Friday, April 30, 2010

Busy Busy Weekend Plans

This weekend is going to be non-stop action! Tomorrow my sister and my nephew Sean are flying in from Vermont. YEA! I am soooo excited to see them. We don't get together nearly as much as we would like and I can't wait for them to arrive. My sister and I are like two peas in a pod and are the best of friends. We get mistaken for twins ALL the time - which delights me but somehow doesn't delight my sister quite as much. I think the reason why is because she is 5 years younger than I am and OBVIOUSLY when someone asks if we are twins - they think I am 5 years younger than I actually am. Hee hee hee! I love that! She loves to tell them that she is the younger sister, which only brings them to say - Oh I couldn't tell. :) That never ceases to delight me! I am already gearing up for the "are you twins?" question to be asked sometime this weekend. Tomorrow we are planning on going to the zoo right after her plane arrives. I know it is supposed to rain but we are going anyway! Mr. Yesteryear Acres was once again nominated to stay home and care for the puppies (thank you dear hubby!) so my son, daughter and I will be off for a zoo adventure. My parents are also going to brave the rain to see the animals. My sister was kind enough to nominate me to pack a picnic lunch for everyone. Wasn't that thoughtful of her? I think she might even have told my parents about HER great idea for a picnic. Hmmmm. So I am making a loaf of homemade bread tonight and will pack peanut butter and homemade jam for yummy sandwiches. I have a variety of potato chips and doritos to throw into the basket and last but not least a batch of puppy chow. Now I know I raise puppies - and maybe some of you are thinking that I am going to feed my sweet nephew ACTUAL puppy chow, but rest assured, this puppy chow is quite yummy and only for humans. It is made by covering Rice Chex with melted milk chocolate and peanut butter and then tossing that into powdered sugar. It is quite irresistible. I thought it was a good snack for the zoo and went along well with the animal theme :) After the zoo we are all heading out for hamburgers and french fries so that Sean can get his required vegetable serving for the day....french fries with ketchup LOL. Then we are all going to see How To Train Your Dragon in IMAX 3D. Perfect day right? It should be a lot of fun!!! Sunday we are all going to celebrate my dad's 76th birthday with a party at his house. Everyone is getting together and yes even Mr. Yesteryear Acres will be there. We do have to drive separately because we can't leave the puppies alone for too long, but we did arrange it so we can all have a nice birthday lunch together before my husband heads back home. We top off Sunday evening by going to my son's baseball game. Lots of action and lots of fun family time for the weekend! I hope your weekend is a good one too!!!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Oh my goodness I am sooooo frustrated right now. I have been on the phone for over an hour with NO END IN SIGHT. I am actually writing today's blog while I am on hold. I do not like the "Please Continue To Hold" music. I do not find it soothing or entertaining or delightful in any way. I am watching my entire afternoon slip away whilst I listen to jazzy music and advertisements for me to continue being a loyal customer. I am so not happy. Today my mail carrier brought me a bill that was TOTALLY wrong. I mean REALLY REALLY wrong. I was overcharged by an astonishing amount and have spent my entire afternoon trying to get things fixed. Why is it when a company clearly makes an error, the customer is the one that HAS to continue to stay on hold to get things rectified? Why can't the customer service people go ahead and have a meeting, click endlessly on their computer keyboard, get their cup of coffee, have a nice chat with their colleague, talk to their supervisors AND THEN CALL you back when they get it fixed??? Wouldn't that be nicer? How is it helpful for me to stay on hold ALL day? What is it that I am bringing to the table in order to resolve this issue by listening to "Please Continue to Hold" music? Wouldn't it be nice if they said something like "Oh my goodness, that is awful. What an oversight on our part. Why don't you go and get on with your day while we fix this for you?" I mean I would totally be a happy customer then. Right now all I can think about is how I wish I was NOT their customer. I have been disconnected TWICE already!!! Grrrr. So I am trying very hard to think happy thoughts. I am trying to remove my brain from the constant barrage of advertisements and music blaring in my ear and go somewhere happy with my thoughts. Let's seeeeee...I love the ocean. Ahhh the ocean is so relaxing. I love all the colors it can be from a seagreen to a deep indigo ink blue. I think my favorite color is the raspberry blue color of the ocean. It is just so vibrant it is hard to not be utterly and completely amazed by its brilliant display of beauty. I love being on a boat in the middle of the ocean as much as I love walking along the seashore. As each wave comes ashore, I imagine all my worries and stress going into that wave and then being swept out to sea. I feel completely at peace and happy. I think it is good to visualize peace and serenity and have something really lovely to capture in your mind when times get tough. It is nice to have a special place you can visit - maybe a favorite vacation spot, or a really good moment in your life or some smell or thought or person that just makes you feel at peace. It is like taking a mini-holiday inside your thoughts. So next time you find yourself completely stressed and overwhelmed and frustrated, take a moment. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Think about the sound of the waves crashing on shore or the birds singing their beautiful spring songs or how beautiful a field of hay looks as the wind ripples through the long blades of grass and just relax. After all - being very mad at the person on the other end of the phone won't really change the course of events so you might as well try to think of something better. Today I can be grateful that I remembered to step away from my frustration and instead focused on writing my blog. It is a much happier way to spend my time. I can also start thinking about how gosh darn happy I will be as soon as I hang up from this never ending phone call!!!! I already know for sure I will have an excellent evening, because honestly - even cleaning puppy poop is wayyyyyyyyyyyy better than "please continue to hold!"

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Our mail carrier brought excellent news today! My son applied for the United States Naval Academy 2010 STEM program back in February. The USNA summer STEM program focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and gives students opportunities to explore these subjects further in the hopes that the students will pursue majors in these areas. It is a hands-on camp with research, work in robotics, forensics, mechanics and field trips to the Smithsonian. It is an excellent opportunity and the admissions process is very competitive. Only a handful of students from all over the United States are chosen and today we found out that our son is one of the lucky few. We are all beyond excited. The news arrived in the dreaded "Thin White Envelope." Whenever awaiting admission news - the last thing you want to see your mail carrier deliver is the Thin White Envelope aka "TWE". Everyone knows that good news comes in a nice big manila envelope. At least 9"x12" and filled to the brim with good news. It should be so large that the mail carrier has to personally deliver the envelope to your door as it would be impossible for it to fit inside the mail box. I am actually a pro at stalking the mail carrier as a few years ago I stalked her every single day for months while awaiting my older daughter's acceptance to the Naval Academy. My mail carrier was just as eager as we were for the envelope to arrive. With great anticipation we awaited the large manila envelope all the while dreading any sign of a TWE. Rejection letters neatly fit in the TWE and seldom do those envelopes bring good news. When today's mail arrived, I quickly fanned through the pile and my heart skipped a beat as soon as I saw the envelope addressed to my son from the United States Navy. I immediately brought the TWE to my son. His face clearly conveyed his knowledge of the TWE significance. I quickly said "you can apply next year" and my son said, "I thought I wrote really good essays." I watched his disappointed face turn to pure joy as he opened the TWE, pulled out the letter and read "CONGRATULATIONS..." It was a great moment for us all. This gives me renewed optimism as I await news of my younger daughter's admission status for the Coast Guard Academy's summer program. I will no longer fear the TWE and will let my mail carrier know that she is welcome to bring all mail to my home. She is well aware of my habitual stalking tendencies and will be relieved that she is no longer restricted in the size envelopes she delivers. Hmmmm I wonder what tomorrow's mail shall bring?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Killer Potato!!!

