Friday, January 31, 2014

Jack and the Banana

My Sweet Jack and his Banana

It all started with a catnip filled banana.

Jack's Aunt Jackie brought it to me at our big Holiday Party on Saturday to give to Jack.  It was a really nice thing for her to do.  She loves her little Lucky, who is Jack's sweet sister.  The catnip banana was a special treat from Lucky and Aunt Jackie just for my Jack.

I hurried up and slipped it into my purse, which was on the bed in the master bedroom, because I didn't want to lose it.  Jack's brother Leo happened to be in the bedroom at the time. I chatted with him a little bit.  I told him that Jack was doing great and said "HI", you know, the usual.

Leo was watching me intently the whole time.

Jack's brother Leo was watching me
Now, both Jack's brothers, Leo and Piper, were adopted by my friend Mark, so I am privileged to see all the family from time to time.  It's been fun to watch them grow and develop into very different personalities.

May I add that Leo and Piper, since they live together, often get into a lot of trouble together, too!

 They are hooligans.
Very sweet and funny hooligans, but hooligans, none the less.

When I got home from the party, I told Jack I had something special for him that his Aunt Jackie had given to me.

Then, I started to go through my stuff from the party.  Jack helped.

First, we took everything out of the bag.

Jack even did a thorough sniff test.  It yielded no results!
Then, we put everything back in.

We looked around.

And, as Jack continued his very careful examination of the tote bag I'd brought home with me, I started going through my purse.

The Banana Catnip Toy was NOWHERE TO BE FOUND!

Jack kept looking because he knew it was for him and he knew it was a cool toy.

He just didn't want to give up.

Jack even got into the tote to see if he could find his present.
It was a tight fit.
He did everything he could to help search.  It was to no avail!

All to no avail
Jack was sad.  I was sad.

Then suddenly I remembered... Leo!


I wrote a quick email to Leo's Dad.  I briefly told him the story and then I said, "Now, I'm not accusing your cat child of stealing, I'm just saying the temptation may have been too great..."

Mark replied, "I'm not saying that any of my kids did anything... But, when I got home tonight, I found a banana wrapped in chewed on plastic."


Leo had stolen the catnip banana out of my purse that night, the little stinker!  My guess is he nabbed it as soon as I left the room.

Leo, the culprit!
When I told Jack's Aunt Jackie about this situation, she was so kind. She immediately sent Jack another catnip banana in the mail.

When Jack got it the following day, he was overjoyed!

I got a banana!
Sorry these are blurry, they were ACTION SHOTS.
 Jack loved


The banana catnip toy is now full of cat spit.  It has been dragged all over the carpet.

I think Jack has forgiven his brother for stealing his toy.  What do you think?

As Aunt Jackie remarked, "That Kitty Pot is a pretty potent temptation!"  

I think I'm going to have a little talk about catnip with my nephew Leo the next time I see him!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Equestrian Babies

Little Miss Serious on her pony
My Nephew's children had their first equestrian experience this fall. Livia has a good seat for being only 2, although she looks a bit nervous. Fred looks a bit more comfortable, but then, at age four, he's quite grown up.

  Looks like they had a good time!

Fred on a dappled pony

Fred had a beautiful girl leading his pony!
The ponies look sweet and gentle, don't they?

A pink saddle blanket is so right for this little pumpkin
I get the impression Livia doesn't quite know what to make of this experience.  She's hanging on pretty tightly!

I love the pink helmet.

Livia steals a look at the camera
Livia looks like she's asking her dad why the heck he's making her do this thing.  Fred, on the other hand, thinks this horse riding business is OKAY!

What a fun experience for two little ones!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Party Time!

The gang's all here, arriving with presents

My friends and I hold a big all-day Christmas bash every year... in January.  That's right, in JANUARY. Let's face it, December is rather hectic in many ways, and its Saturdays are tied up with shopping as well as work, church and family functions.  We also have several members of our circle of friends who travel "home" for the holidays to visit relatives in other states.

So, we pick a Saturday in January where we can meet, eat, exchange gifts, and generally enjoy each other's company.  This year it just happened a little later in January than usual.  One more Saturday and it would have been in February... However, that fact didn't seem to stop the Christmas cheer!

