Milo ~ 19 months

We’ve had a great month. The weather has been lovely and we’ve been able to play outside almost everyday. We’ve had no teething or sickness issues, and Milo has been so happy and fun-loving.

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19 Month Stats & Pediatrician Visit

Milo had his 18 month wellness visit this past Monday (somehow, we’ve fallen a bit behind on the schedule by about a month). He measured in at 33″ tall (59th percentile) and 23 pounds 13 ounces (39th percentile). Whenever I look at him, he seems like such a big guy! At the beginning of the month, I moved him into size 5.5 shoes and now he’s starting to wear his size 6 shoes. I’m in the process of retiring his 12 month clothes and bringing more and more 18 month pieces into rotation. It just astounds me what a big kid he is!

Language

Milo’s verbal skills are finally taking off! Gone are the days when he only said a few different words each week, to be abandoned the next week for a new set of words. I’ve heard that the 18-19 month timeline can be a springboard for many kiddos in terms of verbal expression and that definitely seems to be the case with Milo.

His full list of words that are enunciated well-enough to understand (and that do actually sound like the correct word, rather than saying ‘mom’ for ‘cracker’ for example) is probably around 15 words, and include ‘moon’ and ‘zebra’ (which I think are neat words for him to have).

Here’s a video of him seemingly trying to sing the ABC song, and ends with him waving and saying “bye”.

Skillz!

Milo is definitely an athletic guy. This month, he’s mastered climbing up and down stairs, which I find extremely impressive.

He can also navigate a lot of playground equipment by himself. He can pull himself up most things and climb many of the ladders and climbing things successfully by himself. Of course, we always ‘spot’ him for safety – – just because he ‘can’ do these things by himself, we’re always hovering our hands right next to him just in case he slips or misses a step.

School Haps

School has been great. I continue to be delighted with his new day care provider. Milo absolutely loves going to school and he seems to really be learning.

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I also love all of the crafts they do! Last week, they learned about the Three Little Pigs and ‘built’ houses out of straw, sticks, and bricks.

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They also had a St. Patrick’s Day party and encouraged everyone to wear green. (Below is Milo with Miss Kellie, one of his teachers).

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They did face painting as part of their celebratory activities.

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This is Milo sitting on his spot in the ‘circle’ area. When I had picked him up on this day, they were all outside playing on the playground, and when Milo and I went to his classroom to sign him out, I gave him is water cup and he went over to his moose to sit and drink.

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This Friday, they’re having a ‘Teddy Bear Picnic’ and parents are invited (and I am excited!)

Playdates

We’ve had some fun playdates this month. Several months ago, I joined a moms & toddlers group and it’s nice for us to meetup and socialize.

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This particular group is kind of a ‘learning’ group where we meetup once a month and the mama host organizes some kind of learning-through-play activities. Milo and I both had a fantastic time at this month’s gathering.

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He’s definitely playing with kids more, rather than just doing his own thing. He’s had some great playdates with his friend Una where he’s actually played with her. I just think it’s so wonderful to watch him playing with kids.

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Adventures!

  • The Zoo

Now that the weather is nice, we’ve been going to the zoo a lot. Our zoo does a lot of awesome conservation work and is a great community partner for education and service. We have a yearly pass because it’s a fantastic place to take kids.

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Milo has increased his mimicking of animal sounds and when we were at the zoo last he tried making all of the different animal sounds. He was growling a lot and it was both adorable and hilarious.

I think he might love climbing on the animal structures than actually looking at any of the animals.

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  • Parks & Playgrounds

He and I have been exploring the Fish & Game Nature Center several times this month.

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I thought this was cool, to get a picture of him with a big moose (since he’s Milo Moose at school).

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They have some very interesting observation areas.

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Last weekend, I took Milo to a state park to explore and, despite me telling him not to, he walked right out into the cold (and very shallow) lake. He has definitely been trying to exert his independence a lot more this month, intentionally doing the exact thing I tell him not to. I’m not sure the best way to handle this behavior, but in this situation I didn’t bother physically preventing him from going into the water (because I knew he would have a mini-tantrum about it and be even more intent on going into the water). Instead, I tried to compassionately explain that the water was cold and would make his feet cold. He completely ignored me and walked into the cold water. Sure enough, his feet got cold and he wanted me to pick him up 10 seconds later. And then I carried him back to the car, to change out his wet clothes for dry, and since I didn’t have a spare pair of shoes that was the end of that adventure.

