Monday, March 31, 2008

Doggy Vacation

Yesterday our dog Goldie went on a "vacation" to my parents' house. At least that's what we're calling it to the kids - it might end up being a permanent vacation. It breaks my heart to write this post because Goldie has been with us for over six years (if I'm doing my math correctly), spending a year with us in our previous house before we moved to the house we're currently in.

Goldie really is such a good dog but we've been having a number of problems with her lately. The most recent, but most distressing, is that she's started peeing in the basement (carpet) and occasionally pooping there as well. We don't go down to the main room of the basement every day so that means the stain gets set and is a real pain to clean up and clear the room of the odor. We take her out around 11pm before we go to bed, but it doesn't seem to help.

Also, she runs away. If I'm coming in the front door with the girls and waiting for Catherine to slowly make her way in the door, Goldie will push past both of us in order to get outside. When outside, there's no point chasing or calling her. She won't come back until she feels like it - a few hours later. Once our friend
Dustin was at our house for a few days while we were away and Goldie escaped - we got a series of voicemails from him in his pursuit of her that had us cracking up. I felt so bad because Matt and I know that Goldie will not come back when you call or chase her and if we had gotten Dustin's call we could have told him that his pursuit was futile. I just remembered why Goldie got away that time - Dustin saw her electric fence type collar on and figured he could let her out - but Goldie doesn't really care too much about those pesky electric fences. Unless you're keeping a careful watch on her (Dustin - didn't you decide to shower or something while she was out??) she'll dart through that fence and decide it's not worth going through again to come back. Plus we have a small stream in our backyard, that has made fencing in the backyard pretty impossible. Our dog who really dislikes water, wants to be free to roam the neighborhood so much that she just runs through the stream to freedom on the other side.

In addition to that we recently discovered that Matt is mildly allergic to dogs. We don't have a big enough house to have a separate area for Goldie to sleep - unless we put her in the basement in which case she'd probably just pee everywhere - so Goldie sleeps in our room and when we're not home she rejects her dog bed for OUR bed. If our room is closed up tightly (if not tightly enough she'll push that door open) she'll lounge on the couches - so basically everywhere that Matt could sleep or sit is covered in dog dander.

A smaller, but still consistent issue is that in her excitement to greet everyone who comes to the house, she jumps up and attempts to lick you. Which isn't too bad when you're over 5 feet tall, but if you're a 3 year old, it puts you right in her range. When kids come over who are scared of dogs Goldie has to go upstairs, in the basement, or outside. Which isn't where she wants to be.

All of those factors together have led us to giving Goldie a trial run at my parents. I don't think I could ever do this if it wasn't my parents who have a great house for dogs and enable us continue to be a part of Goldie's life. They have a big fenced in backyard, with lots of room to run and lots of rabbits and other creatures for Goldie to chase. Goldie is happiest when she's running free, something that, try as we might, we've never been able to work out for her and my ultimate hope is that she'll be happier having a home that enables her to get more exercise and play time than she does now.

I do feel like a bit of a failure because I'm giving my dog away. I couldn't really think about it too much yesterday because when I did I would get really sad. I'm torn because it just doesn't feel right, to give your pet away, but I know we'll see her whenever we visit my family and vice versa. Also - Goldie is a gentle dog who loves people - if you pet her and feed her, she's a friend for life. So....I don't think she'll really miss us. I know you might not believe me, but it's true. She ran away when Ella was born (before we brought her home - so it wasn't acting out over a new baby) and when my mom found her at someone's house a few streets up, she said that Goldie seemed happy as could be and it seemed like she would have stayed there forever without a problem. It made me really sad at the time (ok, could have been the new baby hormones) but now I'm hoping it just means that Goldie doesn't get too attached to her people family - as long as she is loved, she is happy. Perhaps not, but at least let me think that!

