Sunday, July 05, 2015

Beanie at Lissie Camp

I did something today I've never done before--I left Beanie at Lissie's house for Lissie Camp.  She's five and she's old enough and it was time.

We left for the 'Burg for the Fourth weekend (because who wouldn't want to avoid the heat and humidity and touristy crowds and instead go somewhere you have to wear a jacket at night for fireworks viewing?) and met Jess and her crew at Lissie's. 

I called before we left and Liss told me Grace would be staying through Thursday and asked if Bean could stay as well.  Because we do swimming, I was hesitant for her to miss a meet and a week of practice, but, this is her cousin and her Lissie time, and she said she wanted to do it, so we left her. 

Lil and Ella grew up together.  They were constantly together for much of their early lives because J and I were together.  Once we all started school, we weren't together as much, and Gracie and Bean are practically strangers to one another. 

You'd never know it to look at them, though!  The minute we arrived they ran off together, and honestly, I don't think Jess nor I saw hide nor hair of either girl for hours on end. 

They've become rather inseparable in a very short amount of time and I'm so happy they will be together.  :o)

We all spent the day together yesterday, beginning with breakfast at Gillie's.  I drove all the kids in my van. 

Then, we went to Pandapas Pond.  The little girls rode with me and the big girls and Gabriel with Jess.  And, that's how the split went for the rest of the day.  The little girls in my van, the big kids with Jess.  :o)

We went to the parade (there is something so delightful about a small town parade!) and the kids all gathered candy and then pooled it and split it as evenly as possible.

We went for frozen yogurt afterward and they all took turns drawing on the chalk wall.

We went home and they all played on the playground and got filthy--because they were having fun, of course!  Then, bath, jim jams and off to view the fireworks.  Again, I had the little girls and Jess had the big kids. 

Those two little girls fell in love with one another, that's for sure!  I'm so thrilled for them. :o) 

Leaving was very hard for me.  Bean decided last minute she really wanted to go home with us instead and I had to make myself encourage her to stay.  You see, this will be the longest the two of us have ever been separated. :o( 

I've gone away for a couple of overnights, but she's always been at home (or just down the road at Nana and Pop's).  This is really the first time Lil will be an only child in five years.  This is the first time I'll be in the house without my Beanie.

My friend, Lindsay (who has lost two babies), and I were talking about it, and we think things are a bit more profound for us because we know how it is when the time away is permanent.  So, that emptiness in the home brings back all those memories of a time when the loss didn't end, when it wasn't for a short period of time. 

I'm going to make the most of my time with my Bitty Girl as an only child.  She needs this time with me and we're both looking forward to it.  I know Beanie and Grace are going to have a ball and Liss will be left a pile of sheer and utter exhaustion--just as it should be. ;oP


1.  A weekend in the 'Burg, even if it WAS short. ;o)

2.  I haven't seen Jess and her kiddos in a year.  I swear! I've missed them all so much and it was SO good to see them!

3.  Celebrating Ella's birthday with her!

4.  Pandapas Pond, Gillie's, the parade, fireworks, time with family.  It was all wonderful!

5.  Home safe and sound even though there were awful wrecks on the interstate. :oS 

No milestones.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Time Won't Stand Still

I missed my anniversary. 

I was with my mom for her birthday.

I almost missed Father's Day. 

It was a busy weekend. 

My 16th wedding anniversary was Friday (same day as my mom's birthday).  I had left town Thursday so I could spend Friday with Lissie and then drive to and from the funeral Saturday. 

I left the 'Burg early Sunday morning so I could make it home in time to spend at least part of Father's Day with Brien and Pop and Bill.

I'll be honest, I was absolutely drained when I got home.  I can't remember the last time I was that exhausted.  I drove 4.5 hours to Blacksburg on Thursday, 4.5 hours to Harriman Saturday morning and then back again Saturday evening.  On the way I had a phone call from my bank's fraud department and checked my balance and found I had apparently been in five different states within a two hour period.  Oy.  Sunday was the drive home. 

I was stressed about the travel, stressed about the service, stressed about not being with my family.  I got home and melted into a puddle of exhaustion.  B took care of me, instead of me pampering him.  Doh.

I was so tired I put the girls on cookie-making duty, and I have to say, they did a marvelous job!

Nana and Pop came for dinner and brought GG and Bill with them, and we had a lovely dinner and visit.  :o)

 Monday was the swim meet and the start of the most godawful heat and humidity.

