Monday, January 19, 2015

Bronco Barn

For the last month or so we've been watching a Discover Channel U.K. show called "Wheeler Dealers" hosted by two Brits, one a mechanic and one a former car dealer turned presenter. The premise of the show is to find a modern classic car within a low budget that has been unloved and refurb it, find a new owner and make a profit. Its a great show and we've loved watching it as we are "car people".

The tv show started us to thinking about cars in the U.S. that would fall into the same category and we began brainstorming cars we could purchase and easily work on and refurb as a project car in the barn. It would be a project for Matt and the kids.

Add to the mix that we have been thinking of trading in my SUV for a more economical mom taxi-type of car. I stay pretty local during the week and cart the kids from here to there for their activities in the big, honking gas-guzzling luxury SUV. It was costing a pretty penny in payments and gas, especially when you consider we bought the SUV to tow the travel-trailer that we don't need anymore since we have the motorhome.

Our first thought was to buy a older Mini in good condition that we could work on, etc., but I didn't feel comfortable driving an older model project car with lots of mileage that may or may not be reliable so we started looking at newer Minis and cars like it while Matt started searching for a project car that he and the kids could work on together and wouldn't be a daily driver.

So, we narrowed down our choices, booked the babysitter and Matt and I set out to find a car for me. In a snow storm. It took us two dealers to find it and we made the deal/trade in record time. It was pretty enjoyable for a car-buying experience.

The little, red Momobile.
So, I had the grocery-getter, now we had to decide on the project car for Matt.

And just what would the older, project car that a Porsche-racing, kart-driving, F1 enthusiast would desire?

An old Ford Bronco.

Yes, you read that correctly.

A Ford Bronco.

Since coming to the States, Matt has always thought Bronco's were the coolest thing since sliced bread. He's always wanted one, I just didn't agree to it until now. So he searched and read up and searched some more until we literally stumbled on the fact that there was a man who bought and traded Broncos in excellent condition,with low miles just minutes from us. So the next day we were out looking at one of the 16 Broncos he had. Matt had seen one on line and it was in excellent condition. So he bought it.

Matt loves his 1990 Bronco.

But, it was in great shape and it didn't seem it would a long-term project car. So, he bought this one too.
Blue, the Bronco, arrived on a flat-bed tow truck and was pushed into the barn. Its definitely a project car. 
We've bought the coveralls for Matt, Chloe and Oliver and they will all be getting their hands dirty soon working on "Blue". Chloe and I are considering making a You Tube channel where she hosts a show about working on Blue the Bronco. 

In the meantime, Chloe and Oliver helped Matt out already on the brown Bronco. 

Just in case you were wondering, because many people were when Matt posted this photo to his FB account...the kids are not working on the Bronco in our home. This IS the barn. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

2015 So Far

We're in the deep of winter and you would think that I would be able to keep the blog updated. You would think, but its not been so.

We've been keeping busy, some of which I will update shortly. We're trying to get the puppies into a routine and to stop barking so much---they've been banished to their playpen in the basement at night because their "yips" are keeping us up at night. And housebreaking is an entirely different matter altogether. They're still very much puppies at almost 6 months old and into everything (photo evidence later).

Emma Claire is keeping me busy too. We're starting potty-training and between her and the puppies I seem to clean urine up all day. She started out great on the potty, then quit mid-stream, pun intended. Right now, we're taking a step back from the potty training and will revisit full-force in a week or so. Currently, we are just reading and talking about using the potty.
I should have known something was up when she came to the bathroom dressed like this. 

Then, there are the day to day events that seem to happen and cause a hiccup. Like finding out that a certain little boy tied his seat belt in a knot and it won't retract enough and therefore locked in this position. Finding this out as you are headed out the door in your new car to take him to karate when its 10 degrees outside was enough for me to call it a day. Luckily, I have a 10 year old with long fingers and more patience than I do to untie knots in seat belts. Really though, WHO TIES A KNOT IN A SEAT BELT? AND WHY? My son. For no reason.

