31 December 2007

A New Year

The end of another year... It's weird how having kids seems to make them go so much faster. I spent this whole year having trouble with the idea that 1997 was 10 years ago. It seems like yesterday to me. 6 months from now Achilles will turn 4. My oldest son will be 3 in a few months. How did all of this happen?!

I have never made a New Year's Resolution. Mostly because I know myself. I'm lazy and procrastinate. Just because its a new year, doesn't mean I'm going to miraculously change into a goal-orientated achiever. (Not that that is a bad thing to be!) But I think I might consider it this year. Having small kids and lots of pets has helped me get more organized. Yearly appointments have to be made and kept, vaccinations, dentist trips... I swear it seems like we have several appointments of some sort every month. I've never in my life had this many appointments! For instance: on the 4th I have a dentist appointment, on the 7th Caayn goes to discuss the ol' snip snip with his dr, on the 8th Caayn is driving with Jimmy to Bismarck for a big appointment, and on the 9th is my first obedience class with Athena. Holy cow.

In the past month I have gone more places by myself than I have in all 4 years of our marriage. We've always done things together. I think it's an improvement. Us doing everything together was very special--I've never really met any couple who did that. But for me, the improvement comes in the fact that I am able to let it happen. I had a lot of trust issues with Caayn. About 95% of the issues came from me and my trainload of baggage. 5% I will give to Caayn, for the few things he did. Nothing major to most people, but to issue-loaded folks like me, big enough. This past year I have made leaps and bounds mentally. I've been able to put a lot behind me. YAY! There's been a lot more happiness and laughter in our household. (Aside from Sully's bloodcurdling temper tantrum shrieks, of course.)

The biggest achievement of the year has to be the birth of Lochlan. Ummm, 8 hours of labor and 30 minutes of pushing? To have a wonderful, adorable, delicious new son who is the love of my life? By far the biggest achievement.

Speaking of... I've been considering this whole "heart" thing. We equate love with your heart. Not the physical, blood pumping heart. But an imaginary heart. One that many people seem to think is filled with a certain amount of love. We sign cards "with all our love", if someone dies there is a hole in your heart, when you have another child or pet people ask how you can "possibly love another?"... Lochlan is the love of my life. He is my heart. Sully is the love of my life. He is my heart. Caayn is the love of my life. He is my heart. Achilles is the love of my life. He is my heart. Athena is the love of my life. She is my heart. I'm not sure how it's possible. But it is true. Every morning I wake up to Lochlan's face. Sometimes he's sleeping, sometimes he's awake. It's a great way to wake up. Every night I go to sleep, he is the last thing I see. Usually from a distance of one inch. (He likes having someone as close as possible to him.)

On a similar vein... Our bedroom is our family room. 7 bodies sleep in our bed at night. This is why we have a king sized bed, haha. One person is missing though. Sully. He doesn't sleep well in our bed. He just stays awake, crawling around, then slowly getting cranky as he gets more tired. Sometimes I feel guilty knowing that the rest of our family is snuggled up without him. It's really weird. I'm still trying to grasp the fact that we seem to be co-sleeping with Lochlan. We never intended to. He was going to sleep in the bassinent of his pack n play. But he decided that was NOT for him and moved to our bed. From our bed, he has moved into someone's arms. He now won't fall asleep at night until one of us has him snugged into a crook of an arm. If he wakes up in the night, he can sleep elsewhere, but not for the first sleep. I don't mind it at all. I DO think its crazy that we are able to co-sleep with three dogs in the bed too.

Athena discovered the pack n play the other night. That is now her doggy bed. She has some super soft blankets that she curls into, and then she is out like a light. I think she might be over the pound limit for the bassinet (I *think* it is 20lbs, and she is 25lbs), but she is so cozy that I can't kick her out. Last night she was in there until at least 4:30am, which was the last time I was awake until 6, when Caayn got up for work, to discover her up. It's hilarious looking. I'll have to get some pictures. She also got a new crate yesterday. Ooh, thats a story...

