Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hide & Seek

Zachary is playing hide & seek with Aunt Candy (his Grand-Aunt). He "hides" by standing against the wall, regardless of whether anyone can see him.

Video taken 12/26/08; Zachary is 15 months old.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Morning

Here they are! The Christmas videos are back and should be viewable this time :)




Videos taken 12/25/08; Zachary is 15 months old.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Shoulder Rides

My dad always carried us on his shoulders. It's kindof a special memory. So I really enjoy it when Curtis carries Zachary on his shoulders :)

Video taken 12/23/08; Zachary is 15 months


We don't let Zachary play with our computers at home - they're completely blocked by a gate (along with the cat food), but when we're visiting, all the rules change :)

Video taken 12/21/08; Zachary is 15 months

YouTube Videos

As you know, I've been having trouble uploading videos lately. We think it's because of space limitations, so I'm going to be uploading them to YouTube and then embedding them here.

What this means is that nothing will change except a little bit of formatting on the video - see the previous post Cars. Now that the videos are on YouTube, they are slightly bigger on the screen, and if you click one of the buttons on the video (bottom, second from right) it will make the video full screen (albeit fuzzy because of the resolution.)

I will be going back to previous posts and adding the missing videos. They're on my computer at home in Nashville, so it won't be until after the New Year - I'll let you know when they're up.

As always, feel free to leave comments, even just to say hi!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Zachary received Christmas gifts from some folks at church. One of the packages contained five little die-cast cars. I think he likes them :)

Video taken 12/17/08; Zachary is 15 months.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Zachary was SO excited when they let him have one of the basketballs! (This was at the church after caroling.)

Video taken 12/7/08; Zachary is 15 months.

Again, there's another video, but it won't upload :( So frustrating!!

Update (01/09/2009): I still don't know why the video never uploaded to Blogger, but here it is on YouTube:

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Zachary's Christmas gift from the Wheelers this year is his first set of building blocks. It was the last one at the store (we took advantage of post-Thanksgiving sales) and he was very excited, as Curtis explains in this first video:

Video taken 11/28/08

What other toy appeals to kids almost 20 years apart?? Notice how they're not only playing with the blocks, but they're inside the playpen too :)

Video taken 11/28/08

Playing at home (This is a pre-haircut video)

Video taken 12/1/08

I have another video, but it won't upload :(

Update (01/09/2009): Another "long lost" video - found!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Zachary had his first nightmare/night terror last night. I woke up to his screaming a little after midnight. And I mean screaming. When I first gained consciousness my reaction was to look at Curtis to see if he was awake so he could deal with it (bad mommy!) but the next moment I realized that Zachary wasn't just crying and I jumped out of bed. He calmed down right away and laid his head on my shoulder and put his arm around my neck (melt my heart!) He settled down with his music on, holding his blankie and sucking on his binky, so all's well.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Doctor Appt.

Zachary's 15-month check up went well today. Dr. Lavin said he "passed with flying colors!" (Not that it's a test or anything, but it's always good to know that things are going well.) He got three vaccines, including a flu shot, and they took a finger prick to check his iron levels, which came back fine. We talked to her about kid's vitamins and she said the gummy ones would probably be fine, though we may need to cut them into smaller pieces (or not. Have you seen him eat? Makes very effective use of those 7 teeth, he does.) She said the ones with fish oil (DHA) would be very beneficial (thanks Ben for the info you sent on that!) Here are the newest stats:

  • Weight: 24lbs 12oz; 55th percentile
  • Height: 32 inches; 76th percentile
  • Head: 47 cm; 45th percentile

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Zachary got his first haircut on December 4th. Curtis had been wanting to cut it for a while but I had been resisting. How could anyone contemplate cutting off all those curls?? But the long hair in the front and over the ears finally got to me. So I cut the bangs and the hair over the ears and left the hair in the back long so he would still have curls. Curtis and I looked at the result and decided it looked too much like a mullet! I didn't cut off all the curls (I just couldn't!) but most of the long hair is gone.



He looks so grown up!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mac n Cheese

Video taken 11/13/08

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Get up Daddy!

Video taken 11/22/08


Zachary was trying to grab the ball that was bouncing across the screen - just like the cats!

Video taken 11/20/08

Friday, November 21, 2008

House for Sale

So we've put our house on the market. The reasoning is that Curtis is scheduled to finish his degree this summer and he's unlikely to find a job here, so we'll be moving this year. We don't want to get stuck having to sell the house, so we'd rather sell it now, at our leisure. Although we haven't gotten any interest yet, I've been looking at apartments and houses for rent, and I'm curious what some of you think we should do. I've created a poll and I'd appreciate your vote. If you have more to say, please leave a comment on this post.

