Protected: Caroline is five months old!

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Updates in Caro-land

Caroline has had a few “firsts” lately that must be documented (or else something will surely happen, right?).

First, and perhaps most excitingly, she is now a roller! Caroline first rolled from her back to stomach when we were in Glen Ellyn two weeks ago. Most babies roll from stomach to back first, I think, but Caroline hates tummy time so much so she just went straight to level two rolling. The other day she did complete level one rolling for the first time, and I think she might be enjoying tummy time just a little bit more now. Well, enjoying may be a strong word. And I probably just jinxed that so forget I mentioned anything.

This is the first time I've smiled during tummy time EVER.

This is the first time I’ve smiled during tummy time EVER.

Another milestone to remember is that Caroline is now sleeping in her crib every night! That’s right – we finally brought it up from the gallows and assembled it in her room, and she moved in just about two weeks ago. At 4+ months, she is about a month older than Charlotte was when she moved out of the bassinet in our room, but we put it off longer because we were really enjoying using the space for Caroline’s crib for all our laundry. The room looks much cuter with the crib. Are you wondering where we now put all our clean laundry? No, of course not away in closets and drawers! Now it’s in the living room. But we really only use that room as a hallway and occasional dining room anyway so we may as well make it more useful. :) Anyway…..Caroline is doing great in her crib. Yay!

Finally, and unfortunately, Caroline also has her first illness. :( She started getting a runny nose earlier this week and last night the doctor confirmed her first ear infection in her right ear. Our poor baby has been awfully crabby at night, but it seems like the antibiotics have already started kicking in. I hate getting her on antibiotics this young, but since she can’t tell us about her pain, we all decided it was the best idea. Hopefully this is both her first and last ear infection.

She hasn’t been totally miserable this week, thankfully. On Thursday I bundled her up and took her out in the stroller, which she loves. Look how cute this little Teddy Bear is:

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The snuggliest Teddy ever!

Charlotte captions her art

Charlotte has many interests – animals, dinosaurs, planets, anything sciencey (made-up word alert), super heros, reading, among others – but writing/drawing/coloring really haven’t been her forte. For that reason, she is still working on writing or drawing any particular shape or letter. Most of her stuff still comes out as a scribble….but not her people! Yesterday she drew her first person! I took a picture and included a caption: Charlotte’s exact words when she looked at her completed work of art. Her tone was so darn matter-of-fact that I had to laugh out loud. I just love her honesty.

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Protected: Halloween fun!

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Protected: Caroline is 4 months old!

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Good Little Things

I wrote this post yesterday (and added the photos today). It was a good day…

 

Today, right now, I am feeling just so happy. The kind of warm, tingly happy where you can’t stop smiling and you might feel like skipping. I don’t know if this is because we had a really good day or because my mental state is just that good or because I had my first coffee in almost a month (an Americano with a few glugs of soy milk) and I have a healthy dose of caffeine coursing through me. It’s probably the latter, but let’s pretend not, mmmkay?

Allow me to share some happy things:


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These are the pretty flowers my new neighborhood friend brought me after she learned that Buddy died early last week. They are still alive and beautiful, displayed in our living room. They make me smile for three reasons: they are pretty, they remind me of my boy, and because I am thankful to have made such a thoughtful and kind new friend.


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This is our attempt at a selfie. I don’t do selfies. I have this problem of hating every single picture of myself for the past six years. You can see that I still look red and not all that great, but things are better than they were a month ago and, more importantly, I feel much better than I did a month ago. When I feel better, I’m happier. (Duh.) Thus, a selfie. FYI, selfies are very awkward. I guess I could never be Kim K.


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Since Caroline was born, I’ve spent more time looking at old pictures of Charlotte. Usually I notice how much she has grown up over time, but this year was different. She grew up more gradually as a three year-old, and I didn’t notice it as acutely until I looked back at my pictures of her from last winter. She looks so much older now – taller, sassier, wiser – and I really feel like I am losing my baby for good now. Luckily she is growing into a smart, funny, curious, and adorable little girl, so I can’t spend too much time crying into my pillow.

