Beginning To Deal With The Aftermath… and… The Unforgettable Trip To Guido’s

After Christmas Chaos

The picture above is just a part of what our pool room (junk room) looks like at the moment.  It’s looked this way for most of December.  It’s the only room in the house that has room for “overflow”, therefore, it is the room that “catches” everything. 

Today I am finally beginning to pack up the left-over Christmas paper, bows, boxes, etc.  It will barely make a dent in the stuff that I have to pack up in the following days, but I have to start somewhere.

I am a believer of leaving the Christmas decorations up until after New Years.  I’ve always heard that it’s bad luck to remove them before then, but I actually enjoy the decorations more after Christmas is over.  It usually gets so hectic before Christmas, there is little time to sit and enjoy the decorations.  How about you, when do you take down your tree and decorations? 

So…I have been sitting and enjoying the decorations this week!  It’s also cold this week and I can burn my tree lights without running the air conditioner.  Our tree has so many white lights on it that it gives off a tremendous amount of heat!  That heat feels good this week!  I love a tree with lots of lights!

Tonight the family is planning to go on our last “outing ” of the season.  We are going over to a place called “Guido Gardens”.  It’s a beautifully landscaped garden that used to belong to pastor Michael Guido and his ministry, before he passed away this past year.  The garden has many statues, koi ponds, a replica of Jesus’ tomb, a glass chapel, a replica of Noah’s Ark, a life-sized animated nativity scene, and a larger than life birthday cake for Jesus, among other things.  It’s decorated in thousands of lights and is a beautiful reminder of what Christmas is really about.  I haven’t been to see it in a couple of years.  Some of our family has never been, so it will be special.  The weather outside is chilly, so we’ll have to bundle up.  Perhaps I can post a picture at the end of this post before I publish it.

Update: It’s now ten minutes before midnight and we just got back home from our trip to Guido Gardens.  What a trip that turned out to be!  The whole family–all ten of us piled into two vehicles and drove to Guido Gardens–a thirty minute ride.  When we arrived, we discovered that the place was dark and closed.  Apparently, they decided to end the light show earlier than planned.

So…we decided to go to The Western Sizzlin’ Steak House to eat–only to discover that it is no longer there!  It’s been replaced by a place called Bevricks.  We decided to give Bevricks a try.  The food and service was great, so that made the trip somewhat worthwhile.  We weren’t quite ready to come straight home, so we decided to cut across and go to Wal-mart–about 20 miles or so away.

After a trip through Wal-mart, we started to come home when our son, Brad, noticed that the front tire on my car was flat!  So Christina went back in Wal-mart to do a little more shopping while the guys started to try to figure out how to change the tire.  After locating the owner’s manual and discovering where the spare tire and jack were located, the men proceeded to try to get the front tire off.  They beat and framed, but no luck!  That tire was stuck on good!

So…my hubby goes in Wal-mart and buys a can of fix-a-flat and a small battery-powered air compressor.  They put the fix-a-flat in the tire and pumped it up.  That held and got us home!  While doing all of this, my son-in-law kneeled down on the pavement and landed smack on a banana peeling which made him slide and dirty his pants!!!  Everyone pointed and laughed at him…

On the way home, we noticed that Clint’s van slowed down and got far behind us.  After we all arrived home, Brandy came out and told us about the ordeal that they experienced on the way home.  Madison was eating goldfish crackers and somehow got part of one up her nose!  She began to cry and get upset while trying to explain that she had a cracker in her nose.  Upon examining Madison, Brandy saw that she did, indeed, have a cracker up her nose!  Brandy began to panic, but quickly turned to Brad’s girlfriend, Jennifer, who recently completed nursing school, and asked what to do.  Jennifer said that she thought that she had some tweezers(she did), so Brandy held Madison while Jennifer removed the cracker with tweezers!  That is what was going on when the van slowed down.  Man, what a night–one we will remember and laugh about for a long time to come!

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Published in: on December 31, 2009 at 1:26 am  Comments (7)  
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My Daughter Is Turning Into Me!

