LisaListed

The best things in life aren't things at all


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Because I Said Sew

A Hem – now that I have your attention and those extremely clever dorky puns out of the way, I have a story to tell you.

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Most girls at one time or another in the life learn how to sew. Well maybe not sew, but at least learn how to sew a button back on or to hem a pair of pants. Maybe even hand sew a small hole in fabric closed.

But not me! When I told this to my Mom, she didn’t believe me that I never learned how to sew. She was a little bit horrified. My Mom used to sew all Halloween costumes for my sister and I, and I remember in junior high when my sister went on an apron sewing spree. But somehow, I slipped through the ropes of learning how to sew. I never took a Home Economics course in any of my school years, nor did I ever have any strong desire to learn how to sew or to do anything girly at one stage in my life. I was a bit of a tomboy.

At my first corporate job, there was a woman who I worked with who was sick of seeing me in pants that were just a little bit too long. Finally, one day she cracked and let out a small outburst:

“Didn’t your Mother ever teach you to sew!?”

I would have loved to see what my face must have looked like, because she then followed up with “Oh my gosh… what if you don’t have a Mother!” She went on a tangent and felt terrible, but in return she hemmed any and all pairs of pants for me during my time at that job. Thank you again!

John would make little comments to me here and there when there was a small tear in something that needed to be sewed up or when I would pay a tailor to sew fallen off buttons back onto my peacoat. I brushed his comments off, but don’t worry Honey… I heard them all.

Since moving to a new country where I am not allowed to work, I initially felt pressure (not from my husband) to be THE ULTIMATE HOUSEWIFE! Sweet John would tell me that I already was the ultimate housewife, but we all know that he is biased. I was convinced that an ULTIMATE HOUSEWIFE needed to at least know how to turn on a sewing machine.

I looked up sewing classes and did my due diligent. For some reason or another, I didn’t want to learn to sew at a place like Michael’s. Like I am in most things in life, I decided that if I was going to learn how to sew than I was going to go all in. Sew (c’mon had to sneak one more in there) after many hours of researching sewing courses, I found the perfect one where I would learn to sew. It was in Uptown, which I had initially confused with Old Town so I thought that it was close by. Turns out, it wasn’t at all… but I got to meet lots of strange characters on the train commuting back and forth.

The class that I had chosen was taught by a high end fashion designer who sewed his own creations for his clients. He did everything from bridal to leather jackets, so I figured if he couldn’t teach me to sew than nobody could. I registered online for my sewing classes and received an email saying that there will be a follow up email with all necessary information. The week before my classes were about to start, I began emailing and phoning the guy to ask for the list so that I could pick up anything that I may require. I didn’t hear back from him.

The night before my class was scheduled to begin, I was in a tithy. I figured that I would just show up empty handed the next day, but then at 7pm that night I FINALLY received an email from him saying everything that I needed. There was a lot and I didn’t know what half of the stuff on the list was, so I panicked! John was still at work, I couldn’t drive myself (no license remember?) to a store to pick up the stuff on my own, so I did what any logical woman would do. I called my parents and cried. Boo Hoo.

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The sewing store closed at 9pm and God knew if John would make it home before then, so I was panicked, flustered, pissed off and lonely. I lucked out and John got home at 8:15pm and immediately drove my ass to the store to go on the hunt for shit neither of had any clue about. One of the items on the list was “muslin” – It took everything in my power to make sure I pronounced that word correctly when I asked the employee where/what muslin was. We gathered most of the stuff and went home. John was so nice about the whole situation… He’s seriously the best!

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Now, most people sew a pillow case or an apron as their first project when they are learning to sew. Not me… oh no no no!!! I decided that my first project was going to be a freakin’ WRAP DRESS! One that I could hopefully wear when I finished. Go big or go home, right? You going to give me grieve about not knowing how to sew on a button – I’ll show you, I’ll sew a gosh darn wrap dress!!!! (Side note: I’m not competitive at all.)

My sewing classes were 3 hours classes once a week for ten weeks. My very first day, I was cocky because for some reason I thought that being naturally athletic would translate well into being a natural sewer. I asked the guy “So it’s going to take me thirty whole hours to sew one single dress!?” I was baffled and was certain that I was going to finish in half that time. Nope… it took me a total of probably 45 HOURS! 45 freaking’ hours… let that sink in.

