Friday, December 31, 2010

A Nice Quiet Drawing Game

Last night here at Yesteryear Acres we decided to play a sweet little drawing game. I believe if one reads the rules of Pictionary - nowhere in the rules does it say to scream at the top of your lungs professing why your picture should be hung in the Louvre for all to see.  Also it probably does not say that if you yell as loud as you can, no matter how loud you yell, no matter how insistent you just can't change what is clearly a pregnant person lying down smoking a pipe into a man holding a whistle. It just won't happen. Despite these rules being absent from the official rules of the game - I believe you might have heard us playing Pictionary as far away as Montana. Yes - we were loud.  Yes we were VERY into claiming best picture of the evening. Yes - all of us thought our pictures showed a clear and precise depiction of the clue to be drawn. And yes - everyone disagreed to the authenticity of "hotwire" actually showing someone "hotwiring a car" but instead actually depicted a bloated tire and the staypuff marshmallow man. I had tears streaming down my face last night from laughing so hard.  At one point we were all on the floor howling with laughter. One clue was "election" and I said, ballot, voters, candidates, senators, congressman, speakers, ballot workers and my younger daughter almost turned purple from the agony. And ..I never did guess "election". The teams were Mr. Yesteryear Acres, my older daughter and my son against my younger daughter and me.  My older daughter is quite an artist.  She can draw anything. It is hysterical to play with her because she wants to draw the background and detailed little touches while I can not draw AT all.  Really.  Stick people are even a stretch for me. So last night when I draw a lopsided rectangle with a triangular bottom and my younger daughter screams CALIFORNIA within 2 seconds - and yes California is the absolute correct answer is hysterical because meanwhile my older daughter is still trying to draw the entire pacific seaboard....including the redwood forest, surfing, pacific white-sided dolphins, the gold rush, Hollywood is just too funny. We all had a really good time. Tonight we are probably going to switch teams because my younger daughter and I are REALLY good at guessing each other's pathetic drawings and the other team thinks somehow we have practiced.  Right.  I practiced drawing a loaf of bread - which she screams CHEF HAT - when it is really bread - only later to get the clue "Chef" so of course what do I draw???? You got it! The loaf of bread!  To which she screams CHEF HAT. The other team then looks at my picture and says it doesn't look ANYTHING like a chef.  Well duh!  We are just that good!  Well I suppose I better practice drawing some ninjas, the globe, chef hats and maybe a automobile or two. You never know when I will need someone to guess Rocket Launcher!

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Today began the sad task of putting away Christmas.  Mr. and Mrs. Claus had to go back inside their boxes and up into the attic until next year.  The stockings that were so neatly hung by the chimney went back into the boxes with care.  All the ornaments on the tree were one by one taken down with fond memories and stored for yet another year.  We were sure to have specific boxes for each of our children's ornaments.  Next Christmas will bring 2 of our children away at college so we made sure to have their favorite ornaments separated so the ornaments would be waiting for our daughters to hang them once they return home for the holidays.  We used to wait until the very last day of holiday break to put away Christmas.  We wanted to enjoy Christmas until the very last second.  We found however, that putting away Christmas AND saying good-bye to Christmas break all in the same day was just too sad.  It is hard enough for Christmas break to come to an end but to add the UNdecorating with the last day of vacation, meant the entire last day together was spent being sad.  We have moved up the undecorating day a few days each year and this year is the earliest we have ever put our decorations away.  The weather this morning was RAINY which pretty much said to all of us - spend the rainy day indoors putting away all the holiday decorations.  That way we still have New Year's Eve and New Year's Day and a few days after that to enjoy our time together.  Everyone worked together and we have almost everything boxed up.  The only thing left is the big haul up to the attic.  It shouldn't take too long but lugging everything back upstairs is never too much fun.  We will have to do something extra enjoyable tonight to counteract the depressing effects of putting away the holiday cheer. I think it might just call for a family game night!  I see popcorn, apple cider and a rousing game of Apples to Apples or Scene It for tonight's festivities.  That should keep the good times rolling.  We also can play with a few puppies tonight as Ariel's puppies are getting old enough to leave their mommy and hang out with us for a while.  They are getting cuter by the day and are pretty snuggable! Overall - I would say putting our HO HO HO things away wasn't OH OH OH too bad!  Many hands make light work and now we can sit back and enjoy all the room for game night! 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I will not get

I woke up this morning feeling no better but I also didn't feel any worse.  I took that as a good sign that I will beat this bug.  I have 2 brother-in-laws that are sick, my father-in-law is getting sick, my mom is sick, my son is sick - someone somewhere brought the grinch bug to Christmas and shared it with all of us. I am determined to dance around the edges of this bug and not succumb to the sickly grinch bug.  My older daughter made me fresh squeezed orange juice for breakfast and for lunch I made extra spicy Thai noodle soup.  That is the exact recipe for getting better ASAP.  My son looks a little perkier this afternoon, so I think the worst of it might be behind him. Instead of resting and watching movies with my son, I got to fill out 1,000 pages of paperwork. UGH.  Evidently for all civilian bound college attendees - the Federal Government requires you to fill out a lengthy form for student aid. Okay - it wasn't 1,000 pages but it still was rather lengthy and very boring.  Since my daughter is still in the decision process as to where to go to college, we are keeping all our options open. We started in on the forms first thing this morning and got everything all done.  Not bad considering the first day for filing is January 1st.  We are so ahead of the game.  We have been patiently stalking the mail carrier and good news has slowly been trickling in.  There are still a few face-to-face interviews to do and some more paperwork to submit but the road to college acceptance is looking pretty smooth.  My daughter is getting more excited each passing day.  I have at least 2 more college visits to do with her before the big decision.  She has some awesome choices to choose from and I suppose filling in a 1,000 page form online is a small price to pay.  I am just glad that one is crossed off the list.  Tomorrow.....on to UNdecorating the house.  I wonder if I should play Christmas music backwards? OH OH OH!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I will not get sick....I will not get sick...I will NOT get sick

Some awful horrible sickness bug is invading our house. My son is down for the count.  He has a fever and a wicked sore throat and sounds like he swallowed a giant frog whole.  He is really sick.  Today he was supposed to go pheasant hunting which is just about his favorite thing in the whole world and he felt too sick to go.  That is serious.  That is sick as sick can be.  I made soup and tea and homemade rolls to help make him feel better but I don't think it is working.  It looks very likely that tomorrow we will be going to the doctor as soon as he wakes up. If homemade rolls don't work - nothing will.  As the day has continued, I have been feeling really run down.  I don't want to say this out loud throat hurts.  It hurts to swallow. I keep thinking about a bed, and pillows, and laying down and closing my eyes.  This is not a good sign.  I don't want to get sick.  I don't want to miss the best part of Christmas vacation. I don't want to have the sniffles and be a spokesperson for cold medicine. I am going to take my vitamin C tonight. I am going to drink orange juice and get some rest and when I wake up tomorrow, I will feel perfectly fine.  Better than fine.  I am super woman and everyone knows that superwoman NEVER gets sick. I am off to go drink some OJ and bury myself under some warm blankets. Tonight will be a 3 dog night....I think it will take at least 3 doodles to keep me warm!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Today was another brutally cold day here but despite the frigid temperatures my younger daughter and I decided to spend the day at the zoo.  My sister and her family joined us and so did my mom.  We emerged from the car looking a bit like we were ready for an Arctic expedition.  It was a good thing too because the wind was wicked cold and the layers were greatly appreciated.  I usually save zoo days for lovely weather.  We don't go when it is too hot or too cold.  We go when the sun is shining with a cool breeze and the weather is absolutely perfect for spending the day at the zoo.  The funny thing is, that whenever we choose the most perfect weather day for the zoo....everyone else does too! I am used to hoards of people all squished into the viewing windows and have mastered waiting patiently for my quick glimpse at whatever animal lies behind the crowded viewing platforms.  It is an expected part of going to the zoo.  Today was by far the coldest day I have ever ventured out to the zoo.  In fact it might be the coldest day I have willingly decided to spend an entire day outside. Evidently everyone else also thought it was far too cold to go to the zoo as the total number of people at the zoo - including the 6 of us was.....49.  49 people. That is it. It was like having the zoo all to ourselves.  Every window was wide open for viewing. And if that were not awesome enough, all the animals in the North America exhibit must have really enjoyed the peaceful quietness of an uncrowded zoo. They were all up and walking about and it was just a terrific day to be at the zoo.  While we walked in our winter wonderland we enjoyed watching all the animals frolic in the snow covered landscapes. Some of the highlights were...

