Sunday, April 29, 2007

Doggie Post

So, KJ made it impossible for me not to show off my boy, the furry one. OK, so Jake has fur too, but I am talking about Max, our Great Dane.
He was rescued from a pet store that was killing and bagging sick animals and putting them in the dumpster to rot. When he came to us, he had no manners at all. He was taken from his pack way too early and showed no signs of proper socialization. If we were going to keep him, we would have to invest some time and teach him to be a well-mannered member of the family, which, at the time, was just Cindy and me.
He was underweight, had mange, and no idea what it was to be pet and loved, having lived in a cage for most of his existence. So the training began. He was a nipper. Some people thinks it's cute when puppies nip, but a nip from a 12 week old, 30-pound puppy is NOT cute, especially on the inner thigh. Now he is 120 pounds of pure, unadulterated love.
He is jet black, although his face is beginning to show signs of aging, his chin is getting white. Sweet doesn't even scratch the surface when we're talking about Max. He is not the smartest dog, but actually quite dopey. He has the innocence of a child in his eyes and is gentle as a lamb. He is a haunt. He follows Olivia wherever she goes. when he's not tracking her, his nose is up my butt until Cindy gets home, then his nose is up her butt. When we are all in one room, he is in heaven, and plants himself smack in the middle of the 5 of us. It's when 1 or more of us leaves the room that his anxiety level begins to rise. Then he begins to pace, looking up the stairs or out the door, depending on where we have gone. He walks in circles and looks out the window until whoever left returns. He insists on being as close to the babies as he can get without actually lying on top of them.
He does like to sit on us, though. He is not allowed on the furniture, but he will back up to us when we are sitting and drop his behind in our laps. I love when he does that. I also love getting hugs. He will, on command only, hop up and place his paws on our shoulders - he even dances with us. When he does this, I have to look up to him - he stands about 6'2" on his hind legs.
He is very protective and gets crazed when anyone approaches any of "his people" quickly. He lets out a stern warning - GRRRRRR! As soon as we tell him it's ok, then it love time. He gets in close, gives a good sniff and proceeds to take a load off and lean on his newfound friend.
Enough gushing - we love him! Here are some pics. Some are from over a year ago, but he hasn't changed much. The Bull Mastiff with Max is his buddy, Kasha, my brother's dog - what a MUSH!

Friday, April 27, 2007

A Mother's Love

On Wednesday I woke with a sense of profound loneliness. How could it be? The house was full of people, my entire family was here with me. I went on about my business of getting Olivia ready for school, feeding the twins, feeding the dog, cleaning the house, etc. I thought the feeling would would fade as the day wore on. It never did.
It was only this morning that I realized what it was. It was the anniversary of my Mom's death. She has been gone for 8 years. It still seems so unreal. How could I have forgotten? Now the feeling is back, but worse.
It's a rainy, gloomy day and I am quite sure I will think of little else today. I know because I have these days every year, and they don't seem to get any better with the passage of time. In fact, they get worse. Worse because there is so much in my life now that I wish I could share with her; so many things she would have been so proud of me for. Worse because she would never know that, despite any doubts she may have had, she really did do a good job as a mom. Worse because she never met Cindy, whom she would have adored, and because she never knew the joy of her grandchildren. That saddens me most.

It wasn't until I was in my late 20's that I realized just what great lady she was and how lucky I was that she was my mother.

And so I have regrets.
I wish I didn't give her trouble and make her worry when I was young.
I wish I never said anything to hurt her feelings.
I wish I never made her cry.
I wish I spent more time with her.
I wish I realized what a special woman she was long before I did.
I wish I told her how smart and witty I thought she was.
I wish I told her I loved her more than I did.
I wish I called her more, just to say hi.
I wish I hugged her more.
I wish I told her I felt blessed to be her daughter.
Most of all, I wish she were here.

As Mother's Day approaches, I will think of her often and fondly. I will not remember the arguments, the hurtful words or the times we didn't speak. I will remember her smile, her laughter and how I felt when she hugged me and told me that she loved me.
I know now that a Mother's love is powerful; it can define you. I will remember that I am a mother now, and it is an awesome responsibility.
And I will pray for the strength and wisdom to do right by my children, and that they always know, as I did, that they are loved.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Fantasy Weekend

