A few happy things

Happy thing #1 – Ava peed in her potty for the first time Friday! :-)

No, I haven’t started potty training/learning in earnest with her yet, but we got her a potty and I set her on it whenever she seems interested.

On Friday I was getting her ready for a bath and she was enjoying some naked time while the tub filled. She came into the bathroom with me and I set her on the potty for kicks. (I’ve done this in the past and she’s never gone to the bathroom on it.) She started signing “poop” and I thought for a moment that was going to poop right there, but she didn’t. Then she signed “apple” or so I thought (it is really similar to the sign for “toilet” or “potty”). When she stood up, there it was! No, not an apple. ;) Pee in the potty! I got so excited. I ran for my camera and took a couple pics of her sitting on the potty afterwards. Hee, hee.

Happy thing #2
– Garage sales!

On Saturday I discovered what so many people have long-since known – garage sales can be a wonderful place to find the things you need for very little money. (Thanks to my mother-in-law who picked up a few cute outfits for Ava at garage sales recently and inspired me to do some bargain hunting myself.)

Since we are going to Massachusetts at the end of the month (holy crap, that’s only 2 weeks away!), I have been wanting to get Ava some fall clothes for the trip and, of course, she’ll be able to use them here as well once the weather cools down. Not having much money for my spending spree, I decided to pick up a newspaper on Friday, check out the classifieds and map out some garage sales in my area. I got up yesterday morning and headed out, hopeful that I could find a few things for my sweet pea. Not only did I find a few things, I found an ass-load!!

11 toddler shirts (some Gymboree, Osh Kosh and Old Navy)
2 dresses (one is Baby Crew)
3 pairs of overalls (all Osh Kosh)
1 pair of jeans
1 pair of pants
1 matching top/bottom outfit
a ladybug Halloween costume (super cute!!)
and a little push/popper toy

3 t-shirts
a copper bracelet
a purse

4 Tupperware bowls and lids

How much did I pay for my crap-ton of loot you ask?
$18, that’s right, $18!!! :-)

Yes, I’m quite pleased with how my first garage saling adventure went. While shopping brings a high all its own, walking away with a ton of sah-weeeeet deals makes it all the better. I’m still giddy from bargain-finding endorphins. (Ask Jody. He’ll tell you what a good mood I’ve been in all weekend.) :-)

And lastly, Happy thing #3 – Jody’s been taking care of a lot of things around the house this weekend – fixing the gate, making breakfast this morning, doing dishes, vacuuming, and mowing the grass. I’m always appreciative when the honey-dos turn into honey-dones. Yay for helpful honeys. :)

Pet peeves

I decided to bow out of Self Portrait Friday this week. The theme is “show us your war face” and since I’m not really into war and consider myself more of a pacifist, it didn’t make sense for me to play. However, there are some crazy faces goin’ on over there, so feel free to check them out if that’s your bag, baby. ;)

Instead I was thinking about some pet peeves of mine lately and figured I’d share them.

1.) When people misuse the words “your” and “you’re.” As an English major (I know, you’d never know it by how poorly I write sometimes), this drives me batty.

From Merriam-Webster:
Main Entry: your
Pronunciation: y&r, ‘yur, ‘yOr, ‘yor
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English Eower; akin to Old English Eow you — more at YOU
1 : of or relating to you or yourself or yourselves especially as possessor or possessors , agent or agents , or object or objects of an action
2 : of or relating to one or oneself
3 — used with little or no meaning almost as an equivalent to the definite article the [a trait… that sets him apart from your average professor — James Breckenridge]

Main Entry: you’re
Pronunciation: y&r, ‘yur, ‘yOr, ‘yor, “yü-&r
: you are

2.) When people try to type a commonly-used expression, but don’t know how to spell it and it comes out all wrong. I have a couple good examples of this from some message boards.

— a.) The expression is “Granted,” like “taken for granted.” Example: “Granted they haven’t arrived yet, but it’s just a matter of time.”
My pet peeve is when people instead type “Grant it.” Grant? Grant who? What’s that all about?

— b.) This second one just floored me. Ok, the expression is “bound and determined,” as in “My child is so bound and determined to talk.”
The misuse of this was the person typed “bounden terminded” and then “bound in termin.” Bound in what?! What exactly is termin anyway?

