Monday, July 28, 2014

The Dog Days of Summer - Alyssa


Welcome to the Dog Days of Summer! My name is Alyssa and I blog at My Husband's Watching TV. My family consists of me, my husband, our two-year-old daughter, and our two dogs. Let me introduce you to my furbabies.

First up is Emma who is part lab-part whatever you want her to be (everyone always has their own opinion). My mom got her from an ad she saw in the paper for free puppies. The conditions were horrible so she took Emma home to clean her up and find her another home...which ended up being with us!  Post-college, it was just the Em-Dog and me. She's been with me longer than my husband!  She rode halfway across the country with me while I completed my internship and got my first job in South Carolina. Then she trekked back across the U.S. when I got my job with the organization I'm still with. Emma was by my side while I bought my first house, found my husband, and when we welcomed our daughter into our family. Emma is our "shy" pup but she's still one cool chick!

Then we have Shadow (aka Shad, Shadie, Shadowiffic). He's our 100 pound black buffalo lab. Right after my husband and I got engaged, his friend called us about eight p.m. on a Friday night and said he was looking for a home for his dog...and needed to find him one by the next morning. Again, we took him home intending to find him a different home but six years later and he's still a part of ours. Shad is a chow-hound meaning he'll eat anything and everything in a matter of two seconds. He loves attention and will crawl up in your lap if you let him. Unfortunately, he just doesn't understand how big and powerful he is so a few tears have been shed at our house when his giant paw lands on your bare feet...and I'm not just talking tears from my two-year-old but from Momma too!  He's totally the social one of the two.


In 2009, my husband and I decided to try to expand our family. Long story short, it took us two IVFs to have our beautiful daughter. During that time, our furbabies endured my tears and frustrations as I thought they may be the only "kids" in my life.

When our daughter was born in 2012, their worlds were turned upside down just as much as ours were. They went from being the center of our world to having to stare at this little tiny human who would later love them more than anything in the world...whether they liked it or not.

From tears of sorrow and frustration, they now endure a two-year-old crawling in their cage with them, hugging them as tight as she can, and of course, lots of snacks she always wants to feed to "Emma and Shadie." She asks about them daily and I'll be honest that I've "bribed" to get her to stop crying about having to leave the park and go home.

As I write this post, I realize these two dogs are the rock that help hold our family together. Whether it's moving cross-country, finding my spouse, struggling through infertility, or welcome a new life to this world, they've been there through it all. Every day they greet me with an excited bark and a loving lick. It's so much fun to watch our daughter with the two of them and see the love she has for them. Dogs are amazing creatures, they roll with the punches and truly understand the meaning of unconditional love!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Introducing Mim

It is my absolute pleasure to introduce you to...
Born on Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 9:39 a.m.  
7 pounds, 11 ounces.
21 inches long.
Absolute perfection.
We are all incredibly smitten with her...even Mac.
My cup runneth over.


*All photos by the amazing Kristie Cromie of L Photographie.
* For privacy reasons, I will refrain from using her real name on the blog and will continue to call her "Mim" here - I hope you'll do the same.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Dog Days of Summer - Ashley

Ashley from Words About Waverly

First, the biggest congratulations to Sara on the birth of her sweet baby girl!!  I know that she is going to rock it as a mom of two & that Mac is going to be the best big brother.  I have loved following along with her sweet family, now her pregnancy, & I really am looking forward to reading about their future as a family of four!

I feel honored to be a part of this series, I love the idea behind it & like Sara, am a strong believer that kids benefit from growing up with pets.  I come from a family with four kids & we always had pets growing up, my parents still have a house full of dogs now!  With that being said, I was totally nervous about how our dog (an 7-year old yellow lab named Bogger) would react to a new baby throughout my pregnancy.  I'm not sure if I can go ahead & blame it on the hormones, but it was one of the (many) fears I had about bringing home our new baby girl.

