I think I’m in love.

I’ve loved a lot of men in my life. Maybe not in the same way, but loved them all the same. The one I love the most is my husband, of course. Well, maybe not “of course” since the older I get the more I realize a lot of people are stuck in loveless marriages and relationships. I don’t understand it and it makes me sad, but I digress. I may not be giddy and silly in love with my husband all the time, but there is always an all-consuming love for him present in my life. The kind of love that recognizes what we’ve endured and recognizes there are greater things for us to do together. The kind of love that leaves me never wondering if I’m truly with my soul mate.

I also love my dad. As most of us do, we look to our parents as examples of how to raise our own kids and then we change a few things. Overall, my dad is a great father and I’m lucky to have him in my life. A few months ago he randomly called one Sunday just to say he was pleased with me. Even at 31, married with (almost) 2 kids it meant a lot. Sometimes only the approval of your father will do.

I have a handful of friends/family from college that I love. A different category of love than the 2 previous paragraphs, but men I would grieve if lost and men I enjoy having in my life. Men that helped shape my college experience into what it was.

Now that the sappy stuff is out of the way, let’s move on. Sidebar: I have got to liven up this blog. Frankly, I find myself hilarious. I’ll add that to my 2012 goals…to make you laugh more. Anyways….I’m also in love with several “men” in my life. See what I did there? I tend to become fairly attached to inanimate objects. My child seems to have inherited this trait which is currently played out by the ridiculous number of stuffed animals she possesses. If I really like said object, I give it a name. Does this make me crazy? Let me introduce you to a few of the “men” I love. Yes, they all take on a masculine form. Probably says something about my insecurity but, whatevs.

Number 2
Over the years, Hubs and I have acquired home-improvement items as gifts from his parents. We’d ask to borrow something then Hubs would get a replica as the next Christmas/birthday gift. At first it was useful. Then it was comical. Then it was irritating. Then we just stopped asking to borrow stuff. We don’t have a garage you see, so by borrowing the item, we didn’t have to find a place to store said item. His parents didn’t seem to get the hint, so we just stopped asking to borrow anything. The last thing they get him/us though, was a shop-vac. The thing is glorious. I adore him. With 3 dogs it’s the only way my baseboards get really clean. Even my Dyson can’t compete. I get such a sense of satisfaction sucking up enormous amounts of dog hair and dust and whatever else I use it for. I truly enjoy using Number 2 to clean behind the fridge, beside the washer and dryer, etc. I named him Number 2 as in, Hubs is Number 1. I don’t get to use it often since it’s so loud, and also because I won’t get it out of the scary shed.

Cosmo
The dog is a complete ass. He makes my life significantly more challenging. He sheds, he doesn’t mind, he still chews up things even though he’s almost 9, barks constantly, won’t walk on a leash and insists on having my spot on the couch in the evenings, I suppose because it’s warm. But I love him. Dearly. It’s like an abusive relationship, honestly.  I can’t leave.  He can’t leave.  I just don’t feel like he’d survive without me and I’m not sure I could live without him. I secretly love nights when he curls up beside me on the couch…which is hilarious since he’s 80+ pounds and convinced he’s a lap dog. Very rarely he’ll sleep in my bed when Hubs is out of town. The truth it, he’s our guard dog. I feel more safe here by myself when Hubs travels and I fully expect Cosmo to do his job should the need arise. It helps he’s easy on the eyes.

Ol’ Sarge
Our new Keurig. It’s maroon. And we (proudly) added an A&M decal. And Ol’ Sarge is an Aggie reference. I’d wanted one last year but couldn’t justify spending the money. We drink a lot of coffee around here so it will actually cost us more money in the long run. This year, we spotted the maroon one (it’s actually being discontinued) and just knew he had to come live with us. Plus, we’d just been gifted some money from Hubs’ grandfather to buy our own Christmas gift so it was a no-brainer. He’s beautiful, makes splendid coffee, and just makes me smile when I see him on the counter. He also makes cider, hot chocolate, hot tea and has the ability to brew cold tea and iced coffee beverages. Haven’t tried it yet given the temperatures, but I plan to give it a whirl once it starts to warm up. I hate, hate, hate reheating my coffee in the microwave. It just tastes gross and burnt to me. I’m thrilled at the idea of a fresh-brewed cup any time of day once Baby C gets here.

