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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

On the Road Again...

First off, I guess the realtor talk in the last post was my first mention of my dad's "woes." Long story short, there is a 95% chance he will be laid off on the last day of June (while they are on their cruise, which was paid for back in March!). He is just starting the job hunt and will really start in earnest when he gets back. There is the possibility of finding a job here in Indianapolis, but there is also a very likely possibility that they will have to move... and I'm hoping that if they do have to move that he would find a job in the Colorado/New Mexico area! Everything is still up in the air for them right now... but I'm sure they'll land on their feet. So, I've been trying to help sort things/etc, so that should they need to put their house on the market they'll already be a little (tiny) step forward.

And we leave later this afternoon for Ohio, where we'll spend the night with family friends and then on the rest of the way to DC and my sister's house on Thursday. I think Tater is getting the hang of this nomadic lifestyle... I'm not sure that I am! But it sure is nice to see people.

PS... if my mother-in-law reads this post, I am so sorry I haven't called you/visited you. The time here went by so quickly! I promise to be a better daughter-in-law on my trip back to Colorado at the beginning of August!

Monday, June 23, 2008

I'm still alive

I made it to my parent's house on Friday evening... the drive is a long one and boring but luckily uneventful in any other way. The weekend was spent seeing friends and sorting stuff in my parent's garage and in my old room that is now the guest room. Today we cleaned and sorted for a realtor to come do a walk-through and give his comments.

Tomorrow we're tackling the basement! Wish us luck!

And that's about it from around here... Tater is back to eating very well and has been enjoying playing with his "cousin" Albie.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ta-ta For Now! (says Tater and Me)

After a hurried trip to the vet this morning, it looked like I might have had to postpone leaving for a day. You see, Tater had only eaten one meal since Sunday morning. Now of course there are finicky eating dogs and so many people would say, no big deal. It will work itself out. But if they were to say that, they don't have a beagle. Tater's two favorite minutes of the day are breakfast and dinner.

So, we went in to the vet this morning after he refused to eat. She looked at him, drew blood, tested and gave me antibiotics "just in case." She also gave me a new kind of wet food, just to get him over the hump. And wouldn't you know it? I offered him a little bit of the new wet food which he ate (complete with the antibiotic hidden inside) and then, over the course of the morning, proceeded to eat the rest of his breakfast. Little stinker just wanted me to pay for bloodwork (which all thankfully came back perfectly normal).

Therefore, as long as Tater continues on the road of health that he is now on, we will be leaving first thing tomorrow morning. We will drive until we stop somewhere in Kansas (is that a song? It should be if it isn't). Then we'll get up the next morning and drive the rest of the way to Indianapolis. It will be two long days of driving... and so you won't hear from me for a little bit. But many of you I'll be seeing in the next few days. And if I don't see you, have a fabulous end to your week!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Dropped Off

I dropped off Glory and her puppies this morning at the shelter. I was doing really well (in the not crying department) until I went into the room where the puppies are currently being quarantined (they don't get their first round of shots until they are four weeks old) to say goodbye to Glory and she tried to follow me out of the room. I then had to hastily leave (and then call the shelter later to tell them the things I had forgotten to tell them in my hasty retreat) and cried in the car for the ten minutes back to Alamosa. I can't wait to go back and pick up Glory... she's going to be so excited! And the shelter worker agreed that it wouldn't be harmful and could even be helpful to her for Reid to go visit her a few times over the next several weeks just to show her that we haven't dropped off the face of the earth (and better him than me or I would be having crying headaches like the one I've had all afternoon all summer long).

All nine of the puppies on Mama's bed just before I packed them off to go this morning (and yes, Tank has his butt in mom's little wet food bowl... luckily Glory does a great job of cleaning it out!). If anyone is reading this blog and wants to adopt one of these adorable little guys/girls, please contact me... I can get you all of their info and many more pictures and put you in contact with the shelter. I would love for at least one of them to go to a home where I could see him/her grow up.

You can not, however, adopt this beautiful Glory-bell... she is all ours! Isn't she pretty? We had a min-photo shoot in the backyard this morning before I took her back. Yeah, I'm positive she thought I was crazy.

