Thursday, July 31, 2008

How Would You Respond?

I sent a little email to some of our friends and family announcing our newest family member (you know, the dog). Most of the responses I've gotten have been positive. Things like, "Cute!" and "You tricked me - I thought you'd had another baby!" But this morning I got this:

"You must be crazy to add a dog to the mix......"

From the woman who has 3 children under 4 and a Great Dane. ?? Seriously?? Maybe it's just my steroid-crash-induced frame of mind, but I sort of felt like that was unfair of her to say. That's actually an understatement of how it made me feel.

So all I could think of to say back was, "Better a dog than another baby..." but I was wondering what you would have said if you were me.

It's Not Fair

It's not fair that I was feeling pretty good yesterday and today I feel like I did 2 days ago. It shouldn't be allowed to go backward!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I've got nothing today. I hate the days after steroids. The world is spinning and I can't lie down whenever I need to or the kids/dog will get into trouble and it sucks.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

So I borrowed a book from the library that is on Entertainment Weekly's 100 New Classics list, which I first encountered on one of Dana's blogs. I had read about 6% of the books on the list and even though I disagreed about the classic-worthiness of a couple of them, I thought I'd try a few more. The one I started with was The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I'd never heard of it and didn't have any idea what it was about until I picked it up and read the back. The description, with words like "postapocalyptic" and "Oprah's Book Club" didn't grab me right off and the library's copy didn't mention the awards it won, but I thought I'd chance it anyway. It's about a father and son's journey across a cold, dead, burned out wasteland to the coast. I found it compelling, frightening, and touching. I'm no speed reader, but it took less than a week for me to finish, which is good for me. I even read it while the TV was on! Husbandguy wouldn't read it even if he was a reader, but according to Wikipedia, they're making it into a movie so maybe he'll watch it with me, at least. I hope the movie stays true to the book because if it does, I think it has a chance of being a gripping film.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Spooky Witches and Scary Monsters

Lulu has a perfectly normal, overactive, 2-year-old imagination. As a result, our house is apparently full of spooky witches and scary monsters. If you try to send her from the kitchen to the living room to retrieve her cup so you can get her some juice, she'll refuse. You have to go with her. She says, "No! Aaa! Aaa! Aaa!!" and skibbles over to you and grabs onto your leg as if her life depends on it. It's cute and exhausting at the same time.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

LL Says:

Husbandguy and Lulu were walking through a department store, and Lulu was Ooo-ing and Aah-ing at all the dresses on the mannequin shapes. The exchange went like this:

HG: Lulu, are you going to wear pretty dresses like that someday?
LL: Yeah. When I grow up and don't have a head, I will wear pretty dresses.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Don't Worry

The nurse from a different agency than last time will be here this afternoon.

More Help Wanted

Moomie gave me this first sentence.

Nyla sat on the edge of the wall and watched the turtle eating the cat food.

Thank you, Moomie. When we were talking about it, Moomie said that the real question is "Who is Nyla?" (Then I said that to The Grandpa like I thought of it myself...)

So I asked Moomie and Pete and I have my own idea who Nyla is, but who do you think she is? Leave a comment with your answer.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Even the best laid plans...

So my plan was not to get all stressy about the medicine for my MS this time. First of all, I didn't wait a week-and-a-half to call the doctor. I thought that might help me be more patient about it, you know, because, even though it still sucks and is still a stressful thing, it didn't seem as urgent as it would have if I'd waited like I did last time. I called yesterday, they called back, he ordered the referral to the home nurse, blah, blah, blah... You know, yesterday. And everything would be fine, even if the nurse called and said they couldn't come until Sunday because I hadn't waited and knew there might be a wait like last time and was prepared. Except I'm not prepared for the nurse not to call me at all. Which is seriously what appears to be happening. And the doctor's office closes at noon on Friday and everyone goes home, including the person who handles referrals so there's nothing I can expect from them before Monday. I didn't call this morning. It seemed too soon. I wish I had!

