Friday, January 21, 2011

Loving Bruno.

So many of you have asked, texted, e-mailed, facebooked and tweeted me about Bruno. So I thought I would update everyone here. Momsie is my family blog and it only makes sense since Bruno is very much a part of our family. Sure, it is easy to forget about the pets when you are a Mommy blogger, and usually just blogging about the kids, but how can I not write about him? He was my first "boy" my baby, and of part of my therapy is writing so this will actually help me too. For those of you who like my writing (the funny, sarcastic, silly sometimes inappropriate style of writing) I am still here. Just a bit more of a serious subject matter so I will behave for now.
First, Bruno is home. He came home Tuesday afternoon after a night over at the vet's and a visit with two specialists. In short he has a neurological condition called "Wobblers Disease". Wobblers’ is a condition that affects the cervical vertebrae that causes an unsteady (wobbly) gait and weakness in dogs and horses. It is more common in the larger breeds with Great Danes (which is what Bruno is) and Dobermans affected the most. This condition can also appear on horses, which makes me kind of smile since we (and everyone who has met him) refer to Bruno as our horse.
He was diagnosed with wobblers 4 years ago after I noticed him one day shaking in pain and not wanting to stand up. Turned out the pain was from his knee, where he had a swollen tendon, but the diagnosis was discovered on that same day. We were told his condition was minor and to just watch and see how he does. He went on anti inflammatory meds which helped him with his knee and for about a year he had no other issues.
Then the knee blew and he had to have TPL (torn ligament) surgery. I still crack up at the memory of Bruno's doctor explaining to us the size of the metal rod he used to put into Bruno's leg. Yup, you guessed it, the same size they use in ponies and horses. Needless to say this surgery was very costly and required aftercare that neither Chris nor I were expecting or ready for. However, at the time, Bruno was only 4 years old, and even though the life expectancy for a Great Dane is 8-10 years he was still very much a young dog with lots and lots of life to live.
His surgery was in July, which was good because it was still warm enough to try and walk him around outside afterwards which was part of his rehab. We had other options with rehab, but everything cost so much. With the help of our vets and a neighbor (who eventually became our pet sitter and Bruno's "second mom") we were able to nurse him back to almost 100%. Bruno no longer limped. He would run and play and chase the boys and gallop around the yard, sometimes looking like a deer if you saw him prance by the window out of the corner of your eye.
Bruno is beautiful. I haven't addressed this yet because I get choked up but I will say it again. He is beautiful! He is a fawn colored Dane with the black "mask" of a face. We never had his ears cropped where as some Danes have the 'pointed' ears that stick straight up, Bruno's are soft and floppy and freaking adorable.
Yet what makes Bruno beautiful is his spirit. He is a master at sweetness, a king of his domain yet he can't stand to be by himself. Great Danes are called "Gentle Giants" for a reason. They are sweet tempered, patient, easy go lucky and very, very much a people kind of dog. They confuse themselves to be lap dogs and yes, on many occasions has backed into the couch and sat down. He was playful as a puppy, into EVERYTHING as most puppies are. He grew quickly and matured into the handsome dog he is today.
Now his face is grayed, he sleeps a bit more, his energy level not as active and as we learned on Tuesday his other knee is now blown. His wobblers’ disease which ever as present has now combined with his knee issues and Bruno stopped being able to get up on his own. He can't handle stairs, he did not do well at all last week when there was ice everywhere. He would fall a lot, sometimes his legs just completely giving out on their own. His front legs would remain standing but his backside would go down and even though I consider myself a relatively strong person, I cannot lift the rear end of my 154 pound Dane by myself. I have pulled many arm muscles doing so and only with jacking my back up have I been able to get him back up on my own.
All of this of course breaks my heart. I mean sure it is hard to see your dog suffer. It is hard to see them grow old, start to lose control of themselves, not walk very well, to fall, to just downright lose their spirit. But what the real kicker is, what I am struggling with the most is knowing, one day Chris and I will have to make a decision that all pet owners at one point or another are sometimes faced with making.
I have grown up with dogs, my whole life I have not, not had a dog with me. And even though Bruno has a sister (our lab mix Josie) it is Bruno who has my heart the most.
I am all over the place here, and I am sorry, but I have to tell you why we ended up getting a Great Dane in the first palce.. I will be brief. In a nutshell, we can blame Nicholas Sparks for his book "The Guardian" for our purchase of Bruno. Of course the book being about a Great Dane who looks after a widower who loses her husband to cancer. The dog becomes her "Guardian" as her storyline takes a turn with her character's well being in jeopardy. Evan though I am not a widower (and never had a stalker before having kids), Chris and I had only been married for a few months when a work assignment sent him to Chicago for six weeks. I was home by myself with Josie who (bless her heart) would not only allow a would be burglar into our house but would lay at his feet while he riffled trough my jewelry box and probably lick him in the process.
So we got Bruno. He was only 8 weeks when we brought him home, and I have been in love with him ever since. Not to say that he hasn't annoyed me. Because boy, has he ever! Again, his need to cling, to be by my side, can prove tricky when trying to rush myself and the kids out the door. "Get out of the WAY Bruno." I have yelled at him many oh many times. And don't get me started on the dinner hour. You don't want to trip over a Great Dane when you are trying to cook a meal. Nor do you want to leave a freshly baked carrot cake on the counter and then take the kids outside to ride their bikes. On more than one occasion Bruno has helped himself, the counter, being his own personal dinner table. Yes, over the years I have learned, but one can forget at times and if this is one thing I can say about Bruno it is to say that he is indeed a well feed dog.
And as I wrap this up I must say that Bruno is a "everything." kind of dog. Yes, he is large, yes he can be in the way, yes he eats a lot, yes the large breed dogs can pose health issues, joint issues, stomach issues etc... But if you ask me would I ever own a Great Dane again I would answer yes without blinking without hesitation I would own another one of these incredibly magnificent animals whose heart they will steal the minute you meet them.
Bruno is 8 years old now. A senior citizen in a Great Dane's world and our options are limited. He is being treated with what they call "Medicinal Therapy" Basically a combination of pain medicine and anti- inflammatory meds. We will keep him comfortable, we will keep him safe we will keep him happy and active for as long as we can. My hope is he will respond to the meds and get a little bit of his perk back. I can see a small improvement already, but he will never walk normally again, and it is a matter of time before the knee pain becomes too much for him.
My Mom said to me that when you are a pet owner, you just know when it is time. When you can see and sense when they are not enjoying life anymore, when their pain is too great, when they lose their zest for life that somehow, I will know. I have learned in the past few days that Bruno is meant to be with us a little while longer. Yet I have also learned that I have to admit to myself and to the kids, that one day we will lose him. What is weird is that admittance (which took me a full day to come to terms with a hell a of a lot of crying and okay maybe a drink or two) comes a sense of relief. That with being his owner, his caretaker, means doing right by him. That loving him has been the easy part, that letting him go will indeed be the hard part but what matters most is what is right for him. Even if I don't like it, as I know I won't. I feel a bit of peace in my heart ache because in the end, no matter happens the ache will far less pale in comparison to my joy of loving Bruno.

