He was a very good pet

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Not the best pic of the little guy. Somehow he lived here three years and it's the only image I can find!

I had no intention of adding another pet to our brood. I was at a farm in Marysville, picking up water and sealable containers from a guy David found on Craigslist.

Little did I know that he was also a guinea pig and hamster breeder.

He had just sold an entire batch to a buyer from Petsmart that morning. All but one. A poor, scraggly, orange and white wiry-furred male that couldn’t even be used for breeding because his fur was so, well, not right.

The farmer gave me the guinea pig in a tiny box and sent me off with a small bag of alfalfa.

The kids were thrilled and Makenna decided he kind of looked like Shaggy from Scooby Doo with his orange shaggy hair.

And so,  he was our first new animal on the farm. For the past three years, Makenna and the boys have shared custody of Shaggy. He had a great view out Makenna’s room window and enjoyed watching the boys wrestle on their beds.

He ate a lot of carrots and spinach, hated cage cleaning, wasn’t big on nail clippings and squeaked like a mouse (but 100x louder) when he was out of water.

Last night our little guinea pig, Shaggy, passed away. Although sudden and unexpected, he had a good life and went relatively painlessly. Jackson has requested a funeral, which we will perform later today.

RIP Shaggy. You were a good pet.

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Dance Like No One is Watching

When I was deciding on a name for my blog, I remembered my favorite quote and paraphrased from it. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching, and live like it’s heaven on earth. To me, these words have always embodied the idea of living in the moment. Of knowing life is fleeting, and we have to take advantage of every opportunity right now. Of the fact that life is hard, and we have to actively seek and fully enjoy all the laughter and joy we can find. That’s why I love this video of Jack so much. He doesn’t need music to find a reason to rock out in the backyard on a cold, icy day. He takes full advantage of the opportunity and dances like no one is watching. Of course, we were watching and laughing and enjoying every second of pure happiness he brought us that afternoon. Thanks, Jack.

Big Bang Boom Box

Many thanks to the folks at DaytonLocal.com and the Victoria Theatre Association for letting me write another post for them. Here is a peek, you can get the full post here.

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Makena is thrilled I caught her singing along with "Uptown Funk" by Bruno Mars.

Recently, our kids have discovered Spotify and the wonders of creating their own playlist of favorites. From hair bands with screeching guitars to new artists that I haven’t even heard of, they love it all pumping through their headphones.

It reminds me of all those hours spent listening to the radio, hoping to catch my favorite song and that the DJ wouldn’t talk over the front of the track so I could get a good recording for later.

Although it can get embarrassing when your son starts singing “Stroke Me” in the middle of Target (true story), I have never had an issue with letting the kids listen to all kinds of music. In fact, our kids have always listened to the radio and have an impressive breadth of musical knowledge and quite an inclusive playlist because of it.

Just to prove it, check out their favorite songs on their current playlists…

Get the full post at DaytonLocal.com. Get tickets to the PNC Family Series Juice Box Jams with Big Bang Boom on Saturday, Jan. 24, at the Victoria at TicketCenterStage.com.

My little writer

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So Makenna has managed to do what I have dreamed of doing for years.

In the period of about two weeks, she has managed to write a book. Truly. An entire book. Beginning, middle, and end. Chapters, title, and all.

I haven’t read it yet as she’s going back through and self-editing first. I understand, though, that there are 25 chapters, more than 100 pages, and that it centers on two teens saving their family from the zombie apocalypse.

To say that I am both proud and amazed would an understatement. No matter what happens with it from here, she did it.

And now she’s telling me I need to get it in gear. Ha! She’s encouraging me to go after my dream. What do you think about that? Inspiring, this girl. Big things in her future. Really big.

I had bacon next to Kevin Bacon

Guardians The kid’s new favorite movie is Guardians of the Galaxy. Although I fell asleep when we went to see it in the theater, I have come to enjoy it and LOVE the soundtrack. One of the kids’ favorite scene’s is when Peter is explaining music, and more importantly dance, to Gamora. He reverently claims Kevin Bacon is a hero who saves his community through dance in the movie Footloose. His example nearly draws Gamora in and got the kids wanting to know who is Kevin Bacon. When we quickly explained he is an actor who also plays the zombie bad cop Hayes in R.I.P.D. (another favorite movie in our house), they immediately knew who he was. I went on to tell them the story of how I had breakfast NEXT to Kevin Bacon once. Continue reading

Roasted Chestnuts are a real thing

I found the funniest sign at Target and picked up one for my husband. He’s not much on holiday decorating, and it seemed rather an appropriate one for his office.

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My boys found this hilarious, of course, understanding the double entendre immediately.

Later that day, we were in the kitchen when Mel Torme’s soothing voice came over Pandora getting us in the mood for Christmas singing about “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…”

The boys freaked out. Dylan wheeled on me and said, “Wait! People really do that? Why in the world?”

Jack’s response was to grab himself and run through the kitchen yelling, “OUCH! OUCH! OUCH! OUCH!”

Boys!
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VTA Series: For the love of a stuffed animal

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Jack with his precious ‘Dog’ (on the left). He’s carried him around since he was six months old.

Our house is overrun.

Everywhere I turn, there is another one. I think they come alive at night and by morning have multiplied by 10.

For years, we have tried to cut back. Then the kids get birthday money, and the only item in the store they have to have is another. stuffed. animal.

Their beds are full of them. When I go in to tuck them in, I have to search for the child in the pile. They sleep all twisted up in lions and tigers and bears plus a few mice and dolphins and owls. Oh My!

They fall out of the top of their closets. They spill out of special hammocks and containers. They even still go on long trips with us on occasion.

I get it. I mean, who doesn’t love to cuddle with an adorably cute, incredibly soft, never needs fed bunny? Continue reading

What in the World is a Rikes Window?

image By Makenna Baker “It’s Christmas time! Let’s do something different to celebrate the year!” Mom says. ”How about going to see the Rikes Window displays?” answers Dad. “Going to see the what?” ask the children. This is what most of my friends asked when I told them I was going to write about the Riker Windows. I had to go do some research for myself.  Continue reading

I love hair bands

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Just so we’re clear, I know it’s all my fault. This entire incident could have been avoided, but then I wouldn’t have this little gem to share. And what fun would that be?

Recently, I introduced the kids to Spotify (well, technically David did, but I helped them make their own playlists.)

Having an affinity both for crazy guitar solos and loud, booming, repetitive lyrics, I thought, “Man, they would love the 80’s hair bands!” Continue reading

Sooolid Rock, Sooolid Rock

JESUSRecently, I had to take the boys to special testing for school.  The testing took place at the Solid Rock Church in West Chester. You know the one with the giant Jesus statue that got hit by lightening and burned to the ground. (Oh, the irony.)

Anyway, it reminded me of the last time I had been at the church. David and I weren’t even married yet. So it was over 20 years ago.

At the time, we had a small recording studio and did all kinds of work from floor routine music for gymnasts and live recordings for local bands to church choirs and a few commercials. Continue reading