Tomorrow I pack. Thursday I drive halfway to Indianapolis and Friday I arrive in Indy. I'll stay there until Wednesday, then drive to a friend's house in Ohio and then drive the rest of the way to my sister and her husband's house on Thursday where I'll finally get to meet Raley, my niece! Hooray!

Monday, June 16, 2008


Tomorrow is the day I've been dreading since we brought Glory home. I had originally scheduled to take them back on Wednesday. But after an impromptu vet visit by Tater this morning (throwing up and diarrhea all night long... we don't know why. Perhaps he heard from his friend Monty that's they way all the cool kids get attention), and looking at what I need/want to do to get ready to leave on Thursday I decided it would be best to take the puppies and Glory back tomorrow morning.

I've already washed all their bottles and sorted all of the newspaper and blankets that we're donating. I've gone through Tater's toys and found a few he never plays with that I can take with us. I know that for us it is a short time but for Glory it is going to feel like she's been abandoned all over again and for that I am really sorry for her (in fact it makes me burst into tears just thinking about it). Of course, I'm hoping that will make her excitement when we come back to get her all the more jubilant.

I'm also sad that I'll probably never see a lot of the puppies again (fingers crossed because that means they'll be adopted quick). I knew that I would get attached to them but I didn't realized just how much. They have really stole a spot in my heart. And I tell you... if this is how I feel about a punch of squealing/chirping/crying/pooping puppies that I've had in my life for all of three weeks, I am not cut out to be a real foster parent. My respect and admiration goes out to people who can do this with children. It would literally break my heart.

So, that's it. I'm going to try to hold it together at the shelter tomorrow and not frighten all of the staff by my completely irrational tears but I'm not sure I'll succeed. At any rate I'll take a few more pictures tomorrow morning and will post the last of my puppy updates tomorrow.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

To all the fathers out there (but especially mine) I hope your father's day is happy and relaxing. Dads, especially of daughters, have a tough act... they have to be firm but loving, sensitive but "manly"... and they have to know how to tie bows and pretend that puppies and ponies are the most interesting things in the land to them too!

My dad did a great job raising two daughters who understand the importance of the little things (both appreciating them and picking them up!), and who know that they are important enough to be talked to and not at (how many times did you explain to me how something worked? I distinctly remember both the gear shifts in the car and lying on top of the tv, they were big back then, as you opened it up and explained the insides to me). You raised us to stand up for what we believe in but also to stand up for those who can't speak for themselves. And most importantly, perhaps, you showed us through your actions and your words how a woman deserves to be treated by treating our mother with loving and compassionate words and actions... which in turn allowed us to go out and find men who do the same. I love you daddy!

Happy father's day (I'll see you on Friday!).

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Cute Puppies

They're mobile! When I woke up this morning to Mohawk out of the box (again!) I decided it was time to line the floors with newspaper, cut away the side of the box and let them free in the bathroom... I'm not sure Glory will ever forgive me! And now... pictures!
"Hello up there" says Two-Spot.

"Hello up there" says Diamond... are you seeing a theme?
This is probably my favorite picture of the day! Look at that face! "Are you looking at me??"

See... they're on the move and already quite adept at playing follow the leader!
This can't possibly be comfortable for Panda... but she loves mommy so much that she'll put up with it (that's Kink in front).

And here is Kink all tuckered out.

When you can't get anyone to play with you, sometimes you have to play with yourself. Mohawk tried to engage two other puppies in play biting and neither would play with him so he laid down and began biting his paw... within seconds he was asleep.

And speaking of biting... we have a man-eater on our hands! And Caboose's suction is incredibly strong! I'm lucky I don't have a hickey on that part of my hand!

"Aren't I adorable?" says Squeaker.

"No, really... I'm adorable!"

Tank couldn't decide if he wanted to be in the box or outside of it... so he fell asleep straddling the cut out.

