Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A to Z: Z

Our Zoo

I love taking the boys to our zoo. We live close enough to make having a membership worth it, and it really is one of the best zoos I've ever gone to.


The boys love the zoo, too. There are lots of places to play throughout the zoo, in particular Nature's Neighborhood where they get to explore different things in the environment. Joshua's favorites are the seals, the polar bears, the elephants, the hippos, the birdhouse and the monkeys - really, all of it. And they're redoing the aquarium right now to one of those glass dome styles you can walk through and under. :)

There really is lots to say about this zoo, but then I would take up a lot of space with words and no pictures!

 Baby Lucas.

Lunch on African Safari.

Stopping to play with a lion cub.

Monday, April 29, 2013

A to Z: Y

Yes! Almost done. :D

I have to say, I've been tempted many times to stop the A to Z challenge. This month has just been packed full. However, I knew that if I stopped I may not blog at all this month because of it. It was easier to keep going with the challenge, to make sure I stayed active with the structure it provided. I'm glad I stuck with it.

It is terribly nice to see the end of April. I'm not done yet with everything, but things are going to start to ease. The super secret project is about done. The challenge is done. My first trimester is finished and I'm starting to feel much, much better.

The true ease will come at the beginning of June. The puppies will be ready for their homes, then. All meetings and sales will be complete. (I have a history of selling all my puppies before they're 8 weeks old, and so far this time isn't looking any different. Fingers crossed!) Joshua's soccer will be done, too.

I'll be due a vacation. :P Maybe I can talk Kristoffer into one.

Congratulations to all who have reached this point of the challenge and have only one more post to go to complete it! Thank you for visiting and I enjoyed finding new blogs to visit myself.

Happy writing. :)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A to Z: X - Snapshot Reveal

X Marks the Spot - Flash Fiction

This story is in response to Wednesday's prompt post. The required words are in bold and my word count will be at the bottom. You can hop back to the prompt to read more linked up stories, or even to submit your own. :)


120912102843X Marks the Spot

"We have been driving forever," Mel huffed, fanning herself with accordion folded brochure from the last rest stop.

"It isn't my fault all the construction has slowed us down." Kyle still had a smile on his face even after days of driving, of going to random GPS locations to get yet another random GPS location.

Melanie had been on board when he'd explained the trip to her, waving a page with a giant letterhead on it, inviting him on the scavenger hunt. Exploring the States. A road trip vacation, just the two of them. A treasure hunt filled with a quantity of dig spots.

Quantity, maybe, but there was no quality to them. Mel closed her eyes to keep from glaring at Kyle. He hadn't known the junk they would find. Each spot held a 'treasure chest' for people to leave something, and then the next set of GPS coordinates. Never mind they replaced the crap they found with cooler stuff - the next person would probably thing they're things were just as junky. What a crock.

Mel knew she was being grumpy, that she wasn't taking this trip in the spirit of things. It was exactly the fun free for all she had been expecting, and it was made worse by the broken AC in the car. But Kyle was enjoying it, and she usually loved spending empty hours with him. What was the dang difference with being in a car?

"Could we just - could we just take a day?" Mel turned sad eyes to her boyfriend who glanced over quickly, then looked again. "Please? We could get a hotel and some beer and watch stupid news and maybe go swimming."

"Tired of the car?" he asked quietly. She nodded. "Listen. The next spot is only about 70 miles away. The GPS says there's a town only a few miles passed it."

"Okay," she muttered. "Why not get some more junk." Kyle's grin was brilliant enough to almost lift her sour mood.

"Who knows this time, Mel? X just might mark the spot."

Word Count: 344

Friday, April 26, 2013

A to Z: W


With Spring here, Kris and I are keeping a heavy watch on the weather. We live in a flood zone, just a few yards from the river in one direction and about a half a mile from it's bend in the other on a dead end street with a few fields and a big thicket between us and the water. Just this past weekend the water was creeping out of the trees on to the grass field and settling in the small valleys between the planted corn rows.

