The Fall Season

We’ve had two holidays since I’ve last posted, Halloween and Thanksgiving. Both were low-key and uneventful. We didn’t go trick-or-treating this year or hand-out candy because of COVID-19, but we allowed Damien to buy a new video game he’s been wanting so he was perfectly happy spending Halloween evening playing Pikmin 3. We did make Thanksgiving foods for Thanksgiving with minimum leftovers and played a civil game of Monopoly after dinner.

Damien is getting to the age where he’s developing his own sense of style. He’s very proud of his new winter hat and vest. He wears them to school daily.
Taekwondo allowed the kids to wear costumes around Halloween. We bought Damien a onesie instead of a costume this year. Cheaper and multi-functional! He even got to wear it for pajama day at school!
Look out! It’s a ninja creeper!
Getting around to using a birthday gift
Playing around

Due to an increase in coronavirus cases in the area, Damien will be starting distance learning on Monday through the rest of the calendar year. If everything goes well, he’ll be able to start in-person learning again in January. I really hope he’ll be able to go back to in-person learning. It was very hard on everyone when Damien did school from home at the end of 4th Grade. We’re making a couple of changes this time though such as moving Damien’s desk into his bedroom instead of having it in a common area.

Right before Thanksgiving week, we received notice from the school that Damien was in close contact with a person who tested positive for corona. It really only means that we’re supposed to monitor his symptoms for the next two weeks, but we decided that Damien should take advantage of the Taekwondo zoom sessions that are offered.

Getting ready for zoom class
Luke and I watching class

The Sour Patch Kid

We’ve had Luke for almost two months and I refer to him as a sour patch kid because he’ll do something mean and hurtful and then turn around and do something cute and sweet. He has HOURS of energy a day to run around the house wrecking havoc and then cuddles up peacefully for his many naps. Surprisingly a single sheet of aluminum foil has kept him off of the kitchen counters, but it hasn’t stopped him from jumping on the dining room table or trying to stick his paw into your food. He’s so fast too! It’s probably because he gets so many hours a day practicing his hunting skills. Oh and he bull-dozes his way into rooms/areas that he’s not allowed such as the garage. He’s very skilled at getting what he wants. Where is that sweet, docile kitten I met at the shelter? lol

He never ventures to the very top, but does like his kitty tower.
Damien likes to seek out Luke for naps.
Awww!
They’re so cute together
Luke sleeps in the weirdest positions…
Luke deceptively looking like a sweet, innocent kitten.
Luke hanging out of the heat vent lol
Damien and Luke cuddle time
*sigh* My snuggly baby

Damien’s Belt Testing

Today Damien tested for his yellow belt and he did so well! This cycle they learned how to do round kicks and he really struggled with his balance and form, but in the last couple weeks he got it! My only critique is that he still lacks some confidence. It’s hard to think of him as shy and not confident because he’s NOT that way at home. I’m sure it’ll improve over time.

Showing off his 4th belt stripe. Ready to test!
Showing Luke his fighting skills
Listening to instructions. Damien’s in the middle line.
The newest yellow belt–woot!
Saying the oath after testing
Class picture
I asked for a picture of Damien and Scott lol
Damien and I 😀

Of course I have to throw in some pictures of Luke!

He scares me up there! I’m afraid he’s going to fall.
This makes up for all the naughtiness and scratches
He sleeps in the weirdest positions
They say cats are like liquid
Apparently Luke doesn’t even care if the lap is human LOL!
As an adult, this is the highlight of my weekend–new furniture! Everything we owe is so neutral so we decided to go with a blue to spice it up a little.

Kitten Update

We’ve had Luke for about a week and a half now and we’re seeing a lot more personality! He’s now playing with toys and he seems a lot more comfortable around the house, even sleeping in places other than our laps. Here are some observations:

Luke was so OBSESSED with Scott’s beard that he shaved it off lol.

He doesn’t like to eat out of your hand.

He actually acknowledges his reflection in a mirror! He once tried to play with the other “kitten”. 

It’s been difficult to keep him off of the kitchen counter and dining room table. Our efforts to stop the behavior seem to be making him better at jumping. There are certain foods that REALLY drive him crazy where he is relentless. Yesterday it was over a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I’m guessing he wanted the peanut butter.

We’re still working on getting him to only scratch on his scratchers. He just LOVES to use his claws. On everything! He also slips/rolls off of things and then uses his claws to pull himself back up again, even if it’s your leg!

He seems to roll onto his back more for Scott than anyone else.

If there are multiple laps to choose from he seems to have a hard time deciding where to lay.

