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Monthly Archives: June 2012

{Wise ‘ole Solomon}

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I’m not exactly sure how, but we now own a dog.

I mean, I know how, but it all happened so fast and suddenly that I’m still a little on edge over it all. I’m a planner. I’m so thankful that you get 9 (or, really, 10) months of pregnancy to plan before your babies come. Even then, I still don’t feel ready.

Same with a dog. We’ve been talking about getting a dog for years, but its always been this far off thing for when we were done having children. Well, some how that “far off” thing is now here. Children are done inhabiting my body. Newborns have left the building, being replaced by preschoolers and a big boy. I’ve slept all night long for almost 2 years now (give or take a few weeks here or there) I figured I’d better get the dog thing out of the way before I really learned to appreciate eyelids that weren’t heavy.

So, meet Solomon. This is his story.

After a snafu with a different puppy, Greg said that he would be open to looking at the Great Dane breed. I LOVE big dogs, and have always wanted one. Once I got the okay from him, I just happened to look online to see what was out there. I came across a listing of a dog (Solomon) that was looking for a new home. I emailed the owner, inquiring about him. Luckily I called when I did; they had been trying to find a new home for him for 3 weeks, and they were moving. They were just hours away from having to take him to the pound. Within two hours, we had Solomon in our van. 🙂 I just couldn’t resist; I couldn’t let this beautiful dog go to the pound. Plus, they were a family just like us! 2 small girls, ages 2 and 4, and then an older boy, who I think was 7 or 8. So I knew that even though he was a beast of a dog, he was well socialized with children and would fit right into our craziness.

He is a 7 month old, 70 lb mix. He is half Doberman, and then his other half is split between Great Dane, Mastiff, and American Pit Bull. He is taller than Brooklyn. 🙂 But, he could not be more gentle! He moves around the children and lets them romp and play all around him without making a sound. He is still a puppy, so he gets excited really easy, but he is very smart and knows when enough is enough. He is my protector; he is literally quite attached to my leg, and follows me around the house all day until Greg gets home in the evening. He does exactly what we want him to do; he is a watchdog and very good at it, but he is also a friendly, gentle giant. He is completely potty trained. I am in love with this dog, and I’m so glad that he is a part of our family now.

We are dealing with some minor adjustments, which is pretty normal for a dog transitioning into a new home. He has some pretty serious separation anxiety, which I’m trying to work on. The crate they gave us to go with him is too small, so we are learning how to let that go a little and just let him sleep where he wants at night. He isn’t properly leash trained, so walks aren’t happening right now since I can’t be pulled by him all over the neighborhood. He starts obedience school the end of July, so hopefully we will work out all his little kinks then.

I think he’s just beautiful. Its a major learning curve for us all; I haven’t owned a pet since high school, and I’ve never personally had to raise one or be responsible for it. Hopefully in the next few weeks we will get into a groove and it will feel like he’s always been here.

For now, we have to flip for poop duty. 😉


{from the sea to the zoo…and everything in between.}

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We are back! We had a FABULOUS time…it was absolutely beautiful. We had a gorgeous condo on the beach in a beautiful area with everything we could need or want (including an amazing french bakery with the BEST croissants this side of the..uh, world). 

The children loved the ocean! At least, Brooklyn and Jackson did.

London was content with just sitting and playing in the sand. She is my cautious one, and doesn’t stray far from me. I found it entirely too cold to get in the ocean, so London thought the same. 🙂

So, instead, we chatted about life and tanned our skin in the warmth of the sun. She told me her secrets and I told her mine.


The Littles get their revenge.

One day we spent at Sea World. We started off our day with Breakfast with Shamu. It was awesome! We got to feast on a delicious breakfast buffet and get an up close experience with one of the orcas before their show.  He did some pretty awesome tricks, and it was neat to see them so up close!

London loved the aquariums. Any exhibit that had a huge wall of water with fish swimming serenely by was her favorite. Funny story: there was a small yellow fish that made friends with my little. London followed him along the outside of the wall, and not paying attention, ran smack into the adjacent wall. The little fished laughed. (I did, a little, too.)

One of Jackson’s favorite was the Shark Encounter. During one part of the exhibit, you rode a moving walkway that took you through a tunnel full of sharks and fish swimming overhead. It was very cool!

Greg vacationed in San Diego as a child and throughout his life. World Famous is a restaurant that he and his father would visit every time they went to San Diego, so it was neat to be able to bring our kids there and experience that with them.

San Diego Zoo! World famous, and rightly so! This place was incredible! We started out our morning with a zoo tour atop a double decker bus! The kids got a great view of most of the animals, and we got to see the entire park without having to walk it all (phew!).

The kids begged to get their faces painted, so we let them choose what they wanted. Jackson got a lizard and London got a glittery flower. She was quite proud of her accessory! Soon after, we visited the reptile house, which was a big hit with Jackson. Since then, he has owned an imaginary rattlesnake that won’t bite any member of our family and only eats cheeseburgers and grass.

