I realize I haven't posted on my blog in a really long time. Honestly, I took it off my site because I found the process of keeping it up-to-date very overwhelming over the last year or so. In that time, I've also found that I've truly missed it. So I'm back, and I hope at least some of you are still out there. To start a new blog post off, I'm going to share the message in my latest newsletter. Then I'll be posting new content from then on.
We've had quite the beginning to our new year.
We got a new puppy for my husband's birthday. Shortly after that, we all came down with COVID one-by-one. Dealing with being sick and a young puppy who is getting up multiple times at night to go out or because she was hungry hasn't been easy! On top of that, both our daughter and my husband were sick for their birthdays. Our son is having some health issues in addition to COVID.
We're all mostly feeling better, finally, but are still dealing with congestion and fatigue.
I'm so ready to get back to normal. Oh, and spring. I'm really ready for spring. Ha!
Okay, enough about being sick. On to the new puppy! My husband named her Natty Gann, and we call her Natty. She's about 9.5 weeks old now, and fits perfectly with our family. We bought her to be my husband's dog. My dog, Loki, turned a year old in December. The two absolutely LOVE to play together. I really don't know how we would've made it through not feeling well if it weren't for Loki entertaining Natty so much.
Natty is supposed to be a full German shepherd, but that didn't matter too much to us. I guess time will tell as she grows. We may do one of those DNA tests with her that we did with Loki because it was fun. But will wait a while for that.
Have any of you used a Virtual Reality (VR) system? My husband wanted one last year and I finally got him one in November thinking I'd never use it in a million years. After trying it that first day, I absolutely loved it and had to get one of my own.
I've been using it for Beat Saber, which is a music and rhythm game, and for Supernatural, which is an amazing fitness game. I've used them regularly for about two months now and I'm seeing improvements in my strength, heart rate, blood pressure, and my stress levels.
I so look forward to my time on there. Being able to take an hour a day to do something for me, to better my health, has made such a difference on the days that stress would normally have me feeling down.
While I haven't been able to get in an hour straight since COVID, I do feel like doing at least some exercise a day has helped with my recovery time. Hopefully I'll be back to normal again soon.
And yes, I had to buy the sticker you see on the picture above to make the VR system look like Baymax from Big Hero 6. Ha!
I hope you are all doing well and hanging in there. It seems like so many people I know are sick right now. Take care of yourselves, okay?
My daughter and I recently took a trip to visit my grandma in Arizona. While my daughter had met her in person once before, she was only two and a half years old and didn't really remember. Thankfully, my daughter's spoken to her great grandma over Skype a couple of times, and they write to each other here and there. Don't you just love technology and how it can keep us all connected?
The trip was also a wonderful opportunity for my daughter and I to have an adventure together and do some bonding - something we both enjoyed.
We had fun walking with my grandma, admiring all of the pretty flowers and the orange trees (which smelled heavenly), and just spending time visiting.
It was a huge blessing to watch my daughter as she and her great grandma worked on a puzzle together, went through photo albums and treasures collected through the years, and spent time together. Most importantly, I loved to see the memories they were making.
One day, we went to my auntie's house where I got the chance to visit with her and even reconnected with three of my cousins. My daughter met four of her second cousins. It was such a wonderful day!
The trip went by way too quickly, but I know it's one my daughter (and I) will remember fondly for years and years to come.
Is there a particular trip or vacation that you remember as a child that still brings a smile to your face? I'd love for you to share about it!
Here are some of the pretty flowers we saw, along with an orange tree and a serene fountain. I enjoyed taking photos!
I apologize for the lack of blog posts the last few weeks. My family and I have been in the process of moving 4 hours away to the beautiful Texas Hill Country.
While our move has gone smoothly, it's been done in stages. We got everything packed up and then brought two trailer loads of things to the new house before officially moving in on April 18th. At that point, we had our mattress, some essentials, and cots and toys for the kids. The only furniture we had were some folding chairs, but that was certainly better than the floor!
Finally, on Friday the 27th, the movers brought the rest of our things by truck. I can't begin to tell you how wonderful it was to have our couch and recliner back. LOL
My husband and I managed to get every box unpacked and the pictures hung up on the wall in a 72-hour period. Yes, we were sore and exhausted. But both of us hate being in limbo and just wanted to be moved in and settled.
