Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Puppy Play

One of the puppies favorite games is to try to get to each other underneath the legs of the computer chair.  Never mind that they can get to each other easily by standing up and stepping over the base.  Or walking around the base.  They like the idea that this is somehow a challenge.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New TV

Our TV has been slowly dying.  It's an old TV, one of those giant old monsters they don't even make any more.  The picture has gotten so blurry we can't even read the words on the TV guide channel.  We've know for a while that we needed a new set but we've been putting it off because TV's are expensive and it's not a "need", it's a "want".

After Christmas, Kerry and I saw a fantastic deal on a TV.  I love after Christmas sales when stores are trying to sell everything they can and you can get a really good bargain.

We trotted down to Best Buy where they had an awesome flat screen TV for $180 less than the regular price (boom!) and had a long talk with a salesman about how to hook up this TV to our cable box, Wii, DVD player, and some other thing with buttons that lets us switch from TV to Wii to DVD player.  He assured us that it was extremely simple to hook up.

I've always been the one to hook up new equipment in our family.  I'm an instruction reader and fairly intuitive about how to connect things together.  Kerry has always somewhat lacked the desire to read instructions and tries to tell intuitively how things are put together.  (Ask me about every set of shelves in our house sometime.)  When we were fist married, Kerry got so attached to a gaming system we had, I just refused to connect it back up to the TV after a move and he never played it again.  Marriage saved. technology has moved on through the years and we've added more and more things that have to be wired to the TV, even I get confused trying to figure out what plugs into where, and how this is attached to that.  Even when I read the instructions I get extremely frustrated because you need different types of cords and some are included and some aren't.  With this new TV, we had to buy two new cords that we did not already possess and I was internally groaning at the thought of unhooking the four thousand cords that already connect everything and trying to replace some of them with these new fancified cords while keeping some of the old ones but attaching them in different places to different boxes.

The salesman assured us several times that it would all be extremely easy to connect.

On the way home with our new purchases I was bemoaning the upcoming saga of trying to connect everything together.  Kerry reminded me that the salesman had said it was simple but then remarked that he probably greatly overestimated our ability.

"I'm not worried though," Kerry reassured me, "I'm 100% sure I can open the box."

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Eve

This Christmas Eve, the girls and I decided to volunteer in the church nursery for the 2:30 service, then we would meet up with the menfolk and attend the 4:00 service.

When we arrived at the church for our volunteer time, Emily was sent to the baby room, while Katie and I were assigned the two to four year olds.

We only had four children in our room.  One four-year old girl and three two-year olds.  We had all of them sit at a table and gave them all a snack and a drink.  In the falsely cheerful voice that I use when talking to a group of very young kids who have just been forcibly separated from their parents I announced, "Wow!  We have four big kids in here!"

The four-year old girl looked at me steadily and said, "No.  You have one big kid in here and that's me."  She pointed at herself, then continued on, pointing at the other three, "They're little."


A short time later, one of the two-year olds was running across the room, fell, and busted his lip wide open.

Head wounds bleed a lot.

At first I couldn't tell if he'd busted his lip, bitten his tongue, or knocked out a tooth.  Blood was just bubbling out of him and he was screaming and fighting us.  I had Katie run to grab paper towels, then she had to grab more when those were soaked through, then she had to grab more when those were soaked through, then she had to grab more when those were soaked through.  We went through around five large wads of paper towels.  While running back and forth to get the paper towels for me, Katie knocked over one of the two-year old girls, so then she had a crying child on her hip while trying to help me and the childcare director who had dashed in upon hearing the chaos.

We finally got the bleeding slowed and someone took him off to find his mom.

I looked down at myself to find both of my arms smeared with blood all the way to the elbows.  Blood was in between each of my fingers on both hands and blood was on the front of my nice blouse.  I started scrubbing like I was prepping for surgery.

One of the directors came in with cleaning wipes to clean the blood off the floor, counters, tables, and sink.  I pulled one of the wipes out and started vigorously wiping the front of my blue blouse hoping to get enough blood out so it wouldn't be noticeable during the next service.

The director noticed me wiping my shirt and informed me, "Those are Clorox wipes."


I don't think God wants me to work in the church nursery any more.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Puppy Pictures

Because I know you need it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sliding Door

We were heading into the mall and Emily very exuberantly ran up to the sliding doors in order to be the one who makes them magically slide open (because she's still four years old when it comes to sliding doors - heaven help us if we come to a revolving door).