And finally... isn't she beautiful?? This used to be Twin Girl (though she no longer resembles twin boy at all, who is now Mohawk). We tried out a few other names for her but both agreed... she is Beauty. And a sweeter puppy you will never see, especially when sleeping on top of several brothers and sisters.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Day When Nothing Got Done

So yesterday felt like nothing got accomplished... today nothing did. I woke up not feeling well and dozed off and on for most of the morning (taking dogs out in between of course). And this afternoon my big accomplishment was tackling the stack of bills/papers that have needed to be filed since shortly after we moved here. I pulled out many of our files and organized all of those too, vetting a whole bunch of old and no longer necessary stuff. Tater helped.

(Isn't he a good helper?)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Day in Which It felt like nothing happened...

This morning I made a list. It was a long and productive list. And I have crossed a few things off that list... but there are so many more things to do!

I made a list for Reid of the bills that have to be paid while I'm gone and when they are due by. Yes, I am definitely the financial person in the household. And I like it that way.

I read more about costume design and about the clothing of ancient Egypt. I then went surfing on the computer looking for plays that match my various time periods that we'll be discussing in class. Is it a cop-out to just have my students pick their own plays from different time periods, or should I really give them a list so that I know the plays and they know I know the plays... and we don't have the challenge of them not knowing where to go looking for such a list of time period appropriate plays (like I'm having!). I think what I'll probably end up doing is giving them both options (choose a play or I'll choose one for you) and giving them strict guidelines as to what sort of play they must choose. Ugh... planning new classes is stressful.

I gave both of the dogs Kongs and watched Glory try to (unsuccessfully) get the dog biscuits out of hers. Tater had his out in no time. He's a pro. With Glory I think we're going to have to work up to two "cookies" in the "passy." (like a pacifier for dogs)

("There has to be a way to get these out of here" says Glory)

I bottle-fed puppies twice. I only got about an ounce down multiple puppies... but that's more than they would have gotten otherwise.

(This puppy would rather suck on my finger than nurse from a bottle)

I made bread and butter pickles! I'm just refrigerating them 'cause I didn't make enough to can (and I don't have stuff to can). But I just tasted one and they're pretty good... though not as good as I remember so I must have done something wrong.

And perhaps the biggest accomplishment for me of the day... I drew my hand! For those of you who know me this is a major accomplishment.

Now, is it the best hand ever drawn? Certainly not. BUT, does it look like a hand? Yes it does! And that alone is pretty amazing. Of course drawing my hand in a semi-recognizable fashion and drawing costumes on humanely proportioned people out of my imagination are pretty far about (in other words I still have a lot more work to do) but I'm feeling hopeful. Now, in the middle of the drawing when I almost burst into tears and said out-loud, "I can't do this," I wasn't feeling quite so hopeful. But now that it is done and I don't have to draw anything again (until tomorrow) I'm feeling pretty good. In case you're wondering, I'm using a really great book called "Drawing from the Right Side of Your Brain." If you've ever wanted to move on from child-like drawings this book explains in a great detail by detail way first why we draw with symbols rather than by sight and how to get past that. It is definitely changing the way I think about drawing and particularly myself and drawing.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Toys, Eyes and Such

First off, our neighbor is a saint. Some of you may remember that he dug out the section of the irrigation ditch that was in front of our house and then when the county complained because it was all piled on the road in front of our house (which gave the view out of our door a distinctly World War I trench look), he moved all of the dirt off the road and into one of the corners of one of his fields.

Well... I was out with the dogs on Friday when a man on an ATV stopped by and asked if we would mind if they (meaning the men who work for my neighbor) sprayed our pasture for weeds, since apparently the government weed control people have contacted Roger (our neighbor) though they haven't contacted us. I said, "umhmm... sure. The entry is right there." I'm not sure if they've sprayed or not because I then left to run errands but isn't that pretty incredible? So... if any of you have suggestions of nice things to do for neighbors who you don't know and whom you have never been inside their house, please let us know!

But all of that to explain the picture below... we decided we needed to do a wee bit better job controlling the weeds that we have growing around our property. So on Saturday we bit the bullet and Reid went and bought us a new toy... though you can see who is enjoying it the most!
(Boys with their Toys!)

