Saturday, November 12, 2011

Kitty Party 2011

It is all a sad dream now but at the time it was all so very magical. I thought about even the smallest details and executed every whim of my soon-to-be five-year-old.
When I asked her what one did at a Kitty Party she said:  Paint faces like a kitty, play a game with yarn, play a Kitty Kitty Doggy game, eat cupcakes out of dishes like a cat and crawl around in kitty houses.

If you are wondering how to throw a kitty party, here it is:

1.  Use vintage invites from a summer yard sale and do your best to copy an illustration from 'Millions of Cats' on the envelope.

2. Prepare the goody bags. Gather random small trinkets and roll them up into a ball of yarn. Include kitty buttons and washable markers to use on wash and write kitties.
Inside the yarn: a bell, a ball, a sparkly ring, tiny stickers, a mint, and a nickel.
3. Sew 6 white stuffed kitties.

4. Have your super talented and ever generous neighbor hand paint a sign. Lily still has it in her room. Notice the eye color (like Lily's) and the kitty color(sniff).
5. Hang pennant banner and draw kitty prints leading to the door.
6. Have same talented/generous neighbor stay up waaaaay too late constructing a kitty city out of cardboard. Include residences, town hall, school and other important town amenities. Hand paint city.
7. Display poster from preschool.

8. Hire 14 year old to play the part of 'vet' and give darling and totally hammed-up check up to newly decorated kitties. (I have been told this is very much like Build-a-Bear but since I have never been to B-A-B or heard what they do there, I am still taking credit for this part) Eliza did so great. The kids loved holding their kitty's paw during the shots, picking out a sparkly bandaid (sticker) and giving medicine (m&m's) as well as getting their very own adoption papers signed by a vet.

9. Have previously mentioned hired help string 6 pieces of yarn throughout house for kitties to follow to a treasure. (8b should be paint faces of party-goers to transform them into purrfect meowers)
10. Take treasure (kitty dishes full of stickers) to table to decorate while Birthday Kitty opens gifts (no kid wants to sit and watch another one open gifts)
10b. Let little kittens help.
11. Have a kitty race. 11b. (not pictured): Play Kitty, Kitty, Dog (Duck Duck, you get it)
12. Eat cupcakes out of newly decorated dishes.
13. Move into the Kitty City.

14. Have Daddy bring down a special surprise real pet kitty. Name kitty Willow. Be speachless. Love your life. For three whole days. Man, we are still all so traumatized by the loss of our little kitty. It is embarrassing how sad I still feel about it.

15. Have the happiest little feline in the world.

Not pictured: Reading a kitty story, setting up Willow's pad, weeks of playing in the Kitty City, 3 of the houses crushed and loved to death and covered in snow in my backyard.

Was this party expensive? NO. Did it take a lot of prep time? YES.

Everyone's question: Are we getting her a new cat?
Not immediately. She hasn't asked for one. We are letting her figure out her grief and give it time to heal. She still talks about Willow everyday. She prays that Willow and Orangey will be doing well in heaven. . .everyday. She names herself Willow on Halloween (kitty costume) compares every cat she sees to her late friend. She doesn't cry, though. She is at peace with it but it is still very much on her mind. My good friend brought over a beautiful book "Cat Heaven" by Cynthia Rylant for Lily who has it memorized now. It was a godsend.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Today I dug a hole. I don't use a shovel very often. Not to say that I don't work hard. I do. Or, at least, I feel like I do. But I don't often build, move earth or otherwise have reason to wield large tools regularly. That fact became clear the moment I lifted the handle. The old, sun-bleached wood mocked me like an old horse mocks a new rider. "You don't really know how to use me do you?" it seemed to say. I thought instantly of the last time I had used a shovel. Early in the spring I got a wild hare and decided to dig up a portion of my front lawn (the only part of my lawn not drenched in plant-killing shade) and the shovel mocked me then, too. All day long it laughed at my tender palms as I painstakingly ripped out sod to replace with herbs, tomatoes and few flowers. Somehow, though, today's hole seemed harder to dig. I could blame it on the ivy or the tree roots I chose to dig around, but I know that isn't it. The fact is, the hole I dug today although only about 3 feet deep and 1 foot wide had to hold a portion of my daughter's heart, one of immeasurable depth.
Today Willow, Lily's new kitten, her birthday kitten, the kitten we got 3 days ago, died. She just laid down and didn't get up. I tried feeding her with a dropper. We tried cuddling her. She would not get up. And then, a couple hours later, she was gone.
So, I dug a hole. We picked flowers. She drew pictures. We both cried. And I filled the hole.
Lily is still empty. Two years is a long time to wait for only two days with a kitty. I have a feeling she will be walking to the back of the yard and sitting near that filled hole several times in the next week. Slowly the hole in her heart will heal. Kids are strong, and she is strong. I know that as a mother, this is only the beginning of watching my daughter's heart break. She will be hurt many times and every time I will dig a hole. Every time I will try to something to help her heal. Something tells me that the kind of digging mothers do don't build up calluses. I bet it hurts just as bad each time. The holes, I expect, get bigger with age.
Poor Lily.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Our new kitty did not run away.