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My 45 hours in that sewing class were interesting. There were a few classes were I was the only female and also the only straight person. I thought that my dreams were coming true and that I could finally be surrounded by my new found gay best friends. Except they wanted NOTHING TO DO WITH ME!!!! They were too busy flirting with each other. I thought that it was awesome, until I realized that I was such an enormous outcast in my sewing class.

 

In one of my sewing classes, I met a Russian girl. I thought that maybe we could bond over being foreigners and such, but quickly realized that we had nothing to bond over. She bragged to me about how she received a green card by marrying an American and swiftly divorcing him. She then went on to brag about how she is known as the fashionista among all of her friends and they all look to her for new trends. I threw up in my mouth a little bit.

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There were also a few people who constantly pestered me about poutine or who would want to argue with me about how disgusting poutine was. They acted as if they were the poutine champions of the world. Finally somebody asked what was in poutine and I heard somebody say “cheese, french fries, and mayo.” I almost lost it at that point… here I’ve been listening to some dorks go on about poutine and they don’t even know what the hell it is!? C’MON!!!! So I specified that traditional poutine was “french fries, gravy and cheese curds” – and no not cheese slices, but CURDS!

The actual sewing aspect was A LOT MORE tedious and annoying than I ever would have imagined. Never did I realize how key patience were in the sewing world. Perhaps that was why we had never met before? It took my 15 minutes every single time to put the damn thread through the “eye” of the needle on the sewing machine. I would have to get down on one knee, close an eyeball, tilt my head and chest slightly to the right, and hope that my wood pecker hand movements would eventually put the damn thread through the hole. And that was the start of class every single time.

I had no idea how much cutting and pinning and ironing was involved in sewing. And it takes so freakin’ long! Every time after sewing class I would tell John what I had just spent the last 5 hours doing and I always felt like I should be able to tell him that I did more than just cut and iron. Props to all you sewers – you are patient people.

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On my very last class the instructor (who was totally, unbelievably strange by the way… but also nice) was talking to me about how he was getting ready to turn the big 4-0. He kept going on and on and on about it, and I would just smile politely or make an “uh huh” noise when it felt natural. He was still going on about turning forty, and had come over to sit REALLY close to me to help me with something… like so close our noses were almost touching… when this is what he said to me:

“We’re about the same age, aren’t we!?”

I almost cried on the spot. Sew much for this class I thought….

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All of that aside, now that it is all over, I actually think that I might enjoy sewing. I like being able to create something new and after I was finished, I was so proud of myself for creating a wrap dress that I can actually wear. I at least now know where the power switch is on a sewing machine, how to cut fabric properly, I’ve learned sewing terminology, I’ve learned that it’s really annoying to be sewing and realize that your machine isn’t threaded, I’ve learned that the sense of pride you have when it’s all over is worth all the pin marks in your finger pads. I hope that one day I’ll sew my own children their own Halloween costumes, don’t hold me to that though.

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Ironically, through my whole entire 45 hours of sewing class, I was never taught how to sew a button on… but that’s what tailors in our condo lobby are for, right Baby?!

 

Enjoy Life Lovelies!
L

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Puphood: Parenting Lessons Learnt From A Puppy

 

 

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Obligatory “first day at home” photo of Ernie

 

Our little boy is turning ONE! Cue the “where has the time gone?” and “time sure goes by fast” and “I remember when we brought him home the very first day” stuff that nobody cares about except the parents and potential grandparents.

 

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Very first time we met him at the breeder’s when we were only going to “meet the breeders” and ended up falling in love with this Patootie

 

 

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His 1st car ride and his first toy which he quickly destroyed

 

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“What do you mean this is my new home?”

 

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Our first family photo Photo Cred goes to Stacy

 

Now I’ll have to answer the “how old is he” questions using years rather than weeks or months! Is this when we can no longer call him a puppy? Or use the excuse that he’s just a puppy when he pees from excitement? Mr. Ernie may “only” be a fur baby, but to us he is a part of our family. People scoff that he is “just a dog”, but to us he is the third member of our family. We love the lil monkey so much! It’s okay to call a dog a monkey, right?

