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Archive for the ‘dogs’ Category

Roll your eyes if you must, but (as you know) I consider my dogs my kids.

But lately, I feel more like I’m raising teenagers. Yes, 4-legged teenagers.

Case in point:

That’s Ryder, riding shotgun in my car.

Remember those teenage years of riding in silence with your parents because you were too cool to talk?

Doesn’t it look like she’s pulling that attitude with me? “Yeah, mama. Whatever.”

Meanwhile, Sethy just sleeps in the backseat, basically telling everyone to leave him alone.

“Leave me alone.” Remember that one from teenagehood?

Speaking of sleeping, my kids are champs at that.

Again, case in point:

That’s Seth sleeping, one of his favorite things to do. He loves to sleep in the car. On his dog beds. On the deck outside.

But despite my pleading, he doesn’t like sleeping on the couch next to mama. No matter how many times I invite him up next to me, he kind of looks at me like, “Um, nah…” and then goes off to sleep somewhere else.

Meanwhile, if I’m on the couch downstairs, Ryder is usually up in our bedroom, snoring away on the bed.

Let’s see… who else likes to be alone in their rooms? Oh, yes. Teenagers!

And finally, when it comes to eating, my pups aren’t exactly patient. Like teenagers, when hunger calls, all else must stop and mama must deliver.

The other day I was preparing breakfast for the kids, and as usual, they sat and watched me.

I got sidetracked for a second and had stop the food prep for a minute. Ryder let out a big sigh (and I swear I saw her roll her eyes) and left the room, like, “How dare you delay my breakfast!”

Of course, I’m sure I don’t help the situation, as I’m a total sucker when it comes to their puppy dog eyes.

Like any parent, I always try to do what’s best for my kids. Acting like teenagers or not, they are my babies and my very best friends.

Come on, look at these faces:

Wouldn’t you give them anything they wanted?

– Jane

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I have a bone to pick with this guy:

You know him, he’s the Dyson Vacuum inventor. Sir James Dyson, to be exact.

But I like to call him Sir D, because it makes him sound like a rapper, and that’s cool.

Not so cool? Sir D has led me astray in my domestic duties.

I first started to hear a lot of good things about the Dyson about 4 years ago, right around the time I got engaged and was starting to think about my our wedding registry.

I’ll admit that I was wooed by the hoopla surrounding the whole “no bag” thing. I would always forget to replace the bag of my old vacuum, and by the time I remembered, it just wasn’t a good scene.

Besides that, I would always forget to buy new vacuum bags (things like food and other basic human necessities were at the top of my shopping list, shockingly) so if I actually did remember to change it, I would be out of luck (well, more so my dirty rugs than me, I guess).

In the commercials, Sir D would say that sure, the current vacuum models were great and all, but (and this was the important thing) they had ONE design flaw – they lost suction.

But because of his innovation – the bagless vacuum – all would now be right in the world.

Plus, he had a British accent, which automatically meant he knew what he was talking about. And that Sir title didn’t hurt his credibility. (I’m easily impressed like that.)

So, pretty much convinced that Sir D had solved the world’s big puzzle – and already addicted to registering for just about anything and everything at Target – I put the Dyson on my our registry.

I mean, he had solved THE vacuum design flaw, right?

And I we did receive the Dyson as a shower gift, thanks to my mother-in-law. I was all gung-ho about using it at first, and I was pleased with how it worked, although carrying that heavy sucker up and down the stairs was no easy task.

However, with two big dogs, which equaled big time shedding, which equaled increased amount of vacuuming, I started to notice that it just wasn’t living up to its suctioning promises when it came to the dog hair.

Lo and behold, around that same time, they released a Dyson specifically created for use on pet hair. Unwilling to shell out $500 for a new vacuum when I we had just received one, I sucked it up (as it were) and only cursed Sir D internally for not coming out with the pet hair model before I we registered for our wedding.

But hey, if they already mastered that ONE design flaw, I thought, why would they even need a whole ‘nother vacuum just for pet hair?

Just sayin’.

OK, so a few years have gone by now and I’ve been mildly happy with my Dyson.

My husband and I did have to send it back to Dyson once because it wasn’t picking anything up… when it came back, it worked better for a few weeks, and then went to being so-so. Which was better than picking up nothing, but not great.

Honestly, though, it was too much of a hassle to get people back on the phone and have to send it back/wait for its return again.

I had just kind of resigned myself to the fact that it seemed everyone else loved their Dyson but me. But what could I do? Sir D had made THE FLAWLESS vacuum!

