Thursday, May 29, 2008

Special Requests

It's double post day, since grandma asked for new pictures. Livi does not have a special graduation today...but she just looks so darn cute here on average Thursday...that we had to give her a little equal air time.

She is completely and thoroughly obsessed with juice boxes. So much so that she has been stealing them out of a cooler in the backyard left over from a backyard party this weekend.

Then she feeds the straws to the dog. Perhaps this is why the dog is now barfing. Perhaps this is too much information...but the dog also got a healthy dose of corn. Don't ask me how I know that, you don't want to know. Livi, don't feed the dog. For the 18th time, don't feed the dog.

Take A Dip In The Pool and Then It's Off To 1st Grade

Kindergarten graduation is right around the corner here on the cul-de-sac. I kid you not, Ava graduates from Kindergarten in about 1 hour. She's glueing her last piece of macaroni to construction paper as we speak (or write, as the case might be). Next year we will be all about spelling words, Brownie Troops, and movie nights with friends. I still think of her as this little kid.

9 months

Or maybe this little kid.

2 1/2 years

Or, if I stretch...maybe I can accept this little kid as my little kid.

5 years old.

But I am simply struggling to accept that she is now this kindergarten graduate today.

Someone, please put a brick on her head. And talk to me about how university education is a thousand eons away.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


When our dog of 14 years passed away last year I honestly thought I would be ok with not having another dog. Wouldn't it be sweet or romantic to say it was because I was so in love with and enamored of that little Lhasa Apso there could never be a replacement? I suppose it might be but that wouldn't be true. That dog was a pain, we loved her mostly all the same but she could be a pain. She never fully house trained and to replace carpets was a pretty penny. She would bite you if you woke her from sleep and think nothing of it when your finger bled. She ate too many pairs of Italian shoes to count. She simply would not cuddle when you needed it most and refused settle down when guests came to the door. I can't say I wished death on her or anything like that, but I have to admit I was ok with it all after the initial blow that she was going to pass away.

So, as the Muffin Man has been ramping up on his "let's get a new dog campaign 2008"...I have been cool at best. He wanted a pure bred, I insisted on a mutt. He wanted a small dog, I wanted nothing to do with yippee little dogs with attitude. He wanted a completely indoor dog, I wanted a dog who could be independent if left outside for an afternoon. He did not mind spending money at a breeder for a dog, I thought $75 for a shelter dog was the max I could deal with. He wanted a cute dog, I wanted a dog that was eager to please...ME. Needless to say we have been at a stalemate and quite full here on the cul-de-sac with enough beings in the house. I saw no reason to tip the balance. Translate...I got enough goin' on with 2 kids a husband who travels and a wee little small business on the side.

But then last week I got it in my head that maybe it would be ok to look for a breeder of a pug or puggle and surprise him for father's day. He really wanted a dog. So, I combed the rescue web sites and contacted 2 breeders. I had never looked online before but thought, "what the heck he will wear me down eventually anyway." Of course the kids would probably like an dog too. What 6 year old and 2 year old wouldn't? I said nothing about looking online and simply thought if there is a decent dog out there she will find us in time for Father's Day.

That same night Brian took the girls on a walk in the neighborhood and met Jim. Brian stopped him to ask what kind of dog he had, he thought it was super adorable. Jim explained that the dog was a puggle, cross between a beagle and a pug. Then Jim said, "Are you looking for a dog?" Brian explained that we were considering a dog this summer, if only he could convince his wife. Jim said, " You want mine?" Apparently Jim and his wife couldn't give the dog all the exercise she needed and they had contacted 2 rescues that day. They felt that they had made a mistake in taking Chloe and felt that she needed more attention.

As you can imagine it took Brian all of about 6 seconds to get home and tell me about the dog named Chloe who was about to be given up for adoption, and she was only 11 months old, and she had been spayed, and she had all her shots, and and and.......

Now it is a week later. And yes, Jim and Linda did give us the dog. I was excited but also had a slight twinge of fear, what if she is exactly like Bailey, the carpet peeing thumb biting wonder?

It's only been a week but Chloe is definitely ours. When Livi pulls her tail she simply walks away. When Ava gives her a bear hug she licks her face. She is smart and sweet and LOVES the kids. She plays happily all day and sits down on my lap at night while I rub her ears as we watch tv together.

So, I guess this is welcome to the family Chloe.

Updated to add***Chloe came to us with her name and it rhymes with our last name. This provided immeasurable entertainment for the clerk at the Petco when I stopped by to buy her a new tag. It also appears hilarious to our dear friends who this weekend couldn't get enough of yelling "come here little Chloe ______" while tossing a ball her way.

Some things in life just might be meant to be.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Prezzies From Down Under

I received my Lemonade Doll Quilt Swap quilt today. How exciting to come home with a whiny tired toddler after a morning of running errands and the Muffin Man says, "You got something in the mail all the way from Australia."

Whee....Australia, hooray. I visited Sydney and Melbourne several years ago on business. They were the trips of a lifetime. I'd love to go back when the girls are a bit bigger and could truly enjoy a trip like that.