OK, so I didn’t have as many as I thought (or I’ve forgotten them). I guess that’s a good thing. ;)

Now it’s your turn. What are your pet peeves? Share them here or on your own blog. :)

Hey, I remembered my other pet peeve. It’s when people assume that “gentle discipline” means you let your kids run wild and don’t discipline at all. It’s a pet peeve of mine when people make assumptions about things without really knowing anything about it. Ok, that’s all for now. ;)

My very first HNT

The closet exhibitionist in me has decided to join Osbasso and over 100 other bloggin’ folks for Half-Nekkid Thursday (HNT).
What’s HNT you ask? Here are some “guidelines” according to Osbasso to give you an idea of what it’s all about (and more importantly, what it’s NOT about):

* The purpose of “Half-Nekkid Thursday” is not to see sex acts! It is the celebration of exposure. Of your big toe. Of your breastbone. Of your knuckles. Of your uvula. Whatever. Of course, sex acts can qualify, so if you want to post those…..
* “Nekkid” is not the same as nude! Again, nude qualifies, but it is not a requirement!
* Pictures should be taken of you or by you.
* Use some originality with your shots. Facial shots should be limited. Artsy body landscapes, conversely, are highly encouraged.
* Props can help you with creativity, and their use is encouraged, but not necessary.
* Tattoos are certainly an acceptable subject, regardless of location. Scars are also acceptable, but please respect the others who visit “Half-Nekkid Thursday” on a regular basis.

If you are interested in learning more, here are the complete guidelines for Half-Nekkid Thursday.

And now, without further ado, my inaugural HNT installment is my left bicep.

My left bicep (as well as my right come to think of it) is the result of carrying around a 100th weight percentile baby for the past 14 months. ;) Who needs dumbells when you’ve got a baby who’s been just shy of 20 lbs. since she was 4 months old? (She weighed in at 27 lbs., 6 oz. at the ER this weekend.)

Anyway, that’s enough chit-chat. Time for me to pack up and head to the gun show. (Oh no I didn’t!) :oP

Happy HNT. Here’s to many more ahead. :)

Crisis of my “super-sized” conscience

While my in-laws were visiting this weekend, they got up early one morning and went to McDonald’s to pick up breakfast for us all. They said to Jody, “Do you think Amy will eat a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich?” To which Jody replied, “Sure.”

Later that morning as I got out of the shower, Jody told me there was a breakfast sandwich waiting for me downstairs. I immediately asked him where it was from, suspecting it was from McD’s. He confirmed it. I said sheepishly to him, “Uh, you know I can’t eat that,” which immediately reminded him of the fact that I’ve been boycotting McD’s for over a year now (ever since I saw “Super Size Me”). It’s not like I ate there often before then, but watching that movie and reading up on the history of McD’s was enough for me to decide not to patronize them anymore.

So he went downstairs to tell his folks that – oh yeah, Amy’s boycotting McD’s and probably won’t eat it.

That left me feeling badly. Here they were, guests in my home just trying to do something nice for me by buying me breakfast. And here I was saying “thanks, but no thanks.”

I thought for a few minutes about just eating it to avoid hard feelings, but I decided to stand by my principles and tell them I appreciated the offer, but I couldn’t eat it. (Jody ate it anyway, so it didn’t exactly go to waste.) I tried to explain a little bit to them about why I’m boycotting the golden arches, but I’m always bad at arguing a case that I’m not prepared for.

Anyway (to my in-laws), I really did appreciate the thought, so thank you. :) Hope there are no hard feelings.

And to those of you wondering why I didn’t just eat the darn thing, I decided that I need to stand by my convictions, both for my sake and for Ava’s sake. I know she isn’t aware of whether or not I ate the sandwich now, but someday she will be and I want to be a good role model for her. When I say I’m boycotting something, I want to mean it.

On a related note (and something I probably shouldn’t even be admitting), I bought Ava a couple fall/winter outfits today from a consignment store. I didn’t bother to see what brand they were – just verified that they were sufficiently cute, checked the size and held them up against her to make sure they would fit. Once we got home and I tried them on her I found that one of the overalls is “McKids” brand!! Doh! I feel like such a hypocrite.

