Saturday, December 29, 2012

Puppy Love!


My little ball of fluff has grown and grown and grown...and she now is 20 months old...almost two years old - Hallelujah! (Dogs are supposed to mellow out around age two).

Do you remember when I was five months pregnant with Baby Violet (back then we called her Pavenzia) - and I used to carry Daisy around like this?  I used to take Daisy everywhere like this - Target, Home Depot, to Paprika's name it.  Poor Daisy got kicked out of that spot really quickly when Violet came along - and let's face it, by that point she weighed about 70 pounds so it wasn't happening anyway.  Haha.


That first month or so with Daisy was such a honeymoon.  She was the smartest puppy, and the girls held on to her from that very first second and never wanted to let go.


I look back on these pictures and think...what the heck was I thinking getting a dog when I was four months pregnant?!  That was really foolish on my part.  If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn't have done it.  It was crazy to bring a puppy into our family when I was about to have a new baby.

But, I didn't see it like that.  I spent a lot of Pavenzia's pregnancy thinking she might not be born (at the time I had lost three babies and had two odds were not in her favor).  I thought getting Daisy would be this amazing thing for Paprika.  I admit, I had watched a few too many videos about dogs and children on YouTube.  Plus, I was in this highly emotional state of pregnancy - living with intense anxiety about Pavenzia's well-being, and I guess I thought that even though I could not control the outcome of the pregnancy, I could control whether or not we got a dog.

Looking back the logic seems a little shaky, but it made sense in the moment.  :-)


We went round and round - first trying to adopt older dogs, then a rescue (which turned out not to be a good fit)- and then one day, I found Daisy and my heart melted.  How could it not?!


Well, after that little honeymoon phase (which lasted all of a month or two!  haha), I was so done with Daisy.  I was very pregnant, and did not have the energy to manage her and two tiny children.  It was so exhausting.  She drove me crazy!  I begged Mr. M to let me find a new home for her.  Begged.

But, he didn't give in.  We kept Daisy...against my wishes.  ;-)  It has been a bumpy ride, but here we are.  She is 20 months old now.  And one day not too long ago, I woke up one day and realized something.

I love her.  A lot.


Originally, I had thought that Daisy would be this incredible companion for Paprika and that Paprika would speak to Daisy in her animal language and they would have this forever bond.  Haha.  Well, that did not happen.  Paprika loves the idea of Daisy, but otherwise wants nothing to do with her.  Don't get me wrong, if something happened to Daisy, Paprika would be incredibly sad. 

But as much as Paprika loves the idea of Daisy, she doesn't want to touch her pretty much ever.  If I say to her:  Paprika, come over here and pet Daisy.  Paprika will say:  How about I pet her tomorrow?


Turns out that Paprika loves insects - her snails and butterflies and grasshoppers.  A pet turtle would have been a better fit for Paprika, but I didn't know that (or didn't want to admit it to myself) at the time.  I wasn't ready to give up that dream of a family dog who would follow us around like Lassie.

The reality of what we have now is something better than I ever could have imagined.  Daisy is the BEST dog I ever could have hoped for - and the thing is that she just gets better and better.  Even though Paprika does not connect with Daisy as I'd hoped, Ginger loves her...sometimes a little too much.

They are Double Trouble...if you know what I mean!  ;-)


Daisy is so smart, so kind, so patient, so loving...she is a better dog than I could have ever hoped to find, and yet here she is in our family.  I am grateful for her.  A year ago, I would have laughed in your face if you'd told me I'd be grateful for Daisy.  It is amazing how a year can change things.  :-)

Baby Violet loves Daisy most of all - she is always saying:  Daisy!  Doggie!  Daisy stay....Stay....Daisy!

And the funny thing is that Daisy listens to her.  Daisy is so so so good...and her inability to have any sort of control around food makes me love her even just a little bit more. ;-)


So, Daisy is here to stay.  She isn't a perfect dog (she still jumps on the couch and will eat your food if you turn two degrees sideways) - but she is perfect for us.

It's taken 20 months, but I've fallen in love with her.  It's not that puppy love I had for her way back when we first adopted her.  It's the real deal.   :-)


The End.

