TWO HUNDRED FIFTY TWO…my Christmas tree lights are on steroids. Are yours?

So, this is our first year of having a fake tree.

Not ideal for us but with renovating a home while living in it and bringing in 2 puppies, honestly the last thing I wanted to add to my day was yelling at my children to “not touch the Christmas tree or the needles will fall off” all day long.

Let’s not forget how sometimes I get so busy I forget to water the tree. And then of course, when I realize I’ve forgotten send it into shock by filling up the tree stand with a gallon of fresh water. Then comes the inevitable stress of willing it to hang on just three more days and then I promise I will put us out of misery. And of course the constant sweeping up of needles every three hours.

So, fake tree, welcome to our humble cottage.

During the holidays I love to bring coffee into the living room early in the morning before anyone is up and just sit in the silence and awe its majestic luminary gift. This is also our first year of having all white lights. I’m normally an all color lights kind of gal, but had my heart set on white lights this year. Just to try it out.

So, every morning I’ve been coming out early with all the lights off, my little cup of cream coffee and my headphones so I can listen to my book by the glow of the Christmas tree.

Well, on morning #1 of having the tree, there was no such word as “glow”.

It was a full on steroid shine. Woke me right up even before I’d had a sip of coffee.

Hmmm. I was a little disappointed and immediately wanted some sort of dimmer on the switch. Just to take it down two maybe three notches. Make it so my eyes weren’t feeling completely assaulted. And there you have it. The tree shines bright like a diamond.

So I bought a string of pretty white lights and hid them behind our tv console. I turn those on in the morning and sip my coffee and reflect on our life in 2018 by its warm glow. That’s just too damn bright for 5 am. And can I mention waking up at 2 am to go to the bathroom…when I see their bright lights, my brain says, “it’s time to get up now” because when the steroid lights are on, it’s like a having a 100 watt bulb to light the room.

Finally when I make it back to bed, I toss and turn for an hour before falling back to sleep. But then again, not having them on seems so wrong. It is Christmas after all. This magical holiday only comes once a year. Ugh. Major dilemma folks! Major dilemma. The struggle is real. I’m probably going to turn them on anyway seeing as we’ve only got five more days of feeling perfectly normal for having them on. After that guilt sets in it’s a rush to get all the decorations put away and our house back in order.

I do see myself turning into one of those people who keeps the tree up all year round but just doesn’t turn on the lights. Although, our lighting in that particular room is pretty bad. Sometimes the ceiling fan works therefore sometimes the light works…but only if my husband turns it on. The fan/light combo doesn’t prefer my touch. It has to be the special touch of a 6’3″man.

Speaking of getting our house back in order, we do not have a fireplace in our home therefor nowhere to hang our stockings. So I pinterested it and came up with a solution…so far it seems to serve it’s purpose quite well. Although I am willing to concede it is too high on the wall.

With five more days left before I will be taking it down, I refuse to redrill two new holes. We already have a sign that fits in that exact spot. So we are just going to have to wait until next year to reposition it on our wall.

Rest assured, if I need luminary help trying to see the drill bit going into the wall, I know where to look. We don’t need to buy one of those utilitarian workman flashlights. We will have the solution stuffed in a box in our basement. As Charlie Sheen would say, “WINNING!”

And so, to wrap up what I am assuming will be my last post for 2018, our Christmas tree while it won’t be leaving any needles behind or dying of shock, it’s lights are steroid bright. If we were to enter into a “My Lights are Brighter than Yours” Christmas tree competition, we would surely win.

TWO HUNDRED FIFTY ONE…cold white fluffy stuff

Before I delve into tonight’s post, I wanted to let everyone know that it is official. My computer and I have parted ways. After 6 long intimate years, my MacBook Pro from 2012 has chosen a much more simpler life of playing educational DVDs and providing services in terms of educational games as well as mind-numbing games, to three little giggly girls. In my mind, I have created a beautiful montage of magical moments of the MacBook and myself together complete with amazing music. It is a great visual. Wish you could see it.