We are nervous because a year and a half ago we had a fall flood - practically unheard of - that sent water even further, up our road and to the very foundation of our house. We got out in time and couldn't get back in for days. When we could get back in, we found 9 feet of water in our 10 foot basement and it took nearly a year to get everything taken care of, then paid for.

Suffice it to say, we are not looking forward to another one. Other than the flooding, we live in an amazing place, which is why so many people still stay. That and this flood does not happen every day - like once every 30+ years. Usually we get floods like we're seeing this year, creeping up then back out with little to no house flooding.

The first photo (the clearest one if they somehow switch order) is from just before we got out. The rest are when Kris went back by himself to check out things. I'm not sure why the photos aren't clear, but you can at least get an idea of the flood we struggled with and hope not to again.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A to Z: V

My Vet Story

A good vet is hard to find, and a well priced one at that. I found out in Arizona that Phoenix vets charge easily 2 to 3 times more than the country vets. I'm sure it's similar elsewhere. Demand drives the price, or some such silliness.

I had a vet I loved in Arizona. She let me check out findings in the microscope and be part of the more simple treatments. She was also a block or so from my house, so I could drop my dogs off and pick them up whenever it was needed without much thought. I would have walked, except it was Arizona heat right in the middle of cotton fields. My dizziness or my allergies would not have thanked me.

When I moved back to Michigan, I took a 3 month detour to England to visit my then fiance, Kristoffer. My sister kept my dogs for me. When I got home I had two pregnant mama dogs. Surprise!!

The pups were born a day apart. December 29th, 10 puppies were born. December 30th, 6 puppies. It was the craziest thing I had ever seen, and I was only a slightly bit panicked, being pregnant myself. (It has since become customary for Rukia and I to be pregnant at the same time.)

I called the local vet, the one I had grown up taking my dogs to. The pups need to be seen somewhere around 3 day old to be checked out and to get their dews and tails taken care of. I was told that they could take me, but since it was a holiday week, they suggested I try somewhere else first.

Okay, then. I called the recommended vet, got in easily and have stayed with him since. The prices are good. The service staff amazing and the vet obviously loves dogs - boxers being his second favorite and boston terriers his first helps, I'm sure. An ACL surgery, laser therapy, getting some pups fixed, more litters, a intestinal surgery (swallowed velcro, silly girl) later, and they got all the money my local vet passed up.

This past litter, with the little sick puppy I supplemented for a day, Kris ran to the local vet to get puppy milk for him. They almost wouldn't sell it to him because our dogs don't go there. They are lucky it was my husband who went and not me. I would have had a few words.

I got lucky with this one. I was preferential to a local vet, but now I am more than thrilled to drive 25 minutes to my vet because I know the service and the care we will get will be amazing. :-)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A to Z: U

Unfortunately, today isn't T-day, since it's Tena's day to post.

And that totally counts for 'U.' Lol.

There are 4 co-hostesses for the Wednesday blog hop. We usually take turns with the weeks to post, but schedules and life often gets in the way, so we also help each other out. Tena's been asking to have her turn, as she's freshly through with a state to state move. So, this week, she has put together our prompt for us all. :D



YEAH It's my turn this week to take the WWBH wheel (I so wanted to say reigns but I've been using "wheel" so I'll stick with that. It's been a crazy few months for me. as I've mentioned in several of my blogposts, we recently moved from Texas to Arizona. Had quite an adventure on the trip (you know I still don't think I ever wrote on that trip).

Since I was driving one of the vehicles on the our move here, I did not have too many opportunities to really get any good photos. Most of the time when we stopped it was to take care of something gas, food, etc or stopping for the night (by which point we were both pretty well exhausted). I figured that this picture taken on the one that we took during our pre-move trip (what do you call it when your checking a new place out to see if you would want to live there?) back in December of last year would be fitting.


As for the words, I know I could go online and find something that gives me random words, but I just used the dictionary and the old close eyes and point - that's the word (times 5) that I use. I do not pre-plan in anyway the words I choose... Whatever 5 words I point at, that's what goes in - HONEST!!

