Text 3 Apr 1 note A boy and his dog

Molly Louise Cleveland is still very much a puppy (and Louise is the middle name I just assigned to her for the sake of this post because I feel like she needed one to go along with the tone I’m trying to set).  Molly is an intelligent puppy but still a puppy. She routinely opens the trash cabinet, she’s dug under the fence to break into the neighbors house (via their dog door), stolen food from the hands of toddlers, devoured entire pumpkin pies,  eaten through the buckle of her harness (because I think she knew she had less control with that as opposed to her collar), and howls very aggressively at me if it looks as though I am about to go running without her. 

There’s a lot that Molly does wrong but the joy that she brings to the face of my children makes it all worthwhile (most of the time).  Just last week Gavin was outside playing with her and from the window I just stopped and stared at the happiness coming from Gavin’s face.  He had a ball that he was rolling up the slide.  Molly was trying to figure out how to get the ball before Gavin and he was trying to stop her from doing it.  After a few rolls she jumped up the slide and ran halfway up and he just giggled as she took off running.  He followed suit.  He would retrieve the ball and the cycle would start back over. 

Most of the outside play involves those two chasing one another.  Gavin will throw a stick at her and she will dodge it and chase him until he falls.  They both stop until Gavin gets back up and he grabs another stick.  She takes off running, he throws the stick, she turns around….. it goes on forever….or until Addison goes out and decides she’s not putting up with it. 

When we aren’t around Molly I feel like her name gets brought up at least every 10 minutes.   It’s hard to imagine a life without her now (well actually it’s not…my house would be cleaner, I wouldn’t have to put my food in the microwave to go check on a kid in the bathroom, or make sure my shoes are securely hidden when I leave the house. But, those kids, they love her so much it’s hard to think about not having her around. 

She feels it too.  If I ever come home to go for a run before picking up the kids she greets me at the door but stops abruptly to survey the situation.  She looks around me to see if they are lagging behind.  She sulks a bit when her buddies aren’t there.  All I do is feed her, pet her, and talk to her.  I don’t chase her in the yard (for fun) or throw sticks at her (for fun). 

I gave her a bath the other day.  It was a cold day and close to bed time. She has claimed her spot at the foot of the bed.  I didn’t want her laying on the bed making it smell like wet dog so I got out the hairdryer.  She was not a fan.  Gavin came in and handled the situation.  She kept trying to get away from the hot air but he knelt beside her and put his hands around her.  She settled down long enough for me to finish.  I look forward to see this relationship grow over time.  Despite all the trouble she can cause, she makes up for it in the joy that she gives.

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Text 28 Mar I trust your judgement

I was getting ready to walk out the door this morning and as I was about to put on my shoes I started to doubt my decision.  I looked at my sweet, very honest, little girl and asked for her opinion between two pair.  She looked me over for about 10 seconds and then settled on the one on my left foot.  I went with it, put them on and headed to the car. 

It was after I dropped them off at school, on my way to work, that I sat and actually pondered what I had just done.  Did I really just ask my 4 year old daughter what looks best?  The same child who picked out her clothes the night before and mixed two very different patterns.  The outfit that I tried three times to get her to change; once that night and twice that same morning that I asked her opinion.  The outfit that was so outlandish that I took the time, despite the fact i was running late, to stop and take her picture.  I asked that girl what looked best?




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Are the golden girls coming on today?

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BAM!