So, if he can tie a knot in the seat belt, he should be able to tie his shoes right? That's our current goal.

Speaking of said son, here's a photo of him taking a shot at basketball. He still likes up but is now requesting to play hockey, because he doesn't think he would like the tackling in football. Obviously he hasn't been exposed to too much hockey.

Oliver and Emma Claire take gymnastics at the same time. Oliver is in the big gym and Emma Claire and I are in the small toddler area in a building next door. Oliver was ticked off to discover this photo on my iPhone. He thought I took Emma Claire somewhere fun. He was ok when he learned this was gymnastics class.

And Emma Claire loves stamps. I was on the phone the other day and she snuck some stamps and the stamp pad out. She and the puppies had a great time stamping the wood floor and themselves.

Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas Road Trip

We drove to Atlanta for Christmas to celebrate at my sister's home with my parents.. All the kids presents were left at home and we opened presents when we returned home on the Sunday after Christmas.

Three dogs, three kids, two adults all piled into one wagon.

On the way to Atlanta. The kids loved to hold the puppies on the ride down and Flash got some extra room int he back. This is when everyone is still enjoying the drive, before the car filled with the smell of dog and before Emma Claire got sick (thanks to her big brother plying her with gummy worms.)

The weather in Atlanta was nice, perhaps a bit chillier than expected but warm enough to take the boat out on Lake Lanier.
On the lake fishing. They attempted to catch something many times during the week, but were never successful. 

The kids also got to open presents.

The kids around the tree. 

And we enjoyed a large bonfire at the home of a friend of Deanna and John.
The family watching the bonfire. 
Our family around the bonfire.

The kids had a good time and can't wait to return (via airplane, they hope) this summer to fully enjoy Lake Lanier.

Oliver and Chloe asleep on the car ride back to NY. Oliver got sick on the ride back. I think he gets carsick easily, especially sitting in the middle. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014


We said when we got another dog it would be a small dog. The kids really like Shakey, my sister's dog, and try as they might, they can't walk 108 lb. Flash.

As with kids, after Lizzie's passing, they began asking about another dog. And the possibility of DOGS.

It was at the top of their Christmas list, but Matt is opposed to giving puppies as presents--they're living things, not presents.

And, Oliver. He took Lizzie's passing very hard. He would tell me every morning that he missed her and that his heart was sad. He would then throw in that he has only ever been around two dogs and that Flash was lonely.

Melt my heart.
What can I say, we're suckers.

But, adding a pup now was also good timing because we are not traveling for karting. Getting a puppy now means that I am home with them during the day and can focus on housebreaking them and training them, something that would be difficult packing and karting them in the motorhome to racetracks.

Chloe began the discussion by looking at small breed dogs online and taking dog-breed surveys. She decided she wanted a Japanese Chin. In researching the breed, we didn't come across any breeders near us. A Google search did uncover three Poodle/Japanese Chin mix puppies nearby. I decided to take a look at these puppies one day and the rest is history as they say.

The Poo-Chin pups were not the breed for us. But during my pup visit, I came across another mix breed pup that caught my eye and stole my heart. He was a little tan and white Maltese/Shi Tzu and he was darling. He loved to be cuddled and the Shi Tzu is a breed that gets high marks for being child-friendly and friendly with other dogs. After talking to Matt, we went back a week later and made him ours.