I am almost embarrassed to tell you about my serious thumb injury. For one thing, it is barely believable and for another - well it is not cool, awesome, thrilling, daring or have any WOW factor whatsoever. It might just well be the most embarrassing unbelievable pathetic injury story you shall ever hear. First let me start by saying I love vegetables. I love them. My husband loves them. My kids love them. We love beets, broccoli, edamame, spinach, sugar snap peas, eggplant, artichokes, asparagus, you name it. We eat 3-4 vegetarian meals a week. We are true vegetable lovers! Up until now, I thought vegetables were a lovely food. Nice and sweet, calm and caring. Who can be mad at a vegetable??? Well let me tell you POTATOES ARE NOT NICE! They are down right DANGEROUS! I know, I know - you are all thinking HOW can a potato be vicious? Well I am living proof that they are! My story begins so innocently as I was peeling potatoes for dinner. I can tell you that in the past I have had some "near- misses" with the peeler. I have donated significant portions of a fingernail now and then to the peeling piles. I have perhaps lost several layers of epidermis whilst peeling vegetables on several occasions. This of course can never be blamed on the vegetable itself as it is clearly operator error so NO I did not injure my thumb with the peeler. That would hardly be blog worthy as I have peeler run-ins quite often. No - this story is much more devious than that. After finishing peeling the potatoes I began to chop them. AHA! Right now you have to be thinking that I foolishly chopped my thumb with the knife - and again I must tell you that I could never blame a vegetable for my lack of knife skills. I perhaps could admit to almost decapitating my thumb once while battling a round of brie cheese - but that is another story (for the record - the cheese won). But alas...No, the knife was not to was THE POTATO!!!! Here is what happened - I was slicing a potato with a knife and I clearly had a good grip on the potato with my left hand and chopping the potato with my right hand when ALL OF THE SUDDEN - the potato moved! Yes the potato tried to LEAP from the chopping block and escape its inevitable doom. As my left hand slid forward trying to stop the slippery beast, IT BIT ME! Yes the potato BIT ME. My thumb SLID INTO the potato. Right into the meat of the potato and a piece of potato BROKE OFF and slid in between my thumb nail and my nail bed almost down to the bottom of my cuticle! Seriously! I had an evil potato WEDGED into my thumb. At first I thought I chopped my thumb with the knife - which although painful- is a cool story, but NO - the potato did it ALL BY ITSELF! How is that cool? "Hey Renee, How did you hurt your thumb?" Can you see the problem here? I have to say - a potato got stuck under my thumb nail. How pathetic is that? And you know the worst part? OH MY GOODNESS IT REALLY HURTS!!!! I had to dig the potato out and my thumb is soooo sore. I think part of the potato got stuck in there and last night I soaked my thumb and irrigated under my nail and ACK!!!!!!!!!!! THE PAIN! You can ask anyone who knows me, I actually have a pretty high pain tolerance (I am not sure but it could be from years of sparring with brie cheese) and my thumb HURTS! It kept me up all night! I now have it wrapped up in lime green cohesive wrap and I cannot touch ANYTHING with my thumb. It is completely useless. I would go to the doctor but honestly how can I fill out the medical form? "Describe Injury"........."UM Um...I was attacked by a killer potato!" I just can't do it! Well, I guess I better go and start thinking of what to make for dinner. I can tell you one thing... evil torturous lethal potatoes are definitely NOT on the menu!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Straight Poop

The puppies ALL ate their puppy food today. Breakfast AND dinner. They licked up every bite. Everyone is eating heartily and they all have nice healthy appetites. The puppies are continuing to find my delightful puppy cuisine to be irresistible and are now starting to eagerly await each meal. Once the puppies start eating my fine puppy food, the very next thing that happens is.....yes, you guessed it....POOP! Lots and lots of puppy POOP. When the puppies are still in the nursing stage, the mommy dog actually takes care of the puppy "waste". I know, I know, that sounds pretty gross but it is part of Mother Nature's grand design. The puppy poop that occurs during the nursing stage is not smelly and most mommy dogs are so quick, you hardly notice any pooping at all. It is gone before you know it. The mommies do this to ensure the puppy nest stays nice and clean and that the puppies are healthy. The mommies lick all the puppy butts clean and keep everything neat and tidy. Well once the puppies start eating solid food it is a whole new ballgame. First - that barely smelly puppy poop is a thing of the past! Once the puppy gruel hits their puppy tummies - what comes out is QUITE smelly! And the mommy dogs do not hesitate to let us know that "HEY WE DID OUR PART!!! GET ON IT!" and so we humans are left to clean the puppy poop up, again, and again, and again. The first week with solid food is generally the worst. There is no timed schedule to the pooping. There is little self awareness of the pooping, or where they are pooping or even who they might decide to poop on. It is an all out poop fest! So today - my schedule went something like this:
Sit down in my big comfy recliner chair. Pull out leg rest. Pick up computer and put on lap. Open email and hit reply. Type two words. *sniff sniff* ugh. Put leg rest down. Put computer on desk. Walk out to puppy nursery. Clean up a large load of poop. Wash hands. Walk back to my computer. Sit in my big comfy recliner chair. Pull out leg rest. Pick up computer and put on lap. Type two more words....*sniff* WHAT THE HECK! I JUST SAT DOWN! Put leg rest down. Walk out to puppy nursery and stand in astonishment at how much poop puppies can create. Clean up poop. Wash hands. Walk back to computer. Sit dow.....ACK! MORE POOP! More WASHING! Rinse. Repeat. Rinse. Repeat ALL DAY LONG. At one point I am pretty sure the puppies were laughing. I distinctly saw one puppy whisper in another puppy's ear and I am fairly confident that he said "Man - I really have to go but I am HOLDING it until she sits down again! I just love how she comes running back in here!" I know I must have sat down, pulled my chair leg rest out and then put it back and then stood back up over 100 times. I am not complaining mind you. I mean I would rather do all that work now and have new puppy families delighted with how fast their puppies are to housebreak than to be lazy and have the puppies learn bad habits. BUT I still think there was a little bit of a wager going on between the puppies today. I think a few were placing bets on how quickly they could get me to come back in the nursery once I pulled out my foot rest. I also believe the puppies are secretly reading my blog and gosh darn it - they are manipulating me into doing my exercise! Those clever little pups! I guess I should thank them. I mean I DO want to fit into my shorts so here it goes:
"Dearest darling Puppies, thank you ever so much for assisting me in my exercise plan. You are all very thoughtful and kind. I think I have a firm grasp on what I need to do in order to get in shape for this summer. I really do like walking in the woods and going to the park, so if you could be so kind...I would so appreciate it if tomorrow you could all poop at once."
Your human mommy

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Shopping outing

As summer is quickly approaching, thoughts of getting into summer clothes, skirts, shorts, sundresses and *GASP* bathing suits are starting to enter my mind. I am pretty darn sure that I must start the exercise program that I thought of last month. Really. I need to start that VERY VERY soon! I am also busy thinking about the many plans that summer will bring. My younger daughter is hoping to get accepted into the AIM summer program at the United States Coast Guard Academy. AIM is a week long program designed to give prospective students a peek into living the life of a cadet. One of the major components of "boot camp" is running, running, running and then ....running some more. My daughter is capable of swimming for miles. If the Coast Guard Academy made their cadets wake up at the crack of dawn and swim 5 miles in the rain or sleet or even in high seas with riptides swirling around - she would be game. She wouldn't even complain. She can swim and swim for days. Now running. Wellllll.... let's just say, it is not her favorite activity. I think she gets that from me. I can't think of anything less pleasant. Really. But run, run, run, she must, so my daughter and I headed off to the mall in search of a great running shoe. We actually were quite lucky and found some awesome new shoes rather quickly in our shopping expedition. I even found a pair of walking sandals that are super comfortable. I called Mr. Yesteryear Acres within an hour of arriving at the mall to let him know we already found the shoes! Silly Mr. Yesteryear Acres said, "So you are on the way home?!" What could he possibly be thinking? I said we had only been shopping for less than an HOUR! Silly man! Who stops shopping that quickly?! LOL. So the rest of the day we tried on new things and window shopped and had fun walking the mall. We actually didn't buy much else as we were excited about our new shoes but we did make a day of it! We even got home in time to make a delightful dinner. I made slow cooked pork and fresh asparagus and my daughter made homemade mashed potatoes to go with the pork. Everything was delicious and I am pretty sure that meal made the boys forget alllllll about the fact we were gone all day long while they toiled away caring for puppies and doggies and getting stuck with housework. Well....almost. I think we better add some ice cream for dessert just to make sure :)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Pleased to Meet You!

