Friday, January 29, 2010

Packing up my pity party

Heading to the big city for some girl time with college buds and a reminder of how great my imperfect life is. Hubs is on his own with the kids, so I'm sure we'll both have some good stories by Monday!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Crazy Shirt Day

Today is Crazy Shirt Day for Strip. I picked her up yesterday and we headed over to Goodwill to find a plain shirt to make crazy. I was all excited because there was a big sign that said "BLUE items 50% off!" and even though we were at Goodwill, I still love a deal, so opted for a nice, plain blue long sleeved shirt. News flash: blue TAG. Tag, not color. Oh well. We forked over the $1.99 and headed home. Strip asked if we were going to church and I asked if she wanted to.

Not really. Maybe. If I can play in the nursery with Nugget.

So we decided to stay home (the kids worked with me Tuesday night, so we didn't get home until 9:30 and I knew they were exhausted) and make it into a game and craft night. Good call, too because about 6 minutes into spaghetti, I had this:

Bless his heart! He was able to perk up in time for games. Guess Who (the disney version), Memory (which Strip is freak-good at) Hot Potato (where both kids cheat) and princess dominos (I won that one! Waa hoo!). I put Nugget to bed as Strip snuggled into her pjs. Then I gathered all of my art supplies, spare ribbon, sequins, etc and spread everything out on her little table.

Have at it!

Half hour later, and her masterpiece was complete. Ah tah!

Or more like, "AHHHHHHHH!!!!!" I controlled my "AHH!" and gave her an Ooooh asking her to tell me about it, because to me? It looks like a zombie spewing blood out of it's mouth and eyes (yikes! Maybe I should have gone with Mr. Rogers' dealing with your feelings book!) Obviously it's an Easter egg sticking out her tongue like this ::pull your mouth apart with fingers and stick out tongue::. Whew!

I'll be interested to see if there is any glitter/paint/ribbon left on the shirt at the end of the day!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

This post brought to you by the letter "G"

In Strip's class, every week they have a letter they work on, and show-and-tell is encouraged to incorporate the letter into the item. This week is G week. She is in the day 2 rotation for show-and-tell meaning that one group goes the day before her. Because I'm a meanie, I encourage her to pick out her showing thing before she goes to school on day one. This way, she doesn't just come home and think, "Oh, Suzie brought a Book, I'll bring a book, too." ::obviously, this is HER show-and-tell, so the choice is up to her, I just want her to think about it before she's flooded with what everybody else is doing.

Anyway, this week is G week, so we spent earlier this week gathering everything G from around the house: green, gorilla, giraffe, goat, games, etc. Today was her day, so we were gazing (oh look! I used a g word!) at our G buffet, trying to narrow it down. She looked over everything and said she just couldn't decide. Then she looked down at her little stuffed June Bug dog she's been sleeping with since Saturday and said

Strip: Giraffe...giant...June... Does June start with a G or a J?
Me: It's a J. seeing her little heart sink June BuG.
Strip: But it ends with a G!
Me: Yup! And she's a doG..
Strip: Dog ends in G, too!!
Me: Yeah! And I got it when Daddy and I got enGaGed...
Strip: I...think that has a G?
Me: Sure does!

So June Bug got to go to G week!

Meanwhile, Nugget and I headed to story time to work on being a real boy. We got there early and I wanted to try to find a book on dealing with a pet's death for the kids. I grabbed the little stack of pet grief and started to flip through them. RIGHT in the middle of the stack was a little paper back book called, "We were supposed to get a baby, but we got an angel instead" with a picture of a little boy looking into an empty cradle. How's that for putting things in perspective?! Geeze!

First up was a sweet, adorably illustrated book with a black and white dog. Yay! But I start flipping through it, and it focuses a lot on how the little girl lived with the dog, the dog got old, then got sick and died. Well, June kind of skipped a couple of steps in there, so that one was out (plus, at the end of the book, the little girl plants a tree over the dogs grave and she and her new puppy play under the tree and remember the other dog. Problems? It's 19* and I can't go plant a tree right now, it insinuates that we will get a new dog and they bury the dog and June Bug is being cremated. Too many conflicts for me).

Moving on. The next one focus more on the dog's death, but then has the little (cartoon) kid coming home to the dead dog, and mom and kid petting the dead dog, and Nugget is already having nightmares, I see no need to add fuel to the fire. Next!

Third was a Mr. Rogers book. Who doesn't love that man? Great little book on dealing with grief, but we could use some updates in the visual. It was very antique. Plus, it talked about "sometimes you may feel angry and want to hit or break things, and that's ok." No need to put that in their heads.

