Monday, July 4, 2011

Fireworks and a Birthday

This story begins on a warm October day in Georgia. I had woken with this metallic taste in my mouth that no amount of tooth brushing could wash away. I vaguely thought that this had happened before but could not quite place the cause. I thought I was getting sick or having some kind of allergic reaction to something. While unloading groceries from the van, I was consumed with pulling a memory from the fringes of my mind and solving this metallic taste problem. Finally it dawned on me; I was pregnant. It was the same taste I had in the early days of my first pregnancy. I had to wait about four weeks for the doctor's confirmation, but I knew life was forever changing.

My pregnancy was pretty uneventful. I had been fortunate to have had no pregnancy complications during my pregnancies and very little morning sickness. With Mimi my toothpaste made me sick. After trying numerous trial size toothpastes, I was able to tolerate the old fashion Crest toothpaste.

A difference during this pregnancy was not finding out the gender of the baby. With the boys I just had to know. During this pregnancy I was confident that the baby was a boy and I didn't need sonogram confirmation. I was going to use a beach theme for the baby's room and I only had a couple of baby items left from the boys' baby days so gender didn't really matter.

Doug and I decided to name our little boy Trey Ambrose. Trey for three because this would be boy number three and Ambrose for St. Ambrose. We had our original girl's name since the days of Dugger's birth and would use that on the off chance that we had a girl.

T-man was most excited by the thought of a new addition to the family. He cried when I told him that the baby would be a boy as he wanted a baby sister. (It's funny now because he and his sister fight like cats and dogs. Be careful what you wish for.) T-man would always touch my belly and talk to baby Trey.

Mimi was due mid-July but like the boys she decided to arrive on a holiday. I woke on the morning of July 4th with labor pains. I didn't want to have a long labor at the hospital but at the same time the hospital was about 30 miles from our home. So Doug and I headed off while my mom and youngest sister stayed home with the boys. On the way to the hospital Doug and I were trying to decide if we should change the baby's name to something more patriotic. Doug liked Patrick Henry and I liked Samuel. We never came to a clear consensus on the drive to the hospital. I figured we'd decide after we saw our baby boy.

Once at the hospital my labor stopped but the doctor decided to have me stay because of the long drive. So the doctor broke my water and labor resumed. Hard labor came quickly and the nurse delivered my baby girl as the doctor entered through the doorway. Surprise, surprise we had a teeny tiny baby girl. She was so tiny that none of the unisex clothes we had fit her. She wore a pink cotton onesie home from the hospital that was too big . My mom and I had to search the stores for premie clothes.

Because of my baby boy blunder, T-man would cuddle up to his baby sister and in his sweet adoring voice call her Trey and then say oops Mimi. As we settled into life with baby number three we've had quite the adventure. When Mimi was about four months old Doug was out of town and she had an asthma attack. Dugger who has asthma was four or five years old before he showed asthmatic conditions. In the evening after she coughed and coughed and I paced and paced with her, I broke down and called our pediatrician's emergency number. This is something I had never done before and was amazed when he called me within minutes of my leaving a message. I'm crying and telling him Doug's out of town. I even hold the phone up to Mimi so he can hear her coughing (although I don't think he needed to hear her to know what was going on.) In the nicest, calmest voice he told me to give her the nebulizer treatment that I would give Dugger, told me exactly what to do, and to meet him at his office Saturday morning. Dr. C. holds a special place in my heart.

Let's see, when Mimi was three she was attacked by the neighbor's dog who escaped into our yard. The boys beat the dog off with their plastic golf clubs as Doug charged outside to chase the dog away. I held her still and swaddled in a sheet as the emergency room doctor put stitches in her head.

Oh yeah, even though she was born on the Fourth of July she hated fireworks. She has an acute sense of hearing and the exploding sounds hurt her ears. She used ear plugs, put her hands over her ears, and I had to put my hands over her ears too. Within the last two years she has finally enjoyed firework displays.
Mimi has been a lot of fun too. She is a great dancer and loves to perform. She's a very good swimmer and loves the summer swim team. She finally realized that she has phenomenal mathematical abilities and loves math.

