Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tooth Fairy and other fun stuff

Hi all,

I am sneaking in just under the wire here for another September update! Olivia is doing great and keeping us all on our toes. She is crawling a lot and pulling herself up all of the time. Needless to say, we're taking things "to a higher level" around here to adjust!

Just today, the Tooth Fairy paid a visit and after much hard work on her part (and on our part to support her), her first tooth FINALLY cut through. I think we may have quite a run with teeth popping in for the next few weeks since she appears to be a "late bloomer" in this department.

One of the coolest things about parenthood (in my rookie opinion) is getting a front row seat to the many milestones in life and getting to witness the learning process first hand for things that, as adults, you take for granted. While it is not all sweetness and light, I have to say that parenthood is just plain more FUN than people had ever led me to believe. It is absolutely true that your life is never the same. You don't get as much sleep; your priorities change... but they failed to mention that you don't really miss all of that freedom (at least not most of the time). And what you get in return for the absolute honor and privilege of bringing into this world and raising a new human being is far far more than you ever give up.

At least that's how Jason and I both feel. And I am incredibly thankful for that.

What people do say that is absolutely true is that the change happens so fast and to take lots of pictures. We have been falling down in that department this month; but I am determined that we will purchase a video camera before baby #2 comes (and preferably before Olive starts walking so we need to start shopping!).

Regarding #2, he is cooking right along. I'm feeling good *except for heartburn this time which I never really had with Olive*. His room is coming together and we really need to start thinking about names!

Here are a few pics from the past month:

1. Learning to drink from a straw

2. Playing "monster baby" downstairs in the rec room (this game involves Jason or I crawling to chase her while in turn she chases us; we each 'hide' behind couches and furniture and everyone makes scary monster sounds)

3. With Faina, from daycare


Have a wonderful Fall. Take care ~the Cunningham family

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Dog Days

Hello all,
We had some sad news a few days ago. We had to put the eldest of our canine brood, Zanzibar - age 11, to sleep the other day.

He has been in declining health over the past few months, so I knew this day was coming eventually. But I still can't help but feel surprised by the suddenness of it. One minute you have this being that you are caring for and the next he is just gone.  I still call out to the yard for him, forgetting that he is not there. We still have two dog bowls, a matched set, for he and Vanna. We put one of them back in the cupboard, too saddened by the reminder of it.

Zan came into my life in 2001 as an 8 week old puppy.  That was 8 years before I ever met Jason and even longer before we ever dreamed of having Olivia. But maybe that's not really true either... to give him full credit for his place in my life, he was perhaps the first step in an important process for me. Part of a natural progression towards me becoming a mature and responsible adult, capable of caring for others, and able to create a family of my own. He really was my "first baby", a starter child of sorts.  Its funny that unlike Morton (who would love to be considered in the realm of human and is often treated likewise), Zan never strove to be more than just a good dog.

Zan was always a very cheerful fellow.  Looking back, one of the only "bad days" he ever had was just before Halloween in 2001. He was about 4 months old and though I had blocked him in the kitchen when I went to work, I had failed to put the two packages of chocolate candy for trick-or-treaters up high enough out of his reach. When I got home from work, he was sprawled out on the floor, tummy distended after having eaten all of that chocolate.  Lots of memories from that year... curling up on the couch holding a soft, sweet, squirmy puppy while watching the news coverage of the Sept 11 attacks.  Then later that same year, two of my nieces were born a few weeks apart.

Zan got his first taste of what life would be like with the new baby months before she actually arrived. After one of my baby showers, I set the haul of presents out for sorting in the living room. He found a frog stuffed animal in the pile and decided it looked like his toy.  So I took it from him and scolded him, but for days after that, no matter how well I tried to hide it, he would find the same toy again and take it from the pile. He wasn't trying to destroy it, just claim it for his own. Jason and I both thought it was funny especially because Zan never really showed much interest in toys. But the lesson about what was his and what was the baby's definitely stuck. When we brought her home, he was very gracious, always giving us a wide berth and never trying to pry into what was going on.

In memory of Zan, I'd like to take a minute to thank the millions of companion animals out there who share their lives and bless their owners with unconditional love.  Thank you for being there for us sometimes when it is hard and for teaching us invaluable life lessons about loving and letting go.

xoxo claire