Life With Sammy | the look

Seriously… this dog has brought a whole new level of pain in the a$$ to my world… moreso than my children, because at last with my kids, I can explain to them what they’ve done and why it’s bad.

Sammy?

Nope. No such conversation to be had. Just me saying “why on the high-pile carpet??????!!!!!” and him doing this:

sorry I doodied on the carpet - wanna pet me?

Yeah – it’s pathetic that my kids can do it – why oh why did I find a dog that can do it too!!!???

Hooking up this week (for the first time) with the photo challenge!!

The Paper Mama Photo Challenge

getting primal – with the family

I truly believe that we are brainwashed into thinking that our bodies “need” starchy, processed carbohydrates. Seriously.
How many sports teams do you know that have the big pasta dinner the night before the big game?

My chiropractor, Dr G, piqued my interest when she mentioned a “primal” diet.
Hubby had been reading about this diet for a little while – the science of it – and he was really interested, so when Dr G mentioned it and the fact that she and her family eat this way, I thought what the heck… nothing to lose, right?

Honestly, what harm can possibly come from removing starchy, insulin-stimulating carbs and encouraging the intake of more natural whole foods?

I promise I’m not going all whole milk, granola, Birkenstock, earth Mother on you… (although I DO love my Birks ­čśë )

The best part about this diet? I can include my boys. No more making 3 meals. (I was following one diet, Hubby another, and the kids ate whatever they liked)

A healthy diet is important to a growing body, and brain development, so why would I allow my children to eat “junky” food? Granted, at our house, our “junk” night consists of a homemade pizza, not a drive-thru, but what they eat elsewhere is outside of our control. We are planning on making our house as healthy and wholesome as possible. The boys never ask for take-out, garbage restaurants, so why would I feed it to them?

So why is it, then, that it’s hard to make a meal and not feel like it’s “missing something” when there’s no starchy side dish? Why do I feel that a steak dinner just isn’t complete without a baked potato, and honestly, what would bacon and eggs be without toast?

It’s taken some getting used to, and I’m still learning as I go, but I’ve discovered a few recipes along the way for some treats, and some staples and am working hard to re-program myself to remember that breakfast doesn’t have to consist of what we deem to be “breakfast” foods. If all I can find is soup, then have soup. If I want to wrap a chunk of old cheddar in a slice of ham and dip it in dijon mustard, so be it. It’s been rather liberating, really. I’ve almost been trying to find odd things to eat for breakfast. If I can get my co-workers to look at me funny as I’m eating breakfast, I have succeeded.

The best part of this lifestyle change? I’ve lost some weight. But I’m not going by the numbers on the scale, I’m seeing how my clothes fit, and how I’m feeling. My mental clarity is at an all-time high – surprisingly, this has caused a bit of a problem, as it has made my mind work overtime, but I’m working on getting myself organized “up there”.

The point? I’m feeling really good about this decision. And even though I have fallen off the wagon a couple of times, I always feel good about climbing right back on it, where normally I would have to talk myself back into a diet for a good 2 weeks before I would resume it.

If only primal eating would make this head cold disappear…. life would be perfect.

doctors, bosses, and normal

I’ve talked before about Monster’s disability. He was born with a hearing loss and has hearing aids. Since his diagnosis nearly 6 years ago, my life has been a whirlwind of appointments : Doctors, speech therapy, counsellors, ENT, audiology…. the list goes on and on.
For a time, there was an appointment every other week. Sometimes 2 or 3. It was exhausting – not only physically, but emotionally and career-wise, too. I am lucky to have a job that my supervisor is very understanding of motherhood and the time it requires, allows me to make-up time and switch shifts, but I wasn’t always so lucky. When all of the appointments started, my manager at the time hated me. She looked for any opportunity to drag me in her office and reprimand berate me. If I hadn’t needed the job so badly, I would have told her where she could put her job… alas – a single mom needs money to survive.
I thank God for my current Supervisor and Manager… after that experience, I will always appreciate a “boss” that doesn’t hold my child against me.