We had many families over today meeting their new puppies. Our first family arrived by 8:30 this morning and our last family left a little after 6:00 this evening. There were people here just about every hour and the puppies really loved all the attention. We had just the nicest families visiting and it was a lot of fun for us to watch everyone fall in love with the pups. I think today's visits were particularly nice for Mr. Yesteryear Acres. I usually have families looking forward to meeting me as I am the one that writes all the emails and keeps in touch with all my puppy families. I know a little something about each family and they in turn feel they know me long before we ever meet in person. Well today, everyone who came already knew about Mr. Yesteryear Acres from reading my blog and he was quite tickled by the attention. He is the same hard working dedicated doggie loving person he has always been, but because of the blog, people are now looking forward to meeting him as well. By the big grin on his face - I am pretty sure my husband was very glad to hear "OH HI! You must be MR. YESTERYEAR ACRES!" It made the day nice for everyone because my husband is really devoted to the doggies and puppies, and it was awesome that he was included in the fun and in the many gratitudes and happinesses of the day. So thank you everyone who came! I hope you had fun! The puppies are now all CRASHED and sound asleep. I think they will all sleep soundly tonight, dreaming of all the fun they will have when they are finally big enough to go home with their new families.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The World's Most Perfect Food

This morning as I was going through the ever so pressing, important, urgent, and essential updates on Facebook, I noticed that one of my dear friends posted that she thought Oatmeal was the world’s most perfect food. She actually said that. Oatmeal? World’s Most PERFECT food? How can this be? I mean how can a food that if left in a bowl for longer than 5 minutes will actually turn into a solid glue-like state be a perfect food? It is kind of brown and gunky and clings to your spoon and if you take too big of a bite, it is literally impossible to swallow. I, of course, had to immediately respond to the posting to let her know she was WRONG. That’s what friends are for right? I gave her some excellent alternatives. What about the very first freshly picked right from your own garden BEAUTIFUL RED RIPE TOMATO? What tastes better than the very first tomato of the season? It is like heaven on your tongue. The anticipation of waiting for it to ripen to just the right color red, coupled with the satisfaction and richness and fullness of the tomato flavor just can’t be beat. What about fresh picked strawberries? You know, the ones that are just the right size and fit perfectly in your mouth and you can crush the entire berry with your tongue and it fills your senses with sweet strawberry goodness. Now that could be considered perfect. I think freshly made pasta topped with fresh tomato sauce with a hint of garlic or perhaps topped with fresh picked asparagus, sundried tomatoes and pinenuts is more than perfect. What about a Sundae? No wait – make that a Turtle Sundae. No wait -make that a Turtle Sundae with homemade freshly churned vanilla bean ice cream with vanilla beans flown fresh to your house from Madagascar made with real heavy whipping cream smothered in homemade milk chocolate fudge and caramel butterscotch fudge and topped with caramelized pecans, a mountain of fresh homemade whipped cream and a cherry on top. Is there anyone out there that still wants to rank OATMEAL as the world’s most perfect food? Just in the time it took me to write this blog, there seems to be a “TEAM OATMEAL” forming on facebook! They have created their own FAN page for OATMEAL! I mean come on! This has to be stopped! Submit your own entries. Email me. Comment on my Blog. Send a note on my facebook page  OATMEAL…you are going down!!!!! (But please…whatever you do, do NOT ask Mr. Yesteryear Acres. He read my blog and said “What’s wrong with oatmeal?” ACKKKKKKKKKKKK!)

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Before I start today's post I want to give a big THUMBS UP to my daughter Amelia for pointing out my grievous error in Tuesday's Post "Chow Call". After she read my blog she noticed I had only said that Moms/Wives would be happy if we were all grateful at every meal. She said what about Dads and Husbands that cook? Wouldn't they be happy as well? The answer of course is YES - so to all those great husbands/Dads that make fantastic dinners (Mr. Yesteryear Acres is definitely one of them!!!) Here is to you and your yummy meals! We are most grateful indeed. (ps...Amelia you are awesome for noticing that mistake!)
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming....

BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! That is most certainly the sound you would hear this week if my dogs spoke Sheep Language. Why you ask? Well because this week starts the annual Spring "Cleaning" aka Grooming of all our doodles and poodles. Each spring our doggies get a good buzzing from our most awesome groomer. Over the winter our poodles grow a fantastic blanket to keep them so warm and toasty during the cold months and by the spring our doggies start to resemble woolly mammoths rather than doggies. They are totally adorable and cute that way - but really it is just too much coat so it is time to say so long to of all that hair. Out come the clippers and one by one each doggie makes a trip to the groomers for the delightful fresh spring look. This year they are sporting the oh so fashionable "Where did my Hair Go" look that is so hot on the runways right now. It is SO funny to watch them come back from the trip to the groomers. First - they are almost half the size they were when they left. Second they feel like they are SO CHIC and SO HOT that they immediately strut their stuff as if they are on the runway during New York's Fashion Week. They make a turn here and there. They are sure to give us a good profile shot. They prance about as if they own the runway. The other dogs are always so impressed. I am never ceased to be amazed that all the dogs know exactly who is coming back even though the dogs look NOTHING like they did when they left. Our dogs never look at each other and ask "Who IS that?" They just know. The dogs start showing their immediate approval for the great new looks. You can almost hear them say " look MAHVELOUS! I LOVE what you have done with your hair!!!" And of course Gigi responds with "Oh this look - I just threw it together. Glad you like it" *prance prance prance* It is quite the talk of the "town" around here all week long.
The dogs all enjoy their new looks and their coats continue to grow back through the summer. Scheduling the big shave down in the spring is the best time of the year to do it because the dogs actually need some insulation during the summer months. Many people think it is better to shave down your doggie during the summer but that is not true. The coat acts as an insulator and helps keep your doggie cooler in the heat. It also provides SPF protection from the sun. Doggies can sunburn just like people do, so you definitely want some hair to keep them protected from the sun's rays. All our dogs go back for a quick hair trim in the fall so that they have nice healthy long warm coats for the winter. So here is to a BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAutiful day!!!!!! :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


This morning I helped a family set some boundaries with their young puppy. Their puppy was feeling just a bit full of himself and he needed a quick dose of reality. The reality for the puppy is that he is in fact NOT superdog, or the ruler of the universe, or the king of the castle, or the leader of the pack. He is in fact a very small puppy and has absolutely no super powers whatsoever. Thankfully the family thought to contact me very early on and within 15 minutes, the puppy was back on track. One of the biggest mistake families make with a brand new puppy is forgetting to set limits, boundaries and restrictions. Puppies are just so gosh darn cute that sometimes it becomes quite simple to forgive them of their silly antics. It is easy to say "Awwwww but look how precious he is!!"" Families become very wrapped up in just how cute and adorable and snuggable their puppy is, they forget that the puppy needs rules and it is never too early to start. I think the easiest way to think about exactly which restrictions and boundaries need to be in place is to imagine your puppy as MUCH bigger. Think of your puppy as a big 50lb doggie instead of a 6-8lb baby. Then ask the behavior my puppy is doing right now something that I would enjoy when my puppy is fully grown?? If the answer is NO - then do not let your puppy do those things when it is little. If you don't particularly enjoy being greeted at the door by a big 50+lb doggie jumping on you and putting his big goofy paws on your shoulders to say "HELLO I MISSED YOU AND I THINK YOUR WHITE JACKET LOOKS AWESOME WITH MY BIG PAWPRINTS ON IT!!!" Well then even when your puppy is little and tiny and oh so adorable...don't let your puppy jump up to greet you. Make your puppy sit with all four paws on the ground before you give it love and affection. It is so much easier to prevent bad behavior from ever happening than to break a bad habit. So start early! :) It is really easy to start your puppy off on the right path. Puppies really respond well to boundaries and limitations. They will still love you with all their heart....maybe even love you a little bit more because they know that you are the boss and you are there to take care of them always.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Chow Call!