He doesn’t seem to mind a little water.

He’ll watch tv! Sometimes he’ll watch the tv or tablet. He seems to be attracted to the various sounds. I was shaking trees in a video game the other day and he jumped down to sit in front of the tv and watch me play.

He doesn’t seem bothered by Damien’s loudness (odd, I know), but he definitely was scared of the vacuum noises. He was even skittish a day or so after vacuuming.

Damien watching his tablet underneath a pillow fort
Luke watching Damien brush his teeth.
Luke likes to give you good access to his neck to be pet.
Luke making room for himself
Damien and Luke playing with boxes.
The new cat tree! Too bad Luke doesn’t care for it at all :'(
Cuddles after Damien’s shower
Luke loves the boa-type fluffy toys.
He already lost the ball to this toy…
Scott bought Luke a bed so he’d have a comfy place to take naps in his office.
Spending quality time together

Luke

We adopted a kitten! A little over 24 hours ago, we brought home a 19-week old gray tabby named Luke. He’s already neutered and up-to-date on all of his shots.

I was really bummed that things didn’t work out with Frank and have been keeping my eyes peeled for a friendly young adult cat at the local animal shelter. Well, when I checked on Wednesday, there were a bunch of new kitties posted and Luke stood out to me. The description read “Luke here, I’m a young, good lookin’ boy about 19 weeks old and I’m looking for the a good home with lots of pets. I’m all about the pets, really. Like, I am a world class lap cat who enjoys attention in all sorts of forms. I am so excited to go to a good home that gives me lots of kisses and pets. I’m a social boy who loves to meet everyone and I fall in love pretty fast, just a fair warning!”

I just had to meet him! So I took the last appointment available they had on Thursday and went to meet him by myself since Scott had to work and Damien was in school. He was exactly as advertised. Very cute and very sweet. He’s a little bit younger than what I was looking for, but they’re not kittens for very long. I had the shelter place him on hold and took the last appointment available on Friday to bring Scott and Damien to meet him too. There’s no way to could bring a pet home without Damien’s approval. Of course they loved each other and the rest is history!

Oh, and between Thursday and Friday, a bunch of the kittens were adopted out to include a black and white kitten named Kai who I was also considering for adoption (he was a biter). So I’m glad I didn’t wait.

Meeting Luke at the shelter
Damien and Luke getting to know each other
He likes belly rubs?!
Selfie!
Finally slowing down enough to get a picture
Awww so many cuddles!

The first evening Luke was very active. He spent hours walking around back and forth between everyone, only stopping to rub up and get pet before seeking out the next person. He seems to crave the attention. I can definitely tell he’s going to need some training and redirection when it comes to using his claws. He likes to use them a lot, whether he’s kneading on your lap or pulling on the carpet.

Morning snuggles
Luke seeking out a snuggle buddy
I got to snuggle with him too! I’m a little jealous of the nap…
You may be asking yourself, “Well what does Luke do when Damien’s playing video games?” Answer: he finds space!
Always looking for a lap lol

Today, Luke was a little bit more docile. He napped a lot and just slept on whoever was available. He really seems to enjoy Damien’s company and is very comfortable with him. It warms my heart because Damien loves to cuddle and loves physical touch so they’re both getting their needs met. He calls him Luke Skywalker and even sings to him. Luke doesn’t seem to really like to play with toys, but maybe we just haven’t found one that he likes yet.

Is there anything cuter??!

Happy 10th Birthday, Damien!!!

DOUBLE DIGITS! I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!

The birthday boy on his birthday, getting ready for his 3rd day of school.
I had to get a picture together before work 🙂 Later we rented the Sonic the Hedgehog movie and ordered pizza since it was a school night.
Birthday celebrations commenced on Saturday!
A new water bottle to bring with him to school since they’re not allowed to use the drinking fountains.
An alien-themed gem dig kit
A gift card to the eShop to pick out a new Nintendo game of his choice
Shark shower curtain–AAAHHHhh!
A new ipad case (Old one is damaged so the ipad will fall out sometimes. Plus, it’s GREEN)
Opening presents
Shark-tooth dig kit
Beach bath mat
A water gun to go with an outdoor pool…too bad it’s already getting cold outside!
A new sweatshirt. It’s already dropped below 32 degrees once already this month… We also got him a few more pairs of pants and a new jacket. He’s growing like a weed!
The curtain and mat together in his bathroom. Super cute! The mat was too long, but is being exchanged for the right size.
A comfy Roblox pillow
A coat rack so Damien doesn’t throw his clothes all over the floor or couch

I didn’t take a video of the gift-opening and completely forgot to get a picture of everything together, but here’s the breakdown:

From Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Whitehill: An insulated water bottle for school

From Great Grandma and Tom: A Roblox pillow case and pillow, a water bottle for home, and an alien-themed gem dig kit

From Grandma and Grandpa Hanks: A shark shower curtain, beach bathroom mat, and shark-tooth dig kit

From Mom and Dad: A water gun, a small outdoor pool, an ipad case, clothes, a coat rack, and a $35 gift card for a video game

Thank you so much from Damien! He really loved everything!

