Saturday, January 28, 2012

Goggles. They Are Not Just For the Pool!

Connor LOVES the water.  It doesn't matter if it is a swimming pool, the ocean, a hose, or a bathtub. He will take it any way he can.  The other day he saw the goggles that Travis uses when he goes swimming.  He wanted to try them out in the bathtub. I thought, why not?  Since he splashes and "dives" in the tub like it is a  swimming pool, why not try out the goggles too?  Here he is modeling. I have a few others that are just as cute.... but I don't think they need to be shared publicly! 

 "Diving" for buried treasure. He thinks he is a pirate on an adventure.
In other news, Travis got some shrinky dinks for Christmas. I was so excited when I found them at the store. This is one of those things where Daryle and I say, "We did these when we were kids!" Then Travis gives us that look like, "You mean you two were once KIDS?!  Whatever you did, I am not too sure it was cool."  They never made kits like this when I was a kid.  Daryle and I were both pretty excited to try it out
 Here were a few almost ready for the oven.   
 Not the best, but proof that Travis was getting into it. I don't have a picture of the finished ones, but boy were they small!!  They turned out cute.   We still have more, but we need to do them when we have actual time to complete something around here.  Extra time?  Not sure what that is lately...
In my last late breaking news .... after 7 years of living in this house our naval orange tree finally produced 4 oranges.  I was waiting to pick them and take a picture of them on our Charlie Brown Orange Tree when the kids came in with their arms full.  "Mom!  Look what we found outside on the orange tree!!"  I just sighed ... I wasn't sure they were ready to be picked yet. Not much I could do at that point, so we cut one open and tried it.
Although they were pretty oranges, they didn't taste all that great.  On the other hand, Blue (the guinea pig) found them quite tasty and ate every ounce of them.  Now that we know the tree is capable of making oranges I guess we will pay more attention to the stick with branches and leaves that is growing in the backyard.  When we first planted the tree I had grand visions of picking baskets of oranges that we had grown on our very own tree. I love oranges, fresh ones are the best.  I just hope next year we get some more... and that this time they taste good too! I guess I need to go do some research on that one. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

What A Week

I am just so happy this week is behind us.  This is what we did in a nutshell.

Monday- We had to go to the vet and have Rock put to sleep. He is now happy in doggy heaven. He is no longer in pain or discomfort.  His presence in our house is deeply missed.  About an hour after arriving home Travis fell off his bike. According to my neighbor (who saw him fall) he fell "hard".  My high pain tolerance child just looked at me and said he was fine. No tears, no complaining, no nothing. He did end up coming in the house, snuggled up in his bed, then the couch and watched the same DVD movie about 3 times.  (I think he was depressed too. My heart was breaking for him.)  After a few hours he did complain that his foot was sore.  We elevated the foot, applied ice, gave him ibuprofen and checked in with the doctor to see what we needed to look for in case something was broken.  I could also tell he was starting to get one of his usual sinus infections.  We all cried most of the evening.

Tuesday- We all went to school and work like normal.  However, the morning was sad.  We missed having Rock there. It was our first morning without him. Daryle usually leaves for work before the rest of us are even up.  He was gone and I realized my "protector" aka Rock wasn't there.  It was a weird feeling. That day I came home from work with the most agonizing headache ever.  My friend at school told me about taking Excedrin and drinking a regular coke.  I  did that, came home and laid down for a half an hour before I had to go get the kids. It worked pretty well. It wasn't totally gone but at least I was able to function for the rest of the evening.  Travis continued to limp and complained a few times that his foot still hurt.  That was odd coming from him. He never complains like that.  The red flag was raised.

Wednesday-Travis woke up and told me he didn't want to go to school. What?! He has NEVER said that before.  I asked him why and he told me that he didn't want to have to walk on his foot, that it was still hurting. A lot. I also noticed his eyes were glazed over.  I knew he was getting sick.  So I had to quickly shuffle things around, type up lesson plans for a sub ( I swear, in my profession being gone from work for a day is more work than just being there myself!) and get  Connor off to preschool. All I can say is "Thank goodness for  Red Truck Grandpa!" that morning. I don't know what I would have done without his help.  That morning we went to the doctor and after checking out his foot she sent us for x-rays to check for a fracture. Thank goodness all was well, just a bad sprain.  I told him his guardian angel dog Rock must have been looking out for him... that bike accident could have been so much worse!  He also was getting the usual sinus infection so his doctor wanted one of his specialists to see him while he was sick. Of course we couldn't get in that day... the next opening would be on Thursday.  It ended up being a nice afternoon. Travis and I just hung out and home, very low key, and got some much needed R&R.  My headache was finally gone.

