February Photo Challenge #3

by Kristi Van Dyk in

Rafael is in our family too! Rafael loves finding anything he can hide in. He loves crawling under beds, in between cushions, between pillows, etc. So, when he crawled up inside the leg of Steve's discarded sweatpants, I had to snap a photo. He's a cute little kitty!

[caption id="attachment_1015" align="alignleft" width="764" caption="Rafael snuggling in Daddy's pants"][/caption]

Making Friends

by Kristi Van Dyk in

We haven't been on tons of playdates with new people lately. BUT, we have been working on forming better bonds with the "friends" that live in the same house with us. Here are my two sets of little "friends."

[caption id="attachment_827" align="aligncenter" width="482" caption="My babies having lunch together"][/caption]

My furry children sharing the window:

[caption id="attachment_828" align="aligncenter" width="458" caption="Rafa and Andre"][/caption]

Tired Little Ones ...

by Kristi Van Dyk in

These last few weeks have been so insane. I thought fall and regular schedule would bring a slower pace of life. It hasn't really turned out that way. BUT, that's alright. We're all enjoying ourselves, growing, and learning. Here's the result of constant change ... (I don't have one of Benner, but he's just as cute when he sleeps too!) [caption id="attachment_816" align="aligncenter" width="200" caption="Throw your hands up in the air..."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_817" align="aligncenter" width="224" caption="In his 2nd favorite spot in the house (first is the foot of the bed with electric blanket turned up)"][/caption]

Even the youngest (and easily most fiesty of all of my kids) has to rest some times.

[caption id="attachment_818" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Crazy Rafa sleeps sometimes too."][/caption]

Rafa's Personality

by Kristi Van Dyk in

We adopted Andre when he was already past his 1 year birthday (according to the vet). Therefore, we never had the privilege of seeing what a "kitten" is like. Rafael is letting us experience "kittendom" in all of it's glory. Here's a few quick snapshots of him being ... a kitten. Rafa's new bed

[caption id="attachment_742" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Taking over the bed"][/caption]

Rafael decided to take over the bed. It took him over 2 weeks to find a way up (it used to be Andre's hideout). But now that he has made it up, all day long, it's his favorite place (especially when he's "grounded" for fighting with Andre).

At the end of the day, though, he usually finds at least one way to win his "mommy" over.

[caption id="attachment_743" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Kisses for Mommy"][/caption]

Friday Photoshoot

by Kristi Van Dyk in

This morning I intended to take fun pictures of Benjamin. EVERYONE (Dre and Rafa included) was up and at 'em. Therefore, I got to snap pictures of a variety of subjects. Some of my favorites: Kayleigh - "Sometimes her beauty stops me dead in my tracks"

[caption id="attachment_693" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Kayleigh"][/caption]

Benjamin: "His smile brings me unspeakable joy"

[caption id="attachment_694" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Benjamin"][/caption]

Andre: "Just staying sharp"

[caption id="attachment_695" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Andre"][/caption]

Rafael: "Missin' my brothers ..."

[caption id="attachment_696" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Rafael"][/caption]

And of course, what mother couldn't love a few of them getting along:

Kitten + Toddler = too cute

by Kristi Van Dyk in

As I was attempting to persuade my husband to allow me to adopt this new kitten, I used many tactics (some below the belt ...). It NEVER occurred to me to play the toddler card. "Kayleigh would really love to play with a kitten, etc." This is probably because I really didn't expect her to want to play with a kitten. She moves so fast and isn't generally tender (the moments with her brother still shock me), so why would a kitten catch her eye? Because they are in the same life stage ... exploring their world, trial and error, curiosity about EVERYTHING, no problem with a mistake because life is full of time to try and try again, completely devoid of the fear of the unknown because everything is unknown! Together Rafa and Kayleigh give me more to laugh about than I ever imagined ... Interestingly enough, not only are Kayleigh and Rafa in similar stages of development, they have very similar personalities ... active, constant, don't stop until I slam into a brick wall of exhaustion and fall over into a coma. Snuggling is a thing to do ONLY when exhaustion keeps you from doing more "exciting" things. So, Kayleigh and Rafa are my two "Actives." Benny and Andre ... my two "mellows." Both of them are content to take a safe and comfortable view of the action and let everyone else have it out. Sure they let me know, quite forcefully at times, what their needs are, but more often than not ... watching is just fine with them ... Sit back and enjoy the show :).

Here's the show we got from Rafael these past two days:

[caption id="attachment_669" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="A bed is wherever you crash land"][/caption]

This other one warrants a little story. Benny and Andre are safely perched, watching the action. Kayleigh is chattering away to her Rafa. I'm scrubbing a few bottles in the kitchen, where I'm not more than a few paces away from all of the "dependents," as I call them.  I hear the following: K: Rafa on snack table R: chirp, chirp, MMMEEOOOWW (his sharper cry brings me to peer around the corner. She has him with two hands by the belly and is lifting him unto the television table where she eats her snacks). K: No? No snack table??? Rafa sit on couch R: chirp, chirp, chirp (as she toddles him to the couch) MMMEEEOOOWW (still unharmed just not exactly happy) K: No? Okay ... Rafa in Benny's Bumbo (Yes, she knows a Bumbo by name). Rafa in Bumbo. (IN she plops him and there he stays ... for quite sometime, resting and watching her eat her snack.)

Rafa's new comfort spot aside from his pregnancy pillow turned cat bed??? Benjamin's Yellow Bumbo

Sometimes I'm positive that I'm certifiably insane ... you know, committing to house training a kitten and introducing him to an existing cat who is quite possessive while caring full time for an almost 4 month old and a nearly 2 year old ... but, these quiet moments with the snugglers seems to make it worth it. (The kids snuggle too just not nearly long enough to snap pictures!)

[caption id="attachment_671" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Not too bad for just the end of their first full day together"][/caption]