Look at Bitty!  She was out riding her bike and she came in looking like this.  Oy. 

The heat and humidity persisted through yesterday when it finally cooled off to the upper 80s and the humidity has dropped--thank goodness.  Y'all know I'm a wilting lily in that sort of heat (indices in the 100s, UGH) so it's been lovely to have dropped temps. 

B and I have set up a routine of each of us taking Mia for a run every other morning.  We also take her for a walk in the evenings.  As soon as dinner is over, she's right there waiting.  She looks at us and looks at us, and if we don't respond, she'll bark.  Silly girl!

I'm once more teaching swimming for swim team.  I received a phone call Monday afternoon asking if I'd help out and I was more than willing to jump on in.  We have 71 kiddos in our 8 & Under group.  71.  Of those, 24 or so are in the shallow end.  That's just too many kids to teach as one big fat group. 

It's also been decided to split the 8 & Unders into three groups.  The third group is the shallow enders who will now have practice even later--from 9:45-10:15.  So, I'll be at the pool from 8:15 until 10:15 from now on. 

No problem.  The kids can all play on the playground while I teach.  There is shortage of parents available to help keep an eye on them.  I'll pack snacks and they can play and snack.

I started my summer babysitting duties this week.  I've got my routine and schedule into place and am ready to roll.  All is well!

But, I'm tired.  I'm really really tired.  There's nothing like getting up at the crack of dawn to run in intense heat and humidity, head to the pool to teach, and then head back out again later.  Oh, and that one mile evening walk. 

I'm sleeping well. :oP



At least there are beautiful views when you're up and out early.

2.  No sunburn today!  Hooray for remembering to reapply.

3.  Summers at the pool.  I swear that's what summer is really all about. 

4.  Cooler temps and less humidity.

5.  Raucous thunderstorms that bring my girlie to mind. 

6.  Making new friends and discovering you have more in common than you ever would have imagined. 

No milestones.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

First Meet for Us

Last week we had a "real" summer. 

I had taken the week off from my babysitting duties and pulled the girls from swimming for the week in preparation of our annual trip to Tennessee to visit with GF.

Of course, those plans changed, so the girls had a week of staying up late, sleeping in, and just plain old out and out vegging.  It was wonderful, we all loved it, and it was needed.

Thursday I left the girls and headed to the 'Burg so I could attend GF's service with Lissie. 

I returned Sunday afternoon, and yesterday was our first swim meet of the season.  It's been so very hot and humid and awful here the meet was night was almost unbearable. 

But, it was still fun. :o)

It was the girls' first meet of the season, Bean's first competing and Lil's first swimming 50's.
And, here's how they did!

Lil's are the two on the left.  She swam 50 back and 50 free and was such a trouper about it.  Bean swam 25 free and that's her ribbon on the right. 

Lil swam both her events faster than she did the first time she swam either as a 25 three years ago.  I'm so proud of her!

I do believe Bean could have had a faster time, but she didn't start at the beep.  I had to call down the pool (I was timing, per the norm), "Ellie, GO!!"  at which point I heard her say, "OH!" and in she jumped.  :oP

She was disappointed with her ribbon today because she wanted a purple one.  Ha!!

She may be a quick little fish, but she's still my girlie.  Look at that outfit.  I already mourn the day she loses her sense of style.  :o(

I have Sally, Bella and Ryan this week, and Sadie will be joining us next week.  Today we had practice, played outside, had lunch, had silent reading, and then headed back to the pool.  I do love this part of summer.  :o)

Tomorrow we'll head to the library for the summer reading program once we finish with practice.  It'll be nice to have new books for our silent reading time. 

My girls have been particularly low-key this evening, as I'm sure they're beat from all the play in the sun and chlorine.  ;o)

I need to take Mia for her evening walkies, and finish cleaning the kitchen, so I'm off with these sparklies:


 I love Lissie's backyard!

Mike's burger. When in the 'burg, have an excellent burger! 

Beautiful downtown Blacksburg and brekky at Gillie's!

Gillie's is filled with fun and different tchotchkes.

The big guitar across from the Tennessee Welcome center.  I realized I'll be making very few trips into Tennessee from now on and I'm a little sad.  :o(

6.  Hot summer days spent at the pool.

No milestones. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

About Mia

 This is Mia. 

She was a shelter dog in a high-kill shelter in NC.

