How We Integrated our “First Born” into our Family Once we had kids

When we brought Casco home when he was a puppy, he was our baby, and for three years, he was our only one. We doted on him. We made him birthday cakes. We gave him weekly baths. He rode shotgun in my VW beetle and I took him everywhere I possibly could. We taught our golden retriever to swim for crying out loud. And then, 6 days after Casco’s third birthday, we brought Thomas home.

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Stray Saturday

Mr. B and I can’t stand to see a lost pet – whether it’s just a sign on a mailbox, or a dog roaming the neighborhood, it breaks our hearts.  In general, we try to lure lost dogs to us – but they generally run the other direction.  And then there’s not much you can do about it.

Two Fourth of Julys ago, B saw a yellow lab wandering down our street.  He went outside and she ran away from him, but I got in the car with Casco’s leash and collar and followed.  B lost the dog, but I picked her up in a front yard a few blocks away.  She jumped willingly into my car, we brought her home, posted on Craigslist, made signs for the neighborhood and eventually took her to the 24 hour vet to have her scanned for a microchip.  The vet reunited her with her owners and the next morning we got a very grateful phone call.  The owners wanted to know where we’d found her – and as they described where they lived, I realized that I had picked the dog up out of her front yard.  Granted, if Casco were hanging out in our front yard we’d want someone to take him inside until we were home – but Mr. B likes to refer to July 4, 2009 as the day I stole a dog out of her own yard. 

So Saturday, I was hosting a baby shower.  B took Casco and Thomas for a walk so that I could get the house clean and food prepped before he left to watch football for the afternoon.  And ten minutes into my cleaning spree, B comes home – with a stray dog (no collar) in tow.  So B took the dog immeditely to the vet who scanned the dog and found a phone number for the owner  – which was disconnected.  We posted signs, posted an ad on Craigslist, checked whitepages.com and Facebook for the owner’s name (the only person with that name within a 30 mile radius did not have a dog).  And then it was time for B to leave so the babyshower could start. 

The dog was cute and knew commands but was nervous and annoying.  Jumped on the door, dug holes in the yard, barked.  I finally put him in the vacant yard next door and went back to get him at the end of the party.  And after the party I called B and said “This is not working”.  B was sad – last week a dog was put down at the Boulder Humane Society because the shelter couldn’t find the dog’s owner “fast enough”.  But I was dreading a full night with this anxious dog.

And ten minutes after B got my “This is not working” call (and was headed home to help me make it work because he was smitten from the second he met this dog) , he got a call from a guy in the neighborhood who lost his dog.  He’d gone to the CU game (let’s hear it for wins for the Buffs and the Broncos this weekend!) and their door had come unlatched.  The guy was a baketcase.  He came to the house, and I could tell from the way the dog was jumping and wagging his tail as the owner’s car drove up that he recognized his owner.  The guy was sobbing – hugging the dog, baby-talking to him, crying some more.

It was a happy ending.  And we’d want someone to take Casco in (bad behavior and all) if they found him loose on the street (or, you know, on our front porch).  But it was a wild Saturday – and a two dog ownership life flashed before my eyes and I realized I’m really good with just Casco.

Board and Batten Nursery

Ready for the nursery reveal?

We had a 10 x 10 foot room to take from Meh to Marvelous for Baby McKevitt.  B and I didn’t want to know if Baby McKevitt was a boy or a girl, which worked fine for decor purposes because I had no desire for a gender specific color scheme. The goal was a classic, timeless, theme-less and sophisticated room – one that would grow with the kiddo and add to the Craftsman Cottage appeal of our home.

For quick comparison’s sake, here’s what the room looked like before – a room we used only when we had overflow guests.  B’s bachelor pad furniture mixed with some painted white hand-me-downs made it really lovely.

Now back to the afters: I knew what this room would look like long before Baby McKevitt was a reality.  I wanted a simple brown and white color scheme with board and batten walls.   If I had a dollar for everytime someone said: “Oh, brown and white!  That will be so easy to add blue or pink to for a boy or a girl”, Tommy would have had his Notre Dame education paid for before he entered the world.  But that was never the plan.

Mr. B did all of the construction and painting – and he did a fabulous job.  We didn’t get started on the room until the end of April but he put up the board and batten in a day.  He made my vision come to life and I couldn’t love it more.

When it came to buying things for our bundle of joy, I wanted the bare minimum and things that could be used beyond the baby years.  So, I didn’t want an actual changing table.  And I didn’t want a matching dresser and crib set, either.  I hunted for months on Craigslist before finding this antique walnut dresser – for $30.  Casco and I raced against every red light in the Denver Metro Area to beat another interested party to the purchase.  I intended to refinish whatever I found, but I loved the character on this dresser and left it as is.  I honestly think I’ll use this piece forever – in future kids rooms, in front entryways, etc.  For midnight feedings, I decided to skip the glider and go with a hardwood rocker to complement the cottage feel of the room.  I stole this one out of my mom and dad’s basement storage room – love hand-me-downs.

I believe in accessorizing a room or home as you live, and it didn’t make sense to me to have a fully decorated room for a baby whose sex (and therefore name) we did not know and that hadn’t had a chance to even show a hint of its own personality.  So I’m sure that artwork and other personal touches will be added with time, but for now I love the simple basics.

We managed to do the entire room – furniture, wall treatment, paint, etc for just over $500.  Here’s the breakdown:

Board and Batten supplies: $127.03
Paint: $35
Crib: $119.99
Mattress: $79
White Crib Sheet: $5
Curtain Rod and Ring Clips: $35
Fabric for Curtains, Bedskirt and accents: $75
Dresser: $30 from Craigslist
Rocking Chair: Recycled
Floor Lamp: $17 for spray paint and a new shade.
Grand Total: $523.02

And, of course, every baby needs a soccer playing Golden Retriever guarding its crib.  Really.  I read it in one of the pregnancy and baby-rearing books.