Today we had a visit from one of our puppies we sold earlier this year. He was still the same adorable sweet gentle bear of a puppy that he was when he lived here – just in a larger package. It was so fun to see him again. I am pretty darn sure he remembered me because he definitely gave me the “I love you look” and was just so loveable. He absolutely remembered Mr. Yesteryear Acres and saved his bestest kisses for him. We had a nice reunion and it just made the whole day start off with a lot of good feelings and smiles. To keep the whole happy day going strong, this afternoon we started some of our younger puppies on solid food. This is always a hysterical thing to observe. First we separate the puppies from mommy for a few hours so that the puppies develop a nice healthy appetite. The puppies are quite vocal about this separation and do a lot of questioning….”MOMMMMMMMMMMMY????? Mommy? MOMMY!? I WANT MY MOMMMMMMMMMMMMMY!” Then we swoop in with a wonderful concoction of yogurt and canned food and softened puppy food in a lovely mushy soupy glop. When they first see the bowl, they have absolutely no idea what to do. They look at us and say “WHAT IS THIS STUFF???? WHERE IS MOMMY?!?” Then we gently put each puppy’s mouth into the food and wait for them to take a little lick. Well that sets off the sensors in their brains and all of the sudden we humans are amazing!!! We bring delicious gourmet wonders in addition to hugs and kisses! Tails start wagging and once a few start eating, the others join in quite quickly. Once they get their fill we bring Mommy back in and well I don’t need to tell you how happy she is! Mmmmmm she gets to finish off our delightful slop and then gets to lick all of her puppy faces clean. There is a lot of happiness going on right there. Tomorrow we do it all again and by this weekend they will be awake bright and early just waiting for their breakfast with deep excitement and anticipation. It doesn't take long for puppies to learn that humans are pretty awesome chefs and there is plenty of room for everyone to enjoy. Eventually the puppies get switched over to plain dry puppy food, but the excitement and anticipation over their meals stays exactly the same. Wouldn't it be great if at EVERY meal – even if the menu never ever ever changed – we humans were as grateful and as excited? I think I speak for all moms and/or wives everywhere when I say the answer is most definitely YES!!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

No old are you in DOG YEARS?

Today is my nephew Sean’s 6th birthday. I almost feel like I should count his birthday in dog years – so being 6 years old today means he is actually 42 years old. 42 is much more fitting for him as he has an uncanny sense of logic, a terrific sense of humor and possesses incredible powers of persuasion. At the ripe old age of 6 my nephew is already putting things away and saving mementos for his grandchildren. He has already decided that he will NOT be present for the birth of his children because that is just WAY too messy for him. Sean is able to explain exactly how special effects in the movies are achieved and I believe he might know each and every single fact about Star Wars. Sean is really very funny and a blast to be around. By the time he was 3 years old he could already sing the entire lyrics to Corrine Bailey Rae’s “Put your Records On” and often went around the house singing “You go ahead, let your HAIR DOOOOWN.” He is great at letting me know which artist is currently singing on the radio: “Oh that is Jack Johnson, he also sings “On the News Tonight” or “I just LOVE that Bob Dylan.” Sean has a particular affinity for the Beatles and can sing all their greatest hits. When he was really little, one of my sister’s friends came to visit them for the day as she hadn't been over for a while. As soon as she saw my nephew she said, “OH MY, you are getting SO big! I can’t believe how much you have grown. I bet you can almost talk in complete sentences now!” My nephew then turned to his dad and said “What does that woman mean by ALMOST talking in complete sentences?” She then gave Sean his belated Christmas present, a small toy flute to which he replied “Thank you, I used to play one of these when I was a little boy.” Yes, he is a regular comedian.
In honor of Sean’s birthday I will share my favorite Sean story with you. I am sure when Sean reads this (which given his precocious nature should be tomorrow after finishing reading the Wall Street Journal) he will be overjoyed that I chose to share this particular story with you. My nephew was quite the little procrastinator when it came to potty training. He wanted everyone to know that he was a very busy person and couldn't possibly be interrupted by needless trips to the bathroom. He found that he could save precious steps by just going in his diaper. I mean why walk all the way to the potty, when it is obviously unnecessary. He knew that his mom would come and clean him up and he could still continue to create his Lego Empire with absolutely no interruptions. Each time my sister would bring up the subject of the potty, my nephew had a quick and clever response as to why using the toilet was a horrid idea. His retorts included the classic kid excuse that there were monsters in the bathroom. He also was found of the environmentally conscious excuse that by not flushing the toilet he was conserving water. He actually stated that he preferred the comfort of a padded diaper when sitting on the floor. His best excuse had to be the irrefutable... “Mom, I have short legs combined with poor aim!” You have got to hand it to the kid. He came up with some good ones. Once when my sister in complete desperation finally asked him “Sean, WHEN will you use the potty?!” My nephew looked right into her eyes and said, “Mommy, when pigs fall out of the sky like rain, on THAT day, I will use the potty.” Thankfully, Sean never held out for the thunderstorm of falling pigs in order to be potty trained. He decided at a young age that it was more sanitary to use the bathroom and in that moment the diapers were gone. Now if my sister could only come up with a convincing counterpoint as to why Sean should eat his green vegetables…..
Happy Birthday Sean! I hope you enjoyed your day, and yes, for the record, your loving Aunt Renee still thinks it is funny that you have convinced your mommy that ketchup is a vegetable. :)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Man Food

Last night my daughter went out to the movies with friends which left me at home with my husband and son. This can only mean ONE thing for dinner.....MAN FOOD. In case you are unfamiliar with what exactly IS Man Food, let me start first by telling you what Man Food isn't. Man food isn't a type of food only consumed by men. It isn't a food prepared solely by men. Man food isn't something that is to be served at a bridal shower or afternoon tea and it isn't something you would think to offer to someone heading out for their first date. Man Food is simply food that smells both going in AND coming out. You know....the lingering smell that stays long after the food has been consumed. Prime examples of Man Food: Liver and Onions, Frank and Beans, White Castle Hamburgers with extra onions, chili with extra beans AND extra onions. If you have ever watched the campfire scene in the movie "Blazing Saddles" you will know exactly the criteria I am talking about in discussing the lingering effects of Man Food. Yes. You KNOW what I am talking about. So last night I had to run to the grocery store to prepare the required MAN FOOD dinner. What was on the menu? Smoked sausage and Sauerkraut! Need I say more? We followed MAN FOOD night by watching the movie 2012. Such a perfect addition to the Man Food menu. For all of you that are in fear that the kitchen is STILL infused with that distinctive sauerkraut flair, never fear! Tonight I made a good old fashioned delicious Sunday Dinner. We had a big Roasted Chicken, Fresh Steamed Rice, Broccoli and a Loaf of Fresh Baked Old Fashioned Country White Bread. Nothing says the END of MAN FOOD night like the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven! And yes, both men and women alike enjoyed the feast :)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Friendly Service Reminder...TIME TO BACKUP your files

