Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Dogs, Rocks and Josie

Our youngest Jack Russell Terrier, Carson (a.k.a. Bubba) has a horrible habit of digging up rocks in the yard. It started a few years ago - he couldn't find a ball that was thrown to him so he dug up a rock and brought it back. We were expected to throw the rocks. If there is one thing to be said about JRT's it's that they have inexhaustable energy. They will fetch, run and play 24/7 if permitted. Ours are no exception.

Josie has a great time with the dogs - she learned how to throw by hanging out with them. They, in turn, are gentle with her - they don't jump up on her or try to take things from her hands.

The photo above is Josie holding a rock that Carson dug up this morning. It must weigh 2 pounds! I told Josie we can't throw that one to Carson because it might 'bonk' him on the head. Josie laughed - she loves the word 'bonk'!! I am also teaching Josie that where the dogs are concerned, she is the boss. She is learning to sternly say 'sit'! and the dogs are catching on.

Here's Josie telling Casey to sit! Casey obviously wants the huge rock- and Josie really wants to throw it... Thank goodness that Mom is on hand to prevent injury to both daughter and dogs!

Here are Casey and Carson waiting for Josie to throw the rock. They are on the lawn while Josie looks down from the deck - teasing them to no end!!

And here's Josie showing off the rock for Mom before we place it back on the railing of the deck...It's too big!!!!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Visiting Grandmom & PopPop at the Shore

At the Shore

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On Thursday, we headed out to Delaware to visit with Grandmom & PopPop. The weatherman promised us good beach weather, so we were all very excited. The traffic to the Bay Bridge (outside of Annapolis, over the Chesapeake Bay) was light and we made the trip to the shore in good time - 3 hours and 15 minutes!

Of course, the grandparents were thrilled to see the girls. There was a beautiful, cool sea breeze blowing when we arrived. It put us in vacation mode right away! Once we got settled in, we decided to visit the strawberry patch that is about 1/2 a mile from the house. It was Josie's first time picking. Maddie is an old pro. We picked enough for our family and a bit extra so Grandmom could share with her neighbors. Josie picked and ate, picked and ate so she contributed little to our haul!

Aunt Claudine was in neighboring Ocean City, MD with her friends, so Maddie spent Friday on the beach with them. Josie & I picked up Daddy, who arrived from a business trip in Ohio around 2 PM.

James & I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary last night with a family dinner at a local seafood restaurant. It was delicious and PopPop treated! Thanks, Dad!

Today we will attend a cookout at Pete & Donna's house (long time friends of Pop and Grandmoms) and then head home in the evening. We have to get home to Casey and Carson, who are no doubt driving their caretakers crazy! More photos to follow!!

Thank You to all our soldiers and veterans for your service to our country.

Monday, May 21, 2007

As Promised - Josie Planting Flowers!

Josie Planting Flowers 5/21/07 3:49 PM

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"It's Hard Being a Baby"

This is what I used to say to Maddie when she was little. I would use these words to comfort her and show her I understood the pain of a scraped knee or having her feelings hurt. Usually, she would look at me through tear-filled eyes and say "I know, Mom."

I found myself saying these same words to Josie this past week. It was a rough week for our precious Princess Josephine, as she welcomed two new molars into her tiny mouth. The trauma started on Tuesday morning when Josie awoke with a messy diaper and the beginning of a diaper rash. I took the high road and began diaper changes every two hours with plenty of diaper rash cream. We avoided the rash, I'm happy to say, but there were more terrible things waiting for our little one.

On Wednesday, she awoke with a high fever. She was cranky, clingy and just plain miserable for for the next two days. To add insult to injury, Dad was out of town and we had cold and dreary weather. I spent the the better part of Wednesday and Thursday seated on the couch with Josie's head on my chest, while she went in and out of sleep. She wouldn't eat. She didn't even want her "nay-nay" (bottle). The only good thing about all of this misery was that she was able to use her words to tell me what was bothering her. "Teeth hurt, Mom". Other times I would ask her, "Josie, does your throat hurt?", while pointing to my own throat. She would say, "Fine, Mom". I asked about her ears, belly and butt. Each time, her answer was the same..."Fine, Mom - Teeth hurt."

When James got home late Friday, he attemped to help with her nighttime crying sessions. But, again, being so vocal, she would tell him, "No, Dad - Mommy", "Mommy sleep here." Poor James, he felt so helpless. Sometimes, only Mom will do, especially when you're feeling yukky.

