>Answering … dogs and babies

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MER asked “How long have you had your dogs? Is there a special story behind how they became part of the family? How did they adjust to the twins since they were your first babies?”
We have had the dogs, Zeus and Zoe since Hubby and I were dating. Everyone called them the engagement dogs and joked that Hubby bought the dogs instead of a ring. Truth be known, we bought and paid for them separately from the same breeder in Lake Norman, NC, paid our own vet bills, etc. They have always lived together as I couldn’t have a pet at my apartment at the time, but since Hubby (then boyfriend!) had a house with a fenced in yard, it just made sense for them both to live with him.

Zeus and Zoe were on our save the date cards.

Hubby wanted a dog and invited me to go along to see the puppies. I loved dogs and had a weakness for labs, so as soon as we saw 10 little black and chocolate pups, we started throwing around the idea of having two. Gluttons for punishment, don’t you think?!

Zeus and Zoe have always been good around Maddy and Libby. Zeus used to rest his head on my belly when I was pregnant and I always felt like he sensed something was going on. We were so worried at first that they would do something naughty, but they really have been good. Zeus will let the girls pet him, lay on him, pull his ears, and put toys on his back. Zoe is a little more aloof around them and likes to come around during snack/meal time, but doesn’t enjoy play time as much. She typically just goes in another room if they are playing too close to her.

Emily asked “What do you want most for your girls? And how in the heck do you tell them apart? Really? Is there something about each that makes it clear?”

Wow. Where to begin and I’ll start with the “easy” part of this question … how do I tell them apart.

The first and easiest is that Libby has 3 hemangiomas. Two are on her back and the one on her hand is now very light, but that used to be the easiest way to distinguish them.

Libby is slightly taller (about an inch) and weighs more (about 1.5 pounds), but that is hard to see on them unless you can get them to stand still.

Maddy’s face is a bit more round, and Libby’s is more oval. Maddy’s face is also a little more petite. See, can you tell? Maddy is sitting on Libby’s lap in this picture.

Personality. Libby is typically more a “people person.” She wants to be with people, checking things out, seeing what’s going on. Maddy is too, to an extent, but she is also content to do her own thing more than Libby.

What do I want most for Maddy and Libby? Happiness, independence, laughter, to be challenged, love, education, success, good families, good memories of their childhood and families, a good heart, good character, a sense of humor, safety. I could go on and on. I think as a parent you want everything for your children and of course, that is ridiculous, but I really do find myself wanting them to have everything they could want and even more. Not in a selfish, greedy way, but in the “the sky is the limit, just go for it” kind of way. I want them to take risks and learn from mistakes, be genuine, be true to themselves, and always know that they have parents and family that love, support, and are there for them every step of the way.

Let’s give a shout out to Emily who not only took this wonderful photo above, but is scheduled to welcome Baby TT today at 2PM! Cannot wait!

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>Midnight Mayhem

>Well, it was actually 2 AM mayhem …

I awoke last night to the sound of Zoe barking. Not her loud, someone’s at the front door bark, but short barks that didn’t stop. I stumbled out of bed to find her standing in the living room. I was actually worried that maybe our house was on fire and she was actually telling us to get out.

Then, I find Hubby sweeping the floor and noticed that our garbage was all over the floor. Apparently, she and Zeus were having a little midnight snack in our trash can. Gross. This is when I wish we had a compost pile and I didn’t have gross things like banana peels, coffee grounds, pineapple rind, avocado peels, and egg shells in my trash. Guess who’s mopping for the 3rd time this week?

No idea why she was barking unless she was just mad that Hubby was cleaning up her mess. He let them out in case they needed to do their business and we all tried to go back to sleep.

That’s when Maddy woke up, but luckily it was short lived. After tossing and turning for about an hour, I finally fell asleep. When my alarm went off at 5AM so I could go on a run, I promptly turned that sucker off to catch more zzzz’s.

>We survived!

>Hubby and I took our first trip by ourselves this weekend. Gasp! Gone for three nights and two airplane rides away from home! I thought it was a success since we didn’t drink entirely too much and make jackasses out of ourselves and we also didn’t sleep away the entire weekend. There were definitely periods of imbibing and rainy, Saturday afternoon naps, but all in moderation!

It was a trip to Vermont for my work, but we were able to take families along to enjoy the weekend after our meetings were over on Friday. Since the girls are a tad too young for skiing, we decided to leave them entrusted in the care of their grandparents. All in all, it was a win-win. The girls were spoiled rotten, and the grandparents, albeit tired were able to spend uninterrupted time with their newest grand babies.

