Sunday, February 26, 2012

Just over ten years ago, back before we were married and even when I was still in college, Steve and I drove about an hour to look at a litter of tiny Shih-Tzu puppies. We played with the puppies and listened to the very talkative breeder prattle on for a quite awhile, until we finally decided which puppy would be perfect for us. He wasn't old enough to leave his mom, so we had to wait a couple more weeks. I remember the day he was ready - it was a Friday, and Steve went and picked him up after he got off work for the weekend. I was SO excited, waiting for them to get home. Steve usually just let himself in, but that night he knocked. I ran to the door and threw it open, then squealed with delight when I saw the new puppy, nestled under Steve's coat.
We named him Jose, and soon pretty much our entire lives revolved around that little dog. We were absolutely enamored with him. I have an entire scrapbook from that time that consists mostly of pictures of Jose, adorned with little paw print stamps and bone-shaped paper punches.By the time we had two kids, I was much less enamored with Jose. I think it was right around the time that Noah was born that we didn't let him sleep in our bed anymore. For awhile - I think when I spent a ridiculous amount of my life trying to get babies to sleep and when barking used to wake up those sleeping babies - I was really indifferent towards him. Over that last few years though, he worked his way into my good graces, just by being his agreeable old self.

Probably my favorite thing about him, and I know I've written about this on here before, was that he immediately ate every crumb of food that ever even came close to hitting the floor. I think my second favorite thing about him was that - unless it was hot or too cold - he always rode with us in the car, wherever we went. When we arrived at our destination, he'd wait contentedly in the car until we came back, at which time he'd happily greet us with a cheerful wagging of his tail.

On Valentine's Day this year, Emma chose to go out to dinner to celebrate her birthday. When we came back to the car afterwards, Jose cheerfully greeted us, as always. Per Emma's request, we then drove to Peachwave to get some birthday frozen yogurt. All was well until we came back to our car, where I was completely shocked to find that poor Jose had died while we were at Peachwave. We were utterly blindsided by it, particularly since he had appeared perfectly fine twenty minutes earlier.

I was kind of surprised by how sad I felt about it -literally on the verge of tears for the next three days or so. I started crying about little things, such as when the UPS guy rang the doorbell and nobody barked. The kids like me to cut the crusts off their sandwiches, and I used to marvel at Jose's ability to rouse himself from wherever he was in the house by the nearly imperceptible sounds of crust-cutting, and run to the kitchen and wait patiently for me to give him the crusts. The morning after he died, no one came running for the crusts, and I burst into tears as I watched them disappear down the garbage disposal.We took Jose to a pet cremation place, then buried his ashes in our front flower bed, under a stepping stone that Emma and I made for him. Before we buried him, we all talked about our happy memories of him, and about how much he loved us all (well, except for maybe Allie) and how much we loved him. He was such a good little dog, and even even though we will not always feel so sad, I think we will always miss having him around.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

When we looked at this house before we bought it, there was a pretty wreath on the front door. Once we moved in, I remembered how much I had liked that wreath so I wanted to get a wreath of our own right away. The one they had looked like it was store-bought, so I looked around at a few different stores, but didn't see anything very exciting.I turned to Pinterest, where I discovered this fabric rosette wreath. I thought something similar to that would be perfect, but I had some trouble picking out the colors for it. I wanted something that wouldn't clash with our red front door, but every color combination I could think of that would look okay with our red door and our grey house seemed way too 4th of July-ish. Once again, I consulted the internet, and happened upon this color combination. When I saw it at the time, I was looking at it on my phone, where the colors looked slightly different than they do now on my computer. I'm glad, because the colors that I see on my computer screen right now don't match quite as well. Anyway, I went to Joann's and used the image on my phone to pick out the exact colors that I needed.Making this wreath was fun, and super easy. Emma even made a few of the flowers for me, once she convinced me to let her use the glue gun. I love the end result, and I'm happy with how it looks on the red door.Speaking of looking good, little Allie has been really into the clothes she wears lately. She always wants her clothes to look pretty, which for her apparently means piling on as many layers as possible. Today after she dressed herself, she asked me to take her picture. I happily obliged, then showed her the resulting picture. "Awww," she cooed. "I look darling!" And, even though she looks a bit like a three year old bag lady, I agree.Moments after I took that picture, she grabbed a cup from the play kitchen/pretend microphone and announced in her deepest voice, "And now here is Mommy to do some singing for us!" When she gestured to me, I immediately started belting out the National Anthem. Right away she stopped me and suggested I sing something else. I guess because Whitney Houston has been in the news lately, I started to croon The Greatest Love of All. Before I even got to the chorus, she stopped me again, clearly displeased with my singing. "Mommy," she said disdainfully, "why don't you sing something A,B,C,D!" Apparently her taste in music is not quite as refined as her taste in clothes!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Aaughhhh! Pinkeye is taking over our house! Noah had it last weekend, then Emma had it during the week, then I had it in my left eye towards the end of the week. We had to cancel plans with friends last weekend because of it, which was disappointing. Then this weekend, we were planning to have friends over tonight and, since we thought we were pretty much through the pinkeye mess, last night Emma and I made an icebox cake to have for tonight's guests. Except, this morning I woke up with pinkeye in my right eye! What the heck??? We had to cancel our plans again, which left us with a delicious-looking cake in the fridge and no one but our family to eat it. This is particularly unfortunate because that cake called for three cups of heavy cream, and I would not have made such a cake for just my own family to eat for no particular reason. It's also unfortunate because, after I knew our guests were no longer coming, I tried a bite of the delicious-looking cake, and it is absolutely every bit as delicious as it looks, if not more. Now I keep sneaking bites of the delicious, three-cups-of-heavy-cream cake and I wish someone would just take it out of my house so it would stop taunting me from the refrigerator!

