My 3 Dogs

The weather's been pretty chilly here lately; getting down near freezing at night which means the dogs--all three of them--have been in the house...a lot.  They are driving me crazy and I have no one to blame but myself.  

"Why three?" I can hear a sane person ask.  On a day like today, when they're all inside driving me nuts, I have no earthly idea.  All I can tell you is that I'm a sucker for a cute face.  Just look at the Golfer.

This is Norman, our second rescue puppy and the newest addition to our family.  You can read his story here.  Let's just call him a totally unplanned and crazy addition, but very much loved by everyone.  But Norman has become fiercely protective.  I think it has something to do with the fact that he is finally in a home where he is loved.  But Norman will bark at the Golfer if he looks at me cross-eyed.  Norman will bark at the palm trees outside our window.  And forget about the UPS guy.  He doesn't stand a chance.  I'm about ready to call the Dog Whisperer.  Good thing he lives in the neighborhood.

And this here is Freddie, our first rescue puppy.  Here is his story.  See what Freddie is doing in this picture?   Yeah.  A whole lot of nothin'.  That's what he does  Except when he scratches to be let out, and then scratches again two minutes later to be let in, and then scratches again two minutes later to be let out...over and over again.  Other than that, and the fact that he has a hard time keeping his tongue in his mouth because he has lost so many of his teeth, he's pretty low maintenance.  

And lastly, here's Daisy.  She is not a rescue puppy in the traditional sense, but we rescued her all the same.  We bought her from a family whose Dalmatians had just happened to get pregnant.  Long story short, about a week after having her we discovered that she had Parvo (the doggie equivalent to having AIDS).  There was a 50/50 chance of her making it, and after a few days in quarantine at the vet and a quick 500 bucks later, she was all better.  Sadly, she is the only surviving member of her litter.

Daisy's now 12 years-old, pretty old for a large dog.  The vet just told me last week that she's in great health.  Except what the vet doesn't know is that I think she is starting to lose her mind.

She will howl at about 3 AM (and I mean the kind of howling that makes your neighbors hate you) for no apparent reason.  She whines all the time.  She whines if she's outside alone.  She whines if she's inside.  She'll stand there and stare at you and just...whine.  She's starting to lose bladder control (not good at all for my sisal rug) and she constantly shivers, even when it's 90 degrees out.

These dogs are driving me to drink.  I'll admit, it doesn't take much, but still!

The problem is that I love them all.  The boys love them all.  And the Golfer loves them most of the time.

And you want to know the crazy part?  The Golfer asked me the other day, "So what kind of dog are we getting next?"

So see, it's not all my fault.  Just most of it.

list 9: things I'm better at now that I am...older.

:: courtesy of my kate spade app ::

1.  cooking  (it's genetic)

2.  listening  (not as genetic as #1)

3.  reading  (so many books...)

4.  exercising  (paying a trainer helps)

5.  money managing  (still could use some improvement)

6.  friendships  (doing life together)

7.  volunteering  (because I can)

8.  refraining  (especially where alcohol is concerned)

9.  praising  (due to the Golden Rule)

10.  complimenting  (kinda goes hand-n-hand with #9)

11.  writing  (which is all due to #3)

12.  responding  (which directly correlates to #6)

13.  eating  (because of #1)

14.  loving  (because I am blessed.)


The older I get, the more I’m thankful

©2007, Stephenie B. Freeman

There was one thing that I wanted from my grandmother’s house after she passed away: a three-foot tall, white, wooden, kitchen stool. 

It had stood in my grandmother’s kitchen for years, having been painted and repainted in several coats of white, each shade slightly different than the one before.  My grandmother used it for everything from standing on it to reach the highest shelf or as a perch for her grandchildren to sit on to be near her while she cooked.  My husband has some trouble understanding my devotion to such a simple, worn out, old thing.   Even though it isn’t fancy or unique, my grandmother’s stool is very valuable.  It is directly attached to my memories. 

Every Thanksgiving, I would drag the white stool to next to the counter which held a crock pot filled with my grandmother’s famous spiced tea.  On her stool is where I would sit, waiting to refill someone’s cup as I watched my grandmother, my mother, and my aunts put the finishing touches on the Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter meal.  Occasionally I would stand to stir the spiced tea with a tea-stained ladle, carefully navigating the tea bags and the spice ball filled with cloves. 

Spiced tea was always a holiday family favorite of ours.  Along with the relish tray, corn casserole, and ambrosia that would traditionally decorate the table, my grandmother’s colorful Fiesta coffee mugs were always lined up next to the crock pot, waiting to be filled with the sweet mixture of pineapple and orange juice, Red Hots, and Lipton tea bags.  There was no better smell than my grandmother’s house on the holidays.  

Gratitude is a funny thing.  Being grateful is nothing more than simply recognizing how appreciative you are for something or someone in your life.  As I child I was taught to be thankful—thankful for gifts received and food to eat.  Manners being a top parental priority in our house, I used “please” and “thank you” like a pro, but I don’t think that I was ever truly appreciative for the many blessings until recently.

Becoming a mother forces you to be thankful.  Suddenly your children's every step, every achievement, and every milestone is one to be grateful for.  I am thankful for their health, our home, our happiness, our togetherness.  Having happy, healthy children makes you appreciate everything you have.  But I will admit, I wasn't always so aware of my many blessings.