Today I helped my father-in-law transfer all of his files that were so preciously saved onto an external hard drive (by me) back to his computer. The relief and overwhelming joy you feel watching your beloved files restore is indescribable. I am very very careful to backup my computer files regularly. I try to do it each and every Sunday. How is it that I became so regimented in my backup system? Well I must admit, I once was the victim of HARD DRIVE FAILURE. Last year my computer crashed. I mean completely crashed. I got the infamous BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH. The day my computer turned blue, I spent FOUR hours on the phone with a computer support technician so I could learn what I already knew –big surprise ... my computer crashed and was completely worthless. Well technically I only spent a couple of minutes actually talking to a computer technician. 3 hours and 45 minutes of my day were spent holding the phone to my ear listening to “Your call is very important to us, please continue to hold.” I have to say, I have serious doubts to the sincerity of that statement. How can keeping me on hold for over 3 hours show your complete and total concern for my welfare?? Anyway, after the 3+ hours of listening again and again and again to how important I was, the remaining 15 minutes I spent waiting for the computer technician to get to the end of his checklist. Each computer technician has a checklist that must be combed through precisely IN order. You cannot in any way convince the technician that you did steps 1-83 already, but instead must painstakingly go through each item just so the technician can get to the part where he tells you that your computer is broken. "I am sorry to inform you that your computer is not working properly." Gee thanks. I then checked to see if there was any way possible to retrieve my computer files only to be faced with hysterical laughter and the sounds of taps being played over the phone.
Yes, the computer was dead. I lost everything. I mean every letter, every downloaded song, every email and every record of every check I have ever written. Gone. Gone forever. I felt empty and quite frankly a little sick. My entire collection of the greatest R.E.M. singles vanished into thin air. Photos, essays, documents...all gone! How could I have lost everything?! What would I do now?
As I sat there grieving and trying to fight the growing nausea, my husband came in the room and asked me how everything was going. I told him about the demise of our beloved computer. His response was a very nonchalant, “oh well – at least you backed up all the files.” OH. Right..... a back up file. Well wouldn't that have been great? I then had to tell him that – “uh….. no….. actually, I forgot to back up the computer.”
...Let me stop here and share a little wisdom for husbands everywhere. The next thing you say should NOT be: “You should have backed up your files”. You should instead say you are sorry, or say how sad you are and somehow you will find a way to make things better, or even say honey, let me take you out to dinner, you have had such a hard day. Say anything but the dreaded “You should have backed up the files.” So what does my husband say??? He says, “You should have backed up your files.” REALLY??!!!!? You see – I KNOW this. I figured that out ALL by myself the instant I lost everything. I didn't look at my blank dead computer and think.... How fortunate!!!! How lucky! WOW- it is a good thing I don’t have a single copy of anything from the past 4 years. WHEW! – what a relief!!!! I am particularly overjoyed in knowing I lost all my electronic tax returns. I mean who needs all that clutter in their life? I am on CLOUD nine! Amazingly, in that instant I was completely capable of coming to the conclusion that backing up the computer would have been the best route to take. I called my mom for a little support. Moms are good like that. Or at least they should be. She was happy to let me know that she thinks that I should have backed up my files. My sister was next on the list. Surely she would lend me a shoulder to cry on. No luck. Same obvious advice... “You should have backed up your files.” Even my son was of no help. At the wise old age of 12, he was happy to let me know that he does a complete backup of his computer once a week. Whose side was he on anyway?! So People – take it from me – BACK up your files. You never want to experience the agony of losing everything. It feels AWFUL! Back up your files regularly. Do it now! It is easy, it is painless, and it will save you from an eternity of hearing.... “You should have backed up your files!”

Friday, April 16, 2010

Good Day

Do you ever have one of those days where everything just falls into place and it is just an all around awesome day? Well I had that kind of day today. I woke up and my delightful son had already fed and watered the puppies before he went to school. He is a good son! Then I enjoyed a delicious cup of coffee made for me by my sweet husband. Mr. Yesteryear Acres makes the BEST coffee you have ever had. Seriously. You cannot go to any coffee house and find a better cup. He is a true Coffee Barista! He also makes mine JUST the way I like it each and every morning without fail. Just the right amount of Demerara Brown Cane Sugar Crystals and REAL 100% CREAM with FULL FAT & ALL THE CALORIES. mmmmmm. After we enjoyed our morning coffee together we headed outside with all the puppies for a morning photo session. We knew the rain was coming this afternoon so we decided to make sure to get that done first thing. Well the puppies must have been in the mood for pictures today. They were totally giving America's Next Top Model a run for their money. We had so much fun and were cracking up because almost every time we placed a puppy on the blanket the puppy totally would strike a pose. We didn't have to use gimmicks, sound makers, flying toys, whistles, handkerchiefs that fly through the air or anything. They were just like "Let's show off our beauty and make this look GOOD!" The photo session each week is usually a very long and tedious process but today we got it done in less than an hour. It was a lot of fun because I got tons of great photos! We brought all the puppies back inside and I was so excited to get the photos published to our website. I was just about to start working when DUM DUM DUM...OH YES - THE UPS truck arrived!!!!!! My friend had ordered some Salsa Verde Doritos for me and they CAME TODAY!!!! I don't think anyone really understands the DEPTH of my happiness over this!!!!! I mean on any given day, if you are to call me at lunch time and ask me what I am eating, I will invariably say "Chips and Cheese and Salsa". Not just ANY Salsa - my homemade Salsa that I meticulously can each summer and not ANY chips but SALSA VERDE Doritos! It is my favorite lunch in the whole world! Last year they stopped carrying Salsa Verde Doritos anywhere East of the Mississippi River. SUCH SADNESS! I had all but given up hope of ever having it again when LO and BEHOLD THREE BEAUTIFUL BAGS ARRIVED TODAY!!!! I wasted not a moment's notice and ripped open the bag and started savoring the delectable morsels immediately. Happiness was pouring all around me!!!!! Ahhhhhh. And at the exact moment that Happiness was pouring all around me......ummmmm...well Mother Nature was POURING on Mr. Yesteryear Acres!!! LOL. The skies had opened up and literally DUMPED a thousand gallons of water per second. You couldn't even see outside. So being the very good and very supportive and awesome wife that I am, I called Mr. Yesteryear Acres and asked him if he wanted me to bring out some shampoo. I mean when life gives you lemons...make lemonade RIGHT? He informed me that he and Cassie were hanging out together in the dog house. So if anyone asks - my husband WILLINGLY went to the dog house!!!! I did not send him there! LOL. And - no - he didn't want the shampoo. Hmmm. Well, I thought it was a great idea.
Tonight is family night! I have a loaf of homemade bread in the oven and I think I will make some Penne Pasta with fresh cherry tomatoes and pine nuts. :) I hope your Friday was A GOOD DAY too! Here's to the weekend!!!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Oh the JOY....and MORE JOY :)

I know I have told you how wonderful Mr. Yesteryear Acres is with our doggies and puppies. He really is a furry family member's bestest friend but in addition he is also MY bestest friend. Last night he totally fixed the sorrowful part of my tax day. He had Simon Baker waiting for us in the living room. I mean that is pretty good right? And to make the evening even more complete, he had ICE CREAM ready for us as well. Mr. Yesteryear Acres found the most delectable delicious mouth watering fantastic ice cream flavor EVER...Haagan Dazs Amaretto Almond Crunch. mmmmm. "Limited Edition Seductively Smooth Amaretto Ice Cream blended with Crispy Almond Brittle" It was soooo good. We both ate an entire pint.......each. :) After Simon Baker, aka The Mentalist, dazzled us with his mad reasoning skills, we watched The Amazing Race and now I am completely caught up with my shows that I have missed. HAPPINESS! So how in the world could Mr. Yesteryear Acres top that wonderful evening? Well today he added to the joyful part of my being and surprised me with a picnic! He had everything all ready in our red picnic basket along with fishing poles and off we went to our pond for the morning. The doggies had so much fun romping around the pond and we had a fantastic yummy lunch and then spent a few hours fishing together. Mr. Yesteryear Acres is quite the fisherman and of course caught the first fish .... but ... as the pictures prove, I caught the biggest fish! I also caught the last fish of the morning. I mean I DID catch it....even if Mr. Yesteryear Acres cast the rod, enticed the fishy, got the fishy to bite the lure and then handed me the rod to reel in the fish. It is still my fish! Even though I never ever ever ever ever actually touch the fish......ewwwww that is gross! HA HA! I am the best fisherman ever!!!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

OH the JOY....OH the SORROW!!!