Thursday- I called in for a half day sub to take Travis to the specialist.  We changed up some of his medications and are trying a new approach without antibiotics. If he isn't doing better by Monday she will call in an antibiotic.  At that point I was starting to stress out and feel so far behind at work.  Panic attack!  Travis goes to soccer practice... but comes home limping.  He likes to over do it. I just shake my head. What can I do, he is tough like that.  In the mail that day we got a sympathy card from the vet.  Enclosed was a very sweet hand written note from the doctor along with Rock's pawprint.  Cue the tears.  Gosh, I had almost made it the whole day without crying too!

Friday- I finally get caught up and am ready for next week. I sure hope it is better than this week was!

Saturday- Connor does not know how to sleep in on a Saturday! He was up at 6:30 and ready to go.  I did some cleaning before going to Travis' soccer game. I also was able make my haircut appointment.   We had a great dinner at San Tan Flat tonight.  We ate outside, roasted marshmallows, and watched the kids dance around and have a super time. As we were sitting there I realized I should have brought a camera! Oh well. Trust me, we had fun!  I think things might finally be returning to normal around here!

Monday, January 16, 2012


Today has been a rough day.  We had to have our dog put to sleep due to declining health from his lung cancer.  Growing up we never really had any pets in our house. One time my brother picked up a stray dog, Timothy.  The problem was that we didn't have a fenced in yard and he was the type of dog that needed to run.  My parents found a nice home for him and that was about it. He was only with us for a few months.  I also remember this other  black and white dog we had named Patches.  He jumped everywhere and tore up the backyard.  I don't think we had him very long either.  I'm not sure what happened to him.  So, Rock was the first real pet I ever had. I have never considered myself an "animal person" but I sure did grow to love our dog.  On the other hand, Daryle always grew up with pets, usually cats.  When we got married we would often discuss having a pet one day. Since we were living in an apartment at the time I had told him we could get one when we got a house.  Well, in June 1999 we bought our first house and by November Rock had joined the family.  We had debated dog or cat for months. Since we had a rather large backyard we both pictured a big dog running around back there.  We figured there was plenty of room for a dog ... and kids too.  Unfortunately we moved from that house before we brought Travis home.  I can tell you Rock had a lot of enjoyment in that backyard.  (For exercise we would take a laser pointer out there and shine it all around and he would chase it! It was so funny to watch!) Too bad my scanner doesn't work. I was showing Travis some old  pictures of when we first got Rock. He was much smaller, super black (he had really greyed in recent months)  and you could see the sparkle in his eyes.  He had a good life. As you can see in these pictures, Rock and Travis have quite a bond. I am not sure Connor is really old enough to understand, but Travis sure is. I was surprised when he told me he wanted to come with me to take Rock to the animal hospital.  I already had asked my mom to come with me so I knew between the two of us we could take care of Travis too.  I have to say, he loved on that dog all morning before we left.  He even followed Rock around the house and took a bunch of pictures of him. He even got one of Rock drinking from his water bowl. It was sad and cute all at the same time.  When we got to the hospital we went into the exam  room where they had a nice soft  blanket laying on the ground.  We all sat on the floor and hugged Rock and talked to him. Travis was right in there with the whole thing.  When the doctor came in to sedate him Travis just laid by him and hugged on tight.  It was such a tender, peaceful moment.  Here are some of the happier times.
 I have so many pictures like this!
 Helping dad give  Rock a bath!

 I about died the time Travis was reading the book Go Dog Go! to Rock.  That was hilarious!
  A family picture... BC... Before Connor
 The best of friends.

