Friday, July 30, 2010

Babies Don't Keep....

Looking back, I think that being a mom is what I have always aspired to be. I love doing many things. I love teaching and working in collaborative environments. I love being creative with everything from scrapbooking to sewing. I love to read, travel, take pictures, explore, dance, and have fun with friends. But, I can't say that anything is as fulfilling as being Noah's Mama. So having the opportunity to be home with him almost full time since his birth has been a true gift.

Since we are in the process of moving, it has been a little challenging at times to manage the workload of being a full time mommy and keeping the house presentable since it is on the market (send your prayers, please, as it is a sloooooooow market). For awhile, I got a little stressed about trying to 'do it all'. I would get frustrated with myself for not having done the laundry before Joel got home, or not having accomplished more tasks on the never ending to-do list that day. Joel is very supportive and reminds me that it can't all be done in one day, and that my job is to focus on Noah, not the dishes or the dog fur that needs to be vacuumed. So when I came across this poem, I decided to make it my new motto:

I hope my children will look back on today
And see a mother who had time to play.
There will be years for cleaning and cooking
But children grow up while we're not looking.
Dusting and scrubbing can wait 'till tomorrow
For babies grow fast we learn to our sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs and dust go to sleep
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.


Noah 4 Months 12 BW

I may not always have the tidiest home, but in the end, it doesn't matter. Try as I might, I can't keep him little forever. And although I may wish it at times, I can't wait to see the boy he will become and the man he will grow into. So for now, I'm happy to just focus on being "Mama", whether or not the laundry or dishes get done. I love you Noah!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

How are the dogs doing?

One of the questions we get all of the time, is about how our two fur-kids have adjusted to the newest addition. From the time that we brought Bridget home three years ago as a puppy, we have been trying to prepare her (and later, Jack) for the day that there would be a new kid in town. I remember reading article after article, and book after book, trying to do everything we could to 'childproof' our dogs way ahead of time. We never wanted to be faced with a choice between our child and our furry friends.

Daddy's Helper

As many of you know, Jack has been our greatest challenge as dog owners. We got Jack two years ago from a ranch in Reno when he was 14 months old. He had never been trained, never been on a leash, never been inside, never been in a car, wasn't neutered or crate trained, and didn't really even know his name. (That last bit turned out to be a blessing in disguise though since his name was Pretty Boy. We still call him that because he sure is pretty, but we were happy to change his official name to Jack!) Jack was a challenge to work with when we first brought him home. What we had done with Bridget proved more difficult with Jack, if not simply because he was already a 45 pound dog and not as easy to maneuver around as the little 8 pound furball Bridget had been. I remember when Joel went back to work after we had first brought him home. I couldn't go anywhere! I couldn't get Jack on a leash, let alone in a crate. I couldn't even get him in the car fast enough to close the door before he jumped back out. I remember literally tossing him across the backseat and shutting the door as fast as I could just to get him to the vet to get his shots and be fixed! I didn't know what we had gotten ourselves into, but I did know that Jack seemed to really trust us. He didn't always like what we had in mind, but he never reacted with aggression once despite all of the times I had to literally force him into a crate or the car so we could leave the house. (Ironic, since he now opts for his crate over the couch and can't wait to go for car rides now!)

After a quick beginner's obedience class, of which Jack was the star pupil, we were off and running! Or so we thought. As it turns out, Jack was not well socialized as a puppy. He lived on the ranch with at least 15 other (also not well attended to) Aussies, some livestock, and horses that were the primary focus. We came to find out that Jack will probably always have some problems stemming from this lack of proper socialization. Of course, this has proven to be rather inconvenient when it comes to having guests over or wanting to do off-leash activities. Jack can't handle this and we've learned the hard way unfortunately.

With all of this in mind, I'm sure a lot of people would think it's not worth it to have this dog that makes things so tough. But when there have been moments where we have thought that re-homing Jack was the answer, it has absolutely crushed us. He is, by far, the sweetest, most loving dog we have ever known. Jack trusts us. We promised to be his "forever" home and I don't doubt for a second that he knows that. We have invested a lot of time and money to make it possible for us to keep Jack because of that promise. I can't imagine us doing it any other way. He deserves it. As the behaviorist at the UC Davis Animal Clinic told us, Jack may never be the dog that can hang out during a family gathering or a birthday party. While we see it as a punishment to put him away in an upstairs room, he appreciates it! Jack won't ever be "that dog" that can be around a lot of other people, and he needs us to give him boundaries sometimes, like being in his crate or wearing his muzzle. (Side note, if you ever see Jack wearing his muzzle, please don't feel bad for him. He LOVES his muzzle. Perhaps it's because the behaviorist paired it with CheezWiz as part of his treatment.)

Sugar

Both Jack and Bridget have enriched our lives with so much unconditional love, so many laughs, and so much pure joy, that we would do anything within reason (and maybe beyond) for them. So when we came home with this new bundle of joy, and the attention shifted, we were unsure of how things would go. At first, it was very stressful. Bridget seemed intrigued, but really just wanted someone to pay attention to her. (You'll notice that I don't mention much about Bridget in this post. She really is a great dog, and will always be our little 'puppy'. She is happy as long as someone will throw her the frisbee and there is a spot for her on the couch. Bridget is very much the princess and her reign continues.....) Jack, on the other hand, barked at Noah. He barked every time Noah cried, which for a day old baby, happens often! We were pretty freaked out needless to say.