When thinking of getting Lily a kitten for her birthday I was on the fence. I knew that the main reason I wanted to was for a big 'Ta Da!' moment at the party. I thought it was likely I would regret the decision a week or so later.

I was wrong.

I regretted it 5 minutes later.

The 'run away' lesson was mostly a joke between Chris and I so we could have an 'out' from the cat.

But, we really aren't that mean. And I really don't regret the cat. . .too much. Of course I am typing this at 3:00 am because I have a kitty who wants to sleep on my throat.

Lily is over the moon and that makes it worth it. Am I feeling the need to compensate all the attention Noli demands of me by getting my 5 year old a kitten? Yeah. But if you listened to her talk about our cat that died everyday for the past 2 years. . .you might break down too. It was pretty cute to watch Lily color her new kitty paper with little Willow sleeping on a pillow next to her.

Caring for a Cat

Kitty Party 2011 was a huge success. I will post details about the party later. Maybe. For now, we are working on teaching Lily the rules of caring for her birthday present. . .an 8 week old kitten. The top five rules we have given her:

5. Don't squeeze too hard.

4. Empty the litter box only when Noli is asleep. Noli must never know of this pile of sand.

3. No screaming.

2. Kitties sleep a lot so they need not be carried, coddled, cushioned, caressed or dressed 24 hours a day.

And the number one rule we introduced to Lily today:

1. Kitties sometimes run away.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I Once Had a Cat That Was Orange

by Lily

I once had a cat that was orange. It was a good cat and a bad cat. It was very very nice and I loved it. Orangey was good and very very nice. I loved it more than anything and it was very very very good. I love the cat.
My cat is now writing on paper with his claws. He was a very good eater. He liked his treats and just a minute let me think. . .and if he did not find a treat I throwed he will just look at me and I will just throw him another one and he will eat it. Orangey sang to cats. Now that's a good cat. I miss my cat. He was not a good hunter. Pedro was his mom. She was a good hunter. She once caught a cricket. Orangey died on October when I turned 3. I would like to have a new cat. I think it will be the same cat as Pedro but a kitten. I think it will be so cute. I think one is so cute that I saw. I am very good. I will name my kitty Black-Orange and that is the end of my story.
by Lilikoi Clara Nilsson
The End

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Oh what a difference a year makes. Now you sleep, nap, even! Now you walk and sometimes try to run. Now you snuggle your face on my shoulder. Now you look for your sister everywhere. Now you have a special squeal you use only when you see an animal. Now you think raisens are great and salad is less great. Now you can kiss.
Now is good. Now you are one.

But forever you mine. My sweet, Magnolia girl.

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl.

Friday, June 3, 2011


Kids are funny.

Lily:  You know why we have to wait until we are eight years old to be baptized?
Chris:  Why?
Lily:  Because, we would be waaaay to short!  I would totally be drownded in that thing!  I learned that in primary.

Except when they try to be.

Knock! Knock!
Who's there?
Why did the chicken cross the road?
Uh. . .to get the other si. .
I give up.
Keep guessing.  You have to guess more! (the excitement has induced uncontrollable jumping)
Uh. . .to see his friend.
Nope!  (we are reaching Christmas-esque levels of anticipation)
To go to school?
NOPE! (I think she stopped breathing for a second. . .)
I really give up, why did the chicken cross the road?
To see if he could go over there by the other chickens and talk to them and then go to the store and then something else and then aren't you so glad I didn't say 'banana'?
Of course.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Quick Cricket Preschool Presents. . .

I have big ideas.  I like complicated plans.  I make things hard.  These are not entirely bad qualities.  Unfortunately, I am also NOT a perfection and thus my grand schemes are often poorly executed.  This time, though. . .this time. . .things (I hope) will be different.

