Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sunday-12:45pm

Good afternoon!  
I'm posting a day early because I'm having a Gramma Day tomorrow.  :)  Took this picture last night of the sunset's golden reflection in the clouds.  
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Well, first of all--the wood pellets ended up being a big fail.  Annie would walk in, pee, turn around and leave...but there was no way she was going to poop in there because she couldn't stand to bury it. 
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I know--cat logic.  
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Annie absolutely hated to dig in those pellets.  I knew she was not fond of them.  The more I added to the old big litter box the less she buried anything...and Annie is an enthusiastic digger.  But I thought that as long as she went in the box it would be okay because I had to remove the poop (with Annie you can smell it a mile away) and the pee just made sawdust to shake and sift down.  I was so hopeful when she peed in there.
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But poop--no way.
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She left me gifts every morning. 
Annie was miserable.  
She held everything--pee and poop--as long as she could possible hold it (over 24 hours at a time--also probably not good for her).  Annie had relentless, toxic farting; was restless and jumpy; would forget, head for the pantry, stop in the doorway, stare inside, stare at me (if she could talk she would have said naughty things to me), decide she didn't have to go that badly yet and walk away; she started stress grooming...then she started to cry by the pantry door and stare at me.  
Annie was miserable.  
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By Wednesday I couldn't bear watching her distress and was tired of washing the rug.  I cleaned out the new litter box...and discovered that tiny pieces of wood pellets get stuck in the grate.  Even after I wet them and let them sit a while they were stuck hard.  Had to poke them through with an old letter opener.
 If I had a place where I could have let them soak submerged in water they would have come loose.  Anyways, I cleaned it all up and sent it over for McFamily to try the wood pellets with Blink.
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Annie has her big litter tub back and was quite relieved!  
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Wednesday Leah picked me up.  She, the boys, and I went to JoAnn's to look for green card stock.  We didn't find a green that we liked to go with our plaid paper but we did find a dark red--so we'll have a red frame instead of a green one.  Was such a good day--no sciatica issues at all walking--only the usual back stuff.  :) :)
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Then it was Ian's first time at this Wednesday Workout class Leah signed him up for. (Parks and Rec, I believe.)  We got there early.  Ian wanted to go around the walker's path up high.
I was downstairs in a folding chair. 
Leah (with Liam strapped to her) went around with Ian once and then he ran around up there about three more times by himself while Mama and Liam waited for him.
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We were the first ones there.  The two young women in charge put out a big circle of colored plastic circles for the kids to sit on... 
...and laid out an obstacle course. 
When class started they were all called to sit in the circle.  Ian is the one with his back to me to the left of the blue line. 
All the while they did their exercises and movements Ian just observed. 
Ian hasn't been involved in group activities like this but Leah signed him up for a couple of things this summer.  He's had swimming, but Mama was in the pool with him, and general group gatherings like reading at the library, but nothing this structured where you had to follow directions in a group.  Ian was more interested in watching the other kids to see what they were doing--LOL!
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  By the time they moved on to the obstacle course, though, he seemed to have gotten the hang of things and he did really well waiting his turn and going around the obstacle track in order.  Gramma didn't get any pictures of that because Liam was having a really cranky day (more teeth?) and Mama went to walk Liam about to keep him quiet so I watched Ian--and was so "in the moment", as usual, that I forgot to take any more pictures.  Ian went around the obstacle course about four times.  Then they had to all get in a line.  Ian was the last to leave the obstacle course (loved it!).  One by one they each got a coloring page with a frog on it and a couple of back-of-the-hand stamps.  Ian was all smiles!!  He is going to love these classes, I think.
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Then, since I was having a good day, I decided to go home with them for a longer visit.  Dagan had to work late.  Liam was generally having a bad day half the time so I didn't get too much time with him, but I got a little.  :)  Ian and I had a great time watching Finding Nemo cuddled together on the couch.  Leah made a yummy dinner.  She later got the boys' pajamas on and then I put Ian to bed while she put Liam to bed.  Read a story, talked a little while, hugs and kisses...and by that time Gramma was ready for bed, too--LOL!  (I have been known to sleep 9-11 hours after Gramma Days.)
