There have been a number of semi-notable things that have happened in the past few weeks. I never seem to have the energy to write about on my blog, so here they are in no particular order:
Stop the Condos: After a few months of many meetings and thousands of emails and much more time than we anticipated, things seem to be resolving in a fairly acceptable manner. To recap, the 6 acre parcel of land next to our house was purchased by a developer who then applied to rezone it for condos. This was not acceptable to us nor to the rest of our neighborhood. We got hundreds of signatures to protest the rezoning, and after several weeks and lots of agonizing, the developer has requested an indefinite postponement for the rezoning, and is now planning on building 15 homes on the property. Much better than the 70 condos that the rezoning would have allowed, that is for sure! But still so sad to lose that wonderful wild property next to us. It will likely be at least a year before any building begins, however, so we will enjoy it while we can. We may have the opportunity to buy some land right next to our house. We will see. It's been very interesting to see how this whole process works. We have learned a lot, been mightily disgusted with Austin City Council, and have had the opportunity to get to know many of our neighbors which has been a very good thing. We are glad that this big project seems to be drawing to a close.
Sola: Our wonderful kitty Sola disappeared a couple of weeks before Christmas. This has been such a sad thing. Of our two cats, Sola was the more affectionate and sociable-- really a special pet. I guess that is the big downside of living next to undeveloped land-- there are coyotes and hawks and other wildlife that pose a threat to neighborhood pets. I admit to shedding many tears over this, along with all the kids. We were at our ward's Christmas dinner when Mosey asked, "Why does the Friend always have stories about people who say a prayer and then get what they prayed for? That doesn't happen all the time." Oh, my heart just ached for him. I tried to answer as best I could, but he ended up crying, then Brigham started crying, then I started crying, and so our whole family decided it was best to get up and go home rather than make a spectacle of ourselves at the Christmas party. I ask myself yet again why we allow our hearts to be so vulnerable with these furry creatures that even under the best of circumstances will die long before we do. But we do. Mosey has really suffered. Sola was his special pet.
Rain: The day after Sola disappeared, I knew the chances of her coming back were very slim. I applied to be a foster family for Pets Alive, a no-kill animal shelter here in Austin. I knew that Mosey would need some place to direct his love, and the very next day we went down to the shelter to pick up Rain, a 5 month old kitten who had recently become very ill. We needed to syringe-feed her 3 times a day and give her medicine twice a day. She is doing much better now and is eating on her own. She'll be on medicine a few more weeks and then will be eligible for adoption. She is a sweet cat, laying on my lap as I type. She's mostly attached to me, and since she has been sick, is not the fun frisky kitten that Sola and Luna were at her age. I think when she is adopted out we will foster some more kittens (not sick ones-- too time consuming!), and maybe if we come across one who is particularly special we will adopt another one to keep Luna company. Luna has done well in accepting this new cat, after a couple of days. But she doesn't play fight and frolic with her like she did with Sola. :-(
Joseph: Joseph has had a hard time with homeschooling this year. Lots of reasons for this, but the upshot is that Joseph is going to try out public school for a little while. Ben took him to the middle school on Friday, hoping for a tour. But they don't offer tours to non-students, so we ended up enrolling Joseph right then. It happened pretty fast, but we've been talking about it for several weeks, and I was pretty sure we would end up going this route at least for a while. I was impressed with the school-- I took Joseph back on Friday afternoon to try out for the band. The band director is really wonderful. He really, really wants Joseph to play the piano for the jazz band, as well as playing flute in the regular band (Canyon Vista actually has 3 bands plus a jazz band!). I have many mixed emotions about this, but the truth is that I have always said we will keep homeschooling as long as it is working, and it just isn't working that well for Joseph right now. And there is a reason we live in the neighborhood we do, paying much, much more for our home than if we lived half a mile away. And that is because of the school boundaries. Canyon Vista is one of the top-ranked middle schools in Texas. It was important to us to live in these boundaries for this exact scenario, and I'm really glad we have such a good alternative. I think that this could be a really great thing for Joseph. We've told him he can try it out for a week. If he knows for sure it isn't for him, fine, we will withdraw him again. Otherwise he needs to commit to go for the rest of the school year. I think he is excited.
Mosey: Mosey turned 10 on Friday! He had done some schoolwork over vacation so he could have the day off of school. He got to pick his birthday cereal-- Captain Crunch Berries, and he opened one of his presents right there at breakfast-- a pair of walkeroo stilts. These are fun! It took him a while to get the hang of it, and he's still figuring them out, but they've been lots of fun. Joseph and Brigham have enjoyed playing with them too. In the evening he wanted pizza and a Harry Potter movie, and he got a couple of other presents-- a hexbug spider and a game called Spot It. We decided at the last minute to have a party, so I sent out some emails on Friday morning and on Saturday we had a party here at our house. The boys did archery, blow-dart shooting, and airsoft shooting, culminating with a battle that Ben and Joseph and Brigham joined. A couple of the boys had never played before, and I think they had a great time. More friends to invite to our Friday afternoon airsoft wars!
OK, that's all I've got on my list for tonight. I hope everyone has a wonderful week.