Monday, July 28, 2014

Jake's Two Cents: Parenting Edition

My beautiful wife has mentioned a few times about guest posting. I thought it might be good to write a little about my experiences as a father so far and maybe offer advice to those expecting. Or this may be something Taylor reads to her therapist later on in life. I do want to state that I am not the first person people come to for advice, so some of this may be downright ill-advised. I will also note that Jamie will “proof read” this so chances are I have been censored.

“The pregnancy was fun,” said no man ever. I have the utmost respect for my wife and what she did to create this beautiful child, but mood swings will literally make a guy go crazy. “Babe, do you want to just hang out tonight and watch a movie?” says the sweet innocent prego wife. Thirty minutes later, “Jake, I told you we needed to get the crib put together TONIGHT!” hisses this evil boa constrictor that swallowed a bowling ball.  Even if you are as hard headed as I am, my advice is just nod and do what they ask. At some point, you will understand that she had good intentions and allowing her to do things her way will make her feel a little comfort while her entire body goes through this mad scientist experiment. Oh, and if you were wondering, yes, she will hold this “I created a human” thing over your head for the rest of your life.

The day of birth was truly amazing. I am not the most emotional guy but that day was (as cliché as it sounds) the best day of my life. Now, all women see their baby and say “oh my, that is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.” Guys, they are lying to you. Don’t feel bad if you don’t think your baby is cute. The fact is, newborns look like little aliens and are covered in goo. And they probably won’t let it take a bath for at least a day or two. Another piece of advice, the nursery is there. USE IT. You will be glad you did when you get finally get some sleep.  Also, don’t get annoyed when people come to visit you at the hospital. They are just excited and there to offer you support.

Some advice for guys that work crazy hours or think they can’t afford to be off work? Take some time off. Be with your new family. You don’t want to miss a thing (like the first time you hear your baby fart, which is one of the funniest things you will encounter – it’s almost like it startles them). And your lady will appreciate the help. This stuff is new to her, too.

I will not be “that guy” that tells you the same thing everyone else does: “rest now because you’re not going to get any sleep later.” Duh. What did you expect, Captain Obvious? Now, I have no idea if Jamie and I were monks in a previous life or what we did to deserve such a good baby, but our babe slept through the entire night at eight weeks old. I will say that Jamie did a great job putting her on a schedule. Here is my logic behind it: when Taylor took a nap during the day, we made sure there was still some sunlight in the room so she knew the difference between a nap and bedtime sleep. We also established a bath, bottle, bed routine when she was about 2 weeks old. Now, Tay is well aware that after her bath she gets to eat and then it is time for bed. If you think about it, we are all creatures of habit. Routines are comforting and, if you didn’t have a routine, most things would be new every day. While I think that is ok, you don’t want new learning experiences to lose their appeal.

Let’s talk about the diaper situation. Yeah, it’s not fun. I had literally never changed a diaper until the day our daughter was born. Guys, it’s not rocket science. If you were a lady, would you want poo wiped up into your lady parts? Prolly not. Jamie and I never fight about who changes the diaper (none of that “I changed more than you” stuff). The one piece of advice I can give any dude is MAN UP. This is 2014. Your wife or girlfriend (or women in general) do not need to be doing all of the work. If she is watching the baby, you can cook dinner. You can vacuum. You can pick up the house real quick. If she was gracious enough to already do all of that, let her relax or go take a bath. She can be alone for a while and you can have some bonding time with your baby. Trust me on this one. It’s important to spend alone time with your children. If I am gone or really busy at work one week, when I get home my little girl will love me for 5 minutes and then only wants her mommy because I have been absent. Take time now to be present in their lives.

I am sure I have a million more not-so-good tips but, all-in-all, I think most of this is common sense. When you think about it, you were raised before Google was invented and you turned out ok. Hell, your parents did something right if you can read this and are still willing to reproduce.

Lastly, I will leave you with 5 things I have learned NOT to say to your pregnant wife: 
  1.   Do NOT tell her she is moody or needs to calm down. This will unleash the hidden beast.
  2. Do NOT tell her to stop crying because her friends get to do stuff that she can’t. Foot in mouth.
  3. Do NOT say “I lost five pounds this week”. You will instantly look uglier to her.
  4.  If she says “I am mad. Just let me be mad”. DO NOT let her be mad! Say crap like “you look pretty today” and “I can’t wait to meet the baby” to cheer her up.
  5. NEVER, EVER say “your cankle swelling is really flaring up today”. Just don’t do it.

