To my Mom on Mother’s Day

I remember crawling into your bed at just five years old. The thunder was cracking, the lightning was flashing, and I was scared. But as soon as I crawled into your arms, and you held me tight, the fear suddenly diminished. I felt safe next to you. This was even before the tornado came.

About two years passed, and suddenly we found ourselves huddled in the corner of our basement, under covers, praying for our lives. But just like you had done two years ago, you held on to us kids so tight. You refused to let anything happen to us. You made us feel safe. And even though it was scary and traumatizing, we made it through that night. We lost every material thing, but in the big scheme of things, that didn’t matter much. We still had each other, and that is all we needed.

The years after the tornado were tough on me. I had nightmares after nightmares. But when I had one of those nightmares, and I woke up in a panic, I knew where I could find my comfort. I would slide out of my bed, tip-toe across the house, and crawl in your bed next to you. You always knew why I was there. You would tell me it was okay, and you would hold me in your arms. And for the rest of the night, I would feel safe.

Then there were the times that I was sick. I am sure I would have recovered the same in my own bed, in my own room, but that wasn’t good enough for me. I wanted to be with you. You would make me hot tea, Vicks me up, tuck me under your covers, and there we would lay, watching Lifetime movies, until we both fell asleep. I was in your arms. I felt safe and the sickness suddenly disappeared.

There were also the heartbreaks. I know you remember each one vividly. They broke your heart almost as much as they broke mine. And I didn’t even need to ask you – you already knew. You told me to come over to  your room, and there I would stay, crying with you, talking to you, watching Lifetime movies with you, until we finally both fell asleep. I was in your arms. I felt safe, and the heartbreak suddenly started to disappear.

But it wasn’t just the scary, sick, or sad times that I would spend with you. There were nights, that I just wanted to be with my mom, the woman who raised me, loved me, and inspired me. So I would come over to your room, we would lay in the bed, eating popcorn and drinking Pepsi, watching Lifetime movies, until we would fall asleep. I was in your arms. I felt safe, and I felt unconditionally loved.

You have always been there to hold me when I needed you most. You first held me in your arms 25 years ago, as I took my first breath. In that moment, there was so much love, so much joy, and so much safety. I knew from that first minute on, that you would always be there to hold me, and you have never let me down.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom – I love you.

 

Two Years.

Today is my adopt-a-versary. My gotcha day. However, I’m sure you all knew that already. I’m sure you had it marked in your calendars since last year. I mean, it isn’t as big as Martin Luther King Day or Christmas, but come on people, it’s pretty high up there. At least top five. Oh and by the way, I am still waiting on the gifts and cake to start rolling in.
So of course there had to be a blog post about this monumental holiday. But, instead of being all sappy, and making everyone cry hysterically with how sweet and corny I can be, I decided to make everyone slightly chuckle instead. Yes, I do enjoy a good laugh.

A lot has changed in two years. I’ve gotten better looking (if that is even possible), more witty (of course), a little more tender (don’t tell anyone I said that; I don’t want to ruin my bad-ass image), and more comfortable and content with life. Let’s face it, my life is way better than yours. My mom and dad are way cooler than yours. In general, everything about my life is pretty amazing. Well most things are amazing – we still have that whole bath situation to sort out.

Anyway, I figured I would compile a list of 15, because that seems to be a good number. A list of the 15 things I have learned in my two years of being adopted. So continue on…