Here are a couple links to the house, if you're curious :)
The Daily Classifieds


The first thing everyone wants to know is how did Zachary's EEG turn out? Normal. Perfectly, absolutely, beautifully, normal. We got a copy of the report, and the doctor said we can get a CD of his whole EEG, so I'll be looking into that.

The next item of interest is what did the doctor say? He says that it wasn't a seizure. When Zachary shook, he trembled all over, whereas a seizure will produce more jerky motions. I tried asking if postictal symptoms often follow a breath holding spell, and he had me describe Zachary's behavior after the event over and over, but he never really answered my question. He kept talking about an experiment that was performed by a group of German students where they induced themselves to lose consciousness (faint) and it was shown that losing consciousness can cause a person to twitch and shake. Something about syncope. I was a little irritated at the doctor because he was rather dismissive in his behavior. Curtis says he was trying to be reassuring. I also told him about the possible connection between the hemangioma on Zachary's chest, lipomas (which my dad has) and seizures. He looked Zachary all over (looking for other discolorations) and determined that Zachary absolutely does not have whatever that condition is. Then Dr. Reyes examined Zachary, checked his reflexes, checked his muscle tone, looked in his eyes, and asked about my pregnancy and Zachary's development. Everything was normal. When he went to check Zachary's reflexes, he tapped his right knee with the rubber thingy and Zachary's leg kicked (like it's supposed to). When Dr. Reyes tapped the other knee, his leg didn't kick. My first reaction was, "How weird! Zachary doesn't have a reflex in his left knee!" But then the doctor tapped the right knee again and the leg didn't kick and we all laughed that Zachary was purposely holding his legs still. Silly boy! Throughout the whole exam Zachary sat very cooperatively on Curtis' lap and watched everything the doctor did. He didn't even try to grab the instruments. Most of the things the doctor did Zachary thought were funny, he was smiling almost the whole time. The doctor kept commenting how social he is, how happy he is, etc.

After the exam, the doctor reaffirmed what he had said before: it wasn't a seizure. He explained that a child that is perfectly normal in every other aspect has no reason to have a seizure. Children with seizures usually have symptoms in other areas (their development, primarily). Then he brought in the doctor we thought we were going to see, Dr. Garza. I had to go through the whole explanation again (some parts of it more than once), and Dr. Garza agreed with Dr. Reyes that it was a breath holding spell, not a seizure. He told us the story of the German students too. I still felt like they were dismissing Zachary's behavior after the event. I tried explaning it better, and Curtis tried to help, but the doctors never explained whether Zachary had really experienced postictal symptoms or not and whether postictal symptoms can follow a breath holding spell. I asked if seizures can be caused by a combination of factors and I explained that Zachary's blood sugar and sodium had been low. I can't actually remember how the doctor answered, but it wasn't very satisfactory. Something about how all seizures are caused by a combination of factors, and then the same thing that the ER doctor has said about how the glucose and sodium levels weren't low enough. I get so frustrated! These people don't listen and they don't try to understand what was going on. At the time of the event, we don't know what Zachary's glucose and sodium levels were. It is entirely possible that, in combination, they were low enough to cause a seizure. When the ambulance personnel tested Zachary's blood sugar on the way to the hospital, he said it was low, but not outside the range of normal. This makes sense, as Curtis explained, because the body is able to bring glucose levels up in an emergency. Finally, when Zachary's blood was taken at the hospital, he had eaten some cheerios, thus skewing the results. But all the doctors look at is the results, and they say, "Nope, levels aren't low enough, that couldn't have caused it."

So I looked up "breath holding spell" on the internet. The following paragraphs are taken from different webpages.

Breath-holding spells are brief periods when young children stop breathing for up to 1 minute. These spells often cause a child to pass out (lose consciousness). Breath-holding spells usually occur when a young child is angry, frustrated, in pain, or afraid.

Breath-holding spells are categorized as either cyanotic or pallid.

  • Cyanotic breath-holding spells, the most common type, usually occur in response to anger or frustration. A child's skin typically turns red or blue-purple.
  • Pallid breath-holding spells produce a pale appearance to a child's skin. These spells usually occur in response to fear, pain, or injury, especially after an unexpected blow to the head.
The pallid form typically follows a painful experience, such as falling and banging the head or being suddenly startled. The brain sends out a signal (via the vagus nerve) that severely slows the heart rate, producing loss of consciousness. Thus, in this form, the loss of consciousness and stoppage of breathing (which are both temporary) result from a nerve response to being startled that leads to slowing of the heart.

