Friday, July 13, 2012

Marley's first hair cut

Last weekend, we took our Labradoodle to the puppy salon to get her hair did, and her nails trimmed and her teeth cleaned. She looked like a new dog when we came to pick her up, and for a few days after, she even acted like a new dog. I almost questioned whether the groomer switched our Marley out with a well-behaved doodle that now looks like a black lab. I should have known better. Marley was biding her time to plan her attack ...

We went to my brother in law's birthday on Tuesday, and we left our newly-perfectly behaved dog out of the crate so she could roam free while we were away. I stupidly, and apparently never learn this lesson, left two boxes of my FAVORITE hostess snacks on the dining room table. When we got home, the box had been shredded and the darn dog carefully unwrapped each chocolate chip-bite out of its wrapper and ate them until the only evidence left behind was shredded cardboard and plastic strewn from one end of the floor to the other. I thought for sure she would throw up or die of a heart attack. So, that evening I woke up several times to "check her vitals." I'd check her breathing, listen to her heart beat, and even resulted to waking her up with a poke just to make sure she was still with me. Thank god the sweets didn't have much of an effect on her. Just a two-day sugar high!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

Today marks  my second wedding anniversary to my husband, and I remember the wedding day as if it were yesterday. At this time, my bridesmaids and I were getting dressed and the photographer was arriving to take photos. I posed with my parents, my nieces and nephew, my grandparents and each of my bridesmaids and matron of honor.

Then, it was off to the church where Father Dan gave us a beautiful, energetic ceremony. As I said my vows, it was like an outer body experience filling my emotions with nerves and excitement all at the same time. After thousands of pictures, we were off to the reception and danced until literally my hip popped out of the socket. It was a perfect day, minus the injury.

Over these past two years, we've had our ups and downs, but I can honestly say that it's been a wonderful ride that I never want to end. He truly is my best friend, and I can't wait to spend the rest of our days together. I love you!

Taken too soon

This morning I attended the funeral of a young teen who will never have the chance to grow up. To be able to aspire to do great things. To carry out those aspirations. Get married. Raise a family, or grow old. It's a story that has affected me more than I can truly express into words.

My heart aches as I think of her parents who can remember as if it were yesterday the day they held her in their arms for the first time. They were proud of the young person she was becoming. Over this past weekend, through the stories that were told, I feel like I got to know this young girl who was beautiful, quirky and kind. She also had an enormous heart.

You never know what to say to the family and friends of someone who has passed away. "I'm so sorry" just doesn't cut it. "He or she lived a long life" is like a knife to the back, and "at least she's at peace" can only be interpreted as a slap in the face. No, no words seem to be comforting enough. No phrase will ever erase the pain that the loved ones feel. But when it is a child who was taken tragically, the loss of words is almost unbearable. Every word you say seems wrong the instant its said out loud. No amount of comfort will ever bring their baby back.

During yesterday's homily, the priest spoke of the life that the young teen led and the impact she had on the hundreds of people assembled in the church. He spoke of the joy she brought to her parents and siblings and friends, and he spoke of the wonderful job her parents did raising her to perfection in God's eyes that lead to her being called home at such a young age - before she really had a chance to live. But one common theme that was heard was that this young lady lived her short life to the fullest.

If there's one thing that I have taken with me, it's that I will honor her life by living my life to the fullest and making the most of the precious time that I have here on earth. I truly will "Dance as though no one is watching."

Monday, June 11, 2012

Life can Change in an Instant

It's amazing when that maternal gene makes herself known to you, and you all of a sudden realize just how much you want to be a mother. For some, it happens unexpectedly and for others it develops over time. For me, it was more gradual, and then in an instant it became all I can think about.

In high school, health instructors teach you that if you have sex, you get pregnant. And for some that statement is true, but for others, you learn that the body is much more complicated, and there are many factors that can prevent this dream from occurring in an instant. It's a long process that has its ups and downs, heartaches and excitements, but in the end, you realize that what's meant to be will be, and it's really out of your control. Fate has a way of taking the reigns and you just have to let go and try to enjoy the ride.

It's that same fate that can change your life dramatically in an instant. This past weekend, two young teenagers decided to walk into a busy street to get to the other side, but fate changed their lives and the lives of their families forever. They were critically injured by a vehicle and now fight for their lives. I did not know these girls personally, but the one was very close to a good friend of mine, and her parents are my acquaintances. When I heard the news, a pit in my stomach the size of a pumpkin developed and it hasn't found its way out. I just keep thinking about how unfair life can be. I can't stop thinking and praying for the two girls whose lives have really just begun, and for their parents who love them unconditionally and whose hearts are broken as they pray for miracles.

