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JANUARY 2007
(Hold your mouse over a picture for its caption.)


January 1, 2007

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

We had a wonderful visit with our friends, Karen and Zim, and their children, Justin and Tyler, today.  We've been friends with Karen since we lived in our first apartment when we got married!  We did some calculating, and we think it's been over two years since we've gotten together, and we're only an hour and a half away, so we can't let that happen again.  The four boys disappeared and played their hearts out all day while the adults got caught up.  Zim prepared an incredible fish fry for lunch, and then we finished off some fireworks left over from last night.  Unfortunately, I forgot my camera so I can't share any pictures.  What an awesome day!  See - 2007 is already shaping up pretty nicely.  :-)


January 2, 2007

Dee Dee and Alex cuddled on the couch with me tonight.

Dee Dee makes a good foot rest


January 3, 2007

The #$@*ing dogs sure put a kink in my plans this morning.  I had some chores to do for the homeowners association in the neighborhood, so I figured the dogs might like to take a ride in the car with me.  Obviously, I'd lost my mind because I let all three of them run out the front door, just like I used to do before we got Dee Dee.  Dee Dee took off across the street to the field and would NOT come when I called her.  Of course, the other dogs followed her.  So there I am chasing after her when my neighbor came outside for a chat.  He's talking to me, I'm trying to corral Dee Dee, she narrowly (and I mean narrowly) missed getting hit by a car, I finally caught her, and meanwhile the other two have disappeared.  Fortunately, they do come when they're called (well, when Boo can hear me, that is), so when I whistled, they came running.  Unfortunately, they'd been in the pond and were head-to-toe mud.  Grrrrrr.  So much for our happy jaunt around the neighborhood.  Instead, I ended up soaked in the back yard washing them.  Ugh!

We had some light rain this afternoon so Patrick decided to jump on the trampoline in the rain.

A slippery flip Woohoo!


January 6, 2007

I'm absolutely thrilled that I've been busy with closings over the last two days.  Business has been so dry lately it's been scary.  Becca was able to join me Thursday evening and be a witness for one of my closings and then we went out for fondue afterwards and turned it into a great girls night out.  Boy we've needed that!  :-)

Alex had a terrific football game this afternoon, although it was well into the 80's and we were all melting.  It's hard to believe it's January!  It didn't slow him down a bit, though.  The coaches are great about rotating the kids in and out quickly so no one feels left out.  Alex was on the sideline when I heard him say to the coach, "Okay, coach, it's been three plays.  Put me back in!"  Geeze - three whole plays!  LOL

Justin is staying the night tonight, and all of the boys got into a heated game of Blokus.

I have a feeling it will be a few years before I get a nice, normal picture out these guys!


January 10, 2007

Becca and Emily came over to the house today for lunch, since I had to wait around for the plumber.  Emily is terrified of the dogs, but Dee Dee was at the vet getting spayed, and Grendel and Boudreaux are much calmer so she managed to enjoy her visit.  It was so funny.  She'd be across the room playing, and one of the dogs would come toward her and she'd start to object, and the dog would walk right past her, and then she wasn't sure whether she should still be upset.  In one of the pictures, she had her feet on Boudreaux, but every time he'd move, she'd pull her feet up so he wouldn't touch them.

As I mentioned, Dee Dee was spayed and microchipped today, so I guess she's really ours now.  LOL  She did fine.  When I picked her up, I was at the desk paying and it took me a few seconds to realize something was leaning on the back of my legs.  It was her!  I didn't notice they'd brought her out, since she's usually insanely hyper.  I've never seen her so subdued!  She's been sound asleep since she got home.  Grendel has been going nuts trying to get Dee Dee to play with her, but of course, Dee Dee's drugged up on pain meds and couldn't be bothered.  Ya know, when she's drugged, she's really cuddly and sweet!