Leaning toward Mr. Rogers, I left empty handed planning to hit the library tomorrow after an amazon search. When I pulled up, I noticed a little package on the front porch. I opened the little package to find this book:

I think the alternate title for this book is "Perfection."

My cousin read my mind, found this book and popped it in the mail for me the kids and it was exactly what I was looking for. I would type the entire book out for you, but Strip is sleeping with it, so you'll have to trust me. It made me tear up all 11 times we read it today and both kids seemed to really understand it. One part even talks about how dogs can sometimes miss their owners, so an angel will walk them back to earth. They will be invisible, but they can check on their owners, sniff out the cat next door or just sit on the front porch waiting for the mail to come. Then when they are satisfied, the angel will walk them back to heaven. It also talks about how the dogs can hang in dog heaven as long as they want, so they will be there waiting when a familiar face appears. Just a sweet little book that explores what dog heaven is like without being depressing.

As I told a friend who asked how we were doing, every day gets a little easier and a little harder. Easier because it's one day longer we've had to accept it and grieve, but harder because there's always a little reminder I find. Strip heard me talking and could tell I was sad, so she grabbed my hand and said, "It's ok, Mommy. It's ok." Love my little rock.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Ripping off a band-aid

**This image came from the Band-Aid's website. I went there after doing a "Ripping off the Band-Aid" google image search. Don't make the mistake I did. Up will pop videos. Really?! Who want's to see that (and no there wasn't just one!)?!**

First, I'd like to say thanks to all the strangers, friends and strange friends (you know who you are!) who stopped by to read about Bug. It has warmed my heart to get so may messages from people who either did or didn't know her, but still wanted to let us know they were thinking about us.

I kind of thought we were in the clear with the kids. They had taken their time Saturday to mourn and seemed to be ok. However (of course when Hubs isn't here!) Nugget started asking where June was and looking for her. Before I could answer, he said, "Oh yeah! June at Doctor!" Without missing a beat, Strip went over to him and said, "Oh, Buddy. She's in heaven now. We can't see her anymore. I'm sorry."

Sucking back the tears I suggest we head downstairs for breakfast.

I decided today would be the day I did the tough stuff. No need to wait and let things sit around. I could see myself turning into Mrs. Havisham if I let things be for too long (what?! You don't know who Mrs. H is?! Shame on you! Go read Great Expectations immediately! Mr. Buckley commands it). So I did some tough stuff today. And to make matters worse? It started snowing. Large, beautiful, delicious flakes of snow, which always magically turned my old lady into a puppy again. This was going to be tougher than I thought.

First step? Vacuum everything. As much as I love my dyson with it's clear canister, I hated it today. The constant visual reminder of black and white hair spinning around? Ugh! And on another note, that dog must be shedding from heaven! I JUST did the floors! I swear! Also on the list? Wipe down the back door, inside and out. Those sweet little nose prints from either seeing a squirrel in the backyard or wanting to come in from the snow hurt to wipe away, but again, I couldn't leave them there forever.

Later in the day, I gave the kids some popcorn while they watched a movie so I could clean the basement. When I came back upstairs, I wanted to call all of their preschool teachers and apologize for what messy eaters I had. I've never noticed because my Lab Mix Hoover always sucked up crumbs before they hit the floor. So with a tear in my eye, I whipped out the broom. Next step, wash out the bowls so they were clean and ready to be packed away. This didn't seem as hard, probably because I washed them out in normal life anyway?

Then came a tough one. The dog food. I have about 20 lbs of her food in the pantry (which I see every time I open it, which is often because Nugget is at least 1/3 bottomless-pit goat). I figured since she herself was a pound puppy, I'd see if the Humane society could take it. The problem with this? I would have to call the humane society. And I didn't want to paint myself as the picture of crazy as I sobbed hysterically about donating my dog food, so I decided the practical option was to email them. Problem? To get the email, I had to go on the web page, and going on the web page showed pictures of dogs up for adoption. Ugh. As I cried into my laptop, I did have to laugh, because check this out. Here is a picture of June Bug and UP's dog Taybay one halloween before they went trick-or-treating:

Not the best picture, but you get the idea (and it makes me giggle!). Anyway, take a gander at two adoptable dogs:


Is it my tear goggles, or do they look JUST like our dogs?! Freaky! Except Taylor 2 is only 8 months old, so I'm pretty sure he's going to be a horse when he grows up. Then there was this baby who made me cry because she had sad eyes:

I'm planning to ring-and-run the dog food on Sunday. I think that's the best course of action.

