Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Winston Churchill

This yummy baby dog came strolling into our lives a couple months ago and we are totally smitten. He has a heart of gold. 

He is laid back and prefers to always be with his people, so even on the busiest of days, he follows us from room to room, plopping quietly down next to us and then getting back up and following us as soon as we exit where we've just been. 

If we are headed into town, he fusses at the gate, relentlessly, until we acquiesce and put him in the truck too. 

There is no such thing as too much cuddle time with this guy. 

He loves going to new places and is always excited to meet new people. He is happy to go-with-the-flow, but we have discovered that he definitely has an opinion and is not afraid to express it. :-) He just mostly wants to do whatever we want to do, so it all works out well. 

He is a famous snow-ball maker and I have seen him put together a 1 foot wide snowball, just with his nose! 

He already knows several commands and is an eager student. He loves to please, and is definitely motivated by treats. And love. Lots of love goes a long way with this guy. It's absurd how easy he is to love. :-) 

He's not insecure about anything - except getting his tail stepped on in the kitchen. :-) 

He has the best mentor in the world so we're quite confident that this is already the second best dog in the whole world. 

His breed, you ask? German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, Australian Shepherd (almost 40%), Australian Cattle Dog and Standard Schnauzer. Obviously. :-) 

I think we'll keep him. 

Monday, December 09, 2019

Peppermint toothpaste and Geranium Hand Cream

The sound of glass shattering onto the floor reached me outside the closed doors. My heart sank as I knew all was not as it should be... again. The smell of orange liqueur was overwhelming as I entered the house to find three boys and Gumbum picking up large glass shards and a great deal of liquid off the floor. The agony of it all is not that he intentionally threw the glass onto the floor (to see how it would fall, or hear the crash it made, or get a reaction???). It's the repetitive nature of it all, the fact that so many things (often, that I care about) have crashed into oblivion, and that there's no "answer". It's just the most recent fetish or fixation. 

In three weeks, we lost 6 electric toothbrushes, because it turns out that gravity is not their friend. My favorite coffee mug didn't stand a chance, because I only have so many places where I can hide things (and I'm running out of those places). Declan, the master designer, creates beautiful masterpieces out of anything: dough, K-nex toys, Legos, and even dirt. They are very often obliterated with one motion of Lochlan's hand and Paugie is most often stoic and ready to resume production, though he has occasionally been reduced to tears of frustration. The death of my antique nightlight/lamp was the pushover point for me. Or maybe it was that time he clocked the elderly lady in the head with a bag of kale at Sprouts... 

Then, there's the kitchen chairs - tall, wooden, beautiful - colliding with the cement floor below them, slowly chipping away with each dramatic crash to the floor. There's no obvious reason, except that they fall rather loudly and it is difficult for the rest of the family to ignore. "So, it's for attention" you say... possibly. He does it when we're all outside, too, so it seems to be as much about his own entertainment as anything. 

Then, there's the copious amount of legos getting dumped onto the floor and then scattered abroad. LEGOS. Ever stepped on one before? Because you definitely will not have forgotten the experience. "Okay, if he has to live with the consequences of this decision, it will probably motivate him to stop" I say to myself. 14 pick-up sessions in the subsequent three days that followed ultimately led me to believe: a.) he really doesn't mind the consequences or b.) the thrill of the dump far outweighs the tedium of the pick-up. Two months into this particular fetish and I'm quite confident that consequences aren't a sufficient motivator to make him stop. 

Then, the poop. So. Much. Poop. And all where it shouldn't be. The toilet is in the bathroom. The poop... not so much. It might be in his pants. Or by the swing set. Or in the horse corral. Or on the front steps. Or in the back yard. Or on the kitchen counter top. Or all over the bathtub. Or on the bathroom floor.  Or the truck seat. Or the living room rug. You get the picture. To be fair, his persistent intestinal issues do sometimes make his bowel movements less than manageable, even if he is sincerely trying to make it to the toilet. But, usually that is not the culprit for these "mishaps". And yes, he's toilet trained and has been for quite some time. I am happy to report, as well, that this particular fetish seems to have worn thin of late, and our incidents of out-of-toilet pooping has been reduced to a minimum. 

Then, the midnight or wee morning wandering (inside and outside of the house). My particular favorite. Since birthing my four cherubs, I definitely hear every sound that doth stir throughout the house, so you can be relieved in knowing that this wandering does not go unnoticed or unsupervised (unfortunately, for the person who is in that moment wishing only for an intimate encounter with slumber). I think there must be a special place in hell for the midnight and wee morning hours.

