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Her Calling

Anyone who knows my Princess knows that she LOVES animals. All animals.

She’s always said she wants to be a vet . . . or an animal trainer. Cats? Dogs? Horses? Lions? I think she’d do all of it :-)

You might think a little girl who loves animals would baby her pets. Not so. Tonks had 3 teeth pulled a couple weeks ago. She needed meds squirted into her mouth twice a day for a week. Princess would NOT let anyone else do it. According to her, it was her cat and she was going to take care of her, even if it meant squishing her between her elbow and body, grabbing the scruff of her neck, and forcing her mouth open for the medicine.

She loves her horse, Cowboy, and is really enjoying the jumping. Love this photo of the two of them at a show.


This is what she and Cowboy do at the shows – jump poles, cross rails, and vertical jumps.

She and Cowboy love it. When they jump high, sometimes I don’t watch 😉 Here’s a video of Princess and Cowboy jumping baby verticals.

Horse Jump


I was outside last weekend hanging Christmas lights. It was nice out, so Princess came outside with Duma. Princess got her “trainer” on and set up a jump course for Duma.

Look at Duma just standing there enjoying outside with her girl – no clue what’s about to happen!

Then darn it, the girl lures her through the course with CHEESE of all things!

Here’s Duma mastering the cross rails and veticals with a little guidance from her trainer :-) Sometimes she just jumps the last jump when she knows Princess is watching . . . but she’s always rewarded.

Cross Rails

After Duma mastered the cross rails division, it was time to move up to the verticals. She did great!


I just had to giggle. My Princess will do anything to play with animals. She used my empty snowflake light boxes and some extra timber poles that were in the return to Home Depot pile to have a good hour and a half of fun with her furry little friend.

Can’t wait to see what’s in store for this one!

National Dog Day

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for some happy news in a drama-free day :-)

Here’s Duma . . . March of 2008 at 4 months old, doing her best to convince me that she had nothing to do with what happened in the bathroom . . . and the hallway.

Green Metal Roof

As you may know, our house and barn both have green metal roofs. Since we live in the forest (and right NEXT to the forest that burned last year!) this is an awesome thing. Stucco house + metal roof = reduced chance of ignition during a fire.

Anyhoo . . . another benefit of the green metal roof is that it gets cooler at night and warm during the day. When there’s precipitation in the air (geez, I sound like Mr. Science!), it freezes on the roof during the night. Then during the day, it slowly melts. When it slowly melts throughout the day, we get really cool ice formations on the gutters, like the ones in this post. When it melts off the barn roof, we get cool stuff going on like this on one of the pasture fences:

But when it heats up fast and melts quickly, like this morning, Duma better watch out! I’m sitting at my desk and I hear these loud booming noises on the deck. I run over to see what’s up and notice that huge sheets of ice have fallen off the roof and shattered on the deck, right where my 4-legged child usually takes a nap! (Eskews/Costas – too bad this didn’t happen Saturday – we could’ve had ICE for our drinks!)

Ya, we have those plastic thingies on the roof that are supposed to divert the ice and keep it from becoming a large sheet, but really all they do is make many smaller sheets of ice come crashing down all at once.

Anyhoo . . . note to self that the metal roof is really neat, but remember to keep Duma in the house during the “warming up hours” of the day after precipitation and freezing night-time temps!

Bionic Lemon

So my Dude and my Dog both have a bum left wheel.

Dude strained his hip flexor in a baseball game last Sunday. Of course he thought he was “better” on Wednesday and against my better judgement decided to practice. His coach didn’t ask him to do a lot, but Dude wanted to take batting practice. One half-ass terrible swing because of pain later, he hurt it worse. Trip to the doc revealed hip flexor AND hamstring strains. So now he gets to have NO activity for an entire week (killer for a 13 year old boy!) other than the exercises doc gave him to do. After the week, he can see how it is on a daily basis and decide when to practice again. I was sooooo mad he didn’t listen to me and hurt it again and worse and had to start all over with healing! I guess natural consequences are the best kind of consequences for a stubborn teenager!

In other news, our largest 4-legged child tore her other ACL. Yup – she will have her 2nd TPLO surgery in a 13-month period. I know I know – it’s a lot of money to spend on a dog. But she’s only 5 and she’s happy and we love her to death. And we are fortunate enough to be able to make this decision for her. So my lovely yellow lab with a puffy ear and allergies will have two bionic legs . . . because we can and because – just look at that face!

