Thursday, April 30, 2009

And Then There Were Five....

Another German has been added to my brood. More testosterone, too. Brown eyes. Brown hair. Stubborn, determined, cultured. He is also sweet and playful.
Meet Sam. The newest family member. He's two years old and was given generously to us by two friends of mine with whom I went to high school. Sam's companion, Savannah was recently put down due to medical conditions that were not treatable. He still whimpers, and I think it's for her.
I've never owned a dog this big. I've been against getting a dog because it's just one more thing to take care of and as it is, my time is precious and my energy is not always at it's peak.
My Children have been begging for a dog. My Husband has said for years he wants a German Shepherd because they are his favorite breed. He has a litany of reasons as to why he prefers this breed. So, when this opportunity crossed my facebook page, I explored it. It, in the end, was possibly one of the best things ever done for my family.
Sam is going through a hard time having left his first vibrant, loving family. Due to circumstances beyond their control, Sam (and Savannah) could not move to the new city in which they moved. Friends had been going by the house daily to feed the dogs, who were outside dogs. They were lonely, I'm sure. Then, Sam trekked from the country to the big city in an almost two-hour drive. He met two young children, and growled at the youngest.
Quickly he submitted to My Husband. He does well with My Eldest. A couple days later, he submitted to me. My Little One, however, is the one thing he's going to try to Alpha. He growls at her sometimes. When we are all around him at once, he's good to her. He'll lick on her (to taste his lunch for someday when he'll get is chance to pounce on her!), and he'll play ball or frisbee with her. They go on friendly walks. Yet, at times when only a door or a screen is between them, he'll sneak in a little growl and scare her. She pouts for all of five seconds then she's right back into fearless mode. Ahh the child-like wonder we all lose....
Sam will come around -- of that I'm sure. He just needs to be socialized in a more structured way. My Husband has been working with him, training him, and Sam's picking up on the commands and responding to them. He's very bright. He'll fit in just fine.
My Eldest has surprised me with how active and responsible she's been in caring for him. She leaps out of bed in the mornings to feed him with her dad. She's picked up the land mines in the back yard (not without grossing out), and she loves brushing him. She worries about him when no one is home. She tries to walk him, but it's more like he walks her. Comical! That's 93 pounds vs. 95 pounds. Hopefully she keeps that same level of enthusiasm about caring for him.
The addition of Sam has also revealed a part of My Husband that's new to me. I've never seen him interact with something he's wanted the way he interacts with Sam. It's sweet to look out the window and see him petting that dog while drinking his morning coffee. He's commanded the care of Sam. He's the primary caregiver of the dog, which is just how I like it. I don't intend on bonding with the dog. So, The Kids and My Husband can have a good time with him and I'll enjoy the few minutes to myself. ;)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Going Green