Then, there's the screaming when we head for home, no matter from whence we are returning or how long we have been gone. Nothing soothes the heartache and grief of arriving home, so the screaming does continue for a necessarily (impossibly, agonizingly) long time and we all find ourselves being very creative in procuring ways to distract the broken hearted from his woes. Most often to no avail. The heartache of our return home usually wains with time and we are again given peace (until our next outing). 

Then, there was the mysterious disappearance of my indoor garden plants. The puppy seemed a likely culprit, at first. Upon catching the actual thief in the act, the puppy was, however, pardoned. Not only were the plants removed from the indoor garden, but they were simultaneously thrust into the great outdoors and (ceremoniously) placed into positions throughout the outdoor gardens. Not terrible logic, but the inclement weather conditions did work against his plan(s). 

Then, there were the water escapades in the bathroom, of late. Not that pesky fresh water, mind you. A thorough toilet plugging (I'm not sure how he's managed that, and I definitely haven't asked), and subsequent repeated flushing produces a prodigious volume of (less than sanitary) water pooling onto the floor (and into the laundry room, and the bedroom and... ). Not one to disappoint, he also includes a "fresh water" version of the fun and fills the bathtub to the brim, over and over and over and over multiple times a day, jumps in to play in it, jumps out, drains the tub, and changes into a new outfit, because fresh clean clothes can't be overrated and unending laundry is a requirement. Oh, and, if everyone is distracted, he turns on the water in every faucet in the house (full blast), locks all the doors, hides the keys, and goes outside. 

Then, there is hair gel. Just a whole lot of hair gel. Half a bottle of hair gel smeared into his hair. If there's a shortage of hair gel, then peppermint toothpaste will suffice. Or Geranium hand cream. Or both.

Then, there were my contacts. Yes, there WERE my contacts. Because, they were flushed down the sink. A few times. Along with my earrings.  

Then, we decided to keep the bathroom locked. And hide the keys. 20 different times in 20 different places. The keys are still missing. And every time I need to use the bathroom, it's locked. Yep. Locked. Too bad we never hid a key where we could find it (and he couldn't).

Then, there was that expensive biodegradable shampoo, conditioner and hand soap that we had to buy because of the indoor garden that the gray water feeds into... and since the shampoo, conditioner and hand soap got dumped down the drain, it's a good thing it was biodegradable. Each time.

It's a good thing we locked that bathroom door. And the refrigerator. And the shed(s). And the laundry room because that definitely curtailed the random starting of the washing machine with clean clothes, dirty clothes, wet clothes, dry clothes, baby wipes, toothbrushes, shoes. There is nothing so clean as thrice-cleaned towels! And that high capacity washer is highly fill-able, let me assure you. Yay for high capacity! 

Then, there was walking into the bathroom to find my toothbrush - only mine. Ever! - being used to clean the bathroom sink. Toilet. Floor. Oh, and yes, his penis. I needed a new toothbrush, anyway. 

Then, there was finding my cell phone in the dryer. Three days in a row. I'm rejoicing that he hasn't yet been able to reach the dryer power button??? 

Then, there was finding the large stack of toys and helmets filling up the bed of my truck every time I prepared to drive somewhere. A dozen such encounters finally programmed me to allot for an additional 5 minutes "prep time" before departing for anywhere. 

Then, there was the obsession with the ducks having their freedom just minutes after they were tucked safely into their pen each night. Freedom over safety was the mantra. So, three round-ups and many tears (from Lochlan) later, we finally reasoned with Lochlan by reminding him that he could set them free come morning. You can be sure that it was first on the priority list come dawn! 

Then, there was drinking the toothpaste. No amount if hiding places would suffice to keep this habit at bay. I hid it under the sink, underneath various items, on top of the shower shelf, in the laundry room in 12 different places, in my underwear drawer, in my sock drawer, underneath my pillow, in the bookshelf, underneath the bookshelf, on top of the bookshelf, inside the piano, and then we moved into the kitchen. It's still a problem. 

Then, there was peeing in the RV. The RV tank was empty/clean for the winter, yet every time the door was left unlocked, Lochlan immediately discovered the reality (truly an uncanny awareness of the state of the RV door) and trotted in to pee/poo in the toilet. So, if any of us enter the RV for any reason, locking the door behind us as we enter, as well as exit is absolutely essential, unless we want to dig pee and poo out of the toilet via paper towels/trash bags. 

Then there was opening the gate to the horse field, a favor which Devany was more than happy to monopolize on. Several favorite fruit plants and a couple of trees met their demise during this fetish. The 17th time that Devany greeted me (and subsequently scared the crap out of me) at the front door led me to consider a new gate/fence entirely. I still haven't found a solid resolution to this issue, but the horses are currently not in the pasture, as it is winter, so maybe the thrill will die down in the coming months of being corral-bound.