Mother, daughter, granddaughter

It’s a strange thing how our personalities and tendencies evolve over the years.  The older my daughter gets–the more like me that she gets!  I don’t know if this is a blessing or curse–probably depends on who you ask!  It seems like my daughter, Brandy, and I have a lot more in common than our looks.

Recently, my daughter became involved in church.  She began teaching the pre-schoolers Sunday School class.  When I was just about her age, I began teaching the primary class.  Brandy spends hours planning her lessons.  She plans a craft, and/or a game for each Sunday to go along with the lesson.  Her Sunday School room is very inviting.  She’s decorated the walls, made a bulletin board, and hangs up the pictures and crafts that are left behind.  I used to do those very same things!  I could never be satisfied with mediocre–it had to be all or nothing!

Brandy never used to like to shop–I’ve always loved shopping.  Now when we go off together, I find that Brandy loves to shop as good as I do.  We can spend hours browsing.  I watched Brandy shopping for 3 months prior to Christmas.  She examined every toy in every store!  If she thought Madison would like it, she bought it!  I used to do the same thing.

Christmas at my house has always been an ordeal.  I spend days decorating, and put up several trees.  For the past couple of years, Brandy has done the same thing.  We both decorate nearly every “nook and cranny” in every room of our homes.

Brandy mentioned today that she’d found a picture of my husband, me, and her taken during Christmas 1980.  It was taken in front of the Christmas tree– in the same house that she and her family live in now.  She remarked to me how strange it was to be celebrating Christmas in that same house nearly 30 years later with a daughter of her own.  The picture showed the  same paneling on the living room walls, the same ceiling tiles,  and even how Brandy’s daughter looks exactly like Brandy looked in that picture–it’s a bit uncanny.

Brandy is a devoted, stay-at-home mother, just as I was.  She takes her motherly responsibility very seriously, just like I did.  She is a very protective mother–just like her own mother was.

I was about the age that Brandy is now when I first began having unexplained health issues.  These issues continued until I had my “flare” in 1994 and was diagnosed with arthritis, then later a herniated disc in my cervical spine.  Brandy has begun suffering from some of the same problems that I have had in the past.  I suspect that she may have some of the same health problems.  When we speak of our symptoms, each of us understands completely.  This is one trait that I wish we didn’t share.

Yes, my daughter, Brandy, and I are a lot alike.  We are very close, and always have been.  She’s my best friend as well as my daughter.  I am so grateful that we have such a strong bond.  I hope that  Brandy and Madison will always share a bond that is just as strong–it sure seems like they are headed in that direction for now.

Published in: on December 30, 2009 at 9:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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Tuesday’s Blog Hop–Christmas in Pictures

Family Photo Christmas 2009

We usually try to take at least one family photo per year, but I believe that this may be the first family photo ever taken at Christmas!  Everyone was required to put on a funny hat or antlers before the picture!  We’re a funny looking bunch for sure!

Siamese Gift Wrapping

Our family always plays a couple of games on Christmas Eve.  This year we tried our hand at Siamese Gift Wrapping.  Two people had to work together to wrap a present–using only one hand each!  The photo above is of our son, Brad, and his girlfriend Jennifer trying their hand at Siamese Gift Wrapping.

Madison and Santa Claus

This picture of Madison(our grandaughter)and Santa Claus is one of the highpoints of Christmas 2009.  This is the first Christmas that Madison hasn’t been terrified of Santa!  You would never know that from looking at this photograph…

Cade with his new tricycle

Our grandson, Cade,  got a new tricycle for Christmas.  It’s one of those new “grow with me” toys.  It has a safety seat and a long handle on the back of it,  so his parents can push him until he gets old enough to ride on his own.  He sure seemed to enjoy riding up and down the hall on Christmas Day…

Thanks for hopping by to share some of our Christmas memories in photographs…I can’t wait until I learn how to edit my photographs with my new Photoshop software–maybe by Valentine’s Day–no make that Easter!  Have a great day!

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Published in: on December 29, 2009 at 11:36 am  Comments (5)  

Not Me, Monday…After Christmas Edition

 

 After you finish reading, don’t forget to leave a comment.  All commenters will be entered for a chance to win a ten dollar Wal-mart gift card.  Drawing will be held on New Year’s Day.

