Archive for the ‘Kitties’ Category

  • The End of the Year

    Date: 2013.12.31 | Category: Baby, Family, Friends, Halloween, Health, Holidays, Home, Kitties, Life, Mark, Me, Norah, Pregnancy, Sam Cat, Sarah, Travel | Response: 1

    As I was looking back through photos from this past year, I found myself in awe over just how big my Sarah girl has grown. She looked like such a little baby way back in January, but now she is a big, talking, silly little girl. I’ve seen a lot of people complaining about 2013, but we, mostly, had a really fantastic year.

    I typed up a pretty lengthy summary, but feel free to skip all that and just watch the video. :)

    2013 from Jessica Rinaudo on Vimeo.

    In January we found out we were expecting another baby, which changed our whole world. Sarah would no longer be an only child, and my yearlong obsession with getting pregnant again came to a close. We let our families know we were expecting by allowing Sarah to walk into their homes proudly wearing a “Big Sister” shirt.

    In February we took Sarah to her first Mardi Gras parade – the animal parade downtown. We missed the others we had planned to take her to thanks to illness. She also got sick on Valentine’s Day  for good measure. We also got to see our little bean on the ultrasound for the first time that month too!

    In March I quickly discovered that pregnancies show much faster the second time around. We spent a lot of time playing outside and going to friends’ birthday parties. We spent Good Friday at the pediatrician’s office after Sarah landed herself with croup. This meant we couldn’t go to church for Easter, but Nana and grandaddy were willing to let her come around them, so we visited there and hunted down a few Easter eggs.

    In April Sarah turned two and we celebrated with a Alice and Wonderland themed “Mad Tea Party” in our backyard. Friends and family came and jumped in the bounce house and ate homemade cupcakes. A few days later my nephew Jacob turned two and we celebrated at his construction themed party. Sarah also got to meet her “Italian granny,” Sr. Martinette Rivers, while she was home for a month.

    May was super exciting! Not only did we learn that we would be having another little girl, but we took Sarah on a big vacation that included her first trip to Baton Rouge and New Orleans. We hit up the aquarium and ate lots of great food before heading to the beach in Florida. We stayed there with Susan and her family and had a great time in the sand and water. Sarah still talks about the beach all the time. We will have to plan another trip in 2014!

    In June my friend Tammy and her daughter Kiri came down for a visit from Indianapolis. I also got a new, bigger, family- sized vehicle that month to replace my tiny, but wonderful, Honda Fit. I also went to my conference in Denver in June with my friend Becki. In addition to the conference (where we won a big award for our magazine!), we ate at a lot of Diner, Drive-Ins and Dives restaurants, went to the top of a mountain and checked out some campy museums. That was the longest I’d ever been away from Sarah!

    In July our cat Sam ran away and never came back. We held out hope for a long time without any good news. We also went to Austin in July to visit our friends Dana and Scott. We spent a lot of time in the swimming pool with the kids, and I loved the comfort the pool gave my growing pregnant body. Mys sisters also threw me a “Baby Sprinkle” in July, where close friends and family came and brought lots of goodies for baby #2, including some much needed diapers!

    In August I started having excruciating pain in my right side that lead to several rush trips to the OB’s office and lots of tests. A GI doc finally figured out that I had a bulging ligament that was pressing on a nerve. When the baby would move a lot, she would hit that spot and it would get inflamed. It was horrible! We also went to Baton Rouge in August to see my Aunt Amy get married and I had a great time with my whole family and spent more time in the pool!

    In September my coworkers threw me a baby shower and we started preparing ourselves for Norah’s scheduled c-section on September 23. Due to some horrible problems with Sarah knotting up her hair, we took Sarah to get her first haircut. On September 11 I was rear-ended and, for the sake of my 9 month pregnant baby, was taken by ambulance to a hospital where I stayed overnight to make sure we were both ok. I also had a false labor run on my sister’s birthday, and then went into labor for real on September 20, three days before my scheduled section. We welcomed Norah into the world at 12:38 p.m. and were immediately in love with our beautiful little girl.

    I started October off by turning 29! Cassie came to visit from Pittsburgh and helped us clean and paint our house while she was in town. October is also  when we began the long, hard road of dealing with colic. Norah kept us up every single night screaming hour after hour after hour. It quickly unfolded into months of sleep deprived torture. Mark and I learned the true meaning of being a team and worked out a way to take shifts with her all night long. It was terrible. We also took both girls trick-or-treating in October. Sarah went as Olivia the pig and Norah as Minnie Mouse.

