Category Archives: pets

Little Things

Mini Gwinn has been 16 months old for a few days now. I marvel at how quickly he has grown and changed and how much he understands now. I’m going to update you on some new things, whether you like it or not, so sit tight. For instance, he:

-knows where his tongue and his nose are. This is quite cute when you ask him.
-knows what “water” is in his bathtub. He will happily demonstrate this knowledge by splashing ecstatically.
-runs. Falls. Looks at me. Smiles. Repeat.
-knows the dogs’ names. Says “beans” in reference to Jovee, who is known as “Jovee Beans”.
-leans in for kisses, especially for dogs, CLP and myself. Talk about heart melting, people.
-said “no way!” and shook his head vigorously as I offered him bread. That’s right, my kid is Paeleo, people. He won’t eat noodles or bread. I’ve tried quinoa noodles with no success, bread with some honey and butter, sandwiches- nada.
-goes down the slide solo. Like climbs to the top of the jungle gym at the park, and sends himself backwards down the slide.
-goes up AND down our terrifying staircase. He’s been going up for months, but he has now mastered the art of the descent.
-says “need help” when he wants assistance. This isn’t consistent yet, but he does say it.
-throws the ball for Jovee. Plays tug of war with her. Thank God she’s so gentle with him.
-really, really enjoys repeating “l” sounds, especially “bl” together, which from what I’ve observed, are usually pretty difficult for many children until the age 3-4 (that’s not the case for all, of course, but more of a blanket statement after spending time with many children)

He does this a lot.

He does this a lot.

Can he identify colors? Does he know where his tummy, eyes, toes and fingers are? Nope. But he does say some funny stuff and he amazes me every day with all the little things he’s learning. He doesn’t let me cuddle with him, but he is so much fun. He’s getting more into cars now, which is awesome for his parents (we really like cars). He has a sense of humor. He is quiet for long stretches of time, steeped into his own world of thought and discovery, then he pops his head up, says something of deep, profound meaning, “GAH BAH DWEEEB BLEETHEL! Bleethel bleethel bleethel.” and then he falls back into silence (I still don’t know what “bleethel” means but he loves to say it). In my whole life I never thought I would find such joy in watching someone so small discover life.

All smiles on the swings!

All smiles on the swings!

These past few months have been particularly difficult with crests and falls that would make lesser couples crumble. There have been times, even today, when I feel like I am at my weakest, and those exquisite, striking blue eyes look up at me and I feel like I can keep going for a little longer. Coffee helps too. But my son, in all the struggle of life (even with him, sometimes), reminds me that there are better days ahead.

He had to stop driving to tell me something important.

He had to stop driving to tell me something important.



Typically when I sit down to write a blog I have a vague idea of what I want to say without any sort of “pre- writing”. Most of what I write isn’t polished, nor are there multiple versions before the “finished product” is posted to the interwebs. Today is no different. Honestly, I wasn’t planning on saying anything today.

But, readers, today I am overwhelmed.

It’s no small secret that I handle minor stresses badly. Having a baby? No big. Dishes in the sink? My face could explode. Running late for an appointment? I may blow up the house. Clearly, I should be working on how to manage stress in my life. Normally I work out until I just don’t have the energy to care. Take that away and I actually create problems, usually making a stress mess from nothing.

I haven’t been to the gym in a week. For some that’s not a big deal at all (“Hey, I haven’t been to the gym in 35 years, yuk yuk”), for others that’s mind blowing.

I may actually develop super powers and blow up our entire block because of the pent up energy I have.

It’s not out of laziness, I can assure you. With mini Gwinn’s changing nap routine (he’s growing up, after all- he said his first word on Father’s Day!), the usual time I go to the gym has shifted from the late morning to not at all. The childcare is only open until 1 PM (getting out of the house by noon is next to impossible with his new nap time that he’s selected), so by the time he’s up, fed, changed and I’ve changed clothes after having food thrown at me, it’s 12:45. Captain Laser Pants asked why I didn’t just do what I had planned and ignore the little dude’s nap. “Just put him in the car and go,” I believe, were his exact words.