I’m not sure how to respond when he’s like this. I want him to understand that when I tell him not to do something, there’s a reason and it’s not that I don’t want him to have fun. I’m definitely supportive of him being able to explore, though I obviously intervene if there’s a safety issue.

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Anyway.

Here are Milo and Josh playing in the sand.

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Two weekends ago, we went to the Foothills Learning Center where they were having a family education day around fire awareness and safety. There were several craft activities and interesting demonstrations. In the photo below, we saw how fire spreads across different types of spaces with different fuel configurations.

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We also went on about an hour hike, with Milo hiking and exploring with us.

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Here he is exploring one of the artistic structures.

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We also took Milo on his first mountain bike ride! We rode a very gentle, beginner trail and it was fun.

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Unfortunately, our ride was cut way short because my tire blew out and Josh had to do some major McGyvering to get my bike ridable-enough to go home.

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Harvest Monday (March 20, 2017) and Official Spring Garden Update

Spring came to us early this weekend, with glorious temperatures and sunshine. I was fortunate to spend time in the garden AND harvested my first batch of asparagus, both for the year and in my lifetime! This weighed in at 181 grams and I sauteed the spears in butter, with pepper and the juice from half a lemon. DELICIOUS!

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I also wanted to provide an update on the garden.

But first, a follow-up about the weather. Previously, I described how we received record-breaking snow this year. So did the mountains all over Idaho and it’s starting to melt. What happens with record-breaking snowfall… record-breaking snowmelt. Currently, the Boise River is (literally) overflowing with water, as evidenced in the below photo where the walking path, which is normally about 20 feet away from the river (and 5 feet higher), is completely flooded.

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Anyway, we have continued to receive higher than average snow and rain this past month. About a week ago, I rode my bike to work with the trailer hitched on, thinking it was nice enough that I could pick up Milo from daycare on the bike. Instead, I had to dash home after work to get the car because a snowstorm hit and it was FREEZING.

However, it looks like spring is finally on its way in! The snow is melted, temps are rising, forsythias are blooming…

The asparagus is coming in strong!

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The rhubarb is coming up nicely.

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And the peas I sowed in early February are finally emerging. No photo, but I also noticed that the carrots and beets are also coming up (also direct sowed in early February).

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In between the storms, Milo has been helping me in the garden and I love it. He has a mini set of garden tools and last weekend we were clearing off the last of my beds together. I pointed out worms when I found them and he was fascinated. If you look closely, there is a worm he is observing.

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After we cleared off the beds, he helped me plant the broccoli I started whenever ago (end of January?). He loves moving dirt around, so he was thrilled to help with this. Although, he also loves continuing to move the dirt around, so there’s that. But, a week later, the broccoli has settled in nicely. This is Acadia and Atlantic broccoli.

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Not garden related, but I had decided to get Milo a sandbox so that he could move dirt around to his heart’s content and not disrupt my veggie beds. And just this past Thursday on our neighborhood’s NextDoor social network, a family in my neighborhood  was giving away (for free) their well loved sandbox and two new bags of play sand. The timing was amazing because on my list for the very next day was to obtain a sandbox and play sand. Score!

Also, in that garden bed with the volunteer tulip, I planted potatoes – – this year I’m growing Epicure and Red Gold. Normally, I plant potatoes directly in the ground, but I always have a hard time finding all of the potatoes in our rocky riverbed soil (it’s so weird how Idaho is an agricultural state but we have terrible soil).

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Anyway, this past Friday, I took the day off work so I could get some work done in the garden. The weather was GLORIOUS and I had a blast! Of course, the list of things I wanted to accomplish stretched across two pages of legal sized paper and I was barely able to make a dent on the first page.

The main thing I wanted to accomplish was to build new strawberry beds. Last year, I pulled up all of my strawberries because they were no longer performing and their runners never produced a single blossom, so decided to start from fresh stock. I also decided to change the location of my strawberries and to significantly expand them.