I have started a new blog for my preschool.  And, yes, my idea was bigger than my ability to complete it but I have put a few things up.  One thing I do plan to post about is our epic end of the year program including our theatrical production of the classic children's book The Giant Jam Sandwich.  Tomorrow.  3:30 pm.  Bountiful Library.  Basement.  Come one!  Come all!

I am only suffering from a mild case of anxiety about tomorrow.  And, I have prepared enough that  I think I might actually be able to get some sleep tonight.

We'll see.  I am blogging right now rather than getting ready, so, maybe not.

Stay tuned over at to see how it all turned out.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Brown Eyes

It is a good thing you have those brown eyes, Noli.  Those deep, brown, chesnut eyes are your life insurance.  They keep you alive.  Even after you have been up 8 times in a night, or screamed all day, or drawn blood from my neck from your razor sharp nails, those eyes remind me how much I love you.  When you look through your sisters baby books (yes, plural) and thumb through the many, many baby pictures of her and look at me with those beautiful brown eyes and ask "Where are mine?"  I will have to just put your little chubby hand on my heart and say "right here".   It is not that I loved you any less or cared any less or forgot.  It is that I was just too tired.  I was keeping you alive.  I was surviving.  I couldn't take a lot of pictures because I could barely keep my teeth brushed let alone find the camera or download pictures.  I couldn't fill in little cute things you did every single day because I could barely get the laundry clean and even then it mostly sat on my closet floor, not so much folded in the drawers.  I couldn't record every milestone because I still had your sister to entertain and a preschool class to plan and church calling to fulfill.  It isn't that I didn't want to.  It is just that I couldn't.  But I still love you.  Oh how I love you.  I need only to look into those (mostly watering from tears) big, brown eyes to remember how much I love you.
Here are a few milestones to remember while I have a few minutes while you are in bed.  I am sure I will get to see those brown eyes again in an hour or so, but until then, here are a few things I remember from the last few months.

You are now 9 and 1/2  months old.
Over the past 9 months your AVERAGE wakes during the night were 5-6.
You have slept through the night one time.  It was last week.  I woke up 4 times.
You got your first tooth at 7 and 1/2 months.  You are a pretty crabby baby.  When you teeth, you are terrible.  You are teething now.  I still love you.
You got your second tooth at 9 months.
You crawled at 8 months.
You stood up at 8 and 1/2 months.
You can now walk around furniture and sit down from standing.
You can say mama, dada, baba, buhbuh.  Lily is done waiting for you to say her name and has decided that when you say baba that means sister and when you say buhbuh that means Lily.  I think she is right.
You had your first infection last week.  You are still a little sick.  I got it.  I am still very sick.  I still love you.
You are in the 85th percentile for height and 65th for weight.  You have slimmed down a bit since becomming mobile.  Doctor said that is normal and good.
You have a red birth mark at the back of your neck.  It gets brighter when you get mad.  It is bright a lot. I still love you.
You are busy.  You are destructive.  You are smart.  You are cute, chubby and kissable.  I love your smile so much and your laugh even more.  I wish I saw your smile more last week but I know you didn't feel well.  I wish you never had to be sick.  I wish I didn't need as much sleep as I do.  I wish you needed more.  I wish I was a better mother.  I wish I had more time.  I wish I was a better user of the time I have.  I wish I knew what you were thinking.  I wish you could know how much I love you.  Even when I am tired.  Even when I have to put you in your crib for a minute screaming.  Even when I am crying, too.  Even when I threaten to sell you to the first person with a crisp dollar bill (kidding).  Even when I think I can't survive one more night, one more day, one more minute.  You still have those brown eyes, and I still love you.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I love teaching history to preschoolers.  Here are a couple of gems from my own budding historian.

Me:  Who remembers what special man we celebrated yesterday?

Lily:  Martin Burger King Carl's Junior


Me:  Who remembers who the first president of the United States was?

Lily:  Dollarton Lincoln

I could not make this stuff up if I tried.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

We don't need no stinkin' wheat!