The Puma was out and ready for her photo session
The polar bear exhibit was fantastic.  The Bears were taking a major snooze but they were still awesome.  Who doesn't love polar bears?!

The Siberian Tigers looked particularly beautiful against the snow covered background.  They looked so soft, I just wanted to reach in a snuggle with one!

Do we look prepared for a blizzard?

And of course, being canine lovers, we were super excited to see the wolves out and about. Did you know wolf poop looks just like dog poop? We always have fascinating stuff to talk about at the zoo!
We were surprised how much fun going to the zoo was in the freezing cold. We are already making plans to return and do it again as soon as we get another free day. I guess even zoo animals love walking in a winter wonderland! It was so nice they let us join in.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Twas the Day after Christmas

Twas the day after Christmas and all through the house.....not a creature was stirring, not even ... the 3 kids, the mom, the dad, the kitty cat, the dogs or all the puppies. For the first time in I don't even know how long, everyone here at Yesteryear Acres slept in. 7am came and went and not a creature stirred. Mr. Yesteryear Acres was of course the first one up, but even he slept in until almost 8am. It was heavenly. Christmas morning arrived quite early yesterday and everyone was up and in coveralls and out the door by 6am to start the farm chores. I was up doing all the puppy chores and cleaning dishes before sunrise. We always care for all the animals before we even think of looking at our stockings or opening our presents. This morning however, pure blissful sleep. I slowly woke up this morning, all comfy in my brand new soft Christmas pajamas and looked outside to see beautiful white snowflakes falling from the sky. It was so lovely out with everything glistening with the fresh snowfall. It reminded me of the Christmas Story movie when the little boy looks out on Christmas morning and the world is all white and sparkly. It just felt like Christmas all over again. Our plan this morning on the never ending "to do list" was to just relax. And so we did. We sat around and talked and laughed and had a great time just enjoying one another's company. I got so much pleasure out of watching my 3 kids laugh with one another. The house was full of happiness and love. There isn't a better way in all the world to spend the day after Christmas than to just sit around the table in our pajamas talking about all the things we loved about Christmas. The afternoon didn't really move any faster. We worked some here and there but our pace was incredibly slow moving. Mr. Yesteryear Acres was, as always, working the hardest, but even he took time to just be. To do nothing and just enjoy the moment. It was lovely. The hectic pace of the holiday season left as quickly as it arrived and now comes the part of the holiday season I love almost as much as the anticipation building to Christmas Day. The time to relax, to enjoy, to rest, to laugh, to take time to enjoy the beauty of the season. Tonight we are going to watch a movie, have some popcorn and put our feet up with a lap full of snuggly puppies and just enjoy the evening. Ahhhh. Holiday happiness. Tis the season to be jolly. I couldn't agree more.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all my very dear friends, to my cherished puppy families and to my own loving family. I want to thank everyone for all the beautiful Christmas cards and emails. My heart just melted this year with each card I opened. I received lots of updates and photos of our puppies now living happily at their new homes. I had a couple of very heartwarming hand-drawn pictures from children whose lives have changed for the better because of their bestest doodle buddies. We donated several puppies throughout the year to families who have children with special needs and to receive a hand-drawn picture from a child thanking me for their puppy, filled my heart to the brim with happiness. It was the best thank you I could ever receive. It reminds me why I get up early and stay up late and clean up puppy poop and trim puppy butts and clean puppy ears and sometimes miss family functions all to stay home to care for my little puppy babies. Letters and Christmas cards and pictures and updates really make my world so happy and I feel fulfilled in every way. Thank you for keeping in touch. Thank you for all the kind words throughout the year. I am so glad that so many lives have been touched by doodle love. I know I lead a blessed life thanks to my sweet doodles, my wonderful friends and my loving family. Thank you for sharing your happiness with me. I loved every card, every letter, every photo and every picture. I will treasure them all. May your Christmas be as Merry and Bright as you made mine. Merry Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags.

Ahhhh Christmas Eve.  One of my very favorite days in all the year.  Ever since the kids were little, we have saved Christmas Eve as a special day just for us.  We don't visit our family or have an elaborate dinner someplace else or have friends over.  Christmas Eve is for us and us alone.  It is a day to simply enjoy life.  A day to be grateful for all that we are given and all that brings joy to our lives.  Early this morning we opened our gifts to one another.  We like to do that on Christmas Eve so that our most thoughtful gifts that were meticulously made for one another do not become lost in the myriad of wrappings and bows. I don't think I have ever made it through an entire Christmas Eve without my heart overflowing with love and a bit of sentimental tears flowing down my face, and once again, this Christmas was no exception. The first present I opened was from my younger daughter.  She wrote me a lovely letter full of thanks and love and included 2 small charms that fit together like a puzzle.  I am to choose one, and she is to keep the other so that we each have a piece of each other when she goes off to college. Then my younger daughter opened her present from my older daughter and my older daughter made her a "sister" page for her scrapbook. It was full of little sister charms and had all the things that she loves about her. I was full of tears before I even started to read all the wonderful things she wrote.  Then my younger daughter gave my older daughter a similar gift full of inspiration and the things that made my younger daughter look up to her older sister. The rest of our gifts were all very similar.  Every single year that my husband and I have been together - even before we were married - he writes a small poem to me and puts it in a keepsake Christmas box. I open and read my poem from him every Christmas Eve. Mr. Yesteryear Acres summarizes all the wonderful things the year has brought us and then goes on to write about all the wonderful things that still await us. Every single poem is a gift for my heart. I now have 25 poems in my Christmas box. 25 beautiful memories of love and joy. To me that box IS Christmas.  My wish for all of my dear friends and beloved family members, is that your Christmas also doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. Merry Christmas to you and to those you love. May you be completely be wrapped in the joy and love of a beautiful Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

And the puppies were nestled all snug in their beds

Today all the Christmas puppies went to their new homes.  We had a lot of happy families here picking up their bundles of Christmas joy.  It was really a busy day full of puppy happiness.  It is so much fun to meet the new families and to see their faces when they finally get to meet their sweet new furry family member.  It is always love at first sight.  The puppies were pretty funny today.  Even though it is super cold outside and I really want the puppies to quickly do their "business" - I can't help but laugh when I watch them romp around in the snow.  We are completely snow covered here and the top layer is fairly hard so the puppies do a little bit of slipping here and there.  We also have a ton of oak tree leaves that swirl around on top of the hard snow cover which evidently are the greatest puppy toys ever.  It just takes the slightest breeze to get the oak leaves skittering across the snow and the puppies take off in a full run/slide towards the leaves and then the puppies usually overshoot their target and then slide right past the leaf. I have watched more leaf chasing/missing today and it has been downright hilarious.  We have a good size hill out back and we had one puppy slide half-way down the hill making a snow trough as he went down.  The leaf of course was still at the top of the hill so the second he came to a stop - back up the hill he ran to get that leaf.  This went on all day and it was funny every time. I am not sure why the leaves were so much more fun today than other days - but it made for a good time every time we went out.  Tonight all the puppies will meet their new families and little buddies waiting for them at their new homes.  I am sure there will be a lot of happiness and warm puppy hugs and all the puppies will be snuggled in their new beds for the night.  I am quite certain that visions of sugarplums will dance in their heads.....and maybe a few doggie bones and squeaker toys. Pleasant Dreams sweet doodles!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cooking and Baking and mmmmm

