Friday, December 7, 2012

Month 4 UPDATE time has flown by! I can't believe it is already time to write a 4 month update! It sorta seems like yesterday that we got off the plane with Eli in Atlanta...but on the other hand, it sometimes feels like he has been with us all along.  I keep tearing up this month because whenever I thought about having children, Thanksgiving and Christmas always came to mind. Christmas has been my benchmark of adoption time before Eli came home. I rarely talk or write about how I felt while we were waiting for a referral, because it is hard for many people to understand, since they've not been through this process. When I think back to previous years, when we were still praying to find a match with a child, I still remember very clearly the struggle to stay patient and hopeful. For the last few years, at New Year's, Patrick and I would always say to each other, "Maybe NEXT year will be our first Christmas with a baby." Now that Christmas is here, it seems like a happy dream. It is sooo much fun to see him love the lights and cookies, and the TREE!

Eli was so excited when we went to go get the Christmas tree. Mostly because he got to ride in the "big truck" - which he definitely cannot say, but he tries! We brought the tree in one night before Eli went to bed, but he forgot it was in the living room, and was excited all over again when he saw it in the morning!  We will be decorating the tree tonight, which will excite him (since lights are involved!).  FYI: we always wait a week after bringing the tree inside to decorate it. That's because the cats are too excited about CLIMBING the tree for the first week to keep decorations on it!

Eli's potty training continues to go well. We have decided to let him take the lead on this since he is still a tiny tot. But, he does ask at least once a day to go potty. He is asking about it enough that his school sent home a potty training chart to put stickers on when he goes at home.

And STICKERS! Oh, my! Eli is a sticker and stamp lovin' little man. He gets his hand stamped for doing well in gymnastics, and he gets so excited! He is usually first in line to get the stamp...and always goes back to get the other hand stamped. He carried around a sheet of Cars stickers for nearly two weeks, showing them to anyone and everyone who would look at them.

He is getting into coloring a little bit now, too. He is trying to say the word "color", but can't quite get it out yet. He knows several colors, like I mentioned in a previous post.

And since I have been scolded by family members for trying to teach Eli words like "gravity" and "inertia" instead of teaching him his "eyes" and "ears", I did make it a point this month to make sure he knows what's what. He now knows his mouth, teeth (ee), eyes, ears, hair, head, fingers, hands, toes, feet, knees, bottom, belly, and belly button (he can only say some of them). But still, it's funny to see him throw a toy and say his version of "boom! gravity!" when it hits the ground...(ok, it sounds more like "boom! gravy!", but still hilarious!).

He is talking so much - and mimicking a lot, too. It is a lot of fun to hear him talk and try to say new words. The favorite color word this week is apparently orange...a nice switch from green, which was the favorite color word for the last two weeks. The favorite day of the week is still "Thursday" because it's the only one he can say : ).

I have been shocked at how observant he is. He can spot an apple a mile away when he's hungry, and it's amazing how well he imitates actions. Since his grandpa taught him the difference between a bell pepper and a leaf, he really does remember how to pick peppers (and tomatoes) and water the plants (and feed the dog, etc).

In gymnastics, Eli is still gaining momentum. Most of what we see are gains in strength and agility. He has gotten SO fast at some of the tasks that we do! He loves to swing on the bar (spotted, but not assisted) and "kick" someone with his feet. He is not interested in jumping on the trampolines at gymnastics, but does like the one at home...go figure. He can now put on a shirt if we help him get it over his head, and he can usually put on his own pants (sometimes he needs help getting his feet in correctly).