So we got paid, had some gift cards and checks to cash... this, of course, meant a trip downtown for some shopping. First and foremost I wanted a crate for Athena. She was in a metal one, which was progressively getting more bent out of shape each time we left. I told Caayn that she would greet us at the door when we got home. So we went to Wal-Mart to look for a vari kennel. While we were there, Sully lost Robert. Robert is a stuffed dog. I was given Robert when I was really really little (might have been a gift when I was born, not positive though). I kept Robert with me all these years. When Sully was about 6 months old, I passed Robert on to him. He is now Sully's best friend. So losing Robert is a HUGE deal. I get freaked out, Sully gets freaked out, Caayn gets pissy... hehehe... We probably spent a good hour looking for him. Sully found him on the edge of a shelf that was about shoulder height on Caayn... just happened to look up and see him. Absolutely amazing. We trekked over to the mall, shopped at Target, checked stores for Nikes (I'm super super super picky about shoes and it always takes me forever to find a pair I like), stopped at Best Buy to return something to Jimmy, and then headed home.

Athena was, of course, at the door.

So she has a new crate. The metal one I am going to have Caayn fix (the front panel came off, but I am pretty sure he can fix it--Devil Dog managed to pull the back panel off the same crate and he got that back on), and then that will be the transport kennel. It'll just stay in the van so that whenever Athena or Achilles comes with us, we don't have to haul crates back and forth. Much easier! I think she likes this one better. It's more closed in, and a LOT more cozy.

My mother-in-law called yesterday with some scary news. She woke up to diarrhea all over her living room and her boxer sitting by the door. She let our her mastiff pup (ha, 170lb puppy...) and tried to get Amadeus out. He fell over. They tried to get him on the couch, he couldn't walk. Called the vet, they said bring him in... when they tried to pick him up to carry him to the car, he growled. Amadeus is the biggest sweetheart ever, so that was not a good sign. He crawled the whole way to the car, dragging his back legs behind him. They did some bloodwork but the vet they took him to wasn't their usual vet (I'm sure it was an emergency vet, since it was a Sunday) and they were going to charge them $500 to be paid now and then $500 the next day. She couldn't afford that, so they hooked her up with some antibiotics and pain medication, and she is taking him to her normal vet today. I'm crossing my fingers that he is okay. She would be devastated if something happened to him. (She's pretty upset as it is!)

I see that I digressed from my topic of resolutions. Oops! I'll have to get back to it. Lochlan is calling to be fed!

28 December 2007

Athena: The Conclusion

YESSSSS!!! The mass is gone! The x-ray showed a fair amount of stuff that needs to come out her back end, so there is a good chance it is in there. She has to be on a real bland diet since she hasn't been eating in awhile and her stomach was irritated from the throwing up. But she really liked the Hill's canned food, so thats good.

The total cost of 4 x-rays and the round of barium was $160. Not bad at all. I was really expecting to pay more. Unfortunately it had to go on a credit card because we have next to nothing in the bank. Christmas sapped the account, and pay day will probably happen tonight at midnight. I hope so, anyway. Otherwise we'll have to wait for the whole holiday thing to wrap up. It's going to be so nice when Caayn gets promoted (February 1st!!). He'll be getting about $400 extra dollars a month. We'll be using all of the extra money to pay off debt, which shouldn't take long.

Poor Athena though... she is now really upset about the vet's office. When I opened the back of the van and she realized we were at the vet again, she refused to get out of the crate and then had to be carried in. After the x-ray she sat underneath my chair and growled anytime someone walked into the office. I told Caayn that we're going to have to take her on a lot more car rides that lead to HAPPY things so she doesn't start refusing to go in the car.

Two weeks until we start obedience class!! I'm SO excited. I think this is going to be really good for her, to get out and socialize with other dogs and other breeders, not to mention more people.