Any parent knows that an interrupted nap is worse than no nap. To his credit, CLP doesn’t usually see our baby in daytime hours during the week- he wouldn’t know what a napless mini Gwinn looks like. Of course I didn’t follow his suggestion. I’m giving our baby what he needs. So after figuring out the new nap time and duration, I cleverly planned our morning around it and accommodated for the time. We were ready for the gym at our new time and BAM- I couldn’t find my key. Ten minutes later I asked CLP if he had it. He found it in his pocket. At work. Our new car has one key with a broken ring hole- it has been lost several times since the purchase of said vehicle. This minor stress has been accepted and isn’t really an issue. What compounded my reaction was that, after a week of no gym, I also realized that our little guy needs his acid reflux medicine, we’re out of baby wipes, and I need more vegetables to make solid food for the kid. Bonus- I dropped a heavy muffin tin on my toes this morning, my little guy has thrown up on me twice since 10 AM, and I have the caffeine shakes. Don’t get me started on the lack of dinner for tonight.

I’m a little overwhelmed today.

Being a stay at home mom can be overwhelming. I have a house that I can barely keep neat, let alone clean and organized. The three dogs tend to get in all kinds of trouble throughout the day. The baby has discovered new and unusual ways to cause injury to me (he flails his arms in the general direction of my cyst- covered face and leans away from my body, making my arm go numb from holding him). Some days are hard. Some days I want to throw bricks at glass panes. Some days I am amazed at the accumulation of laundry that has developed in the course of three hours. Some days I want to run full speed off the Empire State Building.


He’s totally worth the stress.

At 6 PM (when my little guy has chosen to make his bed time) I squish my little man up against my chest, feed him, sing him a lullaby, and stroke his hair until he falls asleep peacefully in my arms. Whether or not the day has defeated me, the evening brings a precious peace that feels like melting into a hot bath filled with lavender oil (Wow, that sounds lovely right now). I sneak into his nursery several times between 6:30 PM and when I finally fall asleep just so I can steal a kiss or stare lovingly at my sleeping child.

Funny- even imaging it has calmed my frayed nerves. I suppose it’s all about putting into perspective the paces through which we put ourselves every day. Keeping in mind the obstacles life throws at us, being overwhelmed is normal, nay, expected. Accepting that every hour is different and rising to the challenge of a new day? That’s part of being a mom.

Now, about that lavender bath…

The Crazy Beast Keepers

It is a well known fact that the ratio of dependents to adults directly correlates with just how crazy said adults are. Captain Laser Pants and I have a baby and three high energy dogs- we are officially crazy beast keepers. If we had two Golden Retrievers or Basset Hounds, our life would be much, much calmer. Instead, we have a baby who moves constantly and three dogs that don’t rest until their batteries are fully drained.

This is Lenny. His official name is Leonard Lewis. He is a Beagle- Corgi mix. Somehow one of the smartest breeds jumped out of math class and mixed up with one of the, ahem, “most stubborn” (that is code for dumbest) breeds, and -tada!- we have Len. He is absolutely cute and takes FOREVER to warm up to people. Lenny is the oldest and smallest, weighing in at 35 lbs. He is vocal like a Beagle, long and midgety like a Corgi, and has personality for days. He does the cutest crawling/ bounding/ head tossing like a pony action when he’s excited. Captain Laser Pants told me a story about Len when he was about six months old- he pulled a chair out from the table, jumped on the chair, jumped on the table, and then ate dad’s wallet. Considering his legs are like, three inches long, that’s pretty awesome. Seriously, he’s our little Lou, and he’s presh.

Jovee looks fast with her Greyhound ears.