  1. All dogs literally hate the mailman. This is not just true in movies. It is very accurate in real life. I think they are some sort of terrorist, or maybe they just smell like bacon. I haven’t decided yet. Either way, I would bite my mailman’s arm off if I was loose when they arrived.
  2. Pretending you’re scared of getting your nails trimmed at Pet Smart is the best way to get attention, from both your parents and strangers. All you have to do is start whining slightly and add in a little tremble for extra effect, and a second groomer will just come over to you, just to hug you until it is over. Come on people, I am not that big of a baby. I just want the extra love. Plus, your mom and dad will feel so guilty afterwards, that you will either get a bone or a vanilla ice cream dish. It’s a win-win.
  3. Human food is way better than dog food, and if you give the dopey-eyed look long enough, you will definitely get some of your human’s dinner. And you know what I think – I think that chocolate isn’t actually toxic to us dogs. I think humans just tell you that so they don’t have to share.
  4. No matter how hard you beg, or how many times you put it on your Santa list, you will never get out of getting a bath. I will forever hate this time of the month, but shaking all of my wet, dog fur onto my dad afterwards, makes it semi tolerable. 
  5. Lounging on the couch is only acceptable when I am at my grandparents’ house or dad is not home. But as soon as Marlee gets the call that Zach is heading home from work, I jump off the couch and the lint roller comes out. Shhh, don’t tell Zach our secret. 
  6. Squeaky toys are the best. I used to never be into toys, but after getting the BarkBox every month, I have grown to love all toys. I will sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and start squeaking and tossing my toy up in the air. It’s mostly for my personal enjoyment, but I also get a kick out of watching mom and dad wake up wondering what the heck is going on.
  7. You feel like a new man every time you take a poop. I guess it is like a load taken off of you – pun intended. But seriously, every time I relieve myself, I bolt into the house full force and start throwing my toys all over the living room. Maybe it’s my way of telling Marlee there is a fresh pile for her to clean up.
  8. When you are named after your dad’s favorite college basketball team, you will be forced to wear a t-shirt every game for good luck. I just learn to accept it. And warning, there will be family photos involved.
  9. I know I am not supposed to lay on the mattress when the bedding is being washed, but that never stops me. Marlee loves it when my black fur gets all the over the white mattress pad.
  10. Cuddling with Marlee and Zach at night is the best part of my day. Zach makes a great pillow, full of fluff, and Marlee makes the best snuggler.
  11. Running away, even as just a game, isn’t worth it. When I first was adopted, I used to get loose and have Zach and Marlee chase me for hours. Now, if I get loose, I just lay down on the grass in defeat and wait for them to come grab me. Mostly because life anywhere else wouldn’t be as great as the life I have with them, and partially because Zach spanks hard.
  12. I will forever be between the ages of 4-6. Marlee and Zach do not know my exact age, so anytime they are asked, they always say 4-6 years old. They have been saying that for two years now. I guess I am like Edward Cullens and won’t ever age.
  13. Barking at any stranger or dog that walks past me is my favorite thing. I get a kick out of watching them jump a little.
  14. Sometimes all you need to make the day better is a little bit of porch sitting with the family. Plus when you’re out there at the front of the house, you feel like the King of the neighborhood. 
  15. Being with a family, who loves you as much as Marlee and Zach love me, is pretty awesome.

So yea, life for the past two years has been nothing short of fantastic. I am one lucky dog. I am loved. Everything is okay in my world, well except for the bath situation, but like I said before, I don’t think that is changing anytime soon.

Now, I am going to enjoy the Burger King cheeseburger meal that I got for dinner, while wearing my crown, because I am the King.
 

25, Part II – The Twin Edition


I am now officially three days away from turning 25-years-old. I know some of you read my post from last week on the 25 things I have learned in my 25 years. If you didn’t, well shame on you –  you are not invited to eat cake with me… only kidding. You can catch up on that post here.

Anyway, after reading my post from last week, many of you can see, that I left a pretty important part out – well person, I should say. Yes, I forgot to include Brandi, my twin sister, and trust me, she has been pouting about it all week…only slightly kidding this time.

So I am going to compile another list of 25 for our 25 years of life together, only this time, it will be the 25 things us as twins have went through in our 25 years.