Fast forward a couple years, Waverly Maye is now two-years old & it's safe to say that Bogger is her BFF. :) "Gogger" was one of Waverly's first words & she repeats it non-stop pretty much everyday.  Each morning, one of the first names she asks for is "gogger", she loves to climb into bed with us & snuggle with him. She always gives him kisses, lets him wear her jewelry, & thinks that it is hilarious when he runs around the house.
And most of all, she loves to feed him, which is how she won his heart. :)  My husband & I couldn't help but laugh the other day when we saw pictures of Bogger from a few years ago, he really is about 15 pounds heavier now!  It's crazy how much she is willing to share with him, both what she wants to eat & what she doesn't.  They really make the cutest team, & we love them both so! 
Thanks again to Sara for having us, we are so very excited to be a part of this!  We can't wait to start reading the rest of the posts, there really is nothing cuter than babies & kids, right?!  AND of course, to see pictures of Sara's sweet little baby girl. :)

XOXO
Ashley

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Dog Days of Summer - Chrissy

Hi, I'm Chrissy from Simple Joys blog.  When Sara first asked to participate in this series, I knew immediately that I wanted to talk about the importance of making sure to not forget all about your first babies--your fur babies--during all the excitement of having your human baby. My Chihuahuas, Fifi and Angel are treated like people, not dogs. They are babied and spoiled and they deserve that much and more. When I was pregnant with Elin, a lot of people would tell me that after I had Elin, my dogs would just become dogs to me. That thought terrified me! I absolutely did not want that to happen and made a vow to make sure to not change my feelings or the way I treated and cared for my dogs. 
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Honestly, it bothered me so much that it kept me up some nights just thinking about it. I remember there were times during my maternity leave when they would aggravate me so much. They are barkers and they would bark when the baby was asleep or they would get in my way as I was pumping and they just plain annoyed me sometimes. I remember losing my temper and yelling at them and threatening to lock them in their crate. But, I always remembered that they didn't ask for this new addition to the family. We are the ones who rocked their world and added something new; and to think that it wouldn't impact them or cause more stress to them is naïve.
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For those of you reading who don't have dogs, I am sure this sounds like the craziest thing, but trust me when I tell you that there is just no way to understand the love of having a loyal canine companion until you have had one. My dogs love me more than anyone in this world and they love me unconditionally. The highlight of their day is to sit with me and be with me and they are always there. They are never to busy or hurried. Their only goal each day is to eat, sleep, and spend time with me. I say me because, although they get along with my husband, child, and various other family members, I am that one person they have chosen to be their caretaker.
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As you can tell by now, I am a crazy about my dogs so you would not be shocked to learn that the thoughts of them aging and their finals days are very real and very scary to me. My dogs are getting older and I know my time with them now is less than the time I have already had with them. I make sure to spend time with them everyday and to continue to show them love. I admit that sometimes it hard to make time with them and it's hard to watch out for them. I find that I put off taking them to the vet longer than if I wasn't busy with a toddler. 
DSCN4291_5x7But, I make an effort. I don't want their last day to come and for me to be too busy to see it coming or not there for them enough. They are loyal and loving and they deserve the upmost respect. As do all dogs. So don't forget about your first babies. Your fur babies. Only they can occupy that special place in your heart.
   

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Dog Days of Summer - Megan

Hi, I'm Megan! I blog over at Hello Newlywed Life, where the posts are filled with family, food, fun & lots of lovin'. I'm a Mom and wife first, but I also work full-time & own and design at DolceAve jewelry on the side.  I'm thrilled to be here blogging for Sara while she's (maybe) having baby Mim right now (or tomorrow).  Wishing her lots of luck! 

As busy and chaotic as our life is, we love making time to do things together as a family, which also includes out 3 year old shih tzu, Vinny. He is our first born and the sweetest little guy.
After our daughter Sofia was born, Vinny would act out by grabbing and sucking on every pacifier he could find, it was too cute to get mad & I can't count how many paci's we've had to buy! 
The two of them have created such a strong bond over the past year and a half, Sofia is obsessed with him, every time we leave the house she yells "BYE Do-da (he has about 10 nicknames, you know how it goes!), LUB YOU!"

