August 31, 2011

We don't forget or leave behind; we grow.

I’ve spent a lot of my adult life defending our relationship with our dogs.

“They aren’t kids, you know.”


Mmhmm. Thank you, well-meaning friends and relatives.

Listen, I get it. Dogs ≠ children. They can’t take care of us when we’re old, they can’t tell us what they’re thinking, we’ll never watch them grow up and leave the nest and become doctors and lawyers and whatever else.

But, do you know how they are EXACTLY like children?

They’re mischievous, they love to play and they can make a toy out of ANYthing.

They do the craziest things that make us laugh until we pee our pants (sometimes literally).

They poop and puke in the most inconvenient places, at the most inconvenient times.

They put EVERYTHING in their mouths.

They love to snuggle.

They’re completely dependent on us for food, water, shelter, discipline, structure, care and love.

And they somehow know the exact moment we need a quiet, warm presence next to us, comforting us.


This morning (Tuesday), I took Ozzie to the vet – the time has come in our young dog’s life to have his, ah, equipment adjusted, shall we say.

And although I didn’t strap him into a car seat, and he was wearing a leash instead of a uniform, and he was, well, going to get the boys chopped off instead of learning about sharing and cooperation, I couldn’t help but compare the experience to my friends who’ve been dropping off their little ones at school this week.

He was a trooper in the car, although he hasn’t had many car rides in his young life. He sat quietly, looking all around, as I told him what a good boy he was being and chattered on about how everything would be fine, and we’d pick him up tomorrow, and everything would be as good as new.

When we got to the vet’s office, he sprang from the car and skipped up the sidewalk and through the front door with his usual joyful lightness, greeting everyone enthusiastically in the lobby, nubbin tail (and entire backside) wiggling at top speed.

It wasn’t until the vet tech took the leash from me, and he turned back and looked at me, confused, that he realized something was up. Up to now, he’d been on an adventure with his mama, in a car with his mama, meeting strangers with his mama. His dark brown eyes looked concerned.


I told him he was a good boy, and it was OK, and then he disappeared into the examination room while I confirmed his pick-up time with the front desk.

And then I walked outside, a lump in my throat, and got in my car, feeling kind of oddly empty and more than a little guilty. (Seriously, how do parents of human babies DO this?? You have my eternal kudos.)

I called the vet just after noon, and was told he was in recovery, doing just fine, we can pick him up tomorrow as scheduled. After all, it’s an incredibly low-risk and routine surgery for a male dog.

But tonight, as it’s just T and Murray and me sitting here on the couch… Our family has a little hole in it. Until tomorrow, when it can be the four of us again.

(These are the moments when I feel the losses of our other beloved pets the most.)


Now that we’re expecting our own little HUMAN baby, we’ve started talking a bit about how our relationship to our dogs will inevitably change. They won’t be the center of our world anymore. They’ll have to share us, bigtime, with someone who’s even more dependent on us, who will get most of our snuggles and pats and coos, who will always get to eat before they do.

But today was a good reminder that they are just as much a part of our family as they always were, and always will be. They won’t be squeezed out or shoved to the side as our family grows. They’ll be right in there with us, growing too.

August 29, 2011

Baby Q&A: Week 13

So, it seems it’s now my turn to continue our bloggy tradition of pregnancy-related Q&As, and I am more than happy to oblige. Although my day job makes it hard to blog regularly (clearly), I’m going to do my best to A) make these updates weekly, and B) not let my blog become ALL about the bambino.

This I solemnly vow to you. Or, you know, let’s see how things go.


So, you’re pregnant!
Um, yeah – I think we’ve covered that.

Oh, sorry. So…how far along are you?
I am 13 weeks today! Just at the very end of the first trimester. According to a variety of sources, our baby is about the size of a peach this week.

(I'd love to be the one assigning visual imagery to fetus size. "This week your baby is the size of a football, if it was deflated and rolled into a tiny coil!" Clearly I missed my calling.)

How have you been feeling?
I’ve been very lucky so far – although I’ve had kind of a mild, pervasive queasiness throughout the first trimester, it HAS been very mild, and I only threw up once. Otherwise, I’ve just been incredibly exhausted – I’ve been taking lots and lots of naps. (Often on the weekends I’d only wake up to eat.)

But, overall, I’ve been feeling pretty good! As my grandma said, "Pregnancy agrees with me." :)

Any cravings or aversions?
No cravings to speak of – certainly not the pickles-and-ice-cream combo that everyone seems to think is SO HILARIOUS. I don’t really like the smell of meat, although I haven’t had any problems eating it.