We are considering changing her name from Duma to the Bionic Lemon :-) I think it has a nice ring to it!


Here’s our wonderful awesome Duma. The only lab on the planet that would choose to lick her Boy’s face BEFORE eating the peanut butter sandwich the Boy is holding in his hand :-)



My poor Duma has had a rough couple of months. In early June, the neighbor’s rotweiller got out of it’s yard and attacked my baby. Duma had a puncture wound in her left writst, and her left ear swelled up so huge that it stuck straight out. She’d torn the cartilage in it. So she had to go on prednisone (ick!) forever. And when you give a dog that already has incontinence issues steroids, it only gets worse.

She was doing really well on her predinisone – it was helping her ear, her writst had healed, and we were getting used to letting her out every our for potty breaks. The awesome thing about the prednisone is that it stopped her from itching all the time – her allergies weren’t bothering her! In the last week of June, we were getting really excited for our 2-week trip to Alaska when we let Duma out for her nightly duty before bed. When she came back in, I knew the limp. She’d torn her ACL. I have no idea how she did it, but she did – I recognized it from when our previous lab, Maggie, tore hers. Ack! It was Wednesday, June 28th and we were leaving on Friday!

Luckily, the vet made time for her on Thursday and confirmed what I already knew – torn ACL that would require surgery to repair. I explained about the prednisone and our trip, and the vet said that was fine. Duma had to be off the prednisone for 2 weeks before surgery anyway so it wouldn’t interfere with other pain meds. So we put my baby on an accelerated schedule to get off the prednisone – even then it would take 5 weeks! Vet assured me it was OK to board Duma for the 2 weeks we were gone because she couldn’t injure it further. We love the place we board Duma, so we called them to chat about the situation and they were more than happy to have her and give her extra lovin’ and downtime when needed.

When we got back from Alaska, I took her to the canine orthopedic surgeon (yes, they exist) that had done Maggie’s surgery. We had the chat, he noted the prednisone dosage and our NEXT vacation to MN for a week. We settled on an August 7th surgery date – that way Duma would be clean and clear of the prednisone for the required amount of time and we’ll be back from vacation with no other trips in the near future.

We picked Duma up from boarding on Monday when we got back from MN and took her for surgery on Tuesday the 7th. All went awesome. My baby has a plate and 5 screws in her knee and I have a much lighter checkbook :-) With the epidural and anesthesia, she was so droopy when she got home :-(



Because of the epidural, Duma was expected to pee uncontrollably the first night until she could feel her legs again, so we confined her to her wire kennel we used when she was little (not that she was going anywhere anyway!). Princess felt bad for Duma, so she hopped in the kennel with her and was petting her and icing Duma’s knee. Then Princess got quiet … and decided to sleep with Duma last night :-)



Duma is doing great today! She’s walking without us helping her with the sling. All we have to do is leash her to take her out to pee – other than that, she’s good to go. We have to ice and do physical therapy 3 times a day for a week, then PT turns into short walks outside on the leash. And Duma is happy as a clam about her meds! She may be the only lab on the planet that won’t eat peanut butter, but she LOVES herself a hotdog :-) So twice a day she gets 6 small pieces of hotdog with her 6 pills in them :-) I’m sure she’ll be quite bummed when the hotdog goodness stops abruptly in 10 days!

Dogs who tear one ACL have a 50% chance of tearing the other . . . I told Duma I did this surgery because she’s only 4, but I also made it perfectly clear that while I believe she is a $3k dog, she is NOT a $6k dog! Here’s to hoping she has a long happy life with her other ACL intact.


We had a couple good days of snowfall over break, which was awesome! One of the days, I loaded up the kiddos, some neighborhood friends, the dog, and the sleds and took them sledding. 6 people, 5 sleds, and a 75-pound lab in a Highlander is quite a sight to see! I love this photo of all of them on the way up the hill.



Princess had a great time, as did Duma. I think this picture looks like Duma is going to be a sled dog!



When Princess took off down the hill, Duma was NOT going to be left behind!



Princess was VERY displeased with the white-wash she got on the way down in all the powder! I had to laugh because she had snow packed under her glasses!



She was smiling as she took a break on her way back up the hill, though :-)



Dude was all smiles after his first run down the hill.



It didn’t take the boys long to find the perfect place to build a jump! They had a blast flying over it and trying to stay on their sleds – or not.