I'm already loving this town. This neighborhood, especially, is what neighborhoods used to be 20 or 30 years ago. We've had more people come over and introduce themselves in the nearly two weeks we've been here than any other town I've lived in as an adult. Not only that, but it's refreshing to see kids riding their bikes, scooters, and just out playing together.
An ice cream truck came through one evening and all of the kids gathered around it to choose a treat and then eat them on the sidewalks in front of their homes.
We're looking forward to no longer living out of boxes, getting to know our neighbors, and being a part of this community.
May is a new beginning for us, and it's looking like a great one!
Let's face it. Fears are a part of life. But what do you do when you can't seem to overcome that fear? Or even talk about it?
Our son is eleven now and he's had a fear of puffer balls since he was three. You know what I'm talking about - those wiggly, spiny balls that can range from the size of a quarter to one as big as a basketball. They even come in different shapes and styles. Yep, those. I swear, you can find them in nearly EVERY STORE.
We don't really know what it is about them that's so scary. I remember he couldn't care less about them until one day we were in a sporting goods store waiting in line to check out. There was a bin full of large ones the size of a basketball and a couple of kids were playing with them. Without warning, our son started screaming and crying and trying to do everything he could to scramble out of the basket.
And that was it.
It put a serious restriction on his life!
That was the way he reacted every time he saw one. Sometimes, it even included leaping from baskets and running across a store while screaming bloody murder. It was bad, folks.
We couldn't go in a Mardel Christian Bookstore for years because they had those little toy displays right inside the door. There was always a puffer ball in one of the bins, and he knew it, too.
This is a boy who refused to look down the toy aisle at the grocery store for years. And a big toy store like Toys R Us? It caused anxiety you wouldn't believe. When it came time to do Christmas or birthday shopping for his little sister, we'd have to go down a toy aisle and bring back ideas or suggestions for him to approve or dismiss because he wasn't about to step foot down one himself.
When our daughter got old enough to understand what was going on, she would keep an eye out for the puffer balls and either hide them from her big brother's sight before he came down an aisle or warn us to steer clear of one.
It is completely heartbreaking to know your child is so afraid of something. And equally as heartbreaking when a speech impairment prevents him from telling you why. Did he have a nightmare about them that caused the whole phobia? Is it the way they look or move or both? We may never know.
But over the last eight months, we've been able to witness a very slow-moving miracle. At first, our son started watching YouTube videos about puffer balls. He'd talk about puffer balls with long spines versus short spines. Then, at his cousin's birthday party, they had little puffer bears with short spines in one of the rooms. While he screamed and covered them, by the end of the day, he was tentatively holding them. He couldn't stop talking about them for weeks afterwards.
We made a point of talking about puffer balls with little spines and how cute they are. He finally saw a picture online of a caterpillar with little spines and expressed an interest in it, saying, "It's not scary. It's cute." I asked if he'd like us to order one and he said he did. The day it came in, he was so nervous, he touched it with a single finger. But before long, he was holding it and petting it.
He now has a collection of puffers with short spines ranging from that caterpillar to a frog and even a pig.
But the biggest breakthrough - the one that had me in tears the most - was when we went to Mardel and he spotted the giant puffer balls with long spines down one of the aisles. We asked him if he'd like to go see him. He said yes. It took us a full five minutes to get down that aisle but in the end, he held one of them in his hands.
Our son, who had fought this phobia for years, was finally facing it.
He still gets nervous when going down toy aisles and he'll jump if he stumbles upon a puffer ball when he wasn't expecting it, but I think ninety percent of that fear is gone. I didn't realize how freeing it was to go through a store without keeping constant vigil and worrying our poor little boy was going to face that which terrified him most: A giant puffer ball.
My husband and I have both been unhappy with our weight, energy levels, and health for a while now. We've tried to get better about what we eat and we have made improvements in that area over the last few years. But we knew it would take a major change to our lifestyle that we just never quite implemented.
At the beginning of December, we decided we needed to do something and putting it off clearly wasn't getting us anywhere.
Time to Make a Change
This weekend, it will be four weeks since we made the commitment to eat healthy, exercise, and lose weight. We've got goals for ourselves in 2017 and we're well on our way to hitting those goals.
Personally, I'm counting calories each day (staying at 1,200 or less) and making a point to walk at least 3 miles. Some days, I walk as many as 5. They're almost always done inside while I'm reading or watching a TV program, but I'm getting them in! I'm also making some consistent progress towards my target weight.