The last thing was the hardest. Laundry. With puking kid, I needed to do sheets and towels which threw off my normal loads, so tonight I was sorting and picked up my sweater, the sweater I was wearing on Friday. I immediately started to tear up. I knew I needed to wash it, but I still didn't want to. I decided to give it one last smell to remember my sweet girl one last time. But instead, I cried harder. All I could smell was detergent and sweater. Her puppy smell was nowhere to be sniffed. Not where her head was, not on the sleeves where I was petting her, nowhere. I decided cold/darks would be the first load of the night to get it over with.

When I was putting Nugget to bed, he kept muttering something under his breath. He had not slept well at ALL last night, and I ended up in bed with him where he continually kicked me in the stomach and face while screaming/moaning. I asked him what his deal was tonight and he said he had a bad dream. I asked what it was and he said, "The dog got me. June not here." Ugh. then he just kept saying, "We no dog here anymore." over and over again.

To get my mind off of things (and because it's been since AUGUST!) I'm going to get a hair cut. The only problem with this? It's a block from the vet's office.

I know things will get easier, I just wish they would hurry up and get easier.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

And to add insult to injury...

(once again, Google images never ceases to amaze me)

First of all, why is it that when you lose a pet, suddenly the ONLY commercials that air on tv are for dog food that will help your dog live longer, or Sarah Mclachlan speaking on behalf of all the poor, abused animals that need a good home. AHH! Stop it already!

Anyway, shortly after we told the kids about June, Strip started complaining that her tummy hurt. Need to poop? No. Hungry? No. Thirsty? No. Does it just hurt because you're sad about June? Yes.

However, about 5 minutes later, she sat straight up from our snuggle spot on the couch and puked up the entire bag of popcorn she had consumed. Awesome. After hosing her, me the couch and everything we had on down, she was thirsty, so we tried little sips of water. Puke. Tiny bites of ice. Puke. Try to drink nothing. Dry heave. She finally fell asleep on me on the couch, and later, I moved her upstairs. She said she wanted to sleep in the guest room, so I got her all set up; towel on the pillow, cup of ice chips, puke bowl on the bedside table, trash can on the floor.

Nugget, who had taken a nice nap, was STILL up at 10:00, so I went in to put him back in bed (again) when I heard Strip crying. I went into the guest room and she was sitting up in bed holding her bowl.

Me: Awe did you throw up again?
Strip: Yeeesss.
Me: I'm sorry. (feeling around on the bed) Did it get on the covers or did you make it to the bowl in time?
Strip: I got it in the bowl.
Me: taking the bowl from her I'm sorry sweetie, lie down.

At this point I started to tear up for my little kiddo.

Strip: What's wrong, Mommy?
Me: I'm just sad. And how tough for you that you have to lose your dog and feel cruddy the same (snuggle my face on her tummy) AHHH!!

She was right about one thing. She didn't get any puke on the covers. She did, however, get some on the front of her shirt, which I just lovingly put my entire face in. Bleh! It did provide me with a much needed laugh for the day (and the reason to take a third shower).

Friday, January 22, 2010

I don't cry over spilled milk, but

I do cry over dropped ice cubes.

The previous post was actually written on Tuesday evening, but being tired, I hit "Save Now" instead of "Publish Post" and didn't actually publish it until Thursday night when I was snuggled up on the couch with my Bug. It's with a heavy heart and a soggy face that I have to report that June Bug is no longer with us.

And, if you are of the camp that says dogs don't go to heaven, or you roll your eyes and say "it's just a dog," please leave now, and don't let the browser hit you on the way out.

Wednesday morning, we woke up to a puddle on the floor and poop on the stairs. VERY odd, and honestly, we thought the poop belonged to Nugget at first. I figured it was Bug, but didn't get too upset. Was it odd? Yes, but honestly, she's been going to bed with the kids, so I chalked it up to us neglecting to let her out before we went to bed. Thursday, she was a little slow on her feet, but I thought maybe she was just mad that Hubs was out of town or that I was working a lot the last couple of days. I told Hubs I was going to take her to the vet Sat while he was here with the kids. I wasn't too concerned, but figured even if they told me she was sad, she needed her annual check-up anyway.

But, by Thursday night, she didn't look good. We came in from work, and she didn't come to the door. Very not like her. She looked swollen and puffy in the tummy, and would wag her tail when she saw us, but didn't want to get up. I carried her up stairs, carried her outside and carried her up to bed to snuggle with me that night. I emailed a friend to see if she could watch the kids because I wanted to take her in Friday.

Friday morning, she wouldn't get out of bed. Still giving me kisses and wagging her tail, but wouldn't sit up. I carried her downstairs so she could go outside, got the kids fed, bathed and loaded in the car. I asked if she wanted to go for a ride, and she actually jumped in the front seat. I thought maybe this was a good sign. Dropped the kids off and scooted down to the vet clinic (which I should add is probably nicer and more high tech than the kids' doctor's office!). They did a urine sample, but all they were able to tell was that there was an infection and the doctor wanted to run some more tests. He told me to go on home and they would call me when they knew something. I gave my baby a hug and a kiss and cried the whole way back to my friends. She graciously kept me distracted until I got a call with bad news. She had a tumor on her spleen the size of a grapefruit and was bleeding out into the tumor.

