Thursday, April 18, 2019

Twinky the (Super?) Dog

Pretty much everyone knows Twinky is our dog. He's a Morkie (Yorkie/Maltese mix). He's obnoxious and not super smart. He likes to hump his stuffed animal dog we call his "lady friend" and he has a specific purple toy he likes to play fetch with every day at the same times. He likes long walks and he has a hard time deciding when and where to poop. He pees a lot. He hates squirrels and the mail man. He's a jumper and believes everyone wants to love him so he jumps on people, shakes, and whines incessantly.

He is, hands down, worse than a newborn. I say it a lot that Twinky is the last dog I will ever own because he's just so much work. I'll stick to cats, thank you. I love Twinky, he's just a lot of work.

But sometimes I baby this dog because he's so doofy I can't help it.

On the weekends this dog wants a LOT of walks. He knows people are home to do it so every other hour this dog is patrolling the 'hood looking like a badass in his sweater or his bandanna from the groomers. He's literally the least threatening looking dog there is and nobody is scared of a dog in a sweater vest.

I mean, come on.

On Sunday though, neither kid wanted to walk Twinky so Matt begrudgingly did it and thank god.

We have a park right across the street from us that's usually pretty busy with kids but it takes up an entire city block (3/4 of that is just green grassy area and a few trees, but people use it to play football, frisbee, soccer, etc.). A lot of people bring their dogs there to play so it isn't unusual to see dogs here and to be honest, a lot of people around here walk their dog off leash and it drives me crazy. I have a fear of dogs and I really don't like being approached by a dog I'm not familiar with.

So Matt didn't think anything of it to see a dog at the park. Out of nowhere though, the dog at the park charged for Twinky and apparently Twinky never had time to turn around. Matt said it happened so fast but this dog had Twinky in his mouth.

Now, if this had been the kids walking the dog, Twinky 100% would be dead right now. It would have been traumatic for everyone there. Someone could have really gotten hurt.

Instead, Matt is a very take charge of a crisis person so he's physically fighting this dog and prying its mouth open to get Twinky out. Once Twinky was free, he took off and Matt couldn't chase him. Matt took this dog and located the owners who were super apologetic.

Meanwhile, I happened to be walking past the door and see Twinky shivering on our sidewalk and the gate open. I go out and call him in because I didn't want him to run, and I notice he's covered in mud. Annoyed, I have Olivia start drying him off with a towel. As she's doing that, she tells me he has blood on him. At this point, I have no idea what happened. So I start looking at the dog.
I see a little on his face and think he got cut on a stick or something, that happens. 
I see a dot on his ear and I think- weird. Not sure how that would happen. 
Then I see this and I think, alright- something happened. This didn't look that bad, I figured we could clean it and he'd be fine.

But then Matt comes home, relieved to see Twinky found his way home, and starts telling me what happened. He takes Twinky's collar and bandanna off and we see this. 
He's got a huge bite mark on the back of his neck. Matt starts really looking at it and realizes you can see "meat" (insert my gagging here because I can't deal with this kind of thing). Matt says he's got to get stitches and it'll get infected if we wait, so we start looking for an emergency vet. Thankfully, there was one local to us that was 24/7 on weekends so Matt took off for that at about 6. He calls me at 7:30 to tell me Twinky is going to live but he needs surgery because the muscle was separated from the skin (more gagging) and they have to put drains in, stitch other others, etc. The surgery would take about two hours, he needs blood work to make sure his organs could handle sedation, and oh yes- it's going to cost between $850-950.

Great. Seriously. Just great.

I tell Matt he's going to have to charge it because I don't have that kind of money, but I can't let my dog get sick and die with a hole in his neck.

So he hangs up and I wait at home. They didn't get home until almost 10:30 that night and my poor dog was high as a dog can get. He could hardly stand, they shaved his neck and ear and it's so gross, you guys. 
He actually has three drains (two on the back and on the side of the neck) and a ton of stitches. The dog took two big bites into him from different angles, probably trying to get a good grip. The vet said Twinky is pretty lucky to be alive because a couple of shakes would have done him in. He's got a bunch of medication for pain and antibiotics, we've got to put ointment on him and do the warm washcloth thing on him twice a day.