Today was a non-stop busy day.  My older daughter and I started on our long list of baking and managed to get quite a few goodies crossed off the list.  All our cookie doughs are made and are chilling in the refrigerator.  We plan on baking the cookies on Christmas Eve. We also made some delicious presents for Christmas day which were beautifully decorated by my daughter. She is an amazing artist.  It was nice to spend the whole day with her in the kitchen as she normally wouldn't agree to bake with me for an entire day.  She is very much like her dad and brother and would much rather spend the day outdoors working. In fact, I don't think we have ever spent all day cooking together. My younger daughter and I are usually kitchen buddies. She loves to bake and we make fantastic dishes together but today she had an all day swim meet so I was without her expertise in the kitchen.  After I said my sad good-byes to my little swimmer and wished her luck in her swim meet, I turned to my older daughter and gave her my best "wouldn't you LOVE to bake with me today?" look.  It must have worked because she agreed.  Well it must have partially worked, because she is still recovering from her eye surgery and she isn't allowed to do any heavy lifting and she can't go outside at all without glasses and she isn't allowed to be in the wind and well - basically - she was stuck with me anyway.  I ignored all those logical reasons and just chose to believe that in the whole big wide world of ours, my older daughter wanted to do some mommy/daughter bonding with me, and the sound of baking alllll day long with her mommy was like heaven to her. At least that is what I told myself.  I didn't at all listen to the side that said I WANT TO BE OUTSIDE WITH DADDY......even though that side was very vocal and I could hear it standing right next to me as she pounded almonds to a powder like consistency even though I asked for them to be slightly chopped. The funniest part about baking with her, is her precise nature when it comes to cooking.  I am a visual kind of "close enough" baker.  I scoop out what appears to be 1 1/2 cups.  I approximate one tablespoon of this, 1 cup of that.  It is all a feeling.  My daughter, who is a chemistry major, measures everything PRECISELY. She even questioned the actual liquid content of the eggs.  How do I know that the eggs are the right size?  What if you used jumbo size eggs?  Who judges what is a large egg versus what is an extra large egg?  Of course everything she made came out perfectly.  She followed the exact directions and measurements and her food was delicious.  Of course everything I made came out perfectly.  I guessed and threw things together in random order and my food was delicious.  At one point she said that I can NOT cook like that! How did I know what I put in the bowl was 1/3 of a cup???  I said because it looks like 1/3 of a cup.  She made me stop what I was doing, got out a 1/3 measuring cup and scooped my shortening into the measuring cup. I was off by less than a teaspoon. YES! Ha Ha Ha!  That was an awesome moment.  She then went about her very precise ways and left me to my "it looks good to me" ways and we made some delicious baking magic together.  At the end of the day - we were both proud of our accomplishments.  Tomorrow we move on to pies.  I can't wait until she sees how I measure pecans!  A handful here....a handful there..... in the is all mmmmmm good!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine the most expansive color of gray.  A sea of gray. Nothing particularly bright and shiny. Nothing particularly black and ominous.  Just endless greyness everywhere you look.  Now imagine if you will that it is below 20* outside while you are peering upwards gazing at the sea of gray. Now add the fact that you have waited for hours and haven't gone to bed yet and it is 2:15am and you are cold and tired and all you can see is gray. Who was that gray admirer? Why, yes - it was me.  All alone in my sea of gray, I was denied the beauty of the lunar eclipse.  We had quite the cloud cover last night and despite my super hero efforts to see the awe-inspiring lunar eclipse, I saw gray clouds in a dark sky. This morning the weather forecaster said that there was a lot of snow in the air last night.  None of it made it to the ground - but up in the clouds there was a veritable snow storm.  Now I suppose I should be thinking how awesome it is that I witnessed an atmospheric snowstorm on the winter solstice at 2:30 in the morning. I mean that is pretty cool - especially if you have a particular fondness for the color gray. I was however hoping for a spectacular display of a brilliant red lunar eclipse.  I did at one moment catch a small glance of the moon through the clouds so I can say I DID see the moon - which was in the middle of phasing - so technically I suppose I did witness the lunar eclipse but it was not what I had hoped for. The rest of my family slept through the entire event. I thought perhaps they would not feel the necessity to join me in watching the atmospheric snowstorm in the middle of the night.  This morning they let me know that I chose wisely.  I sadly gave up my eclipse vigil around 2:45am.  I figured that I saw all that was to be seen for the evening. I did get to see some awesome footage of the eclipse on the news this morning.  Mr. Yesteryear Acres said something to the effect that he got all his sleep, stayed warm and STILL got to see the eclipse.  Gee thanks Mr. Yesteryear Acres.  Well I got to see snow that never reached the ground! Oooh!!!  I think I win.  Let Winter begin!!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

By the Light...

Tonight promises to be another amazing celestial wonder. Tomorrow is the official date of the winter solstice and around 2:30am this morning there is a total lunar eclipse. The combined events of the solstice and the lunar eclipse is a rare occurence and I am excited to witness it. Of course our alarms are set and we are ready for the big event.  The moon rose this evening around 5:30pm as a huge orange glow over the hillside. We all stopped what we were doing to watch it slowly rise.  It was already a sight to see and made us all excited for the big event tonight.  We are thinking hot chocolate, marshmallows, sleeping bags and big comfy jackets are a necessity for the eclipse viewing. The only hard part will be actually getting out of our nice warm beds when the alarm goes off.  I will have to walk upstairs and wake the kids because they will for sure sleep right through their alarms and then we will all head outdoors to see nature's art work.  I hope to get some good pictures and be able to share them in tomorrow's blog. It is supposed to be amazing. It is yet another gift from Mother Nature to help us celebrate the magic of the season.  With our snow covered fields and sparkling stars - all of outdoors is dressed and ready for the holiday. I am ready to be dazzled by the beauty of yet another one of nature's masterpieces. May your evening be merry and bright.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Wrapped up in Goodness

This morning I awoke with such happiness as I got to say good-morning to each of my children. Just seeing their faces was just the best start to the day. The holiday season has now officially begun. Shortly after getting out of bed, my son surprised me with a big tall glass of fresh squeezed orange juice.  He said he was going to squeeze a glass of juice for me every single morning of Christmas break.  That is his Christmas present to me. OH MY GOODNESS - best Christmas present ever!  I told him that he was the best son in the whole wide world and his present was so perfect. I slowly sipped my glass of Christmas OJ Love and savored every sip. Mmmmm. I was literally filled with happiness.  Mr. Yesteryear Acres and my son then headed outside to do the farm chores and my younger daughter headed to another official college visit.  This time she is meeting with the Head Swim Coach and staying overnight in the dorms.  My mom was kind enough to take her as I have a lot of Christmas things to get done.  They headed off on their adventure this afternoon which left my older daughter and I in the house alone.  That can only mean one thing....WRAPPING TIME!  We got out all the presents and spent the afternoon watching movies and wrapping presents.  We got a ton done and I am pretty much done except for wrapping her gifts.  I plan on wrapping them early tomorrow morning when she is still asleep.  We worked so quickly that tonight we are going to play with the puppies and watch another movie together.  We have a big comforter spread out on the living room floor and she is covered in puppies. She is really happy. She misses the puppies almost more than she misses us.  She said she already knew she would miss her family.  Everyone misses their family and she was prepared for how that would feel.  She did not however count on how much she would miss the puppies.  We almost always have puppies running around. Puppies to kiss you. Puppies to snuggle with you. Puppies to give you that extra TLC that you need to make it through the day.  Puppies to give you that look that says I LOVE YOU.  She misses that.  She misses the snuggling and being surrounded with puppy love.  Tonight she is covered in a heap of puppies and after wrapping presents all day - she herself is wrapped up.  Wrapped up in goodness and puppy love. To her, it is the best present of all.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Happy but Tired

Today's travels back home took a long time.  I left Annapolis 12 hours ago and just got in the door. I am tired.  Really tired but also really happy. My son and I had the best time last night and ended up watching two whole movies.  TWO!  Without interruptions!  It was awesome.  We left early this morning to go pick up my daughter from the Naval Academy and she was super happy as we had bagels and cream cheese waiting in the car for her.  We started our journey home and talked and laughed so hard that at times I had trouble seeing the road because I was laughing that hard. I don't know who was funnier my daughter or my son - or the dynamics of the two of them together.  It was just a good time. I think the Magic of Christmas must have been in the car because they actually took turns listening to their favorite music.  My son is a die hard country music fan and is under the delusion that our radio only holds ONE station - the country music station.  My daughter loves rap and also suffers from the delusion that our radio only has one station but her station is the hip-hop station.  You can see how divergent their music tastes are and it usually results in a lot of bickering and heated debates over which music is best.  Today however - it was all peace and happiness and kindness.  They took turns and were pleasant.  I even got a turn to listen to my music!  That really was a Christmas miracle!  When we finally arrived home the doggies were SO excited to see my daughter.  They were all wagging their tails so hard that their entire bodies were wagging. My daughter is always worried that the doggies will forget her but they never do.  They act like it is Christmas morning every time she comes home.  Happy dances fill the house as soon as they hear her voice.  I am doing a happy dance too.  My family is home. All is right with the world.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Silent Night