It felt like someone kicked me in the stomach. I had half-way prepared myself for them to say, "Oh! She ate some fruit snacks and has gas! That will be $500!" but I was NOT prepared for that. I told them to do what they needed to do and to call me with updates. He said the next step was to to a chest x-ray. If there were tumors on her lungs, it was probably cancer and we'd have to talk about how to keep her comfortable for her last couple weeks. If it was clear, it would be a GOOD sign that it was NOT cancer and they would do an ultrasound to plot how to operate, then take it out right there (our awesome vet has it's own awesome vet hospital right there. Another reason I love them). I was still on pins and needles, but actually felt kind of good for the first time because he said earlier, "her lungs sound clear." Even though a lot of my medical information comes from google, I felt like if there were tumors on or in her lungs, her breath sounds would have been off. Sure enough, about an hour later, he called to tell me her lungs looked clear! Hooray! I told him to go on with the ultrasound and to call if he could before surgery.

I bundled the kids in the car and started prepping them for Junebug coming home with a big boo boo. We talked about the Curious George book where he swallows the puzzle piece and has to have his belly cut open. That thoroughly confused Nugget who later told PaPa "June bug sick. Tummy hurt. Get puzzle piece out." I was already looking in the basement for the crate, assuming she would need to be still like after she was hit by a car at a year old, and told the kids she'd probably have to wear a party hat (aka cone) to keep her from messing out her boo boo. I spent the next couple of hours responding to people about weekend plans, and planning out my week thanking God it wasn't my week to volunteer at the preschool.

Just before three, the doctor called back. I could tell from his voice, something was wrong. The tumor was continuing to bleed, and they had found more tumors on her liver. Her abdomen was also filling with blood. It was cancer. Through tears and staggered breathes, I asked what we could do. Surely we could just remove her spleen and the part of her liver, then go from there, right?! Unfortunately, dogs need more liver than we do. And I asked if she had lost so much blood would she even make it through the surgery?

Probably not.

He said the same thing had happened last year with his dog and being a vet, he did the surgery, but it was only so his kids could have a little more time with her. I started sobbing some more saying I had two kids, too.

So my options were:
* Bring her home and let her go -- he said she would probably feel crumby for a day or two, then feel a little better, then go down hill quickly. Didn't want her to stay in pain just for me, and I really didn't want to leave her alone to take the kids to school and have her die alone, so that one was out.

* Put her to sleep tonight -- Hubs was out of town. I didn't want the kids to be there with me. I wanted them to be able to say goodbye, but thought Nugget was too young to understand, and wasn't really sure what state I would be in after.

* Wait until Saturday- She could spend the night at the hospital, Hubs would be home and we could go in together.

I thought about her last night, spent cuddling with me on the couch and snuggling in the big bed with me and later my sleep walker Strip. And I thought about how she had been at the vet's all day, and would have to spend that night alone, in a crate away from us. It seemed wrong to put her through the pain of the surgery and recovery to only have a few more days or weeks at best. I didn't want her to suffer knowing that she wasn't going to get better. And I hated the thought of her spending her last night cold and alone in the vet clinic, just so I had a shoulder to cry on. So I told the doctor to give me 10 minutes to work some things out, and I'd call him back.

My neighbor was fine to keep the kids, so I told them I was going to go snuggle June for a little while and check on her, but she wouldn't be able to come home tonight. They gave me kisses and hugs for her and I made the drive down. Part of me was cursing traffic to get out of my way so I could get down there, but the other part wanted me to make the drive last a little longer.

I walked in, and told the receptionist my name. He whisked me back to a room and offered his condolences. June's "nurse" came in next to go over all the paper work with me. She told me they were getting her catheter in place and she would be in shortly. The two minutes I waited for her felt like two hundred. I heard her little collar jingle and knew she was coming around the corner, so I called her name. A part of me was really hoping she would look good, and I'd call the whole thing off. But, even though she perked up when she heard me, the pup that walked in was so not my Bug. I sat on the floor and she collapsed in my lap. The nurse said to take as much time as I needed and she would check back periodically. As soon as the nurse left, I picked up her head and asked if she wanted to go for a walk? Go home? Go see nugget and strip? Get a treat?! Nothing. I asked if she was hurting and just ready to go, and she put her head in my lap and sighed. I knew what the right choice was. I snapped a last little picture of her and called Hubs so she could hear his voice. Another doctor popped in to say how sorry she was and tell me what a great dog June was (I already knew this!).

