Wednesday, January 27, 2016

3,000 Miles Back West. Wait, what? NO, I KNOW, RIGHT?

New Years Eve is one of my favorite holidays. Okay, if you know anything about me, you know every holiday is one of my favorite holidays. I admit it (I can't hide it) I love celebration! There are so many great things about being alive, I like taking a moment to celebrate each little detail. In recent years holidays have exploded. It seems like there is a day for everything now. A day for pirates, a day for donuts, a day for cats, a day for black cats--I love it.

New Years really does rank pretty high for me, though. A pause to reflect, a deep breath to consider the future. I like making resolutions, and some years I even keep them! And if I don't keep them, I repeat them and try again. One of my repeat resolutions this year is "blog more." I love blogging, and in 2010-2013 I was better about blogging regularly. I have not posted in almost a year, but I have a great excuse:


Surprise! It's a girl! ...And it's nine months old! We had our second child last April, and named her Guinevere Pamela--Gwen for short. I promised myself that my first new blog post would be her birth story, like the one I wrote when Luke was born. I have been chipping away at it, a paragraph here and there, for... Nine months. It's close to being done, and I will share it soon!

And if you read Breaking Cat News, you know that I've been hard at work writing my comic this year too! Between writing a comic and a new baby, plus a very active two year old, blogging totally fell apart. Especially when I gave myself an excuse to put it off, in the form of writing a picture perfect birth story for Gwen to read one day, look away from the screen, and whisper in awe, "Wow, Mom. I do feel loved and validated."

So, instead, I'm just going to fall back into it today and let you know what's going on in our lives, because it's a lot!

2015 was a great year. Our daughter was born. Luke turned two. Ryan and I worked hard! Ryan took on multiple contracts, including one with the toy company Hasbro! He got to work on Play Doh commercials, ads for the new Star Wars toys, Monopoly commercials, Nerf commercials. ...A lot of toy commercials, if I'm being honest. But how cool, right? You can watch one of them here, if you like; Ryan edited this Nerf gun commercial.

As I said, I wrote Breaking Cat News. I took a two month break when Gwen was born for baby cuddles, sleepless nights, and zombie mornings, but couldn't stay away for long. In the daytime I cared for our children, and most nights starting at 8pm I wrote, sketched, inked, and painted the strip.  BCN was syndicated by Universal Uclick in 2014, and many new readers found the strip through their GoComics site in 2015. During the year I added a few new characters, wrote a Halloween special in addition to a second Christmas special, and got to connect with people all over the world about cats! In December, Uclick flew me out to Kansas City to visit their offices and discuss the BCN book! (YES, I SAID BOOK!!! SO EXCITED).

SPOILER ALERT: Everyone at Uclick is amazing and the book comes out this May!

Two days before I flew out to Kansas City, Ryan was contacted about a job opportunity in California. And so at the beginning of December, I was in Kansas City for three days, came home, and Ryan left and was in California for two days. It was all very exciting and very stressful. It felt like all the work we had each put in during 2015 was (hopefully) beginning to pay off. I spent the days Ryan was away watching Christmas specials with the kiddos, cuddling the cats, and hoping for the best.

And then, a couple of days before Christmas, Ryan was offered the job in California!

SPOILER ALERT: I am writing this blog post in California!

It was hard to break the news to family. For almost two years we'd been living in Rhode Island, close to our parents, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, and cousins, and that had been wonderful. I'm really glad we were able to spend some quality time with our family, especially while Luke and Gwen were so little. Leaving them was awful, and if I could have found a way to trick my Mom into a box and smuggle her into our storage pods, I would have. But, you know... kidnapping charges.

