Whacking Bunnies

Thursday, June 23, 2016

We are now fully in Summer Vacation Mode.  By that, I mean that at first Ladybug was terribly upset, because she felt it was the end of everything.  To her, it sort of was.  Her social life went from being very active to almost nonexistent.  One night at supper she lamented, "No more choir, no more Bible study, and now no more school!"  Her last day of school I tried to tell her how proud I was that she finished her first year of preschool, and she informed me that it was horrible.  She loved school, her friends, and her teacher and would miss them all terribly.

The first couple of weeks, we kept a busy schedule of playdates and such.  Now...  well with vacations and needing to get ahead at home before VBS next week, that has ground to a halt.   We're still getting out some and doing fun things like going to baseball games and church, but not every day.  Ladybug has taken it all quite well.  She goes to bed around 9:30 each night and sleeps until around 9 each morning.  I politely told her to get dressed this morning, and she announced, "I don't want to wear clothes today!"  I made her get dressed, though I do think her Star Wars short pjs are pretty awesome.

Almost each night after supper, we've decided it's best she change into a swimsuit, because one way or another, she's going to get wet.  She's always either playing in the pool, running through the sprinkler, or just having one of us spray her with a hose.  I'm very glad she starts swim lessons in a couple of weeks, because I think she's becoming a little fish.

Personally, I went through a very horrible, yet funny to other people, experience the other day.  Lucy and Dory are always on the lookout for the elusive Mr. Squirrel in our back yard.  They usually cry until I let them out to chase him.  They never catch him, he can jump up on fences and trees.  So when they made a big deal the other morning, I expected more of the same.  Lo and behold, I looked out the window to find them running laps around my entire back yard, chasing a poor bunny rabbit that couldn't escape.  They caught it.  They never kill anything on purpose.  They just play with them.  Sadly poor Mr. Bunny was horribly injured, but not enough to die.  He just suffered.  I dragged the girls in the house, texted Bart, then proceeded to try and put the poor thing out of its misery.

Let me just say, the BB gun didn't work.  I had to get a shovel and whack it two or three times, all the while trying not to get sick.  Finally it died, and I disposed of it - all while in my pjs, because it was fairly early in the morning.  While this was going on, Ladybug finally woke up.  When I told her what I was doing, she took it quite well, and told me that the good news is that the bunny got to go to Heaven.

That whole morning was wasted, because I was a complete mess.  I have nothing against hunting, I just have never personally wanted to to it, and I wasn't raised in the country or on a farm.  Knowing what needs to be done and doing it are two different things.

I allowed myself to watch a lot of television that day.  I watched the Amazon Prime pilot "Z:  The Beginning Of Everything" about Zelda Fitzgerald.  It's actually pretty good, as is "The Last Tycoon." Bart and I finally started watching "The Man In The High Tower" together this week and are hooked. I have an obsession with alternative histories, so even thought it's very depressing, I'm enjoying it.

Yesterday I started switching the girls to a new dog food for a handful of reasons.  Lucy, always skeptical and thinking someone may try to poison her wisely waited and watched Dory eat her food first before trying it.  You know, in case we were trying to kill them or something.  No, no.  If I'm willing to clean up their accidental bunny massacres, I'm not going to poison them.  After all, we're family.  Gee, that sounds a little mafia-ish, doesn't it?

VBS is next week.  I've already got Ladybug's crew assignment and am waiting on mine.  It's going to be a tiring but fun week.  This is Ladybug's first year of real VBS and not just hanging out in childcare and doing a little of it.  We're both excited.  Or she will be if I can get her out of bed.

Butterflies, Praisers, Six Degrees of Stomach Bug, and Martin Crane

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The nice thing about taking a break from blogging is that eventually you want to to do it again. Then when you do blog again, you have A LOT to cover!  I can't even begin to tell you all the things we have done, because we stay pretty busy.  I will share some of the latest highlights.

The Joyful Noise Praiser
I mentioned last post about how much I'm going to miss our preschool choir, the Praisers, but I have only touched on Ladybug's enjoyment of it.  Let's just say that she's found something she truly loves. Some kids get on stage on freeze up, forgetting to sing.  Not my child, no way.  She sings, LOUDLY and PROUDLY.

Part of me wanted to tell her to tone it down, but I just couldn't, not yet at least.  She's making her joyful noise to the Lord.  As she gets older, I'll try to help her understand the difference between singing loudly and yelling.  I'm sure her friend will appreciate it.

Six Degrees of the Stomach Bug
The weekend of our choir program, it seemed EVERYONE was coming down with the stomach bug. We had had rehearsal Saturday morning, and at least two brothers came down with it AFTER they were at rehearsal.  The oldest of the brothers was next to the brother of one of L's best friends, and L is also friends with HIS little brother.  Saturday I started playing Six Degrees of the Stomach Bug.  It's kind of like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, but with vomiting.  I literally was thinking, "S played with C.  C is E's brother.  E is one of L's best friends, and they always hold hands and sing together."

We sang with diminished numbers on Sunday morning.  After the kids sang, they went to 2x2 at church, where Ladybug took a picture with The Big Guy, her best friend who is a boy (not her boyfriend).  They were, of course, hugging.  It is such a sweet friendship, and I cherish it so much.  That said, The Big Guy's mom texted me that afternoon to say that The Big Guy was throwing up.  I felt like I had the Sword of Damocles over my head, but instead of a sword, it was a barf bag.  Anyway, the kids performed at church that night with even smaller numbers.  With a lot of prayer, none of us caught the bug.  It serves to prove that prayer is more powerful than Kevin Bacon!

