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Summer so far.

Today is the 36th day of summer break.  There are 42 more days to go (in case you were wondering).  Here’s how we’ve been occupying our time so far… Torin went to a fabulous camp for girls where they swam and played tennis every day.  She is now lobbying for us to build a pool and a tennis court in our backyard.

MacGyver had surgery.  It was a very personal matter, and he doesn’t want to talk about it.

Dave turned 45.  He doesn’t want to talk about that, either.

We’ve had some play dates with friends.

We’ve put some miles on the teeter totter.  (Yeah, it takes two of them sitting on one side to balance me out.  And I don’t want any smart aleck comments about that.)

And finally, if you’ve seen me lately and wondered why my hair looks like it’s in knots, it’s because Torin has been practicing her braiding skills.  (However, as of today, I have decided that I’m getting scammed.  I think she really does know how to braid.  She just enjoys tying knots in my hair.)  The end.


Meme - July 1, 2012 - 7:28 pm

I’m sure that’s exactly how Aunt Becky started out . . . putting knots in MY hair!

Orlando 2012

We just got back from Orlando from what we affectionately call our “non-Disney trip.”  We went to Disney last year and decided that there was just so much to do in Orlando that we needed to go back and do some of the non-Disney stuff.  After a loooong drive in the car, the first item on our agenda was to unpack the bathing suits.

Day 2:  Sea World, baby.  Torin FINALLY mustered up the courage to ride some of the bigger rides.  She started with Journey to Atlantis, which was the flume ride that plunges into the water.  In her words, it was “awesome.”

Look!  It’s me laying out by the pool!  Oh wait, never mind.  This isn’t me.  It’s Shamu.

Day 3:  Discovery Cove.  Sure, I was broke after I bought tickets for this, but it was my absolute favorite park ever.  The best thing about Discovery Cove is that they only allow a certain number of people into the park each day, so it feels exclusive.  There were no lines to stand in and no crowds to fight.  I felt very safe with my kids walking around, and I was never concerned that I was going to lose them in a mob of people.  Between the dolphins, the reef, and the lazy river, we could’ve stayed here forever.

Day 4:  The vacation almost came to a screeching halt when Parker got sick and Tropical Storm Beryl dumped a ton of rain on us.  We improvised and had a read-in.  Thank goodness I packed extra books.

Day 5:  Parker was feeling better and the rain stopped, so we were finally able to go to Legoland!  He had been looking forward to this day for a very, very, VERY long time.

The dynamics of our family became quite clear on this trip.  Dave finally got his roller coaster buddy (woo-hoo!).  And we learned that Parker likes to keep his feet on the ground, just like his mama.

One of the cool things at Legoland is the Ford Driving School for kids.  Parker failed to yield, drove on the wrong side of the road, did not stop at the stop sign, and went the wrong way into the roundabout.  He’s got a lot to learn in the next eight years before he does this for real.

Another roller coaster for Torin…

It’s the Lego White House and the Lego Obamas!  Torin loved this.

There are still a few things that we want to do in Orlando, but that will have to be yet another trip someday!

Heather - May 31, 2012 - 6:27 pm

Looks like so much fun! I hope you are doing well. I have enjoyed reading about Dash. I wondered how the puppy worked out.


This is a little hard for me to talk about, but I have to do it.  All of you know about MacGyver (and by “all of you,” I’m referring to the three people who actually follow my blog).  We got him in January when he was just 8-weeks-old.  Over the next four months, I complained about his digging, his barking, his foul smelling crate, and don’t even get me started on how much money he was costing us… but secretly, I was becoming attached to him.  He was pretty well-mannered the first couple of months that we had him.  I took him to puppy training school, and he learned the routine.  He was always aggressive with the kids, but I just figured that was normal puppy energy, and I blamed myself for not making sure he got enough exercise.  I thought if he got more exercise, he wouldn’t be as aggressive.  While the exercise may have been part of it, he clearly was developing a very strong, dominant personality.  It finally got to a point where the kids couldn’t be alone with the dog unsupervised, and they could only play for a few minutes before he started jumping and nipping/biting their legs and arms.  With summer coming on, I knew it wasn’t going to work.  The kids were going to be home full-time, and I didn’t want to have to worry about dog injuries.