Ni Hao Yall

Friday, December 28, 2012

I'll Feel Better Someday!


For the past week, we've all been fighting being sick...and we've all been in denial about it.  Ha!  On Christmas Day, we stayed indoors the whole day and so by the next day, we were itching to get out and breathe in some fresh air.

Everyone seemed to be feeling fine-ish, so we had a little family trip to the beach.  Ginger has been asking to make sand castles for weeks, so who am I to stand in the way of a girl and her dream?


We got to the beach and it was so windy and cold!  We were the only people at the beach - I didn't even have to photoshop anyone out of my beach pics to make it look desolate!  Haha.


The girls went back and forth between shivering and having a great time.  But after not too long, we decided the park would be better (less wind).  So, not only did the girls get to go to the beach, but they also got to visit the park (but that didn't last too long either because it was flooded!)  Then, Mr. M took the big girls to the library, while I took Baby Violet home for a much needed nap!


So, needless to say, the Day After Christmas was very busy and full of adventure.  Which would be great except that it probably was just a little too much...and by the next day everyone was super sick and continues to be a miserable hot mess. 

We should have been resting, but our zeal got the best of us and now we're spending the last few days of 2012 paying the price (a small price, but it's still miserable).


Even though Baby Violet is so congested she can barely breathe (and thus is sleeping in ten minute shifts) - she still manages to make us all laugh.  Nothing gets this girl down for long!  ;-)


The girls brought home a mountain of books from the library, so the past few days we've been having marathon reading sessions at home.  Ginger dresses herself now (can you tell?)  - I am so thankful she's wearing clothes, I can't say anything about whether or not they match.  And if you ask Ginger, they do match...which is all that counts!  Haha.


Paprika has been in bed reading all sorts of great books.  She checked out a stack of books about Frida Kahlo (her fourth favorite painter after Van Gogh, Picasso, and O'Keeffe).  I was kind of on the fence on whether or not Paprika was really sick or if she was just emulating Frida Kahlo (who spent a great deal of time sick in bed over the course of her life). 

So, I told Paprika that people who are sick are not allowed to have any chocolate (which is Paprika's #1 favorite food of all time, ever) but that if she was feeling good, I'd go get her some chocolate.

Paprika looked up at me with the saddest eyes  and said, "I'm really not well enough to have some chocolate now.  But if you wouldn't mind, could you save me a piece because I am sure I will feel better someday." 



The End.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Merry Little Christmas It Was!

Here's a little sampling of our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in photos.  We had a Merry Little are some highlights:

Daisy guarding the fireplace hearth on Christmas Eve:


Baking cookies with Daddy:


Cookies baking (the girls thought it was so great to have the light on in the stove while they were cooking):


We kept Violet away from the oven, but once the cookies were done baking and were cooling down, we let her look.  Can you tell how much she loves sweets? Haha!


The big girls tucked into bed.  They were awake until about 1am.  Ginger ended up coming down to our bedroom and falling asleep in our bed- then we brought her back up to her bedroom.  They were both way too excited to sleep!


Santa arrived shortly after the big girls fell asleep.  It looks like a lot of presents, but I guess that's because we have more people now!  The girls got two gifts from Santa and one or two small gifts from us.  I have to remember this for next year because it seemed like the perfect amount.  I was worried that it wouldn't feel like "enough" - and I really had to resist going out to buy more stuff.  But in the end, I was so glad that we kept it to basically three gifts total per child. 


Santa's cookies the next morning (with a side of almond milk):


Grandma Pat came down in the late morning (around 10:30am).  Paprika had been up for many hours, but was fine with waiting to open presents.  Ginger woke up right as Grandma arrived. Violet let Grandma Pat hold her and kept giving her hugs.  It was so sweet!  The big girls were so excited to see Grandma Pat and to eat the Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread that she brought!


After some Cinammon Pull Apart Bread, we opened presents...stockings first.  Santa brought the girls each some crayons, play doh, and a dvd.  In retrospect, the only thing Santa really needed to put in the stocking were crayons!  Live and learn.


Violet had a great time being in the middle of everything, and she had so much fun opening presents.  I thought she would be too young to understand, but nope - she got it! She always surprises me with what she understands!


