our pack…8 years later

The following post was published on my blog 8 years ago…when Reece was almost 2 and I was about 5 months pregnant with Lorelai.  Much has changed…Murphy, Oak, Ben and Hobbes are no longer with us; Lorelai and Rainbow have joined our pack. However, the kids love for their dogs has stayed the same. 

When I wrote the original post, Odyssey was 5 years old and the puppy of the family. The words I wrote about Oak, “Oak is pretty much blind, deaf, and very needy so I try to give her extra attention whenever possible. I am not sure how much longer we will have her around..” now ring true for our sweet 13 year old Odyssey.


Our first “children” were animals.  In December 1999, a diluted calico cat named Murphy was adopted from the Dumb Friends League in Denver.  In March 2000, a black lab puppy named Ben came from our good friend and Grand River trainer/breeder Mike Gould.  In September 2000, an orange and white tabby named Hobbes was adopted from the Dumb Friends League.  In November 2003, an 8 year old black lab named Oak was adopted from Mike Gould.  In April 2004, a black lab puppy named Odyssey, again came from Mike Gould.

For almost 8 years we were the proud parents of our five-fuzzy-faces.  The dogs would go everywhere with us.  We drove across the country to Upstate New York with a stop in Chicago for a family wedding…all with Ben in tow! We went on many roadtrips through Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho with all 3 of them…learning what hotels were pet friendly along the way.  My husband would take the boy dogs hunting anywhere from 40-60 days each fall.  They would all go camping and hiking with us during the summer.  They drove with us from Colorado to Oregon when we moved.  Oak used to go to work with me almost everyday here in Oregon.  They lived the high life!

Then July 5, 2007 came.  The world as they knew it stopped.  Our baby boy arrived and they were relegated to the dog runs and scolded for getting too close to the baby.  Oh, I was afraid that we wouldn’t be able to give them the attention they were used to…and we weren’t…but our little guy is!

The little guy LOVES his doggies!  The first word-like sound he made was “woof”; his first word was “doggie”; his first 2-word phrase was “good girl”;  the second 2-word phrase was “bad dog”; and his first 3-word phrase was “no bark dog”.  When he wakes up in the morning he asks where Oak is.  He loves to share his toys and food with the dogs.  He crawls all over them, snuggles on their dog beds, and loves to play chase with them in the house.  He is part of their pack.

When we are outside in the back yard he loves to play in their dogs runs.  He opens and closes the door, pretends to fill up their water buckets, and likes it even better if they will play along with him…Odyssey usually obliges.  Oftentimes, I will find him hiding in the dog crate we keep in the house for “doggie timeouts”…sometimes he will be in there with one of the dogs.  I am sure that he thinks every kid has a house full of black labs  just like he does.

The dogs (and cats) may not get the attention they used to from us, but our little guy sure thinks the world of them.  Their days are lazy, and they get to stay in the house most of the time, now.  My husband runs the boys down at the river once or twice a week…when he can. Oak is pretty much blind, deaf, and very needy so I try to give her extra attention whenever possible.  I am not sure how much longer we will have her around…she has been a mom to around 30 puppies…and acts as a “doggie nanny” to our little guy.  They are all wonderful pets and “children”…including the boy who was raised by Black Labs.

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super party prep

We have a 5th birthday party coming up.

So, I’m in SUPER party prep mode.

It’s kind of overwhelming…

I want to make sure he has fun with his friends.

I want it to be AMAZING.

I’m afraid I won’t do it JUSTICE.

I want it to be the WORLDS GREATEST.

And, in the end, a little bunting, some games, a piñata, and friends should be enough.

home is…reminding myself what’s important.

{milestones} the little guy is five

Last night, as I was settling in to bed, the little guy came into our room and said, “Mommy, it’s my birthday. Can I please come snuggle with you? I promise I will fall asleep.”

It was 10 o’clock and I was recalling five years ago when we were told, around that time, that I would need an emergency c-section.  It wasn’t what I had expected, but I really had NO idea what to expect as I had never given birth before.

All we wanted was a healthy baby.

I hugged Reece tight last night as I ran through that night in my head and told him the story he has heard many times before.

“…sitting on the operating table shaking from the medicine they gave me to slow down my contractions to keep you safe. You see, every time I had a contraction your heart rate dropped. They told me to sit still so they could give me another medicine so it didn’t hurt when they made the cut in my belly to get you out…

I held Poppa’s hand and minutes later the doctor announced, ‘You have a healthy baby boy!’

