The Sub Life

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I'm happy to report that after 13 different substitute assignments,  I don't yet resemble the woman in this picture.  Partly because I have spent most of those 13 days in the elementary school, the middle school I taught at, my son's middle school and my son's high school. I don't have any horrendous stories to share.  My biggest challenges have been my own child addressing me by my first name in his English class and a second grader farting in his classmates face. (The primary grades are definitely not where it's at for me.)

One of my relatives, a retired teacher, sent me an email asking about my future plans.  I told her that no jobs have been recently posted so in the meantime I continue to enjoy subbing.  She replied: Umm...... "subbing and enjoy don't usually go in the same sentence."  From the horror stories I've heard, this is typically true but for right now it really is the best of both worlds.  I can say no if I don't feel like working and when I do take an assignment, it's like an auction (if you check the website and see a job posted, you know you need to snatch it up or someone else will in the next five minutes) followed by an acting job.  Each time I click on "accept" I get to take on a role pretending to be someone I'm not.  I've been the elementary school librarian, a seventh grade math teacher, a high school P.E. teacher and a second grade teacher.  Each job has its pros and cons but all of them mean I get to spend the day with kids which is so energizing--even when they try to get away with their typical antics because I'm the clueless sub.

As my student teaching was nearing the end, I often said I hoped to get a short term leave replacement. This seemed like the best way to get your feet wet without having to make a contractual commitment. Last month, one of these positions came open at the alternative high school.  It was a maternity leave that would start after spring break and end in June.  I got an interview along with three other candidates but they ultimately chose the teacher who student taught in that classroom last year.  It made perfect sense but I did feel a sting of rejection.  Even though it's not where I ultimately want to be, I thought it wouldn't hurt my resume and would challenge me in ways beyond my limited scope of high school experience.  But, alas, God has other plans so I'll continue to enjoy the ride and see what's on the horizon.  Who knows, I might have ended up looking like the woman in the picture at the beginning of this post.


Post graduation-part two

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

As the end of my time in the classroom was nearing the end, I was regularly being asked if I was going to walk at graduation, if I was going to have a party and how I was planning to celebrate. In answer to the first question, it's complicated but I'l try to simplify it.  Because I was not earning another degree but a teaching certificate with an English endorsement, I wasn't qualified to participate in commencement.  It is kind of silly being that I completed over 100 credits and spent the equivalent of a new vehicle during this process.  But, I didn't feel strongly enough about it to make a stink.  And because I knew the university would tack on another $100 or so if they made an exception.  I wasn't about to pay them another cent.

Since I'm not one who enjoys having all eyes on me, I was hesitant about a big party.  I did want to celebrate with those who supported and encouraged me along the way, though. I did agree that this was a huge accomplishment and one that should be recognized but, at this stage of life, it felt a little silly.  Trey asked me to give him a list of the friends and family and offered to hold a graduation open house. It would be low key on a Sunday afternoon and guests could come and go as they pleased.  He promised to do all the planning and preparing as long as I gave him some direction .Done.  Because I rarely do anything like this, it felt so vulnerable and risky.  And because of this, I knew I would take it hard if no one responded to the invitation or didn't show up.  I should have gone with my gut.

Two weeks after he sent out the invitation, Trey got word that he'd be needed in California for a Monday morning meeting but required to arrive the day before.  When?  You guesssed it: the day the party was scheduled.  I didn't have it in me to reschedule. Again, he promised that I wouldn't have to lift a finger but what were the chances of that, really?

I woke up that Sunday morning and went to the store to get ice.  When I returned home, I left my phone in the car and went about my business inside.  A couple hours later, I retrieved the phone only to find it full of messages from my Seattle friends and relatives that none of them were coming because of the snow.  We had nary a snowflake and yet 90 miles south it was enough that no one would risk driving north.  I decided to carry on, knowing my local friends would be there but suddenly I was overcome with emotion and tears and just didn't have it in me to put on a happy face for 20 people. I wasn't expecting to respond this way but instead of pretending, I gave in and let myself be sad.  I called my close friend, who has been my biggest cheerleader and was coming early to help.  When I broke down, she and another friend swung into high gear and rearranged the plans.  They called everyone who was planning to attend and let them know not to come then rallied my closest girlfriends (who I should have just planned to celebrate with instead of having a party) and told me they'd pick me up at 5:00. I crawled back into my warm bed, had a good cry and slept off the afternoon.