Moving on...

So, the other day I mentioned that we moved out of our little house into a bigger house. All along, we did not want to move out of that house just for the sake of getting out of it, but we wanted to wait until we could move into the house where we could be happy living for the rest of our lives. I am so excited to say that we found that house, and every single day I am thrilled to be living here.There are a number of things that I particularly love about living in this new house:

1. Counter space! Hooray! After years of zero counter space, I now have this stretch of countertopand this island
and even this little bonus section. It's wonderful!2. We are so much closer to everywhere, particularly the kids' schools. Emma's school and Noah and Allie's preschool are right next to each other, but Emma's day starts and ends at 7:50 and 3:00 while the preschool day goes from 9:30-1:30, thus requiring separate trips. The YMCA, where we go on a regular basis, is also right next to the schools and we often have evening activities at one of those three places. Because of all this, I make the trip over there about four times a day. Our old house was 8.4 miles away and our new house is 1.8 miles away, which saves me over 250 miles a week of driving! That part is the best, but it's also wonderful that we are much closer to our favorite stores, restaurants, etc. I can't tell you how much I love being 1.4 miles away from Trader Joe's! Steve's work commute is about 1/3 of what it was before, which is nice for him as well.

3. Whenever my parents came to visit us in our old house, my dad slept on the couch and my mom slept in the bottom bunk, and the kids jumped on them and woke them up at the crack of dawn pretty much every single morning they were ever at our house. All seven of us also had to share the one bathroom. My parents are good sports and they never complained about this, but I think they are happy about the new house as well, because now they can have the whole basement to themselves - with a guest bedroom, a full bathroom, and a rec room with the TV and computer - whenever they stay with us. Since we have out-of-town family staying with us as often as we do, I'm so glad that we no longer have to make anybody sleep on the couch!

There are many more reasons why I love this house, but those are probably my top three. And now, if you'll excuse me, there is some icebox cake that is calling my name.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Probably the biggest news during my blogging hiatus is that we moved. For the last eight years, we've been living in a little 830 sq. ft. house, and for the majority of those eight years, I've been wishing fervently that we could move out of it. Often when I'd be complaining about where we lived, Steve would say, "Aren't we all happy? Don't we have a great family here in this house?" Which was true, of course, so then I would try to force myself not to hate it there and appreciate everything that we did have. Still, it was really hard for me to not begrudge my yard full of snakes and my complete lack of ANY counter space.

Still, looking back, that house did have it's good points. Out of necessity, I mastered the clean-as-you-go technique. I also became pretty ruthless when it came to decluttering because with five people and a dog in such a small space, it's easy to become overrun with clutter. Even though we have more space in our new house, I don't want to fall in the trap of accumulating more clutter, just because we have room for it.Another thing about that house was that our kids shared one room with one bunk bed. A bunk bed that all five of us would pile into every night - Emma on the top and me, Steve, Noah, and Allie on the bottom. We'd squeeze in there and Steve and I would read until the kids all fell asleep. We still all lay in a bunk bed together at night, but it's a bigger bunk bed. I'd be lying if I said I don't enjoy the freedom to move my arms and legs now, but I will always look back fondly on the days when our family of five would pack ourselves into this little bunk bed on a nightly basis.Probably the main reason that we will always feel an attachment to this house is that is that both Allie and Noah were born there, in our bedroom. I imagine we will drive by this house many times over the years and reminisce about the days that they were born, and also all the many happy times we had, growing our family in this little house.We've got the house on the market now, and despite my nostalgia over the years we lived there, we're really hoping someone buys it soon. Perhaps someone looking for an inexpensive little vacation getaway in Grandview (ha!) will see this little gem and snatch it up. We can hope, I guess!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Well, well... hello again.

I've been missing this old blog a little bit so I thought maybe I'd post an update or two.

Today was a snow day for all the kids, which was an unexpected, but lovely, surprise. We all went out and played in the snow, although I didn't last too long out there because honestly, playing in the (wet and freezing) snow is not something I really love to do. Still, I was glad I went out for a little bit because there is still snow falling and everything looks so pretty. Here is Emma next to the beginnings of a cute snowcat that she made on our front porch.We've been busy making Valentine's goodies around here, mostly thanks to ideas from Pinterest. Too many ideas, probably, because by the time we finished everything I was sick of making little Valentine's treats!

First, we made little Pretzel Buttons, which we then wrapped up and delivered to our neighbors.
For the kids' classmates, we bagged up little Teddy Grahams and leftover Peanut Butter M&Ms, and idea that I stole from here.Lastly, we made chocolate dipped Oreos for Emma to bring to school for her birthday treats this week.I think these are super cute, and I hope they are yummy too. I'm sure I would have tried one, but we had a frustrating issue with the Oreos falling off the sticks into the chocolate and after a number of ruined attempts, we had JUST enough for everyone in her class.