The one where I talk about Baxter (bear with me, there is a cute Ethan story at the end)

When moving across country, we have been forced to "purge" some of our belongings. For one reason or another some things just didn't make the cut.

Suddenly that ricketly old table that has followed me from apartment to condo to house since college simply wasn't good enough for our brand spanking new place. And the clothes that were (still) two sizes too small that had been sitting so long on the wire rack in the back of my closet that they have permanent indentions in the fabric...yeah, perhaps it was time to say good bye to those as well.

We trashed, donated and sold many of our things in preparation for the move and honestly, we haven't missed any of it. Except, that is, for one thing in particular. Baxter, our cat.

Ricky and I adopted Baxter when he was just 4 months old - he was a gift to me for our 1-year dating anniversary. It was one of the first things that kind of solidified us as a couple. Everyone knows that when you get a pet together, that pretty much means you're in it for the long haul. Baxter was the perfect kitten. Playful, gentle and cuddly. I always said he was more like a dog because he would follow me around from room to room and wait for me by the door to come home.

After we were married, Baxter moved with us to our first home. And he marked his territory by urinating in multiple corners of the basement. Grrrrrr.... We sprayed sprays. We strategically placed furniture. We purchased the "Urine Gone" with the blacklight from the infomercial. But to our dismay, the damage was already done. We'd constantly ask people if they could detect any odor when they'd visit. The nice ones lied and said no. The honest ones lied too. Nobody wants to tell someone their house stinks like cat pee. We obsessed over it. Sniffing, spraying, repeating.

Before we moved into our next house, my dad gave me a book for Christmas that was called something along the lines of "How to toilet-train your cat". I'm serious. I flipped through it jokingly but found myself seriously considering giving it a try. Can you imagine? A friend comes over for dinner, excuses himself to use the restroom and interupts Baxter Mittens tinkling on the potty a la Jinxy cat on Meet the Parents. Totally absurd.

We did everything in our power to keep Baxter from marking his territory all over again out our next place. And although there were occassional slip-ups, I think it was less noticeable because this house was much larger. Besides, what were we going to do? Get rid of the perfect cat that had become so much a part of our family?

The kids loved Baxter. And despite the horrific amounts of abuse that Baxter took at the hands of the kids, he, in turn, tolerated them surprisingly well. I'm talking Ethan sitting on him, Aiden pulling his tail, stealing his toys, spilling his water - the works. At the end of the day, he'd still curl up at my feet and gently purr. He was not one of those mean old crotchety cats who hid for hours on end. He loved to be with us always.

When the decision to move to Texas was made, we had gone back and forth about whether or not Baxter was going to come with us. Ultimately, we decided that yes, we couldn't just leave him behind. And if we did, it would have to be with someone we knew - we would never just take him to the pound or post a "Free to Good Home" flyer at the supermarket.

The next big decision was how to get him here. The thought of cooping him up in his travel cage for a 16 hour drive in a jam packed car was not appealing (for him or for us). But the only other way to transport him would be to send him on the airplane with my parents...who were also so generously bringing our kids down with them too. That also seemed like torture (for him and for my parents) so we decided that my mom and dad would keep him until they came back to visit us for Thanksgiving. In the time since, Baxter has grown on my parents and they asked if we wanted them to keep him for good. We looked around at our house that still smelled brand new and made an executive decision. Go ahead, call me a rotten cat-owner.

With all the craziness of the move, getting unpacked, getting organized, etc., the boys never really mentioned Baxter (or the lack thereof I should say). That is until today. Ethan and Aiden were playing upstairs when Ethan came flying down with a ball in his hand. He put the old cat toy that had gotten mixed in with theirs in my lap and said through quivering lips, "Mommy, I miss Baxter". He then broke down sobbing. It broke my heart.

ME: Oh sweetie, Baxter is at Nana and Grandpa's and he loves it there. They are taking very good care of him.

ETHAN: But I want to go to Nana and Grandpa's.

ME: We will be there in a few weeks for Christmas.

ETHAN: No, I want to LIVE at Nana and Grandpa's.

