Dog Days

The biggest news this year came in the form of this little (not so little anymore) pup. We picked her up literally the day after our Disney vacation at about 10 weeks old. The breeder generously kept her for a couple weeks extra until we returned from vacation.

She’s just so soft. But her mouth is full of sharp teeth. Ha! They are much less sharp now that she has her adult teeth in. We have really enjoyed discovering her personality as she grows. She’s about 6 months old now, and she always wants to play. She adores Jameson, and thinks that Coraline is easy pickings. Just kidding, she likes Coraline too, but she takes advantage of her more.

Her name is Luna.


We picked her out when she was a couple weeks old. They aren’t super active then, so we picked her based on her little white patch, like her dad’s. The only one of the litter of black puppies that had it!


Here she is the day we brought her home.

When she was wee little, she always had a crazy ear, though that’s disappeared somewhat.

Coraline, in fear for her toes. Sometimes Coraline just gives up and sits on the steps, behind the baby gate so Luna can’t reach her.



Likes to sniff bird poop and watch cars til they’re out of sight.

Us after a rainy walk!

Normally I do not walk a dog in the rain but we pressed on our normal route because miss Luna needed some exercise urgently.

It’s definitely been a transition to have a puppy in the house. We were used to an older mellow dog, and Luna is young, playful and needs lots of exercise. From the getgo though she’s been really well behaved in her crate, generally doesn’t bark in it and has always slept through the night. She potty trained relatively fast (though we still have an occasional accident). It’s also wonderful to have a non-shedding pup, though we need to stay on top of getting her trimmed. She tends to get car sick, but is much better than she used to be, so I have high hopes of that resolving completely.

We’ve been through one round of puppy training, but she definitely needs more. We mostly have an issue with jumping and with gnawing on our arms or clothing. She does it for attention or request for play, and thankfully hasn’t torn up anything but a carpet edge. We will leave her out for half hour to an hour by herself, and of course whenever we’re home. During the work week, Brian often comes home at lunch to give her some TLC. She’s a wonderful dog that likes walks, play fetch and tug of war with the kiddos, and also likes to steal Coraline’s blankies. The other day she did eat 3 socks, so she’s definitely a troublemaker in her own mild way.

I do love having a “guard dog” again in the house, and I can’t wait for her to control that urge to soft bite and cuddle with me more. She does do so occasionally now, and I’m hoping I’ll have a runner companion too when I can start training her next spring. Welcome to the family, Luna!

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It was so nice for the kids that we were introduced to Zoe, Aunt Melissa’s new puppy, after Sasha passed away. Coraline was uncertain at first about the excitement which was very different from Sasha’s low key tolerance and occasional lip. Zoe jumped and licked, and Coraline kept going back for more.




Aunt Melissa has a kitty as well, and the cat toys are a hit with all the kids, furry or not.




Jameson was actually a little less enthusiastic about Zoe than I thought he would be. He likes to talk about Zoe and loves her, but when it came down to it the jumping and puppy behavior was more than he was used to. He asked if we could put Zoe in the cage when he was done playing with her, so had to talk about taking the time to teach her the right things to do.


In the end, he found a better way to play with Zoe: running back and forth in Aunt Melissa’s basement.


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How Are Things?

It certainly has been an adjustment and some difficult days since Sasha passed away. Jameson still asks for a new doggie, but less frequently. Coraline was just looking for Sasha again this morning (and she is speaking in relatively full sentences, so this was “Sasha where are you” or “Sasa aru”), but it is only for a moment.

Jameson always has us all say “We eat” in the third person (so I say: “We eat mommy” and Brian says “We eat daddy”) after prayers. So after Amen, on our first dinner without Sasha, Jameson speaks for himself and Coraline. He said “We eat Jameson, We eat Coraline, and… Sasha’s not here. 1…2…3…4. Just 4 friends now. Why?” The kid is unknowingly heartbreaking.