Here we go…

  1. The dress alike phase. Yes, I know this is common in twins, but our mom took it slightly overboard. Not only did we have to dress alike everyday in elementary school, but if one of us had to get our school picture retaken, we had to wear the same exact outfit as before, so that our new picture would still match the other twin’s original photo. We were the original model of “Who wore it better.” And we had matching bowl haircuts…like why?
  2. We had to share EVERYTHING! Clothes, a room, a bed, parents, a birthday, friends…the list goes on and on. It was very annoying back in the day, but now, we cherish it.
  3. We were/are a package deal. If one of us made a new friend, the other one automatically made a new friend too. You couldn’t befriend one twin without befriending the other. Our college roommate Kate found that out the first week of classes, and she was okay with it. Also, if you want to date one of us, you have to like the twin. If you don’t, it just isn’t going to work out – Sorry, not sorry.
  4. Yes, we do wear the same size shoe, shirt, and pant. No, Brandi does not like it when I borrow clothes from her closet. I have been known not to give certain things back if I think they look better on me – oops.
  5. We are use to, but still hate, being referred to as “the twins.” We are two different people. COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.
  6. If you call me Brandi, I will answer to that. Heck, I’ll even pretend to be her through the conversation. One time in college, one of Brandi’s classmates stopped me in the library to talk about a paper. I had no idea what paper, but I sure went along with it. Also, Brandi does the same thing for me.
  7. Yes, we know our voices sound exactly alike. We are twins. Tell us something that is new.
  8. We hate when you make us stop what we are doing, to stand side-by-side, so you can see how much or how little we look alike. It was flattering back in the day, but now it’s just annoying.
  9. Yes, we did swap places once during school. I went to math for Brandi and she went to English for me. Worked out perfectly.
  10. We did have a crush on the same guy once. Trust me, that only happened once. Believe it or not, our types are completely different.
  11. We did everything together. Had the same high school classes, had the same high school jobs, went to the same college, almost had the same degree, and even worked at the same place after college for a bit. Yes, we are inseparable.
  12. The longest we were ever apart up until this year, was 10 days during a summer in high school. It was complete torture.
  13. Yes, we do feel each others’ pain – physical and emotional.
  14. We ironically were obsessed with everything Mary-Kate and Ashley back in the day. Had every one of their movies, every one of their Barbie dolls, and even dressed in their clothes. We felt a bond with them.
  15. It’s true what they say – twins can tell other twins a part more easily. It is a gift.
  16. We did use the catch phrase, “Pinch, Poke, You owe me a Coke,” a lot back in the day. We said the same thing at the same time, totally  unplanned, all the time. However, we never actually bought the other one a Coke.
  17. We have a ton of inside jokes. And no, I can’t tell you any of them, otherwise they wouldn’t be inside jokes, now would they.
  18. We have gotten into physical fights before. I did throw a hanger at her once for wearing my pants to church. Like I said above, we hate when the other “steals” our clothes. Don’t worry, we never stay mad at each other for more than five minutes.
  19. We have talked about living in a duplex. It will happen one day, whether our husbands like it or not. Remember, we are a package deal.
  20. Before anyone asks again, I am one minute older and a little more wiser. After all, I was in the world so much longer than Brandi.
  21. If you ask us which one the “bad” twin is, we will say the other one…every time. So, stop asking.
  22. We did have the Shaulis and Shaulis Mystery Agency back in the day. You can thank our obsession with the Olsen twins for that one. We set up shop in our shed, and solved one whole mystery, which was “who did the loud footsteps belong to that our mother heard while working alone in the church.” We did solve it, but we can’t disclose that information.
  23. You will never know more than me about my twin. It just won’t happen.
  24. I risked my life the night the tornado took our house, in order to get Brandi’s cherished Teddy Bear from the bedroom. That is true love right there. Yes, the bear is still with us today.
  25. She is my soul mate. No one will ever take that position away from her. After all, she has been with me my whole entire life. We shared an umbilical cord people, meaning I actually shared my precious food with her. I don’t do that with just anyone.

I know after reading through those, you are all jealous you don’t have a twin sister. If you aren’t, you definitely should be. Being a twin is an experience unlike any other, and my twin, is forever my best friend.