Raising Butterflies
The week before Easter I was SICK with a horrible sinus infection.  At some point while I was in and out of consciousness due to Benadryl use, Bart asked me if I thought it'd be okay for him to order a kit to raise butterflies with Ladybug.  So, a few days later when Fed Ex delivered a box that stated "LIVE INSECTS OPEN IMMEDIATELY!"  I didn't and just left it for Bart to open.

What we got were two jars, each with five caterpillars in it with some sort of food stuff for them to eat.  Over the next several days we watched the caterpillars get bigger and bigger, much like The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  We watched as they eventually made their way to the tops of the jars to become cocoons.  Once they were all cocoons, we moved them to a pop-up butterfly cage, hung it in the hall bathroom and waited.  After around another week, one by one, they emerged as butterflies.  Once they all emerged we let them loose in our front yard.  Ladybug and Bart enjoyed the process so much that they decided to look for different caterpillars during a walk this weekend.  When we got home, Bart looked up what they had and found out they were actually web worms.  They're going to keep looking for caterpillars though.

Dads, Donuts, Sooner Softball, Fishing, and Macaroons
Last week Bart went to Ladybug's school for Dad's and Donuts.  I can't even begin to explain to you how much Ladybug looked forward to this.  She's had me at school for all sorts of stuff, but Bart has 'only been there a couple of times.  He took off the entire day, and we went to a U of A softball game that night to actually watch THE SOONERS!  Bart just sat quietly while Ladybug and I yelled Boomer Sooner over and over.  It was a record crowd, because there were far more Sooner fans there than Razorback.

We did sit more with Razorback fans than Sooner. At one point after Ladybug yelled (and we've already established she's loud) a particularly robust, "GO OU!" a man in front of us turned around, looked at Ladybug, and asked, "How old is she?"  I told him she is four, and he said, "I would have had words with her if she was older."  Oh well, the Sooners won, 3-1, so we were happy in the end!

Ladybug has decided that she likes to eat fish, so she has been begging Bart to take her fishing.  They enlisted her best friend, B.E. and her Dad and went fishing Saturday.  They didn't end up catching anything, but the girls had fun (and so did the dads).  Since they didn't catch any fish, we went to eat at Flying Fish with B.E.'s family, then went across the street to Onyx Coffee Lab for macaroons.  It was a pretty great day!

Dory Gale (And Lucy Too)
For Christmas, Bart and I thought we'd be nice and get the puppy girls a new dog bed.  By the puppy girls, we assumed it would be Dory's bed.  She's the only one who ever used the old one.  Lucy always seemed to prefer the couch or our laps to the bed.  The few times she has slept on it, she just put the front half of her body on it.  The old bed has holes in it from where Dory has dug to make it comfortable.  It is sad shape.  Surely she'd love a new one, right?  WRONG! She has curled up in it once, maybe twice in all these months.

Lucy, on the other hand, seems to love the new bed.  I should have realized that she thought it was too small for her.  She always has seemed just a bit claustrophobic (add that to her huge list of phobias).  Thankfully she and Ladybug are getting a lot of use out of it.

Dory though...  Do you remember on Fraiser when Martin Crane only wanted his chair?  Fraiser would buy him the newest, most comfortable looking chair, but it wasn't his nasty, duct-tape covered recliner.  Dory is Martin Crane.

The old bed has been sitting in front our bed since Christmas.  We didn't have the heart to throw it away yet, thank goodness.  While cleaning the bathroom one afternoon, Dory came into the bedroom to be near me, and curled up in her bed.  Then she stayed there.  Realizing that my poor girl had been missing her bed these past four and a half months, I placed it next to the new one in the living room, and I think I heard Etta James singing "At Last" in the background when she saw it.   She has spent more time on that old, holey bed that anywhere else.  The moral of the story is you may be able to teach an older dog new tricks, but don't try to change her bed!

We're expecting a night of severe weather tonight, so I should probably go charge my phone or something.  I know that I should prepare more for it, but I'm an Oklahoma girl.  I don't sweat storms until they're on top of me.  Have a happy week, y'all!

Football, A Closet Full of Tissue, and JOY

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Last week I started and stopped probably at least three blog posts.  You see, we made it through THREE whole days of school before Ladybug and I both came down with a rotten case of sinusitis.   I don't want to place blame anywhere, but we're all pretty sure Satan's Flowers were the cause.  L managed to run just enough fever to warrant staying home from school on Wednesday, and we were both snotty slugs from midweek on.  It even prevented us from our yearly visit to the county fair so L could ride the ponies again.  She wasn't told she missed anything, so there wasn't a big loss there, but we both hated for her to miss school.  There's a chance I hated it more.

Saturday was the return of college football.  Well, actually Thursday night was, but I really only like watching on Saturdays unless it's Bowl Season.  Any more than that, and I do actually grow tired of it.  I was thankful our Sunday School class always holds a fantasy football draft party for the guys, and they watch the first game together.  L and I had fun dancing together and playing Princess Party, something we haven't done in ages.

Back to Saturday, we signed up for a free trial of Sling so we could watch the Razorback game on TV.  Probably the only channel we truly miss after cutting down our cable last winter is ESPN U.  It was awesome watching the Razorbacks actually play well again.  The OU game was pay-per-view so we just kept up with the scores on our phones.  I'm just going to say, thank goodness they won!!!  After the way last season just fell apart, I wasn't holding my breath.  Alas though, I love football season!  I love fall!  I love the cooler weather!  At least I will love the cooler weather when it arrives later this week.

Sunday I was well enough to go to church, but L was still pretty snotty so Bart stayed home with her. We had a small group in Sunday School, but L's friends asked where she was.  I love that her friends miss her, even the young man who calls her his "girlfriend."  Thankfully at this age "girlfriend" has the Sheldon Cooper definition of "a girl who is a friend."

