24 Weeks

Ahhh, home sweet home.  There really just isn’t anything quite like coming home.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy traveling.  To nice places.  With my husband…sometimes my kiddo.  Traveling to someplace that caters to me, makes my bed every day, picks up my messes and basically demands I do nothing but relax and enjoy.  I think we all know holiday travel meets none of the former criteria.

We’ve made it home safe and sound after a whirl-wind trip to College Station for Thanksgiving and for the football game.  We had a fine time, I especially enjoyed Wednesday.  Hubs was nice enough to run me by the local camera shop and I was able to purchase a brand new 50mm/f1.8 lens to use while we were gone.  I had originally intended to purchase the 50mm/f1.4 but I HADN’T originally intended to drop my camera forcing me into replacing my kit lens.  So, I opted for the lens that was still a major improvement but about $300 cheaper than my original intention.  My next purchase will be made soon, I just don’t know when.  Also, I’ll be replacing my camera body when (WARNING:  Following words may be offensive to some) I can budget (AHHHH!) and save-up (GASP!) for the pricey piece of equipment.  Anyways, we finally headed out-of-town around noon (our goal was 10ish…eye roll) and once we made it into town, had a ball.  Purchased some new Aggie swag (because we can never have enough), took a little tour around campus, watched little A run and have the time of her life around said campus and she was a trooper and even stuck it out for Yell Practice.  She even got to pet Reveille.  I got it on video; she doesn’t realize it now, but that’s a very special thing.  I ended up sleeping with A while Hubs slept in the twin bed in another room.  I hate, hate, hate finally being in the same city as my husband and not sharing a bed with him.  BUT, I felt awful asking A to spend the night alone in a strange place.  I knew she’d be scared.  I slept ok until about 4am when she started squirming around.  Thanksgiving Day proved to be the chaotic and frantic day I predicted it would be…lots of stories I will share with you shortly.  I’m sure you all have stories of your own.  Thursday night was a late one for Hubs and I and when the 2 of us finally crawled into bed with A, we were absolutely beat.  Needless to say, 3 people in a double bed didn’t work very well.  I finally kicked Hubs out around 3am so at least he could get some zzzzzz’s.  I don’t think it happened thanks to his grandmother that insists on rising at 4am and the neighbors roosters, but I digress…Around 3am my child woke up crying and BEGGING to go home.  Cue heartbreak.  She was awake, and so was I, for a few hours.  We hauled butt out of there as soon as we could this morning.  Pulled into our driveway about 1pm, had A in bed for a nap around 1:30 and Hubs and I also crashed for a few hours.  I actually JUST NOW took that shower I’ve been needing since last night.  The Christmas decorations we were going to get started on today are waiting until tomorrow.  I’m absolutely beat, and my body aches thanks to the massive amounts of walking I’ve done over the past few days.  Also, I wanted to take A to a parade tonight but I just couldn’t muster the energy…and the other 2 members of my family seemed more than ok with it but I’m still slightly bummed to have missed it.  So, all in all, a good time was had, but I am so very thankful to be home.  The dogs are happy to be home too.  They stayed with the vet and all 3 of them are absolutely passed out right now.  In fact, I don’t even know where Maggie is, I haven’t seen her since she got home.  They always come home tired…I don’t think they sleep well away from home either.

In other news, today is 24 weeks, which means that if Earl(ette) had to be delivered, she has a chance of survival outside the womb.  Things look much more promising in terms of her survival each week that passes, but there is a slight, and I mean very slight comfort in knowing that she has a chance.  24 weeks also means I have a self-imposed ban on travel until after her safe arrival.  We’re lucky enough to live in an area with several Level 3 NICU’s and I don’t plan to be more than about 10 minutes away from one until after she’s born.  I’m sure that gets me a few eye rolls but, eh, I don’t really care.