Still, great time with family aside, we had an unexpected tough time readjusting to Rhode Island. We missed the west coast very much, and Ryan missed having a full time job vs working contracts. He was having great experiences and getting to work on interesting projects, but a full time job with benefits is hard to beat. If you've read this blog for a while or know us in real life, you know that in 2012 Ryan was laid off from a job he loved two weeks after we bought our first home, when I was six months pregnant with our son. A nightmare scenario for sure, and it sent our lives into a financial tailspin for a couple of years. We eventually made the hard choice to sell our house and move back to Rhode Island to recover, financially and emotionally. We put a lot of hard work in, we supported each other, we cheered each other on, we didn't let each other give up on our goals. We shared an office in our home, we worked back to back on projects almost every night, covered in sweat, tears, and cats. Back on our feet and ready for the next chapter, this job offer could not have come at a better time.

And so, Ryan accepted it. We had just about three weeks to pack up our entire apartment, the kids, the cats, and get ourselves back to the west coast.

Luke and I on Christmas morning at our Aunt Joanie's!

The kids on New Year's Eve. The noisemakers were a BIG hit!

It's just not a party until some girl loses her shoe.

Lupin helping us pack the apartment up for California.

Lupin continues to help....

Elvis sensed change immediately and needed extra cuddles early.
We both did, honestly....

Ryan packing his Pengo arcade cabinet!

Packing went quickly, if not feverishly, and we were lucky to have some great friends help us to move everything into our storage pods! (NOT TO GET ALL GOLDEN GIRLS ON YOU, BUT THANK YOU FOR BEING A FRIEND NATE, CHRISTINE, WILL, AMY, EMILY, JOSEPH, AND AUNT MAUREEN). We decided that Ryan would drive our car with the cats to California, and I would fly with the kids. I was nervous all over again, just as I was when we moved back from Seattle. Being so far apart from your partner is rough, even if it's just for a few days. I love Ryan like crazy. He's my best friend, and watching his little dot get further and further away on Google Maps as I looked up whatever town he was driving through was hard.

I stayed with our Aunt Anne for a few days, and then boarded a plane with Luke, Gwen, and my awesome sister in law Megan. Ryan arrived in California about seven hours before we did, and got the corporate housing we're staying in ready with groceries and flowers--since he'd been on the road during our six year anniversary!

Ryan the morning he left with the cats for the west coast.

Ryan letting Puck out of his carrier to stretch his legs during a road break.

Luke watching the planes at the airport.

Luke with my fabulous sister in law, Megan, who flew with us
to help me with the kids, thank goodness!

Luke and Pengo on the plane.
(That's the real 'Fuzzy Penguin' toy, if you read BCN!)

Gwen and Luke on the plane.

Plane selfies!

Luke decided his penguin could fly during our layover. 

Reunited in California with Daddy!

Lupin wasted no time in exploring the corporate apartment we're staying in.

And that's about where we are now! We've been in corporate housing for almost two weeks. It is a beautiful apartment and it feels a little like being on vacation, which is very nice. Still, I can't wait until we find a new home to settle into and we can be surrounded by our own things in our own space. Plus, Ryan got me a gnome lamp for Christmas and I MEAN C'MON NOW, I NEED TO UNPACK MY NEW GNOME LAMP.

This is a huge change, one that I'm definitely still processing. It happened so fast, there wasn't a lot of time to pause or reflect. Everything had to get into boxes, the boxes had to get into the pods, and we had to get onto the plane, and.... Here we are! I'm incredibly relieved that the move was without event and we are all safe and sound and together. I can be anywhere, as long as we are safe and sound and together. And the cats don't hate us too much.

Elvis settling in. He appreciates that the furniture matches his fur.

Pucky kept his morning bird watching appointment.

Luke missed his buddy Lupin.

Luke and Pengo watching Saturday morning cartoons.

Gwen playing on the floor.

An exhausted selfie I took as the toll of the move crept in. I felt a little tired,
a little homesick, but still noticed how great the lighting was and just had to click a pic.
(That's how I know I'm okay. When I stop noticing fabulous lighting, just close the coffin).

Gwen chilling with her girls.