The only area that has suffered a "backslide" of sorts is SLEEP. Eli is having trouble going to and staying asleep on his own. His foster parents tell me that Eli actually had some sleep issues in Korea, too, when they first brought him home. In order to get some sleep, Patrick and I have been allowing him to sleep with us for now. Our feeling is that (especially on weeknights) it is more important for the 3 of us to GET sleep than to teach him to be "independent". Sometimes, I have held him til he's out and placed him in his bed. But, when he wakes at night, he simply vaults out of his crib (quite literally) and hops into bed with us. So, we've decided to wait temporarily on fighting "sleep battles" until we are on break from school, and Eli can understand that we aren't really leaving him at night.  Honestly? It's also kinda nice to have all 3 of us snuggled together at night, especially since we are in 3 different directions during the day. When Eli sleeps with us, he does wake up, but he realizes we are already there, hugs one of us, and falls back to sleep. I've also noticed that the nights that Eli sleeps with us, he does NOT cry at school, AND he takes his nap there...go figure.

Of course, Eli's had trouble napping on his own, too. The other day, his teacher laughingly told me about an incident in the nap room. She had placed him and several other toddlers/preschoolers into cribs for nap. His head popped up, and she said "down!". He mimicked "down!" and he layed back down. The teacher saw another kid's head pop up and she said "down!", when she heard Eli mimick "down!". When she turned to see if Eli was still down, she realized he was no longer in the crib. Nor was he under the crib.  In fact, he had snuggled into a cot with another toddler and was hiding under the covers. His teacher pretended not to find him, and he fell asleep there!  Whatever works, right?

This month has been really peaceful and quiet. Thanksgiving was wonderful, but I will post separately for it, in case you are wondering why I didn't mention it. I do have to give props to a certain toddler who helped me stir every dish that needed stirring!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Another First

I never thought this day would actually come, but...a certain someone "forgot" to cry today when he was dropped off at his school this morning...he was too distracted by the Christmas lights : ).

Eli is learning so much...and while he really doesn't mind being at school, he had been protesting LOUDLY every time Patrick or I leave.  We've had to be very no-nonsense about it, but he is settling in well. Every day, I get him out of his car seat, remind him of the day (like, "It's Wednesday!"), and remind him that I am coming at 4:30 to pick him up. Then, he holds my hand and walks into the school (even if he's crying), and we put his jacket in his cubby, have one last hug, and go to his teacher (Eli calls his teacher Kee-kee). In the afternoon, he greets me at the door, grabs his jacket, and says goodbye to his teachers. They always say something along the lines of "Tomorrow is Thursday, we will see you Thursday."  Really, he's too young to understand the days of the week, but it certainly doesn't hurt to start talking about them. And since he's now been through a few repetitions of the days of the week, he is starting to say some of the days (he can actually say "Thursday" pretty clearly).

Eli's language is still exploding. He is really picking up on using two words together, which is really cool. He has a few "words" that aren't English or Korean - they wouldn't make sense to anyone but Patrick or I, but he uses them consistently. Like, for a long time, all horses were "Bogeys", though now he is starting to say (pony) and grandpa's truck is a "goo ga" (blue truck).  He is doing well with trying to ask for things when he wants/needs them...he is famous for saying "hungry" - and following a hungry statement with as many food words as he can think of...broccoli, cookie, candy, cracker, carrot, cheese, pepper, snack, apple, chikie (chicken), guacy (guacamole), etc. He is DEFINITELY using his color words more - we have heard him say green, red, blue, yellow, purple, pink, brown, and orange correctly. He is correct most of the time with green, blue, and orange, but those are his favorites : ).

Eli has been really funny with one of his "see-and-say" animal books lately. He was lying on the kitchen floor while Patrick and I were cooking and cleaning, and he was pressing the book's buttons. We were really tickled when he started mimicking the animal names and sounds. I took him to the Scholastic warehouse sale nearby, and he picked out every book with a dog, cat, alpaca or llama on the front. It took a while to narrow down his selection, but we still left with quite a few new books - including some Pete the Cat and Skippyjon Jones. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Okay, so a lot has happened recently with Eli.  However, I couldn't wait to finish my drafted posts before I told everyone what he did yesterday.

Patrick was helping Eli pick out and put on his pajamas when Eli picked up his toy trumpet and starting "buzzing" his lips. For those of you who are unfamiliar, "buzzing" your lips is when you purse your lips and make a buzzing sound. This is something that trumpet players do to make sound on the instrument.  Patrick was surprised, and asked me if I thought it was coincidence or if I thought Eli understood that the lip buzzing and trumpet playing were connected. Since Eli has watched Patrick (and his grandfather, although Jack plays trombone) play a number of times, I told Patrick to get out his trumpet and see if Eli would be able to make some noise with it.

