Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The inmate diet

Since the girls refuse to eat cereal for breakfast, they tend to eat a lot of toast. Usually they have toast with peanut butter and juice or milk. This morning when I came down, the brunette twin looked lost. She held the peanut butter jar in her hand and said, "It's empty."

I asked if she looked in the pantry or downstairs for more. She said there wasn't any in the pantry and she didn't have time to go downstairs. Instead, she took a slice of bread from the package and put butter on it. She ate that while drinking a glass of water. Yes, she had bread, butter and water for breakfast.

Tonight I think we have to have a conversation about acceptable breakfast options. Given all the food in our house, there's no reason for them to eat like prison inmates.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Holly's first familly vacation

We had planned to go to Boston this summer, but then we decided we needed to do some house projects. We still wanted to get away for a few days so we started looking for some place within driving distance. We found a cute cabin in Lake Geneva at a reasonable price. We've spent quite a bit of time up there, so we booked it. After a few discussions, we decided to take Holly with us. It was the first time we tried to vacation with her, so no one knew quite how it would turn out.

The drive up to Lake Geneva went well. We stopped at an outlet mall so the girls could do some back to school shopping. About a dozen pairs of shoes later, we headed to Wind Point Lighthouse, perhaps my favorite place to relax. Holly enjoyed both stops. She was happy to be in the car, especially since Holly sat in her usually seat while the blond twin crammed herself into the tiny third row seat near all the luggage. 

When we arrived at the cabin, Holly was a little nervous. She's nervous by nature, so we expected her to be nervous in a new place. The owner's dog and Holly played in his backyard for a while before we took her to the cabin. 

Holly doesn't like to walk on hardwood floors. She has fur in between her paw pads courtesy of the Great Pyrenees part of her  DNA. She slips and slides a lot on hardwood floors. She stood on the entry throw rug until I threw a beach towel on the floor. She moved into the main room, sniffing all the way.

It wasn't long until the girls and Holly settled into their room to watch the Olympics. Holly stretched out on their bed like she owned the place. Since they let her take up most of the bed, it wasn't hard to understand why she thought it was her bed.

Traveling with Holly meant we had to adapt some of our normal routines. She came with us most places, even though this meant one person had to stand outside with her. When we ate at Gordy's, we sat across the street at the picnic tables with Holly. We left her at home to eat at Daddy's Maxwell's. We were four days into the trip when we went to breakfast without her. She wasn't happy, but she was settled enough that she didn't cause any problems.

We only had one problem, which came in the middle of our vacation. One of the most beautiful things to do in Lake Geneva is walk the lake shore path. All around Geneva Lake there is a public access path running in front of the beautiful summer homes. When we were at Gordy's, I decided to walk the lake shore path back to Williams Bay. The sign said it was about two miles. It was a beautiful night. Daddy was taking the girls to the beach. I said we'd meet them all there.

The problem was I forgot to ask Holly if she wanted to walk. Within a few minutes it was clear that Holly was not happy to be separated from Daddy and the girls. She kept trying to pull me up every set of stairs or walkway to get back to them. I kept pulling her back to the shore path, but she wasn't happy. The water lapping on the shore was soothing to me and terrifying to her. Holly spent the entire time with her ears back, jumping every time there was a strange sound. She didn't want to cross the bridges or walk on the path. 

She finally got her wish to go back to Daddy and the girls about a mile into our walk. As I looked down to step onto a bridge, she tried to go up the adjacent stairs. I fell, scraping my leg and bruising my forearm. I tried to continue walking, but a few blocks later I called Daddy to come get us. I was really angry. Holly was so happy to see Daddy.

For the rest of the trip she stayed as close to him as possible. She hardly let me hold her leash without getting very nervous. 

Overall I'd say our first trip was a success, despite my injuries. I don't know how much traveling Holly will do, though. The Dalmatian part of her personality is a bit too nervous to enjoy her time away from home.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Experience we don't want to use any more

The phone rang late one evening while we were watching tv. When I answered, the voice said, "Shari, it's Aunt Bonnie. We're at Walgreen's getting your Mom's medicine. We just came back from the hospital. She's going to be ok."

I reminded myself to breathe as I asked her what happened. She explained that Mom fell down Aunt Bonnie's garage stairs. They took Mom to the emergency room. Mom broke her right shoulder.

Immediately, I went back two years to the fall when Mom broke her left collarbone. Let's just say it wasn't so much fun that we wanted to repeat the experience, but we didn't get to vote. We knew exactly what needed to be done.

