Celebrating our Failures

Yep, you read that title correctly…we celebrate our successes, but really let’s celebrate our failures as moms and dads too!

But before I get into that, an update from the last post – first of all, I was BLOWN AWAY by all your support and love. The transition was actually easier than I expected – Maggie loves daycare and work has been pretty good thanks to some very awesome co-workers. I’m very grateful for all their support and for making me laugh!

Now, on to today’s fun Saturday topic: FAILURES! In this social media age, we post lots of the good stuff – but not always the bad. It’s the ultimate filter…I’m a million times guilty of it too but occasionally I see those bad times…and it’s kind of refreshing – especially when you are struggling yourself…#miserylovescompany. Here are a few of mine!

  • Tucker broke his paw running around with my shoe (because I’m an undisciplined mom and let him run around with my shoes) and whiffed jumping on the bed. He’s been on restricted activity and a cast for almost 4 weeks now and we probably have another 2-3 weeks before the toe and the sores he got from his splint heals.  I feel super guilty and have spent a lot of time scrolling through Instagram looking for other dogs with broken paws (#brokenpaw).
  • Almost every morning once I get Maggie ready for daycare and strapped into the car I think of the scene in Bad Mons where they are running late to school. Now, daycare doesn’t have a set start time for infants, but of course, I have work and there are definitely times I am running late. I have left her milk in the car and have had to go back for it and I know its only a matter of time before I actually forget it at home.  Oh, and on our first week of daycare, I put my purse down on some kids wet artwork in the hall and when I realized that, said “OH SHIT” right in front of a 4 year old and the teacher. #WinningMomMoment
  • Maggie doesn’t have a set bed time. Sometimes she falls asleep at 8, sometimes 10.  I know she’s only four months old but I’d like to start something consistent and that’s just not happening these days. And sometimes, even though I try not to, I nurse to sleep. Because sometimes SHE NEEDS TO NAP AND JUST WON’T WITHOUT SOME MILK.
  • She currently has a cold AND pink eye. Now, I know this isn’t really my fault but it just makes me sad.
  • Sometimes I feel  pulled into eight different directions and I don’t have adequate time for all the relationships in my life. I am especially sorry to my husband for this one. Our conversations most days involve the words ‘diaper change,’ ‘pump parts’ ‘dinner’ ‘Tucker to the vet’ ‘daycare’ and there hasn’t been enough sentences that start with  ‘let’s go do something fun.’

These may not be what you consider failures or bad things, but to me, they can be. And I am sure there are more coming down the pike — just wait until the first daycare thing I can’t attend — but you know what?

I’m having a dance party for all these failures.

Why?

Because at the end of all these failing moments, I still have a great life. I still have a baby that smiles, a dog who is so sweet, and a husband who is already cracking Dad jokes. I have empathy – I have no problem sharing my failure stories for someone who needs to commiserate.  I have no problem making fun of myself, and frankly, I like to look back on the times I totally f-ed up and say ‘see I survived that and learned from it!’

So share those bad moments or failures freely – we are all in this together!

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Send my Love To Your New Lover DC

To my loyal Tails of A Crazy Dog Mom readers, taking a time out today to write a more personal piece not necessarily all about dogs…normal content to return soon!

If you’ve never done it, I highly recommend everyone drive on the George Washington Parkway into the DC area. I once made a pact with myself that if I were ever driving that stretch of road and the DC skyline with the Washington Monument came into view and I didn’t smile or it didn’t take my breath away, I would know it’s time to leave.

I have to break that pact.

You see, it’s just impossible not to be mesmerized by that view. And as you get closer or go along the Parkway other monuments come into view. Whether you’ve lived here 9 months, 90 years, or like me, almost 9 years, you just can’t help but be blown away by DC’s beauty.

But. And there’s a but. It’s expensive. It’s hard to live here without family close by. It can feel like a rat race and wear you down. So DC, after almost nine years, I have to break up with you. But not before I say Thank You.

When I arrived in January 2008, I was 25 and knew only a few people. I was wide-eyed and if I had to pick a song, Wide Open Spaces from the Dixie Chicks is what would have defined me. I started a job at a legislative tracking firm. I loved the Metro. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. My job was tough but I was so fortunate to meet a great group of young people just like me- eager to explore the area and mostly people who didn’t know that many other people. We explored new restaurants and neighborhoods. We went up the Washington Monument at night. We did the 4th of July fireworks. We went to Nats games and golfing on East Potomac Park among the monuments. We drank too much. Or not enough depending on the work day. We laughed, we cried. We helped eachother move. We cursed the Metro (I don’t love it as much as I did anymore). We formed good friendships even after some people started to leave the area. We were in each other’s weddings. I truly learned here that friends are family.

