The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Happy birthday Midas!

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The Mighty Man is six years old today!

It’s a bummer his birthday is in the winter, because summertime at the lake is clearly his favorite time of year. I smile every time I think of him running away from us down the hill towards the lake. He knew exactly what he was doing, and would look back and give you a little grin as he hopped away.

This little dude, I always joke that he’s the son I never had. He’s always so happy to see us when we get home, so eager to snuggle in and sleep, and so happy to be with us. I can’t believe there was ever a moment when I thought he might belong with someone else.

For his birthday, he’s getting a pigs ear, a birthday cupcake if I can pull it together and pick one up, and a date with a trainer in January. Midas loves me, maybe a little too much, and he gets angry if the other dogs get close to me when I’m holding him. It’s not good behavior. We’ve been trying to nip it in the bud on our own, but it’s time to bring in the professionals. I’d also like to be able to teach him to sit, but every time I pull out a treat he freaks out. He still gets so over excited about food, likely from his puppy mill days. I’m hoping they’ll have some strategies to help him out.

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Chill Weekend

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Both days were top ten weather days this weekend and we had basically zero plans! It was amazing. We totally soaked up our outside time, or at least the dogs did. With four dogs in the house, one of them being a puppy who pees a lot, I just kept them outside as much as possible. I did yard work with them, I read my book, I played Candy Crush, I chatted up the golfers. Poor Baron is ready for his long Monday nap at this point! (That look on his face is “Why won’t you just let me sleep??”

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Midas is a hard dog to photograph, but this picture of him! His eyes are clear, his ears are up, and he’s looking right at the camera. I may frame it I love it that much.

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Note to my father, the hammock swing keeps falling down. I think they play too hard on it because I rehung it three times this weekend. Once, Delaney fell pretty hard on her back – oof! They were able to spend a good amount of time outside this weekend. Sometimes the games they make up are super interesting, and other times I have to intervene because someone’s going to get seriously hurt. Eight is an awesome age.

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This is Annabelle’s default mode. Those $@#$! bunnies taunt her from the next yard, it cannot help that she can see them through the slats. I think she only jumped the fence twice this weekend? We have to be super diligent with her because she knows exactly when you’re not looking and that’s when she goes for it.

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Pictures of Pooches

I have been horrible about taking pictures with my big camera this summer. I’ve gotten out of the habit of taking it everywhere with me, and I just can’t seem to remember to pick it up. So Sunday, Delaney grabbed it and took a bunch of pictures. She did an awesome job!

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caden pose

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The old man’s eyes

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When we started fostering Midas, it was obvious something was wrong with his left eye. The assumption was that he got into a fight in the puppy mill, and sustained an injury. That injury caused a cataract to form (relatively sure) which made his eye look cloudy. I had the vet look at it and at that time (last fall) she thought he still had most of the vision in that eye.

A few weeks ago I took him to our vet for his annual check up. She was fairly concerned about his eye, especially since she could no longer see the cataract that was noted in his file. His left eye was also larger then his right eye, which was cause for more concern. She did some more tests and announced that he had glaucoma.

I knew almost nothing about glaucoma other than that it had to do with the pressure in your eye. Turns out it’s a fairly serious condition, an emergency even. We needed to get him to a veterinary opthalmologist (I have no idea how to spell that) the next day.

When we got home from our vet I immediately did two things – posted to the Underdog Facebook group to see who else had dealt with this, and googled glaucoma in dogs. The specialist our vet recommended was also one a lot of people from Underdog use. When I called I made sure to mention that he was an Underdog. Who knows if it got us seen sooner, although our director was there just before us and I’m guessing it helped a little. Also, don’t google. I realized then that the reason they wanted us to get in immediately was so that he could be treated quickly and hopefully not lose his eye. Yikes.