Our first night home with the puppy.
He had a sister, but we weren't sure. We said one puppy was enough for now. BUT, a week later, we decided to keep the brother and sister duo together and we made her ours too.
Deciding on two puppies was the easy part (not really) but names for the pups was all together harder.
His first week home, our little male pup was "Senna" (after racing legend Ayrton Senna) but when we decided that we would go back for his sister, Oliver decided he wanted to name her and he decided on "Niki". Then we changed our minds and we decided to go with Bangers (little girl pup) and Mash (little boy pup)---as in the well-loved British dish. But, when little girl came home, it was decided that she didn't look like a Bangers and their names officially became Turbo (little boy) & Portia (little girl).
Confused? We all were.
Turbo made no peep (with the exception of his second night at home when he couldn't see anyone in his kennel at bedtime--and that was quickly remedied) until his sister came home. Now, it's "yip, yip, yip" at any movement. They are cute but it's not quite the best 6 a.m. wake up call.
Portia has been with us just a few days, but she's won everyone over. I think she knows she wasn't our first choice and has made it her mission to make us regret it. She is a snugglebug and loves to take naps on you. She can also hold her own with Flash and her bully big-brother Turbo.
The pups are almost 4 months old and Turbo weighs in at 8.2 lbs. and Portia comes in at 4.6 lbs.
The pups on their first night reunited.

Portia all cozy on the couch.
Turbo, when he was known as Senna, playing on the floor with Emma Claire. He's a pretty boy.

The pups in their play pen. Our vet advised us to use this set-up and to wee-wee pad train them until the weather warms up. Turbo loves going outside so he's not pleased with this arrangement. He was enjoying exploring the yard until the vet put that plan on the backburner.

Flash has taken to the pups. He and Turbo were fast-friends and was proving himself an excellent housetraining teacher to Turbo. We got a little stink-eye from Flash when we brought Portia home but she seems to have won him over too. He likes to sleep by their play pen and will paw at it when they bark as if to say, "quiet down".

The pups like to play and love to have full run of the first floor of the house. They've entered into the puppy chew phase and I have to watch them closely. Emma Claire has already lost a board book to them and several wee wee pads have made an early demise.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Preparing for the Holiday

Christmas cards are done and mailed. Presents are wrapped under the tree.

Matt, Chloe and I all pitched in to make Scotch eggs and sausage rolls (British food favorites) for us and for the holiday potluck at Matt's work.

The kids and I made Santa handprint ornaments as keepsakes and decorations for the tree---

Chloe paints her handprint.
Oliver loves to paint and was very excited to do this project--he said there wasn't enough painting though.
Emma Claire got in on the painting action.
The finished products.
Our babysitter, Cailley, even made some ornaments with Oliver and Emma Claire.
Oliver's is on the left and Emma Claire's is on the right.
Chloe had her school orchestra and choir concert for the holiday. She couldn't wait for me to see the surprise during the advanced orchestra's rendition of "Let It Snow" (spoiler alert: it snowed on stage!).
Chloe in all black, which she swore to me they had to wear. You be the judge---doesn't it look like A LOT of kids missed that important dress code announcement?
The 5th grade orchestra on stage.
And, Oliver's favorite Christmas tradition--the Advent Calendar. I opted for the Lego calendar this year instead of the traditional chocolate calendar. Just a few days in and I might lose my mind--Lego pieces everywhere! They get built and disassembled and scattered. But, it is the first thing they run to after waking up in the morning. They really like them.
Each child got a Lego Advent Calendar--Chloe on the left with Star Wars, Oliver in the middle with Lego City and Emma Claire on the far right with Lego Friends.
Day one of the advent calendar--putting their pieces together.


Sunday, December 07, 2014


Oliver begged to play basketball. He has two good friends in class and what Michael and Morgan do so must Oliver.

So when Michael and Morgan said they were playing pee-wee basketball, Oliver had to join in. It just happened that Oliver was placed on the same team as Morgan. It also happens that Oliver's basketball team is made up of boys and girls who are off the growth chart in height. Oliver is 85th percentile height and he looks like Scotty Pippin on his pee-wee team.

The first few weeks are practice and learning the rules of the game and the last 5 weeks are games.

From the looks of the first practice, it should be good Saturday morning entertainment.

Oliver takes a shot during his first basketball team practice.
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