After two really hard nights Bella has finally realized that we sleep at night and play during the day. The potty training is coming along but it is extremely tiresome and I am sure it is not going to get better anytime soon. At least we have finally had some nicer weather for our potty outings.

65 degrees and all the snow has melted! It is sure to be short lived just to make life difficult. I can't wait to go out for a potty break in the middle of the night in a foot of snow.

Baby is also getting a little better with her but still snarls and snips at her from time to time to let her know who's boss.

Liv's favorite thing to do is pick her up and carry her around, Bella has been such a good sport. Liv really wants her to sleep in bed with her, this is a slight problem because Liv has a loft bed. But every night I have carried her up so Liv can have a snuggle. She may be the first German Shepherd to take a snooze in a loft bed, this is obviously not going to happen for much longer!

There really is nothing like the sweet smell of puppy breath! (I am still trying to convince Nate of that.) We do all agree that her fat belly is absolutely irresistible. Her little grunts and groans are just precious. Right now we even love to hear her attempts at barking.

I am in heaven with my two beauties! I have been dying to have two dogs for years and Nate has finally obliged, he has really come a long way from his non dog preexistence (persistence paid off!!!).


We Wish You A Merry Christmas!!

We gave the girls a fat, furry surprise early on Christmas Eve! She is a black and tan german shepherd and so far the favored name is Bella (aka Belly).

Christmas Eve we enjoyed opening our jammies, a game and a book. This year's game was Apple's and Apple's and I highly recommend it. It comes in a couple of versions we did the version for 10 yr old and up and both the girls really liked it.

Nate and I snuck over to the neighbors house for some cocktails and appetizers while the girls separated out presents and when we got home we baked Santa some cookies. Lex wanted to make gingerbread cookies and Liv wanted to make peanut butter cookies so we did some of both!

After a few hours of sleep (entertaining a puppy all night is exhausting!) we woke up to Liv's phone alarm at 5 am. Yes, she is definitely a girl after my own heart. I am just as excited as the kids for Christmas so I don't mind.

Santa came through with a laptop for Lex.

And Liv was tickled pink to see the big guy brought her a polar express train.

But I think the favorite present might still be the puppy. Baby is not sure she likes the new member of the family but we keep trying to tell her that puppies don't build character, they reveal it!

I am officially taking birding to the next level. Nate hooked me up with some binoculars and a book of Pennsylvania birds! I am now in stalking mode.

You all spoiled the girls rotten. Here is Liv doing her impression of Santa with the bag of goods Jo, Denise and Steph sent, we have been munching on the english toffee and peanut brittle all day, YUM! They made a haul on the cash thanks to Jen, Grandpa and Grandma Barnes, Grandpa Arlyn and Grandma Joyce, and Grandma Joann and Grandpa Dick!!!! Lexi is already wanting to go shopping and Liv is thinking she needs some train accessories.

We are looking forward to playing Taluva a little later, I am planning on blowing the island sky high with mass amounts of volcanoes. Nate thought the Indian on the cover was a little risque, Jen! And FYI this does not count as a bahamavention!!

Grandma Sheryl and Rick did a fabulous job picking out some darling clothes for the girls and of course that gift certificate for some "sweet chicken".

And after all the junk we have eaten today we will be excited to use our new toothbrushes, thanks mom and Rick!!

We are hoping you all had a wonderful Christmas and especially wishing Denise a speedy recovery! Love you and miss you all terribly.


Snow Report

We just climbed over the one foot mark and still snowing! It finally all melted a couple of days ago and most peoples yards were full of standing water, it was so mucky and wet. Then last night it started up again. The girls had a two hour delay for school this morning and it looks like with the continued snow all day that buses will be about a half hour late getting home. What a mess and I have not seen one plow all day!!!

I think this is the first year in my life that I really don't care if it is a white Christmas, I have had my fill of it already!


Hustle and Bustle

So making a mad dash to start and finish Christmas shopping is working out really well for me. Now let me just say that the mall is literally about 1/2 a mile from our house and it is similar to Layton Hills with Toys R Us and Old Navy and the likes surrounding it, but remember it is 1985 here so there hasn't been any road or parking expansions and it is pretty much a nightmare. So I left my house and it took me about 15 minutes to get to my first destination across the street. I got in and got out, cause I am on a mission. I get into the car, wait for this woman to pass by in her car and pull out. She then decides to back up in to me as I am pulling out. Great!!!! I love holiday shopping. There is a nice sized dent in the back of the car near the tire but other than that everything looked fine. I call Nate and he tells me to drive with the window down and listen for anything out of the ordinary. So I do and of course I feel and here some kind of rubbing. I get back out and look at the tire and the area of damage but don't see anything obvious. I told Nate I was going to finish up my shopping because I couldn't see anything. After stop number two I get back into the car and pull out and the car is really difficult to steer so I pull back in to my parking spot and realize my front tire is flat!!

I am terrified to try and change a flat tire so I called my wonderful husband who came and rescued me by asking our neighbor for a ride. I am such a loser!!! Really looking forward to finishing my shopping now.


She is not wearing that!

The baby had surgery yesterday on her butt! Yes, you heard me, I will spare you all the details to save the little dignity that this animal has left. She is supposed to wear the cone for 10 days, RIGHT!!! So I am on round the clock butt patrol! (Only those of you that watch spongebob on a regular basis will appreciate that comment).

