Aby-a-Day – 27 Juni 2020: An Angel watching from on high (Swedish Saturday

On one of our forays outside, Angel was on the balcony, and, as I knew she was happy there, I didn’t bring her out with us.

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And I was right. She joined us, in her way.

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She perched on the balcony and watched the other cats below.

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She was perfectly happy to be with us, but by herself.

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I love this photo of Dashiell looking back up at her.

Aby-a-Day – 2 Maj 2020: Dashiell the tree hugger (Swedish Saturday)

I took the cats (sans Angel) outside today whilst Björn was fixing our bikes.

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Dashiell and Izaak had so much fun playing around the trees.

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Zak did that thing where he runs up to a tree like he’s going to climb it and then, at the last second…doesn’t.

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Look at Zak running off in another direction. This photo makes me laugh everytime I look at it.

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LOL @ Zak!

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After Zak ran off, Dash spent some more quality time with his tree…

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…and then he decided to head off towards the lake. Dash is getting braver everytime he goes outside.

Aby-a-Day – 4 April 2020: The Maltese Magpie (Swedish Saturday)

Dashiell loves to go outside with the other cats…once he gets outside. He doesn’t go running for the door like the others, and I have to catch him and carry him out.

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But once he’s outside…he loves to fly!

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Usually, Dash hangs out with Izaak or Alfred…but the other day, he ran down the hill to play with Lorelai.

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And, while they were down the hill, a magpie flew over and landed nearby!

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Of course, they both froze and watched the bird. I don’t know if the magpie just didn’t see them camouflaged in the grass…

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…Or if it was just incredibly foolish. Luckily, Rory and Dash were too surprised the magpie was there and just stared at it.

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They were even more stunned when a second magpie landed near the first one.

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I was holding my breath, wondering if they would charge the magpies…

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…they didn’t, but they did move, and the magpies flew away.

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I think Dash actually looks a little disappointed.

Aby-a-Day – 28 Mars 2020: TImeshare cats (Swedish Saturday)

I’m always amused at how popular napping spots go in and out of style amongst our cats. As an example, for months, nobody regularly slept on this cushion at Björn’s end of the sofa.

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Then Lorelai adopted it and naps there every evening. She’s so cute when she does that, curled up in a tight little ball.

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But what’s even funnier is, during the day, when Rory naps, it’s in other places nowhere near that corner. During the day, that’s Angel’s napping spot! I’ve read that cats timeshare places in the house, and apparently, our cats are big believers in that!

Aby-a-Day – 21 February 2020: Freddy and Bruno meet again (Swedish Saturday)

The first time Alfred and Bruno met, it got a little…tense. But since Lorelai has befriended him, Freddy’s been cutting Bruno a bit of a break.

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But he’s still not really sure about this canine.

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…And, there it is…

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Look at Freddy, getting his fierce on.

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Bruno’s used to being put in his place by cats…after all, he was raised by Markis…so, yeah.

Aby-a-Day – 7 Mars 2020: Happy Birthday, Kalle and Björn! (Swedish Saturday)

Since Kalle’s birthday is today, and Björn’s birthday is the 10th, we generally celebrate them both together. Björn always makes the cake…and this year, he made a Coronavirus cake.

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Kalle is is turning 17, so instead of candles, Björn put 17 gumdrop Coronaviruses on the cake instead. Because, you know…blowing out candles would spray germs all over the cake, right?

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Izaak says, “Really? A Coronavirus cake? Do you really think that’s appropriate?”

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Björn did a really good job on the viruses, though.

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Lorelai wanted some of the viruscake.

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“Look, mom! I am washing my hands and everything!”

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“What do you mean, NO?” Rory is channelling her inner Abernathy here.

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In no way related to the Coronavirus, but oddly apropos, my birthday gift to Björn was a Swiss Army gas mask from WWII. I ordered it in December (after getting him a Swiss Army pair of snow goggles for Christmas from the same seller), way before we knew about the pandemic.

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Björn was pleased with his gift.

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…and then he started posing with props.

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Emma was really happy to get to spend time with the cats.

