Sunday, December 27, 2009

I found it, I finally found it!...

And what might "It" be - my camera!! Happy New Year to me! Alexa was going to have a sleepover so we dragged the trundle mattress out from under the day bed in my craft room. All the stuff piled up on the floor of my craft room in front of the bed is now on top of it and I was able to search underneath with a flashlight and I hit the daily double. Not only did I find my camera but I also found my watch that I had misplaced even longer ago than the camera!

I found a picture of Abby in one of her favorite positions - sitting on our laps or legs as Norm or I sit in the recliner. She has a complete view of the family room, the outside through the Florida room and anyone coming in from upstairs. The queen oversees her domain! You can also tell it's an older picture because she has hair! All of this is gone now, ahhh...Hopefully she will be back to her glorious, cute as a button look within a couple of months. I consider this a good sign for the year to come. Got camera, got luck!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

God Bless Us Everyone!

I want to wish all my friends, family and blog readers here in the US and around the world a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Three more shopping days til Christmas...

I've just about had it with retailers. They are playing mind games with me. The Christmas decorations and promos started BEFORE Halloween around here. For months I was working on the consumer delusion of having so much time until you really had to get serious about Christmas.

I fought if off, had it under control and then like Abby with the was gone. Did you realize we've PASSED the last shopping week until Christmas? Wasn't Thanksgiving last Thursday? I could have sworn I just watched the Rockettes dance past Macy's front entrance and Santa go HO, HO, HO as he turned the corner and passed a Duane Reed...

I had the "formal" tree up right after Thanksgiving, I even got the lights on the bushes out front before Thanksgiving. So how did come to pass that this Friday is Christmas!?! I'M NOT READY!!!

They really ought to give us more warning...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I'm Pictureless!...

You may know I've "misplaced" my camera. Don't you love those lovely euphemisms? Previously loved cars - Used car! Let's be honest here. Misplaced camera - all right, I lost it, I admit it... I'm convinced it's buried somewhere in my craft room but I haven't been able to find it. I had been planning on telling you all about some of the stuff going on but I keep getting an error message when I try to upload Alexa's SD card to my printer(I've been using her camera). I'm striking out all over so you will all have to use your imaginations...

Fool that I am, I invited five of Alexa's friends (the core group) over to decorate gingerbread houses. Each year Alexa decorates a gingerbread house whether it comes from a kit, or the Dessert Deli's house decorating event or a Wegman's house that we put together and then she decorates. She wanted to do houses with her friend Brenda, so I figured in for a penny in for a nickle and had five friends come over. Lex took pictures, as did I but they will not load!! So you need to imagine our dining room table, covered in a pink plastic table cloth and six chairs around. At each place is a 8D"X5W"X10H gingerbread house on a cardboard base. There are six snowman marshmallow peeps, one at each place setting, and a piping bag filled with royal frosting.

Running down the center of the table are various bowls of Twizzler - strawberry and multi-fruit colored, cinnamon dots, 10 packages of Necco wafers, gum drops and wreaths, square, grid shaped pretzels, hard holiday candies in different colors, mini fruit flavored and colored jelly half circles, marshmallow mini Christmas trees and stockings and fruit shaped Skittle type candies. Also three cans of decorative icing - two white and one green and turtle crunch crumbs (for dirt or walkways). Needless to say the girls made good use of EVERYTHING! The houses came out great and more importantly, Alexa told me they all had a good time and loved their houses.

Now picture this, not hard because you can scrawl back a couple of posts and probably see pictures of Abby. Abby was covered in matted fur on her tummy, and dingy fur on top, head and ears because she's been out in the mud and stuff in the backyard and it's been raining and or snowing lately. She's also a little stinky...but beautiful still.

I took her to the groomer on Thursday to get her monthly bath and cut and told Jackie that she would probably have to have her tummy shaved to get rid of the mats there and her side coat taken down a bit. If she had to have a puppy cut, so be it, but she needed a serious trim. I left puppy at the groomers and ran my errands and called back at 4:00 to see if she was ready. Well, it turns out we no longer have a stinky, dingy, and matted but beautiful cocker spaniel. We now have a clean, sweet smelling BALD cocker spaniel...This one I'm almost glad you can't see! Her head is still as it was but from the neck down fuggetaboutit! The one good thing, kinda, is that we now know how she gets up on stuff - she's got the longest legs! She looks about four inches taller when you see how long her legs are now that they are not hidden by hair! Same with worrying about her weight - she's a slim trim girl!

No pictures need for this...I've got a solid handle on our toned down Christmas. We aren't going to Long Island this year - saving money, letting hubby relax at home and no worries about the dog. As always I have Alexa's computer written, including pictures list. This year she improved it by adding coupons and discount numbers for on-line ordering - where applicable!