And he can usually be found laying in her chair, which creates quite the war! ;)
Our favorite things to do as a family is getting out on long walks, we love exploring new trails in our neighborhood. Sofia usually asks "Do-da ride?" and Vinny jumps shotgun in a second. 
When I was pregnant, I never thought for a second we would forget about Vinny, but the truth is, my Mom brain is mush. Mike has stepped up to be the main care provider for him, while I provide lots of treats & cuddles. ;) I love that he fills our lives with so much joy, he really is like a brother to Sofia!
How has life changed for the pooch in your world, once your little one arrived?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mac - 2 Years, 2 Months

Dear Mr. Mac,

I'm going to finally stop calling you "Baby Mac" in these updates because you really aren't a baby anymore, despite me still trying to put you in onesies and rock you to sleep every night.  As much as I'm not ready for you to grow up, you're becoming more and more independent daily and it's been such an amazing thing watching you become your own person with (such strong) opinions. Seemingly overnight you've grown from my baby to my buddy.  As we prepare (any day now) for your baby sister's arrival, I wanted to make sure to jot down a few of the things that I never want to forget about you right now.  
You are such an incredible kid with a personality that just doesn't quit.  Everyone that meets you seems to take notice of just how wild, funny, talkative and adventurous you are.  I feel like most kids your age are either very talkative (but less active) or crazy adventurous (but less chatty) - you are a fun combination of both - you never stop moving or talking - which makes it feel like you're well beyond your age.  People peg you at 3 - 3.5 years all the time (maybe because you're also tall), which makes me want to shout "NO! HE JUST TURNED TWO, HE'S STILL A BABY!"  It's quite possible that I'm overly sensitive (and very hormonal) about the topic.  Why do you have to grow up so fast?
Speaking of growing up, this week you started nursery school summer camp and I couldn't be more proud, excited or nervous for you.  It's 3 days a week, 3 hours a day for two weeks.  Your nanny and I are both very emotional about this transition, but we know it's good for you.  This is basically the very first time you are doing something on your own without a parent, grandparent or nanny with you.  This week is about safety (which you really need to learn) and next week is music, which I'm sure you'll love.  You were such a little rockstar on the first day of school this week. You seemed to be just fine with me leaving you to play with your friends on the playground, which nearly broke my heart and also made me proud.  Your teachers said you were great all day, with a little bit of trouble making the transition from outside to inside, but you shared very well and did a great job.  You talked all night about the fish and guinea pigs and toys and friends at school. Love.
Yesterday was a bit harder for you at school and you cried off and on for quite a while until your nanny came to get you.  But once you realized someone was always coming back for you, you perked up and seemed to be fine and not too terribly traumatized. We talked a lot about that last night and you were still really excited to go back today, which is a good sign.  You told me you were sad, so Bambi went with you to school today, just in case you needed a bit of support.  So far today there's been a few tears shed, but the fire trucks are coming to school to visit, so I think you'll be just fine.  I'm anxiously awaiting news of your day as I type this right now!  You'll go another 3 days next week, while I'm in the hospital having Mim, so I hope you like it.  I don't know if you're ready for "real school" yet, but I think this is a great way to introduce the concept to you and get you used to listening to others and being in a classroom with other children.  Such a big month for us.
Otherwise, we've been having so much fun enjoying the warm weather and being outside.  You are SO active, being outside is the only way we've found to get all that energy out.  This summer has brought on a whole new set of activities and toys than last year.  No longer are you content with a water table or just a hose, you need a whole pool and a golf course to keep you entertained.  Since birth, you've always been very strong and coordinated.  You were never a "floppy baby" and you've only gotten stronger and more athletic and dexterous as the months go by.  You can hit a golf ball like I've never seen.  Hitting a baseball off a tee is too easy.  A ball thrown for you - no problem!   You alternate between hitting left and right, which makes your dad so excited for a switch hitter.  You throw with incredible accuracy (righty) and can hit a shot on your basketball hoop from 7 feet away. Your hand-eye coordination is extraordinary.  We're already looking into golf lessons because you love it so much.  You've also been taking swim lessons since January and they've moved you up to the 3 year old class.  You have zero fear of the water and kick and paddle like a big kid.  It's pretty impressive.  You're not the best at listening to the coach or paying attention in class, but we're working on it. You seem to set your own agenda and do what you want.
You are ALL boy.  You love playing in the dirt, digging for worms, mowing the grass, collecting bugs, driving tractors, trains, garbage trucks, sports, dogs and messes.  You are covered in mosquito bites, scrapes, cuts and bruises all the time.  You live to be outside and messy.  Your fingernails and toenails are disgusting.  You throw EVERYTHING, which drives me crazy.  You love dumping things out just to make a mess.  You want to get your hands in/on everything. You're absolutely fearless.  And I love it all.  
You also insist on doing things on your own and in your own way.  There is no showing you how to do something, you want to do it "BY SELF!!"  We try to let you as much as we can, but sometimes it drives us nuts that you won't let us help with hard stuff.  I know this is typical of toddlers, but you are so stubborn and adamant about it sometimes.  You insist on doing everything your own way, when and where you want.  You must get into your highchair by yourself and buckle yourself in.  You insist on putting on your clothes and shoes by yourself and won't accept help.  You are the most demanding and persistent child I've ever met.  Tantrums and meltdowns happen multiples times a day because you want things YOUR way.  When you want something, you absolutely will not let it go.  I think you get that from me, but sometimes I really wish you'd gotten a little less of it.  We're working on not giving you everything you want ALL THE TIME (because you're so spoiled!), but it's hard on us. I think having a sibling is going to be the best thing to happen to you - although I can guarantee you will absolutely not agree for a long time.
As for having a sibling, things are about to change dramatically at home and I worry constantly about how you're going to handle everything.  I know that it'll all work out eventually, but I think the initial transition from only child to big brother is going to be particularly hard on you.  You get so much attention now, that I am nervous that you'll feel left out or frustrated when the baby arrives.  Right now you have a very difficult time sharing the attention with anyone.  Even if your dad and I are talking to each other it drives you nuts that we're not focusing completely on you.  If all goes according to schedule, Mim will be 2 years, 2 months and 2 days younger than you, which I think is pretty cool.  But sometimes I wish the time difference was more/less because you're at a very difficult age (terrible twos are no joke) and I just don't know how we're going to handle you and a newborn at the same time.  Let's hope Mim is like her daddy and super laid-back.  I am really excited about getting to spend more time with you during maternity leave, but I also have concerns.  You have a very hard time when the nanny and I are both home with you, which has me worried about the next three months.  But I know you're really smart and will catch on quickly. I have confidence in you, it just may take us a while to get it all figured out.  That's ok.  We'll get there.
I am so excited about the changes coming to our little family.  I'm thrilled and honored to be becoming a mother again and I can't wait to watch you become a big brother.  I know you'll protect her and love her fiercely.  You have such a big heart and can be so tender and affectionate, when you want to be.  I know it may be hard on you over the next few months as we figure things out, but you'll always be my baby and the love of my life.  I am so lucky to have you.