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Dagan came home and we all visited for a while.  About 10pm--getting ready to leave--was soooo tired--hurtin' (back and knees from walking and uncomfortable seating)--feeling weak and noodle-y like I get--trying to bend over to strap my sandals standing up--lost my balance--and fell on my knees.  Dagan and Leah came to my rescue and helped me up.  Leah gave me a spray I could use on my knees for pain--pure magnesium oil.  I think it helped.  Hard to tell.
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Anyways, it was an absolutely marvelous day, just had a painful ending--LOL!  I got probably a total of two hours sleep Wednesday night...then ~5, 7, and last night finally 9 decent hours.  So lots better than I was.  I sure have been wracking myself up lately!  Good grief!  I have to face the fact that I can't be lifting things willy nilly like I used to and that I need to sit down to fasten shoes (especially when very tired).  I already had learned the hard way not to lift the big Britta frig water container except in the morning on a good day--LOL!  The more I do the more pain--but also the more exhausted and weaker I get.  I have to remember that, too.  Duh!  
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Anyways, Caroline came to clean on Thursday--had to switch from Tuesday because her little boy was sick.  She liked the new toilet brush for cleaning under the rim, but it is a different shape to get used to (simple human brand).  Thumbs up, though.  Funny how I put off replacing things like the toilet brush and plunger--but it is so nice to have a new set you wonder why you waited so long--LOL!  
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I even feel better about Annie being huddled up next to these new ones during thunderstorms.  Hail cracking against the glass and air conditioner woke me up at 2am Friday morning.  I made a trip to the bathroom as long as I was up--and there was Annie next to the toilet.  Thunderstorm, but no hail, when I woke up on Saturday morning, too.  There was Annie next to the new toilet brush and plunger--LOL!  Seems odd to be able to reach down and pet your cat while on the porcelain throne--LOL!  Luckily, Annie isn't trembling.  She just wants to be someplace she considers safe and leave her h-e-double hockey sticks alone.  Once the storm has passed--she waits a while so as not to be tricked out of her place of safety--then she's fine and dandy.  Annie comes out and rolls happily on the rug--relieved the danger has passed.  Humans should recover so quickly--LOL!  :)
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Okay--the reason I am posting a day early...
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Saturday was going to be Gramma Day because Leah's friend, Amber, was moving back up to Fargo then.  But that got changed to Monday, so Leah asked if I would be okay to switch to Monday for Gramma Day.  Yes.  (I am just now feeling almost recovered from Wednesday--LOL!)  So, I figured I'd blog and do laundry today.  I'll be busy tomorrow and shot on Tuesday--hehe!  
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While I've been typing I've been watching the red-winged blackbird, grouse, morning doves, sparrows, and grackles nibbling away on the seed.  A few have taken baths.  Many have sipped some water.  Baby sparrows cry and shake their wings for parents to feed them seeds...while they're standing right next to them--ROFL!  I love the cooing of the mourning doves, the contented clucking of the grouse, the trilling of the red-winged blackbird, and the happy cheeping of the sparrows.  I have put two loads of clothes away while we were chatting and made a hotdish.  That's all she wrote for today.  Feeling totally drained...but happy.  
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Oh, I have a question for you.  
Have any of you left Facebook?  It takes 90 days after you say you want to delete your account before you are off--and you can't go near it--one accidental click and you have to start over.  I'm really only on there to post the blog because I was asked by some people to do that because it was easier for them.  But I do have a "follow by email" option on the upper side of the blog so it can be delivered to your inbox.  I am thinking of leaving Facebook and have heard of several others who are doing it.  Was wondering what those of you on Facebook thought about it?  Have you already left/are waiting an exit out right now or do you plan to stay?  If you follow me on Facebook would you use the "follow by email" if I left?  (BTW--I would have no idea if you do or don't because I receive no accounting of who follows by email.)  Just curious.  I would let you know ahead of time if I decide to quit.  
