Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Memorial Day means picnics and barbecues. It means watermelon, potato salad, ribs and ice cream cones. Flags on light posts, street signs, doorways and windows. Spending the day outdoors with family. A day off of work. No postal delivery. Golf tournaments and Indy car racing. Memorial Day means summer is here to stay. Yes Memorial Day means all of these things to many people and is often thought of as a light and breezy, carefree holiday. Memorial Day also means to Remember and to Honor and to give Thanks. Memorial Day should bring a pause to everyone's thoughts and to everyone's hearts to remember and appreciate all the soldiers that pledge their lives in devotion and service to our country. James A. Garfield said, "For love of country they accepted death." That sentiment lies inside each and every soldier's heart. They have an absolute love for their country and willingly go to battle for us. We are so lucky that there are so many devoted servicemen and women that would give their lives to protect ours. So thank you. Thank you to all that have served. Thank you for all that serve today. The world is a big and sometimes scary place and our country is so lucky to have selfless soldiers defending our rights and our freedoms. So today while we spend our day off with loved ones, please give a special thanks to all the families that sacrifice their family time together so that our country can be free.
To my daughter who is a midshipman at The United States Naval Academy - I miss you with all my heart and I thank you.
To Jessie who's husband is serving in Afghanistan - thank you.
To my father-in-law who served in the Navy - thank you.
To my very special neighbors that both served to defend our country - thank you.
To all my friends that served - thank you.
To the midshipman at the Naval Academy, to the cadets at West Point, the Air Force Academy, Coast Guard Academy and Merchant Marines - thank you.
To all our soldiers everywhere - thank you.
Your devotion to our safety, our freedom and our country is much appreciated.
"A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself." ~Joseph Campbell
You are all heroes to me.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Strawberries of Wrath

My younger daughter was given a final exam project by her high school English teacher to create a movie based on a chapter from the book Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. We filmed some of the movie at the Strawberry patch yesterday and then spent most of the morning filming the rest of the movie. This afternoon, my daughter spent hours editing the film adding music and narration to the project and arranging all the clips in the order she envisioned. Her movie is entitled "The Strawberries of Wrath" and it is awesome. She has just the right music and special effects and the script is great. At first my husband and I were less than enthusiastic about dressing up in period pieces and acting in her film but truth be told, we had a lot of fun. It ended up being a terrific family project and everyone enjoyed helping. In between the filming of the movie, I had my own Strawberries of Wrath project happening in the kitchen. I awoke to 2 full pecks of strawberries still needing to be processed. So today I made 2 batches of homemade Strawberry Ice Cream. Tonight Mr. Yesteryear Acres will crank out the ice cream and we will all fight to lick the dasher. I also made homemade strawberry vinaigrette salad dressing, homemade strawberry shortcake, 12 cups of sliced strawberries for everyone to enjoy, and last but certainly not least, chocolate covered strawberries. And dearest mom - if you are reading this blog, and I know you are - YES I did make one more batch of strawberry jam just for you. I was on my feet the entire day and still have tons to do. I am happy to report that both the single fluffy puppy looking for a new home found his family yesterday and our last puppy who is SO sweet also found her home! Yea! All our older puppies have new families to love! Tomorrow I will be taking new pictures of all our little baby puppies and posting them to our site. We are blessed with some adorable babies! Tonight we are going to enjoy all the strawberry goodness along with some grilled chicken. For the finale - a private showing of THE STRAWBERRIES OF WRATH. I can't wait!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Strawberry Fields Forever

This morning bright and early my daughter, son and I headed off to the strawberry farm. We were armed with appropriate attire: hat, old shorts, shoes that can be easily cleaned and of course I wore a red shirt so as to camouflage the mass amount of strawberry juice that was sure to accumulate during the day. The day couldn't be nicer with the sun shining and the fields were nice and dry. My daughter is an excellent strawberry picker. She gets right in the row, head down and off she goes. She can outpick just about anyone. My son, however, is let's just say not the greatest strawberry picker. He is a GREAT strawberry eater though!!! His basket is always at least 75% less full than either of our baskets. He seems to have an affinity for picking just the perfect berry. He loves to show me each berry he finds. He then marvels at the perfection in his just-picked berry and then proceeds to pop the strawberry in his mouth. He then always says "I was right. That WAS a perfect strawberry!" I am fairly certain the only reason I bring him along is so that he can get his fill of strawberries at the patch, so that the ones I pick can make it home. At least he actually picked his own strawberries to eat this time. In years past, he used to pick them out of my basket!!! So while my son ate, my daughter and I picked and picked. We were thinking of strawberry pies, strawberry vinaigrette salad dressing, chocolate covered strawberries and fresh made strawberry jam. We were really making progress and just about the time I was about ready to quit because it was really getting hot out, my son walked down our row with ice cold water bottles. He used his own money to buy us some cold water. He is so thoughtful! I am fairly certain the reason I bring him along is because he is awesome! The water replenished our energy and we were able to keep picking. When we finally called it quits between the 3 of us, we picked 5 peck baskets full. That is 40 quarts of strawberries!!!! We were quite proud and the farm manager was very impressed with our beautiful bounty of berries. After we got home it was JAM TIME! My daughter and I worked in the kitchen all day and ended up with 26 containers of strawberry jam. That is one container of strawberry jam every other week for an entire year. Our sandwiches will be delicious! We still have 2 peck baskets full so tomorrow we will be making homemade strawberry ice cream, salad dressing and chocolate covered strawberries. Despite the fact that my kitchen is red, my fingers are red, my red shirt is even more red than when I put it on and my entire house smells like strawberries .... I think I hear the whipped cream calling me from the kitchen. It is asking me to put it on top of a big bowl of fresh sliced strawberries. Yes. Yes. It IS the whipped cream! I believe he is very good friends with Mr. Milk Chocolate Chips who wants to join him in my bowl. Well I don't want to ignore the whipped cream and chocolate! I better go grab my bowl right now! mmmmmmmm!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Single Fluffy puppy seeking best friend to love

We have an awesome 9 week old doodle puppy that is now available. The family that picked him out when he was just a wee little pup can no longer come to get him. He is the sweetest little guy with a fantastic non-shedding coat. He comes when he is called, has an awesome headstart on housebreaking and is super affectionate. He is perfect for a family looking for a gentle easy going pup with a heart of gold. Isn't he adorable? I hope he finds his new home soon as he is ready for his forever family.
All of our little doodle babies here are all doing really well. The mommies are doing great work taking care of them and they are getting just a little bit bigger each day. We are not expecting any more new babies until August so our summer will be pretty quiet. Hopefully we will get some of the MUCH needed home improvement projects done. The most important project is our bedroom. Last year....yes..I did just say LAST year as in 2009, my sweet dear darling husband emptied our bedroom and began what was supposed to be a nice new paint job in our bedroom. We moved all our belongings out and have them in various rooms around the house. Currently we sleep downstairs right next to the puppies. I am sure you all think awwwwwwwwwww how cute! I know the puppies all think awwwwwwwwww how cute. I think even Mr. Yesteryear Acres thinks awwwwwwwww how cute. I however do not think it is all that cute. I am the world's lightest sleeper. Every little noise wakes me up no matter how tired I am. I have earplugs in place every evening, but that does little to stop my restless nights and when you have cute little puppies right next to your bed - they want to talk to you. And play with you. And stare at you. They say things like "HI! Are you awake? How about now? How about now? I bet you are awake now? What if I lick your hand? What if I tilt my head so I look ever so cute with big puppy dog eyes? Will you wake up now? OH PLEASE OH PLEASE!! Do you wanna play?? How about now??!!?" And what does Mr. Yesteryear Acres say to all this talking? NOTHING! Because he is always FAST ASLEEP! So I have been begging him to get the bedroom finished but alas - it is still far away from being completed. First Mr. Yesteryear Acres had to insist on putting in all new electric. Yes - I know, I know - having something called a "light switch" is very nice. Also having electrical outlets in the room where you could "gasp" PLUG something IN is also very nice. Since our house is so old (built in 1823) electrical outlets are quite absent. All our walls are made of solid bricks. Even the interior walls are brick covered in plaster. Every job that looks to be small and insignificant turns into a never ending exhausting project that takes forever. And so I sleep downstairs. Next to the puppies. Every night. All that is needed (says Mr. Yesteryear Acres) is a few weeks where he can solidly work upstairs. Well those weeks are coming!!!! Starting in July I hope to have some progress reports on our renovation project!!! It will be so luxurious to sleep in a bedroom. In private. With a door and everything. Ahhhhhh the mere thought of it makes me smile with great anticipation and hope.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Groovin to the Tunes