I'll try to post as soon as I get the tree(s) up. I'm challenged by Abby as to what I can put up and what I can't. That vertical leap of hers is scary and I'm not willing to have my tree and 30+ year old handmade ornaments damaged or destroyed. So an update will be posted.

On the work front I did a paper covered nutcracker, a Maya Road Christmas tree chipboard book for the store and I have to do 25 ATC's (altered trading cards) for a swap at work. I also have several things to mail, more shopping to do (but no more money at the moment!) and the ever dreaded Christmas cards to do...and can you see the top of my desk? could for about 24 hours a day or two ago, but now, not so much ;-)

So take care, I'll post when I can find a camera, a workable SD card and whatever else! Enjoy, only 19 more days till the jolly red suited guy arrives!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

The first snowfall of the season. Just enough to make roads slussy and messy but not enough to call out the snow plows. Norm carved a path in the grass for Abby this morning. When I went out with her she wanted to eat the snow and then bury her nose in it and swish it around! Now I have not only a dingy, scraggly puppy, I've got a wet one too!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Few Thoughts...

It's been awhile, I know. All kinds of things going on but nothing really noteworthy so I think I may just ramble a bit to catch y'all up.

Abby is a mountain goat - I bet you didn't know that cocker spaniels led double lives, did 'ya? You can't leave a chair out, anything within six inches of the edge of a counter or a glass on an end table - what, are you crazy! She climbs chairs, the couch, the back of the couch, the kitchen table - loves to grab all the napkins in her mouth and trot away dropping them as she goes saving a large enough amount to chew and spread all over the family room, in pieces, lots of pieces - many, many, MANY pieces - 'enuff said...This is Abby caught in the act of eating a magazine...

Alexa has a cold or something. She is a very resistant, resilient kid. She doesn't catch every germ going around the school or gym. She is rarely sick and when she is, her personality and actions are like a light switch turning off - makes it real easy to tell when she's just whining or is truly not feeling well. She's got the current rage going round - sore throat, cough, and low grade or no fever. I kept her home yesterday as it was a half day anyway but she went to school today. I'd really love her to be able to kick the sore throat...and yes, I'm keeping a very watchful eye on the temp for a relapse.

Yes, I still scrapbook! That was Alexa's question to me. Do you ever just make a regular layout? Something NOT for the store? Yes, Alexa, there is a scrapbooking mother in me. Here is a page to prove it - about you! I did this at the retreat last weekend along with three 2 page, 12x12 layouts, ten 8.5x11 layouts for last years vacation book, the chipboard Christmas tree I talk about later and a baby book for my friend Sarah. I'd write about the retreat but to be honest, much of he conversation is unprintable - we were naughty, big girls, but we had fun! (Sorry about the glare in the shot)

Christmas is coming, yada, yada, yada...I know, I'm a grouch :-( (welcome to my REAL world). We are staying home for the holidays this year. Money very tight, puppy concerns for traveling and staying in a hotel or even whether we should take her with us. Wondering how I'm going to put up a tree with danger dog in the house. She eats one of my handmade ornaments or faves and she is a dead dog!

Excited too because the store is going to be all decorated and we're doing our day after Thanksgiving Holiday Make 'n Take for the family the store will adopt for the holidays. I've already done two pieces for the store. I covered a wooden nutcracker (unfinished) with paper. I took the idea off the cover of a magazine and used the Basic Grey Eskimo 6X6 paper pack. Keeping with the BG theme only this time in 12X12, I covered the Maya Road Christmas tree chipboard ring album.

Keeping with my ever increasing cluttered-couldn't-find-my-head-if-it-wasn't-attached state of mind, I STILL haven't found my camera. I took Norm's to my retreat last weekend (if I can find it now, I'll see if I have any pictures to post to illustrate sentiments above). My craft room is still uninhabitable...and I don't even want to talk about the rest of the house (our bedroom is starting to look as bad as Alexa's!)

So, I think I'll go look for the camera (his) as I wait for the heating guy (third visit in week) don't get me started...and then try to make a dent in straightening up the house-I need a maid, butler, Merry Maid, cleaning droid, or whatever to do that. On that note (er, plea) I'll sign off and wish everyone who stops by a Happy Thanksgiving - a safe and successful Black Friday and best wishes for a good and healthy start to the holiday season!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


The New York Yankees win their, count'em 27th World Series!!!!

Go Godzilla!! Hideki Matsui - the first designated hitter named World Series MVP!!

The 'Core Four' - Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and Andy Petitte - #5 guys!

We are the CHAMPIONS!!!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Back again....

Blog hiatus over, I hope. It's not like I didn't have anything to blog about, I've been busy all summer and fall. My big problem is I can't find my camera. If you saw my craft/computer room you'd understand. Have you seen that show 'Hoarders' ? Well, that's my craft/computer room right now. I'm convinced my camera is in here somewhere, I just haven't found it yet!