Actually, vegetables have been the only thing that have turned my stomach while I’m eating them. Obviously I can’t get away with not eating veggies, so there’s been many a time when I’ve forced myself to chew, chew, swallow, grimace my way through a plate of spinach or pile of green beans. Blech.

And…when are you due again? You started out saying March 5 and now your header just says “March.” What gives?
Yeah, apparently my due date depends on who you ask. My doctors have told us both March 1 and March 5, and they keep changing their minds. Pretty much every due date calculator we’ve tried says March 5, because my cycle tends to be 32 days instead of 28. We try to tell the doctors this, and some of them hear us and some don’t (they also say we’re measuring a little ahead of the March 5 date). So the “official” due date is March 1, but we think it’s a little later.

Do we really care this much? Um, no. (Although March 5 is T’s birthday—and my grandpa’s birthday—so that makes it kind of cool.) And the likelihood of the baby being born on its due date is slim anyway. It’s just annoying that the doctors can’t get on the same page and listen to us.

Anyway. This is why we’re just going with “March” at this point.

How does T feel about everything?
He would probably roll his eyes at my choice of words, but I would describe him as “over-the-moon excited.” I’ll go on and on about this more in a future post, but: For a man who’s never been around many little kids, he is just made to be a daddy. (Watching him play with my niece is just the best thing ever.)

As far as the actual pregnancy goes, he is incredibly doting and attentive to me, slightly overprotective (although he claims this is because I’m incredibly clumsy; there may be some truth to this) and completely involved. I think he knows more about pregnancy and childbirth than I do at this point (he’s a researcher). I could not ask for a better partner in all of this.

OK, let’s hit the top three questions everyone is asking you right now:

  1. Are you going to find out the gender? We’re still debating this, but we’ve pretty much decided we are NOT going to find out the gender until the baby’s born. As T says, “There are so few true surprises in life, and one of the big ones is being in the delivery room, and hearing the doctor say, ‘It’s a ____!’ Why would we deprive ourselves of that?” Well said, husband. I love the idea of finding out the same day we meet him or her. So far people are either really annoyed by this (as our neighbor said, “I need to know whether to buy regular camo or pink camo!” Oh, dear Lord…) or totally supportive.

  2. What names are you thinking about? So…that’s the other thing. Regardless of whether or not we find out the gender ahead of time, we will not be sharing our potential names. This is partly because we don’t want any negative comments from the peanut gallery (however well-meaning), and partly because we like the idea of keeping that as something that’s just ours until the day. I’m sure this will be another controversial decision, but it’s ours to make – so there.

  3. Why did you wait so long to have kids? Hoo boy. We are hearing this a lot right now. I will probably write more about this at a later time, but for right now I’ll just say two things: A) We are 34 and 36, not 50, and B) this baby is coming along at the exact right time for US. And we are incredibly happy, excited, thrilled and grateful for this blessing.

So…this is getting kind of long. How ‘bout you end this week by telling us a random fact about your pregnancy?
All righty then. Random fact: I found my first gray hair EVER during my 9th week of pregnancy. True story. You’d better believe I will lord that over our future child when he or she is old enough to tease about those things.

Just a final note: Thank you all for all your wonderful comments and for sharing our excitement the way you have been. I could not ask for a more supportive network, and I can’t wait to pick your mommy brains, both during this pregnancy and once the little (appropriately camouflaged) bundle arrives!

August 26, 2011

Conversations with T

We're finishing our basement.

The other day, I returned home from work and T greeted me in the driveway.

T: Hi. So, you're a writer: Which sounds worse, "I hate something" or "I loathe something"?

Me: Um...I guess hate is probably overused, so "loathe" would probably get your point across more strongly.

T: OK, cool. I LOATHE the paint color you picked out for the spare bedroom.


I love him.

(And yes, the color is staying, despite his LOATHING. Lucky for me, he'd already finished painting by the time he figured out how much he hated it. I win!)

P.S.: Thank you all so much for sharing in our baby excitement! I swear this weekend I will write more. This week has been insane. Love y'all.

August 23, 2011

We're getting a new roommate.

A tiny, squishy-faced roommate.

Whose breath smells like rainbows.

And who's guaranteed to completely turn our lives upside-down...

(Waving hello.) the very, very best kind of way.

ETA: March 5, 2012

Our hearts are full to bursting.

More to come. Much, much more to come.


