Friday, September 12, 2014

#BraunTherms VoxBox Review

Things have been so busy over here that I haven't gotten a moment to think let alone blog.  But then I remembered this afternoon that I totally forgot to blog my review of the Braun ThermoScanThermometer* that I received from Influenster {tsk tsk!}. 

Let me start by saying that this thermometer is AWESOME, and I'm not just saying that because they gave it to me.  It really is that good.  It takes an accurate temperature in 2 seconds {for real...2 seconds}, and it's ridiculously easy and simple to use.  With the push of a button, you can get an accurate temperature read-out in less time than it takes to turn on a thermometer that you'd put under your arm.  I also received a pack of 20 lens covers for the thermometer.  They're super easy to put on and taking them off is as simple as pushing an eject button.  {A word to the wise: make sure when you're pushing the button to remove the lens cover that you're NOT pointing the thermometer near anyone's face.  That lens cover goes flying off, and you don't want anyone getting poked in the eye!}

All in all, I give the Braun ThermoScan Thermometer an A+.  Because it's awesome.  Simple, easy, compact...what more could you want?  With 2 kids and a husband who tends to suffer from "man cold", this thermometer is invaluable.  If you don't already have one, run to the store and pick one up for your family!

*I received this product free from Influenster for testing purposes. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

B & G Update

I just realized that it's been so long since I posted an actual update on my kids {and isn't that kinda what the point of this blog is about?} instead of a quick little blurb.  So, here goes...


 There aren't enough words in the English language to describe Bailey right now.  She's four years old and she's the coolest, sassiest, most amazing kid ever.  Her favorite color is pink and she won't let us cut her hair because she says princesses have long hair.  Never mind the fact that half the time it's a nest-y mess.  In the last few months, she's decided to be a part-time vegetarian and will only eat chicken nuggets from Chick-fil-A.  She'll eat pretty much any fruit or vegetable under the sun, but she's got a thing against almost all meats.  She poses for pretty much every picture I take of her like this:

And like this:

Some days she's totally cool with throwing on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, but then there are days where she insists on wearing a fancy dress and high heels.  Even if we're just hanging around the house or running to the mall.

She'd eat ice cream every day if we let her {and most days we do}.  She's starting preschool {at home} this year and she picked out a new school with princesses all over it.  I don't know how I ended up with such a girly girl. She loves to swim, but she won't go in the deep end and prefers to stay in the kiddie/shallow end.  She got brave in the beginning of the summer and ended up a little too far in the deep end of the pool, clinging to the wall and screaming like she was about to drown.  Since then, she refuses to go much further than the stairs of any pool.

She likes to sneak into my makeup and put on lipstick and blush.  She's getting better at it, but still looks like a clown a lot of the time.  Most of the time.  Okay, every time.  She'll figure it out.

Sometimes she says things that just make me stop and laugh.  She's a fan of the show Big Brother, and watches it with Scott and me.  She sits there and chats about all the houseguests while we're watching:

"I love Frankie.  He has pink hair and glitter polish on his nails."  

"I miss Amber.  She got 'victed and had to go sit with Julie."

"My favorite character is Nicole.  She got 'victed, but then she came back."

 She's probably the best big sister a kid could ever ask for.  She's patient and loving and she truly enjoys spending time with her little brother.  And, good Lord, does he adore her.  Watching them together is so awesome.

Every once in awhile she busts out with "You're the greatest mommy I ever saw-ed" and it makes my day.  When she sleeps, which isn't often, she looks like a tiny little angel and I completely forget about all the craziness of the day.  She's been sleeping in a toddler cot in our bedroom lately.  She's got this thing against her own bedroom these days and, honestly, setting her up on a cot is easier for us at the moment than spending hours every night trying to convince, cajole, and threaten her to stay in her own bed.  Plus, she's been waking up in the middle of the night with nightmares that leave her a shaking, crying mess.  More often than not, they're silly bad dreams {her cousin stole a broom and wouldn't give it back} but sometimes they're "for real" bad dreams {a stranger stole her}and I think it helps both of us to feel more at ease with her right there on her cot next to the bed.  We'll work on getting her back to her own room, but for now I'm not stressing.

In just a few short months, we'll be registering her for Kindergarten.  Kindergarten.  how do I have a kid old enough to be in Kindergarten?  And what the hell am I going to do without her here with me all day?