So this weeks words are:






You got about a week to write your story and submit it below (see the blue froggy) 500 words or less using the 5 words and based on the photo above.... Can't wait to see what you all got. so get those creative juices and may the MUSE be with you.

Good Luck.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A to Z: T

To Do List

I woke up with another sinus migraine today. It's thanks to all the new mowing and cutting up of fallen trees, and the blooms, of course, so the next few weeks may be littered with them. It results in giving me a mild high via Excedrin - the caffeine gives me a buzz, which is why I only ever drink one cup of coffee a day, if I do.

Anyway, I had to sort through a few ideas for T-day. My to do list wasn't even in my mind until I sat down to write. The thing is, I feel like I'm not taking as much advantage of this A to Z challenge as I could as far as the blog hopping goes. It's just, for me, April has turned out to be one of the busiest non-holiday months for me.

As you may have seen in previous posts, I've introduced you to my housemates - hubby, two boys, 3 dogs and currently 8 baby puppies. I also have a super secret project going on with Nicole Pyles. Well, it's not so secret anymore, but we're not ready to announce it yet. And, on top of it all, I just crossed into my second trimester of pregnancy (which also adds to the increase of migraines along with many other sickness things).

And yes, I'm announcing that quietly (I honestly don't think many, if any, of my family reads my blog). Many people know, but I'm trying to keep it a secret from others. I'm thinking / hoping this one is a girl because the pregnancy is so different from my other two, and I know a couple people who would be more excited about that than the pregnancy itself, like my niece who is 7 and the only female grandchild my mom has out of 5.

Anyway, I'm swamped, and in pain, and sick - and most of it is self inflicted through the choice of expanding our family. It's just all of this has come together in the month of April where I also really wanted to participate in the A to Z blogging challenge. So, I apologize for not visiting more, and I am so thankful for those who keep visiting despite my slack-ish-ness. Hopefully next year won't be as crazy, and I'll be able to give as well as get from this fantastic challenge. :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

A to Z: S


Sebastian is my second baby. I was nervous about having a second baby just because my first pregnancy and labor had been difficult. And because Joshua was such a good kid, I was worried about having a challenging baby. Eventually, though, the time was right, and Sebastian joined our family.

He is rarely anything but sunshine and smiles, this boy. Even when he's sick, he seems to always be cheerful. Really, only the combination of tired and hungry can change his behavior. I'm not sure how we got so lucky, but I will take it!

Sebastian just turned one in February. He can walk now, though he's still learning balance and gaining stamina. All he wants to do is be in the same room with you. After that, he's content to play with someone on or on his own. I know he'll grow out of this one day, but boy, do I enjoy every minute of watching this little baby explore and learn.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A to Z: R


Rambo is the youngest of our pups at 2 years old. I have this ... addiction to dogs. It's kind of a bit more troublesome than an addiction to cats because, well, the dogs I love average about 55 lbs each.

It came time I was wanting a new dog. I had to convince my husband it was a good idea. I may have twisted a few hypothetical comments he made about wanting a small dog into a statement about getting a dog if it was a small one. And cheap. So I found both. :)

To get Rambo we had to drive nearly two hours. This is nothing. Many of my puppy owners live about two hours away. Some, a full day's drive. The difference being, I'm not too far off the highway, as middle of nowhere as I live. Where we went to get Rambo was beyond even that, a farm surrounded by more fields and horse corrals.

There were bikes everywhere. Bikes hanging foundation to roof on the big red barn. More bikes lining the split rail fence. The dogs were brought out because the bulldog inside wasn't people friendly. They were incredibly cute, these tiny little pups. I wanted the runt. Kris chose the only liver-colored pup out of the black and whites because he was the only one to interact with our son.

So now, we have a terrier mutt who shouldn't get more than 15 lbs due to his Boston Terrier and Chihuahua parentage. He's 25 lbs now. He barks. He jumps. He is nothing I was prepared for growing up with a lab-chow mix and then boxers. I still don't really know what to do with him, but he is a fantastic, loving dog who listens 80% of the time - which is whenever he can hear me over his own barking.