The Christmas of 2009…It was a different kind of Christmas…I was really beginning to feel my age…

Although I am usually finished with my Christmas shopping at least a month before Christmas, this Christmas did not find me wrapping gifts until 1:00 am on Christmas morning!  I would never postpone wrapping my gifts until the last possible minute–not me!

I put my Christmas turkey in the refrigerator to thaw about 3 days prior to Christmas, only to discover on Christmas Eve that the turkey was still somewhat frozen.  I did not have to work to get that turkey thawed on Christmas Eve night!  I would never put a turkey in the refrigerator to thaw and not check it until the last-minute!  Not me!

As of Christmas Eve, I still had not planned what I was cooking on Christmas Day.  I would never wait until the last-minute to plan a large family meal…not me!  Luckily for my family, I had what I needed for the meal and got it all cooked!

Just for fun on Christmas Eve, the family took turns playing the Siamese Gift Wrap Game.  A couple would link their arms and  only use one arm each to wrap a gift together.  We were wrapping boxes of Christmas lights that I had bought for next year.  A box of those wrapped lights did not make it’s way under the tree and get opened for a gift by my husband in the gift exchange!  The look on his face was priceless when he realized that he had received a box of Christmas lights!

My hubby’s gift luck didn’t get any better, as the next time we played the gift swapping game he ended up with a pair of hot pink ladies cozy socks!  It was not Ed’s year for useful gifts!

It did not begin to rain on Christmas Eve and continue to rain through most of Christmas Day.  My son’s girlfriend, Jennifer,  received a neat folding umbrella during our gift swap game on Christmas Eve.  My daughter got the chance to trade gifts with  Jennifer–and stole her umbrella–just before the rain started!  I, on the other hand, got a rain poncho in the gift exchange–and I was the only one who didn’t have to go out in the rain!

After an entire week of cool, chilly weather, the weather did not warm up on Christmas Eve.  I had to run the air conditioner–and a fan–the entire day of Christmas Eve,  that night, and all of Christmas Day!  I do not like warm Christmas weather…It was rather warm in the kitchen baking that ham and turkey!!!

I was so exhausted the day after Christmas, I slept until 12:00 pm.  I stayed up for 3 hours,  then took a 3 hour nap!  I woke up at 6:30 pm, ate supper, watched tv until 10:00 pm, then went back to bed!  I’m not sure that I’ve caught up on my rest yet! 

That does it for my Not Me, Monday.  Christmas has come and gone.   Everyone  has gone back to work, and I am left to deal with all of  the left over ribbons, papers, food and mess…Have a great day, I know I will!

Hubby and me playing Siamese Gift Wrap

Published in: on December 28, 2009 at 12:21 pm  Comments (2)  
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Six Word Saturday…The Day After

Welcome to Six Word Saturday…The Day After–Christmas, that is!  I missed playing last week, so I was anxious to get back on line with my “Six Word” friends!  Hope all of you had a very Merry Christmas, and will continue on to have a Happy New Year.  Now for my six words:

Help!  I’m buried under Christmas rubbish!

Christmas has come and gone, along with the rest of the family, except for me and hubby!  All that remains of our lovely holiday get-together is a pile of garbage and mess that seems to be a mile high!  Empty boxes, trash bags full of paper, tissue, and bows!  Trash bags full of paper plates, cups, tin foil, and napkins…that’s what I am dealing with today!  Oh the joys of the day after Christmas…

Don’t forget to leave a comment!  It will automatically enter you in my ten dollar Wal-mart gift card giveaway!  Winner to be chosen on New Year’s Day!  Good luck!   Kathy

Published in: on December 26, 2009 at 2:21 pm  Comments (9)  

More Favorite Christmas Memories…

Our oldest son, Brett, at age 7 on Christmas morning

My favorite Christmas memories are all of my children when they were small.  I remember how excited they used to get, and their excitement was contagious.  Everything is better when seen through the eyes of a chid. 

 When the children were small, I made a little calendar page and stuck it on the refrigerator door to count down the days until Christmas.  Each day someone would stick a Christmas magnet on a new day, or remove one– I can’t remember which way we did it now.  The children loved those little magnets.