The intimate celebration ended up being at one of my favorite restaurants followed by returning to my house and enjoying the overpriced cupcakes that were ordered for the occasion. It was such a sweet, loving gesture on behalf of my friends but looking back I realize that this was the beginning of my letting down and I had a hard time enjoying myself.  I didn't recognize how emotionally and physically fragile I was now that this journey had culminated. I had been operating in survival modeand living on an adrenaline rush with deadlines hovering over me and hoops waiting to be jumped through for the better part of the last 3 years.  It took its toll and my body was paying the price. My fragility made it such that a legitimate excuse felt like a huge rejection and I didn't have the reserve to see it for what it was. But it also made me realize how I needed to give in and rest.  I literally slept away the next two days, caught a nasty cold and slept another day away.

As I write this, I'm a month removed and wish I could go back, have a do-over and be a little more rational. I wish I would have seen it coming and realized that a massive letdown was inevitable.  Regardless, it can't take away from the reality that the verse I wrote on the front page of my journal in 2011 is as true now as it was back then.



Post graduation, part one

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Just when I thought life might slow down post graduation, it seemed to only switch into a higher gear.  Less than 24 hours after completing my internship, Quinn and I were on a plane to Mile High City--the weekend before the Super Bowl.  In the fall, he was able to tag along on a business trip of Trey's and check out Clemson and Duke.  When I saw that his college wish list also included University of Colorado-Boulder and The Air Force Academy, I said, "I will accompany you on this trip."  I also reminded him that it's rare for high school juniors to actually visit the campuses they are interested in.  It just so happens that the 6 on his list all are located in cities where we have close friends or family.  And we're always looking for a good excuse to visit them.

Prior to leaving for Boulder, Quinn was able to connect with two CU students who graduated from high schools here. The day before our tour, he spent the afternoon with both of them separately and got to see the campus from their perspectives. The next day's scheduled tour was hardly necessary.  He was hooked.  If it was August 2015, I could have left him there and never looked back. Mountains an hour away.  A state of the art engineering facility and world-renowned program.  His cousins just 20 minutes down the road.  Built in friendships.  A rejuvenated football team.  His interest was definitely peaked.  After our official tour, in a snowstorm, he was even more determined to call this home.  

At CU with "Ralphie"
Cousin time

Since they couldn't make my graduation party, we had our own little celebration.  So sweet.

Ty loved his big cousin taking him for a ride in the laundry basket.

Storytime before bed.

The next morning we headed south to Colorado Springs and entered the gates of the Air Force Academy campus.  We had been there before as tourists but this just felt different when looked at through the lens of "this could be where my child spends four years of his life." However, it was a complete polar opposite of where we just left.  Structured.  Disciplined.  High Expectations.  Low Acceptance Ratio.  Challenging on every level. I could tell that, other than the possibility of jumping out of airplanes and one day piloting a plane, there wasn't a lot of appeal to Quinn's laid-back personality that dislikes rules, being controlled and living in an environment of intense mental and physical discipline.  But the upside is that the education is free, the training is the best in the world and your post-graduation career is an open ticket. After the tour, we drove 10 miles down the road and had a great reunion with our former neighbors and Quinn's godparents, the Cunninghams.  They named their son, "Quinn" also so it was a fun and interesting evening having both boys answer every time we said their names.  We also enjoyed ribbing each other over the upcoming Super Bowl as Joe (a die-hard Steelers fan) loved reminding me of Seattle's one appearance in the big game 8 years ago. 

About to enter the beautiful campus.

The two Quinn's.

We returned home and I spent the next two days collecting and organizing my letters of recommendation, reminding my supervisors to send in their reference forms, updating my resume, writing a cover letter, ordering my transcript and completing the substitute application to begin subbing in my school district. The weekend then culiminated by the greatest football game I've ever witnessed. (Yes, I am biased!!!!) We joined 27 other crazy Seahawks fans for an amazing party and celebration.  It was such a high to watch history in the making.  I still had an adrenaline rush the next morning and woke up at 5 a.m. to take in the highlights and watch all the sports analysts eat crow.  It was delightful.  Suddenly, my high was interrupted by a 6:00 a.m. phone call asking me to sub.  Unfortunately, the district didn't have me in the system so I had to refuse--which killed me since it was my principal's husband and she had recommended me. Trey took me to coffee and while waiting in line at Starbucks, I got a call from the secretary at my middle school panicking that she had no teacher in the 6th grade math class. I explained that my application hadn't been pushed through yet.  She called me back 10 minutes later and said, "Get in here!"  For the next two days, I pretended to know something about multiplying and dividing fractions with about 80% of my former students. The teacher called me on Tuesday night asking me to come back another day as he was still under the weather.  I had to turn him down because I promised Ben that we would go to THE SEAHAWKS VICTORY PARADE!!!
Love this!!!