Labor Day for me just meant that I did my Monday chores with Bart at home for the most part.  Sometimes it takes a lot to make sure every Monday is Clean Sheet Monday.  All three of us went to Sam's and grocery shopping together and somehow ended up buy SEVENTEEN boxes of facial tissue.  After last week's nasal olympics, we needed another six-pack of Puffs with lotion, Bart needed some slim boxes for his truck, then he picked up three boxes of Puffs with Vicks because L loves them and three boxes of Kleenex with some sort of cooling sensation.  We got home and had two bags of groceries and three of facial tissue - I kid you not.  I've had to get creative on how to store it.  Ok, it's not as much creative as just shoved in random places in the upstairs linen closet.

Yesterday was a blessing to me, as it was the start of our new year on 4W Tuesday Morning Bible Study.  This semester most of us are doing a six-week study by Margaret Feinberg called "Fight Back With Joy."  Focusing on Joy has been a goal of mine this year and has carried me through some difficult days where otherwise I might have faltered.  I love this quote,

“The reason we can experience joy is because of God’s fierce love. Joy flows out of God’s affection for us.”
Excerpt From: Margaret Feinberg. “Fight Back with Joy (Bible Study).” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/9Avk5.l

I'm already seeing differences and "joy bombs" all over the place.  We're always being asked to scale  our level of joy from 1 to 10.  I'm going to be honest.  Tuesday morning it was around 2 at most.  L was not in the mood to get ready for church.  She whined, she cried, she spit medicine on me, she got in trouble.  Once we were finally out the door and on our way, we had a discussion about her attitude in the mornings.  Between that and really praying for God to expand my capacity for joy, for patience with L, and for L to have a change of attitude, she got around great and was the sweet girl I love so dearly.  Right now I'm at around an 8 in joy.  There are far too many blessings around to let circumstances and little things steal my joy.

I still try to remember each day to right down or at least tell myself, "This is the day The Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it."  After all, if we count each day as the blessing that it is, it's far more difficult to be pessimistic about it.

Today I started bringing one dog to each car line.  Since Dory is my morning girl, she got AM duty.  I had to force Lucy in the car, but she enjoyed PM duty as soon as she realized I wasn't taking her to the vet, the groomer, or to be boarded.  It's good for them to know that L is somewhere safe while she's away from us.  Both also love to people-watch and be told how pretty they are.

Well, I should feed my child something for dinner, so I'll bid you adieu for now.  Just appreciate the outfit my child wore to school today.  I love that she enjoys fun things like her shirt!

I wanted to add this little pic of part of our sunset.  God knows what He's doing.  There's no doubt in my mind of that.  Take heart y'all!  The God who creates the sunset and the little ladybugs on my weeping willow tree is the same God who loves you!

Mums: Satan's Flowers

Thursday, August 27, 2015

We have now survived TWO days of school, y'all.  TWO!  We're learning our groove of getting around in the mornings.  Yesterday was totally different from Monday, because Bart was in Little Rock.  That means I had NO help with the dogs or especially getting our non-morning person girl out of bed.  I made Dory wake her again, but Dory decided to curl up in bed with Ladybug.  We got around decently, eventually, but ran a little late and got into HEAVY traffic.  So, Lorelai was a little late to her second day of school.  I blame a lot of the slowness of getting around to the fact that L's allergies kicked into hyperdrive Tuesday night, and girl does not deal well with boogers.

I blame our sinus/ allergy problems on the flowers Bart for her first day of school.  They contained mums.  Mums, I believe, are Satan's flowers.  If not for my taking Zyrtec almost religiously, I am fairly certain that my eyes would have swollen shut Monday night.  As it is, Bart left home Tuesday morning congested, and Ladybug has had nasal congestion the past couple of days.  The flowers, pretty as they are, have been sent to the garage.

Back to Day 2 of school, while I was dropping off L Wednesday morning, I stopped by the office to talk to some friends and finally get a correct i.d. tag so I could start car line.  My first car line went smoothly until L started to get in the car and dropped into full drama mode. I managed to get her to tell me that she lost her lunchbox.  So, we held up the car line and found it right where she had been sitting with the other kids, waiting to be called.

All in all, I think things are going well.  Ladybug doesn't directly answer my questions regarding school, but she lets little things slip in conversation.  Like what the other kids do or how they hurt their teacher by not listening to her.  Right now, I'm fervently praying that she doesn't come down with the stomach bug that took down her bestie yesterday.  I imagine if she gets it, I will as well.  What with teaching Sunday School and everything else, ain't nobody got time for that!

Yesterday was National Dog Day, or something along that manner.  Lucy and Dorothy celebrated as they often do.  They watched for squirrels outside the windows, we played games in the back yard once L was home, and Dory went with us to Chick Fil A.  A young man thought she was so cute with her head hanging out the window, that he reached in to scratch her head.  Thankfully she was pleasant about it.  Most of the time they're friendly girls, but they're also protective of their family.

As it is, today is a yoga pants and ponytail day, and I'm not ashamed of it a bit.  I don't have to be anywhere until Sunday morning and may just choose not to leave the house at all.  Well wait, I have to take Bart to return his rental vehicle Saturday morning.  Oh well, at least we'll get a lunch out of that ordeal.  I HATE waiting at the car rental place.  The parking there is terrible, and I'm always having to move the car around, out of the way while waiting.

Yesterday had a pall over it once I learned of the horrendous shooting of a reporter and photog live on air yesterday morning.  It make me think of all of my friends who have put themselves in danger to cover stories, of each and every one those days we all worked in a television station with absolutely no security system whatsoever.  We had our share of close calls with unstable types.   It makes me thankful for the life I have now and the days I spend with this girl.

Dory's Colon Saves the Day (In a Roundabout Way)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Every homeowner fears it:  having something major break down on the weekend or worse, a holiday. So of course it had to happen to us.