    November gave us no relief from the colic, but we learned that Norah loved the Moby wrap and we put her in that often. Sarah also learned to start sleeping through the long nights of screaming. We also took Norah to meet her great grandparents who live an hour away. We celebrated Thanksgiving at my parents house.

    In December we started counting down until Norah turned 12 weeks – the magical age when the doctor and several friends said colic usually stops. At 12 weeks and 4 days old, Norah slept through the night for the first time because she found her thumb. We rejoiced! We took the girls to meet Santa (Sarah hated him, Norah liked his beard). We decorated for Christmas and then celebrated it with our families. It’s also the month Norah got her first honest to goodness cold – the same cold the whole family managed to share just in time for the holidays.

    A new baby, a couple of big trips, a new car and a lot of love. You were good to us 2013!

  • New Lens Means More Fun!

    Date: 2013.10.11 | Category: Baby, Family, Home, Kitties, Norah, Pets, Photography, Sarah | Response: 5

    A real blog post coming soon, but in the mean time, I want to show you what I got for my birthday! A new camera lens – a 40mm f/2.8 “pancake” lens, so called because it packs a lot of punch in a very flat, small package.


    40mm f2.8 Pancake lens

    I love how fun this little lens is.  But it takes some deft work and practice because it focuses on the item that’s closest to it, then blurs out everything around it. Great for food photography, close up portraits and sneaking up on cats.

    I’m having fun!

    It’s all about proximity. I love it.

  • Going Away

    Date: 2013.07.15 | Category: Friends, Kitties, Life, Sam Cat | Response: 10

    Despite all the wonderful things going on in my life, I’ve still been carrying around a bit of a heavy heart for a couple of reasons.

    For one, my best friend is moving tomorrow, about six-and- a-half hours away. And while I know the move is much harder on her for so many more important reasons, and we haven’t been able to hang out as much as we used to, I am still selfishly sad. I think it says a lot about a person when you can live with them for three years and come out of it with only a few tense moments over some fermented blueberries and eating all the after work snacks.

    Susan is truly one of those people I can say ANYTHING to and I know she won’t judge me (at least out loud). We’ve known each other since around 6th grade thanks to church youth group, got to be closer in high school, and then best friends in college. We’ve done a lot together, suffered a lot together, shared so much and laughed a lot together. And now we have baby girls a year apart. There were a couple of other times when she almost had to move, but we were granted a reprieve. And now that the time is actually here, I’m feeling so sad about it.

    I left her daughter’s birthday party Saturday and couldn’t bring myself to say goodbye because I knew I’d make a fool of myself and start crying (I’m blaming it on the pregnancy hormones, ok)

    I know we’ll still talk and chat and see each other from time to time, but it won’t be the same.

    I guess that’s what I get for staying in one place my whole life – almost everybody else has moved off or lives somewhere else. Of course I still have some amazing girlfriends who live in town (and one who even recently moved back!) But I’m just going to be sad about it now.

    To add insult to injury, it seems Sam Cat has run away. We’re still not sure if it’s a permanent disappearance, but he’s been gone for almost two weeks. He goes outside every night and shows back up every morning. He has been doing this for over six years with no disturbances. He has occasionally decided to stay away for two or three days before and shown back up. And once, right before we got married, he stayed away a full two weeks before coming back – so I guess there’s still hope.

    The thing is, the morning he didn’t show back up was July 4. Since then we’ve had tons of nights of fireworks and thunderstorms. A huge part of me thinks the fireworks scared him so bad that he ran and got lost. Another part of me thinks some old lady has taken him in, never to return.

    And then I feel guilty for being so consumed with work and family that I haven’t been looking for him as much as I should, or maybe grieving for him? Truthfully I’m sad about him leaving, but I just keep “not thinking about it.” And that makes me sad too.

    Good grief I really need some wine. It’s a shame you can’t drink when you’re pregnant.

  • The Freaking Cat

    Date: 2013.05.25 | Category: Family, Health, Kitties, Sam Cat, Travel | Response: 7

    Pardon my long absence. I rushed over the weekend for a deadline so I could leave town and head to Baton Rouge, then New Orleans, then Ft. Walton Beach, FL first for work, then for a much needed vacation with my family.

    I have great pictures and stories about that to share with you. But before I do that, I have to tell you about what happened with the cat while I was away.

    We have the great fortune of having animal loving family members who live in town and volunteer to watch our animals while we’re away. My sister takes on both dogs, and my sister-in-law, Stephanie, both cats.