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Well, till next week! 
Hope your week is absolutely marvelous...without a painful ending--LOL!  ;)
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"Gratitude is exultation awaiting between the cracks of normalcy."
Frederic Potter

Monday, June 11, 2018

Monday-1:30pm

Good afternoon!
Was 12 years yesterday since I started blogging.  Wow!  Time flies.  :)  I haven't been the best blogger so far this year, but I am trying to get back to regular posts.  Thanks to all of you who have hung in there and stuck with me.  I have met some of the best people, made new pen pal friends, and met people from all around the globe.  We really do live in the best time!  :)
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Well, I found out something this week.  Annie is afraid of thunderstorms.  Makes sense, I suppose, as she hates loud noises.  Last Tuesday night she was sleeping on my chair while I was watching the end of an episode of Poldark when suddenly lightning lit up the living room even with the blinds closed.  A crack of thunder ejected Annie from the chair like an explosion of black fur!  Out of the corner of my eye I caught a black streak darting into the pantry.
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I thought that since there had been no warning and it was like the storm had developed right over us that probably the surprise had caused the extreme reaction.  I finished the Poldark episode to flashes of light, snapping thunder, and the pelting of rain on the air conditioner.  When I was ready I went and found Annie huddled in a corner of the pantry--thinking she might want to cuddle with me on the bed for comfort.  I carried her trembly body into the bedroom but the second I set her on the bed she raced into the bathroom and hid behind the toilet.  I am no comfort to Annie when she's afraid.
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But the next morning the sun was shining and Annie was taking in the rays. 
I wonder if her fear of thunderstorms has something to do with being abandoned on the street when she was a young thing?  I imagine her being outside trying to find shelter in a bad storm...she had to have scary times.
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This morning I woke up to rain and I thought I heard some distant thunder.  While I got ready for the day Annie hid behind the toilet in the bathroom.  Apparently the thunder doesn't have to be right overhead.  Annie did manage to slink down the hallway and into the pantry so she could get her morning bit of canned food.  But then she wouldn't come out of the pantry long after it quit raining.  Finally she must have realized the danger was past (my telling her so had no effect whatsoever) and she finally made her way back out into the world...our world--LOL!
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So Annie is very afraid of thunder.  I learned something new about her this week.
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Right now she is sleeping in the chair next to me at the table here.  I think she had an exhausting night hiding in the bathroom, poor thing.
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Meanwhile, we've had critter visitors, of course.  You'd probably have to enlarge this to see the newest visitor--a red-winged blackbird.  Or orange-winged blackbird.  I grew up with them as a kid and heard them called by both names so I am not sure which is correct.
And this past week or so the ground squirrels have discovered the bird seed on my patio. 
I had Gramma Day all day on Saturday and Ian and I saw a ground squirrel out there every time we turned around.  We waited until it filled it's pouches and left before we went out to pull weeds around the patio (some of the bird seed had germinated).  Low 90s and about the same in humidity--awk! 
Turned out yesterday I saw one ground squirrel waiting for the other one to leave so it could get seed--so there are at least two of them!  I was just about thinking to stop putting out seed for the summer...and now I won't, of course.  I do love those thirteen-striped ground squirrels!!
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Ian and I were busy all day.  We watched the movie WallE, ate lunch, checked my mail, watched the ground squirrel(s), picked weeds, looked at old Bubbles laying about...
...and then, since Ian didn't want to paint, we tackled another project.  I took a picture in a text for Leah--not knowing that I could never get ahold of it to show you...and believe me I tried.  Even when I figured out how to download it to my laptop it will not let me open it.  *sigh*  Lesson learned.
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 Anyways, we misted 25 sheets of white cardstock for Christmas cards.  We used the red trays to dry them--stacked crosswise.  Ian couldn't manage the misting bottle (tried) so he was in charge of stacking the red trays crosswise.  He had to get a stool to he could reach high enough to stack them.  Did a great job!  So--one step done on the assembly-line and Ian can say he helped!  He was very pleased.