Abby is another reason. I can't let her up here because she'll just take off into any room she can and find whatever she can to chew up. She especially loves Alexa's room because Alexa never cleans up or puts away her clothes, clean or dirty... If I could fix Alexa's door so that when it closes it stays close (something is off about how the locking mechanism meets the jam) that would help. I'm putting it on my list of things to do.

But I do have a little update on our sweet little puppy. First, she's part mountain goat! She climbs anything and everything - the couch, chair, end tables, the kitchen table, counters if she can find a step up. She can fit through the slats of the stairs and tries to cut through those to reach the upstairs. So every once in a while I feel guilty leaving her alone as I go out and run errands. I love to bring her with me, but she wants to drive the car and she hasn't gotten her learners permit let alone her license...

I took Abby with me to run some errands last week. First, we went to the bank - but I went inside so no biscuit for puppy :-( then we went to Best Buy to pick up the copy of my hard drive as my laptop's mother board was being replaced (another reason for not posting - most of my current photos are on my laptop). Again, puppy not allowed in Best Buy. We also hit Starbucks, no lattes for puppies and the post box - Abby doesn't fit into the slot.

Then we went to Delta Sonic (local car wash, gas station, oil change and convenience store). I noticed that my MIL's car inspection sticker expired three months ago :- \ , plus it needs to be washed inside and out - all those puppy nose marks on the windows... Turns out they did do inspections I just had to leave the car at the bay door, leave the keys and they'd do it right away. I couldn't leave Abby in the car so we went for a little walk around the green area near the Delta Sonic. I was told 20 minutes for the inspection and we started back to wait at the outside waiting area. We were almost back to the garage when a truck pulls up and there is a DS employee inside and he says "We can't do your car" - Shocked, I said, "Why?" - turns out I kept the keys and didn't leave them in the car. So I hand the keys over and Abby and I walk around a little more and get the car back about a half hour later.

But, were not done. I put Abby in the car and walk into DS to buy my carwash and arrange for gas afterward. I go back to the car and the car is locked. I didn't think I left it locked, oh well, I'll just open it. I go fishing for my keys...and find them in the ignition. Locked in. Abby locked in. Back into DS and ask if anyone can help me get my door open. Longer story short - they can't. AAA, I think! What have I been paying them for all these years! I go to call and I can't get my phone to work! Back into DS to use their phone. 400 questions later, with continual assurances and promises of the quickest service they say they'll be there in no later than 45 minutes! It's an emergency because there is a pet trapped in the vehicle...

I go to wait by the car with Abby so she doesn't get too stressed. I'm still trying to figure out how the door got locked. Then Abby jumps up on the window ledge to sniff hello and it hits me. Abby locked the car! While I was inside DS she jumped up on the window ledge and pushed the button down. I was going to be right back to the wash the car so I left the keys in the car. Thirty minutes later, the window jimmied open by AAA we finally were able to pull into the car wash portion of DS.

It was a first for Abby and I'm not sure she really liked the experience. We go through the water, soap, drying, waxing and pull around AGAIN - for the inside cleaning. We sit down again outside and wait the fifteen minutes for the vacuuming, window washing and dash cleaning. I put Abby in the car and we...pull over the the gas pumps. I pump my gas and go back into DS for I hope is the last time. I paid for my gas, got my discount and decide to purchase a lottery ticket. Mega Million is $105 mil - gotta be in it to win it and my luck can't get any worse! Maybe this whole disaster is a sign! I'm finally gonna hit the big one!

I'm on my way out to the car, keys firmly in hand, puppy looking out the back window for me to return and I hear a voice behind me - "Mam, you forgot your lottery ticket!" I sheepishly turn around, smile, grab the ticket and go straight home, no more stops, no more chances, and looking for police cars all the way home...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

And it begins again - I can hear the music!

Another September and school begins again today. Alexa and I managed to prepare for the start of the school year without either of us coming to blows. We did all her school supplies last week and supplemented her ever growing wardrobe this week. The rest of the house was clueless that she even started school today! Her dad and my MIL thought she started next week. Sure, that's why I've been running around like a chicken with it's head cut off for the past two weeks! So now I'm doing the happy dance - it truly is the most wonderful time of the year!

It was a little harder to take the usual pictures as she is getting so grown up. We finally got her hair cut last night and despite having that lovely Vera Bradley large tote her father got her last year, she went and bought a new Aero portfolio to be her usual styling self. She's not carrying so much because last week we did the ritual decorating of the locker. This year we did (or I should say I did) all four walls in a contrasting print of pink and purple flowers and purple solid. She also had the appropriate hand sanitizer, mirror, wipe off board, and metal racks - pink, of course.