Lil update and weekend recap (pics)

I’m happy to say that Miss Ava is doing very well. Her fever has been gone since Friday (the night we went to the ER) and she hasn’t had any more blood in her urine since Friday night. The culture came back negative for a UTI (urinary tract infection) so we aren’t exactly sure what the deal was. Her doc is confused as well since there was definitely blood in her urine. Anyway, she wants Ava to continue with the antibiotics for 7 days and we have a follow-up appt. to see her tomorrow. Thanks again for all of your positive thoughts for Ava. :)
Couple pics from the ER (Ava got to wear a cute lil gown again.):

The visit with the in-laws this weekend went really well. They brought Ava’s birthday present – a dollhouse bookshelf (which Jody had a helluva time assembling, hee hee) – with them and some cute outfits. Ava really likes the bookshelf. I have a feeling it will be more of a toy than a place to store her books. ;) They got to see our community garden and helped us pick a bunch of veggies. (My father-in-law is a master gardener.) Jody and my FIL tackled a couple projects around the house – namely fixing our front gutter so that it actually drains now (hooray!!) and cutting down a couple dead aspen in our backyard. We spent some time on Sunday driving around in the mountains and my MIL made dinner dinner for us Sunday night, complete with fresh green beans from our garden. They left Monday morning, headed for Mount Rushmore.
Couple pics from our drive into the mountains:
Ava in the stream with Daddy.

Ava with Daddy and Grandma and Grandpa.

Yesterday, Jody, Ava and I went for about a 5 1/2 mile hike up to a reservoir. The weather was perfect for it and Ava did very well in the Ergo (and conked out on the walk back). It was really nice to get out in nature and do something as a family. :)
Pics from our hike:

How could you? – A dog’s story

My husband and I have been struggling lately with what to do with our two dogs. I know I am opening myself up to being flamed for even thinking about finding a new home for them, but we just can’t give them the love and attention they need and deserve and we really can’t afford them. :( We haven’t figured out what to do yet (and we may very well keep them), but Jody ran across this “story” from an anonymous author on Craigslist – where many people try to find new homes for their dogs. I cried when I read it. :( It’s very powerful and hits a little too close to home.

When I was a puppy, I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. You called me your child, and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend. Whenever I was bad, you’d shake your finger at me and ask “How could you?” — but then you’d relent, and roll me over for a bellyrub.

My housebreaking took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed and listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be any more perfect. We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because “ice cream is bad for dogs,” you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day.

Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in love. She, now your wife, is not a “dog person” — still I welcomed her into our home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you were happy.

Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother them,too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became a “prisoner of love.”

As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears,
and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them and their touch — because your touch was now so infrequent — and I would have defended them with my life if need be. I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams, and together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway.

There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me. These past few years, you just answered “yes” and changed the subject. I had gone from being “your dog” to “just a dog,” and you resented every expenditure on my behalf.

Now, you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You’ve made the right decision for your “family,” but there was a time when I was your only family.

I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You filled out the paperwork and said “I know you will find a good home for her.” They shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog, even one with “papers.” You had to pry your son’s fingers loose from my collar as he screamed “No,Daddy! Please don’t let them take my dog!” And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life. You gave me a good-bye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too.

After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook their heads and asked “How could you?”

They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago. At first,whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you that you had changed your mind — that this was all a bad dream … or I hoped it would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me. When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited.

I heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day, and I padded along the aisle after her to a separate room. A blissfully quiet room. She placed me on the table and rubbed my ears, and told me not to worry. My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days. As is my nature, I was more concerned about her. The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her, and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood. She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you so many years ago. She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured “How could you?”

Perhaps because she understood my dogspeak, she said “I’m so sorry.” She hugged me, and hurriedly explained it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn’t be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself — a place of love and light so very different from this earthly place. And with my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail that my “How could you?” was not directed at her. It was you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of. I will think of you and wait for you forever.

May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty.
The End


If “How Could You?” brought tears to your eyes as you read it, as it did to mine as I wrote it, it is because it is the composite story of the millions of formerly owned pets who die each year in American and Canadian animal shelters. Anyone is welcome to distribute the essay for a noncommercial purpose, as long as it is properly attributed with the copyright notice.

Please use it to help educate, on your websites, in newsletters, on animal shelter and vet office bulletin boards. Tell the public that the decision to add a pet to the family is an important one for life, that animals deserve our love and sensible care, that finding another appropriate home for your animal is your responsibility and any local humane society or animal welfare league can offer you good advice, and that all life is precious. Please do your part to stop the killing, and encourage all spay & neuter campaigns in order to prevent unwanted animals.