August 16, 2011

There are friends, and then there are friends. (Alternate title: Happy birthday)

(Before I start I want to say: I don't think it's an actual birthday cake, but how great is this cupcake caterpillar?? I wuv him. Anyway. Pretend he's a birthday cake. 'Kay?)

Friendship is funny.

When I met Kylee (of Two Pretzels) fame, she was a college freshman with a mass of reddish-brown hair piled on top of her head, adorable clothes and a giant smile. I was going through a massive transition in my life, and she was one of the first friendly faces I'd seen in a loooong time. I'm sure we weren't friends instantaneously, but it felt like it.

What I remember most about the early days of our friendship is that we laughed.a.LOT. We co-edited our college newspaper, and every week we were up until 3 a.m., trying to meet our deadline, editing hopelessly unreadable articles from our columnists and singing Sting songs in ridiculous accents while our friends brought us Taco Bell.

Our office was at the very tippity-top of the oldest building on campus, and the only bathroom in the entire building was in the basement, only accessible by traversing three flights of stairs through a pitch-black building. We only braved the trip as a pair, taking turns clutching one another and clutching a gigantic umbrella that we wielded against potential predators. (I still have that umbrella. It's a formidable weapon.) Those are still my favorite memories of college, bar none.

And then I graduated. She transferred. We emailed all the time, but we rarely saw one another. We moved in with our respective boyfriends. Then we married them. Then she moved to Mexico.

Through all of life's changes, this was a constant: Kylee was as close as an email or an instant message (we did a lot of the latter in pre-texting days). And she was really THERE. She is not a friend who always leads in with "GUESS what HAPPENED to ME, OMG, my drama my drama my drama." She wants to know what's happening with you. Not only that, she actually CARES, AND she remembers the details of what you told her last time.

She thinks about you when you're not in constant contact.

She prays for you.

When you get sick, she will recite a poem to you about germs in tiny bowling shoes.

She will be outraged with you. She will also tell you when you are being unreasonable. :)

She has an amazing, full, wonderful life. She's a wife and mother and daughter and sister and, I swear, probably has more friends than me and every other friend of mine combined...but you'd never know it to talk to her. That doesn't sound right; what I mean is: Kylee makes you feel IMPORTANT. As though she has all the time in the world to listen to YOU and think about how to help with whatever you're going through. I'm here to say that I truly have no idea how she does that. It is truly a gift.

Today is her birthday. She is, like me, a Leo, so I know she loves her birthday and being the center of attention. :) (That's something else that's amazing about her: She loves to be the focus of the room, but she makes sure you're the focus, too. How does she do that? I have no idea.)

This has been an especially challenging year for me, both professionally and personally. And while I have an amazing husband, supportive family and wonderful friends, I'd be lying if I didn't attribute a big part of the fact that I'm still standing here to my friend, this birthday girl.

Kylee, I want to tell you: I CHERISH you as my friend. You inspire me for many reasons, in many different parts of my life, but I especially want you to know that you inspire me to be a better friend. There is really just no one -- in my life, in LIFE -- quite like you. You deserve every little bit of happiness that can be squeezed out of one life, and I hope that today, you get as much as you can of that. With your C and your girls and your Ferg, I know you will. :)

Thank you for being my friend -- for the past 14 years and until we're old and can't remember who we are anymore. I absolutely love you to pieces!

August 9, 2011

Just because...

Just because you've never seen an acorn finger hat...
...doesn't mean you won't want to hug this one.

(Cozy Memories)

Just because I rave about sauteed vegetables...
...doesn't mean I wouldn't throw them in the river if you handed me these nachos.

Just because Dolly Parton is pretty much a caricature...
...doesn't mean she isn't also freaking adorable.

Just because you don't use spell check...
...doesn't mean you shouldn't just know how to spell "didn't" off the top of your head (for the love).

Just because things are on the internet...
...doesn't mean they should be. (Click at your own risk. No, really.)

Just because it's cheesy...
...doesn't mean it isn't also capital-A Awesome.

Just because Goodfellas came out more than 20 years ago...
...doesn't mean it's still not the best movie of all time. (After Clue, of course.)


(Sorry, Mom.)

"Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn't mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar." -Edward R. Murrow

Just because I have no one to give these cards to...
...doesn't mean I'm not still buying 50 of them and wallpapering my house with them.

Just because I haven't written here in almost a month, and I still haven't posted about 45,000 pictures of things like food I've grown, crafts I've made and me seeing NKOTB live in concert (oh, yes I did)...

...doesn't mean you should give up hope.

Please don't leave me.

At least not until we eat some nachos.

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