He can't go up or down stairs, so we have to carry him outside to pee. No collar for a long time. No walking for even longer. No leash or harness for a long time (like months) because his muscle is damaged. He has some trouble with crunchy food so we've got to a soft wet food for awhile. He can't shake, he likes to randomly shake his whole body but he can't do that for awhile. He can't play, no running, no humping the lady friend, and he can't lay in bed with anyone just to make sure his drains are OK. 
To say he's a sad sack is an understatement. He sleeps a LOT more than usual and sometimes when I pet him he whimpers and I feel terrible. His shaved ear doesn't really go down anymore. I'm not sure if that's a permanent thing or not. They didn't put stitches there because it's not a huge wound but it's a pretty bad cut. We're hoping he can have his drains taken out on Friday, but that's really depending on a certain level of healing so we aren't sure. I think stitches may be able to come out the week after? They need to be in 14 days, so we'll see.

The bill ended up being around $860 or something? I think the owners of the other dog are going to pay for it since it was their dog's fault. I really hope drain and stitch removal are in that price and not an added fee because the starting price to show up at the vet is $130 so yikes. I will say though, they were really great and Matt said they were very nice. They called us on Tuesday just to see how Twinky was doing, and I thought that was really nice of them.

I feel terrible for the dog and I wish there was more I could do for him. I took him out yesterday morning to pee and poop and he tried to run after a bird, then froze mid step because I think he hurt himself and he just walked back to me with his head down. It was pretty sad to see. We have to fight him to take his medicine but I think they do help, so that's something.

So just think good thoughts for Twinky the Dinky Dog. He's a hot mess for awhile.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Book Review: The Young Adventurer's Guide to (Almost) Everything

When I saw this up for review, I immediately thought of my son Jackson who is 11. I had to get in on this because he's all about these kinds of books, he likes funny, and I know with everything in me this covers every single thing this kid would not do. Nope. He is not my outdoors kid, he doesn't like adventure, he's just not that kid, so I thought if even if he liked this book- that's a big deal.

He loved it.

The Young Adventurer's Guide to (Almost) Everything - Ben Hewitt

45 step-by-step, illustrated activties that teach kids everything from how to see like an owl to build the world's coolest fort from sticks. (ages 8-12)

Calling all adventurers! Want to know how to build a fort from nothing but sticks? Or find your way through the forest? This survival guide is your ticket to getting down and dirty in nature and learning to make the coolest things with your own two hands.

Look inside to learn how to: 

• Use a knife without bleeding
• Sleep in the woods without freezing
• Escape a bear without getting eaten
• Poop in the woods without falling down
• Find your way home without a GPS
• Eat bugs without throwing up
• And so much more! 

I'm just going to start by saying if you have a Boy/Girl Scout in your family, this would make a really great gift for them. Full of practical tips and how-to's, this book also has jokes and fun thinks sprinkled throughout. So while your kids are reading a practical manual with information they could actually use in real life, they are being entertained and enjoying what they are reading at the same time.

Our family isn't real outdoorsy (dad has far more experience than the rest of us combined) but my older kids often go to their grandparent's home and they live in the woods. In the summer especially they play out there and this is going to be a cool book for them to take out there and try some skills out! I don't know that either of them will poop out in the woods, but I can definitely see them practicing new knots, making a whistle from a stick, or even a birch bark container. I could see this being a great gift idea for any kid or even a boredom buster over the summer when you want them off their electronics and outside doing something. Definitely consider picking this up!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Bathroom. I'm coming for you.

When we moved into this house fiveish years ago, we knew we'd be updating things and fixing things but it wasn't at the level as our last house.

That remains true.

What also remains true is that this house is kind of ugly in the spaces we haven't updated a little. This bathroom, for instance. It's what we call the downstairs bathroom, but it's on the main floor, right around the corner from our kitchen. It's the one that guests use but also the one the kids use to shower and get ready.
I hate the cabinets, I hate the sink/counter, I hate the mirror, I hate the shower, I hate all of the wood. I appreciate wood but I really hate the look of wood. My house is full of it and I hate it so much. The sink drives me crazy because it isn't centered. The drawers aren't wide enough to really use for much. 
The cabinet above the toilet is handy. I'll give it that. The shower though? Awful. The shower head sprays everywhere and I know I just need to buy a new one. There's no shelving in there to put anything. It's very narrow and dark in there. The floor feels..... not good. I so strongly dislike shower doors, and we took the ones that were in the upstairs bathroom off but this is still there. Ideally, we need a whole new shower insert. 
The only thing that might have to stay is this tall cupboard. It is VERY narrow so you can't store much in it but I keep towels (rolled up otherwise they won't fit) and a few bottles of shampoo. But the back corner is slanted so I'm absolutely certain this is a custom made shelf. I really need an idea to still have shelving in here that you can't see (I don't like open shelves) but maybe not this shelf. I guess I could paint it and make it look alright but ugh... I don't know.