Some of my favorite pictures over the years (you knew their would be pictures right?!?!

Bruno at 10 weeks old.  All legs and feet.

Me and my awful blonde hair phase hanging with puppy Bruno.

Bruno about 1 1/2 years old here and loved to lay on top of Josie

Bruno and Josie wanting to come inside after a brief snowfall last year.

One of my favorite Bruno pictures. I love you big boy.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Super Fun School Projects (Sarcasm intentional)

Part of the Kindergarten process is a little something called "Family Projects." These "projects" are sent home via the child’s book bag with usually a two week window for completion. I have had great joy (mostly) assisting Evan with the last 4. They were the following:

1) About Me - A project designed to get to know Evan. Sent home was a large 12x12 thick card stock where he could color, draw, write, cut pictures, use family photos help describe himself. This was a great project because it was a) the first and we were all excited and involved and b) Evan went with a family photo to paste on his project that showed off my great summer tan thus making me look less tired and neurotic (oh how I miss you summer tan).
2) Next up, "The Friendly Pumpkin". Yes,your basic decorating pumpkin project. This one was also great because it was simple and easy. It was however a bit more rushed since it was done the morning of and I would like to personally thank whoever came up with the concept of glitter glue because boy oh boy can that jazz up a pumpkin last minute.  It even stays put when you hold the pumpkin project out the window when driving to school so it dries faster. Props!
3) The "I am not a Turkey” Turkey. Ah, yes we are still talking about this one. This one was to date the trickiest and um, "creative." The general concept was create a Turkey that doesn't look like a Turkey so it isn't caught, shot and butchered for Thanksgiving dinner. Okay so those weren't the exact instructions but general concept still applied. I was a little bit more on my game with this one as I discovered it in the bottom of Evan’s book bag a bit wrinkled only TWO nights prior to its due date (yes I did). Hat’s off to his creativity though. Because the morning of school, where he was finishing up the minor details, (I know this because he insisted on showing me while I was in the shower and refused to leave until I ohohhed and ahhhed over his "Non-Turkey.” I wish I had a photo to show you (of the turkey not of me in the shower) but alas, do not. But I can sweet readers describe: Note all pictures he used came from cutting out photos from various magazine's:

Turkey Head - A Pineapple (large green stalk included)
Turkey Body - A Volkswagen Bug
Turkey arms - Two fishes (he also embellished with dried spaghetti) isn't he brilliant?
Turkey feet – Unknown, although my best guess, is a cut up photo of a food dish because I sort of recognized an avocado a grape and a bunch of orange mushy stuff.  It made for unique feet at least I thought so while I looked at it lovingly with a head full of shampoo.

