Vernon Volumes text

Vernon Volumes text

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Millie Mae Post-Christmas visit


The day after Christmas we got up early so we could go to Millie's breeder (Stacy) so the kids could meet their new puppy for the first time. We arrived at 10am and the kids were so excited to meet baby Millie. Stacy requires that everyone coming in to her home/business take off their shoes and wear a hospital style gown and we also wore our masks during the visit except for a couple of family pictures. 

Millie was looking quite cute today and it's amazing how much puppies change in such a short amount of time. Millie had filled out quite a bit and was looking round and plump. Her hair has grown in more and started to become wavy and both of her eyes were open. She still doesn't want to walk around much when we set her down on the ground, she seemed to prefer being held and snuggling. She liked to burrow her face in to Connor's arm and she loved Paige's head rubs.

After we hung out with Millie in the family room, we went to the back room where many of the puppies are being kept and are crate trained. It is always so much fun to see all the puppies that are getting ready to go to their new homes. We're allowed to pet them, but not pick them up, and Mrs. Stacy and her staff teach the puppies to become accustom to the crates and not to bark and be too wild. When the puppies are first removed from their mother, they are put in a crate with a littermate and they still see their mother a few times per day for feeding. Eventually they are moved to their own crate and learn to be independent. 

Usually when we go in the room it's surprising how many puppies there are and how well behaved they all are. Today, a few of them were a bit rowdy and impatient since they had just been moved to their own individual crates, but it was still pretty quiet and calm considering how many puppies were in one room together. As you can imagine, the kids loved meeting all the different puppies. Paige held Millie the entire time in one hand as she went from crate to crate. 

Mrs. Stacy was also nice enough to bring out Millie's mother Maggie and her father Tory so we could see both of them. Andrea and I had met Maggie (Havanese) on a previous visit, but it was our first time meeting Tory (Mini Poodle). He was a bit shy and apparently didn't like his new poodle style cut. 

We had such a nice visit with Millie and we're looking forwards to our visit with her next week!

Christmas Celebration with Grandpa Rick and Grandma Alice

Around 2:30pm, Grandpa Rick and Grandma Alice came by our house to celebrate Christmas with us. We have been limiting our social interactions, especially indoors, with people but decided to spend the holiday with G&G maskless in our house. It's a risk this year with the pandemic, but we all agreed to it and tried to be safe, so no hugging this year. We exchanged some gifts, ate lots of goodies, played "Sleeping Queens" and "Outfoxed" and watched some basketball and football. It was a fun visit and G&G were surprised and excited about our new puppy addition as well. 

In the afternoon we got on a Zoom call with Grandpa Rick's siblings and family and then in the evening, we got a Zoom call with Uncle Chris, Aunt Abby, Max, Uncle Alex, and Aunt Laura, and Charlie. It obviously not nearly as fun as in person, but it was nice to have the option to see each other virtually and to spend some time together as a family.


A Merry Millie Mae Christmas Surprise

Once we were done opening our gifts, we cleaned up the Family room and then I went upstairs with the kids to hang out for a little while and distract them while Andrea setup our Christmas surprise. 

It's been the hardest secret that Andrea and I have ever had to keep. We have been planning to get the family a puppy dog for Christmas this year and the excitement has almost killed me. It's been almost two years now since Chloe passed away and for a long time I couldn't bear the thought of another dog in our home. We've seen quite a few cute puppies recently and the kids have been asking us for a while now whether we'd ever get another dog. I've been busy with work and haven't even seriously been considering it, however Andrea started doing a little research and came across a puppy breeder in our area that is fairly nearby. We realized that a few of our friends and neighbors have gotten puppies through the same breeder and on the way for my birthday trip to Sea Island in November we asked if we could stop by to just have a look. We were so impressed with the breeder and her setup that we briefly talked it over after our visit and we put down a deposit on a Havapoo (half Havanese and half Poodle) puppy as soon as we were able to. We were unfortunately #11 on the list for Havapoos, and it was a tough wait for us.

On December 1st, 2020, a litter of puppies was delivered and luckily for us some of the other people on the Havapoo list had gone with other puppy breeds or had decided to pass on the litter. We were given a few options and decided to go with the puppy that was initially named Macy by the breeder. As the mother was named Maggie, all of her puppies were randomly given "M" names which was a bit of a coincidence since Andrea and I had both already decided that we liked Millie as a puppy name.  We picked Millie based on her coloring and the cute white stripe down her nose which is fairly unique, most of her siblings were darker and a solid shade of reddish brown. Millie was the lightest and we thought the white stripe gave her face some extra character. 

Andrea and I visited Millie twice in secret under the guise of "shopping". It was fun to see her grow and already how much she's changed since she was born. On our visit before Christmas, on December 19th, I snapped a few pics with my Nikon, we printed a few of them and put our favorite pic in a dog bone shaped frame that Andrea found while shopping. 

Andrea staged our puppy stuff in front of the tree along with the framed photo and then she called the kids down and told them that we had one small gift left that we "forgot" to wrap. Paige has been dying for, and hinting about, a puppy for months and it was pretty prescient that she asked Andrea "Is it a puppy?" before she was led in to the Family room. Andrea covered their eyes so they wouldn't see and then we had them open their eyes for the puppy surprise. Their reactions were cute and although Paige was hoping for a puppy I really don't think she actually expected she'd get one. The video is private since I'm not sure the kids would want everyone to see their happy tears.

