Monday, March 31, 2008

Onion skins, potato peels and egg shells

In case you don't know, these are just a few of the items you shouldn't run down your garbage disposal. I know, it's news to me as well.

Until recently, my policy was that if God made it, it's good enough for the garbage disposal. I did draw the line at things like apple cores, avocado pits, banana peels and the like, but everything else was fair game. I swear, I wasn't pushing the limits of the disposal; I honestly didn't know. Oh, once in awhile Chip would raise an eyebrow while watching me dispose away, but he's always raising his eyebrows in the kitchen. Given my predisposition to kitchen cuts and burns, he tends to fret when I use my hand to start jamming refuse down the sink while the disposal is running. Use a spoon, he says, while turning off the disposal. Like I would put one of my Pampered Chef wooden spoons in harm's way. Hello, they're made of bamboo and they don't stain.

Anyway, last Wednesday night the disposal finally put its foot down and presented me with a sink of swirling onion peels and parsley. After a few calls to our dads and a trip to Homie Depot, Chip had it up and running in no time. Buddy and I lent support by being underfoot and taking pictures, respectively.

While the disposal is running once again, my access has been severely restricted. Boo! What's the point of having a disposal if you have to put everything in a bowl and then dump it in the trash? This archaic use of an appliance means that I'm back to making the case for the composter. Oh, how I love to go green when it's convenient.

Who has a thumb and loves the Cardinals?

This guy!

Baseball season is here. Bring on the nachos, and don't be skimpy with the jalapenos.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The other baby nephew

Yes, Brennan, I'm afraid it's true. There is another baby nephew in our lives. Chip's sister Kiara is the proud mother of a little guy we like to call Ben. I use the word "little" loosely, as Benjamin is a six month old in 12 month clothes.

John and Kiara took their family to Disney last week, and I just received this photo. How can you not love that face? Of course, I love that Ben is wearing the Cardinals hat Chip and I brought to the hospital when he was born. While he tipped the scales at 9+ lbs. then, I had no idea he would be able to wear it this soon.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Eight hours of Brennan

Of course we had a wonderful Easter -- Brennan was there. He had a bit of a fever, but we still got a few smiles out of him. I like to think he forgave us for trying to stuff cereal and carrots down his throat. (He's a milk man, people.)

However distraught Brennan may look in the carrot-eating pictures, I promise you that Brian was even more upset. If he had his way, Brennan would go straight from bottles to deer sausage sticks. Brian's made it this far in life without vegetables, so how important can they really be? (FYI, Brian salts his beer.)

It was hard to see Brennan leave, but at least I snapped a lot of pictures. Of course I did. If you want to be called Crazy Aunt Debbie, you have to earn it. Click here for the full Easter set.

I'm not sure how much more clear I can be

I told you, I don't like carrots. I may be wearing striped pants, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't take me seriously.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday holiness

Sacrilege, I'm sure, but while editing our Italy photos today I came across this image from St. Peter's Basilica and decided it was worth sharing. Hey, it's Holy Week, and this is a holy-looking photo if I ever did see one. I love the way the light is streaming through the windows. Of course, it was even more breathtaking in person (and in color).

When I was little I used to think that when the sunbeams beat down through the clouds, it was so the people who had recently passed away could make their way to heaven. Sunbeams as heavenly escalators. Nice, right? I have no idea what put that thought into my head. It's not like my parents were hearts, unicorns and rainbows kind of people. However, I still like it, and I still think it to this day whenever I see the sunbeams coming through the clouds.

Anyway, happy Easter to you and yours. I'm looking forward to having more B bunny pictures to post after this weekend, and maybe I'll finally make some headway on those Italy pictures.

The B bunny

The Brennan bunny hops into town tomorrow. It's crazy to think that this time last year Brian and Sherri announced they were expecting. It's also crazy to think that just last year mom decided to stop giving us Easter baskets without warning or explanation. (I'm sorry, but "you're married now" doesn't count as an explanation.) But I digress.

Brennan will only be here for a short while, but both families are excited to spoil the little squeaker. Oh, and I guess it will also be nice to see the people who chauffeur him around to his various appearances. He may only be four months old, but Brennan has people.

Mom took these pictures when Brennan was last in town. The stuffed dog with bunny ears is adorable and perfect, as Brennan shares a house with two larger, louder white Labs. Of course, Hunter and Holly would rather eat than wear the bunny ears, but what self-respecting Lab wouldn't?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Working on his fitness

Brennan went in for his four-month shots and check-up this week. The little tank currently weighs 15 pounds and is 26 inches long, which puts him in the 60th and 75th percentiles, respectively. Sherri said he's still not a fan of the cereal, but next week he can start vegetables. Yum! Let's hope he likes peas and other green foods more than his dad.

This link will take you to Flickr for one more photo (and the whole Brennan set, if you like that sort of thing).

