Saturday, July 11, 2015

Lu Lu Renae

To those of you who read my last post about Chief, I thank you.

Thank you for reading and thank you for your words of sympathy.

I wanted to share a little update with everyone.

On the day that Chief was hit, a little black kitty mysteriously showed up at a family friend's house.

Hmmm...

Had a little black kitty not mysteriously appeared, we would have continued on in life with Rascal - our only cat, but...

There was a teeny tiny part of me that felt like it was meant to be.
Chief leaves us and sends a new baby kitty (black - just like him) into our lives...to fill his void.
I couldn't pass it up.

And just because we get a new kitten a couple of days after the passing of our cat, it doesn't mean for one second that we are dismissing what happened to Chief or everything we had with him.
Chief was Chief and there's not going to ever be another cat that can replace him.

So...we set a plan into place.

We thought we would have Santa deliver this new kitty to us.

Throughout the year, Santa randomly checks in on the kids...to make sure they are being good.
Earlier this summer, to the kids' surprise, Santa even came to our house!
He's always watching...


Well, because Santa knows if you're awake, or if you're sleeping, or if you are good, or if you are bad...
then Santa knows things like when your cat, Chief, gets hit by a car.
And, he knows if you've been wishing and hoping for a new baby black kitty (just as Makayla had been).

So, the other evening, in pops Santa through our front door!

He came to deliver a new baby black kitten to the kids!


Makayla and Mason were sort of shocked (mia was sort of scared)!
They couldn't believe it!
Makayla said under her breath - "how did santa know i was wishing for a new black kitten?"

That evening will definitely be a moment that the kids will remember forever.



We don't know if the kitty is a boy or girl, but Makayla has been the one to pick the name.
Mason wanted to name it Chief
and
Mia wanted to name it Mia.

If it's a boy, Makayla wants to name him Ezekial (i told her we could call him zeke for short) 
and if it's a girl, she wants to name her Lucy Renae.  

Were calling it Lucy (or Lu Lu) for now.






The kitty is doing very well in it's new home and even Rascal is adjusting great to it. 


It fills me with joy to see the kids so happy and to see Rascal so accepting.
Through this bad time, we were given something good and as weird as it may sound to some, I think I have Chief to thank for our new little ball of fur.  He sent this kitty to us when we needed it the most - when he had to go.  

Having this new kitty in our home makes my heart happy. 

..And you know what else makes me heart happy?

This morning, I received a message from the person who hit Chief.
I don't know him, but I do know that he is a good person.
To seek our family out, to admit that he was the unfortunate driver, and to apologize, means everything to me.
For him to pass along information about the accident to me has brought me some closure and for him to send us his deepest sympathies means more to me than he'll ever know.  Receiving a sincere, heartfelt letter like that brought me peace this morning and is something I guess my heart and mind needed because I feel a little bit better today and can smile a little bit bigger about Chief.

"Often when you think you're at the end of something, you're at the beginning of something else."
-
Fred Rogers

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Chief

The other day, I was driving in the car with the kids when Mason had scratched his mosquito bite raw. It began to bleed and the girls started freaking out.  As they began freaking out, Mason began freaking out...and before I knew it, I had three frantic kids in the backseat screaming because Mason was bleeding.  
From a tiny mosquito bite.  
I began looking through the car trying to find a tissue or napkin and of course, I didn't have any.  The only thing I could immediately find was a pantyliner, so I passed it back to Mason and told him to use it.  

In MY mind, he was going to take the soft fabric part and soak up the teeny tiny bit of blood that was bubbling from his leg.  
But nope.  
In HIS mind, I had just handed him a great big band-aid.  

I didn't realize until we got to where we were going how he had actually utilized the pantyliner that I had given him.  He had opened it up and stuck the sticky part down on to his leg and used it to cover his mosquito bite - like a band-aid.  I started laughing and Makayla scornfully looked down at his leg and said "Mason!  That's a peepee pad", then repeated "Mason!  That's a vagina pad"!


It's the laughter I get from stories like this that help me get through life - the rough and tough parts of life.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We had a tragic event at our house the other night -  
Late Sunday night/early Monday morning, one of our family cats, Chief, was hit by a car and killed.  
While  I've always felt that to be inevitable since we live so close to a very busy road and my cats (especially Chief) love to meander and roam, it still took my breath away and sucked a little life out of me upon hearing the news.  

Not the least hard thing to bear when they go from us, these quiet friends, is that they carry away with them so many years of our own lives.
-John Galsworthy 

Chief was taken off the road by the state before I could see him.  I am thankful for that because then I didn't have to see his lifeless body in the road, but at the same time, I regret it because he was taken to the landfill (where they take all dead animals that are found). 
The landfill.
*gulp*

Trying to find a positive in our negative situation:
I was told by many (it's a much traveled road) that Chief was right in the middle of the road.  That alone can bring me a tiny bit of peace because then I know he was probably killed instantly.  Where as if he was on the side of the road, I would have thought that he lived long enough to try to struggle home and made it as far as the side of the road before he passed.

