those were comments made by people that I know personally...I think that a few needed some warning labels on their foreheads the day that they said them.  Now here's where the fun begins...I thought for kicks and giggles I'd share some of the sweet comments I received by COMPLETE STRANGERS while I was pregnant with Addyson!  Imagine the warning labels we could come up with for these witty folks.

Note:  Some words have been edited...but don't worry, you'll still get the idea of the person's sincerity.

While in the Oceanside, California Walmart:
"Oh my GOODNESS!!!  Oh MY Goodness!  How many kids do you have!?  Oh my Goodness, you're having another one?"  (We were on Spring Break and stopped in for a few snacks...Andy left me for two seconds to grab something from another aisle, leaving me with ALL 5 kids.  I was accosted by this frizzy-haired woman with darkly-tanned leathery skin in a worn tank top, short shorts, flip flops, huge glasses...who had a carton of beer in her cart. 

On date night with Andy, making a late stop into Nampa Walmart for some hair gel, two women went by with their cart and one said quietly to the other:
"Uh, is she having twins?"  (this one surprised me so much, I actually looked around to see if there was another pregnant woman in the aisle.  Nope.  Just me.  Now, weren't they just two little sweeties?) 

At the Meridian Walmart, buying bribe food for Lainah.  (Lainah had to have another ultrasound done on her kidneys at the hospital and was terrified...so I told her we'd go buy donuts and chocolate milk when we were done.  So the ONLY things I had in the cart were a dozen donuts and a gallon of chocolate milk.)  I am due to have Addyson in 5 DAYS, so yes, I admit it...I am very large!  An older gentleman was passing me, stops, and says:

"Well bless your heart, I sure hope you're having that baby anyday...for YOUR sake!"  (again, I was stunned!  In my state of total shock, I LAUGHED, and said, "Oh!  How fun!"  I know, that doesn't make any sense at all.)  He replied:

"I'm a minister.  How many children do you have, just the two?"  (So, I smiled even bigger and said, "Nope!  This will be my 6th!") 

He then fainted. 

Okay, he didn't faint but he wanted to.  He said "God bless you!" 

I had two people while I was pregnant, one in California, and another here at the Nampa Joann Fabrics ask how many children I had and after my reply say, "Oh my GOODNESS!  You MUST be Catholic!" and then when I told them that I was actually NOT a Catholic but a Mormon...here's their responses:

California woman:  Oh, well I knew it had to be one or the other.  You're the only ones who have huge families.
Nampa Joann Fabric Shopper:  Oh, uhh...I know you already go to church and everything, but you need this.  (She then took a brochure from her purse and handed it to me.  It was a brochure for a new church coming to Nampa.)  She then told me to make sure to look at it because it could really help me.  Then she kind of side-stepped away from me...as if I was carrying the plague or something and she might catch it.  (Ha ha!  I was laughing all the way to my car.  I still laugh as I write this.  It was really the funniest thing I think that has EVER been said or done to me while shopping!  And it was done while standing at the cutting counter, which was very busy...so I had an audience of about 10 women.  I really wonder what THEY were thinking of all this!)

And the most recent:  I was shopping for a baby gift on date night with Andy, and we came up to the check out counter with a small pile of baby boy things.  Addyson was in her carseat in the cart.  She was only 3 months old.  Very small.  It takes 9 months to have a baby.  There is no physical way possible that I could be about to have another one.  I'm feeling good because I have lost 15 pounds after having Addyson.  The clerk looks me up and down and says:

"Oh, these are so cute.  Is your baby due in a couple of weeks?"  (The funniest thing about this one, is that Andy was a witness to it.  He has never once been there to hear the things people say to me!  We both just kind of looked at eachother and were speechless.)  I really was completely speechless, I didn't know what to say!  Finally, I just sputtered out, "uh, well, I just had my baby a few months ago, see?"  and I pointed to Addyson.  The poor clerk was completely embarrassed and tried to backpaddle as fast as she could.  Andy and I tried to help her feel better...once we were out of the store neither one of us could stop laughing.

Each morning when I wake up I look in the mirror.  I look closely at my forehead.  It doesn't appear that anything is there.  But I am not fooled.  I MUST have a label stuck there that is visible to all but myself that says,

Please comment about my weight, children, and religion. 
or maybe
I am an imbecile.  Please help me.
or my favorite
Pop-up Blocker broken?  No problem!  I LIKE receiving criticism cloaked as friendly advice!

In all seriousness, can you imagine going throughout your day reading the foreheads of others?  It might help just a few seconds before they open their mouths to read:

Warning:  makes inappropriate and offensive comments to complete strangers at will
or
Warning:  spontaneously combusts spewing random, inappropriate comments

or
Warning:  No Chocolate in system.  Possible side effects:  irritability, loss of self-control, a strange desire to comment on others' personal or private matters.

In the very least it would allow time to brace yourself for the impact!

Taylor, Rachel, Brooklynn, Matthew, Lainah, and Addyson in front of the McCall Candy Store:  McCall, Idaho 2012
And here they are...my six beautiful children.  And yes, they are worth it. 
Every.  Single.  Pound.  Their warning labels?
Warning:  Silly, intelligent, talented, snuggly and will melt your heart... if you have one. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Lovely Lainah

Lainah is such a sweet and imaginative little three year old (who by the way, believes with all of her little girl heart that she is really four.)  She constantly surprises me by her way of bringing sunshine and imagination into all situations.  I love having her in our home.  Yesterday as I was working in the kitchen we had the funniest little conversation.  It went like this.

Lainah was eating a cookie.  She stopped halfway through her delectible delight and let out a h-u-g-e sigh.  "Ahhhhh.........Mom!  My teeth are going rotten!"

Me:  (suppressing a smile and laugh and feigning complete seriousness)  "What!?  They are?  Oh no, what do you think you should do about that?"

Lainah:  (another huge sigh)  "Well, I don't know!  They're just going to rot and fall out of my mouth."

Me: (exercising complete self-control)  "hmm...that would be awful!  What if you tried brushing your teeth?  Would that help?"

Lainah:  (with a forlorn look on her face and sad, sad tone to her voice)  "no Mom, I'll just have to stop eating forever."

Me:  (Letting myself smile at this point)  "Yes, I suppose that's a solution...when are you going to start to stop eating?"

Lainah:  (looking immensely confused)  "um...after I finish this cookie."

Me:  "good idea!"

Ahh...she is so funny!  I can only imagine that she got the idea of her teeth rotting out of her mouth from the many lectures that poor Taylor gets from Andy about his poor dental hygiene habits.  (Poor from Andy's perspective, perfectly normal for any 12 year old boy who loves junk food, eats a ton...and doesn't take the time to brush after each time he eats!) 

And if you're wondering how Lainah is fairing with her lifelong fast from food...she's surviving...she ate homemade potato soup last night with extra bacon...dinner rolls, a full glass of milk...and for dessert?  Yep.  She had another cookie.


Lainah in McCall, Idaho:  Summer Vacation 2012:  3 Years Old