Monster has struggled with fluid in his ears for a few years now. He hasn’t had a reliable hearing test in over 2 years because there was constantly fluid or congestion.

He had tubes put in 2 ears ago, which helped for a while, but as soon as they grew over, the fluid came back. The doctors would not re-do the tubes, because it wasn’t “consistent” fluid. Every 3 months Monster would go to the Audiologist. Every 3 months she would shake her head and mutter under her breath because he would have congestion in one ear which makes it difficult for her to get an accurate reading on whether his hearing has remained at the level it was, or degenerated. Why wouldn’t they re-do the tubes? Every 3 months, the fluid was in a different ear. Frustrating.

Last week, Monster had an appointment with his Ear, Nose and Throat doctor. This is the appointment where the doctor looks in his ears, comments on the amount of fluid he has, then books an appointment to follow-up in 3 months because “if the fluid is still there, we will definitely have to re-do the tubes.”

But in 3 months, the fluid will be on the other ear and I’ll get the same speech.

Yeah. Wait for it.

“Right on – no fluid”

Huh?

I look over at Monster lying on the examination table, smiling and giving this new E.N.T., who I now LOVE, a big smile and a high five.

“None?” I ask him, hesitant because he is new, after all – and looks like he’s about 25.

“None. Been a while since you’ve heard that?” he asked with a big smile. Even the nurse looked pleased. Of course that could be because Monster was flirting with her for the whole appointment. He has a way, that little one. The force is strong in him. But THAT’s a whole other post.

Then we got whisked away to do hearing tests while we had a chance for accurate results. And they were a word I haven’t heard in some time : Normal. Well, normal for Monster anyway. While his hearing hasn’t gotten any better (and never will) it hasn’t gotten any worse in the nearly 6 years since he was born. This is just the sort of good news that I needed.

Normal.

Not a word often heard in our home. And definitely not used to describe any of us…

man’s woman’s best friend

When I was a baby, my parents got a black labrador retriever that they named Duke. Duke was a feisty little boy, with an ever-moving tail and boundless energy – at least that’s what I’ve been told. I obviously don’t remember.

What I do remember is long walks in the fields surrounding my parent’s house. We were surrounded by farmland, overlooking a quiet bay. Duke and I would spend hours out in the yard, throwing the ball, hunting snakes, swimming and enjoying life.
Having been raised alongside an infant, he was a gentle boy… never growling or biting anyone, greeting the tourists as they rode by on their bikes, offering his ball to them so they could throw it. Everyone enjoyed his diving tricks; throw a small stone in to the water and he’d come out with one so big he could barely lift it.
He was my Dad’s hunting buddy – he trained him for duck hunting, and he was skilled in the art of ‘sit’ and ‘stay’, ‘back’ and ‘release’. My father always said he had a gentle mouth, and would never leave a mark on anything that he retrieved.
His coat was so black, it almost looked blue. I brushed him all. the. time. so it shined like it was wet. He probably would have won conformation classes, as he was the exact dog that you will find on the cover of any Black Labrador book. Not a fleck of white on him, and no kink in his tail. A perfect head and strong bones.

Duke lived unusually long for a Lab – he was 13 when he was attacked by another dog and died from his injuries.

My whole family was at a wedding when we got a phone call that something had happened to Duke. We raced home to find him hiding in the barn, unable to breathe, and knowing there was nothing we could do, we said our goodbyes and he slipped away.

It was the first time I had ever seen my father cry.

The first time I had experienced death close enough to personally affect me.

We buried him in the back yard under a cedar sapling. Every time I see a fine-boned silky-smooth black lab, I think of Duke.

The boys have been bugging us for a dog since we moved here. There are dogs everywhere in our neighbourhood, and an off-leash part just down the road. Because Peanut and Monster have a dog at their father’s, and Speedy has one at his mother’s, they thought it was only fair to have one here.

