Tuesday, May 29, 2012

been a while.

It's been such a time since my last visit.... and I'm sorry for that. I know how the masses yearn for my ramblous writings (ramboulous? Surely that's a word). But our busy and boisterous lives have forced spare time and writing to take a back seat. And while shoved into that back seat, much yelling and screaming and begging for attention ensued. So I am giving in and putting pen to paper. Or cursor to screen. Whatever. So much has happened in the last few months, that surely I can manage a somewhat entertaining masterpiece of words that will keep you at least mildly amused.

We celebrated Bailey's 6th birthday with cake and such and he is aging gracefully. Judge is no longer the small and fluffy baby he was in January, and spring saw a pretty helacious growth spurt followed by a first haircut (given to him by yours truly). I chased him around the back porch with a pair of clippers, crying as I sheered off those beautiful baby curls. He was somewhat terrified, and somewhat amused. He wasn't quite sure if it was playtime of if he had done something that deserved my strange behavior.  I know, it's ridiculous. But you folks have your babies with their spit up and dirty diapers, and I have my dogs.

First haircuts are a big deal in both cases. But if I thought I was losing my cuddly baby puppy, I was kinda wrong. Turns out, giant puppies love to cuddle to. Now it just hurts a little. I sport very attractive greenish blue bruises pretty much all the time from the neck down. They just don't make couches big enough for two full grown adults and one full grown Doodle. To sit comfortably on at least and Judge prefers to use us as extra padding. He's somewhat catlike in the way he prefers to lounge across the back cushions. It's a bit weird, but we love him so we allow it.

Bailey is as calm and collected as ever. Being the mature older brother suits him more than well and he is quite the role model. Most of the time. We did come home to a pretty serious situation a few weeks ago. A situation that involved my love seat and a broken window.  Darling and I decided that maybe Judge was ready to be left out of the kennel for an hour or so. Bailey isn't kenneled because, well, he doesn't need to be. He's the perfect specimen of a house dog, and goes straight to our bed when we leave and stays there for most of our absence. Judge is odd and who knows what he does. He is fond of a particular ostrich move where he hides his head between the cushions and pretends you can't see him. We can see him, but it's funny so we don't tell him that. Judge decided to ostrich for a while in our front room during one of his free range sessions and discovered that there are zippers on our couch cushions. Zippers that contain treasure like no other. Treasure in the form of foam padding. Padding that must taste delightful because when we got home, it was everywhere. Everywhere. In large drifts all across the front room. I followed this trail of couch murder into our living room, and found not only more foam padding, but a broken window pain. What the hell. Who actually knows what went on during the brief hour we were away. Truthfully, we'll never know. But one can hazard a guess that Bailey stood by, innocent in all counts, and watched the madness unfold. I was a little disappointed that he didn't step in. I expected him to step in. But instead, he just stared up at us with his sweet innocent eyes and we knew he took no part in this atrocity. In all fairness, there was no real damage at all to the love seat. Everything was stuffed back into its rightful place and you would never know that our dog lost his mind for a fleeting hour. But lesson learned on our part. Free range will come later. Much later. 
This is the face of a crazy, enourmous, wild animal. This is 7 1/2 month old Judge.

Friday, January 13, 2012


I am  loving being a mommy of two fuzzy children more and more every day. And I've realized all to quickly just how different our two boys are. Bailey is the laid back, mellow, cuddly type. Nothing in the world seems to bother or upset him. Every person and other dog is a friend, and he assumes everyone loves him as much as he loves them. Judge, on the other hand, is the rambunctious, trouble making, loud type. This isn't to say that he doesn't keep us laughing. He has a new fondness for taking a small square of toilet paper in his mouth and  running from the bathroom at full speed. Thus rolling the inside of our house better than any Halloween pranksters could have dreamed. We're working on learning that this is not acceptable behavior at 411. He also has a love of all things laundry. Socks, tee shirts, undies, scrubs. Clean or dirty, he isn't biased in the least. He doesn't chew them or destroy them in any way. Just steals them and makes a small pile with them  under our coffee table. It's like he just wants to see if he can get away with it. I have't quite figured it out yet. But none the less, it's pretty funny. Bailey did have an affinity for socks as a baby, but grew out of it pretty quickly. I can honestly say that it's the only blemish on his otherwise impeccable record.