27 December 2007

Athena's Home

Well, I brought Athena home... after two sets of x-rays, it shows one large walnut-sized mass that wasn't going away. What happens now is I have to bring her back to the vet in the morning (I had the option of leaving her there over night, but I know how stressed she was and I'd rather her be home over night) where we will do one more x-ray. If that mass is still there, it looks like they will be going in to remove it.


Let this be a lesson for me. Make sure everything is picked up off the floor at all times. And when it can't be picked up, she needs to be crated. Boo.

Athena Stays With The Vet

Athena is such a good girl. She crates so well in the car, nary a peep, as long as she has two soft blankets in there. She, however, does NOT like the vets office. When she realizes we're in the parking lot, she starts shivering with nervousness. She weighed in at 26lbs. Vet came in and took a peek at her. Did some palpations of the stomach, looked in her mouth... determined x-rays was the way to go.

X-rays didn't show much. Her stomach has a lot of air in it (I noticed while we were waiting in the exam room that she was gulping... not sure if that had anything to do with it, but it was really sad to see)... But the vet said that didn't really mean anything. "The next question is, do packing peanuts even show up on film?" was her exact phrase. I said that Caayn had asked me the same thing, lol. The decision was made to try her on some barium. We're hoping that it will help her pass anything possibly in her stomach. (The idea is that if there ends up being nothing at all, that maybe the peanut bits that she did throw up caused her to have an irritated gut...) So I had to leave her there... I HATE that so much. It makes me horribly nervous. Makes me think of the absolutely awful two weeks when first Maya was in the hospital with Parvo, then she died, and then Achilles caught it and was there for a straight week... I nearly lost him too. I don't like leaving her there. Anyway, I was getting off track. Barium, and then in an hour or so she'll get another x-ray to see if we can see any change. Then we see where we go from there.

Poor girl. I've got a few more minutes home before I head back downtown to the vet's office. I have to stop at the store first though. Ugh. Seriously, she is going to be so smothered with love when she gets home. I'll update further when I know more.

A Little Ketchup

We had such an awesome holiday. Sully wasn't too cranky, Lochlan slept most of the time, the turkey was pretty dry (dang it) but still good... Caayn and Jimmy spent lots of time shooting each other with nerf guns. And Halo-ing. I played too, but I'm so bad... It's a shame really, because I LOVE video games. I'm just really bad at them. My brain absolutely cannot wrap itself around the concept of controlling the direction stick with the camera stick at the same time. However, I find watching just as fun so its not that much of a loss.

Athena managed to get into a lot of stuff... she has to go to the vet today and see what is stuck in her craw. Hehe. I'm really hoping its something that can be fixed by making her vomit... I don't want to think about her needing any kind of surgery. On the phone the vet said it is possible that she has made whatever it is swell up from drinking and eating... At this point I am assuming it is either a nerf dart or a packing peanut. Oi. My poor girl.

Jimmy got me one of those Nike+ iPod sport kit thingies for Xmas. It's super spiffy. I'm going to buy new running shoes so I can use it. It has a little sensor that goes in your shoe and a little thing that plugs into the iPod and it records all sorts of stuff. How far you ran, how fast, how long, what songs you listened to, which songs made you run faster... I'm so excited to use it. Yesterday when I went to the gym I actually ran, in anticipation of needing to run when I use that. I only ran for 2 minutes, but hey, thats better than 0 minutes. :P I'm so out of shape its not even funny. The 2 minutes of running made my heart rate jump into the 180s. I had to stop because it makes my chest hurt. I'm pretty sure I was in better shape back when I smoked. (Hehe, I was also walking at least 10 miles a day too because I walked to work...) I didn't do much walking once I got out here though. The weather here is always too hot or too cold.