In short, he kind of fits in perfectly. :-)

Friday, April 19, 2013

A to Z: Q


The first of the difficult letters (for me at least). I had a few ideas, thankfully, but decided to settle on quotes. The idea wouldn't leave me alone and those are generally the best ones to go with.

Every time I join a new social network, or put together a new profile and I'm asked what my favorite quote is, I cringe. I don't have a favorite quote. Even the ones I've selected were quickly Googled and were the first to catch my attention. I don't see the point of having a favorite quote because there are just so many great ones out there.

Every time I turn around, there's a quote that makes me smile, makes me think, or helps to change my direction on something - for example, the Fred Rogers quote I used for the Wednesday Prompt post. Quotes are amazing that way - gifted people getting the words just right to stick in our heads and give us the 'Aha!' moment. How can you chose a favorite from all of those when our perceptions and needs are so fluid?

Do you have a favorite quote? Why? What's the story behind it? Not to criticize, but to try and understand. Because, of course, I believe there is a story for everything, particularly for something that becomes a favorite.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A to Z: P


The babies are a week old now and they're eyes are starting to open. I tried to get some individual photos, but Mama Rukia kept putting her head in the way.

We saw the vet last Friday and he said both Mama and the pups looked great. He always loves my boxers and seemed a bit reluctant to hear me say this would be my last litter with them, but it really is time.

The little guy is fine. The runt is starting to hold his own and soon we'll have running, yapping puppies rolling around in their box and playing. For now, we get to enjoy the cuteness of how little they are. :-)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A to Z: O

Outraged and Devastated

Leanne Sype suggested the prompt we put together this week be in honor of Boston. To be honest, I loved the idea, but I was not going to do it because everything I read made me cry and I didn't think I could do it. Until I saw this.

It corresponds with what I read a few days ago, a quote by Fred Rogers that says, "When I was a boy and would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'"

So, I will put together a post with that in mind. I have found a lovely photo, though I believe it was taken before the bombings, it is open to many interpretations, not just for the marathon.

But first, some happier news. We have chosen the winner of our $25 Amazon Gift Card. Congratulations to

We are so thankful to each person who participates in our weekly prompt. Please keep coming back, or write for the first time! We welcome everyone and can't wait to read all the stories like the ones from last week.

Mystery Man by Quinn Nielsen
After the Gala by Scott Taylor
A Grand Surprise by Leanne Sype

Now, quickly into the prompt. We'll start with the rules.

1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story.
2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.
3) You have until Tuesday to link up your post.4) Link up with your blog hostess (Nicole, Carrie, Tena or Leanne) when you’re done via the inLinkz linky below.
5) Have fun, don’t stress, let those creative juices flow.

The Words:






Sometimes I feel like I should take a screen shot of the creativity games site I use to generate those words, just to prove they were randomly selected by the internet.

But enough of that, it's time to get writing. Make sure to link up below so we can all share in your talent. :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A to Z: N - A Toddler Tale

Not for grown-ups.

"Pshew!" Joshua said as he picked up DVD's to put away.

"Pshew!" I copied, thrilled he was actually listening to me.

"No, I make that sound."

"I can make it, too.

"No, Mommy. Grown-ups don't say that. Only kids say that."

"Oh, sorry." :P

Monday, April 15, 2013

A to Z: M


Migraines run in my family. I was lucky enough not to get them until my mid-20's. My sister, for example, has had them since her teens. They are horrible.

I had a migraine yesterday for the first time in about a year and a half. It snuck up on me because I'm not used to the warning signs any more. Suddenly, I was so light and sound sensitive I had to completely separate myself and throw a pillow over my head for about three hours.

I haven't had a migraine in so long because I had a particular procedure done in September of 2011. I had my occipital nerves blocked by receiving injections through my neck with the help of an x-ray and some numbing shots. They couldn't knock me out because I was pregnant, so it was continue suffering, or suck it up and get it done.