I love you Brandi – Happy Birthday…well almost.

Air-Bagging, Tea-Bagging, Poop-Bagging 

Today, I want to take you back to the first day we brought Duke home. Well actually, I want to take you back to the first 30 minutes we brought Duke home. 

No, this is not a sappy, lovey dovey post. This post, my friends, is all about humor and a whole lot of laughter. And after my last post, the mood could be lightened up a bit. 

We will start with the car ride home. Oh, what an interesting car ride that was. As you all know from past posts, as well as Instagram pictures, Duke absolutely loves car rides. He literally leaps in the air with joy every time the word car ride is uttered. 

Well, that first car ride home was something special and was slightly unique to every other car ride we have experienced since then. 

Duke naturally was nervous being in a car, going to an unfamiliar place, with people he had just met. We had Zach driving my car, dog father Ben in the front seat, and I was of course in the back, gushing over the fact that I was officially bringing a dog of my own home. 

Well, I guess Duke got tired of being gushed over, and decided it would be a great idea to jump over top the passenger seat head rest, right on to Ben’s lap, all while Zach was driving. A possible disaster in the making. I knew Duke was a little leery about us, but I didn’t think he had a car hijac and murder planned for the first day. Anyway, lucky for us, no accident happened. 

He stayed on Ben’s lap for about 5 minutes, before deciding, he wanted to come back to the back with me. Without warning, he leaped over Ben’s head and the head rest to get back. In mid air, Duke’s newly snipped, stitched, and swelled equipment drug right across Ben’s face and forehead. I bet he never thought he would be tea-bagged by a canine in his lifetime. 

Zach and I busted out laughing, while Ben was choking over the doggy pubes that he had swallowed. He didn’t find it as funny.  

After a 20 minute car ride full of tea-bags and almost some air bags, we finally pulled into our apartment complex. 

We took Duke inside the house, and then made another trip out to the car to bring the rest of the stuff inside. However, I forgot to fully latch the screen door. Next thing we know, Duke busted out of the door, and ran full force down the road. 

I just stood in shock, crying by the car. Like, I’m talking, Kim Kardashian ugly tears. I thought that Duke was going to run away or get hit by a car, literally 30 minutes after I had signed the adoption papers. Up until this point, I have not told too many people about this incident. I didn’t want people thinking I was a bad mother. 

Anyway, Zach dropped everything from his hands and started bolting in the direction that Duke ran. After I pulled myself together, I followed behind. Let me tell you, I was not in shape to be chasing full force after a dog. And I didn’t have my inhaler with me. 

Finally, Duke was in sight. He was standing under a tree. Zach ran over to him, only to have Duke run faster away again. We soon found out that Duke thought it was some kind of game. He got a lot of enjoyment out of watching us run like amateur track stars after him, only to start huffing and puffing uncontrollably. 

So this sherade continued for a solid 10 minutes. Finally, we saw Duke under yet another tree. This time when we approached him, he did not move. Only because he was squatted down in poop position. Hey, I guess he wanted some privacy. I don’t blame him. Don’t worry, we cleaned it up with our new blue poop bags. 

Zach let him finish his “business,” before grabbing him by the collar and leading him home. 

Yes, he did get scolded by Zach. And yes, as you can probably guess, he got hugged and kissed by me. What can I say, I was emotional.  

The mixed reactions to him running away is probably why it happened again. Not one more time, but three or four more times. Once, when Zach was in nothing but his work socks. 

But, we will save that tale for a different day. 

Till I See You Again

And just like that, you took your last breath, as everyone you loved, pulled you close to them. You were in no more pain. You had no more discomfort. You were at peace…

Losing a pet is on the top three list of hardest things that a person can go through. Sure, it’s not as traumatizing as losing a human member of the family, but it can still shatter a heart.

No, they are not human. I understand this. But, they are still a major part of your world. One of the loves of your life. You made memories with them over the years. You spoiled them like a human child. You held on to them for comfort when times became hard or sad. They were family.