I called the breeder where we got MacGyver and asked if she would help us find him a new home.  She said that she would take him back and offer us another dog if we wanted to try a different puppy who had a much  more laid-back personality.  That’s when Dash entered the picture.  When I made the final decision to get rid of MacGyver, I never intended to get another dog.  However, the breeder assured me that Dash was great with little kids and had a temperament that would be a much better fit for our family.  Plus, the kids were BEGGING me to try again.  Call me crazy.  I gave in.

Meet Dash.  He is a 7-month-old goldendoodle, which means he’s half golden retriever and half poodle.

We didn’t pick the name, and since we are still on a trial basis with him, we’re still calling him Dash.  The name Dash makes us think of a few different things…

We’ve only had him for two days, but so far, he’s been a sweetie.  He is very gentle and calm, which is a huge change from what we’re used to.

We still miss MacGyver.  He was one ornery little booger, but we still loved him.  I’m sure he’s having a big wild party with all of his friends back in Bucksnort.  For now, though, we are enjoying Dash.  To be continued…

Just because.

Homework and piano practice.  Two totally routine and mundane activities.  But tonight I felt like capturing them on my camera.  This is the hardest part of the day for us.  Kids are tired, hungry, and not in the mood to do more work.  I am short-tempered and spread thin.  I have been trying really hard lately to have a better attitude and make this an enjoyable time for all of us (or at least as enjoyable as homework can possibly be)!

After I put the dog outside for being a little too “helpful” with the homework, I came back in to discover that Parker had gotten sweaty and had taken his shirt off.  Whatever.  I support any move that will help him get the work done.

Parker is Star Student next week, so he’s working on his poster that will hang in the classroom.  (I should’ve known better than to give him the mechanical pencil.  Of course he had to test how much lead was still in there.)

While Parker was in the kitchen, Torin was practicing for her piano lesson.

She can now play “Amazing Grace” better than I can.  Whenever I sit down at the piano, that’s my go-to song.  And now it’s her go-to song.

And finally… it appears that the dog got mad for being placed outside and proceeded to roll around in his big new water dish.  Looks like he’ll be staying outside for a little while longer.

March update

Look!  In my backyard!  It’s a real FENCE!  I am beginning to get my house (and my life) back.  The beast now has a secure place to roam and misbehave, and we are all much happier.  MacGyver’s favorite activity is to dig underneath the deck and then rub his muddy face on my French door, but that’s okay.  Parker has learned to Windex.  The kids love going out to play with him, and he loves trying to sneak back in the house when they attempt to come back inside.  He is growing like a weed.  Come to think of it, all three of them are.


testing, testing…

January and February are two of my slowest months in the photography business.  I actually enjoy it… it’s so nice after a busy fall season to get refreshed and try out a few new things.  One of the things on my list that I’ve been meaning to try is “back button focusing” on my camera.  I know a lot of photographers who think back button focusing is total awesome sauce.  They swear it gives sharper images and is easier to use than shutter focusing.  So I tried it today.  I carried around the camera all day, taking pictures at the kids’ school and at home, and I used my back button focusing feature the whole day.  Honestly, I’m not sure what all the fuss is about.  I wasn’t that impressed.  I’m still not sure whether I’ll stick with it or go back to shutter focusing, but at least I can say I gave it a try!

Susan - February 20, 2012 - 4:58 pm

(1) Love the poodle skirt … did you do it yourself or find it somewhere? (2) have you always had those built-ins in your bonus room? I like it. Would work well in ours with the same layout (window in center and slanted in side walls. (3) I coral Luke in our living room in much the same way you have your dog coraled in the kitchen. Love it!

Torin’s birthday party

It’s party time again!  We had nine 3rd grade girls in our house on Saturday morning, plus one slightly bored 1st grade boy, and I think it was my favorite party ever.  They made rings, they folded paper fortune tellers, they ate donuts, and they had a scavenger hunt that required them to run all over the entire house, collecting strategically placed items such as paperclips and puzzle pieces.  (Side note: anything that requires 9-year-old girls to run also apparently requires them to squeal and/or scream.)  I am thankful for the fun little girls in Torin’s class who helped us celebrate!