An old friend that was at the same Super Bowl party, called me the previous day to see if I was serious when I said I wanted to go to Seattle for the parade.  A local charter bus company was sending 8 buses down at $20 R/T for a seat and she secured 4 tickets.  They were expecting 300,000 fans and I knew I didn't want to drive and look for parking.  Plus, this friend is super fun and I knew we'd have a great time traveling together.  We loaded the bus at 8:15 a.m. and what should have been a 90 minute ride took over 3 hours.  The parade was to start at 11:00 a.m. and we were still on the offramp at 11:30. At this point, Ben was pouting and I heard him mumble, "this isn't even going to be worth it."  Fortunately, because the crowd was actually closer to 700,000, the players couldn't make it through traffic in a timely manner and they started the festitivities at 12:30.  Even though there were hundreds of people in front of us, you couldn't have asked for a nicer crowd.  Everyone was just so happy to be there and being all huddled together made us forget that it was 17 degrees outside.  After a 36-year wait, this was a celebration we couldn't miss--and I'm so glad we were there to witness the magic and excitement.

Everyone loved our poster mocking the naysayers.
Week two came to and end and it was time to gear up for my graduation open house.......stay tuned for part two.


It is finished

Monday, February 10, 2014

Three years, seven months and two days have resulted in this girl being a certified teacher!! My lack of posting is indicative of what an all-consuming, demanding profession teaching is.  I honestly had no idea.  The simple act of using the bathroom or making a phone call requires planning and speed and the cooperation of another staff member.  Teaching the same lesson three times in a row with four minutes inbetween is impossible without  a level of precision and energy that I never knew I had in me. Attempting to meet the physical,emotional and social needs of 112 students while hoping to teach them a thing or two about writing and reading is no small feat.  And while many times I wanted to throw in the towel, after spending an entire day saying goodbye to those 11 and 12-year-olds who stole my heart, I have no doubt God has chosen the most rewarding profession in which to be spending my second career.

I had all kinds of activities planned for my last day but I had no idea that Wendy had the students each make me a personal card.  If I had already been emotional, these sweet sentiments took it to a whole new level. What I loved was seeing the difference in how expressive the girls were versus the boys.  The girls decorated their cards with glitter pens, drew hearts and smiley faces and every other girly touch.  The boys got down to business, said what they wanted to say and wrote their names.  End of story.  These were my favorites from the guys: "Good luck with that teacher thingy."  "You spent a lot of time on our class, at least it seemed like you did."  "I spelled most every word right and that's prob because of you."  "I hope you get a job, as good of a job as a teacher can get."  "I'm still going to see you on the soccer field so there's no point in writing this letter." Every single one of the girls' notes made me smile but I took pictures of my favorites.


A Subdued Seventeenth

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Ever since this blog became "live" over 6 years ago, even though my posts have been sporadic, I have typically been faithful with writing a birthday tribute to each of my boys.  Those are the posts I look forward to the most.  Since Quinn's special day falls within two weeks of Christmas, I try to start thinking about what I want to say and what photos I want to include before the new year begins. On Sunday afternoon, the day before his birthday,  I was about to sit down and start typing away when Quinn came looking for me.  With a panicked look on his face he asked, "Mom, did you hear anything about a crash on Barkley this morning?  Jess just texted me and said he heard it was fatal and that a Squalicum student was involved."  My heart sank and I had a sinking feeling he was right. I combed our local paper's website and Facebook looking for any information that might be out there but found nothing.    He went outside to take down the Christmas lights and an hour later came in and said, "it's true.  It was Hannah."