Favorites:
Book - I Stink, Go Away Dog, Horton Hatches an Egg
Food - "Daddy Pasta"
Color - red
Number - three
Shows - Daniel Tiger
Movies - Aristocats, Toy Story 2
Animal - giraffe
Activity - digging for worms, swimming, golf, mowing
Toy - Koko the train, Sophie the giraffe, lawnmower
Stuffed animal - Bambi ("Banga")
Treat - snowcones, cupcakes and black cookies
Jammies - red garbage (fire) truck jammies
Day - Thursday (GARBAGE TRUCK DAY!)
Fruit - pears, grapes, strawberries
Song - Monkey & the Engineer by Grateful Dead, Happy Birthday

Dislikes:
Being told no
Waiting
Bear jammies
Cantaloupe
Pasta not in penne/rigatoni form
Mac Says:
"Nope, not" anytime just "no" would be sufficient.
Me: Are you hungry?
Mac: Nope, not.

"No wayho sayhose ho" (No way, Jose)

He always wants me to try things that I say I can't do.  I love that about him.
Mac: Mama sit right here (on the back of his tiny trike seat while he's also sitting on it).
Me: I can't fit there.
Mac: Try?

"Pash Matatoes" (mashed potatoes)

As I'm leaving the house in the morning...
Mac: I love you, mama.
Me: I love you, baby.
Mac: I love you, mama.
Me: I love you, baby.
Mac: I love you, mama.
Me: I love you, baby.
Mac: I love you, mama.
Me: I love you, baby.
This can go on 100 times or so...