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I had Ian on Saturday because Leah's good friend, Amber, is moving back to Fargo and drove up from southern Minnesota to look for a place to rent.  She wanted Dagan and Leah with for a second opinion and Gramma was more than happy to take Ian for the day.  :)  I'll take him next Saturday, too, because they plan to clean house for Ian's birthday party the following Sunday.  (I volunteered!)
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When Dagan came to pick up Ian he helped me empty the big, old litter box.  He took out trash while I sprayed down the litter box.  Then--I decided to take the risk and have Dagan bring the old litter box out to the garage.  Annie would suddenly have no choice and we'd see how she did.
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She's doing just fine with it!!
I think it really did help adding more and more pellets to her old box so she got used to the chunky feel of the wood pellets first.  Anyways, I am delighted!  Good for Annie, the environment, and my pocketbook.  :)
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Speaking of Annie.  I went to take a picture of her sleeping on my leg last night...
 ...she gave me a look--what are you up to?
I had removed my hand to take the picture.  As soon as the hand went back on her tummy she conked out again. 
I may not be a comfort to her during a thunderstorm, but she does like my company now.  ;)  So much so that she often makes it difficult for me to write letters in my chair.  Her feelings get so hurt because she takes it as personal rejection...and I am a soft touch.  LOL!  :)
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Well, this week I am hoping I can go with Leah to a craft store (or two, if need be) on Wednesday.  We want to find 25 sheets of green card stock in a green we like.  It's been such a long time since we've been out shopping together!  I'm praying for a good day so I can go with.  :):)
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In the meantime, I have written another Monday blog and am doing laundry.  Even though it quit raining, it's a dark day--but the rain did cool it off.  Nice!   I hope you are having a positive day and it will be a really sweet week for you and yours.  Feels nice to be getting back into regular blogging again. 
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Life is good.  :) :)
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"May you embrace this day, not just as any old day, but as this day.  Your day.  Held in trust by you, in a singular place, called now."
Carrie Newcomer

Monday, June 04, 2018

Monday-11:45am

Still morning...barely--LOL!
 We've had some rain come through...
...from sprinkles to steady downpours. 
So glad!  We needed it! 
The wind did break off the existing marigolds that had been blooming when I bought them.
The new blooms will be sturdier having grown up in the wind tunnel outside my door--LOL!
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Well, I've been torturing Annie.  Not at this very moment...although she thinks I am.  She's sitting next to me meowing with some complaint or another.
My guess is that she's not happy that I just closed the place up and turned the AC on--LOL!
It was so much cooler the past couple days that I could have the place open all day and Annie was in seventh heaven.  All good things must end, isn't that what "they" say?  Back into the 80s again for the next week.  If it's cool enough at night I promised Anne I might at least crack the patio door for her for a while.  That's the guilt talking for the ongoing cat torture.
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And how am I torturing her?
I am trying to switch her over to a different system for her litter box.
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Leah found out about this online and Annie is our guinea pig.  If it works Blink will be next.  Just in case Annie refuses--no point in them buying up all this stuff because I could send it over for Blink. 
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Okay--this system uses hardwood pellets for the litter.  These are the actual pellets people use in pellet wood stoves.  Way cheaper than clay litter, better for the environment and the cat...but I have to talk an old cat into a new trick--LOL!  
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For anyone who's interested there are many videos on youtube.  Note: in researching this further I found it is not recommended to buy pine wood pellets because there is something in the pine oil that can make cats sick.  They recommend using hardwood pellets, but in a lot of the videos people are using pine.
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The litter box this lady was using looked perfect for the change.  It's made by Tidy Cat and come with plastic pellets.  Plastic--yuck!  Most cats I have ever had--well, I can't imagine them ever using plastic pellets.  But those come with the litter kit.