A couple days after, Brian and I were having a hard time with the empty spaces Sasha left behind, so we moved some of the kids toys and furniture. Jameson really liked the change, but then suggested in the new smaller space we left open that we could get a bed. A small bed, for a new doggie. Luckily, we don’t get those requests as often already, and seeing Aunt Melissa’s new puppy on Saturday helped.

I’ve watched him progress pretty quickly processing Sasha’s death. But the first few times we read the book was hard. He would ask what page Sasha dies in, and when we get a new doggie, can we get Sasha again? That was a hard one. But now the questions have progressed into Heaven, God and Jesus, which is good timing for this season. We have the nativity set out, and I brought out a children’s Bible I bought last summer before he was quite ready. Now we’ve read some of those stories on the weekend.

Unfortunately, we’ll have more sad news to relate to him in a short week when we go to visit my parents. Jameson loved walking their oldest dog Mayzie, one of my childhood pups, but she passed away Tuesday. What a month! But I am happy that we’ll be able to talk about how Mayzie is in Heaven with Sasha (albeit, they were not the best of friends! ha!)

Mayzie always had an almost human grin when her favorite people arrived. The most tolerant dog to my kiddos poking and prodding, and best big sister to Shiloh making sure she didn’t annoy the babies too much. She was protective and loving and made an awesome howl with the harmonica. We got her in May 2001, and she was 14 years old. It’s hard for myself to fully understand she’s gone; when we arrive for Thanksgiving I’m sure I will feel the loss harder.

The weekend before Sasha passed away, I was actually visiting by myself to see the family and take some photos of Mayzie. I thought Mayzie would be going first, but we hadn’t really accepted the reality of Sasha’s illness yet. I loved getting these photos for my parents, it was a nice healing weekend before the hard stuff ahead.







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10/1/02 – 11/11/14

Yesterday, we had to tell Jameson that our beloved puppy was gone. Unexpectedly, he seemed to understand the concept of death already, that she was gone from us and not returning. He was incredibly sad, and immediately requested a new doggie. While I am certain he expected a new doggie to make him feel better, we know that is not entirely the case. It was the easiest question he asked. He also asked if we were with her, another unexpected but easy answer. The hardest part was watching him so sad, since this is his first experience with this kind of unresolvable sadness and grief.

Despite trying hard not to dwell on sickness or old age as reasons we die, he picked up on old age. He’s too young to explain that all of us die without causing fear, though I think he made that association anyway; or that death can also happen unexpectedly; so, we reassured him that Sasha had lived a very, very long time, and that she went to Heaven and can run in the grass there. He asked if tomorrow he will get older, and I told him that he will not be old for a very long time. I may have said that everyone lives for a very long time. It’s hard to find the answers to reassure and make him feel better, but to be truthful without opening up more questions he is too young to understand is nearly impossible. I am sure that won’t be the last of his questions about death and Heaven.

I did make him a book about Sasha, with photos of her as a puppy he has never seen before. It hasn’t really been the immediate hit that I expected, but I think it will be a useful tool when he asks more questions or misses her. Instead, he associated the book with making him sad, and he didn’t really want to read it again. I think he will want to later though.

We visited grandma last night, which was a much needed distraction for all of us. He has a big stuffed dog there, which he called his “pet doggie” and put it in the fort he and grandma made. So many, many sad moments. Some of the worst are associated with routine, of course. Looking for her in the morning when we get up or before bed. Leaving the garage door open when we get home to let her out. Thankfully, Coraline is so young, aside from looking for her very briefly, she has been a comic relief and little ray of sunshine for us. She chose an outfit today of all doggies.

I’ve found that I don’t really know Brian without Sasha, since the two were partners, his buddy, from the day I met him. It’s hard to find words to describe their relationship, since it was much more than master to pup. She will always be his very first baby. Watching him grieve is almost as hard as losing Sasha herself.

It took me a little time to love Sasha, not because she wasn’t lovable, but because she took up a lot of space in our bed, haha. But now, even though we’ve filled our home with additional pack members, the house feels so much emptier. She is such a big part of our life, home and family. And our hearts. Her exceptionally large presence really seems to make her absence even bigger.