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This has always been his favourite way to lie

 

 

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Over the past year Ernie has taught us so much about parenthood. Or as I like to call it, Puphood. I’ve been told to “wait until you have a real baby, then you’ll see the light” but maybe I like living in this well light world! How can one scoff at loving an animal too much anyhow? Ernie has opened our eyes to what it’ll be like to have human babies one day and we’ve learnt a few things along the way:

– Watching them play. I have watched Ernie play with other dogs for  literally hours at a time and throughout those hours I have a warm, glowing heart and a big, goofy love struck grin slapped on my face. I LOVE watching him have so much fun with his little buddies and it brings me joy to see him so happy! When John is able to join Ernie and I for our long walks and playtime at the dog park, we sit on the bench holding hands, completely love struck, and watch our boy run laps, chase others dogs, wrestle with other dogs and have the time of his life.

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Playing with his cousin, Freddy

 

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– When they are sick, you feel sick. When little Ernie is sick I feel absolutely helpless. I would do anything, pay anything to make him feel better or to know what is wrong with my cutie patootie. It’s heartbreaking to see your little baby in any sort of pain or suffering and have no idea how to make them feel better. When something is wrong with your baby, you just KNOW! Who knew that instincts were actually legit!? (Except, it seems that my instincts always lead me to believe that poor Ernie is dying of cancer every time he is sick, but the Vet tells me that those instincts require some fine tuning.) 

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Heart. Wrenching.

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He loves me too

 

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– You always sleep with one eye open. Any sort of peep, whine, simper or bark that Ernie makes during the night I am well aware of. I am always on edge in case something is wrong. If he stopped breathing in the middle of the night, I would be giving him CPR within 5 seconds of his last breath. Ernie has woken up twice in the middle of the night from throwing up in his little beddy-weddy (yes, I baby talk to my puppy wuppy) and each time this has happened, I have sprung out of bed like the ninja that I am. I sit with him, rub his back, talk soothingly to him and hold his hair back (or wait.. that last one is what my Mom did for me when I was sick) until he is done. After clean up, I bundle him into his blanket and sleep with him on the couch in the living room with a bucket close by. He appreciates being comforted afterwards, he tells me with his eyes.  As I type this, I realize that I may sound like a crazy person, but I would probably do it for John too.

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– They “talk” back! Yes, I’m well aware that my dog doesn’t actually talk to me… how would you know if he did anyway!? No matter how much training the little fluff ball goes through, sometimes if he doesn’t want to “come” when called HE WILL NOT COME! He sits and stares at you, almost as if he is taunting you. He knows that he is supposed to come, but he won’t. Because he doesn’t feeeeeel like it. He sits in his air of stubbornness as if to say “I don’t need to listen to you, you’re not my REAL Mom” and then I say “you don’t mean that” and then he sits there taunting me as if to say “maybe YOU should come to ME” and I try to reason with him. I do my best to stay cool, calm and collected trying to show that I am the Alpha, but we both know that I’m about to lose control.

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Don’t give me those cute n’ sassy eyes

 

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You come to me!

– Everyone has parenting advice. Now, don’t get me wrong I DO appreciate useful and helpful advice from people who actually know what they are talking about. It’s the people who I hate getting advice from as their dog is humping my leg whilst (fun fact: “whilst” is a word that I love to overuse as it doesn’t get as much love as it really should) getting treats fed to him.   They’ll ask me if I’ve considered puppy classes for Ernie as he is running in circles not hurting anybody while their giant ass, stinky, drooling dog has got a grip on my leg as if my leg were Marilyn Monroe woken from her grave. Or they tell me, not casually mention which dog food they prefer, but they will adamantly TELL me what is the best dog food in the whole wide world. They will go on and on about how the generic brand from Walmart is the cat’s meow (clever, right?!) as if they are the dietician for all dogs that ever once lived. And if I even HINT that I prefer a different brand ((I’m an Acana lover, thank you very much..(love me a Canadian brand with wholesome ingredients) (not a plug, I swear) (these brackets within brackets get me every time… so much fun, give it a whirl one of these days… just not at work))  all hell breaks lose.