First we spent some time bringing in gifts, saying HI and getting settled.  Then, dinner was served!  This year it was brought in from Boston Market.  We had turkey and all the fixings!
Our host Mark enjoying his turkey dinner
There were also more treats than you could possibly imagine for snacking and dessert.  Here we see Elaine and Robin enjoying their dinner.  They had to move aside the mountain of cookies, brownies and fudge to accomplish this.

Elaine and Robin and the mountain o' cookies and other goodies
Okay, there was also a veggie tray and, of course, there were Jackie's famous deviled eggs.  Yum!

See?  We can be healthy, too!

Then, once everyone was fed, the partying began.  

We always open with a game of silly presents called the "Pic N Save" gifts.  Pic N Save was actually the name of a discount store many years ago which is now called Big Lots.  The idea is to purchase something for $5 or less.  It helps if it makes folks laugh.

Julie opens a gag gift as Laura and Maura look on
Then, we move on to the serious gift exchange.  There are so many of us, that years ago we began drawing names for gift giving.  This doesn't stop some people from being generous and giving gifts to everyone!

It is gift giving mayhem, I tell you.

Abbie opening her gifts
We take turns opening our gifts and sharing our exclamations of joy with everyone.  This is a lively bunch and we are very loud (there are usually 10 different conversations going on at any one time) and opinionated... and very generous.

Our friend Barbara moved to Virginia, so she participated via Skype.

Barbara participating
Although she looked great, it turns out Barbara had the flu and wasn't feeling well, so we're glad she stayed home in Virginia.  (No offense, Barb!)  Hope the computer doesn't catch the virus.  (Just kidding!)

There were more presents than you could possibly imagine.
Handing out the gifts
My friends know how to give great gifts.
What on earth is this?
Maura looks on while Jackie takes her turn opening presents

Hey, look!  It's a  Cute Thing!
Maura contemplates the strange bag with a ribbon (below).  When we play the goofy Pic N Save gift game, you can steal from someone else.

So, do I keep this?  Hmmmm....
There would be wrapping paper and ribbons everywhere, but we've long ago learned to keep a trash bag handy.  If we don't, the ferocious kitties would eat the ribbons, and possibly the wrapping paper.

You know how they are!

Mark with one of his ferocious kitties
But I digress.

We're still having a good time and opening presents...
Julie and Laura with their "haul"
Lots and Lots of presents.
Laura going through the gift pile
This goes on for HOURS.

Lisa was buried under a pile of her gifts
It's a lot of fun.

Look, I got a cross-stitched sheep!
Our Host, Mark, had a fairly simple list this year.  He got a TARDIS shower curtain, which he promptly (and with great excitement) hung up in the bathroom.  He also got some other interesting things.

Mark opening his gifts while Peggy and others look on

Thumb light saber wars...
Okay,  you had to be there.
Along with giving and receiving funny and interesting gifts, we always seem to end up wearing the ribbons.

It's a thing.

Peace love dove, everyone.
Maura hams it up for the camera
We can be pretty silly.

Have I mentioned that already?

A serious moment?
Naw, there weren't any of those!  We laughed a lot!

I came home just dripping with glitter from this bow!
It's wonderful to have good friends that you feel totally at home with.  These people are like family. There's always a moment at these gatherings when I look around and note with satisfaction how much I love these people.  They are all interesting, intelligent, kind and very funny.

Watching the unwrapping
Have I mentioned we laugh a lot?

Our host
Poor Mark.  He keeps his Christmas decorations up every year until after the big holiday party.  Actually, he said he put the tree up AFTER Christmas this year just for the party!  (You can just glimpse it behind him, and at the bottom of this post!)

Paula opening her stash
See?  Maura and I are not the only goofy people in the group!   Paula actually looked pretty good with her ribbon on.  It matched her shirt.

Peggy and Paula
Robin, did it too.
Robin and Elaine
We're all so fashion forward.

Robin finally has her own Minion!
Elaine creates counted cross-stitch Christmas tree decorations and bookmarks for us each year.  She does beautiful work.  I really liked the minion she created for Robin.

Each one of us got a little Disney ornament from Cathy this year.  This is Robin showing hers off.

I showed off mine, too, when it was my turn.

We're like that.

I love my friends.  Okay, I've already mentioned that.  This is the best party of the year, even though our other ones are pretty good, too.

Thanks for the good food, laughter and gifts and especially for your friendship.  It was worth waiting an extra month past Christmas for!