She also loves to read. If you know Mimi you know that she is never without a book. The year the movie Bridge to Terabithia was coming out she wanted to read the book then see the movie. Knowing what a sensitive soul she is, I cautioned her about the sadness of the book. I even broke down and told her that a child dies at the end of the book. She still insisted that she could handle it so I gave her my copy of the book. Several evenings later, I hear this boo hoo hoo coming from the hallway and she launches herself in my arms. Sobbing she says, "You told me someone dies. You didn't tell me it was Leslie." That was our first venture into more mature books.
Last summer Mimi decided to reread all the Harry Potter books in order to get ready for Part I of the last movie. Her personal goal was seven books in seven days. Now, the last several books in the Potter series are quite lengthy. She told me that she'd have to finish the first three books in less than three days so she could spend more than one day each for the last couple of books. She sat and walked around all week with a book open. She was mad at me because I made her clean her room and help with the basement clean up during her goal week. She didn't make her goal because Grandma and Megan, Mimi's cousin, came to visit and she didn't want to be anti-social.

In the summer we both read A Midsummer's Night Dream with plans to go see the play at the Shakespeare Festival. This year she read My Sister's Keeper for a school assignment. We had quite the discussion about the book and disappointment in the movie.

Mimi loves animals and constantly wants to add more to our home and school brood. She is particularly interested in a mouse or hamster. She is quite phobic about spiders, bees, wasps, etc. so I'm a bit surprised that she followed in her brothers' zoo experiences and is a Jr. Zoo Keeper. She's handled hissing cockroaches, snakes, and has dissected fish. She's even been stung by a bee in the goat yard.She performs on stage as a dancer but gets physically ill as an altar server at Church. She's the only one of my children that likes to go to Adoration with me in the wee hours of the night. She serves others with a smile and this summer she volunteered to help me teach my crafting classes and she has been very helpful. We've had a fast paced year with two graduations, a Confirmation, family crisis, her dad's illness, and college visits. With those ups and downs we have seen Mimi mature and rise to the challenges of growing up. Right now she is reveling in the fact that she'll be the only child at home this fall. As Mimi's grown we've had our share of emotional drama as well as interesting discussions and great fun. There are so many more things I could share about my baby girl but I think I've said enough for today. Happy Birthday to my amazing baby girl.

Monday, May 16, 2011

College Bound

No I'm not heading back to college for another degree. Although, I've had a few thoughts about that lately and am toying with an idea. Shhh don't tell Doug.

This is about my baby boy. He will graduate from high school soon and I wanted to share the adventures and frustrations of his college search. In his junior year, he went to a couple of college showcase nights to get a feel for many colleges across our state and the U.S. Let me tell you those recruiters are everything. My son who knew nothing of Michigan State, decided after one of these showcases that it was at the top of the list (right behind our local state university) of possible colleges to attend. Up to this point he had maintained a dedicated desire to attend our local college (where his dad and I work). We use to laugh about him living in the dorm that can be viewed from our family room window. We figured that his dad and I could post signs advertising the dinner menu in our front window for him. We'd get him home with those signs!

So in the summer between his junior and senior year we began making college visits. We thought we would be right in the game of college planning. We soon found out that we were running to catch up in the race for college selections and scholarships. The whole family headed out in July to go to East Lansing, Michigan. Doug, T-man, Mimi, and I attended high school preview orientation. It was my first ever college preview for high school students.
I was quickly sold on Michigan State. The head of academic advising was phenomenal at making you believe that this was the place to be. Everyone was friendly and helpful and things ran so smoothly. If you ever have the chance to visit the campus, I highly recommend it. It is simply gorgeous with mature trees, green grass, and a river running through the middle of campus. Sparty is not too bad either. On the academic side they offered a very nurturing college within a college program for natural science majors. When we returned home T-man immediately applied to MSU.
As the summer came to a close T-man and Doug made a few day trips to some of our other state colleges. T-man applied to several of these schools as well. After each trip, I'd ask how he liked the college. He'd say, "It's good." Do you think you'd like going to school there? "Yes." Do you have a favorite? "No."

In family discussions as Doug and I tried to get a sense of what our son was interested in studying and in turn evolving into a career, besides science. We began to steer him towards engineering. T-man has a strong math and science aptitude, is a great tinkerer, and is good at creative problem solving. With his interest in this new focus, we began looking at engineering colleges.