A mother dreams of the day she can hold her baby in her arms. From the minute she decides she wants a baby to the second she finds out she's pregnant, through the nine months she carries her baby in her womb, to the day her baby's born. And then she worries that her child will be safe and that the lessons she teaches her will be enough to make her a strong and wonderful human being.

As I sit here I can't help but question why bad things happen to good people. I pray with everything I have that a miracle will happen and that these young teens will recover and go on to live long, healthy lives, and that what happened this past weekend will turn out to be a bad memory, but one with a life lesson that both girls can take with them as they grow old. I pray for their families that they can get through this dark hour, and be strong for their daughters. I'm praying and will continue to pray for their miracle.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tug of War

Yesterday, Marley had her annual vet appointment. She's healthy, but 8 pounds overweight, so we decided to cut back from 3 cups of food/day to only two. This morning, she let me know that she was still hungry by grabbing a cardboard box and ripping it to shreds. I gave her tough love though by I scolding her and not giving in to her whimpers for more food. We'll see how long it takes her to adjust.

Last night after Marley's vet appointment, Eric and I went to PetSmart to buy food, treats and a toy for my not-so-little terror. We can't buy her stuffed animals because she rips them apart and then eats them, we can't buy her plastic toys because she breaks them apart and eats them and we can't buy her tennis balls because once again she eats them. So we have to resort to the more expensive Kong-brand dog toys that take an extra long time for her to destroy.

Last night, we decided on getting her a tug of war contraption. The concept is that she grabs one end, we grab the other and we wrestle, which would give her more exercise and help her shed some of those unwanted pounds. The problem is that Marley can't comprehend the game. She just wants to chew on it. And while I am so glad that obedience school is starting to pay off, Marley no longer understands the game of tug of war. When we get our end of the toy, Marley instantly drops her end. Eric even tried putting his end in his mouth so that she could visualize the concept of the game... gross. It took more than 20 minutes before Marley finally understood that it was ok to play with the toy by tugging on her end while I held on for dear life on my end. It was short-lived, however, Marley walked away within 5 minutes of the game starting and went back to chewing on it. We'll practice again tonight.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sunshine = Smile

I am very happy that the warm weather has finally decided to grace us with its presence here in Western New York. Don't get me wrong, we had a relatively mild winter, and some even say we didn't have much of a winter at all. However, in my opinion, it was still chilly until just recently and this past week has been gorgeous!

Warm weather puts me in a fabulous mood - although not the hot, hot, hot weather (when it's too hot, I'm a hot mess) - rather when the temperature allows the sun to warm your face, but not drench your hair with sweat.  I love to open the windows and let a nice cross breeze in, and it's music to my ears hearing the birds chirp and the neighborhood children laughing as they play outside. It's just hard to be unhappy with the sun is shining bright. Last night, I met a friend for a stroll in the park and although it had just rained, and the mugginess and the bugginess were not the most pleasant (refer back to the sweat hair comment) it was still wonderful to be outside doing outside things. Happy Spring all!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Cinco De Mayo, fifth in class: coincidence?

Saturday was Marley's last obedience class, but she wasn't as excited to go as she normally was. She seemed off from the minute we woke up on Saturday, and Eric leaned over and said to me that maybe we should skip the class. I told him no, that we were going to the class, and that she'd be fine. I said her ADD would subside once we got settled, but I'm ashamed to admit that I was wrong.

When we got to class, she was going crazy. She was jumping, not listening and pulling as we walked into school. She just wouldn't settle down, and it was as if we were back to week one. She "forgot" how to lay down, she needed to be told repeatedly to sit and she refused to do the obstacle course in a timely fashion. Needless to say, I was embarrassed by Marley. After the obstacle course, we went outside to practice come when called. I was adamant that she would listen to me and I was determined to prove my husband wrong, I told him she really did know the command and she wouldn't be distracted by the other dogs and the play area. Little did I know, Marley was dead set on proving me wrong. She ran right passed me, and refused to come back. When we finally went back inside, we were given awards and Marley placed last, but the trainer tried to throw us a bone by saying she tied with the American bulldog in the class for fourth. I told her that our feelings weren't hurt, and it was ok to be honest, Marley placed fifth out of the five dogs in attendance. It's hard to admit when you're wrong, but I should have listened to my husband and stayed away from the evaluation class. Marley and me, we still have some work to do.