Well, here we are to January. Meek, dark, depressing January. What is this month's project you ask? Well let me show you. Well, first let me tell you, then I will show you.
This month's project, "A Snowman," Set the scene of winter and make a snowman. Sent home were several colors of construction paper and more instructions on how the children are NOT to use scissors. No, this project involved "tearing" to work on their fine motor skills, "Tear out a snowman so it looks more real" the note read.
I would like to pause here and announce that Evan is not only full aware on how to tear he might just be the best 'tearer upper' I have ever met. Once again I know this because I LIVE with him, and I am still recovering from him tearing up a photo book I gave him on his 2nd birthday of Fire Trucks.
'Look Evan we can read this every night before bed."
"See the shiny red trucks?"
More drooling and then Grabbing of book and crinkling pages.

Out of sheer love and devotion I let him sleep with the book that night. The next morning I found him covered in little tiny pieces of what was the book EVERYWHERE. I still, every now and then when I vacuum his room, find tiny pieces of fire trucks.... Oh it hurts to talk about it, but MY POINT IS he is very good at tearing, so I was a bit peeved at this project. I told Evan what to do and he was on his own with the creation. The only thing I may have suggested was him to give it some sort of detail (hat..scarf...etc..)But other than that I said nothing.

The final project looked like this:

Great, I now own a serial killer.
Not just any serial killer but a angry, throat slashing, serial killer.
So looking at the clock I had exactly 4 minutes to try and rectify the murdered snowman to look something less …. “Murdery”
I also decided to ask Evan he thought it looked okay, get a feel if he too noticed... oh I don’t know.... BLOOD spurting form his throat.

“Um, Evan, sweetie, How do you think your snowman looks?”
“Uh huh, well do you think he looks happy?"
"Sure Mom."
Well, sweetie Mommy thinks your snowman has a boo boo.”
“A Boo boo?”
"Yeah see here.?" As I pointed to the throat.
Please oh please notice the boo boo… Please recognize a slashed victim and have a sense of sorrow of some kind.
“Cool.” He replies.
"No not cool. You don’t want to take a bleeding snowman into school do you?”
“But Mommy that is his scarf."
"So clearly you don't see him bleeding to death?"
"Can I have more cereal?"
"Oh never mind never mind."

So I had to think and think quick.  From former experience I think best while inhaling a power bar, gulping coffee and shouting orders at the children to go brush their teeth before school.  This was no exception.  With power bar clenched between my teeth, I did a whirlwind of my pantry and found a red plastic bag that wasn't quite so "blood red"  That was gong to have to do.  I did some quick editing and made Evan draw the poor thing a hat and add some sunshine to this sad looking dude. 

New Final project looks like this:

A bit better wouldn't you say?   I am very excited to see what February's project will be.  I bet it will have something to do with bleeding hearts.  Oh how neat!!  Evan will have a leg up on that one.  If and when he is home from Christian Boarding "Boot Camp" by then.  I will miss him...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Guess what? It snowed!!

Pbbsssttt.... Hey blog, Guess what? It snowed. I mean really, really snowed. And guess what? It is STILL snowing... The kids just woke up. They are so happy for a snow day and are laughing and being silly. Oh how fun. Just had to share!!

Hey blog, me again, so guess what??? Husband who freaked me out all last night with his- I have to go into to work tomorrow because I am a male and don't respond to any sort of logic (snow storm warnings), is also staying home. Something about him having to actually see the logic (snow) to process the logic (lots of snow) and finally admit that yeah, the roads are pretty bad, (from all the snow). I am so happy he is home and I only said "I told you so" like 12 times so he is still speaking to me.

So um...Blog get this... Did you know that kids like to go outside and play in the snow? They are pretty adamant too. It is only 8:00 a.m and the thermometer says 27. Did you also know that when you tell a 4 and 5 year old that they needed to wait a little while before going outside and that it didn't go over very well and one was forced to make chocolate chip pancakes to keep them quiet.
Have I also mentioned that I am out of milk?