Ack!  My footrest moved! Emily wondered what Patrick was doing to the windows

Emily helped Patrick clean the windows Grendel can't figure out what's wrong with her best buddy


January 11, 2007

It's a good thing Mark was out of town last night because Dee Dee spent the entire night next to me on the bed.  :-)  The poor thing was obviously in a lot of pain this morning when she woke up.  When I left the room, she followed me, and  Boudreaux was right behind her.  That made her very nervous so she was trying to hurry, and she yelped with every step.  :-(  The vet had given me a pain pill for her for this morning, which helped pretty quickly, but she was still subdued.  I cleaned up the house this morning, since I was having the carpets cleaned this afternoon, then went to have lunch with Becca.  When I got home three hours later, I was greeted by all three dogs, and Dee Dee sure seemed back to herself.  WELL!  Was she ever!  I have a bowl of in-shell nuts on the kitchen counter.  About half of them were gone, and there were shells ALL over the house!  On top of that, one of the slats on the play room blinds was laying on the floor.  I felt like I was foreseeing life with teenagers who partied while the parents were away!  By the way, the only one of the dogs who could reach the nuts on the counter is Dee Dee - I guess she's feeling better!

Dee Dee was playing with all three of the bowls tonight


January 12, 2007

My day started early when I was supposed to inspect the neighborhood common areas with our landscapers as part of my duties for the homeowners association.  I was more than annoyed when they didn't show up for our meeting, so I traipsed through the entire community on my own, armed with my note pad and camera.  The results weren't pretty, on top of their no-show, so now I have to play the bad guy with a home-grown company (they live in the subdivision) who we've all known for years.  Ugh.

Alex had football practice this afternoon, and I took him straight from practice to a slumber party for a friend's birthday.  After school I was trying to help him get packed for the night, and he kept getting annoyed whenever I suggested something he might need.  I swear he's turning prematurely teen!  In the car I asked him why he was getting frustrated with me for trying to help him.  He said, "Mom, I'm not a little kid anymore."  Well, why don't you just stab me right in the heart!  He's been getting into "cool" cars lately, and seems to know every make and model on the road.  He saw a mustang and rattled off the year and other information I never knew existed.  I turned and asked him where he learned that, and he replied, "I know things."

Meanwhile, Mark headed over to the River for the weekend, and the plan is for us to join him after Alex's soccer game tomorrow afternoon.  It's only been a few days since Dee Dee was spayed, so we'll see how she's doing first.  Mom came over to the house to stay with Patrick, and I went straight to a closing after dropping Alex off at the party.  Whew!  What a day!

Patrick has been very interested in making his own weapons.  I know - things that warm a mother's heart.  He's discovered that you can make an arrow by putting a narrow stick into the pencil sharpener, and also sharpen sticks into arrows by rubbing them on the sidewalk.  Today he decided he had the perfect stick to make a dagger with, and he elicited Mark's help with the power sander to hone the blade.  

Craftsmen


January 13, 2007

Patrick and I picked Alex up this afternoon from the party and went straight to his football game.  Alex said they stayed up until 3:00 and woke up at 6:00!  Despite having a good football game, he managed to grumble and moan about the game and how many times the coaches swapped him out (not any more than anyone else, mind you).  He was a royal @#$% this afternoon, and soon started sniffling and coughing and it was apparent he was in for a doozy of a cold.  Patrick started coughing as well, and I saw our trip to the River fading.  The good news is that bedtime was a breeze tonight!


January 14, 2007

Poor Alex woke up sick as a dog this morning, with a horrible cough.  He spent the day wrapped up in his favorite quilt on the couch.  Patrick seems okay, and spent the afternoon and evening at a friend's house, and I enjoyed a nice quiet day.  :-)  

When we had Dee Dee spayed, we also had a cyst removed from her shoulder.  Last night I noticed a little swelling around the incision, but this morning it's as big as a couple of golf balls.  I've hemmed and hawed all day about whether this constitutes a visit to the emergency vet.  It's not bothering her, and aside from the swelling nothing else seems wrong, so hopefully it'll be okay until tomorrow.  Between that and Alex's cold, though, we've decided to postpone our trip to the River.  :-( 


January 15, 2007

Well, the vet says that Dee Dee's swelling is simply fluid building up around the surgical site and it will go away on its own.  It sure looks like something more serious!  Alex is still miserable and aside from coughing his lungs up, hasn't made a peep.  I got him off the couch to help with with a puzzle, but that's about all the activity he managed today.  Poor guy!

