Iolanthe’s Kids: Nathan

onight I received this gorgeous photo of Nathan, one of our latest goodybox recipients, from his Mom, Melissa: “Here is Nathan in his amazingly soft and warm hat!!!”

This is what Iolanthe is all about, right here. Thank you, Melissa, and thank you Nathan, for the beautiful photo. xo, M


Update: here’s Nathan today (1/7/2017), his Mom Melissa writes:

“Nathan was excited that HE got mail today! He loves his bracelet and thinks the post card is pretty funny. He’s going and growing strong 4 years cancer free!! Thanks for thinking of him even after all this time!”

Thank you, Nathan (and you, Melissa!) for the awesome photo! xo, M

Iolanthe’s Kids: Nikita, Ananza (+ Benjamin and Oliver too)

oday was a very special day for Iolanthe: we welcomed our first official visitors to the ranch: Nikita (17), Ananza (12), and their Mom, Cathay; their grandma, aunt and cousins: Benjamin (9), and Oliver (7). Nikita and Anan LOVED their hats — spun and knit by Lora:

I’m really proud of the alpacas — this is the largest group of humans in the catchpen they’ve encountered to date.

The girls were a bit ambivalent about coming over to us at first because they saw Syracuse, the kids’ dog (quite possibly one of *the* sweetest dogs I’ve ever met). As a service dog Syracuse was extremely well trained and an absolute love. I mean, would you look at this face?

Once the girls realized she wouldn’t be anywhere near them, they came forward with a little bribery (behold the power of alpaca kibble!).

Mamacita showed the girls how it was done, and came and ate out of Benjamin’s hand. Cathay was telling me it was really nice for Nikita and Anan to get to experience something like this with their cousins — to have an adventure with them — and I wholeheartedly agree. I would encourage anyone doing a project similar to this to invite family members along, absolutely.

Sunny was next. Right after she ate out of Benjamin’s hand, I helped Anan hold kibble for her and she ever-so-gently ate out of his hand. He LOVED it (and loved how it tickled).

JT came up and took some kibble out of Oliver’s hand as well:

And Baby Love (this was her first visit with kids ever) came up and charmed both Anan and Nikita, all of them ever so curious about the other.

The weather gurus predicted the likelihood of us getting rained on today was 80%, but thankfully the blue hole effect took hold and we ended up with a lovely (albeit somewhat overcast) day. We went back to the rec room (err, garage) to learn about how their hats were made, and to play some games. Anan was *really* looking forward to the games part!

We played iSpy. . .

. . . and then used some of the words found to play the Iolanthe Alpaca Ranch version of MadLibs.

Cathay was a good sport about reading the story. . .

Which came out quite silly. Silly is good!

Toward the end of our visit, I asked Nikita what she wanted to be when she grew up (as she just finished high school); and she told me she wants to be a counselor and help people, to help others (of all ages). Since her family comes up to Sequim every year, I offered her a job next Summer to come to the ranch and work with kids when they come to visit, so we’re going to keep in touch and hopefully she’ll be back as my assistant. 🙂

You know, it’s funny, I’ve been dreaming of this day for 5 years + 2 weeks; and never in my wildest imagination would I have dreamed it would have turned out as wonderful as it did today.

Last but not least, I have so many people to thank for making this day possible: my boss Rich, for letting me work from home so I can pursue this dream come true; Deb and Nancy at Moonshadow Alpaca Ranch, for the most amazing alpacas on the planet; all of our wonderful volunteers who spin, knit and/or crochet the beautiful hats for the kids; my sister Angela, for doing a dry run with me earlier this week and going over all the details with me; to all of our wonderful supporters, and you, for reading this, and being part of our journey.