This morning our puppy sleigh was loaded with the precious puppy cargo and ready to go. My son ended up being able to go with me which was a wonderful change of plans. I now had a most awesome co-pilot for the day. We downloaded a book-on-tape that sounded like a winner, made a double batch of famous popcorn and hit the road. The puppies were the best travelers ever. I have delivered many puppies and they are usually's say they are usually very good "singers". They like to "sing" along for most of the duration of the trip. I try different genres of music and no matter what type is playing, I usually have one or two vocal puppies that like to "entertain" me for the entire drive. Well this morning we started out with our book on tape and it must have been a fantastic story because the puppies didn't make a peep. Not one sound. It was Silent Night in our puppy mobile. The puppies eagerly listened to our story as if it were story time at the library. I couldn't believe it. Our first stop was about 2.5 hours from home and the puppies all waited until we stopped to pee. With everyone watered and our bathroom break complete, we were back on the road and once again the puppies were just as quiet and content as can be. We stopped every 2.5 hours to stretch our legs and let the puppies out and they acted as if they were experienced world travelers. They never complained and had their tails wagging the entire trip. Our book on tape was really good and my son and I arrived before we knew it. We still have a little bit of a story left and it is so good we are already looking forward to our drive home so we can find out what happens. It was so great to spend the whole day with my son. He usually works outside with his dad as they are the best of buddies but today was a mom and son day. They are very rare and I feel so lucky that he wanted to spend the day with me. We talked some, listened to our story some, sang some but most of all we smiled and enjoyed each other's company. Tonight we are having dinner together and then we are going to watch a movie. A whole night off with no work and just the two of us. It couldn't be more perfect.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Puppy Sleigh

Tomorrow I load up the puppy mobile....or rather Puppy Sleigh and make my journey east.  I have several puppies to deliver on my way to the Naval Academy and I am really really really hoping the weather is nice and clear for tomorrow's travels. This past February I drove through a blizzard on my way to Annapolis and I would really rather not do that ever again.  It was the scariest drive ever. I was a little worried this morning when I woke up to snow and more snow. It continued to snow most of the day and althought it was beautiful, the roads around here were awful. Luckily, it looks as though the snow is slowing down so the roads should be all cleared off by the morning. Whew! The puppies are excited about the trip. I have some new toys and they finally get to meet their forever families just in time for Christmas!  They are all washed and ready to go.  I have to finish getting ready all the puppy care packages and pack for my overnight adventure. I am going to get an early start tomorrow so that I am sure to have plenty of time to get to all the places I am going. I have to pack a lunch and dinner but I do not need to pack any goodies because I received the most wonderful package today!!!!  A dear friend and proud owner of Skipper Doodle sent me a beautiful Christmas present....HOMEMADE COOKIES!!!  A whole huge box of HOMEMADE COOKIES! mmmmmmmm.  There were so many cookies and all different kinds!  They are DELICIOUS!  I am bringing the box with me on my trip!  I am going to happily eat cookies allllll the way to the east coast.  I will be nice enough to leave a few sample cookies behind for the rest of my family but other than that - the cookies are MINE!  mmmmm I love cookies. I am a cookie monster and now my snack for the road trip is perfect.  Thank you Skipper Doodle for my cookies.  You have made me VERY happy.  I am going to pack a thermos full of cold milk and I will be set for tomorrow's adventures. The Puppy Sleigh is on the way!!!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Still not done

I left the house at 9am this morning with bright hopes of finishing all my Christmas shopping. Alas - it was not to be.  I couldn't find what I was looking for and sadly I still have people left on my list without presents.  Today was supposed to be a big sale day but I think it was the "HAHAHAHA you have NO presents and I will charge you double and then take a mere 10% off so you THINK it is a big sale day!" I was not alone in my misery.  There were tons of people shopping today but they were all roaming around the store and not in line at the registers. It seems we were all looking for great deals only to find that they have already been spoken for.  I walked the entire length of the outdoor mall and looked in every store. It was a whopping 12* outside so I felt that the dedication I put towards my Christmas shopping should have been rewarded. The only thing I brought back to my car was a pocket full of used tissues from my cold runny nose. I hope that I have more luck this coming Saturday. My older daughter and I are going to make a stop at the outlet mall and I am hopeful that I will find some awesome gifts.  I am fairly certain that the lines will stretch around the block and back again as I can not be the only person to think of doing their shopping on the Saturday before Christmas but we are determined to go and make the most of it.  I hope there is a good variety of Christmas music playing at the outlets.  Today after I was done not buying Christmas gifts, I went shopping at Sam's club for normal every day needed items.  I had a rather long list and "The First Noel" was playing in the store. It was playing non-stop. Sing it with me,  "Noel...Noel.....Noel...Noel" It was the only song they played. It isn't like I am a Scrooge or something but REALLY? ONE Christmas song? One very repetitive Christmas song? It took me almost an hour to get everything on my list and all the while...."The First Noel......" again and again and again. I was really looking forward to leaving and when I got to the registers the lines were SO long.  I actually waited in line for over 20 minutes and do you know how many times you can listen to the First Noel in 20 minutes? 10.17 times. Yes I counted. Yes, I am that annoying that I would actually count how many times I have to listen to the same song whilst standing in line. Nat King Cole was still singing Noel....Noel...Noel as I left the store. I believe I got my fill of that particular Christmas song today. Tomorrow I will need a rather large medley of music to counteract the lasting effects of today's one-note entertainment. My brain has set the tune to auto replay and Nat is somehow still singing to me.  I will have to work hard to switch it to Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire. At least that sounds yummy and I didn't have time to eat today. I will have to make up for that tomorrow.  I am thinking a big roaster chicken, roasted brussel sprouts and maybe homemade bread. mmmmm. I am so ready!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Lights

Last night's tree trimming was a definite success.  We got all the ornaments on the tree except for my older daughter's favorite ornaments.  We put them aside so she can hang them when she comes home for Christmas.  The tree looks so nice in our living room and I can finally feel the beauty of Christmas all around.  There is just something about a Christmas tree all beautifully decorated that really makes a room feel special.  I am so glad we got ours up.  I was beginning to wonder when we were going to accomplish that task and now it is officially crossed off the list. To top of the Christmas decorating day, Mother Nature had her own Christmas light show last night. The Geminid meteor showers were at their peak and Mr. Yesteryear Acres and I were up front and center for the big show.  I have to say that our meteor shower viewing this summer was a LOT warmer!!!!  We ventured outside last night shortly after midnight. It was a whopping 5* with windchills well below zero.  You have to REALLY REALLY love falling stars to want to gaze up at the sky when at any given moment you are likely to literally FREEZE.  Mother Nature - despite her very frigid temperatures did not disappoint.  We were blessed with a vividly bright display of bright greens and yellows streaking across the night sky.  We only managed to ooooh and ahhhh for about 20 minutes as the bitter cold drove us back inside to seek refuge under our comforter. Being the dedicated star gazers that we are, we set our alarm for 5:00am as that was supposed to be the peak hour for the meteor shower.  I have to say that when the alarm went off at 5:00am I really had second thoughts about getting up.  I started different could the 5:00am stars be from the midnight stars?  My younger daughter was up and ready to head out the door for early morning swim practice and I thought if she could get up, put on a swimsuit and willingly go swim at this hour, I could at least get up to look at a beautiful star shower.  I said my good-byes to my daughter and Mr. Yesteryear Acres and I headed outside. WHOA - it was C O L D.  I mean REALLY cold.  We both looked at each other with the same expression....."just who's idea was this??"  We made it for one brilliant yellow meteor streaking across the sky and ran back inside with our teeth chattering.  We then snuggled up on one of our windowsills right next to the radiator and watched a few more falling stars from inside our warm house.  It did feel like we were cheating a bit - but hey we DID get up and we did watch the meteors twice that evening.  I think we could at least get a runner up prize for our efforts.  Tonight as the temperatures fall once again to the low single digits, I will crawl into bed, pull up my warm comfy covers, close my eyes, and dream about the meteor shower. All the while being warm and toasty and ever so comfortable.  I need to warm up before next week's celestial event when there will be a total lunar eclipse.  I am making a note to bring MORE blankets this time and hot chocolate!!! C-c-c-can't wait! Brrr!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Magic