The child stops breathing, rapidly loses consciousness, and becomes pale and limp. A seizure may occur. The heart typically beats very slowly during an attack. After the attack, the heart speeds up again, breathing restarts, and consciousness returns without any treatment. Because this type is rare, if the attacks occur often, further diagnostic evaluation and treatment may be needed.

Also, Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breath-holding_spells - this article lists four, rather than two types, and considers one followed by seizure activity to be a "Complicated" one.

So, Zachary didn't turn blue or purple, and his experience followed a painful event (bumping his mouth on the deck). Also, his blood pressure was really, really low in the ambulance. So, if he experienced a breath holding spell, I think it would be the pallid form. And, oh look! A seizure may occur. Wait, but I thought the doctor said it wasn't a seizure. He made it sound like if a child experiences a breath holding spell, it's not a seizure. Now I'm thoroughly confused. Was it, or was it not a seizure? Is Zachary now at a higher risk for experiencing another seizure? Or are breath-holding-spell-induced seizures not that same as other seizures? A neurologist should be able to answer these questions! I think part of the problem is that most of the seizure patients that neurologists see are suffering from epilepsy, or some other seizure condition. So when a patient comes in with no seizure condition, they're hesitant to say it was a seizure. There's no wiggle room. I realize as I'm writing this that it may sound like I want it to have been a seizure. This is not at all the case! I want to know what happened, what made Zachary shake, what caused it, and how to prevent it. Or at least know how to predict it. Ugh. Anyway.

The good news is that Zachary is perfectly normal, all the way to his brain waves (of course, we already knew that :) ). Whether he experienced a seizure is in doubt, but whatever it was is not due to a condition, and he's extremely unlikely to have an experience like that again. Thanks for reading my "book", and please feel free to leave comments - I'd love to know what you think! (And that goes for all my posts, by the way.)

Monday, November 17, 2008


Zachary's EEG went really well last Friday. He stayed up two hours later than usual and just played with his books while we watched Jane Austen's Persuasion. Then he and I got up two hours earlier than usual. He was a little grumpy at being woken up, but no fussies. The hardest part was keeping him awake until it was time to go to the appointment - he kept trying to fall asleep on the floor!

While getting set up for the EEG, Zachary just laid on the bed and watched cartoons while the technician attached 23 nodes to his little head. She went on and on at how well behaved he was. There were two steps to attaching the nodes: the gal scrubbed the spot first and then used electrical paste to attach the node, then she covered the node with a bit of gauze. Zachary did not have to get his head shaved. After all the nodes were attached, she wrapped his head with more gauze to hold everything in place.


During the test, I had to hold Zachary's eyes closed for 10 seconds a couple times, but he never fussed - he thought it was funny! Then we did a strobe test where a strobe light flashes at several different frequencies (to see if the flashing light induces a seizure). Not only did the flashing light not bother Zachary, he thought it was a camera and kept smiling at it!

For the last part of the test the technician turned the lights down and left the room, hoping Zachary would sleep. This is why we had had to keep him up late and get him up early. But everything was too interesting - he was wide awake. The gal said that often happens. They still got good measurements though.

What was really neat, though, was to watch the computer screen. It showed four bands of brain waves and then a little screen of Zachary (there was a video camera trained on him.) So while watching the screen we could see what he was doing and what his brain waves were doing at the same time. For the most part they were evenly spaced, but when he laughed, some of them became denser and then when he tried to roll over, the brain waves were all over the place!!

We'll see the doctor (a pediatric neurologist) on Thursday to interpret the measurements for us.

Removing the nodes didn't take nearly as long, of course, as putting them on, but getting the paste out of his hair took forever! There was a sink in the room and the technician attached a spray nozzle to the faucet. It took at least twenty minutes of scrubbing his hair with shampoo and using lots of water to get all the stuff out. Fortunately I had Curtis' help holding him still!


Monday, November 10, 2008

Mario Kart Wii

We're a MarioKart family - even Zachary plays :)

(Video taken 11/6/08)

(Video taken 11/8/08)


Zachary continues exploring his shoe fetish.