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Happy birthday, Kalle and Björn!

Aby-a-Day – 29 Februari 2020: Happy Leap Day!! (Swedish Saturday)

Today is leap day! A very special day that happens only once every four years.

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Since it snowed this week, I took the cats out to play in the snow.

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As you can imagine, Lorelai loved it.

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She is our smallest, lightest cat, so you would think she would get cold out there. I mean, Jacoby would shiver in 10°C.

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Not our Rory, though.

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She loves to be outside, regardless of the weather or the temperature.

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And you know I wouldn’t be able to get her to keep a coat on…

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She did a lot of leaping out in the snow…

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It’s amazing that a cat can be so athletic and graceful…and so goofy, all at once.

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Alfred did some leaping too.

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He actually ran more than Rory did…if that’s even possible.

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He got some good air. He must have felt like he was flying.

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Even Izaak got into the leaping game.

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It was so amazing to watch him chase Freddy along the side of the building.

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He also got a little airborne at times. It was great fun to watch.

Aby-a-Day – 15 Februari 2020: The weather, it’s a’changing (Swedish Saturday)

As I have mentioned previously, we’ve been having what can only be described as a crap winter. It’s only snowed four times all winter (if you can call it that), and the fourth time it didn’t even stick.

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This. This right here is what’s wrong with winter in Sweden. I took these photos on 11 February. Those are DAISIES.

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Daisies don’t usually pop up in February. There’s usually still snow on the ground in February. Daisies don’t usually pop up until late March, early April. And, yet, here they are.

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So, it’s wet and muddy…but it’s also green and warm. So, cats got to go outside.

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They weren’t as excited about being outside as usual…but it was muddy and wet.

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You could see them being picky about where they put their feet.

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Still, even though it was kind of sloshy outside, it was also 6-7° C (about 43-45°F) which, for February, is pretty damn warm, especially in Sweden. But, you know…climate change isn’t a real thing, right?

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Regardless, I think they enjoyed getting outside so early in the year.

Aby-a-Day – 1 Februari 2020: Finally, snow! (Swedish Sunday)

This has been a really crap winter…

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It’s been above 5°C more often than it hasn’t, and while Florida is freezing…it’s only snowed three times here in Sweden all winter. The third was yesterday.

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And it’s just now February, and the bulb plants are already sprouting!

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And the first two times it snowed, it lasted about a day. And the snow we got yesterday was, sadly, no different.

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But as long has we had the little snow we did get…I figured I had better take advantage of it while it lasted.

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And that means…I took the cats out! Of course, Lorelai bounded out the door and headed for the slope.

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She really seemed to miss running!

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But while Rory was running around, having a blast…

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…everyone else was pretty much sticking to the snowfree bits.

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I did get Izaak to venture out into the deepest part.

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(Okay, yeah, I carried him out into the middle of it…)

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But once he got used to it, he seemed to kind of enjoy it.

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I love cat pawprints in snow…

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Dashiell actually ventured out into it on his own!

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That’s pretty special, since it was the first time he’d ever seen snow!

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Okay, this…now, I know what it looks like he’s doing…but I promise you, it was not yellow when he stood up.

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But soon enough, he got tired of the wet feet and joined Zak and Angel on the concrete.

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Alfred was out there, too…he was just off doing Freddy things while I was taking all the photos.

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And, sadly, as I predicted…the snow is all gone today.

Aby-a-Day – 22 Juni: “Keep your eye on the prey” (Swedish Saturday)

On one of our outside adventures, Lorelai saw a pigeon perched in a tree.

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It’s kind of hard to see, so I’ve marked it in this photo.

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Rory was so intent on hunting it.

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(Here it is marked again)

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You could see her brain working out how to catch that fat bird.

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The pigeon was hard to see up in the branches, but Rory never lost her focus.

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At one point, I thought she was going to give up.

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The pigeon was still watching her, though.

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But suddenly, Rory climbed even higher in the tree!

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She was actually as high up in the tree as the pigeon!

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I think her idea was to get higher than the pigeon, and then drop down on it.

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I couldn’t believe how high Rory climbed!