She was expecting them to part in the middle, but instead it slid to the left.

And she smacked right into the door.

Good thing she's so smart (I have proof - 32).  Can you imagine the trouble she'd get into if she was dumb??

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Katie randomly asked me today if the name "Libby" is short for something.

"Well, my college roommate's name was Libi, " I told her, "and it was short for Elizabeth."

"Ms. Mary's daughter is called Libby, but it's short for Liberty," Katie remembered.

"People can make a nickname from anything," I said.

"Yeah," Katie said, "Like the way Emily calls me Butt-Munch.  You can shorten any name to a nickname."

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Ringo Welcomes Leo and Gus!

We were so excited to get home from our Thanksgiving trip and get Ringo out of jail.

We had boarded him at a new kennel as all the other kennels we've used had filled up.  We warned the kennel man that Ringo had recently lost his brother and this would be the first time he had been in a kennel by himself, ever.  Ringo has a whooping cough style of bark that can really get under your skin.  I've taken him to groomers before who called to tell me that Ringo "is really letting us know he wants to go home."  I was afraid the kennel man would just turn him loose after the first day of listening to him sound his distress over being left there.

When we went to pick him up, the kennel man told us that Ringo didn't bark.  He also didn't eat for his first two days there.  Then he finally gave Ringo a can of food instead of the dry food we had left for him and then Ringo was his best friend.  

The girls went with us to pick him up.  We had barely unloaded all the luggage from the car when we turned around and headed out to get our big baby.  We put the puppies in a laundry basket to keep them corralled and left them home so that Ringo could have our undivided attention.

After our joyful reunion, we were anxious to see what he would think of the new additions.  I ran inside ahead of him so I could film his surprise and excitement.   

I guess he was underwhelmed.  

Sunday, November 30, 2014


The girls got an early Christmas present from Kerry's parents!

Now they each have a puppy of their very own!  Both male Shih Tzus, which Emily is not allergic to!

They were promptly christened "Leotus and Asparagus" or "Leo and Gus" for short.

Yes, there's a story behind that.

When the kids were little, Kerry would make up fairy tales for them to keep them entertained.  One day he made up a story about a clam named Leotus and a fish named Asparagus.  The kids never forgot that particular story and it seemed like a great fit for our new family members.

We are not used to having puppies and we have laughed and laughed at them.  They suddenly leap up and run around like mad, lose their balance and tumble head over heels.  They battle each other with their tiny barks and their tiny teeth.  Then they collapse on each other and sleep all snuggled up.

Leo is quickly establishing himself as the loud, hyper one.  Gus is the calm, sleepy one.

We are enjoying the heck out of them.  Everything they do is adorable.  They are cute when they sleep.  Darling when they run.  Precious when they eat.  Even their poop is adorably tiny.  

It's a first step to filling the hole left in our lives by the loss of Rigger.  Of course, it would take forty-four of them to equal one Rigger, but it's step in the right direction to bringing some happy back!

Monday, November 24, 2014


My girls made an apple pie from scratch!

I know, not their sort of thing, usually.

 Even they thought the idea was ludicrous.

 They even made the crust from scratch.

 Rolled it out themselves.

 Pondered the implications of knowing how to cook something that I might now require them to make on a regular basis because now I know they can.

 Peeled, cored, and sliced a whole lotta apples.  I helped with that part.

 Added cinnamon.

 Added sugar.

And voila!  

It was absolutely the best pie ever!  Making it from scratch really makes a difference!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Get Smart

Katie was in the play "Get Smart" this past weekend.  She played "Princess Ingrid", a Scandinavian princess.  We had to put her in a blond wig and high, high heels to make her look a little more Scandinavian.

Everyone said she looked like she was going on an episode of "Toddlers and Tiaras".

 Princess Ingrid was being guarded by Agent 86 and Agent 99.

 No she did not sing or dance in the play, despite what this photo is telling you.

 Princess Ingrid is brainwashed by "Mr Big" and winds up holding her guards hostage.

Katie loved that she got to play a sweet beautiful princess and an evil kidnapper all in one play.

The princess' brain was restored, she released the good guys, and they saved the world.

All in a good days work!

Thursday, November 20, 2014


My best good friend Mary popped up and surprised me this week!

I was at a play rehearsal and turned around to find her sitting in one of the seats!