Not Easy, But Worth It
We've eliminated sodas, most processed sugars, and bread from our diet. Was it easy? Not at all. In fact, the second week, I'm pretty sure I was in a perma-state of grumpiness.
But I almost immediately noticed my constant bloating was gone. The aching in my joints disappeared, too. Four weeks in, I feel SO much better. I've got more energy, I can think more clearly, and I'm enjoying the dried fruits, fresh veggies, and the meat we're eating. It takes less to fill me up and I don't finish my meal feeling heavy.
A nice side benefit? When we do get a small treat (like a cookie or some candy), it actually is a treat because we're only getting it once in a while.
I had a soda for the first time the other day, and I couldn't even drink it. It was so sweet, it was unpleasant. I was thrilled and the need to have another disappeared. Considering I wanted a Coke every day, this is a big accomplisment for me.
Why Am I Sharing This?
Getting healthy and losing weight was something we meant to do for years and just never got around to because it's inconvenient. We didn't make it a priority.
I think that's something that applies to all of us, and not just in the realm of losing weight. It's so easy to procrastinate our way through life, pushing things off until we forget about them.
I'm referring to everything from losing weight, writing that book you've always wanted to, learning how to knit, organizing your photo albums, or getting the education you need to pursue your dream job.
It's Not Too Late
I'm serious about this. It's never too late to stop procrastinating. One of the quotes that struck me the most was this: "A year from now, you may wish you had started today." - Karen Lamb.
Isn't that the truth? Sheesh, if I'd started focusing on my own health a year ago, I might be at my target weight now. If I'd kept up with my photo albums way back when, I wouldn't have fourteen years of catching up to do now (And yes, I just ordered the prints for the years 2002-2004).
We can't do everything, but we can do something.
And that's the key. I want to encourage you to choose one thing you've put on the back burner and make it a priority this year. Even baby steps forward are still progress. And if you start now, who knows how far you'll have gone in a year!
We drove just shy of two hours to see family for our Christmas celebration yesterday. We had a lot of fun visiting, laughing, eating, and opening gifts. We left just after seven last night. On the way home, a deer jumped out of the grass and ran across the road. There was nothing we could do to avoid it and we hit the buck with the driver's side, killing the poor thing instantly.
Unfortunately, it also caused a great deal of damage to our car. Thankfully, none of us was hurt, which was a huge blessing! And after speaking with the local sheriff's department, we were even able to drive the car the rest of the way home.
We take it in to get it evaluated on Tuesday and find out whether they can make repairs or not. There's a large dent in the driver's door and it looks like some kind of mechanical damage as well.
So while this is a big inconvenience, we're thankful the four of us made it through the accident unscathed. And I'm happy to report that this evening has been much less eventful. lol
I've crocheted a lot of things for our kids in the past, especially for Christmas. For our daughter, it's been everything from a stuffed horse with a matching hat, dress, and shoes to crochet cookies. So when she requested some supplies for one of her favorite stuffed animals, I couldn't wait to go yarn shopping.
Our daughter absolutely loves this stuffed dog. When you pet the dog's back, she will either bark or whine. I snuck the puppy out of her room while she was sleeping so I could take some pictures. The whole time I tried on her coat, she was barking. ha!
I ended up crocheting the puppy a coat, a matching bed and blanket, and some doggy bowls. I hope she likes them!
She also has a small crochet dress from the horse I made her three years ago. She's always wishing she had another dress that's a little bigger to use with other dolls or animals. So I made her one of those as well.
I can't wait for her to open the gift on Christmas!
I saw a video on Facebook last week and just had to give the craft a try. I've always loved snow globes. Combine one with a functioning holiday container? Yes, please!
This is the video I saw with instructions on how to make them: Smart School House.
I went to Hobby Lobby for the tallest jar in the photo. I had the others at home because I do a lot of canning. But you can find just about any size there. Then, I expected to have to look all over the store for the plastic ornament halves and was happy to find they were located on the same aisle. This time of the year, the fake snow was on the center aisle with the packaged Christmas crafts. The cute little figures are tiny ornaments and I cut the hanging loops off of them.
The little snow globe tops were super easy to make and a lot of fun! I put candy in the jars, which made them look even more festive.
We've been using them for three days and two out of the five came loose so we had to put new hotglue around the domes. This was after making sure we opened and closed them using the metal rings, not while holding the domes themselves.
So here's a couple of tips for you if you decide to make these yourself:
1. Because the domes did come loose on a couple of the jars, I've decided putting some hot glue under the bottom of the globes isn't enough. I'd go ahead and put another round along the bottom on the outside after it's been placed.