I had my last appointment with Gloria yesterday. It's a bummer that Tricare won't let me use her as my GYN. I'm supposed to return to the base hospital for all medical care. Which sucks because my PCM is always changing, so I never see the same dr. I kind of get the feeling that she was a little sad too. She's such a great lady. On a happy note, I weighed in at 143... which is down 4lbs from when I went to the dr on the 7th for the allergic reaction. Yay!

Caayn in so close to having his blood elf be level 70 on World of Warcraft. It's crazy. It almost took a year. We started playing back in April. My highest leveled character is 47... I stopped playing in August. I just got tired of grinding. None of the quests were very fun, although supposedly they fixed a lot of the stuff. Sometimes watching Caayn play makes me want to renew my account. I had so much fun playing WoW. Not sure I'd ever find time though. The kids and dogs keep me pretty busy these days. I haven't read any new blog entries in weeks.

I'm gonna stop here... I've got to go get ready to take Little Miss to the vet. Please, please, please, let this not be something requiring surgery. Please!

24 December 2007

Christmas Time

I'm so excited for Christmas to get here. Usually we do the present thing on the Solstice, as a sort of Yule thing. We're still trying to figure out what our family will do as our own tradition. Neither of us are Christian, and both of us have some Pagan background. So celebrating Christmas itself is kind of strange. I don't think I have in 7 or 8 years? Not sure exactly, but it has been a long time.

But this year is different! Jimmy's mom was in need of a safe home for his presents to go to, so he wouldn't open them the second he got them... and that just transformed into Christmas day at our house! Caayn and I, for once, haven't spoiled our present surprise. Normally he and I are BAD. Almost as soon as they are wrapped, we give them to each other. And half the time we knew what was in them already! This year he has NO idea what I got him. I can't wait to see if he likes it. Unfortunately it was part two of a two part gift, and the first part isn't coming... :( The company didn't have any in stock until January. That was the big part, the pièce de résistance... So I hope the effect is still okay.

Sully's getting a big art table, a soccer ball, a little magnet fishing set for the bath tub, some special bath crayons (I've been wanting to get him those FOREVER!!)... maybe some other stuff, but I already forgot what else. Lochlan's getting a little tummy time play mat and a rattley thing... He was supposed to also get this UBER cute dinosaur that plays a lullaby, but I alerady gave it to him. It's so darn cute and soft.

I'd say what we got Jimmy, but he might read this in between now and tomorrow and I would hate to spoil that surprise.w... I forgot all about making a dinner thing (I can't recall anyone in my family really "doing" a Christmas dinner so it's easy for me to forget). Shame on me.

If I ever get my butt in gear, we might have a turkey tomorro

Last night, before we started wrapping gifts last night, we took a few minutes to get some photos of Athena stacked. Which is to say, standing as she would for a judge in a show ring. Just from looking at the pictures, I can see that I'm going to need to learn how to bait properly. Some of the pictures show me having her head stretched out, others have her looking up. None of them have her head in the right position, and none of them show the lovely lines of her neck. I'm not even 100% sure her feet are in the correct positions, but they look right from what I can tell. I wish I could find a handling class to take before February... I'm so new to all of this, I feel like I'm going to make a big fool out of myself! (I probably will, Athena isn't the greatest on the leash, though she is absolutely perfect on the leash inside the house.) Oh well, if I do look foolish, its not the end of the world. You gotta start somewhere! And I'll be so excited to be there that I don't think anything will bother me!

Anyway... I need to quit lolligagging around and get moving. I need to get the house cleaned up, laundry done, Achilles bathed, Artemis brushed... yuck.

19 December 2007

Athena's Gonna Show!

Shame on me! I haven't posted since December 7th. Tsk tsk. Things have been busy around the Phoenix Caayn household.

First off, Caayn graduated from his ALS class, with honors too. He got a spiffy trophy with an eagle on it. We got a babysitter for the grad night, and enjoyed the dinner they provided with Jimmy as Caayn's other guest. That was lots of fun!

