Saturday, October 29, 2011

It's been too long without a dog.

After having the dog for only a couple of days, I can't believe how much I missed the dog life.  It's nice to  have somebody to follow me around during the day. She keeps my feet warm on the couch. If I hug her she licks me once, a nice polite and non-slobbery lick. She watches NOVA with me. What more do you want in a dog?

Last night when Oliver went to bed he requested Mya to help tuck him in and read stories.  Mya watches Oliver as he eats, just hoping he'll drop something and that she can grab it before Oliver does. If they both reach for a dropped piece at the same time, Oliver wins. ALWAYS. She knows she can't have it if Oliver wants it. How does she know this? I don't know. Obviously, we haven't had a chance to really train her. This is how she came to us.

Please drop that pizza, please drop that pizza, please drop that pizza....

We took her to Petco this afternoon to pick up a nail clipper. She greeted the other dogs politely and enjoyed being petted by other customers. She sat nicely on the backseat while we drove. When I opened the door to let her out, she didn't rush out until I had her leashed and stepped out of the way.

When we got home I planned out a long strategy for clipping her nails. I've never had a dog that enjoyed nail clipping.  I sat down next to her and pet her paws while she slept. She got used to me petting her paws so I quick pulled the clipper out of my pocket, hoping to get the biggest offending nail I could before she ran away or freaked out.

Well, I got the clipper out, clipped on nail quickly and she gave me this look to say, "Are you kidding me? You are so weird. "

She put her head back down on the couch and rolled onto her side so I could clip the rest of her nails. Just like that. No big deal.

This dog is some sort of miracle dog, you guys.

Friday, October 28, 2011

It's a girl!

Last night we added somebody to our family... Meet Mya.

We finished the adoption process and brought her home last night. I've never brought home a dog that immediately was so friendly and comfortable in the house. We looked at a lot of dogs, but she was the winner. She's gentle with Oliver, she's not barky, she's house trained, she's a nice manageable size.. A good family dog.

The real test of excellence came when we were on the car ride home with her. We realized that Oliver hadn't had any dinner, so we stopped at Arby's and got him a roast beef sandwich. I handed him the sandwich and there sat Mya, watching every bite Oliver ate. But she didn't even try to steal it from him.

Nobody really knows what she is, but our best guess is that she's a beagle/corgi mix.  She doesn't bark like a beagle or herd like a corgi, though, so who really knows.  She's three years old, a surrender from a family that kept her outdoors all the time. I don't know how she has such a great personality after being tied up outside for that  long, but she does.

Last night as we pulled into our driveway Oliver announced, "New house, Mya! Come on!"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A house by ourselves.

After spending so long in an apartment, it's hard to wrap my head aroudn the idea of a house... where all four walls are ours.

When we came in late last night, Oliver was singing and jumping on the wood floors, making loud clompy noises.  My first thought was, "Shhh! You'll make our neighbors angry!" But then I remembered... this is our house, our basement, we can jump and sing all we want!

We moved our wall art in and they all have velcro tabs on the back. We've been so used to not nailing things into the wall that I didn't even think about it when I put "velcro hangers" on our shopping list. Nails are now an option!

As with any new place, we've learned some things pretty quickly. Oliver can unlock the doors and escape from the house if he wants to. (I guess that's not a huge surprise.) The toilet sounds kind of like the Loch Ness monster. A floor vent makes your feet REALLY toasty while you're standing at the sink to wash dishes.  A glow in the dark bar on our ceiling fan makes a hipnotic/dizzying circle on our ceiling while we're trying to fall asleep. The storm door makes a horrific squeak if you try to open it slowly.

All of these things we'll get used to and then we won't even notice them anymore. We'll forget about them completely until somebody comes over and makes a comment about how hot their feet are getting, startles at the door squeak, freaks out when they see Oliver running out onto the deck by himself...

Moving into a new place is hard, but at least it's exciting this time because it is our own. I'm looking forward to learning all of the good restaurants around, rearranging our furniture, picking out paint colors, owning a dog, knowing we'll be in this place for a long time... It will be good.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

This post sponsored by PETA, I'm pretty sure.