I never felt like I was a DC-lifer. In fact, at one point I even temporarily left, only to come back six weeks later with a great job offer and more importantly, I had met THE boy who was here. A few months in, it was clear that this was not just another relationship, but THE relationship that would lead to marriage. I had to persuade him a little bit, sitting on his front porch asking him if he was my boyfriend (I had to make it clear before he went on an all guys college football roadtrip). New memories were made. Even a skydiving trip. Families met. We became an official family in 2012 with our marriage. That next year we got our puppy Tucker. We enjoyed the area and every year when our lease came up for renewal we discussed leaving and every year we decided to stay.

Until this past year. We made a decision that we would really strive to leave the area. We had interviews in Pennsylvania that didn’t lead to anything until June. An opportunity was presented to me that we couldn’t refuse.

And yet, I sit here in our apartment in Arlington a few days away from starting a new job and I’m nervous about leaving the area. It’s scary because the boy will be staying down here until our lease ends in October. There are lots of unknowns but there are also several ways life will be easier. New adventures await which we are excited for. I’m hoping Tucker will enjoy his new adventures as well. I’m hoping for a fenced in back yard for him! But I will never forget my time here. In fact, if we ever have kids, I am making sure they spend at least a year in DC. I just hope they don’t need me to pay their rent when that time comes.

So DC, in the words of Adele:

I’m giving you up
I’ve forgiven it all
You set me free, oh

Send my love to your new lover
Treat her better
We’ve gotta let go of all of our ghosts
We both know we ain’t kids no more
Send my love to your new lover.

Except don’t treat her better. Treat her exactly the same. Because for every tear I may have cried here, I also laughed 1,000 times more. For every time I cursed the metro, I remembered that’s where I met the husband. So when I’m driving out of here today, I will glance in my rearview mirror back at you but then look onward to the future (and don’t miss me too much, I’ll be back on the weekends!)

I’m a believer

December 23 is a mixed bag of emotions for me. Two years ago we had a happy memory as Tucker officially became Tucker Simpson Leeper when we picked him up from Ivywest. Suffice it to say, our lives have never ever … Continue reading

Weekend Tails, the Week Ahead and What I’m loving

Hello!

How was your weekend? Ours was filled with equal parts adventure and relaxation…we started Saturday off with an adventure: taking Tucker to the Arboretum in DC! Saturday mornings are usually what we refer to as “Dadder-days,” meaning Jason gets up and takes care of Tucker while I sleep in. They go off on various adventures while I sleep the early morning weekday walks away. However, this weekend I crashed Dadderday as we both wanted to check out the Arboretum. I had been there once before when I first moved to the DC area and knew it was dog friendly as I went there in springtime with my mom and Spenser who had to come down and sniff out DC to make sure it was OK.  However, the Arboretum is huge so we were in a completely different section this time. It’s a great place to bring your dogs as they have trails, paved and unpaved and it wasn’t too busy (though in fairness, we were there early and it’s also fall where nothing is blooming). I wish we had more time there but we had to go on our next adventure….

Tucker at the Arboretum

Tucker at the Arboretum

Off to Dogma, where Tucker got groomed. He’s been groomed once before and he really just needed a really good bath, comb out and trim which is exactly what he got. One side note, our local news recently did a story on groomers and the dangers of cage dryers. Please make sure that your groomer doesn’t use cage dryers!! Tucker returned home exhausted and I spent the time cleaning out my closet..

Yesterday was a basic stay around the house and walk around the park and neighborhoods kind of day though he did get to go play with his girlfriend Maisy since she was out in her yard. That was a nice respite as this week I’ll be traveling for work which means that Tucker and Jason will spend a lot of bachelor time together (probably watching Netflix).tucker111415arbor11 tucker111515b

Things I’m loving!

A new feature…I’m working real hard on giving this blog the love and attention it deserves. I’ve started a Facebook page for it and an Instagram specifically for this page is coming. Bear with me as everything is a work in progress and with work and holiday travel, it might take some time to get everything looking fabulous. I wanted to share a few things that I’m loving this week:

  1. DVGRR’s Extraordinary Give: If you are a first time reader to this blog, Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue (DVGRR) is very near and dear to my heart. My family adopted Oliver, a DVGRR rescue this February and he is the sweetest big fellow you ever met. Tucker, Oliver and Spenser have quite the bond and it brings me such joy to watch them together. The ExtraOrdinary Give is on November 20th and it’s Lancaster County’s largest day of online giving. DVGRR will be accepting donations. Please follow the link and give to this great cause.
  2. Great Dane With a Special Purpose: This story melts my heart. This Great Dane named George serves a very special purpose: as a service dog for a little girl with a rare medical condition. In this week of really horrific news, this is a bright spot.
  3. Reunited and it feels soooo good: Last week, our breeder Catherine with Ivywest posted a photo of Tucker’s brother Leo on Facebook. That led to photo sharing and story swapping of other siblings. I love hearing stories and meeting new puppy people – especially when they are related to Tucker!
  4. One non-dog thing: Ok, you may not think I have much of a life outside Tucker (I do! I do!) but I’m super de dooper excited about the news that the Dixie Chicks are touring in the US this summer. I absolutely love the Dixie Chicks and can’t wait to see them again!