Our garage sale was a success. We did a really good day on Friday. Before I started to bring things out at 7:30 a.m. I had a neighbor from down the street ask about Alexa's swing set. I put an ad on Craigslist at about 11:30 the night before advertising the sale and listing our swing set for free for anyone who was willing to take it. Boom! before 8:00 a.m. we had a taker and our sale didn't offically start until 9:00 a.m. We were busy the entire day and stayed open an hour passed our advertised closing. Saturday we had rain early in the morning. It cleared fairly quickly but we didn't do anywhere near what we did the day before.

Alexa made out like a bandit. She kept track of all her sales and even learned to haggle a bit and cut deals in order to sell her items. Her total take accounted for a quarter of our total profits! The good news is she wants to bank over 90% of it and only keep a nominal amount of cash. We must be doing something right.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Shameless Self Promotion...

It's been a while since my last post. I guess I went on summer vacation from posting. Now that's not to say I actually went on vacation. We decided (or rather our lack of funding and the puppy)that we couldn't swing a vacation this summer so we decided to do the next best thing - have a garage sale...

We've been collecting (or rather not throwing out) stuff for the last 30 years. Combine some things of my MIL and my late parents and we've got a lot of stuff. So this weekend August 28-29 is it. I planned the date carefully around Norman's work. Didn't want to interfere the beginning of the school year. In my fervor to assure Norm's presence I neglected to plan for my own...

I can't ask for the day off work because the Stamp Show and Convention is going on this weekend down in Hamburg. Sharon needs me at the store while she sets up the store's booth at the show. You'd think I'd be good for Saturday though, but no I've got a class scheduled, not to take but to teach and I've got 10 people signed up, 10 people! Heaven help me! So Norm and Alexa will have to run the show.

Lex has really gotten into it. She's a pricing and make money demon. She even told me that we might have to spend a little money to make money! She also wants to get personal credit for everything we sell that's hers. She's already counting her pennies!

If you are interested the sale is running Friday and Saturday from 9 to 3 both days. We have assorted household 'stuff', CD's, books, children's toys, games and books and a lot of craft supplies. Specifically, I have a lot of counted cross stitch towels, cloth, pattern books, my mom's cookbooks, and her baskets. My mom made baskets from scratch and I have a wonderful large collection of beautiful useful baskets. So stop on by if you are in the area. We're at 146 Ranch Trail in Williamsville.

There, that's my bid at shameless self promotion. Have a great weekend everyone I'll be back to posting once this weekend is over and the school year is ready to go. Next week I have to deal with clothes shopping with Alexa (oh, boy) and decorating her locker (trust me, you don't want to know!) and some serious puppy training with Abby. Here's a hint on the last one...

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Unreasonable Demands...

It's Tuesday morning and I'm listening to the rain outside while I watch 'West Wing' reruns, ahhh...nirvana. School's out and my house is being invaded by sleepovers, playdates, last minute 'things' and the first week of vacation is only two days old... I want my days, alone, again. I'm a bad mother, I know. It's going to be even more of a challenge when my darling daughter finds out she's going to be responsible for more around the house. Here is my list of unreasonable demands, 1. Rinsing off dishes and loading the dishwasher (she is already responsible for emptying the dishwasher, a job she hasn't totally mastered after two years) 2. Walking the dog once a day. In an effort to be fair she will have her choice of morning or afternoon. I may have to negotiate the picking up of poop with a poop bag... 3. Learning how to do her laundry - because I don't do her's often or fast enough. Mind you the only thing I asked before was for her to put her dirty clothes in her own designated hamper, which I even moved into her room to make it easier. This is a task she has yet to master after two plus years. I know, she's an only child, she's 12, she's a girl. I'm far too demanding and I'm starting a countdown until school starts again...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"The Dog Ate It..."

To all the teacher's out there - it can happen! The old chestnut of the "dog ate my homework" almost came true at our house, with a slight twist. Abby, in her constantly chewing on anything and everything mode didn't chew Alexa's homework, she chewed MY computer! Late last night I was sitting on the couch doing I don't know what on the laptop we use downstairs and I had to run to the bathroom. I came back into the family room and the laptop had been dragged off the couch turned upside down and Abby was happily chewing on the letter "G". She had also managed to pry off at least four other keys and had 6-10 more off kilter. I'm so glad I got the full warranty and service package with this puppy, er computer. I ran over to Best Buy this morning, computer in tow and sheepishly told the Geek Squad - "The dog ate it..."

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

How time flies...

It's been a while hasn't it. I've said it before but having a new puppy in the house is like having a baby again. Your life isn't your own anymore. The good news is that I actually get up earlier in the morning. The bad news is I don't actually get more done. As with a baby, you live your life around poop and piddle. So I do get out of the house walk the dog - this morning in my pajamas - and met the neighbors - and a school bus stopped to ask if Abby wanted a ride to school...