He always did like a good bone....
 These are from Rock's birthday last March, he was 12 years old.  We always tried to make a cake... he didn't get any frosting though. I am so glad we took these pictures last year, since it was his last birthday.
Travis took this one of Rock and Connor this morning. So sweet.  (I can't find any pictures of Rock and Connor... I am so thankful Travis got this one today!)
 Travis kept frowning, finally I got him to show a small smile while hugging his beloved dog.
 Finally, I was able to get a cute one of them together. I think I will print it out and frame it.  You can just see from the look in his eyes though that he was not feeling well. I didn't quite see it when he was around. But now that I have been looking back at his  younger days it really shows.  (Notice they are holding his paws... Travis insisted.)
Now for a few funny memories of Rock.

Yes, he was a doggy school drop out!  Once we got his behavior under control I just did not care if he didn't make a perfect figure eight while walking next to me!  We never went back.  I don't take critisism

Over the course of 12 years:
He ate his leather leash.  He ate 2 dozen hard boiled eggs. He ate a loaf of bread. He ate a pound of ground beef that was thawing on the counter.  He ate a package of gum. Wrappers and all. He really loved eating Kleenex and  toilet paper rolls. Yes, we fed him dog food every day too!  He got in lots of trouble sometimes...

He used to escape the house and I would have to run all over the neighborhood chasing him down. He thought this was great fun. He really enjoyed the time the fence fell down and he got to run free in the church lot that was behind us.

We used to love watching him sit on our deck and howl at the noon whistle that went off every Saturday in Memphis.  It was also the tornado siren... he howled and howled at that noise!

One time he got stuck under the deck in our backyard. We hadn't had him very long.. a few weeks maybe.  Daryle wasn't home so it was up to me to "save" him.  I called several numbers and nobody would help. Finally one person suggested I get a water bottle, fill it with soapy water, spray him and get him out.  I did just that and also got out a shovel and dug out some dirt.  He finally slipped right out, got a hold of the water bottle in his teeth and ran around the yard with it hanging out of his mouth and spewing water all over the place.  Boy was I glad when Daryle got home!  I was exhausted.  The energy of a puppy is endless.

The first time it snowed we tried letting him stay inside with us. He thought our bed was a trampoline. Out he went. The next morning there was snow all over and not one paw print.  Out he came... he had been hiding under the shed all night!

The original owners named him "Twister". We tried naming him Bo. It sounded too much like No so we changed it to Rock.

Before kids, all of our pictures were of Rock.  Then the pictures were Travis and Rock. The last few years Rock seems to be missing from pictures. Sorry old boy.  Trying to get the three of you in a picture was a challenge.

Travis used to refer to our 80 pound dog as his "puppy." Once people saw him they would say, "That's no puppy!!"

If he wanted to be petted he would put his paw on your leg and just look at you with those big brown eyes as if to say, "Come on and pet me! You know you want to!"

There are so many more stories.  12 years is a long time. He was our first "child".  He got all of our attention for many years. He filled the void in our lives when we struggled with infertility.  When Travis joined the family Rock took him under his wing and was a fierce protector. When Connor got home he sniffed him and licked him all over and then decided he needed protection too. Even today as he stood there getting his shot he growled at the doctor as if to say, "These are my people and you had better not let anything happen to them!"

There is one thing I know for sure.  My family is now being protected by one heck of a "guardian angel dog"... I am not really sure if there is such a thing... but we will go with it. It makes us feel better. 