On Saturday morning James & I went to work confirming the diagnosis of teething by laying Josie down on the kitchen table and searching her mouth with a maglite flashlight. Needless to say, she was not thrilled! But, we did find the two offending molars peeking through her upper gums. We breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that we were right - and that she didn't have a sore throat or ear infection. The one funny thing that did happen during those miserable days was that Josie kept telling us she was "Leaking". She would cry, " Napkin, Mom - Josie leaking!" (this was her drooling!)

Adding to the general chaos in the house, on Friday we had Maddie's friend, Kelsey, staying with us for the weekend. Along with Kelsey came Max - her teacup Chachuaua. The girls had a school dance on Friday night, so it was up to me to care for Max. He is a spunky little guy who gave our two Jack Russells a run for their money. However, he is so tiny that I spent a lot of time just trying to find him - he got into spaces I didn't know existed!!

On Saturday, James took the girls to the Apple store to pick up Maddie's 'hand-me-down' laptop from the repair center. Josie got a hold of it a few weeks ago and broke the hinge. That gave me a chance to hit the local nursery and pick up some annuals to fill our planters on the patio. Once they returned, Maddie & Kelsey were all aflutter - getting ready to attend a birthday party for Jeri, a fellow 7th grader and carpool partner. Jeri was having a luau complete with DJ, food, drink and games. The whole 7th grade was invited! Hats off to her mom, Donna, for taking on that crowd!!! Thankfully, Jeri lives around the corner, so the girls were able to walk to the party. (Donna and Liz E. provided transport for the girls on Friday night - thanks so much ladies!)

I'm happy to report that all has returned to normal this Monday morning. Josie is her old, charming self and Maddie behaved beautifully while hosting Kelsey. Josie and I will be planting flowers today - so I hope to have some wonderful photos for you later on. I'm sorry there are no photos to accompany this post. There honestly weren't any free moments to pick up the camera this past week.... So those of you needing a 'Josie Fix' will have to check back later today or early tomorrow to see her in her gardening glory. Hopefully, Maddie will let me take a few shots of her too!

See you soon!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mothers Day!

I had a fabulous Mother's Day, thanks to my incredible daughters and my thoughtful husband! The day started with James & Josie making me a wonderful chocolate chip waffle. Josie helped Dad measure ingredients and crack eggs. Maddie slept in, but once she was out of bed, she and Josie gave the most wonderful cards - accompanied by some big, wet kisses. I was in heaven!

We puttered around for most of the day and then headed over to Ed & Marty's house for a wonderful dinner. We dined al fresco on grilled salmon, asparagus, corn on the cob and potato salad. It was wonderful. James & Ed are to thank for the delicious meal, Grill Masters that they are!

Josie and Joey had a fun time, running around the house - they were both great at sharing toys and playing their version of 'hide and seek'. Hide and Seek to them was running around the kitchen island and having the adults point to where each one was... Oh well, everyone needs a bit of help now and then!

Here's Marty enjoying a big hug!

And Maddie, kickin' back with her princess tiara ( But, I'M still the queen. At least for one day!!)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Home Improvement

I've been terrible about keeping up with this site lately. Not that my daughters aren't doing the most wonderful and marvelous things - quite the opposite. They are fantastic and they both amaze me daily. It's just that our house has been under siege - that Murphy's Law thing - 'anything that can go wrong...'

It started with the landscaping. Last summer, we had Eric, Max & Walt - 3 incredibly wonderful and handsome college kids - clear the yard of fallen trees, etc. They worked throught the July & August heat, killing snakes and catching poison ivy along the way. I felt good knowing that we paid them enough to ensure they didn't have to work for a semester when they returned to school. Eric is going to law school, so he won't be doing the landscaping this year. Max is going to graduate school and Walt is off to (I think) Medical school. Eric was kind enough to send along his younger brother this year, to see if we needed more done. Of course we did! Last year we concentrated on the lawn, this year it was the flower beds.

So we had Jeremy (Eric's brother) and Brian do the beds for us. I spent a better part of two weeks searching local nurseries for just the right plants. We have shade gardens in our heavily wooded yard, full sun in the front - so it required a bit of research to find what plants would be appropriate for each. I found out that Josie does not like to walk on rocks, so I had to carry her through most of places we visited - that or put her in a cart which bounced so severely I was worried about 'shaken baby syndrome'!