Then there was the stripping naked and running outside, with absolutely no consideration of the seasonal weather, including snow. We try not to make too distinct of an impression on our neighbors, so this season of nakedness required almost moment by moment supervision. Even my showering was curtailed to a minimum of 4 minutes, as that gave almost enough time (if he was fully clothed and wearing shoes prior to my getting into the shower) to canter outside and haul him back in before the entire neighborhood was privy to his presence sans clothing.

Then, there was the mysterious disappearance of the stevia (alternative sweetner). And pancake mix. And maple syrup - yes, the entire bottle. And cheese - allergies be damned. And yogurt - yes, the entire quart. And flour. And chocolate chips. These raids were all too often followed up with several hours of vomiting and screaming due to the food allergies. We finally discovered lock boxes to put inside the fridge. We also found Nalgene water bottles and other various containers to be adequate substitutes by which to disguise our maple syrup. Pancake mix and other tempting items are stored in a box on a shelf 8 feet high. 

In order to access the 8 foot high shelving units that store distracting items, I have a ladder placed in the kitchen. However, the ladder became a tempting item to throw onto the floor, and for several weeks we braced ourselves for the inevitable crash of the ladder onto the floor, if Lochlan was in the room. When the ladder almost hit my piano one morning, it, too was locked in the bathroom. Very convenient. Obviously. 

Then there was throwing the vacuum onto the floor, backwards as hard as he could. Soon, the vacuum was also relegated to the bathroom that was always locked, but the vacuum was frequently left out after one of us had vacuumed the house. After one such encounter with Lochlan, the vacuum finally gave up and died, as well. 

Then there was the several weeks when Lochlan would randomly lock one of us or all of us out of the house. First, we tried hiding several keys in various places. Of course, those keys were quickly discovered by Lochlan and misplaced, so on far too many occasions we were left at the mercy of his willingness to open the door(s) to one of the parental figures threatening his life if he didn't encouraging him to open the door. Finally, the locks and door handles were replaced with key code entry locks, so now when he locks us out, we just press the code and we can all get in. Until he figures out how to change the code... 

Then, there's the insatiable delight in throwing all large/heavy toys down the ladder of the bed at bedtime. Nothing could be quite so funny and inspiring! And the crashing is sure to encourage sleep.

Then, there is the screaming when we pull up to a store for groceries. And the screaming when we walk into the store. And the escape from the basket and bolting toward the exit. And pulling things off the shelves (and into the basket, sometimes) as we walk through the aisles. Shopping is something of a marathon, at best. At least now, with Aberdeen present, most people are less judgmental and more understanding when they see the circus arrive and the circus manager pretending to do her job. 

Then, there's the craving for soap suds. Dish soap suds are definitely the preference, and every sink full of suds must be carefully guarded lest the suds thief ingest them.

Then there was the raw meat. Week after week we would catch him sneaking bites of raw meat out of packages in the freezer, or in bags on our way home from the store where we had just purchased it, or directly out of the frying pan where we were preparing to cook it. This eventually triggered his mesenteric adenitis (inflammation of the lymph nodes, due to bacteria). For over 6 months, he would vomit for 24 hours straight every 5-6 days. With a heavy dose of probiotics, as well as CBD oil to reduce inflammation, his vomiting incidents have been reduced to one every 8-10 weeks, which is much more manageable.  

Then there are all the toys in the toy box dumped onto the hallway floor in front our our bathroom, after everyone has gone to bed. Nothing says "adventure" like tripping over a heap of toys and flying into/through the bathroom door on the way to a midnight potty break. 

Then there are the uninvited visits to the guests in our rental cabin. Our guests were honored with (unexpected) visits to the living room, bathroom, bedroom, and yes, shower, upon occasion. The lock on the gate between our house and the guest house curtailed the visits for a minute, but it turns out that gates are quite simple to climb over. Yay for us! So, after reinforcing the gate and fence with chicken wire (harder to climb), locking the gate with a combination lock and putting keyless entry locks on the cabin, the uninvited visits became less frequent. 

Then there was the fascination with opening the main gate to the driveway and pedaling his way to freedom, in any direction. Though he only ended up on the main road once (with a subsequent visit by the authorities), he persisted for months in checking the gate lock daily, and even attempting to climb through the gate, when he wasn't on his pedal car. Thankfully, this particular fascination has faded and though we are still having to be vigilant to know his whereabouts at all moments of the day, there is less worry that he's headed out and away in search of adventure. 

