Thursday, December 31, 2009


When we told the kids, at the last rest stop before home, that Cleo had died, they both sobbed. The first thing Rhys did, when he could talk, was ask me for his wish list because he needed to add something to it. He quickly wrote "new cat pleas." When we got home, we all cried some more. There really is nothing quite so heartbreaking as having your children being so sad. Irene and Rhys both asked Santa to bring an orange tabby for Christmas. Santa wrote to them saying that he couldn't do that, but that he was letting the fairies and elves know that we were looking for a kitty. We have found that the best kitties are the ones who find their people.

On Christmas Eve, one of the books that Irene chose for us to read was The Christmas Cat by Efner Tudor Holmes & illustrated by Tasha Tudor about a cat who is caught in a snowstorm and found by a family and brought home.

Yesterday, Rob saw this post on The RGJ (our local newspaper) online:
Email this post

klm1717 wrote:
That's awesome about Ollie and Lala-I was referred to Dr. Tom a few years ago when I adopted a cat from Wylie Animal Rescue-he does a lot of charity work, as I understand it. As I'm in school & considering going into the veterinary field myself, he allowed me to come in & observe one morning. He took great care of my (now) oldest cat when he was having issues (turned out to be a bladder infection)-great follow up! & bent over backwards to try to find out what was wrong w/my shepard mix when he was sick. I've never seen a vet who really cares as much (& I've seen a LOT of vets!) They're great people!
12/30/2009 10:17 PM PST
SparksRob wrote:
We picked up Lala from Alpine Veterinary Hospital this afternoon and brought her home. Thank you so much to Kristina and Dr. Tom!

Our 15 year old female tabby (Cleo) passed away just before Christmas while we were in Disneyland. Our kids (6 and 10) were devastated. Talk about going from a big high to a deep low! We vowed that our next cat would be an orange tabby (preferably a kitten!) and that one way or another, IT would find US. Orange tabbys have a wonderful personality; like no other cats I've ever owned. We saw this story in the RGJ yesterday and we immediately contacted the folks at Alpine. After meeting Lala we were smitten and, like we knew would happen, SHE found US!

She is hiding away in our house, getting adjusted to her new surroundings. The name we're thinking of giving her is Junebug (after Mama Junebug Jones from the Skippyjon Jones children's books). Our house is a happy one this New Year's Eve!
12/31/2009 1:22 PM PST

I quickly sent an e-mail to the vet's office.

We went to meet her this morning. She is a love and while she was really nervous (her tail shaking), she went right up to both Rhys and Irene and sniffed their faces and started to calm down. The vet tech, Kristina, said there was someone else who wanted to meet her, but that she was pretty sure that we were The Family for this kitty. I wish you could have seen the joy on Irene and Rhys' faces. Rhys went with Rob back to work, Irene and I went to get kitten supplies. Rob called soon after to say he was on his way home with our kitten. She's about 6 months old.

This was the update on the RGJ site:

Yesterday, there was a blog post about an orange tabby named Lala who was found unconscious and half-buried during a recent Reno snowstorm. She was taken to Alpine Veterinary Hospital on South Virginia, who had been caring for her and socializing her and seeking a forever home. A number of inquiries resulted, including this email sent to Alpine from Kristen in Spanish Springs:
I'm sure by now (when I'm first seeing this story) you've gotten a number of offers to adopt Lala. I would like to put our name in the ring as well. On Friday the 18th, our beloved Cleo died at age 15. It left an enormous hole in our family. Our two children both asked Santa for a new cat. He let them know that he's put it out to the fairies and the elves that we are in search of an orange tabby kitty. On Christmas Eve, we read a story called The Christmas Cat which is about a cat that is lost in the snow and found by a wonderful family. Anyway, I just wanted to put it out there.
Lala (in the middle of the photo, taken at Alpine) will be joining Kristen's family. Here's hoping it works out! Thanks to all who wanted to help.