As we learned about the details, it became even more heartbreaking.  Hannah, a vivacious, very loved high school senior, was driving down the hill on her way to work, in her beloved 1970's VW bug when her car slid on the icy road, crossed the center line and collided with an oncoming truck.  Her vehicle then caught fire and the witnesses were not able to remove her before it was engulfed in flames.  The only saving grace was that the authorities confirmed she was unconscious and didn't suffer. The entire school community was devastated and social media was filled with grieving teenagers sharing their heartbreak and absolute adoration of this beautiful young lady. Although I'd never met her or her family, I had heard their names over the years and we had many mutual friends.  It was just unfathomable.

Because Trey was leaving early in the morning on Quinn's birthday, we talked about celebrating the night before.  After hearing this news, none of us were up for it. I told Trey, "it just doesn't seem fair that we get to plan our child's birthday while Hannah's family is planning a funeral."  Even thinking about going back to school the next day, after the two week break, was something no one was looking forward to in the least.

 Although I felt for Quinn that his birthday would be subdued by such tragedy, I loved how he was more concerned for his classmates than worried about being overlooked.  And I was so grateful to watch our amazing community come together and honor their friend.  We had takeout Chinese and a Dairy Queen ice cream cake with Quinn's friends then headed over to the high school for a cross town rival boys' basketball game.  Apparently word had spread over Facebook and Twitter that the student body was requesting for all fans to wear purple to the game as it had been Hannah's favorite color.  When we walked into the gym it was a packed house and an absolute sea of purple--every single fan from the other high school's student section had obeyed the request.  The players had purple bands on their jerseys and each of them wore purple socks. It was chilling.  At halftime, the ASB president made a short speech and directed the opponent's students to join ours for a picture.  It was amazing to watch these kids who, on any given day, will chant across the gym at each other with such intensity come together and lock arms in a display that announced, "Love wins!"

This may have not been how any of us planned to celebrate Quinn's birthday but in so many ways it was a better celebration because of the outcome.


Looking back on 2013

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

1.) What did you do in 2013 that you had never done before?
Went whitewater rafting

2.) Did you keep any New Year's resolutions and will you make more this year?
Last year's was to be kind to myself.  I think I did an okay job at that but there is definitely room for improvement in the coming year.

3.) Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes, my cousin Kristin (she was my flowergirl)and her husband Jon, welcomed their first child, Carter Henry.

4.) Did anyone close to you die?

5.) What places did you visit?
Leavenworth, Washington; Wenatchee, Washington; Amelia Island, Florida; Gainesville, Florida; Boulder, Colorado; Littleton, Colorado; Los Angeles, California.

6.) What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
family time

7.) What date from 2012 will remain etched in your memory and why?
February 19th-the day my oldest became a licensed driver

8.) What was your biggest achievement this year and why?
Student teaching and submitting my teacher performance assessement--both of these required an immense amount of discipline, time and energy. I honestly didn't think I would be able to pull it off but I did. 

9.) Did you suffer illness or injury?

10.) What was the best thing you bought?
a weekly housekeeper

11.) Where did most of your money go?
Food and gasoline

12.) What song will always remind you of 2013?
Stronger by Kelly Clarkson

13.) What do you wish you would have done more of?
hiked and camped

14.) What do you wish you would have done less of?
Looked for things that were lost or misplaced

15.) What was your favorite TV program?
Dancing with the Stars

16.) What was the best book you read?
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero

17.) What was your favorite film of the year?
Pitch Perfect-I know it came out in 2012 but I saw it for the first time this summer.  Hilarious, heartwarming and memorable.

18.) What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
Went to Boomers Burgers with my family.  Came back home and opened four wonderful cards with words of affirmation from my sons and husband along with a few presents.

19.) What national/world event stirred you the most?
The Boston Marathon bombings.

20.) Who was the best new person you met?
Maddie Neumann-a fellow classmate and student teacher who is half my age but twice as mature.  She is fun, positive, hilarious and just a wonderful human being.


My life has not been my own

Friday, December 20, 2013

So I just logged on to discover it has been almost two months since I last posted.  TWO MONTHS!  My lack of communication on here has probably hammered the nail in my blogger coffin and the 2 or 3 followers I did have, are probably long gone.  But, if there's anyone still out there, I'm back for a brief update....

A two month hiatus is definitely an indication that my life has been overtaken by not only the demands of full-time teaching and a family but then add to the equation a 30+ page paper justifying my teaching practices replete with video clips and research to prove my worthiness--all due on December 19th at midnight.  Oh, and for good measure, let's also throw in major shoulder surgery for my husband, whom I have heavily relied upon to hold down the fort for the last 4 months.  Naturally, a blog post of any sort sinks to the bottom of the t-do list.