Without further ado, and with Snowden’s ‘Black Eyes’ gently serenading me in the background, I bring you this evenings post…which technically, was written over the weekend. But I was extremely busy laying around and just couldn’t seem to muster up the energy to hit the publish button.

I was in college when I first learned about the term sensory processing disorder.

Halfway through the middle of my first semester I wrote a research paper on my findings regarding tactile issues, for the special education course I was taking. Because of this assignment I was able to identify or make sense of my odd proclivity for scratchy materials against my skin. Of course, with the powerful information I had uncovered about myself, I didn’t seek rehabilitation.  Rather, I used it as a way to excuse some of my peculiarities.

Like the time I just had to have those $80 brown leather Oluki flip flops. They had this incredibly gorgeous design on the footbed…you know, the part of the shoe no one ever sees. I needed them to be mine.

Fast forward to the day I paid for and brought them home. As soon as I slid my feet in I had this twinge of buyers remorse, which of course I chose to ignore. This nagging feeling in the back of my mind telling me the ‘all leather’ footbed, because it was slick, wasn’t going to be my favorite shoe.

Rather than returning the extravagant purchase, I convinced myself they just needed to be “broken in”.

I won’t tell you how one year later, I took them to our local resale shop, barely worn to be sold for a measly $15 dollars, because who in their right mind pays more than $15 dollars for a pair of flip flops for everyday wear?

Certainly not a native Floridian.

During this time of year, my sensory issues become more apparent. Just like the time I first tried on the flip flops and immediately took them off to scrape my foot on the cement sidewalk, I replace all of our 200 ply cotton bed sheets with rough flannel sheets and a scratchy heavyweight electric blankets. I pull out my old scratchy wool sweaters and purchase a brand new set of stiff socks. It probably goes without saying, but every year I enjoy knitting a set of hats, gloves, and scarves out of the itchiest 3~ply wool or mohair yarn I can find. And I cannot forget my most coveted winter apparel must have item, the one and only heavy pea coat.

So basically if it’s high in texture, I’m all in.

If I’m being honest with myself, I prefer scratchy cotton sheets all year long. Hence the measly 200 thread count sheets. In the summer I like heavy-weight canvas shorts, scratchy cotton tee shirts, and of course, now we are all aware, the scratchier the shoes, the better.

I don’t know what makes me this way, any more than I know why certain people have PICA.

All I know, is that if it’s lightweight, and silky soft against my skin, this girl is NOT INTERESTED!

And yes, before you ask, I do like weighted blankets at night.

All this to preface the real point of this story which is to explain why I spent half of my Monday morning looking for the girls snow suits in the basement. After last years experience in the northwestern Michigan snow, I vaguely recall storing the fancy snow suits I found on consignment, in the basement.

Yet, I also vaguely recall taking them to my favorite local consignment store in town after Phoebe and Cecilia kept dragging them out in the middle of June, just because they were laying around, demanding we find a snow hill.

Who knows if I actually reconsigned them or not but one thing is for certain, the bin I thought they were in, sits in the corner of my very own painting room with all the other empty bins. So, pajamas underneath jeans and sweatshirts to keep the kids warm while playing in the snow it is.

The kids on the other hand, didn’t seem to mind one bit. Fall and get your pants wet? No biggie. Get smacked in the face with a powerful snowball thrown by Daddy, while I’m sure it hurt, still no problem. Wear long socks with rain boots and feel your feet frost over…they can handle it. “We’re fine Mom…we don’t feel anything and it’s really not even that cold outside” my oldest insisted while the snot dangling from her nose began to solidify.

“Okay fine” I said as I withdrew myself from the bleak conditions of the frigid outdoors to the warmth of our car, where I continued to watch my lovely children frolic in the snow with their purple lips.

The skin tight silky smooth moisture wicking workout gear from their spring and fall wardrobe didn’t seem to bother them or deter their spirits in any way. Obviously, if my only choice was my adult version of the kids workout clothes underneath my jeans/sweatshirts, I wouldn’t be able to partake in all of the fun without throwing myself on the ground and thrashing up against a rose bush or a rock hill. I would need those waffle knit long johns my mom used to make me wear underneath the puke green snow coveralls and matching jacket. But then again, lucky for them, they are not me.