The girls have been surprisingly sad about Goldie leaving. They don't pay her much attention - Catherine is always yelling at her not to eat her food (happens pretty frequently) and Ella is usually trying to discipline her or brush her teeth. We told them that Goldie is going on vacation to Nama and Papap's house. In their minds it is temporary (which it might end up being - we're all kind of looking at this as a trial run to see how everyone does with it) but still Ella insisted on having a few pictures taken with Goldie before she left.

Last night Catherine started crying about 15 minutes after we put her down. When Matt went in to see what was wrong she told him she didn't want Goldie at Nama's house, she wanted Goldie at our house. Just a tad bit heartbreaking.
So who knows how this will turn out. Most likely it will be one happy dog who gets to chase rabbits and run in the sun all day long and two sad little girls who miss their dog for a little bit but get to have an added bonus when they visit their grandparents.

Our house has felt very quiet today and I had to stop myself from throwing the kids' leftovers into the dog bowl a few times already. It's hard to know whether or not this is the right decision - I just hope that Goldie is happy - that's what will enable us to have peace with the whole situation.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Springtime Learning

I love that it's slowly (I don't love the slowly part) starting to get warmth enough to play outside and ride bikes and play at the playground. I've had alot of fun pointing out all the plants that are starting to peek out from the ground and digging out the ride-on and push toys and taking walks with the girls.

Catherine seems to be going through a bit of a relearning process. She tends to be timid especially when trying new things. She was so excited to get in the long tree swing for the first time since the fall. Catherine went for swing rides every day that we were outside from spring to fall last year. She hated - HATED - not being pushed high. She wanted to first push to send her flying into the air and would be unhappy if I took a few practices pushes. Apparently she forgot that during her winter break from swinging. When I gave her the biggest push possible she freaked out and started crying. She only wanted the tiniest pushes possible - from one extreme to another.

When we tromped through the muddy back yard to the swingset she seemed more than willing to climb up to the slide - until she got to the top and froze and started clinging to me. I had to basically carry her up and then went down the slide together.

In both cases, she learned quickly and was fine the next day at the park.

I didn't realize that I had some relearning to do as well. Playing in the backyard requires attention to a particular element when you have a pet. Yup, the dog poop. It wasn't until we were back inside when I realized that I must not have paid enough attention to this not so little element! We all took our shoes off and washed our hands and I figured we were good. But then Ella came up and gave me a big hug and said those three words that everyone wants to hear "momma (don't count that one), you smell stinky". That's when I realized that we were so not good. I'm still grossed out just thinking about it - even though every article of clothing I wore has since been washed - even my belt, because Catherine did a good job of dragging her foot all over me as she made me carry her up the slide - after stepping in dog poop.

So we've all relearned some important things this week. Catherine remembered that slides and swings are fun. I remembered the importance of keeping my eyes peeled. Fun stuff all around! More fun for Catherine of course.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


I spent some time this week talking with Ella about Easter and what it was all about and what happened and why we celebrate. We would read chapters from her Jesus Storybook Bible (love love love it) each night before bed and one morning when she woke up she brought it in with her because she wanted to continue the story from the night before.

When I turn off the light at night she always starts to ask questions and this week they were often about Jesus and dying and the cross mixed in among random questions like "can I wear a dress tomorrow" and "can I watch Cinderella tomorrow"?

I wasn't sure if she was getting it and realizing that the Easter bunny is fun and all ,but not important (I like Santa but for some reason the Easter bunny annoys me - I guess I can only take so many imaginary characters. What will I do when we have to deal with the tooth fairy?). The other day she was in a whiny mood and asked in a very frustrated/sad way "Why did Jesus have to die." Awwww. Which was followed with, in the same breath and equal frustration "When is the Easter bunny coming?"

Today when I picked her up from Sunday School her teachers wanted to share with me what she'd said to them.

They asked her why we celebrated Easter.

Ella: Because Jesus rose from the dead!

"And then what?"

Ella: He put his hand in the air!

"Why did he do that?"

Ella: Because he beat the sin!

I think she gets it!