Today, I had to pick up Zeus and Zoe from their kennel and poor Zeuser broke his dew claw nail getting into my car. Ouch. Poor guy … he wouldn’t let anyone touch his paw and there doesn’t seem to be much we can do about it. The kennel owner tried to wrap up his paw, but Zeus was having none of that. It’s no longer bleeding, so that is good. I think he is totally milking us for extra attention.

So it really is back to reality – – emails, phone calls, dogs, laundry, meetings, peas in the hair, and sweet potatoes on my shoulder. Never a dull day.

>I knew it would happen one day

>This afternoon, M & L were playing with toys on a blanket. I decided to use this opportunity to pump and still be able to keep an eye on them.

About two minutes in, I look over to see Libby holding onto a toy. Upon second glance, I realize that she is holding Zeus’ tennis ball / rope toy just a mere inch below her mouth. I need to preface this story to say that I did not place this toy on the blanket. I am assuming that since Libby has started to get pretty active scooting around, she must have snagged it from the floor.

As you can imagine, I’m hooked up cow like to a machine, so I start talking to her trying to get her attention so she doesn’t put this nasty thing in her mouth. I’m all, “Hi Libby … hey sweetie … what are you doing, Libby?” For a while it works, she just continues to look at me and hold the toy. Then, she slowly started inching it back up towards her sweet little lips. She’s probably thinking, “Silly lady. I’ll show her.”

So, I “unhooked” and pulled this new toy out of her tiny little hands, checked for any errant dog hairs on her face, and decided that she will probably never have any dog allergies due to her close encounters with dogs on a daily basis.

Oh, life with dogs … I can only imagine what we’ll be doing when they are crawling!

>teething

>Could Zoe, the nearly five year old lab be teething? She has managed to destroy two new teething toys that obviously (to every one but her) belonged to someone else. Luckily, I caught her with the 3rd toy before she started chewing. Of course she picks the new toys from Christmas and not the hand me down toys!

I really need to find a way to attach the leashes to the stroller so I can walk everyone at once. I know they are in need of more exercise and attention … we’re just having a hard time giving it to them.

>Poopapalooza

>Just when I’m bragging on the dogs, I now have to report that they were pretty naughty. I was getting our cooler of milk and bottles ready to go upstairs (yes, our house is 2-story and our bedroom and nursery are on the 2nd floor. The cooler is a much safer route instead of stumbling blindly downstairs to the kitchen at 3am). Anyway, I walked into our bedroom to find POOP on the floor. Not baby poop either, but a little present from the dogs.

Our dogs are 4 years old and I feel like if we would have had a “I can’t hold it” situation, then their present would have been left near a door. This was just plain bad manners and I’m sure their way to say, “pay us a little more attention, willya?”

Has anyone had this happen with their pooches? Any behavior modification techniques would be most appreciated. I don’t want the dogs to be mad at us, but I also can’t tolerate any more presents like this.

>The Z Dogs

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Heather asked how the Z-Dogs are transitioning with the girls. They are doing well with the girls. We did bring home baby blankets so the dogs could get accustomed to their smell. They sniffed a few times and walked away. I don’t really know what I expected – barks of glee? They are still sort of non-committal now that the babies are home. They do a bit of a “hover-sniff” around them and then normally go lay down. I’ve seen a few toe-licks here and there, but nothing to be worried about.

I know the dogs will love the girls much more when solid foods are involved and there are plenty of spills on the floor. Zoe is much more of the mama dog around them, and Zeus tends to sleep a lot and stay out of our way. We are trying our best to make sure that the dogs still get plenty of attention, but I will say it’s a lot harder than we imagined. Of course, our walks are the best when we have the double stroller AKA the train, plus two dogs. All people can do is laugh or make comments about how we have our hands full. Yeah, we kind of figured that one out on our own!

>Happy Mother’s Day

>Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms – of children, doggies, kitties, and otherwise!

Isn’t it amazing that Baby A, Baby B, Zeus & Zoe were able to pick out flowers and cards all on their own? I think my sweet Hubby may have had just a little to do with it!

>Tennis ball = pregnant woman’s best friend

>In my prenatal yoga classes, we always take a tennis ball & rapidly roll our bare foot back and forth on it. It is heaven. I think this would be good for anyone – pregnant or not, after a long day of walking or on their feet. You can also get a good stretch by placing one heel on the tennis ball and pushing down with your weight. Then, alternate your feet. We also use this time to stretch your arms overhead and lean them to the left, then right.

I had been doing this at home on occasion, until I noticed that Zeus & Zoe kept taking the tennis balls as their own toys (because obviously they don’t have enough toys of their own). Just doesn’t have the same effect when covered in dog slobber. I may just need to stick to this exercise at yoga from now on.