Today marked THREE days in a row that I have gotten off my butt and headed outdoors for a good 2 mile walk. I feel quite accomplished! The past 2 days I have walked at home around our pond and on the path through our woods. It is a really nice walk and I usually see deer, our fish (who actually stalk me as I walk around the pond hoping that I have the fish chow in my hand), lots of birds, and once in a while a cute little bunny. The only part I don't like about walking at home is that I have to do multiple laps to get 2 miles in. I find myself looking at my watch quite often only to find that a whole 3 minutes has passed since the last time I looked. The 30 minutes of walking seems a lot longer when I walk at home. This morning I headed off to the arboretum which has over 8 miles of walking trails. It is the loveliest setting and so peaceful. I love it there. I can pick new trails and vary my workout up a bit when I walk there. There is always something new to see each time I visit. I only looked at my watch once while I walked this morning just to make sure I was keeping a good pace. As much as I love the arboretum, I did realize there is a big No-No to walking there. When I walk at home, I sing out loud. I have my mini iPod full of awesome work out tunes and I just sing sing sing along with all my favorite songs. Yesterday when I walked around our pond, I was singing "Me and Julio". When I got to the part that goes "Well I am on my way, I don't know where I'm going but I am on my way. I am taking my time but I don't know where..." I had 2 bullfrogs join in. I took that as a huge compliment. I believe the bullfrogs were thinking "That is the most BEAUTIFUL sound we have ever heard!!!! We should join in!!!!" Bullfrogs are so complimentary and polite aren't they? My doggies like my singing too. They never ever say "Hey Renee, with those headphones in your ear you are completely tone deaf and can't hit the notes." They just smile and wag their tails and are a most appreciative audience. So today I headed off on the beautiful Holly Trail at the arboretum when Sheryl Crow belted, "If it makes you HAPPY" which of course I HAD to answer, "It can't be that baaaaaad." It was then I noticed I wasn't alone. Not only was I not alone but I got that look. The look that clearly says that I must have escaped from a mental institution and haven't learn proper social mores that dictate that singing out loud among strangers is strictly forbidden. So I stopped singing and finished my walk in silence. No singing out loud. No hip hop dance moves as I boogied down the path. You have to wonder - the people that are fond of giving that "You can NOT be singing" look - how many of them love to sing out loud when no one is looking? How many are secret salsa dancers when they are emptying their dishwasher or rocking out an awesome merengue while switching laundry loads? I am going to guess that almost all of them! Now if we can only make it perfectly normal to smile and dance and boogie our way through our walking routine full of music and singing....I bet there would be a lot more people hitting the trails. Hey maybe I will start the movement myself..... "I'm Bringing Sexy Back!" Yea!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Stark Reality

I believe the gnawing fear growing inside of me is coming to fruition. I hardly want to say it out loud for fear that just saying it will immediately result in cold stark reality. Okay, here it goes.....I am not as young as I think I am. There. I said it. It isn't like small subtle hints haven't been present for the past year or so. I have just chosen to ignore them or excuse them. For instance, the floor is SO much further down than it used to be. If I have to bend over to get something off the floor I can actually hear a groan escape my lips. If I am ON the floor...oh my. Getting up is almost a workout. When did the floor become so far away?? And when did eating garlic result in extreme gastrointestinal upset? I used to eat cloves of garlic and the only thing to get upset were the people that got too close to my delightful garlic breath. Now I feel like I need to consume an entire bottle of antacids whenever I eat roasted garlic. I suppose an early hint to the aging process might have been when white hairs started randomly appearing on my head. You think that could have been a tip off but nooooo, I told myself they were sunkissed highlights. Some people pay big dollars for highlights and here I was getting them for free! These past 2 weeks however have pushed the nagging suspicion that I am no longer 20 years old to the foreground. I started my new "Let's Get Moving" exercise plan and it is really kicking my butt! I used to be stick thin all the way until my early thirties. I could eat anything I wanted and never gained a pound. Now everything I eat sticks to me like glue and just getting my 30 minutes in is like torture. You should see how BEET red my face is. I am huffing and puffing along and honestly, I am not moving that fast. I think small school children could pass me by and do laps around me. What gives? I used to start an exercise program and just hop right through it. Now when I get home, it looks like someone abandoned me in the desert with no water or shelter. I also used to be a 100% certified night owl. I could stay up all night whenever I wanted and never went to bed before 12:30am. Well now I STILL don't go to bed before 12:30am BUT it is only because I have FALLEN asleep on the couch! Now in my defense, I never get to sit down until after 10pm. I am still working until late and I usually don't even start relaxing and watching TV until 10:45pm. I mean some people are in bed before I even turn on my TV for the evening. I usually watch at least 2 shows in the evenings but this week it has taken me THREE nights to get through ONE episode of Criminal Minds. I sit down all happy and eagerly looking forward to some relaxation time and I can't wait to start my show. Within the first 5 minutes I can feel myself getting sleepier and sleepier. Then my eyes start crossing and I try to uncross them only to find my eyes crossing again. I start rubbing my eyes, drinking some water, readjusting my position on the couch. The next thing I know, the show is long over and it is hours later. I used to tease my father-in-law endlessly because he could never stay awake and here I am doing just that! And who is right next to me fast asleep? Yep, you guessed it, Mr. Yesteryear Acres. Neither one of us remember anything that has happened in our show and it is a huge struggle to pull ourselves up off the couch and make our way to bed. Just yesterday Mr. Yesteryear Acres received his very first letter from the AARP. As in the American Association for RETIRED persons. I immediately laughed and said to my husband, "HA HA HA look who is sending you mail!!!!" Maybe that isn't as funny as I thought it was. All I know is if I keep falling asleep the second I sit down to watch TV....I am pretty sure I will be receiving a special platinum AARP invitation any day now!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Let's Get it Done

Today was a typical "let's get it done" day. It started early this morning with a delightful Cup O Joe perfectly brewed by Mr. Yesteryear Acres so we were off to a very good start. Then it was off to run errands and more errands which didn't take nearly as long as I anticipated. I was home in no time and then got caught up on a lot of my correspondence, cleaned the kitchen, put away my mountain of Tupperware containers that had been drying in a dish rack for days and then headed outside to play with the pups for a while. We have one 9 week old puppy that is still available and one pup that is still waiting for his new family to come and take him home. They are both the sweetest pups and are doing great with housebreaking. They are fun to be with as they are super easy going and just love to follow you around wherever you go. It was really nice out and I think I can safely say that summer has arrived. The pups had a blast and we played until they were completely pooped out. After I took the 2 pups back in, I trimmed the tiny nails on some of our new baby puppies. I use little newborn human nail clippers and it is super easy to get all 18 toenails on each puppy done quickly. The puppies don't mind and I am quite quick after all the years of practice. I then fulfilled my promise to myself and got my butt outside and walked for 30 minutes. I was quite proud of myself for getting that accomplished. I really want to get into better shape. While I worked on making my face the deepest shade of red possible, Mr. Yesteryear Acres got the grill fired up for tonight's feast. We invited my parents to come for dinner and we had Roasted Chicken on the grill. Mmmmmm. Under the grill will now be a favorite spot for the puppies as the lingering aroma will last for at least a week. According to the puppies, the area under Mr. Yesteryear Acres' grill is always the bestest spot to play hide and seek in the entire yard. The big doggies like it too! Dinner was fun as usual and the conversation covered a wide range of topics from biology to great authors. A typical conversation goes something like this:
My son says, "Today in science class while we were dissecting worms, a kids took a dare and licked the worm."
While I am completely mortified by the thought - my daughter replies "OH that reminds me I have to tell you something REALLY important!"
Which of course my son tries to ignore but then decides the curiosity is too much to bear so he begs my daughter to tell him.
And so she says "When you dissect frogs, remove the eyeballs because they bounce!"
And of course my son is immediately excited and cannot wait to test the height of bouncing frog eyeballs and says, "OH that IS important!!!"
Gee that was a nice piece of advice to share wasn't it? I wonder what my parents were thinking? Hmmmm
Anyway - today was one of those days where nothing particularly exciting or earth shattering happened but nonetheless I was fulfilled by just the ordinary, everyday, life is good, lots to be thankful for, never take life for granted happenings.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Making A Difference

