Halloween

Happy Halloween from Nornor, Greta and Gavin!

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It's my first Halloween!

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They are now nestled all snug in their beds (except for Nora who may have decided she’s not going to go to sleep tonight!!??)

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Tricks or treats? Mmmm... No thanks.

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I'll have milks or baffs, please.

All the costumes are put away, colored hairspray washed down the drain, and battery operated jack-o-lantern candles turned off. The smell of roasted pumpkin seeds, banana bread, homemade chicken soup and WD-40 linger in the air. The result of a cooking/baking frenzy and a desperate attempt to remove a “theatrical scar” from Gavin’s cheek when it was discovered that the “Cinema Secrets Makeup and Adhesive Remover” nonchalantly referred to in Step 4 was conveniently sold separately from the “Cinema Secrets Special FX scar kit”. Good thinking, Cinema Secrets people!

Nora wanted nothing to do with a cold, rainy Halloween night and bid her brother and sister farewell as they headed out into the neighborhoods with their chaperoned groups of friends. Her  warm baff was the “treat” she was indulging in when her damp and frozen siblings returned a couple hours later laden down with several pounds of candy. They were each eager to get out of their costumes and right into bed. They probably would have have done just that without any concern about any face makeup or how it might affect their bed sheets. Thank goodness for moms! And showers!

Greta’s bedtime routine involved the extra step of putting her tooth under her pillow — the first tooth she’s ever lost!  It was actually a little witch who lost her tooth while she was getting ready this evening! I helped Greta compose a sweet note to the fairy (only because it was screaming late) to which hopefully the tooth fairy will respond!

The little mermaid has finally fallen asleep and now so must I! First I need to make sure the front door is unlocked so the fairy can get in.

Goodnight and we hope your Halloween was happy!

Pictures from yesterday:

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I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
(Psalm 3:5 NIV)

Refuge

Happy smiles from Nornor today.

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We’re thinking and praying for those in the path of the storm.

The Lord  is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
(Psalm 9:9 NIV)

Loving One Another

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It’s so nice to have this sweet little bundle of love to distract us from our sadness about Patches. Nora’s sweet smiles ands squeals can brighten the grayest of days. Gavin and Greta seem to be doing fine. They openly have talked about Patches throughout the day. We all agree that we miss her, but we’re glad she’s in heaven now and free from any terrifying seizures. I’ve had a few quiet moments to myself when I got pretty upset. It’s her little footprints still all over in the carpet,  the curtains outside of our bedroom that she was always hiding in just the way she left them, the label that Greta taped above a food dish that reads “Patchy Poo”. These are the things that have tugged the hardest on my heartstrings today and I can’t believe she’s really gone. There is, however, a definite sense of peace. I awoke this morning with the feeling that Patches was so grateful to be free of her seizures. It was a comforting thought.

Here is a video of Nora and Greta this morning.

They really are that crazy about each other! Absolute sweetness!

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.
(Romans 13:8 NIV)

A Sad Day

It’s been a long, sad day for us. William, Gavin and Greta spent the night last night in a fort they built in the basement so they could be with Patches. I went down this morning to spend some time with her, petted her and loved on her. She loved to bury her head in my hand, where she stayed for a little bit before wandering over to the window to check on the bird feeder. She licked her paws and then made her way over to her food dish. The tears welled up in my eyes as I realized that was going to be her last meal. She had no idea. In these moments it was easy to trick ourselves into believing she was completely fine.

I stayed home with Nora while William took Patches to the vet with Gavin and Greta. The kids wanted to go and we felt that was the best thing to do. There was no sense in trying to sugar coat any of this and felt that being honest was the best route to take. A little while later they arrived back home and set to work digging a grave in our backyard. I was standing in the back window watching their progress when suddenly from around the corner came my little girl stoically carrying her beloved Patches to her final resting spot. I could tell through the glass that William was as taken off guard as I was, but he allowed her to gently place Patches down next to the grave. There I was standing in the warm house, not wanting to go outside because I was afraid to see the lifeless body of the cat who had always been so full of personality. In stark contrast, there was my little Greta taking care of and loving her pet up until the bitter end as if that was just part of her job. She helped wrap Patches in a soft towel before they lowered her onto her familiar cat bed that was resting at the bottom of the grave. They held hands in prayer before gently covering her with the earth. 
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Gavin and Greta’s childhood innocence was so beautiful in those moments. Heaven is so tangible and real to them. It’s not just a concept or a theory. Their minds aren’t marred by the cynicism of this world and I wished I could share in their blissful innocent perspective. I hadn’t anticipated that Greta would be the one comforting me when she spotted the tears in my eyes later in the day, “It’s hard to say goodbye to Patchie, isn’t it, Mommy. It’s okay.” (Oh, LUMP in throat!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

The gloomy afternoon was brightened by a visit from the sweet woman I met in the grocery store a few months ago after she recognized me from the blog. Suzie made a special trip to our house to bring a special stuffed animal kitty for Greta. The kitty used to belong to her daughter Kayla who was now away at college. They had discussed the matter and both agreed that they would like for Greta to have the kitty. Greta graciously accepted the gift and it has not left her side all day. Thank you, Suzie and Kayla for your kindness!

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William and Nora hung out here at the house while the other kids and I went to Crossroads (church).

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We’ve finally gotten into the routine of going back to church, but we have to do it in shifts since we can’t bring Little Miss with us. I’m so happy just to be there regularly, but I do miss having my hubz by my side. As we headed back out to the car afterward the remnants of a beautiful sunset illuminated the sky, three birds of course flying overhead. In the blink of an eye the infusion of pink faded to gray and the long, exhausting day had officially come to an end.

