saying goodbye to jack the cat.

Our beloved Jack has left us for Cat Heaven. We are heartbroken, devastated, and at a loss. Our baby cat is gone.

Jack S. Bottom was born on what we are sure was a sunlit March 29th, 2006 to an unwed cat mother. He found his way to the Bellevue Humane Society in the first few weeks of his life. On July 2 (our first wedding anniversary), we wandered through the Humane Society doors in search of a black, male kitten. Our dream baby. We'd been married a year and were ready to expand our family.

We asked the front desk if they had any kittens.

"Oh shoot," said the front desk lady. "We had 14 kittens arrive this morning and the only one left is a black male who won't leave that box. We call him the Jack in the Box."

We met Jack in a small introduction room and it was love at first purr. He did his signature move almost immediately on Chuck's lap - "the upside down cat" - and we were sold. He was ours and we were his.

First official cat photo.

If you look closely, you can see the mother-son similarities. Or not. Crazy cat lady...
We loved that cat something fierce. Maybe too much at times and maybe we occasionally crossed the line into those people but how could we not? You try staring into those gorgeous green eyes day in and day out and not get lost in him.

Jack was an incredible cat. He came when called. He sat when told. He said "mama?" when he couldn't find me - and I have many eye witnesses who can confirm this. He played fetch. He walked on a leash. He jumped on shoulders like a parrot.

He was Super Cat.

Jack's life took on a whole new meaning for us as we battled infertility. He was our baby. While others around us filled their homes with children, we poured our hearts into Jackie. He was our only baby for seven years and more than a few times, I wondered if Jack was all we would get. Jack stayed by our side through four years of heart ache, took care of me after each failed round of whatever and two chemical pregnancies, and most importantly, kept our spirits up. He was an emotional support animal above and beyond.

Almost two years ago, Jack started having digestive issues. He'd have what we termed "poopisodes" and while I won't go into insane detail, I will give you this visual: imagine a cat with diarrhea trying to run away from their own butt hole. Jack was diagnosed with, most likely, irritable bowels. He had to take this awful medication every night and he did it like a champ.

In true Jack fashion, because he was a trainable dog cat, we taught him that in case of poopisode emergencies to calmly walk to the guest bath and poop in one specific spot. I will never tell you which spot. I like have guests over too much. We have a lot of bleach here. And he would. Anytime he his IBS flared up more than his daily medication could handle, he would head to his space.

We didn't know 100% if it was IBS that was Jack's issue because the tests to conclusive identification were lengthy and just too much for what we were facing. And there was that 5% chance it could be intestinal cancer which we most certainly couldn't help.

At Sam's birthday, Jack fell gravely ill. He went from 14 pounds to 10 and wasn't active anymore. He wasn't chasing Chuck up the stairs or cuddling with me at night. Cereal cat was gone, run cat was gone, attempted escape cat was gone.

We switched medications and saw improvement.
And then he would get worse.
So we switched foods. And he got better.
And then he got way worse again.

And then this weekend Jack went from being the light of our house to hiding in the closet and no longer moving. He stopped eating. He stopped drinking. As the weekend progressed, he fell further and further from us. He now weighed just 7 pounds. By this morning, Jack could no longer walk, he couldn't lift his head, and he cried if he tried to move himself.

The doctors confirmed it was intestinal cancer after all.
And it was time.

The nurses watched Sam in the lobby while Chuck and I said goodbye to the first baby we ever loved and the one who helped us become a family. You can't tell me the timing of his death isn't a coincidence. He had gotten us to Mom and Dad, he'd done his job, his time was over. He died on his favorite blanket with his head in my hands and belly in Chuck's.

He was the best cat we could have ever asked for and we are defining hot mess over here. No one will say we are grieving gracefully. We started "losing him" about 8 weeks ago so by the time today became Today, it was the easiest decision we've ever made regarding his care.

Oh Kitten. Thanks for making me a mom and then being there when I actually became one. You meant the world to us. You made our world. You made us a family. We know that he was just a cat, but he was some cat.

Jack S. Bottom is survived by his beloved parents and his arch nemesis, Sam. He leaves behind an 8 foot tall scratching post, his favorite fluff toy, and a plethora of chap sticks, all of which are "lost" and will be found by us someday. We can only hope that in Cat Heaven, he finally earns his "Outdoor Survival Badge" and can run in the wind like he always dreamed.

Thank you for loving Jack on this blog the last five years, listening to my stories about him and feigning interesting in the life of a cat you'd never met. He was something else. I wish you could have known him. I am so thankful I did.

Sam and Camden do Kim and Kanye

I figured, really, why sugar coat the title or come up with some clever "these babies are bound" type header for this post. The "art" and "vision" of the piece that I'm about to show you speaks for itself.

So yesterday was sweet little Noah's first birthday party. He was given a little push motorcycle and it was adorable. A favorite of all the kids. Good job gift giver, whoever you were. Nailed it.

During said party, Sam is having his turn on the motorcycle and Emy, genius that she is, suggests a little artistic recreation of one of the most beautiful and stunning works of modern time:

Kanye's "Bound" video.
You know, the motorcycle one with what's her face on it?

We all laughed because it's a funny idea but funny ideas like that with Emy and Chuck in the room end up like this for Sam and Camden.

Let's just say both kids were totally into it, super cooperative, and there were absolutely no tears during this process. Explanations were given to the children about how art can be a struggle and you have to find your inner strength, but they were not having it.

Whatever. We still got The Shot that just needed a quick turn in Photoshop and BAM.

Kim and Kanye have nothing on these two.

Also, in other uncooperative news at Noah's party: Elsa Sam was a total bust.