Talk about a shock!  She lives in Alabama and I certainly wasn't expecting to find her here!  Turns out she and Kerry had been in cahoots and cooked up this plan.

 So, do I post the photo that a good one of me, but Mary's eyes are closed?

Or do I post the one that's better of Mary, but the rainbow glow shining off her face pretty much obscures me?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


One morning this past week I woke up early and headed downstairs.

At the bottom of the stairs, on the wall facing me, was a poster which had not been there the night before.

 I was looking at it sleepily, thinking, "E 2?"  Obviously the girls made a poster after I went to bed.  I assumed the "E" was for "Emily" but how did the "2" stand for "Katie"?  I started looking at the other things written on the poster and suddenly it hit me:  Emily had gotten her ACT scores back and she had made a 32!!

 We knew the scores could be posted as early as the 11th but they also could take up to two weeks to post them.  Emily had clearly stayed up until midnight to see if her scores were posted, and yes, they were (one of the benefits of having a last name that starts with a letter close to the beginning of the alphabet)!

Emily was still in bed but she said she heard me come out of my room, she heard me walking down the stairs, then she heard a long pause.  Then she heard thump!, thump!, thump!, thump! as I ran back up the stairs, BLAM! as her door slammed open, and WHUMP! as I dived on to her bed screaming, "You made a 32!?!?  You made a 32, really?!?!?!?!?"

 Yes, yes, she did!

Then she stayed up even later making the poster.  I told her about how I had figured out that the "E" was for Emily but I thought the "2" must be for Katie.  She looked at me in bafflement, then went to look at the poster and started laughing hysterically.  

"I can't believe I drew the "3" as an "E"!  I didn't even notice I did that!  I was so tired!"

Yeah, she's super smart, that girl.  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Moment of Levity

Katie and Emily were sitting at the dining room table discussing "Iron Man 3":

Katie:  I always get Robert Downey Jr and Martin Luther King Jr mixed up.

Emily:  Umm.....HOW can you mix them up?  They are nothing alike!

Katie:  Well, their names are similar.

Emily:  Not really...

Katie:  Martin Luther King Jr was the one with the peanuts, right?

Emily:  That was George Washington Carver!

Katie: Oh. Which one was Martin Luther King Jr?

Emily: He fought for black rights, he was assassinated...

Katie: He was assassinated??

Emily: Yes, Katie!

Katie:  Well, sorry.  I'm only studying ancient history about Jesus, like, five billion years ago.

Emily:  Jesus was only two thousand years ago!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.... 

Pity Ham

Now that we are back home with the dogs, we have started the slow process of watching Rigger go down by degrees.

It's so odd that one day he was mostly fine and walking around and the next day he was unable to walk and so terribly sick.  We knew this time was coming, I just thought it would be different somehow.

He doesn't want to eat much.  Foods that he loved before have no interest for him now.  And there were very few foods that he didn't love.  He spit out an onion once.  And once at the vet when he was younger, he refused an organic dog treat.  I think that's about it for his list of "no" foods.

Now he will eat only ham and chicken, and even then he refuses those about half the time.  He doesn't want dog food, even the canned kind, which was usually enough to make him knock Ringo over trying to get to it.  We tried to give him Pediasure for the vitamins, he wouldn't even try it.  He doesn't want his doggie treats.  He even refused chocolate.

We've been putting his medicines in food, it's the easiest way to get him to take them.  But now when he doesn't want anything, it's harder to get him to take his pills.  Luckily the pills he is on right now are so small we can just poke them in his mouth and he can't find them to get them out before they dissolve.

Since ham is one of the two things he will eat now, I bought a giant ham at the store and we've been carving off chunks to give him.  I was standing there last night feeding him ham when Katie said, "Mama, Ringo is standing right behind you!  You need to give him some ham too!"

Guiltily, I turned around and offered him some ham.  I should have called him to come have some ham, but I'm so focused on getting Rigger to eat something that it didn't occur to me to include Ringo.

I held a piece of ham out to him and he sniffed it, then turned away.

The girls laughed hysterically at that, "He doesn't want your PITY HAM!"

Sunday, October 19, 2014

On The Way Home

All the way back to Illinois, Rigger just lay in the back of the van.  He didn't want to stand up and stick his head out of the window.

Occasionally, he would lift his head up and poke it up between the girls to let us know he was okay.

Ringo, on the other hand, perched like a mountain goat between the girls.  