So that’s Thomas’s room.  I think we were successful in not getting pigeon-holed into an overall theme so that the room will grow with Thomas – or work for a sibling of his in the future.  And the room gets used – Thomas has slept beautifully in his crib since we came home from the hospital.

*Linked to Frugal Friday

Casco Update

Thank you all for your concern for our little friend.  He’s doing fine, won’t require surgery and the emergency vet was an alarmist.  Our vet examined him thoroughly and diagnosed Casco with a sprained hock – apparently that’s dog speak for an ankle.

Part of me wants to write a scathing email to the emergency vet who told us that she could feel a tear in his knee and that he would require surgery.  Our regular – and trusted – vet had the report from the emergency vet – who had written that she didn’t get any movement in his knee that would indicate a full tear and the need for surgery but thought the way he was lifting his back leg indicated a knee injury.  So why did she tell us that she could feel a tear that would require surgery and cause us to worry about it all day on a holiday when we couldn’t do anything?  Oh I was pissssssed.

“Oh hai guys, if you’re just going to leave this walk-off home run ball sitting around, I think I’ll claim it for myself”.

But B calmed me down because he’s anti-his-wife-getting-arrested-for making-threats-to-an-emergency-vet-clinic.  Casco’s been prescribed some painkillers and rest and ice.  The rest part is hit or miss with this one – he’s either going 100% or napping.

So we’re all going to be just fine – and hopefully we’ll even get some of that much needed training in this month.  Thanks again for all of the well-wishes, Mr. Casco is feeling the love!

Memorial Day Weekend

I came home from work yesterday ready to start the long weekend catching up on a little reading in the sun.  Casco thought he’d join me.

Have a fabulous and fun Memorial Day weekend!

Comatose

Mr. B’s plan was to teach Casco that the new couch is for people.

Casco missed the memo.  And I didn’t have the heart to explain it to him (at 3 in the morning after we had left him for almost two weeks).  Tough parenting is Mr. B’s job, I just provide love – for the dog and for washable slipcovers.

Lots of I’s in Team

Mr. B and I tried to embrace a project together. A project that involved power tools, wood, measurements and patience. How’d we do? It took us two weeks, and I did very little after initiating and being really gung-ho in the beginning. 

I’ve wanted Casco to have an elevated food dish for awhile. He eats too quickly – it’s bad for his stomach and digestion – and I thought elevating his precious morsels of venison would help. Then Kim posted about how Ryan whipped up an elevated feeder for their dogs and I was all “Hell, how hard can it be?”. My brother was in town that day and he said “Couldn’t you just buy one at Petco for like $20?” Yeah. Probably should have.
Oh, we are not good at projects like this together. It was my project, but within 5 minutes of mentioning it to B he was telling me how I should do it. Which made me spicy and all “Just because I’m not an engineer doesn’t mean I can’t figure out how big something should be”. Which made him spicy. Then I had to learn how to use a power tool. Which made me spicy. And B had to step into “my project”…spicily. Then the wood splintered. Spicy. Then liquid nails didn’t hold. Spicy. Then I went inside. And two weeks later B finished it. I was so over this project about 5 minutes in. I could blame the wood we used (terrible) or the liquid nails (really old) but mostly I think I’m the problem. 
So here’s our beadboard elevated feeder for Casco – still in need of some caulking and touching up. So you can actually consider this a month long little project.  It actually has slowed Casco down a bit with his food consumption.  The feeder itself is a little ummm…let’s just say that you wouldn’t want us to build you one, mmkay? Call Kim and Ryan for that. But it will do here at imperfect.

Buddies

On second thought, while puppies are precious, our little guy is just sweet.

There’s something to be said for the calm that comes with age.

Casco and I are best buddies now that I’m home more than B is. It’s probably because I encourage him to sit on our furniture. Hey, that’s what slipcovers are for.

Baby Fever

I totally have the fever. I just want to snuggle a little baby.

But not a human baby. I want to snuggle a dog baby. I have puppy fever.


I’ve never had puppy fever. Not even when we got Casco. That was all Mr. B. He was the dog person. I cried myself to sleep (so did Casco) the first night he was home with us with thoughts of “What the hell did we get ourselves into?!”


But, I found these pictures of Casco’s puppyhood and I just can’t get his white fluffiness out of my mind.


I’m trying to remind myself that the fluffiness only lasts for about six months. And that the fur would be insurmountable. And that Casco would hate us forever – he likes his alone time. And that my parents might be less willing to help out when we go on vacation if there were two dogs tearing up their yard.

Please talk me down from the two dog life that’s running through my head. Tell me how much harder two dogs are than one. Tell me that Casco’s not even that well behaved to begin with. Tell me it’s not worth the six months of cuddling.

A Regular Michael Phelps

Mr. B and I completed a big summer goal a few weekends ago.  We taught Casco to swim.
It’s been a long time coming.  Mr. B would like the record to show that he did it without a life jacket.  I would like the record to show that Casco started swimming because he wanted to follow me out into the lake and not Mr. B.  
Regardless, Casco swims.  He always was capable of swimming, he just chose not to. 
We took him North to Longmont to the only Dog Beach in Colorado.  He was still unsure.  B carried him out and Scito quickly swam back to the shore and refused to move.  
So I lured him into the water with my dazzling personality a treat and he swam around in a circle.  He didn’t die, so he decided to try it again on his own.  
And again.
And he loved it.  Now that he’s a future Olympian and doesn’t need us in the water with him, we just take him up the street to our neighborhood lake.  But the reservoir was definitely worth the $8 entry fee to find water that humans could swim in, too.