Lochlan is growing like a weed! Still sleeps a lot, but he has good stretches of wakefulness. There's nothing better than watching him check out the world around him. And he now only wakes up once at night, usually around 2 or 3am, and then sleeps until 7 or 8. YEAH! Caayn's hoping we can move him into his crib soon, but he is so particular about sleeping that I'm not sure he'll be up for that yet. He usually sleeps propped on the boppy or snuggled up in the crook of an arm, and will protest if he has to sleep on something not snuggly.

Sully's doing good too. He's talking really well and can carry on interesting conversations. One of these days we're going to jump on the potty training wagon. I think he's getting closer to being ready. A couple of times recently he has asked to go pee on the toilet... and even though he hasn't, at least he is willing to go sit on the toilet!

Things are mostly the same for me too. I've been going to the gym, gasp, in hopes of helping the weight come off. I think it's helping! My tummy is down to only 4" bigger than pre-pregnancy and I've noticed other areas where body parts look slimmer. (My upper arm no longer has a tiny roll thing above the elbow, lol.) My itchy scratchy rash is STILL hanging around, mostly on my right ear... I probably should go back to the dr and ask for a few more days of steroids, but whatever. It'll go away. And I got my hair cut tonight, finally. It looks really good, I think. :)

Now, for the more exciting stuff.

After a good talk with Carol today (Whippet Woman), we agreed to do a show with Athena. Caayn, for my Christmas present, is paying for me to take Athena to obedience classes starting January 9th. They'll be once a week for 8 weeks. And then I hope to get her into the advanced obedience class, because when that one is over, they offer CGC testing! CGC is Canine Good Citizen, and it is a course created by the AKC. Basically there are 10 things the dog needs to do that will prove he can behave well, and then the dog gets the title of CGC. Exciting!

Now, since Athena can't be spayed if she's going to be shown, Carol doesn't want to sign over ownership. This is pretty common for breeders, especially with bitches, and it doesn't bother me in the slightest. We'll co-own her. I'm actually glad because Carol is such an amazing woman with a really solid history in the breed. One thing that really surprised me is that she offered to let me use my own kennel name for Athena's registered name. Her kennel is Affinity. Caayn and I, in the future, plan on having a kennel called Straylight. Originally it was going to be a boarding type of kennel, but maybe one day we will do whippet breeding. So the thought that Athena could be the first Straylight whippet is crazy exciting!

Our first show is going to be February 2nd and 3rd. Her kennel club is holding a fun match that weekend, so it'll be a good opportunity to try my hand in the ring. I'll have to drive out to St. Paul, but it'll be worth it. From what I gather, lots of folks have to drive good distances to shows, so at least I'll be doing my time as well, hehe. I'm so so so excited that I can hardly breathe. All I can think about is dog shows (and trying to watch the handlers and discussing their outfits with Caayn, hehe) and training and the whippet standard and comparing Athena's lines to other whippets I see online. One of these days I am going to get some stacked photos of her. I told Caayn that I actually hope she doesn't win an awful lot, because if she does, I would lose my excuse for going to the dog shows! I have no idea if there is a point to showing once a dog becomes a champion. I'm assuming there is, after all most of the dogs you see in the big dog shows on tv are champions already.

Eeks! I am so excited! I'm still not sure how I managed to get so lucky in finding a good woman like Carol to get a dog from. She is so willing to share her knowledge with me that I can hardly believe it. It's not often you meet someone completely out of the blue who so quickly trusts you and wants to help. Dog people are awesome. I think it comes from spending all day with creatures who spend their time smiling, wagging their tails, and spreading love.

07 December 2007

Itchy Scratchies: The Conclusion

I went to the dr. I now have to take steroids for 5 days to clear up the problem. Too bad they didn't give me some pain pills too! I have a raging headache from the welted areas above my ears, and my ears are super swollen too. Hurts more than you would think for it just being skin irritations.