    Friday night, when we were in New Orleans, Stephanie texted us to let us know Sam Cat had some sort of sore on the back of one of his legs. He’s a long haired cat, so it’s difficult to see something like that. It means a lot that she took the time to pet him and saw it. She texted us a photo and it looked BAD.

    Fortunately for us, our vet has limited Saturday morning hours. I called them Saturday morning and they wanted to see him. So I called Stephanie at 8:10 a.m. I should mention she is single, doesn’t have kids and enjoys sleeping in on Saturday mornings. I told her they wanted to see him right away. And without any complaint she got up, managed to find our cat carrier in one of the three locations I said it might possibly be in, rounded up the cat, managed to get him in the carrier and to the vet.

    And wouldn’t you know it? The dang cat needed stitches for about an inch long gash. Turns out he somehow ripped the skin behind his front left arm. And this is a cat we’re talking about here, so stitches also meant sedation. And, you know, with him having an open wound for an undetermined length of time, that also meant a strong antibiotic shot. We’re also fortunate that we know our vet’s office well and they were willing to bill us for it, because there is no way I could have asked Stephanie to front us that cost.

    Sam Cat is fine now. He’s stitched up and back at home – just pissed we won’t let him outside until he’s completely healed. Stephanie checked on him while we were gone and kept us informed on his health so we were able to relax and enjoy our trip.

    Freaking cat. But really, I’m glad he’s ok.

  • Animals on Parade

    Date: 2013.02.06 | Category: Dogs, Family, Holidays, Kitties, OMG YAY!, Pets, Sarah | Response: 9

    It’s that time of year again where the beads fly, the people scream, the floats roll by and the dogs bark. That’s right the annual Mardi Gras Krewe of Barkus and Meoux parade that walks along the riverfront. This year’s animal participants (and their owners) dressed to the theme “Stars, Guitars and Animals from Mars.” You should probably know already that there is no way I was going to miss out on this, especially with clear, sunny skies and temperatures in the low 70’s. So we loaded up, met up with my mom, sister, brother-in-law and nephew and headed out to see the animals.

    One of the best parts of this parade is that everyone brings their animals out to watch with them. As a result, one of the scariest moments happened when someone was walking their ferret by on a leash… in front of a very large brown dog. Mr. Ferret was very nearly a snack, but thanks to the strong owner of the big dog, pup missed out on his treat.

    Look at the glare in that dog’s eyes. Obviously I’m a born photojournalist.

    There was also a squealing baby pig in a tutu, a pony (who was subsequently awarded best dressed for his Elvis costume) and parade royalty with names like King Taco and Lord of Pegasus Rafferty.

    Oh and their was a goat with tin foil on his antlers!

    Needless to say, my tiny accessory queen enjoyed the show.

    I love that this parade is part of our community. It’s so family friendly and animal lovers come out in droves to support the local pet community. There was even a woman who was carrying her CAT in the parade. Sarah walked away with two pairs of beads, and a small stuffed animal that looks like a cross between a snail and a turtle (we’re calling him Snurtle). And, most importantly, we all got to enjoy the beautiful day. I think we’re going to attempt one more regular parade this coming weekend before Fat Tuesday arrives and we embrace the season of Lent.

  • Helping the Puppies and Kitties

    Date: 2012.12.10 | Category: Dogs, Friends, Holidays, Kitties, Love, Pets | Response: 9

    It’s easy to get down sometimes when life isn’t going the way you planned. I’m struggling through some things in my life right now that I will overcome eventually, but they just make some days seem gray. It also makes my writing a bit lackluster, so I haven’t been blogging as much here or over at Sweet and Saucy.

    But then there are really beautiful moments that shine through the gray.  In particular, my friend Cassie’s daughter Claire (who is 5) came up with the idea (on her own, no less) to make life better for rescue dogs and cats this year for Christmas.

    Claire is a beautiful little spirit. When I was up in Pittsburgh in October, away from my own sweet girl, Claire attached herself to me, and we quickly became fast friends.  Granted a lot of our time was spent teaching her how to play the “Hanging with Friends” app, but more of it was spent in hugs, snuggles, questions and answers. And even though Cass and I aren’t sisters, I feel like Claire is my niece.

    I’ve loved animals ever since I was a kid, and we own two rescue cats, so Claire’s  cause is close to my heart.

    So far, the response to Claire’s request for supplies for the local animal rescue has been amazing.


    Aren’t people wonderful sometimes?

    But if you want to play Santa Paws and help her out in her mission to save the kitties and puppies, check out this Amazon wishlist they have set up. You can pick what you want to send and be confident in knowing all your donations go to Animal Rescue.