ME: But Ethan, that would make mommy and daddy very sad. You wouldn't see us every day.

ETHAN: That's okay. You can see me at Christmas.

And there you have it. A long drawn out story about our abondoned cat so that I could explain how my son wants to abandon his parents at 3 years old. Somewhere in Northern Kentucky, Baxter sits curled at my mom's feet with a smirk on his face thinking "Haha, now you know how I feel!"

(Oh, and by the way, dad, I'd give you the book back now that you are Baxter's rightful owners, but unfortunately that was one of the things that didn't make the cut in the move.)


Big Tex and Fried Cookie Dough

Our friends April and Tate invited us to their house this week to hang out and to go to the Texas State Fair the following morning. Fun was had by all!

The kids got along wonderfully - in fact, after John and Rory Cate had baths at night and were both fresh in their jammies, Ethan proclaimed that Rory Cate (who just turned 2) looked like a princess. He then said "Mommy, I think I'm going to marry her!" Her dad, Tate, just laughed and said "At least I like ya kid!"

It was really cool to go to one of the largest state fairs in the US. We saw Big Tex, rode the tallest ferris wheel in North America (212 ft.) and enjoyed a balanced and healthy diet of the award winning Fletcher's Corny dog and the delectable Texas Fried Cookie Dough. ( all I have to say)! Unfortunately we didn't stick around long enough to fill up on other treats like the Fried Beer, Fried Butter or Deep Fried Fritos Pie. Maybe next year (although those don't sound as good).

Thanks Gormans for the invite and for introducing us to a little slice of Texas history!

An update at last!

So we are here in Round Rock, TX and loving every minute of it. The weather has been amazing - not a single drop of rain in almost 2 weeks, blue skies, sunshiney and 80s - although I've been told that we have been lucky as it is usually about 10 degrees warmer than this current cool streak.

The house is slowly but surely coming together. I think about 75% of the boxes are unpacked. Things are finding their new spots (and being moved, and moved again until I like where they are). When it is in a state that isn't totally embarassing, I promise to take some pictures for everyone to see. Although if I haven't gotten around to it by October 29th - then you may want to tune into HGTV's House Hunters...our neighbors a few houses down from us were featured on the show and they ended up choosing the house they live in now which is a mirror image of our home. Not sure how different the inside is, but you'll be able to get the idea.

Speaking of neighbors, it has been an amazing experience (as I hoped it would be) living in a neighborhood like this. Within the first few days of moving in, 2 different families knocked on our door with cookies, muffins, brownies and cards welcoming us to the street. I've been invited to a jewelry party get together, got an email from a neighbor asking if we can get our kids together outside, had another neighbor ask me to come along with them to a local pumpkin patch for a playdate (the HGTV mom) AND one of them is hosting a "Get to Know your Neighbors" party this Saturday. I'm really thankful to feel so included in what is obviously a very friendly and active neighborhood.

Ricky is liking his new role with Samtec. He has some time in our home office and then is meeting with customers throughout the week. It's neat to have him home during the day sometimes - although I think there will be an adjustment period for all of us...teaching the kids not to bother daddy in the office when he is here, and helping Ricky get used to the everyday noise and chatter of working at home.

I'm happy to say that I have not felt homesick...yet! Technology really helps in that area as we've been able to video chat with our families using Skype. The kids just get the biggest kick out of seeing people on the computer. And with all of the fun things to do within the community, I think we will really enjoy our time here. That's not to say that I don't miss certain things about living closer to my family, but we've both looked at this move as a new start for us and I think that outlook has made it a little easier. Besides, I may be spoiled but I've got a lineup of visitors from now until January! My parents are coming down for a week at Thanksgiving, my sister is visiting the following week, my cousin Angie and her husband Tim will be here in January and my best friend Audrey is coming in January as well! We are always open to having visitors and would love to show everyone our new digs, so if you are ever in the area or up for a little getaway, give us a call! :)

I'm hoping to start blogging more regularly now that we have some level of organization around here. I am awaiting photos that were taken at last month's super successful Little Fire Big Heart event and will definitely share those once I get them (and also include a round up of the night's events).

Later ya'll ;)