Mar 27, 2012

Week 5


It' s beginning to be hard to believe that the puppies are 5 weeks old already.  The four that have been picked out by their new owners can start going home on Easter Sunday! It helps that we no longer have to get up in the middle of the night to regulate a feeding. In fact, Tulley isn't feeding the pups at all any more!


The puppies have even moved from eating a dry/wet food mixture to just moistened dry food, and even that is less and less each day. They'll soon be completely on dry food. It seems since we took them off Tulley and placed them on real food they have started to double in size day after day.

The only issue we have run into now is the weather and moving these pups outdoors. Friday evening after work we were able to bring all the pups, Tulley and London out back to enjoy a little fresh air. Cameron also removed the barrier within the whelping box to give the pups the entire run of it - helps Tulley isn't in there at all any how. 


These pictures were taken during that little outing and the puppies sure had fun tackling London. It's also hilarious to hear London try and order them around and say "No puppy no". Did you know last Friday was National Puppy Day? Neither did we, until Matt & Lynde asked to come over and see the pups. 


Saturaday we had two people come over and select puppies and another family came Sunday to choose theirs. We now have 1 male and 3 females selected. Hopefully the rest go soon, as we do have some more interested. 


Who could resist these faces any way?

Toddler Tuesdays: Slacking in the Mother Department

Yes, I’ve been slacking lately when it comes to mothering London lately. I haven’t planned any activities for her when we are home on the weekends and we’ve been home. The puppies kind of require us to be. This will all change starting Saturday and running for the next 6 weeks as London and I are about to embark on Swim Lessons!


Photo Courtesy of Swimstitue.com
For 30 minutes every Saturday through the beginning of May, we will be attending the Swimstitute’s  parent & tot classes for children ages 6 months through 24 months. It’s an indoor, heated pool so weather will not be an issue.

To prepare, London and I purchased some new swimsuits at Target and I ordered a reusable swim diaper on Amazon. Apparently, the Swimstitute’s experience is that the disposable kind don’t hold up to the water for that long and burst. I’ve heard and somewhat seen what happens when a diaper bursts and its not pretty so we decided not to risk it.


London's new swimsuit from Target

I’m so excited for us to spend this time together and to see how London reacts to the water. She loves water currently. We are very blessed that she wants to take baths. We actually have to spell the word around her if we aren’t about to go give her one as she will take off running for the stairs and throw a tantrum if not taken upstairs immediately to take a bath. It’s pretty adorable. Her favorite is when she gets a bubble bath, as bubbles are her favorite whether they are in the bath, being blown from a toy or reading about them in her favorite book.

I chose a plain white reusable swim diaper so as not to detrack from London's new swimsuit - they do come in quite a wide variety of colors and patterns on Amazon. This one was $10.
I just wonder how she will handle the cooler water. It may be heated, but the water is still at a lower temperature than the bath water. I’m also curious to see the ages of the other kids in class and how many there will be. They limit it to 8 “couples” per session. Hopefully, there aren’t that many and that the kids are closer in age to London than a 6 month old.

I’d considered taking these classes last summer with London but eventually decided against due to time restrictions on weekends and London’s age. I just wasn’t sure she would benefit from it as much as at an older age. Only time will tell. Cameron is going to go along as well and I’ll have him take pictures for the blog this weekend.

Mar 26, 2012

Motherhood Mondays - To Child proof or Not

A while back I read an article about whether it is necessary to child proof or not. You can read the article here.

In it, the author details what they did and didn’t do for their son, but it never really delved into the argument of whether to child proof or not. I’ve heard both extremes. One friend, while she was still only pregnant and taking the responsible baby courses, was actually told to bolt her windows down since she lived in a second story apartment. To me this is a bit extreme.


Then there is the argument that when you take the child out of your child-proofed home, into other people’s homes, including grandparents’ homes, that these homes won’t be child-proofed, so why set your child up for behavior failure in other people’s homes by child-proofing your own.

Cameron and I fall somewhere in the middle of these two arguments, although I’d say we align closer to the non-child-proofing side than the extreme child-proofing side. For the most part, our child-proofing has involved the good-old fashioned wooden gates that even adults have a hard time opening, closing and tightening, that you can get at Walmart for $5. We bought two of these gates when Tulley was a puppy, to corral her to specific areas of the house and have kept them in place for London.