A few minutes ago I called the nursing agency that came out last time and left a message for some woman saying that my doctor was supposed to have called a nurse for me and I hadn't heard anything I didn't even know if it was them but would she call me back. I forgot to mention to her that the doctor's office is closed now. So now I'm waiting for her to call me back and if I don't hear from her by dinnertime, I'll have a meltdown when Husbandguy gets home so he can handle the parenting and then I'll try really hard to put it aside for the weekend and call the doctor on Monday and make a REALLY BIG NOISE. I might even cry and make them uncomfortable, which would totally serve them right.

Happy Birthday, Grandpa!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Puppy + 2 year-old + 6 year-old + Husbandguy's work + no-time-off = MS. Waiting for the doctor to call me back...

Potty Update

Lulu is still not potty trained. I admit I've neglected it recently because it seemed slightly more important to potty train the dog for the past 2 weeks and I couldn't do both (I'm only NearlySuperMom this summer, apparently). So now that Howie is almost all learned, I've started focusing on Lulu again, but she's not helping at all. She says things like, "Noooo!" and, "I caaaan't!" and "I don't waaant tooooo!" So we're upping the motivation. I'm going to make her a new sticker chart and we've started doing a little dance for peepee, not just poopoo, and we're going to continue the extra special treat for poopoo-in-the-potty. Because she can do it - she just doesn't want to. But who knows what really motivates her?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

LL Says:

This morning, Lulu followed Husbandguy into the bathroom and announced, "Daddy made orange juice!"

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Not an Endorsement

So I get this magazine that's basically an ad for a particular brand of food-stuff. You probably get one too. It's free. Last week, right before I was going to make my menu for the week and grocery list, it came. Now I almost wish a new one would come every week right before I make my list. Because of the 5 days that I planned meals (we leave 2 for leftovers and eating out), 3 - no 4 were inspired by the "magazine." I actually nearly followed the recipe for one meal, and Pete said it was her new favorite thing for me to cook. And it had peas in it. And it was a casserole that Husbandguy ate. One thing was just a picture I saw and doesn't require a recipe, and for the other 2 things, the recipes were pretty good guidelines, but I'm pretty sure that what I cooked was way better. But I appreciated the ideas.

For the 5th day I found a recipe online and printed it. It sounded really good and was highly rated and I had every intention of making it the way it said but that didn't happen.

If only meal planning was that easy every week!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Wanna Help Me?

Send me a first sentence for my novel. Don't worry that I haven't told you what it's about. Just send the best first sentence you can think of.

Like this one that a friend sent me:

He had taught himself French using a booklet with all the words spelled phonetically so, while his pronunciation was nearly perfect, he couldn't read or write French at all.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Rawhide Chews

Rawhide chews are gross! They get all floppy and gooey where the dog chews them until the dog gets that part off and EW! But rawhide chews are apparently great exercise because Howie always needs a nap after working on his. And they're good for the table legs...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

LL Says:

At dinner the other day I ordered beets instead of salad with my lasagna because I don't like salad and I didn't want applesauce or coleslaw or something, but I do like beets and they were pickled, and I don't care if you think beets and lasagna sounds gross - I hadn't had beets in forever and wanted them. When they came and our server put them on the table in front of me, Lulu said, "Oh! I don't like those!" Whatever!! She'd never even seen a beet. So when she asked for a drink of my lemonade I told her she had to have a little taste of a beet first and she did. I don't think she didn't like them, but I'm pretty sure she wasn't sure that she did. She ate a whole slice on her own, though...

Friday, July 18, 2008

House/Crate/Leash Training

Howie is pretty much house trained. I think he had an accident yesterday, but I take responsibility for it because I was busy with several things and missed the time when I would have normally taken him out, and I found the wet spot on the rug right inside the door where he normally goes out. I don't think I'm fooling myself. Nuh-uh, I am not! Shhh! Just listen! He's a good dog.