I had to take a break from writing BCN, since 1. My scanning equipment had to move across the country without me. And 2. Mentally, this is a lot, and I need to take it in and rest and settle before I can be funny again. The readers have understood this for the most part and been amazing. Readers have been leaving comments on my studio FB page and Twitter of encouragement and support, and it's meant so much to me. If you have done that, I can't thank you enough.

I'm still getting Luke and Gwen back into a routine and feeling happy (and aside from Luke's chaotic naps, they've both adjusted great!) I'm spending a lot of cuddle time helping the cats are feel secure. Lupin is thrilled at a new space to check out, Puck is comfortable finally, and Elvis in a surprise move no one could have predicted has been much more relaxed and happier since we arrived in California. He was always wound really tight in our apartment back in Rhode Island, we're not sure why. Ryan jokes that "100 years of history to sense and sniff and investigate" probably had him overloaded. Maybe Tilly was teasing him (that makes more sense if you read the comic!) Whatever the reason, he has been having a great time and I'm so relieved!

And so, there's my first blog post for 2016! Hopefully I'll have Gwen's birth story to share soon, because it's a fun story. I've been INCREDIBLY lucky to have two great, easy births. You'll never like me again if you had a tough labor (I'm joking, please still like me if you've had a tough labor. You're my hero). In the meantime, wish us luck on finding a new space to call home! I'm hoping that a month from now we will be settling into "home." I'm also hoping that I can start working on BCN again and have the comic up and running at the beginning of February. If you miss reading it, I promise, I miss writing it. I've been brainstorming headlines nonstop, and I've got stories planned for most of the year already!

Plus, remember, the first BCN book comes out in May!!! Ahhh!!! SCREAM AND JUMP UP AND DOWN WITH ME, AHHHHHHH!!!!

2016 is already... Really different! I hope it stays a good different!

Happy 2016, everyone, a few weeks late!

Lupin vowing to catch those giant cat toys in the distance....

Thursday, March 19, 2015

An interview, and dreaming of spring!

Naturally, I meant to write before this. I wanted to let you know my New Year's Resolutions, our Valentine's Day plans, our first time seeing snowing in five years....

But then winter happened, and if you live in the Northeast, you're nodding right now, your eyes full of tears. And so, instead of many happy-go-lucky blog posts, I watched the snow fall outside the window for five weeks like we were living out one of the Little House on the Prairie books.

However, it wasn't all bad! Ryan landed a new job as an editor working on toy commercials for an excellent company you have heard of that I'm not sure I can mention here? It's a really great opportunity though, and he's happy. It has been a relief after so much uncertainty, and I hope that it all goes well. It's another contract job, and while contracted jobs make me nervous, this one is full time with benefits.

And I was interviewed by our local news station! You can see the interview here! They interviewed me about 'Breaking Cat News.' It was very exciting, I can't tell you how much I love writing that comic. The readers are just amazing. After the last couple of years we've had, to be creating something for such a kind, supportive, encouraging group of people has done so much good for my spirit. I don't care if that sounds corny, it's the absolute truth. It's forced me to focus on positive things, to look for humor in our daily lives, and to keep myself thinking forward and not dwelling on the bad. It could not have happened at a better time, and I thank everyone who reads the comic and enjoys it and lets me know from the bottom of my heart.

Our son is running, babbling, playing instruments, driving tiny trucks, and being awesome. He will be two next month, and I can't believe it. And speaking of next month, I am a thousand months pregnant and our little girl is due in about two weeks!

This was me a month ago. You wouldn't think I could get any bigger,
but the human body is a marvel.

Seattle child was not a fan of snow.

"Can we go in now?"

Luke still loves his skull friend, "Morte."
(Ryan named him).

Lupin decided to help with the dishes.
(Forgive the messy sink. I had a split second to either take the photo
or wipe out the sink for the photo and I mean, there was already a cat sitting
in it, so....)

Luke liked sledding a little, at least!

Watching 'Curious George' with Morte.

That's a little bit of our first winter back east. Just imagine about 3-4 more feet of snow on top of everything.