We also purchased a wider, plastic gate to put between our carpeted family room and tiled kitchen when London was crawling and learning to walk. At this same time, we had a blanket folded up over the granite tile in the family room and removed such hazards as the iron fireplace tools and bucket full of drift wood. Items we don’t want London getting her hands on as well, first moved up in the room and eventually out of the room for the most part. She then has learned what she can and can’t tough in the family room. Toys = good things to touch. Electronic box buttons and items on the side table between the couch and chair = no touch.

We have employed those famously frustrating plastic electrical outlet covers that are almost as adult-proof as they are child-proof, but only in London’s room and the kitchen and family room. We also purchased and installed an oven lock, not so much to save London from burning herself, but after she scared herself opening the oven door trying to take down one of our kitchen towels> She almost knocked herself out doing this and we felt it was a necessary precaution, in case she tried to do this when the oven was on. Now our hand towels are rarely on the oven handle as London likes to take them off and use them to “tuck” Tulley in for “nite nite” (not that she doesn’t have plenty of access to blankets in the family room for this!) We started going through towels so much it’s just necessary to keep them on top of the counters and wash them more often.

Last, we bought the famous cabinet locks and actually began installing them but never finished. Our cabinets are made of some hard particle wood on the inside that made installing the tiny screws nearly impossible. Yes, I’d feel better if the under the sink cabinet was baby proof, but then again, London really isn’t left unattended downstairs for any period of time – it’s just as easy to take her with us, or she stands at the gate crying to be with us any way. I also just need to address this cabinet and see if I can’t move most of it to the upper cabinets of our laundry room.

And I know we’ve been lucky, as London as learned through trial and error, which cabinets she can get away with opening at all. So now, she really only opens the drawer that holds her bibs, plates and bowls, and the silverware drawer now that she is tall enough to reach in and grab her silverware from it.

For the most part, London isn’t allowed to be anywhere in our house unattended because we know we can’t trust her completely, just like we couldn’t trust Tulley when she was a pup and like we can’t trust Melody now.

Maybe we’ll child-proof more if we’re blessed with a second child, but for now, we only have one to watch after, and the worse she does is close herself in the pantry or bathroom, knowing full well we’ll be in to retrieve her shortly – and this is usually because she wants a little privacy to do her business. If only she’d show some interest in potty training.

London knows that if she closes herself in these two areas it too much she’ll get placed in a time out, though we first try to distract her into doing some other, parent-approved activity.

And maybe we have been blessed with a non-child-proofing necessary child like the author in the article concludes. But at the same time, I think it also has a lot to do with what the parents allow and don’t allow to go on in the household and the boundaries they set for their children. I guess you could say Cameron and I take a child-proof as you go approach. No way do we see the need of child-proofing something before it is an issue. A newborn isn’t going to get into anything right away. We didn’t use the plastic plug covers until London showed interest in an electrical socket. We did have them ready for the day she did, but had we not, we would have left for the store immediately. And maybe we’re lucky with our house set-up that we can use baby gates to prevent access to the rest of the house so that we only have a few rooms to truly baby-proof at this time and keep a close eye on London almost all the time.

The one child-proofing item I could not live without are the chimes on our doors and windows when they are opened. We recently turned them off when we were going in and out of the garage in the middle of the night to deal with the puppies while my parents were visiting, mainly because it was interrupting their sleep. But these chimes have been turned back on now that London has learned to open some of our doors, including the front door. She doesn’t usually have access to the front door unless we are already headed out the door, but its peace of mind for Cameron and me. And she still can’t reach the sliding glass door handle or lock, but we know some day she will.

Our friends Pat & Kim have an alarm that actually tells you which door is being opened in their house and is one we would consider if London gets into a habit of exiting the house (which I hope never becomes the case).

So what child proofing do you feel is absolutely necessary and which kind do you think merely play into the fears of parents to make a little extra money for the child-proofing companies?

~Sarah

Mar 20, 2012

Week 4

The puppies are 1 month old. In another month, we hope they are all in their new homes. Pick of
the litter was made this last weekend, so we’re off to a good start. The pick went to a long-legged male, who has a white stripe on his chest and fell asleep in his new mommy’s chest. It was just meant to be. Good thing too, as this was the one Cameron was eyeing for himself. Better to have him picked so we are less inclined to keep one.

All of the pups are getting so big. And as of last Thursday night, we have successfully replaced one meal of Tulley’s milk with a mixture of dried puppy food and wet canned food. I think we’ll try to replace a second meal of Tulley’s milk with this recipe tomorrow, as poor Tulley is just not interested in feeding them much anymore. She tries to escape every time we go to switch the puppies during a feeding and she can’t wait to be done each session and get back into the house with the rest of us. Not that I can blame her much, what with those sharp little teeth that they have now.

