Three Kids and a Dog

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Biggest Loser! Adler!

Took Adler to the vet this past week for her annual exam. At her last check up the vet told me that she really needed to lose some weight and that her health and long life depended on it. I really took this to heart because as most of you know I really, really love that dog. And, I was going to do everything in my power to make sure that she is healthy and lives forever! In fact, I remember coming home from the appointment and telling Tom she needed to lose weight and how committed I was to it. He was like "Yeah, right, you're going to have to stop feeding her all those treats you give her then!"

So here was the moment of truth. We knew she was definitely skinnier than the 81.6lbs she weighed last February. Tom and I were taking bets. 73 he said. I said 74. So imagine my surprise when she got on the scale and she weighed.....66.6 lbs!! I was shocked and really worried that maybe she was too thin. I had cut down on her dry food and started supplementing with a lot of frozen green beans but I wasn't denying her any treats. I was still giving her as many as before and we know Adler was benefitting from cleaning up after Austen's meals.

When we got in the exam room, Adler's vet (who owns a Berner as well) came into the room so incredibly happy that Adler had lost 15 lbs. since her last check up. She thought Adler's weight was perfect. She praised me for taking her weight loss seriously. I told her I'd do anything to ensure her longevity - because to me, she is my first born.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


This weekend was a test to see if I could handle two kids and a dog alone for three days. (Tom went skiing with his friends - don't feel bad for me, I'm off to the spa with my friends next weekend.)

I believe these weekends are confidence builders to prove to yourself that you really can do it and it's not too difficult. In fact, the most difficult part is taking Austen and Peyton out to walk Adler which would be nothing if we lived in the suburbs. Instead, I get to contend with a three-year-old who likes to walk (and sometimes run) down the sidewalk, not listening and giving me a heart attack when cars are whizzing past us on the city streets.

Peyton and Adler are easy...Austen is the one defiantly eating dirty snow that I'm sure some animal has peed in and now fearlessly walking up to any dog and thinking he/she is as nice as his dog after I've told him many times that he can't just approach any dog because he/she will bite him!

Raising a kid is somewhat like raising a dog. The commands are similar. Stop! Sit! No! They give unconditional love (at least at a young age) and they sometimes wake you up in the middle of the night. Just last week, it wasn't Austen or our newborn waking us up in the middle of the night. It was Adler getting sick because somehow and somewhere on one of her walks she decided to eat a corn cob and up it came in the middle of the night. So there we were in the middle of the night comforting Adler while scrubbing the stains out of our carpet.

Even so, raising a dog is easier - they don't talk back and you can leave them home alone albeit not for extended periods of time. But, I realize not all dogs are as easy as Adler. We must've had a little to do with that. And, I must have had something to do with all three of mine now fast asleep for an afternoon nap - Austen in his bed, Peyton and her crib and Adler curled up in front of the fireplace. Bliss!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day, Love Austen, Peyton and Adler

Like many married couples with young kids, our lives have transitioned from going out for fancy dinners on Valentine's Day to staying home and just enjoying the day. Actually, Tom and I quit going out to dinner on Valentine's Day long before even Austen came along. We liked avoiding the crowds and the obnoxious prix fixe menus and often had the best Valentine's Days at home. One year, Tom made homemade pizza for me. Another year, he picked up all my favorite things to eat for dinner even coaxing a restaurant who didn't normally do takeout to whip up a batch of their coconut shrimp to go.

So today wasn't a big deal. We got up early though to take Austen skiing. I read magazines in the lodge while Peyton snoozed, and Tom and Austen were on the slopes. We hurried home because the one thing I did ask for for Valentine's Day was two hours to myself to get a manicure and a pedicure. After that, I came home to hang out with my brood. Tom gathered them all downstairs including Adler and up they marched with one red rose and a card from each of them for me (four total). It was all very sweet.

We had a little photo shoot after of Austen and Peyton in their Valentine's Day attire. They are both doing well. Peyton is starting to smile a lot and is just a happy baby most of the time. She's sleeping really well some nights (11:30pm-6:10 am last night) and not so well on some others. I know she's only six and a half weeks old but I don't remember Austen being this good!