 

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Acana & Bracket Lover

– Potty behaviour. Never in my life did I ever expect to discuss in great detail quantity, quality or timing of fecal matter with my husband. Since we live in an apartment, we can’t simply let the dog out in our backyard. Because of this we are with him every single time he does number one or two and it seems that every time John or myself come back inside with Ernie we document to the other in great detail about his disposals. And then I worry if his bathroom “duties” are trending differently. When you are married to a mathematician, you cannot help but pick up on trend analysis… in fact, I’m trending to become 25% more analytical this time next year. (I can just imagine the horror in John’s eyes that I just wrote “25% more analytical” and that is partially why I included that last part… I’m nice like that.)

 

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Outside they go!

 

– When they learn something new. When Ernie learnt how to “shake a paw” or do any of his other “tricks” (there aren’t many, so don’t bother asking what his tricks are… and don’t bother bragging to me that your dog plays dead, good for him) both John and I felt an overwhelming rush of PROUDNESS (not sure if that word fits here or not, so I thought it would feel more welcome if I used caps) for Ernie. At times it was incredibly frustrating trying to teach him a trick or we thought we should just give up, but then he would go ahead and surprise us. A sense of pride would sweep over us and we would be so proud of how smart and intelligent he was when he would shake his itty bitty paw at us.

 

 

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What do you mean “shake a paw!?”

 

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Show me again, please

– Prejudice. Ernie has really opened up my eyes to holding back judgement on others. When I take Ernie for a walk on the downtown streets of Chicago, we see so many different kinds of characters. There were people who I would see who I would instictively walk a little bit quicker past, but then they would smile at Ernie and reach down to pet him. And I would feel like the biggest ass there ever once was. Not too boast or anything like that, but Ernie gets stopped on the street multiple times on a daily basis  by ALL kinds of people wanting to love on him, pet him, hold him, talk baby talk to him, take his photo, etc. Ernie treats every single person the same, regardless of their race, ethnicity, clothing, general appearance, wealth factor, etc. If you show Ernie some love, he’s got plenty to give right back regardless if you are a struggling homeless person who has seen better days or if you are a top exec business man or woman. I’m doing my best to be more like Ernie in that sense.

 

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Loves every single person and dog! Photo Cred again goes to Stacy 🙂

 

 

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Ernie gets told he looks like a Teddy Bear every single day. He loves it.

 

– Unconditional love. No matter how many times he is “bad” during the day, at the end of the night when he is snuggling with John and I, we forget about the chewed up baseboards. Each night, no matter what happens during the day, our hearts blow up with love for our little boy. I don’t know how it happens, but I love this little boy more and more every single day. Even if he talks back to me, is extra sassy and stubborn, eats the garbage as an afternoon snack, at the end of each day we always love him more.

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Busted.

 

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“Sorry I was bad earlier”

Although some think I’m completely bonkers for loving my doggy-woggy so much (among other reasons), can you really fault a love so strong? While John is busting his tail feather at work, Ernie and I spend almost every waking moment together. You could call him my companion, my exercise buddy, my lunch partner, my therapist, my travel buddy, my best bud, my furbaby or you could even just call him a dog.. it doesn’t matter what “name” or “title” you put on him because he is all of those and so much more to us.

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Our little munchkin is turning one today and even though he has no friggin clue what that means, that is as good as a reason as any to party like it’s 1999.

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Whad’ya mean, it’s my birthday!?

So, Lovelies, crank up your Sugar Ray (a hit band from the 90’s in case you seriously don’t know) and please help us wish Ernest Theodore a very Happy 1st Birthday!!!

 

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Happy Birthday, Pal 🙂

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Most recent family photo xo

Enjoy Life,
L


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A Tribute To My Dad – Happy 60th!

My Dad turns 60 today!!! SIXTY!!! If I know my Dad at all, he won’t want to make his birthday a big deal whatsoever… If my Mom or any of his friends suggest doing anything to celebrate he will say that “it’s just another day” or something to the tune of that. But c’mon, the guy is turning 60 and in honour of his 60th birthday I want to share with the world how lucky a daughter I am to have such an incredible Dad.

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I would go as far to say that I have never and will likely never come across anybody who has a stronger work ethic than my dear, ol’ Dad. Once he starts something, there is absolutely nothing that will get in his way from completely what he has started. It doesn’t matter how impossible a task, my Dad will figure it out once he gets his mind set. And not only will he figure it out… it will be done with the perfection that only a perfectionist can truly appreciate.  He had a career that had an incredibly stressful, gruesome and negative environment. He was on call for every 24 hours that there are in a day, for all of the 365 days in the year. Even if he was on holidays or on vacation. Growing up, I never understood the magnitude of his every day life. As an adult, I am able to appreciate the nature of his career in a way that I was never able to do as a child or teenager. Hearing his stories are both fascinating and terrifying, yet they always make me appreciate him that much more. My husband, John, and I now love to hear about what his work life used to be like and it’s pretty tough to complain about the corporate world after hearing some of his stories. Because of the nature of his career, I cannot post or share any photos of my Dad.