This is Jovee. Her name is taken from the word “jovial”, and believe me, she is the happiest dog ever. She is also the most energetic. She is an Australian Cattle Dog mixed with a Greyhound- too energetic for her own good, and ridiculously fast. If she gets out of the house, we are hard pressed to catch her. When she’s not mauling her brothers, she is chewing eagerly on her tennis ball, staring intently at her tennis ball, or inventing games with her tennis ball (she buries it in blankets and then “digs” it up). She potty trained in a week, and learned to ring a bell to go outside within a few days. Jovee Bean can often look like Ed from the Lion King. People have asked me if she was a “deer” (yes, a deer. Seriously!), a “dingo” (because it’s totally legal to have Australian wild dogs as pets in the US), and “the kind of dog that eats other dogs” (there are cannibal breeds as domestic pets?!). Aside from not looking particularly dog-like, she is an awesome running partner. She is the sweetest/ craziest animal I’ve ever, ever met.

Gambit dressed himself in my shorts.

Let me introduce you to Gambit. If he could speak, he would sound like Antonio Banderas. He is a Basenji- Lab mix (Basenjis are African barkless hunting dogs). He whinnies and yodels, but doesn’t bark. He can put on a pair of shorts by himself, loves to wear scarfs, and is a very, very prancy boy. His nicknames include: Prance, Gambo, Bambo, Bambit, a curse word that sounds eerily similar to his name, and Prance Pants. He is usually found laying on someone (read: anyone) or acting as Jovee’s chew toy. His singular mission in life is the pursuit of food. He is infamous for his ability to jump onto counters to retrieve brownies, cake, pie- you name it, he’s eaten it off the counter. He is the reason our house has baby gates. As a street puppy, he must have hunted for his food, because he loves to stalk squirrels. One night in Minneapolis he got out, and a few minutes later, came back with a plum. He has launched himself out of the car window on two separate occasions, eaten glass from baking dishes after knocking them off counters, eaten pounds of chocolate fudge, and lived to tell the tale. Or tail.

When I was pregnant we had predicted that Jovee would be the most protective of the baby, Lenny would be the dog most likely to bite the baby, and Gambit would be ambivalent. After mini Gwinn came home from the hospital, Lenny was the first to receive him into the pack. Gambit, as we predicted, was totally ambivalent, and Jovee was quite unsure of the new bundle. Now that we’ve had the little dude around for six months, Lenny and Jovee fawn over the baby. Lenny is incredibly protective of him, and goes so far as to mean mug or growl at newcomers holding the kid. Jovee alerts me when he’s crying (“Um, mom, I know you’re in the shower. But he’s crying, and I can’t get in his crib. Please help.”), poking her head into the shower of death to risk her life for the baby. Gambit is slowly warming up to him, sniffing and licking on occasion, and “keeping him warm” by laying close to him. They all let mini Gwinn pet them, to varying degrees.

Canine Gwinns

So, in the zombie apocalypse, my bet is that Gambit will be the one with whom to hunt- we will just have to take the food from him before he eats it all himself. Jovee will be the one with whom to run through the rubble of the cities, and Lenny will be the alert dog (although Jovee would be the one to actually kill zombies). In my Mad Max mental image, we’re all decked out in torn, post- apocalyptic clothing, the dogs have gunner turrets on them, and mini Gwinn is wearing a bullet belt in the style of Rambo. After saving a pocket of barely surviving humans from destruction, we’ll hop into our family-sized SUV and ride off into the sunset, dog faces hanging out the windows in bliss.

Gambit and Jovee

People told us that our dogs would take a “back seat” once the baby was born. In some ways, yes, they don’t have the same amount of attention as they did when it was just the five of us. But, instead of losing our love for them, we’ve really just made room in our hearts (and our bed). CLP still walks them almost every day, we take family walks, we play outside together, and they are still our constant companions on the couch after the little duderino has gone to bed. They’ll be in our Christmas family cards and our family photo albums. Crazy beast keepers or not, we love our dogs.