Monday, May 26, 2008

The 1st Annual Rath Memorial Day BASH!

Did we have fun this weekend or what! Cory and I have always loved playing hosts, and we've had our share of parties in the past 13 years, but it's been a while since we've done it. Well, yesterday we made up for our time off!

For the first time since we've moved into the new place we invited all our friends out to enjoy a cookout for the day. We had a blow up moonwalk bounce contraption, badmitton, a 12 foot long sprinker, the boys' playground, and Cory had our Polaris 4-Wheeler all ready and waiting for people to take rides around the place where he had cut a couple paths through the woods. There was more food than we could possibly have planned for thanks to all the wonderful sides and desserts our friends brought and plenty of grillin' going on. The weather was great, a little on the hot side, but much better than rain and kids everywhere! I think we counted just over 50 people that made it.

We sure hope all of you that made it had a great time, because we did. And we really appreciated you all making the trek out to the country! For those of you that couldn't make it, you better make plans for next year because we will be doing it all over again! (And I promise I won't forget to set out the lettuce for the hamburgers! I had it all ready in the fridge and completely forgot about it, sorry 'bout that!)

Enjoy the few pics I was able to snap - I really wanted to grab one of all the kids together, but maybe next year!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

We Will Miss You Garfield

I've waited two weeks to write about this and I think it's because I have been hoping upon hope that I wouldn't have to. But sadly, it seems our beloved cat has found somewhere else to live and most likely he's keeping someone in heaven warm and happy. It's true, after 7 wonderful years of keeping us company Garfield hasn't come home in the last two weeks. We suspect it likely that the ever growing population of coyotes has possibly chased him one too many times, but I will continue to believe that even though he still seemed in the prime of his life, he decided it was his time and ventured into the woods somewhere to find a comfy spot and lay his head to rest.

I've owned two cats in my life other than Garfy; Daisy was our family cat and lived 18 years and slept on my sister Ali's bed all the time, Sammy was my cat in college and loved my dad more than me and eventually found a new home when I married Cory since Cory was not particularly fond of felines. Garfy however, changed his heart.

His story is a good one. Bailey, our younger of the two Springer Spaniels, and I were out on a walk back in 2000 shortly after we had moved into our house on North Fork Circle. Halfway through our walk out of the ditch pops a furry tan ball of fur, "mew, mew" he cried and proceeded to follow us along. We were about 1/2 a mile from home, out in the country, and that determined little kitten, with no prodding by me, followed us the entire way at about 10 paces back. Now, I will admit, once we got within 50 yards of our cul de sac, I did start to slow down and make sure he was keeping up with us, but I knew that once at the house I would probably hear from Cory to get rid of it and that the dogs would never put up with a cat around. Garfield proved him wrong.

Of course, I was correct in that Cory did tell me to take it back to where he first showed up, but I was determined to let him at least see how sweet this little kitten was, convinced he would change his mind. (Not an easy feat for those of you that know Cory when he's made his mind up on something!) To try and show me that it would never work having a cat around the yard (I never would have attempted to make him a house cat, that just wasn't his style), he threw open the door and egged Fisher, our older Springer Spaniel, to "go get the kitty!" figuring at the sight of a wide eyed, flushing dog the kitten would hed for the hills. Boy was he wrong! Garfield just laid down on that deck and let Fisher sniff and prod and lick him all over. It was the start of a forever friendship among two high strung hunting dogs and the most laid back cat on the face of the earth.

Garfield, as he then came to be known due to his tan/orange color, became a part of our family in a way we could never have imagined. As a kitten, only 6 weeks old when we first came to know him according to our vet, he would lay on my chest at night on the screened porch while I read. When Cory was out in the woods with the dogs, looking for signs of deer or just generally bumming around the property, he would tag along with them, almost like a scene from The Incredible Journey. He brought us little gifts, not appetizing, but at least keeping the house clear of mice and other fun country critters. He kept the dogs company, snuggling up to them on their beds during the day while we were at work, one big pile of brown and white and tan. I'll never forget the day he sat on the ledge of a brick wall at the front of our driveway, tail slowly swaying back and forth as if he was on the verge of collecting some very hard won prey, only to look 4 feet up the brick front of the house to see a chipmunk holding on for dear life, heart pounding. Or the afternoon two Canadian Geese decided to check out our pond, and Garfield boldly walking to the edge, surely to capture these great birds, until they turned and swam right for him, and the closer and bigger they got, the further back from the edge Garfield moved until he completely turned tail and ran (those are the biggest ducks I've ever seen!)