(Video taken 11/6/08)


Curtis was keeping an eye on Zachary. When I came downstairs, this is what I found:

(Video taken 11/5/08)

Morning 'Toons

Zachary got ahold of the DVD remote this morning - one of his favorite toys. Within five minutes he had turned the player on to DVD mode (it also has tuner and audio input modes), his VeggieTales DVD started playing, and he pulled himself onto the couch, all ready to watch!! I turned the TV on for him and then had to take a picture. Too cute!!

We try to put the remotes away, ever since he reprogrammed the DVD player to only show black and white. It took us a while to get it back! We've tried giving him a remote that doesn't work, but he knows better. He only likes the ones that do something, and he knows the DVD remote is better than the TV remote.

Friday, October 31, 2008




Zachary's been fascinated with shoes for the last couple weeks. Before I grabbed the camera, he was trying to put his foot into one of Curtis' shoes.



We rented a two-bedroom condo in Gatlinburg for two nights. Zachary loved exploring a new place. His favorite part was opening and closing doors (as long as he was on one side and we were on the other!)


(Videos taken 10/24/08)

The Petting Zoo

"Zachary, you're supposed to look at the goat!"

He was a little unsure, but got the idea after a while. He kept getting distracted by a goat bleating somewhere behind him. By the end of the video, I think he's imitating the goat!
(Videos taken 10/22/08)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Doctor Appt.

Zachary saw his doctor yesterday (Wednesday) (she doesn't work in that clinic on Mondays and Tuesdays). She's great, by the way. She listened to everything I had to say and asked questions. She didn't dismiss anything, but didn't jump to conclusions either. After looking at the lab results from the blood work on Saturday, she wants to make sure Zachary isn't having trouble with his sodium levels. So they took more blood samples and a urine sample. Again, Zachary did very well while they drew blood. He didn't like it, but he didn't scream and cry. The urine sample was a little more difficult. Since he's not potty trained, how do you get a urine sample from a baby? Well, you attach a bag not unlike a vacuum cleaner bag. Then you put the diaper back on and hope he fills the bag. Without going into too much detail, it took all day and three bags to get the urine sample.

Later today, the doctor called me and told me that all the lab results came back normal. She still wants to go ahead with the EEG and neurology appointments though. As Curtis explained, she's looking for one single cause that might point to an underlying condition. It's a situation where we're all relieved as long as we don't know what caused the seizure! If we can't find a smoking gun, then it was probably due to a combination of factors that are highly unlikely to be repeated, meaning that he'll probably never have another one. By the way, I read that 2% of the population will experience a seizure event in their life. That's a higher number than I would have thought!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Last Saturday, Zachary had a non-epileptic seizure. He's perfectly okay and back to normal. Seizures, though extremely scary, are harmless (unless someone has one that doesn't stop.)

We were in Gatlinburg with my folks. Zachary had thrown up earlier in the day, but we don't know why. The morning had been spent in a driving tour of Cade's Cove. After the driving tour we were at a restaurant for lunch and Zachary was enjoying exploring the deck. He got to crawling a little too fast and tripped over his hands and bumped his mouth. He looked up and decided that it did indeed hurt and starting crying. I walked over and picked him up. He did that thing that kids do when they're crying where they breathe all the way out and then you wait and wait and wait and then they finally breathe in. (If you aren't around kids much you may not know what I'm talking about). (When I told the doctor about this later, she called it apnea.) Then I realized something was wrong. He went stiff and then started shaking. I kept repeating, "He's not right, something's wrong." Mom came over and took him from me. I stood rooted to the spot, trying not to cry. We didn't know what was wrong and all we could think about was whether he was breathing. People starting pouring out of the restaurant, all wanting to know if he was choking. He hadn't been eating anything, so that wasn't the problem. Someone handed me the phone with a 911 operator on the line. She was wonderfully calm, but irritated at all the people. She wanted everyone to leave us alone and at one point she asked me to tell some lady talking to me to be quiet. She had me take Zachary back from my mom and stayed on the line with me until help arrived.

The first people to arrive were two paramedics in a fire truck. They were very calm and didn't seem worried. At this point, Zachary had become very lethargic, was still non-responsive, and his eyes, although no longer rolled back, were not straight (the right one was turned in a bit while the left one wasn't). We answered the guys' questions and Curtis told me later it wasn't until he heard my explanation to the paramedics that he realized Zachary had had a seizure. They asked if I wanted Zachary to go the hospital to get checked out. I said I did. I was sitting on the ground and realized that more people had arrived. The first guy I had been talking to was relaying my descriptions to someone else. He said that I had described a tonic-clonic seizure and Zachary was now displaying postictal symptoms. I'll explain all that in a little bit.