(I found a perfect photo for this, but it's watermarked copyright, so I'm going to play it safe and leave that one alone. If you're interested, you can google occipital nerve block, or go to this link http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/occipital%20nerve)

I am so happy I got it done. Even my migraine yesterday didn't touch the back or top of my head where the nerves reach. There was pressure, letting me know if I could feel them, I would, but even the pressure wasn't painful.

This migraine settled into my forehead and up through my hairline. A sinus migraine, most likely, with Spring breaking into the air. I'm on medication that can inspire headaches as well, and since I'm already primed for them, I suppose it isn't too surprising.

They suck, though, as I'm sure you know if you have them. I hope it isn't going to become a regular thing. I'm not sure there's a similar shot for sinus migraines. If there is, though, sign me up, please!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A to Z: L

Life is amazing.

On Wednesday I posted about my new litter of puppies born on the 9th. Rukia had been in labor for a long time. Her first puppy came just before noon. Her second an hour later. Her third, two and a half hours later. It wasn't until shortly before 8 pm she had her seventh. After that, she calmed down, settled in to take care of her pups and started letting us help take care of her.

Kris and I went to bed at midnight, satisfied all was finished.

In the morning, Kris checked on them, then woke me up to say two more had been born, and only one had made it.

Puppies should come no further than 3 hours apart, or they chance asphyxiation. We are pretty sure that's what happened to the one who didn't make it. The second was weak, not moving well and not making a sound or attempting to nurse.

I wasn't sure he was going to stay with us. I did know that I couldn't help the one while I was sleeping. I wasn't going to give up on the other while I was awake. And what a miracle. I fed him puppy formula four times, an hour apart each time. Finally, he was moving more, his body temperature had risen and stabilized. He still wasn't nursing, but that was an easy fix. He had begun to associate my smell with eating rather than his Mommy's. So, tricking him with my fingers, I finally got him to latch.

He's the middle puppy at his first latch on April 10.

He has been nursing ever since. He's moving and squeaking and cuddling under his mommy's chin whenever he gets the chance. He's an amazing little boy and I am so very happy I helped him get strong enough to go on his own.

He is on his back, white belly up, nursing without  help on April 11 and ever since.

We went to the vet yesterday and he is impressed with the whole litter, loving how healthy they are. I drove home with a huge smile on my face.

Friday, April 12, 2013

A to Z: K


Kristoffer is my amazing, lovely husband. We had somewhat of an unconventional courtship, mostly because he was across an ocean for most of it, but our relationship has a pretty cool beginning.

Kristoffer and I met in May, 2001. He and his parents leaving New Mexico after he had spent 2 years at United World College. My parents and I were checking out Arizona State as a possible alternative to the private university I had been enrolled in. We both ended up at the Grand Canyon on the same day.

The first time he saw me was on the bus. He said he kept staring at me, trying to get my attention, but I ignored him. It sounds like me, acting all aloof and cool, so I'll buy it.

His group got off at one stop, my group at another. Fate was not done with us, though. A few hours before sunset, my family and I walked to Hopi Point. Sitting out on a slight jut was this really cute boy. Mom was interested in getting me interested in going to ASU, so she was pointing out all the cute boys for me. For this one, she even sent me out there with the explanation that she wanted a picture of that spot, and she wanted someone she knew in it.

Kris and I talked for hours. My parents moved on to see more of the canyon. His parents stayed close by. I can't even remember everything we talked about, but it was everything. There we sat, overlooking the Colorado river as the sun went down. More people crowded around us as the sky changed and darkened, but we didn't know.

But then it was dark, and we really had to go. We exchanged emails and said our goodbyes. On the way back to our hotel in Phoenix, I stretched out on the back seat, looking at the stars and remembered and dreamed.

Life, of course, got in the way. We continued to email while I went to Arizona State and he had been accepted into a University in Scotland. He got a girlfriend, and after another two years, I found a boy. Yet, neither relationship worked out. After eight years, Kristoffer finally came to visit me in the States in 2008. A year later, we had a son and got married. Nearly a year after that, Kristoffer's residency green card came through and he was finally able to come over to the States in 2010.