Time for cake! A BURGER cake! LOL!!
Thinking of a wish…
Damien’s favorite pastime…eating and watching videos on his tablet.

Damien had a great 10th birthday 😀

Damien, The 5th Grader

Damien started 5th Grade on 31 August and after almost two weeks, everything seems to be going well with the in-person learning. It’s been such a strange school year already. We’ve never met the teacher and only saw a YouTube video where she introduced herself. Parents/visitors aren’t allowed to go inside the school, and each Grade has a designated arrival/departure door and waiting area. So when Damien is dropped off in the morning, he stands in a line outside of the school and waits until 0820 until a teacher allows them inside the building through their Grade level’s door. And after school they all file out of their door and wait until the parents arrive. I still don’t understand what they’re planning to do in the winter months. Of course there are lots of extra rules and procedures inside of the school too like socially-distanced seating in the classrooms and lunchrooms, sanitization stations around the school, and required mask-wear when not separated.

Overall I truly feel like Damien is so much happier being back in school and around other kids. He’s such a social butterfly! Oh, and he likes his teacher too! She even wrote me a message at the end of this week that said, “Damien has been a joy to have in the classroom. He has been working very hard!” Can’t get any better than that! The ONLY concern is how tired Damien is on school nights, especially around dinner time and even MORE when he has Taekwondo. We’re waiting to see if after a few weeks he adjusts to the new schedule.

First day of 5th Grade!!!
He’s so ready!
Damien is excited to learn how to use nunchuks! And he has a patch now on his uniform from when he earned orange belt.

The Newest Orange Belt!

Damien has been working hard all month to be able to test for the next belt, the orange belt.

He earned his fourth stripe! READY TO TEST!

Today was belt testing day. I know Damien was a tiny bit nervous, but overall VERY excited. And he did so well! He even did a great job sounding-off. I could hear him over all of the noise!

Lining up for testing. Damien in the far back so it wasn’t easy to be pictures or videos.
Side kick demonstration
So proud!
After every class they say an oath about being respectful
Class photo

Taekwondo

We enrolled Damien in Taekwondo and he’s been going three times a week for the past two weeks. So far, he LOVES it. He’s super motivated and focused and I see this being a great activity for him. It also teaches so much about respect and Damien has really taken to that concept as well. At home he’s been a lot better about self-correcting his behavior. Exercise, social interaction, and confidence building with a side of positive attitude–yes, please!

Damien’s first session!
He looks like Elvis here LOL!
Showing off his weapon

Below are pictures after two weeks of sessions. He has two of the four belt stripes and he’s preparing for a belt test at the end of the month. He also made a friend! He always wants to go into the building early just so he can talk to HER. And they even make it a point to say bye to each other when class is over. It’s so cute!

Throwing a punch
This is their listening stance. They’re getting instructions for the next series of moves.
Front kick–HI-YA!

Home Visit

Damien and I spent two weeks in Dickinson as soon as I got the “all-clear” from work to travel. I was a little nervous about the drive but everything went well. We definitely enjoyed spending time with the family. And it was a much needed break from work! Grandpa Dave took Damien fishing a couple times which is what Damien had been asking to do for months…although towards the end of the trip Damien was rather moody. I’ll have to keep that in mind for future trips that a shorter duration might be ideal. I’m sure it was a mixture of a lot of factors such as a recent medication change and all of the isolation from other kids and other adjustments due to the COVID19 pandemic. It’s been hard on all of us. I’m so thankful to have been able to visit my parents and brother this summer. So close, yet so far away!

Damien and I went to a Kids Fair in Dickinson. Damien even got a free meal!
Dunk tank. He succeeded too!
Shooting game
Birthday cake snow cone! A surprisingly tasty flavor
Playing around with sparklers! I need to ask my Dad to send me more pics from the trip so I can post them too.
The day after Damien and I returned home, there was a heat advisory during the day followed by a severe thunderstorm at night that took out ANOTHER part of our backyard tree…
The damage

And thank you to my parents for a nice trip! They always go out of their way to make Damien and I feel special and loved 🙂