On the same note….having another baby in the house has definitely softened the blow of Charlotte having grown up into a nearly 4 year-old. I’m frankly too busy changing diapers and bouncing my finicky Caroline to think too hard about all that nostalgic stuff that I normally would be obsessing over.

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Oh Caroline. I love you SO much. Who would have thought you could love yet another child just as much as the one you already have? I mean, I knew I would love you, of course, and I never worried that I wouldn’t. But still. The way your heart grows with your next child is astounding. It doesn’t matter one iota that you aren’t quite as easy-peasy as infant-Charlotte was – I enjoy you every bit as much and I think you are wonderfully perfect and I will love you forever and ever and ever. You are a mama’s girl and I hope that never changes.

 

Tonight we are going to go out for dinner, which is something we haven’t done much of since August. And even though I’ll probably only be able to order one thing off the menu thanks to my really fun and strict new eating plan, I am still excited because it feels like such a treat. Hurray for Fridays!

Are you kidding me?

This face:

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Caroline at 3 months is my snuggly, smily, sweet little baby bug. I love being home with her each day, and I am really grateful to have this extra time before going back to work in November.  There is nothing like having a baby in our lives again!

We picked apples finally

There is a beautiful apple orchard located just north of our home in Iowa City- a mere seven miles from driveway to driveway, and yet we have never been out there until this year. When my mom was here last, the weather was perfect and I decided we better go pick apples before we move away. I am so glad we did! We had so much fun and the apples were sooo delicious, that we took Daddy back a week later! Look at the view of one of the pumpkin fields with some of the orchard in the background.

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There is a lot of hilly ground to cover when you are out looking for apples, so it’s a good workout, too…especially when you have a little baby kangaroo to carry around! (Also especially when the only apples left on the trees to pick are in the farthest rows in the farthest corners of the land. Still worth it.)

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Our map lover enjoyed carrying around the map they gave out in the weigh station/store as well as checking out the big one in the orchard.

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Three bonuses of this place: 1) They have pumpkins. One stop fall shopping!

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2) Not only are freshly picked apples more delicious, but they are also less expensive than their grocery store counterparts!

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3) There’s a friendly dinosaur that gives out free rides to little girls and their grandmas.

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Since I don’t think we will be living here next fall, I’m really glad we got our acts together this year and made it out to Wilson’s Orchard. Good exercise, good pictures, good memories, good apples. 

 

Our Buddy

It has been almost exactly 8 years since Chris and I adopted Buddy, our feisty silky terrier, our first pet together. We had just moved to Iowa City after graduating from DePauw, and I had been pouring over petfinder.com almost as soon as we set foot in our first apartment. I had wanted a dog of my own throughout college and was excited to finally reach that stage in my life where I could actually get one. I was looking for something small, non-shedding, and relatively young, which isn’t exactly a piece of cake combination to find in shelters and rescue organizations. Apparently many people are looking to adopt “small, non-shedding, relatively young” dogs so when one is available for adoption, it will get snatched up pretty quickly. I felt so lucky when I called a nearby rescue organization about an adorable 7 month-old silky terrier named Buddy and found out that he was still in need of a home. I had already been obsessing over his cute picture online and had gotten Chris to agree that this could possibly be the pooch for us. When we visited him at his foster home he was playful and sweet and even more adorable in person; of course we were going to adopt him!

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He came home with us a few days later after getting neutered. It was September and still warm out, and the very next day was the Iowa/Iowa State football game. We had planned to tailgate and watch the game with friends, so naturally we brought our brand new-to-us pup along. He was such an angel on that walk through all the massive crowds of crazy people – he stayed right next to me and never barked or pulled on the leash once. About a block from the stadium a guy hanging out in front of one of the houses approached us as we walked by. “Hey! Is your dog named Buddy?” he called out.

“Um, yeah, it is,” one of us replied.

“That’s my fucking dog!” he exclaimed.

