The weather has changed and winter is here. There's a fresh dusting of snow out every window, and we're about to say goodbye to the last of the Autumn decorations to make room for the Christmas ones. I'm grateful that I was able to make time to get the outdoors prepped for winter early this year. While it was still warm, all the leaves were blown into the woods, the garden was pruned, the patio furniture and camping/fire pit stuff was put in storage, the Christmas lights were strung, and the deck was tarped for our new outdoor cat, Cinderpelt's, house. 

Cinderpelt showed up at our house a few weeks ago. Ezekiel and Logan were playing in the woods when she confronted them. I gave them a can of tuna for her, and they put her in the garage for the night, determined that we should find out where she was from. 

The next day, I took her to the vet to have her scanned for a microchip. They said she did not have one, but that she bear the markings indicative of a ferrel cat from the catch and release program. They told us that if she was at our house, she was probably wandering for a reason. They said she is an outdoor cat, but if wanted her we could put food out and see if she took to our land. 

Of course, that's what we did. It took her a couple of weeks to be more consistent. At first, we would have to call for her, and she would be there within minutes. Now she is almost always in sight somewhere in the yard, on the back deck, or in the screen room, hanging out. She's become very comfortable with the dogs, and she is VERY very sweet and loving towards us. 

We had new sliding glass doors put into the living room just in the nick of time for winter as well. They had to be special ordered (because none of the sliding glass doors in the house are standard) so we waited longer than we'd hoped, but they were still able to be installed just before the first cold snap of the season. We also had the house jacked up and the supporting beam replaced running horizontally against the west wall, the front door rehung, and installed all new hardware. It's amazing how much cozier warm the house has been since. 

We've been enjoying weekends filled with "family" at our house. Tony, Xzavier, and Logan have been coming and staying over frequently. It's been so much fun. We all get along so well, have so much in common, and are good for each other. We have joking and playing football, huge delicious meals, cookies, cakes and donuts, going for ice cream, watching movies, playing video games and board games, having long deep conversations, mentoring and guiding, acceptance and lots of love. It feels like a dream with all the sounds and hearts of the people we love the most, gathered together in one place. Our place. 

School is going well for Ezekiel. He enjoys his days, and has even asked me about his friends going to Middle School "without him" next year. He's told us that he really likes ALL of his school day now, and it doesn't feel like 15 minutes is an hour anymore. He is learning so much, and having such great experience, both good and bad, to grow from one way or another. It is truly a blessing for all of us. 

He has been having some slight struggles due to nightly homework. It would be our preference that he would not have to try to use his fried brain to complete more work at home, but that they would rather cover that during his 7.5 hour day of school so he could enjoy his family time, unwind, shut his brain off, be an active part of our household (including having time for chores), and PLAY like a nine year old should for a couple hours a day. But we knew going into this year, that things would be this way for now. And so it is what it is (sorry Mom). :) 

My work has been going really well. God has been stretching and growing and showing me so much through each experience. I love right where He has me, and the love and encouragement from the special people he has put in my life has seemed to come just in the perfect form, just as I've needed it. 

Greg has been working on renovating his office/techy lair downstairs the past few weeks. He's upgraded some of his gear, painted the walls, added some lighting and storage, replaced the drapes, stained his desks in a darker color, and rearranged their set up to make better use of the the space. It's gorgeous, and he and Ezekiel can't get enough of it down there. :)

I have been reading the Twilight series when I get a chance, and building puzzles. Ezekiel has been reading the Warrior Cats series, and LOVING it. 

The dogs are doing great. Ralph is sweeter than ever. And that about sums things up for an update. 
Writing hasn't been much my thing lately. 
I'm sure I'll get back to it when I need. 

Happy Holidays!