Patrick did. Eli insisted on pushing some of the valves before he blew into the horn, but he definitely played a note.  We were so excited, we called Jack, put him on speaker, and had Eli try again.  Another note - a much longer one! After that,  Eli was much more interested in looking at our Christmas lights, so we put the trumpet away.

We were so tickled!  I know that Patrick didn't start playing until 3rd grade, and I didn't start until 5th, but it is so funny to us that Eli is starting at 20 months of age. We'll let him try again if/when he wants to, but that was so cool. He does have a good singing voice for his age (with good pitch memory), so this has been fun for us to see. I wonder if his grandpa will let him try to play the trombone...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Two Cute

Need I say more...? (Except to thank my friend Jen for capturing this picture!)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

3 Month Update

I cannot believe we are 3 months home with our Eli!!! I also can't believe that I've neglected this blog for the last month!  Shame on me!  I will do better this month, and I will get caught up on several previous posts that I've begun, but not yet published. 

So much has happened in the last's CRAZY busy around here : ). There is sooo much to catch up on.

First, we've had our second check in with our social worker.  Only one more visit in January, and we should be ready for finalization!  The second check in went well, except that Eli was as hyper as I've ever seen him.  He was a very active toddler that morning, and he definitely showed off a bit.

We have done a lot of bonding as a family this month, and Eli has definitely developed attachments to both of us (and we to him!!).  We love this sweet baby more than we imagined possible : ). what's new this month?

The biggest change is that Eli has had to start daycare/pre-school. Patrick and I are officially back at work, and our family leave time has ended, except for doctor's appointments, and the like.  We are very happy with the child care we have selected, and the Jacksons, who run the daycare/pre-school are excellent at what they do.  Eli is in a very small group, receives a lot of one-on-one attention, and is learning a TON!! Eli does cry when we drop him off, but it's more just to let us know that he wants us to stay.  As soon as he goes back to his classroom, he gets distracted and quits crying! He actually  likes both of his teachers a great deal, and voluntarily gave them hugs at a recent field trip outing to Southern Belle Farm (we had so much fun at the farm that I will dedicate an entire post to it later).  He also really likes the other kids, and is good at following their lead. He seems to really enjoy the food that the Jacksons prepare, and they have told me each day that he is eating very well.  Taking naps away from home is still an elusive skill for him, but hopefully he will relax more about napping as we get into a good routine.  He has returned to some of his disrupted sleep patterns because of the transition, but Patrick and I have both noticed that these sleep interruptions are not nearly as bad as when Eli first came home, and they already seem to be disappearing again.

Oh, wow....I still can't believe that Eli is 20 months old.  Where have the last 3 months gone?  He has gotten so much bigger, too! Just two weeks ago, I started retiring his 9-month sized clothing, but now, quite of few of his 12-month clothes are now on the small side, too! He is still somewhat underweight, but he is eating like a horse and should catch up. I will have to update his sidebar picture very soon! 

Eli's physical abilities have always seemed rather advanced to me, but he is not slowing down in that area.  Our son is very strong for his age and size. He can support his weight for small amounts of time, unassisted, hanging from the rings, parallel bars, and the "high bar" in gymnastics class (it's actually low enough for Eli to stretch and reach it). His balance is fantastic for his age, and he is learning to jump up and down (as well as jumping off of certain objects) quite stably. He also is turning somersaults (forward) quite well - and he thinks it is hilarious to do so. This means we have our work absolutely cut out for us keeping up with him!

We have been taking potty training at Eli's pace. Since school presents another transition for Eli, I haven't been pushing anything else new right now.  But, he is showing signs of readiness. He will tell us "dirty diaper" when he feels like he needs a change, he loves to wear underwear for a couple hours every evening, and yesterday he said "pee pee" to tell me he needed to go (though we ended up with wet feet because it was a little short notice).