I was about to get defensive (Um, no, that’s our dog!), but then he smiled, crouched down and reached out to pet Buddy. “Did you just get him today or something? We gave him up just a few days ago!”

 Yep, we met Buddy’s previous owner among a crowd of probably 90,000 people the day after we got him. That insane coincidence had Chris and I talking for like the entire next year.

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Those first two years when it was just the three of us living in our apartment were definitely the sweetest years with Buddy. He was our baby, our first child, and we were so devoted to taking him on walks, to the dog park, out in the parking lot to play fetch, and to run around with the neighbor dogs next door. He had shown us his anxious side by developing strange fears of all sorts of things, from thunder to our camera to anyone leaving our apartment, but we weren’t too concerned because it didn’t seem like there was anything we could do about that anyway.

But as time went on, Buddy’s behavior got more complicated. We adopted a second dog (hello, Luna!), moved into our home, I started working full time as a teacher, and then we had a baby (hello, Charlotte!). Buddy did not adapt well to these changes and his anxiety was palpable. To simplify: we’ve struggled these last four years with him, and we worried about our future with him. First he became aggressive toward other dogs and then he started snapping at us, including (and especially) Charlotte. It is so hard not knowing how to help someone you love, and a dog is so exception. We felt helpless, clueless, and unqualified when it came to helping Buddy overcome his issues and working on the subsequent behavior problems. Mostly, we were so saddened that the sweet little pup we considered our first child just wasn’t the same dog anymore.

When he started throwing up months ago, we assumed it was his anxiety. When he started to become really finicky about his food, we weren’t surprised either – he’s always been an unenthusiastic eater. It wasn’t until we noticed the vomiting was happening almost daily and that despite changing the type of dog food we feed him a hundred times he still wasn’t interested in eating it, did it dawn on us that there could be a real problem. As soon as we called the vet and made the appointment, we knew something had to be wrong. We gave him a haircut and each pass with the razor revealed another protruding rib. He was sick. And then immediately, for the first time through all of this, he started acting sick. He was weak, tired, and stumbling around our house. The vet told us his liver was failing, and probably other organs at that point, too. He gave us some pills to stop the vomiting and make him a little more comfortable. We took him home wondering how less than a week earlier he was regular old Buddy, barking at everything under the sun and accompanying me on a 1.5 mile walk.  

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We spent the next few days couped up and snuggling, trying to keep him warm under blankets and getting him to eat anything at all. (Peanut butter was all he’d take.) The vet gave us pills to last a week, but by the second day home we knew we wouldn’t use them all. It was devastating to watch him deteriorate so quickly, and we decided on Sunday that Monday (yesterday) would be his last day. I slept on the couch each night with him to keep him company, took lots of pictures, and babied him to bits. When we woke up on Monday, he had unexpected surge of energy and spent most of the day off the couch. He spent time outside in the yard and wandered around the house like usual. He found the sunny spot on the living room floor and rested there for a bit. He posed for pictures with Charlotte and our pumpkin. And then, late that afternoon, he took a ride in the front seat of our van and stuck his head out the window. I like to think that he found that reserve of energy so that he could have a good last day… I hope it was a good last day.

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When we arrived home red-eyed and weepy without him, I still expected him to greet us at the door. All day today I’ve been looking for him, anticipating his sometimes incessant barking, and reminding myself to close the gate before I leave the house. I suspect it will take a while before we are used to Buddy not being here. Right now it just feels very weird.

One silver lining of his illness – we got to enjoy the best version of our dog during those last days. He was too sick to be so anxious so he wasn’t looking around for things to bark at, he didn’t freak out every time we closed a door, and he let us pet him, hold him, and snuggle him to our heart’s content. He followed me around and wanted to get on my lap while I was nursing Caroline. He let her swat him and didn’t hide when she started crying. In terms of the quality time we had together, his last days were the perfect punctuation mark to his life.

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One of his last day pictures. He was only 8.5 years old. We miss him. 

Protected: Charlish 3.75

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