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.
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!
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.
Wade and I had to get up early this morning for stockings with Mom, Melissa, and Chris. They were meeting all of the Jenkins’ side of the family for breakfast at 8:30. I only have a picture of mom with her stocking. Melissa and I have to admit to a little trouble filling the large stocking. Next year we will be better prepared.
Wade and I spend all of Christmas Day with his family at Granny and Papa’s house. We arrive in time for breakfast (which always includes Judy’s homemade coffee cake) and then have presents and spend the rest of the day visiting.
Around lunch time we all drove to my mom’s house for Christmas with her. The dogs both needed baths and I had to run a quick errand, but after that we got down to the business of presents!
Madison was obviously wiped out after her morning on the farm.
We started the day off with a wonderful breakfast courtesy of Laura and then opened presents. We took a group picture with us all in the jackets Dad gave us:
Dad had taken Madison to the barn with him and she decided to roll in muck. That meant she had to spend all day outside, but I don’t think she minded. She quickly found the geese – she is the small dot to the right of the geese taking off.
Then we took her for a ride in the pick up truck. I was curious if she would try to jump out but she stayed safely inside.
Madison then discovered the pool – with the cover in place. She didn’t seem bothered to be walking around on the cover. Frank, the yellow lab, was smart enough to stay off the cover. Dad says the cover should hold a grown man’s weight, but I don’t think I’ll test it.
Sunday and today were spent in the car. I drove from Milwaukee to Paducah (and saw some snow!) and arrived just in time to pick up Madison from being boarded. She was a little worn out.
I got up early the next morning, loaded Madison and Taylor in the car, and headed to Nashville. I spent an hour at Melissa’s house checking out all of her updates and letting Madison run around in the backyard. Then we drove to Atlanta where I made a few returns before driving the last leg to Anderson. I have never been so glad to see my house!
In the past week, we have had all of our immediate family (except Wade’s sister) come to visit. My dad and Laura came this past weekend. Mom and Melissa are currently visiting and Wade’s parents came for an evening on their way to Athens. We all went out to dinner and then spent the evening packing up my closets.
Wade and I interviewed two Realtors and have decided on the one we want to use. Her only recommendation was to take some things out of the closets. It’s a good thing I save boxes. We probably packed up 10 boxes (and my closets weren’t that full!) and put them in the attic above Wade’s shop. Now my closets have the fake look of no one really living in the house. But if this helps the house to sell then I am all for it.
Madison has been very confused lately. Wade and I leave for a long weekend and then spend all our time ignoring her. We make strange noises, leave the outside doors open, have dust everywhere all over the house, paint doors in the dining room, etc. She now has three dog pillows in three different rooms and constantly moves so that she is near us. We keep saying the word “Milwaukee” and she seems to shiver. Oh well, she’ll adjust to the cold weather or just become a couch potato!
Wade spent the day working on the bathroom. We bought green drywall (that is actually purple) and by the end of the day, the drywall is up. Now it just needs mud, sanding, and painting. Our Russian tile guy should be coming either Tuesday or Thursday to begin the three day process of tiling. Then we need another day to put in the vanity and toilet and we should be done!
After a long day of working, Wade took a shower and then a nap with Madison:
Remington is gone. Now we are back to two dogs – at least until Saturday. My friend Rob and his girlfriend are coming tomorrow to spend the night on their way to DC. Wade and I did some cleaning and some household stuff. I took a break and the dogs both wanted to be in my lap.
Jack seems to have finally settled into the household. He no longer goes 90 mph all the time. I think Madison taught him to play while outside and take naps while inside. Thank goodness!
Having the dogs inside while I work is a challenge. Madison is good and well behaved. Jack is a nut case and all over the place. He doesn’t know what he is allowed to chew and what he isn’t. He tries to get food off of the counter. To keep him in my sight, I have shut the doors to the office and have both dogs in here with their basket of toys. I turned around and realized they were napping, which actually sounds like a really good idea.
I was home for half of the day so I kept the dogs inside. Jack is full of curiosity and hasn’t learned the difference between dog toys and human stuff so I have to keep a close eye on him. He hasn’t had any more accidents. He has learned “sit” but won’t eat food out of human hands, which makes training him quite a bit more difficult.
Jack is definitely a lap dog. He is a nut and won’t leave you alone till you let him lay on you. Then he is calm and gentle and asleep in a few minutes. What a sweetie.
We got our new foster dog today. He is a 30 pound, 6 (or maybe 8 ) month old puppy. I couldn’t believe how much he looks like Madison. Jack is on the left and Madison is on the right.
After a while of calling him “puppy”, I picked the name Jack. Jack and Madison had quite a romp in the backyard. I think Madison likes having a dog that will finally play with her. Our neighbor’s dog even jumped the fence to join in the fun. In the few short hours he has been with us, Jack has had a bath, learned that Wade is the boss, and had an accident inside. Let the housetraining begin.
Good thing he’s adorable.
As we add furniture to our living room, Madison keeps finding now places to take over. Her new favorite (now that we have a rug) is laying under the coffee table. I guess it goes back to being a “den” animal. We have also added a desk to the living room so her floor pillow no longer fits in the corner. We have dead space under the pinball machine so I was curious if she would like that if I put her pillow there. Then we can use the “pillow” command and she would have something right over her head. What a great idea I had. Madison seems to like it and isn’t always under the coffee table (where we want our feet).