Yesterday, Pete commanded Howie to go in his crate, just to see if she could, and he went in, and she gave him a treat. Then he decided to stay and play in there for a little bit. And when we got home from a little outing later, Husbandguy went to let him out, and he was in his crate, which we leave open in the bathroom with him when we shut him up. And I think he slept there last night because that's where he was when I let him out this morning. Yay! Still, though, we're not going to shut him in his crate unless we absolutely have to, like if we're travelling or something. We'll practice with the door closed, but the gate on the bathroom is sufficient to protect the house from chewing puppy teeth when we can't be with him. For now...

He does okay on his leash now. He needs to go for walks because we don't have a good backyard for a puppy to run around in and he gets bored and nippy sometimes and clearly needs exercise. Plus, I firmly believe that dogs should be walked even if they have a backyard they can play in*. He doesn't seem to enjoy our walks yet, though. My friend suggested that I have Pete run ahead with treats to give him when he does well, but we haven't figured out how to give him the treat without stopping, which we're trying to avoid. Pete running ahead seems to work on its own sometimes, though, so we just make lots of happy, good-dog noises when he does well and keep going.

I think I might try starting to teach him to sit this weekend. Maybe that will help with the Lulu issue...

*I asked HG if he would build Howie a fence if I cleared out the woods and made our backyard usable, thinking he would say yes because there's no way I can do it myself, but he said no because he's afraid I'd actually try to do it and fall down the hill and hurt myself (I wouldn't, by the way - I only did that once and I only got hurt because the lawn mower fell on me - it was turned off).

Sibling Rivalry

When I say to Howie, "Do you want to go out?" he trots toward the door and Lulu scrambles after us exclaiming, "I'm coming too! I have pants on!!" Unless she's not wearing pants (or shorts or a skirt or PJ bottoms). Then she runs off in search of pants crying, "Wait for me! I needa get my pants on!!" And sometimes she just pushes her way out with us in a t-shirt and pull-up. Pants be damned!

I'm a little concerned that there is a struggle in Howie's mind over who is more dominant in our little pack, him or Lulu. He's fine with Pete, but with Lulu, he jumps on her from behind and nips at her ears and hair. He knocked her down yesterday and wrestled around on her head until I rescued her. It was actually a comical sight except that it's not okay. I could be wrong about what's happening, since he's our first dog, but in case I'm not, I need to find out what to do because I suspect that his full-grown size next year is going to be bigger than her 3 year-old size...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I guess. If you're gonna make me...

Howie says: "Fine. I'll walk with you, but you can't make me like it."

If you get a puppy...

...get him during cooler weather or your knees will be all scratched up from his little puppy claws.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Differences Between Howie and Lulu

Aside from the obvious (Lulu's face is way less furry than Howie's)...

MN says, "Go potty!" Howie goes potty. Lulu says, "I caaaaaan't!"

MN says, "Come here!" Howie comes here. Lulu continues whatever she was doing as though MN didn't even speak.

MN says, "Get down!" Howie reluctantly gets down. Lulu says, "No! I won't!"

MN likes Lulu better, though.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hey! Cook This!

Pete invented this recipe (based on a faux-Nutrigrain Bar recipe I have). We haven't had a chance to make it yet because she just came up with it so we're not sure about a couple of the amounts. You might need to use more chocolate chips and/or peanut butter and/or marshmallows, but you should make it and tell us what you think. Here you go.

Roke Rode Bars a la Pete (aka Rocky Road Bars)

Cream together:
-1 cup butter or margarine, softened
-1 cup brown sugar
-1 tsp vanilla extract.
-1 cup whole wheat flour
-1 cup all purpose flour
-1½ cup quick-cooking oats.
Stir to combine. Press ⅓ of the crust mixture into a greased 8"x8" or 9"x9" square pan. Bake at 350º F for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with:
-½ cup chocolate chips.
Let stand until chips begin to melt. Spread chocolate over crust. Press ⅓ of crust onto chocolate layer. Spread over crust:
-½ cup crunchy peanut butter.
Press remaining crust onto peanut butter layer. Sprinkle with:
-½ cup mini marshmallows.
Bake at 350º for 20-25 minutes or until crust is done and marshmallows are golden brown. Cool and cut into 1" squares.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Baby Steps

This morning Howie asked to be let out.