I've mentioned in the past how Lucy and Dory have a habit of waking me up in the middle of the night and wee small hours of the morning.  Most of the time I don't appreciate being woke up, usually just when I'm finally getting to sleep.  However, this one time...  Well, thank goodness for Dory's habit of not wanting to poop in rain or wet grass until she just can't hold it anymore.  If not for her little, annoying peculiarities, we might not have gone to bed last night with air conditioning.

She woke me Saturday morning at 5, needing to poop.  I had planned to sleep as late as I possibly could that morning, so I considered ignoring her but knew that wouldn't work.  My next plan was to feed and potty both girls then, so we could all go back to sleep.  The thing is, when I got up with them, I noticed that the air conditioner was still running, but it was hot in the house.  I had been up a couple of hours earlier to get a drink, and the temperature was 71°.  At 5 AM it was 73°.  To make matters worse, it was cooler outside the house.  I had already been noticing how horrible the AC sounded in the middle of the night, so I was worried and checked to see if air was coming out of the vents.  It wasn't.  I hated to do it, because I knew he would tell me I was crazy, but I decided to wake Bart.

He walked into the bathroom, felt a little air, and started to think I was crazy.  Then he noticed the horrible noise the unit was making and decided to check some other vents.  I wasn't crazy.  Here we were at 5 AM on the Fourth of July AND a Saturday at that, and our air conditioner was broken.

The good news is that we are gold members of a local HVAC company and have guaranteed tech visits within 24 hours, no matter if it's the weekend, a holiday, or both, and we don't have to pay extra for the visit either.  The technician, Sandy, had been here a few times in the past.  He's a pretty great guy, and he showed Bart exactly what was wrong.  We could buy a new compressor for $3000 and still have several issues, or we could bite the bullet and get a whole, new unit.  We decided to go ahead and do it.  By 11 AM, we had a comfort consultant (salesman) here, showing us our choices, and by 1 PM the install team was there, getting to work.  That's almost unbelievable considering it was a holiday.

In the midst of all this, we had planned to host a cookout with our best friends, so we were hoping the AC would be up and running by the time everyone got there.  We texted everyone, letting them know the circumstances, letting them know they didn't have to come if they didn't want to.  Everyone came anyway, which pleased Ladybug.  She had been so excited.  We ended up having a great evening, even though the AC wasn't up and running until 11pm.  Ladybug and her best friend and her brother had fun swimming, playing, and shooting little champagne poppers.  We tried sparklers, but L kind of lost it when the neighborhood lit up like Beirut.  Thankfully we always buy a lot of extra food, because we were more than happy to share with the install team.

I love our friends.  Even though it was getting late, they stayed to make sure we had AC and didn't need a place to cool off for the night.  We're truly blessed.  Also, I love Dory, because had she not woke me, we would not have gotten that service call in so early, and probably would have suffered a lot longer.  Next time I complain because she won't do her business in the rain, remind me not to.  Her finicky colon saved the day.

The fan hog who saved the day

Ladybug Logic And Lucy's Lucyness

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Yesterday morning, Ladybug was assisting me in getting Lucy and Dory to potty and come back inside the house.  Her job was to hand them both a little treat.  I told her that the yellow one was cheese-flavored, and that I wanted Lucy to have that one since she actually pooped.  Now Ladybug with all the logic of a three-year-old surmised that if the yellow treat tasted like cheese then the brown treat must taste like poo poo.  She thought herself a genius and wouldn't accept that the brown treat was actually beef-flavored.  It wasn't nearly as funny as a poop-flavored treat.

We discuss poop a lot these days, as well as burping and tooting.  Ladybug has decided that toilet humor is just pretty awesome, and that Olaf toots snowflakes. Personally, I haven't seen anything funny in toilet humor since I was about fifteen.  I distinctly remember watching Dumb and Dumber in the movie theater with my friends, thinking it was hilarious.  However by the time it came out on video, I couldn't see what was so funny anymore.  I do laugh when Ladybug makes these jokes though, because she just gets so tickled that it's contagious.  I love it when she is struck with a case of the giggles.

Of course it makes sense that someone who finds bodily functions so hilarious just might not see the importance of other things.  We took her outside before she was asleep last night to see Jupiter and Venus in conjunction, making the Bethlehem Star.  Bart and I thought it was pretty amazing.  Ladybug was just like, "Yep, there it is.  Can I go to bed now?"  Celestial events that only happen every 2000 or so years just don't compare to poop-flavored treats right now.

Speaking of dog treats and the family members who consume them, Lucy has lately gotten into the habit of getting out of bed for breakfast when she darn well pleases.  Rather than get up when Dory and I do and eating breakfast and doing her business with Dory, she has decided to start sleeping in.  Her bowl of kibble is left untouched.  It says a lot about Dory that she doesn't just eat Lucy's breakfast for her.  Dory will be long finished, and I will have long started my morning quiet time when Miss Lucy saunters into the living room.  Then she leisurely eats her breakfast and waits on me to finish so she can take care of business outside.  Of course once she's outside, she requires a certain number of hugs and kisses from me before she'll do her business.  In her opinion, mornings are for cuddles and possibly chasing birds and squirrels.  Dory thinks they're for bike rides and chasing the aforementioned birds and squirrels.  That's why she would like for me to get up at 6 each and every morning.  Lucy would prefer to keep me cuddled in bed with her.  Either way, their lives are so incredibly difficult.  That darn squirrel is always teasing them through the windows.

Well, my train of thought was just completely lost as I heard Ladybug calling for me upstairs.  She sleeps with her doors closed, and apparently couldn't open the door because her arms were full of stuffed dogs.  Bart and I found it amusing, Ladybug thought it was a serious predicament.  Bart explained how she could have put her dogs down, but I'm guessing hot lava would have consumed them had that occurred.  That's just another example of Ladybug Logic.  One thing is for certain, my days are definitely not boring living with a Ladybug, a Lucy, and a Dory!