We have a sing-song phrase we use with Coraline for naps and night-night time. It can be used for hello and goodbye, too. Monday, Jameson sang it to Sasha, singing “bye bye Sasha, bye bye Sasha, see you after school.” Knowing that she would not be home waiting for us in just a couple days while listening to him sing to her was the beginning of many hard moments. Another was watching Coraline, who has just started in the past few weeks to pull out Sasha’s treats on her own to go give to her. Yesterday morning, instead of a bye bye song, Coraline sang “Night night” to her.

Sasha reached the end of her life at the very old age of 12. She was, and is, the smartest dog I have ever met, a gentle giant with a sweet disposition as long as you don’t poke at her face, Coraline! Sasha loved rolling in the grass, sitting on couches, catching snowballs, eating cookies (the dog treat kind), and giving puppy kisses.

Pillow stealer

I’m sure you’re glad to be chasing bunny rabbits again.

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When we arrived home, Jameson was still at his grandma and grandpa’s house, so we had the opportunity to get her settled and to introduce her to Sasha, of course!

Overall, Sasha seems fine with a new little one around (particularly one that doesn’t move around yet).

Coraline is overall a content, pleasant baby thus far. Without the overarching concerns we had with Jameson’s eating and bowel movements (she is both a champion eater and potty-er), we have been very relaxed with her and her with us.

Jameson arrived later that afternoon, and I shortly came down from upstairs feeding her. Jameson immediately said “Hi baby Cor-line” (he removes the “a” when he says her name, it’s the cutest!) and waved at her.

He did really well meeting his baby sister for the first time, and shared his leeky with her, covering her so she wouldn’t be cold.

Then he wanted to hold her, so we sat down on the couch and with my help, he held Coraline for the first time!

A short time later, he requested to hold her again, specifically asking for us to take a picture with her, so grandma assisted while I obliged with more photos, of course! He even helped to take a picture on the iphone of her a couple days later. It won’t be long before I might need to get him his own camera!

We had been told that we’d see Jameson as so much older after her birth, and everyone was right. He seemed so big! In between holding her, I couldn’t help but capture a few things that really impressed on me that he was so much older.

He put on his own socks, and spun coasters on the floor (grandparents taught him that new skill).

Jameson was so silly, and so full of personality, it is hard to remember him at her age.

I did some comparison, and Jameson and Coraline have very similar features: nose, eyes, lips, chin. Jameson had circles under his eyes, and adorable forehead wrinkles, for a long time, which may have been because he was so small. Coraline has darker hair than Jameson did, and a little more of it. The biggest difference that struck me is that Jameson was one month old before he reached 7 pounds 3 ounces, a weight that Coraline reached in days.

Jameson has been very good with her, but sadly that very night after meeting her, he developed a fever and woke up at 102 F. Since then, we kept him from her and packed him off to his grandparents for Saturday evening through Sunday. The doctor didn’t find anything wrong beside the fever, which was both good and disappointing there weren’t any antibiotics we could give him to make it go away!

The fever continued through Tuesday, and Jameson went back to school on Thursday, the fever having turned into a snot filled cold and cough. He’s now allowed to touch her again after washing hands, but it was a hard few days being extra cautious. We are thankful that so far she hasn’t gotten it.

He likes to watch our activities with baby “Cor-line” and pull off her socks. He tries to put them back on without success and likes to share with her (so far).

His illness has made him a little more sensitive this week, so that it is hard to tell if he is ornery in the mornings from attention she receives or just from exhaustion and the change in routine this week. We’ve tried to give him his usual amount of attention during bedtime and evening routines, which have thankfully been going well.

I’m looking forward to seeing how their relationship grows and changes in the coming months!

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Sasha’s Party

Saturday, we had a little birthday party for Sasha, who turned 10 years old on October 1. Many of her favorite people were there, and it was conveniently timed that Jameson napped through the arrival of most of them, so she could greet everyone herself with no interruptions!