It is important that, while reading this post, you imagine me eating an entire box of Country Creme Organic Ginger Lemon cookies.  That is what I am doing while writing it so it only makes sense.  I bought a box of these cookies a couple of weeks ago.  I was saving them for a special time or day when I would need them.    After finding out that my daughter has Celiac disease and we must now rid our home of all gluten containing products, I feel like now is that special time.  And working with the timeless idioms of "waste not, want not" and "if you eat enough of something in one sitting and make yourself ill, you may never want that thing again" I plan to rid my house of these particular gluten offenders one cream-filled center at a time.  The vanilla ones I bought on accident, however, will be going to the chickens unless someone comes over to my house later this afternoon to claim them.
Although a diagnosis of Celiac is on the lighter end of the chronic malady spectrum (leukemia, Down's, etc. being on the darker end), I imagine the initial blow is somewhat similar.  My life will never be the same.  Everything will change.  And while in our case, those changes will ultimately mean a cure, recovery and a lifestyle we will eventually find normal, I still am in that first phase of shock and denial, so please, be patient.
It is hard to hear that there is something wrong with your kid.  Anything.  We all want them (even think them) to be perfect.  I still think Lily is perfect.  Except her gut, which is apparently all kids of screwed up! Since September she has thrown up every three weeks and has complained of almost constant and sometimes excruciating stomach pain in between.  After rounds of blood work she finally got fitted for a suit of Celiac, or an intolerance to gluten, the main protien in wheat (and several other grains).   While this seems at first horrific, it is really a solution rather than a problem.  The problem is Lily's constant discomfort, the solution?  Lay off the bread.  In a best case scenario, under strict dietary changes she may even be able to recover fully and eventually tolerate gluten to some extent later on.  For now, we just hope to stop the all-nighter puke-fests and stomach pains.
It is a little overwhelming when you start researching all that has gluten in it.  Playdough, soy sauce, shampoo, vitamins, the list is staggering.  I really feel like I am going back to school learning what is healthy and what is not.  I feel so. . .novice.  Novice, but determined to learn.  It is also amazing if you compile a list of all the things that don't contain gluten.  That list is more practical, at least for my sanity. Glass half full and all that.  Still, even though I can intellectually say "it isn't that bad.  I can DO this.  I like to make new recipes.  We love Asian food" and all the rest, sometimes I still want to cry because we can't go to Kneaders anymore.  Really!  I should be happy that all that is required to fix my daughter is a shift in diet and not lifelong medication or surgery, and I am.  However, I do love bread.  I really do.  And I will mourn it's loss from our home.  
I hope that my life won't be defined by our being gluten-free.  I don't want that do be what Lily or myself is all about.  However, I know that for awhile, it will be.  While we learn, while we adapt, it will have to occupy a big part of our brains, time and, unfortunately for those that know us, our conversations.  It won't always be like that.  I have faith that we will slip into a routine and living gluten-free will just be that.  Nothing complicated just life.  I am already grateful for friends and family that have been so supportive and helpful in the last week and a half.  It just proves what I already knew: people are good and gluten is bad.  Well, at least I knew the first part.

Today we tried Cherrybrook Kitchen's Gluten Free Dreams Pancake/Waffle mix.  I added an egg to the recipe and made heart shaped waffles for our snack at preschool.  They were SO GOOD.  I served them plain, no syrup or anything and the kids all said they were the best waffles they ever had (maybe the shape?).  We will definatetly try that one again.   Also for snack we had a fruit/rice milk smoothie and hard boiled eggs.  Yum!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

18 seconds may be all you need. . .

. . .to get an idea of the silliness that occurs here on a regular basis.   This went on for a while but my memory was full of Christmas morning video, which later got deleted while I was transferring it to the computer.  
I love my silly girls.  Lily is sweeter than I could have hoped to her sister and Magnolia loves Lily more than milk itself.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Hi, I'm Noli

Or Magnolia, or Maggie, Maggie Moo, Magstar, Noles, Maggie-Noles, Sista, Magpie, Bubba Chubs, Grabby McPaws, Babes, or any other ridiculous nick-name my parents and sister decide to give me that day.  Apparently, being the youngest means you can be called whatever the heck comes to mind and it flies.  And they wonder why I have been so fussy these 6 months. . .pick a name, people!  Sorry.  Had to get that out.