After the big reveal, Andrea surprised me with a special custom Christmas ornament that she'd ordered to commemorate the occasion. 

Andrea and the kids had fun calling family members to finally tell everyone our fun news and share our excitement for our new family member. It is a relief for us that we don't have to be so careful about everything we say any more, I was so worried that I'd spoil the surprise somehow!

Merry Christmas! We can't wait to bring home our new puppy!

Christmas Morning 2020

On Christmas Morning Andrea was awake around 4:30am and wasn't able to get back to sleep. I hadn't gotten to bed until after 2am due to our plumbing issue from Christmas Eve, so I was still in bed and mostly asleep when she came to check on me around 9am. We all got up and got dressed in our matching Christmas PJ's and then took a couple quick pics in front of the tree before we opened presents. It was a chilly morning in the lower 40's after the cold front came through and it was kind of nice that it was cold (by Florida standards) on Christmas day.

As is our tradition, we all took turns opening gifts with the youngest family member going first and then going in order of age. We all had a bunch of presents under the tree this year and we did most of our shopping online this year due to the pandemic.

We enjoyed listening to Christmas music as we opened up our gifts and goofed off together. I put together a short video of our morning, but decided to make it private since it shares some of our silly family time together.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve games and movie... and a plumber


This Christmas Eve we had a fairly relaxing day around the house. Andrea picked up a bunch of sweets and lunch from Cinotti's and I picked up a couple of pies from Pie Heaven. 

The kids were allowed to open one gift early before Christmas morning and we decided to give them something they could play together.

I worked most of the day and in the afternoon we watched "Home Alone" as is our family tradition in the evening. In the middle of the movie a cold front blew through and it was surprisingly violent and scary. We could see some of the enormous pine trees blowing around in the gusty wind and we were actually worried that one of the ones in our neighbor's yard might topple over and come through in to our living room where we were sitting so we went across the house to the master bedroom until it calmed down. Paige gave us a weather report out front at one point, actually it was one of the calmer moments with the storm. 

Once things calmed down, we finished our movie, and then we sent the kids up to take showers and get ready for bed. Connor came down a little while later to tell us that something was wrong with his shower. When he turned it on it was a little difficult to turn the handle and he forced it over and then it stopped responding no matter what he did. I went up, thinking that maybe the handle had gotten loose from the valve, however no amount of tightening made a difference. I ended up shutting off the water completely to the house and then started pulling apart the shower plumbing. I was hoping I could find a shutoff or some way to just turn the shower off temporarily until I could get a replacement part or get a plumber, however once I removed the handle cartridge I realized that it was cracked and wasn't turning at all. The water was stuck on full blast. I tried a few things to just plug up the water valve, but due to the crack in the cartridge there were no good options. It was 10pm at this point and all the hardware stores had closed early at 5pm on Christmas Eve. I considered waiting until morning so I could just pick up a replacement part. It was just a $50 Moen cartridge and I'd figured out how to get the broken one out. If I could find a replacement it would be as simple as pushing it in place, screwing everything back together, and I'd be done. Unfortunately all the stores were planning to be closed on Christmas day as well. I finally realized that I had the option between paying for an emergency plumber service or waiting a couple days. I looked online and thankfully found a plumber that was working. It was an extra $89 dispatch fee and the repair was $300. The plumber had to go get the part, so it took quite a while, but thankfully by around 1am he was done and the water was back on and working. It was a bit more expensive than it should have been, but it was worth it and I'm thankful that he was working on Christmas Eve and I gave him an extra tip for saving the day.

Christmas lights - scavenger hunt

On December 23rd, the weather was still fairly warm, and Andrea came across the idea of a Christmas Light scavenger hunt. We like to go through the neighborhood to see the lights and decided we'd take the opportunity to go in the golf cart before it got too cold out. We put on our winter coats and drove through the neighborhood to enjoy the lights and nice weather. We weren't the only ones with the idea and we saw a few neighbors doing the same thing. 


Andrea found a "Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt" checklist and we found quite a few of the items listed. We also stopped and took a couple pics with some of our favorite houses. 

This year is the first time since living in Florida that we put any lights out on the house. We've done some decorations in the past like garland and bows, but the lights seemed like too much of a hassle. I'd done a bit of work around the house lately with automation and wiring and setup some smart plugs that will turn on and off. I decided to put lights on the balcony garland this year and while it's not at all as fancy as many of the houses in our neighborhood, the kids enjoyed the lights and it looked a little more festive this  year.

Golf Clubs and Golf Camp - Winter Break

This past Monday, the kids started a three day golf camp at PVIC during their winter break. Andrea and I were planning to get them golf clubs for Christmas and decided that since they already knew how Santa "works", we would give them the golf clubs early so they could use them for camp and get used to using them. On Sunday, the 20th, we had them cover their eyes and then we surprised them with their new clubs.

The kids were pretty happy to have their own clubs and we told them that the clubs were their "big" gift for Christmas this year and that we let them have the clubs early because of camp. I don't think they were actually super excited to have clubs as their big gift, but they were sweet about it and smiled nicely for the pics.

On Monday, Andrea dropped the kids off for camp and snapped a few pics of them together with their friends. The camp was from 2-4, Monday through Wednesday, and they enjoyed it more than I expected. The new driving range is open and they also have access to a practice area, so it's a bit more of a camp-friendly configuration than they had during summer when the course was under construction/renovation.