She did get a couple treats and toys out of it, but mostly it was just a gathering involving extra belly rubs! We had photos up of her along the stairs and mantle, and displayed her pedigree chart on the table along with photos of her mom and dad.

Then Jameson woke up and stole to show!

Lily came over with her brother, who was a champ the entire time.

Jameson showed off his skills with the empty dishwasher tab canister. Yes, we saved it for fun. Jameson also likes to bang with his drumsticks on the other side, since it obviously makes more fun noises than the plastic drum he has.

My parents even drove all the way up for a couple hours, though Jameson didn’t say “Meemaw” as he had for the first time just the night before during FaceTime!

I made pumpkin pie for dessert (Jameson only wanted the whipped cream), a crust-less version which recipe I got from Laura and Dave, who also came with their daughter Rylan.

Meanwhile, Lily and Jameson started running around the dining room table, which I thought was pretty hilarious. Lily did fall and burst into tears, but all was well!

I love Jameson’s sneaky face in this one. He appears to have stolen all the cloths from the baby wipes case that Rylan was playing with.

Sasha alternated between her bed and the front door, being exhausted by watching out for all the children!

It was time for my parents to say goodbye, which signaled the beginning of the end of Sasha’s party. We had plenty of left overs of pulled pork, raw veggies and pumpkin pie throughout the week.

The crowd left a really tired puppy! And Jameson has enjoyed looking at all the pictures of “Sashy” all week since we left them up.

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Watermelons and Kittens

The last weekend in July was a busy one! On Saturday, we went to visit Brian’s grandma and Aunt & Uncle. The last time we were there, Jameson was a new crawler, so it had been awhile!

Jameson is showing much more fear, of strangers and loud surprising noises, so he wasn’t inclined to let his great-grandma hold him. He did however give her a high five!

We had also celebrated cousin Stacy’s engagement to Nick when we were there last, and while they weren’t there, we thought of them since their wedding is now just a week or so away!

I don’t care for watermelon (never have; it’s one of the few foods that I have consistently never liked even as an adult), but Jameson enjoyed some!

He did want to gnaw on the rind, but for the most part he ate his watermelon really well, and wanted another!

Great-grandma has a magnolia tree in the backyard, with thick low-lying branches that if Jameson has the chance, I am sure he will climb when he gets older!

Brian’s Aunt Terry & Uncle Wes have a brand new kitten named Zane. When we met him, he was just 7 weeks old!

At daycare, they have a chinchilla owned by one of the teachers who brings him in every once in a while. Jameson apparently loves the chinchilla, so I was hoping he would do just as well with this other tiny creature. Jameson got to pet Zane, and I was excited to see that he did so well being gentle while Aunt Melissa held him.

Jameson however quickly got distracted by his cousins’ toys, and discovered a guitar that they were generous enough to send us home with! He has enjoyed the guitar a lot, and it completes his musical collection of drums, xylophone and rattles. We could host an entire toddler band now!

It was a relatively short visit, but fun despite the interrupting rainstorm. We still enjoyed our summer meal with the watermelon, pasta salad I brought, broccoli salad and burgers! It is good to see Brian’s grandma, who seems to be doing really well this year!

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Dog Days of Winter

On Thursday, my good friend Emma and her fiance Joe dropped in to stay the night in the middle of their trip back from Chicago to New Jersey. They brought their adorable vizsla puppy with them, so we took Sasha to Brian’s parents for the night.

Cobalt is cute and nimble and curious. Jameson loved him, of course.

On another note, New Years resolutions are usually hard to keep. However, I tried on my bridesmaid’s dress for Emma’s wedding and oops, it no longer fit me. So while I am usually against specific resolutions like losing weight, in this case I’ll make an exception.

The only other time I’ve been successful at losing weight (aside from giving birth and nursing) is when I was counting my calories. So I’ve joined myfitnesspal (mostly because they have a highly rated app for my iPhone as well). So far, so good. Two days down, 6 months or so left to go.