I've taken the puppy to the vet for her check-up, made arrangements for puppy obedience school and am still trying to get a hold of the groomer as she needs a bath and haircut, badly. My hands are a wreck. My cuticles are all torn and bleeding. My nails are chipped and broken and my skin is as dry as sandpaper and covered in bite marks as Puppy is teething - on us. So I've got scratches, scabs and bruises everywhere. Throw in a little ink from CKC last week and my hands look like they belong on a corpse!

I don't have a lot of pictures right now. I'm too busy chasing Abby around to take pictures of her but I do have a nice one of her and Alexa.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Creative Fun...

We had a guest artist at the store this past weekend. Wendy Vecchi, who is an exclusive certified Ranger Art demonstrator, on the Maya Road design team and also has her own line of stamps with Stampers Anonymous came and taught four classes and a make and take at the store. Because of my busy weekend with Abby I could only attend one class - her 'Make a Better Bird" class. What fabulous fun! Wendy posted pictures of many of the birds on her blog and here is mine.

I've been told that my bird is very 'me' and here I thought I was going out of my comfort box zone! I just wanted to share with my out of Buffalo friends.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Photos of Abby...

I've been so busy chasing after Abby that I've had little time to take pictures! I took the camera out with me yesterday when we had a little run-around play time.
She loves to chew - everything...
As your can see, she's very well read...

And sometimes she is rather camera shy...

She is delightfully rambunctious, loves to chew on Alexa's shoes (incentive for her to put them away for a change :-) She sleeps though the night and is taking to housebreaking quite well. I do feel like a new mother though, not wanting to leave her alone long enough to do household chores or even change clothes and take a shower. I'm a little nervous about going to work today and leaving her alone, although my MIL dotes on her as much as we do.

We'll I'm getting puppy kisses as I type so I think I'll go play with my new baby.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Puppy Home!

Houston, the Puppy has landed! We picked up the puppy on Saturday afternoon. She is absolutely precious! Although, right now she's diving under the couch in the family room and randomly attacking the furniture, my slippers, her lead, the wastepaper basket, the computer cord and running back and forth behind the couch...

After weeks of wondering what her name would be Alexa ended up choosing the name given her by her breeder. She is officially Abigail - or Abby. She's smart, daring, loving, funny, super affectionate and right this moment bouncing all over the family room. She can't quite get up the three steps to the kitchen where her water and food is but she's able to get up the carpeted living room stairs. Right now she's working off her morning energy without the benefit of Alexa. I'd have more pictures but I'm too busy trying to keep up with her! Pictures will follow.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Creative Juices...

My creative juices have been running a little dry lately. I got several pages and projects done during the last meeting of our sweatshoppe scrap retreat but I wasn't jazzed by any of them. I saw a project in a magazine a couple of months ago and I used it for inspiration for a page I created to showcase some of the photos from a trip Norman and I took to Louisville, KY and Indianapolis, IN last summer.
It was just as much about color as it was about where we were. I used Graphic 45, one of my favorite lines for this travel page. I'm really happy with how it turned out. It's on display at the store and I'll be doing it as class in May and June.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Puppy Countdown...

We're hoping that we'll have our puppy a week from today. In anticipation and preparation for her arrival we hit the local Pet Smart today. Alexa spent about two hours last night reading to me from one of the new puppy books we got in preparation for today's shopping trip. Needless to say she is now an expert on puppy needs and training! Here are the results of our first shopping trip...

There is an underlying theme if you can see it - Pink! She has a pink bed, a pink collar and a pink lead. I put my foot down though when she wanted pink poop baggies!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Puppy Update!

Here is an updated photo of our baby girl:
Isn't she adorable! We hope to bring her home around May 1-3. Still no definite name. Alexa is biding her time until we meet her to make her final decision. It's still looking like either Lily or Chloe. What do you like? Let me know!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Night to Remember...

No, it wasn't an invasion from Mars. It was sleepover night!

Alexa had a sleepover last night. Four girls total, one, for her very first sleep over. We really lucked out when we moved to Williamsville. Alexa started at a great school and made friends very quickly. This core group of girls are still friends and do a lot together. What makes it even better is that they are all such nice girls. For last night's event I read them the riot act when they arrived - where they could and could not go, when quiet hours started (Lex was aghast at that!) and then I slipped away. We left the girls on their own for the rest of the night except for one invitation to judge a game they were playing (photos to follow). Norm heard them a couple of times during the night, but by 9:00 am. they were fast asleep - having finally gone to bed at 6:15 a.m.!
Here are some highlights...
The morning after: Brenda, top right, is still a little shelled shocked. Alexa and Haley - raring to go!