On the plus side, I learned that I weighed 147lbs, which means I've lost 23lbs since the birth. That's not too much, considering the first weigh-in of the pregnancy was 129. If I can get down to 117, that'd be awesome. 20lbs over my original weight from before Sully, but a number that I'd be much happier with. I feel no inclination to ever drop below 100 again, and I suppose it would be difficult for me to get there. Back then I smoked and walked a lot (before I met Caayn I was walking at least 10 miles a day to and from work, and then if I felt like wandering around, I'd walk some more). I could never do that again.

So as soon as this awful rash is gone, I'll be hitting the gym. I'm nervous! I've never been a gym sort of person, despite working there last year. I don't really know how to work most equipment or really know what to do, how long, etc, and I'm too shy to ask. Not to mention, I'll probably know the folks who work the front desk, lol. Oh well, I'll manage.

Funny little factoid... Whippets really can jump on the counter! Patience has mentioned it in her blog and in her book, but it's something you really have to see to believe. Athena makes it look effortless. Like the way a cat can jump amazing heights. I get worried about her doing that though, when she jumps down I'm always terrified she's going to break a little leg! One of these days I'll get a picture of her up there. It cracks me up every time I see her standing innocently beside the coffee maker.

05 December 2007

More Itchy Scratchy

Caayn thinks I should go to the dr now... the rash has spread to the front of my neck and back onto my shoulder blades. Plus I have tons of random bumps everywhere else. My head feels like it weighs 10lbs, with how swollen all my skin is. It's really super gross. And I have one spot near my right ear where it looks like I have that flesh eating bacteria. THAT is gross.

The benadryl that Patience suggested is helping with the itching, luckily. Now I just need something for the pain. (Umm... I itched until everything got sore, lol.) YUCK!! At least my hair looks good. I am seriously never buying this brand of hair color again. It was that Sunsilk or whatever...

I'm currently running on about two hours of sleep. Lochlan was up, hungry or bored or wanting to cuddle most of the night. Then when I got him settled, Sully woke up wanting me to read Mister Dog to him. He got tucked in and cuddled and then Lochlan started crying again. Oi. Caayn's alarm didn't go off... Again, more luck. I seem to have some sort of internal alarm clock that goes off if Caayn's doesn't, so he was up at 6:45.. about 30 minutes later, Sully was awake again, shrieking at the top of his lungs about how he wanted water. Which he has in a sippy cup in his bed, by his pillow, every night. The whole hour of 7am was spent going from bed to his room, convincing him to go back to sleep. (He's been a nightmare lately from not enough sleep.) And by the time he was asleep and Lochlan was asleep, I was wide awake. Sigh.

It's currently -8 degrees outside, without wind chill. That's ridiculously cold. Means lots of hot cocoa and cuddling with Sully, Lochlan and the hounds under the super soft fleecey blanket.

03 December 2007

Itchy Scratchies

My head itches. Bad. My neck is all lumpy and lumpy. My ears are red and swollen.

What happened?!

Caayn dyed my hair last night and I'm allergic to a chemical in permanent hair dye. I got it done by a stylist last year and the result after sitting under a steamer for like 20 minutes was tons of itchy red spots on my ears--they looked like they were bubbling, yucky.... Sigh. This will go away in a few days, but in the mean time, pure torture. Seriously, it itches worse than chicken pox.

But now my hair is black and it will have been worth the days of itchy yuckiness! I also have to make an appointment to get my hair cut again, so that I can look all neat and purty for Caayn's ALS graduation. Assuming the babysitter lady can watch the kids, of course. I HATE the idea of Lochlan being away from me, but if he absolutely has to, at least it will be with someone I know and trust. If she can't, I'll have to miss the graduation. Which will suck. This will be the first time going out at night time, dressed up, with Caayn.

On a side note, why the heck does Netflix not have anything good on their Watch Instantly thing? There's a bunch of tv shows I'd love to watch but don't feel like adding to my queue and those hours of free time are going to waste... Argh.