My Dad taught me how to be independent. He always instilled in me to get good grades in school, not to please my parents or my teachers, but for myself. I never really “got it” until I started university, but better late than never right? My sweet Dad was so proud of me for my first ‘A+’ on my first midterm in university that he went to the drug store on his own, bought me a funny “I’m proud of you for succeeding” card, wrote in it himself and mailed it to me 800 kms away. That card meant the world to me and I still have it today.

My Dad has always been extremely supportive and encouraging. My sister and I have played on a variety of sports team since we were probably 3 or 4 and my Dad was always there on the sidelines cheering us on. He coached us in baseball. He watched all our gymnastic routines and he watched my sister and I perform our self choreographed routines on the trampoline. He drove thousands and thousands and thousands of kilometres to always come to our out of town games, tournaments, provincials, etc. Even if it meant coming straight from a long day of work in his work clothes, my Dad was always there. Never once did he ever complain about the cost (time and/or money) to be there to support his girls. And in many more ways than one, he has always been our biggest supporter from the sidelines.

No matter how crappy of a day he had, my Dad would always play with my sister and I. There was no way that he was going to have prissy girls as daughters. He would play outside with us, take us to the park, he would play Super Nintendo and Playstation with us. He would buy us remote control cars and play with them with us for hours upon hours in the middle of our cup-de-sac. In the winter time, he bought us track remote control racing cars with upside down loops and everything. He would take us tobogganing, and when we were old enough he bought us a G.T., where he would double up on the G.T. with us. He taught us how to ski and would go  skiing with me up until I was an adult. As a kid, I was a daredevil and would go straight down hill on my skis as fast as I could. My poor Mom would almost have a heart attack every time we went skiing and she would always tell me that I needed to make turns or that I needed to slow down. My Dad saw potential in me and signed me up as a ski racer.

He would play catch with us in the living room with velcro mitts and fuzzy balls (he also bought us super cool hippopotamus head gloves to play catch with.) He would play football with us on the beach. He would let us ride our big, black dog as a horse in the backyard when we were really little. He would spends hours in the backyard with my sister and I teaching us sports skills. He introduced me to badminton by playing as a family in our backyard when I was 13 years old… because of that I later when on to win gold at provincials playing badminton. He would take us on family bike rides that wouldn’t just be a tootle around the block, but kilometres and kilometres in the mountains in Jasper (Canadian Rockies).

One of the first clear memories that I have is the day that my Dad took my training wheels off. We celebrated by going on a family bike ride on a path through Medicine Hat. My sister and I were in front of my parents and after we had just pedalled up to the top of a huge hill, I couldn’t wait to reward myself by pedalling as fast as I could straight back down the other side of that hill. I was a daredevil, remember? I pedalled as hard as I could down the hill… before I knew it, I had lost total control of my bike and I flew head first over my handlebars and landed chin first on the tiny, red rock pathway. I have never, ever forgotten how fast my Dad got to my side in that moment and even as a four year old I could see the fear, worry and concern in his eyes. He scooped me right up, ran to the closest street there was, flagged down a police car and rode with me to the closest hospital. After I was healed, we went on another family bike ride (on a flat path mind you) because there was never even an option of not getting back onto my bike. And for that, I love him. I still have a scar on my chin to this day that I’ve always been proud of.

We were never rich growing up, but we always went on a family vacation every summer. That was something our family valued a lot and still do to this day. We would go camping a lot… real true camping, outhouses and all. We went to Alaska and the Yukon one summer. We went to Penticton some summers. We went to Jasper quite often. It didn’t matter where we went, whether we were staying at a nicer hotel in Jasper or if we were all staying in our tent trailer, as long as we were together that’s all that would matter.

