We have a little Yorkie-Poo (Yes, I have a ‘designer’ dog.  Please feel free to throw your insults now.  Done?  Cool!)  named Maddie, but this last week, she seems more like Houdini.

Yorkies’ are smart dogs, very smart.  She understands words and phrases you say to her.  She knows your schedule and what to expect when. Best of all, she’s fiercely protective of the members of the family.  Despite the fact she weighs only eight pounds and her mouth barely fits around a tennis ball, she has the bark of a Pit Bull and thinks she can take on the world if need be to protect her family.

Maddie has learned that at mealtimes, we will not feed her from the table or pet her.  But what she hasn’t given up on is the off-chance that we might play with her.  At first, she would drop a ball at someone’s feet, sit back, and give them, literally, her puppy dog eyes, hoping they would give in.

When that didn’t work, she began pushing her ball under the buffet and then barking at us to rescue her ball, hoping, again, that once we rescued it, we would throw it for her.  What she didn’t bank on was us being smart enough to watch her push her ball under and not fall for her ploy.

One night, after standing at the buffet, barking, and no ball being rescued, Maddie decided to rescue that ball herself.  But there was one little condition she didn’t factor in….. getting back out.

Good Luck Houdini!

P.S.  No puppies were injured in the making of this blog.

P.P.S.  Maddie did figure her way back out from under the buffet and has made a new game of it.

P.P.P.S.  Unfortunately, she has not yet remember to push the ball back out when she goes in after it!


I’m not one of those crazy parents who counts minutes of screen time.  I don’t run a clock when my kids turn on the TV or play on their iPods.  But I will tell them, after they have had their eyes glued to a magic box for what I have deemed as long enough, that they need to put down the electronics and go do something else.  They’re used to my nagging, so they turn it off and go.

This morning, I went downstairs and saw my daughter playing with her Barbie’s.  I was so impressed!  It was early in the day.  She had made the choice to play first, instead of turning on the TV.  My heart was bursting with pride.

Then I heard it….the sounds of Nickelodeon’s H2O.  I did a double take.  The TV was off.  Where is that sound coming from???  Then I see it, my daughter’s iPod is on, the Netflix app is open, and she has on TV episodes.

“Really Paige?!?! You can’t just play with something?  You have to watch TV too?”

“I’m not watching TV.  That is the television for the Barbie’s.  They have a big screen.  The little girls are watching H2O!”

Well played Paige, well played.

Technically it has been 30 minutes, but…..

I’m mean and evil.  I make my kids read for 30 minutes a day.  I know, I know… how horrible of me!  I want my kids to be able to read well, comprehend what they read, and focus on something other than a screen for a half hour.  Call me crazy!

My daughter jumps right in.  She sits somewhere with a book in front of her face for thirty minutes.  I don’t always know if she is really reading or daydreaming, but she looks like she is, so it works for me.

My son, on the other hand, well, here’s how he spends his thirty minutes.

Minutes 1 and 2 – Looking for the book he was reading at the last reading time.

Minutes 3 and 4 – Flipping through the book, looking at pictures, claiming he is looking for where he left off.

Minute 5 – Me nagging him about using a book mark and to start reading already.

Minutes 6, 7, and 8 – Appears to be reading, may actually be reading, I don’t know.

Minutes 9 and 10 – Staring that the wall with the book in front of his face, not reading, but not having yet figured out how to fake that he is.

Minute 11 – Call the dog to him

Minute 12 and 13 – Throwing the ball and squeaking the dog’s toy.

Minute 14 – Second lecture from me about reading the darn book already.

Minutes 15 and 16 – Again appears to be actually reading the book.

Minute 17 – Stretching

Minutes 18 and 19 – Burying face in the couch.

Minute 20 – Hearing third lecture about reading.

Minute 21 – Reading, fake reading, whatever.

Minute 22 – Announces that he is done!  Beginning of the back and forth argument between him and I about when he started and when thirty minutes from that time would be.  Who taught this boy to read a clock?  What…nevermind.

Minutes 23 and 24 – Flipping through book, while bouncing legs and humming.  The book’s in his hand but I’m preeeetttty sure he’s not reading.

Minute 25 – Walks to bathroom, loudly announcing, “I’m going to the bathroom!!”

Minutes 26 – 29 – In bathroom

Minute 30 – Exits bathroom.  Looks at the clock. Smiles.  Looks at me, “The big hand’s on the 8 now, I’m done!”