I am trying to convince Matt to take this project on over the summer. Do one thing at a time because it might be cheaper to do it that way. But I feel like if I can get him on board with this the upstairs bathroom might be next??? (CROSS YOUR FINGERS.)

But what kind of shelving/storage do you have? I need some ideas. I really only need to store 4-6 towels, extra shampoo/soap/toothpaste. I'd like to put the kids' hair and makeup stuff under the sink.

Also, what are the best lights for a bathroom? This bathroom is DARK even with everything on, it's not ideal for any kind of makeup. It has a fan/vent thing so the light fixtures I've seen with that incorporated are kind of ugly, but I could also put in other lights, I guess. I need help, guys.

Book Review: Say You Won't Let Go

I don't know why I don't go for novellas more often because there's some real satisfaction of finishing a book in a day when I have a ton of things going on around me. So I'm glad I had this one. I've finished the other books in the Return to Me series with an introduction of the Masters and Mercenaries series, which uggggggghhhhh... you know I'm going to get because I have no self control and now that I've "met" one character I can't go on with my life and not read the entire series. BUT! It doesn't exist yet so now I feel uneven and not OK.

You know how I am.

Say You Won't Let Me Go - Corinne Michaels

Emily Young had two goals in her life:
1. Make it big in country music.
2. Get the hell out of Bell Buckle.

She was doing it. She was on her way, until Cooper Townsend landed backstage at her show in Dallas.

This gorgeous, rugged, man of few words was one cowboy she couldn’t afford to let distract her. But with his slow smile and rough hands, she just couldn’t keep away.

With outside forces conspiring against them, Cooper hires the McKay-Taggart team to protect her. Emily refuses to let Cooper get hurt because of her. All she wants is to hold onto him, but she knows the right thing to do is to let go . . . 

I need to mention that I've read the other three books in this series so I'm familiar with all of the characters. Do you need to read them in order? No, I don't think it's imperative but I will say you may not understand Cooper as much in this book unless you read the previous book with Grace & Trent's story. Do you HAVE to? No, you'll be fine.

I had a lot of issues with the last book, Say I'm Yours, because I really didn't like Grace. I think she didn't give Cooper a fair chance and he seemed like a good guy. In this book we have Cooper and Emily's story and *surprise* I didn't like Emily. I liked her ambition and drive, I liked that she had goals and she wasn't going to compromise them for some guy and falling in love, BUT! She is an absolute moron when it comes to making rational decisions. Danger? "Oh, I'll not tell anyone- that makes the most sense!". You're told  not to go anywhere? "Yes, I'm going to run far, far away because I have never seen a movie involving a stalker!".

That's how stupid she is. I'm not kidding.

I really, really liked Cooper. He is willing to give her some space to live out her dreams, he's taking care of his obligations, and he's confident enough to make the long distances work. I really liked it. Sure, is he crazy protective? Yes, but not to the point where he drops his life to be around her 24/7, he knows his limitations so he hires a security team for her and entrusts others. I just really liked Cooper.

Now, I know it's a novella but I actually wanted more. I felt like this could have been more of a book and Grace & Trent could have been a novella because their story was boring. This at least had some action in it, and I liked that. When  you find out who the stalker is it was.... a little anti-climatic? There's a lot I could add here but it would give it away, but just know I have some thoughts about it and part of me was like, oh..... this is the easy way out. I felt like the author could have done more with this.

But it's a novella and it's OK. Calm down.

All in all? I'm giving this one a solid 3.5 stars. It's not quite to 4 for me but I really enjoyed it and like I said, I read it in just a few hours and that's always a good feeling. If you're a fan of contemporary romance (holla, holla!) I think you'll enjoy this series as a whole and Corinne Michaels. Definitely enough that you want to check out her other books too.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Book Review: Say I'm Yours

I'm trying so hard to work through my backlist books that have been sitting on my shelf for a long time. I'm not making any huge strides but it's nice to feel like I'm at least going forward. That doesn't stop me from buying more books but I refuse to acknowledge that I have any kind of problem.