Disclaimer:  This post was written solely by my husband. Very little editing was done prior to it being publish. But do you see why I rave about him? The guy just gets it.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Flashback Friday

Happy Friday, all! Since today is July 25th, I thought today's flashback should include a "Christmas in July" theme, so we're throwing it back to the tot's first Christmas! Our babe was just shy of three months the first time Santa came to visit. We spent the holidays in my hometown visiting with family and feasting on lots of delicious, homemade food. Taylor was too young to partake in the tasty spread and spent most of the time sleeping, but I'm sure she still had a fabulous time regardless. Below is a recap of our holiday in photos.

Tay was perfectly content on Santa's lap until he removed her binky for the photo. The result? This adorable little pout. I laughed out loud when I saw it. It's too fitting for her first Santa pic.

And what would a flashback be without seeing the babe in action? Okay, so there's not much action since she was only three months old, but we did manage to get a smile out of her on Christmas morning. She was simply adorable in her Santa jammies and festive hat!

Only five more months until that magical time of year is upon us again! Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? ;c )

Thursday, July 24, 2014

20 Signs That You're a Mom (to a Baby)

Hubby loves Buzzfeed. He's constantly sending me ridiculous articles from the site and telling me just how much how they apply to my life (they usually don't, but I humor him and read them nonetheless). Recently, he suggested that I create a "list" post for the blog and, being the loving wife that I am, I obliged.

Now, I know that not everyone will relate to this list, and that's fine. I realize that most people have their lives a bit more together than I do. But for those of you out there who do relate to this list (and are a hot mess like me), know that you are not alone, my friends.

20 Signs That You're a Mom (to a Baby)
  1. Your outfit always contains at least one stain (typically from drool, spit up or partially-eaten food). And if you're really lucky, that stain will be on a brand new dress and won't come out no matter how hard you scrub.
  2. That wonderful "fresh out of the shower" feeling never lasts more than 5 minutes. As soon as you pick up your baby, #1 will occur almost immediately.
  3. Every single tube of Chapstick is either missing its lid, contains bite marks, or is covered in drool. And nine times out ten, the only time you'll even find a tube to use is when it's hidden under the couch covered in dog hair.
  4. Your purse contains more items for baby than for you. These items include: half-eaten snacks, used Kleenex/wipes & some kind of sticky toy. And probably a tube of Chapstick as described in #3.
  5. You've had baby urine and feces on you more times than you can count. The worst part? It doesn't even gross you out anymore.
  6. You don't hesitate to use your shirt/pants as a napkin in case of an emergency. This includes having baby spit out whatever food is in its mouth and then smear it all over your shirt. Yummy.
  7. You listen to [insert song here] on repeat the entire car ride home because it calms your screaming baby. And when baby finally falls asleep as you're pulling into your neighborhood, you debate whether its worth waking the monster or letting it sleep while you play on your iPhone in the car.
  8. All of your coffee tables/night stands/side tables have little teeth marks in them. Who's idea was it to make these pieces of furniture the same height as teething, mobile babies anyhow?
  9. You have learned how to utilize every inch of space on any given shopping cart. How else are you supposed to haul everything on your shopping list as well as 2 boxes of diapers, a box of wipes, 4 canisters of formula and 50 pouches of baby food? (Kuddos to whoever invented those pouches. They're a lifesaver when traveling).
  10. Your monthly clothing allowance is now spent on baby clothes since baby can't seem to wear the same size for more than five minutes. This leaves you trying to fit your deranged post-partum body into your skinny, pre-pregnancy clothes which means having a mental breakdown every time you have have to get dressed for work. (I mean, why aren't black sweatpants considered "business casual"?)
  11. Thanks to #10, you spend every other weekend rotating baby's clothes from its closet to totes then lugging those massive totes down to the basement (or, in my case, shoving them down the stairs and praying that the lid doesn't come off).
  12. Your camera roll contains 9,000 photos of baby and you get anxiety at the thought of having to delete even one of them. Few others on the roll include: a photo of you and your hubby pre-baby (you both look rested, tan, and super sexy), a photo of you and your girls (from the one night out you've had with them in two years), and a blurry family photo from last Christmas (where only 3 people are looking at the camera and all of the babies are crying).
  13. You secretly use your baby's Aveeno calming lavender bubble bath because: (1) you have 16 bottles of it from your baby shower and (2) it smells like heaven on Earth. (Seriously, so good.)
  14. Date nights now consist of ordering in and watching 20 minutes of a DVD before passing out on the couch. The idea of date night is enticing, but the actual execution is exhausting. Plus, #10 occurs when you can't find anything to wear. 
  15. You begin packing for a weekend trip on Tuesday and still forget at least three things (despite the four separate lists you made). For added fun, you forget the super important things like diapers and formula when you're staying somewhere that's far away from any store that is open past 8:00 p.m.
  16. Forget all the time and money you spent decorating your house, because all of your beautiful knickknacks are now shoved in the hall closet. Your new decor consists of ugly plastic and foam pieces designed to keep baby from poking its eyes out.
  17. Those charming staircases that you loved so much when picking out your house have now become your worst nightmare. To alleviate your fears, you have installed 3' gates at every turn. Your home is now the equivalent of baby jail.
  18. Any household object can - and will - be used to contain your little roadrunner. Dining chairs, ottomans, and (my favorite) empty Amazon boxes can all act as impromptu baby gates. That is until your baby figures out how to maneuver over your makeshift contraption (which is typically about 15 minutes). 
  19. You find yourself talking to your husband in the same stupid voice that you talk to your baby in. You also refer to each other as "Mommy" and "Daddy" rather than your given names. This is your new form of communication. And you're fine with it.*
  20. You live on the "whoever smelt it, dealt it" policy. Whoever smells the dirty diaper has to change it. This rule can only be broken in an extreme situation where multiple parties are needed, such as a massive blowout that send all three of you straight to the bathtub.*
* The last two items were contributed by the hubby himself. Perhaps he should guest post at some point?