In a word, Bailey is FABULOUS.  She's growing like a weed, speaking like a little adult, and I love how confident she is when it comes to meeting new people.  I have no doubt that when it comes time for her to "leave the nest" as they say, that she'll be just as awesome as she is now.  And I can't wait to watch her grow. 



Gerry, Gerry, Gerry.  Just like with Bailey, there aren't enough words in our language to describe him.  He's almost 20 months old now and he's my little hellion.  Anything he can climb on, get into, or throw around he does.  With joy.  My dad often jokes that Gerry just walks into a room and looks for things he can get into, and he's absolutely right.   To him, the entire world and everything in it is up for grabs and just waiting to be explored and uncovered, and I love that about him. 

He loves pretty much ALL foods, but he has a ton of fun eating spaghetti.  He tried to slurp it up like Bailey does but pretty much always just ends up dumping his plate on the table and digging in, utensil-free.


In the last few weeks, Gerry's vocabulary has just exploded.  It's so cool to see all the things that he understands now, and I love that he's becoming more verbal.  He can actually tell us now when he wants something, whether it be a snack, a bottle, to open something, his blanket, a car, whatever.   His newest phrases are "Found you!" and "Where are you?"  He'll walk around the house pointing at Bailey and yelling, "Ha!  Ha!  Found you!" or looking for Scott..."Daddy?  Where are you?"  So cool.  

During the day, he never stops.  Ever.  He's a little ball of energy and craziness, and it's just go-go-go from the minute he wakes up until the minute he passes out for nap or bed time.  But when he's sleeping?  Oh my goodness, is he angelic.  So still and quiet and adorable.  Lately, he's been waking up in the middle of the night so Scott and I have revived our old middle-of-the-night standby:  he goes in to get Gerry out of his crib while I run downstairs and warm up a little bit of milk for him.  The last few nights, when I go back into the room, Gerry holds his arms out and leans toward me and says in his sleep-filled little voice, "Want you"...and right then and there my heart just melts

 He loves to play and be silly and, lately, his favorite thing to do is to play dress-up with Bailey.   I can't tell you how often he asks me to put this skirt on him, and I can't stress enough how much Scott HATES it.  But it makes our kid happy, and who am I to stand in the way of his happiness?

He's just so damn mischievous and happy all the time.  The only times he's not walking around with a smile on his face are when he's sick or very, very tired.  Otherwise, it's all happy all the time.  

He still loves the hell out of Bailey, and looks for her as soon as he wakes up in the morning.  He gets a kick out of playing with her, and I can't help but laugh when I watch them play together.  More often than not these days, he's attempting to terrorize her by knocking her toys over or taking her doll and running away with it, but she just goes with it...and they have fun! 

Just like with Bailey, I cannot wait to watch this little guy grow.  And I'm so lucky that I get to do just that.

Monday, August 18, 2014

That Time My Kid Had Leprosy

Just kidding.  No one had leprosy over here.  Close enough, though.  All last week, we battled the dreaded Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease.  And let me be the first to say that it suuucked.  Never heard of it?  Never suffered from it {or had a kid who suffered with it}?  Here's a picture of Gerry's arm on the very first day with HFM.  By day 3, he was covered head to toe in this awful, pus-filled, blistery rash.  The only place...literally, the only place...on his body that wasn't covered in the disgusting mess was his forehead and the tops of his cheeks.  No joke.  There were blisters between his fingers and toes, in his ears, his mouth, the bottoms of his feet. 


Saturday night, I was out of town and Scott and Gerry were at home.  My parents had taken Bailey to the beach for the weekend, so I drove down Saturday afternoon to pick her up and then spent the night into Sunday before heading home.  Scott texted me around 11:15 Saturday night...

"G not sleeping.  What should I do?"  Thinking he was just fussy because I hadn't been there to put him to bed, I gave Scott a few tips to try with Gerry.  Nothing worked, and they were both up most of the night.  So I was prepared to come home to a sick kid...but I was not prepared to come home to a sick leper. 

Sunday was spent alternating between this:

 And this:

 To say he was miserable would be a huge understatement.  It felt like every morning he woke up with more blisters {he limped around for two solid days because of the sores on the bottoms of his feet} and he didn't eat for three days.  It was a 6-day-long cycle of wake, cry, sleep for a few minutes, wake, cry, sleep...