Ginger's present from us was a toy horse.  That's the gift she found in the closet a few days before Christmas!  I bought it on clearance at Target back in July and I had been saving it for her for Christmas.  So, of course, she had to discover it just two days before Christmas even though it had been sitting in the closet since July!  Haha.  But even though it wasn't a surprise, I still gave it to her.  She loved it - she loves horses so much, so I knew it would be a hit.


It was a year of dolls.  All three girls love dolls (all kinds) - so there were a lot of happy faces opening gifts!


The rest of the day we spent eating great food, talking, playing with presents, and otherwise relaxing.  It was a great Christmas - even though Daisy did jump into the Pumpkin Pie before any of us had a chance to eat it!  Oh, Crazy Daisy!  Still - it was a great Christmas!


The End.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

We Wish You A Merry Christmas!


Wishing you a beautiful Christmas surrounded by the love of family and friends.


We are having an intentionally low-key Christmas - we're staying home, scaling back presents, and ordering in food to eat. I made the decision to slow down this holiday, and I admit it was a wonderful idea.


I was so glad not to find myself on Christmas Eve at Toys 'R Us with a six week old baby, throwing myself across the last plastic toy play kitchen in the store (like last year!) Or staying up until 5 am wrapping presents. Or fighting holiday crowds at an airport. Or slaving over a hot stove for five hours (okay, let's get real - that's never happened!  Haha!)


The only outing we did yesterday was take the girls to the beach to watch the sunset.  That's so much better than entering a riot scene in search of a toy kitchen!  ;-)

Here's Daisy waiting for Santa. I can't tell if she's playing guard dog or hoping Santa brings her a bone.  She's been such a good girl lately.  She definitely deserves a treat. Ha!


We baked chocolate chip cookies last night for Santa.  I have pictures (on my camera still) - all three girls were so excited to make them.  And then they ate half of them right before bed.  Which meant they were WIRED on sugar at bedtime.  And then I tried to read them Twas The Night Before Christmas and a few other Christmas books, and Violet was basically jumping on the ceiling.  No one was asleep before midnight - so needless to say, Santa came in the very wee hours to our house.  Haha.


This is the first year in many that Mr. M and I haven't stayed up all night wrapping presents.  We were amazingly way ahead of schedule this year and had everything wrapped about two days before Christmas!  We turned our guest room into a "staging area" - and just locked the door so the girls couldn't peek.  It took so much stress off, and made us a lot happier Santas.  Although, somehow it doesn't quite feel like Christmas unless Mr. M is cursing profanities at a some assembly required dollhouse.  I guess there's always room for new traditions.  ;-)


This year I am just so grateful for my family - for my little family here, and for my extended family and amazing friends.  This year has been full of so many hardships, pain, and loss.  The world is a broken place, and as much as we try to make it never will be. 

This Christmas, I am missing the many people I know who have passed away.  This past year, my stepdad Eric died in April at age 44 of colon cancer.  I think about how terrible it was for my little brother, Robbie, to lose his dad two days after his seventeenth birthday.  Eric loved Christmas, and never missed a Midnight Mass.  I have fond memories of going to St. Thomas with him and then driving around and looking at Christmas lights afterwards.  It is unbelievable to me that he was alive last Christmas and now he's not.

It goes without saying that the children from Sandy Hook Elementary are on our minds, and their families are held close in our hearts this Christmas.  I always think about Vivian and Annemarie at Christmas, and wish they were here.  Their stockings hang on the fireplace between Paprika and Ginger's (our stockings are in order from oldest to youngest) - and sometimes it makes me so sad that their stockings are empty - but I just can't bear to not hang them.  They are still very much part of our family, so it's just another way that we remember them.


Whatever you religious beliefs, it seems that one thing everyone can agree on is that Christmas is a time when people come together and we're reminded of how connected we all are.  It's a time of year when we pause to reflect on what family and community mean to us.  The presents are really a very small part of it - and once you disconnect yourself from advertising - the commercialism of the season falls away very quickly.

I am ever so grateful for another year of life - a year when I've been able to grow so much spiritually - and a year when I've been able to experience so much of this human existence.  Although the world is full of so much pain and darkness, there is also an abundance of light and love. 


