Last night we said goodbye to the best dog ever. 15 years wasn’t quite long enough.
Granny and Pop came to visit and we saved our Christmas from them to celebrate together. The kids didn’t seem too upset to be opening more presents.
Ben and Madison spend a lot of time together. I shouldn’t have been surprised to realize that Ben has started to imitate Madison. He now purposely dumps his raisins onto the floor so he can eat them like Madison – meaning with no hands…
I walked into the kitchen to find these two snuggled up together.
We haven’t used a kennel for Madison in years. However, when we leave the house we often find her in the laundry room near Pepper when we return. Today is laundry day and the kids have to bring their dirty clothes to the laundry room. (Some of them use a laundry basket and some of them just toss.) Madison evidently decided that the dirty clothes made a soft bed to sleep on until we returned to the house. Madison’s hearing isn’t the best anymore so she often doesn’t hear when we come in the door so I was even able to grab a camera and get her picture before she realized we were home.
I see these two do this all the time. Madison is just short enough and Pepper is just tall enough that Pepper ends up standing on top of Madison. I find it hilarious and they don’t even seem to notice at all.
Morning snuggles with these two.
Ben has decided to start fixing breakfast. It’s cereal for everyone and bowls are optional. Milk is too heavy for him to reach so the cereal is served without. Enjoy!
The unexpected best entertainment for Ben out of this move has been the rollercoaster. This toy has actually been around a LONG time. Alex inherited it from family friends in 2010. It’s not even Ben’s first time riding it, but something clicked this time and suddenly when he saw it at this house he fell in love. Now let me explain the best things about this toy. 1.) It has a track, but the track isn’t necessary so setup can be immediate. 2.) Because it is designed to run on a circular track. It continuously goes in a circle. You don’t have to worry about your child driving anywhere. He literally just rides in a circle over and over.
I put him in it and can go inside the kitchen and watch him out the window while I put away dishes. It’s the best thing ever!
I have often talked about how Ben and the chip drawer are a constant problem. He thankfully doesn’t know how to open a new bag of chips, but now he just carries the bag around and loves on them – like a pillow. Let’s hope nobody minds mini chips in their nachos.
We decided to switch things up this year and have most of our nominal Christmas Day activities on Christmas Eve. We started with the last basket present, then a big breakfast, and moved on to games and cookie making.
After an early dinner, we got to the presents! Before we knew it, it was time to put cookies out for Santa and get the kids in bed.
My favorite funny moment of the day – I got new dishtowels for Christmas (a lot of them) and asked Kaitlyn to go put them in the drawer. After everyone was in bed, this is what I found.
One of my birthday gifts was a table and chairs for our patio. (This is our first house, out of four, to have a back deck.) I couldn’t wait to pick it out and have our first meal outside. Tomorrow we are going to add a nice red umbrella and possibly a small seating arrangement (we have a really large back deck).
Cookie making, cheerio guarding, and funny faces.
Madison has always considered herself a lap dog, but in recent years she doesn’t like to jump into a lap as much (old hips). I was out for the evening and Wade sent me a picture of Alex and Madison snuggling. How sweet.
Madison happily held Kaitlyn’s loveys while she ate her snack.
Kaitlyn has a love affair with stickers. We are working hard to remember to only put them on people or paper. Today she chose people…
Kaitlyn assures me that Madison is fine but needs a shot.
Most days these two get along extremely well. Teague takes being a big brother very seriously.
These kids love the dress up trunk.
Kaitlyn has been requesting all things potty related – books, conversation, etc. We had nothing planned today so I decided to see if she was ready to stop using diapers. She definitely understood what the potty was for and would sit on it for me, but she managed to go 6 hours without needing the potty (or a diaper). We tried again after nap and she went 4 hours without needing the potty. I’m going to say she’s not quite ready for the whole potty training thing, but when she is there will be none of this going to every public bathroom every 20 minutes.
Don’t worry. No animals were harmed in the making of these pictures (and a treat or two might have been given).
The race is on between Madison’s ability to stay and Kaitlyn’s attention span when it comes to cleaning up her mess. (Too bad the spill involves raisins which Madison can’t eat. Otherwise it’d just end up being a nice treat for her.)
Oh this dog loves us (and tolerates so much).
We all have our little routines. One of Kaitlyn’s is going through Alex’s lunchbox everyday when he gets home. I’m always curious what’s she’s looking to find. He never brings home a scrap of food, but he does always have slightly different containers which she loves to open.
In an effort to appear in more pictures I have decided to start using my tripod and remote more often. Here goes. These pictures are put in order that they were taken over about an hour. (To be clear, Kaitlyn did not spend an hour on the couch listening to a book. She came and went, but she helped make the funniest pictures.) You can see how things went…
They are actually super excited but we’ve been working on our poker faces.