OH JOY!!!! HOORAY!!! I am amazing! I have finished alllll the taxes!!! I must be way more clever than I gave myself credit for as I am already done! And it isn't even 12:01am Friday April 16th! WOW! I feel great. I am on top of the world! My lovely husband worked extra hard yesterday and took care of the kids' doctor appointments and baseball practice and all the puppy work and doggie work AND even made extra coffee and brought it upstairs to me. I am the luckiest person ever! I whipped through that adding machine with such speed and ease. The numbers just flew out of my fingers. I am done! I am free!!! I am going to DEFINITELY start earlier next year and be prepared all year round and keep everything neat and organized. I am READY!!! Tomorrow I think I will start that exercise program and get outside in the beautiful sunny spring air and walk and sing and dance my way into fitness! HELLO BEAUTIFUL WORLD! I AM YOURS!! .....................
OH SORROW! MISERY!!! I am done. I have finished alllllllll the taxes!!!! Unfortunately I am smarter than I thought and I finished the taxes one whole day earlier. It isn't even 12:01am Friday April 16th and I have already signed away my savings and sent it off to the IRS. THE IRS. See that? Put those two words spells THEIRS! My lovely husband got to do all the fun stuff yesterday and I was STUCK upstairs drowning in ribbons of adding machine tape. I even got some stuck to my clothes. I have blisters on the tips of my fingers from working the adding machine for hours and hours. I think I have ink in my hair. I am in NO WAY going to start earlier next year!!! Why should one be miserable in MARCH??!! That is the craziest idea ever! I am going to wait until the very last possible moment that will ensure I am on time yet NOT early. Good-bye dear money. Good-bye new shoes, cute dress, darling little headband. *sniff sniff* I never even knew you, but I am sure that I would have loved you! Tomorrow I am going to get out a pint of Haagan Daz Swiss Vanilla Almond Ice cream and eat the entire pint. YES! I will eat my ice cream while I watched my missed episodes of the "Amazing Race" and "Survivor"! Maybe the puppies will join me and I will stay in my big comfy never make me feel fat pajamas all day! HELLO BEAUTIFUL LIVING ROOM!!!!! I AM YOURS!!!! :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Falter, Falter and then evidently Falter some more

I must confess. I may or may not have slightly faltered in my self-imposed exile isolation. Now certainly you are all thinking that YES Renee DID falter or else why would she be on here writing when clearly she is supposed to be upstairs locked away with no sunlight or music or facebook or entertainment of any kind. Well this is what happened. I was being EVER so good last night and actually FINISHED my daughter's taxes! WOW! Congratulations! What an accomplishment! I almost can hear a parade being organized in my honor! I did Federal and State Taxes in their entire completion! Okay - so maybe my daughter has just one W-2 and maybe she only needs the EZ form and maybe in its entirety it takes approximately 22 minutes to complete BUT I DID do them! So then what lay before me was MY taxes. And NO EZ form. And itemized deductions and lots and lots and lots of adding machine tape. It was then that I heard someone calling me from downstairs! OH yes. An URGENT call that must be answered! Who was it??? Well it was Mr. Wild Cherry Gummi Bear calling me!!! You see he and his friends really wanted me to come downstairs because what goes better with taxes than some delicious gummi bears??? And then while I was downstairs getting some much needed nutritional reinforcements........Simon Baker called me! I mean he was calling me VERY LOUDLY and just wanted me to watch one tiny small short fast quick infinitesimal episode of The Mentalist. Simon told me that it was for my MENTAL health - so how could I deny him? Well after the most excellent episode it was clearly too late to go back upstairs so obviously I would start FIRST THING THIS MORNING. Which brings us clearly to this point where I am writing my blog and that clearly means I am not upstairs BUT you see I had an amazing facebook message waiting for me this morning!!!! I have a goldendoodle breeder friend that I only see ONCE a year. We send cute little facebook messages back and forth - but we only spend any real time at a breeder's seminar one weekend a year. Well this lovely and awesome and SO sweet friend of mine found some SALSA VERDE DORITOS!!! She remembered from LAST October that I LOVE THEM. That they are my favorite chip in the entire world. Salsa Verde Doritos are NOWHERE to be found anywhere east of the Mississippi River and I have been looking for them everywhere. Well she found some and is SENDING THEM TO ME!!!! I mean that is some awesome fabulous amazing news!!! I am so excited I can't even sit still with the anticipation of eating my delectable Salsa Verde chips! Happiness is falling all around me!!!!! And what kind of friend would I be if I didn't share my extreme gratitude??? So I obviously had to write to her and profusely express my gratitude. And then of course once I was on Facebook I had to make a move in my scrabble game because what kind of friend would I be if I left my very good friend hanging and waiting for me to make my move?? I play a move or two every single day with another labradoodle/goldendoodle breeder friend and I know she is sitting at her computer right now anxiously awaiting my triple word score, 7 letter word: FUMBLER (heh heh heh) to make her day! And then since I was already on my computer I HAD to check my email. And this is what brought me back to the reality that lies ahead. I got a very nice email from someone who is getting a puppy next weekend and she wrote "Enjoying Your Taxes????" NOOOOOOOOO! People are checking up on me!!! I am now really really really going to go upstairs right now and GO DO MY TAXES.
Right now.
I will just make one quick trip to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee....any maybe a bagel....with cream cheese....mmmmm

Monday, April 12, 2010

Self-Imposed Exile

And so the time has come for me to lock myself up and not let myself out until Early Friday morning at approximately 12:01am April 16th. I gave myself one last day to play outside in the lovely spring air with my sweet puppies. I took lots of adorable pictures and posted them all on my website and added a cute puppy photo to this blog. I looked at all the new status updates and perused the new uploaded photos on Facebook of the I-Ball weekend at the Naval Academy. I also put some lovely pictures on Facebook of the weekend. That might SEEM like procrastination, but I assure you it was most necessary :) I also went through all my mail and bills and have mentally prepared myself for what lies ahead. I am hopeful that all this will hold me over until I return from exile. Yes, I am wishing I had listened to myself and actually paid attention to the calendar in March where it said "RENEE DO YOUR TAXES NOW!!" But alas, I just kept saying that I would start the taxes tomorrow and then tomorrow came and went and the next day and the next and the next and now it is almost TAX day and I have run out of tomorrows!!! So farewell my dear readers. Farewell beautiful sunshine. Farewell living room, dining room and kitchen. Farewell NCIS. Farewell Survivor. (Again - all these Farewells are in NO way me procrastinating!!) Farewell House, Amazing Race and The Mentalist. Farewell family! I will miss you all very much. *sniff sniff* I hopefully shall emerge on the 16th with MISSION ACCOMPLISHED and will proudly proclaim that next year "I SHALL NOT PROCRASTINATE!!!!!"

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Home again!!! I am now officially done with my travels for a few months. I had a nice drive home with my daughter and we personally selected almost 300 songs for our playlist to keep us grooving all the way home. We had some awesome tunes! I had the best time, but am really glad to be back home. My doggies were so excited to see me this evening, I think I got over 100 spins of excitement. I have one doggie in particular that just spins and wags his tail, then spins and wags his tail every time he is super happy. He really gave me the twirling special tonight! The next few days will be unbelievably busy but after I push through this week, things should settle down some. Tomorrow is PICTURE DAY!!! I will have all new pictures of our puppies posted on our website. They are so cute and I am looking forward to getting their new photos up. Then I have to go lock myself upstairs and except for chauffeuring the kids to sports, doctor's and orthodontist appointments I am not to leave for any reason. Well maybe I can get an excuse to leave to visit the restroom or to grab a very small and QUICK bite to eat - but nothing more than that. We all know what is coming...... We all dread it with the same intensity.........YES - You guessed--- TAX DAY! ACK! I haven't even started! I must go bury myself up to my neck in paperwork and receipts and adding machine paper. I must hear myself promise for the umpteenth time how I will never ever ever wait until the last minute. I will also hear myself promise to keep things organized and neat and how I will NEVER let my desk get messy again. I will really mean it too!!! If you don't hear from me, please send a cookie or two. I will be the one with the frazzled crazy hair surrounded by reams and reams of paper. I hope to make it out alive!!! Good luck to us all!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Girl Time