The arrival of the Sears and Penney’s Christmas catalogs was greatly anticipated at our house–three anxious children were dying to get their hands on them!  By Christmas, the pages were tattered and worn from endless use.  I always ordered the children’s presents early.  and just left them in the large box that they were shipped in.  The children never did figure out where their gifts were because I am a person who stores lots of stuff in boxes, and they thought it was just another box of my stuff.

We always took our children riding  around to look at Christmas lights one night before Christmas.  For several years our town had a little musical production that we took our children to each year.  The show was held outside and the shows featured local talent, elaborate sets, and great costumes.  If you weren’t in the holiday spirit when you got to the show, you would be when you left!

Cookies or home-made candy were always left for Santa on Christmas Eve.  We weren’t much good at baking cookies, but we did make candy!  I don’t think Santa minded.  The children were tucked in bed and told that they absolutely could not get out of bed until after daylight!  Most of the time they followed directions.

I remember one Christmas Eve when Brandy was still small, she came walking out while my husband was busy putting together toys in the living room.  She was still half asleep and luckily didn’t notice what was going on before I shuffled her back to bed.

One Christmas after the children were getting older, we’d given them the usual warning about not getting out of bed until after daylight, or they might frighten Santa away.  They went to bed and Ed and I spent several hours getting everything ready.  It always took me a while to fix everything just the way I wanted it. 

One of the children’s gifts that year was a talking robot called My Pal 2.  If you moved My Pal 2, he would start blinking his lights and talking to you.  Ed and I had just settled down in bed when suddenly we heard My Pal 2 start talking.  Then we heard some scuffling of little feet getting out of the living room in a hurry!  The children just knew that they were going to be in big trouble when that robot started talking–and they couldn’t figure out how to stop him from talking!  The next day we all had a big laugh about the robot that “ratted” on the children who sneaked out of bed.

I  enjoy sharing my thoughts and memories of the past, but I am going to take a break from blogging for the next few days so I can get ready for Christmas.  When I return to blogging after Christmas, I will have a whole new batch of stories to share with you.  Until then, I wish every one of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!   Kathy

Published in: on December 22, 2009 at 11:39 pm  Comments (1)  
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Tuesday Blog Hop…Favorite Christmas Memories

Cast members of one of the Anderson Programs

Back in 1982,  a small family of four people made a very selfless decision.  They decided to do something special for the community at Christmas instead of buying each other Christmas presents.  That decision was the beginning of one of my all-time favorite Christmas memories, “The Anderson Christmas Program”.

Every member of the Anderson family was exceptionally talented.  Apparently they also knew other people in the community who were talented as well.  Their first show had a small cast consisting of their family, and just a few cousins and  friends. 

The house that the Andersons lived in looked somewhat like a “storybook house” and made a perfect backdrop for their program.  The family designed and painted other props for the program and placed them in the front yard of their home.  The members of the cast paid to have their own costumes made, and spent many hours rehearsing for the program.

The Andersons had a professional musical soundtrack made for their program, bleachers were brought in, and stage lights and spot lights were set up in the yard.  It was an impressive production.

Beginning a week before Christmas through Christmas Eve, The Andersons held 2 shows each night.  Thousands of people came to see those shows, and each year the shows got bigger and better–and it was absolutely free to the public! 

The Andersons Christmas Program continued each year for about ten years, then it ended.  Our family never missed a show!  Some years we even went to see it twice.  It was so impressive to see the talent that lives here in our small town.  Many of the cast were small children–so talented and cute!  It was impressive to think of the hard work and sacrifice that all of the people involved in this project gave of themselves each and every year for so many years. 

The Anderson children have grown up and moved away.  I never go by their house that I don’t think of all of the years of Christmas entertainment that their family gave us.  Those chilly nights… sitting in their front yard…with my family… watching an Anderson Christmas Show is definitely high on my list of favorite Christmas memories!  

Just an interesting note:  the Anderson’s daughter, Oshja, went on to win the title of “Miss Georgia” in 1999!

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Published in: on December 21, 2009 at 11:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Not Me, Monday…Dashing Through the Rain In Our Old White Mini Van

My Not Me, Monday post today is about a recent shopping trip that I went on.  If you enjoy my story, you may want to hop over to Mckmama’s place at http://www.mycharmingkids.net  and check out more Not Me posts.