While we had the boys on hand, we decided, along with our neighbors, Brett and Nora, to have the area between our two backyards cleared of decades of kudzu, thorny vines, rotting stumps and undergrowth. It turned out fantastic ! Our plan now is to bring in some top soil and seed the area so that both families can enjoy the larger lawn. I envision lots of baseball and soccer being played - which makes me very happy. So, enough about the landscaping.

The weather turned hot & muggy so we switched over to the A.C. - or at least we tried to... James noticed that it wasn't cooling the upstairs all that well. So, a call went in to our heating and cooling contractor. Turns out we were a pound short of freon in the unit for the upstairs. Easy fix. Not a fortune. Great.

We then noticed a water spot on the kitchen roof above the refrigerator - and below Josie's tub. I thought it was caused by bad caulking around the tub. When Josie splashes in the tub, sometimes I don't get the water up quick enough - I thought it was dripping down through the floor to the roof of the kitchen. Okay, so a call goes out to the plumber. Turns out I was wrong. We had a pin sized hole in a copper pipe - as soon as the plumber sawed into the dry wall, a bunch of water came dripping out. Oh Oh. This was not going to be quite as cheap as the AC fix. However, I was pleasantly surprised that the plumber (who was a wonderful man who whispered the whole time he was in the house to keep from waking the napping Josie) cut a not-so-big hole, pulled out his torch, and had the whole thing fixed within 40 minutes.

That was yesterday. Today, Josie and I are taking it easy. She has been my constant helper - filling up her bucket with birdseed and helping me fill the bird feeders, helping roll the trash can in from the curb, digging holes and watering the new plants with me. She is a darling child. I truly love having her with me during the day. She is exhausting but completely lovable. I need to update all of you on Josie's amazing achievements, but I'll save that for another time.

Maddie is headed out to the movies with her friends this evening. I'll be at a scrapbooking event nearby, so when the movie is over, I'll pick her up. Dad gets to stay at home with Josie while Maddie & I have fun!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Chocolate Donut

(Disclaimer: As a Mom who provides proper nutrition for my children, I DO NOT endorse the following events!)

Every Thursday morning in the Spring, James teaches Junior Achievement at Maddie's school. This means that he is NOT up and out of the house by 4:30AM. It's a special treat to have him home for breakfast during the week. Yesterday, being the thoughtful father and husband - James got up with Josie, got her dressed and headed out for Starbucks.

He picked up a latte for me, a hot chocolate for Maddie, a coffee for himself and a truly special treat for Josie - a chocolate donut. She loves all sweet treats, but the donuts hold a special place in her heart and belly. She only has donuts with Dad. You would think that a girl would be thankful, but Josie goes into "MINE" mode as soon as she gets her hands on the glazed wonders.

As you can see, she won't even share with her indulgent Dad!

She eats all the chocolate frosting off of the donut and then decides to be generous. "Here you go, Mom. Have some" Ahhh, thanks! But, No thanks Sweetie! Mommy's already had her quota of 'previously chewed' food today!

Now, who wouldn't want to share this tasty treat?!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Nature - It's Driving Me Crazy!

One of the great things about being a Stay At Home Mom is that you get to see what goes on during the day around the house. I would never get the opportunity to see where all the birdseed in our feeders goes if I didn't watch all the Cardinals, Blue Jays and Chickadees congregating around that portion of the yard.

I watch the dogs go berserk every 2-3 minutes when the squirrels in the yard dare to venture onto our back deck. Casey, being 7 years old, has finally figured out that even with her 'bullet speed' she is unable to catch a squirrel. Carson, on the other hand, is only 3 and slightly smarter than a box of rocks...he still tries. Both of the dogs can still jump about 4-5 feet straight up - so when Carson hurls his 20 pound frame up and down in front of the screen door - well, lets just say you need to act fast if you value the screen door!

We had an unwanted visitor over the weekend - the fellow pictured above. That ugly guy is a Turkey Vulture. He came to feast on the remains of a squirrel who lost the 'Car vs. Squirrel' race. (Thanks to Pete, my former neighbor in PA, for helping me identify him!) The vulture stuck around for a good part of the afternoon on Sunday. He was right in front of our house, which of course, had the dogs going crazy.

And, speaking of nature, Josie has entered the 'Climbing' phase of her not-so-terrible Two's. She is climbing everything in sight! Her favorite trick right now is to climb onto the couch in the family room and rest at the top. She will step on anything (or anyone!) to get up there. Once there, she likes to "roll" off - leaving Mom to make the mad dash to catch her. She's landed on a sleeping dog once or twice, so they are now adjusting their sleeping habits - staying out of Josie's way!