I'm usually a solid autumn/winter girl, but this year I have to confess I cannot wait for spring. I'm so excited to meet our daughter, I'm really looking forward to not being pregnant anymore (I'm not the greatest at being pregnant) and I'm hopeful for some warm-but-not-like-crazy-warm-take-it-easy-New-England days.

I hope this post isn't riddled with typos, I just wanted to pop in to say hello! I hope wherever you are winter was not too hard on you, and if it was, I hope we can all look forward to some warmer days ahead! It's supposed to snow again tomorrow, but with some luck that will be the end of it!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Because we need a little Christmas.

We had to leave Covington so fast that we lost a few things in the move. One item that was especially difficult to accept was the baby mobile of glass ducks that hung over my crib (and later my bed) as a child. I'd kept it 30 years through college, first apartments, many moves, and hung it in a corner of my studio in Covington. When everything was unpacked in RI and it was nowhere to be found, we came to believe we'd accidentally left it hanging there the morning we moved out. I even debated contacting the new owners, but ultimately decided against it. What would I say? "Hope you're enjoying our old home, did you happen to notice a tiny of flock of ducks downstairs? I'm 33 years old and I'd really like them back. You can keep our house, I just really need my ducks." No... So, I just felt a bit heartsick and left it at that. We'd lost a lot anyway, what's a few ducks I told myself.
Last night we left out Luke's letter for Santa, our guess at what he might like, adorned in his scribbles. The whole night was sort of a disaster. Our oven broke in the middle of making dinner, scorching our food and destroying a banana bread. Luke has been sick with a fever all week, and last night a rash broke out signaling to us that he has Roseola. A quick call to his pediatrician eased our fears. The rash thankfully means the worst has past and Luke is recovering. We worried since I'm pregnant, but our doctor assured us it was fine as I'm in my 2nd trimester. Still, a scary moment for first time parents. The night nearly felt like a bust, but as midnight neared we rallied and got ready to "help" Santa's magic a little. Milk was drank. Cookies were eaten. An alibi was provided to the jolly old elf; evidence would prove he had been in our kitchen.
Hurrying to complete his visit to our home, I looked for a bit of red ribbon to spruce up the toy chicken that was being left behind (as Luke is crazy about birds). I dragged out a big container of embroidery supplies and dug through sewing kits and hoops and extra bits of fabric. Opened up my ribbon box in the name of Santa...
...And there was my baby mobile, a pile of trusty glass ducks looking back up at me.
Santa's where we look for him. And sometimes even when we're not looking, he finds us anyway. As I pulled out a humble gathering of old childhood friends, I couldn't help but feel some of that Christmas magic, and be awfully grateful Santa needed a ribbon last night.

I know it doesn't look like much, but I think often times our own personal
treasuries don't look like much to the rest of the world. That's what makes them just for us.

Luke's letter and Santa's response.

Luke tending to his chicken, despite still feeling a little poorly.

Elvis and Puck getting in a nap. I don't know that it would count as
a post if I didn't include a cuddle picture of Puck and Elvis sleeping....

Lupin making himself right at home, leaning his fuzzy little elbows on
the windowsill to watch the birds.

We heard a commotion in the living room and Ryan went to investigate. He returned a moment later,
holding a photo of him on our wedding day and said, "Elvis took this down off the wall."
(Elvis still sometimes has trouble accepting the Man).

Luke checking out the tree the first morning he woke up to discover it in the living room.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Long overdue photos of the apartment, with a bit of an explanation.

I've been promising I would share photos of our new apartment, for our friends back west to see and anyone else who might be curious. I've finally completed the arduous task of slipping that little square thingy that comes out of the camera into the computer, and I'm happy to report they all survived. (And are in this very post!)

But first, would you like to see photos of our Halloween costumes 21 days into November? I thought you might! Here they are:

Our Halloween costumes! Mrs. Peacock, Colonel Mustard, and Professor Plum
from the board game 'Clue.'