"Morgan" (more, again)

Phone rings...
Mac: HELLO!
Me: Who's calling you?
Mac: Papa.
Me: What does he want?
Mac: To dig for worms.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Dog Days of Summer - Blog Series

Thank you all so much for all your kind words on my last post and Mim's final update.  I still cannot believe we're going to be a family of four (or seven, counting the pets) by this time next week.  It all seems so surreal - I'm simultaneously incredibly excited and terrified all at the same time.  And speaking of pets and babies, I figured with Mim arriving next week and me probably not having any time to blog (or eat or sleep) while I'm soaking up all her newborn goodness (oh, that newborn smell!), it would be fun to have some of my very favorite bloggers contribute some guest posts on a topic near and dear to my heart - DOGS.  

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that our pups mean the world to us.  We have two dogs - Mally (a 13 year old Shetland Sheepdog) and Sage (a 3 year old English Cream Golden Retriever).  Mally is a mama's girl and has been my dog since college.  She's getting pretty cranky and crotchety in her old age and prefers my presence exclusively, without the toddler anywhere around, and I can't say I blame her there.  We recently learned that she's nearly deaf (common in older Shelties) and is still battling some hip arthritis, so she's not the biggest fan of being chased, ridden, wrestled, harassed and tackled by a toddler.  She's still a wonderful dog, but she prefers sleeping in to early morning wake-ups and thinks the best part about having a kid in the house is all the food he spills that she gets to eat.  She tolerates Mac, but unless he has cheese or chocolate for her to steal, she tries to ignore him. 
Sage, on the other hand, wants nothing more than to be side-kick extraordinaire to the toddler.  I think she knows that Mac gets all the attention around these parts, so being his BFF basically makes her the first lady of the house.  Since he was born, Sage has been at Mac's side - watching over him, licking his feet and defending him against the cat and Mally.  She's his biggest fan and he can do no wrong in her book.  She lets him crawl on her, stand on her, ride her like a horse, grab her tail, pull her ears, touch her teeth, stick his hands in her mouth, etc.  She's so gentle with him.  Of course, she will flatten him like a pancake if he gets in between her and the tennis ball (and he's had multiple faceplants to tell that story), but all in all, she's so good with him.  
I'm a firm believer that kids benefit from growing up with pets.  I know there is scientific data to back this up (kids with pets have fewer allergies and lower blood pressure), but my reasoning is based purely on personal love of animals and my experience growing up with dogs and cats.  I blame my parents for being such animal softies - we always had a couple dogs, multiple cats and maybe even a hamster or some fish around while I was growing up.  We helped take care of them, fed them, groomed them and loved on them.  We learned lessons from them about sharing, being responsible and even on getting sick/old and loss.  I think having pets contributed a lot to the person I am today.  Our lives are just so much fuller with pets - and yes, much dirtier and hairier, too, but worth it.
Ryan and I both feel strongly about our kids growing up with animals in the home.  In addition to our two dogs, we have a cat and a tankful of assorted fish.  If it was up to me, I'd probably have a hamster, a turtle, a horse and maybe a little pot-belly pig running around the house as well (thankfully my husband does not allow me to just bring home stray animals).  We've really loved watching Mac interact with the animals and learn how to be gentle, how to feed them, brush them and play with them.  He knows to be easy with Mally.  He's learned that the cat will chase him if he has ribbons.  He insists that Sage accompany him everywhere he goes.  
So let me introduce a new series I'm going to be hosting over the next couple weeks - 
The Dog Days of Summer  
This will be a series of guest posts about two of my favorite things: babies and dogs.  Be prepared to be blown away by the cute photos, adorable stories and hilarious happenings from mamas of kids and dogs from around the blogosphere.  Starting next week, I have 12 wonderful bloggers lined up  to keep you entertained over the next couple weeks with stories, anecdotes and adventures of kids and dogs while I'm busy adjusting to life as a mom of two.  I hope you love their stories as much as I do.  And be sure to leave them some comment love (because really, that's the best compliment to a blogger!).  
And don't worry, there will still be Mac related posts, baby Mim updates and lots and lots of photos coming from me over the next couple weeks as well.  Don't think that I can go more than a couple days without posting adorable pictures of my kid(s).   You can also follow along on Instagram and Facebook, for more frequent posts.  

 Upcoming "Dog Days of Summer" guest posts from:
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