I think we all want to make a difference. To do good. To help those who need help. To not just be good people but to do good. Each year we donate several puppies to organizations and/or charities that help children and/or the disabled. This year a puppy of ours helped to raise money for a charity that is dedicated to finding a cure for pediatric brain cancer. We have several seeing-eye doodle doggies, doodles that work with autistic children, diabetic screening doodles, and many therapy doodles doing good work. We have made donating puppies an imperative part of our business. To give back and to spread joy is one of life's greatest pleasures. We rarely donate puppies on an individual basis as we have already established relationships with several non-profit organizations. We are frequently approached to donate a Yesteryear Acres Doodle puppy for a greater cause and we try do accomodate several donations each year. This year, I thought I would like to try and reach a few families that might not have the resources to work with our established organizations. I would particularly like to reach families with active duty military members that might not have the financial means to purchase a doodle puppy but have always wanted to bring a puppy into their lives. I know how much I miss my daughter during her long stretches away from home. I can't imagine how sad a child must feel missing their mommy or daddy. I would love to send a cute furry family member home to help pass the time while their mommy or daddy is dedicating their lives in the service of our country. If you know of a family looking to add a four-legged furry doodle doggie to their family, please have them email me at I would love to hear from them. I would like to donate several sweet puppies to either military families or to families that have a child with special needs. Sometimes changing the world starts with small steps. If everyone plays a part in making another person's life just a little bit better - imagine how much good can be accomplished. So send me an email and let me know if you know of anyone that could use a just a little dose of puppy happiness in their lives. I would love to be able to share a few heartwarming stories as to the small steps one of our doodle puppies have taken in order to make someone else's life just a little bit happier as their days overflow with puppy kisses and puppy love.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Home Again

The moving mobile left Annapolis early this morning with no room to spare. We had every crevice loaded with our daughter's USNA gear. Even though we were fully prepared for the massive mountain of belongings, we were still duly impressed with the sheer quantity that has been accumulated since I-Day 2008. Sadly we left so early we didn't have time to make coffee! ACK! The first leg of the drive was seriously lacking conversation and admittedly smiles on my part. I just neeeeed that morning cup of happiness to get going. Mr. Yesteryear Acres was just as sad as I was without our Cup O Joe. We ended up stopping at the halfway mark to get our much needed caffeine fix. The rest of the drive was absolutely much more joyous on both our parts. We planned out what we need to do for the summer and made a list of everything that needs to be accomplished. It was really good to get everything down on paper and we feel much more organized and ready to tackle all the tasks that lie ahead. I think everyone needs a good planning day now and then. Our summer will be more than busy but if we can even get half of the things done on our list it will be an awesome summer and we will feel quite accomplished. When we pulled into our driveway we were excitedly greeted by our kids and doggies and puppies. The house was spotless. Not a dish in the sink, the dishwasher emptied, the laundry mountain was neatly folded and put away. All the puppies and doggies had been fed and watered and their tails were wagging with happiness. If I had a doggie tail right then - it would have been wagging too! What a nice welcome home!! The kids did an awesome job and I am soooo lucky to have such reliable, thoughtful and most loving help at home. I am ready to start the new week and begin crossing things off the ole list. First up...Puppy Pictures! I can't wait to share how much they have grown! They are big butterballs and are so cute. I am sure I have several families eagerly awaiting the new pictures and I am looking forward to getting the website up-to-date with all new photos. I am also looking forward to my morning cup of cheer. Mr. Yesteryear Acres always makes the very best coffee and I missed it all weekend! I am thinking Mahogany Beans will be just the perfect way to start the day.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Lazy Day

Today we had something we NEVER have - A Lazy Day. My daughter was able to have an overnight so we watched movies until late last night all together. This morning, we slept in until 8:30am which was as delightful as it was luxurious. The three of us made eggs, biscuits and hash browns for breakfast and had a long leisurely meal while we watched a slide show from the Sea Trials. It was a lot of fun. We spent some time outdoors and enjoyed the warm dry weather. It was quite odd to have hours pass without any responsibilities or obligations. We almost didn't know what to do! It was just so lovely to have a day of nothingness. We enjoyed the day, spent a little time shopping, ate some awesome World Famous Popcorn and spent the late afternoon watching "Master and Commander." It was so very nice of Russell Crowe to join us for our lazy day. We checked on things back home frequently and everything went smoothly. Both our son and daughter worked non-stop all day and we are so grateful for all their hard work. The new puppies are doing really well and the mommies are resting and nursing their puppies happily. It was hard not to feel guilty as we sat in glorious sunshine while they spent their day in the soaking rain. Next weekend they will have to take the whole weekend off and do something fun. Knowing our kids, they will choose to help out with the puppies and doggies. We are lucky that way. Tonight we are watching a Bones marathon and just removed a freshly baked batch of white chocolate macadamia nut cookies from the oven. Reality returns very early tomorrow morning as we hit the road and head home. I think we will be smiling all the way home. It was a day off from work which was well deserved and much needed. Ahhhhh...A Lazy Day Perfected!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Road Trip for TWO!

Guess who made it for the puppy delivery road trip? Mr. Yesteryear Acres!!!! YEA! I am so happy!!! Despite the fact that Mr. Yesteryear Acres is NO where near being college age - he pulled an all-nighter and got everything done and finished at home. He worked through the night and crossed everything off our list and our friend pulled through to help with the chores while we are gone. I was so surprised when I woke up this morning! We were on the road a little after 7am and the puppies LOVED the awesome "Puppy Mobile." Mr. Yesteryear Acres designed and built the best travel box for the puppies. The puppies loved it and the box worked out GREAT. The front of the box is plexiglass so we can see the puppies and they can see us. They were so cute all lined up looking at us in the front seat. We could easily talk to the puppies for the whole trip and they were excellent travelers. The back of the box has a hinged door so we can easily open and close the door in order to get the puppies in and out. It is an awesome puppy box. Mr. Yesteryear Acres says the patent is pending LOL. Our trip was quite uneventful in that there was no Blizzard Warning, No Hurricane, No Tornado Watches, No Ice Storms...nothing but clear skies and clear roads. We listed to my best playlists along the way and surprisingly Mr. Yesteryear Acres LOVED the Red Hot Chili Peppers! We got to talk the whole way. The best part was surprising my daughter with her Daddy! She was super happy he made it. Tomorrow we turn the puppy mobile into the moving van and then head on home. Sometimes life just works out perfectly!!!! Happy Day!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Road Trip for One