My sister and best friend joined us as Miss Scarlet and Mr. Green!

Daddy and Luke! (Not to brag, but seriously, how handsome is my husband?
'People' magazine, take notice for 2015!)

Mommy and Luke! (And the new baby, I'm about 4 months pregnant here).

I love this photo of my sister so much.

Preston and Grace!

It's been very cold the past week. If there was any doubt that we are back home in New England, it has been frozen out of us. Is it sick that I'm a little happy to be donning mittens? The air is crisp, the sunsets are sharp, and my camel colored winter jacket combined with my pregnant belly have me feeling a bit like Donald Duck in an overcoat. You know the one.

Luke is less amused by the cold, and has decided that hats are some kind of cruel punishment we're trying to inflict on him. Mittens face an all out boycott, which we hope to overcome before winter truly sets in.

The cats have taken to curling up on and under the many fuzzy blankets we own. Including the faux fur stole I hot glued for my Mrs. Peacock costume in the photos above. For $4 worth of fabric, Puck took it over November 1st and we've kept it on the back of the couch for him since. The apartment is cozy in the cold, thank goodness. We wake up to warm beds (usually filled with cats) and frosty window panes.

My Mom and I are planning our first Thanksgiving home in five years, complete with tuning into the annual Mystery Science Theater 3000 marathon! We go shopping for the turkey and fixings tonight, and I'm very excited.

Still, with all the happiness I'm experiencing settling back into the seasons and looking forward to the  holidays with family, I've recently begun to realize that selling our home in Washington was a lot harder on me than I admitted to myself at the time. When it happened, there was so much to sort and donate and pack and move that I don't think I really had time to feel what was going on. Even as we prepared to leave, we had to show the house to potential buyers almost daily. Every time I had a moment to myself suddenly we had to get everyone out of the house and into the car to leave while the realtors gave tours.

As I wrapped the precious belongings we were able to keep and slipped them into boxes, I would think, "It'll be alright. We'll all be together. That's what really matters." As I cut tape with my teeth and secured all we had left, I thought, "It's just a house. These are just things." Sliding boxes into piles, watching the piles grow while our once carefully decorated and arranged rooms emptied, I reminded myself, "It could be worse." Then all of a sudden the house was sold (thankfully, in the nick of time, really) and we were gone. And that was that.

We came back to RI and have been re-adjusting to small town life. I've liked it. I see dear friends and loved ones almost daily. My son has aunts and uncles and cousins to play with. "Okay," I told myself. "We did it. It's over. The last two years are over, and now we have a fresh start."

Only about two months ago I realized I've been avoiding photographs from the whole time we lived in Covington. Even happy photographs. Even photographs of my son (easily the happiest photographs I've ever taken).

If you know me at all, you know photographs are one of my favorite things. I probably take between 3-10 photographs a day, 30-200 when I'm on a roll. My Instagram is embarassing. I was relieved when Facebook stopped including a photo count. 70% of this blog is just photos of my cats. Now all of the sudden, whenever I would have a moment to sort through Luke's first birthday pictures or his first Christmas, (or share photos of our new apartment, ahem...) and I found myself making excuses. It was late, I didn't want to fire up the computer, I didn't want to start a new photo album on Snapfish and not finish it.

There's this great trick Phyllis' character on 'The Office' (yup) teaches Michael Scott in a season three episode when he needs to make a decision. She tells him, "Don't think, just answer: What do you want to do...?" However you feel about taking advice from a tv show, it's a great moment and I've found it works in real life too. I used a variation of it and said to myself, "Don't think, just answer: Why don't you want to look at those photos?"

"I don't want to see the house," was my unexpected answer to myself. All out loud at the grocery store, I'm sure, but stick with me, this was a break through.

Once I admitted that, I had to face why I didn't want to see the house. That felt a little murkier. We had been so happy to buy the home, but then Ryan's company laid everyone off weeks later and it got scary. I told myself that's why I didn't want to see the house. It represented a time filled with so much uncertainty and fear of the future. I was glad that was over; glad we didn't have to struggle like we did then. Of course I don't want to see it, I told myself. Why would I?

