Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Family Ties

I come from a crazy sort of family. Don't we all? We have our inside stories, our tall tales (that everyone remembers differently), our larger than life characters, and a healthy dose of food and fighting. Over the years we've grown together and apart in many ways, both geographically and emotionally. The 5 of us have been through thick and thin, and while there have been times each of us has been tempted to hang up the phone and never call back, we keep coming back because, in the end, family is family. No one else has such an important part in our story as our family, be it the one we're given as a child or the one we build in a lifetime of vows, knotting us together. I say knot instead of weave because you can easily cut something woven so it frays and falls apart, but with a knot you can cut all around it and still the knot will remain, fighting attempts to untie it.
In that way, I'm a knot tied into my parents' lives, like a Hail Mary on one of my Mom's favourite rope rosaries, part of a circle of knots, leading up to the Cross. They chose to make the knot that is my life, against the better judgements of doctors. They chose to keep the knot of my life, holding it fast as it nearly untied several times. They did the same with both of my brothers. As the world pulled against us, each knot got tighter, stronger, and harder to untie. Our parents fought for us, protected us, and rejoice to let us stand alone when we were ready.
Now here I am with my own husband, tying our own chain of knots, each a little Hail Mary, their own decade in a litany of answered prayers. As our whole family takes our turn coming to the Cross, we are united and clinging fast to each other.  We are not coming unravelled, but each growing stronger as the tension tries and fails to untie our chain of knots. We hold fast to our family ties. Our lives become a prayer of trust and devotion, so ordinary and extraordinary that we get lost in rhythm. One knot after another. One day after another. Each life, each moment precious.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Life in the Dog House

I know we're only a few days in,  but I am honestly surprised at how well things are going with our new pup. We've been waking up earlier as a family to make sure she has a good routine for walks. It's been tough crawling out of bed for me, but the kids love it. We're using those extra hours in the morning to do more school work on full tummies. When big girl gets frustrated or tired, we can stop and know she can start up again later. I'm already seeing improvements in her spelling and sentence structure from her early morning composition practice.

We've always built in some special bonding time with the kids because of our pooch. My husband is doing all her walks, and he's taking a different kid for her pre supper walk each day. The kids are over the moon about their turn to walk with Sadie and Daddy. They're completely in love with her, but are also giving her the space she needs. When she comes to them, they beam with pride that Sadie loves them. She is truly adored by them and, because she's such a sweet lazy bum, she's not adding to my work load at all. Hubby is the boss of walks and feeding.  The kids and I are the ones who get to enjoy watching her nap and give her treats.

When we adopted our gal, we were warned there would be an adjustment period. She might not eat, she might have (to be polite) digestive problems, she might be jittery with the kids, etc. I can say in all honesty the only problem we have had was a little whimpering in her crate at night because she was lonely. Even that was cleared up with some firm words from upstairs. Just enough to know we were there and she was safe.

I know things won't always be this easy, but I am convinced our Sadie is a perfect fit for our family.  This morning when she playfully nuzzled up to me, tail wagging and ears flopping, I got the sense she feels the same way too.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Grade 1: First Day of School

As is our tradition we spent our first day of school on a field trip. My husband took the day off and we headed to the zoo. It was also Big Girl's 6th birthday so it was nice to celebrate as a family. Because there had been a storm the day before the animals were anxious to dry out and stretch their legs, so we got to see all of them. The highlights included seeing a lion very close up (for my husband and I), petting the llamas (baby girl), the koi pond (middle boy), the white monkeys and tigers (big girl) and the meerkats (biggest boy). Big girl made her first school project journaling about her trip. She drew some great pictures (I shared two of them below) and wrote about her experience.  It was a nice way to see what she really thought of the day. All in all it was a great start to the year.

Puppy Love

The pictures essentially speak for themselves. We finally took the plunge and adopted a dog. This 2 year old gal is Sadie and she's a retired racing greyhound from Florida. We were fortunate to be placed with her by the good folks at the Greyhound Pets of Atlantic Canada. They have a extensive adoption process to make sure the right dog is placed with the right family. I am pleased to say our Sadie is a perfect fit. She's very calm and is very sweet with the kids. It's not every dog that can handle the noise and activity of five small children.

So, welcome home Sadie!