Julian
Ladies and Gents, I’ve saved the best for last. I’d like to introduce you to Julian.  Julian arrived on Friday around lunch time and I’ve been completely smitten since taking him out of his box.  He’s so sexy.  Lots of buttons and dials and a HUGE LCD display screen.  You see, I’ve been researching cameras for some time now.  I knew I wanted to purchase a new lens, but I also had the intent of purchasing a new body, just farther down the line.  I did tons of research.  Then I did more research. Then I decided on one.  Then I changed my mind.  Then I did more research.  Then some more.  Then I made another decision.  Then I announced to Hubs I had no idea what I actually wanted and had no idea what to do.  After breaking down in tears for the 3rd time, the Hubs had had enough and announced we needed to find a way to buy the new body NOW.  I wasn’t able to get any clear shots of Christmas and that just breaks my heart.  Not having a working camera was like missing an appendage.  We couldn’t even locate our point and shoot.  I knew my kit lens was broken.  I had an inkling I’d also damaged my camera body, but wasn’t sure.  Either way, all my images have been blurry, or the focal point was off.  Shooting indoors is hard enough since I’m not usually working with a ton of natural light.  Also, I loathe the on-board flash and I don’t own a speed light so….the results aren’t pretty.  Anyways, I was determined not to make a purchase until I could pay for it, IN CASH, and I was able to do just that.  Some birthday money combined with Christmas money and redirecting a few cash flow items allowed me to purchase this beautiful new kit and even get it shipped 2-day air!  I’m normally such a cheap-skate that paying extra for shipping felt really extravagant.  I decided to go with the whole kit which got me the Canon 7D along with the 28-135 lens.  I’ve got my eye on an L-series lens, but that will have to wait until I save up some more mula.  I’ve already had Julian hard at work and so far I’m very pleased.  I’ve got TONS to learn as this camera can do things I can’t even describe, but I’m thrilled to grow into him.  Isn’t he lovely?

Julian

And PS. Please do every photographer you know a favor. Whether they be amateurs, hobbyists, professionals or somewhere in between. Don’t ever make the comment that their “camera will take great pictures.”  It’s insulting.  It’s not the camera that takes the pictures, the person using it has a little bit to do with the final image.  Mmmkay?  Thanks.

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A Texas Winter

I know most people are experiencing actual winter weather right now, but here in Texas, it looks like what I expect the rest of the country looks like during fall.  The trees are turning colors and just starting to lose their leaves.  Last week we had a few days with temps in the 20’s and 30’s…even a few snow flurries.  That’s about as cold as it gets around here…and I truly almost froze to death.  I just could not get warm enough.  I keep our thermostat at 70-71 at night, but turn it down to about 68 during the day…as long as I’m not here.  68 still seems warm, but I don’t want the dogs to get cold.  We’re a warm-bodied family around here.  I wouldn’t do well in a colder climate.  Anyways, because of the cold snap, some of the trees in our neighborhood lost ALL their leaves at once.  And thanks to the slope of the ground near our house and the way the wind blew, we had tons and tons of leaves in our yard and next to our curb that needed to be cleaned up.  Thankfully the sun was out on Saturday and while it was chilly out (30’s and 40’s) it was actually a nice day to do yard work.