Here is how it came wrapped! In material. That in itself might have been enough of a present for me. You know this darling piece of fabric will not go unused! The little note even had a handmade fabric flower attached. (I might have to "steal" this idea.) I opened the fabric wrapped package...

Wow! Red and aqua in an amazing trail complete with beautiful perfect hand quilting stitches. This little quilt has so much detail that this picture does not capture.

Look at the back of the quilt.

It is every bit as pretty as the front. And, if that was not enough. My present came with a book for my girls.
In a note Donna said that Mem Fox is an Autralian writer. Ava will be so excited when she comes home from school since she is reading now and loves her books.

My day is made. Thank you Donna for all the lovely work. The little quilt will be wrapping a chilly little doll or stuffed bear this afternoon, I just know it.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Why Me

There is an organization called Y-Me who supports women and their families who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. When I was diagnosed at age 31 with breast cancer in September of 2000 I simply could not identify with a group that called itself Why Me. I swear I never once thought Why Me...why NOT me? Yes, I suppose I was a little young to have been given the diagnosis of breast cancer but I always had the feeling Why Not Me? One in 8 of us women will supposedly deal with this diagnosis in our life times. When you lined me up with 7 other women I guess I just never thought I would stand out as being any different on the inside and therefore Why NOT me?

For the first time in the 7 1/2 years since my diagnosis and subsequent remission after surgery, chemo, and radiation I have thought Why Me? Why have I been given the gift of life...or as it is...more life? How did I win this cancer lottery of sorts and then go on to have the two most amazing children in my life? I have my husband who loves me for who I am, I have my immediate family who supports everything I do. I have everything. Why Me?

These Why-Me thoughts have been brought on by a re-lapse of a friend I met along my cancer journey. She is a woman my age who happened to be a friend of a friend. She was about a year behind me in diagnosis and we were able to meet and become friends as we both finished our treatments. We attended cancer fundraisers together periodically, we walked a race or two together. After her treatments ended and she was pronounced in remission she married a wonderful man. The Muffin Man and I went to the wedding. She wanted children. Where I decided to never try for a pregnancy again for fear of tipping the hormonal balance I pursued the adoption route with avengence, she made the decision to have biological children. She had her first baby 2 years ago. His name is Henry. Then she had a second son, Cooper in September 2007. After the birth of her Henry she appeared radiant to me, swelling with pride and love for that little boy as I sat on her couch while visiting. She should be living life, loving her husband, kissing her kids and working at her career.

But she is not. A few weeks ago she was told her cancer had spread to her lung, liver and possibly her brain. She has been immediately transported to another that is filled with treatments, surgeries, chemo, radiation and fear of leaving a young family too soon.

Her name is Tiffany. She is not yet 40 years old. She is real and wears label of cancer on her lovely creamy white skin and in her strawberry blond hair. I guess I could certainly understand if she was now asking Why Me.

If you are one to say a prayer, or send a positive message into the universe would you please think for a moment of Tiffany and her family?

Friday, May 02, 2008

I Flies

We took a little trip to the zoo this week to see the traveling exhibition of butterflies, which Olivia carefully describes as Iflies. This exhibition came to town a few years ago when Ava was about 2 1/2 years old and I was petrified she would stomp the lovely little things and use all her powers to grab the butterflies to squish them in her then chubby little hands. This was at the height of Ava's stomp on all things living including human playmates phase.

But she didn't that day. We talked and talked about how to act at the butterfly house and she was as good as gold. A somewhat rare thing for Ava at 2 1/2. She had a blast and absolutely loved the butterflies. I was amazed at how much she ran through the building with wonder and amazement, all the while carefully holding her fingers up for a hopeful butterfly to land. She talked about the butterflies for weeks after the visit.

You can imagine my excitement as I read that the butterflies would be coming back to our zoo this spring. I invited Livi's playgroup and we caravaned downtown. Knowing how gentle and loving Olivia is by nature, I was sure she would be just as captured by the spirit of the wonderful exhibition with so many gorgeous butterflies everywhere.

Wrong. She freaked. She called them bugs and screamed until I picked her scrawny butt up and perched her on my hip the-entire-time. No amount of explaining that butterflies were in fact the cutest and most gentle of all bugs and they would in no way hurt her would pacify her. Kids? Who ever gets it right?

I enjoyed the butterflies none the less and did my very best to play national geographic photographer with 27 lbs. of Livi on one hip, diaper bag slung over shoulder and camera in the other 3rd hand.

Here is Liv with her little gal pal cronies. Of course trying to get them ALL to pose at one time in one space was not in the cards. The others were behind me either intentionally evading their mothers or or eating snacks behind me as I attempted a picture.

Obviously, this picture was taken before Olivia realized that a trip to visit butterflies meant that she would be in the same room with the dreaded Iflies.

The lovely Miss M thought Olivia's panic was most melodramatic and found satisfaction in bonding with one distinguished yellow butterfly.

And so did Miss E.

You go...ladies. You know these 2 will be explaining the finer points of chrysalis transformation by kindergarten.