I honestly can't remember a time in my life where I have had so many balls to juggle. As a senior in college (the first time) I took a 20 credit load my final quarter before graduation, while working 20 hrs. a week.  At the time, I thought I would never survive--and I was a mere 22 years old!  A couple weeks ago I had one of my many meltdowns on the eve of Trey's impending surgery. While sitting in the driveway, dreading the thought of entering my house and transitioning to my second job, I phoned that friend who just absolutely "gets me."  When she answered, I began sobbing before I could utter "hello".  Her simple but profound response was exactly what I needed to hear.  "It's one thing to pursue your goals and dreams when you're in your 20's and it's only you.  It's quite another to reinvent yourself when you have a 21-year marriage to maintain and a 16, 15 and 12-year-old whose well-being you are responsible for, not to mention all the other demands for your time and attention.  It is an amazing feat and you need to cut yourself some slack."  Just having her verbalize and acknowledge my reality was a huge gift.  So why is that so difficult?  Why does it take reaching the breaking point before I can nurture myself?  It's a question I continue to ask throughout this journey.

Lest you be misled, this season has been filled with many blessings in the midst of the challenges.  I have learned to admit I can't do it all and, not only ask for but accept help from others. For the first time in 17 years, I hired a weekly cleaning lady.  I never felt like I could justify it before but the boys' cleanliness standards and mine just didn't match. Go figure.  I was tired of spending what little time I had with them nagging and using my Sundays trying to stay on top of it all.  Some may say I let them off the hook but it's money well spent.  I am beyond grateful for the friends and family who have jumped in and lightened my load by giving the boys rides, running errands for me, visiting and taking care of Trey post-surgery, bringing dinner when I've been flying solo with Trey out of town.  It has made all the difference.

Right now, I am sitting here enjoying the best gift of the season: a snow day and an early start to the Christmas break.  I love the slowdown effect a snowfall has on us all.

When we return to school on January 6th, I will have just 3 weeks until I am an official teacher--and hopefully get some of that life back that has been missing since September 4th.  When January 24th arrives, this is what I'll be doing.

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On the heels of the teen years

Monday, October 28, 2013

As I was about to head to bed, I realized that I didn't write a post about Ben's 12th birthday.  Probably because this birthDAY was preceded by a birthday WEEKEND.  I think this year will rank right up there as probably the best and most memorable one so far.  Even though the actual day was a bit uneventful and his dinner guests consisted of just his mom and dad, the two days prior were nothing short of spectacular.  And filled with the kinds of things that are uber important to a 12-year-old boy like Ben. 

The previous Saturday's football game was a heartbreaker.  Their team had practiced field goals the previous week and agreed to let Ben give it a shot to kick any extra point opportunities.  Both times they scored a touchdown, Ben ran out to have his shining moment only to have his teammates fumble the snap.  He stood on the sidelines dejected and as soon as we saw him post-game, he burst into tears.  He was still upset two hours later.  Two days ago was their last game and even though they practiced once again during the week, there were no guarantees he'd have a chance to try again.  Two minutes into the game, they scored and out ran all 73 pounds of Ben.  Darn if he didn't nail it through the posts.  On the last play of the game, he played running back, ran it in for a touchdown and promptly returned to attempt the kick once again.  "It's up.  And it's good!"  I don't think he stopped smiling for the rest of the day and into the evening.  

Even though this was a huge birthday present, the next day he got an even bigger one.  Knowing we were looking for tickets to the Seattle Sounders soccer game, as it's tradition for Trey and Ben to go to a game together for his birthday, a good friend gave us 4 tickets to Sunday's game versus L.A. Galaxy.  These tickets also included a parking pass, dinner and ice cream at halftime.  That alone was present enough but then a soccer game with (cushioned) seats on the 50 yard line and two players' autographs on top of that?  

Happy 12th birthday, Benjamin Davis! You are a kind, considerate, loving and patient young man who gives so much to others and asks for so little for yourself.  You deserved the amazing birthday spoiling you had this year and are so worth celebrating!