At this point (early October) I was done with college visits. My impatience and need for control was being held in tight reign while think enough already make a decision! Instead we headed off to the University of Illinois. I like the U of I about as much as I like the University of Florida. But I was good, so very good. I constantly reminded myself that this phase of our lives was not about me but about my baby. Off to the U of I we trekked. The nuturing feel good vibes of MSU were definitely not at the U of I and their arrogance was quite clear. Yet as we toured the engineering quad, I could see my son's eyes lighting up. It was hard not to be enamored with all the state of the art tools and research labs. Even I was getting excited. The concrete machine that stress tested concrete was amazing. He was definitely feeling pulled towards the U of I.

Not wanting to limit T-man's engineering options, Doug and T-man headed to Purdue. I didn't go on this trip, as someone has to teach those kindergartners. When T-man came home with a Purdue sweatshirt and stars in his eyes, I knew he was sold. But there was one last college to visit.

On my school holiday we headed to Southern Illinois Edwardsville to check out their engineering program. I had heard that it was a lovely campus nestled in a small town. All of that was true. SIUE pulled at my heartstrings as it reminded me of the Georgia campus where Doug and I worked for many years. Unfortunately they were a bit disorganized with their orientation and seemed unable to handle the large crowd. I was ready to leave without finishing the preview. As they did have admissions advisors available my son and I sought them out to find out what was holding up his acceptance to this school. The advisor was very helpful and looked up his file. The missing information was located in another file and they admitted him on the spot and began handing him scholarship information, explaining in detail how to apply for these school scholarships. That lifted our spirits. We spent the day getting the full tour. The engineering college was nice but lacked that wow factor of the "big" schools.

Now, Mimi loved the school and declared that she is going to go to SIUE and major in engineering. (In the summer it was USF and a major in Spanish.) Luckily we have time, lots of time. Although time seems to move quickly around here. It seems like yesterday that T-man was running around the Citadel quad with a cadet silhouetted in his shadow and I had a teary moment thinking of my four year old growing into that cadet and heading off to college.The time had arrived when T-man began receiving acceptance letters to most of the schools for which he applied. I thought we'd have a big college acceptance unveiling in December once all the college acceptance letters were received. The big schools have one big early admittance mail/e-mail day in December. Unfortunately T-man was crushed when he did not get admitted to Purdue. We were all quite shocked and it put a pallor over our anticipated reveal. It's so hard to see your child so disappointed. There was a good lesson in this rejection for T-man and his sister. Test scores are wonderful but consistently strong grades and service are big factors as well for these highly desired schools. I also reminded him that he had to have faith in the fact that there is a reason beyond what we can see for his future. He could take solace in numerous acceptance letters to a variety of colleges and universities (MSU included) as well as two scholarships offers to two of the colleges.

For me, not being able to keep this disappointment from my baby's life was painful. Unfortunately it also meant that a college selection would probably be a long time in coming. Finally Doug and I set a "signing date" of April 1st for T-Man. For most schools May 1st is the college and university acceptance deadline. He kept Doug and I guessing till the very end. We figured that it would be Illinois State or Southern Illinois Edwardsville. Up till the last moments, I still felt like giving a nudge for MSU.

Where's the school of choice? Southern Illinois Edwardsville and an academic scholarship!!

Now it's the last days of school, graduation, and celebrations. Oh yeah, and summer jobs for all of us (except Mimi) to help with college expenses.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Photos and a Birthday

For my 40th birthday my mom had my brother make a DVD of family photos of me through the years. It was a wonderful surprise and a wonderful addition to my sparse collection of older family photos.One of my favorite photos (1968). Sister #2 is on the left and I am on the right.

When my brother's 40th birthday loomed near, my mother asked me to make a DVD for him. In my movie making novice, I was quite excited to continue the gift of a photographic timeline. I had previously used a software not really designed for movies to make some simple slideshows. I really wanted to pull out all the stops for my brother so I began looking for a Mac movie software and ended up with iMovie and iDVD.

I began scanning pictures my mom sent, used pictures from the DVD my brother made, and perused my albums for photos of my brother. Doug helped me with the music selection and my artistic fervor took over. I burned DVDs, made a CD of photos, and designed a lovely cover for the jacket of the DVD and CD case. I am often quite late when it comes to completing projects by a deadline. It's one of those flaws that I continue to struggle with. So I was thrilled to have completed my project before my brother's April birthday, I called my mom to tell her I'd send the DVDs and CDs to her so she could unveil the movie on my brother's birthday.

Spiderman and my brother (my brother is on the right.)