UGH! So sad! Mr. Yesteryear Acres can not come with me tomorrow to deliver the puppies and get my daughter's belongings from the Naval Academy. We had someone all lined up to come and help here at the house and of course, per our usual luck, they cancelled at the last minute. It is literally impossible for my husband and I EVER to get to go anywhere together. We really thought we had this one all set. We even told my daughter last weekend that for sure we would both see her one last time when we came to get her things. I just called her to tell her that her Daddy couldn't make it. She was really sad because she didn't get a proper good-bye after her visit here. She didn't even get a chance to hug her dad good-bye because we were so certain that we would do our big good-bye this weekend that we didn't make the time for my husband to get cleaned up to say good-bye. My daughter is heading off to San Diego and then back to Annapolis so we won't see her again until the end of summer. I am continually amazed by the lack of responsibility and commitment by some of the young people today. I fear that many of them do not understand the true meaning of work or how to apply themselves fully to a commitment. In this day of instant gratification I think the willingness and desire to work so hard for something and to save and save your money for that one day when MAYBE just MAYBE you can get that book or CD or something that you have wanted is just lost. Everything is so readily available. You can download a song you like in seconds. Watch missed episodes of your favorite shows online the next day. Instant Message some friends while texting the others while updating your facebook status all simultaneously. I think all of that takes away from the longing for something and the willingness to work hard to achieve it. Now I am not so hardened to say that everyone is like this - I am just saying I have run across many younger people who are settling for the easy road in life instead of pushing to see how much potential they really hold inside of them. What are their limits? How much goodness is inside of them? What do they hold that they can use to not only be good but to DO good. I think it is easy to be a good person, but I think you have to not only BE good but DO good. Do more than what is expected of you and reach higher than you think you are able. I think many young people think they know what their limits are. They think they know the ceiling of all they can be but really - they have no idea how that ceiling is. I believe that if you push through - that ceiling just gets taller and taller every day. And so once again I must examine my glass and find all the reasons it is half full. I am grateful that Mr. Yesteryear Acres is so willing to forgo his desire to see his daughter in order to do what is right for our doggies and puppies and home. I am grateful that I have a nice car to drive that will get me to my destination safely. I am grateful to deliver the happy little puppies to their forever families and watch their faces light up when they finally get to meet their new furry family members. I am grateful that I can plan the perfect music playlist all to my liking and choose just the right books-on-tape for my journey. I am grateful for the nice weather for my trip and for the chance to say my good-byes to my daughter. I am also very grateful that the people I love know the value of working hard and each day do their very best to not only be good but to do good as well.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tunes for Driving

Most of today has been spent preparing for the weekend. We have so much left to do, so we are scrambling to get everything done. The puppies are all ready and they actually told me how excited they were to finally meet their forever families. We have brand new doggie toys and treats for the trip so they should have an awesome time. I am working on an ultimate playlist of songs to keep the puppies rocking the whole way. It might be an interesting journey because as much as I love Mr. Yesteryear Acres and as much as he loves me - we don't love the exact same music. We definitely tolerate each other's music but LOVE - well that is another story. I have a very wide range of music I enjoy. I love Alternative Music, Soft Rock, Pop Music, Bluegrass, Hip Hop, Latin Reggaeton, Country and R&B. The invention of the iPod was one of the greatest ideas EVER. I love hearing an absolute brilliant mandolin picking bluegrass tune followed by a hip hop/rap song followed by a sweet serenade by Ben Taylor. It is the ultimate music experience to be able to listen to a huge mix of your favorite tunes, all with the push of a shuffle button. If you ever pass me on the road, you are likely to see me smiling as I sing along to all my favorites. I also like the music slightly loud. I mean if you are going to rock out "Better Man" by Pearl Jam - you have to have the volume cranked. My husband however never cranks up the volume. He really likes country music and how shall I put this delicately....... he really likes "old music". He loves 50's swinging band tunes, songs from the 70's like Air Supply, Journey and Chicago and songs with no LYRICS like CLASSICAL music. UGH! Sometimes I think he puts Classical Music on just to torture me LOL. I mean HELLO!?! How can I sing to that???? He is also happy listening to the same music for hours in a row. I think if I put on every Chicago tune ever recorded and played them straight back-to-back he would be in heaven. Now don't get me wrong, I like Chicago. We danced to Chicago at our wedding. BUT I don't need to hear them for 2 hours straight. I need variety. As I am always officially the designated DJ for our road trips, I do try to make everyone happy. I miss most of my favorite songs but I can at least throw in one or two good ones every hour or so. Luckily my husband and I both love some of the same artists like Josh Turner, Lady Antebellum, Alison Krauss, James Taylor and Jack Johnson. Jack Johnson is my absolute FAVORITE and I have every single song he has recorded. So on our road trip together, I will stick to the slower tunes that we both enjoy but if I even see my husband looking just the slightest bit sleepy The Red Hot Chili Peppers are going to rock his world!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Puppy Mobile to the Naval Academy

This Friday we are delivering several puppies to the East Coast area. I can't wait for the new families to finally meet their new puppies. It will be an exciting trip. Mr. Yesteryear Acres is busy turning our SUV into a Puppy Mobile. He is completely outfitting the back so the puppies will have lots of room to run and play and is even making a "potty friendly" area. The puppies will be riding in style! I think with the ingenious set up, we won't have to make any stops! Okay - scratch that. I think with the ingenious set up, the PUPPIES won't need to make any stops LOL. Since Mr. Yesteryear Acres is driving, well let's just say he loves coffee....and what goes in....must come out. Whenever I make the trip alone, I can do the drive with only one stop. I can actually do it without stopping at all but I have to admit the last hour is pretty darn uncomfortable so I usually stop midway. It is good to get out and stretch the ole legs and take a quick break. The big reason for the trip besides delivering the cute puppies is to pick up ALLLLL of my daughter's belongings from the Naval Academy. Their rooms must be completely empty for the summer. It is quite astonishing just how much stuff they have considering each plebe showed up with nothing more than a toothbrush. I am always astounded by the sheer mass. It literally fills the entire SUV. I certainly hope my daughter has time to get everything packed. Today was Sea Trials - a 14+ hour grueling ordeal that the plebes must endure in order to graduate from their plebe year. What was one of the hardest and longest days last year when my daughter was a plebe became her favorite day this year. She was quite the motivator and loved every minute. I have to say I was more than impressed with all the photos the Naval Academy posted. Both the motivators and those being motivated looked awesome. I feel the need to bring lots of treats this weekend to congratulate them all for a job well done. I believe the Puppy Mobile will also have to be known as the Banana Bread Mobile, Chocolate Chip Cookie Mobile and then on the way home the Moving Van Mobile. I hope our vehicle is up to the task! Guess I better start getting the puppy care packages ready and then move on to baking!

Monday, May 17, 2010

No More Stalking the Mail Carrier!