Text 25 Mar 1 note Vitamonster

I need to eat more veggies. The kids need to eat more veggies.  Everyone should eat more veggies.  The neighbor was telling me all about the green smoothie craze that she started doing.  I have made them in the past and figured why not give it another try and see if I can get the kids onboard.  I thought if I give the smoothie a silly name and tell them that their best buddies across the street are also drinking them then maybe they will more inclined to try one.   I grabbed the supplies from the fridge; a couple handfuls of spinach, one handful of kale,  some baby carrots, a handful of  strawberries, some frozen peaches, and a granny smith apple….oh wait… we had two not quite ripe bananas so I threw one of those in as well.  The color was less than appealing but I assured the kids the monster juice was going to be delicious. Both of them were excited to try it.  I plopped a straw in each cup and away we sipped.  Both of them said they liked it and continued to sip.  After drinking about 1/4 of hers Addison looked at me and in a very innocent and encouraging voice (because she didn’t want to hurt my feelings) said, “I don’t REALLY like it but I kind of like it……can I just save it for later?”  I wasn’t going to force her to drink it so I agreed to put it in the fridge even though I knew she would never come back to it.  Gavin drank all of his but quickly said no to a refill. 
Addison must have had a craving for it. It reminded me of the first time I had sushi. I didn’t love it so I had a lot left over.  Later that same night I decided I wanted another taste just to verify that I wasn’t a fan so I opened my leftover box and found myself actually liking the taste.  She asked to try another sip and ended up drinking the rest.   From there on out the rest is, as they say, history.  Every night we blend up our monster juice.  The kids select which flavors they want and we throw in the blender and mix it up.  Addison is the one who reminds me when it’s time to make them.  I slice the apple and she breaks the banana into small pieces, often taking a piece for herself.  Gavin just waits for the finished product.  They both finish their monster juice every night. 

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Putting in all our veggies

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Because simply smiling for the camera isn’t enough

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All of these pictures aren’t necessary but I love how she poses for everything

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Seriously!

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Drinking our veggies

Text 19 Mar These women are crazy

In my book, music will always beat the television as a superior form of entertainment.  If I am in a less than savory mood I crank up the jams and sing along (sometimes there’s dancing).  Here lately, I have discovered that it runs in the family.  Gavin prefers to listen to music while doing his art projects and playing with toys.  He knows how to turn the radio on and when he heads upstairs you can hear the bass start to thump.  I’ve had to go regulate a couple of times already.  For him it’s just background noise. 

Addison, however, has taken to letting the sound take over her soul.  She doesn’t just listen to the music…..she feels the music.  She can be a grouch in the mornings.  The days following the time change were especially bad.  After two days of us not seeing eye to eye I decided to take a different approach to waking her.  I made a playlist of some of her favorite songs and woke her up to sweet kisses and music and then left the room.  A few minutes later she came in holding my iPAD and asked if we could dance (because that’s our thing).  It worked! My little morning grouch has turned back into my little princess. 

Unfortunately for Gavin, Addison and I can not keep our love of music a secret.  We like to embrace it and share it with the world.  At home he doesn’t mind so much.  In the car, it drives him crazy.  Like every other 2-10 year old girl in the country, Addison’s favorite song is the Frozen theme song.  I downloaded it for her one day and almost daily we have a sing-a-long with dramatic arm movements in the car.  Gavin can’t escape.  He’s resorted to putting on headphones to try and drown the noise.  A couple of times I’ve even seen him close his eyes for the duration, just hoping we only play it once.

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It’s starting.

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It’s a 3 minute song. I can get through this

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Deep breath…deep breath

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YOU.ARE.SO.WEIRD (and what are you wearing)

Text 12 Mar Window Treatments

Whilst vacuuming the other day, Gavin decided to escape the noise by shutting himself in his room.  When I was finished he ran over and said he had a big surprise to show me.

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So, this just happened

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looks good, right?!?!

 

Text 3 Mar 1 note Disney Cruise part Deux

I can’t say enough great things about the Disney Cruise.  After last year’s cruise I have been waiting for an excuse to book another.  So, when the neighbors mentioned booking in February AND there were last minute specials, I jumped at the opportunity.  

I booked us a room and a transfer to the ship.  The flight was at 7 a.m. but i had no problems getting the two rascals out of the bed.  Once we finally got in the air the beverage/snack service started.  We received ours just as Addison declared her need to use the bathroom.  We made our way to the tiny toilet area and came back to discover that Gavin had bogarted all the pretzels.  Addison was less than amused and seemed to get her point across with a dirty look.  Renting a car seemed to be more trouble than it was worth.  Riding the bus was fun.  They played videos to get you in the Disney spirit (and plus also….it gave us an opportunity to catch a little snooze).   