As you can see, there is a process involved with the feeding. First goes in the dried food, followed by the wet. Then we add a little water and mix it all together before placing the puppies in with it. As you can see, it gets a little crazy. The good thing is they all took to real food pretty quickly. Unfortunately, they’re also not that graceful around food, with some laying across the entire pie dish of food while they eat.





Which is why we are bathing these kids at least once a week right now. I have a feeling this is going to increase as time goes on or until they figure out they can eat without laying in their food. You can definitely tell when they are getting ripe.
 
This next set of pictures shows the bathing process in the kitchen sink. We bring them in one by one. I wash them in a soapy mixture of water and then rinse in running warm water. Cameron dries them off, let’s them say hi to mama and then takes them back to the bull pen in the garage and grabs another. Unfortunately, I think our days are numbered using the kitchen sink. They’re getting so big, we will likely have to move the process to a bath rub next week.





And they are definitely pretty darn cute these days. We can’t help but go out there and pet, cuddle and kiss them every so often. Even London loves going out there and giving them a gentle pat and kiss when she is helping us.
 
It will be hard to part with all of them and even harder not to keep one. Hopefully this weekend, more of the pups will be spoken for as well.

~Sarah

Mar 13, 2012

Week 3


The puppies turned 3 weeks old on Sunday. This is a bit hard to believe given we feel they should be sooo much older. The late nights and interrupted sleep every night gives rise to these thoughts.


They have more than doubled in size since birth, which is causing Tulley to be overwhelmed when all 12 of them attack her to eat, which has us regulating the number that can feed on her at a time and for how long. This means that for an hour each night we are up when we should be sleeping to make sure everyone gets their fill. We try to sleep during the half hours of actual feeding time, but it’s not easy to fall back to sleep after waking up and having to function for 5 to 10 minutes only to know that you’re getting back up in 30 minutes to do it all over again.


We’re also trying to supplement where we can which usually means Cameron and I give the pups a good bottle feeding right before bed. This was fun Sunday night when we were bottle feeding and the pups waiting to be fed were lined up in the box looking up at us versus trying to get in with Tulley. They know that we equal food in some form or another. Just one of us going into the garage when Tulley is not out there can get them riled up. Of course, they are typical labs and act like they are starving when they are not.


And if we don’t have the baby gate up, they can get in with Tulley. Friday night and once Saturday I found 1 to 3 pups in with her before a planned and needed feeding. Which meant the baby gate is up permanently when we don’t want them to feed. That and a piece of wood, as in the middle of the night Monday night when I went to start the feeding, I found the gate on Tulley and one puppy feeding on her. Cameron would find the gate on Tulley a half hour later and two puppies stuck between the gate and the wall, trying to find Tulley. They are persistant. Hopefully, all this is helping Tulley to not feel so overwhelmed. That and getting to sleep with us the last couple of nights until the middle of the night feedings.



Did I mention the pups are getting teeth? Yeah, that can’t feel good. I felt some teeth Saturday night during the bottle feeding, but they weren’t sharp yet, just there. Sunday night, they were sharp. Which meant Cameron made a stop at Petsmart on Monday to get wet puppy food. We’re going to start bringing the puppies in one by one to work on transitioning them to real food and to adjust to being away from the pack, which will better prepare them to go to their new homes alone.
 
With the stormy weather expected over the next week, it looks like the puppies will not be moving outside next weekend as planned. To be honest, I feel better having them in the garage then outside. There are too many things like coyotes and hawks to keep me up at night worrying about their safety, even if they are inside a dog house and pin with Tulley. Plus, I hate the thought of Tulley sleeping outside – she was so comfortable on our bed the other night. Cameron came to bed to find me passed out with my new body pillow and Tulley flat on her back snuggled up next to the pillow. He wasn’t sure there was any room for him.



On Sunday, we took four of the pups outside for this photo session. They weren't too sure about it at all - that and it was a bit cold and they knew some of their siblings were missing. The puppies are starting to not sleep all the time and are getting playful. so I'm sure they will enjoy the outdoors soon, once this storm system passes.