Not being able to do anything for him was the worst part {for me}.  I gave him Tylenol to keep him comfortable and because the sores in his throat were hurting but, beyond that, there's nothing to do for HFM but sit back, ride it out, and sanitize the hell out of your house.  We kept Bailey and Gerry as separated as humanly possible. and just did our best to keep Gerry as comfortable as possible while he dealt with the worst of it.  By Wednesday afternoon, he'd started eating a bit here and there.  By Thursday, he was sleeping better at night.  And by Friday, he was just about back to his normal, happy, smiley self. 

It's been more than a week, and he still has blisters on his arms and legs.  He had such a bad case that I expect those blisters to stick around for quite awhile {luckily, he's no longer contagious}.  But, other than that, he's back to giggling and causing mischief wherever he goes.  So far, Bailey seems to have come through completely unscathed {knock on wood!}

And, on the bright side, I've got enough cleaner in my house now to last quite a while!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Mean Girls: Toddler Version

Every time I look at this picture my heart just sinks.  

Yesterday, Bailey had her first taste of  "friendly heartbreak" when two of her friends didn't want to play with her.  It wouldn't have been so bad if it were just some random kids at the park blowing her off, but these were her two best friends.  And they wouldn't play with her, no matter how hard she tried to get them to.  They played with each other, but whenever Bailey asked to play or just inserted herself into whatever game or scenario they were acting out, she was shut down pretty quickly.  They were playing some game where one of the girls was "the boyfriend" and the other was "the girlfriend".  Bailey's solution was to have two girlfriends so they could all play, but the other two girls just kept shooing her away.  After a few minutes, one of the girls came back to Bailey and said, "Okay, come on, you can be the girlfriend now and I'll be the boyfriend."  Bailey's eyes lit up and she said, "Okay!" and hopped up from where she was sitting.  But then that same girl turned to her and said, "Okay, now I'm breaking up with you.  You can't play with us anymore."  She walked away and left Bailey sitting there.

And that's when I took this picture. 

Even now, a day later, I can't look at it without getting tears in my eyes.  After her friends skipped away {hand in hand, of course}, Bailey dropped back down to the steps and just sat there.  Defeated.  Sad.  Lonely.  The adult in me recognized that this was, potentially, a pivotal moment for her and that how she handled the situation now could be a pretty good indicator of how she'd handle issues like this in school one day {God forbid, right?}.  The rational part of me knew that this is what kids sometimes do and that, by the next morning, all would be forgotten in their little world.  But the mother in me?  Well, she was just as heartbroken as her daughter in this moment.

I wanted to grab those two little girls, drag them back across the yard, and demand to know why my daughter wasn't good enough to play with.  I wanted to ask them why there couldn't be two girlfriends in their play scenario and why they couldn't find a way to include her in whatever it was they were playing.  I wanted to force them to include her.  Instead, I walked over and sat down on the steps next to my little girl.

"I'm sorry your friends aren't playing with you, hon.  But I'll play with you!  Want me to be the boyfriend?"

She just shook her head.  "{Friend's name} is the boyfriend and she breaked-ed up with me."

I offered to play ball with her.  To play dolls.  To color.  But she just wanted to play with her friends, and that wasn't happening.  I wanted to make those other two girls sit in a long timeout for being mean and making my daughter feel sad {how's that for mommy entitlement, huh?}.  Instead, I called them over to where I was sitting with Bailey and talked to them all about being friends and including everyone in their play.  They listened and told me they understood at the appropriate times, and then the three of them ran off together to play.

Not two minutes later, I hear friend #2:  "We don't want to play with you, Bailey!"  And I watched Bailey's shoulders slump, watched her make the same slow walk back to those damn steps, watched her sit back down and just watch everyone else playing.  And it was like my heart was breaking right there with hers.

I know that it won't help if I fight all of her battles for her.  I know that this particular issue is something that she'll face, in various different forms, all of her life and that she'll be much better off if she learns how to cope on her own.  I know that this is part of growing up.  I know that, by tomorrow, this whole thing will be forgotten and everyone involved, including Bailey, won't even remember that it happened.  I know that, when all is said and done, she's an amazing kid and she'll have lots of true friends as she gets older.  I know this. But that doesn't make it any easier to watch.