Long story longer, the specialist took one look at him and with a quick test confirmed the glaucoma diagnosis. Because he is young the prognosis is good, and it can be treated with drops twice a day. What we want to happen is to have the lens of his eye drop to the back, which allows the fluid in his eye to drain, which lowers the pressure. In order to make this happen the doctor put the drop in his eye, then I held him on his back so that his head tilted back, like a baby. He was not thrilled with this position because it’s very submissive, but I rocked him and scratched his belly and he relaxed a little. About twenty minutes into this, he relaxed completely, closed his eyes and started to snooze. I knew then that the drops had worked. Poor little man! It was probably his first pain free moment in a long time. Now when we do his drops we hold him like this for five minutes or so and he loves it.

Midas will have to have these eye drops the rest of his life. He has no vision in that eye, but that doesn’t seem to slow him down. Hopefully, the pressure will continue to stay in the normal range, and he won’t have to rock the pirate look anytime soon. I’m more than a little annoyed with myself that I didn’t take him in to get checked out right after we adopted him, but I can’t turn back time so we just give him extra love now.

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Riding in Style

With the cabin two hours away, I knew the dogs would be spending a lot more time in the car this summer than they have in the past. I decided to step things up a bit. Check out Midas in the new booster seat! It sits them up a bit higher so they can see out (which he loved), and it allows me to attach a strap to their collar keeping them safe. Love it!

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Off to the Vet

Taking three dogs to the vet is EXHAUSTING. I should have asked when they will need updated shots, but I think we’re good for a while.

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Let’s start with Lark. She only weighed 8.5 lbs. I could have sworn she was closer to 10 lbs but oh well. The vet was happy with her weight and said she has slippery kneecaps, so it’s good that she isn’t overweight. I actually feed Lark extra because she burns so many anxious calories, and she still doesn’t gain weight. Lark was the only one to get an overall check up since she needed her skin looked at, and a rabies shot.

Lark has seasonal allergies. Brown spots started showing up on her skin back in March. You can see a few on her chest, but they mostly show up on the backs of her legs. The vet asked if her hair covers up the spots but no, I keep a very close eye on Lark and they aren’t there in the winter. ¬†Along with the spots her hair falls out, and her skin gets very red and inflamed. Last fall we used a spray that helped a lot, but she hated that. This year we are having good luck with Benadryl and coconut oil with lavender oil mixed in. Her hair is starting to grow back, so the vet thinks this is working well, and that we’ll only need to continue the Bendaryl another week or so. I’ll keep doing the coconut oil mixture throughout the summer since it’s good for her coat and anxiety.

She did awesome with the heartworm poke and the rabies shot, but was pretty stressed by the whole experience and went straight to her spot by the heat vent when we got home. Poor baby.

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Midas was up next. He weighs 5.4 lbs! She was very happy with his weight loss. Midas completely charmed the vet tech with his grunts and cute face, but was not happy at all about getting poked. I thought he was going to hurt himself because every time the needle came close he bucked. But, the vet tech held him tight and they finally got the blood they needed.

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Annabelle lost 3.5 lbs! She weighs 16.6 lbs now. We have finally figured out the correct food amount for her which makes me so happy. This is the first time in forever I have not gotten a lecture on an overweight pet. In fact, they were very impressed that I keep up with clipping their toe nails. If we can figure out a good brushing schedule for their teeth, we’ll be golden.

Everyone was heart worm negative, and we got heartworm, and flea and tick meds. Doing this X 3 is not cheap!

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Dog Days

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Saturday was cold! Sometimes sunny, but super brisk. Sunday was sunny and gorgeous! The weather forecast made it very easy to decide which day to clean and which day to get outside!

The girls decided Sunday would be Dog Day. The dogs all got baths and toenails trimmed. Except Lark, because a bath would totally freak her out so instead I used a shampoo spray I have, which still freaked her out. Poor thing was shaking for an hour after. I finally bundled her up and snuggled her until she calmed down.

