08 July 2015

Cure For Empty Nest Syndrome

This is my family.  The photo was taken two years ago on the baptism day of our two youngest grandchildren.  It was before our youngest son deployed to Afghanistan and before our ninth grandchild was born.  It was the last time we had a family photo where all were present.  Life has been happening at a frenetic pace and instead of writing about it, I've been living it.  I've been a very bad blogger/JOURNALER/KEEPER OF THE FAMILY HISTORY.

My kids have become adults and  moved on from the cottage.  I'm lucky we are such a close, loving family and they love me so much I live in a destination city by the sea because, they all come back to visit and I get to see them on a somewhat regular basis.

Some people take their midlife crisis (empty nest syndrome) to the next level by having an affair, buying a fancy car or getting a face lift.  I just heard on the news about some crazy lady that had a baby at the age of 67.  So my decision, that started with a little wish, about a year ago, seems pretty tame.  A puppy!  I will admit that now I have this puppy the word tame, is relative.

He's a chocolate and white parti, Cockapoo.  Of course he is!  His birthday was 22 February, 2015.  We brought him home after he was weaned from his mommy, but still he only weighed 4 lb. and just like new babies do, he slept a lot.  This penguin soon became his favorite toy.  He's three times the size of his favorite toy now.  I spent the last days of springtime just staring at him, petting his downy soft fur, SERIOUSLY downy soft; and falling in love.

If I would have chosen a female pup, I already had a name all picked out.  But this is the pup who called to me.  In a big box with all his litter mates he was the one who stood in the back.  All the others fell over each other to get attention and pets.  This was no problem for me, petting puppies is very high on my list of favorite things to do.  But this guy here, he watched closely as if he already knew his fate.  When I called to him he happily bounced right up for his cuddles and licked my face with his little sandpaper tongue.  This happened over and over so of course it took me hours and a little bit of agony to choose.  How can you possibly choose from five perfect, precious, puppies?

What finally got me, but only second after his "cool" attitude, was this.  Yep, my boy has a baby blue.  Remarkably,  just one.  One is blue, the other is green.  They remind me of the colors of the sea.

Also, I could never resist freckles.  We call them 'angel kisses' around here.

Because of that baby blue we considered calling him Frank, as in, Old Blue Eyes Sinatra.  We added Liam because it's one of my favorite Irish names and actors (Neeson).  I decided Liam was out because I'm still hoping one of my kids will have a son named Liam someday.  We ended up with about six names and my phone was blowing up as my kids, friends and family called to weigh in.  Finally I had to stop the madness.  I texted my niece Kelsey who has exquisite taste in doggy names, (Einstein and Eleanor) just to name a couple.  I always defer to to the kids in my life whom I like best at the moment, because that's the kind of mature, rational, decision making person I am.  Kelsey is always very high on my list, so in adding that to her already proven record and success in dog naming, I gave the honors to her, and she did me proud.  Henceforth, and not without much forethought and struggle, his name shall be - Kai Francis.  My dogs always have a middle name, you know, so when they're naughty you can use the whole name and they know you mean business!  Francis was chosen for my favorite saint.  The saint of the animals - St Francis.  I wear a St Francis medal around my neck that I got in Italy and I've worn it for forty-five years.  I've never lost it once which is more than I can say for some people that I won't mention.  Okay!  I'll mention him.  My husband has lost his wedding ring three (3) times.  I know there is one on the bottom of the sea somewhere, but the rest are just somewhere out there... It's okay though because we just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary so I think I get to keep him.

A name referring to a boy with everything good in a person. Kai's are huggable, sweet, romantic, talented, and smart.
They have great hair, a playful personality, and they're everything good you can think of. Being humble, usually they don't admit or see how amazing they are. Kais are guys with good senses of humor and are fun to be around. Kais the nicest people you will ever meet. They'll be your shoulder to cry on, and they never break promises. With beautiful souls, and eyes full of wisdom, you'll know right away that they know a lot. Girls, if you ever find a Kai, hold on to him tight, because you'll never find someone as amazing as him ever again. Kais only come every once in a lifetime. With a big heart in his chest, and he'll accept who you are, what you do, and support you. You'll swear that he's an angel sent from above. He's a Kai. Simple as that.
Human A "Your boyfriend is such a Kai."
Human B "I know (: I'm so glad I met him. He's everything I've ever wanted."