After we chatted about the last 9.5 years together, I caught the nurse as she walked by and told her I was ready. Her doctor came in and walked me through the process. He told me everything would happen when and how I wanted it to and to feel free to say whatever I needed to. He told me how the first syringe was just water to make sure the tube was in place, the second was just a normal anesthesia that would make her feel groggy and fall asleep. The third was just a little extra that would help her pass quickly. He assured me that she wasn't in any pain the whole day. She was a good patient, and because she had lost so much blood in the tumor, she was anemic and just very tired. Her labored breathing was due to being lethargic. That made me feel so much better. He said not to be alarmed if she she jerked or made funny sounds, that was totally normal. I held her in my lap, gave her one more kiss and told the doctor I was ready. Everything went well. As he gave her the medicine, he held her little paw and bowed his head. I think he was praying, but didn't want to ask because I thought it would make him feel like a jerk if he wasn't :-) Her breathing slowed and he gave her the little extra. I continued to pet her head, and put my hand on her side so I could feel her breathe. She took her last breath and relaxed in my lap.

I felt like 500 lbs lifted off my shoulders. She was at peace.

The three of us sat in the floor for a little while talking. He said we could stay as long as we needed to. We chatted about what would happen next. She would be cremated and it would take about two weeks. I told him, "This might be a weird question, but when she was a year old, she was hit by a car. The only way to fix her leg was to put in a titanium rod. What happens to that?" He told me that titanium wouldn't burn or melt, so we would get the ashes and her rod back. This kind of made me smile thinking about how we use to joke about stripping her and selling her for parts, or using her leg to make Hubs' wedding band if we didn't want to pay for platinum. We snuggled for a little while longer and talked about telling the kids. I asked again if there was something I should have seen or noticed, but he reminded me that he just went through this last year and he said, "I have my dog's blood drawn.." "More than your kids?" I offered. He smiled and said yes, but that the exact same thing happened to his dog. There's just no way to predict these things. I asked what happened next, and he said whenever I was ready, we'd just leave her on her little heated bed and they would take care of her from there.

I snuggled her a little while longer and told him I was ready. I gave her one more pat and a kiss, looked at the doctor and said, "She just looks like she's asleep." He agreed and offered to walk me to my car. I gently slipped off her collar and gathered my things. He walked me to the car and told me to call if I needed anything or had any questions. He even told me to call if things didn't go well with the kids and we needed to chat. I thanked him again for taking such good care of my baby, put her collar on the passenger seat with her leash and blanket.

I sobbed my way way home. I took her in at 10:20 am, and by 4:30 she was gone. I was in disbelief. I wanted to go home first to wash my face and put on my make up again before I walked next door to get the kids. And even though I was holding her collar in my hand, I still instinctively reached down to pet her when I walked in the door. I got myself together and went next door where my neighbor graciously poured me a glass of wine. We chatted a little about June, then the kids and I went home. As we walked in, Nugget asked where she was. I fought back tears as I reminded them that she was still in the hospital. I wanted to wait until Hubs got home and had some time to grieve before we told them. I did prep them that she was really sick. I told them that she hurt a lot, and I told her if she needed to go to heaven, that was ok, and we loved her.

NOOOOOOO!! Who's going to take care of her up there?!?!

I reminded them of all the people and dogs that had gone on before us. We talked about how Nana (Hub's grandmother) had a dog, but Nana was in heaven and would LOVE to have a puppy again.

I don't want her to go to heaven.

Me either.

Hubs was able to make it home on an earlier flight, so the kids got to see him. We put them to bed and Strip and I spent a good 30 minutes telling June stories, telling her about the time June shredded a 24 mega-roll pack of Charmin. When I walked in my apt, it looked like it had snowed in my room. Then we laughed about how June and Taylor were puppies and dug a HUGE hole in my parent's yard and PaPa chased them around the backyard with a broom. We agreed to tell them in the morning. Hubs and I went downstairs to watch tv. When we were ready for bed, I (again out of habit) checked the back door. Of course it was still locked. No one had been outside since that morning. And I straightened up the family room where I found a cookie Nugget dropped while watching a movie. I teared up thinking about how June would have gobbled it up already and went to bed.

I didn't sleep well, and woke up at around 4. Sometime after 6, I finally fell asleep, only to wake up at 8:15 putting me pressed for time to get to work. I told Hubs we'd tell the kids later that afternoon. When I got home, I made lunch. As I went to get a cup of ice water, I tossed 5 cubes on my cup and one on the ground without thinking. Ice was one of June's favorite treats, so I'd toss her one every time I opened the freezer. I teared up again. I went to check my email and Strip saw a picture of June and started to ask about her again. I figured it was time to tell them. I had hoped that Strip would take it well, and Nugget would just be too young to understand.