Now to change to puppy subject (which I'm sure is incredibly boring for most of you), as if there is an internal clock programmed in, they all began opening their eyes yesterday! Some are more open than others and all of them still look like a cross between being stoned and blind, but they do have eyes! Unfortunately, they are not all gaining weight. So when I get done posting and then showering I'm off to the vet's office to pick up some supplement. I'm hoping that will give them all the boost they need.

(Looking at this picture, doesn't it make you glad that we as humans generally only have one at a time??)

(Not sure how this can be a comfortable place to sleep, but Squeaker worked hard to get there!)

(Don't look now, but even sleeping you can see that Mohawk, formerly twin boy, is opening his eyes... you can really see in 2 Spot and Mohawk that at least one of the daddies in the mix was a cattle dog! Look at those grey spots)

(Need a comfortable place to sleep? How about mom's face??)

And another thing... Glory knows how to climb! We've transitioned her and the puppies from our bathroom to the guest bathroom (more room for her and a little quieter at night for us). And Saturday morning I heard a thump, looked up and there was Glory in the dining room... but the baby gate was still up in front of the guest bathroom door. I hoped and prayed that it was just a flook. Last night she did it again at 2am. After going outside we came back in and I double-baby-gated her in for the rest of the night, praying that she was not dumb enough to try and climb two as she would certainly break something on the fall on the other side. I told Reid when he woke up this morning that Glory was practicing should she be called to be an extra in a WWI epic (Going over the top... get it?? :). And then after breakfast this morning I put her back in with her pups so Tater could eat his breakfast. I even switched baby gates I put in front of her as I figured the diamond plastic would be harder to climb than the wire cross-hatches... alas, no. She was up and over that thing in no time flat. So, while in DC, I will be looking for baby gates that are vertical bars without horizontal bars that hopefully she can't climb.

(Lying on the "correct" side of the baby gate, plotting how to climb it... though with that nursing picture up above, how could you blame her??)

(Especially when this is what is laying in the other room! Don't worry Glory... it won't be long before you can join him)

And one last world war reference, I think I'm beginning to understand what it must have been like to live in a "safe" part of England during WWII... I obviously don't duck for cover, but the crop dusting planes take off from the Monte Vista airport which is literally about a mile from our house every morning... and then fly back and forth several times so close that it sounds like they might touch our roof. Their planes are pretty cool to look at, but at 6:30 in the morning I would rather be asleep.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Cleaning carpets... and waiting for eyes

Yesterday I ran errands. I was gone for about three hours. At some point during that time Glory decided she had finally had enough of the bathroom and the puppies and she broke free. Yes, the baby gate was lying on the floor in front of the bathroom and the "wrong" beagle greeted me at the door when I came in.

I immediately ran to the bathroom and checked... nine puppies, all still fine (I have no idea how long Tater and the cats had access to the puppies but apparently the cats didn't venture in there and Tater was too afraid of the crashing baby gate to cross its threshold. Unfortunately, Glory went in to the living room and had a great time making a nice big mess on the carpet. Reid and I had been talking about him cleaning the carpets when I was in DC and there were no dogs here, but after yesterday I called Paul, my co-worker who had once before offered the use of his carpet steamer, and Reid picked it up after work last night.

We were just going to do the living room and then spot clean the bedroom... that was until we finished the living room, stepped back and admired it and then looked in on our bedroom carpet... the difference was glaringly obvious. So, Reid is now working on shampooing the bedroom. And once he is done with that, we'll give both of the carpets a rinse... and then work extra hard to keep Glory off of them until she comes back from puppies and we can probably house-train her.

And in puppy news, we are just desperately awaiting the opening of puppy eyes! The vet said anywhere from 10 to 14 days is normal... so it could be any time now (though it might not be until Monday... or if they're slow even later). The puppies are still slowly gaining weight, though some of them will go a day where they don't gain any. I called the vet yesterday to talk about it. They seemed to think it was okay, and that if by the end of the weekend we were not pleased with the weight gain of certain puppies we could supplement. I might do that, just to make sure that everybody is getting as much as they want/need (though they are half beagle so I'm not sure that is actually possible).