We boarded the ship and immediately changed to go swimming.  After a dip in the pool we had lunch and then went to explore.  We ran in to several of our Disney friends and maybe stalked a couple.  We took a tour of the clubhouse which was leaps and bounds bigger and better than last years. Last year’s ship was an older ship.  Since we had nothing to compare it to, it seemed like a great clubhouse.  In comparison, it was about 1/4 the size and geared more toward the younger crowd.  

The shows were similar in theme but different characters and story line.  I am not sure if they change them yearly or each ship is different.  They were still fun to watch.  

The first night was Super Bowl Sunday.  Between dinner and the show i dropped the kids off at the kids club to watch a little of game on the big screen.  It was a lot fun sharing that experience with so many people.  It was almost like being there..in a sundress, with no snow, better views, and cheaper beer. After almost a quarter i grabbed the kids to go see the Golden Mickey’s.  While we were waiting for the show to start the kids were approached and asked to be IN the show.  They needed some extras to play the dwarfs in the Snow white skit.  They jumped at the opportunity.  After a few minutes of rehearsal Addison decided she didn’t want Gavin and Jackson to share the spotlight so she bailed.  Gavin and Jackson had their acting debut that night and did a wonderful job.  Afterward we headed back to the “arena” to finish the rest of the game.  It wasn’t a bad game miss. 

Our first stop was Nassau.  We purchased a day pass to one of the local hotels which had a heated pool and a nice, quiet beach.  The hotel itself was quite nice but Nassau was not our cup of tea. After several hours we made our way back to the free food and character stalking.  

The next day was Disney’s private Island, Castaway Cay.  Only Disney ships dock here and only one ship per day.  Everything you need is on the island.  The beach is nice, the chairs are plentiful, lunch buffet is included, and they have several activities.  There was a giant waterside and fort in the middle of the ocean, a stingray petting area, snorkeling, bike riding.  After lunch we found Mickey and his friends for a dance party.  Even shy little Gavin got involved. 

Our last day was a day at Sea.  I actually like these days.  They are a bit more relaxed and provide the opportunity to explore more leisurely.  My favorite part of the entire cruise was this last day.  Gavin hadn’t had a chance to ride the Aquaduck which is a 765 foot waterside that overlooks the ocean and the top deck.  It was open until 10 pm and by golly we were going to get on it before they closed.  Addison wasn’t interested in the least so she played with her buddy Jackson while Gavin and I made our way up.  The time was 930pm and there were only about 5 people in line in front of us.  The pool deck was lit up and a movie was playing in the background.  we plopped down not the raft and away we sailed.  Good gracious that water was cold.  It took about a minute to make our way down with cold water splashing all around us.  Gavin’s face lit up and he was giggling like never before. when we finally reached the bottom we were immersed in a pool of chilly water.  We laughed and shivered and ran to the hot tub.  After a minute we went back up for another go.  After a couple more rides all of the kids played in the pool and we grabbed some late night pizza until they kicked us out at midnight.  

Every day the kids had the mandated 4-6 cones of ice cream.  we ordered room service of cheese and crackers, fruit and sometimes a hot dog or pizza every night.  We stalked characters on the regular.  Gavin played countless video games in the kids club, we got to use our passports, and i think i only put makeup on once.  I am sure one day the Disney Cruise will no longer be fun for my sweet children.  Until that day comes, I plan on making this a regular vacation for us.  

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Not a care bear in sight

thief

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cat nap time.  After she started dosing off he tucked his arm behind her head to make her comfortable. 

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The Disney Dream

toy story play area

shorts in February. who doesn’t love that?

shuffleboard champion…he was the only one playing but that shouldn’t matter.

pajama golf

smoked salmon for breakfast…only my kids

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Ice cream break number 49. I don’t even really like soft serve ice cream but I couldn’t help myself

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The captain and his dog

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Gavin and Jackson’s off broadway debut

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Castaway Cay

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Dance party

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Silly friends

room service

the aquaduck

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Shutting the pool down

the bus ride back to the airport. he is always looking out for her

four hours in the airport.  they held it together like troopers

Text 1 Feb Snowpocolypse 2014

We had some serious snow take over the Raleigh-Durham area this week…..at least if you looked at the number of missed school days you would think that.  Tuesday’s threat of bad afternoon weather prompted the schools to shut down.  Gavin made the comment later that day, “Why didn’t we go to school on this beautiful day?”  Good question my boy.  I don’t know.  The snow did show but it was around 5 pm.  Gavin and Addison kept sticking their heads out of the dog door to get a better look.  