Eli also likes doing his "chores" which include "helping" feed the animals (we put the food in the dishes and he is very good about taking each dish to the correct dog or cat), putting his own dirty clothes in his hamper, and "helping" wash clothes on Sunday afternoon.  He enjoys helping his grandpa water the plants at their house...and the firewood, and the grill, and the grass, and his shoes, ... you get the picture : ). He also loves to "help" cook - stirring cold ingredients, using child safe scissors (with our help) to cut small items like green onions, parsley, etc.

What's next....:LANGUAGE!  We have had a sudden spurt in this department. Eli had been gaining a few words a week, and doing a little bit of parroting.  Now that he is in school, his desire to communicate with the other kids has him learning new words every day! It's been really funny to hear him correctly use new words when he comes home, like "monkey" (he was pointing to monkeys on his PJs). This month, the kids are learning about furry animals, the colors pink and yellow (it's hysterical to hear Eli try to say "yellow"), circles, and the number 4. Although Eli does know the difference between having one of something and two of something, I think the number 4 will definitely take a while.  He still tries to count to 3 the way he Uncle Lee taught him, though it comes out as Ga, GA, GGAAAAA!  He is still struggling to say words that don't necessarily have 2 syllables, which is really cute.  We took him to an Alpaca show last weekend, where he fell in LOVE with the alpacas...but he can't really say "alpaca." My mom ended up buying him a stuffed alpaca toy, which Eli has fallen head over heels in love's now his favorite toy!  He calls it "Alpie" or "Paca" as the mood strikes him.  The other day, Toby (the dog) grabbed "Alpie" on his way outside.  Eli freaked out (for good reason), shrieking "DOGGIE PACA, DOGGIE ALPIE PACA, DOGGIE DOGGIE PACA," until we were able to retrieve (and clean) poor Alpie - who, I might add, is none the worse for wear!

Eli is also starting to put together more than one word to create meaning, and his favorite word this week is "Hi."  He loves to call his grandparents on the phone (he calls them all grandpa) just to say "Hi."  He also will stop in the middle of doing something naughty, and when he is caught, he stops and says "Hi."  He loves to shriek in his bed to wake us up, but when we look to see what's wrong, he smiles and says "Hi." You get the picture.  We've said "Hi" to one another for 40 minutes straight on more than one occasion!

At any rate, Eli is growing and learning and getting into mischief just as any other toddler would. I have quite a few new pictures and videos coming up in future posts!! But for now, I couldn't resist leaving off without another little picture!


Sunday, October 14, 2012

2 Months!

So, in month 2, we had to have our 18 month old checkup at the doctor.  Eli is doing well and, though the doctor wants to keep him coming in for weight checks, he is very healthy and thriving. He has gained a pound and a half since he's been home, and has grown an inch in height! He has definitely outgrown all of his 9 month old clothes and is a solid 12 month size, with a few 18 month old shirts thrown in.

He continues to learn lots of new skills, like jumping up and down and pulling the plug from the bathtub when bathtime is done! His motor skills continue to improve and are pretty good for a nineteen month old - he surprised us last week by holding up his own body weight on the "moveable rings" in gymnastics and swinging from the rings. We have also been surprised at his prowess on the balance beam - he can run the full length of the balance beam, placing one foot in front of the other.  We spot him, just in case, but he really doesn't need help. The other day, he climbed onto the beam (from a mat 6 inches below) and straddled it, then slowly put his feet, one at a time, on the beam and stood up to walk and run - all without help!

He is now tall enough to ride his "four wheeler" that requires him to push with his feet on the ground.  He can now reach the pedals of his tricycle, though he can't quite get them to work. Of course, he still loves riding his "Mater" four wheeler, too! He LOVES to take things apart and put them back together, and he's still a huge fan of "cause and effect" toys, and cars. He also loves his light saber and his duckie puppet. He absolutely adores the VeggieTales, particularly Larry the Cucumber, Bob the Tomato, and Junior Asparagus.  He has a Larry toy that he sleeps with every night (Ribbert is still a consistent favorite, too).