My friend, Jeneen, has organized a rescue group that goes into this shelter to pull dogs on their last adoptable day.  Most of them are pulled mere minutes before they're to head for the gas chamber.

Mia was one of her "Last Day Dog" rescues.  

Our family has been talking for awhile now about Finn and our concerns for him.  He's such a special little guy, full of terror and fear and anxiety, and truly depends upon Holly for comfort and looks to her as a leader.  Holly is getting older and we feared for Finn should anything happen to her.

We talked about the possibility of getting another dog, one young enough to be trained by Holly and Finn to not chase the cats, and who would fit in the pack we have established.  B decided he was interested in a bigger dog, and so, I talked to Jeneen. 

She told me she thought she had the perfect dog for us, and showed us Mia's picture. We were sunk.  My summer daycare duties will pick up next week, but for this week, it is just our little family, and I thought that would be a perfect time to introduce a new dog, especially one who had been traumatized.

We don't know much about her history, but the adults (B, me, N&P) suspect Mia's had a litter of pups based on the way her teats look.  We also think she's fairly young, maybe about a year old. We also suspect she's had a rough couple of months--had pups, lost her family, wound up in a shelter, almost died, rescued and kenneled, then fostered, then at an adopt-a-dog event all day (Saturday), then in a car with a stranger who curried her to us and then into our car and to our home.  Talk about lack of any semblance of consistency. 

Having had so many dogs throughout my life (16, I think...?) I like to think I'm a fairly dab hand at judging a dog's character.  Here are my observations about Miss Mia:

*She's incredibly laid back.
*She loves kids.
*She won't get on the furniture.
*She's lead trained.
*She's crate trained.
*She's house broken.
*She's a pretty quick study, picking up the command "sit" within about 24 hours.
*She is feeling a bit insecure at the moment (completely understandable).
*She wants to get along with our dogs.
*She wants to play with the cats.
*She rarely barks.
*She has lots of energy, but isn't adverse to taking a nap.
 She does a lot of this.

And, this.

Some of this.

And, this.

Oh, and this.

And, this.  Lots and lots of this.

But, there's also this.

And, this.

She's very good with the girls.  Ellie likes to get in her face which scares the crap out of me.  She's done nothing about it.  Just gives a sniff and a lick.

She loves a good tummy rub.

And a snuggle.

She is desperate to figure out how she fits into our pack.  Yesterday involved copious use of liver treats and American cheese.  (George was actually willing to be in the room with her yesterday, more on this in a moment.)

And, she looooooves American cheese.  (My three cheese hounds!  Check out how close Finn is!  He sat and took his turn following commands so he too could have cheese.  George was on the ottoman right next to my leg.)

The little dogs were initially quite apprehensive around her, she is rather big compared to them. 
But, Holly started playing tug with her yesterday.

Look how gentle Mia is with her!  She never tugged hard and was careful to stay down on Holly's level.

There have definitely been bumps in the road.  She's tried mounting Finn, much to his displeasure and her surprise when he turned around all teeth and snarls.  She and Holly have also had some growling and snarling as they work to determine place in the pack.

Then, there's the cats...

She wants to play with them.  They aren't interested in playing. 

In fact, they're currently hiding.  And, have been since yesterday.  :sigh:

I really want this to work out.  Yes, I know, I obviously needed another dog like I needed another hole in my head.  Yes, I'm insane, how could I have adopted yet another creature into our fold?  I'm feeling the judgement and it makes me sad.  It's not coming from everyone, but it's there.  I think people are judged for having more than two kids and more than a certain number of pets--I'm not sure what the number is, but we've obviously surpassed it...

But, I don't feel as if there's that much wrong with this situation.  We talked about it for awhile, Jeneen had a need to find a home for this little lady, and I think we provide a good home.  She's on a regime of a morning run and then late evening brisk walk.  We're training her to be even more obedient and to not chase (or bark at) the boys.  She's not as headstrong as the little silky terriers--a welcome change, I must say ;oP--and is very eager to please.  I have no idea why her people didn't come for her, but it doesn't matter, because, she's ours now.

And, I'd say she's pretty happy about that. :o)



Ah!  The daylily bud nommers!

