Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Most Devoted Family Member

"He likes me!  He really, really likes me!"

I hope you read that in your best euphoric Sally Field voice.  Who is "he", you might wonder?  Yep - you guessed it!  The dog!

I have never seen such devotion in another being!  This dog is happy to simply be in my presence.  Why he is so happy to be with me is unclear, but it is rather sweet.  Two examples:

Yesterday I brought home the crew after school (minus one daughter, plus a son's friend).  I pulled into the driveway, then headed down to get the mail.  As I approached the bottom of the driveway, I saw a bag laying on the ground.  Upon closer inspection, I realized it was a tied grocery bag, full of dog poo.  That is how we live now, people.  Bags of dog poo tied off in our driveway.  After a moment, I saw my husband and eldest daughter rounding the bend on a walk with the dog and realized the dog poo bag was not to be a permanent fixture, thankfully.  As my husband approached with Shadow, he (the dog, not my husband) began pulling at the leash, going crazy to get to me.  He jumped up and loved me in his best doggie way (snowy, wet paws and all).  After a few moments, my husband wanted to continue his walk, but poor Shadow really, really wanted to come inside with me. Since the dog needed the exercise, my husband kept walking him.  He pulled and strained at the leash, desperate to come back to me.  All the way around the block, my husband reported later, Shadow pulled and pulled to get home.

This morning, Saturday, all three boys were up slightly before 6 am.  On a school day, two of these boys don't want to get out of bed at 6:30. But on a Saturday?  Please!  They might miss something if they don't get up ASAP!  I certainly don't need to get up with them anymore, but even though they were quiet, my husband and I, and the dog, heard them get up.  Having much work to do today, my husband got up soon after, and the dog eventually followed him down, hoping for breakfast.  In an effort to let me sleep in a bit, my husband shut the gate at the top of the stairs (a remnant from our baby/toddler days - sniff!), and placed a gate also at the bottom of the stairs.  After some time, I drifted off for a few minutes, only to be awakened by persistent whining and whimpering at the bottom of the stairs.  I finally admitted defeat, got up, and opened the top gate.  My daughter opened the bottom gate and the dog bounded up the stairs, hysterical with joy just to be near me!  I'm telling you - not even my children are this happy to see me!  I petted him and told him what a good dog he was etc. etc., and then decided maybe I would just lay down for a moment longer, to put off the cleaning I must do this morning.  Shadow happily licked my hand and lay down next to me on the floor, content.

Is this normal?  Does everyone's dog have one person they are so attached to?  It's equal parts hilarious and endearing.  He's a mamma's boy!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sing Along

Not long ago, I blogged about movies that I cannot watch.  Not because they are naughty, or full of bad words, but because they are too sad.  They make me weep, cry and even sob.  You can read about them here.

After writing that, I started thinking about songs that throw me over the edge.  Not surprisingly, given my penchant for falling apart at the smallest thing, the list has several entries.  So, I give you -

Songs I Cannot Listen To Without Embarrassing Myself:

Do You Wanna Build A Snowman? (obviously)
Untitled Hymn (by Chris Rice - beautiful, beautiful!  But oh-so-emotional!)
Come For Me (by Charlie Hall - also beautiful, and was sung at a funeral of a dear friend)
That Christmas Shoes Song (the mom is going to DIE? Really??)
Various hymns that touch my heart
Tommy and Laura Were Lovers (at least, that's the beginning of the heartbreaking song my dad used to sing)
The Best of Friends (from Fox and The Hound)
What a Wonderful World (played at our reception - good memories!  But teary, often!)
Baby Mine (from Dumbo)

I'm sure there are many more that cause me to lose all control and sob, but these are the ones I can call to mind right now.  Of course, the songs that are spiritually emotional have great value.  But the rest?  I'll pass!