He has really learned to love the dogs and especially likes petting Rocky and throwing sticks for Bear and Toby. He likes to help feed the animals at night, and we let him give Z, one of our kitties, wet food every night. He LOVES petting the horses and riding them, too.
Eli with Rocky at the "Blessing of the Animals" done by a local Methodist church.

I am a certifiable foodie, so it brings me great pride to say that Eli's eating is still wonderful.  He still loves to try new foods, though he will reject foods he doesn't like (like bread) in favor of old favorites, like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, sweet onions, bell pepper, avocado, asparagus, spinach (raw), ANY type of fruit, chicken, eggs and "vacuum fried" okra (found it at the Asian market). We have discovered that he WILL eat mac n cheese if we mix in peas and a few other veggies that he likes. We have discovered that he ADORES seafood...including shrimp, squid and mussles (he devoured 5 mussles at our local Thai restuarant and was so disappointed when there were no more left!). He has also discovered that he really loves a Japanese dish, okonomiyaki (similar to Jijime in Korea). We learned how to make okonomiyaki from Eli's Aunt Miyu, so it is fairly authentic (Thanks Miyu!!) - it was delicious, though I used the wrong kind of onion when I made it!  It is made with cabbage, green onions (not yellow!), and a simple batter, and I think I will start making it a weekly meal (or close to weekly) because it is so delicious and easy to make! He is still not a fan of most sweets, which I find hysterically funny.  He does like peach milk smoothies, soft peppermints, blueberry muffins, my homemade (gluten free!) pumpkin cookies, and the occasional chocolate milk. He loves green tea flavored creme brulee from our Thai restaurant, too.

We are doing a lot of art projects; including using finger paints, crayons, and - Eli's favorite - stickers. I have a project that we will tackle soon - sand pumpkins : ). Recently, we stuck Halloween stickers (the peel off vinyl kind) to the front door, and finger painted his Aunt Lisa an Aubrun-themed picture.

Patrick and I have begun, recently, to sleep some nights in our bedroom, with one of us returning to Eli's room before he wakes. Sleep is an area that we will remain very flexible on, due to the sleep issues he's had in the past.  We are very much prepared to "coddle" Eli in this arena, as we both feel he really needs our loving support to maintain healthy sleep habits.  Of course, as I type this, I am chilling out with the hubs in our living room while Eli peacefully sleeps in his crib, so not a lot of coddling has been necessary lately! This week has been the start of Eli waking up happily, usually babbling to Ribbert while Oma or Appa tries to sneak in a few extra z's.

The BIGGEST changes this month have been with language.  Eli is very inconsistent with what he says, but he is definitely learning new words every day. Lately, his favorite words have been "taco" (and yes, he really means that he wants a taco), "doctor" (which he said to the pediatrician VERY clearly - much to our delight), and "cookie." He is still using several Korean words, and has learned "Oo yoo" (milk) this week (but he says "oo oo"). He can say "no" and "anio" but prefers to shake his head when he means "no," - this includes when he is "being a toddler." He usually uses the Korean word "sagwa" for apple, but can (and sometimes does) say "apple." He just started saying "diaper" tonight. Eli is very shy about talking outside of our house, and prefers to nod/shake his head/gesture when we are out.  He likes to "explain" things to us. For example, tonight, he tripped and fell. I picked him up to comfort him, and Patrick came to see if he was okay.  When his daddy came into the room and asked what happened, Eli pointed to himself a few times, then pointed to the floor, babbling through tears the whole time, bless his heart. Eli's receptive language (what he understands) is fantastic, and he understands most things we say to him (when he doesn't understand, he shrugs his shoulders, palms up, and says "Iduno" (I don't know)). He will find common objects around the house (like the car keys or his shoes, which he is continually squirreling away), throw things away, bring us his dirty clothes or put dirty clothes in his hamper, blow his nose, and go get in his chair for dinner.  He knows some of his body parts, such as his head, hands, feet, teeth, and belly button.