The consensus was originally ‘absolutely not’ – too much work. We want to travel, we love to golf, we are never home. We don’t have a fenced yard, and I don’t want a dog in the house.

Until we realized that we are ALWAYS home. Yes we love to golf, but we don’t really travel, other than overnight sometimes. A fence isn’t that expensive, and the house is empty when the boys aren’t here… why not bring a furry friend in to love?

And so, the search began. First, it was finding a breed that fit with us. It had to be active, but not crazy; trainable, but not conniving, lovable and affectionate, with an even temperament. Then the debate: puppy or dog? Breeder or shelter?
While I love the thought of “rescuing” a dog, the unknown history would leave me feeling less than confident about having my less than calm children around it.

After much research, emails, phone calls, and a visit – we would like to introduce you to the latest member of the family:

Soul Man a.k.a. "Sam"

More to come, but have a look at this – Monster had known him for 10 minutes:

Best friends already

that cattle-herding store…

Hubby and I took a trip to Ikea recently. This is a store that causes me great stress. I love the fact that there are rooms set up so that you can effectively see their products in action – what stresses me out is that there are always 400,000 other people there, and for some unknown reason, they’re all shopping like they only have 10 minutes to fill their cart!

There are some fun things to see at Ikea when you are a people-watcher like me…

1 – Lulu bee-otches: I find it hilarious that people feel the need to dress in head to toe Lululemon – and I mean head to toe… even the headband and purse – get the blonde hair teased, straightened and as big as possible, then put on your makeup with a putty knife and head out for a lovely afternoon of shopping. While I may be employing hyperbole here, it was seriously ridiculous on this particular day…. although I did enjoy watching her search for the mouse as she used the touch-screen catalogue… *snicker*

2 – Husband cupholders: These are the men that are obviously just along to do the driving, push the cart, and hold the purse. ┬áThere were several of them on this particular day, all employing the proper etiquette of staying exactly 4 feet behind, looking at the floor and nodding exuberantly when asked whether they liked whatever knick-knack the “boss” was holding.

3 – Mind-changers.┬ásadly, this was us on this particular trip : both shoppers have a list in their hands… there are multiple things written down, then scratched out. They stand in front of something for ┬ácountless minutes, heads cocked to the left, index finger to top lip. Then the idea strikes – OUT comes the measuring tape, murmur murmur… head cock to the right.

4 – Audio/Visual demonstrators: ummm this was me too. Hubby has a hard time “seeing” the room I’m trying to create – so when I saw “THE” bookcase, and said “we’ll put it on the right wall”, I kind of got a blank look and a long drawn out “ooooh kaaaay?”
People around us probably saw the demonstration that followed and thought my poor man was deaf. I was running through the “O.K. – so if you open the doors…” demonstrate opening french doors “…and you look to the right…” exaggerate looking right while waving my right arm like air traffic control “…it will go on that wall!” eyebrows raised…. wait for the recognition…
“Ahhhh, I see.”

Exhale

And off to the self-serve warehouse to try and locate Aisle 34 Bin 5.

I wonder if people realize that the store herds people like metal dividers herd cattle through through a field and into a trailer.
I get excited when I find the “shortcut” to the department I want so that I don’t have to stroll through an entire HOUSE to find the tealights that I love and I mean love – they smell so nice! They had citrusy scents on this particular day, which caused me to “oooooh!” and stop to smell, then load up a cardboard tray with $.75 tealight holders… because you can never have too many, really.

I then collected Hubby, who hadn’t even noticed I had stopped, and was pleasantly chatting to the lady behind him, who kept looking behind her to see who he was talking to.
By this time, my patience is shot and I just want to go home, so we headed to the cattle gates cash registers and headed home.

I did manage to buy a beautiful bookcase and a huge desk for my office… it looks very professional and is WAY more organized than it used to be.

But I still sit on the couch to write ­čÖé

See you next time, Ikea.