I had a talk with Bailey.  As much of a "talk" as you can have with a 4-year-old, anyway.  And I told her that sometimes our friends don't want to be nice and don't want to play with us and, even though it hurts our feelings, that's okay.  I told her that it would be a good opportunity to make other friends, and that having lots of friends is a good thing.  I told her that, even if her friends didn't want to play with her in that moment, that they still liked her.  And that, no matter what, I would always play with her if she wanted me to. 

And so the day went.  Her two friends included her a bit more, but still weren't being very good friends.  Basically, let her play "with them", but didn't actually include her in anything.  And it made me so ridiculously sad to see her so upset over it.  So, later that day when she asked if we could have a "Mommy-Sweetie" day {go to the mall, hit the play place, and finish up with some froyo} I told her that we absolutely could.

When I was a freshman in high school, a boy on the bus told me that I was ugly.  To this day, I've never forgotten it and I haven't forgotten that my mom and I sort of had our own "Mommy-Sweetie" day after.  I don't remember all the little details from that day but I do remember walking off the bus dry-eyed, determined not to let those kids see me cry, and then crying when I told my mom what the boy had said, and I remember that she consoled me and took me to get my hair cut that very night.  And that new hair cut did wonders for me.  It didn't make me forget that I'd been called ugly on a bus full of high schoolers and it didn't take away the sting of embarrassment whenever I replayed it in my mind that night.  But it did help me to feel better about myself.  For a little while, I wasn't the ugly girl on the bus.  And I loved my new haircut.  So much so that I walked on the bus the next day, not necessarily proudly and with my head held high, but with enough confidence that I wasn't ready to burst into tears when that boy and his idiot friends glanced my way.  It was a simple thing, that hair cut, but it made all the difference in that moment and I will never forget it.

So Bailey and I went to the mall, hit up the play place, walked around the toy store for a bit, and got some froyo before heading home.  My own version of "the haircut", only this time I was my mom.  By the time we'd gotten home last night, the hurt she'd felt from the day was pretty much completely forgotten on her part.  {Froyo tends to have that effect on things, I think.}

This morning, she's back to her smiley self, the problems of yesterday forgotten.  A completely inconsequential event in her life so far, but somewhat monumental to me.  I know that she's going to encounter situations like this all the time as she gets older, and I know that it's up to me to help her through them and let her know that I'm there {froyo, hair cuts, and all}.

 I just didn't think I'd have to start at 4 years old!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

My Surf's Up VoxBox Review*

So, now that we're back from our week-long beach vacation {I've got a post coming up on that!} I can give my honest review of all of the products I received in my Surf's Up VoxBox*.  First off, BIG THANKS to Influenster because receiving these products for free was awesome and I thoroughly enjoyed testing them all out!

Okay, so here's what came in the VoxBox*:

1.  Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Shampoo and Conditioner
2.  SinfulColors Professional Nail Polish
3.  First Aid Shot Therapy
4.  Jamba Juice Smoothie Kits
5.  Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration After Sun

  • First up...Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Shampoo and Conditioner.    

This stuff was awesome!  Not only did it smell FANTASTIC {beachy, coconut-y, summer-y, wonderful} but it actually did what it was supposed to do.  I have naturally wavy hair and, normally, it takes a fair amount of gel and hair spray to keep it tamed and not a bushy mess.  I'll be honest.  Before I used this shampoo and conditioner, I didn't have high hopes for it actually doing anything different for my hair.  I was pumped about the smell and figured it couldn't hurt to try it.  After using it, though, I love it--and highly endorse it!  I was able to style my hair with nothing but a squirt or two of hair spray and it stayed soft and frizz-free...even after spending an evening on the boardwalk in humid Ocean City, NJ.  And have I mentioned how good it smells?  If you haven't tried the Not Your Mother's Beach Babe products, do it!  You have nothing to lose, and I will definitely be purchasing this brand in the future. 

  • Next up...the SinfulColors Professional Nail Polish.  