I didn't realize how many green intiatives I've been making over the last year until I really stopped to think about it. They all just happened pretty much by accident.
1. Reduce, Re-use, Recycle has become a key theme in my household, especially since Curious George was released and Jack Johnson had that great song entitled as such. My Eldest has really pushed the theme of the song in creative ways.
2. Since we moved into our house, the city in which we live provides us blue bags designated for recyclable materials. We don't even need to separate glass, paper and plastics. Invariably we have at least one bag a week to set out on Fridays for collection. Admittedly, I am slightly obsessing about recycling. I will bring home items from restaurants, work, shopping that are recycleable and put them in my blue bag at home. It's bad but good at the same time. Don't judge me.
3. Using cloth napkins more often. Criticism exists out there for wasting water by using cloth napkins vs. using paper napkins. I suppose either way is a losing situation as far as waste is concerned, but at least the cloth napkins are not taking up space in a floating landfill in the middle of the Atlantic ocean.
4. Our washer went kaplooie a few months back, so when we shopping for a new one, we learned a lotlot about High Efficiency washers and dryers. Lo and behold, a beautiful set of High Efficiency washing and drying machines occupy my laundry room. Amazing how many gallons of water is used in a 'standard' machine vs. the one we bought! At the end of the wash cycle, the clothes are practically dry because (1) less water is used and (2) the spin cycle on that puppy is wickedfast so all the water that might be extra is spun into oblivion. The result of efficient washing is efficient drying, meaning, it takes less time to dry your clothes as it would in the 'standard' dryer.
5. I keep at my work space a Starbucks insulated plastic cup, a plastic plate, a set of silverware, a paring knife and porcelain bowl so I don't consume the styrofoam cups, bowls and plates and the plastic utensils at my office. I'm keeping, in a super small way, company costs down, as well as contributing to a safer earth by not discarding something into a landfill that's non-biodegradable. It takes no time to wash my dishes after eating.
6. I enjoy the annual Trash Bash my city has each April. Now, when my family goes walking, we often take a plastic bag with us and collect trash in our neighborhood so as to keep our little slice of Earth clean. I am sure to teach My Girls how they are nurturing God's creation by being good stewards of the Earth as God calls us all to be.
7. The latest addition to our 'green' lifestyle is a Honda Civic Hybrid. I thought I would NEVER get rid of my 1994 paint's-really-in-crappy-condition-but-the-motor's-good Acura Integra (with a spoiler), otherwise known as Jackie's Divorce Car. When I moved from El Paso as I was splitting from my first husband, I knew I'd need a cheaper car payment. I had an automatic 1995 Chevy Camaro that I traded in for the more practical standard Acura Integra. Gone were the days of fast, easy living (of crime). Here were the days of being renewed, humbled and divorced. That Integra brought me to a new life, so I don't totally hate it. I am, however, glad to be rid of it. So, now, welcome the new era of cleaner living.

My Husband works for a Canadian based oil and gas producer. Their U.S. division is strictly natural gas production (not THAT kind, y'all! Quit snickering and grow up!). They recently purchased or somehow acquired a natural gas vehicle that they are loaning to any employee who is interested in test driving it. The employee can keep it overnight, so I believe the NGX is visiting my household in June sometime.
When the Acura was sold to a friend of mine for her teenage son, the money must've been burning a hole in My Husband's pocket. Later that same night, we scurried over to the closest Honda dealer and test drove the NGX and, of course, the Hybrid. While we liked the NGX, we LOVED the Hybrid. The NGX is still a little too basic and kind of rough. Plus, the gas will be hard to find around here. There are only a handful of geographically undesirable stations, and the cost to have a tank installed at your house is a little steep, and sadly, the manufacturer of the tank isn't being backed by Honda themselves. As a guy I work with so eloquently stated, Honda is shooting themselves in the foot by doing that.

So, now we're the proud owners of a 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid and couldn't be happier. (AND it's Dallas Cowboys colors. SCORE!)

One last note: Although it wasn't intentional, meaning I didn't seek out to do this today, I bought Ziplock "Evolve" plastic bags that were made by using wind energy. Not sure if they're any better than non-evolved plastic bags, but I'll give 'em a try.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

First Eucharist

My Eldest received her First Communion today. After much discussion about what it means to receive the body and blood of Christ, some anxiety and excitement, My Eldest dressed in a family-made dress, adorned in a veil and pastel colored sash, floated up to the Altar for her First Eucharist. She was reverent, prayerful and sometimes giggly as she would sign "I love you" to me.