The BIG envelope arrived in today's mail! My younger daughter was accepted into the AIM program at the United States Coast Guard Academy! This is just the best news! The AIM program is a week long program designed to give prospective cadets a sneak peek at what life will be like as a student at USCGA. It is pretty much a mini boot camp. Very few are selected and it is a big honor to be able to attend the AIM program. My daughter would very much like to attend the Coast Guard Academy so this is a big step towards making her dreams come true. We are all so excited here! So now - we must prepare. I need to make hotel reservations in Connecticut and get my summer plans all in order. We need to find out exactly what she needs to bring for the week and make sure we have everything ready. If you know any one else attending AIM - feel free to send me a comment or email. It would be fun for my daughter to meet other attendees. I suppose June will now be known as "physical fitness month". My daughter is in excellent swimming shape - so now comes the running part. I guess her new running shoes will definitely be getting a good workout now. I better start working out a little more so I can run with her. Okay that was a bit toooo optimistic. I think I better start working out a little more so that I can walk while she runs laps around me. Ummmmm okay maybe that was also a bit too optimistic. Alright - I think I better start working out a little more so that I can make it back to the car. There. That is a much more realistic goal. Amelia, I am on my way!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

End of the Weekend

The last day of the weekend was enjoyed by us all. We stretched every precious minute that we could out of our day. The weather was cool and sunny and just perfect for playing outside. The puppies all had a blast running around the yard and we soaked up all the fun we could. Mr. Yesteryear Acres aka The Best Rib Man EVER cooked his famous BBQ ribs for our picnic. He has a talent for making the most delicious ribs you have ever tasted. The BBQ sauce is really thick and sticks to your teeth and is irresistible. I made a fresh pasta salad to go with the ribs and we had yummy rolls as well. We ate really early to avoid any last minute rushing and the meal, the company, the weather, the laughter, the timing and the table for five - it was all perfect. I got my older daughter to the airport in plenty of time and the ticket agent was nice enough to issue a companion pass for me so I could sit with my daughter at the gate to wait for her plane. We had over an hour to sit and talk and it was a nice end to a lovely visit. I arrived back home to find that my younger daughter had cleaned all the dishes and was eagerly awaiting for me to join her to watch the season finale of Survivor. We popped some popcorn (some have gone as far as to call it "World's Famous Popcorn") and watched the entire 3 hours. I know, I know, some people might say that Survivor is far from being the greatest TV show, but I am a big fan and have never missed an episode in their 20 seasons of being on the air. Jeff Probst was particularly funny in the "reunion show" and it was nice to end my weekend with big laughs and smiles. Thanks CBS for another great season...I am already looking forward to Season 21!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mixed Emotions

Today was a day full of mixed emotions. For the most part, I was really overflowing with joy. I had the nicest families picking up their puppies today and they really made my day. I was certainly blessed with the kindest group of people who will be just the very bestest puppy owners. I was so happy watching their faces as they saw their sweet new puppies. I was happy for them and so happy for my puppies too. As they were leaving, I was actually sad that they didn't live closer! They are the kind of people you would love to have as neighbors, invite over for a barbecue or just hang out and have fun with. Most came from quite a distance so chances are we won't see each other again. I felt sad that our weekly emails will be over now that their puppies are living happily at their homes. I do hope that we stay "penpals" as they are super positive, friendly, the glass is always full type people. Puppies you are lucky!!! After all the puppies went home the rest of the day was spent getting my younger daughter ready for Prom. We did the nails, the pedicure (which I might say looked ever so professional), the hair and the make-up. My daughter got the works. We had so much fun getting her ready. My older daughter did the best job on her hair. It was amazing and the final updo could be published in a salon magazine. Not a hair was out of place and the curls were perfect. As I watched my older daughter do my younger daughter's hair, it struck me how quickly time flies. In one short year, my younger daughter will be preparing to graduate from high school and then will be on her way to fulfill her dreams. I desperately want the year to go by as slowly as possible. This week has been so perfect. I have enjoyed every minute and just love having my whole family together. I was so happy watching my younger daughter enjoy her day. I took tons of photos and she looked absolutely beautiful. I wish I could stop time - just for a little longer. I am filled to the depths of my soul with pride and joy of having my one daughter doing so well at the Naval Academy and my other daughter well on her way to achieving similar success. And yet at the same time I am filled with such melancholy over the thought of having my younger daughter begin her senior year and having my older daughter leave tomorrow. I deeply wish that my daughters could stay with me forever as much as I deeply wish for them to go and continue fulfilling their dreams. It is a turmoil of mixed emotions - the joy and the sadness. Each one filling me to the brim. Luckily I was very brave all day and only showed my joyous side, taking photos, preserving memories and treasuring every moment of my day.

Get Moving

Today my daughter and I spent tons of time with the puppies. We took new pictures of the pups and played outside for hours. It was a lot of fun. I think she was secretly trying to smuggle several of the puppies into her suitcase to take back to the Naval Academy. We then came inside and while the puppies napped, we got their puppy take home care packages all ready. We have lots of puppies going to their new homes this weekend and each puppy needs a puppy care bag with puppy information, puppy baby blanket, new collar and puppy food. We try to make sure our puppies start out with everything they need to feel safe, secure, healthy and happy. After all the kits were assembled we headed off to a beautiful arboretum that is located a few miles from our house. The summer my daughter left for the Naval Academy we went almost every day. We worked out and got into great shape and had fun doing it. I forgot how much I love it there. I believe there are almost 3000 acres at the arboretum and they have so many flowering trees, gardens, flowers, and walking trails it is a paradise rich with nature's beauties. My favorite spot is the Japanese Garden. It is so peaceful and so beautiful, I could spend all day there. The little lake at the Japanese garden has an incredible array of artistic gardening surrounding it. I feel as though I am walking through a photograph of Japanese art. I really love it. My daughter jogged her 3 miles quite quickly while I walked almost 2 miles and realized that I definitely need to visit the arboretum much more regularly. I was beet red in the face, hot and tired when we finished. And so I declare today as Day one of "GET MOVING" as I work on my promise to walk off the winter padding. I am happy my daughter was here to get me motivated to start on the road to fitness. I am going to make exercising regularly a priority. I need to stay healthy and fit so that I can continue to enjoy all that life has to offer. I hereby promise IN WRITING with all my dear readers as witnesses that I will work out for at least 30 minutes - a minimum of 3 times per week. There. I said it. My months of thinking about planning to hope to start getting ready to begin thinking about working out are now over. Today - no more thinking about it. Today marks the beginning of DOING it. Anyone with me? Anyone want to join me on the road to better health? I can attest that it all begins with just one step, followed by another, and then another. I just hope tomorrow I can get out of bed!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Family Dinner

Tonight we had a fantastic family dinner. Everyone played a part in the fabulous feast. Mr. Yesteryear Acres slow cooked a big sirloin roast. He had it in the oven by 9:30am this morning and it cooked all day long. The house smelled so good the whole day. My older daughter cut 2.5 pounds of fresh Brussel Sprouts into perfect quarters. We then put them in a big roasting pan, tossed them in olive oil and season salt and roasted them in the oven. My younger daughter peeled over 5 pounds of potatoes and got them cooking on the stove ready for mashing. I made a delightful beef gravy to go with the mashed potatoes. I had homemade honey oatmeal bread to enjoy with the dinner. My father-in-law and mother-in-law came to join us for the feast. We had a wonderful evening and the conversation had us all laughing until tears fell from our eyes. My father-in-law was in the Navy for 30 years and he and my midshipman daughter swapped the funniest tales you have ever heard. We had many "Well when I was in the Navy" followed by "Grandpa, this is how we do it now" type stories. Everyone was more than entertained. My son brought out the piece de resistance for dessert. He warmed up a triple berry pie and everyone was ever so impressed by his "baking skills." The doggies also appreciated the big family feast. The puppies all got a delicious yogurt doggie kibble "parfait" which they gobbled up happily. The new mommy doggies got some slow cooked beef because they did such an awesome job bringing their new little ones into the world. They thought their treat was the best they ever tasted. It was a perfect evening enjoyed by everyone - both two-legged and four.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Shopping Fun!