The zoo is like the ultimate Where’s Waldo. The kids loved searching for the animals in their habitats!

Nana came along with us on our vacation, and we were so happy to have her! The children adore her, and I’m so glad that they were able to create some spectacular memories together!

I can hardly believe that our vacation has come and gone. 😦 We had such a great time, and I really can’t wait to start planning the next one!

All our bags are packed…

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We have been planning. We have been learning. We have been making lists and checking them twice. We’ve purchased tickets, printed confirmation pages and have anxiously, oh so anxiously, counted down.

And now, in 4 days, we leave for our first family beach vacation. Sea World and the San Diego Zoo are waiting for us. A condo 50 yards from the beach stands clean and ready, waiting for the sounds of sandy feet prancing and sun-soaked laughter. To say that I’m excited is an understatement. I am positively giddy. I get so much joy from creating memories for my children. We didn’t take vacations like this when I was a kid, and I am so happy that we can provide them for our children.

So, like any good teacher-mom, we’ve spent lots of time learning about everything we will see and do. I’m a big fan of knowledge and how that can make an experience exponentially more pleasurable. Imagine visiting Philadelphia without knowing the background of The American Revolution. Sure, it’s a beautiful city and you’d have lots of fun. But knowing all the treasures of that city, wanting to explore them and getting deep into history…that makes it so much better! That’s how I’ve approached this vacation with our children. We’ve dived headfirst into all things ocean. We’ve checked out and poured over tons of books on all things ocean related, from seahorses and seals to sharks and starfish. We’ve read books on dolphins and are fluent in dolphin-ese (Brooklyn is very good at squeaking). And we’ve crafted. Oh, how we’ve crafted.

Paper plate glitter seahorses. Quite easy…easier to clean up if you do it outside on the patio.

Coffee filter jellyfish. A bit of watercolor, a coffee filter, tissue paper, and a whole lot of patience from Mama.

Tomorrow are finger print fish. Maybe. I’m a little crafted out and I have some packing to do. 🙂

We’ve tried out new goggles. Speedo makes the best, and I scored a 3 pack for $12. Not that I expect my kids to dunk their heads in the ocean; in fact, I would be quite surprised if any of them actually got in deeper than their ankles the whole week.

You see this little love-bug? She has four teeth coming in right now. So, lets all hope and pray that she isn’t miserable next week, mmkay? Just in case, Motrin is in the bag. Poor little seahorse.

Sea breezes. Sandy toes. Cold watermelon dripping down chins. Sunscreen flavored cheeks and salty skin. Magnificent sunsets and seagulls on the horizon.

I may have to be dragged home.

The Transit of Venus

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My boy is geeked out to the max right now. Between the solar eclipse and this, well…let’s just say that he’s a wee bit excited over all of it.

I mean, it IS pretty cool. No one on this planet will see this again, unless you were born recently and live to be 105. But, I’m guessing that you wouldn’t really care at 105. I know I won’t see it, and mostly likely Jackson won’t either. Although living to be 111 does sound like a goal that he would make up for himself…

So, what is it? Well, the Transit of Venus is the movement of Venus across the face of the Sun. It occurs in pairs that are eight years apart and then doesn’t happen again for more than a century. You obviously can’t view it unless you have special sun specks or whatever, so we watched it via a live webcast hosted by the Mauna Loa Exploratorium in Hawaii. Venus barely edged out in coolness over the fact that a telescope was on a volcano.

He watched it all afternoon. He’d get so excited when he’d come downstairs for dinner and then return, noticing and measuring how far Venus had ventured across the screen. As I’m writing this, its almost over. I’ve been ordered to take screen shots every hour until its done, and I’m supposed to try very hard to get one when its right on the edge of the sun.

Woo-hoo! Mission accomplished!

He’s the cutest little geek I know! 🙂

{kairos moment}

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A few months ago, I read an awesome article. In fact, if you are a mom, I want you to stop…take a moment…and read THIS. It’s a phenomenal article that has stuck with me ever since.

This moment here? Kairos. God’s time. A moment where everything stops for just a second and I realize the impact of the second and minute I am in. I stop the “don’t touch that” and the “I’m so tired, I need a break” and the worry about lunch and the schedule and the to dos…I relish in the moment. The softness of my last baby’s skin on my skin, her breath sweet on the air. I feel her weight on my leg and know she might never cuddle me like this poolside again, because soon she will be on to bigger and better things. I feel her head resting on my arm, and take a moment to thank God for this precious creature He has graced me with. The smell of baby sunscreen lingers on her neck, her curls tickling my cheek…and in this moment, I am fully present in time. I am fully aware of the passing of it, and I relish every second she stays still on me…near me. I know, in my heart of hearts, that I will remember this moment 17 years from now as she leaves for college. I will yearn for her head in my arm and her weight in my lap. I will yearn for the sweet giggles in sunshine and poolside moments of long ago.

Kairos. Powerful stuff.