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7 Things: Babies with Fur; 9 Month Edition

Jameson changes so quickly these days! Here are a few ways that my 9 month old son (almost 10) is similar to my 9 year old pup:

  1. Dogs and babies both like to carry things around in their mouths
  2. Both Jameson and Sasha get around on all fours
  3. Each can express their feelings in a very vocal manner.
  4. Sasha and Jameson both make involuntary hilarious faces.
  5. Dogs and babies now both have sharp fangs for goring you nipping at you eating with
  6. Slobbering is a favorite past time for both Jameson and Sasha
  7. Neither Sasha nor Jameson are huge fans of clothes.

Of course, some things stayed the same. They both still love eating grass, and I’m picking up after toys for both of them. And they both have razor claws nails.

However, we do have a few ways to tell them apart:

  1. Sasha is an indoor dog, Jameson is an outdoor baby.
  2. Jameson is casual about his eating, often spitting out tasty bits for the thrill of, well, spitting. Sasha scarfs her dinner down.
  3. Sasha has an extra appendage, called a tail.
  4. Dogs demand petting and love from us. Jameson demands independence and exploration and wriggles out of our arms.
  5. Baby hair may be wild and crazy, but it stays attached to their head (after the newborn phase).
  6. Jameson can stand on two legs.
  7. Sasha slurps, Jameson sucks (on a bottle, get it?)

Sasha is at times still unsure about Jameson. She’s never sure what he’s going to do next. But she always checks on him before bed, and loves to lick his toes. They’re going to be quite the pair.

P.S. See my first edition of Jameson at 7 months compared to Sasha.

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Jameson has had a really hard time teething this past week and weekend. He has four teeth, two on bottom and two on top which are broken through but not all the way grown in. Now he is in process of breaking through two more teeth up top, and he’s taking this set pretty hard.

Contrary to this photo, he’s actually been really grumpy. So this is when we were checking for teeth and discovered that yes, there are two more making their way down.

My mother stayed with us overnight on Thursday night after going to a funeral. Sad times, but it was nice to get in a quick visit. We also visited with my uncle and aunt Carol, who just had knee replacement surgery a week ago and has been fairly housebound. I’m sure she enjoyed the visit, albeit brief.

He’s been up a lot at night, needing rocked to sleep which is very very unusual for him. Brian and I have been disagreeing about feeding him at night, but I think we’ve left it that Brian will feed him if he thinks he needs it and I will rock even if I think we should be holding firm on him getting to sleep by himself.

Jameson’s clearly in pain, and we’ll each do what we think will help him get back to sleep fastest. Which, in the end, is medicine. Advil and Tylenol, alternating, for the most effective pain relief according to our pharmacist neighbors. And it works.

Aside from causing us trouble sleeping, he is also becoming a bit of a troublemaker during the waking hours.

Yep, this child who is not really pulling himself up yet in the crib is climbing stairs. One stair. He’s not very coordinated yet.

He is also crawling everywhere, being told “no” quite often by the fireplace, and otherwise making mischief.

Consequently, we did some baby proofing this weekend. The outlets have covers on them now. They’re actually quite fancy, borrowed from a friend. They are tilted and go back in place with springs when removing an item from being plugged in. They’re kind of like this, but not as new or fancy. Also, we’ve finished the gate upstairs. We purchased a retract-a-gate and so far we really like it. We will have to make a decision about the downstairs gate though.

For now, we’ve been watching him on the stairs closely, finding it good practice for him to pull up. He’s only really reaching for things at his level like the stairs or ourselves when we’re on the floor with him. He isn’t quite getting the hang of pulling up from things with height like the end tables or couches.

We also have another troublemaker trying to wedge herself in corners to escape Jameson’s new mobility. Sasha turned 9 years old on October 1st. Happy birthday Sasha! We have fancy dinner planned for her this week in addition to the peanut butter bone and new toys that Brian’s parents got for her.

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