When Bailey saw this in my VoxBox she went nuts.  For a 4-year-old, that girl is waaaay more interested in nail polish and "Elsa braids" than I'm happy with.  Her eyes lit up when I unpacked the box and she saw this polish.  The color I received was called Anchors Away and I was a little leery about trying it at first.  I have pale skin and I wasn't sure that this yellowy-orange color was going to work on me.  But, again, the polish was free and I wanted needed a manicure before leaving for vacation  so I thought, what the hell.  The polish went on nice and smooth, and actually looked better than I expected.  I also decorated the nail on my ring finger {because why not?} with another SinfulColors polish, Thimbleberry, and I think my self-done mani looked better than expected.

Not bad, right?  I used the Thimbleberry on Bailey's nails {"Mommy, it's pink!"} and then let her give me a pedicure.  And then, later on in the week, we came across even more SinfulColors polishes at we chose a few more colors to add to our collection.

Thimbleberry, a sparkly pink, and Rise & Shine
I've always used OPI nail polish, mainly because it's what they use at my nail salon and I know pretty much nothing about nail polish.  Honestly, I'd never even noticed the SinfulColors Nail Polish brand before receiving it in the VoxBox.  But now, when we go to the store, Bailey and I look out for the SinfulColors display and I will absolutely be buying this brand and ONLY this brand from now on.  More than a week after first putting it on, my polish still looks great and is only slightly chipped in the corner of one nail.  And at $1.99 per bottle, you CAN'T beat the price.  Whatever brand you're using now, switch.  I promise you won't be disappointed!

  • I received the Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration After Sun just before leaving for vacation {they were out of this product when my VoxBox shipped, so it was shipped separately at a later date}, so I didn't get a chance to take a picture of it but trust me when I say that it, too, is as awesome as the rest of the products in my VoxBox.  I use SPF50 sunscreen daily when I'm outside or on vacation and I seem to always burn, no matter how much I use.  So having this on vacation at the beach with me was a godsend.  I used it on a sunburn and it was lovely.  It left my skin moisturized and it smelled soooo good.  Scott used it on a spot of sunburn, too.  Like most of the products I received in this VoxBox, I didn't really notice Hawaiian Tropic in the store.  I tend to go for the "tried and true", the brands my mom used when I was little.  Coppertone.  Banana Boat.  Aveeno.  But I love the Hawaiian Tropic brand now.  Normally, I have to apply and reapply and reapply after-sun lotions and my skin still feels dry and tight afterward.  The Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration After Sun is the first product I've used that actually worked and worked well.  I'm a believer!

Unfortunately, I haven't tried the First Aid Shot Therapy yet, and it's only because of sheer stupidity on my part.  I have chronic back pain and I get headaches a lot, but I'm so used to popping a few Tylenol or Aleve that I just went on autopilot and completely forgot  that I had the First Aid Shot Therapy with me.  When I do use it, I'll come back and update on how it worked.

Same thing with the Jamba Juice Smoothie Kits.  I haven't had a chance to try these yet, but I have high hopes for them.  I'm a BIG fan of Jamba Juice and I'm almost certain that I'll like the at-home smoothie kits, too.  Can't wait to try them!

So, to sum things up, the products I received in my Surf's Up VoxBox were AWESOME!  I've definitely decided toswitch brands of shampoo/conditioner and nail polish and will be purchasing Hawaiian Tropic products any time I need sunscreen or after sun relief.  You can find all of these products at your local drug store or chain market.  So run to your nearest Walgreen's, Walmart, or Target and try them out for yourself.  And don't forget to send me your email address for an invite to join Influenster!

*I received these products free from Influenster for testing purposes. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

30 Things...

Today is my 30th, to be exact.  And I figured, since I'm always writing about my kids maybe I should write a little something about myself today.  So here's a list of 30 things {you may or may not know} about me.

1.  I'm terrified of bugs.  Like "scream like a little girl, want to burn the house down after I've gotten up from the fetal position I was curled up in" terrified.  I've gotten better about it since my kids were born but only because I've had to.  I lose all credibility as "the boss lady" when my kids see me jumping up and down and hyperventilating because an ant walked across my foot. 

2.  I love coffee and I love having mismatched coffee mugs to choose from.  On a slow day, I drink anywhere from 1-3 cups and I often plan errands and trips around my coffee consumption.  I don't like flavored coffee AT ALL, but I do love me a Grande nonfat decaf mocha from Starbucks.