Any other tell-tale signs that I've missed?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


My grandpa Norman was one of the greatest men I have ever known. He was the strong, stoic type and when he spoke, you listened. My grandfather experienced many events in his lifetime. After a brief stint in the Army, he married my grandmother and had two daughters. He spent his younger years working at a Chrysler plant and his retirement driving a school bus. He and my grandmother loved exploring different parts of the world and traveled often. In fact, he visited 48 of the 50 states in his lifetime. But his one true passion was cattle farming. Grandpa would spend hours on end working his cows and the land they lived on. He loved his cows as if they were his own children, and he was truly at home on that farm.

My sister and I spent many afternoons helping Grandpa on the farm when we were younger. It's where we would go sledding in the winter and pick walnuts and blackberries in the summer. Lessons learned on the farm weren't just about how to mend a broken fence or drive a tractor. They were about being kind and gentle but firm when necessary. He was teaching us how we should live in all facets of our lives, but it wasn't until I was older that I realized the magnitude of his simple ways. The lessons that I learned on that farm have helped mold me into the person that I am today, and I have Grandpa to thank for it.

Not long after I graduated high school, my grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. As his disease progressed, his abilities became limited.  Throughout the years, my father had helped my grandfather move cattle, put up hay, repair fences, and whatever else was asked of him. So when Grandpa was no longer able to farm, my dad (with the help of my grandma) slowly began to take over his role.

Last winter, just five days before Christmas, Grandpa passed away. I was at his bedside when he took his last breath. It was a loss that effected us all, and he will forever be missed as the foundation of our family.

Today, my dad still runs the farm. He is careful to do things just as Grandpa did, and he still refers to it as Norman's farm. Because no matter how many years pass, that land will always hold his memory and his love of farming.

A couple of weeks ago, one of the heifers had twins, one boy and one girl. The momma cow only acknowledged the male as her own and refused to feed the female calf, so my parents moved the female calf from the farm to the pasture behind my grandparent's house. My dad built her a pen and has been bottle feeding her three times a day since.

While we were in my hometown this past weekend, we were able to meet the new baby calf. When I asked about her name, my mom informed me that she had been calling her Whiskers. I looked at my mother like she was crazy. You can't name a cow Whiskers.

I thought about it for a moment then asked, "What about Norma?"

The suggestion to name the calf after my grandpa brought a tear to all of our eyes.