It is never easy saying goodbye to an animal who you loved. In that moment, all the memories come flooding back, and you come to the realization, that as of that instant, there will be no more memories created with that being in this lifetime. You will not see them again, while you are still on this Earth. There will be no more tail wags as you walk through the door. No more slobbery kisses to wake you up in the morning. No more cuddles that help put you to sleep. For the rest of your worldly life, they will be gone.

But make no mistake, you will see them again.

They are waiting for you in that beautiful place, and as soon as you walk through the doors leading into eternity, they will be there, wagging their tails. And the best part is, you never have to say goodbye to them again. They will forever be by your side.

Just like you spent days preparing for the first day that your pet would come home to you. Buying them toys, treats, food, beds, etc., they are doing the same for you in Heaven.

They are keeping your side of the bed warm, because they know how much you like that. They are making sure that everything at home is perfect, for when you arrive.

Right now, I know the pain is unbearable. Your heart is broken, and your eyes have not yet stopped crying. Your pet, your love, your family member, has left you behind.

But, I promise, it is only for a little while. You will see them again. And those slobbery kisses, will be just as great, if not better, than what you remember.

…You were at peace. I kissed your soft head, and whispered in your ear, ‘Till I see you again.’

 

 

 

Six More.

Today was the day that many have been anticipating since winter rolled in. The day when that notorious groundhog would emerge from his hole, and hopefully deliver the good news that spring would be coming early.

Well, the groundhog came out of his hole, but the outcome wasn’t what everyone was hoping for. The outcome – six more weeks of winter.

I know, I know. A lot of you are bummed, angry, frustrated, annoyed, and all those other sucky emotion describing words that can be found in the Webster. I’ve even heard one man bellow that they should have picked another animal from the beginning of this whole charade to deliver the weather. Unfortunately, many years have passed, and the groundhog has become a household name, so there is no changing it now. We just have to suck it up and deal with it.

But hey, come on. Winter isn’t that bad. In fact, I can think of a few reasons why six more weeks isn’t such a bad thing. If you haven’t already stopped reading this from your first paragraph disgust, then continue below. Maybe it will help you get through the next month and a half of this season.

  1. More winter made memories with the family. Six more weeks of sled riding, snow angel creating, hot chocolate story telling time around the fire, and holiday movie watching. To me, winter is the most beautiful season of the year, because of how much it brings the family together. Only partly because giant snow storms come and keep you all stuck at the house. But really, who doesn’t love all the quality time this season brings you. Think of how many great moments you will get to share with your loved ones in the next six weeks.
  2. More breathtaking Instagram pictures. I know you are all obsessed with social media. And what is better than posting a pretty picture of the snow covering the trees or blanketing the ground. You all do it. My Instagram and Facebook have been bombarded by winter pictures, so I know you all love it. Don’t deny it. Just think, you have six more weeks of posting those pictures for the internet world to see.
  3. More time to wear the cute and stylish winter apparel. Keep those boots, blanket scarves, and cozy baggy sweaters out for six more weeks. Yay, you are going to be styling and profiling. There is no other season where you look as great as you do in winter, so embrace it. Because once spring and summer roll in, you’ll be whining about wanting to wear those boots and scarves again.
  4. More snow days. Did someone say snow days? Yep, I sure did. You know all you teachers and students love that two word phrase. You live for them. Well, now you have six more weeks of potential snow days. So maybe you should be saying “alleluia,”instead of “dumb groundhog.”
  5. More time to sip down your favorite winter latte flavors. All you white girls out there, can I get a ‘wooot – woooot!’ I know this is amazing, praise worthy news to hear. Six more weeks to visit Starbucks or Dunkin’ Doughnuts everyday to indulge in your favorite drink. Warms the heart, soul, and mind. Yummmm, winter you taste good.
  6. More time for all you skiers and snowboarders to shred some major snow. After all, there hasn’t been a whole lot of snow to shred so far this winter, so maybe now, is your time.
  7. More time to sing your Christmas is over blues. Face it. Many of you aren’t over the fact that Christmas has came and went already. I know some people are in serious denial, and still even have the tree and lights up. Well, keep them decorations up. You can still be in denial for six more weeks. As long as the snow is falling and the temperature it dropping, I say, it’s still technically holiday season.