We recently decided that it was time to introduce Judge to Francis. She is, after all, an important member of our family. Now Bailey and France have been the best of friends since day one. She loves to let Bailey lick her ears and she returns the love with tiny nibbles on his toes. They seem to thoroughly enjoy one another's company. It was not so with Judge. France seemed to think that all dogs were of Bailey's quality temperament, and Judge seemed to think that all things small and squeaky are in the same class as his many toys. He got very excited and came after her with those giant puppy feet and sharp puppy teeth. She was not happy about it. I decided maybe we should wait until Judge is a little less excitable before we try a reintroduction. Judge disagrees. We find him missing from time to time, and quickly locate him sitting in front of the stand her cage is on, just staring longingly at her. I can't decide if he wants a second chance at being friends, or if he just wants to hear her squeak again. I think I'll give her a little more time to recover.

Monday, January 9, 2012

down south.

I'm feeling a little sentimental today, and the older I get, the more I realize how lucky I am to be a southern woman. I haven't traveled the world by any means, or even been to every state in this fine country of mine, but I know for certain that folks don't get much better than they do down here. Family just seems to mean so much more than a last name, and manners still seem to mean something. I've seen that a pretty woman's southern drawl can make any man do just about anything. And I've had the best food anyone could find just off Highway 70. There are so many little things that make me proud to call Tennessee my home. My entire family was born and raised in these rolling hills, and that's what's makes us who we are.

I was fortunate enough to learn about God in my nanny's kitchen with fried eggs and sausage every Sunday. I learned the value of honesty and a dollar from my papa, who always had a fudge pop in his hand. I learned to enjoy the finer things and to never leave the house without my hair done from my mother. And I learned to love the earth and a good antique store from my daddy. But I think what makes us stand apart from all the rest is our ability to really love. I know, I know, it sounds really cheesy and cliche, but I speak the truth. My grandparents spent 52 of the best years of their lives with each other, and my parents have spent 32 years with one another and are going strong. I watch my dad still open my mom's car door, and write her love notes, and send flowers every birthday and anniversary. I smile when I see them still holding hands at dinner. And I see how that's been passed down to my sister, brother, and me. My sister was so lucky that she met the love of her life in the 7th grade, and they've been  in love for the last seventeen years and married the last ten. I see them teaching their three boys to be southern gentlemen who aren't afraid to tell their momma how much they love her, and nothing makes me happier. And now I know how it feels to love a man with nothing less than everything that I have. I found a southern sir that was raised by strong southern women who taught him how to love and treat a woman, and I'm as grateful for them as I am for him. I have a little brother that was taught how to treat a lady, that calls just to check in with me every few days, and makes sure he stops by for a visit as often as he can. Whatever woman gets him won't have a chance in the world of impressing my sister, mother, or me, but she'll sure be lucky to have him. I guess no woman being good enough for your little brother is just a southern thing, too.

I remember my high school years being punctuated by thoughts of getting out of this town. I hated the smallness of it, but now, of the places I've been, none seem to compare. I've tried the city life, and it just wasn't for me. I like the quiet that comes with a small southern town. I like the woods and the rolling hills. I like the way people hold the door for you, and wave instead of honking their horns. I guess I'm just finally starting to appreciate what I've had all along: an amazing family, the love of an amazing man, and the fact that no one in the world can resist the charm of a southern lady.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Oh, child.