The story on the top picture is that Alexa found a game on-line where you create an outfit out of aluminum foil and see who could come up with the best design. Brenda really got into it and did leggings and shoes to go with her outfit! She walked like the Mummy mind you, but it was really cute! Laura came up with a cute mini dress with fringe on the bottom and a foil flower in the middle. She also made a cute little purse to go with her outfit.

Then came kitchen time. Our house was chosen for this sleepover because we had an integral ingredient to Alexa's Ice Cream recipe, Kosher salt...don't ask, we just do! ANYWAY, the girls made their concoctions then had to shake them for 10 minutes, which in twelve year old time means 10 years! I'm told the icecream came out quite good. I'm hoping the toppings below helped.

In the morning Norm made a Timmy's run and the girls left around 11:00 a.m. I'm sure naps will be on the agenda for all of them today.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Counting the days...

I've been counting the days for two big events. First, the first weekend in April is the semi-annual Sweatshoppe Spring Retreat. I missed the last one because of Norman's traveling schedule but I WILL be there, by hook or by glue stick! Colleen has started a countdown coming up with little known trivia about each day as we count down. We are now at T-18 and counting!

The second big event is our puppy coming home! Alexa is going to wait until we meet the puppy to give her her forever name. I've been waiting for Susan to post an updated picture of the puppy but there isn't one yet. I do have a picture of her mom, Jingles. Here she is...

Isn't she beautiful! I've been reading the site puppy blog where other parents of High Calling Cockers post pictures and updates on their puppies as we anxiously await our new little girl!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

We're having a baby...

Not me silly - gotcha! We're getting a puppy! Her current name is Abigail and she is 4 days old! Here is one of her first pictures. * For those who have asked, the new puppy is a buff cocker spaniel.
We've been waiting for a while and finally got the word on Friday that puppies were available. Alexa was a little bummed out that we didn't pick her first pick, but she's over it and concentrating on what she is going to name our new little girl (yes, we gave the puppy naming honor to her - within reason...). We'll be able to get our new baby around the end of April and I'll try and post pictures weekly of her progress. We are soooooooo... excited!!! (at least I am :-)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Valentine's Day...

You may or may not know I'm not big on holidays. I had to do one of those internet surveys once where they asked what your 'Favorite Holiday' was and I was stumped. I just don't have one. Valentine's day is especially hard for me. I was so excited our first Valentine's day together (Norman and me). I was expecting a classic Valentine's of candy and/or flowers. We were freshmen in college at the time and Norman was still at home after an extended weekend because he was sick (mono, I think). He called me on the phone and told me to ask his RA to let me into his room because my Valentine's present was there. I was so excited, I got Bill to let me in to Norm's room and there was my first real Valentine's present from my future husband - a book...

A BOOK! No hearts, no flowers, no heart shaped box of candy, no token of romance and love, a book! Hildegard Neff's biography, A Gift Horse. To say I wasn't thrilled was an understatement. From then on Norm bought me roses, red roses. After the first few times it became apparent that roses were the automatic default regardless of the situation or reason. Roses are nice, don't get me wrong. But my favorite roses are a coral colored rose named 'Sonia'. After we were married and money was tighter than tight Norm bought me red roses, again and I told him to stop. We couldn't afford them and frankly they were not my favorite. Well, Norm took that to mean forever and ever... Fast forward to many, many years later. My MIL was living with us and for Valentine's Day Norm bought us the same generic spring flower bouquet basket. I wasn't happy. I know we want men to read our minds and expect it, but I didn't take any chances. I told Norm that giving me the same flowers he gave his mother was not a good thing...

This year...after heavy hinting and clear and concise statements I got my favorite flowers - tulips. I keep telling Norm to read my blog and if he did he'd see the red tulip on my profile strip. I also have a red tulip in my craft room. So this year he finally got it right and I'm so very, very happy.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Another one for the books...

On February 7, we had Alexa's party at Dessert Deli. I'm thinking this is a good idea! Low key, girls get to make some cupcakes, not tons of screaming kids around and relatively inexpensive. WRONG! Well, right for the first three but oh so wrong for the last! Don't get me wrong, they did a wonderful job, the girls had a great time, I had a great time, my mother-in-law even came but I broke the bank. Worse, I have to take the blame :(

I had to have a guarantee of ten girls. So I told Alexa to invite a few more because I already knew that two wouldn't be able to come. I figured between weather, illness, other activities, family commitments, etc. it would be hard to come up with the 10. Wrong, again, we had thirteen total. I had also hired a caricaturist to draw a picture of each girl for them to take home - what was I thinking! Don't get me wrong again, they came out great. Then with all this planning (which really wasn't a lot - DD did almost all the work) I figured I'd get some great party shots - wrong, again! I got about five to six pictures taken and my battery died! I whipped out my new phone (with camera) and started taking pictures. Norm whipped out his also. Mine filled fast and refused to do more (and we still hadn't gotten to the cake) so Norm went across the street and bought a throw-away camera! (I still have to get those pictures finished and developed and I still have to download the pictures off the phones!)