This is a story I could probably write a book about. I may one day, but for now, this is as brief as I can make it. :-)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A to Z: J


Joshua is my first baby. He's 3 now, four in June. It's only scary when I stop to think he'll be in Kindergarten soon.

His 'Awesome Pose.'

He is something amazing and inspired my Toddler Tales series, one his little brother is about to take over because, well, Joshua isn't quite a toddler any more, and Sebastian has just become one. I'm sure that isn't it for this guy, though. He's too much of a character to simply drift off into school-age hood.

One of the 72 self-portrait photos he took on my phone one day.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A to Z: I - Post Two: 1 Year Anniversary Snapshot Prompt

Incredible - It's been a whole year!

Last year, Wednesday April 10th (no joke, you can look it up), Nicole Pyles decided to put together a photo prompt with 5 mandatory words as a way to meet and visit new blogs. She asked me to help co-host not long after and I gladly joined in. A year later, and it's still up and going, even picking up speed with new writers as we go.

And now, for the Anniversary post:


WOW! It is amazing - we have reached the one year anniversary of Writer Wednesday Blog Hop.

Can you believe it has been one year?? I'm so happy to have come this far with this writing prompt. Most of all I'm just amazed and grateful that everyone has stuck through this whole year and has been devoted, creative, and inspirational.

A special thank you to my fabulous blog hop hosts - Tena, Leanne, and especially Carrie, who has been with me since the start. Plus, a HUGE thank you to all the writers who show off their creative skills week after week and continue to take part in this prompt.

Before we get to the good stuff, I want to show off the entries from last week's prompt...

Murder at the Amusement Park - Part 10 by Tena Carr
Mindy and the Bus Stop by Scott Taylor
Inspiration by Elaine LK
Trapped by Leanne Sype
The Third Window by Quinn

And most of all, I want to show off the entries from last YEAR's prompt! Here are the entries we had one year ago today -

Darling, What Smells Like Ham by Nicole Pyles
Picassa's Bridge by Carrie K Sorensen
An Evening With Sam and Janet by Randy Lindsay

Aren't these amazing?

Okay, well, today is a special edition of the writing prompt, because we have an extra special thing going on - each entrant that has participated in the writing prompt this past year is eligible for our anniversary giveaway of $25.00 Amazon Gift Card!

And there is still a chance to throw your hat in the ring, because everyone who submits a writing prompt for this week's prompt, will be eligible to win, too. I'm so excited!

Now, for old times sake, we will be using the same prompt from last year. I want to see what everyone can come up with.

A reminder and rundown of the blog hop rules:

1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story

2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.

3) You have until Tuesday to link up your post.

4) Link up with your blog hostess (Nicole, Carrie, Tena or Leanne) when you’re done via the inLinkz linky below.

5) Have fun, don’t stress, let those creative juices flow.
And here's the fun part! Here is the photo for this week (from one year ago today!) -

The Words -

  1. Ham
  2. Spike
  3. Parity
  4. Girders
  5. Sale
 Enter below when you have your story ready! Happy Anniversary everyone!!

A to Z: I - Post One

I have puppies!

This is a two post day because - well, I have puppies!

We also have an anniversary post that will come a bit later in the day and is almost as important as puppies and definitely worth checking out because there is a prize attached.

The prize attached to this post is cuteness. :)

Kia didn't want me taking photos at first, so I had to wait until the very end. We ended up with 7 beautiful, healthy puppies. I haven't lost one yet, not in this litter or any other. We are very lucky to have such healthy dogs who turn in to amazing pets.

Update: Rukia had two more puppies last night, hours after the 7th. Most likely due to the long whelping time, one of them was lost, my first one in 5 litters. From what I've seen this morning, the other one is weak and uninterested in nursing. He could be full and tired. I won't know for until a little later. I'll update as I find out.

Rukia hiding the very first puppy from the dangerous camera phone.

All seven puppies, alive and healthy.

And then, bonus: A 38 second video crammed full of Cute!