Toddler Tuesdays: Little Miss Bossy Pants

London developed a cute, though somewhat “demanding” habit while my parents were here – maybe she was doing this at day care already or just loving the attention from her grandparents, but she has gotten into the habit of grabbing your hand or a few fingers and pulling you to where her toys are in the family room and saying “sit”, pointing her finger to the spot she wants you to sit. Sometimes, after you have sat, she goes and gets a book and curls up in your lap, or gets some other toy that she wants to play with, with you. Other times, she sits down first and pats her hand on the floor insistently until you sit next to her, again to read or play with a toy. She even will pat the floor, couch, bed where she wants one of the animals, usually Jake, to come and sit. To her dismay, Jake usually doesn’t oblige her.


It’s completely endearing, but at the same time, there have been times I just need to sit in our comfy sofa chair or lay on the sofa, not on the floor. And I think it’s important London learns to play by herself as much as we play with her. I’d also like her to learn to say please, versus demanding, and to learn that asking please will not always get her what she wants. I know, a lot to ask for from my busy toddler.

She doesn’t need attention 24/7 like she thinks she does. We worked on this on Sunday, which resulted in a lot of tantrums and a lot of time-outs. It was a very trying day on all of us. Luckily, yesterday she was a pleasant dream of a child going along and not protesting all the errands we had to run after work and then going to bed without resistance (albeit an hour past her normal bedtime – thank you Daylight savings). I think the weekend had worn her out just as much as it had us.


BTW – I apologize for the lack of photos. I have a puppy update and pictures for you, but our home computer is on the fritz, which Cameron is working to fix, but makes getting anything done on it incredibly hard until he does. We think some spyware got on it somehow as my email was recently hacked and Norton has been rendered useless.


~Sarah

Mar 12, 2012

Motherhood Mondays: Depression after Weaning

Today I wanted to share something I recently read in two places: Depression after Weaning. I’d never before heard of it until I read this first blog post by Joanna Goddard, author of the Cup of Jo blog, one of my favorite blogs to follow. She was so nervous to share the depression she experienced for two months after weaning her son Toby from breast feeding. She never connected the dots until after the depression had ended and she’d gotten her period. The Huffington Post did a similar story and actually interviewed Joanna for the piece.


You hear about Post-partum depression all throughout your pregnancy and in news headlines after a famous star has experienced it. But never had I heard about this kind of depression. And while I was fortunate after having London to not experience either of these, I think it’s still important to be aware for myself in the future and for my friends who are starting or increasing their families. So this is me doing what I can to pass this information on. Please read both pieces.

Judging by the overwhelming amount of comments Joanna received from her post, she definitely is not alone in this kind of depression.

~Sarah

Mar 8, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up: A Baby Shower

This weekend included a busy Saturday that involved a trip up to Chico for the whole family. My parents and I headed up around 10 AM so that my mom and I could attend a baby shower for our family friend Emily. My dad had some errands to run around Chico while we were there and then we would all meet back up at Emily’s parents house, the Moffetts, to continue the party, as they had several family friends in town for the big event.


It was a beautiful shower that had the right mix of mingling, food and games. The shower started out with everyone sitting down to a nice lunch of soups, salads and artisan breads. This was a great way to really sit and talk, catch up and meet new people. After that we gathered in a circle around Emily to enjoy gourmet cupcakes and play a few games before Emily dove into the pile of gifts. Her soon-to-arrive son, Elijah’s nursery is Jungle-themed so you can guess the theme carried on through the gifts.

And as planned, we met up with my dad back at the Moffetts, along with Cameron and London. Cameron was able to come as Tulley is back to her old self and, for the most part, is able to handle the feeding of her pups on her own. This worked out well, as he was able to spend some time with London versus my dad or my mom and I having her while we were preoccupied with other things, which also meant a trip to see her Grammy and cousin Connor.

Bonnie had made her famous and delicious lasagna for the masses that evening. This is the same lasagna that had Cameron and I change plans on our wedding night from going to Sierra Nevada for a private dinner to attending the dinner for all our out of town guests at my parents home, since Bonnie had kindly took the time to make it back then too. The house was full of people, and for the first time in a long time, kids. There were 8 in all, so a big batch of mac and cheese was also made. Emily commented that it sort of felt like Christmases past with all the kids running around, except we weren’t the kids, and we could be outside on the deck with the warm spring weather we were fortunate to have that day.

While London was shy at first, this didn’t last long and before we knew it she was running around with the other kids. It was great that two of the kids were within months of London’s age and they got along fairly well.