It turned out that the second pair of people were the ambulance personnel. They had me get on a gurney with Zachary on my lap and loaded us into the ambulance. Mom was invited to sit in the front of the ambulance. Once Zachary and I were inside, they spent a little bit of time getting Zachary attached to some sensors and an oxygen mask. They also checked his blood pressure. I don't know what normal is for a 13-month old, but they said it was really low at 78 over 20. While they were doing all this, Curtis and Dad pulled up behind us. The guy in the back of the ambulance with Zachary and me said that the hospital was about 20 minutes away and we'd be taking back roads or we'd never get there! (we had already discovered how bad the traffic in Gatlinburg can be.) Unfortunately, the gurney faced the back of the ambulance. Althought this meant that I could see Curtis and Dad following, it is the very worst direction to face for someone prone to motion sickness! I spent most of the ride with my head back and my eyes closed. I did have to open my eyes to help the guy as he tried to insert an IV into Zachary's hand. Up until that point, Zachary had been sleeping. The guy said that after a seizure, even adults will sleep and that it was nothing to worry about. When he inserted that needle, however, Zachary woke up and wasn't happy. On the bright side, when he saw me, he recognized me and calmed down a little bit. The guy wasn't able to find the vein, so he eventually gave up on the IV. He took a finger prick and tested Zachary's blood sugar. He said it was within normal, but it was low. Shortly after, we arrived at the hospital.

By now, Zachary was quite awake and very fussy. The nurse asked us some questions and took Zachary's temperature (rectally, of course. He did not like that.) After a little bit the doctor came in and talked to us. He examined Zachary briefly and gave us some information on seizures. Dad and Curtis ran to Taco Bell. While they were gone, two technicians came in and took some blood samples. Zachary had never had blood drawn from his arm, so that was a new experience. He handled it relatively well. It wasn't as bad as getting four vaccinations in his thighs. The results didn't show anything conclusive, though his sodium was a little low. He had had some cheerios before they drew blood, so the results didn't show low blood sugar. The doctor decided it wasn't necessary to do a CAT scan, since they'd have to sedate Zachary to do it. So they sent us home with instructions to follow up with Zachary's doctor on Monday.

We spent Sunday at home, getting Zachary back into his routine. I spent a lot of time online, reading about seizures. There are many different types of seizures, the two main categories being provoked and non-provoked. Non-provoked seizures are associated with epilepsy. Zachary had a provoked seizure, probably brought on by metabolic disturbances, such as hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), hyponatremia (low sodium levels) or hypoxia (oxygen deprivation). According to one article, everyone has a genetically determined seizure threshold, which can be altered by fatigue, malnutrition, lack of sleep or rest, hypertension, stress, diabetes, the presence of neon or laser flashes or lights, rapid motion or flight, blood sugar imbalances, anxiety and other factors. Zachary's threshold had probably been lowered by one or more of these things as we explored Gatlinburg, and then apnea while crying was the straw that broke the camel's back. From different descriptions I read, Zachary experienced a tonic-clonic seizure, which is a full body seizure that consists of two stages. In the tonic stage, the body goes stiff and the arms and legs are either pulled into the body or stretched out straight. In the clonic stage, the body goes into convulsions. After the seizure ended, Zachary was lethargic and non-responsive, which is consistent with a postictal state.

For follow-up posts, click on the "Seizure" category

Friday, October 3, 2008

Zachary & Beau

The string-on-a-stick suddenly reappeared one day and Zachary remembered exactly what it was for! Click here for a video of the first time Zachary played with a string-on-a-stick, although that one still had its mouse attached ;)

(Video taken 9/24/08)

Monday, September 29, 2008

I Feel Accomplished

I'm not sure whether I should be embarrassed or proud. I mean, it doesn't reflect too well on my housekeeping skills, but at the same time, how many green thumbs do you know who can grow something in their sink drain??

I think it's a tomato. We often wash Zachary's hands and face in the bathroom sink downstairs and he likes tomatoes, so lots of tomato seeds have washed down that drain. Tomatoes are fairly easy to grow (at least, they rarely fail to sprout), so that's my guess. We'll never know, though. After taking the picture I pulled it out and threw it away.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Snake Update

We learned from some friends at church that the black snakes are very territorial and will eat other snakes, including venomous ones. I did some research online, and I'm pretty sure our little "friend" is a Black Racer. There are more pictures here. Nothing I've read online says that they'll eat venomous snakes, so I don't know if it's true or not. I haven't seen it since yesterday morning.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Our Newest Resident

Our newest resident is an unwanted one.