It brings a mental picture of Jesus in a boxing match being declared winner over Satan. Oh wait - I think that's actually a Carmen song - and I just might have re-enacted that song, "The Champion" for our church Easter service one year in high school (very true story that you will probably never hear anymore about). I promise, she got that on her own - it was a one time deal.

I hope you all had a blessed Easter weekend!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Even if you can't see them or hear them at all...

A person's a person no matter how smallMatt was off today so we decided to take the kids to see Horton Hears a Who. Ella doesn't have school this week and it's that time of year when the kids (and parents) are just longing for warm, play outside all day, weather - perfect time to do something out of the ordinary and go see a movie! Plus - Catherine is free until she turns 3! The girls loved it and Matt and I enjoyed it as well. I loved Horton (voiced by Jim Carey) and the Mayor (voiced by Steve Carrell). As for scary parts - they were pretty mild and both girls watch with no problems. Definitely a good pick for a family film. Just one warning - the main "villain" is a homeschooling, I mean, pouch schooling Kangaroo - I imagine that would be offensive to some so I'm just throwing it out there.
I've continued to update my movie and reading list. I think I've read all the books that are listed - just haven't had time to strike them out - too busy reading! Have you seen or read anything from my list (but not neccesarily b/c it was from my list)? Care to offer your opinion? I'm one of those who has a hard time imagining why people like or dislike things different from me. I know, I know - sounds extremely arrogant but I guess I just know what I like and don't like. But I don't mind hearing a different view! Anything you've read or watched lately to recommend? Pass it along!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

This is a holiday we always celebrated growing up because my grandma on my mom's side is Irish. She is also part Scottish and my grandpa was 100% Scottish so we are more Scottish than Irish, but my grandma came from a big family so the Irish heritage was emphasized through them. My Great Uncle Eddie said at my wedding "I know they say you're more Scottish than Irish but I think you look like you just stepped off the boat from Ireland." A few years ago a lady in a store mentioned told me that I looked like I was Irish which was interesting to think that someone could see that without knowing ahead of time that I did indeed have some Irish blood.

I'm posting a few recipes that my mom used to make on St. Patrick's Day growing up. My favorite by far was the Soda Bread - I always hoped she would make two loaves instead of one because it seemed to disappear too quickly. The Irish Stew is so simple and wonderful - unfortunately I misplaced the recipe yesterday, so hopefully I'll find it and add it later today. The Creme de Mente pie isn't necessarily Irish, but it's minty and green and delish so it works!


Irish Soda Bread
3 C. flour
¾ tsp salt
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp cream of tarter
Combine above ingredients
1/3 cup margarine (don’t remember if I just use butter instead – most likely)
1 1/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup raisins

Cut in margarine/butter until mixture resembles cornmeal. Add buttermilk, stir until slightly moistened. Mix in raisins.
Shape dough into a ball and knead briefly. Place on lightly greased baking sheet. Flatten circle into 7 inch diameter approx. ½ inch thick (again, just reading from recipe – not sure how exact I am with that)
Cut across with sharp knife about ¼ inch deep. Bake at 350° 40-50 minutes

Crème de Mente Pie
24 Oreos
¼ cup melted butter
1 pint heavy/whipping cream
7 oz jar marshmallow cream
¼ cup cream de mente
Crush cookies up finely (I use a Ziploc bag and a rolling pin)

Set aside a few crumbs to sprinkle on top, and then mix rest of the cookies with melted butter. Press into pie pan. Set aside.

Whip cream and set aside. Whip marshmallow and mint together. Fold into whipped cream, pour into prepared dish. *When combining mixtures I added some green food coloring to make it more festive.* Cover with saran wrap and freeze. Remove five minutes before serving.

Friday, March 14, 2008

End of the week updates

News from the home front....

The week started off with an addition to our extended family with the birth of Nora Grace Koerber to Matt and Chrissie. You definitely need to check out their pictures (hopefully more soon!) and Matt's unconventional way of announcing the birth. It really cracked me up because it sounded so like something my dad would have done. Over the years I am continually tickled by how much my older brother is like our dad. I am seeing it in Mike, my younger brother, as well. Must be that as you get older you lose some of those youthful inhibitions!