So, long story - long, here's what I have for the day. The girls had a great time sitting in the back of the bakery at a long table decorating two cupcakes, one vanilla, one chocolate. The DD provided icing in bags - all different colors, decorations, and instruction in piping and making flowers, etc. Then while the girls were having birthday cake, the bakers awarded prizes to each set of cupcakes. Things like, Most Unusual, Best Use of Color, etc. When the cupcakes came out, they were each handed their goodie bags with their cupcakes.

Alexa got some cute presents and all the girls had a really nice time. (Hopefully, she's working on the 'thank-you notes' as I type.) It was a Saturday afternoon so the bakery wasn't too crowded and they had the dining room almost all to themselves.

On Sunday, Alexa's birthday, she had a gymnastics meet. We've really been trying to instill "teamwork" and responsibility to others in her and she really wanted to blow off this meet. As it was only her second meet (we couldn't get out money back) and her team needed her, we insisted she do the meet. She did very well, keeping consistent with her marks from the meet before and improving a little and she won one third place trophy for her vault. I'm not allowed to take flash pictures at meets, USGA rules. So without using a flash I'm pretty limited in taking pictures. Plus, if I could get close enough, I don't want to spook her or make her more nervous when she's on the balance beam!
We finished the day with a trip to Carabbas for her birthday dinner. Mind you, all she had was plain pasta with red sauce, but no never mind, she was the birthday girl after all!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I'm working on it...

Just a quick note to let you know I'm still here. I've got pictures to put together from Alexa's birthday weekend. Yes, weekend, not DAY - the diva must have a whole weekend and as it was filled with a lot of stuff, I'm still getting it all together. Also, I pulled a muscle in my back so I've kinda confined myself to the heating pad for the past day or so. Never fear, I'll be back!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Survey 2009...

I found this on my friend Chiara's blog. It a bit different than the usual survey and by some quirky twist, I've managed to do many of the more a-typical things than the easier ones. I've done the things in blue. What have you done?

1. Started your own blog

2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii

5. Watched a meteor shower

6. Given more than you can afford to charity

7. Been to Disneyland

8. Climbed a mountain

9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sang a solo

11. Bungee jumped

12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch

15. Adopted a child

16. Had food poisoning

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train

21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitch hiked

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill

24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb

26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a Marathon

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run

32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing

40. Seen Michelangelos David

41. Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

44. Visited Africa

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud

54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies

62. Gone whale watching

63. Got flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp

67. Bounced a check

68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten Caviar

72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London

77. Broken a bone

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper

85. Read the entire Bible

86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating

88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life

90. Sat on a jury

91. Met someone famous

92. Joined a book club

93. Lost a loved one

94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a law suit

98. Owned a cell phone

99. Been stung by a bee

100. Read an entire book in one day

Well, it seems like a lot. I don't know if that is good or bad, though!

Tool Time...

I love hardware stores, home improvement stores, tile and carpet stores, gravel yards, lumber yards and furniture stores. HGTV is one of my default TV stations. I've been watching 'This Old House" since the days of Bob Vila. The smell of fresh cut lumber is like perfume to me. Watching a craftsman fit a mitred corner of crown molding or install custom made bookshelves is like an artist painting a masterpiece. Hand tools, the pounding of nails into wood, the sound of a trowl spreading adhesive that will adhere glass tiles to a back splash is like music to my ears...
As much as I admire these things my ability to use them, develop a talent or skill with them is limited to oogling the aisles of Lowe's and Home Depot and annoying any contractor, plumber, electrician or installer that I've had to hire to do what I aspire to and am completely and totally inept at.

We have plumbing issues...Our 'new' master toilet has been running on-and-off since before Christmas. I'm not great with plumbing problems, so I asked Norm to look at it, he jiggled the handle and said "It's still running" and walked away. So we went out to Lowe's and bought a new 'flapper', installed that and it still ran. So, we went back again and bought a whole new 'flush valve'. It stayed in the bag for several days, hoping Norm would take the initiative and attempt to install it, but alas, I took the plunge (No pun intended) and tried to install it myself. Thank heavens it was a Sunday because I needed help! Who you gonna call? - my brother! I had the cell phone on speaker as I was on the bathroom floor trying to loosen the anchor screws. I had visions of emailing photos to Brion to show him what I was seeing. He's my handy man in abstentia.

