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February 1, 2007

We've been having some issues with the landscaper who has been maintaining the subdivision's common areas, so today I met with three potential replacements and drove the subdivision with each of them.  It took most of the day, but I think I've narrowed it down for the Board meeting next week.  I've been working with another woman in the subdivision, and we've spent so much time on this, trying to get our existing people to do their job, and getting the proposals and meetings all nailed down.  It'll be nice to have it all resolved next week.

We've been doing a lot of research on what to do with Dee Dee.  I've tried to find a hound rescue that might take her, but the only ones I can find only take dogs from shelters.  I've talked to our vet, and she suggested a trainer in our area, and he came out today.  He thinks he can help us with the fighting by doing some obedience training, and basically establishing that we're the boss so Dee Dee and Grendel don't have any reason to fight over who's the boss.  He was very confident, and convincing, but also very expensive.  We're going to do it, though.  I'm so hopeful that we can make it all work out.  The kids especially have been torn up about it.  Ugh.

February 2, 2007

The second grade classes had a field trip to Sea World today, which of course, I chaperoned.  I only had Patrick and one other boy with me, so we teamed up with another mom.  The kids were good as gold and we had a terrific day.  They've been studying marine animals in school and it was amazing to hear the kids talk about all of the animals.  Of course, the Shamu roller coaster was still the biggest hit!  The Shamu show was a big disappointment.  It turns out one of the killer whales simply wouldn't cooperate, so they had to cancel the show.  We've been there dozens of times and have never heard of that happening, but I suppose when an animal weighing several tons decides to have a bad day, who are we to argue?

Our crazy group My show off

Up close and person with a polar bear - sort of! Patch wanted to give Shamu a hug

My two guys on top of a huge rock Patch and a seal having a little chat

February 3, 2007

Mom came over tonight and stayed with the kids so Mark and I could go next door to help celebrate Greg's 40th birthday.  There's nothing as sad as a group of 40-somethings trying to act like they're still 20-something!  But boy did we have fun!  I think the party peaked when the karaoke machine turned on - yikes!  You're lucky I forgot I have video on my camera!

Serious singing - NOT! He's a little TOO happy!

February 6, 2007

I'm so glad we're keeping Dee Dee.  She's such a sweety, and she and Grendel play like they're best friends - except, of course, for the times they're trying to tear each other apart.  LOL  Dee Dee is still a puppy, despite her size, and she and Grendel play hard when they're awake, and Dee Dee loves curling up in her bed to crash just as hard between playing.

Nap time

February 7, 2007

Alex has had the writing portion of the FCAT yesterday and today, so it was particularly bad when he woke up sick today.  We agreed he'd go take the test this morning and I'd pick him up right after the testing was done.  It worked out okay, but the poor kid is sick as a dog.  It seems like he and Patrick have changed roles.  Patrick used to be the one knocked on his butt by a cold and Alex skated by.  Now Alex gets hit hard and Patrick barely notices a cold.

The kids made suncatchers this afternoon in my efforts to keep things quiet.  They did pretty well, but I doubt they'll be asking to do it again.  Too much detail and not enough action!

We had our first session with the dog trainer this evening and he's very optimistic.  In just an hour, we had both of the girls cooperating like champs on the leashes and actually listening to us.  According to him, that's the first and most important step.  If they'll accept us as the leader on the leash, they will accept that we're the boss elsewhere.  I'm a little skeptical but he swears it'll work.  Hmmmm.

I think Alex was going to fall asleep sitting up.

February 8, 2007

We took the kids for their first concert tonight to see Jimmy Buffett.  Of course, he was AWESOME!  The kids know a lot of his songs and got just as excited as we did when they recognized a song.  At the intermission, Patch thought the concert was over and was ready to go home.  It was already pretty late, and he suddenly stopped having a good time when we said it was only half over.  He only made it for a few more songs before we headed out, much to Alex's dismay.  And you know Alex - he did not go quietly!  When I asked them in the car how they liked their first concert, Alex said, "I wouldn't know, I still haven't been to a WHOLE one."  Nothing like a nice, supportive big brother.

February 9, 2007

Patrick had gymnastics tonight.  I was sitting in the parent viewing room and the kids were working off to the side of the glass so I couldn't see them when another mom came in and told me to come watch Patrick.  I got there just in time to see him at the TOP of the rope ringing the bell!  And it was his first time on it!  That's my monkey boy.

February 11, 2007

It was a gorgeous day so we did a bunch of stuff outside.  The kids collected a bunch of sticks from the woods across the street and did some whittling, and Dee Dee joined Mark in the hammock.  :-)

Man's best friend Count your fingers when you're done!

February 16, 2007

Mark took Patch to gymnastics tonight while I packed for a visit at the River with Mark's mom.  Mark brought the camera and caught Patch in action on the rope. 

Going up Ringing the bell - woo hoo! and coming down - but not too fast!

We've been wanting to make a trip to the River, but haven't been quite sure what to do with the dogs.  Dee Dee is nowhere near ready to behave at home, much less at a different house, so we finally decided to take Grendel and Boo with us and Mom came over to stay with Dee Dee.  Divide and conquer.  It seems like a good plan, but we'll see how Mom feels about it come Monday!  (Thanks Mom!)  Alex has been complaining that he's bored and misses his friends whenever we're at the River, so we brought Justin with us and they're happy as clams!