2. You'll have to cut the plastic hanging loops off the domes. You can see where they were, but just barely. Make sure you put that at the back of the snow scene.
Verdict: These are super cute and look great as part of the holiday decor. Plus, they're a pretty way to keep Christmas candy fresh. I'll update after a week or two and let you know if they hold up to regular use. Because trust me, with different kinds of M&Ms in there, they will be opened frequently every day. ;-)
My family went camping this weekend at a state park not far from our house. We went with the intention of staying for two nights. However, after all of the rain we'd gotten in the last few weeks, the number of bugs (including mosquitoes, flies, ants, and spiders) drove us home after camping for only one night.
We had a wonderful time, though! We went to the lake and stayed there for several hours. The kids enjoyed swimming, my husband went fishing and used his kayak. Meanwhile, I had a lot of fun watching all of them and taking a rare opportunity to play with my camera and take some photos.
I shoot with a Canon SL1. I usually rely on my 24mm 2.8 lens. But for this trip, I pulled out my 55-250mm lens for some close-up shots. With the kids in the water, I walked up and down the shore quietly in hopes of catching some photos of the wildlife that might otherwise go unnoticed. It was so much fun!
And, as you can see from the gallery below, there were a lot of frogs. They look large in the pictures, but the largest was approximately two inches long, and most were about an inch. We did see one snake (non-venomous) and I was too busy telling the kids to stay away from that area to take a photo of it. lol
This morning, before leaving the campground, I noticed the drops of dew on a field of grass. With the sun shining through them, it was too beautiful to not go back and take a few pictures.
I hope you enjoy going through the photos. I'm always amazed at God's creativity and beauty in our world!
Our son, X, is ten-years-old. He's a sweet boy who loves to give his family hugs. He's very protective of his little sister (S is 5-years-old) and always makes sure she's being taken care of. He normally doesn't like to be interrupted if he's focusing on something. But S can almost always ask him to help her reach something or set something up, and he rarely hesitates.
X has an amazing memory. The boy knows exactly where each and every movie is on our DVD shelf. He remembers the toys and songs he learned when he was two and where he was in the house at the time.
He enjoys helping me bake and cook. He likes to play outside, watch campfires in the backyard, and his favorite thing to do is swim.
X also has autism.
There are a variety of strengths and challenges that autism has brought into our lives. One of the more fascinating things is how he approaches his hobbies.
As a Baby
When X was a baby, he had a lot of toys he enjoyed. Most were ones he could spin, move back and forth, or put in some kind of an order. He crawled at a developmentally-appropriate time. But he had no desire to pull up or walk. When he was 10.5 months, we bought him this activity table. Do you see the alphabet printed on the bowl in the middle? As soon as he spotted the letters from a seated position, he pulled himself up for the first time. He was walking within a week or so after that. He often touched each letter in order with a single finger.
This was the beginning of his love of all things letters, numbers, and colors. He could order the alphabet correctly at the age of two, could accurately count to five at that point, and put anything with colors in the same color order.
Hobbies Changed with Age
X's hobbies changed through the years. He went through a period of time where he loved everything related to marbles or ball mazes. He'd spend literally two hours sending marbles down the chutes, watching to see where the paths took them.
He became interested in instruments. All instruments were great, but drums have become a favorite. We bought him his first junior drum set a little over two years ago and he's practically worn it out.
Have you seen the Animusic videos? Their most famous one, Pipe Dream, uses marbles to create music as they fall onto drums and different surfaces. X has set it up to where he drops marbles on different parts of his drum set to see what kinds of sounds they'd make.
Drums, Drums, Drums
Of all his hobbies, drums seem to be a long-term one. He's watched YouTube videos on how to properly set up his drum set. And the boy has some serious rhythm.
He tells us he wants to take drum lessons someday and when we ask what he wants to be when he grows up, he tells us "A drummer." Not just any drummer, though. He wants to be a drummer with the band TFK.
He's created drums out of Legos, plastic dishes, and just about anything else . He's also managed to collect drum sets ranging from electronic drums to miniature versions.
The Newest Hobby
When X received a LOGO Board Game as a gift from his uncle, aunt, and cousins, we had no idea he'd like it so much. He's always been fascinated with business logos, and this fueled that interest.