Hello....Me again, I just wanted to comment real quick that the snow is really pretty to look at. I know this because hubby decided to raise all the blinds up in our bedroom so we can see the snow falling. I can't be sure but I think those are window sills behind the blinds in our bedroom (that never before now have had a need to be raised). I am quite sure though that a layer of dust on said window sills is not nearly as pretty as the snow falling. I am so happy he is home to raise blinds and show me these things He is a keeper. Oh and It is now 8:06 and I am not sure how much longer I can hold the boys off. It is coming down harder now. I think I am pretty much screwed and going outside which may be in order since I am now sneezing.

Hi Blog, We are now in the process of getting dressed and I am actually really glad to have hubby's help. Want to know my least favorite activity (other than dusting obviously)? Dressing overly excited boys in lots of warm clothing. Want to know my second least favorite activity? Getting them to understand that snow pants go on LAST. Hubby is being helpful so far but can tell he is easily getting frustrated by the 4 year old who now has everything on backwards. There is some minor tension going on, but the snow isn't going anywhere and is still coming down. Jeez oh Pete blog it looks cold. Have I mentioned I am not a huge fan of the cold.....? Oh no.... I have to go it is boot time.

Dear Blog, have you seen the kid’s boots? Just asking.... Because guess what...I CAN'T FIND THEIR F**ING BOOTS!!
Calming down...
Okay blog everything is cool (sorry I yelled). So I found their boots. They were in the garage and boys screamed how cold they were when we put them on. Gosh they can be so dramatic sometimes. Hubby who is usually at work when I help get the kids dressed is sure going on overload now. Wow, his coloring is a bit red. Uh he has to help then with their gloves. Big, puffy, snow gloves.
"Push your hands in." he says (getting redder)
"Find the thumb." NO YOUR THUMB!! Wiggle you fingers around till you feel the holes. Are you listening to Daddy? ARE YOU?"
I better go help.....

(28 minutes later)  Yello!.... The kids are finally dressed. That was basically hell in a hand bag.  Hubby just downed a 5th of scotch. I so love when he is proactive, maybe that will help him forget the dust issue. We are ready to go outside and play. I will be back with pictures. It is so pretty...

Holy F**K it is cold. Yes, we are back for a pee break because guess what my 3rd least favorite thing is... KIDS WHO ARE WEARING SNOW PANTS FOR 4.5 seconds and THEN announces they have to go pee pee. Yup that is my third least favorite thing ever!

Hi... I can't type for long because I can't feel my hands or arms very well. We are inside again taking another small break. The sledding was fun and we ran into some neighbors who sledded with us. One minor hiccup, when one child hit a mail box post, but he was fine. I learned that kids dressed in three layers of fluffy thick clothing bounce really really well. Oh crap, back outside for round two. Have I mentioned I am freezing and exhausted from all the sledding?? I will be back shortly with more updates and hopefully some pictures this time since it is always best for photo taking when you remember the camera. I am also grabbing a beer on the way. It is almost noon so shut it.

Hey blog, hubby and I have gotten a second wind and more friends have joined us so grabbing a few more beers. I love snow days. Back later....

Cabk os hum unf tub old as hrth lope tanse wout.

(Yawn) Hi ya Blog (another yawn).  Wow, what at nap we all had. It is dark outside now. I am already starting to feel my arms and back muscles sore form pushing the kids on the sleds. What a fun and pretty day. Coats, boots, scarfs and mittens are scattered everywhere. Frozen pizza for dinner coming up. Rumor has it there will be no school again tomorrow. Wow, another day of fun and......
No School?
Are they crazy?
This all over again?
And Hubby more than adamant this time to go into the office tomorrow (make mental note to drain gas from his car so he can't go anywhere). He can't -CAN'T I SAY leave me....
Calming down.

Hi.... I just finished tucking the boys in. Bless their hearts they must have been so worn out They are sound asleep and look so peaceful, happy, content....

And guess what blog?
So am I.

The pictures.....

Monday, January 10, 2011

Lakeside Chatter: Channeling Oprah

If my shameless begging and plugging for you all to check out my other blog didn't work I am going to try one more time.  Below is the most recent post from the chatter.  Please follow me over there too.  New design coming 2nd week in February.  Family antics and hilarity will remain here on Mommsie so I am not going anywhere.  Just adding to the fun. 
Lakeside Chatter: Channeling Oprah: "Not to get all Oprah on you but I am going to get all Oprah on you. Why? Because it is January and this is how I fe..."


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