For our birthdays, Jared and I went out for dinner and ate a guinea pig.  And really, that is pretty unique in itself but the best part comes when I tell you how they prepared it. Allow me to try and paint a picture for you with my words, as I forgot my camera. (CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?! The most important meal of my life and I didn't bring a camera. I will never forgive myself.)

We ordered cuy,  a traditional meal of a few South American countries, especially Peru. We were told to expect a whole guinea pig which had been marinated for 24 hours and then roasted to a nice crisp. We were not told to expect to be blown away by his presentation.

First of all, this was not a small guinea pig. This was a body builder amongst PETCO guinea pigs. (They did actually fly the pig in from Peru for us, though. So it's not like I stole some child's would-be pet or anything just so I could stuff my craw. But, you know, if it came down to it, I totally would if I had to. Who am I kidding?) It came out on this huge platter surrounded by saffron rice, some sort of starchy South American corn variant, and cilantro potato balls. In the very center was the star of the show, Fluffy.

You guys, he looked so regal and majestic. HE WAS BEGGING US TO BE EATEN. Because he still had his whole face and paws and everything in tact, you could see that he was smiling, a nice big (rodenty buck) toothy grin.  He was so happy to be celebrating our birthdays with us in such a special way! What a selfless little trooper.

And since Fluffy really wanted to go all out for the celebration, do you think he would just come out flopped on a platter willy nilly without any special touches? Oh no. Not Fluffy. He brought his A game.

Up through the side dishes arose our majestic pig dinner, reared back on tiny hind paws like the most loyal of steeds clashing in an epic battle. In his front paw he clasped a tiny sword with a cherry skewered on it. Lest his head be bare and plain, he sported a jaunty little party hat that rested cheerfully atop crispy little pig ears.  Itty bitty razor-sharp claws dug into the bed of lettuce at his feet, giving him the purchase to look us in the eye, standing proud and tall before us. His tiny whiskers survived the flames that crackled his skin to a savory crisp - a very distinguished and tasteful beard for a rodent indeed.

I'm telling you, a finer creature I have not ever eaten before. We were the envy of the entire restaurant.

Imagine this guy with more ornate side dishes, 10x more fashion sense, and a 90% cooler pose. Then you're getting close to our Fluffy.

RIP, Fluffy. You were tasty while you lasted.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Apple Orchard

We went to the apple orchard... umm. I guess it was almost a long time ago now. And I'm just putting pictures up now. I know, I know. Better late than never.
Helping Josie pick apples.

Josie's turn in the apple tree.

Oliver's turn in the apple tree.

Enjoying an orchard stump.

Mamaw and Grampum with grandchildren.

Pony rides.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Overwhelmed. By a lot.

I'm having a rough week. I just feel.. swamped. I wanted to stay home and clean last weekend but I thought it would be better to get out and do something fun and non house/work related. And that was good and I did have fun, but then I got home and immediately wished I had worked on the house. What kind of crazy is that?

I need to pack everything up to move. Again. I'm still calling appliance delivery guys, utility hook up people, internet providers, moving companies.  I've been harassing the 900 people involved in selling/buying our house to make sure they all do their job at this last minute before we close on Monday. We're literally cutting time down to the last hour on our closing and that makes me nervous. So many other things have gone wrong that I feel like we're cursed. I shouldn't have to keep track of everyone and watch their every step, but as past workings have shown... I do have to. It's not my job, but I need to do it anyway.

I've gotten behind in my housekeeping and now I just look at my list of everything that needs to be done and I am freaked out by it. It makes me feel panicky. And I know that just picking a place to start and working piece by piece will get the job done, but it seems impossible.  I do what I feel is a huge chunk of work, and then I get up to look at the results... And I don't see any. All I see  are the food scraps under Oliver's chair that I missed, the garbage that needs to be emptied, the clock telling me I should have started dinner by now...