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She really wanted to get that pigeon. I honestly don’t know why the pigeon stayed there so long. Maybe it was curious about the small predator.

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I think this may be the closest Rory’s ever gotten to a bird. Impressive.

Aby-a-Day – 1 Juni: A birthday frame-up (Swedish Saturday)

Today is my birthday! Not a very eventful one (that’s next year), but a birthday nonetheless.

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Most of the “celebrating” will be done next week, as Björn has to work this weekend, but next weekend we’ll be at a cat show. But I did get a gift: Björn had my magpie print framed! It’s an unusual size, so he had to have it done custom.

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A bit of backstory, now, since apparently I never really posted about the magpie tattoo that was my introduction to my fabulous artist Linus. When I went in for the very first consultation, I was hopeful that the person I met with could really do magpies with Japanese maple leaves really well. Well, walking up to the house, the first thing I saw was a gorgeous red Japanese maple tree planted in the yard. Then, I went inside, and saw a trio of gorgeous prints, including the magpie at the top of this post. Then I met Linus, and when I mentioned that I loved the magpie print, he proudly told me that he had drawn it!

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Well, needless to say, I knew I had found my artist! Here is the finished tattoo…these are actually Yellow-Billed Magpies, which are only found in the Sacramento/San Joaquin valley of Northern California, where I grew up. Everywhere else, magpies have black beaks. This is similar to my Western Grey Fox tattoo, which is also a native California species.

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Whilst trying to capture my newly-framed print, of course somecat had to come investigate…

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Okay, I think the frame is Singapura approved!

Aby-a-Day – 25 Maj: This time last year…(Swedish Saturday)

I thought I would chip away at my massive backlog today…

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This time last year, we hadn’t gotten Izaak yet, and we were showing Lorelai the outside world on the end of a leash.

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Well, she was only three months old…but I think these early outings laid the foundation for her being so good offleash outside now.

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Look how little she was!

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Even though she was so small, she was still fearless.

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Of course, she had her big brothers with her to protect her. Not only Alfred…

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…but Jacoby as well.

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Rory was lucky to grow up with two protective big brothers.

Aby-a-Day – 18 Maj: “I think I’ll go for a walk outside now, the summer sun’s callin’ my name…” (Swedish Saturday)

In both New England and Sweden, a pleasant sunny day is like a special gift, not to be squandered. One must go out and enjoy the good weather while it lasts…because, in both places, wait five minutes and it’ll change.

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Take today, for example. It was raining so hard that it woke me up. Anyone who knows me, knows what a difficult thing that is to do.

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But a couple of weeks ago? It was gorgeous outside, and we absolutely needed to get outside and enjoy it.

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And oh, how Lorelai and Izaak enjoyed it.

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The way they interact outside is so different from the way they interact inside. They are best buds, the two who grew up together, the cat show team, the “kittens.”

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They play chase games in the house, but it’s taken to a whole other level when they’re outside. They are pretty evenly matched: Zak is older and heavier, but Rory is faster and sneakier.

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I know we don’t have a subway to ride, or a city to explore, but we can run around free outside…and that’s a fun option to have.

Aby-a-Day – 11 May: “Whenever I see a tree that is climbable, it must be climbed” (Swedish Saturday)

As I have posted before, Lorelai loves to climb trees.

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Unlike Izaak, she can actually shimmy up the on her own without human intervention.

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She also seems to feel very comfortable in trees. She routinely naps on the top of our floor-to-ceiling indoor cat tree, and she walks up the side of it without a second thought, so that makes sense.

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Not only does she feel at home in the branches…

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…she seems quite eager to see if she can go higher!

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Oh, wait…what does she see now?

Aby-a-Day – 5 Maj: Happy gotcha day, Lorelai! (Swedish Sunday)

One year ago today, Björn and I took a day trip to Stockholm to meet and collect the amazing Lorelai (SE*Backilandets Mercedes von Ekorntorp).

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She was five days shy of three months old, and she was such a curious little thing. She immediately decided that we were her humans, and never seemed to miss her mother or littermates for a moment. Of course, she might have been distracted by my Salmon Poké Yama bowl

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Rory was just the happiest kitten I’ve ever seen.

