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No squirrels were harmed in the making of this post

28 Mar

A young teen girl however, was slightly traumatized for a few minutes.

So the other day, it was sunny and nice and spring-like out. I lured Maura away from the crackTab and all it’s Netflix with “Why don’t you play outside?  Look! I have bubbles!”

Maura loves outside, and loves bubbles.

Of course, the dogs ran out with her. Miriam followed suit to help Maura with the bubbles and play with dogs.  I felt like, for one brief moment, I was winning at this parenting thing a little.

Then Miriam came to the door with a worried look to announce “Moooom, I think Zoey caught a squirrel!”


Those of you who follow along (you know, my favorites) know that Zoey the Big Dog has been slightly obsessed with squirrels.  There were none in Ireland.  Here, we have about 250 running through our yard.  Okay, I exaggerate a little, but I swear, the other day, there were five on my fence.  So I expect more, smaller squirrels in a couple months.

Zoey loves to chase squirrels.  Maybe she wants to just herd them – she is an Australian Shepherd.  Herding is in her blood.

But to catch one?


I had visions of Zoey with a half-dead squirrel in her mouth and my good mom moment was over – because I was NOT going out where there was a half-dead squirrel in a dog’s mouth! Ew.  But then Zoey trotted by, squirrelless, and I asked Miriam where this supposedly dead squirrel was.

“Over there.” she pointed, towards the fence.

“Okay, let’s all go play out front!” I announced, grabbing bubbles and dolls.  Miriam followed suit immediately, helping me grab stuff.  Maura balked.


Maura didn’t understand why her mom and sister were fleeing the backyard.  Mim explained to Maura that they were going to blow bubbles out front. Yes, Miriam earns that gold star a lot.

I glanced over, to where I expected to see a dying bloody lump of squirrel.  I didn’t see that, but I did see this up in the neglected landscaping portion of the side yard…

well, it is furry

well, it is furry


My first thought was “Well, that doesn’t look too fresh.”  Then I noticed it was under a fallen branch.  Then I thought “Surely we would have noticed a dead squirrel in our yard before now.”  I mean, it’s not like it’s snowed here and could have been hidden for weeks.

I went closer, and leaned in a little.  And saw stitching on the paws. And realized what the thing on the ground was…

not even a squirrel

not even a squirrel doll


Maura had been on a kick where she played with all these small puppy/kitty dolls.  Sometimes outside.  The one cat doll got left behind, for who knows how long.  Long enough to be rained upon many times and get weathered and half-buried in tree bits and resemble a dead squirrel.

“Mim! It’s just a doll!”  I announced happily.

“OH!” Mim said in relief. “Thank God!”

Never were we so happy to see a forgotten doll outside.  Maura was just happy that we weren’t trying to shove her back into the house anymore and went back to playing with her bubbles.  The dogs remained clueless.  All the squirrels were still alive, frolicking.

For now…




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Tiny Dog, now 60% more ridiculous

13 Dec

Okay, this may get me thrust into the “Bad Pet Parent” category.  I shall brace myself for that.

So we have our two ridiculous dogs, one being the tiny 4 1/2 pound Yorkie, who’s name is Sky Stormageddon Dark Lord of All.

Sky is a ferocious little beastie, who is certain she can take on the world and is full of young dog personality and curiosity.

Sky also has had long, fine, Yorkie hair.

Yorkies have hair that’s more like human hair than fur.  Which is why they can have those long lovely locks. But because of this hair, they need a lot of grooming maintenance, which is why you see most household Yorkies with the shorter ‘do. It’s just easier.

But Sky – at first, she was happy with being brushed, and her hair didn’t tangle, so we let it grow.

She was quite pretty.

Sky, resting on the foot stool, lording over all

Sky, resting on the foot stool, lording over all

Somehow though, in the moving craziness and new environment, and switching from kid shampoo to actual dog shampoo, Sky’s hair went from manageable to train wreck.  And she decided she hated being brushed or combed.

I tried – I swear I tried – but she keeps running under bushes and collecting tiny twigs and leaf bits in her fur.  Which then tangle around more fur.  Which causes hair matting.  And the special organic all natural dog shampoo with conditioner didn’t keep her hair tangle free like the cheap kids 2-in-1 shampoo that we had been using did.  I switched shampoos back to the kiddie shampoo, chased her around the house with a comb, sneaking up on her when she was napping to gently comb out knots. Really, I spent way too much time trying to groom this dog.

Last night, as I was petting her, I realized that she had gotten huge tangles under her ears.

It was the last straw.

I asked Josh if he’d hold the dog while I trimmed her.  This lead to us locked in the bathroom, fur flying, and us laughing while the Dark Lord sat there in Josh’s arms and gave this resigned sigh of  “You stupid humans, I don’t know why I put up with you.”  But she was much better about getting her hair cut than she’s ever been about being brushed.