Say I'm Yours - Corinne Michaels

From New York Times Bestseller, Corinne Michaels, comes a new second chance standalone romance.

I spent twenty years waiting for Trent Hennington to open his eyes and see me. But it was all for nothing. He chose to keep himself guarded and let me walk away, proving that my time and efforts were wasted.

I’m done being invisible.
It’s time to move on.

A single dance sets my new reality into motion, and I welcome it. After all, Cooper Townsend is perfect. He’s kind, sexy, and attentive—everything a girl could want.

I thought I got it right this time.
That my heart could mend, and I would be happy.
Apparently, some things really are just too hard to walk away from.

In this book we have the story of Trent and Grace. Trent is hard headed and afraid of commitment. Grace is ridiculously sensitive and incapable of moving on even when Trent pushes her away. Now, that's kind of a standard trope in romance but the difference here is that this goes on for TWENTY YEARS. You guys, this girl settles for this for TWENTY YEARS.

*insert giant eye roll here*

Trent has some really dumb issues as to why he won't commit to her and we know they end up together but the way they get there is a little ridiculous. Secondly, I really did not like Grace. Not even a tiny little bit. Grace is the worst. She's a whiner, she's an idiot, she is needy and dependent, she's indecisive and can't make a decision for herself, and she's completely incapable of figuring anything out. I think the author was trying to paint her in the light of being SUCH a great girlfriend and willing to take the emotional manipulation but really I felt like Grace was an enabler and taking that kind of abuse from someone doesn't make you a great partner.

In all, I had a lot of problems with this story. I'm glad we get the answers to some questions at the end of this book that were kind of eluded to in the previous books, I'm glad they end up together, it's just the way we get there that doesn't sit well with me. I was kind of disappointed because I really liked the other books, but this one fell flat for me. It should be noted that though this is the third book in the Return to Me series, they are all stand alone so don't feel like you have to read them before tackling this one.


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Keeping up with the Strands

I feel like I'm not doing a very good job updating on what's happening with the entire family like I used to. We're all super busy and it's basically chaos in this house every day. I'm at least living up to the blog's name, so there's that.
Over spring break, Olivia and Jackson got to go to Harry Potter World/Universal Studios with Matt's mom and sister. That was a big deal because they were told if they finished all of the books they would get to go. Olivia had read them a year or two ago but Jackson had just started at the end of last summer so in the span of four months that kid obsessively read all of them. They were really excited and ended up having a good time, even if the flight home ended up being a nightmare. (Flight was cancelled, plane issues, tons of delays and 14 hours later they made it home.)
Penelope and Lucy (in the middle) started a Teeny Tots dance class. It's only March-May and they'll be in the recital. I wanted to sign them up but I honestly wasn't sure if they'd even do it so I figured a shorter special session was the way to go versus signing up for a whole year and having them hate it. They are like three weeks in so far and LOVE IT. Every single day they ask if they have dance and no, they don't. It's only once a week for a half hour but they are all about it. They practice at home, it's so cute. Olivia also does dance now three days a week and it's really a joy to watch her.
Penelope is almost done with 3K, I think they are done in early May. Which seems crazy to me. Matt and I were just talking about what an incredible program this has been for her. She is a completely different kid. When she started we had tantrums multiple times a day, she didn't listen for anything, wouldn't follow directions, didn't want to learn anything, etc. She was difficult. I am so, SO glad that we put her in this because honestly my sanity is better for it. Not that she listens really well now, but it's better. She can follow directions, she's incredibly smart, she enjoys structured activities, she's just better for it. I think 4K next year for her is going to be really great and she's excited about it. 
Lucy has her speech and development assessment today so I hope they can help her out a little. We signed her up for 3K in the fall (same thing Penelope did this year) so we're waiting to hear if she gets in, I hope so. She's the opposite of Penelope and is very much a rule follower but I'd like to see her development get on par with her peers. I'm actually going to miss hanging with her all day, she's kind of become my little buddy. This week we went to the bookstore to use my gift cards and we had a great time reading books and playing trains. Oh, and her cold is back AND her eye is getting goopy again so we made it, what? Two weeks? Right on cue. Annoying. 
Jackson is gearing up for middle school. He has a transition night coming up soon, he turned in his instrument preference for band (drums, clarinet, or trumpet-in that order), we're going to get him a school lock so he can practice because he's worried about it. We got him signed up for summer school so he can get familiar with the school, and he's pretty excited. They always do a lot of fun stuff at the end of fifth grade at his school so that's something he's looking forward to.
Olivia is pretty dang busy. She has dance three days a week and loves it. That ends in mid-May and she's already asking if there are summer dance things so I'm hoping there will be. She gets her braces off at the end of May and I hear about it EVERY DAY. She's obviously excited. She's getting all A's in her classes, every teacher loves her, she's turning into a little comedian and reminds me of me a lot so obviously she's going to turn out awesome. She recently was selected for the Junior Curator program so sometime this summer she gets to interview a Veteran and develop a museum quality exhibit with other students. Kids have to apply for this but some students are pre-selected by teachers to participate and she was one of them, definitely a high honor. She's applying for the 8th Grade Leadership team for next year and she worked on her application for two hours on Monday. She asked for my help earlier but ended up not needing it and wouldn't let me read her application so I'm pretty proud she didn't need me after all. She's smarter than she gives herself credit for.