The laundry still piles up even while the washer is running. The dishes stack up with every meal.  I swear that I just dusted the shelves and the TV, but the next time I look they're blanketed again.  All of these things I do over and over, with Oliver following in my wake waiting to undo my work, whether intentionally or accidentally.

On top of this all, Oliver has been acting up. Maybe he's acting up because I am stressed out, maybe he's just deciding to be two. But I can't stand it. After doing well and using the potty 1-2 times a day, he's decided he hates the potty. He will not go. He does not want treats for going on the potty. He is not after special stickers or popsicles or applesauce anymore. He just doesn't care. I can ask him if he feels like he has to go and he says, "No. I don't like it!"

I'm trying to be nonchalant about this, as everybody tells me to do, but it's tough. I feel like our progress is gone. And maybe if it were just this issue, I would be okay. But he's being contrary in everything that he does. He won't let us change his diapers.  He's been intentionally dumping things out, throwing around piles of clean laundry I've just folded, hitting me when he doesn't get his way.

I try not to overreact to these things, but more often than not I have been.  On top of everything else, I feel like I can't be dealing with Oliver's suddenly developed behavioral problems too.  And again, I know I should be calm. I know I should react quietly and patiently.

I just don't know how to do that when I'm feeling so stretched by the rest of my life.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Family Zoo Day

We hadn't done anything fun as a family for a while so we decided to take Oliver to the zoo. The weather was perfect and it wasn't too crowded.


Turkeys! In the distance! I found them!

"Over here, Mom!"

The lynx stalked Oliver like it wanted to eat him. Oliver said, "Oh! I like it! Cat!"

Goats are great.
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"Pretend you're a chicken, Oliver!" "Bawk bawk bawk!"
"Biiiigggg tractor, Mom! I ride. Oliver do it."

To be honest, we were having such a great time that most of the time I forgot the use my camera.  But, of course, I filmed the best part of the entire zoo.  The goat feeding.

For some reason, everyone thought it was hilarious that he loved the goats so much. I mean... isn't this why people come to zoos? To see the goats?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

House, you're getting on my nerves.

I got so mad at doing house-related stuff that I thought I would take a break and read a magazine. We get Parents magazine for free, and I thought it would be a nice mindless read.  Well, it was mindless. Too mindless. I pity the people who actually read that magazine and follow its advice.

I learned that I'm supposed to lock up: VCRs, toilets, the silverware drawer, cotton balls and other bathroom items, all appliances, the fridge, and practically everything else in the house. The magazine suggested "buying furniture that is round, without any corners" to avoid the risk of "impaling toddlers." But wait! Think you should go out and buy big, cushy furniture? Think again! "Potentially hazardous items" could get lost in the couch cushions and fall into the hands of your toddler, who no doubt is going to immediately attempt to throw it down the hatch to either be poisoned by it or choke on it.

Every time your guests leave, you're supposed to vacuum under the chairs and couches in case they drop anything harmful.  Have a rolling office chair? Tape pool noodles to the feet of it. Because that will totally be worth it and achieves... what? I don't even know.

Have gliding drawers or keyboard trays? Get rid of them. Buy new ones! You can afford that, right? They could pinch your precious toddler's fingers, and he'd never get over that. Are there parts of the house you can't see from certain locations? Channel a parking garage and install mirrors throughout the house so your house won't have any blind spots! Ever!

Can you imagine how crazy you would think somebody was if you walked into her house and found everything padded, locked up, and cornerless? How would you feel when you realized there were strategic mirrors placed all around so she could keep her eye on every corner of the house?  Ridiculous. That sounds like a nutso to me.

See somebody give her toddler a little bag of pretzels? Call CPA. Doesn't every great parent know that kids are never allowed to handle bags of any kind?

Sure, I get that you need to take some steps to protect your children. Yeah, lock up chemicals. Lock up sharp things. But whats wrong with watching your child? Or simply teaching your child that there are boundaries they can't cross and things they can't do? After all, this article was written for children 2+, not for babies who don't know any better.

It's a wonder Oliver is even alive when you consider that I did almost none of that stuff.