I finished my last exam today and am crossing my fingers. It was pretty rough so I am not sure how well I did. TWO WEEKS OFF!! I feel like I am not going to have nearly enough time to do all the TV watching that I wanted to do.
Nate and I will now make a mad dash to START our Christmas shopping.


Flashback to the '80's

We had the pleasure of attending Lexi's chorus concert the other night and were treated to a delicious medley from the 1980's.

As usually we forgot the camera, no big deal though because this tween queen HATES to have her picture taken.

It was a lovely concert, and it was very nice to see her all dressed up - not in sweatpants! Which we have had to ban her from wearing to school and other functions or all of those beautiful clothes she has begged us to buy from Ambercrombie or Holister would never get worn.

At any rate just one more piece of evidence that this town is straight out of 1985!



I was so excited to see a bird snow gauge that when I was tearing open the package I got a little crazy and busted off the number 2 foot marker! I was beside myself, but Nate was able to fix it! I really wanted to put it over by the bird feeder but that area is somewhat protected from the snow, so I put it over by the arborvitae's. The best place to put it would have been in the front yard to get the most accurate snow reading but I really imagine that a bird may want to perch on it and so it had to be near the trees! It is hard to tell from the picture but we are just a couple inches shy of 1 foot right now. It had nearly melted down and then we had a nice little storm blow through. Thanks mom!

Here are some better pictures of the house lit up, I would really like to put something on the porch, but I don't know how I would secure it and it is just to windy most of the time.

Jen, you should have saved these for Christmas because Liv has been in heaven! She worked from the minute she was out of school until about 8 pm painting the elf and even decorated the box you shipped it in as a toy shop. She didn't even stop for dinner. She was also up at 4 am (she has had a stuffy nose) this morning and has started on the nutcracker.

The sign says "Elfs rule!!" She took a close up of the elf using the hammer in a very unique and I am sure unsafe way, which I am sure you are pleased with! She is obsessed.


The Great Outdoors

We got the lights up yesterday, with only a few minor issues, extension cord dilemmas and such! We got done just as it was getting dark and then didn't get back out to take a picture until it was advanced dark and snowing. So I will have to get a picture in the light and at dusk today, because this one sucks.
We had a lovely 8 inches to shovel off the driveway this morning, God we just love Erie!!!!
I am obsessed with all our little critters outside. This biggy squirrel is one of three that is always pimping around in our yard, he is seriously bigger than our dog and kind of scares me, he is always just chilling out on this branch. They have been busy hiding nuts randomly in the yard this fall and now when they come down to dig one up, the other squirrels come down and they chase each other around trying to steal from each other. I took a video of it the other day but it didn't turn out so well. The chipmunks are small enough that they can climb up the bird feeder and stuff their faces with bird seed but the squirrels, luckily, stay away from it. We cannot afford to keep feeding the rodents!

We also have a new bird that will hopefully become a regular, obviously I stole this picture off the internet, but this is what he looks like, only he has a red head, the belly is a creamy yellow color. He is a type of woodpecker, maybe a flicker, I think??? I got to see him close up on the feeder for a second before I managed to scare him away and he is gorgeous! He mostly stays in the tree so I haven't got a picture of him yet, but I am officially stalking him.
We will finish the Christmas decorating and get some better pictures up soon.



Thanksgiving November 27, 2008 with the Barne's Family

We started off our dinner with a "Cheers to our first Thanksgiving in Erie!"

Then the feasting began, we decided this year to let the kids sit at the grown up table as seating was a "non" issue at our home this year!

And then we just kept on eating, yum! I am tooting my own horn here but this may have been the best meal I have ever made or eaten in my life, it is the first year I did not have a list of things I wanted to change for next year, I may have to retire my cooking mitts!

Liv got crazy chugging some grapple cider.

I made the pies and the girls made some wonderful chocolate truffles.

Then the desserts made their debut and we proceeded to stuff our faces some more.

This pretty little face was not happy to get her picture taken but I did it anyways!

Then we teamed up and got crazy with the ginger bread, Liv's and Nate's creation is above, and mine and Lexi's is below. We were bummed that Aunt Julie wasn't here to entertain our kids with her cool ginger bread house kits but we managed!

Now it's all over, our bellies are still so full we can hardly walk and I may just roll myself to bed to sleep it off! Tonight I will dream about working my Mii out tomorrow to minimize the damage!
We miss you all and hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving too. Love you!


Booty Shakin'

If this doesn't make you laugh, I don't know what will. Baby got new boots, now normally I say that she loves this stuff (she really does like her pj's and coats), but she really hates these boots so far (and, I now admit, her cheetah snood). I told her if she wants to go outside she must dress for the weather!! And, like my children, she is not listening to me!



Well the Reflections theme this year was "WOW" and now I know why. This is what Nate and I said when Liv came home with an invitation to the awards ceremony for her entry.

She had talked about doing an entry but told us she wasn't interested in trying if she wouldn't get 1st place. We told her that there were no guarantee's and that she should just do her best and have fun. She never mentioned it again so as far as we knew she wasn't going to do one.

I guess she changed her mind when her teacher gave the class time in school to draw a picture to enter in the contest the last day entries were due. Getting 6th place out of 40 entries at the last minute is pretty dang good! I am so glad she decided to try, good job Liv, we are so proud of you!

Marc and Shelly were thinking they needed to get an earlier start on the kids reflections projects, and at this point Nate and I are just hoping next year to know whether or not our kid is actually going to do one!!

24 Hour Snow total: 14.9 inches, and yes the roads are a nightmare.