Monday, April 30, 2007

A boy and His dog...

So, all our married lives John has encouraged us to steer clear of canines as family additions. He has been the voice of reason, the true voice of courage against the majority. All the kids and mom against dad when the discussion of having a dog was ever raised. Funny how things change on a dime...

We had discussed giving the priviledge of pet ownership to our kids in honor of Mason's 12th birthday. Research had begun on breeds and breeders. A visit to the pound with our 3 youngest children (a field trip for them...) was undertaken to see if any potential matches could be made. Still, we were discussing, not necessarily committing, to an animal in the family.

I knew the entire community, my extended family, probably my adoption agencies and anyone who knew anything about those looney Grahams on the corner of Hillsden and Northwood would surely count us crazy if we invited an animal into our already hectic, child ridden life. I wasn't so sure I needed the suggestion of insanity to come my way; I feel pretty insane on a regular basis without the true verbal reinforcement of my neighbors and family. I put my foot down against a puppy because of this. If the dog were house trained, that would be one thing. A show of reason and sanity for an otherwise crazy idea. Definately not a puppy...

The breed was selected, largely by John but he is so much better at that kind of stuff than I and I really didn't have a huge preference. A breeder was found with dogs reasonabley priced. Only thing is, the dogs were young. Not tiny puppies;but 5 months old and needing to be housetrained. Emails with the breeder (Shirley Jacobsen of jacobsen cockers) led us to believe it would be a snap. She was even making her way to Salt Lake on the weekend and we could meet the dog. My impression was that after our meeting she would then take the dog away and we would mull it over, decide, and make arrangements to bring the dog back to our excited and happy home if our choice was in the affirmative. My secret hope was that I'd buy a little time, she'd train the dog to poo and pee outside, and then we'd bring him to live happily ever after as the chosen dog for the Graham clan.

The dog came. "Dog sitting for a friend" we told our kids. "No, not buying a dog any time soon" we said. "Really no plans to own a dog at this point" we exclaimed. Hours passed, Shirley came back to see how things were going. A choice needed to be made. There was absolutely nothing doing to my theory that cute little puppy would go home for a week to be potty trained and then return to its eagerly awaited home. Nope, you've socialized with the dog, now you keep the dog or I take him home. What to do.

See those eyes, the ones staring at you in the picture at the top of this post? No, not the dog's eyes-my husband's. Those eyes are the reason the puppy stayed. The tender love for that animal expressed in those eyes is the absolute reason I did not break the hearts of all my children and send the dog away to a different fate and a different family. The eyes of a boy who would love his dog stared at mine, and I melted in a moment.

So, here he is. Cooper the Cocker. And I think I'm glad (check back with me later). If the eyes of my sweet boy-man husband stay so full of love for that little animal, I know I'll be glad we endured the puppy training and the accidents on the floor in the kitchen. Those eyes will make this dog a special and tender part of our crazy happy life. Welcome Cooper boy. Welcome.
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Here he is, Cooper the Cocker. The story is about 14 years long, but we finally got ourselves a dog. A child with fur all over who is just old enough to need to learn how to do his business somewhere besides our jute rug. In honor of Mason's 12th birthday we now have a dog of our very own. He has a tender nature, a calm disposition, and despite all of that he is still a dog-and I agreed to own him.

It is so incredibley ironic that I am not jumping all over with joy and jubilation over this new addition. I have wanted our kids to have a dog for some time. I've always loved the idea of owning a dog. John has been the voice of reason, the calm word of wisdom when the excitement of a canine companion has crossed our way. "not now, it would be so much work". "My allergies will bother me". "We need more space for an animal." He was always right, and we passed up the opportunities when er they came. But this time...that cute little calm sweet animal just stole our hearts and messed with our heads and...we are dog owners!

The kids will be an immense help. Mason would stand guard over the kennel if he could. He is vigilant about keeping the dog out when possible so we don't have those nasty accidents that upset me so very much. He didn't know we were considering the purchase of this animal when we brought him home to visit. When the dog's breeder came to see what we thought and we decided to take the plunge Mason's immediate response was, "We are going to buy him?! I don't need any birthday presents mom, this is the best gift you could ever give me."

How could I say no?