-breathe-
I immediately knew that I needed to tell the truth to the kids right away, but there was still a part of me that was fighting that initial feeling and was trying to find different ways/stories as to why Chief was missing besides death.  
I couldn't do that, though.   
Dealing with death is a part of life -
It's the circle of life - 
and they needed to learn about it.
A tough,
very tough,
lesson to learn.

As expected, they were sad. 
Makayla was devastated
She cried most of the night.
Her first words she could get out were
"I didn't get to say good-bye".

aaaah, neither did i baby girl, neither did i.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I wish we had him so we could bury him in our yard, but we don't, 
so I am still in the process of trying to figure something out to memorialize him - something we can do to give ourselves a closure. 

Chief was an awesome little buddy. 
He was 10 years old.
He and his brother were our first babies.
He LOVED to hunt.  One time we caught him on a night camera carrying an opossum in his mouth.  Gross, I know!
He learned tricks that the kids taught him.
He loved to be kissed, petted, and held.
He could not have been more tolerant of the kids and their "abuse".
He was always up in our business - on our laps, in our face - meowing, rubbing against us.
He had been hit by a car once before when he was a baby, shattering his pelvis and breaking his hip. 

When I asked the kids what they'll remember most about Chief they answered -
Mason: Chief's eyes.
Makayla: His tricks
Mia: Me miss Chief.


His empty spot in our family will  definitely be noticed - a void that will be impossible to fill for a very long time, for...ever.  
And I wonder to myself how long it will be before I stop hoping that maybe he'll be sitting on the front step when I pull up to our house...

We've began really focusing on Rascal, Chief's brother.  He doesn't know what life is like without Chief.  He's not grown more distant, but he has been moping in and out of rooms, meowing out outside (i expect looking for chief). We have gone out to buy Rascal toys and the "expensive" food (something we couldn't afford with chief around because he was a hoss - he ate like a beast).

*sigh*

To lose your family pet, 
a member of your family -
It's so sad.
And so hard.

But life goes on.

It's important to cry and important to grieve, but at the same time, I don't want his loss to consume us.
Despite the grim situation, we are thankful for the time we had with Chief and the memories we have with him.  

I go back and forth with a roller coaster of emotions - At one moment, I feel heavy, like there's too much gravity on my heart and I feel like I've been 'buried in a landslide of sharp, sad rocks'...and I can replay his accident (that i never even saw) over and over again in my mind.  
And then the next moment, I think of Mason and his pantyliner band-aid (and other similar stories) and I laugh.  
And that laughter makes me feel better.  
And I remind myself that losing a pet is a part of life and I tell myself, just like I tell my kids, that we'll see him again someday.  There's nothing I can do to change what happened - what's been done is done - and what's meant to be is meant to be.  I have to smile at what we've had with Chiefers and I have to think that he had no suffering, but died instantly while doing his favorite thing - hunting down an animal.

You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.
 ~Anne Lamott


Never again will I be able to see a black cat without thinking of my own and all that he has brought to our lives.

RIP Chief Michael Montgomery!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

From the School Yards To the Stock Yards

First
Mason, finished his first year of school.
Preschool.
He loved it.  A Lot!  In fact, it was a fight on the mornings that he didn't have to go to school because he wanted to go so bad, every day, all day.
When I asked him what he was going to miss the most about school, he said his friend Carter and his teachers.
When I asked him something he learned this year that he's never going to forget, he told me when he learned how to color.

Second,
Makayla wrapped up her school year.
Kindergarten.
She cried.  
There were tears of sadness because she didn't want to stop going to school. She loves it that much!
When I asked her what she was going to miss the most about school, she said her friends and Mrs. Gandenberger.
When I asked her what was the most important thing she learned this year that she'll never forget, she said to stay away from railroad tracks.

Learning how to color and learning to stay away from railroad tracks.
Ok.
 :)

I'm thankful for the amazing teachers that my kids have had the privilege of learning with this year and I'm thankful for the great schools that they attended.  I could not ask for anything or anyone better in the lives of my children during their school days.
Moving onward, I know my kids are looking forward to 1st grade and Pre-K even though they both had a rough time ending this school year!!

In the meantime, we have a summer to enjoy!...

It's just the beginning of the summer season, but we've already been able to enjoy lots of swimming, a camping trip, berry picking in the strawberry fields, making lightning bug lanterns, late night summer walks, park playing, bike riding, and all that other summer "stuff"...

and this past week, we made a quick trip to Texas!

We drove.
We've always driven to our vacation destinations with the kids.
Always.
And we've never had problems.
Never.
But this time around was a little different.  It was a rough ride.  The kids were very very very misbehaved on the ride there (i think because not bringing their tablets + the dvd players not working = major boredom)...but the ride home was much much much better (thankful for working dvd players and because of a different time schedule for the ride home).  I can't tell you how many times Kevin and I said that we're never doing this again!

Actually, here's a little peek into our lives during the drive to Texas through a text message conversation with my sister:
But, the long drive there was just a tiny bump in the road.  I can look back at it now and kinda laugh.  kinda.  Overall, our trip was amazing and our short time there was full to the brim with fun, excitement, and lots of laughter.

We went to a rodeo - 


Mason got to go out in the arena for a sheep scramble and says that his favorite thing about the rodeo was watching the cowboys tie up the baby bulls by their legs.