On the flip side, many songs make me smile and laugh - and who wouldn't prefer that?  Why would I want my insides ripped out and stomped on?  So, I present you:

Songs That Make Me Smile and Dance With Joy:

Happy - by Pharrell Williams (of course!)
The Gambler (I can't explain why, but knowing when to hold 'em just makes me happy)
Danny's Song by Kenny Loggins (". . .now I see a family, where there once was none. . .")
Walking on Sunshine
Basically anything by ABBA, The Beatles or Simon and Garfunkel
Put Your Records On
Brown-Eyed Girl
I've Got You Babe
I'm Gonna Be (500 miles)

I'm sure there are many, many more.  Thankfully, there are many more songs that make me happy!  What songs make you cry?  Please tell me I'm not alone!  And which songs make you happy??

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Doggone it!

You might have heard we adopted a dog about a month ago.  Shadow, a four-year-old labradoodle/cocker spaniel mix, has been getting used to life at our house. And he's getting pretty comfortable around here, judging by his actions.

In the aww, that's so cute category:

He is really attached to me.  No matter where I go in the house, he is a few steps behind.  He will only sleep in our room, preferably on the floor next to my side of the bed (though he tried in the beginning to sleep on our bed, which got a rapid nix).  When I go upstairs, he goes upstairs.  When I walk into the next room, he quickly springs up and comes too.  He's truly my Shadow.

He barks and paws at us when he wants to play.  This is mostly cute, but sometimes challenging.  He finds family devotions booooring, and likes to bark at us to try to break it all up.  He also barks at me when he decides I should get up in the morning.  This is only an issue if we are sleeping in (which we've gotten to do often lately, due to the snow days).  After the kids have been downstairs for awhile, he is quite certain that I need to get up too. And he will bark and howl at me until I do just that.

When he lays down at night, or just next to you on the floor or couch, he groans a little.  I find it very endearing.  And also reassuring, knowing that he is not roaming the house up to no good.

Which brings me to the next category -


This dog has a serious oral fixation.  He wants everything in his mouth, truly.  Just today, here is a list of what he has snatched when our guards were down:

Capri Sun Straw (he was very stubborn about letting go of it)
Lego (he was chomping on it, as if it was a tasty bit of kibble)
Washcloth (which he put a hole in)
Stuffed animal Chewbacca (thankfully he put it down when asked)
Check stub (he chewed up the end and spit out all the pieces on the carpet)
Beanie Baby dog (he very generously removed the tail for us)
Bathroom trash (ewwwww)
Pancake (of course, he can't be blamed for this one)

So seriously.  Dog people.  Is this normal?  It's making me crazy! He grabs socks, gloves, hats, whatever is on the floor.  We are trying very hard to keep things off the floor, but re: five kids over here.  We encourage him to play with his toys, but when he doesn't want to give something up, it all has to become a Big Deal.  He pounces and jumps and runs away, trying to play with us.  It's quite frustrating.

Ohh, but he's soft and cuddly and very good natured.  The kids love him and I am rather fond of him as well.  He really has become part of our family!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Chair Full of Memories

Sixteen years ago, we moved into our house.  Its 2100 square feet seemed voluminous to us, and I wondered how we would ever fill all those rooms.  Of course, that was crazy thinking, because now we are bursting at the seams!  But back then. . .things were different!  No children yet, meager belongings, and a lot of empty space.

A member at our church was moving away, and suggested we come over and take any of the furniture they would no longer need.  I was thrilled!  On a snowy January day, we acquired several new-to-us items.  Among them were a table and chairs, an enormous desk, a dresser, and a recliner.  Sixteen years later, I am sitting at my kitchen island, a mere few feet away from the hand-me-down recliner.

It's not really much to look at, I'll admit.  It's comfortable, though, and more importantly to me, it has been with us since the beginning.