So, I promise to be back to play out the hilarious and unbelievable details of our Thanksgiving holiday.  In the meantime, I’m going to plant myself on the couch and watch some mindless tv.  A good night’s sleep is in order for all the decorating that has to take place tomorrow and Sunday.  I’ll leave you with my 24-week self-portrait taken yesterday.  I’m not actually as large as I appear in this photo, but I thought it was cute none-the-less.

24 week belly shot

Thanksgiving At Our Home

The fatigue I’m currently feeling is unreal.  I’m really not sure what’s going on, aside from the whole growing another human-being thing.  I’m not sleeping particularly well at night, mostly thanks to a slight cold I’m battling.  I’m rather stressed about being so tired because I’m getting very, very little done.  I’m thinking that may just be the way it is until I recover a little bit of energy.  Maybe the magical mop-fairy will visit my house and clean my floors.

I don’t consider myself some great decorator, but in the spirit of protecting a holiday that’s struggling to keep its head above water, I thought it would be a nice tribute to show-off the Thanksgiving decorations around here.  Ironically, we won’t even be in town for Thanksgiving, there’s a big football game happening that we plan to be at, but we can enjoy the turkeys, pumpkins and pilgrims anyway.  It’s also worth noting, while keeping true to my shopping-self, nothing was purchased at full price.  Because these items have been pieced together over a few years I can’t be certain how much I paid for everything, but I guarantee you what I bought was marked down at least 50%.  Even my pumpkins…got one for free since it was missing the sticker and the cashier was lazy and the other one I happened upon for $2 when I was looking for plants yesterday.

Here’s our front door.  Please note that is the official maroon paint of Texas A&M on our front door:
front door

Next, a few shots of the front porch:
front porch 2

front porch 1

A close-up of the pumpkin turkey. A got a real kick out of this guy:
pumpkin turkey 2

And a close-up of the pumpkin cat. He’s new this year. And funny story: I realized while editing these photos the mouth/nose is upside down. I’ve since fixed it, but thought it was too funny not to share so here’s Pumpkin Cat with his mouth and nose upside down:
cat pumpkin

Inside our living room:

hearth 2

mantle

wire pumpkins

Cosmo gets really antsy whenever I start moving stuff around or we rearrange furniture. He gets all sad and droopy and usually makes his way to his kennel. The week we spend putting out Christmas decorations is almost too much for him. Here’s proof:
bubba

This little assortment sits on my kitchen table:
kitchen table

And this charming couple sits atop the fridge. I figure their names are Mary and John. Something really traditional because I don’t imagine the pilgrims were running around making up names for their kids like we do nowadays:
fridge pilgrims

So, there you go. Proof that at least one American family remains that still recognizes and celebrates Thanksgiving. And remember folks, if you’re cooking t-day dinner, time to get that turkey into the fridge so he can start to thaw. Or, if you’re like me, learn to love football and forgo the big t-day feast. I’m totally psyched for our ham sandwiches this year.

Let’s Go Around The Circle and Introduce Ourselves

Isn’t this the standard practice when entering into a relationship with a new group of people?  So I figure it’s time to introduce a few characters to you.  After all, it’s difficult to follow the story if you don’t know the key players.

I decided to start with the four-legged members of our family.  Because, well, they’re easier to describe in one paragraph, I don’t mind putting their pictures on the Internet and frankly, we need to liven up this blog a little.  It’s been pretty serious as of late and these 3 beasts are the perfect antidote to anything serious.