I am a nervous new mother in its truest form. We've had Judge for exactly five days and he's already been to the vet twice, and sorta made me cry a little a couple nights ago. I'm kinda embarrassed. Let me explain: first visit was his initial new puppy check-up. It's always good practice to take any new baby to get checked out so he can meet his new doctor and get used to the whole process of examination. I got the great news that we have a wonderfully healthy boy who looks, sounds, and is just perfect. On the down side, I learned he was a little underweight. No baby of mine is gonna be too skinny if I have anything to say about it. He weighed in at (what I thought) was a staggering 8.5 pounds. For a seven week old baby, I thought that was pretty large. At 11 weeks, Bailey was a tiny 5.5 pounds and could fit in my hand. Judge, being the baby beast he is, should have been closer to ten. So the vet gave me instructions to fatten him up. Every morning, he and Bailey get one scrambled egg. And 4 times a day he gets fed his regular puppy food mixed with buttermilk. So spoiled already. Doctor's orders. So far it's been a major success. We've gained 2 pounds in roughly two days.

Now let me tell you about that second night. Of course our babies sleep in the bed with us. Say what you may, but that's how we like it. All night we noticed puppy panting and just generally uneasy. Overly squirmy, even for himself. So we opened the windows and turned down the heat, but still no relief for this overheated little baby. Next, we tried a cold pack wrapped in a tee shirt for him to lay on. It helped a little, but he was still panting and now was coughing and sneezing, too. I was getting pretty worried. Never google medical symptoms for anything that your dog, child, or self may be experiencing, because you will immediately become terrified. Wish I had realized this sooner. It listed everything from cardiac defects, to ear infections, to internal bleeding. Good Lord. I decided that just maybe he was too hot. So at 12:30 a.m. I found myself on our kitchen floor with a pair of scissors and a pile of puppy curls. Let's face it, the dog has a lot of hair. This still didn't do the trick. So the next morning, darling, being the wonderful pup dad he is, took baby to the vet again to ease my mind. Turns out it was nothing. He did tell me they cracked up over my split decision grooming job, but over all nothing major, just the tiniest touch of kennel cough. So baby is back to normal, and if you ask me, I think that little hair cut did the trick.

Now Bailey is a sick boy, and I think we can pretty confidently rest it on the fact that we've been spoiling him like crazy to be sure that he doesn't feel replaced or resentful of Judge. Labradoodles have notoriously sensitive stomachs and we've known this from day one. But we sometimes tempt fate and give him nibbles of sausage or cheese or whatever else is on the menu for the night. All he has to do is look at us the right way and we melt. Who can blame us?

We've been going a little overboard since the arrival of the new baby, and his belly is, unfortunately, fighting back by being upset for the past day. He's getting back to normal, finally. I think we've learned our lesson this time around, and much to Bailey's dismay, no more table food. We'll be making a trip to PetSmart to load up on belly friendly munchies for him and Christmas toys for both, and a new stocking for baby. Can't wait. Just really can't wait.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

you be the judge.

Darling and I celebrated our three year anniversary this Tuesday, and celebrated the best way in the world: by bringing home a bouncing baby... puppy. I nearly cried. I mean really cried. Those "so happy I have no other way to express myself" tears that I am all too well known for. We have been talking about a little brother for Bailey for so long now, but never more than just talking. So when Andrew surprised me a few days earlier with a trip to visit our new baby, I was ecstatic. And when I was told that we couldn't bring him home for another week, it just about killed me. So I visited. Everyday I visited. And on the third day of visiting, the breeder let me know that he was ready and she felt comfortable enough with his progress to let him come home. Let's be honest, she was probably pretty tired of me showing up everyday, but who cares, I won. So the past few days have been full of chewing, chomping, barking, whining, and 4:00 am trips outside to potty. And I couldn't be happier about it.