In the last year, he's saved his allowance and bought other versions of the game. These versions include The LOGO Board Game Second Edition, The LOGO Party Game, and both the travel and regular LOGO Board Game Drumond Edition.
He knows every card in those games. And each of them were bought for a reason. For example, The LOGO Board Game Drumond Edition is the only he has that includes the Shell Station logo.
There are way more LOGO Board Game versions out there than we knew. He has two more on his list to collect. He's planning on getting The LOGO Board Game Billionaire next month. And he's been searching for the German edition because it includes new logos in it (the Jumbo red elephant logo, specifically), and plans to get it in July.
We've got to hand it to him. When he has a hobby, he goes all in.
I've heard a lot of people refer to those with autism as having obsessions. And I can see where they might come to that conclusion. Don't get me wrong, they can have obsessions just like the rest of us. But most of the time, I think it's a matter of having a hobby and then putting all of their energy into learning everything they can about it.
That's exactly how X approaches his hobbies. I admire that about him. That's how someone eventually becomes an expert in their field: By focusing, learning all they can, and not giving up.
So he can continue to collect his LOGO Board Games and I'll happily listen to how excited he is to get the Billionaire edition next month (I'm certain he's told me all about it at least a dozen times this evening). I enjoy looking at the Shell Station or the Walkers card and talk about how neat it is, and compare the difference between it and other cards. Because this is what's important to him right now and he cares enough to share his interests with us.
Guess what? We located the German edition on eBay and ordered it tonight (it may take a month or more to get here). It may be his hobby, but come on! The game is coming directly from Germany. You've got to admit, that's pretty cool.
My family was on vacation the first week of May. We had a great time! We took the kids to the Dallas World Aquarium, spent a few days at Great Wolf Lodge, and later visited our local zoo. I think we're still all trying to get back to normal again after having such a wonderful time together!
I took a lot of pictures of some of the amazing animals we saw. I thought I'd share a few of them with you all. Thanks for looking! :-)
This last weekend was a full one! Saturday was my birthday. There's a local zoo that we have a member pass for. They recently got in two new jaguars and so my family and I thought we'd go and see if we could get a peek at them. They're still acclimating and remained hidden, but we enjoyed looking at some of the other animals and then having a picnic lunch.
After that, we went to see the movie Zootopia. The kids have been laughing at the commercials for months. You know how a lot of movies will put every funny part in the commercial so you go to see the movie and it's like you've already seen it all? That's not the case with this one. There are a lot of great parts that the commercials don't even hint at. It's fantastic!
I got a new chair for my desk. Trust me, this was needed badly and it's already done a lot for my back. I joked with my husband that I was tempted to roll it into the living room when we watch TV, it's that awesome. LOL
I also finished the first draft of my new book last night. I don't yet have a title for it, but it's the first in my new series called Reinventing Family. I'm so excited about this book and I can't wait to share more with you all soon! I'm taking a break from it today but will start the editing process tomorrow. When will it be released, you ask? Some time in May! :-D
All in all, it was a wonderful, busy, productive weekend!
It's a gorgeous day so we thought we'd take the family and go walk around the zoo. The sunshine warmed everything up perfectly and nearly all the animals were active. I think it was one of my favorite visits. Seeing all of these beautiful animals always reminds me of what an amazing imagination our God has!
I also got to play around with my fairly new Canon 55-250 lens while we were there. So I thought I'd share some of my favorite images. Enjoy! :-)
Texas has definitely had its range of weather this December. We celebrated Christmas with family on the 23rd. It was in the 70s and we had the air conditioner running. Then temperatures fell the 26th. We had a sleet and rain mix all day yesterday then woke up this morning to 2.5" of snow. It's beautiful! We took the kids out to play in it, came in for some hot chocolate, and made snow ice cream. It's been a great day to stay indoors. This evening, a good deal of the snow has melted. But I'm thankful I captured some of the beauty from our frozen wonderland.
We have a lot of geckos outside our house. Our kids call them "Night Lizards" and every night before they go to bed, we go out on the back porch and see how many night lizards we can spot. Most of the time, they tend to congregate near the windows where more insects are located because of the light from the house.
There have been a couple of nights this summer/fall where we've only seen one. I think the most we saw in a night was seven. I'm personally a fan of lizards in general and enjoy going out to look for them as much as the kids do.
Now, I will tell you that when I go outside, I step out carefully and look above the door for any critter that might try to sneak inside. We've seen a couple of the baby geckos in the house this summer.