Monday, March 17, 2008

Really, I'm fine with just the milk

In an attempt to stop Brennan's late-night wake-up calls, Sherri tried giving the squeaker cereal last week. I had no idea babies could look betrayed.

Unfortunately, the cereal didn't immediately grow on him. In fact, I'd say he's utterly astonished that Sherri didn't immediately give up on this cereal madness.

Surely someone will save him. No one likes to see a baby suffer such indignities.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Guinness is so good when it hits your lips

Team Botanical is pleased to bring you exclusive St. Patrick's Day photos of little Brennan O'Jones. (That's right Mom, Sherri sends me more photos than you.) Sherri is 100% German, but Brian brought some Irish ancestry to the table, so young Brennan will no doubt someday blarney the pants right off the ladies.

Click here to check out a few more photos of the little leprechaun.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Flora fever

This happens every spring. And fall. And pretty much any other time we take Buddy for a walk on Flora Place.

Located three blocks north of our house, Flora Place is Shaw's premiere street. Indeed! It has quiet one-way streets divided by a tree-lined boulevard, which makes it ideal for walking. Buddy loves the squirrels. I love the houses. Chip loves that he can go on a walk without having to constantly scan the ground and shout crack! step! puddle! or car! at me. You see, the city sidewalks can be a little dicey, and I'm what you might consider easily distracted. Every forty-minute lap of Flora Place provides Chip with forty minutes of peace of mind.

The beautiful weather and increased daylight prompted Buddy and I to make the Flora Place round every evening this week. Because of the dreaded year-end review, Chip could only join us on Sunday. This is a bummer, because when Chip goes with us I can point out exactly which houses I will consider living in someday. You see, I am obsessed with Flora. I feel it's the only place one can go after living on a street named Botanical. Chip feels one can only live there after becoming a millionaire.

Luckily, Chip was with me when I found out that this little gem is currently on the market. When asked, "Can I have it?" Chip laughed and said no, but I think that's before he realized it has a hot tub.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ah, the early years

A lot of my friends say that even though their mothers are the best and their childhoods were idyllic, when those same mothers become grandmothers, a switch flips and they tend to forget the trying times that come with raising any small child. It seems that after 30 years pass, child-rearing takes on a misty, golden "you ate everything I gave you and were potty-trained by 12 months" quality. While unrealistic and frustrating for the new mother who wants to commiserate with her mother, it's still nice. After all, who wants to hear that they were a ball of terror whose mother would have gladly donated her child to charity given the chance?

Now, I know good and well that dogs and children are not the same thing, but I do think that there might be some overlap when it comes to erasing memories of those trying early years. And since we don't have children but we do have a dog, I will take that concept and turn it into a dog story. And you will love it.

When we first adopted Buddy two years ago, we took him to Family Dog 101 at the Humane Society so we could teach him to be a somewhat well-behaved dog, as opposed to the high-pitched barking maniac who nearly killed us every time we took him on a walk. Each class was more painful and stressful than the last, but we persevered, and Buddy eventually graduated from Family Dog 101. The trainers gently suggested we might want to continue with Family Dog 102, but we were like, thanks, we'll hold.

While Buddy still likes to jump on visitors (even after some intense knee-to-the-chest kicking I tried after reading "Marley & Me"), he is pretty good at sitting, staying and laying down. Basically, he knows enough commands so we can keep him in check, and enough tricks so he can impress family members and other visiting dignitaries. So, what were we thinking when we suddenly decided that yes, he must definitely learn how to shake? In hindsight, we really should have left good enough alone, but now we're obsessed. He must learn how to shake. If petulant Peaches could do it, so can Buddy.

It's been two years since Buddy went through any sort of consistent training regimen, and it shows. We get out the treats and follow the same method we learned during Family Dog 101, but the poor boy is so confused. We say SHAKE, grab his paw and shake it, say GOOD BOY and then reward him with a treat. We are clear and consistent. Him? Not so much. Buddy sees the treat and goes through his entire repertoire. He sits. He lays. He stays. He puts his paws on us. He practically rolls over. But he won't put up the paw. His reaction is, "Hey, if you want to pick up my paw and shake it, I'm cool with that as long as there's a treat in it for me."

Last night I took some pictures during the post-dinner training regimen. This is what Buddy should be doing:

(Please note that Buddy's paw lift was not voluntary. He simply did Chip the honor of letting him lift his paw and give him a treat. Buddy is too kind.) This is what is actually happening:

In dog speak, SHAKE must mean "let me get up in your business and drool all over your jeans." But we love him. And as previously stated, we are obsessed. So the punishment of the parents and the confusion of the Lab continues. Heaven help us if we have real children some day.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sick squeaker

Poor Baby B is recovering from the flu. Sherri said he ran a fever all weekend, which means he was treated to the Grandma Thole-recommended cold bath dunk. Oh, how I remember those baths. As a child I used to run fevers all the time, and when nothing else would work, mom would throw me in a bath tub and start running the cold water. Sheer torture! Sherri said Brennan and I are in agreement on this one. It works like a charm, but I feel his pain.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Blog blocked

I came across this little gem while uploading photos from this weekend. This is the arm that blocked the shot of the shirt/suit/tie combo I mentioned on Thursday. Actually, I love this shirt, just not with the brown suit and certainly not with that tie.