My wonderful, intelligent, handsome husband is the 'anti-Norm', Norm Abrams that is. He's closer to a bad Tim Taylor. He is so NOT - Mr. Home Depot. Norm's dad was wonderful around the house. He built a great storage area in Norm's childhood garage, cedar closets in the basement and handled almost all home repairs with dexterity and skill. Which of these skills did my Norm inherit - NONE! My dad was the same way. He had a great little shop in the basement with a standing saw, a workbench and a homemade ceiling lazy susan made out baby food jars that held all sorts of nails, fasteners, nuts and bolts. He even let me help when he bought bar stools for the basement from Yield House and we had to assemble them and stain them. When we first married I thought my Norm would continue in the tradition of both our dads, WRONG! I became the keeper of the tools, the holder of the hammer the driver of the screws.

My dad never left any job undone or put off doing fix-it jobs around the house. When my parents came to visit he'd start looking for jobs to do. I began to make lists before they visited first to get jobs done and then just to keep him busy. In the trunk of the car was not only my mom's cookies, but my dad's tool bucket! Now, I need my brother to visit more often...I need a handyman to help me around the house so now I make a list for him!

Oh, and that toilet - it's still running...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Let the festivities begin...

Yes, it's that time again party fans. Alexa's 12th birthday is less than a month away! She had four possible venues (this girl should be a wedding planner) Coldstone Creamery, an ice skating party at the Pepsi Center, Dessert Deli (cupcakes and decorated cakes are us), and a return favorite GBGC - her gymnastics center. May I have the envelope please....(drum roll, tat-a-tat-tat...)

And the winner is...Dessert Deli! (Please hold your applause until the end of the posting, thank you)

Apparently, Alexa has a reputation for having cool parties (I've got to take the blame on this one). So I came up with the idea of the Dessert Deli, a local bakery that specializes in desserts, wedding cakes, cookies and cupcakes. The young ladies will get a tour of the kitchen area, see cakes being made and decorated and then get to decorate their own cupcakes and getting a little lesson in how to use the piping bags and make flowers, etc. There is also going to be a special surprise for the girls, a caricaturist will make a sketch of each of the girls that they will get to take home.

Over the top, yes, I've gone over the top - heaven help me for when she turns 13, 16 and the wedding. Norman's already whispering in Alexa's ear, "Elope, Las Vagas, elope, Las Vegas, elope...".

Update: I've been corrected by Alexa. She says she's the one who came up with the Dessert Deli idea...and Elisabeth, I didn't make the invitations. We bought them at Party City. I was tempted but I probably couldn't have made them up to Alexa's standards!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A New Year...

A new year is a double edged sword - especially as you get older. For some it's a great way to take stock, the perfect reason to clear out that basement, get those bills under control, plan all those things around the house you've wanted to do, start saving for the fabulous family vacation you've been promising yourselves. For others it's just a reminder of all the things you didn't get done last year. You get the idea, it's just in how you look at it.

Or you could be me. All that planning - bah! That's for you younger folks. Me, I'm older, wiser, I've been down that road many, many times before and you know what I've discovered? It will all be there next year! Let me show you what I mean. My last year's list of things to do included:

1. Cleaning up my scrap/computer/guest room.
Progress this past year: NONE! It's still the messiest room in the house, but with more organizational stuff. I got new drawers and shelves and a few new storage bins and an over the door shelf and guess what? They are either all filled with the new stuff I bought or they are blocked by all the old stuff and I can't get near them to fill them or organize them!

2. Organzing my paperwork.
Progress this past year: NONE! I've got a dandy shredder but the pile is bigger than the shredder and pulling all those staples, what a task! I thought I could bribe, er, pay my darling daughter to shred the past 5, 10, 15, 20...some-odd years worth of paperwork, but she's not buying into it. Guess I'll have to get another storage file for all that paper...

3. Lose Weight.
Progress this year: NONE! I'm not even talking about this one, and if you're smart, you won't either!

4. Have a garage sale.
Progress this year: NONE! I've got the basement of three houses. Ours, my parents and my mother-in-law (although she'll tell you she sold or gave away all her good stuff because I didn't want any of it). My MIL thinks I should hire that guy that's on Oprah who cleans out peoples houses that have piles of garbage and stuff piled to the ceiling in every room. I think I need to add 'Find a therapist' to my list...

5. Finish scrap projects and begin our adoption scrap story.
Progress this past year: NONE! Well I really tried on this one. I was all set. I had several almost finished projects all packed up for my retreat, all set to put closure to these projects and guess what? Norman had to go to China and I couldn't go on my retreat. Guess I'll need another retreat to get that job done. On the bright side, I did actually think about the adoption book this morning. That's progress!

I could probably list a few more tasks, but I think not. Let's just try and tackle these. The moral to my post. There is none, just like with New Year's resolutions. Impossible to make, impossible to keep and they'll be there next year anyway!