However... We had a lot of good times in that house too. My baby shower. House parties with friends. Movie nights, podcasts, pizza, jokes, and games. We shared two Christmases and a lot of gratitude for simple victories like one more mortgage payment made. We brought Luke home to that house; a 7 pound 9 ounce bundle of blue and green blankets swaddling a sleepy little face. The real answer hit me fully days later when I was at a store and saw some sparkly on-the-shelves-way-too-early Christmas branches, and thought, "Those will look great over our fireplace!"

The fireplace 3,000 miles away. That isn't ours anymore.

Another emotional break through at a store, this time in the holiday section of 'Michaels', where all the plastic elves watched me finally hang my head. That was my moment of total realization: I miss our home. It hurts that we had to sell it. It hurts like hell. We planned to live there for 5-10 years and we can't. I was seized with a wish to drive into the garage, open the door, see the faded carpet we meant to replace, the sliding glass window looking out into the backyard we meant to landscape, the washer and dryer we're still paying off, and just finally go home.

It felt foolish that it had taken six months to get to a point where I could acknowledge that selling the house was a bigger loss than I wanted to admit to myself. The human spirit is capable of spectacular feats of denial, though. I had a husband to cheer up, a son to protect, cats who needed reassuring, and a new home to put together. We needed dinner on the table, moving boxes broken down, towels folded in the closet, and bookcases neatly filled. We needed trips to the grocery store and a pantry full of food, because we could afford that again. We didn't need break downs, we needed normalcy.

There's always time for break downs.

When my grandfather passed away, my Aunt Lizzie told Mom, "It might not hit you today. It might not hit you next week. It's going to catch up with you months from now. You'll be standing in line at a check out, and you'll see a magazine cover and for reasons you don't even understand, it will remind you, and you'll drive home crying. Grief is like that. It sneaks up on you one day."

Not that losing a home is the same as losing a person. Not at all. In fact, that was pretty much the mantra I clung to all year. "These are just things. We are safe. We have each other. We have our health. It could be worse." In retrospect, I think I felt guilty to mourn a bunch of bricks and wood when we had so much to be thankful for.

Nevertheless, here I was, half a year later, getting teary over glittery artificial pine and seeing a montage of all the memories we were never going to have in that house.

MAN, THIS POST IS TURNING INTO A BUMMER. I'm sorry for that, but thanks if you're still here. There's good news: admitting all of this to myself has felt good. Not "erase all the bad stuff that happened the past two years" good, or "get our house back" good, or "golly gee I'm fine now" good. Just... Good. Better. A start. When I opened up about this a little, a good friend wrote to me, "It's okay to feel sad about sad things that have happened." And since she said that to me, (thank you, Amanda) it's become a sort of new mantra. Much better than my previous "It's okay. I'm okay," one. That was getting me nowhere. No one should be teary eyed at a craft store. CRAFT STORES SHOULD ONLY BE A PLACES OF GREAT JOY.

Freeing some of the feelings I had bottled up left me with a more room to appreciate our new apartment. Not that I didn't before. Honestly, complicatedly, I love this apartment. I could not have asked for a better place to start over from selling our home. It's small, yet it has three bedrooms, which is pretty great for an apartment. It is sunny and clean, with high ceilings and lovely, heavy windows. Everyone in the building is great, we love our neighbors. It's the third floor of a Victorian so beautiful I wish I could share pictures of the building itself, but it is very recognizable in our town AND THIS IS THE INTERNET, AMIRITE? HAHAHA NO BUT SERIOUSLY.

While I admit I'm still not ready to start pouring over the old photos I've been avoiding, I find myself wanting to begin giving this little apartment some of the eye candy credit it deserves. It's adorable. It's warm. It's safe. And it has all of my favorite people and cats inside it; often even including my Mom, sister, friends, and family. You've been patient enough to read me pour my heart out, or you've just scrolled down until there were more pictures, either way, finally, here are some photos of the new apartment!