I reminded them about how sick June was and how we had told her that it was ok to go to heaven if she needed to, and that last night she said she loved us very much and was so happy to have us as a family, but needed to go to heaven. Strip lost it. She screamed and started to cry. Sobbing on my shoulder, she asked why she had to go. I told her it was ok to be sad and it was ok to cry and it was ok to talk about her even though we wouldn't be able to see her any more. We still had pictures we could look at and videos. I reminded her that we had a great Christmas with her, and she got to play in the snow one last time. And in heaven, her leg wouldn't hurt anymore and she could run around like crazy, eating ice cubes and playing.

After a few minutes, she calmed down and asked what we were going to do with her bowls and mat and toys and things. I asked what she wanted to do with it and she said she didn't know. I told her we could put it all in a box in the basement or we could take it to PaPa and Ma's so they could have it when Taylor came to visit. She liked that idea. I told her I'd call a shelter to see if they could take June's food and she seemed ok with it.

I asked if she wanted to make a card for June and she did. She drew a big heart on the front with her name, then on the inside she drew a picture of her and June on one side and wrote a note on the other:

Dear June Bug,
I miss you so much. No matter where ever you are, I love you. I love you
always even when we're far a part. I always love you.

She asked how we could get a letter to heaven. I suggested we tie it to a balloon and send it up to her. Strip's response?

Nah. Then it would probably just land in someone's garden
and they would say, "Hey! What's this letter doing in my

So we agreed to mail it to heaven in an envelope.

It's going to take some time. Strip is saying how much she misses having a dog around and I do, too. It's amazing how the absence of a 45 lb dog can make a house feel so empty.

Thanks, June Bug, for being the greatest dog on Earth. We'll miss you.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

They grow up so fast!

This could be about my darling daughter who just received a glowing review at her preschool parent-teacher conference and is ready to move on to kindergarden, but it's not. It's about my first born:

June Bug!

Hubs celebrated his birthday recently, so the discussion of whose birthday comes next came up. After railing off the family names and dates, I stopped and said, "No! June Bug actually has the next birthday!" She was a pound puppy (the greatest dogs there are!) and I got her in the summer of 2000. I was told she was born in March, so my baby, first born, regal-beagle will be TEN YEARS OLD soon (I like to say March 12th is her birthday. Just feels right!).

According to an online human-to-dog years calculator I found (oh yes, there are many out there! Go google for yourself!) that's 53. My little lady is getting on up there. So we will be having a party this year, on March 12 to celebrate a decade with my favorite pup.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Preschoolers and Potty Training make for great conversations

Happy Saturday!
As a follow-up, unbeknownst to me, Hubs HAD put Nugget in a diaper, so no late night/early morning laundry session for me. Yay!

Hubs headed downstairs early and I put my head under a pillow in an effort to appear asleep so everyone would leave me alone for an extra hour. It did not work. Strip came in to ask if it was ok to play in her room. "Sure, just be quiet so you don't wake up your brother."

Tiptoe, tiptoe, tiptoe, tiptoe, "HEY SUE!!"

Great. The pitter patter of footie pjs came in my room, followed by a floodlight in my face as Nugget instructed, "IT UP, MOMMYYYYYY!!!"

I told him to turn off my light and go play with Sue. And it worked! But by this time, Sue was in the bathroom, so after Nugget leaves, I hear this conversation:

Nugget: Oh. Hi Sue! Oo in tub?
Strip : Nope. I'm just going to the bathroom.
Nugget: Oh! You SQUEEZE big poop out?
Strip: No. Just have to pee pee.
Nugget. Oh.
Strip: But don't worry, I'll probably squeeze a big poop out later. Maybe when we go downstairs.
Nugget: Ok!!

Ew. Way too early for that conversation.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Why tonight?!?

Nugget, for the most part, is potty trained. He's golden during the day, but I slap a diaper on him at night, just in case. No matter what time I cut off drinks, he still has a full diaper in the morning.

Today was sheet-washing day. As he crawled into bed, I said, "OooOOOoHHHhHH! Doesn't it feel good to have nice clean sheets to sleep on?" Then remembered that I had not diapered him. Oops! Let's get a diaper on!

Nugget's response?

"No. No diaper a day."

Ugh. I hate to fight him on this but really?! Could you not have made this decision LAST night when they were on the last night of filth?! Instead, I have a SUPER clean set of sheets on your bed (with no spare set) and fully expect to have to wash them (again) in the morning.

