Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Dog's Life

Yesterday (and today, actually) was a very sad day at our house. Our sweet dog, having reached the incredible age of at least 14, had been slowing down for the last year or two, but the last few months, and most particularly the last several days have shown a marked decline.

We got her at the pound about 11 1/2 years ago; we toured the whole place, and couldn't find the right dog. We didn't see her, because she was in a cage with a particularly insane black lab who was jumping around so much we never noticed the sweet, quiet dog in the back. An employee pointed her out; they had picked her up on the side of the road with the lab, and they both had porcupine quills in their faces and tongues. We brought her home, and have enjoyed her ever since.

She's seen us through 2 moves, 1 doctorate, several jobs, and the birth of 2 kids. Her sweet nature and kind heart always showed through, even when she dragged my curling ribbon through every room of the house, turned over all the houseplants and covered the living room rug with an inch of dirt, and removed all my cookbooks from the bookshelf, taking a bite out of all the corners. My personal favorite was when I came home one day and couldn't figure out what the amethyst sparkly stuff was all over my kitchen floor; turns out that I had left a coffee cake in a pyrex dish on the counter, which she pulled off. When it landed on the kitchen tile, it shattered into about eleventy billion pieces, but she managed to eat every last bite of the coffee cake with no injury to herself.

She was always wonderful with the kids; Miss Serious let her be, but Big Trouble was determined to ride her, grab her hair, and pull her tail. She took all this abuse in stride, with never so much as a growl. She would just look up at us with her sad eyes, which seemed to ask, "Please make it stop."

Over the last few weeks, she progressively lost the ability to support her weight on her back legs. She was put on painkillers, which she happily chomped down, as I believe they were meat flavored, and apparently delicious. The last few days she had great difficulty getting to a standing position, and walking around the house became more and more of a challenge. When we came home yesterday, she was unable to stand, and when she looked up at me, her big sad eyes once again seemed to say, "Please make it stop." We took her to the vet yesterday, and her suffering is now over.

Rest in peace, sweet girl. We love you and will miss you with all our hearts.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Let It Snow!

Well, they said it was going to, and they were right. They even nailed the time that it would start - are meteorologists practicing black magic these days? Because of the mess the roads were going to become, the school declared a snow day. (This is what it looked like about an hour into the storm.) I was glad, because yesterday I taught Kindergarten, and I'm still recovering. I think that if I taught Kindergarten full time, I would probably have to start drinking at lunch (though I probably wouldn't lead with that statement at a job interview).

The kids were excited about the day off, and promptly began to plan one of their elaborate games; they have a room full of toys, but most of their time is occupied with imaginary games that they invent themselves. Today on their day off from school, they decided to play....school. Hmmm.

I have to admit, snow days were a lot more restful (though less interesting) before we had children. I could sleep late, and basically lounge around being lazy and doing what I wanted to do all day. All that is now over, however, and by about 9:30 I found myself telling the kids that if they didn't get it together, I was going to send them to school anyway and they could sit on the steps until 3:00. They decided to pull it together, and made this:

It's a gingerbread house kit that I picked up a few weeks ago (and have heard the question "But when are we going to make it?" pretty much every hour since). The kids had a good time, and did a lovely job. I liked this kit, and the gingerbread actually smelled delicious - the last one didn't have any odor at all - so now the living room smells like a bakery.

We capped off the afternoon with a trek outside (the wind was blowing the snow horizontally - what fun!) and we had a snowball fight. Age definitely has it's advantages when it comes to snowball fights - bigger hands can craft much larger snowballs than 6 & 7 year olds can, and we've learned not to throw our incompletely formed snow directly into the wind.

Happy snow day Miss Serious and Big Trouble - you sure know how to make a snow day fun.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's Official - Everybody's Got Their Crazy On

Got to love the holiday season. Some things about this time of year are wonderful, like holiday lights, and eggnog (oh my gosh, do I love eggnog), but other things are less delightful. Things like the Target parking lot. I keep thinking that we're still in November, and not just about a week away from Christmas. Thus, I thought I would just run in to Target and grab a couple of things - not even Christmas related urgent-type things. Duh.

Not only is the parking lot stuffed full of monster SUV's, everybody's just a tad on edge because they too have just realized that Christmas is just a little over one week away. This causes normally sane people to become a bit less sane. Quite a bit less sane, in fact. It's the holiday crazy that makes 9 SUV's think they can all have the same parking space, and instead of giving up and looking for another, they all clump up together beeping their horns, which of course echo beautifully in the concrete parking garage, and making charming gestures to one another.

It's always a joy to see the Christmas spirit in action. Fa La La La La, La La La La.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Done, Done, Done, Done!

YAY! It's done! This is Big Trouble's Christmas stocking that I began cross stitching when he was a baby (mind you, he's 6 now....). But then I learned to knit, and all the cross stitching got tucked away. I've made stockings for Miss Serious and The Professor, and last Christmas Big Trouble finally realized that he was the only one (well, besides me) that didn't have a personalized, hand-stitched stocking. So, I dug out the partially finished stocking, and this summer really began working on it in earnest, as I knew he would be looking for it this year, and I would feel enormous waves of Mommy guilt.

He faithfully followed my progress, and was always so happy when any new section got completed. I finished the embroidery a week or two ago, and rounded up the material to actually make the thing into a stocking. Last week I cut out the satin, velvet, and braid, narrowly avoiding the puddle of glitter glue that Miss Serious was working on at the table, got out my sewing machine, sat down to sew and.....had no maroon thread. Luckily my mother is an avid sewer and has just about every color thread known to man, so she brought me a spool yesterday, and today the stocking is finally a stocking! Hope you like it Big Trouble, and thanks for being so patient.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Life in Color

Just after Miss Serious was born, the digital camera boom set in. We got one when she was just a few months old, and have been happily snapping pictures with it (and its predecessor) since. All these lovely pictures were downloaded to the computer, and then sent via email to family and friends so that everyone could see every time she stuck her tongue out or held up her head ever so slightly. By the time Big Trouble came along, pictures only got taken when we were at an unusual location or someone was on fire.

The upshot of all this digital photo-taking is that we have no pictures. This does not mean we have no images of our children, but we have almost no actual, hold them in your hands pictures. I decided over the summer to rectify this, and go through the pictures on the computer to pick some to print and place in albums. Unfortunately, because we have taken 700 bajillion photos, this task was rather more daunting than I had planned, and, with my eyes spinning in opposite directions, I finally stopped around the time that Miss Serious would have been 1.

Fast forward several months, and I decided to get my bottom in gear (no subbing most of this week, as Miss Serious has 1/2 days at school) and get some more done. I spent about 2 hours last night going through them, and I've gotten up to about the time Big Trouble was 6 months old. The file in which I'm placing these pictures now has 200 images in it, and I have rather a long way to go. The process is wonderful, however, and it has been awfully fun to go through our lives together through the succession of smiles, messy eating, vacations, birthdays, and general cuteness that lives on my computer. Hopefully one of these days we'll have some albums to flip through and make the cuteness accessible to everyone.