    I’ve made Cassie promise to take pictures of the final donations and their delivery, and I’ll share them here when it’s all said and done.

  • Animals in Revolt

    Date: 2012.05.16 | Category: Family, Health, Kitties, Pets, Sam Cat | Response: 13

    Remember when Leela tried to up and die on me?

    Well now Sam Cat decided that he needs his moment in the spotlight and started peeing blood. When I saw the litter box, I thought that couldn’t be good, but didn’t freak because surely UTI right?

    So we took him to the vet where they ran us up another nice big bill (I could really use that buy three visits get one free card now).

    Turns out is exceedingly rare for a male cat to get a UTI, because as my vet so visually described it to me, their pee hole is the size of the tip of a ballpoint pin. (I’m not joking, he really broke out the pen to show me just how small we’re talking about here).

    Instead, he says, male cats tend to get blood in their urine when they’re stressed.

    Now, I’ve seen stressed cats.

    When we first moved into our new house, Angie Cat took up residence underneath the comforter at the foot of our bed and wouldn’t even leave to eat for nearly three months. She lost hair and dropped a ton of weight. That was a stressed cat.

    Sam though? That cat struts around our house like he’s the king of the world and we are all his devoted minions. He has window ledges he spends the vast majority of his time in all day. He has two dedicated litter boxes and swipes at the dogs when they are stupid enough to challenge him (though mostly they just run from him). He does not, in any way, appear stressed.

    The vet says a new baby could bring on that kind of stress. Ok, but Sarah isn’t really new, though she is new to walking. Maybe her screeching meows and full body runs at him are a bit stressful, though he doesn’t hesitate to retreat to his window ledge if she’s being unruly.

    At any rate, our vet suggested we put him on Prozac. PROZAC. For those keeping count, that would mean Bonnie is on her bladder control meds, Leela is on her monthly steroid shot and Sam would be on Prozac.

    I nixed that idea. Especially since the vet said that combined with a number of other things may reduce the chances of this happening again by 50%, maybe.

    Of course all this could mean he needs more water and some antibiotics. So we went that route and bought a fancy cat water bowl to induce him to drink more.

    I think I need a constantly running fountain for ME to drink from, in particular one that spouts wine would be lovely.

    Of course, my vet said, this could happen to Sam again one day, clog up his pee hole and kill him in less than two days. So there’s always that bit of joy to consider.

    Honestly, we’re going to give this water bowl and antibiotic business a try, make sure he goes out at least once a day and see what happens. If this continues, we may have to find him a less stressful environment to live in, because I love that cat and no way I’m going to let him die a painful death if I can help it. Let’s hope sparkly magical water bowl does the trick.

  • Recognize

    Date: 2012.03.26 | Category: Baby, Dogs, Family, Food, Kitties, Life, Pets, Sarah, Work | Response: 14

    Last Monday I was at the vet’s office with my sick cat. After a thorough inspection of Angie Cat (she’s ok), my vet was leaving and then turned around and said, “Do you work for a local magazine?” I answered, “Yes.” She said,  “I saw your name in the magazine and thought that was you.”


    The next night we were leaving a restaurant when a girl in scrubs walked past me and said “Hey!” It took me a couple of seconds to realize she was Sarah’s pediatric nurse. She asked how Sarah was doing and said she hoped she didn’t have to see her in the office again any time soon.


    Friday I went to TCBY and the lady working there asked me how the baby was doing and was disappointed that she hadn’t seen her in a while.


    All of these people recognized and remembered me despite the number of people they see every day, every week. We obviously frequent the vet’s office, the pediatrician’s office and TCBY with amazing regularity, though I’m not sure which is worse. I think we need some sort of V.I.P. or gold card for each of these locations: buy 5, get 1 free. Especially at the vet’s office.

  • Hard Work and Psycho Cats

    Date: 2012.03.13 | Category: Angie Cat, Baby, Bonnie Barrell, Dogs, Family, Food, Health, Home, Kitties, Pets, Sam Cat, Sarah | Response: 18

    Prior to the beginning of Lent three weeks ago, my exercise was intermittent at best. I walked a few miles on the weekends and counted the hour and a half of baby wrangling at church towards my workout time (and let me tell you, trying to contain and hold a very active 20 pound baby while sitting, standing and kneeling at Mass requires all kinds of muscles I didn’t know I had).  But my weight loss had (unsurprisingly) stalled out.

    I knew that my eating habits had set me back too. Mardi Gras is wonderful, but it’s called Fat Tuesday for a reason  (so. Much. King cake.)