There were trying times with him, a few very expensive vet visits, which originally were agreed by me to Cory never to happen - "if something happens to him, we are not spending a bunch of money keeping an outdoor cat alive"... Agreed to but not followed through, as evidenced by the steel pin that had to be surgically placed after a broken leg (which if a coyote did get him, the pin was worth every cent if it's choking on it!) and the week long drain that had to be flushed with a syringe after a nasty cat fight blew open a wound in his side. But nevertheless, he proved worthy of every penny we spent.

Since we moved to our newer home well into the country, he's the reason Jack's 2nd word was Cat - (long A CAAAT!) And one evening upon rounding the bend in the road leading to the house I watched him in the field as he played his usual game of capture and release with some furry four legged critter, picking it up and placing it on the ground, letting it go and waiting until it ran just a few feet away, then pouncing and bringing it back to do it all over again. Little did he know high in the tree in the field behind him sat a hawk, watching every move and just at the right moment swooping down and snatching Garfield's toy right in front of him. I'd never seen that cat jump so high in all his life!

So each morning for the past two weeks, as I open the garage door to leave, I hope to see a flash of tan run in and jump up on his carpet tree to get a snack. And each evening when I turn the bend, I imagine seeing that confident strutt coming out of the woods or through the field to greet us home from a long day's work. And each night, I lay down in bed, leaving the window open, since this is one of the few seasons we can let a cool breeze in, I hope to hear "meow, meow, meow" outside the bedroom window.

But there's no flash, no strutt, no "meow" and so now I have to come to terms that Garfield has found his new home and is keeping someone else company.

So Garfield, for all your sweet purrs, for all your funny antics, for your furry bond with Fisher and Bailey, for your gentleness with Jack and finally for being the best cat a family could love, we will miss you Garfy. Keep a spot warm for us.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Our Daddy the Builder!

Check out Chez Jack & Duke!

This is the playset that Cory built for the boys. Yes, I know, it seems a little advanced for them, as Jack's not even 2 and Duke's only 6 months, but Jack already plays great on it and loves to slide. We used rubber mulch for the base which was brilliant, no fear of bugs or fire ants or any scrapes like regular mulch or small projectile pebbles.

And the fence you wonder? Well, with 40 acres to romp around and a child that just loves to take off into the wild yonder, trust me, it helps me have peace of mind! No chasing necessary when in the "outdoor cage" as my friend Leslie refers to it!

Cory did a great job (even when I doubted would think one day I would learn)! Just came up with the design himself and added the swing part from a Lowe's kit. I was very impressed. Should you have any construction jobs you need help with, just give him a call! After two houses, a pond, this play yard and soon to be a lake, he's an all around pro at this stuff!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

So Much to Do, So Little Time

This week is going to be crazy busy, I can just tell because I'm already putting together a list in my head of what I need to get done, and it's only SUNDAY!

Things for us have been going swimmingly and hopefully they will continue on that track. We've been able to do some landscaping around the yard, and even got some flower baskets planted.

Now that Duke is nearing 6 months, he's not only sleeping through the night like Jack (7pm to 7am AMEN!) but also is falling into a great 2 nap schedule and regular meal routine, so it makes it easier for us to all get outside and play on the weekends without too much craziness.

Jack is a maniac when it comes to the weekends. If he's not able to be outside, watch out! While Daddy worked an event yesterday, we spent the entire afternoon out in the yard playing, running through the sprinkler and just enjoying ourselves in general. We were all exhausted (and some of us still are...).

This week we've got to get ready for our first party since we've been in the new place. We've invited all our friends for a Memorial Day cookout next Sunday. Should be a blast, we are looking forward to it for sure.

I'll post some new pics soon, guess that means I need to take some too. So stay tuned, for now...


Sunday, May 11, 2008


Sorry friends, no excuses but life has been in progress and so blogging got put on the side burner! And of course, tonight is a special night for so many - MOTHER'S DAY!

Happy Day to all the mom's out there... so many I know and you are all wonderful. I hope you know without a doubt that you are special just because you are a Mom!

Really what I have wanted to blog about this past week is the new message series at our church, it's one everyone I know can learn and grow from...The Pursuit of Joy! Who doesn't need a little joy in their life? I have so enJOYed the 2 messages so far - so please, please, check out this link and listen to a great, uplifting message from our pastor at Church of the Highlands.

Consider this...are you happy? I hope so! But no matter if you are or if you have troubles, the real question is "Do you have JOY?" Happiness comes from your "happenings" and when those happenings aren't so great, what becomes of you? Do you want to know what it means to have Joy in your life...regardless of your current circumstances? I promise you, anyone that listens to this series will learn and grow. Check it out! More on this later...