I snapped these pictures of the oak tree in our front yard.  We didn’t plant it, but he was just a little guy when we bought our house and we’ve enjoyed watching him grow.  I really like to see the leaves change colors.  It’s one of my favorite parts of being a stay-at-home-mom.  I feel like I never saw the colors change when I was working.  Just happened to notice that one day the trees had leaves and then they didn’t.  I also just recently got to start experiencing my Bradford Pear tree blooming in the Spring, another plus of being at home and not leaving before the sun rises and coming home when it’s already dark.  I hope you are all enjoying this holiday season.  I’m so close to being done Christmas shopping I can almost taste it.  I’m really trying not to get stressed out because Christmas will be here and gone before we know it.
leaves 3

leaves 2

leaves 4

leaves 1

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

Contrary to popular belief…

I have not fallen off the face of the earth.  I am in fact, alive and (mostly) well.  It’s been a difficult few weeks, I’m not gonna lie.  I’ve been a mess of emotions since I’m still not out of what I’ve deemed the “scary zone.”  I’m feeling Earl move on an almost daily basis…several times a day, but it only pacifies me for a few moments.  I kind of wish I could permanently attach the doppler to my stomach and wear an earpiece constantly.  I just can’t shake the “what-if” feeling of something going horribly wrong…that one day things will be fine and the next day, they’re not.  And I’ll have no clue…there just won’t be a heartbeat one day.  It’s a rough position to be in, and I try not to focus on it too much since the Hubs and little A don’t seem to be suffering from the same emotional strain I am and I don’t want to drag them down.  In addition, I’m still feeling pretty crummy.  In fact, Sunday was particularly rough (threw-up everything I’d eaten that day on Sunday night) and it hasn’t been much fun since then.  I went to bed with a headache last night and woke up with the same headache this morning.  Or perhaps it was a close relative of last night’s headache…who knows.  I’ve had Tylenol and Starbucks this morning and it’s just.not.helping.  I feel queasy and pathetic.  I’m totally useless these days.  Pretty sure Hubs is looking to trade me in for a newer, more highly-functioning model.

In other news, we’re struggling with A.  She was a really difficult baby.  She was just high-maintenance and didn’t sleep through the night for 13 months.  Once she got into the routine of sleeping through the night, she’s been a great sleeper.  Goes to bed well and sleeps soundly until morning; rarely waking up in the middle of the night.  We didn’t even have any issues when we moved her out of her crib and into the toddler bed.  She made the transition seamlessly and that was months ago.  A few weeks ago on a Friday night, she just wouldn’t go to sleep.  It was almost 11 when she finally passed out in my bed.  It’s been on-going since then and in addition to not going to sleep at night she doesn’t want to go to school and wouldn’t go to Sunday School this past Sunday.  We took her into the service and she started quietly crying while her dad was holding her and continued to silently cry while I had her.  It was heartbreaking (imagine tears silently streaming down your child’s face) so I made my way out to the lobby with her where I spent the majority of Sunday’s service.  I guess she was scared by the loud music and all the new faces.  We’ve tried everything at night.  We started with Tylenol thinking maybe a growth spurt or something was causing some muscle aches.  I’ve considered taking her to the doctor just to make sure she’s not sick in some way (although she seems just fine during the day)  We’ve tried explaining to her that mommy and daddy are just in the next room, we’ll be in to check on her after she’s asleep and that we’ll be here in the morning when she gets up.  I’ve tried waking her up from her marathon naps just to make sure it wasn’t an issue of her needing less sleep.  I even got her to tell me she’s afraid of the dark (something about bats and spiders) so we went this past weekend and bought her a nightlight.  Nothing has helped.  Last night was the last straw, I was in her room for the 2nd time since putting her to bed and she had a death grip on my arm.  She still wouldn’t go to sleep so I told her I was leaving and would be back to check on her.  She freaked out and started bawling…and she got out of bed and basically chased after me as I tried to leave her room.  My heart breaks just thinking about it.  Needless to say, I stayed with her until she fell asleep.  I don’t know what else to do except stay with her.  She obviously has some sort of fear about me leaving and healthy or not, I’m just not sure I can listen to her cry from fear.  We I didn’t make her cry it out as an infant, I really don’t think I can do it now.  She’s obviously scared of something…you can see it on her face when we go back into her room.  To make matters worse, she’s more intently fighting preschool these days.  She actually fussed a little bit this morning when I dropped her off.  Thank God the teacher had some animals set up in the room so  she was distracted enough to go play with them.  I’m concerned on a number of levels.  I’m worried that I’m not doing something right and that translates into her not having the confidence she needs to be alone.  I’m worried this issue won’t resolve itself before Earl gets here…and then it’s just going to be 100 times worse.  I’m worried I can’t take much more of her separation anxiety before it breaks me; I’m already a hormonal, emotional mess and I just feel so badly for her.  I’m at a loss and I feel totally helpless.  I have no idea who to ask for advice or answers.  I’m terrified of the next several weeks when Hubs gets back on the road and it’s just me (only functioning at about 40%), a cranky, sleep-deprived toddler suffering from a severe case of separation anxiety (I guess?) and 3 dogs that seem to be determined to see me off to the looney-bin.