Within a few minutes I talked to Dave and Steve. We all had our tasks. We all knew what needed to be done. This time, though, it was going to be a bit harder as Mom broke her right hand, her dominate hand. When she broke her left collarbone she could still perform some tasks with her right hand. Now she was unable to do much with her left hand.

She'll adapt quickly, and so will we. I'm crossing my fingers that we're done using this experience, though. Two times is enough.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A good rule no matter whose house hosts the sleepover

Whenever the girls spend the night, I tell them they have to follow the house rules. It might be that the rules are quite different from ours, but "their house, their rules" is what we always say.

Recently the girls spent the night at Aunt Sue-Sue's with Brooke. The next night they all stayed at our house. As I was going to bed, we talked about the house rules. 

The girls giggled and said, "And no baking."

It turns out that before she went to bed, Aunt Sue-Sue ended her house rules by saying, "And, no baking."

I don't know what precipitated this rule, but it's a good one. We added it to our house rules too. If nothing else, it makes the girls laugh every time we say it.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A one track mind

Overheard at our house...

Blond twin:  "Mom, you have to meet Brooke's dad so we can hang out."

Mom:  "Aunt Sue-Sue's Brooke?"

Blond twin:  "Yeah. We want to hang out but her parents won't let her until you meet them. When we go to Uncle Steve's tonight, please talk to her dad. Ask if we can hang out before school starts."

Mom:  "You are going spend the night at Aunt Sue-Sue's next week with Brooke."

Blond twin:  "Yeah, but we want to hang out at our house too."

Mom:  "I know her dad. I've known him since he was your age. He was one of Uncle Dave's best friends growing up."

Blond twin:  "What do you mean?"

Mom:  "Why do you think Uncle Dave is Brooke's godfather? Why do you think they are at Uncle Dave and Aunt Sue-Sue's house so often? Did Brooke ask her dad about hanging out here?"

Blond twin:  "No. We didn't think you knew each other because you are so much older than her parents."

Mom:  "Ok, now you are pushing your luck."

Blond twin:  "Since you know her dad, when can we hang out?"

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Our vegetarian girl

The brunette twin decided a few months ago that she wanted to become a vegetarian. It wasn't a big surprise as she never ate much meat. There were a few things, like hamburgers and hot dogs, that she would eat so quickly you had to think about whether or not it was ever on her plate. Other things were a struggle. She balked at steak. She tolerated ham. She never considered fish.

She asked one day if she could be vegetarian. I told her it was her choice. She could become vegetarian, but she had to keep dairy products and eggs in her diet. I could work with a vegetarian diet, but vegan was a whole level I wasn't willing to take on. 

Slowly but surely we're figuring out how to replace meat with meat substitutes. Some things have been easy. Vegetarianism is so common now that you can find veggie burgers and veggie chicken strips in every grocery store. The first time we looked for these items we went to a specialty store. Once we had a few favorites, we started looking in other grocery stores. From discount grocery stores to mass merchandise retailers, you can find options everywhere.

There have been a few bumps. We have to keep track of her trace elements. We've added a daily multi-vitamin to her morning. We watch to make sure the brunette twin adds some protein to every meal. We try to vary her protein so she's not just eating peanut butter every day.

The hardest part for the brunette twin is eating out. An amusement park trip was hard. She was with her band and wasn't able to go from place to place looking for vegetarian options. She ate, but she was still hungry. Her default meal is a Caesar's salad. It's easy to find, although it's not a truly balanced meal. 

As we tell friends and family they are often surprised. Grampa owned a butcher shop. How did his youngest granddaughter decide to eliminate meat from her diet? Sometimes people wonder what they should feed the brunette twin. It's a whole lot easier than it seems at first. 

The biggest problem we have is that the brunette twin doesn't like a lot of fruits and vegetables. We keep telling her she can't be a vegetarian who doesn't like vegetables. We encourage her to keep trying new things as she creates her vegetarian life. It's an adventure for all of us as we figure out the best ways to support her choice.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Follow the paper trail

As the girls get older, it seems like every activity has more and more paperwork. Lately I've had the girls sit at the table to fill out as much as they can. Whenever they complain, I remind them that it's not my job to put pen to paper to fill in the details they already know. 

They know their names, birth date, address, phone number and emergency contact information. They can answer basic questions about their health. They know their pediatrician's phone number. There is no reason they can't be responsible for some of their paperwork.

I tell them that if they are going to be more responsible for their lives, they need to understand how much behind-the-scenes work going into their activities. They are pretty good about it, especially when they point out that the people reading the paperwork will probably be happier that their neat handwriting is on the forms. I would have protested, but they are correct. My handwriting is terrible. If that's what it takes to get them to do the work, I'll take it.