 I know this cannot be surprising news, but with the puppies, the not-even-close to being finished house project, the winter storm, exam week and all the other THINGS to do .....our house is not even close to being "Christmased".  We don't have our lights up. We don't have our wreath up.  Mr. and Mrs. Claus are not outside smiling at the passing cars.  We are utterly and completely behind. Given our full schedule, our only chance at redemption was going to take a full Christmas Miracle. Well Santa must be watching over our house because this morning our Christmas wish came true and SCHOOL WAS CANCELLED! YEA!  No school! Which meant the kids were home.  Which meant we were given one extra day that we never counted on to devote to Christmas Cheer!  First thing this morning the tree was carried down from the attic. It is definitely a 2-3 person job so we were so happy that we could get that done right away.  We also managed to bring down several boxes of decorations AND Mr. and Mrs. Claus.  Once the boxes were down, Mr. Yesteryear Acres and my son headed outside to shovel, move hay bales, get firewood, take care of the animals and other essential winter work.  My daughter and I started assembling the tree. Yes that is right - assembling.  I know it is SO nice to get a real tree. It smells good. It looks good. It feels like Christmas. But with a house full of puppies - an artificial tree works really well.  It lasts for years, no needles drop and puppies don't have an urge to "water" it.  It is the best solution for our house. My favorite part about our tree is that the branches are sturdy enough to hang all our ornaments.  We have lots of homemade ornaments and some are quite heavy.  There are a few ornaments from when the kids were in kindergarten and I think some of them have about 1/2 pound of dough each.  Of course those are my favorite ones so it is nice to have a tree with "branches" that will hold all that love.  My daughter and I got the entire tree and lights put together so tonight we can decorate our lovely tree. Each year when we open our boxes of ornaments it is like opening the door to happy memories.  Every ornament has a special remembrance attached to it and we treasure each and every one.  We have Ariel ornaments because our younger daughter is a mermaid along with whale and dolphin ornaments.  We have tool ornaments and old-fashioned Santa ornaments for my husband. We have doggie and outdoor type ornaments for my son and we have surfing and Navy ornaments for my older daughter. We have ornaments that are filled with love from the simple cut out construction paper tracing of our daughter's hand that has "I LOVE YOU" written on it, to poems that were thoughtfully composed with the true meaning of Christmas.  Our tree holds every Christmas dream, wish and memory all within its branches.  Every time I walk by my tree, I catch a glimpse of an ornament my children made for me, or the heart my husband drew for me or a little ornament of something my children loved when they were little.  It is more than just a Christmas Tree - it is a symbol of love and family. Tonight when we unpack our treasured ornaments, I am sure my eyes will glisten with every decoration. I can't wait until we open our box of Christmas memories.....ready to be thankful for all that we have shared and all that we will share again.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mom, you are right

Today started very much the same as yesterday.  The ominous upcoming EXAM week hung over us like a dark cloud. My older daughter has finals at the Naval Academy all this week.  She is locked up in her room with her dark sunglasses on trying her best to read through all the material.  Her vision is still very much impaired so this week's work is even more overwhelming. I know she is counting the days until exams are over and she can come home for Christmas break. My younger daughter is hidden behind stacks of books and folders and flash cards preparing for the upcoming exam week.  She has more flashcards than most stores have in stock.  She is an avid flashcard user and it is the method of studying that works best for her.  Every free moment this week she will be flipping through mountains of flashcards memorizing French, Spanish, AP Calculus , Physics, and Government facts.  I think I will only see her come out of hiding when she wants a snack.  My son and I started in on the algebra packet early this morning. It started out VERY much like yesterday.  I felt the agony swallow me up and actually had to take a sanity break. I left him to think about his own aspirations, his own drive for success, and what kind of determination he will bring to better his own academic achievements. I told him it cannot be me that wants him to do well in school and fulfill his potential - he has to want it for himself. The schoolwork topic is a hard line to walk - because thankfully my son does very well in school, so it is hard for me to make a good case about applying himself more thoroughly. He is at the top of his class and up until now, his method of studying has proven successful.  It is just that I know that method does not last.  He is do I say this politely......ummm....messy.  Yes - messy and quick. He does his work very fast and his folders are messy and his notes are messy and he doesn't quite believe in study guides ....or really studying. He likes to lay down in his bed and do his homework at night.  I want him to do it sooner - he likes to do it later. I like it one way, he likes it another. We have been arguing about this for probably a good 1-2 years.  I try to get him to do his best which is considerably better than what he turns in to his teachers. His teachers then give him an A which he then uses to say "SEE - I was right." The whole situation is tough as I can't really complain too much because he is such an awesome kid. I don't want to discourage him, but do want him to have better study habits. His method could possibly be good enough for the rest of high school, but absolutely will not be good enough for college.  I have been trying for quite some time to teach him that good study habits now will lead to a MUCH easier road in college.  Knowing how to study correctly is a learned skill.  Well today ---a true Christmas Miracle came true!!!!!  After our little "break" from each other - my son said those words every parent loves to hear. He said, "Mom, you are right." HALLELUJAH!  He thanked me for helping him.  He thanked me for being so patient and for putting aside all my work to help him.  He said he learned a lot this weekend and really understands everything he needs to know for his exams. He also said he could see that MY WAY WAS BETTER!  OH my GOSH!  I am not even kidding when I say my biggest Christmas wish was just granted!!!!!  Then my son wanted to make an actual study area in his room!!!  So we cleaned out a big desk just for him.  We washed it down, emptied the drawers and he started setting it up with his computer, dictionary, thesaurus, books, folders, index cards, pens and pencils! He is so excited about his new study area and even more excited about how he will be tackling his work from now on. It was just the best afternoon/evening ever.  He didn't come to the decision to change his study habits to make me happy.  He didn't agree to make a study area because it is what I have wanted. He wanted these things for himself which is every parent's dream come true. Forecast for the rest of exam week - smooth sailing and following seas.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Tis the time of year across the land where students flock to the libraries, studies, dining room tables, living room floors, hallways - buried in a tower of books and notes so that they can cram an entire semester's worth of knowledge into their brains before the semester exams. It is not fun. It is not pretty. It is the reason coffee is so deeply coveted and snacking a mandatory activity.  All nighters are being held in every college dorm as students prepare for the final examinations that will test all that they learned. Exam week has begun in earnest here at Yesteryear Acres. I know that exam time is always torturous. I know that trying to remember 18 weeks of French verbs or geographical facts or algebraic equations and solutions is exhausting. In the past, I have been a most wonderful support system for my studious children. I have baked goodies, popped popcorn, made hot cocoa and answered any and all questions.  Up until today, I have escaped the dreaded exam week unscathed.  Yes - up until today exam week while painful for my children barely registered a blip on my own personal radar. Today however - I am in full blown pain.  I am in full blown agony.  I am missing hair on the top of my head and what is left has all turned grey in just one day.  I am frazzled.  I am exhausted. I am utterly despondent because exams are not over until FRIDAY and I have to live with my children until then. What brought about this drastic change? I can answer it with one simple sentence.....This is the first time my son has ever had exams. My son is NOT a studier.  My son does his homework as quickly as humanly possible and then heads outside to work.  Now granted - he gets all A's and does really well but the effort he puts into it would be best described as minimal.  Even though he is in junior high, he is taking 3 high school classes and is now experiencing semester exams for the first time.  The agony that surrounds him is palpable.  The agony that surrounds me is suffocating.  His algebra teacher sent home an 18 page packet of problems that all have to be done over the weekend as a study guide for the upcoming exam.  18 pages.  Approximately 16 problems per page. Approximately 10 minutes of stalling before attempting each problem and then 10 minutes of complaining how he doesn't want to answer a problem that he knows how to do followed by another 10 minutes of whining and then precisely ONE MINUTE TO ANSWER THE PROBLEM!  That adds up to 31 minutes PER PROBLEM.  31 minutes of torture. 31 minutes of how I wish I lived somewhere else.  I am serious. I have very little sanity left.  Did I get to watch the Army Navy game today? No.  Did I get to enjoy the beautiful warm weather? No. Did I see the sun, the sky, the grass, the snow, or enjoy the beautiful sounds of Christmas carols?NO! My day - and I mean my ENTIRE day was spent listening to my son whine and complain and stall and accomplish what I consider to be a pathetic amount of work.  Now I am sure you are asking WHY. WHY did I torture myself by staying? WHY didn't I leave and let my son suffer alone?  WHY did I continue to stay in his presence? Well the answer is because he FOLLOWED me.  If I walked to the kitchen, there he was. If I was working with the puppies - yep - there he was again.  Living room - no escape. Dining room - right beside me.  I had a 6 foot SHADOW all day.  He needed an audience for his misery.  He begged me to stay with him and HELP him so that he could do well on his exams. OH MY GOSH. I was in my own personal prison for the day.  And guess what the forecast for tomorrow is? More Algebra followed by French Verbs. Worst. Forecast. Ever.
Now that is one equation I KNOW IS 100% right!