And how is your weekend going?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Puppies and Babies

Several people have made reference that the puppies are just "preparing me" for future motherhood, myself included. However, last night I began, in my mind, to compile the ways that having these puppies is not at all like motherhood. Or more specifically, how my role as "midwife" to these puppies is not the same as how my role as "midwife" to a baby would be.

Let me start out by saying that it does no good to compare two people's situations declaring one is better or worse. You can only say that they are different. Let me also state right off the bat that I am one hundred percent sure that raising an infant is more difficult than raising these puppies and that this post is meant only to amuse. Alright... let's get going.

1. I watch, sometimes in horror, as Glory's teats are being mangled, twisted, tugged, scratched, etc... but at least they aren't mine!

2. When you have a baby and it cries in the middle of the night, there is one very large cry. When you have this set of puppies, there are as many as nine very high pitched and surprisingly large cries.

3. When you have a baby and it cries in the middle of the night, you know it wants food, diaper change, or reassurance. When you have puppies crying in the middle of the night you know it's because either mama left the box because she's too hot and there isn't a darn thing you as "midwife" can do about it or because there are not enough teats to go around and still nothing you can do about it.

4. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure having a baby does not involve three or four trips out into the cold mountain air in the middle of the night to watch the mother roll around in the grass, try to crawl under the porch and try to sneak eating her own poop when you're not looking. Pretty sure...

5. And finally, I doubt that new mothers of infant children interrupt blog posts by standing behind a baby gate (that is in place for their and their offspring's well-being) and whine because they are bored or because they have to go to the bathroom or because they want to go eat dead things in the backyard rather than care for said offspring. Can you all think of any others?

And now... gratuitous puppy pictures.
This is Two Spot up close... isn't she adorable? Her face and Twin Boy's are almost identical.

Sometimes life is just too much... you have to roll over on your back and play dead!

And I just thought this was adorable... kissing siblings! Won't they be embarrassed when their friends see this picture later in life? :) That is twin girl and twin boy... and you can see that they now don't look much alike, do they?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Not Much to Report

Life around the Neilsen house is not quite but is pretty mundane. The puppies had multiple visitors last night as two of my students and Jared and Renee all stopped in to see their progress.
They are definitely growing... and becoming more and more vocal. I think I'm beginning to suffer a bit from sleep deprivation from both the high pitched squeals that happen throughout the night and Glory's need/desire to go outside multiple times a night to go potty and then enjoy the cool night air (last night we also added, enjoying the cool night air under the bedroom porch, which is supposed to be a "no go" place for dogs- I forsee latice in our future).

And that's about it. I'm going to be working on my Civil War Prison Camp Theatre paper the next couple of days... hopefully by the end of it I'll have something that I'm not too embarassed to submit for potential publication.

And one puppy picture... I believe this is Tank (though it might be Caboose) perfectly content to be held. They are all getting much more relaxed with people holding them.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Another House Project Done... for Now

Reid and I spent almost all day yesterday working on our front lawn. We cut the grass (front and back... it was way past due but we had put off buying a lawn-mower until this past week). And then we raked. And we raked. And we raked. Apparently no one had spent much time raking the lawn these last two years (which isn't surprising since the former owner told us that she had only turned on the sprinkler system once in the two years she lived here). There was so much dry/dead stuff out there it is amazing any grass was growing at all. We literally filled the wheelbarrow at least twelve times. By the time we were done yesterday afternoon the wind had picked up. So, we waited until this morning. We got up at 7am (thanks to one mama dog who also had me up at 3am and 5am), and had the front lawn grass-seeded by 8:45. We then watered it for forty-five minutes and will do so again this evening. And we'll keep that up for the next two weeks and should hopefully start seeing a fuller/greener lawn. We'll probably have to over seed sections later this summer, but it's a good start.

We also splurged and went to see the new Indiana Jones movie... it was a lot of fun. I don't think it was as much fun as the last one, but Reid really enjoyed it. We were talking afterwards. It's funny because Indiana Jones shaped Reid's life and yet we don't own any of the movies... maybe a future Christmas present?