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I was able to complete two new strawberry beds (I’m hoping to have one more). This one above is home to ten Fort Laramie strawberries and below is home to ten Tristar strawberries. I was able to use boards we’ve had laying around for years, from an old mini-pergola that someone gave us. So it was nice to use up material that’s been taking up space.

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That’s it for this garden update. I expect to harvest more asparagus this week and accomplish a few more things on my list.

I’m linking my post today to Harvest Monday, hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres.

Milo 18 Months

A year and a half. My baby is a YEAR.AND.A.HALF. How did this happen?

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Some exciting happenings this month and I have a lot of photos to share.

PARENT – TEACHER CONFERENCE

Milo’s new day care is AWESOME. As I’ve described previously, they have an age-appropriate curriculum for social, emotional, cognitive, and physical domains. I’ve noticed Milo developing in leaps and bounds since we enrolled him.

Everyday, they write little notes about what he did that day (and they also take photos of any special activities to send home with us). I’ve started saving the notes (and I’ve always saved the photos). The below note is very representative of Milo’s personality. He loves helping and he LOVES giving high-fives.

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When we first enrolled him, we all identified some goals for his first few months: to get to know and become comfortable with his new teachers, his classmates, and his classroom space. This has solidly happened and so we had our very first official parent-teacher conference.We discussed overall how he’s doing and identified new goals.

Naturally, Milo is awesome and they love having him in the class. He plays well alongside the other kids, participates in the activities, responds to directions, sleeps and eats great.

We did discuss how Milo is not yet expressing himself verbally with any consistency. He does use sign language a bit and can usually communicate what he wants nonverbally, but still, he’s one of the only kids in the class who doesn’t really speak. Not that he’s “behind” or that there’s any concern, but we did agree that increasing his verbal expression would be a good goal.

Ironically, right before the conference, we were in the classroom with Milo. I found a toy excavator (which is Milo’s favorite construction vehicle) and I said, “Hey Milo, what is this?” and he said a multi-syllable sound that sort of sounded like “exeter” (“excavator”).

VERBAL EXPRESSION

It has now been a few weeks since the parent-teacher conference and we are encouraging him to express himself verbally. I’m trying to be very nurturing and supportive, not pressuring him at all about it, and I often incorporate it into a game. For example, I bought a set of refrigerator foam magnets that feature different shapes, objects, animals, etc., that toddlers are generally familiar with, and we play a game where I pull out a magnet and ask him what it is and he says something. Sometimes, the thing he says begins with the correct consonant sound and kinda/sorta sounds similar to the word. We do a similar thing when reading picture books together (wow, we read so many books!).

Recently, he has started consistently saying “no,” “uh-oh,” and “bubl” (for “bubble”). Here are a couple videos.

(Update: my bad. The below photo isn’t the one where he talks. I have a second video, where he continues to throw dirt on the floor, I tell him not to, he smiles, shakes his head, says “nah nah,” and proceeds to throw more dirt on the floor, each time saying “nah nah.”

NEW SKILLS

As for new skills, just last week, Milo learned how to stick out his tongue…. and has been sticking his tongue out almost constantly.

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He’s also learned how to take selfies, sort of. And now my phone is loaded with pictures of his nostrils and forehead.

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He can also throw a ball overhand (apparently this is a thing).

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Feed himself with utensils and actually have enough food go into his mouth to satiate his hunger.

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His coloring has become much better. I’ve actually purchased him for reals Crayons, not just the palm-sized baby crayons.

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He’s also become much better behaved at restaurants. In my last update, I wrote that we had successfully taken him to two restaurants, and since then we have had many more successful experiences (we also had one experience that I would not count as a success).

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FUNTIMES

Okay, I’m sure that every parent (or, most every parent) thinks their kid is the best. But I’m convinced that Milo is the greatest. He is so much fun!

Tangentially related, above I described how Milo loves giving people high-fives… well, a few weekends ago, when it was MISERABLE outside, we decided to take Milo to the mall so that he could play in the toddler area. He spent quite a while wandering around, trying to give people high-fives, and most everyone ignored or didn’t notice him.

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I also took this video of the situation. It both breaks my heart and makes me giggle. Mainly, it’s further evidence of how much awesomer Milo is than other kids. hmph!