It used to be pretty easy to keep track of who ate what. I also used to think Kaitlyn ate pretty well. I put food on her plate and it disappeared. It’s only lately that I’ve come to realize she feeds at least half of it to Madison. She’ll slip a piece on the floor or eat alternating pieces of pineapple (as shown in the picture) while feeding Madison the other half. She has amazing timing in doing this while I am busy with other things.
Today Kaitlyn decided to try out Alex’s rain boots.
We finished up our Christmas Holidays in Memphis. We had a Christmas breakfast (Wade again got biscuits and gravy) and then had a few more presents. I think the pitch forks were the biggest hit:
We had an early supper at Jean and Jim’s with the Burch family. Wade and Marie always like to clown around:
And no Burch Christmas would be complete without a bag from Tommy Angel (Jean and Jim’s no-longer-living cat) and some random gifts inside:
And of course we had to have a group photo:
Wade and I then loaded up the car and drove to Paducah to spend the night. Tomorrow we are bound for Milwaukee!
Most of today is spent with Wade’s family. It is very convenient to have his family celebrate Christmas with his grandparents, who also live in Paducah. We arrived in time for Christmas breakfast – with Judy’s awesome coffee cake – and then we moved on to more presents.
Early evening we returned to my mom’s house and had our stockings:
I gave Madison a Christmas treat – a ham bone. It turns out I should have monitored her eating a little more closely. When I went to check on her there was only a small fragment of bone left. Hopefully her system can handle all of that…
Wade and I spend two full days (and sometimes more) celebrating Christmas with our three families. Over the years we have formed traditions, which makes it easier to know where to be when.
We always begin the Christmas celebration with my Dad and Laura. We spend the night before Christmas Eve at their house and then have a Christmas morning breakfast. This year Wade and Madison were driving down yesterday from Milwaukee in some of the worst weather imaginable. I think they encountered snow, ice, sleet, and rain. I was very happy to see them arrive and more shocked that they made it to Dad’s house at a reasonable hour. We all slept late and then got up for a wonderful breakfast (Wade’s Christmas wish came true with biscuits and gravy) and then opened some presents.
Next up we spend the afternoon with my mom and open presents there too. I don’t have a picture, but one of my favorite gifts was an old wood table that I can use beside my couch. Too bad Wade didn’t drive down my MDX. His car is going to be really full!
Our evening ends by celebrating Christmas with my mom’s side of the family. Wade had somehow missed that we always have country ham, another one of his favorites.
I woke up this morning to this:
It continued throughout the day. I did some work and then Madison joined me for a nap:
I finally got motivated to start working on my last big painting project – the small guest room. I moved the last few things out of the closet and began stripping shlack with the heat gun. I have mentioned before how well it works, but here is a picture:
I didn’t realize the walls and ceiling need as much work as they do. That part generally falls to Wade so I’m not sure exactly when I expect to complete this project. I think my goal of Christmas is a little unrealistic – especially with our travel schedule.
We got another round of snow today – about 4 inches I think. Wade decided to tackle the shoveling when he got home from work and I cooked dinner. He came inside quite cold and decided the warmest room was the downstairs bathroom. He could turn on a space heater and really warm up. Madison decided that sounded like a good idea too. I got a kick out of them hanging out in the bathroom.
Wade and I arrived in Paducah (with trailer in tow) late last night. We woke up this morning ready for turkey. My mom and her sister, Aunt Beverly, alternate hosting the big meal and this year was my mom’s year. The table was full with the normal fair of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, layer salad, rolls, cooked apples, and ham. But we always have to have Grandma’s macaroni and cheese. My grandma hasn’t made it the last few years and last time it didn’t taste quite right so this year I was in charge (recipe below). Wade was drafted to carve the turkey and discovered the fun of an electric knife. Below he is showing my sister, Melissa, how fun it is:
After lunch and a nice nap, we went to visit Wade’s family. They were just about ready for turkey sandwiches and Wade’s sister, Emily, was making a pie. Wade and Madison did a little clean up with the beaters:
Grandma’s Macaroni and Cheese:
2 cups macaroni
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
18-20 slices of American cheese
Sauce – in heavy saucepan melt butter. Add flour over low heat – mix until smooth. Gradually add milk, salt, and white pepper. Then start adding the cheese slices a few at a time. Stir until the cheese melts and the sauce thickens.
Macaroni – cook the macaroni for 9 minutes in boiling water and then pour cold water over.
Mix the Macaroni and Sauce in a square pan (double recipe for a 9×13) and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
You can add buttered bread crumbs on top.