Sadly, two hours later, all that beautiful white fluffy stuff was gone. But, for three whole hours in the frigid grey weather, fun was had by all.

TWO HUNDRED FIFTY…the puppy post

Has it really been September since I wrote my last blog post? Damn. I’m such a slacker. In my defense, we’ve had a lot going on. Many changes have occurred in the last 3 months.

The biggest change by far is the addition of two new furry members to our family.

Bones and Penny.

Our little 11 and 12 week old Boston Terriers. I’ve missed the companionship a dog brings to my life. I’m thrilled to report, over the past two weeks, I’ve gotten it back two-fold. I’m so in love.

Now I feel as if our family is complete.

So now, in addition to see how horribly we will screw up our beautiful girls, we will have to add our little furry family members to the mix. What can we do to screw up our furry side? I’m sure I’ll find ways in the next 15/20 years.

I’ve grown up with golden retrievers my whole life. In addition to golden’s my family also had mutts. Dogs are just a normal part of my life. I feel out of sorts when there’s not a canine around to cheer everyone up with their free unconditional love, goofy antics, sloppy kisses, and empathetic nature.

But then again, with three kids…homeschooling and working with one kid who is still having issues with the potty, I was a little stressed out about bringing home a new puppy.

So, in an effort to prepare, I read all the books again, researched the best breed for our family dynamic, drew up a monthly spending account for food, toys, vet visits…you name it, I researched it.

Greg and I had talked about it quite a bit and we decided that since the girls including Cecilia were going to be an integral part of the dogs upbringing, we wanted a breed that wouldn’t dominate them with their size…and we were all interested in a smaller breed. We are a mobile family and I thought it would be nice if we were able to take the dogs with us around town and wherever else we choose to venture.

And with that, our requirements began falling into place; we were looking for something smaller with moderate energy level, smart, gentle, playful, cuddly, great with kids… one who would enjoy long walks and be able to learn tricks, but definitely an indoor lap breed.  Boston Terriers it was. Then It hit me…we needed two puppies. Not one.

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So with that information, I set out to do a bit of research on having a puppy again. It has been quite a while since we had Bear as a puppy. I wanted to make sure I got the full scope on the hellacious journey we were about to embark. Has the research on puppy training really changed that drastically in the last 15 years that I NEEDED a refresher course? The simple answer is, no…not really.

Almost everything is the same as it was back when we first brought Bear home. BUT, it certainly helped me to feel more confident. There were some things I had forgotten. Really, it just made me feel more prepared.

The one thing that did change since Bear, was the new addition of “puppy pads”. Apparently taking the puppy to potty outside before their 4th round of shots is now frowned upon.

So you just have to be ready for the urine and poop smell to infiltrate your home. It’s now ok for puppies to pee in the home…on a pad…that’s not great at holding liquid…and that our puppies see as some sort of treat they can tear up. So, really, puppy pads are just another great way to arbitrarily spend money AND add more work.

And since we’re on the subject of adding my work to our my schedule, I’m envisioning the added work I will absorb when the puppies finally do get their 4th round of shots and we can start “re-training” them to go potty outside. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

In the meantime we have 4 more weeks to solidify their current “operation: go potty in the house” routine.

Hmmm.

For all the prep work and anxiety bringing home a new puppy caused, it hasn’t been as bad as I thought. Possibly because we got two. They were already sleeping in a crate so it wasn’t a major transition for them the day we brought them home.

I bought one of those metal pens that piece together making room for them to run and play during their first year. I’m trying to curtail destructive behavior as much as I can without causing any major aggression issues. With that destructive puppy behavior, I certainly don’t want them to have full access to our home. Especially those times we won’t be home.

But the particular piece-together pen was outgrown in one week. So on to the next purchase. The new one seems more sturdy and definitely gives them more room to play. Is it too much for me to hope it lasts for forever?