Grendel found the perfect place to sleep

February 17, 2007

It got COLD last night!  Mark made a fire pit for Nana a few weeks ago and we've been warming our buns by the fire.  The boys are having a blast!  Patrick and Justin have been out kayaking, and Alex and Justin have been playing football.  (Justin will sleep well tonight!).  Justin's family is planning to adopt a dachshund soon, and he couldn't get enough of Aydee and Sadie (Nana was dog sitting Sadie). 

Patrick wanted to make sure Grendel didn't get too cold Get me outta here!

Patch took Justin on a tour of the river Naturals on the water

A kayaking obstacle course Of course, there was Game Boy time

Nothing like a hot tub on a cold day Mmmmmmm - s'mores!

February 18, 2007

The boys took the initiative this morning and started a fire.  Unfortunately, none of us realized they weren't supervised by someone else, and they tried to burn the place down!  It was a very windy day, and they left the fire unattended and apparently a plastic chair blew into the fire and completely burned up!  Fortunately, Nana saw the flames through the window and we ran out and hosed out the fire.  Whew!  Other than that, we had another fun day and headed home after dinner.  Mom and Dee Dee are still speaking, so I guess that worked out, too!

February 20, 2007

I think Alex has officially got a girlfriend.  She started calling him a week or so ago, and now they're on the phone constantly.  I have to get my phone calls in before he's home from school or I don't have a chance!  She's a very nice girl (on the phone at least) from his class and it's really sweet.  He's even asking me in the mornings if his hair looks okay!  Mark told him that he'd take them to the movies if Alex wants.  Mark is definitely strutting his proud papa stuff about this!

We've been trying to get the main road in our subdivision repaved for several years.  This morning we met with the county commissioner and walked that street with him, and I'm happy to say the road should be repaved next week!  We should have just started at the top to begin with.  ;-)

February 23, 2007

Mark's brother, John, is getting married tomorrow, so the boys and I flew up to North Carolina this morning.  Now that the kids are older, the trip was a breeze.  Mark has his huge national trade show this weekend so he'll be flying up tomorrow afternoon just before the wedding.  We ran into Laurie (the bride) and Emma (her 3-year-old daughter) as we were walking into the restaurant for the rehearsal dinner.  Emma was so excited all she could do was giggle.  It was precious!  We had a grand time at the dinner getting caught up with relatives, and getting to know our relatives-to-be.  Alex managed to borrow an uncle's cell phone (I don't have roaming on my phone) and called his girlfriend, since it had been almost 24 hours since they'd last spoken and he was suffering serious withdrawal symptoms.

Preston, Ryan and Ashley before dinner Danielle and Julia plotting to take over the world

February 24, 2007

Laurie planned a party for the kids at Pump It Up, a bouncy house place, this morning.  It was just what the kids needed.  They went absolutely wild!  The kids even got Nana to go down the big slide (and yes, I got pictures)!  One of the bouncy houses was set up for boxing - with enormous gloves and face padding.  One of the dads came up to our group of moms and said, "There are a couple of kids in the boxing ring just wailing on each other."  I casually walked over, and sure enough, it was my boys.  Maybe I can get one of those things for my house!

Patch couldn't wait to hit the boxing ring Stacy and KC having an adult conversation - about kids, no doubt!

Ashley and Nana heading to the top Nana, Ryan and Danielle taking the plunge!

They made it! Danielle getting a helping hand

KC, Preston, Patrick and Alex shooting hoops Danielle getting a little TLC

Preston flying down Emma liked the air hockey

KC couldn't be outdone by his mother Whew - they survived!  ;-)

Alex and Patch boxing "wailing" on each other!

Ryan happy in big sister's arms

Takin' a break Refueling

Mike's cutie pies KC and Nana watching the action

Emma is just way too cute! Julia and Danielle sharing the throne

Julia was being shy back at Uncle John's house This is a future blackmail shot for sure! The kids had a blast in Emma's little golf cart



John and Laurie


The wedding was, of course, beautiful.  We hung out with John before the ceremony and he seemed cool as a cucumber.  John and Emma were at the alter when Laurie and her father came down the aisle, and she was stunning!  John, Laurie and Emma were together for the entire ceremony and are officially a family!  It was very special.

The reception was at Laurie's parents' house.  The finished basement was full of kid stuff - ping pong, air hockey, foosball - and four babysitters so the adults had no worries.  We are so blessed to have Laurie and Emma as a part of our family.  We couldn't be happier!

Getting a last-minute touch up from Mom Danielle was all dolled up Well - what can I say?

John and Heather Getting the boutonniere just right

If we poke the pin in just right .  . .  OUCH! Jay and Stacey looking quite dapper

Mike and John waiting Stacey and Jay reading the programs

Patch loves getting dressed up Alex made a quick call to his girlfriend

Ryan was entertaining Mary Beth and Mike

Preston was supervising Alex signing the guest book Is there a child under that mop?

Hamming for the camera Preston and Danielle waiting for things to get started

A very happy groom Here comes the bride!

The minister was talking to Emma Mr. and Mrs. John Finster The happy couple

First dance as a family John and Laurie helped Emma cut the cake