Kittens

As much as I was/am excited to have kittens, I worried that there would be some backlash because letting your cat have kittens isn’t the “responsible thing to do.” I addressed that angle in a post over at YMC and while I’ve had only a few negative comments online and offline, the overwhelming response has been positive. Because KITTENS.

I didn’t grow up on a farm and my family never had cats who had kittens. This is an entirely new experience for me and I love that I get to share my wide-eyed wonder with my kids. We watched Lucy give birth, we watched the kittens take their first breath, and we’ve watched Lucy mother her babies. She’s such a good Mom.

Call me a Cat Lady if you will (and you should), but she amazes me with her love for her babies. She purrs while feeding them, she hugs them when they are sleeping around her, and she leaps into the basket the moment one of the kittens cries. When they are all fed and sleepy, she will leave the basket and lay within earshot. She’s ventured outside again in the past few days, but she’ll dart inside to listen for them and then go outside for more fresh air. As a Mom should.

The kittens are getting fluffy and chubby and the orange one has opened his eyes. I’ve never wanted a male cat because of their tendency to spray, but he’s so fluffy and soft and orange that I’m willing to take the risk. A friend who grew up on a farm was here today and gave me some tips to keep the spraying at bay. Getting him fixed as soon as we can and having a male dog in the house (Diesel!) should help him keep his urine to the litter box and outside.

As for naming him, he was first called Garfield by the kids, but I said we needed an original name. I like Hunter, Graham suggested Cheddar, and we had about thirty other suggestions on FB. Julius is another favorite, for sure. It’s become rather humorous because he is called any one of those names, or others as we go along. He is the cat of many names, which is kind of perfect because we all know that cats never come when you call their name. They come when they are good and ready to. I think we may each decide on the name we love for him and call him by that name. Or by someone else’s favorite name.

I should have done this with my kids.

The friend from the farm lifted up the tails of all four cats and confirmed what Tia commented. The orange tabbies are boys (Ball sacs were a dead giveaway), and the striped kittens are girls. They are fluffy and cute and if we scratch their backs they come back for more. They’re being loved, and socialized, and another friend came by tonight to see them and claimed one of the girls.

That means Marv and Katie are up for grabs, and I’m pretty sure they’ll be spoken for long before they are ready to be away from Lucy.

I’m smitten with my kittens and I’m okay with that.

 

Sunrise

Sledding

#Kittens aside, when I last left you guys, we were entrenched in the first week of Spring Break, which we spent at the cabin. We took the dogs for long walks in the morning to get their poop out (Mmmm…steaming poop bags), we skied all day, and then we would take the dogs on a long snow shoe in the late afternoon. We had a day of sunshine on Tuesday and then it snowed, and it snowed, and it snowed. Then it snowed some more. And some more. And then, it snowed. It was like we lived in the prairies or out East.

It was great to have the layer of icy snow covered with fresh snow, but when we got to the hill on Thursday morning to find three feet of fresh powder and zero groomed runs, it was a little bit too much for my girl and I. We opted to spend the day at the cabin while the dudes skied. I worked, and she watched Jessie. Because life is a party every day.

By the end of that week at the hill, we were done. More specifically, our legs were done. So much walking/skiing/snow shoeing. We came home a day earlier than planned, because we knew that if we strapped on skis we’d end up hurting ourselves. Everything ached and it was time to go home.

The second week of spring break was filled with hikes and cousin time (And both at the same time) and a bit more skiing and oh, man. I not only love my kids, I like them. We have a lot of fun together. They’re just itching for their friends and I’m itching for running time while they’re at school. It’s time to let this Spring Break be broken. The sunshine and warm temperatures here down below are sure helping.

Trees Don't Move

Skim Bums!

3-2-1, Ninja!

Piano girls

Cousins! On Top of Giant's Head Mountain!

 

 

Do you guys remember Lucy The Wonder Kitten, who we brought home almost a year ago? No? Let me remind you.

Lucy

She’s always been a bit of a hit on Instagram.

She got cuter and cuter and bigger and bigger and somewhere along the way I was so busy balancing life — or trying desperately to balance life — that I kind of forgot about the fact that she’d never been fixed. We were recovering from the blur of Christmas and skiing when we could and then one day she started mewling. Oh, right. HEAT. In thirteen years of living on this acreage, I’ve never seen a stray cat on our property, so I thought I’d book an appointment for her to get fixed.

And then.

“Hey Mom! We saw a cat in our yard that we’ve never seen before!”

I guess the male cats never had a reason to come to our yard before.

Fast forward a few months — and an ever-increasing girth on Lucy’s behalf — and last night we were sure that her labor was imminent. She was more affectionate than ever, she had a weird meow, and we even watched her belly roll around with her little aliens inside.