Time from the big hand being on the 2 til the big hand is on the 8 – 30 minutes

Time Trystan actually spent reading – Maybe 7 minutes

Can’t wait to do this again tomorrow!

I don’t think that’s ALL you need….

For the past year and a half, we have been remodeling our house an area at a time.  When I say we, I mean my we have been hiring my father in law, because we, my husband and I, know our limits.  I can paint, decorate and hang things really well.  I am really good at putting together furniture with directions, but I’m not about to tear apart a room and rebuilt it from the ground up…even with directions.  My husband, well, he is an excellent photographer, editor, and producer….meaning, his skills and talents do not lie in hammers and nails.

Our latest project was the downstairs, basement bathroom.  Our basement bathroom was so disgusting, we wouldn’t let guests near it.  “Yes, of course we have a bathroom you can use; it’s right upstairs.  Oh that, yes it is a bathroom, but you don’t want to go in there…trust me!”

Now here would be the place that I would insert a before picture of said bathroom to really get my point across, but I don’t have one because I didn’t take one.  I know….FAIL!  Think of that gross basement bathroom in your best buds from high school’s house; permanent gunk in the shower stall, yuck and muck in the corners, crusty hard water stains galore…. it was like that, only yuckier!

Here it all is in my backyard…already an improvement!

This is the part of the blog where I tell you what a construction genius my father in law is.  The man has tackled every remodeling project we’ve thrown at him, and, boy, did he earn his money with this one!  When he tore out the old tub and shower, he found a hodgepodge, concrete mess.  The previous handy-man (and I’m using that term loosely) just dumped piles of concrete and set the tub on it, leaving holes and an uneven mess, adding more work and time to the project to remove and fix.



With the wrongs righted, we were once again moving forward and my father in law set about installing the new shower.

Here’s what I found on the outside of the shower box.

Ummmmm, I might not be the one actually doing the work, but I think you need more than just those things.

Hhhmmm, nope, still not a complete list.

They need a list that says:  Hey you, thinking you can do this, you probably shouldn’t even think about it unless you are a highly talented, patient, and wise soul that can shoot from the hip and problem solve on the fly, because these projects are never what they seem to be!

Luckily for me, I have my father in law who can do all these things and can create this, a bathroom we can finally show and show off to people.




Judging a book by its cover

I went to the happiest place on earth this morning.  No, not Disney.  Barnes and Noble.  I love Barnes and Noble, heck, I love all bookstores.  I love the idea of all of those different stories and characters just waiting to be discovered.

I tend to read the same types of books over and over again.  Fiction, novels, chic lit.  My favorite author is Jodi Picoult, but I have recently discovered Kristin Hannah, and her stories are winning out.  Everytime I enter a bookstore, I try to challenge myself to try a different type of book.  Why always fiction?  Why couldn’t I fall in love with a good suspense novel or an interesting biography?

When I enter the store, I let myself be lead by curiosity.  Instead of going to the same old areas, I wander aimlessly, being pulled by what catches my eye, hence, judging a book by its cover.

I know, I know, you are NOT supposed to judge a book by its cover, but that is exactly what I do.  Admit it, we all do.  How else are you supposed to find new authors, new genres, new reads you never thought you’d enjoy.  The cover catches you, speaks to you, tempting you to pick it up and take a risk.

I mean really, I don’t usually read history books, but it cover almost got me to!

Now, since I don’t always want to drop $15 on a new book or new author if I’m not sure I’ll like them, I’ve started taking pictures of the covers or making notes on my notepad of titles to check out from the library or try a sample of on an ereader before I bite the bullet and buy it.  (I know.  It feels like cheating on the bookstore, that I’m just using them for all the foreplay and getting my fix somewhere else, but hey, I’m cheap sometimes.  I will assure you that when I find an author I love, I will buy those books in a heartbeat, so it all evens out!)

It’s a good thing I do, because sometimes, all the best reviews can still lead to disappointing book.  Case in point.

I saw this book reviewed in a magazine and then read the cover at the bookstore.  I still wasn’t convinced, so I checked it out at the library.  Snoozeville!  I couldn’t get through chapter two.  Total savings: $15.

Today I found the followed possibilities….

Anyone have any advice on any of them?  The last entry, The Weird Sisters, looked the most promising.  Actually, I almost bought it, but I restrained myself.

And then there are some covers that win out no matter what….

Happy Reading!