Beau was quite eager to be let inside the house and when I opened the door I realized why: there's a snake in our yard! It's about 3 feet long and 1/2 inch in diameter. After a little while the snake slithered away and went down a hole in the ground next to our patio. Curtis tried flooding the hole with water, hoping it would drive the snake away.

This morning I went out to get the ladder to return (from trying to get the cat out of the tree). Since the ladder was in the backyard, I decided to go around that way instead of back through the house. When I got to the edge of the patio, there was the snake! He was warming himself in the sun on the grass. He saw me at the same time, which weirded me out a little. I came back in and got Curtis' attention just in time for us to watch the snake go back down "his" hole. Great. It looks like the water didn't drive him away.

I'm pretty sure it's not venomous, since it doesn't have the triangular-shaped head. Of course, that doesn't change our caution level! It just makes us feel better about letting the cat out this morning (Beau, not Riselle. She's grounded. We did let Beau out the front, not the back. We know that he knows how to get around to the back, but it made us feel a little better.)

I wonder if Beau caught it and brought it to the yard? I'm not sure why else it would be here. We're not the closest yard to the wilderness to our north. He has brought us animals before. Remember the chipmunk?

So I've found a couple options after surfing online: We could call a wildlife service to come take care of it, or we could buy a snake trap and remove it ourselves.

So I called Lowe's, to see if they have a snake trap (instead of paying $30 to have one shipped to us.) The gal said they didn't. Then she paused. She asked where the snake was. I told her that one had taken up residence in our backyard. She gave me the following recommendation: Take the yolk out of an egg and insert a fish hook with some line tied on. Tie the line to a tree or something and leave the egg out for the snake to eat. When the snake swallows the egg, it'll be caught on the hook. That's how they used to get snakes out of the chicken coop.

Living in Tennessee is great :) I wouldn't get that kind of service if I called a home improvement store in California!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Never Again

Well, I met my objective: the cat is no longer in the tree and we didn't have to pay anybody to do it! Yesterday morning, during Zachary's nap, I went to see if I could coax her down. I had borrowed a neighbor's ladder, but when I got there, I realized that the ladder was nowhere near tall enough to do any good. I also met the guy whose property the tree is actually on. He had to go to work, so he didn't stick around for very long.

I tried using the hose to spray the cat, thinking it might force her down, but the water didn't reach. While I was out there, a neighbor came out to play with his dog. I went over to talk to him and ask if he had a tall ladder. After a little while he admitted that he did. He brought it out and set it up. It was a really tall, extension ladder. Perfect! I climbed up and continued calling to the cat. She didn't move. I climbed back down. After some time of calling to her from the ground, she got up the courage to move closer to the trunk of the tree. Then she actually got to the branch below the one she'd been on. I was really encouraged! I climbed back up the ladder and kept calling to her. She was now sitting in a fork of the tree quite close, but I couldn't reach her. She showed no inclination to try to move down further. The guy was holding the ladder and suggested I come down and he try going up. Maybe he thought he could grab her, being taller? So he went up the ladder, and he didn't stop on the 4th or 5th rung from the top, like I did. He went all the way to the top, and Riselle was almost within his reach! Unfortunately, she was so scared, she lost bladder control, and then retreated back up the branch. He came down off the ladder and I went up again. This time, I went all the way to the top too. But she had retreated too far, and then she jumped back to the branch she had been on. Silly cat.

So with the cat exactly where she had been when she started, we gave up for the time being. Zachary's nap wasn't going to last much longer, so I had to go in.

After lunch, Zachary went down for his afternoon nap, and I again headed to the tree. I brought a can of food with me, since she was panting and was hungry and thirsty. I thought it might help lure her down. Nope. It didn't do any good. She hardly even looked at me. Her eyes were half closed and she was hardly meowing anymore. I knocked on the guy's door, to see if he could set the ladder back up, but he didn't come to the door. So I just stood in the yard under the tree, holding the open food can, calling to the cat.

After a little while, the guy came out to play with his dog (I wonder if he thought I had gone away again. I didn't hear a car drive up and I don't think he could see me from his house). I asked if he could set up his ladder again, since I had food to try to coax her with. I was afraid for a moment that he wasn't going to, but then he went into his house to get it.

