Friday, May 31, 2013

The Bear Necessity

Last month we faced one of life's inevitable heartaches when we said our final goodbye to our sweet Scottish Terrier, Madison McGary. She left paw prints on our hearts as only dog-lovers can truly understand. You bring these furry little four-legged wonders into your home, hoping to teach them manners, tame their unruly selves, give them love and attention and find companionship and joy in return. Oh, but they bring so much more than that! This little "Baby Bear" waddled into our lives, taught us the magic of real cuddling, showed us that there is always time to slow down because there's really not as much rush as you might have previously thought, gave us a more comprehensive understanding of "comfy", made us laugh ALL THE STINKIN' TIME, and filled our hearts with a warm comfort that just happened when she was nearby.

She was the ultimate conservationist. Of energy. Period. 

She taught us to treasure fairies (and perhaps on occasion use them manipulatively in our favor). We foolishly thought they were simple laser pointers until she revealed to us that we were mistaken. Once, Krista mentioned to me that the author G.K. Chesterton wrote about fairies and Madison was all ears. From then on, anytime she heard the name G.K. Chesterton, her heart rate immediately escalated and her tail was aflutter.

Being a timid puppy, if something startled her, she would bolt for the nearest bush to hide underneath, so I taught her that when she was scared she needed to run to me and I would "keep her safe". Whenever she encountered something she wasn't certain of, I would quickly find her curled up underneath me, snuggled as close to my feet as possible. I miss those sweet, trusting moments.

When she was in absolute bliss (like when Daddy was rubbing her back), she would nibble on her paw - we called it "sucking her thumb".

She was always utterly unaware of any reality, except her own, and that reality was delightful. My first attempt to teach her a trick was also my last attempt to do so. She did eventually learn it, but only because she decided she wanted to do what Valiant was doing. She could do/learn plenty, but it was always in Bear-time using Bear-methodology. My personal favorites were: "dancing bear", when she would spin around on her hind legs as fast as she could so that we would toss her a treat; and then, of course, "roll over bear" - took her AT LEAST 2 months to learn, but once she mastered it, she was a pro! She would dramatically drop to the floor and then do 2-3 rolls in a row. SO FUNNY!

She had a special way with people. She was quiet and reserved and would never "force" herself on anyone, but she would subtly slide next to them and make her presence known. If they were so inclined, she would gratefully welcome a grand massage or four from a friend, but she would never insist on one.  She was also surprisingly adaptable to the Lions, Tigers and Bears who waltzed into our lives one by one. We weren't sure how she would handle being around babies/toddlers, but ever the adaptable, she just took it all in stride and was wonderful with them. When the Tiger went on a wild run through the living room, she would find a quiet corner to wait out the storm.

Two final memories of her that I just treasure: (1) when she was super tiny (8 weeks old) we visited my family in Arizona and during one vigorous game of Scrabble, she laid on the kitchen table, snuggled in my arms, just as content as could be. (2) She was a well-known singer in these parts. She would start her singing with just a little hum, but if ignored, she was capable of some lovely soprano tones. We called her our "Singing Bear" because she really had talent.

So here's to those 4 little black paws that padded softly into our lives and changed us forever. I feel so much pain in the loss, and joy in the reflection.

    Sittin' tall

    Our Happytown is sitting tall all by his onesies! And, yeah, he's a little bit proud of himself. He's still the most delightful boy ever born. I'm not exaggerating when I say he never has a bad day, and lately he's been filling my days with all kinds of insights from his little jibberish jabbers. I think this boy is likely to never stop talking once he gets started. I can't wait to see what's going on in that pleasant little mind of his.

    Tiger is just as striped and feisty as ever. His latest musings include: "Mommy, I don't feel better (good). I need to watch Curious George." Naturally. "Mommy, I need another apple (5th one today), because I'm so hungry and handsome." Well, true enough my dear red head. To my attempt to persuade him that he should eat his kale yesterday: "Mommy, I need to save it for Paugie. He's really hungry." And then, my personal favorite. As he helped me finish hanging out a load of laundry to dry, he announced that he was going to run inside and get more laundry for us to work on together. I reminded him that the washing machine was empty and that we would need to wash another load before we could hang it out. Independent thinker that he is, he decided to check for himself. I heard him confirm the washing machine to be empty, then run deliberately into the living room. Suspicious, I wandered in to check out current happenings only to discover him peeing generously on the couch. After recovering from my initial shock, reprimanding the Tiger and cleaning up the masterpiece, I went to gather a little more information on what might have possessed him to do something so absurd, particularly since he seemed to feel unjustly punished. He said: "There were no more dirty clothes so the couch needed to be washed." I was fairly certain I understood what he meant, but I clarified: "You wanted to make some more dirty 'clothes' so that we would have more laundry to hang out on the porch?" He vigorously agreed. I assured him that there is never a shortage of dirty laundry in this household and guided him to the designate DLSB (dirty laundry storage bins) located in nearly every room.