Friday, December 10, 2010


Ah sweet slumber.  Sweet peaceful blissful sleep-filled slumber.  How I love thee.  How rarely I get to have you in my life. Why just last night, I didn't get to bed until 1:25am. I was totally exhausted and so dearly looked forward to a long winter's nap. Finally - such deep and utter sleep when.....'RINNNGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG! RINNNGGGGGGGGGGG!" Yes, at exactly 5:50am this morning, my phone rang.  My brain, which was clearly in the unconscious state, took a few seconds to process the sound. As soon as my brain realized the phone was ringing, panic set in. Who calls at 5:50am?  I was so worried it was my daughter calling from the Naval Academy and her eyes were worse or she was sick or something along those lines.  I literally jumped out of bed and ran full force to the kitchen to answer the phone. As soon as I said "Hello" - I heard the recorded message from our school superintendent. "Hi. This is your school's superintendent. School is now on a 2 hour delay." OH right. WINTER. Didn't I just say YESTERDAY that it is really winter?! That it is snowy and cold?! I never even started to think that school cancellations and delays would already be upon us! Last year we got the phone call so many times that the second the phone would ring we would all guess: 1 hour delay, 2 hour delay or closed? So the winter delays have begun. My brain will now register that all early morning calls at 0'dark-thirty will be school closures or delays.  I will no longer leap out of bed with my heart pounding and I will no longer run at the speed of light in order to answer the phone in record time.  My son and daughter were made quite happy by this morning's call.  They immediately went back to sleep.  Mr. Yesteryear Acres said something incomprehensible like why is our daughter ringing the doorbell and he immediately went back to sleep.  Even the barking happy-to-see me SO EARLY in the morning puppies went right back to sleep.  Any guesses as to whether the panic stricken, run like the wind, oh no I hope my older daughter is okay, mom went back to sleep? Right. No. Not at all.  The amount of adrenaline running through my system lasted just long enough so by the time I was really really tired and wanted to go back to was time to get up.  And thus, another shortened night of sleep for me.  The good news is that my cleaning projects are coming along very nicely! I am ahead of schedule and that never happens. I just might be ready for Christmas after all! "Ring Christmas Bells Merrily Ring"......except please don't ring before 7am, after 11pm, during dinner, while I am in the bathroom, during a movie, and especially, please do not scare me out of a deep sleep. Thank you ever so much. I really appreciate it!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

What a Fabulous Coat!

Did anyone else seem to notice that it is REALLY REALLY REALLY cold already??!!!  I mean I KNOW it is December.  I know it is supposed to be cold in December. I know December means winter and snowmen and Christmas and reindeer and the North Pole and all of that but man December just entered in with a vengeance. There was no gradual sliding of the temperatures.  It was "Hello, I am Mr. December...... PREPARE TO FREEZE!"  Now I love living in a place that has all four seasons.  I love a fireplace in winter, hot chocolate with marshmallows and the eternal beauty of a snow filled landscape.  It is wonderful.  I am merely complaining because just 9 short days ago, it was November, and I was outside, with NO coat on! Now I feel I need a parka 24/7!  It is that cold.  The puppies gave me a look today that clearly said, "Hey Lady - YOU GO OUTSIDE AND PEE and see what YOU think!"  I have to admit, it was a good argument.  If it gets any colder, the puppies will all make peesicles!  The forecast calls for "bitter cold" followed by "frigid temperatures".  What exactly is the difference between bitter and frigid? Because every time I am that cold....I am always bitter! I decided to take action. I needed to be prepared for this winter's fury. I went and purchased a new fabulous winter coat.  My old coat which is still dear to me has a few flaws.  One - it is wool.  Now you might be thinking that is AWESOME!  Wool is so warm and lovely and you would be right. But here is the thing - I raise puppies. And the puppies stay in nice clean shavings in their nests so that the puppies don't get yucky and dirty when they fail to go outside to create their lovely peesicles.  Now if you pick up a sweet puppy out of their play area and you are wearing a wool coat, you will immediately look like you doused yourself in hot glue, then threw yourself into a pool of sawdust.  It sticks everywhere.  I think I spend more time vacuuming my coat off than I do wearing it.  The other major fault besides the fact that my old coat attracts dirt like a magnet is that it is a short waisted coat.  Which means my derriere is left out in the cold. So when I say, "I am freezing my butt off!" - I really mean it. In addition, for the past 2 days each time I open my car door - a big wind has come up out of nowhere and has blown snow ALL over my car seat. I open the door and a snowman appears on my seat.  Mr. Yesteryear Acres was ever so helpful when he told me to just brush the snow off.  Gee thank you.  I never thought of that. I however have not managed to get ALL the snow off my seat and instead sit on my instant snowman and by the time I get to the store, my derriere has melted Mr. Snowman and I have a wet butt.  How fun is that? It is only the 9th day of the month and I am already suffering from snowman butt!  I mean this is not a good predictor of how winter is going to go for me.  So now I have a lovely 3/4 length, down filled, nice shiny no shavings will ever stick to it, cover my derriere, fabulous coat.  Tomorrow when I head out to the store and a snowman magically appears on my seat - my butt will be covered!  No more snow butt! I am now officially ready for the bitterly frigid weather that lies ahead. I shall laugh when I wake up Monday morning to the predicted 7* and declare myself an official Eskimo of the winter season. I am prepared!!!!! I am prepared to let Mr. Yesteryear Acres take the puppies outside and I shall let them make peesicles.  I am prepared to watch from inside my warm house....with my new fabulous coat.  Gee - it is working already. I am so warm! What a great coat!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tails and Nails

So what fun filled adventure awaited me this morning? Was it A)... A fabulous shopping trip? B).... A day off with movie watching and popcorn? OR C).....A fun filled day of trimming puppy nails and puppy under tails? I know, I know, it is a really tough one to guess but go ahead and take your best shot. YES! You are correct! The answer is C! I believe the puppies got word of the festivities planned for today because at 6:30am sharp they all started singing Good Morning to me.  I am sure it was due to the eager anticipation of the day's events. After everyone had a nice big breakfast of pumpkin parfait (aren't I really good at making canned pumpkin and puppy food mixed together sound really scrumptious?) it was time for the beauty treatment.  Puppy nails are actually really easy to trim.  I do it every week so the puppies are used to having their nails trimmed and are really good about it.  The only hard part is when they want to lick the puppy nail trimmers while I am trimming.  They like to kiss my hand and kiss my arm and OH YES kiss the puppy trimmers too.  So you kind of have to hold the head back, hold the foot out, pet the puppy, trim the claw and move quickly onto the next one before the next kiss occurs.  It is all in the timing.  After all these years, I am a professional. I am faster than everyone in the house including Mr. Yesteryear Acres.  I can do 2 paws to his one paw every time. Today I had the job all to myself so there was no contest. I like it better when I have some competition. It makes the time go a little more quickly and it is fun to have company. After all the nails were trimmed it was onto the ummmm let's say Private Area.  Now I can make this sound all lovely like a trip to the beauty shop or I can be brutally honest and give you the straight scoop.  I am going to go with brutal honesty.  Way back in the day when we raised Labrador Retrievers, there were no butts to trim.  Nails, nails, nails and then done. Not with the doodles. Especially not with the goldendoodles and double doodles.  They have hair on top of hair and some of them are little mops walking around.  Well guess where the hair grows the longest? YES, you guessed it - right under the tail.  And guess what LOVES to get tangled up in that under the tail hair????? YES, you guessed it and yes that is gross. Especially when the puppy is being so good and goes potty outside and then the outside "potty" gets caught in the hair and the little puppy runs to you and jumps in your lap to say "I am such a good puppy for going outside" and then you look down into your lap and your jeans don't quite look as good as they did 2 minutes ago.  They don't smell very good either.  So, yes weekly under the tail trimming is a must. It is a stinky job but someone has to do it and that someone is me.  Mr. Yesteryear Acres has this whole song and dance about how I do SUCH a better job than he does and I am SO good at it and the puppies are SO much better for me when I trim their butt hair than when he does it. Really? Do you think I buy that for one minute? How about No.  Nice try Mr. Yesteryear Acres. I am pretty darn sure that anyone can trim puppy butt hair but thanks for the compliment. Today I got LOADS of compliments from Mr. Yesteryear Acres as he quickly walked out the door which just left me, my comb and my scissors and furry fuzzy fluffy puppies all waiting for their beauty treatment. One by one they all were transformed into visions of loveliness.  And yes, I did do an awesome job...but Mr. Yesteryear Acres - next week I think I shall shower you with the compliments as I hand you the scissors.  I mean really - no one can handle scissors with such skill and ease. The way you wield a pair of scissors is astonishing. The puppies told me they are really looking forward to your grooming expertise. They cannot wait to compliment you.  Either can I.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I Love A Good Sale