I went up the ladder and held up the food can, calling to her, but she wouldn't look at me. She just sat there, panting. I was rather frustrated! For one thing, why did she go up the tree? Didn't she learn her lesson last time? Secondly, why was she so high? There were lots of branches, why did she think she needed to be on such a high one? And why wasn't she trying harder to get down? I didn't like spending all my Zachary-free time standing in someone else's yard, trying to coax my cat out of a tree!

From the ground, looking at the tree, I started to analyze how close the branches were to each other and how feasible it might be for me to get a little closer to the cat, maybe convince her to try to climb down again. I said something to the guy about, "I wonder if I can get closer to her." He responded, "I don't see how!" So I climbed up the ladder again, but instead of stopping on the top rung, I began to climb the tree. The ladder just reached the lowest branches, so getting into the tree wasn't very hard at all. I got to the branch she had climbed down to and positioned myself so I had one arm free. I began calling to the cat and reaching for her. She moved closer to me, yay!! I continued coaxing and she continued her slow progress until she could sniff my fingers and then I could pet her head. Soon she was close enough that I managed to pick up her.

So there I was, way up in the tree, holding on with one hand and holding a cat with the other. Let me make sure the picture is clear in your head. This is a very tall tree. I'm easily 50 feet in the air. The tree has several branches, but it's not very dense. If I fell, not much would break my fall. It's not a very large tree, however, and it was a windy day. Every time the wind blew, the tree swayed, significantly. When I thought about it, I completely understood why she didn't want to move! It was really scary! I found myself breathing hard and actually panting! There was a moment of panic when I didn't know how I got up there and I didn't know how I was going to get down. But I, unlike the cat, realized that since I had gotten up, I would be able to get down. The moment passed.

I started to think through my descent and realized that I could not do it with a cat in my arms. I needed both hands free to get down. I said something to that effect to the guy on the ground. His advice was, "Well you gotta. You gotta get down." I considered dropping the cat. I was afraid she would be hurt by the bushes, though, and abandoned that thought. I also realized that someone had come out of the one of the houses, so I had two onlookers. She was a little more helpful and suggested I put the cat on the branch that I was sitting on. After a little maneuvering, I got her to hang onto that branch and then I repositioned myself below, intending to pick her up and repeat the process. As I picked her up, she kinda grabbed onto me and climbed on my shoulders, but didn't seem to want to jump to any branch. "Hmm," I thought, "this could work."

With the cat sitting on my shoulders, leaving both hands free, I climbed back down to the ladder. A couple times the cat tried to sink her claws into the tree, but I managed to keep her on my shoulders. I got to the ladder and climbed down. When I was almost at the bottom she jumped off of me and headed straight for the dense bushes. I was not the least bit concerned. The guy was holding the ladder for me and didn't say much. I don't think he knew what to say. It's not every day you see a cat so well-behaved!

I'll tell you though, I never want to do that again!! Don't get me wrong, I used to love to climb trees! There's something exhilerating about getting up there all by yourself and being so high up. But I never want to climb down with a cat clinging to me. Not only was I concerned with getting down without falling, but I was constantly worried about her (a) jumping back up into the tree, (b) losing her balance and digging her claws in worse than she already was, or (c) causing me to lose my balance and both of us fall out of the tree. It was absolutely nerve-wracking. Climbing down a tree requires looking around to find the best place to put your foot, but with a cat, you don't have the same freedom of movement because you don't want her to jump or fall. A couple times, I was blindly reach with my foot, uncertain of where the branch was, and hoping my foot would find it!

So, the cat is out of the tree. She came right home and filled her belly. We haven't let her outside since. She obviously didn't learn her lesson, but we've learned ours. She can't be trusted! Time to dig out her harness and leash!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Cat Saga Begins Again

Our little kitty cat didn't come running home for her dinner this evening. Can you guess why not? If you've been a semi-regular visitor I bet you know the answer. That's right, she's stuck in a tree again!! Aargh! Obviously somebody didn't learn their lesson. Either she didn't learn her lesson about trees or we didn't learn our lesson about letting her outside unsupervised. You can read about the previous incident here and here.

At least it's a different tree. She's about as high up as she was last time, but this one has lots of branches. It doesn't look like it would be nearly as difficult to get down. She may be a little traumatized from the last time, because she didn't even try to crawl down when I tried coaxing her down.