    So with Lent on the horizon, I started thinking about worthy sacrifices, sacrifices that would be hard, but productive. I decided on a chocolate sacrifice (which I’m sort of regretting now as I stare at the two boxes of samoas on the kitchen counter every day) and a time sacrifice to exercise.

    When I told Cassie about this, she was all over it. She has been sending me workouts every single day and following up with me about what I like and didn’t like, gauging my strength level and making sure I do them.

    And three weeks in, the lack of chocolate and the increase in exercise is working. I feel stronger, happier and lighter. Seven pounds lighter to be exact. My body went into major shock when I started making it work more. I hope this trend continues and I don’t destroy it when I annihilate those somoas on Easter Sunday.

    Ironically, I’ve helped start a cooking blog during this weight loss work, but it’s inspired me to share my low-fat and healthy recipes and focus on cooking at home more often. (Though I’m already trying to figure out what kind of cupcakes to make for Sarah’s first birthday party).

    All of this has been going really well. I get up in the mornings, exercise while the baby sleeps and then go on about my day, not missing any time with my girl. Or should I say it was going well until Day Light Savings Time hit and my cat went psychotic.

    I already struggle with Angie cat attempting to sit on my face every time I do floor exercises (to stop me or increase the resistance, I’m not sure which) but now Sam Cat has decided to start sabotaging my sleep, and with the getting up an hour earlier, I’m a zombie in the mornings.

    Angie Cat, the face sitter.

    Last night I was sleeping when out of nowhere the mean little fuzz ball lept from the window seal above my bed and landed on me, claws extended. I jumped up screaming and cursing, which managed to upset the baby, even though her door was closed (Mark slept right through this however). Sarah finally quieted and it took me a good hour to fall back asleep. I had been asleep maybe 30 minutes when the damn cat did it AGAIN. Oh the anger and the sleep deprivation. He at least had the good sense to haul ass down the hallway and get out of my reach.

    Not to be outdone, Sarah woke up crying again around 5 a.m. I have to assume she’s getting more teeth or the cat is attempting to sabotage her as well.

    All of these things have been sabotaging my workouts and it’s frustrating. I should at least feel well rested if I’m going to accidentally sleep late!

    And now that it’s beautiful outside, it’s time to take advantage of that as well. All my workouts have been inside and the long period of inactivity also meant Bonnie dog grew fat. She’s gained nearly 10 pounds due to our lack of walks. Whoops.

    So here we go, back to inside AND outside workouts. Let’s hope the next time I report in, Bonnie and I both will be down 10 pounds.

  • Adjusting

    Date: 2011.04.22 | Category: Angie Cat, Baby, Bonnie Barrell, Dogs, Family, Holidays, Kitties, Leela Fish, Life, Love, Mark, Me, Pets, Sam Cat, Sarah, Weirdness | Response: 12

    It’s been nearly two weeks since I gave birth… and it all seems like one big long daze. From a 24-hour cycle to reoccurring 3-hour cycles. It’s hard. Harder than I thought it would be. The sleep deprivation and breastfeeding are difficult, but with the help of Mark, who mostly works from home, we’re doing it and making it.

    The other members of our house have had a hard time adjusting too.

    Leela was very weary. She wouldn’t come within about five feet of Sarah for a week. Leela is slowly getting closer and closer to Sarah… laying next to her, sniffing her and her blankets. And then yesterday Mark blew on Sarah’s belly. Leela HATES that noise with a passion. Suddenly Leela launched to Sarah’s defense, trying to keep Mark’s lips away from Sarah’s little tummy. And then Leela started covering little Sarah with kisses from head to toe, relieved that she was ok. Their relationship has been sealed ever since.

    And Angie Cat has suddenly turned from Miss Scaredy Cat to resident Bad Ass Cat. Out of nowhere she has suddenly started bullying Bonnie. We will hear Bonnie cry, then she come running into our room, followed closely by Angie all frizzed up and hissing. What in the world? When did the dog start being terrified by the weenie cat?

    Sam Cat really could care less that there is a new family member. He’s just happy the changing table is set up so he can sleep in it. I have a feeling that when we actually start using the nursery his attitude will change.

    Bonnie, like Sam Cat, is completely unfazed by Miss Sarah. The first day she met her, Bonnie walked right up and licked Sarah on the head.

    So we’re all adjusting. And when I start to feel overwhelmed, Sarah will flash me the biggest smile and make me melt into a big pile of gooey happiness.

    We’re a team. We’re a family. And we’re figuring it out.