Right now our family needs to grieve the loss of a wonderful pet, but I am sure it won't be long until we have another furball running around here again.  Pets teach us so many life lessons.  They really add a lot to the family.
A house just isn't a home without a dog, that's for sure.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Soccer season is upon us once again. Of course Daryle is coaching. This year their colors are bright yellow and black.  The team decided to be called the Hornets. They actually have a pretty good little team too.  Travis moved up to the 8-9 year old division so he is now on a bigger field with bigger goals. He is worried about playing goalie and having somebody kick a ball "up over his head and in the corner." I told him not to worry about it and to do his best. That's all you can do. As for me, I NEVER wanted to play goalie. I was too afraid of the ball. I remember a girl named Molly was always our goalie.  Not me. I was happy playing in the back and helping the goalie. Not much action happened back there. I wasn't the most aggressive or competitive child athletically.  (Now put me in a spelling bee or compete for the best grades and you have a different story.  I also cheer pretty loudly for the team from the sidelines too.  I am a good "soccer mom" in that respect!)  Daryle and I have often discussed that it was probably a good thing we don't have biological would have frustrated him when it came to sports!!  Fortunately, we have two Russian boys who LOVE sports and are pretty good at them too.  Connor is counting down the days when he "gets a team".  Next year he can play, you have to be 4. He is so excited.  I can't wait for it either. I just love watching the little guys play, it is so much fun.  Here are some of my favorite pictures from Travis' first game last Saturday. I have a bunch, but they all start looking the same after awhile.  Here is Coach Daryle with his team.
Travis playing goalie.
 Action shot.
 If you look closely you can see the street sign. It says Hawes Road.  No it wasn't named after us. However, a lot of my students think it is. Not to mention my own children. Pretty funny.
 Connor was hanging out playing on my iTouch feeling pretty cozy with Red Truck Grandpa.  (Sometimes this is shortened to  "Red Truck". We all know who that means!)
 Then he switched to "GrammyGrandpa's" lap. We all know that means my dad.  This is how they tell the two grandpas apart.  The kids came up with it so it has stuck.  Cute kid sayings always seem to stick! 
 Of course he still likes Mommy's lap too!
 Connor wanted a turn with the camera.  I had to delete most of what he took. I kept this one he took of his shadow. Pretty clever! (Not sure if this was on purpose or an accident, either way I like it.)
 Having two iTouches in the house has been a pretty good investment... thanks Santa! I got one last year and this year Santa brought one for Travis. Mine has sort of been taken over by Connor. That's ok, I don't use it much anyway.  This is how I found them the other day when we got home from school. Ahh. Peace.
 Last Sunday during the football game Connor wanted to watch a movie.  Well, the DVD player in our bedroom is on the fritz and he was very insistent.  I knew there was no way the football game was going off the main TV. So I came up with the *brilliant* idea of getting out one of our portable DVD players.  Everything was quiet so I went to check on him. Boy can this child multitask!  lol
iTouch in one hand while watching the movie. He was also chewing gum.  Every now and then I heard a giggle.  The DVD player is now safely put back up in my closet.  I don't want him getting any ideas such as wanting a TV in his room.  (Not at 3 years old anyway!) 

Last week we had some sad news. It seems our dog, Rock, has lung cancer.  The doctor doesn't give him much longer to live. He will be 13 in March. That is pretty old for a big dog like Rock.  He is our oldest "child".  Lots of memories.  So far the medicine they gave him for his cough is helping tremendously.  He is breathing louder and is drooling all over the place but that doesn't seem to get him down. He is still eating (we have to give him canned dog food now, at least he eats that) and the neighbor cat is still taunting him from the block wall in the backyard.  So, he still gets in a few barking fests during the day.  Other than that he is lying around and gets lots of treats and attention.  I am not looking forward to the inevitable. That is going to be one rough day in the near future.  Here is an older picture of my boys... but this is how you can often find the three of them.  Very cozy.  The boys even still call him "puppy".  Right now we are cherishing each day we have left with him.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy 2012

We seem to be setting some new traditions for New Year's Eve.  For the past three years Uncle Billy and Patti have driven here and spent some time with us from the day after Christmas to New Year's Day.  Each year Travis has actually made it up to midnight.  Connor tried this year, but I think spending the day at the zoo just wore him out! He was in bed by 9:30 that night.  Maybe next year.  Part of our tradition has been to make some homemade pizzas. They always turn out delicious. Here are two of our chefs busy at work.
I had big plans for some great pictures for next year's calendar with these cute glasses and horns I picked up at Wal-Mart.  I still need to work on getting one of the boys together. This is  Travis getting ready to head outside.
Daryle bought a few fireworks. Travis loves "helping" with them. Thankfully he is still a little nervous about them (probably because I am super paranoid!) so he stands back at a safe distance..

 This one got a little crazy at the end.. Travis tripped backwards over a bush in the front yard.  It was pretty funny! I thought the picture turned out kind of cool. 
In the morning Connor woke up and found the horns and glasses.  He loved tooting that little horn all around the house. We had to send him into the backyard with that.  Our sincere apologies to the neighbors.

