Saturday Morning Dance Party

I wish I could bottle this feeling for all the less-than-perfect days. I started a text to a friend this morning with “I just had a perfect 24 hours :)” (Yes, I use smileys as punctuation when I’m happy.) It’s also been a perfect 3 or so hours since I sent that text, thanks to one of the longest solo dance parties I think I’ve ever had. (Which is still going, to be honest.)

One of my aunts and cousins have made it kind of a tradition to go a local Home Show with my mom and another one of my aunts every year. It started yesterday, so they showed up around 9am, just in time for breakfast. I recently became a master caramel roll maker. My grandma made incredible caramel rolls-

“She wears short skirts, I wear T-shirts. She’s cheer captain and I’m on the bleachers, dreaming ’bout the day when you wake up and find that what you’re looking for has been here the whole time.” Sorry about that little interruption. Currently in the Taylor Swift portion of the marathon dance party.

Anywhoo…

My grandma made incredible caramel rolls when she was around, so that’s what I was up against with this recipe. And I came pretty damn close.

“You say you’re fine, I know you better than that. Hey, whatcha ‘doin with a girl like that?” How can you not sing this part of the song?

So, I made incredible caramel rolls. Then I got to spend the day with my little babe, which is the best way to spend a day. And then we had a big-ish family dinner, which I also made (Stuffed Pasta Shells and Angel Food Cake, yum!). Even though I’m not the life of the party, I legitimately love dinners with extended family. It makes me all warm and fuzzy.

And then my brother really made me feel all warm and fuzzy when he admired me for being both lead babysitter and lead cook and announced that I’m really the glue that holds the family together (or something along those lines)! He also bragged up my first attempt at Tiramisu. I had to agree with him on that. It was pretty heavenly! Oh, that man. I can’t call him a boy. He’s never been a boy to me. He’s always been old. But sometimes, I just love him so much.

I was riding shotgun with my hair undone in the front seat of his car. He’s got a one-hand feel on the steering wheel, the other on my heart. I look around, turn the radio down. He says “baby, is something wrong?” I say “nothin’, I was just thinkin’ how we don’t have a song…”” The first T-Swift song I fell in love with.

To top it all off, it’s a beautiful SPRING day here in Minnesota. Yes, a February SPRING day, thanks to El Niño. It’s supposed to get into the mid-50s today. As soon as I can pull myself away from this addicting, get-up-and-dance music, I’m going for a walk.

Oh, man. Can’t stop this one. “If Diane Young won’t change your mind, baby, baby, baby, baby right on time!”

Hope your Saturday’s going as well as mine! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to stop multitasking and just full out dance while I still have the house to myself.

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(P.S. I apologize for being all over the place, but I can’t control my happy!!)

(P.S.S. Why would I ever want to? 😉 )

My Millie

Monday was a hard day for more than one reason. My parents had a business crisis that I don’t care to get into, it was my grandma’s birthday (who I never got to meet), and we were forced to say goodbye to this sweetie.

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Millie has always been my favorite llama. She was blind in one eye, but that didn’t stop her from being the most personable llama we’ve ever had. She loved people. She would run over to the fence when she saw you walking by and would happily eat anything you brought her. Unlike the others, she loved to have her neck or back rubbed. She was a piggy, but she was such a sweet piggy.

We knew this was coming eventually. Within the past 12 months, we have gone from five llamas down to two. Three of the five were approaching 20 years old. Millie was the oldest. Her daughter, Lily, was the first to go, last February. We never thought that the only “original” llama would be one of the last two standing. (We got the four girls to keep Fenwood company after his buddy Edgar died more than ten years ago.)

I couldn’t bear to go out and help my parents move her. I didn’t want to see her like that. Juliana and I watched through the window as they pulled her out of the pasture and I started to tear up.