This is Cosmo.  He’s a full bred Doberman Pinscher.  He’s also a full bred pain in the ass.  He’s truly the world’s worst dog.  He also goes by Bubba…mostly because he’s the only male in the house; not because it accurately describes his personality.  As I type this, he’s currently in the backyard participating in his favorite past time.  Barking continuously at nothing while waiting to see something to bark at.  Cosmo is about 90 pounds and is very, very tall for a Dobie.  He’s a beautiful dog.  Silky black fur (that I’m constantly sweeping up and wiping off seemingly every surface of our home), gorgeous tan markings (that are now filling in with gray given his age 😦 ) and sparkling eyes that, quite literally, twinkle with mischief.  We bought Cosmo the summer we got married and he’s been with us ever since.  We got him as a leggy 7 month old pup that was afraid to go up the stairs.  He’s now afraid of nothing and scares the crap out of anyone that doesn’t know him.  From day one we’ve learned the hard way that nothing, and I mean nothing, can be left in his reach (which is no easy feat given his size).  To this day he will chew up whatever he can grab.  Just last night he ruined a brand new pair of flip flops I had left UNDER the kitchen table.  I can’t tell you how many sippy cups and snack cups I’ve wrestled out of his mouth…because in addition to taking everything he can find the words “drop it” mean absolutely nothing to him.  If I could calculate the amount of money we’ve lost due to items ruined by this dog…well, suffice it to say the amount would be substantial.  In addition to being horribly behaved, he’s a pure bred dog which translates to costly vet bills.  This dog has been to the vet  and required more treatment than I ever dreamed.  My mutt barely costs us anything…but more on her later.  You see, even as poorly behaved and challenging as he is, he’s our Bubba.  He’s my husband’s dog and we love the big guy.

He's a good lookin' dude.

We even paid around $5,000 a few years ago to get him neck and spinal surgery to cure his Wobbler’s Syndrome.  That’s right folks, you read that correctly.  It was heartbreaking to watch him lose control of his (long) limbs and balance.  We had the means to help him medically, so we did.  I’m glad it’s given us several more years with him.  I was pregnant with A when all that happened and I’m so glad she knows him and loves him.  She’ll most likely always remember him and that makes me happy.  And, one of his favorite pastimes is to cuddle on the couch at night, well, as well as a 90 pounder can cuddle.  And who doesn’t love a 90 pound, sometimes, lap dog?

(yes, this is Cosmo on his hind legs looking out the window for something to bark at)

Meet Erika.  The world’s dumbest dog.  We call her Goose.  Because apparently we have a problem calling our animals by their given name.

Erika was our last attempt at “being parents” before admitting we really wanted an actual child.  We will never have 3 dogs again.  Not that we don’t love her, but it hasn’t been the seamless, easy endeavor we hoped for when we decided to add a third dog to the mix.  Goose was a rescue from the Doberman Rescue Society of North Texas.  She was originally taken to the Weimaraner Rescue only to be handed over to the Dobie Rescue because despite her fawn coloring and natural ears (they were never cropped)…she is a Dobie.  Acts just like one.  Erika was the name given to her by her foster parents so we kept it, but we call her Goose; short for Mama Goose (we think she was used as a puppy mill) and Silly Goose.  She’s so dumb.  And yet, so sweet.  My husband deemed her swoopid (sweet + stupid).  Whenever she happens to be in the same room while we’re eating or I’m cooking, she spends the whole time staring at the floor.  She thinks food just magically appears, doesn’t realize it gets dropped from above.  Stupid.  Her main goal in life is to play fetch and for someone to pet her.  It’s impossible to play fetch with her because she can’t grasp the concept of allowing you to pick up the ball, shoe, whatever, and actually throw it for her.  The second you reach for the item, she starts trying to grab it.  It’s a pointless endeavor.  She’s also impossible to pet.  She won’t sit still for even a second and once you try to pet her she starts licking you incessantly.  And she has terrible skin issues.  Because of her fawn coloring, she genetically has less hairs per follicle making her coat extremely thin, so thin that she requires coats and blankets in the winter.  She also smells bad.  Really bad.  We finally mentioned it to the vet and were told she has a yeast that grows on her skin but we can spend $20 on a (small) bottle of shampoo – use it weekly – and it will solve the problem.  It works, but she rarely gets weekly baths.  To top it off, she’s allergic to corn so she requires a special and highly expensive food.  But here’s what I love about her; when she finally sits still long enough to pass out, she’s a great cuddler.  Sometimes all she wants is to lay her head on your lap and let you stroke the soft and silky fur on her head.  The rest of her hair is very coarse, but her head is super soft.  She’s actually been known to work her way under the covers during the winter and sleep snuggled next to my legs all night.  I love that she loves to be outside and will gladly spend all day out there by herself.  I love that when she comes in at night and passes out she usually ends up on her back, one paw laying over her eyes, mouth open and snoring up a storm.  Makes me smile that her life is so uncomplicated that she can sleep THAT well.  I also love her because while we don’t know for sure why or how she ended up at the rescue, I do know that she’s got a great life here and loves us.  And we love her…swoopid and all.

