Wednesday, June 09, 2010


Phoebe was just agitated. We couldn't figure out the problem. All through dinner we tried to coax her into contentedness with crackers, a water cup, her pacifier, and any number of crazy faces and words. She would have nothing to do with any of it. Exasperated, we finally gave up and prepared to battle our way to the end of the meal with her fussing in her high chair. At some point she quieted down, but by then the rest of our children were making such a ruckus trying to talk over one another that we didn't even notice. The last child finished, and all the kids eagerly asked to be excused. As soon as I gave the word 6 chairs went sliding across the wood floor in unison, followed by the clatter of 6 plates and glasses being cleared. On the way back into the dining room for more dishes Bethany said, "Ah! Look at Phoebe!"

We all turned towards the high chair to discover the reason for her blissful silence.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Necessary Accommodations

It is a little warm on our lovely peninsula this weekend. When I say, "a little warm" I do not mean the mid-80s that many of you consider the definition of warm. Those temperatures are obviously relative to your heat, which hits the 100s plus during your summer. No, I refer to the blazing inferno of 72 degrees fahrenheit (with breeze). Hey, I never said we were heavy weights in the heat department. That's why we life were we do.

But I digress.

Leah came up to me holding a rubber band in her hand and asking me, quite seriously:

Mama, can you please put my hair up in a ponytail? I need you to because Bethany said if I don't have it put up then the back of my neck will suppocate!

She looks at me with her, "Can you believe it?" expression of incredulity. Then she calmly tosses this out as she walks away:

Or worse... the Sahara Desert.

Daisy the Dog

Many of you may already know this, but adding a member to the family certainly bears repeating. Daisy the Dog became a Randall on April 11, 2010. This is more auspicious than merely adopting a pet... I mean, why would I write a blog about it unless there was a story?

Once upon a time I wanted a dog. I mean I really wanted a dog. I asked. I begged. I cajoiled. I persuaded. I argued. I begged again, until I finally got the hint that Christopher was not going to budge on the issue. Sure, he had some valid points, if you call severe allergies and possible exacerbation of Hannah's asthma legit. I think he was just putting me off. Among some of his other reasons were the recognition that a dog would add a level of responsibility he just wasn't sure we were ready to take on. We already had 4 kids. I'll let that sink in.

Four kids.

But, God started to speak to my heart, and convicted me that I would certainly not appreciate the games I was playing if the roles were reversed. Christopher had his reasons, and I needed to respect them. I wasn't going to enjoy any pet if it came into our home without the full acceptance of my husband. And, grrrrr, I also realized I was not honoring him in front of our children. While it was perfectly fine for me to point to Christopher as the authority behind the decision to refrain from getting a pet, it was not fine for me to make a point of showing the children my own disagreement with the decision over and over again. I decided to shut my mouth, and pray. Novel idea, I know.

A few years later we started looking at buying a house. In the middle of several pro v. con discussions Christopher noted that a pro to buying was the freedom to finally own a dog. I was stunned! I had no idea this was still on his radar. I immediately put in my plug to buy. Thankfully there were several other obvious factors pointing towards a decision to buy, so our mortgage isn't based solely on the ideal of a four-legged companion. However, I will admit that during every walk-through we went on during that laborious process the idea of how a dog would fit in the house was at the forefront of my mind. When we finally found our home the backyard was a shambles, and it was obvious we were not prepared to bring home a dog until some serious work had been completed. That work ended up taking us over a year from the time we closed escrow until we breathed a sigh of relief that it was finished.

The day we waved good-bye to our landscape contractors I turned to Christopher and asked if he was ready to make good on his promise. He smiled, and said he was happy to start looking for our family's canine member.


I did tons of research, read tons of articles, spoke with my allergist, friends, and breeders before settling on a Cairn Terrier as the perfect pet for our home. We started looking earnestly for sellers with reputable breeding practices, and were shocked to discover that our puppy was going to cost us more than some of our children to bring home. Registration fees, initial vet fees, transportation fees, and finally adoption fees all added up to one expensive outlay. To his credit, my husband was willing to move forward, but this time it was me that just couldn't bring myself to take the plunge. I have no condemnation in my heart for AKC registered pets, and fully intend to own one myself someday - but not today.

Continuing to stalk the SPCA for the possibility of a rescued Cairn (as well as rescue and private breeder sites) I happened to read a friend's status update from Facebook. Her husband is in the military, and will soon be transferred to another duty station. She noted that their loving beagle needed a new permanent home, and wondered if anyone might have some leads. Hmmm... I wrote her back and told her that we might be interested. She immediately responded, expressing her excitement at the possibility of their beloved pet going to a family with children and a backyard. It all seemed to be happening so quickly!

Now I needed to tell Christopher.

When I sprang the news on him his initial reaction was less than exuberant. Apparently the thought of a dog was still more appealing than the actuality of a dog. However, he very graciously agreed to stop by our friends' house and meet Daisy. The next evening saw us sitting in the M's living room playing with the sweetest dog. She was gentle, playful, and not given to barking - all merits that we found appealing, to say the least! We discussed Daisy all the way home, and decided that a trial was in order. I called Mrs. M the following day, and asked if we could take Daisy for the weekend.

We told the kids we were dog-sitting (which was technically true) but failed to mention a deeper purpose of seeing if Daisy integrated well with our home. All the children were overjoyed at the idea of a dog. They kept saying things like, "We can pretend she is ours!" Christopher and I smiled to ourselves. After three days we knew it was time to make a decision. She was quiet and very gentle with the children but her willingness to play seemed nonexistent. Christopher noted that he really liked how laid back she was, but even he recognized that our family required a slightly more engaging pet. We assumed she was slightly depressed with the absence of her original family, and when I called Mrs. M to confirm my hunch she agreed. Christopher and I spoke that night, and agreed that we wanted to keep her.

Daisy then confirmed that she wanted to stay with us.

About 2 weeks after we made her adoption final, Daisy escaped from our yard. It was night, and we didn't realize she was gone for over an hour. When we did discover her absence we were sick with dread. Mr. and Mrs. M warned us that Daisy liked to, "take off" and could sometimes be gone for quite some time. She always returned, they encouraged, but we were nervous that her sense of "home" was not yet defined enough for her to come back to us. Christopher and I scoured the neighborhood but with no success. I went home to make some phone calls while Christopher continued in the car. 

We realized there was a possibility that she would try to go back to the M's house, and I was scared that between her attempted Incredible Journey and the 350 foot acre open ranch across the street from our house I had a sinking dread that we had lost Daisy for good. Working hard to keep myself calm for the kids' sake I called everyone together in the living room, and explained that we needed to beseech God on behalf of our dog. We all got down on our knees in the middle of our living, and I began to pray to the Lord. Suddenly we heard a soft noise coming from the front door. My heart leapt to my throat as the possibility of what that noise could be came to my mind. I scrambled up, ran to the door and threw it open to reveal Daisy, scratching to be let in. She had been gone for over 2 hours.

Daisy had come home.

She is now happily a Randall. The trepidation we saw in her through those first several days has completely vanished. She plays with the children, loves to get lots of love from Christopher, and contentedly shares our life. We couldn't have asked for a better pet!