So, I just supplied you all with a few reasons why winter sticking around isn’t so terrible. Now maybe, you guys will all decide that the groundhog deserves to live – at least for now.

Winter, six more weeks of you, actually sounds pretty fantastic.

 

The Life Lessons my 88 Year Old Grandma has Taught Me. 

You are now 88 years old. Wow, it’s true what they say. Time really does fly when you’re having fun. 

You always were a blast. I remember times when Brandi and I didn’t want to leave your house because we were enjoying ourselves so much. Mom and dad had to force us to come over. We never stayed away for too long though. We just couldn’t. With you, we always had the time of our lives. 

And we learned a lot from you. Not only were you fun, but you were wise. The life lessons we have gained from you over our 24 years have always stuck with us, and they will continue to do so. 

I think it’s now time to share some of these life lessons with the rest of the world. After all, I wouldn’t want them to be deprived of the wise words of such an amazing woman. So on your 88th birthday, I will gift my readers with a little MeMe wisdom. 

1. Mind your manners. MeMe used to always tell us: “Always say please and thank you.” And her most infamous one: “Tables are made for glasses, not asses.” Man, all Brandi and I wanted to do was be up on the table, closer to all the cookie action. Finally, she taught us to always kill people with kindness, even if they don’t deserve it. “Trust me,” she would say. “There are a lot of people who don’t deserve it, but don’t let them know that.” 

2. Own what the good Lord gave you. You could never be body conscious around grandma. If you made one bad comment about yourself, she would say : “Now, you’re built like a brick shithouse, and not even a brick out of place.” At first, I wasn’t sure if that phrase was a compliment. I quickly learned it was one of the highest. 

3. Always be a lady when using the restroom. Don’t announce to the world about “your business.” If you must tell them about using the restroom, always say: “I have to shake the dew off of my lily.” MeMe said that always makes it sound more polite and lady like. And when you’re done, remember this: “If you sprinkle while you tinkle, be a sweetie and wipe the seatie.” 

4. Always separate the end pieces of the puzzle from the rest of them. Why make things harder on yourself. Have some patience. Take the time to make things easier on yourself. If you don’t have the time of day to separate your puzzle pieces, then you need to slow it down. Who knew putting a puzzle together could teach you so much. 

5. The bigger the pancake the better. Why waste the space in your skillet. Fill that sucker up with batter. Don’t leave a spot untouched. Plus you will feel so much better about yourself. It will trick your mind into thinking you ate less, when in fact, you probably engulfed the same amount, if not more.

6. You must try all food before turning your nose up to it. If grandma told you to try something, you better try it. If you say, “No, I don’t like it,” she would come back with, “How do you know? You haven’t even tried it.” Fair enough. So open your mouth and try it. If then you don’t like it, it’s acceptable. 

7. There is nothing better than homemade apple butter and jelly. Enough said. 

8. Walking barefoot is good for you. It will make you and your feet tough, MeMe would always say. If you don’t want to be ticklish, toughen up those soft feet. Plus, there is nothing better than walking barefoot on a hot summer day. 

9. Cold coffee is sometimes better than hot. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true. Still get the flavor without having to worry about scorching your taste buds. 

10. Finally, always have fun and laugh a lot. Don’t take things too seriously. Dance around the living room listening to an old record player blaring Willie Nelson. Go skinny dipping in the middle of the day. Do whatever you have to do to make life enjoyable. After all, you only have one go at it. Make it worth it. 

So there you go. A lot of wise advice to take with you through your life. Just remember, my grandma is now 88 years old, and so far her advice has worked for her. 

Happy Birthday MeMe. You are always so much fun and oh so wise.