Rosie, the baby of the bunch (who was the only one born here), wouldn’t leave Millie’s side. Before they dragged Mil out of the pasture, Rosie stood over her and nudged her, waiting for her to get up. As I’m writing this, almost two hours later, she’s still standing right next to Millie on the other side of the fence. Millie was always more of a mother to Rosie than Sugar, Rosie’s mom.

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Millie is the reason Juliana loves llamas. She was even starting to say “Millie.” Millie would always let Juliana “pet” her and feed her. And now Juliana will have no real memory of her.

I guess I always knew that this death would hit me hard, but it still shocked me. I can’t even put into words what she meant to me. When I start to look at pictures of her, I get really emotional.

She was the reason love llamas.

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Rest in peace, Mil. I love you.

January & February

My brother started a little tradition last Christmas. He gave us all a calendar filled with pictures of our favorite baby. I honestly didn’t know if he would get around to it again this year, so I started gathering pictures and coming up with ideas before Christmas. If I didn’t get one, I was going to make some.

Turns out he did actually get around to it. I was surprised to find myself feeling a little disappointed, but I was already falling in love with my ideas. So, I decided to make mine anyway and just not order as many. (We actually ended up preferring mine, because they were more personalized to our nuclear family.)

This was January’s picture.

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I’ve always kind of loved the lopsided way the sunglasses sat on her face. That was her first introduction to sunglasses (at least with us) and she wasn’t too fond of them. If I had pushed the button a millisecond later than I did, you’d be seeing her little hand reaching up to yank them off!

Here is February’s collage.

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All of these pictures were from late January to early March of last year, so it was literally almost one year ago to the day. It’s crazy to see how much she’s grown in a year! I remember these days very vividly, because it was within the first few weeks of us watching her and her personality was really starting to shine! She was so fun to interact with at this stage, because everything was new (and she couldn’t move yet!)! She was studying everything. And starting to love her Cocoa. Some of these pictures also served as inspiration for one of my first posts on this blog.

I love reminiscing! It makes me miss that lil punkin! But I love so much about where she’s at now, too!

Check back near the beginning of each month to see the rest of the calendar! (The best is yet to come!)

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Wee Bit of Snow

We got a little bit of snow last week.

Just a little bit, though.

No, but seriously, it was the biggest storm of the season…and we only got about 5 inches. Which, growing up in a state where we could get a foot of snow overnight and still have to go to school, is really not a lot. The roads were a little more slick than usual and people momentarily forgot how to drive, but everything worked out. And now we have this beautiful new snow cover! (Our yard was starting to look green again!)

Cocoa was SO happy! I was working when the snow started and luckily, was able to leave early. When I got home, this guy ran to the door and begged to be let out! I went out with him to get some pictures and he was like a kid on the last day of school. He was free! He refused to come inside.

We also got this little one out in the snow! She was okay with walking on the driveway, but was very, very concerned about walking in the snow. We lured her out there with the promise of seeing her LLAMAS (she always screams that word). She even got to pet our friendliest llama, Millie. But then we tried to get her to play in the snow with us and that wasn’t as successful. My mom and I both wanted to sled down some of the snow piles, so we did it by ourselves, hoping she would think it looked fun. Well, she didn’t. But, I took her down with me anyways! She enjoyed Cocoa kissing her when we got to the bottom, but did not enjoy the rest of the process! (Two days later she wanted to sled down the snow piles!)

We checked out the snow sculptures at the Winter Carnival last weekend and Juliana’s highlight, and therefore our highlight, was running into this massive Great Dane! She expects every dog to be as friendly and cuddly as Cocoa, so she walked right up to it with an open mouth and outstretched arms, ready for a hug and a kiss. Luckily, this dog was very friendly. The owner even let J sit on the dog! Those were the biggest smiles of the day.

Living in Minnesota, we learn to live with, and thrive in, the snow. J definitely brought out my inner child and, even though she may not love it right now, has reminded me how much I love it! It’s fun to have these storms every now and then! But, I’m good with an early spring, too!

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