Nora was born on Monday and I knew they were in the hospital that morning and told the girls that baby Nora was on her way. We were in A.C. Moore when I got the call from my mom that she was born and was a healthy 8lbs 4 oz. When I passed the news along to the girls that baby Nora was here they both cheered and clapped. And then proceeded to demand to go see baby Nora. We told them it was a long drive and we'd go there eventually, but not now. Ella responded with "but mo-om (the two syllable version of mom) you said she was here!" I'm not sure if they thought she was a few aisles over in the scrapbooking section, but they definitely thought she was close enough for a quick visit, rather than 5 hours across the state. When will I learn!

Ella had her second swim lesson this week and did great. She ran over to me afterwards with her cheeks all rosy and said "I had a great time!". But then she lamented over not learning anything new that week. I think she is gearing up for when they go fully underwater. During the drive to the community center she kept asking outloud "I wonder if we'll go under." Took me awhile to realize she wasn't talking about a bridge or underpass she was thinking we would "go under" but her swim class. I'm hoping that's something they do with them because that's really her big fear.

The girls both have coughs again. A month ago Ella had bronchitis and I am praying this cough doesn't develop into that. Any ideas on dealing with coughs, especially now that there is so much concern about using cough medicines for kids under six??? I just want to avoid it developing into something worse.

I really want to go to Kohls and get the girls matching Easter dresses. I don't need to because Ella's dress from last year still fits her. But I want to. Isn't this dress so cute? And it's only $10!!!

Chances are I wouldn't be able to find it in their sizes at the store -but it just seems worth the try since I have a 20% off coupon.

Lastly - I am trying to help Ella deal with some four year old rejection. She has a friend at preschool whom she plays with outside of school occasionally and loves so much. But this friend has another friend at school that she often picks as a partner or playmate instead of Ella. If Ella is "picked" to play with it just makes her day, but when she's not she is crushed. Ella is super sensitive - which is good in some ways because it makes her sensitive towards others - but in this case it's not because she's so upset all the time and it makes her want to save seats for her friend and not play with the other kids as much. It's hard for me because I know her friend's mom so I am comfortable having Ella play at her house and vice versa. I don't know any of the other mom's as well, but I guess I need to make the effort so Ella doesn't get so fixated on playing with this one girl. So hard to see your child feel the pain of rejection. I want to comfort her but also try in as much as her four year old mind can comprehend - help her get a little perspective. Doesn't seem to be working. :)

Finally - the news you've all been dying to hear! I started using my new purse. Thank you for the feedback. I'll let you know if it looks like it's developing into a Long Term Relationship or just a Spring Fling. To soon to know...

Monday, March 10, 2008

A promise to my purse

I don't spend a ton of money on purses or bags so I usually like to get a new one when the season changes (this coming from the girl who never carried a purse until her first job after college graduation is pretty crazy stuff!). For me, getting a new purse is like starting a new relationship.

It starts off like any new relationship -with the same promises. Promises that I know will be broken. They go something like this....
I promise that I won't fill you up with endless meaningly receipts and coupons that I will never look at again.
I promise that I will put my cell phone, keys, changes, lip gloss, etc in the nice pockets you provide, making them easy to find.
I promise that I won't carry sippy cups and allow them to spill all over you.
I promise that I won't carry bags of snacks and allow them to spill all over you.
I promise to throw away all used napkins, tissues and other crumpled up pieces of paper rather
than allow them to collect in you.
I promise that I won't inadvertently set you down in something wet or sticky.
I promise that I won't leave you behind.
And finally...
I promise that I will still like you after a week.
I guess you can only help with this last one - I typically decide fairly quickly that I don't like the purse or bag I've picked out. I guess it stems from becoming a purse person later in life - I have
buyer's remorse or I don't trust my decision. As you can see from the shot above- the tags are still on - it's from Target so it's easily returned...what do ya think??? I know some of you out there have opinions, so I better hear from you!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Swimming Lessons

This past Tuesday Ella went to her first swimming lesson. She's always been a bit nervous in the water - in fact this past summer she was terrified of getting in a swimming pool without a shallow end unles she had her arms locked around either Matt's or my neck.