The other day my daughter and I did not go on the shopping trip from hell…Sorry about that word, but no other word would accurately describe the trip!  It was truly one of those days!

First of all, let me say that we don’t plan trips in the rain.  Both my husband and I have been involved in accidents during rain storms, so we only go out in the rain if we have to.  Next, we were going on our shopping trip in the  Mercury Villager Mini Van that used to mine, but was passed down to Brandy when she became a parent and really  needed a van….that’s how the old white mini van fits in the title.   Now!  On with the story… 

My daughter, Brandy, and I planned a shopping trip for one day last week after checking the weather to make sure it wasn’t going to rain.  It  begin to rain about the time we arrived in Hinesville–about 40 minutes from where we live.  You just can’t trust those lying weathermen!

After shopping around in Big Lots, we did not come out of the store to find that it was pouring rain!  Brandy did not develop a headache about this time, but I still asked her if she minded if I went in Bath and Body Works quickly.  She agreed to wait in the car with granddaughter, Madison.

While I was quickly trying to shop in Bath and Body Works I did not also develop a headache due to the very loud Christmas music that was playing in the store…I did not want to yell “Turn the music down!”  I made my purchases as quickly as I could– considering I couldn’t think– because of that darn loud music!

Brandy, Madison, and I decided to head home immediately after the Bath and BodyWorks trip…One the way home Brandy did not get so sick that she had to pull over and let me drive…About this time, Madison did not decide that she was hungry, tired, and cranky!  Her DVD player wouldn’t play and she kept crying and whinning in the backseat.  I did not finally unplug the stupid DVD player out of aggravation!  I would never do such a thing!!!  Unplugging the DVD player increased the intensity of the wails coming from the backseat–and the intensity of our headaches!

When we finally arrived home from our not-so-fun shopping trip, I did not send Brandy to her house to rest, while I brought Madison home with me.  I  feed her lunch, then put on the DVD of The Nutcracker Ballet, get on one couch myself, and tell Madison not to move off the other couch!  I would never resort to a video of The Nutcracker for a babysitter–not me…but, yet I did and I enjoyed the calming music.

Well, that was our last shopping trip…hum, I am about to get ready to go on one last outing four days before Christmas…Do we dare try it again???  Sure, why not, nothing ventured–nothing gained!   I might even have another Not Me, Monday to write about next week!!!   Have a great day, ya’ll….Kathy

Published in: on December 21, 2009 at 9:58 am  Comments (1)  

Top Five Activities That I Enjoy The Most At Christmas/Giveaway

Christmas is my favorite time of the year, so it’s going to be tough to narrow down to five favorites.  I’ll give it a try…

1.  Decorating Christmas trees.  I love each and every one of my ornaments that I’ve spent years collecting.  I take a lot of time every year finding  just the right spot for each ornament.  It actually took me two days to decorate the main tree this year, but I enjoyed every minute of it!

2.  Displaying all of my Christmas Collectibles all over the house.  The worst part is deciding which ones to use, and which ones not to use.  I love every doll and village piece, and feel like I am a “traitor” when I leave one in the box at Christmas.  I am at the point in time where I leave more in the box than I display.

3.  Playing Christmas music.  I love all kinds of Christmas music, and I play it from Thanksgiving until Christmas Day.  I have collected quite a variety of cassettes and CD’s over the years, and I try to play them all at least once each Christmas.

4.  Wrapping Christmas gifts.  I love to pick out the paper, bows, and tags–then wrap the gifts up.  I tend to put it off more these days though.

5. Attending Christmas functions–cantatas, children’s programs, musicals, light displays, etc or watching Christmas movies.   All of these types of activities really put me in a holiday mood!

Many years ago shopping would’ve been high at the top of my list.  When my children were young, I was a serious Christmas shopper,  and had all of my gifts bought by the end of October.  Now that my children are grown, we don’t buy gifts for the whole family, so Christmas shopping has dropped to what would be number 6 on my list, if I had a number 6.

How about you?  What are your 5 favorite Christmas activities?

