Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tales of the Tail: Dogs Never Die

It's been two months today since we said goodbye to Kip. I know that many of us have read the famous Rainbow Bridge poem. That poem doesn't really speak to me, but I found one that does. He may be gone from us physically, but he is always in our hearts.

Some of you, particularly those who think they have recently lost a dog to “death,” don’t really understand this. I’ve had no desire to explain, but won’t be around forever and must.
Dogs never die. They don’t know how to. They get tired, and very old, and their bones hurt. Of course they don’t die. If they did they would not want to always go for a walk, even long after their old bones say: “No, no, not a good idea. Let’s not go for a walk.” Nope, dogs always want to go for a walk. They might get one step before their aging tendons collapse them into a heap on the floor, but that’s what dogs do. They walk.
It’s not that they dislike your company. On the contrary, a walk with you is all there is. Their boss, and the cacaphonic symphony of odor that the world is. Cat poop, another dog’s mark, a rotting chicken bone (exultation), and you. That’s what makes their world perfect, and in a perfect world death has no place.
However, dogs get very very sleepy. That’s the thing, you see. They don’t teach you that at the fancy university where they explain about quarks, gluons, and Keynesian economics. They know so much they forget that dogs never die. It’s a shame, really. Dogs have so much to offer and people just talk a lot.
When you think your dog has died, it has just fallen asleep in your heart. And by the way, it is wagging its tail madly, you see, and that’s why your chest hurts so much and you cry all the time. Who would not cry with a happy dog wagging its tail in their chest? Ouch! Wap wap wap wap wap, that hurts. But they only wag when they wake up. That’s when they say: “Thanks Boss! Thanks for a warm place to sleep and always next to your heart, the best place.”
When they first fall asleep, they wake up all the time, and that’s why, of course, you cry all the time. Wap, wap, wap. After a while they sleep more. (Remember, a dog while is not a human while. You take your dog for walk, it’s a day full of adventure in an hour. Then you come home and it’s a week, well one of your days, but a week, really, before the dog gets another walk. No WONDER they love walks.)
Anyway, like I was saying, they fall asleep in your heart, and when they wake up, they wag their tail. After a few dog years, they sleep for longer naps, and you would too. They were a GOOD DOG all their life, and you both know it. It gets tiring being a good dog all the time, particularly when you get old and your bones hurt and you fall on your face and don’t want to go outside to pee when it is raining but do anyway, because you are a good dog. So understand, after they have been sleeping in your heart, they will sleep longer and longer.
But don’t get fooled. They are not “dead.” There’s no such thing, really. They are sleeping in your heart, and they will wake up, usually when you’re not expecting it. It’s just who they are.

I feel sorry for people who don’t have dogs sleeping in their heart. You’ve missed so much. Excuse me, I have to go cry now.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

At the Playground

We took advantage of the early fall-feeling weather last weekend and took MC to one of our favorite local playgrounds. This was one of our favorites for MC last year before she was steady on her feet, but we hadn't visited it in a while. 

The main play structure is nice and low - good toddler climbing height, and the surface under the play areas is squares that of that spongey material that indoor tracks are made of. The whole playground has lots of nice, big trees to provide some shade.

Wheeeee on the slide! This slide is just the right speed for our cautious girl.

Rocking on the blue whale. (And yes, she has a serious case of the Crazy Hair these days!)

Playing peek-a-boo with Daddy in the fish eye bubble.

Daddy is so fun!

We played with an older friend recently and he taught her how to swing on her belly. Luckily these swings are very low to the ground because she doesn't quite get how to balance like that just yet!

Very serious about this swinging business...

There's a (blurry) smile!

Deep toddler thoughts on the swing...

This playground also has a set of outdoor musical instruments - bells, bongo drums, etc. - perfect for banging with a stick!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mechanic's Shop

One recent afternoon MC and I found ourselves in the mechanic's shop with a couple of hours to kill.  Luckily I knew ahead of time that we were going in to the shop (slow leak in rear tire repaired, oil change, tire rotation, state inspection), so I was prepared with snacks and toys.

The snacks did come in handy, but we found several other ways to entertain ourselves rather than play with boring ol' toys!

We looked at every magazine and brochure in the building.

We found Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood on PBS kids' channel.