Fingers crossed, but not holding my breath.

The secret to Christmas card perfection

I apologize for not sharing my secret to success sooner, but maybe this will help you get prepared for next Christmas. It's only 11 months away!

Last year, I shared my 15 easy steps to creating a Christmas card. This year, I've cut out a bunch of steps and made life easier (and this year, I didn't need ANY smarties).

So here ya go!

1. Realize that it's already December and your kids don't have any cutsie Christmas clothes.
2. Pull out the kid sized Christmas aprons and whip up a batch of frosting.
3. Sit kids and dog in front of the Christmas tree. Give each kid a whisk full of frosting.
4. Sit with camera in the same spot, make sure everyone is in the frame and just start snapping as they (including the dog) clean off the whisks.
5. Take whisks from kids before they (including the dog) puke.
6. Upload pictures and realize there is not one single picture of both kids looking at the camera.
7. Put out a plea for Photoshop help on facebook.
8. Send two of the best pics to high school buddy who has mad photo shopping skills.
9. **Most important step** Have said high school buddy switch heads in the photo. Now you have ONE picture with BOTH kids looking at the camera (Muhahahahaha ::evil laugh::).
10. Upload to shutterfly, pick up at Target in an hour and voila! Super mom!

Now, some might call this cheating, but I think it's just using available resources. It's not like I used photoshop to make my kids cuter (because they couldn't be any cuter if they tried) and I didn't make it look like we were at our winter homes in the Alps, I just made it look like both kids were able to look at the camera at the same time, making this year the FIRST year our Christmas card photo shoot could actually be described as "merry!"

Forgot one!

So this is from the beginning of December. Nugget has come to the point in his life that mothers of toddlers dread-nap dropping. If he took a nap, he couldn't settle down until later in the evening, but if he didn't take a nap, he became a maniac monster around 4:45 pm.

This was a maniac monster day. As I'm running around behind the tasmanian devil, I see him go over to the fridge. "Do not open the door!" I say, as he opens the door. Before I could get over to him, he had pulled out the Costco size package of hotdogs and was holding it upside down. There was a hole in the bag small enough to keep the hot dogs from falling out but large enough to let all of the hot dog juice (which smells disgusting) drip all over the floor including the carpet in the next room.


To keep him contained, I put him in time out and told him he had to sit there until I got the mess cleaned up. I attacked the floors and went to scrubbing. I noticed he got really quiet. Before I cold finish the floors, I looked over and saw this:

Poor little buddy! And as I went to grab my phone to take a picture, Strip, seeing Nugget on the floor, disappeared as well...

Sweet sister! She got him all tucked in with Figment to snuggle with. And, yes, don't worry, I moved him to the couch after our 2 minute photo shoot.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The thrill is gone

Last year, every time a flake appeared in the sky, the kids went nuts and would want to bundle up for some yard time. This year? Not so much.

Our first big snow was kind of slushy and gross, but the next one was beautiful! Strip got some new pink snow pants, so I thought she would be thrilled. As much as I didn't want to "play" outside, I got the kids bundled and 15 minutes later, we were ready to go. I really needed to shovel the driveway because it's steep and if it gets icy neither of our cars can get up there (side note-- extra wide driveways and added garages are GREAT for things like sidewalk chalk, extra storage, car races, etc but they STINK when it comes to shoveling!).

Last year both kids fought over the orange shovel, so I was excited at the prospect of having two little helpers get the job done. However, this year? Eh.

Nugget went right to work shoveling as Strip perfected the art of snow angels. Nugget, seeing Strip, decided that looked like more fun, so he joined her in rolling around the front yard. And, because they were wearing craptastic $1 aisle mittens, about 15 minutes into the shoveling, I hear, "My hands are cold! I'm cold! I want some hot chocolate! Shoveling is booooorrrrriiiinnggg. WAAAAAAHHHHHHAAAA!"

What happened to the kids I had to DRAG in the house because it was 0* and Nugget's drool had frozen to his jacket?! They both started to loose it when I had about 33% more driveway to shovel AND it started snowing (hard) again. I told them they had to hang with me for a few more minutes outside, to which Strip replies, "Fine! I'm just going to sit in the garage then!"

A power shovel later, and the driveway is cleared. I get everyone inside and stripped down, then pour two cups of hot chocolate. We snuggle up on the couch and later, I let them play some wii. It was then that I remembered that I forgot to get the mail when I shoveled down that way. I go to the front door, and what do you know, the driveway, sidewalk and steps are nothing but a blanket of snow.