The tree is in someone else's backyard. I knocked on the door, introduced myself, explained that my cat is stuck in their tree, and asked if they had a ladder. The guy was on the phone and couldn't be bothered. He just sorta shrugged and pointed at his neighbor's house, I guess suggesting that I ask them for a ladder. As I left the porch to ask the neighbor, he closed and locked the door again. I wonder if he realized that my cat is stuck in HIS tree. He certainly couldn't have cared any less. Fortunately his yard doesn't have a fence, so I don't have to bother him again.

Tomorrow afternoon, if she hasn't come down on her own, I'll try to borrow a ladder from one of our neighbors and see if I can coax her down. The objective this time is to get her down without having to pay someone to do it!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Sometimes Zachary practices walking with his fire-truck and sometimes he likes to sit on it. More often he'll face backwards on it; I think it's easier for him to get on that way.

Video taken 09/22/08; Zachary is 12 months

Monday, September 22, 2008

Out of Gas

Have you ever watched the movie The Mummy? Remember the scene where the flesh-eating scarabs clean a human body down to the bones? I was reminded of that scene while driving around Nashville this weekend, except instead of bones being sucked dry, it was gas stations. By Sunday afternoon, there was not a gas station in the entire city with any gasoline.

Here's what happened: Nashville is at the end of a pipeline coming from Houston, TX. When the hurricane came through Texas, Houston lost power. So the refinery wasn't sending any gas through the pipeline. It took a while to affect us, but this weekend, Nashville ran out of gas. Now, normally, when the demand far exceeds the supply, the price should go up. That's basic economics. However, because of "price gauging" laws and fear of public outrage, the gas stations didn't dare raise their prices. So instead of everyone being able to get a few gallons in their cars to make it another couple of days (albeit at a higher price) some people filled their tanks completely while others are out of luck. Absurd.

By the way, if anyone's a Firefly fan, did you catch the reference in the title?

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Zachary's first steps! In the first video we try to help him stand some more. In the second he takes two steps!

Videos taken 09/14/08; Zachary is 12 months

Friday, September 19, 2008


Zachary's learning how to stand on his own, with Daddy's help. (By the way, notice our new gate blocking off the kitchen area. It's a "Super Play Yard" we got off of Craigslist for 1/3 of the retail price!!)

By the end of this video, Zachary decides it's more fun to NOT stand.

He stands for a couple seconds in this one! After that we have "gumby legs"

Videos taken 09/11/08; Zachary is 12 months

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It's The Coffee

Last week (I think it was Thursday) my coffee made me really dizzy. So I didn't have any for the next few days. I was plagued with headaches (withdrawals) and didn't get very much accomplished. This morning I had a cup (or two) and I'm so full of energy! I feel like I can accomplish anything today. Everywhere I look, instead of being overwhelmed by the clutter, I feel empowered to take it on! The headaches and lack of energy aren't worth it, and I don't care that I'm addicted - coffee helps me get things done! (I did try black tea in the morning and it did not have the effect that coffee does.) Besides, aren't there health benefits to drinking a cup or two of coffee every day?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sweet Kitties

I went in to check on Zachary (who was supposed to be napping but was quite wide awake) and there were two kitties in the room with him! Neither one usually hangs out in there, whether Zachary's in there or not. One was on the changing table (and is still there) and the other was on the rug. So sweet of them to keep Zachary company while he naps!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Vroom vroom

Zachary will tip a stool over and sit in it to play with something. I pointed it out to Curtis while I was making dinner and he made a comment that Zachary thinks it's his little car. This gave him an idea....

Video taken 09/11/08; Zachary is 12 months

Do you see the orange thing in Zachary's mouth? That's his favorite "people". He got a whole bunch of old-style Fisher Price people for his birthday. His favorite one is the wooden, orange one. I guess the wooden ones taste better? As a Cutco rep who educates customers on how porous wood is, I can guess why.... I also find it fascinating that it's the only orange one. We call it a "spigot" because when it's in his mouth, he drools uncontrollably! As you can see in the video, he doesn't give it up easily.

Beau Cat

Beau was feeling in a friendly mood! He doesn't usually hang around (unless we're watching a movie, then he MIGHT curl up with us). But I guess the lure of chewing on baby toys was too much for him. I couldn't believe he actually let Zachary "pet" him! And he let him do it long enough that I was able to film it!!


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Curtis is blowing in Zachary's face and making him laugh. I don't know why Zachary thought it was so funny!


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Birthday Toys

Just show the boy once how to do something....

Video taken 09/08/08; Zachary is 1 year old! (as of 09/09/08)