Deep breath.

I promise to try and have better news soon.  I wanted to take a belly shot this weekend, but not only do I not seem to be getting much bigger, I couldn’t find anything decent to wear.  Hopefully soon I’ll feel up to it.  I’m working on a plan to announce the gender to our family once we find out in a few weeks.  I really don’t feel like making phone calls from the parking garage this time, so I’ve come up with a few ideas.  We’ll see how it all works out.

Per the Hubs

So, the Hubs is out of town and suggested to me earlier that I needed to put up a post to give him something to do between presentations today.  I might suggest to him that since I don’t believe he actually reads my blog, ever, that he start a few months ago and read through all the wonderful things I’ve recently had to say.  Hrumph.  Maybe he’d even have a thought about it, or I don’t know, perhaps a comment to leave!

It’s been an interesting couple of days.  My morning all-day sickness, which I thought was on its way out-of-town, has decided to return and stay a while.  Ugh.  I’ve been feeling less and less like myself and even less like a woman who is supposed to be teaching her little girl how to be a lady and is supposed to be at least trying to entice her husband and not scaring him away.  Instead, I mope around, curse having to get dressed, dread showering (it’s just so much work) and have to force myself to eat.  I know it’s not permanent, I’ve been here before, but it’s still rough.  My mother-in-law offered to pick up A from preschool today and keep her through dinner.  It basically gave me the whole day off, which was great because first thing this morning one of the dogs brought me a dead rat.  Lovely.  It’s cold here today (okay fine, cold for us, I’m wearing jeans and a cardigan!) and rainy.  It would be the PERFECT day for that Pumpkin Spice Latte I’ve been wanting.  But then again, the thought of said Pumpkin Spice Latte makes me kind of feel like hurling so I’ve decided to save myself the 5 bucks…for now.  Why in the world does one thing sound both appealing and repulsive at the same time?  I treated myself, well, Hubs treated me to a mani/pedi/eyebrow wax this morning.  I’ve been feeling rather gorrila-ish these days (see above) and I thought it might help me feel pretty.  It worked a little bit and my feet no longer resemble those of a Hobbit.  I still need that bikini wax and I think I’ll get a facial while I’m there because my waxing lady also does facials and massages.  And I figure, why the hell not?

I often find myself feeling rushed to complete chores when A is around.  That’s probably because I never actually get the opportunity to complete chores when A is around.  So I took some time today to clean her bathroom (her tub was filthy) and clean her room.  I’ve done some laundry and even put away the 36 rolls of toilet paper I bought from Costco 2 weeks ago that have been collecting dust bunnies in my entry way.  Not because I was feeling particularly motivated, but because I was officially out of tp in both bathrooms and I just couldn’t bring myself to tear into the package for 1 roll and leave the rest sitting there.  I thought about it.  I really did.  No word yet on when the 10 boxes of Kleenex will find their way home.  I’m also considering mopping my floors and making my bed.  These are lofty goals.  I’ve also been able to run the most obscure errands today.  I normally don’t mind A tagging along, but these errands today would require me to be out of the car for less than 5 minutes and to drag her in and out of stores for that is just insane.  For example: Tom Thumb to get the tags for my car renewed, Staples for a replacement toner cartridge, Babies R Us for kids’ hangars, eye doctor to get my glasses adjusted.  All things that needed to be done, all MUCH easier without a toddler in tow.  I miss A like crazy on days like today, but I know it’s good for me and good for her.  It’s just so hard to go from spending almost every waking minute with her to having her gone all day when I don’t really have an agenda.