A quiet day


January 16, 2007

Alex hasn't improved at all, so we went to the pediatrician to get him checked out.  He doesn't have strep, but she thinks his asthma is a factor in the cough, so we're going to come at it from that angle.  Let's hope this helps!


January 17, 2007

Okay, I know Alex is sick, and needs to stay home, but I'm really ready for some time to myself.  He was still too sick for school today.  I have to say, I can't remember a time when he went four full days without asking for his friends, to go outside, or for anything for that matter.  He's been good as gold (that's how I know he's sick!), but he needs to get better!


January 18, 2007

Woohoo!  I had the whole house to myself today!  Alex was back at school, Mark was out seeing clients, and I was ALONE!  :-)  I had a little pang of guilt after school.  While the boys were doing their homework, Alex had a coughing fit that wouldn't end and he ended up curled up on the couch again trying to catch his breath.  He was definitely better this morning when he woke up, and readily went off to school, but maybe it was a day too soon.  Ah well - too late now.

Dee Dee got her stitches out today, and even though the swelling on her shoulder has doubled, the vet still says it's okay and will go away on its own.  I sure hope so, because it's just gross!  She hasn't been sleeping again, and Mark and I are exhausted, so I took her to Pet Smart on the way home from the vet and I bought her a dog bed to curl up in.  She loves cuddling when she sleeps and this one is nice and cozy.  I sure hope it helps!  After that, we went through a car wash.  What I wouldn't have given for a video camera!  She wavered between terror and intrigue whenever the brushes or sprayers went by.  She was bobbing and weaving and ducking all over the van!


January 19, 2007

Things are lookin' up.  Alex is MUCH better today and did fine at football practice this afternoon.  Patrick started gymnastics again at a new gym run by Scott Johnson, the 1984 Olympic gold medalist.  Patch was so cute when we got there.  Scott Johnson checked us in, and while I was filling out some papers, Patrick whispered to me, "Is that Scott Johnson?"  I said yes, and he said, "The Olympic gold medalist?"  Is again said yes.  He then whispered, "This is so awesome!"

Dee Dee loves her new bed and curled right up in it in her crate last night.  Mark slept on the floor next to the crate (yes, we're that desperate) and she didn't cry all night.  She even climbed in the crate on her own for a nap this afternoon.  Let's see how she does tonight with all of us in our beds like it's supposed to be.  Cross your fingers!

I finally figured out why Dee Dee's lips are so big.  She can use them as a pillow!
She can sleep anywhere - except in her crate during the night!


January 20, 2007

Dee Dee slept all night last night, and so did Mark and me, and we were all in our own beds.  Yeehaw!!!  She just loves her new cuddly bed.  LOL

Alex had a terrific football game.  The final score was 8-6, and Alex was the one that scored the extra 2 points that won the game.  He was flying high all afternoon!  We invited Justin to go out to dinner with us and the restaurant lets the kids make their own pizzas.  Of course, they use the pepperoni to make fun designs on their pizzas.  The boys were hilarious after dinner.  They were playing charades while we waited for the check.  Alex was trying to get us to guess the word "parents."  He kept acting like someone who was yelling.  I would have guessed it a lot sooner if he'd have thrown in some hugs and kisses!  When we got home, Mark started a fire out back and all of the neighbors joined us to roast marshmallows.  Life is good!

All pumped up A shy smile at the end of the game

Artists at work


January 22, 2007

We received some pretty scary news today.  Our niece, Maddie, had a CT scan which showed an abnormality of her spine where her head attaches, and apparently it's a very serious condition.  We don't know many details yet, but I do know that the family, and especially Jay and Stacey, can use all of the prayers we can get. 