Well, there it is.  I'm six months old.  I nap now, so that is new since my mom posted.  She is pretty excited about it, can't stop talking about it actually, but I don't know what the big whoop is, it is JUST A CRIB, people.  Between you and me, I liked my swing better.  Too bad I got too big and broke it.  Who makes baby swings with weight limits anyway?  Oh, and (funny story) if you think those weight limits are just for legal reasons. . .you're wrong. 
What else?  Well, my parents have started giving me real food. . .sort of.   I just want some food.  Is that too much to ask?  Dad usually is the one to feed me.  Mom says it is a bother and is just easier to nurse.  I will be a monkey's uncle if I am going to be nursing when I go to nursery, though, I'll tell you that much.  Dad gives me carrots, or spinach or sweet potato that mom has whirled up in her fancy shmancy blender.  It is okay.  Whatever.  I grabbed a fist full of guacamole today off of Dad's plate, now THAT's what I'm talking about!  Mom wiped it off of me before I could get too much, but you know I got a good tongue-ful before!  Woot!  Oh, and if there is one thing I have learned in my six months on Earth it is this:  guacamole tastes good but it does not feel good in your eye.
Let's see, what did I do today?  Well, we had early church, so that meant an earlier tantrum from big sis.  That girl will not wear shoes, I don't know what the fuss is.  I just let mom put them on and then kick them off on the way inside the chapel.  She is usually too busy to notice and then, no shoes!  Much easier.  Church is now at nap time so, since I nap now, I did sleep during half of sacrament.  Then, just for fun, I decided to see if I could make it through the rest of church without eating.  I did it!  Mom tried to feed me before she went to young women, but I was strong!  Relentless, even.  It. Was.  Awesome.  The real bummer was, that as soon as church ended, I was done with my experiment and Mom made me wait all the way until we got home to eat.  We live 3 BLOCKS AWAY!  It was torture.  I made my family suffer with me.  It only seemed fair.
Later my mom undressed me for a bath with sister.  I LOVE baths.  They are the best.  Wet?  Naked?  What's not to like?  Then her phone rang.  I was already naked, all she had to do was put me in the bath.  The water was there.  Sister was there.  Why was I not there?  Yak yak yak. . .what about my bath?  You see, the whole incident could have been avoided if my mom would just put a few hours a day into learning to read my mind.  Instead she insists on over-enunciating monosyllabic phrases right at my face as if I am a moron.  I know you are my Maaaaaaa-Maaaaaa but I want a Baaaaaaaaaaath.  Not too tough.  But I digress.  So Maaaaaaa-Maaaaa is chatting it up with her sister all the while holding me and I am STILL naked but NOT in the bath.  ARGH!  She left me no choice.  I did what any baby under that kind of abuse would do.  I peed on her.  A lot.  It was effective.  I will have to remember that.
After bath time I watched my sister for awhile.  That girl is hil-AR-ious.  Sometimes she stands in front of me, jumps and screams at my face.  It is so funny.  Seriously, you have got to see it.  I don't know how she comes up with this stuff.  Then, she started running in and out of the room while singing one of my Mama's favorite songs ever "Jingle Bell Rock".  So funny.  SO FUNNY!  I laughed until I peed (in my diaper this time, I am sorry to report) but then Mama made her stop.  Kill joy, that woman.   I voiced my disgust first by telepathy, of course, and then, because I fear she is still not on board with the baby ESP I broke two vintage ornaments off of the tree.
Dinner was the worst.  Mama said she didn't want to give me any real food since I had already had 2 baths and it was getting late.  What!?!  Lame.  Again, I tried to indicate to her my displeasure through peaceful mind waves but, no.  Nothing.  I pulled her full glass of cold water onto her crotch.  Someone was getting wet and if it wasn't going to be me. . .

All in all, it was a good day.  Mama wants me to sleep through the night tonight, but, seeing as it took me 5 months to even take a nap, I am just not seeing that as happening.  Maybe if I can get a rueben or a Cafe Rio salad before bed we can talk.  But, you come at me with that weak-sauce veggie puree and you better be getting me up to feed several times during the night.  Just sayin'.
Before I go, I want to leave you with a list of my talents.  I have been reading these blogs about babies and they all have lists of talents.  Ahem.  Here are mine:
Sitting up
Panting like a dog
Peeing in the tub
Rolling over from tummy to back
Jumping in my jump-a-roo
Smiling at anyone who looks at my face
Making noise
Grabbing at food
Grabbing at faces
Simultaneously grunting and screaming (you know it!)
Kissing Mama's face
Making my family smile
Getting the hiccups
Starting to play copy-cat

Well, blogosphere, it has been fun.  I am sure I will be back. . .probably in 3 months or so.  Until then, all my love to my fellow babies and to all the mothers out there:  JUST PUT YOUR KID IN THE BATH!