3.  I went to college to be a teacher.  I graduated 8 years ago and I've never seen the inside of a classroom, unless you count the 2 years of preschool I taught in a private daycare center.

4.  I love, love, love the beach and look forward to vacation every single year.  There's just something about the warm breeze, the sound of the seagulls, and the crazy amount of people on the boardwalk at any given time that I can't get enough of.  As soon as I see the ocean and hear those seagulls I can literally feel my stress being obliterated. 

5.  I've been a home daycare provider for the last 4 years.  Some days I love it.  Some days I don't.  Most days I question the choices I've made that led me to working from home.

6.  I've always dreamed of writing a book.  Nothing big and fancy, but something that other people will read and that will get published.  I'd love to be a writer full-time.

7.  I'd also love to be a journalist, but I'm pretty sure I'm not cut out for it.

8.  I would do pretty much anything for my family.  Anything

9.  I always made fun of those moms who gushed over their kids and thought that they were amazing.  Until I became one of them.  I think my kids are awesome.  Seriously.  And I'm amazed at every single little thing they do.  They are the best thing I've ever done in my life.

10.  I have 2 kids.  I've always wanted 5 and, if I can convince my husband, I think I'll do just that.

11.  I'm still taking my postpartum depression medication, four years after my first baby was born and 18 months after the last one came along.  When I'm not taking it, I can feel myself losing it and becoming the sort of woman/person/mother that I never want to be and so I keep taking it.  And I'm okay with that.

12.  My biggest pet peeve is being able to hear people when they chew.  It's like nails on a chalkboard for me and, until recently, I had no clue that there was a name for it.  {Misophonia, for anyone wondering}

13.  I have a thing about odd numbers and prefer everything to be even.  This includes {but is not limited to} volume control, the number of bites it takes me to finish something, and the amount of time I cook things in the microwave.

14.  My son is named after his 2 great-grandfathers and I'm proud of that legacy.  My daughter's name was chosen simply because my husband and I liked the name, and sometimes I worry that when she grows up she'll think we think she's less important because we didn't give her a "meaningful" name. 

15.  Neither of my kids was "planned".  So very, very wanted and loved but not necessarily planned for. 

16.  I will never, ever forget the night we told all of our friends that we were pregnant with our first baby.  They had the best reaction and I think of it often and smile.

17.  I'm trying really, really hard not to project my body insecurities onto my children.  I tell them we eat right and exercise to stay healthy and strong and I make it a point to never comment on my body or theirs in anything but a positive way.

18.  My favorite color is blue, but not dark blue.  Or light, light blue.  Pastel, maybe?

19.  If I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life it would be pasta.

20.  I'm a social media addict.  Specifically, Facebook.  I've been known to spend hours at a time on there, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.  It's sad, really.

21.  I have a library card, and I go every other week for new books.

22.  Sometimes I'm afraid that I'll die without ever having accomplished something meaningful and important in life {with the exception of the fantastic children I've created}.

23.  I'm living with chronic back pain.  And it sucks.  And I'm sure there's something else I could be doing about it but after numerous doctor/specialist visits, spinal injections, physical therapy, and surgery I'm just tired of getting my hopes up and having those options not work.  So...that's that.

24.  I very rarely dream anymore and, when I do, I can never remember it in the morning.  My sleep is so disjointed these days that even if I wanted to dream, I don't think I'd get through an entire one without waking up or being woken up. 

25.  Sitting outside on a warm summer morning with the birds chirping, the kids sleeping, and a fresh cup of coffee in my hand is my idea of Heaven.

26.  I admire my husband more than I'll ever admit.  He's so much more amazing than some people give him credit for and I wish that everyone could see him through my eyes.  

27.  Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.

28.  I wish I had more girl friends.

29.  Sometimes I worry that the choices I make will negatively impact my kids for the rest of their lives.  This is a bigger {but less irrational} fear than my fear of bugs.

30.  My husband, my children, and all the people we love matter more to me than anything in the world.

So, there you go!  30 things about me...did I miss anything?

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

A New Buddy

A few weeks ago, we sent Ryder to Scott's parents' house.  Permanently.  I haven't really talked about it because I'd been feeling a combination of shame, disappointment, and sadness.  As my brother so kindly pointed out, we don't have such great luck with dogs. 