She received some special gifts: a cultured pearl necklace, a First Communion keepsake book, a book about the Beatitudes (my favorite part of the bible), some hard-back books on lives of saints, her own Sunday Missal (like Mommy's!), white roses, a lovely rosary hand made in Jerusalem, and several other special gifts. The most special of all of them is being surrounded by friends, family and the Holy Spirit on this very momentous day.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Entering Grandparenthood

Today is the first step toward "my baby is growing up", also known as "going to be a grandparent before too long...".
Today is one of those 'milestone' days -- the kind of day when I realize how precious life is, that so many moments are gone that I'll never get back, that I'm missing out on so much, just gleening the highlights such as first tooth, first step, first word....first day of school. It's one of those moments, where I am realizing that, although it's so wonderful I can share in this kind of milestone, I am so sad of all the things I've missed and will miss. But this isn't about me, is it? It's about My Little One and how wonderful she is -- how bright and gorgeous she is -- how super special and amazingly unique she is. Yeah, it's about HER -- as it should be.
Today, My Little One started school. I couldn't be more happy -- or more sad. I thought it would get easier since My Eldest was, in theory, trailblazing and paving the way, breaking me in so to speak.

I cried. Can't help it -- the tears, they just fall. Uncontrollably.
My Eldest was sooo excited, as was My Little One. "Mommy, can we take my Little Sister to school before we take me to school? I want to see her new school! Pleeeeeease?!" She helped the whole morning from fixing breakfast, get her Little Sister ready, carrying the necessary items to keep at school, all the way to opening the door and walking into the classroom hand-in-hand with her Little Sister.
Finally My Little One is a big girl 'like sissy'. She has been begging to go to school like her Big Sister. She's ready for it, and it's overdue. Although it's not the school I ultimately wanted, it seems like a nice place. The teachers and director seem very nice, capable. The school is brand-spankin'-new, which I suppose means it could be very, very good OR very, very bad. Let's cross our fingers, eyes and legs and hope it's the former, shall we?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Family of God

My Eldest attended some classes over a six week period at our church. When I signed her up for it, it was in response to a blurb in the bulletin about a teen scout who was going to lead the class. Turns out the teenager was trying to earn a special medal for scouts that is through the Catholic church. Little did I know then that My Eldest would also be the recipient of a medal, too!

Last weekend, we attended a special ceremony whereby My Eldest and several other parish girl scouts from different troops were awarded the Family of God medal. It's the first of many medals she's eligible to receive.

I learned that this kind of character building, spirit nurturing series of medals is available in most faiths, Christian and non-Christian. Each faith has their own series of medals. Pretty neat!
Mommy's proud of you, babygirl! xo

Friday, April 17, 2009

Weekly Word of the Weak: Ambling

I keep a list on my Centro in the Memos section of Words To Look Up. When I hear a word and don't know the meaning of it, I whip out that baby and put the word at the bottom of the list.

I don't remember when I first heard "ambling", but I finally took the time to look it up. And, boy! Does it embody that which I'd like to be doing right about now: strolling; to go at a slow, pace.

Life's been harried for the last few weeks. Looks like it won't let up for a couple more. I like the busy times a lot, but I also like the slow times so that I can breathe.

Hopefully you'll have a lull -- an ambling -- to which you can reflect, recouperate and revive yourself. I'm looking forward to that m'self!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Endangered Breed of Kitty Cat

Did you know there's a rare breed of cat?

I managed to capture the endangered "Cowboy Kitty" (who seems rather city-fied if you ask me...)

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Weekly Word of the Weak: Salacious

I've been re-connecting with many high school friends via Facebook lately. It's been FUN! The Ghost Hunter and I didn't know each other much in high school but we at least had known OF each other. So, now we're Facebook buddies and we've had lots of thought-provoking conversation. He was talking about a show in Showtime called "The L Word". I've never heard of this show. He began describing it and emphasized that it wasn't "salacious".


What a HOT word that is, huh? The very push of breath out of your mouth while pronouncing it is erotic. But, good erotic it is not. "Salacious" is beguiling. It sounds romantic, but is quite the opposite:

Pronunciation [suh-ley-shuhs]
1. lustful or lecherous.
2. (of writings, pictures, etc.) obscene; grossly indecent.

Thanks, Ghost Hunter, for the good word that's this week's Word of the Weak.

Happy Hunting, my friend!