Did you hear that? "Helllllloooooooooooooooo  I am your very friendly email about an awesome early bird sale that starts RIGHT NOW!" That is what I received this morning as soon as I opened my computer.  Did I plan on rushing out the door for an awesome early bird sale? Nope.  Did I have time to disregard my well planned work agenda for the day? Nope.  Did I stick to the work plan and buckle down and start crossing things off my list to do? NOPE!  Instead I rushed out the door, sales coupons in hand and headed to the big sale.  I called my mom on the way to the store and my mom had a full day planned and she didn't have time to shop but where there is a will, there is a way and she too was out the door in no time flat. It was so worth it!  We were well rewarded!!!  Everything that they had on sale in the "early bird, must get there RIGHT THIS SECOND, as there are only a limited number of things, that we are practically giving away, just to get you in the door".....were all there!!! I love that!  I was really disappointed on Black Friday and didn't get nearly the shopping done that I had hoped.  I just couldn't find a sale worthy of what I needed within my budget.  Today however was simply lovely!  Items (notice that I can only put the nondescript word "item" and I can't say what fabulous things I got because there are little eyes that might be reading my blog and we could never ever let little eyes figure out what awesome wonderful fabulous "items" I got today!) that were normally $65 were $15! On Black Friday it was buy one, get one 1/2 off which honestly always sounds better than it actually is.  25% off is not Black Friday worthy so I passed on a lot of things that were on the list. One "item" that was listed on the early early early Black Friday sale was again on sale today for $20 LESS than Black Friday.  My mom was particularly happy with that one because she really really wanted it but it was still a bit pricey.  With the $20 off the Black Friday price coupled with my fabulous $10 off coupon...Magic happened.  I got just the right "item" for Mr. Yesteryear Acres.  Just the right "item" for my younger daughter.  A start on some cool "items" for my older daughter. EXACTLY what I had been wanting for me AND most of the people on my list all done.  So now I am down to a few things and "items" for my son.  He is a hard one to shop for.  He is an all outdoorsy, loves dogs, loves hunting, loves hiking, active hardworking boy.  I can't just pick something up for him at the mall - it has to be related to dogs or outdoor type work as those are his favorite things. I have to go to a specialty type outdoor store for him.......or do I? Wait, wait, wait - Stop The Presses!!  Sometimes little eyes READ this blog! What I meant to say is that I need to go to a fancy CLOTHES store for him.  And get him socks!  And DRESS shirts!  And maybe even dress PANTS! Dear son, if you are reading this blog - I hope you are getting really excited.  Tomorrow I just might go TIE shopping for you.  I know how much you love wearing them.  I might even find dress shoes because I know how much you would rather wear a pair of dress shoes than your work boots. This Christmas will be the best one yet.  I can't wait to see your happy face when you open up all the packages of fancy clothes. It will be your dream come true.  Love, mom.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Some Days You Gotta Laugh

My daughter had her follow up visit for her eye surgery this morning. It wasn't the best check up.  Her eye isn't healing properly and she is still in a lot of pain.  She is a real trooper too.  When she broke her finger 2 years ago - it was a mere annoyance.  She was in the middle of a football game when she broke it and of course she finished the game, her homework, her military duties, her alpha inspection, she even finished out the rest of the academic week before the idea that perhaps a medical specialist might be called for.  I remember the text I received from her that said something along the lines of "4 days ago I think I broke my finger playing football because it is all swollen and black and blue and it is crooked and I can't straighten it." To which I replied something like, yes, yes - that does indeed sound like the classic symptoms of a broken finger CAN YOU PLEASE GO TO A DOCTOR!??!  She rated the pain on a scale of 1-10 a mere 2.5  It just was a broken finger after all. She ended up going to the doctor, and yes it was broken, and yes it needed to be splinted, and yes it would have been nice if she went as soon as she broke it. She just didn't think it was that big of a deal. She is that way. So this past weekend her pain level has been way above 6 and she is miserable and I know if she is calling me to tell me she is miserable - she is more miserable than she lets on because she is just not a complainer.  The eye doctor this morning said something about a defect and the eye not healing and since my daughter had a reaction to the pain meds, they won't give her anything for the pain.  The doctor then went on to draw pictures:

                                                Everybody Else

She showed her the picture several times to make sure my daughter got the point. "YOU"............................."Everybody Else"  She said it probably really hurt and it couldn't be very comfortable and maybe at the end of the week the medical department at the Naval Academy could just "rip the bandage contact off".  When she asked for a medical excuse as it was almost impossible to get to class and do her homework given that she cannot see - the doctor just said if her eyes hurt, then she can just go to class with her eyes closed.  Really?  Just go to school with your eyes closed. Hmmmmm.  My daughter is a chemistry major.  She has 3 hour labs where she mixes toxic chemicals and performs exact experiments and is expected to get precise results. She also has to copy long mathematical equations and solve them.....with her eyes closed. When my daughter got to this part of the story, I couldn't help but to start laughing.  I started laughing and then my daughter started laughing and then we both were laughing so hard we started to cry from laughing so hard. I mean really?  Sorry but you have a big defect in your eye and it probably really hurts so we aren't going to give you anything for the pain - and hey - if it hurts really really badly - just close your eyes.  You can always listen.  We then went on to laugh about the emails that have been sent to her requesting her assignments.  The emails she can't read - because she can't see.  The facebook messages wishing her well....which she can't read....because she can't see. And then we laughed even harder about the texts she is receiving that yet again - she can't respond to because she can't see them.  I told her not to worry.  I would text her every hour to make sure she was feeling better and I would text, "if you don't reply, I know you are OK!" And then I would feel better because of course she won't reply because she can't read the texts but clearly I said if she doesn't answer she is A-OKAY so all would be well!  I think our laughfest lasted at least 15 minutes.  I mean really what else can you do at this point? I think we had the right approach.  After all......Laughter is the best medicine!  Maybe tomorrow she will be healed!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday Homework

This morning all 3 of my children awoke to a boatload of homework. My older daughter is recuperating from eye surgery and has a ton of makeup work. It is quite frustrating for her, as she can clearly see the gigantic stack of assignments and books awaiting her, but can't see well enough to read any of the material.  She is just not having a good day.  She is still in pain so she isn't feeling well and the dreaded pile of homework just sits on her desk and mocks her. She doesn't know how she will get it all done.  I keep telling her to hang in there and hopefully by this evening she will start to feel better and can get started on some of the work.  I feel for her because I can hear how frustrated she is. Tomorrow she has a follow-up appointment with the doctor so I am hopeful that she will start feeling better soon.  My younger daughter also has a good deal of make-up work because she was absent on Friday for her official college visit and was out-of-town all day yesterday at a swim meet.  She started in on her homework first thing this morning and will be working on it late until the evening. The first thing on her list was to email the head of the zoology department at one of the colleges she visited. She wanted him to know how much she enjoyed the college tour and especially the zoology labs and classrooms. The department chair wrote back to her right away with the most thoughtful reply and totally made my daughter's day. I think I saw glistening in her eyes as she was just filled with happiness over the immediate feedback. It was so great to see her so excited about her future.  It was a most wonderful start to the day. My son had a paper to write and french homework and he too began on his assignments as soon as he woke up.  I decided to join them in the dining room while they both worked - and the morning was actually really pleasant despite all the work that needed to be done.  Everyone was in a great mood and had the right attitude for attacking the workload.  I read the Sunday paper and replied to my emails and was available for spell checking and question answering. I made cinnamon streusel muffins which I believe contributed to the happy mood in the room.  The dining room smelled delicious.  My son had to write a paper about a teacher that made a difference in his life and he chose to write about his first grade teacher.  We had the best time looking back and remembering what kind of books he read back then (his favorite were the Henry and Mudge books), the field trips they went on, and the many times the puppies came and visited his classroom.  His paper was easy for him to write as there were so many good memories from that year. It made Sunday morning homework time ... a fun family time.  I can tell you that fun family time and homework time generally never go together! This was quite a treat and made this morning so enjoyable.  We all had fun.  Who would ever guess - Sunday Homework = Sunday Family Fun!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Pajamas kind of day