Scott and I adopted a rescue dog, a Chihuahua/Min. Pin. mix, back in 2008.  Before we were married, before we had kids, before we realized how difficult it was going to be for this dog to have to share the spotlight with a tiny human being.  Things were great and Cooper was Scott's buddy until Bailey was born, at which point he started peeing all over the house, chewing up her toys, and using her bedroom as his own personal toilet.  When he nipped at her {she was a little over a year old} we decided that maybe it was time for Cooper to go. 

Fast forward to a few months ago when we adopted Ryder.  Bailey had chosen her all by herself, named her, came home and fed her, and just sat with her.  For days.  And Ryder never responded to her, or to Scott and me.  Any time Scott came near her, Ryder peed.  She only left her crate when we forced her out {a long production involving sneaking a leash on and basically dragging her out} and she never left the kitchen.  Ever.  She wouldn't eat or drink if we were in the same room with her and we had to prop the back door open and walk out of the room in order to get her to go outside.  Everything I read and all of the papers her fosters had given us said to follow the 3x3x3 rule...that Ryder would act less fearful by day 3; that she would start come out of her shell and want to spend more time with us by week 3; that she'd be her normal, happy self by month 3.  Her third month with us came and went with zero progress.  Ryder was still terrified of Scott, had to be forced out of her crate, and wouldn't eat or go out if we were within her line of vision.  She hadn't bonded with any of us {not for lack of trying - Bailey was desperate for her to get up and want to play} and she was most certainly not the happy-go-lucky puppy that she was supposed to be. 

Scott's dad is retired and had recently lost his golden retriever to an unknown bloating issue.  He'd spent the previous 8 years giving Lucy all of his attention, taking her for walks, playing his guitar and blowing bubbles for her.  He loved her, and it was abundantly clear that they needed each other.  Once it became really evident that Ryder wasn't coming out of her shell at all with us, Scott and I started to talk about maybe seeing if his dad wanted to take her.  He needed the companionship and Ryder, it seemed, needed a more one-on-one environment with less noise and more relaxation...not a daycare setting with a bunch of kids in and out all day.  And so, Scott's parents agreed to take Ryder and guess what?  She's flourishing.  Thriving.  Happy.  She's getting the one-on-one attention she needs, and my father-in-law has an animal companion again.  And I'm so relieved and so happy that it's been working out.

One thing I wasn't happy about was Bailey's reaction.  She misses Ryder, and she kept asking when she was coming home.  Scott and I explained {many times} that Ryder wasn't coming home and that she was living with Pop Pop now, but Bailey didn't fully understand and wasn't happy.  We'd been toying with the idea of getting another dog {Scott and I both grew up with pets and feel strongly that kids should have one} but I think we were both a little scared and VERY leery about introducing a new pet into the mix.  We didn't want a repeat of crazy, aggressive Cooper or terrified-to-the-point-of-losing-all-bladder-control Ryder. 

And then we met Louie.

 He's a 5-year-old Beagle/Pug mix {he's got more Pug in him than Beagle, I think} and I fell in love a little bit when I saw his picture online.  His owner had to move to Texas suddenly to take care of her sick mother and couldn't take him with her.  It was either hope someone wanted him or take him to the pound.

We wanted him.

He's been with us for just a few hours now and he's awesome.  He responds to his name {something Ryder never did, and Cooper only did selectively}, he listens and responds to commands, walks well on a leash, and has just the right amount of energy to keep up with my kids while also being mellow enough to keep Scott and me happy and calm.  He buddied up to Scott immediately and spent the 15 minutes after Scott left to go get him food crying at the front door. 

 Louie spent his first 40 minutes here running around and sniffing everything and everyone.  He barks when someone comes to the door and we'll have to teach him not to jump on the furniture but, other than that, he's such a cool little guy.  After running around spastically for awhile, he just laid down and chilled out.

 Now that he's sort of used to us, he's perfectly content to snuggle up in our laps and hang out.  But he's also totally cool with Gerry attacking him and happy to play along.  And Bailey spent the better part of her afternoon introducing Louie to everyone and giving him a run-down of how things work around here.  I hope I'm not jinxing myself here {I don't think I am} but I think Louie is going to do just fine here with us.

 So far so good!


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