Through the Doggie Door

A couple weeks ago we decided it was time to train Lola to go in and out through the doggie door. No more taking her outside every time she needs to go potty or run around (never mind this morning she went out the doggie door and just stood there waiting for me to go outside before going down to the grass and as soon as I went back into the house she came running back up to come back in).

It did not go well. This morning was typical for her. She acts like a rottweiler with all her barking and growling at cats, people, and leaves, but she is mostly a teeny tiny chihuahua inside and is afraid of most things (including her cupcake toy because it, you know, squeaks) and really hates rain and cold. Eventually with bits of Pup-Peroni she got it figured out and was willing – barely – to use that door (and, really, sometimes we can barely get her to come back in now because there might be something to bark and growl at in our back yard at some point).

Yesterday, however, Adrian discovered he can fit through the doggie door. And suddenly it was totally exciting to Lola and she kept following him in and out. If only he had made that discovery a couple weeks ago. It would have made training Lola to use that door much, much easier!

Santa Came!


My kids don’t get much for Christmas, but they were all thrilled with what they got. Starting with Ani’s second Christmas, we’ve always given the kids three gifts. They get an ornament (that I cross stitch – you can see a bunch of them from years past hanging on the tree), a book, and something else.

This year Ani’s book was a few of her own poems. She picked out about 30 or so of them and then I put them together with clipart and made a little book for her. She was totally thrilled by it. Cameron always gets an audiobook. This year he got The Neverending Story. Fritz got Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare on his Kindle. Adrian got a level 1 reader, Cat Traps.

For the third gifts, we decided to give our kids experiences or memories that they can do with one or both parents. Ani got two tickets to see Wicked in March. Actually, it’s not just a Christmas gift. Because tickets are ridiculously expensive, it’s a combination Christmas/birthday present. Cameron will be going with Jamie to a gun range and learning to shoot (and then have a meal out at a restaurant of his choice). Fritz will be going ice skating and then have a meal of bread at a bakery. I’m not sure which part of that he was more excited about. Adrian will be going to the Children’s Museum (and then have a meal out at a restaurant of his choice).


On My Dining Room Wall

Before I had Adrian, I started working on a cross stitch of The Last Supper. I had a toddler at the time so I didn’t get to work on it a whole lot and then once the baby arrived I pretty much put it away for 3 1/2 years.

I pulled it back out about this time last year and worked and worked and worked on it. I finished it near the end of the winter, just before we went to Ireland. Since we were moving I didn’t get it framed and so it sat, finished, but not totally complete, for several months.

The day after Thanksgiving Michaels had a 70% off framing sale. I’ve never seen it that high before so I jumped at it (and even that discounted, getting this huge thing framed still cost a lot). Today Jamie picked it up on the way home from work and now it is on my dining room wall. I love it.


Pink Eye

Over the weekend Adrian’s eye was kind of goopy and runny and a little bit red. He was acting perfectly normal and only ran a very minor fever. But it seemed like something was really wrong. After much deliberation, I took him to the Minute Clinic (which, by the way, costs the same as an office visit at his pediatrician) and it turned out her had a sinus infection and pink eye.


A couple days on the eye drops and he was back at school with perfectly clear eyes. And then, yesterday, we get a call from the school. Fritz was in the clinic complaining that his eyes itched. They were red and a little goopy and runny. Pink eye. Of course. So eye drops for him, too, and already he’s looking better. Hopefully tomorrow he’ll be able to go to school. It’s the last day before Christmas break and he definitely doesn’t want to miss his class holiday party!

So we did this…

A week or so ago Ani said she wanted to cut her hair. This was a big deal. She loved her long, long hair. She hadn’t had a haircut, other than a minor trim, in about 6 years, maybe longer. But she wanted to cut her hair and she thought donating it sounded like a good idea. My hair was also long. I hadn’t cut it in at least 4 years.


So we decided to go together and cut it off. Our ponytails are now on their way to Locks of Love. Once they started cutting, Ani wasn’t so sure about the idea. It was a huge change.



The short hair styles are nice and easy. Ani can’t believe how little brushing she needs to do. It saves her 5 minutes in the morning of just brushing. She was also pretty thrilled when it took her only 20 minutes to shower, wash her hair, and blow it dry. It used to take 2 hours for all that!


Hold to the Rod

The other day I had plans to go to the temple. As can happen where we live, not long before I had to leave, very thick fog formed. I live less than a mile from the temple and I have driven that road many, many times so I know exactly where the stop signs and traffic lights are. I don’t like driving in the best of conditions, so I wasn’t thrilled to drive in the fog (visibility was literally about 5 feet), but I knew I could do it because I knew exactly where I was going.

In the parking lot looking up at the temple Moroni was barely visible, but he was there. I made it safely. As a bonus, a friend walked in not long after I did. I’m sure that’s what heaven is like: safe and with people you love.

I got to thinking that driving to the temple that day was kind of like life. If you know where you are going and you stay on that course (hold to the rod!) you won’t get lost in those mists of darkness. The goal is there ahead of us. We just have to endure things that may not be easy and may be scary, but keeping our eyes on the goal, we will get there.

Hot Chocolate Cones

Since we’ve always homeschooled, this is the first year that giving Christmas gifts to teachers has been something to think about. I kind of feel like the gift for Adrian’s teachers is “thanks for putting up with my kid” and the gift for Fritz’s teacher is “thanks for being the most fabulous teacher he could possibly have had this year.” Ani wanted to give gifts to her English and biology teachers and I thought it would be nice to give a gift to Cameron’s bus driver. Then there are the librarians I work with when I volunteer at the elementary school, the office guy I work with when I volunteer at the middle school, my visiting teachers and teachees (bonus, one of the people I visit is also Ani’s Sunday School teacher), and so on.

So what to make?

I checked out some things my friends have pinned on Pinterest (I almost never go there, but for stuff like this… very useful!) and landed on Hot Chocolate Cones. They are cute and looked easy enough. As it turned out, they were super easy and I made 15 of them in just a couple hours. The only one not getting a Hot Chocolate cone is Ani’s biology teacher (who is diabetic and so is getting a cone filled with Russell Stover sugar free candy instead).


I made the hot chocolate using a recipe that came up first when I googled. Powdered milk, confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder, and powdered coffee creamer. I tested it and it does indeed make a good mug of hot chocolate. I put a cup of it into a disposable icing bag (that’s enough for three mugs of hot chocolate) and tied that bag off with tiny rubber bands. I put that into another bag, added some crushed starlight mints, some chocolate chips, and some marshmallows and used another tiny rubber band to close it up. After I took the picture I added a tag with directions and a purple ribbon (gold ribbon for the two for men). I think they turned out so cute!