It’s official. I’m in love. And they’re not as calm as they seem in these pictures. I personally think Bones may have been exposed to speed in the womb and is consequently suffering long-term withdrawal effects. He has these short bursts of through-the-roof energy. And then he just passes out.

Penny is the sweet cuddle bug of the two. She just wants to be held, kissed, and given little biscuit treats all day. Twist my arm. She’s definitely my kind of dog.

Having Bones and Penny in time for the holidays makes everything a little sweeter this year. We are all in love with these two pups!! Welcome to our humble abode Bones and Penny!!!

ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY SIX…warm breezy beach or cool snowy mountain

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108 days on the road and there’s so much more to see. Feeling the love today folks. I am in love with our life choice. Continue reading

ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY FOUR…seeking stability within mobility

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being mobile full-time makes me realize how much I love and value my family and friends. There are some definite cons for travelling full-time. But you won’t ever hear me complain about the 3 hour time difference! At least not while I am in Pacific Standard time! Continue reading

ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY TWO…eat, drive, pee…repeat

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5 days, 600 miles a day, 3,000 and some odd miles total…we finally made it to the west coast. Continue reading

ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY FIVE…vermont

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Vermont is such a magical place for our family. The outside activities, the walking and biking paths all throughout the cities, and the scenery make me want to linger a bit longer. Continue reading

ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY TWO…we can do this

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letting go of something or somethings (plural) is often more difficult than the actuality of living without it. I think for me, it’s the incontrovertible process of having to say goodbye. Continue reading

ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY…just swinging

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What’s more romantic than a tree swing which allows you to watch and capture moments of your life as a family together? I can see the girls (at various stages in their lives) in a montage of images with music playing in the background…maybe playing at their weddings many years from now. I can see the girls keeping the videos for their own kids to watch and I can imagine how “old” and “Long ago” it will seem to their children. Musings of the traditions of a simple yet beautiful tree swing. Continue reading

ONE HUNDRED SIXTY FIVE…this southern girl is feeling appreciative

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Crisp cool evenings chilly air wafting through the house at night through the open windows the constant smell of freshly cut grass the constant sound of birds of different species singing to one another in all their different languages the … Continue reading

ONE HUNDRED FIFTY SIX…processing to remember

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Here we are one week after our sweet dog Bear’s passing and our emotions are still raw. We have crossed that hurdle of being able to say his name and talking about the goofy times we remember without our voices … Continue reading

ONE HUNDRED FIFTY FIVE…Thank You Bear

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For the past 3 weeks I have been struggling to get back to our normal routine. On Wednesday I was finally able to make all the bi-annual and annual doctors appointments for everyone, including our furry side. Bear’s appointment was … Continue reading

ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-FOUR…daddy the hero

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We went to church on Sunday. Abby and Phoebe attend the Childrens’ moment in our church. It’s always interesting to hear what Phoebe is going to say in front of the entire congregation. People enjoy her random verbal diaharea…as long as … Continue reading

ONE HUNDRED THIRTY TWO…we have located heaven on earth

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Just like Tennessee, when we headed to Michigan, I had a list of things I wanted our family to experience. And of course, staying 2 weeks didn’t allow us to do all of those things. So once again, I had … Continue reading

ONE HUNDRED SEVENTEEN…we got this! seriously! we got this!#$%!??!! Part 5

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So just to recap on the trip thus far, (NOTE: this section of Part 5 is inspired by Bear Hands, Daft Punk, LCD Soundsystem and Bombay Bicycle Club) we have learned 7 Extremely valuable lessons about RV camping; Seatbelts ALWAYS…even … Continue reading

ONE HUNDRED ELEVEN…3 is a good number

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My baby girl turned 3 at the end of July. I had this *brilliant* idea that I would go through each and every picture file on my folder and pull out my favorite pictures of Cecilia over the past 3 … Continue reading

