Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Kid-free Road Trip

English: 071606 041

English: 071606 041 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Feet were stomping, lips were pouting and arms were crossed. All the signs of a tantrum looming.

“Moommmy … Daaaaaddddy… You can’t just leave us! No, no, nooooooo….. I’m not gonna be friends with you anymore if you go. Who’s gonna take care of us? What about dinner? There’s lots of fun stuff for kids to do where you’re going… Please…..pretty please….”

A discussion ensued about the lovely neighbor girl who would babysit. And other details about meals and logistics.

And also about how hard it is taking care of a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old after working all day. Enjoyable, but tiring.

Sometimes grown-ups just need a break and a change of scenery. With just grown-ups.

Finally, I had to agree. I uncrossed my arms and although I couldn’t smile, I stopped pouting.

My parents do deserve a vacation. They watch my kids two days per week when I head into my quiet office until my husband is done with his day. They are also okay with being on call for weekend overnights. Of course, this is all on top of their own paying jobs.

So, I hope they’re enjoying their road trip NY Adirondacks, just the two of them. Happy Anniversary Motorgrandma and Motorkrappa (maybe I’ll explain that one someday.)  We miss you.

I also hope my husband’s parents don’t get any silly ideas.

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A Letter From Emma To Her Family

20130714-174614.jpgDear Brothers and Sisters Jake, Tucker, Violet, Elvis, Biscuit, Jasper, Cooper, Trixie, and Earl,

I hope you all are well. Sorry I didn’t get to say goodbye- the family that rescued me just fell in love with me and whisked me off to their car.

We just got back from living in a tiny house on wheels. We spent most of our time outside playing. I got to meet a couple other dogs (there were even more dogs there, but the people there were worried about something they called “immunity.”) There were also lots of nice people that played with me. The little house was just like the one you guys and me rode up from Arkansas in, except my new pack only drove their little house a few miles and then just parked it for four days.

My new pack does lots of weird stuff like that. There are five of them and each is strange in his or her own way.

The one closest to my size is named Louie. He’s a very strange dog. He can puff himself up very big. I want to sniff his butt but he can jump over the gate and they let him go upstairs so I can’t catch him yet. He doesn’t bark but does growl. There is a box somewhere that he poops in. I can smell it but it’s on the other side of a little door that I can’t fit through. When I figure it out, I’ll have a delicious treat, I’m sure. He didn’t get to come in the little house with us, I’m not sure why.

The next bigger one is part dog/part human I think. He is almost as fast as me when he uses all his legs. Still, he seems to prefer just walking on two of them even though he can’t seem to go in a straight line and falls on me a lot. I like him because he always has a piece of food stuck to him somewhere, although everybody gets pretty upset when I try to use my teeth on him. Not him, though- he’s cool with me. He and I both get in trouble for chewing each other’s toys. I think his other sister must like shoes a lot because he keeps bringing those to me. He poops right in these pants things he wears. Whenever and wherever he wants. (The pack gets pretty upset if I poop inside.)

Next up in size is the one they call Princess. She has the coolest game. She runs as fast as she can across the room making all sorts of fun noises. Sometimes the rest of the pack sees us and they start making noise, too. Of course I chase her and try to bite her heels, just like I did with you guys. When I get her she makes the neatest sounds. She even gets water to come out of her eyes! Sometimes when she slows down enough I’ll try to get her shirt. That really gets her excited Usually the one they call “Mom” ruins everything by coming over and picking her up out of my reach. Lame.

That one, Mom, is pretty cool otherwise. She feeds me and takes me for walks and gives me lots of treats. She makes me do silly things for them like sit, stay, shake, lie down and roll over and says I have to learn even more. But it’s cool because what else am I gonna do? Lick my butt some more? I already have plenty of time for that.

Finally, the biggest member of the pack is the one they call Dad. He’s not here as much as the rest. He talks about having something called a job. I wish he was here more because he spoils me. He gives me treats and sometimes even lets me come up on the furniture when Mom’s not looking.

Mom, Princess and Dad all poop in a bowl of water that is very noisy. Really weird.

I’m really starting to like it here. I hope you guys all got nice new packs, too. Any way you look at it, it’s better than that first place they brought us to. While we were there, I always wondered what happens to those dogs that went into that one room but never came out. I hope there are lots more families like mine so no dogs ever have to go in a room like that.

It’s pretty cool that organizations like Pack Leaders Rescue (the one that rescued us) make it so easy for people to adopt adorable puppies and sweet dogs like us. Another lady that visits us, called Grandma, fosters dogs for another organization. I met one of those dogs- her name is Ella Grace. She already only poops AND pees outside and she’s so calm and sweet. She says her rescuers, Labs 4 Rescue, are pretty great, too.

Best wishes bros and sisters- hope you’ve all got lots of toys, love, treats and exercise wherever you are.