My Dad hasn’t agreed with every single decision that I have ever made, but he has always been there for me when I needed him. Even if he knew that I was making an unwise decision and I wouldn’t listen to him, he would never give me the “I told you so” talk. I’ve always been one who needs to learn things themselves and he would respect that… I have an inkling he was the same way. I have always had a special bond with my Dad, he’s always just understood me. I’ve had some of my best talks with my Dad during car rides, but he never forces or pushes me to talk about anything that I don’t want to. Our talks happen organically. During those talks, he has offered me invaluable, life changing advice that I am so very appreciative of. He has always had my best interest at heart and I’ve always known that all he’s ever wanted was the best for his family.

I could go on and on about how great my Dad is. I could tell you how funny, witty, generous, stubborn, smart, etc he is, but those who know him already know that. My Dad is a one of kind, stand up guy and I am so proud to be his daughter. I look up to my Dad in so many ways with the utmost respect and admiration.

One of the greatest lessons he has ever taught me is that labels don’t matter. He taught me to be just as kind to the janitor as you would be to the CEO. He taught me to be a good person and that materialistic crap does not matter. It doesn’t matter how much stuff you have, what your last name is, what your job title is, where you came from, what kind of car you drive, what kind of house you live in… all that matters is that you are a good person.

My Dad was not a wealthy man by normal standards, but he taught us that the quality of life that you live does not depend on how much money you have in your bank account. My Dad taught me how to have fun. How to live a rich life and to share it with those you love. He taught me that you don’t need bucket loads of money to enjoy life, that Christmas isn’t about the presents under the Christmas tree. In many ways, my Dad is an extremely wealthy man and he gave me the kind of childhood that money simply cannot buy.

Thank you for everything… you know how much I love you.

Happy Birthday, Pops xo

Enjoy Life,
L


15 Comments

TALL, DARK & HANDSOME (in a woman’s way) – Part 2

Making new friends in not only a new city, but a new country is TOUGH! I wrote about my failed attempts at making new friends here, which includes trying to make friends through meetup.com, asking strangers at the dog park for the phone number, etc.

I am happy to report that three months in we have fabulous new friends who we already have plans to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving, US Thanksgiving and Christmas with this year. Bottles of wine made this decision and for that we are grateful.

They have two of the sweetest and cutest kids ever. An 8 (and a half) year old daughter and a 7 (and a quarter) son. The son has already told John what a great father he is going to be (my heart melted in a big, fat pile of jelly when I heard him tell John this) and the daughter is the kind of daughter that you hope your kids turn out to be.

Now, for those you actually know me, I’ve never been much of a fan of babysitting. To be frank, there are kids out there who I just do not want to spend hours of time with knowing that I am responsible for them. Your hooligan puts his hand in the garborator while I’m in the bathroom, and your other hooligan kid turns the switch on and somehow it’s my fault that you didn’t teach your kids not to do this?! No thank YOU! My sister was always the babysitter in our family and although I wouldn’t outright say that I don’t like children, but I might whisper it…. I kid, I kid (pun super intended) I like kids, just not all of them… especially the kid who is throwing his spaghetti onto my head at a restaurant.

And yes, I know that you are drinking your coffee while you are reading this, and I know that you are rolling your eyes at this thinking to yourself “Just wait until you have kids” but that is precisely why I am waiting, thank you very much. Are we finished with the eye rolling now?

Back to the story, now much to my own surprise, I OFFERED to babysit these two little cutie patooties… MORE THAN ONCE! I like them and I would be okay with spending hours upon hours with them. Now, I haven’t been taken up on this offer yet and I probably won’t after their dear Mom reads this, but that’s beside the point.

The other night as I was chopping and dicing onions, my phone lit up with a new text message from my new Christmas sharing friend. I was so excited that I unlocked my phone with my slimy onion hands and much to my delight, this is what her message said:

“The kids are making baby John and Lisas and they are babysitting them. IT IS HILARIOUS!”

She also attached this photo:

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Now tell me, does it get any cuter than that?! Tell me you wouldn’t want to spend two Thanksgivings and a Christmas with this family too!?

Enjoy Life,
L


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I Like Big (M)UTTS And I Cannot LIE

Dear Blogging World,

I mention our beloved pup, Ernie, in many of my posts… I decided that today is the day that you finally get to meet him!

Blogging World, meet Ernie!

Enjoy Life
L

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Ernie’s first day at home xo