2.  I have a bunch of new blooms out back!

3.  A/C.  Today it's crucial!!

4.  Greater harmony among animals in the house.

5.  A "real" summer this week with the girls.  Because we had planned on being out of town and visiting GF this week, I put in the vacation book at swim team we were out of town.  So, I'm not going and we're staying up late and sleeping in.  Well, some of us are, some of us are up and running with the new pup.  ;o)

No milestones. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

This and That and Catching Up

I thought she looked so grown up in the fall.  Now, I think she looked like a baby. :oS
 Friday was the last day of school for the 2014-2015 school year--let summer begin!!

 We've been busy with swim team in the evenings the past couple of weeks, and tomorrow it shifts mornings.  I'll also pick up my summer babysitting duties, adding two more to my weekly regime this year.  I'll have Sadie and Sally M-Th and Bella and Ryan T-Th.  This means I get Fridays off!

I don't have anyone this week due to plans to attend GF's memorial service so the girls and I will sit tomorrow and write out our summer bucket list, as we always do. :o)

Friday evening we attended the final evening swim practice of the year.  In celebration of the end of school, they kept the pool open an extra hour.  So, we ordered pizza and stayed to play until almost 9:00! 

 But, earlier that morning Bean and I had our final walk, just the two of us, through CW.  I wanted to weep.  She had no idea of the significance, but it lingered in the back of my mind the entire time. 

We've been going over there for our morning walks since she was not quite two.  So many of the folks over there have watched her grow up.  I'm so sad.  It's the end of an era.

I was distracted, however, by meeting my Instagram friend, Don Gore.  I think he found my CW IG first...and I started following back because I'm such a sucker for watercolors, especially watercolors of historical Virginia buildings, and especially for CW vignettes.  :o)  I began commenting on his paintings (I really do love his work), and we formed a friendship.

I knew he and his wife were planning on being in the area for a few days in June, and when I saw this photo I knew he was here and welcomed him back. :o)  He replied and told me he had brought me a print!!!

We met up Friday morning and he brought me the large print, and the smaller one of the shoemaker's shop for Bean! :o)  He said he brought that one for me because I had commented on it a number of times (I LOVE it so much!--CW in October? My favorite!).  He had another, I think, in case I preferred it instead.  Nope!  I was so touched by his gift and generosity.  :o)

He brought this painting to share with me (SO beautiful IRL!) and allowed me to browse through his current sketch books, all the while we were chatting and playing "getting to know you". :o)  His wife, Carol, was also just as sweet and wonderful as he.  It was a reminder to me that you get out of the world what you put out there.  If you put out good and kindness, you'll receive it in return.  Not everything is ugly and scary and bad.  There are genuinely kind and good people in the world. :o)

Yesterday was an adventure and a half and it really deserves its own post, especially as I'm sitting here exhausted and ready for bed...
How could you not fall in love at first sight with this face?
This is Mia--short for Hermione (you know, because we have that HP thing going on in our house...).  We didn't get home until after midnight last night because we drove down to Burlington, NC to pick her up.  It's a very long story involving ruptured brake lines, hot afternoons, children uncertain about malls and more.  I promise to share because I want a record of our adventure.  :oP

Mia is a shelter girl and I'll share what I know of her story tomorrow.  We want to be her forever home, but that's not going to happen unless we can socialize her with the cats.  Otherwise, she's absolutely perfect.  She's sweet, kind, patient, loving, quiet, laid back, you name it.  She's a GOOD girl.  Except for the boys...:sigh:  I'm off to do a bunch of research on that too. :oS

There's a kitchen to be cleaned and a dog to be loved on and a bed calling my name.  I'm off for tonight. :o)


 Not a bad Olaf, huh?

Lil made herself a cat food box robot.  :oP

 The way every day should end.  Can you see the camo-kitty?


Look what decided to bloom early this year!  I'm so so glad Han insisted we needed waterlilies. :o)

 There were newly emerged dragonflies all around the pond the other morning.  The blurry one there in the it the carapace for the one with wings?  I don't think so because there are legs on him...

Anyhow, the pond is home to tadpoles and eggs and dragonfly larvae and more.  SO exciting!

6. The flowers are blooming!
 This calla was a Valentine's gift.  It lived on my windowsill and died.  I planted it in the backyard.  Here ya go!

 No dayliles out front this year--dratted deer--so I'm enjoying the heck out of the ones in the back. :o)


Lantana! Mercy I ADORE lantana!

7.  I have a post to do about our trip to see this today.  OMGoodness!!!!!  So amazing! 

8.  So so so thankful we were all okay when I lost the brakes.  Scariest driving moment of my entire life. 

No milestones.