INSIDE FUNTIMES

Most of our fun has occurred indoors this month due to the weather. Fortunately, most of our attempts at inside fun have actually been fun (whereas the experience at the mall was not particularly fun).

I’ve taken Milo to some different indoor jungle gym places. This weekend, we went to one that has wall-to-wall trampolines, GIGANTIC inflatable bouncy houses & slides, and a foam pit. It was a lot of fun for both of us! Afterwards, Milo took a three hour nap.

Here’s a video of Milo running around on the trampolines.

Also this weekend, we went to the Warhawk Air History Museum. Generally, I’m not particularly interested in machinery, weapons, vehicles, or the like, but I’ve always thought that planes were neat (and I really enjoy going to air shows at one of the nearby military bases), and I love going to historical museums of any variety (I totally think military history is fascinating, even though I abhor violence). But I digress.

Sadly, when we first arrived at the museum and Milo saw all of the planes and that he could get close to them, he started running along the hard floor as fast as he could, stumbled, and fell hard onto his face, getting a bloody lip that today is swollen and purple.

Except for that, we all had a great time. It’s just so cool that Milo is old enough to appreciate places like a history museum. Even though he wasn’t allowed to touch or climb on anything, he still loved looking at everything.

And here are a few other random indoor funtimes.

Below, Josh has been setting Milo on our indoor bike trainer and indoctrinating him with videos of professional cycling.

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We’ve also been going to various stores for entertainment, which probably sounds a little odd. We LOVE going to thrift stores and last weekend, Milo and I went to five thrift stores in a row and had a blast. We also occasionally go to pet stores or the humane societies just to look at the animals (normally, we love going to the zoo, but the weather just hasn’t permitted that).

Below, is wandering around a pet store. Milo loves pushing the mini shopping carts.

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This might seem random, but we’ve been setting up an aquarium. We had been monitoring craigslist for a used aquarium, and found this 35 gallon one, along with all of the other equipment, for a great deal. We only have three fish right now, and will be gradually introducing more over the coming weeks. I also ordered more live plants online, which should arrive in two days. Anyway, Milo loves watching the fish. And even before we had fish, he would watch the water movement in the tank and all the bubbles, saying “bubl, bubl!”

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Here’s another successful restaurant experience. Even though Milo was being a squirmy wiggle worm, he was great. He has been SO HAPPY this month. In this photo, Josh was trying to put his coat on, and Milo was laughing so hard and wiggling in delight. I think everyone in the restaurant was smiling at his antics.

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OUTSIDE FUNTIMES

Fortunately, we have had some funtimes out of doors.

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I took Milo to our local playground and we wandered over to the Dept. of Agriculture building (which is right next to the playground) where they have a big parking lot full of big trucks. Milo loves trucks and he was ecstatic.

Here’s a video of that.

Here are some images from another playground experience.

Here is when we took the wagon down to our neighborhood playground. Milo was excited about being able to see the moon while he was swinging.

Seriously, this guy is so joyful and lovable.

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Yesterday evening, we all took a walk along a path by our neighborhood and explored by the river.

Milo also chased some ducks.

Okay, that’s it for now. I’m late posting this update, so it include more than a month’s worth of happenings.

How My Garden Grows, 2017

It’s been a few years since I had much of a garden. Two years ago I was heavily pregnant during prime gardening season and last year I was a sleep deprived new mama, which are not ideal states for cultivating the soil successfully.

This year, I finally feel ready to once again dig deep into the soil, renew my spirit with compost and summer rain, and fill my lungs with the earthy smell of… earth.

This year, I have a helper. Someone who is stubborn as he is cute, resilient as he is finicky, and determined as he is wobbly. Together, we will experience trowel and error, peas and kindness, and lettuce be thankful for his patience with me. Here is my helper, enjoying his morning cereal.

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Before I describe the exciting happenings in the February garden, I first must summarize what befell the garden in the past few months.

Snow.

Lots and lots of snow.

So much snow, that our neighbors constructed an igloo.

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This is what my garden looked like after most of the snow had melted. When the snow was at its height, it almost covered the tops of the hoops over the beds.

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Sadly, after all the snow melted, the garden looked a bit worse for wear…

For fear of flooding, we had to dig drainage paths in our ornamental areas.

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Many of the ornamentals had been smooshed by the weight of the snow.