As you can imagine, my mom was quite happy and was a bit caught up in my excitement as I gave a detailed play by play of the arrangement of photos, music rejects and selections and how I mastered the trickier parts of the software to get the look and feel that I was striving for. When I finally paused and took a breath my mom said, "You do know that your brother's 40th birthday is next year and not this year." Somehow my mom, siblings, and nieces found this to be quite humorous and often remind me of this when I promise to do something for them.

So for some reason my mom, once again handed me a stack of photos and asked if I would make a DVD for my baby sister's (sister #3) 40th birthday. She started early and gave me photos quite awhile ago to scan. I began a desktop folder and went through my brother's photos, my photos, and the folder that I started for sister number 2 who is a year younger than me, looking for digital pictures of sister number 3. My mom would occasionally ask when we called each other if I had begun scanning the photos and I'd say no not yet.

I'd open my file cabinet drawer and see the stack of my sister's photos and think, I've got to get this project going. This spring one of my son's friends sent me an e-mail saying that he was going on a mission trip with his church and was interested in working for people to earn money for this trip. I thought with this young man's help I could quite possible get my sister's DVD finished during her birthday month of May.

The young man came over the day after Easter. I explained the task and gave him a quick demonstration of my scanner. He began work in earnest while conversing with my son. He put in a full day that included going out to lunch with my husband and son, playing XBox with my son (who introduced this young man to the concept of Hatch kid "breaks", and finally completed the stack of photos I gave him. Unfortunately I had another stack still in the file cabinet and he mysteriously hasn't come back to scan more photos.

After my young worker left, I looked through the scanned photos. I laughed and I cried as I looked over all those old pictures. My baby sister is five years younger than me and she is the only one that I remember coming home from the hospital. Our neighbor from across the street stayed with us while my dad was at the hospital with my mom. I remember waiting by the window as our white station wagon pulled into the driveway with my dad, mom, and baby sister.
My sister was and is adorable. She was the only one of us to have curly hair. How I wished for curly hair. She also has a dimple in her cheek and of the four of us kids she is the nicest and sweetest one.
My sister's first day home. Me, my brother, my sister, and my mom.

I remember that we had a big white wicker bassinet in the family room and we would put my sister there. I guess she had a crib too but I don't remember one. I loved looking at her. I think she morphed over night from a newborn to a toddler that went everywhere we went. When you are the youngest you get dragged everywhere. For the first four years of life she shared a room with our brother and slept on the bottom bunk.
The only picture of my sister pouting.

In looking at pictures of her, I realized that I don't remember much of her teen years. Was I there when she was Confirmed? Who are her friends in those pictures? Was I at her high school graduation? For years I wondered about that picture on the USF campus. My sister and dad are the only ones in our family that did not graduate from USF so why is she in cap and gown in front of the Sun Dome. As we girl siblings tend to look alike at various stages in our lives, I thought that maybe it was sister number 2. No, I was sure that it was my youngest sister. Just recently I realized that it was her high school graduation picture. The Catholic high school that we all attended held the graduation ceremonies at USF. She is also the smart one who applied her smarts to her studies. She was the only one to get a full academic scholarship to college.

What I do remember is going to a few track meets, seeing her perform when she was the college mascot, and her college graduation. I remember the day my mom called me to tell me my sister had been hit by a car walking across the street from school.

I remember the day my brother called me at work because he and my sister were playing "chicken" on their bikes and neither one chickened out. My sister ended up the worse for wear as she landed on the ketchup bottle that they had ridden to the store to get. My sister was covered in "blood" and a neighbor scooped her up from the street and put her in their bathtub to clean her legs and assess the injuries. Most of the blood was ketchup and she ended up with cuts and bruises. My parents and other sister were gone for the day (in the days before cell phones) and since I was at work with phone access I got the call. I rushed home terrified and on the verge of hysteria to hear this chicken story. Between the heavy accented Spanish speaking neighbor, my brother's versions, and my sister's version I finally pieced the story together. I wish I had a picture of that day.

In spite of her crazy siblings, my sister has turned out quite well. She's still super kind and brilliant, has had two very different careers, has a dry witty since of humor (thanks to her siblings), has some wonderful pets, is very independent, and loves her nieces and nephews.
My sister and I at my brother's wedding.

My sister with our oldest niece.

Her great vehicle purchases have been perfect for outdoor photo opportunities. The nieces and nephews love her trucks.