ONE HUNDRED THREE…Friday night, my brain is fried, randomness

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Phoebe has been spitting a lot lately. I’m not sure where she picked up the habit, but when she’s mad, she spits. When she’s sad, she spits. When she falls down and hurts her knee, she spits. If there’s a … Continue reading

ONE HUNDRED TWO…dysfunctional appreciation

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We have taken dysfunction to a whole new level in this house. I know we have reached our “dysfunctional family” monthly limit when my newly seven-year old wanders into our bathroom and sees a tampon (still wrapped in its store-bought … Continue reading

NINETY-NINE…next stop – normal

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Sometimes I forget that plateaus lead to progress. I felt as if we had been on a plateau for so long. I thought the plateau was something to do with me. There is one theme which continues to remain prevalent … Continue reading

NINETY-ONE…productivity

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I have discovered a productive way to take Phoebe to the grocery store 1. Phoebe 2. Phoebe’s personal grocery cart 3. first stop…bakery, the ladies at the bakery know her and great her by name. She stands and chats with … Continue reading

EIGHTY-NINE…that’s a wrap!

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Wrapping up the holiday’s while the sun is shining, is far less depressing as it would be if we had grey in the skies and snow on the ground! I love where we live! I am a sentimental kind of … Continue reading

Eighty-Eight…

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Lately, Phoebe and I like to play this game where I ask her what her name is and she responds simply by saying, “Chris-mis”, then she proceeds to sing the ‘jingle bell’ song and finally following up with a, “Santa, … Continue reading

EIGHTY-TWO…it’s all good

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When Abby was born, Greg and I had the brand new tv monitors. We placed it in her crib angling it perfectly so it would look right into that amazing little face. By the third night, we had to unplug … Continue reading

SEVENTY-NINE…sometimes there are no words

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Siblings… When I went to my first Down Syndrome Awareness Group meeting I met a mother who spoke about her sons’ older sister. When her son was younger, in elementary school, his older sister (who was only 9 or 10) … Continue reading

SEVENTY-FOUR…getting back into the swing of things!

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2 weeks have passed since my last post. The time has flown by. There have been many situations I would have loved to blog about, but life got in the way. So many things have happened in such a short … Continue reading

SEVENTY-THREE…my little sailfish!!!

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Abby Leigh Miss kindergartener… What can I say about my first-born going to school… Is it normal for mommies on the first day to be so extremely excited that instead of crying, nervous energy manifesting itself in hyper overjoyed behavior??? … Continue reading

SIXTY-FIVE…pump the breaks father time

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11 months the countdown begins 25 more days and this little girl is going to be 1-year-old That seems soon I of course am remembering the great parts of the year…the birth (looking back it was beautiful, just as they … Continue reading

SIXTY-THREE…the certainties of life are comforting

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Like always, the past week has been crazy The ear infection is on its way OUT!!! Doing a mini-victory dance…those things hurt, and can turn you into a scary version of Marlon Brando…and really, who wants that??? Laura, Ruby and … Continue reading

FIFTY-TWO…

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It’s March 29th In other words, our baby girl is officially 8 months. How did that happen? It was a special day for Cecilia in another way as well, today she had her interview with the state early intervention system. … Continue reading

FIFTY-ONE…out and about

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Our Asylum is very different these days… I don’t know how it is for other people raising kids ages 5 and under, but when my little inmates get to venture outside, everything is better. They listen better. Play better. Behave … Continue reading

THIRTY-NINE…it’s deeper than you think

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I know I said I would ’embrace the cold as long as snow wasn’t too far behind’ but after the beauty that was today, I am afraid I have to change my mind… Oh I am lovin the sun and … Continue reading

THIRTY-EIGHT…a much-needed get-away

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Banner Elk, North Carolina… We were able to get away this weekend…I packed up the kids on Friday and we fled 115 miles north-east to Beach Mt., North Carolina, nestled atop Banner Elk. We were hoping to do a little … Continue reading

SEVENTEEN…this holiday season

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Every once in a while I will have a moment with my family where I am teleported from my body to somewhere else in the room. I can see the girls chasing each other and giggling, Greg is preparing dinner … Continue reading