She had hidden herself really well after we got here. I just found her in the kids' bathroom in between the shower curtains. She is now downstairs looking at everything, keeping low to the ground. We are trying out the name Junebug after Mama Junebug Jones in the Skippyjon Jones books (we really love Judy Schachner's books). A few other names - also from that book - are Jillyboo and Jujubee.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

GUESS Homeschool Science Fair!

Firstly, I apologize for neglecting my poor blog and my fabulous follower (::waves to Jennie::). Recently, Lydia and her homeschool crew had their GUESS Homeschool Science Fair. Every time Lydia does these things it makes me deeply want two things -- first and foremost, it makes me want to move right next door to her house and 2nd, because I'd be living right next door and because she's funny, smart, and fabulous, and because she has lots of homeschooling friends who are much the same, it makes me want to homeschool mine! I'm sure I could add something to the mix..

The Homeschool Science Fair could probably happen without sponsors, but I don't know where everything would fit. I don't think as many people would be able to participate, and so, without further ado, I would like to say a big and giant thank you to the following homeschool-friendly businesses for supporting the GUESS Homeschool Science Fair and the young scientists of Hampton Roads!

Green Olive Tree is an internet company based in Portsmouth, Virginia and owned and operated by a homeschooling family. They offer a broad range of internet services, from reliable web hosting to corporate infrastructure solutions and server administration.

SKS Science supplies homeschoolers and other educators with all the science supplies you need to turn your dining room table into a proper laboratory. Browse their site for test tubes, bottles, face masks and other lab supplies and books.

Book Exchange is the largest used bookstore in Eastern Virginia. Unlike most musty and confusing used stores, this one is clean, bright, inviting, and has a huge selection of used homeschool books. There's always an interesting curriculum find on these shelves! Please click on the link and just LOOK at this amazing book store! I think I could just live there happily with the comfy couches and the books.

Folkmanis Puppets makes the most delightful animal puppets available outside Santa's workshop. Meet their most unusual creations like llamas, Chinese dragons, ostriches, flying squirrels. Unusual materials create realistic textures, and they all move in very realistic ways. Irresistible. We have several of the Folkmanis Puppets and have never been disappointed by them. They have so much expression even before you put your own magic into them.

The Happy Scientist, Robert Krampf, hosts an online wonderland for budding scientists. With online science lessons, experiments to try at home, a science photo of the day, and new content added all the time, you'll love setting your kids loose on this site.

Mad Science is Hampton Roads' premier provider of science enrichment classes for children. Summer classes include "Crazy Chemistry" and a space camp developed with NASA! New homeschool science classes are being offered in Norfolk and VA Beach, with more planned for fall. Have you seen these scientists in action? Rhys and Irene went to Mad Science camp here in Sparks and they LOVED it! They had so much fun and were soon telling me all about thrust and gravity and rockets. They really share the joy of science with kids.

Moore Expressions is a homeschool bookstore in Virginia Beach, VA. They sell used and new homeschooling curriculum, host a support group, and publish a newsletter called the Bayith Educator. They are the premier source for homeschooling books in the Hampton Roads area.

Norfolk Karate Academy offers classes in Tang Soo Do (Korean karate) and Gracie Jiu Jitsu (Brazilian grappling and self-defense). With classes for children, teens, and adults, it's a great way for anyone to get in shape and kick things in a socially acceptable way!

Brooks Systems offers standalone software and web applications that check legal compliance in all municipalities in all fifty states, and create truth-in-lending documents for residential lenders. Using Brooks for your automated mortgage compliance, you can be sure your loans are safe.

Virginia Air and Space Center was host to the homeschool science fair this year, and delivered awesome science classes for homeschoolers from their education department. The VASC is the educator resource center for the NASA Langley Research Center. I find it so wonderful that VASC was the host for the science fair! Can you imagine? They are truly putting our future first by showing how much they value these young scientists!

Mad props to all of the sponsors and all of the children who participated in this fabulous events and the homeschooling parents who really made it happen!

You can check out pictures and winners right here.