All in all, a great day! After a couple hours of sledding, we finished with lunch at Subway before heading home so I could do some work and the kiddos could go play some more.

Cats and Dogs

After spending her first few days in Princess’ room, Tonks decided it was OK to venture out into the living room – being carried of course 😉 Duma was happy as a clam to have Tonks out of Princess’ room . . . she’d spent the first 3 days sniffing Princess’ door wondering what the heck was in there! Tonks hung out on Princess’ lap while Duma cautiously walked up to see what she was:


Tonks was used to little dogs at her previous home, but not big dogs. In fact, the paperwork may have even said she wasn’t real crazy about big dogs 😉 But she sat there nicely, watching the freaky 75 lb. lab puppy make some moves to see what “it” would do.


Tonks finally had enough and let Duma know who was in charge!


Hissing is not allowed, and we let Tonks know that. She’s been really good with Duma since then. She still listens for Duma’s collar and watches for her. And for the first week at our house, she wouldn’t even come out of Princess’ room. We started leaving the door open so Duma could go in there and check her out. At first, Tonks hid under the slide.


But there was no hissing, which was awesome! Then she decided to hang out on Princess’ bed and check out Duma from above . . . I was kind of hoping for an ambush, but that didn’t happen.


She finally got bored with the reindeer games and decided to eat dinner. Surprisingly, Duma just sat there and watched her!


It’s now been 10 days since Tonks joined our family. I won’t say that she and Duma are friends, but they’re certainly learning to live with each other. Tonks ventures out of Princess’ room whenever she wants, whether or not Duma is out there. I think Tonks has even figured out that if she runs, Duma will chase her – she is a retriever after all! So Tonks just sits and and jumps from furniture to furniture. She especially likes to sit on the laps of any of us because she knows Duma is not allowed on the furniture – which is really pissing Duma off!

Princess is happy as a clam that Tonks LOVES to sleep in bed with her and that her room is Tonks’ room, too. She tells everyone that Tonks is so soft and cuddly and is just awesome. Yup – Princess did a great job picking out the perfect cat for our family. I never thought I’d see Hubby go in Princess’ room to get Tonks and have her sit on his lap while he watched the Vikings game! So much for “I don’t like cats!” :-)

They Called My Baby Fat!

Duma had her appointment with the vet to get her annual shots last week. First of all, I can’t believe it’s been over a year since we got this cute baby!!!

She’s gone from a cutie patutie 10 pounder to a grown up 70 pounder! Yup, she weighed in at 70 pounds at the vet last week. And do you know what the vet said? She said she was a bit “girthy” – that she needed a bit more of a waist. WHAT?! I can’t believe she called my precious baby fat! She gets walks every day, or at least gets to run off leash at the park chasing balls until she passes out. How could anyone ever call this cute thing girthy…

She’s just a growing puppy, with maybe a hint of winter weight left, or maybe it’s just poofy fur 😉 Which, on a totally unrelated note, reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Ice Age …

Sid: Well, I think you’re stressed, and that’s why you eat so much. I mean, it’s hard to get fat on a vegan diet.
Manny: I’m not fat. It’s all this hair. It makes me look – poofy!
Sid: Fine. You have fat hair. But when you’re ready to talk, I’m here.

A Challenge

Feeling a little “blah” on this beautiful Monday? Then I extend to you a challenge. I dare you to not be smiling when you’re finished looking at my wonderful Dude’s pure laughter. HAPPY MONDAY!


It’s Friday!!!

FINALLY! Whew . . . I can’t believe I made it . . .

Last Saturday was another “beautiful” day for spring soccer in the Rockies. Dude is wearing a rain jacket under his jersey; however, it could have been a t-shirt or parka at any time . . . we had snow, rain, sunshine so warm that everyone took off their jackets, and then hail, all in the course of a one-hour game. Here’s dude playing in the hail :-)

J Play Soccer in Hail

After the soccer game, the kids and I cruised to a birthday party with Queen Taunya. Then we headed back home to set up for Hubby’s birthday party – about 20 people came over to grill out and celebrate with us. A good time was had by all!