Makayla says her favorite part about the rodeo was when the cowboys tried to lasso and tie up the baby bulls, but failed.  She liked that the babies didn't get caught.

I, on the other hand, can't figure out for the life of me why someone would go into the sport of bull riding!  So dangerous!
And, I spent most of my time at the rodeo flinching and hiding my eyes.

But, I enjoyed it a lot and look forward to when we can go to another one.

The kids had the time of their life
(and they even got to sit on a real live bull *gasp*)

We went to the Dallas Zoo 
and Jurassic Park Land - 


We got to feed the giraffe by hand!


A zoo is a zoo is a zoo, 
but who doesn't love going to a zoo?!


We went to Six Flags Hurricane Harbor in Arlington - 


We did a teeny tiny bit of walking around downtown Dallas - 


...and we went to Dealey Plaza - the historic West End district of downtown Dallas - where the assassination of John F. Kennedy took place.
We saw the grassy knoll and the "X" in the road where Kennedy was shot.
Great history.
I wish I cared about history when I was in school like I care about it now.


We were introduced to Benihana - my Osaka away from home.

...and we were introduced to Fitz's (in St. Louis) - a microbrewery and restaurant - known for their rootbeer and AWESOME floats.  I had a Smores float which was SO BIG the entire family shared it.
Nummy.



We did some hanging out by the pool and swimming -  
The kids loved having Scott throw them in the pool -
...and they loved having Scott spin them in circles so fast that they couldn't walk.


We had a great time in Texas and I'm so thankful we were able to make memories (like mia's whiplash, mason getting stampeded, learning to buy 3 sprites instead of 1) there with Aunt Nina and Scott.


...and an added bonus, on our way home at our last pit stop in St. Louis, Makayla found a $20 bill on the ground.  She was so excited and couldn't wait to buy everyone in her family Dairy Queen.
such a thoughtful baby girl.


So, our Texas trip is over and we're back to the grind - enjoying these hot summer days at the pool eating popsicles (or sno cones) and soaking up some vitamin D.



** here's to celebrating summer -
 sun drenched days and starlit nights  **



Sunday, April 12, 2015

Taking Care of Memories

 
Recently, we spent some time at Starved Rock, together as a family, - hiking, exploring, and making memories.
As I was going through our pictures from our trip, I had an "oh, my heart" moment when I came across this one:
my little girl
My big little girl.
When I look at this picture, I wonder where the time has gone.  I see Makayla, my first born, growing up.  She's six, going on 16.  And then I look at my others - Mason is 4, looking more and more like a boy every day, losing his oh so sweet baby features...and Mia, my baby baby, is wearing her hair in a ponytail.
Where has the time gone?
 
Since starting this blog (5 years ago), I've always stayed faithful in documenting all that I hold dear to my heart. 
What I live for...
What keeps my heart beating...
What makes me happy...
I would come here, to Sugar and Slugs, to journal the things I never want to forget.
There have been times that I've been able to call Sugar and Slugs somewhat of a "therapy" - times that it's forced me to see and feel what's truly important in this life.

But, I know, it's been awhile.
...probably the longest I've gone without blogging since I started.
*sigh*

life happened.

The only things I've blogged about this year are




my kids being lovers of life,



 my nephew having surgery,
 
 

 and my wedding dress.
 



That's it.
That's all I've managed to put into words.
But,
I simply just got busy living life...

plus, most of our "spare time" (whatever that is) is spent working in and on our new home.
when I first blogged about our new home I shared some of my favorite features, and here are two more I can add: a magnolia tree and a gas burning light post that has a non-stop glow.
 





We are at a season in life right now

where Mia wants a whole candy bar every time she goes on the big potty,
where Mason is obsessed with eating good so his muscles will grow,
and where Makayla loves to play school (and when she and mason argue about who is going to be the teacher, she tries to always talk him into being the principal instead.  he never goes for that, but then she can always convince him to be the janitor).

When Mia doesn't get her way, she'll always say "Grandma told me!" as she shrugs her shoulders or throws her hands in the air.
Makayla loves to write stories and ride her bike.
Mason is scared of the dark.

I get to put homemade birthday cards on the refrigerator that the kids make for their dad.  Makayla fills her card with X's as in X's and O's (kisses and hugs) and Mason fills his card with little muddy puddles.
 
I have conversations about poop, cities in space, and pretty shoes.
Finding Hello Kitty band aids in my laundry and baby doll bottles in my dishwasher make me smile.
 
We have fun making tents, posting glow-in-the-dark stars on our bedroom walls, and making crafts with glitter...lots of glitter.
 
...and we're at a season in life right now where we can do things and go places with NO stroller, NO diaper bag, and all be independent from one other...like hiking at Starved Rock!
  
 
Nothing I have in this world is more precious than my children.
 
And for the past few months when I've been so very quiet on Sugar and Slugs, it's not that I've given up on my blog entirely, but I've not been able to set aside the time that I used to, to keep it updated.
I will for sure always keep Sugar and Slugs going, though, (just not updated as frequently) because this is the place that helps me to take care of my memories...