On the other hand, he peed in his crate, which we left open in the bathroom with him last night, in spite of the fact that there were newspapers on the other side of the room for peeing on.

LL Says:

Lulu sneezed in the direction of the dog and said, "I blessed on the dog!"

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Favorite Cousin hosted my family's bi-annual family reunion this weekend, and I feel bad that we were not there because we didn't go to the last one she hosted either, and I know she worked really hard on it, especially since she just had the most adorable little baby boy a few months ago who I'm not getting to meet this weekend like I should be. But I'm not a very good cousin. I'm sorry FC.

A Word of Advice

If you know for a fact that you do not want a puppy, don't interact with puppies because you just might convince yourself that you can handle a puppy when what you really want is an adult dog. I love Howie to pieces and we've made great strides* this weekend on house training and crate training, but I am really looking forward to him growing up. And also I need a nap.

*House training: He had one small accident in the house this afternoon, but then one time I took him out and he refused to come in when I called him because he still needed to go. He went and came right with me when he was done.
*Crate training: He'll go into his crate when I say, "Howie. Crate." and point inside. Some of the time. But he still doesn't like to have the door closed and will cry and tear up the newspaper inside if it's closed, even if I'm right there in the room. It turns out, though, that the gate-type rig we'd made up of kitchen chairs to keep him in the bathroom at night isn't going to work because he can get out so Husbandguy is on a mission today to find a sturdy, inexpensive, non-house-damaging gate that Howie can't get over. He did okay in the bathroom last night. He cried some when we put him in and then he moved the chairs and got out almost right away, but HG put him back in and, after crying for a few more minutes, he settled down and we didn't hear him again until about 6:30 this morning.
*He still doesn't like walking on a leash. We're trying a collar instead of a harness.

He's a good dog. I still say he's smart. And stubborn, like my other kids. I am looking forward to getting past this initial stuff and to him being old enough (vaccinated enough) for puppy kindergarten so I can figure out what I'm doing! I wonder what our lives will be like, the puppy's and mine, when the girls go back to school. Easier, more restful, I hope.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Puppy

The vet sent Howie home yesterday morning since he was up and active and had had 3 negative parvo tests. Who knows what was really wrong. I think he was just super depressed. We took him away from the rescue ranch and all his brothers and sisters and other dogs and horses and ducks and made him sleep and stay in a crate without really allowing him to get comfortable in it first. The vet said he was too depressed for it to be that, but by the time she saw him it had been a really long time since he'd eaten or had anything to drink so of course he was super sick.

So for now he's sleeping in our bathroom at night with the door blocked by a gate and doing okay with that. He cries a little, but not as much or as frantically as he did in the crate, and we're right there and can talk to him (we were with the crate too, but it's different), and he has a ton of room to move around and shouldn't feel so confined. And we're going to really focus on crate training this weekend and try not to leave him alone at all until he likes it.

Our puppy also doesn't like walking on a leash. It's annoying and a little funny. He just won't do it sometimes. When we start out he freezes or lies down and won't go any farther. I pick him up and put him on his feet and he'll walk a little and then lie down again. But when we turn around to go home, he's a leash-walking champ. He trots along like an old pro, next to me or one of the girls, doesn't pull on the leash or stop or anything. Silly pup.

He still prefers peeing on the carpet, so far. I'm not sure he knows how to ask me to let him out, yet, but I'm getting better at picking up on his body language and taking him outside when I think he needs to go. I may actually be overcompensating because we've spent a lot of time outside today and yesterday not going potty, but we'll figure it out.

He actually seems like a pretty smart dog. Now to find out if I'm actually a pretty smart dog-owner...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Howie's Home

More later. Pete wants to use the computer.