She cried the weird cry on and off all night and around 5:30 Nathan came to get me because she had left a wet spot on his bed. I carried her to the nesting box in our room, told Nathan to go back to bed, and laid in my bed waiting to hear her cries of labor. About ten minutes later I heard a really odd cry, got out of bed, and discovered that Lucy had silently delivered her first kitten on the hardwood floor right beneath my bed. She was cleaning it and cutting the umbilical cord and eating all of the stuff that came out with the kitten (Yay, nature!) and it was pretty amazing to witness, even though it was too early for my taste.

Her first born was a lot like Lucy, but all stripes.

One more arrived about thirty minutes later, and she went through the same routine. This one was a really light orange color.

Graham woke up and I told him about the kittens. He got to witness the birth of number three (another Stripes, twin to Kitten #1), and was as fascinated as I was. She was cleaning and the kittens were nursing and they have the tiniest (yet LOUDEST) cries you’ve ever heard.

Lucy started to contract for Kitten #4 and I woke up Nathan and Emily to witness it. All I had to say was “Kittens!” and they bolted out of bed. We watched Kitten #4 — a darker orange — arrive into the world.

Lucy’s been purring almost non-stop and has slid right into her role as Momma. The kids have spent a lot of time peeking in on Lucy and her babies, but know not to touch them. By observing their “down below” parts, they determined the sex of each kitten. The dark orange kitten is a boy, so he’s Garfield (natch). The light orange kitten is a girl (they’re 90% sure), so she’s Mary. One of the striped kittens is a boy and he has been named Joe. The female striped kitten’s name is still up for grabs.

We’ll keep one of them and give away the other three when it’s time. This was not in our original plan, but it’s a pretty special experience for the kids. Plus, I get to add “Cat Doula” to my resume.

Enough talking. Here are a couple of photos.
Kittens!

Lucy and Joe

I’m sure there will be many, many photos on Instagram as the weeks go by, and I’m sure there will be updates here as well. Yay, kittens!

My kids have two weeks of Spring Break that started after school last Friday. (I only had one week of Spring Break when I was a kid — kids these days have it so good.)

My brother offered to stay at our place with our cats and chickens so that we could take off for a week to stay at the cabin. I’ve taken the week off from all work contacts but one that cannot be postponed, and we drove up to the hill on Sunday afternoon. We’ve been skiing, we’ve been snow shoeing, we’ve got out for dinner with friends, and we’ve watched movies while eating heaping mounds of popcorn and chips.

It’s been pretty much perfect, to sum it up.

Sunny Skies

The Three

Powder!

Snow Shoeing

The Browns!

 

I hope you’re having a great break, too!

Running

Three years ago, I ran my very first 10K race and was more than happy to finish (at all, and) in 1:05. I was happy with my training and told myself that I would keep doing longer runs, but without other races to strive for, I fell back into my habit of only running 5K every time I ran. (Yes, I know I sound like a jerk for saying “only.” But I know I can do more, so I get to be hard on myself.) I decided that I would sign up for more races the next year to keep me motivated to run longer runs.

The next year (2012), I ran that same race and made a new PR. I ran another 10K race on Canada Day and cracked the elusive hour mark. I ran the Kelowna 10k in October and beat my personal best yet again for a time of 58:02.

In 2013 I started out the season running the Giant’s Head run for a third time and made a new PB despite in being a very hilly course. I ran the Canada Day race again, but it was hotter than Hades and I barely made it out alive and wondered if I’d ever race again. In September, I ran my very first (and last) half marathon. It was AMAZING. My knees after the race were not amazing.

Nathan loves to run and loves medals. He wanted to do the BMO 5K, and wanted me to run with him. I did, instead of running the 10K.

Now we’re in 2014 and my weekly running is pretty consistent, because I run outside in the Winter like the crazy lady I am. Downhill skiing and cross-country skiing has cut into some of my running days, but I’ve still managed to run two times per week, if not three. Before Christmas I stuck to my pledge to run 10K twice a week, with a 6-8 km run in between. These past few weeks have seen me logging more 10K runs again, and after the next two weeks of Spring Break, I know that I’ll fall back into my running rhythm again.

Nathan wants to run/walk the Giant’s Head 10K this year, and I told him that I will run/walk with him. I have no desire to torture myself on that treacherous 10K route for the Canada Day 10K, so I plan to run the 5K with him. I have no desire to run another half-marathon, either, so I’ll run that October 10K or 5K with Nathan.

Is it weird that I have no desire to race? So many runners I know plot out their races, and I did too, that second year of running (again) for longer distances. I don’t need the accountability to make me do longer runs, because I get itchy if I don’t get my mileage in. Race days also make me nervous and stressed out and nauseous. I think that maybe I’m in a different season. I’ve hit the milestones that I want to hit, personally, and I’m running long distances consistently. Now one of my kids wants to run races, and for me to run with him. I think that is my new focus when it comes to races, at least for now.

I’d love to hear from my fellow runners, or those to be runners. Are races essential to your running life, or do they fit into your life in different seasons?

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