January 24, 2007

I woke up to quite a sight this morning.  Yesterday afternoon, Dee Dee and Grendel got into a pretty bad spat and Grendel's ear was pretty bloody.  It had stopped bleeding, though, and looked like all would be well.  She went to sleep in our closet, her usual place.  When I went into the closet this morning to get dressed, I noticed a dried pool of blood on our (new) carpet.  When I went into the living room, it looked like a murder scene.  Apparently her ear started bleeding in the middle of the night and she went through the living room to go outside and left a trail of blood the entire way.  She even shook a couple of times, splattering blood on the walls and furniture.  Grendel herself was perfectly fine this morning, playing with Dee Dee as if nothing was wrong, and her ear looked pretty good.  I didn't think to take any pictures before I spent the morning cleaning it all up, but it was quite a scene!  And yes, I did get the stain out of the carpet - thank God for peroxide!

The boys have been trying to blow gum bubbles for a few days, and today they both got it.  It was hilarious in the car to hear one of them mumbling through their gum:  "Look!"  Which sounded more like "Muk!"


January 25, 2007

This has been a crazy day.  Mark went on a cruise yesterday for work, if you can believe that, so I'm a single mom for a few days.  I spent the morning running errands, and just before the kids got home from school, I got a call from a client asking if I could do a closing a couple of hours away tonight.  Mom was already planning to come over for dinner, so I quick checked if she could stay into the evening and then said okay to the closing.  I then did all of the homework and after school stuff with the kids, cooked dinner, and made/took several phone calls about the closing.  We had dinner, and at the last minute the client said they couldn't get the loan ready tonight.  I called the customer and rescheduled for tomorrow afternoon.  So Mom and I then set about trying to get the kids covered for tomorrow afternoon.  It'll be tricky, but I think we can make it.  Wouldn't ya know - 15 minutes after we got everything coordinated and Mom left, my documents arrived by email.  Ah well.


January 26, 2007

I had a pretty tight schedule this morning - doctor's appointment, help in Patrick's class, then a meeting for the homeowners' association, then of course, heading off to that closing this afternoon.  Well, you guessed it - that schedule went to hell in a handbasket.  Remember Grendel's bleeding ear?  While I was insanely trying to get the kids ready for school and all of their after school activities, and me ready for my doctor's appointment, Grendel's ear started bleeding again, ALL over the kitchen.  I told Patrick to tell his teacher I wouldn't make it this morning and rescheduled my HOA appointment.  After my doctor's appointment, I took Grendel to the vet and they did their best to try to bandage her ear.  It was really a comedy routine.  They took her in the back to bandage it, and when they brought her back to the exam room, before she had gotten to me across the room, she had the bandage off.  So they went back and tried again, and you can see below the result.  They folded her ear back and wrapped the bandage around the tip of her ear and her entire head.  It sure looked like a lot more than a cut on the tip of her ear!  This one lasted longer, but by this evening, the bandage was still on her head, but her ear was no longer in the bandage.  LOL

I headed off to my closing, and back at home it took three people to take care of my kids.  After school, Alex went to Justin's and Patrick went to John's.   Justin's dad took Alex and Justin to football practice, and Mom picked Patrick up from John's and took him to gymnastics.  I got home at about 7:00, after five hours in the car, and took back over. 

The hearts are a nice touch.  LOL NOT a happy camper

Patrick had ordered a replica of the Gryfindor sword from Harry Potter and it finally arrived today.  He knows it is strictly for display, but he couldn't resist posing for me to take pictures.

All hail Harry Potter! It was almost too heavy for him to do this! Very serious pose


January 29, 2007

Mark's home from his cruise!  His ship came in (nyuk, nyuk) this morning in Tampa.  I drove over this morning and Christy (Alex's godmother) met us for lunch, and then we met with an old high school friend for a visit.  We're so glad he's home!  He had a wonderful time on the cruise and in Mexico.  He was on the same cruise we'll be taking with Mark's family in June so he did some reconnaissance for us.  He went on a cave diving excursion which he says was absolutely fabulous, and from the pictures, it looks incredible.  Wasn't this supposed to be a working trip?  LOL

Mark swears to me these are all coworkers!

Coming up on the cave Sunrays in the water

Serious diver . . . Goofball diver

Another cool shot The entrance to the cave.  Those things hanging down are the roots of the trees above ground.

Inside the cave The dive group