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Even stupid things like our solar garden lights were broken. It was truly so.much.snow.

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Below is what this ornamental area looked like a few months ago. There has been a lot of damage.

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Fortunately, even though there is still a lot of work to do, the garden, the yard, and the house are in their best state since before we moved in.

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So, what about the veggie garden?

I had every intention to do a comprehensive cleanup last fall. But I got busy and then the snow hit and I continued to be busy. Excuses, excuses.

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Last week, I took a day off work to spend time in the garden. I was able to clean up six of my eight raised beds. I also direct sowed seeds for sugar snap peas, carrots, beets, chard, and spinach.

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While I was puttering along, I discovered several carrots that had overwintered. Perhaps past their ideal plucking stage, I nonetheless considered them my first harvest of the year and tossed them into a DELICIOUS beef stew that my family enjoyed.

This is 1.3 pounds of carrots, BTW.

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Another point of interest is that, while I was cleaning up the beets that I should have pulled, I found a number of beets that seemed to be growing strong. Granted, most of them had gone mushy or were otherwise ready for the compost pile, but some of them seemed like they might yield a nice beet in the near future.

 

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I also indoor sowed broccoli. This year, I’m growing Atlantic and Arcadia. A week later, I’m excited to see Arcadia seedlings poking their heads up!

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I am intending to be realistic this year about how much garden I can handle. Gone are the days when I planted 40 tomato plants. And I’m not bothering with crops that don’t do well in my garden. I’ve spent years trying to be successful with cabbage, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. They just take up a lot of space. I’m also ditching kale in favor of chard. It’s time to face reality; I love chard. I don’t love kale.

The last thing I’d like to write about is a list of the projects I’m hoping to accomplish this year, in addition to managing the existing spaces.

  • Install irrigation system for the edible zones.
  • Mulch the blackberry space.
  • Install a raspberry space.
  • Plant LOTS of strawberries.
  • New shade structure.
  • Install tall ornamentals in the front.
  • Install more flower beds in the back:
  • Install a trellis system for grapes.
  • Clean up & prep future chicken run.

on serenity & sarcasm

The first post on my new blog… TA-DAH! GLITTER CANNONS!!!

I decided to open up a fresh blog after my previous blogs were hacked for the… second time? third? Whatever, doesn’t matter.

So, here’s a bit about me, what I tend to write about, and why I write.

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I love and love doing many, many things. I love gardening. I love knitting. I love sewing. Reading, cycling, running, walking, and being still. I currently have a profession that is going very well and from which I derive satisfaction and enjoyment.

I have two guys in my life that I am very fond of. The larger one is Josh and we’ve been together for 12 years (as of this writing). The smaller one is just about 18 months old. His name is Milo and we named him after my mother, who died in 2009. I feel very sad that Milo will never meet his grandmother, and that my mother was never able to meet her grandson.

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Milo’s an active guy. He is rambunctious and constantly needs to get his wiggles out.

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He experiences so much joy and delight in life, and his exuberance is infectious.

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He is observant, attentive, and curious.

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He’s also a genius, as evidenced by this masterpiece.

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Milo is my second baby. My first, technically a furbaby, is Kiko and this photo describes her perfectly. I get such a kick out of her and I adore her. Obviously, she has me under her paw. She’s also starting to get on in years…. at 9 years old, she’s been around the block a few times.

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We all live in this house. Josh and I have done A LOT of work on it in the four years we’ve owned it. Our MANY improvements include new windows, new sewer line, new roof, new driveway, air conditioning, egress window, bathroom flooring, as well as installing several trees, bushes, lots and lots of ornamental plants, raised veggie beds, compost containment unit, chicken coop (currently unoccupied), pathways, drainage systems, and other functional landscaping features. Just to name a few things. And there are many more projects we hope to complete as well. Renovations and updates, but hopefully nothing emergent for a long time. We’re fatigued from all of the emergency repairs.

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I should probably offer an explanation for why I am titling this blog “Serenity & Sarcasm.” For one, sarcasm tends to be my default communication strategy. This a strength and a weakness. ‘Serenity’ because I am the opposite of that. In a way, my serenity is sarcastic. I honestly do think about practicing mindfulness and developing greater serenity, but I’m too anxious and jaded.

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