My son is a woman

Ok, not literally.  He’s typical boy, all energy all the time, constantly on the go.  He doesn’t just walk places, he runs there, full speed, without looking where he’s going and jumping on and off anything in his path.  He plays sports year round, convinced his career path will be professional football player, basketball player, or baseball player, depending on the season.  He’s the ultimate ladies man already.  No matter the event, when he walks through the doors, he starts smoozing the ladies always finding a handful to flirt with.

But when it comes to getting himself ready to go somewhere, the time the boy takes to get ready can put any high maintenance woman to shame.  All of this is a foreign concept to me as I can be ready in less than 30 minutes, shower to walking out the door.

First of all, the outfit must match.  He started years ago asking me if this went with that.  I’m glad he at least asks, unlike my daughter, who has a weird understanding of what goes with what, but that’s a different blog.

Then the hair.  He has a colic that drives his crazy and he is forever trying to get those few pieces to lay down flat, so he started using hair gel last year.  I don’t use hair gel.  Heck, I didn’t even own hair gel.  When he asked to use it, I had to go buy some.

After the hair comes the cologne.  Don’t get me wrong with this one, I was thrilled when he wanted to smell good instead of like a stinky, sweaty boy.  I ran to the store to buy him a bottle of something, anything.

Then we arrive at the shoes.  My son has a shoe problem.  He certainly has more shoes than my daughter and my husband, combined.  I might own more pairs that him, but I only wear a few regularly, so he has me beat with his rotation.  I can guarantee he will tell me he needs to get a new pair of shoes at least once a month.

And the process of getting shoes on his feet….to say it’s frustrating would be an understatement.

First he has to pick out which ones to wear.  Then he has to hunt down the correct socks to go with the shoe choice.  Next comes what I’ll lovingly call the sock process.  I’m not exaggerating that it takes him about 3 minutes a foot.  The sock goes on.  It’s pull, straightened, pull, straightened, the toe area is tugged on, pull, then taken off and put back on, more pulling, more straightening.  Then the shoes goes on, toe in, heal down, tongue pulled, sock pulled, then the shoes comes off, sock restraightened and repulled and then the shoe steps begin again.  Once he is finally satisfied with the first shoe, the whole process begins on the second foot.  The whole time this is going on, the rest of the family is staring at him, willing him to hurry up already so we can go.

Then, just when we think the boy is FINALLY ready to go, he will decide that he has to go to the bathroom.  Now, you might be think, so what.  Well my high maintenance boy prefers to take off most of his apparel, except the socks, when using the powder room, (Who does this!?!?!)  so this means starting the whole dressing and shoe process over again.  How late are we now???

So when you see me backing out of my driveway with my shoeless, shirtless, son chasing me to get in the vehicle, don’t judge.


Kids…. They are our pride and joy… the apples of our eyes… those dirty, stinky, noisy monsters that keep messing up our clean houses!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my dirty, stinky, noisy monsters, but, seriously, how many times do they have to make the same messes and hear me give the same lectures before they get it???

I have decided that in addition to constantly nagging them (because, let’s face it, I’m not going to stop nagging them), I am also keeping a list of their annoying, messy habits, so that, when they move out, I can visit their homes and provide the appropriate payback.

Here’s what I have so far…

Open the bread bag.  Make a sandwich.  Leave the dirty knife stuck to the counter.  Place open bread bag back on the fridge.  Drop and lose twist tie to close said bread bag, so that bread will go stale.

Get out Oreos.  Pour a glass of milk.  Take everything to the living room.  Dunk and eat Oreos over clean floor, leaving behind crumbs and a half glass of milk balancing on the edge of the coffee table.

Go outside.  Leave door wide open, yet slam shut screen door.  Every three and a half minutes, come in and go out, slamming the door every time.

Go downstairs to get something (I don’t know what yet.  I’ll wing it.)  Turn on every light switch I can find, even ones not in the area I’m going, them come back upstairs, leaving all the lights on.  I might even add in turning on a TV for good measure.

Take a bath using WAY more soap than I need and filling the now half empty bottle back up with water to make it look like I didn’t use that much.  Step out of tub and soak bath mat.  Walk down the hallway with a towel around me, but not having really dried off, so as to leave a slippery trail behind me.  Leave dirty clothes, a tub full of water, and a “surprise” in the toilet for them to find later.  Get dressed and drop my wet towel on the carpet.

It’s going to be so much fun!