We had a wonderful time ringing in the new year.  Happy New Year to you, may it be full of many blessings!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Out and About

Tomorrow we return to school and business resumes to crazy normal.  I figured I had better try and finish up writing about what we have been up to these past two weeks.  The day after Christmas Uncle Billy and Patti drove in from Santa Rosa. This seems to be a tradition now and every year we all have a great time hanging out and visiting with each other.  Last week my mom and I took the boys to the movies.  Yes, Connor wanted to wear his pajama shirt all. day. long.  I decided it would be a day to choose my battles.... he is only 3 after all.  I need to let him get it out of his system.  Here are the boys outside the theater.
The next day we went to McCormick Ranch with Uncle Billy and Patti. I remember going here when I was just a kid.  The train is still the same, but so much else has changed.  We always have a great time when we go there, it had been a few years since we were there last.  This was Connor's first time and I am not sure what all Travis remembered. The weather has been beautiful so we spent a lot of time outside last week. Here is Travis waiting for the train... you can see it going by in the background...
They had a bunch of cut outs for picture taking... here are Patti and Travis in the caboose.
Connor wanted to sit right up front.  Lucky for him the spot was available.  He wanted Uncle Billy to sit right next to him.  Connor thought he was actually driving the train I think! He waved to everybody we passed by, it was pretty cute.
At some point in the day we realized Connor had his pants on backwards....  at least he dressed himself! (That is the drawstring hanging out the back!)
The park also has a cool train museum.  Here are the boys checking out some of the cool stuff in the lobby.
We barely had time for the park. Travis must be growing up... he preferred to sit and watch as opposed to running all over the playground.  (I think it was a bit too crowded for him that day.)  He looks so big here!
Connor climbed up this "rock wall" all by himself. He was so proud!
On New Year's Eve day we all decided to head to the zoo.  My parent's got us a membership for Christmas and we could not wait to take the kids.  Connor had never been to the zoo before and Daryle and I both wanted to be there on his first trip.  Uncle Billy and Patti love going to the zoo too so we all had a great time. Here are the boys at the new Komodo Dragon exhibit.
 Daryle says this one reminds him of the Peanut's comic strip where Lucy has her psychiatrist sign hanging up.... advice for 50 cents.... he looks so wise!
 Here we are, our first family trip to the zoo.   We had a wonderful time!
Hopefully I will get to the New  Year's Eve post before the end of the month... LOL!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Little Bakers

Well, finally, all the years of making sugar cookies with Travis paid off!  Once I got the dough going he was on his own. I couldn't believe how he rolled out dough, did the cookie cutters, placed the cookies perfectly on the cookie sheet and even was able to put them in the oven (with some guidance, of course.)  I was impressed.  There were times where I was actually able to wash a dish or two and check on Connor while Travis was hard at work.  In the past he had a short attention span, but not this year. However, he did run out of steam by the time we needed to frost the cookies. Next year he will probably take over the kitchen!  Here he is in all his glory... he is a cute little cookie maker if I do say so myself.
 Travis had his first experience with sprinkles... notice the very red tree in the middle... oops...!  I was even brave and tried making gingerbread men too. They all turned out pretty cute...  one my neighbors even said they looked "professional"!  LOL (I forgot to take a picture of a finished one.)
 Travis showing off a cookie sheet full of cookies he made on his own. I turned around and wha-la! He was done!
 Another project we wanted to attempt was to make some gingerbread houses. I bought a kit that had 5 little houses in it.  Well, Travis was out with Uncle Billy and Patti so Grammy, Connor, and I decided to get things started. It was pretty much a flop! Oh well, maybe next time. Here is Connor with his apron, ready to go.
 Here are Connor and Grammy attempting to get the sides to stay together....
 Connor insisted on putting some gumdrops on the top... he wanted it to look like the picture on the box....
 Ummmm... it all started falling apart after that!
 Luckily, he didn't care! Look at that smile... he was just in heaven sneaking pieces of candy!  We put it in this bowl and called it a day. 
Better luck next time... Happy New Year!