Today was a really good day. I got up early and quietly worked while my younger daughter slept in . My older daughter is not allowed to leave the Naval Academy grounds until noon on Saturdays so to kill time I went shopping at the Sam's Club here in Annapolis. It is fun to compare the items they carry from those at home. Here you can find a plentiful selection of crab seasoned potato chips, clam chowder, beach items and boating accessories. If you are ever looking for some water based equipment, Sam's in Annapolis is sure to carry it. They also carry the kind of chips my kids like in their lunches so I stocked up on chips along with pinenuts (we have a shortage at home), Icy Hot Patches and soup. I think my cart looked kind of odd as it only had those items and lots of them. I am thinking the check out lady thinks I REALLY love Soup and Chips! I then headed off to the Naval Academy and picked up my older daughter. My two daughters and I spent a relaxing afternoon together and got to catch up on everything we have been missing. We had some much needed girl time and it was so nice just to be together for the day. Tonight USNA is hosting the International Ball so both my daughters were very busy getting ready for that. They did each other's hair and make-up and got all dressed up in their ball gowns for the big event. It was a rare and most treasured event for me to see my two daughters together at the same time. Every time they smiled, my heart smiled right along with them. They laughed all afternoon and by this evening, looked absolutely beautiful. I am so thankful to have spent the day with my two girls and I totally enjoyed watching how much fun they had together. The sisterly bond between them continues to grow stronger with each passing year and I know they treasured their day together as much as I did. Tomorrow sadly, I leave for home and have to say good-bye to my daughter. I think this time it will be as hard for me as it will be for my two girls. I know the three of us will be counting the long days ahead until we are all together again.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Don't Cry for me Argentina

Today I left home early and headed for Annapolis, Maryland to visit my daughter at the United States Naval Academy. I baked up a storm all day yesterday. I made Amish Chicken and Noodles, homemade rolls, strawberry salad and Smore's Bars. I also slow roasted a huge pork loin and made pulled pork. Thanks to the brilliant idea given to me by my mother-in-law, I put the pulled pork in my big crockpot and plugged the crockpot into a converter and used the cigarette lighter in my car to keep it nice and warm for the entire journey. I have to say my car smelled delightful. In addition to my car full of homebaked goodness, I had 2 puppies accompany me on my trip. I delivered one puppy to the Hagerstown, Maryland area and the other puppy went all the way to Annapolis. Both puppies were awesome travelers but the Annapolis bound puppy was a bit opinionated on just which music was suitable for the journey. It was actually rather funny. When the Proclaimers sang "5,000 Miles" the puppy went along with the music but whenever the chorus came on "AND I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more.." He would add this hysterical sigh as if he had made the journey himself. He definitely did not approve of "Don't Cry for Me Argentina". Evidently he felt that it was more than necessary to cry for Argentina and howled until I was ultimately forced to change the song. "Banana Pancakes" by Jack Johnson brought quite a bit of delight to the pup. I assume he thought Jack was making the pancakes for him RIGHT THEN and would be delivering them any moment. He actually wagged his tail through the entire song. He was also particularly fond of Dido - which I imagine is because he thought her name was actually "Fido" and he believed they were long lost kin. I am telling you the puppy really knew his music! He cried along with Deanna Carter and was terribly sad over the fact she wasted an entire evening shaving her legs for a non-existent date. He added his own panting to Maroon 5's "Harder to Breathe" and really added that something special to the song. I think his favorite song of the day was by Cake. Evidently he likes the band name and makes him think of delicious treats. When Cake sang "Short Skirt and a LONG jacket" the delight he felt was obvious. It was apparent that he was thinking of chasing that long jacket and perhaps dragging it all over the house with great joy. I hope the puppy's new owners will keep up his musical education. He had a most excellent head start today. I left him singing "Atomic Dog" as he went off to join his new family :) Bow Wow Wow Yippee OH Yippee AY!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Stop and Smell the Roses

Yesterday in the midst of doing 100 things at once my husband called me and asked me to come outside to see the flowers on our magnolia tree. I politely told him that I had already seen them and I was trying to get dinner on and I had emails to answer and laundry to fold. Well Mr. Yesteryear Acres was not going to take no for an answer and said I REALLY needed to come outside because it was so beautiful and everything was in bloom and the temperature was just perfect. He told me to bring the camera as I positively couldn't miss it. I actually grumbled a bit and reluctantly agreed to go outside. WOW! It WAS really nice outside! I have been so busy I have forgotten to take the time to appreciate the symphony of colors that Mother Nature provides this time of year. Our magnolia tree is in full bloom and smells SO good. The red bud tree has purple flowers, our cherry tree is full of beautiful blossoms and our daffodils and tulips never looked prettier. We took the puppies outside so they could romp around and my daughter and I started taking photos of all the spring beauties. My son brought his ball and glove outside and soon a baseball party was in full swing. We all had just the best time and it was so nice to stop rushing around and simply enjoy the wonders of springtime. So go ahead and take a break. Stop and smell the roses! You just might find they smell sweeter than you remember and look more glorious when you just take a moment to appreciate the natural beauty that is waiting just outside your door.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

If you Give a Moose a Muffin

Have you ever read the book "If you Give a Moose a Muffin"? It goes something like this: If you give a Moose a Muffin, then he will want some strawberry jam to go with it, and that will remind him that he will want some milk, and then he will remember that he will need a napkin and then that will remind him that he wants to do a puppet show with the napkins that will remind him to....and so on and so on. It isn't exactly verbatim but you get the picture. Well last night - I totally lived the "If you Give a Moose a Muffin" experience. Before dinner, I went over to my father-in-law's house to rescue all his data from complete and total computer failure. His old computer was definitely dying a slow and most unpleasant death. I had to rescue allllllllll his information facing impending doom. After successfully saving all of his pictures, emails, financial records etc onto an external hard drive, I thought my rescue work was done. I am quite positive that you have now figured out that I was completely and totally wrong. It was obvious that his old computer was never coming back to life, so I left my extra laptop with him so he could use it until he could replace his desktop. This was a mistake. Have you ever seen someone who ONLY knows how to use a very old desktop try to figure out a Windows Vista Laptop? Yes. I should have known better. I thought I would just turn on my laptop and VOILA! I am a HERO! I have SAVED the day!!!! Well....Turning on my laptop reminded him that he doesn't know how to set up his email, which reminded him that (this one is my personal favorite) he didn't remember his email password, and then receiving his emails reminded him that he didn't know how to put Turbo Tax on the laptop which reminded him that he didn't know how to import last year's information, which reminded him that he didn't know how to hook up the printer, and so on and so on. I believe it was 11:49pm when I arrived back home. So if you are going to give a Moose a Muffin, you better have the jam ready, and the milk, and the napkins...and..and...and.... And most importantly if you are reading this blog today dear Father-in-law, I love you. I will always have strawberry jam ready for you and I was glad we got everything working again :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Prince Humperdinck