But by 8 PM London was done and Cameron and I had to hurry through our goodbyes – thus the life of parents of a toddler, I guess. This was fine, as we had the two hour drive home and we are still somewhat exhausted given that we are still getting up once a night to let Tulley out, feed her and help her get situated with the puppies afterward. It will all be over soon though. My parents weren’t far behind us, and Bonnie had sent along some leftover lasagna and my favorite corn chowder (as that was one of the soups served at the shower). We’re still enjoying the yummy left overs.


~Sarah

Mar 7, 2012

2 Weeks Old


The puppies are now 2 weeks old and bigger than ever. On Sunday, their little eyes started to open, which has helped their mobility tremendously. Before they were taking wobbly first steps, but not being able to see, a type of vertigo appears to be happening and they’d fall to the side and roll over. Each day since their eyes have opened, their walking has gotten better.




The excited movement that ensues when its feeding time does seem to overwhelm Tulley a bit as she can’t lay down fast enough without sitting or laying on a few and she doesn’t want to step on them. Just the other morning when I was trying to help her, about 4 swarmed my foot to try and eat. Obviously, their sight has some improving to do.


We are also having to clean their whelping box more often and have found that we need to clean them about once a week at this point as they do pee and poop on each other. They were smelling pretty ripe Monday night so after London went to bed my mom, dad, Cameron and I had an assembly line to clean each puppy under warm water in the sink, then towel dry them off, and then get them feeding on Tulley or by bottle. While Tulley has plenty of milk, with the puppies being so much bigger, the smaller ones can still get pushed to the side and not get as much, so we’re still bottle feeding intermittently when we can, and then only the small ones.

 

We are now gearing up to work on a larger pen for them to hang out in as their mobility improves and I think Cameron, Tulley and I are all looking forward to the day they are off the milk and onto the real food. Then Tulley will be looking forward to rejoining us on the bed, though she’ll have to fight Jake for room, as he has returned to sleeping with us in her absence.

~Sarah

Mar 6, 2012

Toddler Tuesdays: A Trip to the Zoo



My parents have been in town for the last week. The main reason for the visit was so my mom could attend a family friend’s baby shower. More on that in another post coming soon (I promise!). But since both of my parents have some time to spare these days, they thought they’d come early and stay a little longer to help us out with London and the puppies. So while Saturday was packed with the to-dos of the baby shower, Sunday was a day for the whole family to relax.


Being that Fairytale Land in the Land Park area of Sacramento was celebrating Dr. Seuss’s 100th Birthday, I’d thought it would be fun to head over there and see what Fairytale Land is all about. Except that we never made it.



We had a late start to the day, with all of us recovering from the previous day’s events. Cameron and I recently talked about getting a Sacramento Zoo membership and with the Zoo next door to Fairytale Land, we thought we would check into it. Plus, we thought we could get a membership that included access to Fairytale Land. Well, the Zoo membership did not include such access and to purchase the membership, we had to head into the zoo so we thought we might as well give it our full effort and make the grand tour first.



We spent the next few hours wandering and checking out the animals. London had a blast and was the most entertained by the Zoo than she ever has been. And this was the first time we’ve been to the zoo since the new Fresh Water Otter exhibit opened. I participated in last year’s Zoo Zoom 5K which raised money for this exhibit so it was fun to see where my money had gone. I’m going to take part in this year’s 10K in April to help the zoo out some more.


But by the time we left, we were all ready for naps, particularly London, and we didn’t want to push it. So we’re saving Fairytale Land for another day, possibly soon, if the beautiful spring weather that we had on Saturday and Sunday returns soon (today is sunny but chilly and VERY windy).


One thing we did work on with London while at the zoo, was wearing a hat and her sunglasses. In the car she kept taking the sunglasses off and putting them on top of her head like I do when I don’t need them to protect my eyes. And at first she kept taking her hat off. But she caught on quick, and even put her hat on yesterday when my dad took her for a walk. I only wish we’d taught her from infancy to wear such protective necessities. She is my little porcelain baby after all (she inherited my complexion).


Sadly, my parents head home tomorrow, and I don’t know what London is going to do. I’m sure she will be happy going back to daycare and seeing all her little friends but she has had a blast with her grandparents as well. My parents got in last Wednesday in time to come with me to pick London up from daycare and see the center. London always gets excited to see me when I arrive but this time she got especially excited when she saw Grandma and Grandpa follow me in and then pushed past me into Grandma’s arms when we reached the door to the toddler room. It’s so heart-warming to see that she now can connect the faces from the computer to the people in person.

~Sarah