Who would have thought we’d have snow in South Carolina? Well I woke up to just a little bit of it. Madison wasn’t sure what to think of it.
Obviously Wade was worn out from a week of hard work. I’m not sure what Madison’s excuse was. I enjoyed a new book (after a trip to the library). Wade did eventually wake up and we decided to have a date night with dinner out and a new game for the Wii.
Wade and I left Memphis early, hoping to make it home in time for Small Group. About half way home we got the message that Small Group was cancelled. Oh well. We stopped to pick up my alterations in Atlanta and made it home by 5:30. We got the new desk and chair, mattresses, and bed unloaded before dark. We didn’t actually put the mattresses on the bed, but maybe tomorrow. Now I just have to find a home for our new desk…
Madison always looks like a devil dog in pictures. I wonder if they have a red-eye reduction that works for dogs..
Update: Ask and you shall receive. Kodak is making a tool for dog eyes in pictures.
Wade didn’t have to work today so we decided to make a leisurely trip to Paducah. We left Anderson around 11 am and made our first stop at the outlets in Commerce, GA. I picked up a Christmas present and we were on our way. We stopped at a furniture store in Lawrenceville, GA and found a leather couch we both like – a miracle in itself. Our next stop was REI where we bought another Christmas present. Our last stop in Atlanta was at the GaTech bookstore. Wade has misplaced his hat and needed a new one. Then we got serious about heading north. Traffic was horrible the entire trip, but we made it to Paducah just in time for El Chico’s with mom. It was awesome to walk in the door and see El Chico chips and cheese – my favorites!
Wade and I are becoming pros at these 7-8 hour drives. We loaded up the car – we even brought home a new living room chair and headed for Nashville. We stopped at the outlet mall in Nashville to return a Christmas present. Melissa and I had thought we were doing good, but mom beat it to us and bought herself new luggage. Then we continued on to Atlanta where we stopped at Waffle House for dinner. The dogs were good and even learned to share the backseat.
We even got home in time for the first fire of the year in our fireplace.
We traveled again this weekend. My dad and Laura had a pool built this summer, but due to the construction schedule and all the family’s schedules this was the first weekend we could have a family pool party. Thank goodness the pool is heated and the sun was shining. We actually played quite a bit. Madison took a lot of coaching but got in and did some swimming. Dad and Laura’s dogs were fascinated by the remote controlled shark and the water jets. Frank (the yellow lab) spent hours trying to “catch” the moving water exiting the jet.
Tubbles took off on me this morning and ran the length of dad’s property – 40ish acres. After her little jaunt she wouldn’t move off the porch. I have the feeling she tired herself out and didn’t help her arthritis either. Maybe next time she’ll try the pool. The pool and hot tub are filled with salt water – which means no chemicals are needed. The salt content is so low that you don’t notice and aren’t sticky when you leave the water. I like this new idea.
We took the dogs back to the fenced in field for a run tonight. We’ve been working on Tubbles staying near and coming when called. She and Madison did great. Then Tubbles suddenly ran off. I thought she was running far away but she ran right to the car door and sat. She wouldn’t budge and wasn’t happy until I opened the door for her. She sat in the car and watched us play with Madison for a few minutes more. When we got back to the house, we were all tired.
This is our first Halloween in the new house. I bought a bag of candy at Sam’s, but thought I would be eating most of it. In our previous two houses we have not had a single trick or treater. A neighbor warned me that there might be a lot of kids so I did pick up another big bag of candy at Sam’s. The kids started knocking on the door at 5. Evidently we live in the “cool” neighborhood because there was a steady stream of parents in cars dropping the kids off. We had somewhere between 150 and 200 kids show up for treats. I ran out of candy at 7:30 and had to turn off our porch lights.
Here is Madison in her very cheap lobster outfit. I am not a fan of clothes on dogs, but I thought this was too funny. Wade said she was depressed and took it off. Looking at the picture, maybe he’s right.
My adorable neighbor Emma is a princess.
Wade and I even managed to carve some pumpkins in between handing out candy.
There is an ongoing war at my house between cookies and myself. In the last month, I have made all of my favorite cookies and they have turned out perfectly. However, something then went very very wrong. I have tried chocolate chip cookies (which I am known to have trouble with), chocolate chip cinnamon cookies (which always turn out), oatmeal cookies, and chocolate chip cookies again. The cookies come out very flat and appear unappetizing. Surprisingly, they still taste good. I have tried real butter, margarine, switching out my flour, cooking at a lower temperature, etc. My next guess is to buy some new baking soda and baking powder. I have no idea if it will make a difference, but I have had them since before Wade and I were married.
As a side bar, I used a wooden spoon fresh from the dishwasher to stir my cookies tonight. It was still warm, but that didn’t really register. I noticed the spoon seemed less rigid than normal and pretty soon it broke in half. Wade dislikes my plethora of wooden spoons so he was more than happy to see one bite the dust. Madison had fun with it though.
Now I am off to eat cookie dough – the only real reason to make cookies!
Wade’s family is coming to visit and arrives tonight. I am cooking dinner, but the best part is the apple crisp for dessert. As I was peeling the apples, Madison plopped down right in front of me and just stared. I gave her one of the apple peelings and she loved it. Of course she did, she loves anything coming from a human hand.