So I called last week to tell my mom I finished scanning the photos of my sister and I thought I could get my sister's movie made by the end of the month. My mom said, "That's nice. You do realizes that your sister will be 41 next week." I'm thinking the movie can wait till summer and sister #2 can get her belated DVD as well.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Happy Birthday, No Foolin'

I've enjoyed reading other blogs where my friends write to their children or reminisce on their child's birth. As I jump back into blogging, I thought I'd begin with the story of how my four legged child, Amber, became part of the family. Our biological children all arrived on holidays or in T-Man's case a holiday weekend. Some years his birthday is actually on Labor Day. Amber was no exception to holiday births; being born on April 1, 2004.

On the Mother's Day weekend of 2004, I was planting flowers in our backyard. Doug came out and said that he saw an ad in the paper for Australian Shepherd pups and their cost was quite reasonable. He was also guessing that they were not pure bred registered pup (better in his mind). Now I was unaware that we were looking for pups and I wasn't sure what an Australian Shepherd looked like. My husband told me they looked a bit like Lassie.

Doug wanted to know if I wanted to go look at these pups. As I am not a dog lover, I don't remember being all that excited about looking at pups especially if it was tied to getting a dog. Since I love my husband and could tell he was excited, I agreed to go look at these pups.

We loaded up the kids and headed to the country to see the puppies. The kids were bursting with excitement, speculating on the color of puppy they would get and arguing over potential names. I did remind them that we were only looking at the puppy and may not get one. Well here's one fact: When you take kids to "look" at pets you must be resigned to the fact that you won't be leaving without a pet.

We headed down a long country road with fields all around us and arrived at a house with a huge yard. In the side yard the owners had a large wooden shed with a fenced area around it. The puppies had their bedding in the shed and the parents were running around the unfenced area. The puppies were adorable butterball fluffs. They looked like baby bear cubs. They kids loved on the puppies and petted the adult dogs.
We somehow came to a consensus on the puppy we wanted. The selection stemmed from the hair coloring as we were partial to the brown fur tones and the kids were hoping that this dog would have two different eye colors (one blue and the other brown) or blue eyes. Doug paid the owner and off we went with a puppy.

As we headed home I realized that we had no food, bowls, collar, leash, or any other supplies a dog might need. I was in the throes of buyer's remorse thinking of how we had torn this puppy away from its siblings and parents. Would it cry all night and make messes in the house? The kids were tossing out names. I think a couple of the contenders were Chocolate and Jasmine but we settled on Amber. Her name came from her amber colored fur.

Sometimes we call her Am-Bear, since she reminded us of a bear cub when she was a baby. When we lived in GA, T-Man would yell out from my upstairs bedroom window to the neighbor girl as she'd come home from school. He'd yell, "Hellooo Am-bert (instead of Amber, a southern speech impediment)." She'd yell up to him, "Helloooo T-Man." My baby boy would throw his head back and laugh and laugh and begin the hello Am-bert all over again. So there are times when I call Amber, Ambert and remember my baby boy laughing and giggling from my bedroom window on a warm fall day in the south.Arriving home we put Amber in the backyard. The boys played and laid around with her while Doug headed off to get puppy supplies. Amber was our children's first dog. I have to say that Amber has been the most trainable dog Doug and I have ever had. She has a wonderfully sweet disposition. She does have a couple of annoying habits like peedling on the floor when she get excited or gets in trouble. And she barks incessantly at every non-family member, even the neighbor girl who is in and out of our house all summer long and is like a member of the family. Amber, like all my children has not lived without adventure and giving her mom gray hairs. Amber had lived with us for less than a month when we headed to FL for my parent's 40th wedding anniversary. We took Amber with us, stopping frequently at road side stops for potty and water breaks. Once we returned home we noticed that she kept scratching under her chin and she has some raw red bumpy patches so we took her to the vet. It turned out that our puppy was allergic to fleas. Who has ever heard of dogs being allergic to fleas!!!

Doug and I often took Amber for walks on the middle school track near our house. We'd drive to the track and walk. We'd take water bottles for us and a dish for her, so we could all have water breaks as we worked out. One day as she was getting into the van after our walk she gave a big yelp and whined a bit. When we got home we noticed that she was limping. Once again we were off to the vet. It turns out that she had torn her dew claw and needed surgery. When we picked her up she had a red cast and a long list of special instructions.Of course we wouldn't let a little thing like a cast keep us from our vacation. So off Amber went to Indiana with us on her second long distance trip. In the above picture she is riding in a horse drawn carriage with Doug.