We woke up Wednesday to about 3-4 inches of snow and another day out of school.  The air was bitterly cold but that didn’t stop these two from making snow angels and throwing snowballs. I told them that the snow wasn’t wet enough to build a snowman.  Gavin said we could just pour water on it to solve that problem.  He told Addison to grab the spray bottle and ……she did.  She took her bottle outside and sprayed EV.ERY.THING.  She sprayed the furniture on the deck, the deck , the trees, her playset, the swings. the ground, everything.  She probably has carpel tunnel now.  

A few snowballs were thrown and Molly was the victim of several.  She didn’t take to kindly to the ones in the face so she tackled the offense and stole his hat.  

We found the neighbors and went sledding down the hill.  The hill was a perfect grade to slip down without going too far too fast.  After several times down it was time to go warm up with a hot bath followed by some hot cocoa with the neighbors.  It was an exhausting day.  

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before the throw down

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Cleaning all the things

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this spot too

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i bet this hill looks a lot more scary from the eyes of a four year old

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trekking back up the hill.  look at those rosy cheeks

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i loved hearing these laughs

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thawing out.  Gavin spent a good 10 minutes by the vent when we came in

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ended the afternoon with this sweet moment.

Video 1 Feb
Text 28 Jan Rocking out on the Keyboard

My dad got a fancy new keyboard for Christmas and set up shop in his living room.  We went over last week  to watch one of the playoff games and the kids instantly gravitated toward the shiny new noise machine.  It quickly became a battle of the sounds in the house. As the TV volume increased the sound on the keyboard slowly escalated.  Someone finally had the bright idea of plugging in the headphones.  I think it’s accurate to say that my family’s musical ability does not come naturally.

 

 

 

Text 8 Jan We own a zoo

Just before Christmas we went on a quest to see some animals in Asheboro.  The kids had been asking to go to the zoo for a couple of weeks so we made plans to go one Sunday.  As luck would have it the weather was supposed to be unseasonably warm (borderline hot) that weekend…..and plus also….raining.  They were so bummed when I told them that it might rain the day before we were scheduled to go.  I looked at the forecast and it was about 90% chance of some showers.  I promised them if it wasn’t raining when we woke up we would go (it was supposed to be raining). 

Well, we woke up and it wasn’t raining.  They held me to it and I am a mother of my word so we packed up and hit the road.  I am not opposed to walking around in a little rain.  I packed an umbrella and a change of clothes for the kids.  The clouds were rather ominous during parts of the drive but it wasn’t going to stop us.  We arrived and I told them we needed to hurry through just in case.  Surprisingly (not) the Zoo was quite empty.  During the 3 hours we were there I think we saw about 20 people.  It felt like the zoo was opened just for us that day. It was a fantastic zoo trip.  Most of the animals were very visible, some even quite interactive.  The temperature was incredible.  We were wearing short sleeves and shorts/skirts.  The rain managed to stay away for most of the trip but the time it was raining was just a tender drizzle. 

The seals were playing with us against the glass.  They would come up right to where we were standing and do flips and turns.  The bobcat kept playing peekaboo with us.  He came up to the glass and stared for a minute and then ran in a cave and kept poking his little head out.  We stood about 15 feet away from an ostritch. The chimps were interactive and even the bear was out and about.  It was a fun trip and we were all exhausted by the end of it. 

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Which way to zebras?

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Peekaboo

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I am not sure we ever had a chance to see this guy before

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A little rain won’t stop us

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No, really it’s this way. 

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It’s a chimp. 

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Well hey there, you!

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Just chillin’

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He played with us for about 10 minutes.


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