In Which It Is Monday Once Again

Monday, June 15, 2015

Yesterday morning while we were driving to church, something wet and nasty peppered the entire front of Bart's truck.  There was too much for it to be a bug.  It was too nasty to have been a quick rain shower, and we weren't under an overpass.  Bart suggested a plane overhead may have lost some fecal matter.  I thought that perhaps a passenger in a car in front of us hung their head out the window to vomit at 70 mph.  Whatever it was, it was gross, and I was never so happy for Bart's obsessive use of washer fluid.

There is a robin's nest at the top of the maple tree just outside my back door.  A lot of people think that having a bird nest just outside your door is a thing of wonder.  I don't.  I see lots of bird poop, getting buzzed by over protective parents, and the inevitable outcome of baby birds dropping out of the nest just in time to be scooped up by one of my two dogs.  Lucy and Dory are just about the most gentle creatures on the planet, but they're still bird dogs.  They don't eat the poor things, they just break their necks while carrying them around like a prize.  Here is an old picture of them trying to figure out what happened to a bird they caught.  I'm afraid I'll be seeing more of this in the near future.

I have decided that I was not meant to keep potted plants.  If I can plant it in the ground, it's fairly likely to live, but I cannot keep a potted plant alive for the life of me.  It could partly be due to the fact that it rained the ENTIRE MONTH OF MAY, then suddenly dried up like the Sahara last week.  Anyway, anything that wasn't in the ground looks like it was raised by Morticia Addams.  We're in a pattern of sunny, humid days with sudden, heavy rain storms this week, so maybe some of them will come back.  Some I'm certain won't though.  I'm just grateful I didn't try to grow potted plants before I got dogs and had a kid, or I might have had second thoughts on having someone be completely dependent on me for every aspect of their livelihood.

Dory and I went for our morning bike ride today, and as we were on the last leg someone must have released their pack of small dogs into their open front yard.  Said dogs decided to chase after us, scaring Dory.  As I stated on Facebook this morning, little dogs are not cats. They need to be on leashes and behind fenced in areas just as much or more than big dogs. If you're the owner of little dogs, know that when you just let them out in the mornings, THEY WILL HARASS joggers, runners, bikers, and big, sweet, scared dogs who are just trying to get their morning exercise.  Little dogs allowed to roam free are always a nuisance, because they haven't been trained how to behave.  My poor gentle soul, Dory, just stands still, unsure of what to do when this happens.  Lucy, who was attacked by chihuahuas as a puppy, always hides behind me.  The stress made Dory need to curl up with Ladybug's favorite stuffy, Lady. She's vicious, you know.

Since May was basically a month of monsoons, we waited to get the dogs a pool for the summer.  Last week while Bart was away, I watched Lucy have a difficult time cooling off after playing and told him we had to take the truck to get them one this weekend.  The problem was that so late in the season, no Walmart had one big enough without a slide.  We ended up finding one a the local K-Mart.  Ladybug kept asking where we were.  She had never been to one before.  Bart went inside alone to pay for the pool and said that it was like going back twenty-five years.  I think L still thinks I'm making up this mythical place called "K-Mart."  Some day I'll have to tell her about other mythical lands of yore like Venture and Service Merchandise and how once upon a time you could make your list to Santa by scouring the Sears and JC Penny Christmas Catalogs.  I rather miss those days.  Don't you?

I got a nice printout in the mail today that says, "It Is Well With My Soul."  I think that I won it in a contest off of a blog.  I'm sorry if I'm not giving credit where it's due.  I think a sort of remember entering a contest for a printout a while back, but there are a lot of things from this spring that I just don't really remember.  I've told Bart that even though things were going on, I feel like March-May was just sort of lost for me this year.  You spend those first several weeks of pregnancy on pins and needles, so personally I felt like life was on hold then.  Then, when we had the miscarriage everything had to stop for a while, and what didn't is sometimes a blur to me.  It is good to really be feeling like myself again.  I've missed me.

Friday's Thoughts

Friday, June 12, 2015

I love having intelligent dogs.  Most of the time it's fun, but sometimes not so much.  Bart spent Sunday afternoon through Thursday night working in Oklahoma.  That meant Lucy didn't sleep much at night while he was away.  She believes it's her duty to keep watch on the house when Bart's gone.  Unfortunately that means barking at things about once every hour or so.  Monday morning she even woke me up at 3 am so she could take a walk around the perimeter of the back yard.  Last night after Bart came home, she slept all night.

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown of self-appointed family protector.

Dory and I have been getting up early in the mornings to go for bike rides together again.  We both really enjoy it, and I think it sets my mood for the day. We obviously couldn't do that while Bart was away, because it's not a good idea to leave a sleeping there-year-old alone in the house with only a golden retriever who doesn't go for bike rides before 8 am to watch her.  I've been relegated to the stationary bike, which is nice but not nearly as fun.  Anyway, Dory has heard me say all week that when Daddy got home, we would start going for our rides again.  So, guess who woke me up at 5 AM this morning?  Yep, the Dorothy Gale dog. She was ready to go, but had to wait until after 6.  I refused to give in to her, because then she would want me to get up that early every morning.  I have to sleep at some point even though I don't think anyone in this family actually thinks so.  I have long come to the conclusion that if I didn't sleep I could be the most productive person on the planet, but... no.
My morning biking buddy and living alarm clock.

