Christmas Road Trip

Tuesday, December 30, 2014 No comments
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. 

Happy Christmas!

Thursday, December 25, 2014 No comments


Friday, December 12, 2014 1 comment
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.

Preparing for the Holiday

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 No comments
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 No comments
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.


Saturday, November 29, 2014 No comments
Last year we were unpacking boxes on Thanksgiving. This year we were fighting the flu and other various ailments. And then there was snow.

I wish this Thanksgiving was full of celebration and fun. It was filled with family, but unfortunately the majority of us were too ill to really enjoy the time together or the food. Even the kids were ill.

PaPaw helped plow the driveway during the snow that fell the day before Thanksgiving. We got about 8 inches of snow.

Oliver and Chloe enjoyed playing in the snow (before they got sick).

Having some fun with Uncle John in the front yard.

One Year in the House

Wednesday, November 26, 2014 No comments
Thanksgiving 2013 was spent moving boxes. This year we will celebrate the holiday with family in the home we have been in for one year.
Closing Day 2013.

Saying Goodbye

Friday, November 21, 2014 No comments
We said "goodbye" to our English Setter, Lizzie.

Wadsworth's Dizzy Lizzie, the greatest athlete (human or otherwise) I've ever known went to run the fields of heaven and will never have to slow down again.

She is irreplaceable and will be missed. I will forever carry her memory in my heart and in the scar above my eye and my slightly bent ring finger (both from my not completely thought through attempt to exercise her while I rode on a bike and she ran and then really ran to chase a butterfly).

You will be missed.

Spell Check

Monday, November 10, 2014 No comments

From time to time, Oliver comes home with a book or other craft that is made and put together by the class. The latest was an "I See" book where each child in class made a drawing of something they "saw". We were to read the book with our children, see what all the children in class drew/saw and then write a comment/praise on the back pages of the book.

Oliver and I flipped through the book and he "read" each of the drawings by his classmates. Then, we came to his page.


"What did you see Oliver?"

"A sea gull. You know, the white bird that eats trash."

"Yes, I know. I was hoping you saw a Segal painting or sculpture."

"Who? What?"


What's a SEAGALL? And, more importantly who wrote that? The teacher, the aide? If so, Oliver was NOT going to be in public school for long. Hello home school.

And then, what "praise" did I write in the back. I could hardly write a scathing note on using spell check, especially when it came to a book that was being sent around to all the parents for viewing.

I flipped to the back of the book to see what the other parents had written. The first comment calmed me down somewhat and made me smile. Someone else had caught it too.

"We really enjoyed looking at all the drawings and reading the book as a family. Such wonderful colors and so creative--butterflies, robots and SEA GULLS! Great job!"

Yes, they did. All CAPS.

So I put a note of praise for the drawings and for Oliver's SEA GULLS. Then I called the teacher.

It was a classroom volunteer, another mom who did the writing. I didn't care to know who. I felt better it wasn't the teacher or the paid classroom aide.I can take the kindergarten home school kit out of my Amazon shopping cart.

School Pictures

Thursday, November 06, 2014 No comments
Oliver - Kindergarten.

Chloe - 5th Grade.

The Latest with EC

Wednesday, November 05, 2014 No comments
Its been a while since I've done an Emma Claire update. She's approaching 27 months old and is starting to come into her own opinions, likes and dislikes.

Since September we've been doing a Mommy & Me class and she's been doing a Parent/Child gymnastics class with me while Oliver is in his gymnastics class.

She takes time to warm-up to things and is very wary of strangers. But, this year she has started to come out of her shell as she gets used to the weekly classes. She really loves gymnastics and likes to swing from the bar and do flips. She even let Miss Kathy, who was the teacher last year and this year, actually help her! That's a big step as she wouldn't even look at her last year.

Emma Claire is still waking at night and getting her to nap without me in the room is problematic. Naps are generally hit or miss with her and I really have to force the issue. We changed Mommy & Me classes because she still sees an OT for some fine motor skills work and both were on the same day. She was falling asleep at OT and she loves her therapist. We've now moved to another day and into a smaller class, which works out great.

Playing a sorting game in Mommy & Me.

In her pumpkin overalls (that once belonged to big sis, Chloe).

Bouncing at gym.

Balancing with help from Miss Kathy.

She loves to do flips.

BBQ & F1 Barn Party

Monday, November 03, 2014 No comments
Matt says to me about a week and a half ago, "Don't you think it would be fun to have some people over to watch the U.S. Grand Prix and we could have Texas BBQ?"

"Sure. We could do that."

About 50 people later and lots of grocery shopping later we were having a BBQ and F1 watch party in our barn on a Sunday afternoon. Matt was up early manning the smoker.

It was lots of fun and good to put the space we have to use. The kids had lots of fun, lots of people brought desserts, beer and wine and there was plenty to eat.

I barely watched the race, but I know Hamilton won and that's all I need to know about that.

Oliver playing with the Scalextric. It was a BIG hit. Matt bought it Saturday and set it up that night. Oliver and Chloe really love it.

Paige helps keep the cars on track.

A look at the set up.

Brisket, smoked sausage and pork shoulder were on the menu.

The kids took full advantage of the space. The buffet table only got knocked down once.

Gathered around the TV watching the race.

Kids that race karts will drive anything.

Case in point.

More evidence.

Emma Claire even took a seat to watch the race.

BBQ and a F1 race in Texas. Good fun.

Halloween 2014

Friday, October 31, 2014 No comments
Happy Halloween from the two officers and their inmate.

The kids picked these costumes out themselves and came up with the idea all on their own. Oliver's policeman costume was backordered until the week of Halloween and it arrived on the 30th, just in the nick of time. He couldn't stand that Chloe had her costume for nearly a month before his arrived. Emma Claire loved her costume and kept the entire thing on all night.

The schools in our area don't allow kids to wear their costumes to school. But, Oliver's school has a hoe down the day of Halloween. The kids can dress as cowboys/cowgirls.

What Oliver wore to school on Halloween for his Hoe Down.
We went trick or treating with neighbors in the large neighborhood behind us. 
Chloe got to meet up with some friends and continue trick or treating with the "big kids" after all these little ones had called it quits.
We had a large stash of candy at the end of the night, especially when you added the candy I bought to hand out. We had NO trick or treaters at our house. I didn't believe the neighbors that we got no one, they were right. Our houses sit too far back off the road and its a busy street with no sidewalk. No trick or treaters but our own.