Tag Archives: parenting


There’s a challenge floating around social media to tell your naming story.  Since each girl joined us in the midst of family changes, I’d like to share their stories.

NewfGirlsWeb-85Maisie: My daughter had just gone off to college, and we had our two senior dogs Bailey (10 1/2- year-old Newfoundland) and Charlie (13-year-old Newfoundland Labrador mix). Charlie had been diagnosed with a large abdominal tumor and we knew he had limited time but Bailey was still in very good health.  I thought Bailey would be a great big sister to a new puppy, however the week before we picked up our new puppy Bailey took a turn and suddenly passed away.  We brought home this little bundle and poor Charlie wasn’t feeling well.  He passed away 1 week later.  Suddenly we went from 2 senior dogs to 1 young puppy.  We were starting over again and I kept thinking back to when Bailey was a puppy and my kids were little.  My daughter is an avid reader and we both shared our love of books and read together a lot, especially at bedtime.  One of our favorites was Daisy Head Maisie and it seemed like a perfect name for our little brown girl.

NewfGirlsWeb-14Annie: My son had just gone off to college and I was feeling the quietness of the empty nest.  I looked into Newfoundland Rescue and found Annie, who was still in foster care one year after her rescue. Annie was one of 44 Newfoundlands surrendered from a puppy mill in December of 2014.  The paperwork and records were spotty and all that we received for Annie was her 2014 Rabies certificate.  Her name was listed as Anne but Paris was handwritten next to it.  I don’t know why she had two names or even how it was known that this was her name but she has always responded to Annie not Paris.  Assuming this is correct, I found a listing for Paris on a Newfoundland registry with a birthdate of June 7 2006 so that is when we celebrate her birthday.  We call her Annie Bear, Sweet Annie and Annie McFanny.

NewfGirlsWeb-31Winn:  On January 2nd of this year my very healthy Dad was diagnosed with a large tumor on his liver.  I was with him in February for his radiation therapy that was supposed to give him 2-3 years.  I hoped at that time that there would be a puppy available for me once they were born, and that I would bring her with me when I returned for his 3 month follow-up appt.  I rushed back to his side on March 24th.  The litter had been born and I shared my news with him and any new pictures as I got them from her breeder.  As my family and I sat around him in the hospital, we shared lots of stories and memories and by far our favorite place was our lake house on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire.  Dad loved his boat and my spot was always on the left side of the bow.  Whenever he felt like going for a spin, I eagerly joined him and we would tour around the lake.  I told him I would be naming her Winn and that made him smile.  Unfortunately, he didn’t live long enough to meet her but to honor him and those happy memories I decided her registered name should be Bearfoot in the Bow.

I know this post ends on a bit of a sad note, but Winn exudes so much joy and her antics bring me laughter when I need it most. It’s impossible to be sad when she is around.

I would love to hear from all of you with your naming stories, human or 4 legged!

That Mom feeling

You know that feeling that something is brewing but you don’t know what.  Yeah, I get that feeling a lot, mostly in regards to my kids.

Monday morning I was feeling really good.  Chris and I had a really nice weekend.  We have started a new project on the house but we didn’t work the whole weekend and actually took some time out for fun.  We took the dogs to the beach and then prowled through an architectural salvage place. I love poking around and looking for treasure from old homes.  It makes me a little sad because I know that a beautiful old home was torn down and these are the remnants, but I love finding things that I can use in my own 19th century Victorian home. Getting dusty and dirty is all part of the fun.

This was also our first weekend with both kids back in school. Abigail seems to be doing well, we’ve talked a few times since she left and her classes start this week.  I havn’t yet heard from Thomas, and with him, no news is good news but I was planning on calling him when I got home from work to hear about his first week. Knowing that I would attempt to reach him that night didn’t resolve that feeling in the pit of my stomach that something was off.

Then I noticed a missed call from Thomas.  Thomas never calls.  I often wonder if he even knows how to use his phone as a phone.  Our communication is always via text message so the alarm bells immediately went off.  I sent him a quick text (he never answers my calls unless I text first) “everything ok?”.  “I need to get an x-ray, I slammed my hand in a car door”

What? And what?  Of course there was no answer to “are you ok” “which hand” “do you have a plan, where to go”.  So I’m left with no answers and lots of wondering. The biggest lesson I’ve learned about being a parent of college kids is that they need to try to solve things on their own.  As much as I’d like to rush in and fix it, that just isn’t possible and now it’s time for them to figure it out.  Eventually he let me know that it was his right hand and he was in a lot of pain.