Our sweet guy turned out to be the Alpha Dog.  "I am Kai, here me roar!!!"  At 4 lb. he would stand up on his hind legs and extend his little body as far as he could, making sure the other dogs knew this fact.  It worked.  They let him boss them around, and after a little extra love from mommy and some pep talks, they have accepted Kai into the clan.

 He has his very own toys, however...

 He prefers shoes.  He's eaten at least 3 pair of my flip-flops and a couple of work boots, two blankets, my favorite nighty, an earring I felt very sentimental about (right out of my ear), and a peach pit.  We call him the Hoover because wherever he goes he just keeps his mouth to the ground and hoovers anything and everything right in there.

He's a furry, face tickling, snuggled with VERY sharp teeth.  At 4 1/2 months old he hasn't lost those needle sharp teeth yet and let me tell you, that's something I forgot about puppies.  My poor body looks like a giant teething ring.  It's like getting your blood drawn 40 x per day.  On the upside, when he's tired, he is a great cuddler.  This is my son Cooper and his friend Danica in a snuggly moment with Kai.

Puppies are exhausting but like childhood, puppyhood doesn't last very long.  He's already potty trained and sleeps through the night.  When he's busy, which is for many hours a day now, we go on lots of walks and Bailey and Kai have discovered tug-a-war, which poops both of them out, much to Kieran's delight.

At the ripe old age of 16 in doggy years, some of us are just too old for these shenanigans anymore and have to take more naps.  Kieran still knows how to find the most comfy spot in the house.  He's up just high enough that the pup can't reach him.  Just looking at that photo makes me want a nap, how about you?

We've had lots of visitors this summer and my grandson Finnegan got to experience the joys of the puppy following him all around the yard. If one of them didn't think of something to get into, the other did.  Boy oh boy did they have fun!

Climbing up to the fountain to play in the water -

 Kai figured out quickly how to park himself under the high chair and catch all the scraps.  Finn is a very good sharer.

 Did I mention that like all my cockapoo's, Kai loves the beach!

 Picking oranges and eating them straight off the tree was a California delight.

Going for a ride in Cooper's backpack is a favorite treat.

So last weekend, Bailey Scott, Kieran St Patrick and Kai Francis came with us when we spontaneously (in about 20 minutes) decided to rent a cabin about 2 hours away in the mountains of Idylwilde.  We googled dog friendly cabins and were on the road in no time.  We took our puppies and walked in the woods.  We enjoyed good books,  exploring the town, fine (doggy friendly) restaurants and even a mountain rain storm.  A real coo for a beachy Southern California couple.

Puppy's mean a lot of work and responsibility, a lot more love and life around your house. Since this is the last time I'll probably ever start with a little puppy again, I'm enjoying every minute.  I highly recommend a new puppy for Empty Nest Syndrome.  Just remember, they are HIGH energy, and $$$$ for food, vet, toys, and supplies.  Be a good puppy owner and you will have a wonderful friend who will love you unconditionally and protect you with his life.  I hope you're all having a relaxing summer doing all the things you love!

Love you more than all the puppy teething I've suffered over the last couple months!


From our Cottage By The Sea - sweet, good night.

25 October 2014

What A Difference A Day Makes

As most of you blog friends and family know by now, my youngest has moved to Illinois so that she and her husband can finish school.  He has a Volleyball scholarship, so no transferring to the sunny side for them!  Oh how I miss their smiling (and not so smiling) faces.

After a VERY long trip - changing planes three times, layovers, and a car ride; hubs and I made it from our cottage by the sea, to our daughter's house, in a little town in Illinois, USA.  We had been waiting so long to see this little guy.  I got to sit in the back of the car, right beside my newest grandson.  The conversation went a bit like so. "Em, hey Finn.  Sup?  Grammy missed you so much buddy."  All this in my best octave for kid talk.  I smiled and smiled and talked and talked to my little guy.  And do you see that face?  That look was what I got for the twenty minute ride back to my daughter's house.  Do you think he didn't remember me or, I just look that much worse now?

It was so much fun to watch the leaves changing.  Those of us who live in So California miss out on that wonderful season of Autumn.  It seemed like every day I looked down the street, there was more yellow and orange and red.  Amazing and beautiful to see the plants and trees turn jewel toned colors.  I can definitely see the allure of living where there are seasons.  Even though this wimp went around wearing long sleeves, socks,  a sweater and a jacket the entire time.  You'd have thought I was back in Ireland for pete's sake, and it's not even winter yet!