Which leads to the story that has emotionally scarred me. Seriously.
Story from the Past
In June of 2009, I was letting our dogs outside before going to bed for the night. I opened the back door and the dogs raced outside. I stood just inside waiting for them. A moment later, I felt something touch my head. I immediately thought of a lizard or something similar and reached my hand up as it moved towards the top rim of my glasses. The moment I touched it, I know something wasn't right. I stepped backwards, grabbed the creature on my head, and pulled it down.
It turned out to be a snake that had already wrapped around my glasses. I threw the snake to the floor (In the house, mind you. Not my finest moment - out the back door would have been MUCH better) and it took my glasses with it.
So there I am, standing in the kitchen trying to squint at the reptile on the floor in the utility room in an attempt to ID it. I'm yelling for my husband who comes in, completely shocked to see the 18-24 inch snake laying there.
Before we could figure out what to do about it, it crawled into the cabinet housing our air conditioner.
We called someone to come and catch it, but they were unable to find it, saying that it probably went under the house via a large opening beneath the air conditioner. We never did see it again, but it was days before we kept watching for it (and we kept heavy books or furniture covering the air conditioner vents in the floor that night just to make ourselves feel better).
We were told this particular snake was most likely a bull snake (non-poisonous) and had probably been trying to move across the door in search of a bird's nest. When I opened the door, it lost its balance and fell on me.
Six years later, I still can't walk out of a door - front or back - at night without looking up first. I just pray something like that never happens to me again because once in a lifetime was enough for me!
Have you had a nightmarish run in with nature?
Our son is nine-and-a-half and he has autism. Birthday parties have always been very difficult for him and that includes his own.
I remember one of his parties when he was just a little guy. Everyone started to sing the birthday song and he was grinning from ear to ear and looking at each of us in wonder. I always wished I'd taken video because of the priceless look on his face. The following year, I wanted to make sure I didn't make the same mistake twice. Can you guess what happened? As soon as we burst into song, he was in tears. And yes, I did catch that one on video. :-\
Since then, we ask him whether or not he wants the birthday song at his party. Usually the answer is no. Or he'll want one of us to sing it to him before the party itself. Most of the time we all tell him "Happy Birthday!" and then he blows out the candles.
When you go to someone else's birthday party, however, you don't have that luxury. We usually take him outside during the birthday song. Sometimes that works and other times he still cries because he wasn't there, even though it would have been much worse if he was (we've tried that, too). Many times we've had a meltdown that lasted 10-45 minutes afterwards.
We also often have to take him out of the room during gift opening. He stresses out about it and cries over it. Taking him out of the room and trying to distract him with something else is usually the best alternative.
Over the last year or so, things have been slowly getting better with each party experience. Sometimes we come away with a smile on our face over a triumph. Other times we have to search and cling to the one bright spot out of a rough experience. But there's almost always something.
Our niece's fifth birthday party was this last Friday. As always, we discussed the day with our son in depth. We also went into it with a game plan.
As we approached cake time, our son surprised me by coming up to me and saying, "No birthday song." There were no tears or anxiety, just a request. I told him that they were going to sing, but that he and I could go outside and look at the flowers instead. He was perfectly happy with the idea and that's just what we did. There were no tears. There was no anxiety or stress. When the song was over we went back inside and he enjoyed a piece of birthday cake.
My husband and I were shocked. That alone was enough to make me want to do back flips. But it wasn't the only success we were going to see that evening.
He sat through the entire gift unwrapping process with his daddy. He had no trouble whatsoever. There was one toy he was particularly curious about and went to go see it, informing us that he "Was just looking."
The triumphs didn't end there. Most of the time, when a party is over and we're headed home, we see evidence of the stress he's gone through for hours afterwards. But this time, he came away from the event perfectly happy.
It reminded me that successes, no matter how tiny they might be, should always be celebrated because they are stepping stones.
The birthday party was a HUGE victory for our son and I couldn't be more proud.
I introduced you all to our dojo loach, Leroy, a couple of days ago. I've done quite a bit of reading on dojo loaches and one of the articles commented on how much they like to interact with others of their own kind. We have plenty of room in our aquarium so we thought we could add a friend for him.
This new dojo loach is about a third of the size of Leroy. We've had him about a week and for the first few days, he lived inside a rock cave. When he did venture out, as soon as we came near the aquarium, he would hide again. It was funny because we caught Leroy laying in there with him a lot as if he were trying to keep the new fish company. Whenever I approached the aquarium, Leroy would come to the surface of the water so I could pet him like usual while the new loach stayed hidden.