I am not a dog groomer.  I can cut boys hair, trim girls hair, and can trim a small dog.  But drastic cuts involving matted hair?  I decided to throw caution to the wind and just hack her hair off.  I can neaten it up in a week or so, but my goal was to make it more manageable at this time.

Instead, I managed to make the already ridiculous looking dog even more ridiculous looking.

Sky went from this -

Tiny  with Zoey behind her

Tiny with Zoey behind her

…to this -

half a pound of hair later...

half a pound of hair later…

Now, being the parents we are, we decided to leave the sink full of dog hair and the scissors out and just let Miriam discover it…there was this question of “Why is Sky in the sink?” and laughter as Miriam went looking for her dog.  I was certain she’d never speak to me again.  Instead, there was much squealing and “OMG SHE’S SOOOOO CUTE!!!!”

And the next moment it was “Wow, are her ears really that small?”

The teen boys just laughed.  And laughed.  And then laughed some more.

Zoey was not certain it was the same dog, and spent the rest of the evening sniffing Sky.

Sky is pretty unphased by it.  And while the weather’s not that bad out, I am glad I bought her a sweater.  Because we took a LOT of hair off this tiny dog.  And my teenaged boys are still just laughing when they see her.

I really didn’t think Sky could get more ridiculous looking.

I was wrong.

Meanwhile, I will not give up my day job and become a dog groomer.

Miriam, her tiny dog, and a makings of a second tiny dog

Miriam, her tiny dog, and a makings of a second tiny dog

*Note – no dogs were harmed in this process.  Nor traumatized, or even slightly scarred for life even. The humans survived as well.

The Girl with the Bright Pink Tree

4 Dec

Last night we took Maura to Target.  I needed more Christmas lights, and I thought it would be fun to get Maura her own tree.  All my kids have had their own tiny tree in their room at some point, because it’s fun.  And so much easier than some creepy elf that I have to deal with every single night.  I barely made it through the tooth fairy years, I’d never survive 24 days straight of elf stuff.

Anyhoo, I thought Maura would be instantly thrilled about getting a tree of her own.  Josh was certain she would go for the biggest brightest one.  We steer her through the store, to the back corner where all the seasonal goods were.  Josh started eyeing the displays.  “Well, that one is only $30…I guess…”

I had done the legwork already, I knew there were cheap varieties.  Josh also spotted them.  “Eight dollars…hey Maura, look at these!” he said, pointing to red, blue, and gold foil trees.

“No thank you.” she said.

Weird.  I thought she’d want a tree.

Then I spotted a box filled with pink foil trees.  I went over to the box, pulled one out.  Josh said “Maura, look what Mom has.”

There was this reverent “Oooooo” noise out of her mouth as she beelined directly to me to take the tree from my hands.

The next twenty minutes, while I tried to find some freaking warm twinkle lights in box C7, she picked out ornaments, lights and a star for her tree.

Let’s just say there’s a theme to this tree…

I shall call it Pinkalicious

I shall call it Pinkalicious

I think she considered it her own personal victory when she found the pink lights.  But she loved it SO much that she carried it to her room, did a fake yawn, and decided it was bedtime forty minutes early.  As she’s been a bit of a crankypants at school (aka throwing screaming fits), an early bedtime was totally embraced.  I tucked her in as she stared at her pretty pink tree.

When she got home from school today, she made herself a snack, and went down to watch some tv in the family room.  When I went down to check on her, she was there, with her snack, her show, and the tree sitting next to her.  Because it’s portable.  As it should be.

Just now, she carried it up, stopped so I could admire the tree, then she very carefully sat it next to our now less impressive, still undecorated big tree.

Tiny pink tree got lonely.

Tiny pink tree got lonely.

In other news, I’m finding clementines everywhere.  Because Maura has taken them everywhere.  This happens a bit in our house.  I buy a bag of fruit, entire bag of fruit goes missing, we spend two weeks finding fruit hidden places.  I guess she felt we had passed the “find all the apples I hid downstairs” test, and is now testing us with clementines.  Because as I went to take a picture of the little tree, I spotted something else..

photo 1

little tree, big tree, clementine by couch

And as I sat here to write this post…I spotted a clementine hiding between my vertical blinds.  So right now, while part of me is wishing my child would stop hiding fruit already, I am also grateful that my idiot dogs don’t like clementines.  Even if they’re small, I don’t think the tiny dog could eat a whole one.  And a half-eaten clementine hiding between vertical blinds would just lead to more problems.


PS – Maura did allow me to take a photo of her with her tree.  But she didn’t want to sit with the tree, just display it.  Maybe the tree could replace the elf thing – we’ll just move the tree around the house for the next few weeks.

Maura and her tree

Maura and her tree


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