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Even though this lady uses the wood pellets for horse stalls (which I don't know if those are hardwood or pine), I stuck this video in because it shows this cat box with the tray and how it all works.  Easy to put a plastic bag underneath the whole thing so you can pick it all up easily and cleanly when it's time to empty the sawdust.  I liked her system.
Even in the information that came with the litter box it suggests putting the new cat box next to the old one... 
...and to put a pee ball inside to give them the idea.
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Annie's response...
"Surely you jest!"  
Their suggestion was to let the old box get so dirty that the cat would try the new cleaner box.  Well, honestly--Annie would probably keep going in the dirty box and I'm the one who can't stand a dirty litter box--LOL!
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Annie has never set one paw inside that new one.
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So, I started adding some of the hardwood pellets to her old box to get her used to the feeling of digging in the pellets.
My plan is to gradually add more pellets until there is almost all pellets in there--and then remove the old one and pray. 
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Don't worry.  I do have some of her old kitty litter and will clean and save her old bigger cat box just in case.   In fact, I might set this one inside of the old one after it's emptied and cleaned for a while just so it feels more familiar.  I really hope this 8-9 year old cat will accept the change because sawdust is so much better for the environment than the clay--there should be much less dust--and I can get a 40 pound bag of the hardwood pellets for about $4.19-4.59 here in town.  So, I say, "Annie...please, be adaptable!"  
Wish me luck!
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Ian was here from about 10:30am till 5:30pm on Friday for Gramma Day!  The time just flew by.  Caroline was delivering my groceries right when Ian arrived.  Ian helped me put groceries away.  It was a bristle block/TV day, I guess.  We watched "How It's Made" videos on YouTube--one was on how they make Nutella.  Ian said he hadn't ever had Nutella so afterwards we had a taste (he loved it) and read the ingredients on the jar.  
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We watched a show on dinosaurs where he sat with Gramma because it involved killing and eating other dinosaurs...so we talked about lions, wolves, and baby sea turtles.  We needed a break--so I counted while Ian ran 10 times around the kitchen table and then he helped me change a big round light bulb in the bathroom.  Little exciting projects for an almost four year old.  ;)  Time for some gentleness after the dinosaurs...Ian asked to watch some Mr. Rogers.  Yup--the day flew by and Daddy was here to pick him up.
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 I think I feel like Blink here after a day with Ian--LOL!
Gramma was falling asleep in her chair by 8:30! 
But it is a very happy sore and tired.  :)
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Then Leah was here for Crafts yesterday.  We are trying Sunday afternoons for Craft Days instead of Tuesday nights.  I had gotten a Kindle Fire on sale and Leah set it up for me!   I mostly wanted it for reading books (enlarging the font) and audio books.
Leah made the Birthday Party invitations for Ian's birthday later on this month.  We went over the steps for the three-tree Christmas cards, made a change in the plan, and took note that we still need green cardstock--but for now I can start working on the next assembly-line steps when I am feeling decent.  It is soooo nice to be having some better days.  Whoohoo!!
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That's about it from this week.  Saw a suggestion that if I make a comment on my own blog with a click to be notified of further comments I should get email notifications.  So I am going to try that.  (Thanks, Djan!)
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Have a fantabulous week!!  :) :)
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"Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet."
Thich Nhat Hanh

Monday, May 28, 2018

Monday-4:30pm

It's Monday and I am actually here with the couple months worth of pics and short videos from Leah that I promised.  Believe it or not I started sorting through them all at 11:30am and am just now starting the blog--hehe!  Don't worry--you are only getting a sampling.  ;)
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It's been hot and sticky here--upper 80s to low 90s.  I am most grateful for air conditioning.
The lawn mower folks had one of those huge mowers die while they were mowing the apartment complex across the way.
There was a lot of standing and thinking involved.  Trucks came.  Eventually it was started somehow and lumbered away to be repaired.   
Annie hid under the bed.
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I love seeing pictures of McFamily hanging out.
Liam with a messy face after eating. 
Liam is crawling up a storm and has been for a while.
They made this funny video of Liam crawling iin slow motion with sound effects.