So what did you do this weekend? Share your pup photos and stories with me either blow or in an email to me via the Contact section above.I’d love to hear from you all!

 

Thankful for Two Years!

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Dearest Tucker, Halloween weekend not only brought out tricks and treats, but also birthday fun as you turned 2- complete with you in a hot dog costume and us in ketchup and mustard costumes because it’s only fair–if you have to … Continue reading

Puppy Love

Recently I joined a group on Facebook for a breeder that my parents have used. She created a facebook group so that the families can connect and share their photos of their golden children. It’s been fun to see the various goldens, and I especially enjoy connecting with people who have siblings of my parents pup, Spenser. Spenser will be nine in September but he will forever be my puppy. My family decided to get Spenser when I was still living at home and we are very close, even though I haven’t lived at home for several years. Every time we come home, Spenser is my shadow. He could never ever leave my mom or dad or his golden brother Oliver but we have a special bond.

Tucker and his Uncle Spenser. Everything he needed to learn, he learned from Spenser.

Tucker and his Uncle Spenser. Everything he needed to learn, he learned from Spenser.

Several facebook posts in this group lately have featured new puppies who have gone to their fur-ever homes. It’s so sweet to see these little fuzzies and I even get a bit of puppy fever. Tucker will be 2 in October so he’s still very much a puppy but you know what I mean, those little guys and girls you can pick up and snuggle….and then I remember the puppy teeth, the wake up calls in the middle of the night, and did I mention those puppy teeth? I remember when Tucker was really small and I would look at him and say, what is your personality going to be like? Yes, let’s not forget the title of this blog: Crazy Dog Mom. And don’t forget one of the best parts of puppyhood: you can drink! Can’t do that when you’re pregnant!

I can tell you exactly his personality now: he’s a sweetie (what golden isn’t though?) with a mischievous streak and he’s a real smartie. He loves being outside and walking through the neighborhoods. He’s playful with other dogs but only a few at a time or else he gets nervous. He loves routines…as do I…he’s still very much a puppy- we’re still working on the jumping and the occasional nip but thankfully there’s no more puppy teeth. He makes friends fast and remembers them for life.

First few days..

First few days..

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Now here are some new puppy tips from me:

1) Crate Train. I can’t emphasize this enough. We still have Tucker’s crate up and open because he still enjoys going in it even though he now sleeps with us and has a gated off area (which includes the crate) when we are out. I often find him laying in there when we get home. It’s their safe place…and a safe place for you too. I can’t begin to explain how much more peacefully I slept at night during those first few puppy months knowing he was in the crate. The crate is in our bedroom so he never felt alone.

2) Socialize. Another one I can’t emphasize enough. We got Tucker in the winter of the polar vortex in Northern VA. We were fortunate to have places that host puppy socials (welcome to Northern VA, full of DINKS- Dual Income No Kids). We also got him in obedience class as soon as we could. Luckily we live in an apartment complex and a dog friendly community so there was no shortage of friends for Tucker to meet. And don’t stop doing it. We still take Tucker to dog parks, dog friendly restaurants/wineries/shops, etc.

Out to Eat!

Out to Eat!

3) Exercise. You need exercise, your dog needs exercise. If it’s hot or cold, treat puzzles or ipad games (yes, seriously!) My motto in life is that a tired dog is a good dog. Why do you think I’m writing this blog right now? Because I exercised my pup and he’s enjoying a nice little nap right now. If you really want to track your dog’s exercise and sleep, get a Whistle Activity Monitor!

4) Photos. Take Lots of Them. We have 80 million and no, I do not think that’s an exaggeration.

5) Get to know where the best deals are. I love Chewy. My neighbors do too because I see lots of boxes from Chewy in the mailroom. There can never be enough Bitter Apple Spray when you have a puppy or young dog. Once I think I covered myself in it. We have a cabinet that looks like Chewy, Petco and Wylie Wagg threw up. But pups need toys and treats and bones. Remember those puppy teeth?