It seemed almost surreal to be in that backyard bottle feeding a calf without my grandpa present, and it saddened me to know that Taylor would never get to experience life on the farm with her great-grandpa. But thankfully, she has her Papa to teach her the important life lessons and to spend long afternoons with her in those green pastures. I can only hope she'll take those experiences with her throughout her life, just as I have in mine.  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Taylor's First Fair

This weekend we traveled to my hometown so that Taylor could experience her first county fair. As you can see, she was thrilled when we told her where we were going. Clearly, she doesn't understand how delicious corn dogs and funnel cakes are.

Like most kids who grow up in small towns, the fair was something that I looked forward to every summer. I couldn't wait to run around with my friends, chase boys, and ride the fastest, most dangerous ride. My enthusiasm obviously trumped Taylor's, because upon first sight of the rides she was less than amused. I tried to give her a little pep talk about how fun they actually are, but I'm not sure it worked.

First things first, we hit up the concession stand (because everyone knows adults only go to the fair for the food). I devoured the most delicious homemade pretzel and lemonade (AKA sugar-water) and my husband proceeded to eat FIVE corn dogs. If you think I'm kidding, I'm not. We spent $27 on corn dogs alone. I had one. The man-giant had eight. 

After our grease intake was complete, we decided to try the tot on some rides. And by "some", I mean the two that she could actually ride. First up, the merry-go-round. We picked the prettiest horse with the lavender and turquoise saddle. I had Taylor all situated and ready to go when the operator informed us we had to switch horses. Why? I don't know. She must've seen me chowing down on that pretzel and assumed we would tip the thing over. Whatever the reason, she seemed pretty insistent, so we obliged. 

Taylor had a great time holding the pole and petting the horse but once the ride started to move, she wasn't so sure. She didn't move the entire time except to look up at the shiny, gold pole. She likes shiny things, just like her momma.

As soon as the ride was over and we exited the gate, Taylor started to cry. Poor baby must've been dizzy from all of those circles! Luckily, the crying was short-lived, so we decided to try our luck with the next ride. Unfortunately for me, the operator wouldn't let Taylor ride unless I rode with her. In a tiny metal car. Made for toddlers.

This should be interesting.

The lady directed us to the only adult-sized seat on the ride - the back of the firetruck.


Upon learning that I would be riding, all of my nieces decided they wanted to ride in the firetruck as well. So here we all are crammed into this little hunk of metal that spins in circles at warped speed. Did I mention the firetruck had a horn? And did I mention how much my nieces love to press buttons?

After that experience, I decided that we had had enough rides for one night. There was no way I was about to cram myself back into that firetruck, and there was no way on Earth my husband could've fit his 6'4" frame in there (although I would've paid good money to see him try). So we decided to try our hand at a few games instead. Twenty dollars later, we learned that Jake is incapable of making a free throw and I am horrible at ring toss. But Taylor quickly brought the Eldredge name back in good standing by winning a large, pink, blow-up crayon from the rubber duck pond. Who knew the tot would dominate at fair games?

We spent the rest of the evening snacking on fried foods and catching up with family and friends until Taylor broke down and let us know that it was time. to. go. This girl does not mess around when it comes to her bed time. I was determined to get a family photo prior to leaving, but Taylor wasn't having it. So this is what we got. I laugh every time I look at it, because it showcases her personality so well. She is head strong and stubborn - traits that she comes by honestly.

 All in all, we had a good time. Jake was on cloud nine due to his corn dog coma, and I was happy to have shared another childhood memory with the tot. Happy first fair, baby girl! I guess we'll just have to tell people you had a good time since you decided not to smile in any of the photos.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Flashback Friday

I know the popular thing these days is Throwback Thursday, but I can't ever get my life together in time for that, so I'm bringing a new weekly series to the blog entitled Flashback Fridays. Life has been so busy lately (and I've hit a bit of writer's block), so I thought a weekly series may be just what I need to help me out of my slump. So far, this summer has been amazing, but it sure is busy!!

This week's Flashback Friday contains my all-time favorite video of Taylor. She was about four months old when this video was taken. Jake went in her room to feed her one morning (I do the nighttime routine and he does the morning routine - it just works best for us), and this is what he received. I don't know what prompted him to record her that morning, but I'm sure glad he did. This video is priceless! We still laugh every time we see it. Enjoy!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Best Friends, Babies & BBQ's

Happy Monday, everyone (said no one ever). Excuse the Debbie Downer in me, but I am dragging a bit this morning after all of our weekend fun. I feel like I need a weekend to recover from my weekend! As you can see below, our poor tot felt the same way this morning. She just wanted to be held and lay her head on my shoulder. It's mornings like this that I hate sending her off to daycare. I'd much rather spend the day at home snuggling with my girl.