I can't believe how much he's learning and doing! He surprises me every day with some new ability that he didn't have the day before - or, like today, with new words and expressions that I've never seen him do. I had asked him where his shoes were, and he pointed to the car outside (he was correct - I had accidentally left them there the night before).  I then asked him where my shoes where, and after he quickly ran to look in his room and the living room, he came back, shrugged his shoulders, and said "I duno."  Throughout the day, telling us "I duno" (complete with shoulder shrug) was one of his favorite things to do!

To sum up, here's a few shots from the "Mommy Papparazzi" that stalks Eli on occasion : ).

"Oma...give it up and hand over the camera.."

"No, of course I cleaned up my blocks!"

"Sunglasses? Well, I'll try 'em on..."
"How does it look, Oma?"

Visit to Yellow River Game Ranch

Patrick and I were not busy one Saturday, so we decided to take Eli to the Yellow River Game Ranch.  When Patrick and I were young, the game ranch was a fun place to go.  They had a variety of animals, all of whom had been injured in the wild and could not be returned to live on their own.  They also had friendly deer that roamed the park at will, coming up to visitors for treats (the game ranch sold carrots and other species appropriate goodies).  We were really disappointed that the deer were no longer the center of attention, and in fact were fenced away and difficult to see.  While the game ranch seems much smaller and less interactive than it once was, we still enjoyed the day with Eli.

The park still sells goodies for most of its animals, except for the carnivores.  There were some really strange people there, some of them yelling at the animals to "get up" and teasing the animals.  However, they all obeyed this warning!

After some louder people left, the three of us came back to the mountain lion and to see him up close.
We were also fortunate enough that when we visited the coyote, one of them came right up to us.  I am pretty sure the coyote wanted a chicken dinner, but we only had graham crackers...
We took some time to look for the deer...not much luck...
We did, however, enjoy seeing and feeding a lot of other animals.
The llama : )

The donkeys : )
The bunny...poor lonely bunny...he was all by himself!
In other words, we fed a LOT of animals...including a skunk, turtles, lots of chickens, geese, ducks, game hens, goats, sheep, MORE chickens (seriously, chicken were EVERYwhere...and it's no secret that I dislike chickens....).
Here's a quick clip that summarizes what most of the animals were like:

Eli's favorite animal was a large pig named Sis.  She was asleep when we came up to her, but we called her name and offered her a treat, so she came over to say hello.
Saying hello to our new piggy friend!
Getting a graham cracker for Sis.
Sis is  checking out her snack.
Yum! She likes it!
Giving Sis a smile. While the ranch is not what it used to be, we sure saw a lot of this today!!


Monday, October 8, 2012

First Hair Cut!

Eli had his first haircut since he's been home!  Mrs. Pomelia, who has cut Patrick's and my hair for a looooonnnggg time was pressed into service.  First, we watched Appa got HIS hair cut.

 Then, Eli climbed onto a stool and started "talking" away.

This pic is one for Grandma Terri...

Appa's haircut took a long time, because he had waited soooo long to get it done!

Eli was surprised to learn that he was next...

First the water spritzing:

Then the hair hits the floor!
He was a little worried at first, but decided quickly that this was a fun time! Especially when he found out that Pomelia's family has....kittens!
'OMA! If she follows me home, can I keep her??'

Furkids Open House (Disclaimer: A really long post, mostly about cats)

It's certainly no secret that Patrick and I have always been animal lovers.  Without getting too much into exactly how many cats or dogs we have (several), I did want to dedicate this post to a very special one.

Spike, the most affectionate cat I have ever known, passed away one year ago at the 2011 Furkids Open House at approximately 23 years of age. She was a perky, opinionated, petite, and genuinely loving friend.  She worshipped the ground Patrick walked on, slept on his stomach every night, and - without fail - woke us up every morning before the alarm went off.  We're reasonably sure that she considered us large kittens who must be attended to. She required some special care in her last few years, but our Furkids friends were really supportive and helpful when I had questions or needed advice. As the matriarch of the family, she absolutely ran our household and kept everyone in order, and we still miss her dreadfully. Even the time she brought a LIVE, wild rabbit in the house and LET IT GO. Eli would have really loved her, and she would have loved him, too.