Funny thing was she is not at all scared of the ocean. Those powerful rushing waves don't bother her a bit. Probably because she can have her feet on the ground, or sand, whenever she wants. Even getting knocked over by a wave didn't bother her. But climbing down a ladder into a swimming pool was like torture for her.

The end of the summer we had a breakthrough and she realized that the little armbands actually work and it was like a whole new world for her - we couldn't get her out of the water! I knew it would be important to get some lessons so we could capitalize on her confidence before this next summer rolled around.

She is in a beginners class for 3-5 year olds and one of the older ones in her group (because most kids her age are probably more advanced). I really wasn't sure how she'd react when I told her about it (so I waited until that afternoon) but she ended up being really excited. So excited that she wore her swimsuit to the dinner table. Of course that meant that Catherine start digging through Ella's bag looking for her suit. She cried over and over "I want to go swimming, I want to go swimming." Had a thought things through a little more perhaps I should have signed her up as well, but I was under the impression I would have to go in the pool with her and (selfish selfish) my non exercising self could not stomach the thought of being in a swimsuit yet. Now I realize I could have had Matt take Catherine - I don't have to always be the one doing this stuff - especially for a night class.

Ella had a great time. They have the parents sit some distance from the class to encourage independence and Ella just said "bye" and left. No hesitations. All I can think of is how I could have never done that as a kid. I was so super shy that I would have never been able to go into a class without having a friend with me. And even with a friend it would have been questionable. I'm so proud of her when her doing new things so easily own her own because I remember how scared I was to do things like that.

I don't think there's anything wrong with being shy except when it causes you to miss out on things you were too scared to try. I took gymnastics when I was in elementary school and I was actually pretty good for my age. I was moved up into an older group - apart from all my friends. I remember doing the vault and because I was smaller than everyone it was set too tall for me and the coach was joking around about it. I remember that I basically put myself back in to the younger group. Same thing with swimming lessons - I didn't want to be moved into a more advanced group (even though that was the whole point) so I just hung around my group - my comfort zone - as long as possible. And again with soccer - the sport I ended playing through college - I was too scared to play until I was eight because I didn't want people looking at me.

I used to be nervous that Ella would struggle with shyness and timidity the same way that I did. I worried that she would be afraid of trying new things or striking out on her own. At this point I don't think I have to worry about that anymore with Ella. As much as I have grown out of my shyness I definitely don't think I could ever perform on a stage in front of people. If you've seen this post (if you need a good laugh, it's worth it) you know that Ella seems to enjoy it. At the age of four she's basically conquered all my childhood fears.

Now If only I could get her to kill spiders for me!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Migraine Prevention

I'm sure I've said it before and I'll say it again - I love Works for Me Wednesday Backwards Edition. I don't feel like I have alot of advice to give but I sure don't mind asking for it!

I've always gotten the occasional migraine. As in, maybe once a year - usually less. So I never really worried about it because it was so infrequent that I had to deal with them. But this past year they've become more frequent - still not as bad as many who suffer from them, so I'll try not to whine too much - and I've noticed that they seem to be exercise induced. Out of every ten -fifteen times I would run maybe once I would get a migraine. Again, that might not seem like a lot, but compared to maybe once a year, it's a definite increase. It really stinks because I love to run and really enjoy it and I've always been a runner, whether for sports or just as a way to stay in shape.

It only seems to happen when I run (once when I was walking at a very high incline ant a fast pace) - I've done intense boot camp and step workouts and it's never happened.

So - anyone out there have any ideas on how to prevent these exercised induced migraines so I can get back to running. I hate getting miigraines so much that I'm at the point where I don't want to run anymore. Any ideas would be most appreciated!!

Check Shannon's blog over at Rocks in my Dryer to see if you have more helpful advice you can pass along to someone - or post your own question!

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