Today the weather was quite dreary so our outside plans had to be canceled. What in the world could we think of to do? What possibly could we do when the rains continued to pour and the skies were so dark and gloomy? Why Shopping of course!!! So my older daughter and I spent the whole day shopping. Just the two of us. My daughter has finally earned the right to wear "civilian" clothes during the weekends and her wardrobe needed some serious updating. She needed shorts, shirts, skirts and a couple of dresses. So off we went in search of new clothes. She is not a big shopper and usually tries to finish the task quickly and painlessly but today she was actually excited about going. She couldn't wait to get some new duds to wear. Well we could not have been any luckier today. Every store we went to had a gigantic sale! We found so many buy-one-get-one free deals along with $10 deals that we soon had many great items to choose from. We actually spent hours and hours shopping and talked with each other non-stop. It was really relaxing for me to be able to just focus on my daughter's needs and not have anyone else to worry about. I instinctively feel that it is my job to make sure everyone is having a good time. My daughter is usually only able to shop at home during the holidays and then everyone goes along. I spend most of those days checking to make sure my mom is okay, my sister is okay, my younger daughter and older daughter are both getting equal attention and they are both okay. By the time I get home I feel pretty drained. It is hard work to make sure everyone is happy all day long. Today was awesome because I got to spend all my energy and conversations and thoughts on just my daughter. We haven't had a day alone together without responsibilities looming over our heads or interruptions since she graduated high school and I soooo miss her. She is a bubbly happy funny intelligent upbeat person and so much fun to be with. We ended up shopping until well after 6pm and when we arrived home shortly after 7pm we were greeted by my husband waiting at the door. He had just finished making dinner and it was ready to serve. It was such a thoughtful thing to do and a nice surprise! He made a delicious pasta dinner with fresh baked garlic bread. And once again.....We had a Table for Five :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Table for Five

Tonight I got to set my dinner table for FIVE people. I can't tell you how much happiness I felt getting out five plates, five glasses, five forks, five knives and five napkins. I felt whole again. Tonight my oldest child came home from the Naval Academy. She just finished final exams and has a small break before she has to return to USNA so I have just a little bit of time to enjoy my family all together at once. My house is filled with noises of the kids laughing and joking and having fun catching up on all that has happened. My daughter was SO happy to see the house full of puppies. She says that is one of the very hardest parts about being away. She misses her doggies so much and really misses the puppies. She is thinking of sleeping with all the puppies tonight and can't wait to spend all day tomorrow playing with them. My husband remarked that dinner tonight was so loud and he loved it. We talked about how much her younger brother has grown since she saw him last. He is pushing close to 6 feet now. We talked about school and classes and doggies and friends. We heard hilarious stories from the Academy and in return told her a few funny stories that have happened here. Our dinner lasted forever and the time went quickly. Right now my older daughter is helping her younger sister with her Chemistry. It is odd how keenly aware we are of the long passages of time spent apart, yet when we get together it feels as if no time has passed and everything immediately falls right back into place. Just as it has always been. Just as I hope it will always be. Younger brother picking on older sisters, older sisters picking on younger brother, sisters laughing and helping each other, brother and sisters laughing hysterically and 2 parents filled with pride and happiness. All is right with the world.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Do you have dogs?

If you ever happen to come across my husband or I while we are shopping at the store you will notice us pushing a large flatbed cart stacked high with bags of dog food. We like to buy in bulk so we don't have to go to the store often. We usually have almost an entire skid of dog food on our cart along with 10 gallons of milk in the basket area. This is our routine every time we go to the store. And every single time we go , without fail, someone asks, "Do you have dogs?" Really. Every time. Someone will walk right up to us, notice our cart full of dog food and then ask if we have dogs. Now I would like to tell you that I answer ever so politely, "Oh yes, we do have adorable dogs. Thank you for asking." But of course, that would be a lie. There is something deep within me that won't allow me to answer that question with a simple "yes we have dogs" type answer. Instead I give an incredibly sarcastic retort to the question BUT I do it nicely so that the person asking the question knows I am joking. Once in a while I do get a "REALLY??!!??" but I always let them know that I am kidding. So what do I say? Well it varies. Sometimes I say that "Oh yes I have 2 chihuahuas but they are big eaters." Or "Nope - no doggies! I have decided to skip using gravel in my driveway but instead line my drive with doggie kibble". Other times when I am feeling particularly devious I say "WHY NO, we do not have any doggies. I run the local daycare center. You wouldn't believe how crunchy this stays in milk! It makes a wonderful snack before nap time!" Or "Nope. No dogs. This stuff is a miracle for removing plaque from your teeth! I get perfect check ups at the dentist every time!" Now before you go thinking that I am a big meanie - I always get a laugh. People know I am joking. And honestly - if they are going to ask someone "do you have dogs?" when clearly the answer is yes - then it is almost obligatory to come back with a clever response. So we go through the store pushing our cart full of dog food and gallons of milk and stop to talk to all the questioning shoppers. I am quite adept at coming up with a different answer for every shopper. I like to make sure to keep things lively. Once we have exhausted all the dog food questions we head for the cashier so we can check out. The cashier never asks us if we have dogs. They just scan our dog food......and then they get to the 10 gallons of milk..... "Hey, do you like milk?!?!?"

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's day to all the mommies of the world. Mommies are selfless, giving, sacrificing, loving, nuturing, caring, devoted and good mommies fill the world with love. Mommies are never too tired to bake cupcakes for a fundraiser even if they don't find out until after 10pm the night before. They never hesitate to give away the last piece of their favorite chocolate cake to one of their children. Mommies are never hungry when there is only enough bread for one sandwich and are never thirsty when there is just one glass of milk left. Mommies are never too busy to wash a sport's uniform and have it ready in one hour flat. Mommies are excellent nurses, doctors, surgeons, beauticians, fashion consultants, holiday planners, chauffeurs, sports fans, coaches, psychiatrists, party coordinators, seamstresses, arbitrators, protectors, chefs, defenders and guidance counselors. And that is just what they can do in a single day!!! I am that kind of mommy. I would do anything for my children and fiercly love them with every fiber of my being. In all the world there is nothing more important to me or precious to me than my children. Each day I wake up, I feel such fulfillment in my life because of my 3 children. In watching them grow and spread their wings and become successful in their own lives, I know that I spent a life well lived and well loved. And how did I know how to be a good mommy? Because I had one. In all the world my mommy loves me with every fiber of her being and she would go to the end of the world to protect me and love me and care for me. I love you mom. Happy Mother's Day. And in all the world my husband's mommy loves me with every fiber of her being. She loves me as if I were her very own. Happy Mother's Day - I love you too.
If a measure of a mother's life can be drawn from what kind of person her children grow up to be... I truly could not be more blessed. Thank you to my children for making every day of my life a Happy Mother's Day. I love you.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Blame Me

How many of you ventured outside today and then RAN back inside as fast as you could to grab a PARKA????!!!!! Then once you went outside with your parka firmly fastened, the wind RIPPED it off your body leaving you exposed to the sub arctic blast of cold air! I bet you were thinking....WHERE DID THIS WEATHER COME FROM?! Well, I confess, it came from me. Yesterday I was really hot. I did puppy pictures, took a walk, worked outside a bit and MAN I was sweating. It was 86* yesterday and HOT HOT HOT! And so..... I said....."OH MY GOODNESS I am boiling! IT IS TOO HOT OUT HERE!" I am sooooo sorry. I wish I could take it back. Obviously Mother Nature heard me and said, "HA! She thinks it is too HOT, let me remind her what WINTER feels like!!! She will RUE the day she said she was too HOT!" I am so sorry Mother Nature. What I meant to say was that I was pleasantly warm. I meant to say the balmy weather was just lovely. I meant to say that I absolutely LOVE to feel like I am living in the Bayou. I meant to say that the sun felt wonderful on my skin and I loved how I was able to sweat out any impurities I might be harboring. Dear Mother Nature please don't punish everyone else due to my lack of appreciation for your glorious weather yesterday. The puppies definitely gave me the dirty look ALL day today! Each time I took them outside they all turned and looked at me and said "ARE YOU CRAZY?!?? It is tooooo cold to pee OUTSIDE!" They then ran towards the steps and begged to go back inside. I think several of the puppies pooped inside just for spite!!! I had no desire to see the wind "gently" rippling across our fields of hay because there was no GENTLE to be found. Gale force winds WHIPPED through everything. My hat wouldn't stay on my head. My neighbor's tree was UPROOTED!! Mother Nature, I bow my head to you. I come to you for forgiveness. I was clearly wrong and hope that you can accept my apology and bring back Mr. Sun. I really love him. He is so bright and shiny and makes everything so colorful. The puppies love him too. We miss Mr. Sun. And to all of you that suffered through the blast of winter, I apologize and take full responsibility. I will be sure to think twice before complaining about how hot it is outside......unless it is July....during hay season....when we are bailing hay for hours and hours and are so sweaty that the hay sticks to us and we are walking scarecrows....because right then at that moment...I just might slip and remark on just how hot I am!