While Bart was gone, I had plans to read and write and get so much done.  I did get a lot of housework accomplished, like clean out L's playroom and some other things.  However, I never did any writing.  I got caught up reading a series of books.  I have to finish them because I'm dying to finish the first draft of my friend Louise's book set in the 1930s, and I want to get to writing on my own stuff again.  I ended up falling asleep within an hour of L going to bed every night, because I was exhausted.  It's hard doing EVERYTHING all day and all night around the house, including watering the garden, the grass, and the flowers.  Thankfully Ladybug decided to help me out a little by playing in the sprinkler while it did its work.  

Getting back to writing, I've realized that I can either write blog posts that I think are decent, or I can write fiction, but often not at the same time.  I think it's a matter of tone and mindset and not being able to just hop from one to the other.  Perhaps it would be different if I did give up on sleep.  I wonder if I'm alone in this?

I'll be surprised if I get any writing of any sort done this weekend.  We're going to have our eyes solely on the TV because Arkansas made it to Omaha!  I may or may not also be following a spoon on Twitter now because of it.  It's such a controversial spoon, too.

The In-Betweens

Monday, June 1, 2015

Let's just get this out of the way and say THANK GOODNESS IT'S JUNE!  I would love to post a picture of some of our lovely flowers, but frankly the rain of Biblical proportions and lack of sunlight we've endured lately hasn't done any of our flowers much good.  The sun has come out some today, and the girls and I have spent some time outside enjoying it.  Hopefully all of our flowers will soak up all they need and look beautiful again.  I will say that we have managed to have some fun lately despite bad weather.  In between flooding rain showers and tornado warnings we have had some fun.

We spent most of Memorial Day weekend playing miniature golf.  It's a fun, relatively cheap thing to do as a family.  We first took L on my birthday, the first of the month, and we all enjoyed it so much that we decided to do it again as soon as we were able.  We went to two different courses and played either three or four rounds over the long weekend.  Bart wanted to go fishing some, but with the flooding everywhere, we decided that it would be best to wait until we would catch something besides debris.

My friend Louise sent me a care package that included an awesome mug, a bad of Doritos (my comfort food), and the cutest Princess Leia rag doll that she made for L.  Friends near and far are just some of the greatest blessings ever.  I love the things she sent, but the sentiment is so much more important.  Like Anne of Green Gables herself said, "Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”

With all of the severe weather we've had lately, L has grown even more interested in the weather than she already was.  Sadly, she likes to believe that tornadoes only touch down in Oklahoma.  Just the other day she asked if Oklahoma would be destroyed by a tornado.  She's not nearly as scared of storms as she was, because we've worked to teach her about the weather.  She reads books about the weather, we watch educational television shows about it, and Bart has even taught her how to read radar.  I imagine more three-year-olds don't know that you can spot a possible tornado where the red meets the green.

This weekend was our yearly NWA Naturals game with Bart's work.  When we got to the game, L was upset, because it wasn't a St. Louis Cardinals game.  In fact, she declared that she did not like the Naturals at all.  However after we bought her what seems like everything purple they had in the gift shop, then her friend L-boy got there, it turned out to be a really fun night, and L has since declared her undying love for the Naturals on several occasions.  Personally, I enjoy going to games for the funnel cakes and fried Oreos.

Yesterday afternoon, we went as a family to Walmart.  We had already seen the flags out on the Bentonville Square on our way to church, so it wasn't much of a surprise to see a busload of Walmart associates from several different countries as we went from aisle to aisle.  L and I have made it our thing to people-watch during Shareholders Week, but Bart has never been with us.  Quite honestly he's usually out of town during Shareholders.  It was fun to see how many different countries were represented.  It's a great geography lesson for L too.

Dory has been going with us every time we get take out food lately to the point where a carhop at Sonic knows her.  I just have to remember that not all carhops like to find a sweet, black Lab / Golden Retriever mix hanging her head outside the back-driver's side door.  Lucy rarely goes with us, because she believes I'll drop her off at the vet or to get groomed.  I imagine the at least Dory will be my carline companion when L starts school.

Last night the Razorbacks defeated St Johns to with the Stillwater Regional in the NCAA tournament.  There's a very good chance the Super Regional will be held in Fayetteville.  We'll find out tonight, and if so the Gilbreaths are getting tickets.  We didn't make it to a Razorback game at all this year, so we hope to get to spend this weekend making up for it.

The best news of all is, I got the call today that this past Friday was finally my last blood test.  After being there so much this past month, everyone seemed to know me.  I think the phlebotomists will miss me.  I should have taken donuts Friday morning.  Of course if I had, then my hCG would probably have only gone down to a 6, and I would have had to again this week. I tell you, it will be nice to have arms that aren't bruised from trying to get blood out of my awful veins again.  Also, it will just be good to put a lot of the past month behind me.  It's not forgotten, just I would rather look ahead, you know?

So, happy June to you all!  Here's to many more happy, sunny days in between the rainy ones.