I told them for the next big snow, I'm putting pool toys all over the yard so they will get buried and the kids will have to dig them out. Both agreed that my idea sounded fun. I'm wondering if I can convince them that some are hiding in the driveway so they will be productive instead of digging up the yard!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Recap post

Sorry, I've been out of touch lately. We've had either a revolving door of company or been on the road since, oh, October? Add in Christmas and New Years and there's no time for blogging. So I'll do my best to highlight the last few months in this post, and if you want to click on a link to read more, be my guest! If not, here's what you missed in the life of Nugget and Strip:

Let the revolving door begin! The first week of October, we headed to my hometown for my class reunion. Then we headed home with JUST enough time to unpack and repack for a trip to the mountains for a Hubs' sibling reunion. Then it was back for our buddies from FL to visit. A couple of weeks later, we were heading home for the great family visit, AKA Thanksgiving where we had an H1N1 scare, and then home again to prep for Christmas!

We've been having lots of fun potty training Nugget (don't be afraid to click, no gory details, I promise!), and he's doing quite well. Both kids needed some serious turkey detox after visiting all the grandparents, so we were happy to have Felix, our Elf on the Shelf, come back. Although this year, it's going to take a lot more North Pole magic to keep these two on the "nice" list. Both kids participated in the preschool's Christmas program and Nugget even joined the church's cherub choir for in impromptu performance. We had the best Christmas ever according to Strip and I've even decided to show a picture of myself because of it , then headed south for NYE in ATL.

And 2010 looks like it's going to be a good but crazy year, too. We shall see! Happy reading!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

All the single ladies!

**Sorry, but every time I hear Single Ladies, I see this SNL sketch in my head and it makes me giggle, so I had to use this image. ****

Congrats to Hubs!

Shortly after New Year's we found out Hubs got a new job within the company (yay!) which means a TON of travel for him (booo!). The majority of our relationship was long distance and when we were in FL he was traveling too, so this is nothing new. It will be tougher this time around because the kids are older and will REALLY miss him. And I've become accustomed to him having around on a normal basis.

It's been great knowing that most ballet days, Hubs can get home to hang with Nugget and on nights that I need to work, 98% of the time, Hubs can be home to feed and put the kids to bed. Not for long! He got the promotion on Monday and by 1:00 he was already in the new job. He already has two weeks of travel scheduled. The good news? The weeks he's out of town, I make a giant vat of spaghetti and we just eat that all.week.long. Love it. And even though I know he's probably out eating filet on the company's dime, meal planning is much easier!

It's going to be a very interesting start to the new year. Thank goodness I booked my plane ticket to visit a friend in Jersey the night before he got the promotion and he was able to adjust his plans to make it back before I leave. Let the tag-team-parenting begin!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Garth can keep is friends in low places

'Cause we got friends in high places!

Happy New Year! PaPa and UP hit the road the day after Christmas, but Ma stayed here to hang with the kids. Hubs and I drove down to Atlanta for his cousin's wedding. Most people said, "Oh, a wedding on New Years? That kinda sucks." But we were stoked because we knew it was going to be an AWESOME weekend. Smack in the middle of downtown Atlanta with the top of the building all to ourselves, we were ready to party and celebrate with the Fam.

There were some other friends in *high* places there as well because the Panic weekend patrons were also staying on our floor. It was fun sharing the elevator in a Badgley Mischka dress and super tall shoes with a girl who had no shoes, no bra and dreads. Clearly we were not going to the same event.

Anyway, the wedding was beautiful, the party was great and at midnight, we all went up the the helipad to toast midnight. Let me tell you, Security was not pleased that we were up there. And when you think about it, a helipad is NOT the safest place for New Year's party-ers to be. Unlike the top of the Eiffel Tower or the Empire State Building, helipads have no guard rails, obviously because that would make it a little difficult for the helicopters to land. So instead of a large fence or barrier, we had this:

This picture really doesn't do it justice because I had my zoom on, but it's basically a tiny net that on the left side of this picture stops and you would fall to your death in the middle of Baker Street. Security became even more worried when the boy cousins and the bride teetered to the edge of the building for a picture. Then the bride screams, "Pick me up!!" so they did and I've never seen the men in black jump so high!

We had such a good time hanging out with the family, especially the cousins who we don't get to see much. We all ended up in the Honeymoon suite hanging with the happy couple, then we all made it back to our rooms. Hubs and I got into a "heated discussion" for lack of a better term that was REALLY something that needed to happen, but I hope it doesn't turn into a New Years tradition. We hugged everyone goodbye on Saturday and had a nice, leisurely drive back. I've got to say, a 9 hour drive feel a lot shorter when I'm not constantly turned around to pick up a car, open a snack, hand back a juice box or stop every hour and a half for a pit stop.

And now it's back to reality (and laundry, and cooking, and scrubbing toilets...). Wouldn't have it any other way!