I didn’t hear back from him til later in the evening when I texted “it’s fine if you don’t want to let me know what is going on but you should be prepared to pay the bill when I send it to you”. Guess what, the phone rang instantly. Since he is a college athlete he has access to athletic trainers that quickly facilitated his care.  He got an x-ray, apparently broke his hand and will have surgery Tuesday morning.  He still didn’t know who was going to drive him to the hospital, he has to go about an hour away to the orthopedic surgeon.  According to Thomas, he works on the players for the Cincinnati Reds. Whatever, I’m just glad someone got it going for him and he didn’t sit for hours in a small town ER.

Of course he doesn’t know if he’ll have a cast, how long his recovery will be or any other details I would have asked.  He seems to think they will just “pull it” kind of like popping a shoulder back in place. He said the bone has been shoved under his wrist knuckle. Looking at my own hand, I have no idea what he is talking about.  Who knows, but I’m sure this means he won’t be playing fall ball which is too bad. He assured me he wouldn’t have any trouble in class because his index finger still works and he “doesn’t type like a normal person”.  So there you go, everything will be fine.

Any other Moms think this is an adequate amount of information?

PS. He forwarded me an email from the athletic trainer and he has an Angulated Boxer’s Fracture of the Distal Fifth Metatarsal. That answers all my questions. Ha.

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Love this boy, even if he is a terrible communicator!




Ahhh…Back to School

By the day after Labor Day, everyone will be safely back into a school routine.

Each summer, when August rolls around, our thoughts always turn to Back to School. When the kids were younger we would start thumbing through catalogs looking at new backpacks, lunch boxes and clothes. We would go to Target with the supply list in hand and try to get all of the required notebooks, pencils, pens, assorted other desk needs as well as the requested Kleenex, paper towels and hand sanitizer for each class room. Every attempt was made to do this shopping as soon as the list was available to avoid the mess and mayhem of the over crowded supply section as the first day of school approached–some years we were successful!

As the kids got older, the lists got shorter since we usually had an abundance of supplies that hadn’t been used the year before. On the last day of school, they would come home with a bag of unused pens, pencils, sharpies, markers, scissors, paper and spirals that would get shoved into the basement closet and dragged back out in August to be recycled in the upcoming year. Once they were in high school, the supply list didn’t exist, they were on their own to determine what supplies they needed and they would pick them up when necessary. Talk about supply list liberation!

As the years went by, it became easier for me to say good-bye as they headed off to school, and I even caught myself breathing a sigh of relief. I love summer and the relaxed schedule, but eventually it’s time to get everyone back into a routine. For years that meant earlier to bed and earlier to rise, regular meal times and reconditioned study habits. Now, with Thomas about to start his sophomore year in college and Abigail moving to a new city to begin graduate school, it means making piles in the living room with dorm room and apartment needs, wardrobes for warm weather and the change of season, laptops and study aids, fans, mini- fridge and all the other assorted items they cant live without.

Abigail’s pile of stuff.  Her college diploma came the week before she left and sits on the table.

This year, by the beginning of August I was ready for them to go. I was ready to have my quiet house back. I will not miss the multiple baskets of laundry stacked high in varying states of cleanliness, tripping over the huge shoe that has been kicked off right in the middle of the door way, my favorite beach towel missing because someone else decided to swipe it,  the wet bath towels strewn around on the floor, the egg skillet left in the sink and the refrigerator and pantry constantly being raided.

Last breakfast together until they are home again.

There is a pile of crumbs and a dirty knife in front of the toaster. Every. Damn. Day! To be fair, they are in charge of their own laundry and bathroom, and supposedly the egg pan and dirty dishes, but none is done on a schedule or with a thoroughness that I would like.

I love having my kids home but by last spring my husband and I had started to enjoy having the house to ourselves. I never thought I would say that. It seemed impossible to imagine a life that didn’t have them home every night, but we learned to love it! We splurged on a new couch that fits just the two of us. We like to fix our dinner on a tray and eat in front of the TV with our 2 big dogs curled up at our feet. I like coming in the back door and not tripping over a discarded shoe. I like reaching for my favorite bag of potato chips and knowing that it will be there. I like finding the house exactly the way that I left it, whether it is dirty or clean. Somehow, two huge and hairy dogs can’t compete with two grown children when comes to leaving a messy trail.

I’ve surprised myself by liking the empty nest and I look forward to missing my kids again and counting the days until they will be home for thanksgiving weekend!IMG_2726IMG_2721