Today is the first Saturday in I cannot remember how long that we didn't have visitors scheduled.  None.  Not a single puppy visitor for the entire day. I didn't have to get up early today. I didn't need to vacuum the porch today. I didn't even need to get DRESSED today.  It is 3:45pm and I am STILL in my very comfy pajamas!  Ahhhh such happiness!  Now it isn't like I have wasted the day away lying in bed but still, I am enjoying the pajama day. I have a delicious pork roast in the oven and I am serving it with fresh roasted sweet potato/yukon gold potato homefries. They are REALLY good. The house smells delicious. Mr. Yesteryear Acres and my son have been busy working outside in the cold all day so I am heading to the kitchen to bake some oatmeal molasses cookies for them.  That will put a huge smile on their faces.  Oatmeal Molasses cookies are my son's favorite. My younger daughter is in Athens today at the first high school swim meet of the season.  I am sure she will be super glad to come home to fresh baked cookies.  Molasses cookies make excellent swimming snacks! She is working really hard this season to break some of the high school swim records.  I am not naming names but a certain someone who has the exact same initials as my younger daughter and is currently a second class midshipman at the Naval Academy currently holds many of the high school swim records.  My younger daughter's goal is to at least get her name on the record board as well - and maybe just maybe - erase a few of her big sister's records too. High School swim season has officially begun so the race begins. My daughter won't get home until very late tonight so that leaves me all alone in the my pajamas.....with cookies in the oven.....and fluffy puppies at my feet...... mmmmm. I think I might just have to sit down in the living room and snuggle with a few puppies and watch a movie. It is after all - a pajamas kind of day!! 

Friday, December 3, 2010

How About Now?

Last night I climbed into bed around 12:30am completely exhausted and ready for sleep. By 3:30 am this morning I was totally awake. Was I awake because I was feeling ever so refreshed? No.  Was I awake because I am some sort of super human that only needs 3 hours of sleep? No. Was I awake because I feel sleep is not wonderful and peaceful and restful? No again. I was awake because Mr. Yesteryear Acres AND McGyver (our white golden retriever) had conspired against me and made sleeping an impossibility. First - let me say that Mr. Yesteryear Acres has a tendency to snore.  And by snore I do not mean some gentle humming or low murmuring. By snoring I mean that if I were laying down on an airport runway and a 747 were to take off right next to my head - it would sound like a kitten purring next to the raucous that comes out of Mr. Yesteryear Acres mouth. He is ridiculously loud. If that were not enough, McGyver is in love.  He is in love with our poodle Fiona. He is so in love with Fiona that he must profess his love to her at least once every 30 minutes. He would like for them to"honeymoon" together.  Fiona isn't quite ready for that particular event. The conversation last night went something like this. McGyver: "FIONA FIONA I LOVE YOU!"  Fiona: "TOO BAD"  McGyver: "FIONA FIONA I LOOOOVE YOU!"  Fiona: "TOO BAD!".  That conversation was then shortened to the following - McGyver: "How about Now?"  Fiona: "NO!" McGyver: "Well How about NOW?" Fiona: "NO!" and so on and so on.  McGyver asked Fiona "how about now" about every 20 minutes and Fiona was prompt in answering "NO" every single time.  Thus my night of blissful sleep was immediately terminated.  There was actually no hope of me ever sleeping through all of that so I got out of bed and turned on the TV and proceeded to catch up on all the shows that have been waiting for me on my DVR.  I got through 3 episodes of Private Practice and 2 episodes of Grey's Anatomy.  I watched all 5 shows BY MYSELF.  With no talking.  With no interruptions (well other than the "How about NOW? NO! routine).  It was dark.  I had the whole couch to myself.  It was relatively quiet. It was like taking a whole day off and it didn't even count as a "wasted" day!  Admittedly I am dragging my butt today - but hey - I got a whole evening off!  Now I don't think I could make that work very often as I am super tired today BUT I do not regret last night's evening activities at all. It was quite a lovely way to spend the wee hours of the morning. Considering the fact that my eyes want to close even as I type today's blog, I am guessing that tonight I will be asleep before I sit down. Hopefully tonight's repartee will be more along the lines of "Shhhhh be very quiet, let's not wake up Mrs. Yesteryear Acres."  McGyver -  are you listening? Silence is Golden.zzzzzzzz

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Far Away

Today my older daughter is having eye surgery and I am feeling a bit blue because I am not there with her.  I am fairly certain that in the "Mommy Manual" it clearly states that Mommies must be with their children whenever they are sick or in hospitals or have surgery of any kind. The "Navy Manual" however clearly contradicts the Mommy manual and thus, I am here and she is there. I know as our children get older we can't always be there for them, but I still haven't yet accepted that reality.  If it were up to me, I would be there for everything! I have been eagerly sitting by my phone for news of her surgery and how she is doing.  I do know she made it out of surgery okay, but wasn't feeling great.  I hope she is doing better now.  I realize that worrying absolutely serves NO purpose but again, I believe worrying is just one of those Mommy things that try as you might, you can never put aside. It comes with the job description. I know the next 72 hours will be tough for my daughter so I just hope she feels better with every passing hour. In addition to being far away from my older daughter - I am also far away from my younger daughter as well.  She and my mother left early this afternoon on a road trip. They are off visiting one of the colleges that my daughter applied to and doing the official campus tour. They were both so excited about the trip.  I have cute little puppies to care for and puppy work to do so I cannot go with them so the 2 of them headed off on their own adventure.  I have to admit - I am a little jealous.  My mom is the Queen of all road trips and makes every trip an adventure.  She is a lot of fun to travel with. They will probably stop at cute road side markets and have fun all day long.  I made them a big double batch of my famous popcorn so they have treats to keep them nourished along the way. I know the 2 of them will have an awesome time together.  My daughter and I visited several colleges on the east coast last summer and we had a blast.  I am a little blue to be missing out on this trip but at the same time, I know my mom will remember taking her granddaughter on the fun college road trip and it will be something special that the two of them can share. Being far away from both my girls today is yet another reminder that my children are growing older and that my responsibilities as a mom are ever changing. As they grow, so does my heart. I just fill the bigger space up with the beautiful memories of the long road through life that we have traveled together. And in every memory - they are still young enough to hold my hand as we journey along to destinations yet unknown.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Merry and Bright!

Last night's contest of who would win "Happy December First" wasn't quite as exciting as I had envisioned. Mr. Yesteryear Acres and I finally sat down to watch TV around 11:15pm. We turned on the TV, propped up our feet, and then....yes...passed out.  12:00:01 came and went and we were still in our TV watching positions sound asleep.  We woke up sometime around 1:00am and stumbled our way to bed.  Just as I pulled the covers up and closed my eyes, Mr. Yesteryear Acres of COURSE says, "Happy December First!" UGH!  He WON!  I mean does that REALLY count?  We were both practically sleep walking.  How did he even remember?  I was literally dreaming as I was walking to bed.  We were both that tired. And yet, Mr. Yesteryear Acres somehow manages to pull the "Happy December First" right at the last moment.  I was going to call him the champion this morning BUT instead this round goes to Good Ole Mother Nature!  I woke up this morning to a beautiful blanket of white snow!  I mean THAT is saying "Happy December First" in style!!!  It was snowing! Really snowing!  I bounced out of bed with the biggest smile on my face running through the house yelling, "Its Snowing! Its Snowing!"  Mr. Yesteryear Acres was already smiling and had a big snowball waiting for me.  I was super happy to wake up to the first snow of the season.  I love snow.  I love how beautiful everything looks with snow.  I love how Mother Nature just planned it so perfectly to snow on December First.  That was so thoughtful of her!  Just yesterday, I said my goodbyes to November and Autumn and all of that and today I get to wake up to a winter wonderland!  Ahhhhh. It is soooo pretty. It is still snowing even now! The puppies went out today and they were all excited to lick the grass covered in all that tasty white stuff.  They were really funny!  They kept sliding around in the snow and doing barrel rolls and trying to eat the snow at the same time. It was so funny to watch. YEA! Snow. Snow. Snow. Everything is Merry and Bright!  Thank you so much Mother Nature.  Happy December First definitely goes to you!