Man! I have a ton to do this next week. I feel like Prince Humperdinck in the movie The Princess Bride... "Tyrone, you know how much I love watching you work, but I've got my country's 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it; I'm swamped." I think I could give Prince Humperdinck a run for his money! I have puppy work, emails to write, phone calls to return, TONS of housework (hmmmmm....I think my son forgot where his room is and has left all his belongings EVERYWHERE!) not to mention TAXES TAXES TAXES which I haven't even started and oh yes, this weekend I am driving to Annapolis to visit my daughter at the Naval Academy. How will I ever get everything all done? I believe I won't sit down until April 16th! Yesterday I spent most of the day taking brand new pictures of all the puppies. I was so happy to see them all and they have really grown this past week! They are all so cute and playing with them was definitely the highlight of my day. I then downloaded all the pictures to my computer and edited them and proceeded to upload them to my website. My website hosting server evidently decided that yesterday was a great day for torture. Every single time I would upload one photo, the webserver crashed and I had to close out and restart the program. ARGH! What normally takes 3 hours took 6 hours yesterday. It was a very torturous process. I tried to keep thinking happy thoughts, but as the day wore on, my happy thoughts were more like "DO NOT PULL OUT ALL YOUR HAIR.....YOU WILL NOT LOOK GOOD BALD!" I am fairly certain my son is the only one in this family that can pull off that "hair" style. Today I poured through a week of mail and marveled at all the credit card opportunities, insurance offers and "SPECIAL SALES... ONE TIME ONLY" that await me. Wow! I am so popular! I am now running off to my father-in-law's house to rescue him. Seriously. It is a genuine rescue mission as his computer has crashed and I need to go get alllllllllllll his information and save it to a hard drive. He has everything on there. I mean EVERYTHING. And has he backed up his information???? NO! Dear Father-in-law...If you are reading this...which of course will not be doing today because YOU HAVE NO COMPUTER.....please remember to back up your data. It is very important to do that regularly. I am on the way to rescue you. Wish me luck. Tomorrow is more of the same plus I must prepare a "feast on wheels" for my trip on Friday. I need to feed my daughter and her midshipmen friends. I am taking requests. Bake-a-thon begins Thursday!!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Today was just a lovely day. I woke up in my own bed right next to my husband that I dearly love surrounded by my doggies that I dearly love in my home that I dearly love. Ahhhhhh. It is so nice to be home. I really love my house. My house was built in 1823 and is a big brick house with original plaster walls, high ceilings and hardwood floors. I think it is the prettiest house I have ever seen. The first time I ever saw my house was when I saw the big color photograph of it in a Real Estate magazine. I fell in love instantly. My husband and I had been seriously looking for over a year for a place to call home. We saw so many homes, but none of them had that special something we were looking for. The moment I saw the picture of the house in the magazine, I knew I had found what I was looking for. The only problem was that the asking price was WAY WAY more than we could ever afford. I mean it wasn't even close. I made an appointment with the listing agent just so I could see it and dream about how beautiful it was. It was everything I wanted and more. It was perfect. It came with 20 acres of land and a stream and barns and room for horsies and doggies and the second I walked in the house, I had goosebumps and just felt like I was meant to live there. I wrote a very long letter to the owners of the home and shared with them my feelings on how perfect I thought their house was. I let them know that I wanted to raise my children in their house and I would care for their home and love it and treasure it always. I asked them if they ever came to a place in their life, where they thought they might want to pass their home down to a family that would truly appreciate their home, would they please consider us. We didn't have the asking price of their home, but maybe, just maybe, we could make up for what we lacked financially with sincere and deepest gratitude, appreciation and love. One year later after writing the letter, we received a call from the listing agent letting us know the sellers had agreed to our offer and would sell us their home! We could not even believe it. Our dream came true....and we have been living here happily ever since!!!!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Chef's Perfection

I have made 18 of the most perfectly cooked eggs you have ever seen. The egg yolks are bright sunny yellow and the whites are as pure white as fresh fallen snow. The shells can be peeled off with ease and nary a pockmark or blemish can be found on the freshly peeled eggs. If Julia Childs herself were to come to my house and examine my eggs she would surely give me top marks. Yes, I have made 18 perfect eggs.... 18 perfect SOFT boiled eggs. And therin lies the problem. These are Easter eggs. Nicely decorated bright colored HARD boiled Easter eggs or so I thought. I peeled my beauties only to discover that inside did not lie a nice hard yolk but rather a yellow molten lava type liquid. Sadly, there will be no traditional easter egg salad this year. No eggs for lunch. No chef's salad for dinner. No egg salad wraps. No Deviled Eggs. Sooooooo, this year we start a new tradition - Easter Egg Feast for the puppies and doggies! From the look on their faces, this was the best Easter ever! HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!!!!!

Shake Your Groove Thing

This spring break I discovered that I need a Disco in my home. Seriously. I need a nightclub disco in my house with a dedicated DJ. I want people to come to my club and have my DJ play some awesome tunes and just dance the night away. Dancing is SO fun. It brings smiles to people’s faces and gets the blood pumping and is a fantastic way to get a workout in without even realizing you are working out. I am not what you would call a sedentary person. I am up and down the stairs, on and off of my chair and in and out of the house many times a day. If you looked at the average amount of time I am moving about – it really adds up. I would like to call my daily activity “exercise” …..and even more than that I would like to have someone else call it “exercise” but evidently, it is not even close. I guess there is some rule where exercise is something that happens at least 3 times a week for a constant duration of 30 minutes. I think the rule states that it must be painful and boring and procrastination of this activity is quite common. I often have good intentions on getting a workout accomplished. The night before I will have a great plan… “Wake up extra early and get workout done before breakfast.” Then the morning comes and I am not hungry – so I obviously have a little time before I need to workout. Breakfast is hours away. Well then somehow it is almost noon so clearly breakfast is out of the question, so I make a new plan to work out after lunch has settled. Well it seems lunch settles just about the exact time the kids come home from school so I can’t just abandon them for exercise. That wouldn’t be very motherly of me would it? So by the time I hear about their day and get some more puppy work finished – it is time to start making dinner, so clearly the mid-day workout is no good. You see the problem right? Exercise just doesn’t make the priority list and something always comes up. This is where the Disco comes in! If I have a Disco in my house, think how much fun that would be. We all could Twist and Shout and Shake our Booty and Dance the Night Away and none of it would feel like exercise at all. I guess I better start shopping for that disco ball! Shake Your Groove Thing!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Bring on the Rain

Today we had a bit of a rainy day here. And by here – I mean here on my spring break vacation – not here at home where I am sure it has been 75* with a lovely breeze, the sun shining, the daffodils blooming and the birds all singing. I think whenever there is a bad weather day on vacation, by law it has to be the nicest weather day EVER back home. Mother Nature likes to pull that one just so the people back home can feel justice in having been left behind. I suppose in fair play – it is nice for them to feel vindicated but wouldn’t it be nice for all parties to have lovely weather? I mean that IS possible right? It is possible for everyone having a spring break at home and all those having their spring break elsewhere to have the loveliest weather ever experienced during that particular week, but alas, not this time. We had rain. It was very fun to watch other vacationers deal with the dreary forecast. Some ran full speed ahead to retreat inside and totally gave up all hope for any redeeming quality in the wet hours that lie ahead. Their day was ruined. Nothing could salvage their happiness now. Rain unquestionably meant the end of their spring break fun. On the other end of the spectrum were the few diehards that were in total denial. They absolutely were not going to admit that their towels, bags, books, hats, purses, and other belongings were almost to the point of drowning because “can’t you see???? It is NOT raining!” They sat in the pouring rain, holding down their precious vacation lounge chairs and they were going to continue to do so for the rest of the day. You could clearly see that they were going to stick with the philosophy of “Rain? What Rain? I don’t see any Rain?” Perhaps being completely and utterly soaked was their goal for the day. If that is in fact the case – they met their goals and then some. Our philosophy fell somewhere in the middle. We clearly admitted defeat as the rains fell but we were smart enough to make that call early in the game and got a lovely table under a shelter. The rain was most definitely not going to end our fun, but we would have our fun without the drowning aspect. We found some other “in the middle” people and proceeded to play all sorts of games and contests and just had a ball. Our team was particularly good at 70’s disco trivia and my daughter won the Chuck Berry Twist dance contest. She received a lovely prize and I know will never forget just how much courage it took to win that piece of victory. Hanging out with people that refuse to let a little dampness ruin their fun is a great way to spend a vacation day. Their perspective on the day’s merit can only bring smiles and happiness to your day. You share in the laughter, you share in the merriment and most importantly you all share in new friendships and lasting memories. Bring on the rain!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Fresh Look

If you ever want to have a fantastic day, spend your day with a young person. It can be your child, niece, nephew, grandchild, or family friend. You don’t need to go and do something special or amazingly different – you can do something that you do all the time, but go ahead and share that experience with someone young. Children are awesome. They see the world with fresh new eyes and send their unique perspective right to your heart. It is so much fun to watch them smile with their entire being over a squirrel in the woods or a new flower just blossoming or a hermit crab trying to find its way through the world. Children are able to find wonder in places you just might be missing. A puddle of mud holds the secret to hours of laughter. Coloring together can unlock an inner Picasso that has been shut away for many years. Playing with a camera can capture more genuine smiles than any staged picture session. A bird singing on a chair next to you can bring giggles you never expected. When you look at the world through the eyes of a child, you might discover all the wonders you have been missing. Somehow in all the hustle and bustle of day-to-day activities, some of life’s miracles tend to become a little bit black and white…perhaps fading into the distance. Share your world with a child and you will feel all the color rush back into your days. They see the things we have long forgotten and make the world fresh and new again.