 We had a few reservation about how Bailey was going to take the new addition. He would either love him right away and accept him as the new member of our family, or he would fight this tooth and nail and be a jealous jenny about the whole thing. Thankfully, his reaction was somewhere in between. He was pretty excited about meeting this new furry plaything, but once he realized that he didn't belong to someone else, and would, in fact, be staying with us for the long run, he was a little finicky. This new baby is small now, but we know that once he's all grown up, that will be the last thing he is. He's going to trump Bailey by at least twenty pounds. We think Bailey knows this, too. And he's having all the fun he can now, because pretty soon, he won't be the BIG brother anymore. That being said, we decided on the name Judge Levon. Judge because a big boy deserves a big name, and Levon for darling's favorite member of The Band. So far, he's living up to the hype tremendously.

So here we are, going into our third day as a new little family of four, and I really couldn't be happier. Bailey is being the big brother we knew he would be and Judge is being the rambunctious puppy we have long been waiting for. Seeing both of these furry kids of ours chasing tennis balls and fighting over the good tot, and I realize how blessed I am. So no more is it us and the dog. But us and the dogS. And I'm loving our little family so much. And eagerly awaiting what is sure to be our most exciting Christmas yet.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

one flew over the..... kitchen cabinet.

Today was a day of marked laziness. A day of coffee, books, couch lounging, and back yard playing with pup. A day of laziness that I was extremely content with. Today was also the first day of my nature study. I've decided that I want to learn everything I possibly can about which birds are singing and the names of the trees where they're performin'. It was while reading my first edition of Words for Birds that it happened. Nature quite literally came right through the back door.

I lay on the couch, reading and listening to outside sounds. Bailey lay beside me in front of the back door, also content with the slow pace of our morning. His favorite spot is right in front of the tear in our screen door. That small tear has been there since the day we moved in and it was never something that seemed to demand immediate attention.... until today. It was by this very tear that Bailey lay. And it was through this very tear that a small bird decided to enter and wreck havoc on our morning. I identified the tiny menace as a very common House Wren:

I quickly became more concerned for its safety rather than for my home's. My new tiny friend was crazily attempting a smooth escape, but was failing miserably. Crashing into window, cabinets, mirrors, and landscape paintings, I was terrified he would hurt himself badly. With all the commotion, Bailey, being the vicious animal that he is, merely gave the wren a confused look and continued to doze. I attempted quite a few different variations of catch and release, and failed as miserably as the bird. So, having exhausted every possible option, I did the only other thing there was to do. I called darling.

After a frantic phone call, I locked the wren in our guest room and waited. The wren made himself quite comfortable during this time on our clothes rack that was heavily laden with soggy garments. After five somewhat nervous minutes wait, babe swooped in (excuse the pun) and saved the day. He handled the situation much more calmly using the broom herding method, and my new friend flew out as easily as he'd flown in.

We commemorated the day's adventure with a family lunch of Taco Bell, and my new book seemed a much more interesting read that afternoon. I also made Bailey a new doggie door to prevent any further damage to small, daring wrens.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

blonde haired baby bear.

Well, number three is finally here. After numerous false starts and faux arrivals, Eizach was born yesterday morning. And he's more than just a little loved. Tiny Emmitt just can't grasp the thought that there are things in this world that are smaller than he is, and couldn't help put exclaim over and over again that "he's so wittle". He then asked where the baby's wee wee was. And he then demanded that the nurse get the new baby a shirt to wear. Which she did. Quickly. All the while, Ellis (who now feels he is a seasoned vet at new baby arrivals) tapped away on his mommy's ipad.

It seems like no matter how many times we do this, (and lets just be honest, there's no telling with my baby machine of a sister) I  am constantly amazed at the entire process of having a child. A tiny little person that I already love more than humanly possible. It just never gets old. And speaking of old, now we're gearing up for Ellis's 5th birthday. Five. I can't even believe it's been that long since I was rushing to the hospital because he was getting here. After him, I just really wasn't sure it was possible to love someone else as much, and then Emmitt came. And all of a sudden, I was crazy about these two little blonde haired, blue-eyed babies. And now, I'm just crazy about this new blonde haired, blue eyed baby bear. So much love for these tiny little men in my life. Just don't know what to do about it.