LL Says:

The other night Pete asked Lulu if she wanted to do something (don't remember what exactly - not super important). Lulu's answer was, "Maybe not," which made Pete and me laugh because, remember, Lulu is only barely 2 years old and that's just really, really cute. We all walked into the room where Husbandguy was and I said, "Hey Lulu, tell Daddy what you just said," and Lulu said, "I said 'no,' and they laughed," in a it's-not-right-for-them-to-laugh-at-me tone of voice. Then we laughed again. Poor Lulu.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Possible Parvo

It's not right that the morning that Howie actually told me he needed to go out and I picked up on it before he had an accident is the same morning that we had to leave him at the vet overnight to see if he has a terrible, incurable puppy virus that may or may not kill him but will cost $1000+ to treat either way.

Maybe we're not dog people...

Pete's School

We found out this week that the new secretary at Pete's school is the director from Lulu's school. Apparently Lulu is going to have a new director next year. Isn't it funny how worlds get intertwined?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Home Only 2 Days!

Darn it! Puppy is sick! Or something. He has an appointment at the vet tomorrow morning because he's itchy and licking himself a lot and sleeps all the time (today) and is uninterested in playing or leash-training and won't eat and actually heaves when you suggest he eat and hasn't had anything to drink since midday today (Wednesday). I was supposed to host cooking camp tomorrow, but since our vet appointment is one of those, "Be here at x o'clock and we'll fit you in," and also because we don't actually know what's wrong with him, and also because only Pete and one other girl could make it anyway, I offered to host next week instead and we're all taking a week off. I feel bad, but nobody seemed to mind too much. Moomie is coming over to stay with Lulu (and Pete if Pete wants, but I'd bet money that Pete will go with Howie and me). It was Moomie's idea and a really great one, I think. Thank you, Moomie.

So, for the one of you that is actually not tired of my dog updates, stay tuned. More are coming!!

More About Howie

Howie seems a little sad today. He's been sleeping all day and doesn't really want to play with us much. I know puppies sleep a lot, like babies, but he just seems a little off to me. Plus I don't want him to sleep all day and cry all night... Pete and I just gave him a bath to wake him up a little. Too soon to tell if it worked. He was super good for us, though. Although he still smells like Howie...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


You should come visit us if you want to meet this fuzzy-faced cutie...

Monday, July 7, 2008

That's Not Right

Some man gave Lulu a $100 bill yesterday at breakfast! I tried to give it back to him, but he ran off. I managed to give it to a woman who was with him who put it in her pocket. So he may or may not get it back, but we didn't keep it. It was very strange. And creepy.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Not Our Prince

That cute little old-lady's dog, it turns out, is not the dog for us. We love him. He's sweet and submissive and pretty obedient (he'll drop the ball when you tell him to), but he's almost 6 years old, hasn't yet been spayed, and appears to not be completely housebroken - one of the handlers mentioned that he has a tendancy to lift his leg to mark his territory and that "that should get better when he's neutered," but if I'm going to have to train a dog not to pee in the house, we might as well get a puppy. I don't know. I feel bad. I called and told them nevermind, though. We'll keep looking.

I promise I'll just let you know when we actually get a dog. You're probably pretty tired of all this almost-getting-a-dog stuff. I know I am. If you start to wonder what's going on, just ask and I'll specifically send you an update...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

We Should Record an Album

Hey, PSP! I had a great idea in the car on the way to Nana and Poppop's yesterday. You and I should put out a Christmas album. We could call it something like "A Sparkly Pants Christmas" or something. And we could sell it on our blogs, download only, to keep from having to pay to make CDs. What do you think? Do you know a good backup band?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Dog Update (do you care?)