When dad's away the kids tend to stretch mom's mental health to it's limit. When dad's away is really a whole other post, but Amber figures prominently in two of Doug's absences from the home. The first was in the fall 0f 2004. Doug was off at a conference and I came home from school with the kids to find Amber absent from our backyard. We quickly found her and I seemingly discovered her escape route by the gate and laid some pavers down across the gate entrance so she could not shimmy out from under the gate.

Well, when we returned home the next day she was gone again. This time we were hurrying to head out to soccer matches and I was more than a bit irritated that this dog had disappeared yet again. While I wandered around the neighborhood looking for the dog the kids were to get their soccer gear on amid tears. I came back empty handed, loaded the kids up and drove around more areas of the neighborhood looking again for the dog. No luck. So I took some teary eyed kids off to soccer. We returned home after the games and saw Amber walking down the sidewalk. We tearfully grabbed her, put her in the backyard, and watched her go to the back of the yard, jump on to the railroad tie retaining wall, walk across the wall into the neighbors unfenced yard and take off. The kids took off to capture her and Amber stayed indoors until Doug returned and we hired a company to put in an eight foot chain length section of fence.

Several years later Doug was again out of town and my daughter (the human one) decided to take Amber out back to play. Amber had a rope with a rope ball attached and Mimi would swing and throw the ball. In their playing Amber got struck in the face/eye with the rope ball. I hear hysterical gulping tears causing me to run outside to see what disaster had befallen my girls. I cannot understand my daughter and as I examine her from head to toe she is finally able to tell me she has hit Amber in the face and Amber's eye is bleeding. With these words, I thinking I'm going to be sick, but grab Amber and look at her face. It appears that her eye is red and scratched and her eyelid is torn. I get Amber inside and have T-Man hold her while I get down on my knees with a wet washcloth to examine her more carefully.

It turns out that Amber's eye appeared to be watery but O.K. and the her lower lid had been scraped. I get the dirt off of her and apply some antibiotic ointment of the human variety and call the vet's emergency number. He will see Amber at seven am the next day before school starts. With Amber and kids in tow we head to the vet's office. In my distressed state the vet suggests that I leave Amber for the day with him, take the kids to school, and go to work. He will call and update me later but he was sure she was fine. It turns out that Amber's eye did get scratched but with regular applications of an antibiotic eye gel she would be fine.

These accidents were beyond Amber's control and were somewhat related to human error but Amber has managed to create havoc all on her own.

While Amber was still in her first year of life Mimi and Doug were looking at Doug's 40th birthday album I had made for him. The 40th birthday album was a tradition that Doug's mother, Barb, had started. She made a photo album for each of her children, that highlighted their life, as a 40th birthday gift. Barb died before Doug's 40th birthday and his father asked me to make Doug's album. Doug's dad sent me photos, notes, report cards, and various id's from Doug's early year. Doug would sometimes pull the album out and the kids would gather round to muse over the pictures and hear his stories.After one such trip down memory lane, Doug put the album back on the shelf. It was sticking out just a bit from the other books and albums. Just enough that a bored puppy left indoor all day could sink her teeth into it. While we were all at school, Amber pulled out the album and chewed on every single page, creating enough damage that every page in the album had to be replaced. Luckily all but three or four pictures could be reproduced from negatives. It took me several years to let that anger go and remake Doug's album.

Along the chewing line, Amber and the cat (Salsa), somehow got Amber locked in the master bedroom. Amber pawed the door and wood flooring in front of the door, took big bites out of several pieces of my clothes and books. The only chewed piece of clothing I kept was a salmon color trench coat with bite marks on the cuff. (I wear it in the spring and keep thinking that one day I'll take it to a tailor and have that person make repairs to it.) When we got home from school Amber was whining in the bedroom and the cat was sheepishly sitting in the hall in from of the closed door.

Amber now an old gal of seven has mostly settled down. She hasn't chewed up anything that I know of, she doesn't escape from our yard, and her injuries are down to a minimum. She has gotten two new sister, my late in life twins. The babies adore her and drive her crazy. I am positive that Nova, our calico, thinks that Amber is her mother. I think that because the two have such similar coloring and Nova has attached herself to Amber more so than Nimbus, our white kitten. When Nova was just a few months old she could often be found curled up with Amber.
No matter how your children enter your life, they manage to touch your heart and fulfill you in ways you could never have imagined. Although I'm still not a dog lover, I do love my Am-Bear.