Sincerely,
Emma (I’m not Pixie anymore- Princess renamed me – after someone on a Disney show called Jessie, I hear. I mentioned they’re weird, right?)

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Reunion-Bound

Tonight we headed off on another extended camping trip.  We’ll be spending the next four nights camped out.  This year, it’s a little different with the drunken-orangutan-like movements of Buster, our Princess, and our brand new puppy, Emma.  But still, I’m ready.  If you didn’t read my very first post- “Roughin’ It,” you should know that I’m pretty tough when it comes to camping.  I could survive for days and days with nothing but two fully stocked refrigerators, my crock pot, my cupcake maker, a smoker, air-conditioning, a flush-toilet of my own, several cases of beer, a handle of Woodford Reserve, 100+ of my closest friends and family, and of course, my mommy and daddy camped right next door.  Because it’s only the basics like that that matter.

Really, I have all that stuff.  If you don’t know how I camp, I went into great detail about how I don’t camp in this post:  How I Don’t Camp.

This camping trip is particularly special, though, as it is a family reunion.  Grammy, a very special 95-year-old lady, will get to see all ten of her children.  They’re traveling in from California, Kentucky, Texas, Massachusetts, New York, Maine, and probably more states I’m forgetting, to Connecticut to get together as they do every 5 years or so.

The usual crew we camp with will be there, too.  Most of them are the local part of this giant family.  I’m not actually related to most of them.  My mother’s sister married one of the ten siblings.  Out of kindness, or maybe because there were so many of them already that they didn’t notice, they’ve always treated me like family.  Which is really nice and made for some difficult explanations when putting together already-complicated family-tree projects my cousins had to do.  In fact, some didn’t realize I’m not actually related for a while.  One cousin’s husband was more than a little disappointed to find out he’d been putting up with my crap since I was 15 and there was no real blood to back it up.

But I’m not the only non-blood-related member of this giant family.  It seems they’ve picked up many stragglers along the way who are now considered family.  They’re all wonderful people.  In fact, my husband is one of those stragglers.  I actually met him on my first “family” camping trip after I returned home from Oklahoma.  You don’t get to become family if you’re not tough enough to take some ribbing but kind enough to contribute something- whether it’s fruit pizza, a bottle of some liquor, or just good conversation.  Really the best thing you can contribute is a willingness to be the butt of our jokes for a while, I think.

I think the group needs to be studied.  You know it if you’re a part of it, but there’s no membership cards.  This reunion was well-organized by a few members of the group because it is larger and it has a few scheduled activities, but most camping trips come together with just a liaison to a campground.  The rest just happens without any official leaders.  I think everyone sees Grammy as the matriarch, but like Queen Elizabeth, at this point she’s not real interested in being in charge of everything.  She does enough of that at her nursing home (that’s another story.)  We all show up at a campground and there may be some scuffling about who camps where and how certain people behave, but we always seem to work it out.  We take care of our children and each others’.  We share food sometimes.  Sometimes we don’t.  It would be impressive if I were talking about 20 or so people.  But it’s usually over 100 and includes something like 20 dogs.

Finding campgrounds has become tough, too- we’ve been thrown out of a few.  Weird how they don’t like noise all night long, giant campfires.   One campground seemed particularly sensitive about stuffing some clothing including a shirt that matched the campgrounds “STAFF” shirts and then burning it in effigy after they’d told us to go to bed too many times.  But we’re a big group, and we like to have fun.  We’re always up front before we visit a place.  If we’re on a trip and things are getting less than fun, Grammy will even mention “We’ve been thrown out of nicer places than this one.”

As rowdy as we are during the camping, we always clean up our campfire and all other messes we create.  When a campground we frequent was hit hard by a tornado a couple of years ago, a big group of us (not me, I had two small children, so not looking for credit) went up to the campground to help clean up.  Treat us right, let us do our thing, and we’ll not only pay you thousands in camping fees, we’ll help you when you need it.

The members of the group include several races and religions.  Members of the group have a wide span as far as employment- everything from retired and current business owners, nurses, engineers, firefighters (so the large campfires are usually somewhat contained, or at least someone understands the risks being taken), military, school-bus drivers, teachers, DCF workers, realtor/railroad workers, several IT folks, craftsmen, etc.  And we all get along as neighbors for a few days.  Even more of us do when we have a reunion.  It’s an awesome temporary community and it will be even larger this weekend.  I’m so glad that my kids get to be a part of it.

Anyway, this reunion is going to be fun.  There will be even more kids for our children to play with this trip.  And we’ve managed to book an entire campground.  So I’m looking forward to catching up and telling some old stories and making some new ones.  But I better get to packing.  I’ll leave you with a nursery rhyme I wrote a couple of years ago (I didn’t use the proper name):

Lovely Mrs. Grammy never lived in a shoe,

But she has a large family and

Camping is what they do.

No broth in sight so they drink beer instead,

They burn things all night

And then go to bed.

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