I turned to Poppa, tears streaming, and said, ‘You got your boy.'”

I got my boy….and he is all I could ask for in a little boy

Challenging, frustrating, and defiant at times.

Thoughtful and loving, most.

Strong and funny.

Smart and precocious.

Cautiously observing, sometimes.

Fearless, most.

ALL. BOY.

Yesterday, on his fifth birthday, he learned to ride a bike without training wheels.

Today, he went on a zipline at playgroup…

and, tried riding his bike “off-road”.

He skis.

He climbs rock walls…

among other things…

He loves to go fishing.

He is starting to play team sports.

He loves superheros…especially Batman, Angry Birds, and Mario.

He knows more about the iPhone, iPad, and the Wii than I do…well, not really, but he’s better at all the games.

He still has trouble falling asleep…just like when he was a baby.

He likes to come snuggle in our bed…never liked to snuggle as a baby.

He likes to play with his friends from playgroup, preschool and the neighborhood.

And, is always willing to make new friends at the playground.

He likes to wrestle with his Poppa, shoot nerf guns, train dogs, and hit a baseball.

He’s learning to swim and loves to play at the pool…including going down the water slide and jumping off the diving board by himself.

And, most of all, he adores his family.

He is kind to his sister, is willing to give hugs and kisses, and tells us he loves us all the time.

Reece is all I could ask for in a little boy.

home is…celebrating five years of all boy.

full

Lately, I start my mornings outside in what I call the best seat in the house.

Odyssey likes to share my coffee.

Yesterday, I found this knocked over.

Kind of a bummer.

growing up

I signed the little guy up for camp this week.

Every morning.

As of yesterday morning, he had only gone to one day.

Monday.

He was brave.

After a little bit of a struggle {read: he was hugging me and my legs and not letting go} he walked into the big gym and played along side with kids twice his age.

When I picked him up, he looked so little.

His Batman backpack dwarfing his body.

He wasn’t happy.

He wanted to be with his mommy.

He hurt his toe.

It was cool outside, and they were in the pool for a long time.

I kept him home the next two mornings.

Yesterday, Ryan was home.

He wanted the little guy to go.

I totally understand the lesson he wanted to teach…you sign up for something {and Poppa works hard to make the money that pays for things} and you follow through.

The little guy went to camp.

He walked into that big gym.

He was brave.

He looked so little.

He IS so little.

I wanted him to be home with me.

I cried the whole way home.

When I got home, I cried as Ryan hugged me.

I have to admit, I signed him up for camp for selfish reasons.

I thought I would need the time away from him.

But all I want is to be with him.

And, baby girl.

They are growing up.

Right. Before. My. Eyes.

selfish reasons

I couldn’t wait to pick him up.

Baby girl and I mailed a colton+cadence order and made a quick stop at Goodwill.

Then we went to pick up the little guy.

I told him how brave he was.

I told him how proud I was of him.

I have to admit, I was telling him those things for selfish reasons.

To make myself feel better.

He had fun at camp.

When we got home, I pickled some cucumbers while the kids had a little lunch and quiet time.

Then we went on an adventure.

Local farm stores…

and, Sonic for ice cream…

before dinner!

We played outside in the backyard until Poppa came home.

Baby girl was exhausted after her bath and was asleep the second her head hit the pillow.

The little guy was having trouble going to sleep, so he got to come downstairs and play outside with the neighbors while Ryan and I worked in the garden.

Sometimes big boys get to stay up past bedtime.

I have to admit, I let him stay up way past bedtime for selfish reasons.

To spend time with him that I had missed in the morning.

To redeem myself.

And, to make myself feel better.

Filled.

home is…learning from our mistakes.

some random and a winner

I have been up before 5 am the last 4 mornings.

On Friday, the little guy complained that his ear hurt, so off to urgent care we went. He has an ear infection. His first.

On Saturday, baby girl started coughing.

On Sunday, baby girl woke up at 4:30 am with a coughing fit.

On Monday, baby girl woke up a little after 4 am with a coughing fit.

On Tuesday, baby girl woke up at 4:19 am with a coughing fit.

Today, baby girl woke up at 4:42 am with a coughing fit.

We get a snack, snuggle a bit, then the little guy comes downstairs (this morning at 5:20 am), we eat some breakfast, then another breakfast, then a snack.

Baby girl hasn’t lost her appetite.

Yesterday, we were able to do a lot of crafts. It was fun.

The little guy took a nap. He never does that. I think the early mornings are catching up to him.