Wade and I always seem to end up in crazy situations. I think hunting for a tree was more than Wade’s knee could take. He spent most of Saturday in pain and decided to completely stay off of it today. (We are hoping he didn’t re-injure it, and he is going to try to see a doctor on Monday.) He decided the only useful thing he could do was string popcorn. Madison never left his side – hoping for a missed piece or two.
The problem with all of this is our tree is still on top of my car. We decided we needed reinforcements and Kyle and Christin came to the rescue. Did I mention we also bought a really big tree?
I think Madison is a little embarrassed by her new favorite toy – a pink elephant. She doesn’t often play with toys and rarely seems attached to one in particular. A few weeks ago she was bored inside and I wouldn’t let her out because of the rain. I tried to entertain her with a new toy – a pink elephant that squeaks. She loves it and often carries it around, but she immediately drops it if I pick up a camera. The only thing I can figure is she is embarrassed.
For once I am not the lazy (read as sleep the latest) one in the house. Madison has decided she doesn’t want to get out of bed in the mornings. She always gets in the bed with me when Wade leaves for work and now stays even after I get up. Today she came downstairs at 11:45 – what a lazy dog I have.
Milwaukee has been having awesome thunderstorms so Madison has spent a lot of time indoors. I think she’s rather bored..
Wade’s parents are in Wisconsin for a CVM meeting and made it a long weekend to visit with us. They arrived Thursday in the middle of thunderstorms and then spent most of Friday out visiting. Friday night we cooked dinner and then Jerry wanted to play Wii. We were impressed he wanted to play so we ran him through all the games on Wii Sports. Judy even bowled a few games too.
Time to start unpacking. Madison has become my shadow and doesn’t want to be more than two feet away – that means she gets lost in all the packing paper.
Wade and I decided to take advantage of the warm weather (60 degrees) and some free time. This is the first weekend we have been in Milwaukee in over a month. We ventured up north to the Kettle Moraine State Forest for a little hiking. Since we have been hibernating all winter we started out easy with a 3.5 mile hike around the Parnell Loop. There weren’t too many people out so we let Madison wander without a leash. Wade and I were shocked to see how much snow was still on the ground. We definitely should have worn boots.
On the way home, Wade and I detoured to Sheboygan. For whatever reason we both love the name. After driving around the town, we decided we could live there. Of course, someone would have to offer Wade a job first….
Mom and I spent the day running errands – dropping Madison off at Dad’s to play; buying new shoes at the mall; dropping off my watch at the jewelery store to be repaired; stopping at TJ Max; stopping at the bookstore for a return and new books. Then we picked up Madison and went to visit Grandma. I wasn’t sure what she would think of Madison but they quickly became friends (Grandma fed her crackers).
Mom and I went to see the Upshaws’ new furniture at their new house. My mom has joined them in some recent antiquing trips and all of the furniture was delivered today. They have some beautiful pieces – especially a Jackson Press and a 10 Drawer Chest. Then we all went to dinner at a new restaurant in downtown Paducah – Toucan’s. We were one of three couples in the new restaurant, but the food was good and the dessert was excellent.
Madison and I took a trip to the dog park. This time we discovered an agility course in the woods. She would go through the tunnel and leap the bar, but had no interest in walking the beam or the see-saw. Maybe next time when they aren’t covered in snow.
Madison has overcome her fear of heights. She seems oddly fascinated by the snow and the people below.
Wade and I had fun today. We took Madison to the dog park. The temperature was in the middle 30s so everyone was out. Madison had a pack of dogs to run with.
Then we made a stop for Wade. He decided to buy a Play Station 3 with his birthday money. He says it is one of the cheaper Blue Ray players not to mention a game system. Regardless he is excited.
Our apartment now appears very “techy”. We have two laptops, one desktop, a server, a Wii, a Play Station, and a full size Area 51 in our one bedroom apartment. Want to come play?
Obviously Madison needs some recovery time after her romp in the snow last night. She has spent the afternoon curled up on an old comforter and pillow. Maybe I’ll do the same on the couch.
It has snowed all day and supposed to continue through the night. This snow is gorgeous – light and fluffy. We all took a long walk tonight and had fun playing.
(Goggles added to Madison by Wade – red eye on dogs is really, really bad)
Wade had big plans for the day. He found a dog park for Madison. Little did we know it would be the best dog park ever. There was a huge area with a circular path, trees, a creek, hills, etc. Little clean up stations were conveniently located and no leashes were needed. Madison loved running all out and playing with the other dogs. Wade and I enjoyed a nice snowy hike through the woods.
We always end our Christmas celebrations with the Upshaws. This year was a little slim on people – Matt, Jason, Ben, and Stephanie were missing – but we had a good time anyway. Buddy mixed drinks. Mom had ham biscuits. There were presents and pictures.