Making a Difference

I think we all want to make a difference. To do good. To help those who need help. To not just be good people but to do good. Each year we donate several puppies to organizations and/or charities that help children and/or the disabled. This year a puppy of ours helped to raise money for a charity that is dedicated to finding a cure for pediatric brain cancer. We have several seeing-eye doodle doggies, doodles that work with autistic children, diabetic screening doodles, and many therapy doodles doing good work. We have made donating puppies an imperative part of our business. To give back and to spread joy is one of life's greatest pleasures. We rarely donate puppies on an individual basis as we have already established relationships with several non-profit organizations. We are frequently approached to donate a Yesteryear Acres Doodle puppy for a greater cause and we try do accomodate several donations each year. This year, I thought I would like to try and reach a few families that might not have the resources to work with our established organizations. I would particularly like to reach families with active duty military members that might not have the financial means to purchase a doodle puppy but have always wanted to bring a puppy into their lives. I know how much I miss my daughter during her long stretches away from home. I can't imagine how sad a child must feel missing their mommy or daddy. I would love to send a cute furry family member home to help pass the time while their mommy or daddy is dedicating their lives in the service of our country. If you know of a family looking to add a four-legged furry doodle doggie to their family, please have them email me at I would love to hear from them. I would like to donate several sweet puppies to either military families or to families that have a child with special needs. Sometimes changing the world starts with small steps. If everyone plays a part in making another person's life just a little bit better - imagine how much good can be accomplished. So send me an email and let me know if you know of anyone that could use a just a little dose of puppy happiness in their lives. I would love to be able to share a few heartwarming stories as to the small steps one of our doodle puppies have taken in order to make someone else's life just a little bit happier as their days overflow with puppy kisses and puppy love.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Counting the Days

Lately I find myself counting the days. Counting the days until I no longer have to stalk the mail carrier. Counting the days until I see my older daughter. Counting the days until the school year is finished. Counting the days until my son is off for his STEM adventure at the Naval Academy. Counting the days until our bedroom renovations are finally done and we can move back upstairs. And of course counting the days until SUMMER TIME which means family fun, visiting my dad's lake cottage and enjoying every day the kids are home. In all the business of counting the days, I think I almost forgot to count THIS day. The day I am having right now. To spend days looking forward to things that are on the horizon, means perhaps missing the moments that are happening right now. I am very good at following my advice when it comes to thinking about worrisome things or bad news or events you hope never come true. I try to follow the philosophy of never worrying about things until it is necessary to worry about them. The dreaded doctor report that you are certain will bring despair. The job you hope a loved one gets. The confrontation you hope to never have. The test, the class, the project, the obstacle, etc. a loved one is trying to pass. All of these type things can bring worry and sleepless nights. Have you ever spent endless days worrying, waiting for news from a doctor? Dreading a phone call yet anxious with worry every minute until you hear the phone ring? Have you ever stopped to think about how much energy was wasted worrying about what was going to happen? All those minutes, hours, days and weeks spent thinking and worrying will never come back to you. You will never have those days back again. Worrying certainly didn't change the outcome - whether it was good news or bad. It only changed how you spent your days up until the time the news arrived. I have spent many sleepless nights only to find out the very thing I was so worried about NEVER came to pass. So yes, I try very hard to not worry until I know I need to worry. Until I have the answer in my hand that says YES THIS IS 100% BAD - I try with all my might not to think of those worries. Waiting until the time mandates that you deal with a problem will give you so many more days of pleasure. Living in the here and now makes you focus on what THIS day brings that is good and happy. I thought of that very thing today and stopped myself from counting all the days that are on the way. I realized I almost missed the good day that is happening now. So today my day brought sunshine and warm weather for the puppies to enjoy. I watched my husband take a break from working and let the puppies crawl all over him with joy. This evening, I took a walk with my husband and fed the fish in our pond and we remembered how hard we worked to construct our pond and marveled at all the fish thriving in our little peace of heaven. We watched the wind ripple across the hay fields barely touching the tops, making waves as if the field were an emerald ocean. The waves dance across the hay fields, one after the other, and it is easy to get lost in the beauty of nature. I am grateful for all of these things and more. Cherish each day. You only had one chance to appreciate all that May 7, 2010 had to offer so make sure that May 8th is memorable and take time to find something special that only May 8th will bring.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Dear Deer

We have very clever deer that live here at Yesteryear Acres. They live a full and rewarding life, hardly putting any effort into foraging as they find that we fulfill all their needs. We grow apples on the trees which they are so very happy to eat for us. The deer actually stand on their hind legs and stretch as TALL as they can get so they are sure to get every last apple. They certainly wouldn't want to save any for us humans. We can actually hear them crunching on the apples from our backdoor. Pears on the trees - delightful. Sour cherries ....mmmm their favorite. Last year they found our garden to be a paradise for the taking. I think the conversation between the deer went something like this: "Green Beans dear?...Oh no thank you. I ate LOADS of the green beans last night. They were just so tender. I picked them the very second they were ready. I made sure to eat some from every bush. I think tonight I might go for some tomatoes. I saw some that were JUST turning red or on second thought, the eggplant is looking divine this year. I think I might just take one bite out of each and every eggplant so I can have a medley of flavor fill my mouth." Yes, the deer consumed almost everything last year. Tears fell freely each morning as we met more and more complete devastation in our garden. 100+ plants of tomatoes --- eaten. Our snow peas ---eaten. Our cucumbers ---eaten. Our beautiful fresh sweet corn --- eaten. In fact the deer had a clandestine meeting and WAITED until the sweet corn was ONE day away from being ready and cleaned us out stalks and all. They even ate our popcorn! WELL DEER....this year WILL be different! Today Mr. Yesteryear Acres began the painstaking task of "THE DEER FREE ZONE". Fence posts were driven into the ground today. One after the other after the other. Two full acres of garden area is now surrounded by ........ELECTRIC FENCING! Yes, dear deer, you shall NOT eat our sweet corn. You shall not make a big tossed salad from our spinach, baby lettuce leaves, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. Mr. Yesteryear Acres is working very hard to get our garden under TOP SECURITY. The perimeter shall be secure!!!! So this year, I will enjoy my many vegetables. I will eat my tossed salad, and sweet corn and popcorn. I will enjoy my very favorite summer sandwich of squishy white bread, miracle whip and red ripe tomatoes. Ha ha!
psssssst......Hey Deer - just so there are no hard feelings.....I think the neighbors down the road have a big garden....and no fence! I wouldn't want you to go hungry!! :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Glass Half Full