In this recliner, I:

  • have rocked all my babies.  I even blogged about it here and here  I recall rocking my second son, firmly and quickly, tucking him to my side to get him to sleep.  I recall rocking my daughter, my eyes heavy, hers alert, praying futilely for some rest for my weary self.  I nursed them all in that chair, boppy tucked snugly around my waist, until mamma and babe drifted off to sleep.
  • received the news that my beloved grandma had died.  It was New Year's Day 2000, and I was sitting in the recliner, heavily pregnant, watching a movie with my husband.  I knew before I heard my mom's words on the phone.  I rocked and cried and mourned her there.
  • recovered from my back injury last year.  I sat, immobilized, for days in that chair, watching endless episodes of Law and Order.  
  • fed my third child via his feeding tube. It was a tricky business, feeding our son through his tube.  He had to be distracted and happy (or asleep!), or the formula would come back out the syringe, causing a mess and basically mass hysteria.  He couldn't grab at the tube and syringe, which he was wont to do, or we would also have a mess.  So the recliner was the best choice as he got older.  I would hold him in my lap, rocking gently, whilst balancing the formula-filled syringe and offering him a toy to play with.  Praise God he now enjoys steak and apples and sitting comfortably at the table.
  • sat, teary, as I processed the news that we were pregnant with our fourth child.  Don't misunderstand - this child was not a surprise, and was very much wanted!  But I recall feeling overwhelmed when I realized I was going to be the mother of four children. . .when I still felt like I was about 18 years old!  I rocked and prayed, and my anxious heart was soothed.  
  • averted disaster.  While I was playing with my young son, I held him up above my head to kiss his tummy.  The recliner's center of gravity shifted, and the baby and I tipped over backward.  I held to him fast and thankfully we both avoided injury.  He thought the whole thing was hilarious!
None of the furniture in this room is new.  Everything is used and well-loved by five kids, two adults, and now one dog.  The recliner fits right in.  If we ever decide we can get new furniture in the family room, it will be pretty hard for me to let it go.  A new one might be pretty, but this one speaks volumes.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Happiness Is. . .

Picking up my son from basketball at 6 pm and it is NOT DARK, when it has been dark the whole season at that time.  It might snowy and freezing and messy, but it is not fully dark.

The faces of my students.  I simply adore their hugs, smiles, laughter (I have two students who laugh with such joy and mirth that I can't help but join in).  Hearing them sing praises to Jesus and begin to grasp His great love for them. . .glorious!

Telling my daughter that a $100 North Face sweatshirt is insanity, bordering on criminal, and having her agree that it is cray cray, even though she wants one badly!  (For the record, to those of you who think I'm mean and awful for choosing to pay the electric bill instead of paying for one item of clothing for my child, I did offer to pay what I felt was a reasonable amount for a sweatshirt, and she was welcome to fund the rest).

Rock retrieval.  As nap began at school today, I had a student inform me that he had a rock up his nose and could I please get it out?!  With mild panic bubbling up, I continued to remind him not to sniff, don't sniff, don't sniff!  When questioned, he answered (with a logic unique to all three-year-olds) one moment that he didn't stick a rock in his nose, and the next minute, that he did indeed stick one up there at recess. After some moments of envisioning a stressful call to mom and dad and a trip to the ER, our classroom aide was able to get him to blow it out.  Whew!  I've never been so happy to see a snot-encrusted-pebble in my life!

A black doggie named Shadow jumping up to greet us each day as we come home.  His love and excitement makes our homecomings a little more wonderful - and coming home was already a lovely event!

Playing game after game and doing puzzle after puzzle with my little K.  She is tireless with her requests, and each game is followed by a giant hug and proclamation of love, punctuated with kisses.

A nose that is not broken.  What is it with noses today?  I was summoned from my classroom at lunchtime today with the words, "Please come down to the cafeteria and look at A's nose.  We are pretty sure it is not broken, but we want you to check."  Yikes! I power walked down there lickety split, and found my son, seemingly all in one piece.  Apparently two children in a small space moving full speed causes injury.  Who knew!

And finally, Happiness is . . . a warm gun.  That was the first thing I thought of when I wrote the title. I have no idea the lyrics of that song, or what the heck it's about, but I had to include it here.  Gotta love the Beatles!