Now it’s time for me to sign off and enjoy some time on the balcony with Tucker. What’s your best dog advice? Leave us some love!tucker060715m

Things I’ve learned from my dog

The other morning, Tucker and I walked up Arlington Ridge to Prospect Park, which overlooks the city of Washington D.C. and Arlington VA. From there I can see the Washington Monument, the Pentagon, Arlington Cemetery…and all the cars stuck in morning rush hour on 395 :). I was in a particularly reflective mood for some reason that morning and it got me thinking of the ways Tucker has changed me in the year and a half since we’ve brought him home:

One of the best days ever: when we picked Tucker out!

One of the best days ever: when we picked Tucker out!

1) Mornings are great: I have to say, I love my morning weekday and Sunday walks with him (my husband lets me sleep in on Saturdays while he goes running with Tucker or to the park with him).  In the DC area, it is very busy and I constantly feel on the go. Before Tucker, I was never a morning person. I would get up about 30 minutes before I had to leave for work, eat breakfast, get ready and off to the Metro I went. Now I get up most weekday mornings at 6 or earlier so that Tucker and I have plenty of time to go out, come back in and eat our breakfasts and settle a bit before our morning walk. The mornings are mostly peaceful- fairly light traffic around the neighborhoods and most of the foot traffic is a few people getting an early metro or people with some of our favorite 4 legged friends. Not only is it great exercise for both of us, but it gets me prepared for the day at hand. When I have to travel or have to be somewhere early for work and my husband walks him, I often feel like I’ve missed out on something. Are there some mornings where I would rather just stay in bed? Absolutely…mostly on those rainy mornings where I have to balance an umbrella and a golden retriever. However, it’s probably my favorite walk of the day.

Selfie on our morning walks.

Selfie on our morning walks.

2) Meeting people: I am an introvert. Once you get to know me, I open up and am silly and love to talk…but I generally shy away from big social settings. Having a golden retriever puppy, EVERYONE wants to pet your dog. We’ve met a lot of our neighbors and their dogs (I admit, I don’t know a lot of their names-its mostly ‘Fluffy’s mom, Bella Boo Bear’s Mom, etc) but there’s a sense of community that I didn’t feel before we got Tucker. We take Tucker most places that we can–wineries, running races, dog friendly restaurants and our newest adventure yesterday: the Washington Nationals Pups in the Park event. Yes, we took him to a baseball game–and he performed phenomenally well. Tucker is a conversation starter and that has helped me break the ice and has even helped me in situations when he isn’t with me.

 

Friends

Friends

Tucker even has little human friends aka cousins he loves!

Tucker even has little human friends aka cousins he loves!

3) Partnerships are stronger and better: I’m an individual through and through. My husband doesn’t define me and I don’t define my husband. Prior to Tucker, my husband and I enjoyed doing things together, but many nights we might watch one things on TV and then go our separate ways- maybe me watching something in the bedroom, while he stayed out in the living room. Or we approached things differently. This may be a longer way of saying that we weren’t always a unified team. When Tucker came into our lives, we had to become a team- who took him out and when, who fed him and when, etc. When he’s gotten sick as sometimes our pups do, I’ve been a stressed out mess and Jason has been the balance. The calm in any storm. Not only does that help me but it helps Tucker too. This also leads to my second favorite walk: Family Walk. Every night after we’ve had our dinner, we walk Tucker around the neighborhoods for our nightly “family walk.” We talk about our day, what’s going on in the world, etc. I admit, the growing partnership hasn’t always been easy and there have been bumps in the road but there’s no one I’d rather do it with.

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Our first night at home. December 2013.

April 18, 2015. At Nats Park!

April 18, 2015. At Nats Park!

4) Persistence is key: This is not my favorite Tucker life lesson as sometimes it shows my weaker side with him, but he has taught me that sometimes if you really want something, persistence is key. This is where I sometimes Mommy fail. You know how they teach you in obedience that if your dog barks because he wants something, to ignore him? Easier said than done when you are trying to get something done and he’s barking for his special bone in the cabinet. I usually start strong- ignoring, making sure I don’t give in to his barking too soon, etc. Some days, he does just get it at the first bark. However, he has learned that if he is persistent, and barks but then behaves perfectly, he will get a reward. We’ll get there soon enough with the good behavior, but it takes persistence—–and sometimes a little bark.

Sometimes we have differing opinions...persistence is key

Sometimes we have differing opinions…persistence is key

5) Life is for living, loving and smiling: I think this might be part of Tucker’s mantra. A woman walking her two small dogs the other day stopped me to tell me that Tucker was the happiest dog she’s seen. And he really is. He is frequently smiling and has an air about him that he loves life. The world can be a scary place-how often do we turn on the TV to see horrific news? Do yourself a favor–the next time life gets you down, turn ‘off’ (or mute if you can’t turn off completely) and play with your dog- or if you don’t have one, take a walk-chances are you will find a dog that wouldn’t mind another friend!

Smile!

Smile!