Well, I had many words of warning about the difficulties of a new puppy. And I listened and took it all in, and then agreed with Rob to gett the pup anyway. Rob and I have been dreaming for years about Chewy - his name, breed, color, sex, personality, and even our reactions to his silly little quirks have been around since our early Malibu days. I have to admit that sometimes I felt slightly disingenuous as we dreamed up our life with Chewy, because I wasn't sure if I would like the reality of life with a dog a fraction of the amount that I liked our fantasy pooch. Dreaming was all fun and games, but I wasn't 100% positive about how agreeable I would feel about getting a dog once we had a home of our own where pets weren't prohibited. It was my guilty little secret.
But when Rob found a Portuguese Water Dog breeder in Sweden with a litter we could adopt from, and we were finally faced with the decision of bringing home Reality Chewy, I discovered he actually had the same little secret. So we debated and prayed on it for a few days and swayed back and forth. Then one Monday there must have been romance in the air, because we each independently got all romantic about life and the things that make it beautiful and decided that having a family dog was part of that. Sure he will be a lot of work. But we decided that ultimately it means swapping tv and internet time for real time. And it meant that during all of the moving around we will do over the years, Biggie Smalls will have a constant friend to help ease the transitions. That alone is worth the trouble.
We were actually pretty careful not to make Fantasy Chewy perfect. After all, he is named Chewy. Fantasy Chewy would get into mischief - perhaps tear apart one of Biggie Smalls stuffed animals, maybe have an accident or two in the house, or happen to eat a cat. But our reaction would always be to exchange looks at each other, laugh, and endearingly sigh "Oooooooooooh, Chewy!". Fantasy Chewy was a lovable little rascal. Now I will leave it at that, because if I go into just how many details we have dreamed up about Chewy, it starts to sound kind of kooky.
Reality Chewy (as observed from the first day at home):
He is a lovable little rascal. But actually, pretty light on the rascal side. He is a really good dog. The breeders told us he was the calmest guy in the whole litter of 11, and they picked him especially for us since we have a baby. He is up there with the cutest of God's creations, although The Smalls still has him beat by a mile. (This probably sounds terrible, but I don't think the old Rob and Lorena really figured that a baby was cuter than a puppy.)
But, he is still a puppy. And even a good puppy is a stressful puppy if you are trying to do your job right and housebreak him as soon as possible. Try taking a puppy outside to pee every hour in the middle of a Swedish winter. While juggling a baby. While saying the alphabet backwards and walking a straight line and touching your nose. Last night was one of those that felt so hectic that it was impossible to finally shut off at night to fall asleep (probably because slumber kept getting interrupted from all that whining). I finally felt like I was scraping myself back together and life was in harmony after the huge life-altering transformation of having a baby, and now this. It's like I just passed "Having a Family" Level 2, and now I moved up to Level 3. But I feel confident that in the not-too-distant future, Chewy will be house trained, I will learn this new role and routine, and my life-flow will be restored. I think Chewy is such a good dog that if it weren't for that little perfectionist in me, this wouldn't be hard at all. But I want to train him perfectly from Day One, and that requires a lot of diligence and watchfulness. I am sooooo glad Rob has this week off from work or I'd probably be sending the puppy back by now instead of writing this next part:
One of the most memorable things anyone has said to me came from my World Religion professor at BYU. He said,
"The path in life that should be sought the most, is the one that causes you to grow the most."
I have based countless life decisions off of this advice, none of which I have ever regretted in the aftermath.
I love my new family!
Two Boys and Their Dog
pic 1)Chewy is soooooo cute! I am in a house full of boys, and I adore them all.
pic 2) One boy likes to wake up earlier than the other boy. Rob didn't have much success catching a few extra zzz's. When this kid wakes up, he is rearing to go, and when you are sharing a hotel room that means it is not just mom that has to wake up with The Smalls (ha-ha, welcome to my world, honey!).
pic 3 and 4) This boy is very excited to finally meet his mormor and morfar (maternal grandma and grandpa). I think they were just a little happy too. He got to travel all the way to Finland on a boat to meet them there. He has become a more distinguished traveler in his three months of life than I was in my first 20 years!
2009 in review:
I think Dave Berry sums up the year nicely in this article.
Bike Commuting to work:
1 inch of snow on the way to work = fun, but five minutes longer then usual
6 inches of snow on the way home from work = fun, but twenty minutes longer then usual.
The intelligent part of my brain* tells me that probably only Rob, me, and Biggie's grandparents will be entertained for the entire duration of this video.
But the mother part of my brain says that Biggie is the cutest thing on the planet and you're crazy if you don't want to watch at least ten times.
*No cracks at that statement, Becca or Dayna. Please find something more challenging.
The Smalls rolled over for the first time today. I thought he could only roll right, and then he went left. So he is officially an ambi-turner*.
What has become of me? This is, honest-to-goodness, exciting stuff in my world these days.
*Zoolander reference. This morning Rob thought I was using that term in a serious context and gave me a funny look like I'd had my nose in one too many baby books.
The kid has taste
Michael was rocking out to this video this morning. He was captivated. I have decided to add the Muppets to the list of TV shows he will be allowed to watch. The list now includes any Sports (except gymnastics and ice skating), the news, and the Muppets.
This little puppy was Rob's favorite toy when he was a kid. It was named "Puppy Too" because anything that Rob did or anywhere he went, he always asked "puppy too?".
So it's really cute to see Michael making pals with the same worn, threadbare stuffed animal.
Just these last few days Michael has become really alert and curious. I feel like he is really paying attention to me now and learning. It's so much fun!