So that's what's happening with the kids. We're ridiculously proud of them. I'm not completely sure how we're doing but we're doing pretty alright with this parenting gig. So that's cool.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Toddler Induced Anxiety

I read an article once about how people who excessively clean may actually have anxiety and that's how they cope with it. Before my AFE, I used to clean. A lot. I was meticulously organized, my house always smelled like bleach, I had constant vacuum lines in the carpet, laundry basket was always less than a load in there, I was the over achiever when it came to keeping my house clean. Even when I had two kids and worked full time and volunteered 20 hours a week, meticulous. Our house was always very clean when I was growing up so I just had this standard and I felt like that's what it meant to be a good mom and wife. I never bought into the "excuse the mess- we're making memories" bullshit and I don't even now.

Then I died.

In my aftermath I am sick often. I tire easily. I can't focus. I can't stay on task. I can't prioritize what I need to do. I can't keep up. Is my house trashed? Not by any means. Is it too much for me? Everyday, yes.
I tried hiring a cleaning service but I've developed this bizarre fear of strangers in my house. I struggle with anyone being here at all but it's not as suffocating when it's someone I know and am familiar with. But I had a cleaning company here and I made it fifteen minutes into it and I had to send them away. I paid for the time they were supposed to be here, thanked them, and apologized for being an anxious mess, and closed my door.

I couldn't do it.

Leaving my house all together isn't an option at all because that is worse for my anxiety so I thought maybe being here would be easier. But no. It's really horrible. 
Everyday though, I am forever picking things up. Wiping surfaces down. I get so tired and sometimes I just can't and I'm forced to see all of this. 
I can't go anywhere without seeing a mess and disorder. Even on the best days it only stays nice for a short while and having two toddlers means it's next to impossible to manage it. 
Is this horrible? No. God, no. I'm not a hoarder climbing over piles and walking through tunnels of crap in my house. I do have some perspective about this, so I'm not delusional. 
But it is too much. I feel like I'm drowning. I want to just throw it all away but then I'd have nothing to entertain the toddlers with so there's that. I have a greater appreciation for myself back then because I don't think I ever gave myself credit for doing as much as I did. Back then it didn't feel like a big deal at all but there isn't a chance I could do that much now. I wish I had known  how to give myself grace back then. I guess I never realized I really needed it. I do now, though. 

We, as a family, have made some changes. Olivia and Jackson are responsible for cleaning the downstairs bathroom (that's the one they use to get ready and shower in), their rooms, and their laundry. That alone has really made a huge difference in the work load and now I know they'll have clean clothes when they move out. Ha! Matt has been doing the laundry on the weekends which is nice because I have a hard time walking down the stairs while holding a full basket, but also going up the stairs with a full basket is tiring. I try to work on one area a day (floors, kitchen, upstairs bathroom, vacuum, etc) but even still, it's tiring. I hate that doing something like sweeping or mopping a floor wipes out my energy for the day. I'm trying to not get angry about it but sometimes I slip up. I can't help it. 

So if you're out there and you're struggling to balance it all- relax. Give yourself some grace. It doesn't make you a better mom or wife if you can eat off your floors. I'm trying to relax and not let this kind of thing get to me because lord knows I have enough things that cause me anxiety, I have to learn to let this one go.