But, alas, I'm at work, so let's get to it. Our weekend was phenomenal! It was full of quality time spent with some of our closest friends and family. Friday evening my sister, her four kids, and my mom came to see us (and do some shopping, of course). Our first stop was Target where we hit up the A-mazing baby sale they had going on. Even though I know jack about couponing, we saved $145 and got $30 in gift cards! I can see why people become obsessed with it though, because I walked out of there feeling like I had won the lottery! Girlfriend is stocked on formula (until we can switch to milk in just 10 short weeks - hallelujah!), and she should have enough diapers to last until Christmas! I cannot express just how elated I was (and still am) with our savings. This shopping trip alone would've made my weekend!!

After our mega Target haul, we loaded up the kids and headed to Bonkers (one of those giant, indoor, plastic play areas for kids). My sister has twin girls who are 15 months old, and they loooove their Baby Taylor. Watching the three of them play together makes my heart burst with happiness. Jake spent his time chasing my sister's two oldest kids through the tunnels while the rest of us hung out in the "baby" area. And out of all of the things to do in this activity center, Taylor's favorite was riding a mechanical safari jeep. She was sure to hang on to monkey to make sure he didn't fall out!

An hour later, we wiped down the tot, said goodbye to the family, and headed home. It was already past Tay's bedtime, and she was thisclose to letting us know it. But the good thing about our baby staying up late is that she is almost certain to sleep in the next morning. And she did not disappoint! Hubby and I slept in until nine o'clock Saturday morning! (For those of you that don't have kids, this doesn't happen. Ever.) Just another example of why this kid is awesome.

That afternoon we were off to a very special three year old's birthday party. You know how most people have those "couple" friends where you're friends with either the husband or the wife but rarely are you friends with both the husband and wife? Jake and I are extremely lucky because nearly all of his guy friends are married to my lady friends (and vice versa). The Franci are no exception. Jake and Morgan met through work and quickly became besties, while Cori and I became friends through a mutual love of beer pong and Natty Light (ahhh, true friendship). We have watched each other get married, have babies, and now we complain about how hard (yet rewarding) parenting is. And this weekend, we celebrated their baby's third birthday. Time. Flies. Cori did an excellent job planning this party. The set up was amazing! Our favorite? The photo booth, of course.

Happy Birthday, Sheriff Adilynn! We had a great time at your Wild West party!

The next day, we invited the Benkes, another one of our favorite couples (who we met in a similar fashion as the Franci), to our house for a BBQ and some swimming. They have a three year old girl and a little boy who is slightly older than Taylor. Unfortunately, the rain put a damper on our pool party fun, but the kids were still able to burn off some energy playing inside. We stuffed our faces with ribs and chocolate pie and then lounged around talking, laughing, and reminiscing. I love how effortless afternoons like that are. They're good for my soul.

All in all, it was a great weekend. We were able to relax and catch up with friends that we hadn't seen in ages. Lately, I've become increasingly aware how little time Jake and I actually have for ourselves. We work our tails off all week and then on the weekends, after we put Taylor to bed, we can barely stay awake long enough to watch a movie. And by the time we find a sitter and get everything ready, going out to dinner is more work than enjoyment (we are so lame, I know). But weekends like this keep me sane. They remind me that I'm not just a mom - I'm a wife, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend as well. And those parts of me are just as important as being a mom. Balancing it all can be tough, but this weekend reminded me that I need to take more time to enjoy the amazing people in my life (other than the hubby and our tot). I am so very blessed to have such a stellar group of friends and family. I can't express it enough.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fourth of July

Every trip to the cabin seems to have its own special memories, but this was one for the books. From the get-go, it seemed as though we couldn't catch a break. I won't bore you with the details, but the "Rule of Three" was most definitely upon us. Regardless of the mishaps, we managed to have a great weekend (and now we have a few extra tales to add to our collection).