Slowly, we noticed Link becoming more comfortable with all of us. Now he spends as much time in the open as Leroy and doesn't spook as easily. Only time will tell if he becomes as friendly towards us, though.
It's interesting how two fish can have such different personalities!
The dojo loach, that is!
This little guy has been a member of our family now for almost a month. We have an aquarium and got a few freshwater fish to put in it. We chose a dojo loach because they were really active.
I had no idea how much fun one would be!
Misgurnus anguillicaudatus, also known as the Dojo Loach and the Weather Loach, can reach 6" long and has a lifespan of 7-10 years.
Our loach is a female - although we discovered this through research only after she was named Leeeeroy Jenkins. So Leroy it is. LOL
Leroy is already 6" long so I'm assuming she's an adult, though I have no idea how old she is.
She's very active. She does scavenge off the bottom like I read, but when we feed the fish, she'll eat the food right off the top of the water, too. She is also a social fish. She hangs out with the other fish a lot and she enjoys it when one of us approaches to the aquarium.
Our tank has a lid on it with a small opening to put food in. When I put a finger through and into the water, she'll come up and either "nibble" on my finger or she'll go back and forth brushing up against it like I'm petting her.
She also likes to rest on things in the tank. I've seen her partway through the small hole in a treasure chest. Or resting on a starfish. My favorite, though, is when she drapes herself across the floating part of a large plant at the top of the water. she'll rest there until someone approaches the tank and then she's swimming again to say hello. At one point, she would swim above a point between the filter intake and the side of the tank and allow herself to float down over and over until she caught herself on the ledge there. She would stay there, draped across that ledge, until she got bored. Very funny to watch!
They are often called weather loaches because they will get significantly more active during weather changes. We've seen this with Leroy as well, especially when we were getting thunderstorms.
I've also read that they are able to take in atmospheric air by using the posterior portion of the intestine and skin as supplementary breathing organs. Interesting, right?
Apparently, they can become quite tame and enjoy being petted, which I think is what she's trying to do when swimming back and forth against my finger. They can jump out of a tank easily, though. So I've not tried to pet her while lifting the lid.
I've probably enjoyed this fish more than any other fish I've had in this or past aquariums. I hope Leroy lives a long, healthy life!
If you want to read some more interesting information about the Dojo Loach, check this link out.
I'm a big fan of houseplants but, for whatever reason, I've never had a lot of them. I had a hard time keeping them alive. This was true from the time I was a kid until well into adulthood.
However, I have two plants that have managed to live for four years and stay healthy. That gave me hope that I may have managed to trade my black thumbs in for some green ones. Or at least yellow-brown. That would be an improvement.
This afternoon, I went to a nursery and picked up some more houseplants. They look so pretty! It's funny how a few plants can improve the whole mood of a room.
I also couldn't resist a few little critters to place in the plants. Seriously, isn't that crab in the top picture adorable?
Here's hoping I can keep these new plants alive and growing!
My family recently moved. We rent and the home we'd been living in for the previous 2+ years was a small one - 950 sq. ft at most for a family of four and two dogs. Now, while we were there, we managed just fine. Sure, it felt crowded at times. But the main challenges for me personally were the kitchen (the counter space was so limited, we got rid of our microwave to have enough room to cook) and the utility room (it doubled as our closet with little room to stand between the washing machine and clothing).
The house we moved into is about 1600 sq. ft. plus a two car garage. That is a large size difference. I've thoroughly enjoyed having more room! So without further ado:
You know you live in a bigger house when...
... you are vacuuming and you have to plug the cord into three different outlets in order to vacuum the main sections of the house. Four if I use it in the kids' rooms. In our previous home, I could do this from one central outlet. No joke.
... there are places to put shoes so you don't have to step on them to go in and out of the house.
... I can have the rice cooker, the Crock Pot, and the toaster plugged in at the same time. While sitting on a kitchen counter. And still have enough room to roll out flour tortillas!
... my husband and I have a dedicated closet for our clothes. Gasp!
... we have an official utility room with enough space to take clothes out of the dryer and fold them on a table nearby.
... my husband and I can watch a movie in the evening without having to turn the volume down during action scenes because it'll wake the kids.
There are many more, but I'll stop there. Suffice it to say, I'm enjoying our new, bigger house!