While I know Chip hates that I posted about Mismatched Thursday, he is all about getting the laugh. On Friday night we did a quick sweep of the house, and let's just say that his cleaning attire was really something special. He kept on his blue dress shirt, which he of course tucked into gray elastic-waist athletic shorts. The black dress socks stayed on as well, which nicely complemented the black Crocs on his feet.

He did surreptitiously remove the battery from my camera so I don't have photographic proof. He may not love the blogging, but he loves to get my goat.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

He may be colorblind, but he's mine

Since March is DVT (deep vein thrombosis) awareness month, Chip has a lot of early-morning functions at the hospitals in his territory. This means early nights for both of us, but only early mornings for Chip. Love that! Anyway, I don't know if I still have a bit of jet lag or what, but last night I was sacked out by 9:30. Which is why when Chip showed me the shirt and tie combo he wanted to wear, I didn't really look too hard, much less put on my glasses. I'm blind as a bat without my glasses, but what Chip was describing to me sounded good -- a blue windowpane dress shirt with a gold tie and his new brown suit.

Fast forward to this evening. I'm going through the mail in the kitchen, when Chip walks down in what can only be described as a somewhat matching but oh-so-wrong ensemble. He has three different blue windowpane shirts and I don't know how many gold ties, but he managed to pick the two that totally don't work together. Of course I laughed, and of course he protested that I told him this outfit was okay. He was a good sport about the whole thing, and I should have stopped when the snorting started, but I couldn't resist the urge to take a picture. The second I grabbed my camera, the tie came off faster than you could say fashion faux pas. He did a great job of blocking my attempts at getting a shot, so alas, I have only words for you. Apparently he doesn't want a repeat of the haircut post. Wimp.

Lest I forget

It would seem that after my return, I had the audacity to post about myself before writing about the most recent visit of HRH Brennan. I'm not sure who was more upset about this -- faithful reader Stevie J. or Brennan's mother. Sherri, of course, had no qualms about asking where Brennan's latest pictures were. It would seem that if I can nag her for pictures, she can nag about when I'm going to post them. Point taken.

Well, I blew her off for a few days, but then when I called the Jones house last night, she put Brennan on the phone and he gave me the silent treatment. Yep. The little squeaker wouldn't make a peep despite my best attempts at rousing a noise from him. It would seem Mr. B wants to make sure I stay true to my roots. So without further ado, I bring you Brennan's latest and greatest.

As always, click here or on the photo to view captions and more images. Once you're in Flickr, click on Brennan's March Visit to the right and it will pull up the full set.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Order in the photos

I know that I should be editing our Italy photos, but the OCD monster that rules my world won't let me start on that set until I've organized all the other photos leading up to now. Like most people these days, I am a champ when it comes to taking, uploading and editing photos. I just can't seem to get them printed and put in an album. A few weeks ago I ordered photos from Brian and Sherri's wedding, which was in 2005. So, as you can see, I have a ways to go. I did, however, just finish a QOOP photo book of our honeymoon pictures (2006). Technically, I went out of chronological order, but since it was a book and not prints, I made an exception.

I also just knocked out some photos from a Tower Grove Park walk we took on my birthday. Yes, TGP isn't quite as exotic as the Roman ruins, and Buddy is no gondolier, but it was a beautiful day and I managed to get some decent pictures of the boys and our favorite park.

Click here or on the image for captions and the entire set.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Colosseum, cheeks and cheese

We returned to St. Louis on Friday night (to a Lab who actually missed us) after a fabulous eight days in Italy. We just shook off the last bits of jet lag. The carb withdrawal, however, is another issue. The trip was great, and my husband is even better. Superlatives all around. I'm currently weeding my way through 400+ pictures, so it may be awhile before everything is presentable.

On top of the Italy stuff, I also have pictures of Baby B, who was in town this past weekend. My parents, Sherri and Brennan came over on Sunday for mass, brunch and a visit before catching a flight back to KC. Mass had barely started when the little stinker decided he wanted to stink up our pew. He was sitting on my lap when the grunting started, and then his little face turned so red Sherri and I thought his head might pop off in the middle of St. Margaret's. I'm so smitten with Brennan, I even find the mid-mass deuce dropping to be adorable. There's a reason Brian and Sherri call me Crazy Aunt Debbie.

A random post, for sure, so please be patient as I readjust to this whole work thing.