It was a whirl-wind tour, but we fit in a trip to the pumpkin patch and a hay ride.  We went to a fun street fair and a car show.  Lots of fried food was consumed (which I am still recovering from).  I find that in the mid west they fry everything, even chicken.  I don't know what's up with that but it sure tastes good!

Eating makes Finn very happy.  Apparently much happier than sitting in the back seat of the car with his Grammy.  And he LOVED the Pumpkin Patch.

Told you I'd make you smile.  In my humble opinion, going to see your grandson and taking him to his first pumpkin patch, is better than a trip to Hawaii!

 We got to go on a hay ride.  For free.  Nothing's free back in Cali!

Seriously?  Pumpkin guts? 
 Man I'm glad that kid can't talk yet, aren't you?

These are Maggie and Ian's creations.  Pretty fantastic.  Finn wasn't even remotely impressed with the end result either.  Maybe next year?

Then it was tubby time, and all week I got to be the sole proprietress of tubby time.  See that smile?  That was just for me!

I think I won him over with tubby time.  Be still my heart.

Then we went to Home Depot and the Dollar Store to get all sorts of goodies that babies love but, don't usually get to play with.  Such as, the toilet paper roll.  Night lights, door stops, locks, switches, and velcro that you can stick stuff to.  Papa Mac attached everything to a board.  He and Ian screwed it into the wall in Finn's room and wallah!  A sensory board just for him.

Our little granddaughter Rebecca may or may not be getting one of these for Christmas.  Shhhhhh.

The Sensory Board!

This was the most fun trip.  I taught my grandson to drive.
With two steering wheels!  Grammy's are fun like that.

Then, before we knew it, before we were ready for it; it was time for us to leave.  Leave our baby girl, her new hubby and our wee grandson.  The leaving was a tiny bit easier though, knowing that they live in this darling little cottage, with a bedroom just waiting for us to come to next time. 

From this:

To this.
What a difference a day makes!

Bye, Bye, Buddy.  Until we see you here at the cottage for Thanksgiving - the surf's the best then!  L O V E



13 October 2014

Our Forever and Ever Party

Maggie and Ian's wedding reception.

"What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.
Now lets party!!!

Maggie chose Crepes and Fruit Salad for her luncheon.  This guy took over my kitchen with his Crepe Station.  I love it when that happens.  The pups (far right floor) helped clean up.

Our front garden was where we feasted.  It was a perfect summer day. 

Abigail Rose was Maggie's stubborn little flower girl.  Just as Maggie stood her ground at three and refused to wear her wreath
of flowers at her sisters wedding, Abby declined to wear hers. What goes around, comes around. Oh well, they
are both beautiful as they stand alone.

Bare feet are the best feet.

Maggie's Godmother gave her this beautiful Rosary which, we wrapped into her wedding bouquet.

"Hey, watcha got there Ferb?"
I bought these little quilted hearts just to leave out on the coffee table for my grand babies to play
with.  It's amazing the use they get!  These photos stand on their own.  Finnegan and Rebecca, aka Phineas and Ferb.
"Grammy's Coasters.  Wanna play?"

"You're my hero Finn"

"What can I say? That old lady has pretty good taste in Coasters."

Maggie had her cake made at VG's Donut shop.  Did I ever mention that donuts are her favorite food?  Ian's aunt sewed these squares that we used on the cake table.  Now she has put them together as a quilt for their bed.  How cool is that?

The menu.  It was a sweet and savory day, just like it says.
Ah, my heart melts.  My eldest son, my eldest daughter, my youngest granddaughter and my pup.
This is what life is all about.  This is what makes my soul sing.  My family.  This is how I have been blessed.

Finn in his favorite place.  His mama's arms.

Now I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to show off a few of my grandchildren.  Oh the cuteness!

Napkin rings make fabulous rings for beautiful little girls as well.

A sneak peek through an open window.

My son-in-law Justin, propped himself right here next to the beverages.  I'm sure he was just guarding them?  Check out the smile.  Perfectly innocent.

At last the time had come.  Every good party has an ending and we were all tuckered out.

A few of us may have even been a little cranky.
So, we bid our newlyweds adieu, and off they went on their honeymoon.  Where to you ask?The beach of course!

Mr. and Mrs. Lawson and their son Finn.
We wish you all the love your hearts can hold.
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

And now these three remain:  faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13
Thanks for sharing some of my most special moments.