Funny how children change you. Used to be that my ideal weekend was spent going away to the shore, lying around on the beach all day, retiring to our overpriced B&B for a nap, then topping it off with an extravagant dinner, probably filet mignon and lobster tail coupled with a fine wine. Oh how times have changed. We spent this weekend much differently, but it was the best weekend I can remember in a long time.
Here's how it went...
Saturday morning was spent emptying the crawl space under the house of the 4 inches of water left from the Noreaster last weekend. Very fragrant - and the dead, half eaten mouse floating near the broken sump pump was a bonus. Cindy sucked up water with the wet vac, lifted it out to me, Olivia and I brought it to the street and dumped it. Repeat.
After my lovely wife broke her back bending over down there for 3 hours (crawl space - 5 ft high, wife - 6 ft tall), we thought it would be a good idea to clean out the garage (AGAIN) and make room for both vehicles. Afterall, we do have a new minivan (UGHH) and we should take care of it, right? So it began. Olivia was very helpful. We dragged everything out into the driveway and she helped sort through it, in her very special I am almost 3 and everything here is a potential toy way. Fun! But, uh-oh, the shed is full and there is no where to store a lot of this stuff. I know, let's throw it out. OK. Done. Wanna tackle the shed? Nope - there's always tomorrow. Now Cindy's niece shows up unannounced. Awesome! She's 18 going on 40. She has an old soul, but I'll tell you more about her in another post. We need to get ready to go out tonight. Friend's birthday and we got a sitter - going to a fancy restaurant that serves alcohol - wahoo! But we're pretty tired and Cindy's back is really sore and she can hardly walk, so we made a decision that would turn out to be the best one of the day. We cancel with our friends trade in the fancy meal for sushi on the patio. Oh yeah - and margaritas - cold and refreshing. I left out the part where in between all that we were feeding, changing, soothing and playing with 2 particularly needy infants. They both have coughs and are very congested, so I also spent a lot of time sucking out the goop from their noses - yummy!
Needless to say, we were in bed by 9 and slept like babies.
Sunday - got the whole family dressed and packed in the car by 9 am and headed to Starbuck's. We sat and drank our coffee and ate fruit and fed the babies and talked and it was great. Then we headed to Walmart for a couple things, but by the time we got there, we forgot what we needed, so we just walked around for a while. Bought an Elmo plate for Olivia - had to have it. After all, it was only $.98. Then it was lunch time - how did that happen? Picked up some cold cuts, came home, made sandwiches and moved on to the next chore. You guessed it - cleaning out the shed. Cindy tackled that while I cut the lawn - my favorite chore (really). It's cathartic for me. Shed clean, grass lookin' good, kids fed, changed and sleeping...what's that? You want a margarita? OK, shake 'em up. Started getting dinner together while enjoying the icy treat. Chicken wings on the grill with a salad and corn on the cob. Perfect. Then we all (including the dog) took a walk in the park across the street, came home, put Olivia to bed, folded laundry, fed the babies and crashed.

While some of you may be wondering why I think this was the perfect weekend, others know exactly why.

I've attached some pictures from Sunday - Olivia feeding the babies. She spent over half and hour holding them in her wagon giving them their bottles. I was amazed at her patience. She is always amazing me - usually in a good way. I didn't take any pix of the garage and shed, though I was tempted, they are works of art.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

How To Make A Rainbow

OK, so here I go. I will now attempt to blog betwixt and between the feedings, diaper changes, pickups, dropoffs, cooking, cleaning, get the message.

How do I begin? HMMMM......

My family is a rainbow, a colorful cast of characters who fill my soul with more love and joy than I thought it could house. They have made me whole. They are my pot of gold.

Cast of characters:

Me (Elyse) - 36 year old stay-at-home mom caring for 4 children (3 human, 1 canine). My family is my world, it sustains me and I need little else. With the arrival of the twins, I am a little anxious these days about being the kind of partner and mother I know I can be . I am determined to raise our children to be loving, considerate human beings who contribute to the well-being of this Earth and its people. Maybe my fellow bloggers can help me.

Cindy - Wife and partner of nearly 8 years. My rock, my soft place to land, my guiding light, my loveable, patient, neurotic, hardworking, garage-cleanin', yardworkin', powertoolin', no-cookin', freak. She is my best friend and my favorite person in the whole world.

Max - Our beautiful 4 year old Black Great Dane. Our 1st attempt at parenting. After all, practice makes perfect, right? If our children could be as well-behaved as he is, we'd be in the parenting Hall of Fame. Biggest baby in the world, but he is the sweetest (yet most anxiety-ridden) animal on the planet. He thinks he is responsible for the safety of our block, our yard, our house and everyone and everything in it. Needs a Xanax!

Olivia - 1st-born human child. She will be 3 in July. Strong-willed, extra-sensitive (these 2 qualities do NOT mix well in 1 person), sweet, considerate toddler who is already smarter than I will ever be. But I'm still in charge (for now). Presently, favorite word is no - even when the question is "Do you want ice cream?".

Emma - 1st of the twin beans to emerge 4 weeks ago. She is 1 minute older than her brother, to whom she bears absolutely no resemblance, while being the long-lost identical twin of her older sister. She is the noisemaker, slow eater and 1st to wake and cry - every time. Girls!

Jake - 2nd twin bean to emerge and the only creature in the house with testicles (Max lost his years ago). Poor little man. There is a sweetness in his face that melts my heart. He just can never be the horrendous creature that my friends warn me boys ultimately become. I am not a believer.