The kitchen.

I plan to convince Luke one of his great-great-great grandmothers
was a witch who turned animals to stone, and now we have to
care for all of them until they can be turned back....

More of the kitchen (and more stone animals.

Elvis arrives to inspect the floor.

Puck and Elvis guarding the couch.
(Our big red couch was too big and had to go into storage--We still have it though!
My father-in-law gave us this couch in the meantime, thankfully).

If anyone comes up the stairs to steal this couch,
the boys are ready.

Our armchair... Really, it's Elvis' armchair.
He lives on the back of it, I can't believe he's not in this photo.

More of the living room.

Puzzle time with Luke and Elvis!

Lupin guarding the crib.

He takes his job very seriously.

Lupin spots the camera....

"What is that thing?"

Luke and his oh-so-familiar looking tiger friend....

Luke's nursery, before we added some storage boxes
(ie. diaper boxes covered in fabric).

There they are.

His crib fits right into a little alcove in his room. It's perfect!

More of the nursery.

Luke's window and changing table.

...It does not stay tidy for very long. 

We have a lot of good news in the works, but I can't share some of it right now. (I'm sorry, I hate when people are vague online, but I also don't want to leave you with an image of me feeling sorry for myself surrounded by fake pointsettas at the craft store.... Also, I promise the good news is real and not just a ruse to cheer you up after reading the sadder parts of this post. It's great news! It's actual, real, great news. I promise. And when I can share it, I will).

What I can say is that writing 'Breaking Cat News' has been a tremendous comfort to me the past few months. What started off as one silly strip for friends has become a syndicated comic, and I love that it is featured on GoComics! The people at GoComics have been so helpful and great to work with, I love dealing with them. Readers both old and new have been so supportive and encouraging. I cannot believe what a kind, awesome group of people the comic has drawn in! ON THE INTERNET OF ALL PLACES! HOW??? Good people on the Internet--they're out there!

Having a project to focus on during the evenings, especially such a positive, fun project, has meant so much to me. Posting new strips and connecting with other cat folks, hearing it's made their day or reminded them of their own feline friends has been an unexpected bonus I look forward to every week. I hope it has been entertaining, and I'm working hard to keep it funny, new, and different.

I can also say that we just found out the new baby is a girl!!! We're so excited! We would have been happy to have another boy too, of course, but I'd be lying if I pretended I wasn't thrilled to discover we're about to have a daughter. Ryan and I are delighted. We can't wait to meet her! We try to tell to Luke he's about to become a big brother. I think he sort of gets it, but then sometimes he also points to his tummy when we ask where the baby is, so.... It's a tough thing to explain to an 18 month old. He is a sweet, gentle, thoughtful child though, and I am looking forward to helping him adjust to the new baby.

What an nonstop eventful year this has been! To think that since January we've sold our home, moved 3,000 miles back to our hometown, Ryan's changed jobs, (and possibly even more on that before the year ends) I created a new comic, we found out we're having another child, the new comic has been syndicated online, and then it turns out we're going to have our son Luke and a daughter too!

And that's just Ryan and I! All around us friends and loved ones are facing huge changes, good and bad. However, the way everything has worked out, we all seem to be facing them together, and that's kind of eerie and great and humbling. It makes me glad we moved back east when we did, even if the circumstances are still causing a bit of emotional fall out. Is 2014 under a crazy Moon circle or in Aries or autumn spice or something?*

I hope that when I write again it is soon and that it is filled with photos of what is happening right now, in the present. Thank you for reading this. It's a longer post and kind of a bummer at times, but it's honest. It's life. It's my life, and while it could be worse, it's okay to be sad about sad things that have happened. I love the good things that are happening right now. I want to hold onto them and appreciate them and document it all for when I'm ready to look back and make sense of 2014.

*Writer might not understand astrology or how it works.