Homecoming 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

Remember back in the "olden days" when a boy asked a girl to the high school Homecoming dance?  If they weren't dating, the young man simply asked the young lady, "would you like to go to Homecoming with me?" The answer was a simple "yes" or "no." End of story.  Not today.  No one would ever do something so SIMPLE. Everything has to be not only complicated but a competition as well.  I personally think it's a response to the Disney movie "Prom" that came out a few years ago.  Although it was a well-intentioned script, the many different scenarios that played out within the story lines lent itself to a new fad.  Not only does the girl get warned by her girlfriends that she's going to get asked, but then she also expects an original proposal.  It's so over the top.  But then I'm sure our parents categorized our behavior the same way back in the 80's. All this to say, that my poor little freshman was feeling some of the pressure when all he wanted to do was go to the dance and have fun with a group of friends--and a date.

I came home from work one night and Ian told me he wanted to ask a certain girl to Homecoming but it felt awkward because this certain girl happened to be the younger sister of his older brother's girlfriend.  Are you following?  I told him he should do it if he wants to and not let that fact deter him.  Being that Ian's a simple guy, I thought he would just ask her and be on his merry way.  Silly me.  He got an idea from an older guy and decided to run with it.  This particular creative idea also meant that we had to drive all over town to find a goldfish bowl and a small, plastic fishing rod,  He was so cute and excited, and he rarely asks for anything, so I  had to indulge him.  The next day, with the help of his prospective date's friend, he filled the fish bowl with Goldfish crackers and put it on her desk in her first period class.  Alongside the bowl was the fishing pole with a note that said, "Of all the fishes in the deep blue sea, will you go to Homecoming with me?"  I have to admit it was pretty darn slick.  She loved it.  He texted me after class with a simple message, "she said yes."

I made the suggestion that the two couples double date.  Bad idea.  The older couple would have none of it. Going with Freshmen could potentially damage their social status or so it seemed.  The best I could do was insist on a picture of all 4 of them at the girls' house before they went their separate ways.


We have kittens!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Since the beginning of September doesn't have enough chaos, we thought we'd add a little more to the mix.  Not that we had any control over our cat's heat cycle.  You remember those kittens who joined our family less than a year ago?  The ones we thought were boys.  Ummmmmmm...yeah...we were duped.  Once we made the discovery--with the help of a $213 vet bill to help confirm what we already suspected--we thought we'd let them each have one litter then spay.  Poor Nacho started at a mere 5 months old and just finished her 8th unsuccessful cycles.  We're not sure why she can't seem to get a man but her sister took care of business lickety split back in June.  In mid-August, she came in one day and as I went to pet her, that abdomen was jutting out both sides.  Based on my research, pinning down an actual due date was next to impossible but we had a general idea that it would be within 3-4 weeks once the abdomen swelled. 

We went to work preparing a birthing box and looked for signs of "nesting."   We had some suspicions as to who the "baby daddy" was but his owner "thought" he was fixed but wasn't sure.  The owner (who lives behind us and apparently had been feeding Ollie when she came to visit "Mr. Kowalski" )  isn't exactly playing with a full deck so wouldn't it just be our luck that Ollie would start labor in his house??  He knocked on our door at 9:00 a.m on the 8th to inform us that one kitten had been born under his bed.  Trey hightailed it over there while I woke up the boys.  By the time we all arrived, kitten #3 had made its way into the world. We took turns going inside to see if any more were coming and, after 30 minutes, decided to pack up mama and her babies and take them home.  About 20 minutes later, while Ben and I were watching, Ollie had a contraction and I ran to get the other boys.  Within a minute, baby #4 came out before we could all get back upstairs.  However, I did pull on some latex gloves and cut the cord.  I guess you could call me "the cat midwife." I have always said I wanted to be in the room during a delivery.  I was hoping for the human kind but I'll settle for the feline species because they are so stinkin cute.  

Now I realize I'm not qualified to determine gender but I do know that two look the same on the backside and the other two looked markedly different from them.  Therefore, we do have 2 boys and 2 girls and I'm pretty sure the calico and the gray striped ones are the females. I'm not going to put any money on that though.

So before you chastise me for not spaying and tell me how the kitten population is out of control, rest assured that all 4 are spoken for and we even have a waiting list.  If Nacho doesn't get her act together here soon, we may have let Ollie fraternize with the neighbor again.  After watching these little fur balls grow and change everyday, it is mighty tempting.

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