Before children, I had plenty to be thankful for: sleeping late on weekends, only my own laundry to do, no one begging or whining for anything.  Life was beautiful and easy and, yes, internally I was very grateful for it.  But, I was also too blinded by things that I still wanted to achieve to reflect on everything that I had already been given.  Now that I am a mother, I realize that what I should have been the most grateful for all along was my own childhood.  

As a child I never worried or wanted for anything.  On major holidays, my only job was sitting on my stool.  Now as I wallow in creating special holiday memories for my own family, I finally appreciate all of the time, money, and effort that my family put into making my childhood holidays so special.  I now understand that making a Thanksgiving dinner for thirty people is no easy feat, especially when you are making sure that everyone’s favorites are being served, even if that means that there are three different kinds of potatoes on the table.  My grandmother made sure that traditions and memories were created for each one of us, even if it was only in a small mug of spiced tea.   

So this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my grandmother’s kitchen stool which now sits in my kitchen as a reminder—a reminder of how grateful I am to have had people in my life like my grandmother, a women whose sole purpose in life was to meet everyone else’s needs.

And for that, I am truly grateful.         


:: the Monkey's turkey 2010 ::

Joe Fox: Happy Thanksgiving.  It's your turn to say 'Happy Thanksgiving' back.

Rose: Happy Thanksgibbing back.

Joe Fox:  Knock-knock.

Rose: Who's there?

Joe: Orange.

Rose: Orange...who?

Joe:  Orange you going to give us a break by 
zipping this credit card 
through the credit card machine?  
Now come, zip.

(favorite Thanksgiving quote, You've Got Mail)

list 8: Being Thankful.

what I am thankful for

1.  healthy children

2.  a warm home

3.  bangs

4.  new & old friends

5.  my Oklahoma accent

6.  my Keurig (because one cup is really all you need.)

7.  Winter Oreos

8.  our church

9.  spiced tea recipe in my grandmother's handwriting

10.  homemade Chex Mix

11.  DVR

12.  a dentist who says, "Your kids don't have cavities."

13.  finally enjoying exercising {Thanks, Cory.}

14.  learning to eat only 1 Oreo instead of 8

15.  Christmas movies

16.  my mother's amazing ability to quote "Christmas Vacation" in any situation ("You serious, Clark?")

17.  good books

18.  early Christmas presents

20.  unexpected compliments

21.  hot tea on a cold day

22.  Glee

23.  online shopping

24.  making shrimp 'n rice on Thanksgiving instead of turkey

25.  P.J. Salvage pajamas

26.  my son finally discovering the Beatles

27.  blogs (especially mine.)


I almost deleted this blog.  Almost.  I was tired of it.  Tired of the way it looked.  I'm a girl that likes to rearrange.  Change it up.  Push the couch around and scrape up the wood floors.  If I'm tired of something, I just get rid of it.  Hoarding isn't a problem for me.

But there are times, like now, when I enjoy my blog.  I like the creativity of it all.  I like having a place to spout my opinion, share pics of my kids, and occasionally write something worth reading.  I like having an easy way of updating my friends and family.  At one point in time it was a gallery--a place to display my "professional" writing for the world to read.  But let's face it.  The only people reading are my close friends and a couple of cool people who just happened to stumble upon it by accident.  {Thank you, by the way.}  So I changed it.  Updated it.  Gave it a redo.  And I hope you like it.

I was mama wants more for a long time (and my blogger address still goes by the same name.)  But the truth is I don't want more.  I have enough.  I'm am crazy blessed.  I actually have too much and it was all starting to give me a headache.  (If you read my last post, you can see that there's an obvious pattern happening here.)

So enjoy the sunshine from out here in California.  Like whenever I rearrange my living room, there's no guarantee that it's going to stay like this.  I've got to live with it awhile to make sure I like it, so there might be more tinkering to come.  For now, here it is.


I would live here in a heartbeat.  This cute little farm house so small and festive.  It's darling.  And my family would have it filled to the brim with crap within a couple of hours of moving in.

I'm tired of the crap.  The crap is getting to me.  And what bothers me most of all is that most of the crap is mine.

I spent three hours last weekend cleaning the pantry.  Just the pantry took three hours.  And it's not even the messiest part of the house.

I know what some of you are thinking.  "Steph, I've been to your house and there's no crap to be found."  And do you know what I say back?  "Yes there is.  I just hide it really well.  I only let you see what I want you to see."

(Hence the pantry full of crap.)

So this week I'm purging.  The Christmas lists have started.  The grandparents have already started buying which means more crap is just around the corner.  So while I still can, I'm going to simplify.  Less crap equals less cleaning.  Less cleaning equals more time to do the things I like to do.

Like buy more crap.

Halloween Party Pics

My great friend Karin and I decided to throw a Halloween party for our kids this year.  It might have been at my house, but she gets ALL the credit for the cute party ideas.  Okay, not all.  I'll take the credit for the vomiting pumpkin, but even that was stole from some blog that I visited (wish I could remember which one to give them the credit, but I've slept since then.)  Truthfully, most of our ideas came from  Gotta love it.

The kids had a ball.  After the Golfer/Rugby Player left to take 6 crazy boys trick-or-treating, Karin and I spiked the punch and handed out candy and leftover cupcakes and donut hole "eyeballs" to the neighborhood ghosts and goblins (or should I say, princesses and superheros.)  But I have to admit, my favorite part of the evening was when a teenager, taking an "eyeball" from the bowl, looked at Karin and said, "This is the kind of house I always wanted to grow up in."

Made me sad and happy all in the same moment. Either that or it was the vodka in the punch. Probably a little bit of both.