So imagine my surprise when I heard Sir D’s voice from my television the other day, talking about how for hundreds of years, vacuum cleaners have had, “ONE fundamental design flaw.”

Old news! I thought.

But nooooo! He was talking about a NEW fundamental design flaw… the fixed axle that only allows vacuums to go in a straight line. So he has now created the Dyson Ball vacuum, which operates with one big ball – no wheels – allowing the vacuum to “pivot on the spot.”

He compares it to a computer mouse, which has a ball on the bottom so it can easily travel anywhere.

OK, I get that. But the absolute kicker in this commercial is when he says this line: “I mean, you wouldn’t make a computer mouse with wheels, would you?”

Of course I wouldn’t, Sir D. That would be silly!

But YOU DID make a vacuum with wheels. Remember that one!? The one that was supposed to be the be-all-end-all of vacuums.

I mean, I understand that things evolve and the need for new things comes about… but I remember in one of his original commercials, he said that he had gone through about 5,000 vacuum prototypes before he finally cracked the code in creating the perfect cyclone for his bagless vacuum.

Never once during those 5,000 failures did his team think, “Hey! Maybe there isn’t just ONE design flaw to be working on?”

I mean, going through 5,000 prototypes must have taken awhile.

I’m just thinking that maybe a light bulb could have gone off in someone’s head a little sooner.

OK, end rant. Consider bone picked.

Thanks for listening. I’m off to vacuum some dog hair.

– Jane

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In two days I’m heading down to New Jersey for Johnson & Johnson’s Camp Baby.

Kind of wishing J&J had decided to plop down their headquarters somewhere with weather more akin to, oh I don’t know, Bermuda… but I suppose New Brunswick, NJ will do.

I’m most excited about meeting some of the Mommy bloggers I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know through the written word over the past year or so.

(Oh yes, dinnah at the swanky restaurant, The Frog and the Peach, and having a wine social with Ted Allen from “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” and “Top Chef” will be pretty cool, too.)

Now, I’m not going to even get into the whole PR/marketing fiasco that has erupted around Camp Baby here in the blogosphere. (Although, if one would like to read up on it, a simple Google search of – “camp baby” j&j – will do the trick.)

My whole cause for concern is this: I’m going to Camp Baby with a bunch of Mommy bloggers. And yet… I’m not a Mom.

So, this is what went down. When “we” at Pinks & Blues were invited to Camp Baby, we really were under the impression that “we” would all be going – Mom (a mom to 4, grandmother to 7, soon-to-be 9), Audrey (a mom to 3, soon-to-be 4) and me (my doggies are my babies, but I know that most people don’t consider them “kids”… for the record, though, I do.)

In fact, the original email we received regarding Camp Baby was addressed to the “Pinks & Blues Ladies” at our general P&B email address. But by the time we realized that each of us would need to be sent a separate email invite in order to register, and the invites were sent to Mom and Audrey, the event was full (we also didn’t realize that there was such a limited number of spaces).

And so it’s up to me, the married-but-childless one to represent Pinks & Blues at Camp Baby.

But before you brand me with a “C” for “Childless” a la Hester Prynne, I will tell you that I am about as close to being a Mom as someone who is not a Mom can get (follow that?).

Recently, my girl Melanie at SavvyAuntie introduced me to a word that sums me up perfectly.

I am a PANK.

Got that? I’m a Professional Auntie – No Kids.

I spend a lot of time with my 9 (soon-to-be 11) nieces and nephews. I am very, very close to them. And since I work with Audrey at Pinks & Blues (office space is currently Mom’s house), I am even lucky enough to see her three boys – my nephews – every day.

That means that every day I get to hug and kiss and tickle and chase my little nephews. I sit on the couch and read with them. I build towers and bridges out of blocks with them. I build wooden tracks and play trains with them. I make snacks for them. I hold them after their naps. I kiss their boo boos. I teach them how to be gentle with my doggies. I change their diapers. I color with them.

They know my “look” – the one that all parents have – the one that says, “Oh no you didn’t” or, better yet, “Oh no you don’t.”

As a PANK, you know what it’s like to find yourself in CVS with baby vomit down your sleeve, only to realize it’s there when you’re in line with 10 people behind you.

And let me tell you, as a PANK, you totally feel a sense of protection for your little ones. You don’t want them to ever know any sadness, hurt or pain.

When your sister points out the bully in your nephew’s preschool class, you suddenly find yourself giving some random 4-year-old the evil eye. (Or so I’ve heard. Oh no, I’ve never done anything like this. Never…)

As a PANK, you understand what your parents meant when they said, “No matter what, nothing can ever take away the amount of love I have for you.”