Mother’s Day was great! Jason just couldn’t wait for me to wake up. The minute my eyes opened, he ran out to the living room and came back with a handwritten menu from his restaurant - Chef’s Choice. I’ve eaten there before – it’s very good! All kinds of good things were on his menu – eggs, waffuls, blueberry muffens, pancaks, milk, oringe juce, white grap juce, sasage, bakun – and of course all of it was free for Mother’s Day :-) He even brought in a little ordering pad on a tray so he could take my order in bed. Here he is making my muffins:

Jason Make Muffins

Keira came to help out later. She was still sleeping after a late night partying at Dad’s party – and you do NOT want to wake that sleeping giant! Anyway – I love that he’s wearing his apron, and you can see his ordering tray right in front there – yes, he’s conveniently covered up the princess on it 😉

We had a great breakfast! Hubby had to go to work (boo hoo), so the kids played outside all day while I tried to get some work done. Jason informed me that he and Keira were taking me out to dinner, so we cleaned up a bit and headed to BW3 . . . one of my favorite places, and surprisingly (um, not!) not full of Mothers on Mother’s Day :-) We had a wonderful meal and Jason and Keira even paid with the money Hubby had slipped them. Jason realized we had enough left over for ice cream, so off to Maggie Moo’s we went – yummy! A great Mother’s Day!


Then Monday came – and back to work. The sleeping giant was N-A-S-T-Y! But we got out the door. Right after school we took Duma on a quick walk, packed some lunches for dinner, and headed off to my volleyball match. It was the last match of the season – we won!!! Yeah!!! But, alas, volleyball is over until next fall.


Tuesday came and was another wonderful day getting Princess out the door. I have no idea what her problem is this week, but if she doesn’t fix it, she’s gonna be grounded for the rest of summer – sheesh! Miserable to live with that one is right now! I had a haircut after work, so again, rushed home, grabbed the kids, and ran to the haircut. Dinner, playing with dog, and rushing to bed ensued.


Wednesday rolled around a bit too early as always. Dude missed the bus – partly because he was messing around and partly because Princess was being a nightmare and wouldn’t let him brush his teeth. So we take Dude to school, drop Duma off at doggy daycare, and take Keira to school. At approximately 12:00 noon, a sigh of relief was heard from my cube – the house cleaners had arrived at my house and I could feel it from 15 miles away! My wonderful MIL has gotten me a house cleaner once a month for the rest of the year – am I the luckiest person or what?! That’s why I took Duma to doggy daycare – so the ladies could have their way with my house. Soooo nice to come home to a clean house! At lunch I ran to the grocery store and got ingredients to make 8 chicken pot pies with. Dine in Divas is this weekend and Wednesday was my only “free” night to make them. So I stuffed the groceries in the fridge at work (sorry everyone!). Picked up Princess, went home and started making chicken pot pies, picked up Duma, ran through McD’s for dinner, and finished making pot pies around 8:30 p.m. Whew!


Thursday finally rolled around and it was back to work! Nothing new there – lunch with some ex coworkers was a lot of fun! Pick up Princess, head home, kids head out to play while I box up books and posters to ship for Hubby. The kids thought it would be fun to make a water park in our back yard – a waterpark for lego men that is. We have no grass. So water and our yard makes – mud – and lots of it. Duma, who had just had a bath at doggy daycare Wednesday and was squeaky clean, decided to play with them. The result?

Duma Dirty

Um ya – you can tell how deep the mud was by the line on her nose :-) If she didn’t look so friggin’ funny I woulda been mad! She was hilarious – it’s like she’s never seen mud before, and actually – maybe she hasn’t! She would dig in the puddle and dig and dig and dig – then she’d stick her nose in it – then she’d stand there and stare with her head cocked to the side, wondering why she couldn’t dig a hole like in other places of the yard – this hole kept mysteriously filling up with water! Thankfully, she’s a lab and water-resistent – so I made her stay out there to dry off so the dirt would just flake off of her fur.

Off to soccer practice after dinner and back home by 7:30 p.m. for jammies, homework, an bed.


Friday is finally upon us . . . work, soccer practice, and RELAXING after that. Our last week of soccer is tomorrow – kind of a bummer – we’re having so much fun with it this season! But, after that do you know what we have going? N-O-T-H-I-N-G! Really, volleyball and soccer are over, we’re taking a break from gymnastics, and baseball doesn’t start until June 11. So until June 11th, we have not one single solitary weekly commitment on our calendar – a first in, well, ever – I’ve always played volleyball or softball and the kids have had gymnastics and stuff. But nothing until June 11th. We are all SO excited.

So – the week in a nutshell. Next week I get to chaperone Dude’s field trip and pack for our trip to The Black Hills over Memorial Day Weekend. Fun times ahead!!!

Happy weekend to everyone!