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When Dagan went down to Minneapolis, before for his surgery they stopped at the Mega Mall.  I love these shots of Ian and Daddy inside the bubble lookout spot.  :)
Ian told me all about the aquarium and how the sharks swim over your head.   
Mama got a video of it!
Looks like a fun time was had before surgery day.
The boys were very good at the hospital all those hours. 
There was a lot of waiting involved because they were running later. 
As you know, Dagan has a new pacemaker and all is well.
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A couple people asked me about Ian's bicycle that has no pedals when I showed it last summer.
Here's a video.
Ian's gotten faster and his balance is much better than it was.  I love the lime green helmet!
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Here's a video just to show you the energy that Gramma can't keep up with--LOL!
Things are much quieter on my Gramma Days while we do crafts and art and watch Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers and nature shows.  ;) ;)
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I thought this series of photos were pretty funny.  Liam climbed up on that baby entertainment thingie while Blink was inside just watching him.
Liam stood up against it, moved over to other pieces of furniture, tipped over the arched entertainment thingie (as you can see below)...
...visited with Mama... 
...Mama put his hood up (cute)...
...Ian came down on the floor from the couch where he'd been with Daddy... 
...and noticed Blink was still inside the thingie!  So he climbed inside with Blink--LOL! 
That Blink just amazes me!
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When they were all over here (honestly can't remember which time) we got Ian's old push toy down.  It's been on top of Ian's shelves all this time waiting for Liam to be old enough to use it.  He's not walking yet, but we thought we'd give it a go anyways.
He knew just what to do!  I was surprised at his balance!
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Love these boys!!
They are growing like weeds! 
Liam's first finger foods.  Time to develop those small motor skills--LOL!  :)
How nice to be able to eat in your high chair out on the deck, eh?
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Last, but not least--I promised you before and after pics of the patio!
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Before.
After. 
It was a horrible day to be doing this really.  
In the 90s, drippy-humid, windy, and at the end it began to rain... 
...but mission accomplished.  Bought marigolds and geraniums to go along with the coleus and gerber daisies from Costco.  You'll notice that because it is so windy here I decided that instead of hanging plants I opted for a couple nice pots to put in the corners with fuchsias.
The only flowers that aren't doing well since we did this last Wednesday are the gerber daisies from Costco.  Everything else is looking great!
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Ian helped Mama dig.  He has his own gardening gloves and tools.  But toward the end he wanted to go with Liam and I for walks on the sidewalk.  (I was just keeping Liam occupied--as long as he's moving he's happy.)  So we walked down to the cottonwood tree and gave it a hug.  Weren't back too long and it started to rain.  That's when I made a big mistake--and should know better so it's my own fault.  
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I was already limping from all that walking all afternoon...but I helped Leah lift and carry the stroller inside and over to the rug by the door because the wheels were wet and muddy.  Have been in extra pain since then--from neck and shoulders to knees and ankles...lower back has been a mood most foul--LOL!  I've gradually been feeling better.  Slowly.  But that's why this is taking me so long to post today.  I have to get up and down--LOL!  
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But I am glad I have given myself the Monday deadline or you might not hear from me for weeks again.  I will continue to try to post every Monday.  :) :)
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Oh, and ever since that big yellow box with the notice about the European Union laws showed up on my blogs (I do have two)--I am not getting any email notifications about comments that I can respond to!!  Awk!  I have the comment moderation on so I get to read every one of them, but then I can't write you back!  Maybe this will change.  I am hoping it is a glitch of some kind that Blogger will fix.  I am not the only one this is happening to.  Just wanted you to know that I read every single comment but I can't write back to you--for now, anyways.  Please keep commenting!  :) :)  Or--if you send me an actual email I will write back!!  ;)  Anyways, just wanted to let you know what's happening with Blogger.
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Okay--I started this over six hours ago.  Time to do a quick proofread and post, my friends.  I hope to see you next Monday.  Take care and have a fantabulous week!!  :)
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"Heaven and Earth are threads from one loom."
Shaker Proverb