We arrived at the cabin early Friday morning allowing us plenty of time to unpack and get ready to go out on the boat (which was basically just repacking everything in waterproof bags since we ended up taking the entire house). As with all other scenarios, I have learned it's always better to pack more than I think I'll need, just in case. There were life jackets and floaties and sunscreen and bug spray and extra towels and a canopy and food and water toys and blah, blah, blah. Needless to say, the boat was completely loaded down before we even got in it! But all the extra work paid off because Tay had a great time swimming and sun bathing.

The weather was perfect - mid 80's and not an ounce of humidity. Taylor was a breeze, as usual. She napped under the canopy on a pile of towels and blankets for nearly two hours. No crying; no fussing. Except for the boat ride. She enjoyed the wind in her face, but she hated wearing her life jacket and screamed from the time I put it on until I took it off. Sorry kid, safety first.

That evening we feasted on BBQ and then gave Taylor a bath cabin-style. Every tot in our family has (at one point or another) been bathed in this old, metal wash bin. I guess you could say it's a right of passage, and Taylor was no exception. She put on quite the show and provided us with a few good laughs. Since my hands were full, Jake captured these adorable shots. I can't get over those rolls!

The next morning, while Taylor, mom, and I had the cabin to ourselves, we decided to take some photos of the tot and the cabin. Ha! Yeah, right. The last thing Tay wanted to do was pose for pictures when there was new territory to discover. At least we tried.

All in all, it was a great weekend away. It was so nice to disconnect and unwind for a few days. Taylor ate her first real table food (some yummy fried potatoes which she loooooved), saw her first fireworks (which didn't interest her in the slightest), and had a great time playing with her cousins. [There aren't any pictures of the cousins together, because catching the twins in a photo is basically impossible. As soon as they see the camera they instantly run in opposite directions. Oh well. Below are a few photos of her playing with Granny and Daddy instead.]

That look on her face kills me.

The sweetest part of my weekend came Saturday night when Taylor finally called me by name! She was sleeping so peacefully until the fireworks woke her. I went in to check on her and heard her crying "Mama!" Melt my heart baby girl, you have just made my life complete.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Nine Months

Our tot turned nine months last week, and since then I feel as though we have a completely different baby! It's like someone snuck into our house in the middle of the night and swapped our little sweetheart with this wild child. This girl is constantly on the move and curious about everything.

She is pulling up like a rock star and walking along anything that will hold her weight. She is quite crafty (a trait that I'm sure comes from her father) and can maneuver her way into (and out of) even our most clever attempts at keeping her contained. As you can imagine, taking photos of a baby on the go is quite difficult. Most of my shots are blurry or only contain half of her body. So, it's a rare instance when she is still long enough to get a full body shot. I seized my opportunity this morning while Tay was fixated on Jake's toothbrush. I felt like a real-life safari hunter. Jake, don't...move.


Her new favorite obsession is hearing herself scream. And not just any scream, but a shrill, high-pitch, heart-stopping scream. (Girlfriend would be cast in a horror movie in a second.) But at home in day-to-day life, this gets old real quick. Especially when she's in her room playing and I hear one of these screams from down the hall. I panic, of course, and immediately run to her room. She's sitting there laughing and clapping because - yay! - it worked and now mommy's here. Not cool, Tay. Momma just wet her pants.

She is actually screaming here. See how sweet and innocent it looks in mute form? In real life, it's blood curdling.

This girl loves to drink out of sippy cups and has recently learned how to drink out of a straw (only because she grabs my tumblers when I'm not looking and proceeds to slobber all over them). For the record, if you think slobbery kisses are gross, you should try drinking out of a straw after a slobbery baby has had her paws on it. Nas-tee.

She loves to climb the stairs (when we let her anywhere near them) and we are constantly trying to come up with new ways to keep her away from them. The bottom of our stairs are extremely wide with a half-wall on one side and a banister on the other. Needless to say, we haven't found a baby gate that will work in this situation. Suggestions are welcome!!

And just yesterday, she discovered Charlie's food and water bowls. Nothing says cleanliness like bathing in dog backwash! She splashes in the infested water and Charlie tries to hump her leg. (I'm sure that Mother of the Year award will be arriving in the mail any day now.)

Most days I just try to keep my head above water (and contain her long enough so that I can do a load of laundry or wash dishes), but I wouldn't trade it for the world. She brings so much fun and energy into our home and even her piercing screams remind me how fortunate we are to have her in our lives. I can't get over how much she's changed in the course of a month, but I'm loving this new chapter!

Even when she won't smile for the camera. ;c )