I hope that you have the Merriest Christmas yet - and know how much you are loved and valued for just being yourself, exactly as you are.  I plan on spending today being present with those around me and focusing on love, laughter, and probably too much food! 

Merry Merry Merry Christmas!

The End.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Traditions!


I made a little list a few weeks ago of all the things I wanted to do with the girls in December. If we got around to everything - great. If not, no biggie.

Disneyland decorated for Christmas. Check. Visiting with Santa. Check. Decorating the house (inside and out). Check and double check.

But my favorite tradition of all is driving around to look at Christmas lights. The last few years we've made a few trips to see the lights.  Last year was the first year we took the girls to a local Candycane Lane with an insane light show that stretched for over a mile. This year we went again - and we went at the right time. We went the weekend after Thanksgiving (when it wasn't quite December yet) - it was amazing and there was absolutely no traffic (my favorite).


When we tried to go back to Candycane Lane a week or two later, it was packed. Cars lined up for miles. There was no way we could wait in that kind of traffic with three little ones. No way.


After that traffic fiasco, we decided to be a little more low-key about the whole thing.  If the light show isn't the MOST spectacular thing ever, the girls really don't care.  They are impressed with almost anything (in fact, Ginger will Oooh and Ahhh over streetlights and business signs).

So, the whole "looking at Christmas lights" thing has morphed into an almost nightly thing in our house. When Mr. M was working nights on the Ricki Lake Show, I would often after dinner get the girls dressed in their jammies and take them for a drive to see all the lights. When you live in the city (like we do), sometimes the lights looking down from the hills look as spectacular as Christmas lights.  ;-)

We know all the "good blocks" - and the girls each have their favorite house. We have a rotating soundtrack of Raffi Christmas and Josh Groban's Christmas Album. Mr. M can't stand Josh Groban (or Raffi, for that matter), but Baby Violet loves Josh Groban and whenever he sings, she's a happy girl! She often falls asleep to the sound of his voice. Yay!


Last night (of the many nights we've gone to look at lights) was probably my favorite. Why? Because 1) We went to the beach and saw the lights at the Pier:



And 2) Because we went here for the first time EVER before we went to look at lights:


Yup, that's right. Two words.  Krispy Kreme.

It was actually only the second time in my LIFE I've had donuts from Krispy Kreme - Mr. M picked up some after Halloween two years ago to make up for missing Trick or Treating with the girls (he had to work on DWTS).
Now, I'm not saying I haven't had donuts before...because y'all know that's not true. ;-) But it was my first time having a donut in over a year (since I was pregnant with Violet).

It was rainy and cold out, and we swung through the drive-thru and picked up warm donuts before we went to look at Christmas lights.

Chocolate with sprinkles for the girls. Original glazed for me. Apple Fritter for Mr. M.

So, that sealed the deal making it the best night of Christmas Lights Gazing. And thankfully (and I do mean thankfully!) - our nearest Krispy Kreme is like seven miles away, so we won't be back again for awhile. But it was good for last night. Once/year a little Krispy Kreme is okay. ;-)


So, today we have a few other little traditions planned. A few little presents left to wrap. A Gingerbread House to decorate. Cookies to bake for Santa. And maybe a little trip to the beach, too.

I know a few girls who won't be getting much sleep tonight. They are so very excited for Christmas. It makes me excited, too. :-)


Speaking of falling asleep, I know I have mentioned before that Violet always falls alseep in the Ergo at night. I basically hold her and rock her until she falls asleep. Anyhoo- I always either sing to her or play her music when she's falling asleep. Since it can take an hour (or more) for her to fall asleep, usually after I sing her a few songs, I get lazy and play videos for her on YouTube. Her first love was Adele, then she liked that Bob Ross remix video for awhile...and then she had her Mumford and Sons phase. Now she loves (I mean, is obsessed) with the group Celtic Woman.

This is the song she loves best, and so I listen to it every night about 10 times (or 20 times?!) before she falls asleep. I do love it, even though Mr. M thinks it's very cheesy. They remind me of angels singing. Seriously. Love this, and thankfully, so does Violet:

Merry Christmas Eve!