Enjoying one of her favorite pastimes.

Meet Maggie.  She has other names too.  I know, you’re shocked.  She goes by Mags, Mag Pie and Maggie Dog.  She’s my baby.  I’ve had her since college, we’ve been best buds from the beginning.  I love her and she’s perfect.  Except for the horrible scar running almost the full length of her back where no hair has managed to grow in the 11 years I’ve had her; she was burned with either hot water or chemicals, the rescue organization wasn’t certain.  But I don’t even see it when I look at her.  Most people that know her don’t see it anymore either.  And everyone that knows her would like to get just 5 minutes with the monster or monsters that mistreated her.  You’ve never met a sweeter dog in your life.  She’s a dobie mix of some kind.  Looks like a dobie, but she’s only about 40 pounds…that number keeps creeping up with her age, poor girl.

I love everything about this dog.  She’s fiercely independent and would have preferred neither of the other dogs came along, could do without the toddler and I honestly think she’s still somewhat resentful of me getting married at all.  Sometimes, in the midst of the chaos I’ll catch her looking at me and I think she’s trying to say “You see, you see what you did here?  Don’t you remember the good old days when it was just you and me?”  Most days she spends lounging on the bed in our room.  She’s the only one of the dogs allowed in the bedrooms.  If I’m feeling particularly nice I’ll open the curtain in the bedroom and you’ll find her sprawled out in the sunshine.  She’ll move along the floor all day long to stay in the direct path of the sunshine.  She loves to find a sunny spot outside to lounge in (we have to put sunscreen on her scar 😦 ) as long as we’re outside as well.  And she loves a good back scratch by wriggling all over on her back in the grass.  She has no interest in spending any additional time outside if there isn’t a human outside also.  She’s a begger though.  This is her biggest fault.  Although, her begging is just silently sitting by your chair, she doesn’t whine or anything so I guess it could be worse.  And she’s a scavenger.  Constantly scouring the floor for crumbs.  Drives my husband c.r.a.z.y.  She loves to go on car rides – short ones.  She doesn’t relax well in the car so long trips aren’t her thing, but 10 minutes with her head out the window and she’s a happy camper.  She’s not much of a cuddler, but every now and then during the winter, if she gets really cold, we’ll wake in the morning to find her curled up between us.  Makes me smile every.single.time.  And I treasure those mornings that I can wake up and pet her because they are few and far between and I know they won’t be around for long.  I’ll never forget the day I got her, and I will always, always, always love her.  She was my college dog and has been with me the whole time.  I hope I’ve given her and continue to give her the kind of life she deserves after enduring the kind of abuse she had to go through.  You’ll hear people say that rescue dogs seem to have a different personality, that they seem to know they’ve been given a new lease on life – it is so true and so evident in Maggie.

Sometimes we call her the grumpy old woman because, well, she is.

Maggie the Aggie

I’ll leave you with this, from one dog lover to another:

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like this…

  • When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
  • Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
  • Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
  • Take naps.
  • Stretch before rising.
  • Run, romp and play daily.
  • Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
  • Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
  • On a warm day, stop to lie on your back in the grass.
  • On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
  • When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
  • Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
  • Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.  Stop when you’ve had enough.
  • Be loyal.  Never pretend to be something you’re not.
  • If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
  • When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
  • Be always grateful for each new day.