You may remember that we took A to San Antonio a few weekends ago to visit Sea World.  We’d taken her back in April and when we bought our tickets we ended up buying passes that would get us into the park through the end of the year.  She had so much fun that we decided we should take advantage of those passes and do another trip.  We had fun, but I don’t think we had as much fun as the first time.  A wasn’t quite as interested in sitting through the shows this time and, well, that’s pretty much all Sea World is.  She still had fun feeding the sea lions and dolphins and was ecstatic to visit the aquarium and look at the fish, sharks and sting rays, but I think the novelty had worn off.  She’s also still VERY MUCH in need of a daily nap, and that’s hard to do in a stroller; she’s never been good about sleeping on the go.  Day 1 wasn’t too bad, but she was exhausted by Day 2.  We asked her at the beginning of Day 2 if she wanted to go see the Shamu show.  She said no.  Very clearly I might add…she wanted to go to the water park and told us so.  But we thought we knew better and went to the Shamu show anyways.  We ended up leaving half-way through the show because she just wasn’t interested and wouldn’t sit still.  She ended up falling asleep in her stroller as we were making our way back to the car and slept for over an hour while the Hubs and I ate lunch (in the car, for those of you thinking of reporting us to CPS).  Once she was awake we went back the park and she played, happily, in the water park for a few hours.  She even rode the carousel and her first roller coaster!  She wasn’t tall enough for the roller coaster last time, but she really enjoyed it this time and still talks about it.  It wasn’t the best trip we’ve ever had with her and if we were using this experience as a trial run to see if we’re ready for Disney, the answer is no.  Not even close.  It’s just too much for a little one that still needs sleep in the middle of the day.  She was beyond exhausted on the trip home and was literally bouncing off the walls when we stopped for lunch in Temple.  I thought I was going to come unglued and the usually endlessly patient Hubs had all he could take.  We made it home, thankfully, but it was a rough afternoon/evening.  Hubs left the house around 7 that night for Denver.  It’s a crazy life we lead around her.

The worst part about the trip was that no one, and I mean NO ONE could seem to get my food order correct.  REALLY frustrating for a pg woman.  And I wasn’t even expecting anything special…just what they said the dish was supposed to be on the menu!  To top it off, I really feel like the general population in San Antonio is just dumb.  I don’t know what it is about that place but everyone we interacted with during our stay there just seemed plain dumb.  I’m generally a nice person and assume maybe someone is just having an off day, but geez…it was mind-boggling.  I kind of felt like we’d stepped into an alternate universe.  Not one of my favorite cities in Texas.  My sister-in-law was kind enough to house/dog sit while we were gone.  Saved us a ton of money not having to board the 3 beasts.  They welcomed us home by invading my purse, eating 2 packs of gum and my travel container of Tums.  Don’t they realize I’m pregnant!  I think it’s just down-right mean to take Tums from a pregnant lady.  And if that doesn’t make you chuckle, how about the fact that Cosmo is scheduled for some dental work (teeth cleaning, growth removal, possible tooth extraction) in October and last night I discovered he’d taken the estimate from the vet off the desk and chewed it up.  I think he might be trying to tell us something.

Here are a few pictures from our trip…mostly from the water park.  Enjoy! 🙂

WM Seaworld 2011 4

WM Seaworld 2011 3

My whole life, in a picture.

WM Seaworld 2011 2

WM Seaworld 2011 1

This is probably one of my favorite shots that I've ever taken. I don't know what makes me love it so much.

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.