We played outside in the parking lot - looking for rocks, playing I Spy, and walking on the cracks.

It was windy outside!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Kitchen Stool

MC loves to "help" in the kitchen. Which means I have two choices: (1) hold her on my hip and try to cook with one hand or (2) let her stand in a kitchen chair and risk a head injury when she inevitably gets too close to the edge of the chair.

I'd had my eye on a Learning Tower on Amazon, but they are pretty pricey for what is basically a kitchen stool. And then a couple of weeks ago I found this little gem on Craigslist, and it was right here in CH -- excellent condition, for less than half of retail price! (I never have any luck on Craigslist, so when it was exactly as described: smoke-free, undamaged, etc - I was pleasantly surprised.)

It has already paid for itself several times over. She loves her new-found ability to really help in the kitchen! We've made multiple batches of muffins; I measure the ingredients, and she pours them into the bowls. She's also an excellent stir-er!

We've also made a fresh batch of homemade play dough in her choice of colors, blue and green.

It does mean twice the cleanup effort for me, but it is well worth it for her to be happily involved instead of clinging to my legs and whining.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Here are some recent pics of our girl from July 2014.

A Lego creation by MC.

Daddy/daughter selfie.

A Chick-Fil-A breakfast treat...fruit cup and a biscuit. Over the summer we did a Mommy and Me yoga class at our local mall here in Chapel Hill. After the first class we walked down to CFA for breakfast as a treat; it was the first time she'd had it. The next week as we were leaving the mall after class, she kept repeating something but I couldn't decipher what she was saying. We were almost to the car when I realized she was saying "Fil-A! Fil-A!" So of course we went back in and got that sweet girl some Fil-A! And that started our weekly ritual after class for the rest of the summer yoga class sessions.

Diaper dancing with her July 4th beads -- one of the privileges of toddlerhood.

Helping me look through wallpaper sample books. (And no, we didn't go for the Disney princess wallpaper!)

Snack time at the pool! Look at all those choices - pretzel sticks, animal crackers, cheese bunny crackers, and almonds...quite the buffet!

Standing in the windowsill watching the summer rain storm.

Bath time bubble beard!

Tar Heel born; Tar Heel bred...drinking from the fountain at the Old Well on the UNC campus.

Sidewalk chalk and a popsicle - that's what summer time is made of!

One weekend we went out to a local dairy farm to sample some of their ice cream and see the cows.

Little redneck-in-training...sitting on the tailgate of her truck!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Bounce House

Earlier this summer we had the chance to buy this little mini-bounce house from a friend of our next door neighbors.

Their kids have outgrown it, and they were tired of storing it, so we got it for a steal. MC had played on it at our neighbor's birthday party and loved it, so we knew it would be fun to have for her and her friends.

It's a bounce house with a slide and a ball pit off to one side. Altogether it's probably 12'x12'. It has its own air compressor and blows up in about 30 seconds.

We've already been having tons of fun with it! It burns off all that excess toddler energy and makes for long naps and easy bedtimes!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Tales of the Tail: Books I've Read

It has been seven weeks tomorrow since we said goodbye to our Kip-dog. It is slowly getting easier to live without him, but we still miss him tremendously. We shared such a special bond with him and in some ways we will never be the same without him. In the immediate days after losing him, when I felt so lost myself, I read several books on pet loss. I wanted to share them in case someone else is looking for this same type of resource. I found the first two to be the most comforting/helpful.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

MC's Kitchen

We gave MC a play kitchen for her 2nd birthday. After looking at approximately 700 options online, we chose this one made by Kidcraft. We decided on it because it was wooden and had all of the major kitchen appliances - fridge, freezer, oven, microwave, and dishwasher. And bonus points because it is somewhat realistic looking and resembles our real-life kitchen!

Like all good kids' toys, it came in a box and had to be assembled. But overall, it was a relatively easy assembly - the directions were easy to follow, all the parts were included, and everything lined up and fit together properly. I think it took us around 3 hours to complete it.

We also gave her a set of pots and pans, a starter set of pretend wooden food, and my sister sent a set of felt food that my nephews have outgrown. 

She absolutely loves it, and we have spent a lot of time cooking in her kitchen. Her imaginative play is really starting to develop at this age, so it has been very fun to watch and interact with her as she plays in her kitchen.