House TalkN is a fun lookiloo at houses, houses, houses. It will answer pressing questions like, "When folks build a McMansion on a small lot, what are they compensating for?" or "Was the real estate agent drunk when they staged this house?" or "Why don't the Smiths' ever leave their drapes open when I am on a harmless walk-by?"

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bed and Breakfast For The Holidays...

Some people might have been offended. Some people might have gotten their tail in a knot. 
While visiting my hometown for Christmas, my mother "had this great idea" to put my brood up in the local bed and breakfast.  
Uh... say what? 
Woohooooo! Yippeee! 
Some people might not have been as gracious and thankful as I. 
I'm a giver like that.
I thought it was genius. 
My family of six would not be hogging up the bathrooms, dirtying up the bedding, or waking anyone for a midnight glass of water-tummyache-potty run-"canisleepwithyou?" nor would I overflow the unfamiliar coffee pot in my panicked rush to the caffeine!

The Carriage Lamp, Bed & Breakfast

Each bedroom has it's own bathroom.

The Master bedroom.

My girls were so excited that they unpacked!

Our boys had their own room.
I hope you are enjoying your holiday season and if you happen to roll through Liberty, Indiana, don't blink or you'll miss it check out The Carriage Lamp.
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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Meet George!

This may go down as the best Christmas EV.ER!
(If you need the back story to our puppy obsession adventure...
click here!)
After spending Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with our Indiana aunts, uncles, cousins and grandma, we pointed our swagger wagon toward our St. Louis family! The SIL's (think sister-in-law mafia!) were hiding our surprise Christmas puppy, Big George!
We had kept this secret for over a month, but those last five hours on the road trip By the time I saw the arch, I was in full out "stupid talk!" 
I was delivering a constant stream about the weather, the traffic, "remember to say 'please' and 'thank you'" and "Raise your hand if you think I am funnier than Dad!"
When we finally arrived, the SIL's presented a box with a stuffed animal puppy inside. While my kiddos were wisely saying their "thank you's", Big George was carried in! 
A lot of shock, disbelief, and squealing (ok, I did most of the squealing!) later, we had our puppy.

George takes a trip in the swagger wagon...home!
A boy and his dog...

I find myself comparing everything he does with our old girl, Shelby. "Remember when Shelby played wolf-dog?" and "Shelby always..."
He has some big, proverbial shoes to fill. Considering the size of his paws, I'm sure he'll find his way. 

Link Par-taay at:

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Mission Accomplished.

When I left town last week with my family, I also left the blogosphere behind. My mission: No blogging, no link parties, no peeking at my stats! 

Happy Holidays!
I spent the entire trip focusing on:
-My family- kiddos, the mister, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, sisters, and sisters-in-laws!
-LOTS of food- breakfast casserole, beef tenderloin, vegetable soup, asparagus roll-ups, Christmas cookies and peppermint candy, just to name my favorites!
-LOTS of booze- beer, gin and tonic, gin and lemonade and spiked eggnog! 
-And, as always, LOTS of laughing!
-Our New Puppy!

Mission accomplished! 

I am going to have to spend the next week in food/booze/lazyland detox! 
Hopefully, I still have a few readers out there! Hellooooo?
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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A His and Hers Christmas House Tour!

I had the pleasure of touring a beautiful home today- complete with "His, Hers and Ours" trees! 
Rhonda and Brant's home was so lovely and festive.  With all of their travel keepsakes, their extensive book collections, their stunning art pieces, and her son's photography displays, it was a challenge for me to stay focused on their Christmas decorations! 
Please pour yourself some eggnog and enjoy this holiday house tour!

"His Tree"

I spy Rhonda!

"Her Tree"

The stockings were all hung by the chimney with care!

"Their Tree" (With some "Devine" intervention!)

A big ole holiday "THANK YOU!" to Brant and Rhonda for sharing their home with HouseTalkN!

Link Par-Taaay at:

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Dear Santa...

I found this "Dear Santa" letter while cleaning off my daughters desk. (I think I see evidence of the missing chocolate!)
It broke my heart.
She asked Santa to send our dog, Shelby 
and cat, Whitaker, back to Earth. 

Our old girl, Shelby


For the "DogTalkN" history, click here.
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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Top Secret Mission - Operation Puppy!

I am excited to share "Operation Puppy" with you- FINALLY!
(For our doggie history and dilemna, see:  "DogTalkN!") 
My fellow cohorts, that we shall call the "SIL's" (tough code to break- "sister-in-laws") joined me in the search for our new puppy. 
We were on the lookout for a golden retriever-ish that didn't come with a $1500 price tag! 
One week after we had all drunk-dialed phoned breeders from Indiana to Illinois to Missouri, I noticed an ad in my Sunday paper. "Golden Retriever puppies for sale, $150!"
Fourteen years ago, we had gotten our first dog (the smartest and sweetest golden retriever to ever live...) from an Amish family. I remembered finding their phone number in the news-gazette. It was like trying to get in touch with the CIA, as many families in their community shared a single phone. 
I left a message before church, after church and before bed.
Monday morning at 6:15am, my phone rang. The man on the other end explained that he was returning my...ahem...many phone calls. "We are an Amish family and we don't do business on Sunday, Ma'am".

An appointment was made and I enlisted my friend to be my co-pilot through the Amish countryside.

Shut to the up! Back the truck up! 
We arrived at the same Amish farm that our old girl, Shelby had come from!
At that point, I knew it was a done deal.  
There is no cuter puppy on the planet than a golden retriever puppy. The runt of the litter worked his magic on my co-pilot and before anyone could say "woof" we had BOTH picked our pooch!
A week later, my co-pilot surprised her three kiddos with their early Christmas present, Brinkley! 
Our puppy, Big George, is in a SIL safe house until Christmas day.

George and Brinkley

George likes the sports page!
The SIL's are going to surprise our kiddos with Big George when we arrive at the safe house on Christmas! I have never been more excited for Christmas day to arrive!

Link Par-taay at:
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