As for Austen, he is so excited to see his sister when I pick him up from school. He holds court with his friends, shouting and pointing at her, "See my sister! See Peyton!" He is also quick to place the blame on her already too. When I asked him recently who ripped one of his books, he was quick to tell me "Peyton!" I guess that's only a precursor to what I'll be dealing with in the future!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Austen Learns to Ski

One Sunday, we decided it was time to take Austen skiing. He's three now so we thought he might be at an age where he would listen to some direction. Well, the first thing he said to Tom when he got Austen out on the little bunny hill was, "I want to do it myself!" And, to that, Tom replied, "You don't even know how to do it so let me explain it to you!" Much to our surprise he actually did listen and take direction. There were a couple of memorable moments (as told to me by Tom since I was in the lodge with Peyton although I did get to see him through some windows for a run or two):

1) Tom told Austen that when he wants to stop he needed to put his skis into a pizza shape. Well, Austen does not like pizza so he refused to do this. Telling him to make a triangle or something else worked a lot better!

2) Over the course of the almost two-hour session with Tom, Austen only fell twice but one time he did a really good face plant. Of course, like most three-year-olds, he started crying. Tom asked him if he was hurt anywhere. He told Tom no and then Tom asked him if he wanted to ski some more. Through his tears he said yes and went back up the hill ready to try it again.

3) My nieces met us at the ski hill and when they walked in I noticed they were wearing helmets. These helmets are staples for kids these days but they didn't rent helmets like they did skis so Austen wasn't wearing one. That night we promptly went to the store to purchase a helmet for Austen so he has one now and I can't wait for him to wear it. He looks like a little daredevil (so don't chastise me for the pics and video of him sans helmet).

Austen has really good balance which I think will help him skiing. When he was younger he was always really good at the balance beam in gym class and at school so I wasn't surprised that he did so well skiing his first time around.

Lesson one seemed to be a success. Not once did Austen say he was cold and wanted to go inside. Although in the video below he does say he's hungry and wanted to eat lunch. A day on the slopes sure works up a good appetite!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

My First Outing with A & P Alone

My first outing with Austen and Peyton together was to the doctor for Austen's three-year check up. Admittedly, I was a little nervous about taking them both together. First, because the doctor's office is in the city and there is a lot of busy streets and traffic where Austen had to listen to me and either hold my hand or hold the stroller and second, the last two times Austen had been to the doctor's office, he got shots (seasonal flu and H1N1) so I thought there wasn't a chance that I would get off without any drama at this visit.

I prepared Austen, telling him he'd have to be good. And, like most mothers, I bribed him. I told him if he was good, he'd get to watch a video (something he always asks to do and isn't always permitted). Things went well initially. I got the stroller set up, Peyton in the stroller, Austen out and we walked into the doctor's office without incident. Even when the doctor asked for a urine sample, Austen calmly proclaimed he could do it. So off we went - me, Peyton and Austen into the small cramped bathroom to pee in a cup. However, once in there, Austen insisted he doesn't pee in a cup, he pees in the toilet so I had to lower the cup as far as possible into the toilet so he would go. After the task was complete and I was juggling Austen, Peyton and the pee to the lab around the corner (I didn't spill!), we were told to go to the exam room. That's where the drama started.

Austen wouldn't go in. He heard other kids crying and he planted his feet outside the exam room and refused to budge. The nurse came in and told me to get him stripped down to his underwear. I parked Peyton's stroller in the corner, thanking her silently for being asleep and went to grab Austen from the hall. After a few minutes of talking to him, I realized he was not going to cooperate and I couldn't rationalize with him and make his fears go away. I then had to just start undressing him against his will. He was crying and shaking uncontrollably. The nurse and I couldn't even get him to step on the scale to be weighed let alone stand to get his height. He was that scared. The doctor heard the commotion and thankfully came in and rescued the nurse and me. He managed somehow to calm Austen down (I guess that's why he's a pediatrician) and Austen's loud sobs became quiet hiccups. My heart went out to my poor little guy. He was sitting on my lap during his exam and I could feel the sweat escaping from his armpits - that's how terrified he was.

Well, he made it through the exam and so did I. We even managed to get him to stand on the scale and get him measured at the end (33 pounds, 37 inches tall). His reward was no shots at this visit and mine was making it through my first outing with Austen and Peyton alone even though it was a challenging one.