I will be running a tw0-week giveaway for a ten dollar Wal-mart gift card.  This is due to the heavy volume of mail and the busy time of the year.  Just leave a comment any time during the next two weeks and your name will be entered in my drawing to be held on New Years Day.  I will enter your name every time that you leave a comment, whether it’s 2 or 20!  Have fun–I love your comments!

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Published in: on December 17, 2009 at 10:10 pm  Comments (10)  
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Lively Lovable Spotazz…

  It was just after the Christmas of 1993 when “Lively Lovable Spotazz” entered our lives.  The Disney movie 101 Dalmatians had been remade and Dalmatians were popular.  I decided that I’d really like to have one.  My husband told me that he’d heard that Dalmatians are hyper and didn’t always make good pets. 

It was the first Saturday following Christmas when we drove to Keller’s Flea Market.  At the time, we enjoyed visiting the flea market regularly, just to see what was there.  They always had a variety of pets for sale, too. 

On that particular day, there was one dalmatian puppy for sale.  He was about 3 months old, and the last of his litter.  The puppy was sitting in his crate just as calm as he could be, while most of the other puppies in crates around him were in a frenzy of activity!  Due to his size and being the last of the litter, he was marked down from two-hundred dollars to one hundred and fifty dollars. 

We’d never bought an animal of any kind, other than a parakeet or a guinea pig.  The thought of paying for a dog–much less a one hundred and fifty dollar dog was almost unthinkable!  Almost, but not quite!  After watching me admire the puppy, leave, got back and admire him some more, Ed told me that he would buy the puppy for me if I really wanted him….and just like that, the puppy found a new home!

We paid for the puppy, and I asked Ed to take  him to the car while I stopped and bought an old blanket for him becauset was very cold that day.  I bought the blanket,  and stopped on the way to look at a couple of other things…By the time I reached our suburban, I couldn’t believe my eyes!  That dalmatian had “come alive” and was about to tear up the back-end of our new suburban!  Ed just looked at me.

I rode in the back-end of the suburban with the puppy– all the way home, which takes about an hour.  My arms are still scarred today from the claw and teeth marks.  That was the most hyper puppy I’ve ever seen!  I believe they must’ve had him drugged while he was in that crate, and the drugs wore off in the car!!!  He pawed, clawed, nipped, and chewed on me all the way home.  I was beginning to hear Ed’s words ringing in my ears…”Dalmatians are hyper, and don’t always make good pets.”

The dog came with a pedigree, so we named him and had him registered.  We ended up naming him Lively Loveable, Spotazz, but called him” Tazz” for short.  His name fit him perfectly.  He was lively, but lovable, and he was a whirlwind of activity just like the Tasmanian Devil on The Bugs Bunny Show.

Tazz was hyper, but he was very good with our children.  He never hurt any of us in any way, but we were always respectful to him.  He was very protective of us though, and didn’t like strangers.  Nobody ever came to our house unannounced.  If Tazz gbecame too aggressive to our visitors, we’d shake the BB gun at him and he’d run.  For some reason he was terribly afraid of guns.  We’d have to watch Tazz when our visitors were leaving–sometimes he’d try to nip them as they were leaving–as if to say “…and don’t come back”.  Tazz could’ve used a few lessons from The Dog Whisperer.

We always bought Tazz toys every Christmas.  He loved those obnoxious squeaky toys that make loud noise!  I’d wrap them up in paper and ribbon.  He’d grab a toy from my hand and take off with it.  He’d shake that toy in his mouth until the paper flew one way and the toy went the other.  It was hilarious to watch.  He’s throw the toy up in the air, then stomp on it with his paws.  Tazz enjoyed his toys at Christmas as much as any of our children did.

Tazz’s  favorite toys were squeaky balls of any kind.  He even knew what we said when we’d tell him to “go get the ball.”  He’d always return with a ball in his mouth.  It was amazing.  He was such a funny dog!

We’d had Tazz for ten years when he passed away in 2004.   He was a good and faithful pet, and we’ll never forget our Lively Lovable Spotazz–especially when we hear one of the obnoxious squeaky toys!

Published in: on December 17, 2009 at 6:44 am  Comments (2)  
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