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About Nora’s heel. It looks way, way better today. The reason there was so much bruising is because they had to squeeze a lot of blood from it (about 4 mL). There were other tests that needed to be done as well in addition to the genetic test. Rest assured, it definitely looks better and she’s never appeared to be in any pain except for during the procedure itself.

More pictures from today:

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At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 18:1-3 NIV)

Patches Update

After much thought and discussion we decided not to go the route of the shelter without first talking it over with our vet. Yesterday our vet was going to explore the possibility of increasing the cat’s medicine dosage or seeing if we could switch to a different kind. I was agreeable to that until about 2:35 this morning when I was jolted out of a deep sleep on the couch. A deafening crash erupted just behind my head that surely took about 10 years off my life span. I quickly realized it was the cat who had just fallen over the balcony mid-seizure. She crashed into a glass shelf and bounced onto a crate of portable oxygen tanks before eventually coming to rest on the carpet. I thought for sure she was dead and couldn’t look. Without even thinking I began screaming for William whose heart probably came to a complete stop in that moment. This time he didn’t have the advantage of Nora in his arms to quickly ascertain that it wasn’t her I was screaming about. I didn’t have a second to think things over just having gone from a restful slumber to a state of sheer terror in a matter of 2 seconds. When it was all finally over, the cat seemed fine in that she was walking around and meowing–not limping, or dead. Patches is now sequestered to the basement safe from any drop offs. We’d just gotten finished saying that it’s only a matter of time before she falls off over the balcony or the landing and really gets hurt. Then here we have it less than 12 hours later.

The comments from yesterday suggesting euthanasia over the shelter really made so much sense. Even the kids, when asked, said they’d rather have Patches go to heaven than to a shelter. Obviously our hearts were in the right place – OF COURSE we’d love to find a good home for Patches, but realistically speaking that likelihood wasn’t very probable when there is an overabundance of healthy cats to choose from. This medication seems to have caused Patches to be very sensitive to sound. The slightest wrinkle of a bag or even a cough or a sneeze from one of us is enough to send her over the edge (I guess even literally speaking). A noisy shelter would not be a good environment for her. We feel like we’ve done all that we can within reason and it will break our hearts to say goodbye to her. I had a nice conversation with our vet this afternoon and she agrees that putting Patches to sleep would probably be the best thing to do in light of recent events. There is a 30% chance that any additional medications wouldn’t work either, and they would come with side effects. We are planning on bringing her in tomorrow. :( God gave her to us for a little while and with heavy hearts it’s time to lovingly hand her back to Him. We know we’ll see her again someday.

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Yesterday morning bright and early Nora had an appointment with the genetics department at Children’s Hospital. We were interested in pursuing further testing on her cells to determine the possibility of mosaic trisomy 18, meaning that not every cell in her body is affected by the triple chromosome.

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She has a couple of characteristics (hair whorls, cafe au lait spot) that suggest mosaicism, in addition to the fact that she seems to be doing so well. Nora had to give a blood sample for the testing by means of a heel prick. Poor, poor baby girl did not appreciate this procedure in the very least and gave us an ear full! Despite her sadness about it, she was back to smiling and cooing 10 minutes later.

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Before long we were back home with an urgent baff on order.

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Despite the bruising on her sweet heel, she was as happy as can be!

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The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.
(Colossians 1:15-16 NIV)

Cat

Here are pictures today of a sweet, happy baby girl:

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Morning smiles

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Cuddles with Mommy

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And lots of calls to make

Nora has been such a good little girl lately and really seems to have become comfortable in her own skin – if that makes any sense. She really is a happy baby who so obviously loves being loved. All you have to do is kiss her and she has a bunch of smiles for you. Now if only the cat were as happy as Nora. Patches hasn’t been doing so well with her seizures.

I was putting away laundry in Gavin’s room this afternoon while Nora napped. Suddenly my sense of smell was accosted by the distinct smell of cat pee. I began looking around for visual evidence of it and instead discovered a substantial burn mark in the carpet next to Gavin’s bed. My finger poked through the padding and to the wood. Wow! A couple weeks ago the cat had knocked everything off of Gavin’s night stand during one of her seizures. Trophies, alarm clock, and lava lamp… which had obviously sat smoldering on the carpet for God only knows how long. SOMEHOW our house did not burn to the ground!!!! Gavin had slept through the whole ordeal. I didn’t discover it until the next morning, but somehow missed the glaring burn mark on the carpet. The bulb was no longer lit when I picked everything up. Had to have been divine intervention there!!!

The cat pee ended up being all over Gavin’s bed spread. Patches is obviously losing bladder control during her seizures. The carpet is now ruined, and the fact that we’re not shacked up with relatives because our house burned to the ground is nothing short of a miracle! We’ve spent over $800 trying to figure out what is wrong with this cat with blood tests, urine cultures, etc., etc., etc. They can’t find a single outward reason for the seizures, and the medications are not working. We’re at our wits end with this cat, as if we don’t have enough going on. It is with heavy hearts that we’ve decided to bring her to the shelter with the hopes of finding a good home for her. We are giving orders that we would like to be contacted if they are unable to find her a home, or if her condition worsens, at which point we will determine what the next course of action will be.

I am sick to my stomach over this. We’re assuredly not the type of people to ditch an animal when things get tough. The people and animals we love are loved unconditionally. However, we’ve done everything we can within reason. Maybe there is someone out there who has the time and resources to devote to poor Patches to help her live a somewhat normal life. In addition to all of Nora’s medications I have to keep track of, I can’t justify chasing a pissed off cat around the house 4x a day for medicine time.

Please pray for this transition to go smoothly for all of us, especially for Patches and for Greta. Greta is understandably very upset. Patches was her birthday present last year as a precious tiny little kitten. Please pray that there is someone out there who has the love and time to devote to Patches and that their paths will cross.

:(