Thankfully, after some time burning off steam for a few days at the Animal Den (the best pet resort in Sacramento, owned by our good friend Lisa!), we started working on desensitizing the dogs to the baby. Over the next few weeks, with the help of baby gates, stuffed Kongs, food dispensing toys, and a lot of praise and direction, we noticed that Jack wasn't barking at Noah's cries any more. He actually didn't seem fazed at all. As with everything it seems, Jack adapts pretty well when he's given the opportunity and a lot of structured support. Nowadays, Jack could care less about the constant babble coming from Noah. He doesn't get stressed when he cries, and hasn't barked in regards to Noah for months. Jack even enjoys lying down next to us during tummy time or play time on the floor, he just wants to be where his people are.

It has been a long four months when we think of the progress that has been made with the dogs, but at the same time, it seems like just yesterday that we were welcoming our baby boy into our lives. Jack and Bridget have really adjusted well to life with a baby in the house, and we couldn't be happier. We know that there will be many challenges ahead with the next stages as Noah becomes more vocal and more mobile. But, we also know that we are equipped with the motivation and the support to handle it. Life with dogs and a baby may not always be easy, but we wouldn't trade it for the world.

Here is a recent favorite of all three of our 'kids' that Joel took. Yes, Bridget is licking Noah's foot. Apparently she thought he was in need of a bath. He probably was. :)

Siblings

On this topic, the Babies and Beasts blog that I have linked is a GREAT resource for anyone who has kids and dogs, or ever plans to! We followed many of the tips and tricks she used to prepare the dogs for a baby, and we think it has definitely helped overall. I highly recommend reading "The Most Important Post on Here" and please share it with all dog-loving parents!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hysterics

I know I've posted a video of Noah laughing before, but really, who doesn't love a hysterical baby?

video

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Shhhhh! Noah is napping!!!

Well I figured that was a good a title as any since that is exactly what Noah is doing right now that is giving me the chance to update the blog. I said I hoped it wouldn't take me 12 weeks to write another post, and it hasn't! It only took me 4! :-)

Things have been a bit crazy around here this summer and the month of July has literally been flying by. As many of you may know, we are moving to a new house in August. We had been looking for awhile and finally decided upon a new neighborhood in our same town. Our favorite neighbors are also moving to the same neighborhood and we couldn't be more excited! (Actually the already moved in, their house was ready last month.) The area is all new housing with great little parks, very nice new schools, and plans for much more. It's only about 15 minutes down the road from where we live now, but we are really looking forward to the new area. We do love our house now and we live in a nice neighborhood already, but this new neighborhood seems to be much more oriented towards young families which is part of why we chose to move up here in the first place.

So, I will say that trying to organize a move and having the house on the market with two dogs and a 3 month old is pretty nuts. We have been jetting off to Tahoe every chance we get to both escape the heat and get out of the way in case we have any traffic coming through to look at the house. Of course, it being July and vacation time, we aren't seeing many lookers just yet, but we're hopeful that it will pick up soon. We know it's just the market right now, but say some prayers and keep your fingers crossed for us!

Noah continues to grow like a weed! When I'm out and about, I usually get questions asking if he is 6 or even 8 months old. No, just 3. :-) He really doesn't seem huge to me but that is probably because he's our first and we don't know any different. He is definitely bigger than he used to be and I can't believe the turnover rate with his wardrobe! But, he still seems like a little baby to me so I am always a bit caught off guard when people are shocked at his true age. Although, knowing that at 2 months he was in the 95th percentile for both height and weight really should have clued me in.

According to the bathroom scale and the tried-and-true "weight holding baby minus weight without baby" trick, Noah is about 17 pounds or so. I know he's gotten taller as well since some of his footie pajamas have had to be retired because he can't straighten his legs in them. Nevermind that those footie pajamas are Carter's 6 month size. *sigh*

We've still got an amazing little sleeper at night. People don't believe us when we say he goes down by 10 and doesn't stir until 5 or 6am. To be honest, there are times we wake HIM up because Mama can't wait to feed him, not ONE MORE SECOND! We are starting to work on making sure he gets naps during the day, too, because lately, the evenings have been a little rough. I think we have an overtired little boy at that point so this morning's easy nap was quiet exciting! We'll see how it goes, but I'm hoping I am learning to time his naps a little better so that when he does take them - they last!

I'm also fairly certain at this point that Noah definitely takes after me when it comes to talking. He never stops! Lately, he has been "telling stories". He makes a variety of cooing sounds over and over for minutes on end. I've read that babies like to do this because they like the way the vibrations feel when they make noise. If that is true, he must LOVE it because he does it all the time! :-) That's fine with us though. We're pretty sure it's the cutest thing we've ever heard. If this is any indicator of his future talking habits though, we may change our tunes someday!

Well, it appears that my little napper has had enough of this napping business. Please be sure to check in on Joel's photography blog to see updated pictures. I will try to add some more next time, too!