Summer of Change

There are lot of changes happening this summer.

My parents are currently at my mom’s retirement dinner with her coworkers. She has one more day of work left, next Tuesday, followed by a few weeks of moving everything out and then she’s done. It’s very exciting for her, but a little scary for my dad and I. We have no idea how she’s going to fill her time–she’s starting to show signs of maybe being ready to slow down a bit, but she’s always been a very busy and involved person. We’ve learned how to keep the house running without her around and, honestly, really like it that way.

We are also in the midst of a bathroom renovation that rapidly grew to include siding, trim, carpet and other odd jobs around the house. My dad and I spent a good portion of Mother’s Day moving everything from my room and bathroom down to the guest bedroom and bathroom. (We let my mom do whatever she wanted; she chose gardening.) We didn’t realize how bad the bathroom looked until it was all emptied out!

Since I moved downstairs, we’ve discovered more and more things to improve in that bathroom. We’re replacing just about everything that doesn’t require more than a drill or a wrench to remove.


My bathroom is getting a little more work done…

I was really dreading the first day of demo. I thought I would really miss my space, but now that it’s all torn apart I’m just really excited for the finished product, which should be stunning! They’re putting up drywall next week, so things will really start taking shape!

On the less exciting end of the spectrum, my parents think they’ve found a new home for our last llama, Rosie. The process really sped up after a visit from one of my uncles. He tends to make things happen and straight up asked my dad why we still had Rosie. He hadn’t even been in the house five minutes when he called up a llama farm in eastern Wisconsin. That didn’t pan out, but he was applying some pressure and my dad finally decided to look into it seriously. They found a petting zoo about 90 minutes south of here that’s interested.


I’m having trouble adjusting to the thought of not having any llamas. I was only two when my parents got the first two, which means that we’ve had them for 20 years. And Rosie was the only one who was born here. She’s never known anything different and now they’re going to send her to a petting zoo? She still seems to be pretty happy here, even if she doesn’t have any other llamas to socialize with. And I can’t imagine not having llamas around for my niece and nephew. My dad can understand that. Which is why he’s agreed to having chicks, ducks or pheasants every spring. Birds fly away before winter! So we now have four chicks.

So, yeah. Lots of changes. This will be an interesting summer.

Screenshot 2016-01-18 14.26.24


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.


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.


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.


Rest in peace, Mil. I love you.

Birthday Snow Dog!

It’s my best friend’s birthday today! He’s ten! I honestly can’t believe we’ve had him that long. I still remember the car ride home the night we got him and listening to him whimper in the kennel those first few nights.

When he was just a little puppy, my dad would bring him with when he picked me and my friends up from school and I don’t think I had ever fought so hard over the backseat in my life.

This dog lives for snow. Obviously, being born in December in Minnesota, he was familiar with the white stuff since the day he was born. He didn’t know what to think when his snow started to melt in the spring. He wouldn’t even pee on the grass until every little patch of snow was melted. And he still does that to this day. Whenever it snows, whether it’s the first or the twentieth snow of the season, he has to get outside and run, jump and roll in it as soon as he can!

Of course, he’s come to love the warmer weather, too. He discovered that we will actually take him out for runs when we can see the ground and that swimming is almost as fun as rolling in the snow! I think it’s safe to say, though, that his favorite part is having us outside with him.

He’s the most empathetic dog any of us have ever known. He reacts to our emotions before we can even identify them. Sometimes it’s annoying when he feels our anger bubbling and slinks away, but I love when he senses even the tiniest bit of happiness in me and immediately turns on the charm and grabs his rope! “The rope game will make you feel so much better, Carrie!” He literally never leaves my side when I’m sick (or really even when I’m feeling fine) unless I give him permission and is always willing to dish out some kisses to make things better.

I always feel bad saying this because I feel like I’m insulting the only other dog I came to deeply love in my life, but Cocoa was my favorite dog from the second we picked him. He was mine. He was my first puppy. I loved (and still love) Larry deeply, but he was my dad’s dog. It’s no secret that I’m number one in Cocoa’s heart.

I don’t even want to think about what life would be like without him. I’m just so incredibly grateful to have him now.

Happy Birthday, Buddy!

(P.S. Have I mentioned how photogenic and willing to pose he is?!)

I Just Don’t Know About Him

This cat. I just don’t know about him.

I’ve never been a cat person, but this one may be changing me.

He does all of those despicable cat things, like walking right in front of me causing me to trip and bringing in decapitated mice, birds, rabbits, etc.


And then he does things like this.



And I have to grab the camera every single time.


Eventually he gives me that face. And about 10 seconds later, he gets up and either waddles (he’s getting pretty fat) or sprints off.

I just don’t know about this guy.

Happy Monday!

“I Love You, I Love You, I Love You!”

We got the golf cart going for our little goofball last weekend.


We had to de-winterize it and charge it up before taking him for a little run.

But he was having a hard time waiting.

“I love you, I love you, I love you!”
“No, I wasn’t just kissing it. Please don’t put that on your blog.”

I love him. I love him. I love him.

That’s why we call him our little goofball.

Happy Monday!

Bye Bye Bunny!

Unfortunately, the Easter Bunny didn’t make it out of my house alive yesterday.

This boy brought in an impressive sized rabbit yesterday morning and even ate off the foot (he must’ve really wanted some good luck!).


I have to applaud his timing. Him bringing in a huge rabbit Easter morning is just too crazy.

He likes to window shop. And occasionally try to catch a snow shovel on the other side of the window.
He likes to window shop. And occasionally try to catch a snow shovel on the other side of the window.

He is seriously a serial murderer.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs soon as the snow is gone, he brings us a present pretty much every day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHe also makes me laugh on a daily basis.

Cats are smart, right?
Cats are smart, right?

We can’t figure this out, but apparently he likes puzzles. He has to get his paws on every puzzle we pull out.


IMG_2990He also loves Cocoa’s ropes. A holdover from his doggy days?



Sometimes he thinks he’s the King of the Jungle.

20131013_113613But after he does all of these things, he needs a little cat nap…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA…which is exactly how he spent the rest of the day yesterday.

If he was awake, I’m sure Charlie would wish you all a happy (and belated) Easter!

You’re Not a Dog Anymore!

This was one of his chores when he was a dog.
This was one of his chores when he was a dog.

Ever since we got Charlie almost 5 years ago, we’ve had this theory that he’s actually our old dog, Larry, reincarnated. Now, we don’t know what Larry did to deserve this–we thought he was a pretty good guy!

Logistically it works out. Larry died in early June 2010 and Charlie picked us on my birthday in August 2010. And I’m not kidding when I say he picked us. We walked around the kitty room at the shelter and as we walked past Charlie’s cage, he stuck his paw out and started waving at us. When we looked into his eyes, he started meowing and wouldn’t stop until I held him. If that doesn’t mean “take me home,” I don’t know what does.

We had also never had a dog and cat become buddies as fast as Cokie and Charlie did. We think that’s because they already knew each other and they just had to get used to the fact that Larry was now a cat named Charlie.

They play more than any other dog and cat I’ve seen, they kiss each other, they share food, they’re the perfect hunting team, and they still love to clean up the dishes together!

Larry definitely had to coach Cocoa on how to clean the dishes and make sure the door was spotless before we started it up and they used to double team it. One on the dishes, one on the door.

Now Cocoa does the dishes and Charlie does the door.

Larry the dog.
Larry the dog.

I love ya, Lare Boy. Thanks for coming back, even if it is as a cat.

Charlie, even though you’re not a dog anymore, feel free to keep acting like one!