Nothing like a dog butt in your face to make a trip more entertaining.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


We're losing our Rigger.

He's been having trouble for a while with his leg.  It's been swelling and the vet has had him on antibiotics and has tried a laser treatment to help with his circulation.  Each thing we tried would help for a bit but then the swelling would come back.  He's been having more and more trouble standing up and sitting down.

Then Sunday morning around 2:30, Katie heard Rigger whining.  She got up to see what he wanted and found him collapsed partway up the staircase.  She called for me and Kerry and we ran to try to help him.  There was some blood on the stairs and I was worried that he had injured himself somewhere but we couldn't see a wound.  Rigger was unable to move, he was just lying partially on the stairs gasping and moaning.

We were all sitting with him trying to pet him and talk to him to keep him calm.  I really felt that he wouldn't survive very long and expected him to stop breathing any moment.  In a frenzy of needing to do something, I ran to get some Clorox 2 to clean the blood off the carpet and came across what I thought was a giant brown puddle.  Then I flipped the lights on.

It wasn't brown, it was red.  And there was a lot of it.

He had apparently vomited up nothing but blood.  More than I had ever seen.

I threw a bath towel over it to soak it up (the towel didn't even cover the whole spread) just as Katie came through to get some water for Rigger.  I was heading back to Rigger when I heard a giant THUMP from the kitchen.  I ran back in there and found Katie on the floor.  At first I thought she had collapsed in tears over the imminent demise of Rigger but she looked up at me very calmly and said, "My legs just stopped working."

What to do???  Stay with the collapsed daughter, or go to the collapsed dog?

I checked to make sure Katie wasn't injured, just woozy from seeing all the blood, and then I headed back to Rigger.

We all gathered around him, petting him and talking to him, waiting for the end.

After an hour, Kerry and I started to think maybe he wasn't going die right away.  We'd already been to the vet twice a week for a month and no good had come of it.  It was a holiday so if we took him in for emergency vet care, we were looking at a few thousand dollars most likely and frankly, we no longer trust the vets here to tell us the truth, not do unnecessary tests and procedures, and just take the simplest route to help our big dog.

"Go pack," we told the girls.  "Fast as you can.  Take clothes for two to three days, pajamas, underwear, don't forget your toothbrushes and grab some schoolbooks."

We took turns sitting with Rigger and packing.  He was remarkably calm for a pooch who couldn't move and had to feel horrible.  We couldn't get him to eat or drink at all.

Kerry spread a tarp in the back of the van and we loaded up everything we could and managed to get Rigger to his feet.  He was able to walk to the van but we had to bodily lift him into the van where he promptly collapsed.  Ringo joined him in the back of the van and we pulled out at 4:30 a.m. heading to see Kerry's father, the best veterinarian on the planet.

Going from Illinois to Georgia is an eleven hour drive and it's not pleasant under good circumstances.  When you're doing it on a minimum of sleep in a quite stressful situation, it's nearly unbearable.  We stopped to let the dogs used the bathroom every few hours but Rigger only managed to get out at the second stop and then he collapsed again before we could get him back in the van.  Emily and I were trying to hold him up while Kerry pulled the van closer to us and Emily said to me, "We're going to have to put him down when we get there, aren't we?"

"I don't know, but it looks likely," I told her quietly.

Ringo was very sweet to Rigger on the trip.  He normally ignores Rigger and avoids him at all costs.  This time he lay down next to Rigger and even put his paw over Rigger's paw for a while.

We were about halfway there when we were able to get hold of our family and let them know we were on our way.  We finally arrived - exhausted, tired, and grungy.

Rigger was immediately taken to x-ray where we finally got an answer and it wasn't good news.

He has tumors all through his chest.

Kerry's father gave us some medicines that should help him feel better for bit, but there really isn't a lot we can do.  We just want to keep him comfortable and have a little extra time to love on him and spoil him.

He's our baby.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bad Fortune

Not exactly the fortune Kerry likes to get in his cookie......

Monday, September 8, 2014


 My baby is fourteen.
 It doesn't seem possible that our little eskimo has grown so fast.

She was just four a week ago, I swear.

Her daddy could pick her up and dance with her just last week.....

 And suddenly, she bloomed, blossomed, and sprouted into an actual teenager.

Here's to a happy birthday for my beautiful brown-eyed girl!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mission Trip Pics

I have no idea what's going on in any of the photos from Ben's trip to PR but it looks like they were having a good time!