I know they are catching up to me.

He had a bit of cabin fever yesterday afternoon, so we took a drive to get gas, and stopped in at Target to get a treat at the dollar bins.

I didn’t even stay up to watch Parenthood last night! I DVR’d it, so hopefully I can watch it after Modern Family tonight.

I can’t workout when the kids are sick since they can’t go to the childcare at the club. That’s a bummer.

Well, enough random.

On to the winner…

Thank you all for the comments and giveaway entries!

I hope you will all enjoy following my blog via e-mail or Facebook.

I also promise that I will have some fun stuff coming up with colton+cadence in 2012.

I used random.org to pick a winner…

That would make this comment from Cindy A. the winner!

Thanks for tweeting, Cindy!

Please contact me at homeis@stephanytaddeo.com so I can get your information and get a package to you!

******

And, keep coming back…I will be posting the December giveaway in just a couple of weeks!

That was fun!

home is…early mornings, lazy days at home, and a winner of my first giveaway.

impromptu idaho

I mentioned yesterday that we took a road trip to Idaho over the weekend.

Just about 12 years ago Ryan made contact with Mike Gould. Ryan was looking for a hunting dog and had read Mike’s book, The Labrador Shooting Dog. One night when we were having dinner at a friend’s house they pulled the book out, called information, and asked for Mike Gould’s number in Kamiah, Idaho.

Mike answered the phone and Ryan spent about an hour talking to him about a dog. Soon after that Ryan sent Mike a long letter about what he would like to see in a hunting dog. Ryan and Mike talked on the phone weekly, and by March of 2000 we were on our way to Utah on a quick road trip to pick up our Grand River lab, Ben.

Through the years we drove up to Idaho from Colorado multiple times a year. We spent hours driving the logging roads, talking about hunting, nature and dogs.

By 2004 we had 3 Grand River labs. At the beginning of May 2004, Oak (our female) had a litter of four puppies in our garage. We had 7 Grand River labs living in our small house near Cherry Creek in Denver.

One of the reasons we moved to Portland was to be closer to Idaho.

Something about our drives and visits to Idaho make it feel like home.

I’d have to say it is one of my happiest places on earth.

The little guy made his first trip to Idaho when he was less than 3 months old. We have spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with Mike and the friends we have made there.

Every fall Mike hosts a Grand River Seminar in Kamiah, Idaho. It had been 3 years since we had been to one. In fact, the last one we went to I was pregnant and we told everybody there before anybody else in our family knew…mainly because I wasn’t drinking beer around the campfire like I usually do. {I miscarried a month later, but that’s another story}

It was about time to make a visit to Kamiah.

Ryan had been trying to figure out how he could make it work. He was going to fly out there alone. He was going to drive out with Odyssey. He was going to fly out with Reece. Finally after we calculated how much time it would take to fly and drive (from Spokane or Lewiston) we figured we could drive out there in the same amount of time…and ALL of us could go.

So, on Friday night while I took the little guy to a birthday party Ryan packed up food and supplies for our road trip.

We left Portland for Kamiah Saturday morning at 5 am.

We arrived at the seminar (after checking into our cabin at the Lewis and Clark Resort) around 1:30 pm.

The little guy did NOT want to go to Idaho on Saturday morning.

On Sunday morning he did NOT want to leave.

The property that the seminar was held on was FULL of fruit trees…some wild, some planted on purpose at some point.

Apples, pears, plums (we picked 3 different kinds).

The kids and I drove back to the cabin around 9 pm…Ryan finally made it back after 1 am. I am glad he had the time to catch up with all the guys.

After eating breakfast by the campfire we visited with friends for a bit longer and then got back on the road.

The kids earned some new toys for being so good.

We could hear geese down on the river, so they guys started calling.

We left Kamiah for Portland Sunday morning at 11:30 am.

And, made it back home just in time for baths and a good night sleep.

It was well worth the 15 hours of driving for the time spent with friends…new and old.

And, here is my favorite series of photos from the trip.

Our good friend, Dr. Duck, made quick friends with baby girl by helping her with her shoe after it fell off.

home is…dropping everything to go on an adventure with our little family to see great friends.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that the little guy played baseball during a lull in the afternoon. Man, he was hitting the ball HARD and far. All the guys at the seminar were really impressed with his left-handed hitting skills…I think we have an athlete on our hands! I wish I had taken pictures of it…I think I was making a run back to the cabin for a diaper, or down to the store for M&M’s!