Did you ever notice that there are some people you can never make happy? I mean no matter what, they always see the glass as half empty. Nothing is ever good enough and life is never easy enough or happy enough. I feel sad for them. I always try to look on the positive side of life. I greet each day with as much optimism as I can and treat everyone I meet with a smile and give them the best side of me. I truly believe that you have a choice in life in how you look at things. You can choose to look at things with despair or you can choose to look at things with hope. It really is a choice. It takes the same amount of effort to be miserable as it does to be happy. Now before you perhaps think that I might be immune to bad times or might not know what hard days are, I can assure you that I do. I have had my share of really tough times. One particularly rough patch occurred several years ago when I was hit by a drunk driver. I was leaving my oldest daughter’s cross country meet when I was hit. My SUV was totaled and had I been in any other vehicle, I would not have survived. Despite the fact I suffered lifelong injuries, spent 6 months in a hospital bed, almost died from a blood clot and missed the better part of an entire year of my life and my children's lives - I feel that the day I was hit by the drunk driver was one of the luckiest days ever. How can something that awful be considered lucky? Well just a mere 15 minutes before I was hit by the drunk driver, the cross country runners had been running EXACTLY where I was struck. If the drunk driver would have left the bar just 15 minutes earlier, he would have killed several students and injured many more. My daughter was one of the girls running. What if he had killed her? What about all the other parents’ children running that day? I would choose to be the one who was hit a thousand times over rather than think about someone losing a loved one. And if you don’t feel that was lucky enough, right before we left the cross country meet to go home - I asked my son (who was 7 at the time) if he would ride home with his Grandpa. My 7 year old was in a Mommy mood and whined that he didn't want to go with Grandpa; he wanted to ride with me. I asked him PLEASE ride with Grandpa to keep him company. My son relented and agreed to go drive back with his Grandpa. The entire back of my SUV was missing after the accident. My son would have been killed if he had driven home with me. Lucky? I should say VERY! So each day I recovered, I never thought “Why ME?” or “Life is SO unfair”. I chose to feel blessed that I was surrounded by people who cared for me. I chose to feel lucky that I was the one hit. I was grateful that I was still here and still with the ones I love. I chose to be positive and to go forward with hope. I make it a priority to always think of what is good in each day and to go through life with good will and optimism. I have to say that in raising living breathing creatures, not everything is destined to go smoothly. Sad things happen and life is far from easy and at times it does seem easier to just wallow in what goes wrong but wallowing never changes reality. It never makes things better. So choose happiness. Choose to think of all your blessings. Think of fun times, beautiful places, nature’s wonders, puppy kisses, shooting stars, happy moments, treasured memories, all your loved ones near and far, and you just might find your cup runneth over. I know mine does.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Miracle Grow?

Oh my goodness!!! I am super happy as I sit here surrounded by Trixie and Lady's sweet puppies. This week they have changed a lot! Puppies do change from week to week and it is fun to watch a litter of puppies grow cuter with each passing day. When they are 2 weeks old it is fun to watch their eyes open. At three weeks old the puppies' ears open so they start holding their ears up and look SO much more like puppies by this time. At four weeks old you can really start to see coat development and at 5 and 6 weeks they just fill out and become adorable. I am used to watching the cuteness factor continue to flourish but WOW - this week totally tops everything. I think someone must have visited and poured some Miracle Grow onto the puppies as their coats have just really come in this week. Lady's puppies all now have super silky long wavy coats and are completely adorable. Trixie's puppies have gotten bigger and their coats have filled out so nicely. Both litters of puppies look significantly different than they did just 4 days ago! I think I won't be able to wait all the way until Friday to post new pictures as I can't wait to share the cuteness! I honestly don't know which puppy I love the most - which is awesome - because they are all adorable. They are also doing great with housebreaking. They are on a set schedule and are reliably pooping outside. YEA! I just love smart puppies!!! This is the first litter for both Trixie and Lady (and Barkley) so although I was pretty darn sure their pups would be awesome, it is so nice to see they are even better than I dreamed. Barkley is a GREAT new daddy for us. He throws perfect coats and such nice deep coloring. I love it when we find the perfect pairing of doggies to have perfect doodle puppies. Maybe if tomorrow is nice I will retake all the puppy pictures. Be prepared for lots of "oooohs and ahhhhhhs"!!! That is what I have been doing all day long!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Saying Goodbye

My sister and nephew headed back for Vermont today. It is always hard saying good-bye to the ones you love. As a child, I never could have imagined that my sister and I would live so far apart from one another when we grew older. We were inseparable and I always thought we would live minutes from one another. To this day we are still the best of friends. In looking at the big picture - I am happy for my sister as I know she loves living in Vermont. Being a very green and environmentally conscious person, she chose Vermont as the place to attend college. I believe the minute she arrived in Vermont, it was love at first sight and she knew she had found her home. She loves the mountains in her backyard. She loves the fact that moose walk through her yard and can be seen from her office window. She loves the changing seasons, the brilliant display of autumn's beauty and the fact that her daily snow fall in winter is measured in feet, not inches. My sister loves everything about Vermont - even "mud season" and I know she will forever call Vermont home. Sometimes we joke about one of us moving to live near the other - but in reality - we both know that will never happen. Why? Because I love where I live. I love my acreage, my pond, my woods, my barns, my horses, my doggies and my life here. I love Ohio. It is close to everything, easy driving distance to so many places, has all the seasons without too much hardship and my heart will always be here in my home that I love. So we said good-bye, warm in the thought that each of us has found true happiness in life, but at the same time so sad because we truly miss each other. Thank goodness for electronic communication! We are lucky that we can still "chat" every day and our sisterly bond only grows stronger with each passing year. Thanks for the visit Jennifer and Sean! I already miss you!!!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today we celebrated my dad's 76th birthday. We had a lovely party at his house and my mom prepared a delicious spread. She is quite the cook, so of course everything was delicious. I especially enjoyed her roasted eggplant slices. mmmmmm. It was nice to be together and spend the day just chatting and celebrating all life has to offer. The doggies were extra good today and yes, we ALL got to go to the party which was particularly special. It is so hard for my husband and I to ever do anything together away from our home. The doggies and puppies thrive with us home all the time and we feel too guilty to leave them alone for any time period longer than 2 hours. We usually take turn doing family things and for fun things.....well let's just say I am definitely the lucky one. Today was just a nice break away from chores and having a delicious meal prepared for us was awesome! My husband and son headed for home right after we ate and my daughter and I hung around and spent some more time with the family. We got home in time to feed the puppies their dinner and since they were all so good today, we made their favorite meal - Puppy food with vanilla yogurt on top! Doggies LOVE yogurt and it is sooooo good for them. I often think that the commercials on TV featuring the wonders of yogurt for the digestive tract should also have doodle dogs as the stars! If you ever have a puppy or doggie that just is having trouble in that area - loose stools, gas... you know the smelly stuff... try mixing in some yogurt. It does wonders for their digestive tract. Puppies just LOVE it and I definitely recommend adding yogurt to their food the first few days after they arrive at their new home, are going through growth spurts or just aren't feeling up to par. Tonight all the puppies really appreciated the delicious treat. The bowls were licked clean and now the puppies are conked out with full tummies and big smiles on their faces. Or should I say big smiles on their slightly sticky yogurty faces. Time for the warm washcloth! Bath time!!!!
Happy Sunday!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Animals, Dragons and Puppies :)

Dear Mother Nature,
Thank you so much for not raining on our zoo day! That was so thoughtful and considerate and I appreciate it so very much. We had a great day and all the plans came together perfectly. My homemade potato bread with peanut butter and homemade strawberry jam made for a delicious picnic lunch. We sat by the pond and watched the duckies and new baby ducklings while we ate. I have to say that the puppy chow was enjoyed by all. Sean got a kick out of eating puppy food LOL. Most of the animals were out today and we even got to see the baby elephant. Anytime I go to the zoo I figure if I see 3 interesting things that I haven't seen before, it is a great day. Today we saw the baby elephant, 3 baby lion cubs and the orangutan climb all the way to the top of his ladder to his lookout. Sean loved the zoo and it was awesome to spend the day with my kids and Sean and my family just enjoying the day. We topped the day off with How to Train Your Dragon at the IMAX 3D and even my 13 year old son enjoyed it. It really was a great day. Mr. Yesteryear Acres was as busy as he has ever been. We had several families visit and with a few time changes here and there, it ended up with almost everyone visiting here at the exact same time. I felt guilty that I wasn't at home to help because it is hard for one person to answer everyone's questions and I never want someone to feel they didn't get full attention or have a great time here. The puppies were a big hit, so I think the day went okay. Thank you dear Hubby. Your family appreciates all that you do!!!!