Then, there was peeing anywhere - no everywhere - all day long. Even my truck seat soaked up some of this fun. It was like one, very long running experiment to see how much territory could be marked. Kitchen floor. Indoor garden (many times over). Bathroom floor, just outside the toilet area. Living room rug. Back seat of my truck. Front steps (every morning, for weeks, no matter how hard we tried to redirect him or catch him before he started). By the shed. In the barn. On the trails as we hiked (hikers beware). In the cart at the grocery store. In the potted plant by the back door. In his bed (intentionally - the puppy thought that was a great idea). In the shower/bath. He was so obsessed with it that I even had him checked for a UTI, which he did not have. 

Then there were the couch cushions. Must. Be. On. The. Floor. It's a war. He puts them on the floor. I pick them up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. And it's still only morning... 

Then, there are emergency flashers on the trucks. Yep! Each truck has them and they are an excellent source of entertainment. For emergency use only? Nope! Turn them on, lock all the doors and make sure to do it before you go to bed at night. By morning, the battery on the vehicle will be drained and if you're lucky you can take out both trucks in one night! 

Then, there is the absolute refusal to wear a shirt. All his shirts have to be worn below shoulder level, and preferably at his waist, like a skirt. Makes winter weather a bit tricky and I thought for sure once the freezing temps arrived it would drive him to comply with just a tiny bit of clothing on his torso, but alas... 

The most recent adventure is the fragile ornaments that keep getting splattered all over the floor. They seem to leap off the tree and onto the concrete with boundless enthusiasm. The Christmas tree might look funny on the 8 foot high shelf, but... 

LEGO Hell. 

Flooded bathroom. 

Peppermint toothpaste and Geranium Hand Cream. 

Totally works. 

Look at that face!!! 

I love him to eternity and back.

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Murder and other great memories

How can I bottle it all up and hold it inside my heart?

Hiking with these two... yes please! 

Mesmerized by the waving aspens.

Kathy and Lionel came from California and brought their sunshine and love with them. 

Chocolate covered faces and happy hearts. 

The journey with this guy has been full of unexpected turns, but he keeps running and we pretend to keep up. :-) 


There's not always an explanation. Roll with it. 

The magic. It's real. 

Kathy, the brave adventurer. 

Like I said... sunshine and love.

Hiking genius... 

What a hard hike, but what a view! B-24 bomber wreck on Humphrey's Peak.

Their perspective once the hike was over. 

If I could be as adventurous as her when I'm her age... Gumbum and Paugie. 

One day I was in the laundry room and Aberdeen walked in carrying (what I thought was) a piece of chicken in her mouth. She was holding it very gently, but since she's such a lady, that's not terribly unusual. Nevertheless, I had her drop it into my hand, and to my surprise there was a tiny baby mouse, very much intact and healthy. She looked at me expectantly and then licked it's bottom, like she was the mommy mouse. I really didn't know what to do, as I'm not terribly equipped to nurture/raise a mouse, so I discreetly took the baby outside and put it on the other side of the fence in the field ("Murderer" was the whisper that my heart kept telling my brain). Aberdeen was mortified and watched it carefully to make sure it moved safely along it's way (it eventually did move on, out of sight, though it stayed very much present in my (guilty) conscience). 

I (somewhat reluctantly) went back into the house to finish up the laundry, when Paisley pranced in with a "piece of chicken" in her mouth. After safely depositing it into my hand, she, too, licked it gently and nuzzled it with her nose. It also was completely unharmed. You have got to be kidding me! So, for the second time in one day, I became the wicked step-mother, only to discover a third baby waiting for me in Aberdeen's mouth upon my return to the laundry room. I tried to assure the "new mommies" that their recently adopted babies were much better off in the wild, where they were born to run, but they seemed unconvinced. They dutifully watched over the babies until all the babies (slowly) moved further into the field and away from the fence. The ability of these "predators" to adopt and nurture the most vulnerable of babies left me speechless. They put far too many humans to shame. I may have actually cried, and not just because I was (very likely) a murderer that day. 

We were utterly mesmerized by the bull elk we happened upon in the meadow that evening.

Two of my favorite things... 

Another two of my favorite things... 

And another... 

Gummy bears happen in the most wonderful places. 

Just loving life and soaking up the woods... like the rest of us. 

If you had told me 24 years ago that baby Fancy would be the one carrying (some of) the most beloved people in my world, I would have believed you. I knew she was special from the moment I laid eyes on her wobbly legs.

He steals my heart every day, over and over again. 

The magical fort... 

She radiates beauty. And she's a stinker. 

And evening walk.

Lochlan's new swing... it's a secret place, so don't tell anyone. 

The new school house is changing our lives! 

Morning rides with Madigan are energizing! Trotting through the woods anyone? 


Paisley fully embraces her new height advantage. 

That's more than a halo...