It is time to make a confession: I AM the crazy cat lady.  If I had no husband and son to reign me in, I would look something like the crazy cat lady from the Simpson's ; ).

To get back to my topic, Furkids was having an Open House. For those who didn't know, Furkids is a no-kill animal shelter that will take an animal regardless of medical need or special need status, so, as fosters, we have gotten quite an education on caring for a variety of feline needs. They even have a house for FIV+ cats, and were one of the first rescues to take in FIV+ kitties.

It should also be mentioned that Eli has LOVED the cats since day 1. When he would cry because he was grieving, Sadie and Woody did their best to purr away his tears. Quite frankly, they were more effective than either Patrick or I at this at first, since Eli didn't really know us at the time. Honestly? I'm pretty sure he bonded to Sadie before he bonded to me : ).  Since then, though, we have taken Eli to Furkids to visit a few times, and he adores playing with the kitties in the free-roaming rooms.

We actually did an emergency foster placement about a week after Eli came home for two kittens (Sy and Willie) who had been found in the woods, one of whom was partially paralyzed.  Luckily, another foster (Dana : )) was able to take them in for longer term care, as I definitely had (and have) my hands full! Sy, the paralyzed kitty, is the poster boy for our special needs kitties and is recovering from the injury that caused it.
Which brings me to Furkids' Open House.  To raise awareness of the shelter and money for shelter operations, Furkids hosts an "Open House" every year, where the public is invited to celebrate the fall season with us.  We have BBQ, inflatables, homemade ice cream, a bake sale, and the shelter is open to all (see We took Eli and had a marvelous time.  Thanks to the wonderful photographers at open house that took these pictures!

Everything is set up and ready to go...
Yep...even the blood truck dropped by : ).  I only put the picture here because we pressed Patrick into service (I can't usually give blood because of a tendency to be anemic).  Eli bribed the nurses to give him some cookies...and goldfish crackers...and juice...
That's Eli petting one of the adoptable dogs from Furkids.  Eli is no longer afraid of quiet dogs! (Loud dogs=still scary, but that's probably a good thing).
The open house had face painting, a coloring table, a inflatable "bouncy house" and slide, a bake sale, bbq, homemade ice cream, etc.  Eli DEFINITELY didn't want his face painted (he likes getting his hand stamped at gymnastics, but then can't wait to wash off the stamp!).  Eli enjoyed playing in the "bouncy house" with the big kids, but he also enjoyed the food (thank you Carol)!
And, of course, there were LOTS of good friends to enjoy...Eli and I both love hanging out with Carol! (She SPOILS him rotten! : ) ).
Of course, we went to see our feline friends, too!  But the shelter was crowded (YAY!)!
Below is a picture of Meg (taking a nap!), an incredibly sweet kitty that Patrick and I fostered. She is the perfect example of why animal foster homes are important.  She was soooo sick (and pregnant) when we brought her home from Furkids to foster on the same day that she arrived at the shelter. I slept on the floor with her in our "foster room" for over a week, gave her breathing treatments six times a day, fed her with a feeding tube every few hours around the clock and used proper sanitizing and isolation techniques to keep my personal cats from getting sick. Everyone at Furkids was extremely supportive and hopeful that she would be okay.  A few short weeks later, the tube came out, Megs ate on her own, and her breathing normalized. She was at the shelter on Open House day, but found a permanent home very shortly afterward.  I hope and pray that she gives her new family a lifetime of happiness.  She was one of the dozens we have fostered and cared for, and we know, when we look at the joyful faces of children and adults who bond with the animals that we have saved, that our work was not in vain.
So, on a lighter note, Furkids has these things that are called "cat wheels." They look like giant hamster wheels, and most of the cats really enjoy exercising on them!
Of course, all the food and running in wheels and greeting people is hard work for a kitty...BEDTIME!

Thanks, Furkids! We had a great time, and can't wait til next year!