Weekly Randomosity

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

  • Ladybug was hoarse and had a croupy cough from Friday of last week until Monday.  She never ran fever, but it was evident she didn't feel very good.  So in order to keep her from being exposed to more germs we stayed home from church Sunday.  Also, I decided to go to Walmart alone while Bart was home with Ladybug, thinking I would enjoy the time alone that afternoon.  Let me tell you.... It is easier to buy groceries with a toddler who wants everything during the week than it is to fight the crowds on Sunday.
  • I'm fairly certain that this year's Sooners and Razorbacks are God's way of reminding me not to store my hope and joy on earthly things... like football.
  • A year ago when all Ladybug would watch on TV was Mickey Mouse and occasionally Play With Me Sesame, I never would have imagined that she would absolutely love Charlie Brown! Just before Halloween I pulled out our Charlie Brown holiday Blu-rays so she could watch The Great Pumpkin.  Now we watch "Charlie Brown!" every day it seems.  It is nice being able to get past Mickey Mouse, even though he is still well-loved here.
  • After not having a bike for a week (because I kinda accidentally sold mine at our yard sale), then not being able to go for my early-morning rides for another week because Bart was in Arizona, then being sick, I finally went for an early morning ride again with Dory yesterday.  If felt wonderful!  I love my new bike!  Then the temperature dropped, the wind decided to get nasty, and I'm back to not biking in the mornings for at least a few days.
  • Speaking of biking with Dory.  After biking most mornings with me and running frequently with Bart since June, Dory Gale has lost 8 pounds between when we had her bordatella updated in May and her yearly exam last weekend.  In fact, she lost so much weight in so little time that our vet started giving her a very thorough exam.  Bart had to explain how we stepped up her exercise.  We're only hoping now that the winter isn't so long and severe that all our progress is lost.
  • Bart has been asking me what I want to do for our 10th wedding anniversary in December.  I told him to surprise me.  We're saving for a trip to Canada next summer, but we still wanted to do something to commemorate the actual day.  His work Christmas party is the night before, so I'm going to drop her off with his parents to spend (hopefully if she's agreeable to it) a couple of days with her grandparents.  Today, he texted me that we have reservations somewhere, the night of the 20th at 7 pm.  We've never been very good at surprises and romance.  Every time in our early days together he tried to surprise me, something got in the way - including his plans to ask me to marry him.  Needless to say, I'm curious what he has in store for us.  I can be pretty sure that it's not dancing.  We are the whitest, most Baptisty Baptists on the planet, I think.
  • With the weather getting colder, I have two very cuddly puppy dogs, and I love it!
  • I have a friend with a little boy a month or two younger than Ladybug.  He has started cutting his two-year-molars.  Ladybug has been nasty-fussy this week because her top two canines have finally decided to pop through.  I cannot imagine how horrible the two-year-molars will be.  Miss Slowest Teether On the Planet can wait a while before she starts cutting those, I hope.  Like, I'm hoping until after Christmas at least.
  • I'm thankful that Ladybug is less opposed to wearing a coat this winter.  She's learning that they actually serve a purpose, and she doesn't want to miss out on playing outside just because she won't wear a coat.  Now, if I can talk her into wearing mittens.  She's probably too much like her daddy to do that though.
  • While Bart was in Arizona, he started watching Duck Dynasty.  So, now we're a Duck Dynasty family.  It's ok though, because Silas voiced a character on the new VeggieTales Christmas movie Merry Larry and the True Light Of Christmas.  Ladybug has loved VeggieTales music for a while and is now really starting to love watching them as well.
  • After a late-night chat with my friend Cathy, I recently considered becoming an Amazon Affiliate here on the blog only to find out that due to stupid tax laws in Arkansas, Arkansans are banned from becoming Amazon Affiliates.  Times like this I feel like we are still in a very backwards state.  I love Arkansas, but I've never loved the way they collect taxes.  Seriously, why in THE WORLD must we assess every year?  Really, this is weird to any of us who weren't raised here all of our lives.
  • Despite not feeling well, Ladybug's vocabulary seems to have exploded again recently.  There's less gibberish and more intelligible language being spoken... endlessly
  • I've been trying to decide between an iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina as my Christmas gift this year.  I'm bequeathing my old, 1st Gen to Ladybug.  Which would you prefer?

Rainy Day Randomosity

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I think Ladybug and I really needed today's rainy, cool weather to just stay inside and be.  It seems our days have been filled with some activity or craziness for far too long, and we kind of need to slowly melt into our winter groove.  Yet, I'm not entirely sure what our winter groove will be.  We're going to have to find some sort of activity for the cold months to get out of the house for some fun at least once a week!

We had a yard sale Saturday.  Bart's parents came up with a truckload of stuff, and we attempted to rid ourselves of several things that were more or less just taking up space.  I sold a couple of L's baby things, but the treasure-trove of baby clothes, play-things, and such was largely untouched.  I'm just not ready to part with any of it yet.  I still hope for one more sweet baby before I'm ready for them to go to other families.  I did sell my bike.  I didn't intend to, it just happened.  Now I'm trying to decide what I want to get to replace it.  I will get another soon, because that is how I exercise, and it has become an integral part of my life.

We went to Dickey Farms to find this year's pumpkins Sunday.  We took L to Farmland Adventures a few weeks ago, but we loved Dickey Farms so much last year that we went back there to actually pick pumpkins.  I hope it's a tradition we can continue for years to come.  I think we all look forward to it - at least those of us who remember it.

Bart picked a couple of odd-looking gourds.  I call this one Jimmy.  You in the know about VeggieTales get it.

I need to go back through all of my blog posts and clean up my labels.  This is not something I look forward to doing.  It may take until Doomsday, but I will do it.

I'm thinking of writing a children's book or series based on Dory, her abandonment, her rescue, our adoption of her, and several other moments in her life that I think would be great material.  Of course I have no artistic skills, so if this does come about I will be looking for and illustrator eventually.

We're really starting to plan Christmas gifts, and I'm even trying to start planning L's birthday now, because once the holidays hit, her birthday just comes too quickly for a party procrastinator like myself. I think this year we'll just invite a handful of her friends and her cousin who may actually be in state then.  I also wouldn't be surprised if it had an A League Of Their Own theme, so she can use her Halloween costume again.

Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  In some respects, I feel that this deserves its own post.  Ladybug should have a three-year-old brother or sister that we lost at eight weeks in January 2010.  There's a quote I remember from Grey's Anatomy that Cristina told George when his dad died: 
CRISTINA: "There's a club. The Dead Dads Club. And you can't be in it until you're in it. You can try to understand, you can sympathize. But until you feel that loss... My dad died when I was nine. George, I'm really sorry you had to join the club."
GEORGE: "I... I don't know how to exist in a world where my dad doesn't."
CRISTINA: "Yeah, that never really changes."
That's how I feel about both the loss of a parent and also the loss of a child.  People can try to understand and sympathize, but until you feel that loss you just can't.  I hate that anyone has to know that kind of loss.  A part of your heart always has a hole in it.  I'm very thankful for my life that I have, but I will always wonder what he would have been like.  I wrote a letter to him last year around his due date.  I think of him every day.  I'll know him someday though, and I am so very thankful for that.

The Eyes of a Shelter Dog

Thursday, October 10, 2013

There is something haunting in the eyes of most shelter dogs.  They've known and been subjected to things that we can't and often don't want to imagine.  They don't quite have the same sparkle as those of a dog loved and pampered from birth and was placed in a happy, loving home from puppyhood until the great beyond.  Instead, there's a mixture of fear, of unknown sadness, and a knowledge of the evils of the world.

The eyes of a shelter dog are soulful and old.  Their short lives have been filled with experiences far different from learning to fetch, roll over, and play dead.  They are the eyes of dogs who have learned other "tricks," such as to cower in fear when a hand is raised.  They are the eyes of dogs who have learned to scavenge for anything that might just pass as a scrap of food, because hunger isn't some small pang when a bowl is filled late - it's a constant, growing, never-ending, aching pain.  They are eyes that have learned what it is to be cold, so cold and chilled to the bone with nowhere to get warm.  They are eyes that have learned to fear humans and run from them rather than run into welcoming arms for the comforting embrace of a hug.

That haunted look can be replaced with spark though, ignited by a great deal of love and patience from someone who is willing to take the time to be a "mom" or a "dad" or even just that dog's "person," because all any dog wants is to be loved.  Love and time are the fuel that feeds the spark.  Then in turn, you gain the dog's trust, then respect, and then her love.

Gaining the trust of a shelter dog can be a daunting task.  So often they have already placed their trust in those who never deserved it.  The littlest thing can be a setback.  The key is to be consistent, to never act in anger toward your dog, and to try and have empathy for what might be going through the mind of your dog.  With time, your dog will trust you and respect you for being a positive influence rather than negative.  She'll listen to you, because she'll realize that you mean her no harm and only want the best for her.

The best and most rewarding part of having a shelter dog is when you realize that she loves you, because love grows out of trust and respect.  That love can be shown in numerous ways from just needing to touch you to trying to comfort and protect you from hurt and harm.  Then you might notice that the haunted eyes have disappeared and the sparkle of a happy dog has replaced it.  It's a different sparkle from that of the dog who has only known privilege all her life.  It's a deeper, more meaningful sparkle, because the sparkle in the eyes of a dog rescued from a shelter is a sparkle earned by the both of you.

Dorothy Gale is a rescued shelter dog.  When she was just a few weeks old she was taken to a Walmart parking lot in the Kansas City area to be sold or given away.  No one wanted Dory or her shorter-haired, chocolate sister so they were just dumped on the side of the road.  Thankfully some good, kindhearted people picked up the cold, shivering puppies and took them to a local rescue.  They posted them on Petfinder.com, and there I fell in love with her.

Bart and I love Lucy, and Lucy loves us.  However, our love of Dory is a little different.  The way she loves us if different as well.  Even though it has been four years to this day that we brought her home, a part of her still shows an appreciation for how good her life is now.  Her loyalty and devotion are unmatched.  She has loved Ladybug in a sweet, protective way her entire life.  She was well worth the drive to Kansas City and the adoption fee.

My Favorite Photos

Friday, March 1, 2013

I have a Photo-a-Day blog that I started this year in order to help get my creative juices flowing.  The ideal situation would have me taking a masterpiece on my DSLR every day, edit it, and post it with deep thoughts.  Yet I've used my iPhone far more than my DSLR so far this year.

This lack of using my good camera has happened for many reasons.  First of all, my phone is always with me.  Secondly, I keep my DSLR set to take only RAW photos, so I have to go through my photos, edit them, and save them as JPEGs.  That takes a bit of time that I don't always have.  Another reason is that there just isn't a great deal during these grey, cold winter days that just inspires me much.  It happens occasionally but not very often.  Lastly, my computer has had issues of late, and I HAD to use the iPhone.

I have taken some pictures in the past that I'm very proud of and thought I would share some of them today.  None of these have been altered by Instagram, Picmonkey, or any other filter.They're not in any chronological order.

I took this picture of the Broadway Bridge w/o a tripod, hanging from the balcony of our room at the Double Tree in Little Rock while Sheldon was at a bachelor party in 2009.

Spring sunrise on the White River at Gaston's.

My Christmas ham.

She was as angry with me as she looks there.

She has always loved Lady, even though she looks like she's going to punch her.

I love those eyes.

I love that I caught her face here.  She loves the wind.

Playing peek-a-boo!

I adore this picture.

Airplane or bird?

Sunset on the Rockies.

A fox on the side of the road in the Rocky Mountain National Park.

This was taken after the record snow we had in early 2011.  We loaded the girls  in the truck, took them to Lake Fayetteville, and just let them run in the snow.
This would have been better if Dory had been in focus, but getting two dogs and baby to cooperate is almost impossible.

Lucy is an acrobat when it comes to chasing bubbles.

This is just one picture from what was one of my favorite photo shoots with Ladybug.

I caught Lucy in a shake after a swim in the White River at Gaston's.

The Ladybug has always been good at sharing.

We thought she'd enjoy playing in a pile of leaves.  We were wrong.  This was her first Thanksgiving.

She had just started crawling, and this was near the end of the spikey hair period.

Dory showing what my friend Erin calls "Labittude!"

Autumn sunrise on the White River at Gaston's.

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