I have no idea why this concept was rejected by him. [insert a Let it Go pun here.]

sam wins his first major award.

I think we can all agree that Sam is destined for greatness.

I mean, the face, the personality, the winning gene pool that he's pulling from (wiiiiink)....he is the total package. It was obvious from day one and it's still obvious on day 396. And yes, I just did the math to figure out how old he is (It's safe to say a post on what I do with myself all day may be in order soon...)

Well, last night - day 395 of Sam's life - he received his first major award. No, it was not a leg lamp. Also, I can't believe it actually took him this long to win an award. Maybe he's not as awesome as I make him out to be. Nope. Definitely better. (aaaah, who has first time mom syndrome still? this girl.)

Sam's first major award was for (drum roll please):

Didn't see that coming did you? What were you thinking? Most likely to melt lady baby hearts? Sweetest baby hugs in the Seattle area? #1 shoe remover - left shoe division?

Nope. BOWLING. Why? Because he was awesome at it.

Ok. Ok. So we go bowling with Chuck's work last night. Chuck has a fantastic group he works with and every few months they do fun activities with the families. Sam is sort of a mascot and why wouldn't he be(?), so we always make sure to go. Plus it's a room full of people who have grown children and no grandchildren yet so I don't exactly have to do an extensive amount of parenting at these things. I'm pretty over Sam and his dimples but he has these people snowed over.

Anywhoozy, he loved bowling night. Which is good and bad.

Good = he enjoyed a new experience. It's a loud experience and he seemed genuinely interested in the balls rolling down the lane. Great. When we bowl again in the obligatory 5 years, he won't hate it.

Bad = OBVIOUSLY, Chuck took bowling in high school, has his own shoes, ball, and bag. So basically, I have a strong reason to fear Sam is already following in these footsteps. Not that Chuck bowls often, but when he does, he looks exactly like how you are imagining. Is this the future of my angel child? Probably.

Back to the award. Sam won for funniest bowler because naturally he was hysterical as most 13 months old are. But here's the shocker: he was actually good at it.

For reals. Well not for REALZ but for reals. Get it? You will.

I didn't know this, but now they have these ramps for little kids to place the ball on and then push them down the lane. Anyone else? Bueller? K.


First time we do it, I put his hand on the ball and "together" (ie: mostly me) we push the ball and knock down 3 pins. Which is a good bowl for me. Second roll, he pushes more than me and picks up the spare. Of course he did.

So "our" turn comes up again and we get him all ready with a 12 pound ball on the ramp. He knows exactly what to do and before I can help, in a complete "I do it myself!!" toddler move, he launches that hot pink ball down the lane at an impressive rate.


He bowled a freaking strike.

For anyone keeping score, he's a lifetime clean bowler. Clean through two whole frames, but they're his only two frames so....he's clean and on his way to breaking 200 by kindergarten.

Sammy Baby. Bowling extraordinaire.

chelanigans with the ladies.

In the Chinese calendar of Susie's life, this is the year of the 30th birthdays.

My 30th? Oh no, you are so kind. That was last year. Please. I'm way beyond. See, I run with a MUCH younger crowd - a whole year younger - and this is the year they all turn 30. Misery loves company. 31 years olds love 30 year olds.

The latest victim to fall to 30 is Libby (was Libby? Is Libby? Please to discuss proper tense usage - I'm moving on.)

Libby for visual:

And we're back.

For Libby's 30th, we headed to Lake Chelan for a whole weekend to celebrate her. I say whole because this was a whole weekend without husbands and babies and work and all that drags us down. We have a lot of dead weight in our lives. Leaving it behind made us so sad (no) do things like this:

Do these or do these not perfectly display the carefree filled weekend lives of 30 year old women totally off the leash?

Nothing spells 30th birthday better than a weekend with just the girls, wine tasting, cowboy boots, and showers few and far between.

Happy Birthday, Libs.
We love you to the moon and back (and to Chelan for every birthday to come because this was

And now, the onslaught of pictures because I love these girls and they love me and they have been waiting patiently for their 5 minutes of blog fame since the moment we left Chelan. What are friends for?

Libby's 30th in too many pictures.
First, a copious amount of time at the pool.

Then off to wine tasting. Let's be real clear about something blog world. I HATE wine. You may laugh, ha ha, but no. I hate this stuff something fierce. I don't get it. It burns. It tastes gross. No I will not be "acquiring the taste" anytime soon. I acquired a taste for McDonalds coke at age 4 and I'm gonna ride that into the sunset.

But Libby loves wine (and apparently so do most adults) so we went wine tasting. Emy said I was going WHine tasting. YEP. She knows me.

I don't know what this is about but I'm assuming they were being judgy about something.

Jessica's necklace looked like those Amber teething necklaces. So this is her teething. You can take the mom from the baby, but you know...

I don't know a lot about wine tasting, but this doesn't look right.

Toasting Libby. Cheers to 30!!!

I took obligatory sips and then made faces. It's my M.O.

Then I did some EXTENSIVE water tasting.

Delicious. I liked the first water best.

These two. Since they were 4 and 5.

Impromptu maternity pics with Jessica and NOT the father, Dania 

She doesn't know what she's doing here. She's a Coors Light gal who is being polite.

She does know what she's doing here but is pregnant and on the bench. It was very sad.

This is Kristin and she's Libby's childhood friend. This is the moment when Kristin realized they were serious when they said I'd take pictures all day.

The view did not suck.

Like I said, off the leash.

And then for no reason, they wanted to take senior pictures, age 30.

On our way home, showerless and depressed to leave. Sadness looks surprisingly good on us.

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