Seeing that I apparently really want a dog, Pete and Lulu and I went to the shelter and visited with a couple. The first one, a very sweet, medium-size Terrier/Hound mix was exactly the type of dog I was expecting our family to get when we started all of this. She wasn't right for us, though, because Pete was intimidated by her, which isn't cool. I get if Lulu is a little uncertain. As long as she isn't terrified (or scared at all, really), we can moderate her contact with the dog until she's comfortable, but Pete has to be confident and able to really pet and play with the dog. So we sent her (the dog, not Pete) back to her run and the nice helper-lady went in search of another dog. After a few minutes she came back and said, "Follow me. I've found the perfect dog for your family."
Seriously? This is our dog? A foofy little fluffball? That's an old lady's dog! Lulu wasn't sure about him at first because he's just the right size to put his paws on her shoulders and kiss her face, which he did first thing. But here's the thing: by the end of our visit, both girls - BOTH girls- had played with him and petted him and loved on him. He likes to play fetch with tennis balls, which we can do indoors, which is great because we could get away with only walking him twice a day, I think. He'll fit in the kennel we bought for the other dog we didn't get so we don't have to exchange it.

On the other hand, though, he's a boy, he's almost 5 years old, and he hasn't been neutered yet (they'll do that before they let us adopt him). I really wanted a girl, under 2. But we can still change our minds if we find someone somepup better while we're waiting for him to recover from his cold so he can be neutered.

HG is going with us on Saturday to visit with him too. We'll see what he thinks...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

MSC Cooking Camp

Many months ago, Pete mentioned that her friend had taken a cooking camp last summer and said she (Pete) would like to do that this summer. When I asked her friend's mom about it, she said that this summer they were just going to cook together instead and maybe Pete could join them sometimes. I thought that sounded cool and said maybe we could return the favor and have Pete's friend cook with us and from there it turned into a regular, once-a-week thing. Then Pete and her friend invited everyone they know to join us. Not a good idea in my tiny kitchen... Fortunately only one more friend could do it.

This week is the third week. So far the girls have decorated recipe boxes (they get a recipe card to put in it with each week's recipe) and made s'mores and deviled eggs. I think they're making some sort of Cheerio/marshmallow thing this week (it's not my week to lead), which they will love, I'm sure. I need to come up with a good (nutritious, yummy, easy) recipe for next week that doesn't include marshmallows, though. Maybe something they could eat for lunch? Anybody got any ideas?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Post That's Not About the Dog!

The other day, the Grandpa suggested that I write a synopsis of my novel. That sounded to me like a really good way to get started, since I've been having trouble just writing the thing. I am about 3/5 of the way through it, and here's what I've discovered. I think the reason that I can't start actually writing it is that I don't really have a beginning. The middle and end are fairly well developed (I think - I haven't actually written down the ending, yet), but if I write a novel that starts the way my synopsis starts, you all will get bored and give up before you get to the interesting parts. I would.

This is what they mean by work-in-progress...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


She's been adopted. Man! We loved her!! It's okay. At least she's got a home.

On the plus side... Well, two things: First, we're approved to get a dog and so can go whenever and pick out an even more perfect new family member. Second, we don't have to worry about the new dog on the 4th. What with the fireworks booming frighteningly and a potential trip to see Nana and Poppop, we were a little iffy about having a new dog. So we'll go Saturday. Early. And be first in line for whatever wonderful lovey needs us most.

Meanwhile, Pete and I are watching the website and have a couple picked out to visit with if they're still there this weekend.

Sorry that I'm all One-Track-Mind-y

I think Husbandguy has joined the dog bandwagon because we just had an email exchange that went like this:

MN: If they don't call by the end of the day tomorrow, I'm going to call them Thursday and just check on the status of our application.
HG: You may not want to wait that long. Call end of today or tomorrow morning. Just to check on status. You don't want it to fall through the cracks or our application to be lost.

Right? He's on board. Right? Because if not, he wouldn't have said that. That's a direct quote from his email (I can forward it to you if you don't believe me). He wouldn't have said anything, probably.

And Moomie said, "If you get a dog, do you want me to come visit you?" and I said, "Um, yeah? But we want you to come visit us even if we don't get a dog."

And Pete and I checked the website this morning. The other dog that we had considered is gone from the pictures so we think she's been adopted. We were relieved to see that ours is still there.

Fingers crossed! Right, guys?
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