    Paugie has been in an almost constant state of frustration for the past few weeks, which has made him a cantankerous little brown boy. I think his biggest frustration has been his desire, yet relative inability to communicate his wishes and thoughts. However, (simultaneous with the arrival of a pesky molar in the back of his mouth) he is a greater master of the English language this week (even over last week). He is pronouncing words more clearly, experimenting with ones he's never tried before and when we repeat back to him what we think he's trying to say, and nail it, there is untold delight all over that boy's face! His smile is back and he acts as though he's been given a new planet to explore. So neat to see! And, the obvious added benefit to us is that we don't have to hang out with the grumpy brown bear anymore. And now, he's beckoning me to come dance with him on the porch in the rain... how can I resist? So, more later...

    Friday, May 10, 2013


    It's THE number this week. "Why?" you ask. Because it is.

    Quotes from the Peanut Gallery:
    "Mommy, I can't sleep for 3000 days!" (Stated with tone of total desperation, when I reminded him that it was nap time after our almost 3 mile hike.) My bad.
    "We're only going to hike 3000 miles" he told Auntie Susan, to reassure her that this hike wasn't going to be too long for her.
    "Paugie, Daddy left for work, but he'll be back in 3000 days." So, no worries.
    Mommy: "Come on boys, let's go see Devany.". Madigan: "No, Mommy, we can't because it will take 3000 minutes to get there and I'm tired." My truck gets better gas mileage than I thought.
    Mommy: "Okay, last piece of chocolate." Madigan: "Mommy, I will get 3000 more and then it will be the last piece." We're buying stock in chocolate.

    Clearly 3000 is the number for anyone cool enough to understand...

    Wednesday, May 08, 2013

    Let's Ride!

    I put a bridle on Devany for the first time today... seemed appropriate since she's officially 2 years old. She took to the bit without any question and I have to admit that seeing her in Fancy's bridle put a smile on my face. I can't wait to sit on that broad back!

    Tuesday, May 07, 2013

    Copper Colored Filly

    My sweet Devany turned 2 years old yesterday! I spent some time yesterday afternoon looking over photos of her when she was a baby... such wonderful memories! Just this past month I noticed a change in her... a transition from baby horse to adult horse. She's still got some teenager to work through, but she is a gem of a horse! She loves people, is incredibly bold and unafraid, and is eager to try anything new. She always nickers at me when I drive up and can even spot my vehicle on the road if I'm just driving past. I don't know how she knows the difference between my vehicle and other ones, but she does...


    Saturday, May 04, 2013

    Live your life well.

    I look at the passionate individuals that give this household it's energy and I find myself wanting more than anything to be able to protect them from themselves... to help keep them from wasting any time they are given. The more profitable focus for me, however, is to help my sons answer the question: How does one live his life well?
    Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. Matt 6:33
    So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
    I Cor. 10:31

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    Those brothers...

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    Friday, May 03, 2013

    Tiger Tales continued...

    Daddy was waiting in the car with the boys when Madigan said, "It's 5 o'clock." Daddy looked all around to see where Madigan might have seen that it was indeed that time, and he spotted a hand-dial clock on the wall of the shop next door. The hands clearly said 5 o'clock and Madigan was super excited when daddy acknowledged how proud he was that his boy had been so observant. Neither of us had taught him how to tell time yet, but he had seen an episode of Curious George where the Man with the Yellow Hat teaches George how to tell time. So, thank you CG for helping our little man be even more brilliant (if that's possible)!

    "Baby Ruby is a boy, Mommy", I was emphatically informed when baby cousin, Uncle Jack and Auntie Kristin arrived for a visit from Austin. Upon discussing basic biology with him, he modified his original statement of fact to: "Well, it looks like a girl, but it's a boy".  

    "Mommy, please kiss it." I love it when the boys come to me with their ouchies, asking me to "fix it" with a simple kiss. Alas, sometimes, the task is less than glamorous. Today, for example, I've been asked to kiss a very dirty toe (on biggest boy), a tongue, another very dirty toe (on medium sized boy), and a toosh.

    "Madigan, please put some shoes on so that you don't get splinters in your feet." When he came back outside sporting a pair of Daddy's shoes, I looked at him questioningly. "They're my new flip flops" he stated, while simultaneously demonstrating their flip/flop action on his hoof while he walked. He decided that his own shoes might be a more suitable option when daddy's "flipped" off his foot, while he careened around the porch pushing his dump truck.

    "Madigan, please come here." "Mommy, I can't because my legs aren't being obedient." This kid's got some good stuff...