So, we spent the later part of Saturday oooh-ing over the dog. Then we bought the dog. The we got a babysitter so we could go to the pet store to buy all of the things you have to have after you have bought a dog. Lots of money later, we are not only the owners of a chocolate spotted cocker, but we have a kennel, a designer collar (totally my purchase, I love it!), leashes, food, treats, toys, brushes, shampoo and the like. We have yet to call the vet so we can hand him more money to de-worm and neuter the little fella. Never mind I was saving up for a new leather sectional to be placed in the family room, now I have a dog instead-hope the dollars stop flying out the door with his name on them pretty soon or the Lucy's gonna have to be potty trained right along with ol' Cooper boy.

Speaking of Potty training...oh i guess that is another post for another day. Suffice it to say that Molly cashed in on the whole dog buying spree and got herself some new "Dora" underwear, oh and a few pair of "pretty pony panties" to boot. I think I surely will train to little ones at once. But I guess Molly and Cooper will have to actually use potties in different locations.

We'll see if my sanity lasts through the next few weeks, what sanity I have left. Many friends, strangers and service professionals (teachers and mail men to be specific) have flat out declared me a mental case. I'm now certifiable. I fully expect special concessions to be made for me because of my impaired abilities at this time. It doesn't lend much confidence to the whole purchase when you own mother, upon hearing your happy puppy owning announcement, responds with "well, your crazy kid. I love ya, but your crazy for sure." One friend told me i was crazy a different way. "You must be Wonder Woman". I kinda liked that delivery a little better.

Wish us luck. Wish poor Cooper luck, he'll probably need it. His life just got a jolt of electricity-some of that "crazy" tends to rub off. Hope he makes it through his training, hope we all make it together, the Grahams and Cooper the Cocker; one big, Happy (crazy) family!
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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Catching up

So, I feel like it has been years since I blogged-come to find out it has only been months, but a lot can happen around here in just a few months time. Since my last posts We've had good times. These photos capture only some of what has happened around this happy house.
Pictures 1&2. Lucy turned 1 year on March 16, 2007. These photos were taken on that day in her honor. we celebrated a couple of days later with chocolate cake and all the grandparents and cousins, we are so happy for this lovely and darling daughter to be part of our lives. Lucy at this writing is standing but not yet walking. She cruises along furniture and finds it fun to stand up, clap her hands and balance a while, then sit back down and look for someone to tell her she is awesome! Her laugh is out of this world, her sould as bright as sunshine and her place in our family forever a miracle.

Picture 3. Madi had a great birthday celebration this year with a baking party for several friends. They made swedish cinnamon rolls, mini birthday cakes, and lemon poppy seed bread to boot. Madi was highly creative in her wishes for the party and very particular in it's menu (we have to have blue sprinkles there to decorate our cakes!). She is a smart, fun and beautiful 7 year old with a great sense of humor and a love for life-bon apetite!

Picture 4. We went to Disneyland! We finally bit the bullet and drove the kids down to California for a beach vacation and a visit to see the mouse. It was a great vacation. Much needed and very fun indeed. For a girl who has avoided Disneyland like the plague (not into commercializing my children and not into long lines) I came home with my very own Mickey mouse t-shirt (it's a pathetic hypocrisy really, but I was sucked in!). My brother Tyler and his wife Katie just celebrated the arrival of their first baby, and we got to enjoy them all while we were in California. Tyler even accompanied us through the world of Disney magic and his time with our kids was the difference between a great vacation and an utterly totally awesome vacation. More pics will follow in later posts, you've just got to see my kids on the beach with their new cousin Will and their terrific Aunts Katie and Jess.

So that is some small synopsis of our recent weeks. Check back soon for more crazy happenings from the Grahams, including pictures of our "Gotcha Day" with Miss molly Elizabeth Eowyn Graham, and a photo of our family's newest edition, Cooper the cocker spaniel (yes, I am serious and it is crazy that we now own a dog)
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Gotcha Miss Molly!

Just wanted to post a pic of our "Gotcha Day" with Molly. You know there is a phrase in the bible, the last shall be first and the first shall be last (In Isaiah). I think of this phrase every time I see Molly and Lucy together. It amazes me that the daughter we started to find (Lucy) came after the daughter we didn't expect (Molly) and yet our "surprise" daughter became an official Graham many months after her younger sister. God works in such interesting ways; and through it all He pours out upon us love and guidance so we know He is truly in charge and mindful of every action. We are thrilled beyond measure to have all our Grahams be officially Grahams. Now, here is hoping the last is really LAST, and our chaos will continue without the addition of any other little Grahams to add to the mix. Then again, this journey has been so amazing, so personally challenging and so intensely full of tutoring, if there are more to come I wouldn't want to miss those journies and all they would bring in richness and joy.

I'm not asking for more, mind you. As you can see, our hands are full...
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