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She didn’t even mind me holding her on her back and cuddling her.

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She was so tiny, she didn’t fit in the kitten harness I had bought for her, so Björn fashioned one for her out of some cord he had in his bag. Like everything else that day, it didn’t faze her a bit.

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Okay, little Rory…get some rest! You thought it’s been a busy day so far…just wait until we get home and you meet the rest of your family!

Aby-a-Day – 4 Maj: Keep your eye on the birdie! (Swedish Saturday)

Lorelai envisions herself a mighty bird hunter. Whenever she sees one, she chatters and starts to stalk it. I have even seen her run after a low-flying jackdaw or pigeon, eyes locked on the feathered prize.

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When she sees one up a tree, she stares up at it.

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I am not sure what she thinks is going to happen.

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Maybe she’s hoping it will just fall off its branch and into her waiting claws..?

Aby-a-Day – 27 April: “You can’t put your feet on the ground until you’ve touched the sky” (Swedish Sunday)

Lorelai loves to be outside where she can run free. At times, she very nearly becomes airborne!

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Part of the reason we’ve been training Rory and Izaak to go outside offleash but stay close to us is because we would like to take them out with us when we run simple errands, like taking out the trash.

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That way, they get to go outside and run around, we get to take out trash and have fun with our kitties. Win-win, really.

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Especially for Rory. When she runs, joy radiates off of her.

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She truly is happiest when she is galloping at full tilt.

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She really does almost become airborne when she runs!

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This is one case where youth is not wasted on the young. Rory is savouring every second of her age and abilities.

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Zak, whilst being a little more earth-bound than Rory, still has his moments…as you will see tomorrow.

Aby-a-Day – 6 April: “And Rory has wings to fly…” (Swedish Saturday)

Lorelai and Izaak love to go outside with us. As I’ve mentioned in the past, we have been training them to go outside off-leash with us and come back when we call them.

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When we open the front door, Rory is out like a flash.

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Zak’s out the door pretty quickly, too, but as for exploring the great outdoors…

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…he more wades in slowly from the steps in the shallow end as opposed to Rory’s diving head-first from the deep end.

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Once he gets used to it, though, he really does get going.

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But Rory…

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…there are times I think she’s actually flying, not running!

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But remember what I said about Zak, though, once he’s gotten used to being outside?

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He certainly has his own flying moments, too!

Aby-a-Day – 31 Mars: Lorelai and Markis (Swedish Sunday)

The other day, despite it being severely windy, I took Lorelai out for a little run whilst I picked up all our bicycles. (I tried to take Izaak out, too, but he saw how windy it was that he noped back upstairs.)

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Rory saw our upstairs neighbour cat, Markis, down the hill, and took off down towards the road to say hello.

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When she got to where he was, she stopped, and just stared at each other for a moment.

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Markis has been territorial towards the boys in the hallway of our apartment building, so before she got herself into trouble, I called Rory back to me. Her recall is actually really, really good.

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I swear, sometimes when Rory runs, she almost gets airborne!

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I love watching her run free. She’s so fast and she loves it so much!

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As for Markis, he was just like…”WTF just happened?” because she bounded down and then back up the hill so fast.

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I really love Markis…he actually reminds me a bit of Alfred.

Aby-a-Day – 23 Mars: Where the boys are (Swedish Singapura Saturday)

Lately, in the evenings when we watch our TV shows, we are joined on the sofa by all three boys.

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Before Izaak joined our family, Jacoby would never cuddle or sleep with Alfred. He seemed to resent Freddy’s (and Logan’s) presence in his household. Zak changed all that. He is the social glue that connects the older Abys.

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Zak often cuddles with Jake on our bed or wherever Jake happens to be sleeping. Singapuras are like that…they wear you down. And Zak and Freddy are friends who sleep together on the sofa often.

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So if Zak is napping with one of them, it’s okay for the other to join them, apparently.

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It’s almost like a bad ethnic joke: “A Pole, a Swede and a Canadian walk into a bar…”