My nieces and nephews can be upset at me for telling them, “No.” They can glare at me, turn their backs to me, tell me they’re mad at me. Nothing will ever change the love I have in my heart for them.

As for when I’ll have two-legged kiddos of my own, I’m really not sure (Mom just loves that answer, by the way). Steve and I are still fairly newly married (just over 3 years) and between my doggies, my role as a PANK and building my business, I feel like my plate is already pretty full.

Of course, there’s always room for a little more, and when the time is right, I think we’ll know.

Luckily, I am literally surrounded by mama-to-be, mama, baby and kid products every day here at Pinks & Blues. So I know I’ll be prepared when the time comes.

So although at Camp Baby I won’t be able to contribute to the conversations about up-in-the-night feedings, child-induced lack of sleep, or when to wean a breastfeeding baby, I know I will be able to hold my own when it comes to gushing about “our” little ones.

Between being a PANK and a doggy mama, there’s always something for me to gush about.

I just hope I don’t stick out too much with my Scarlet Letter.

– Jane

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Yesterday was my little baby girl’s birthday!

Ryder turned 6 years old!

So today’s Throwback picture is of Ryder on the first day we met her – March 23, 2002. She was 7 weeks old!

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I brought her home from Pennsylvania, where she was born, and put her on my Mom and Dad’s front porch for them to meet her for the first time.

Mom snapped this wonderful picture of Ryder, looking a bit hesitant about her new situation.

But I think it’s safe to say that Ryder quickly warmed up to her new loving family. She has brought us such love, joy and delight from that day on!

Pinks & Blues Girls Blog is your Throwback Thursday Headquarters!

Join in on the Throwback Thursday fun! Sign Mr. Linky so others know you’ve participated and can check out your Throwback Thursday photos on your site, and don’t forget to leave a comment to let us know you participated!

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A few pictures from our vacation in breathtakingly beautiful Rangeley, Maine

The view from our condo’s deck:

The view of frozen Rangeley Lake, covered in snow:

The snowy mountains, seen from a trail on Saddleback Mountain:

A view of Saddleback Lake from Saddleback Mountain:

Yes, my doggies came on vacation… and they played…

… and slept:

They weren’t the only animals there, of course… here was the view out the window one morning as we ate breakfast in town:

Chopped wood outside our condo (no, we didn’t do the chopping):

Yes, it was cold… and here are the icicles to prove it:

A boy (OK, my husband) and his (OK, a borrowed) sled:

Steve, me and Mom snowshoeing (tons of fun… tiring fun!):

A church in the snow:

And finally, a video of Mom sledding:

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radio1.jpgOne of our holiday traditions used to be the family trek to the tree farm to pick out the Couto Family Christmas Tree.

We would usually go the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving, pick out the perfect tree, take turns cutting it down with our saw, and spend that evening decorating our fragrant, freshly cut evergreen.

The tradition continued even as my siblings and I got older… and we’d bring along our boyfriends and girlfriends to take part in our little holiday ritual.

But then we started to go off and get married… and some of us began to have families of our own (the nerve!)… and some Thanksgiving long weekends began to take place in different states, where the in-laws lived…

And soon the Couto Family Christmas Tree became the kind that can be packed up and stored in the basement when the season is over, and re-assembled in twelve month’s time.

But Mom and Dad are big on tradition. And so they created a new one for us… one that would entertain their adult children and their young grandchildren alike.

And so in 2004, for the first time, we traveled – all 15 of us, at the time – to see the Rockettes perform at the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

It was, indeed, so spectacular that we again made the trip in 2005 and 2006.

And now this weekend we will continue this new(ish) tradition for the fourth time in a row.

We’ve added two kids to the brood since 2003, so now all 17 of us will take Radio City by storm.

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Even though I have no human kids of my own (my doggies can’t come to the show), I look forward to this tradition every year.

To see the excitement in my nieces’ and nephews’ eyes.

To see my parents happy to have the whole family together.

To have a tradition that really means something to us all.

As for the men? I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that they get to see lots of Rockette cleavage.

– Jane
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Cross-posted at New England Mamas

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Hippie Photo Contest

Melody at Slurping Life is hosting a Hippie Photo Contest – and it’s such a groovy idea that we have to join in!

Melody’s instructions? She is “seeking spontaneity, expanded consciousness… shoot from the hip.”

Here are our two entries:

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