His favorite, most alert place is still the changing table. It is supposed to be good to give his little bum air time (to help w/diaper rash) and he loves having his diaper off, but he is so amusing during these times that I sometimes go a little too long playing with him like that and it can get messy. Last night was his most alert, curious, giggly, fun time yet, and it cost me TWO diaperless pees and TWO poops. Each time I thought, "well, now he has it all out of his system so I am safe." I should have known better. You are NEVER safe around a baby without a diaper. It's funny how quickly you get used to this as a mom. I think by day three of Michael's life I was already thinking of pee as nothing more than water mixed with a little love.
I am sooooo glad we have hardwood floors and not carpet!
A weekend with the Smalls.
Here are some more pictures of everyone's favorite baby: Biggie Smalls aka Michael Robert.
(watch out, I will karate chop you if I wake up)
This weekend we took a little road trip to go meet Michael's new friend, Chewbacca aka "Chewy." Yes we are going to get a dog and we are probably insane, but that's okay. We won't pick him up until after Christmas, but we got to go meet him on Saturday. He is going to be our Christmas Present for the family. So finally, 23 years after I asked Santa for a dog (and that Christmas I got a crappy race car set that was missing pieces - merry Christmas to me...), I will finally get my pooch.
Michael keeps getting bigger and more interesting. He doesn't cry as much as he used to, but he still prefers to be on the move. That means, when we are at home he likes being held while we bounce on the exercise ball. So double bonus: we get an ab workout and he is happy.
Today we listened to Abbey Road and danced around to make him happy. Never too young to get him liking good music. So far he is a fan of Jimmy Buffett, Jack Johnson, Coldplay, and the Beatles. He is indifferent to Huey Lewis and the News, but I will keep trying.
At church, he was looking very dapper.
Then he pee'd on himself and didn't have a shirt to wear anymore.
A visit from farmor, farfar, and Mays
That's swedish for Grandma, Grandpa, and Amy. Okay, not Swedish for Amy, we just call her Mays.
Last week my parents and Amy came and visited. We did not realize how much help they would be. Just having someone else to hold Michael when he was being a pill was the best part. This made us realize that everyone who has a kid with family living nearby is cheating!
Besides hanging out with Michael we went and did a few touristy things. Here are some pictures.
We saw the changing of the guard at the royal palace.
Everyone came and visited me at work
We visited Drottningholm, where the royal family lives.
And my mom took about 1,000 pictures of us with Michael. But this first one is one we took of Her holding him, right before he peed on her.
And they were also able to be here for Michael's blessing. He was rocking the same outfit I had when I was blessed a mere 30 years ago.
Three generations of Candrian men
And finally, a few of us mocking Michael when he cries.
Settling the debate:
So everyone (and when I say everyone I mean millions of people) have been debating: Who does Michael look like?
Judge for yourself.
Hint: one is me on the day I was blessed and one is Michael.
My Favorite Pictures of my Favorite Little Guy (and why)
1. He has a beautiful smile that he doles out generously. Especially during diaper changes. I end up spending a LOT of time with him on the changing table for this reason.
2. He's our "Gamla Gubber" (our swedish nickname for him that means "old man"). He looks pretty geriatric in his pants pulled up to his armpits and his big ole' diaper bum. Cracks me up every time.
3. Is it bad that we get such a kick out of his pouty face? And that this might be my favorite pic? Come on, it's too funny!
4. Another cute smile.
5. Another "Gamla Gubber" photo. Is it just me, or does it look like his body goes from bum to feet, completely bypassing any legs? Our Biggie Smalls is putting on some pounds.
Sorry for the delay.
We had to search through a bunch of stuff to find the battery charger for our digital camera. Here are some more pictures of Michael, who is getting fatter and fatter. He has gained two pounds in this three weeks of life. At this rate, by the age of three and a half he will outweigh Lorena and by the age of five he will outweigh me.
Besides taking care of Michael, not a lot has been going on. He is like a black hole of stealing our time!
All captions are what Michael would say, if he could talk instead of cry...
This is me being an insomniac and my Dad trying to keep me entertained by taking photo booth pictures of us with his computer.
Awesome hat: check
Sweet socks: check
stylish diaper: check
shirt from my mom's bike team: check
Looks like I'm ready for a walk.
Don't be so dismissive of my arguments just because I'm young: What I'm saying is that string theory does have a place in a post-modern liberalist society, but not in the realm of quantum mechanics as applied to free-market conservatism. Are you listening to anything I'm saying?
Since Lorena and I don't really get to to anything right now (okay, I have played soccer a few times), here are more pictures of the kid...
Lorena and Michael asleep at the hospital "hotel"
Michael's first bath. And the only bath he didn't cry for.
Yes, Lorena does exist,
The face he makes way to often
The face we like him making
Sleeping Babies are the Best!
This is how he always sleeps (if sleeping...which he is getting better at, we hope...). We swaddle him, but he always manages to work a hand out and then sleep on it. It's kinda funny. I usually sleep the same way, but with a pillow between my face and my hand. Like father like son, I guess.
I don't have a picture yet of the frowny, crying face he makes, but it's pretty cute too.
I just wanted to thank everyone here is Sweden (although I doubt any of them read this) for helping us out so much by bringing by meals and offering encouragement. Everyone has been more then generous. I think it is painfully obvious to those that already have kids that we are next-to-clueless as to what to do.
Who is this handsome fellow?
I think it is obligatory, if you have a blog and then you have a kid, then you have to post a bunch of pictures of the kid. I think that is a blog rule or something. Sorry that Lorena isn't in any of them because for some reason, when she is holding Michael, she can't seem to keep her shirt on.
"what up world"
"I just peed on my dad while wearing a hat. This is how I roll."
"Yeah, that's right. I'm in a lexus."