  
Midas counteracted his bath with a good nap in the sunshine. I tip toed over to the door to try to get a video of him snoring, but he woke up! Rest assured, he was snoring moments after this picture was taken.

The dogs are all very, very ready for spring break to be over and for everyone to leave the house so they can nap! They are exhausted from having their sleep schedules mucked with. They are very used to having eight hours of sleep while we are gone and when they don’t get that for a week, well, Midas has fallen asleep sitting up more than once this week.

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Mighty Man

  

Once we adopted Lark, my attitude towards Midas changed. When you’re consistently going to adoption events and talking to potential adopters about your dogs, you keep a little distance, you have a bit of a guard up. Lowering that guard for Lark, also meant it lowered for Midas as well. I think something changed for him too. Where he used to love being held by people at adoption events, he now ran away if someone reached down to pick him up. There were three events where I didn’t talk to anyone about him because all he wanted to do was sit in my lap!

I started to take the hint that he had found his forever family and was happy sticking with us. The thing was, I really didn’t want three dogs and I wanted to continue to foster. But to be truthful, Midas is fairly low maintenance. He’s little, he doesn’t run away, he travels well, and he loves people. I also realized after temp fostering Marta, that bringing other dogs into our house wasn’t a good idea. Annie didn’t do well with the change and neither did I. I still wasn’t quite ready though.

Just as I was coming around, a couple submitted an application and wanted to meet him. The thought of Midas going to another family crushed me! I tried to make peace with it because they had first priority, but I knew then that if they didn’t adopt him, we would. (Spoiler alert, they didn’t adopt him.)

A few people have been seriously interested in Midas, but they were all looking for a more active, playful dog. Midas loves to sleep. He doesn’t really get how to play with other dogs, and believe me, Annie tries SUPER hard to play with him. He mostly just barks at her. But he loves to snuggle with Lark, so I’ve always thought while he could be an only dog, he would be happiest with other dogs. I think that’s why our family is perfect for him. Annie has Lark to play with, and Midas and Lark have each other to snuggle with.

While Lark tugs at my heart strings and makes me want to heal her with love, Midas makes me laugh and feel like he’s healing me. I’ve googled the breeder that had him originally and he lived in some pretty awful conditions for four years. Those wire cages didn’t break his spirit though. Watching him run and jump into his bed by the heat vent makes me laugh every morning. Watching him fall asleep sitting up waiting for me to climb into bed each night makes me smile. I simply can’t imagine not having this little dude in our lives.

And so, the Mighty Man has been adopted and our family is complete.

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Winter

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When my house was for sale and didn’t sell, and we wanted that house on Quebec but didn’t get it, and it felt like I was never going to find a renter, then I moved into this house but hated everything, my life felt HARD. Like everything was harder than it was for other people. Why couldn’t things just go my way??? First world problems I know, but when you’re doing all of this by yourself and it involves some pretty major financial decisions, it was difficult and I was definitely crabby and not very grateful for my life.

Around that time I was reading Vince Flynn’s latest book. A large part of the book is set in the middle east, where war and destruction and death were an every day part of their lives. Their lives were hard. Was my life so hard? No, it wasn’t. Perspective is a good thing.

Since that moment my attitude changed. I started seeing things in a different light, and being grateful for the things in my life. My house, my renters, my kids, the dogs. There is plenty of research out there about how when people practice gratitude on a daily basis, they are happier. I concur.

I’m sure it doesn’t surprise you that people in Minnesota discuss the weather a lot. My coworkers and I agreed that if the snow can wait until late December, the winter is so much more tolerable. You really only have January and February to get through with the bitter cold and the snow, and it just doesn’t seem as long. As luck would have it, the snow held off until late December and we’re now being hit with the cold.

This past Sunday the girls and I had a great day. We played Legos, we read, I was able to prep lunches for the week, and meat for dinners throughout the week. It felt so good to have a day at home where we could get every day things done! I haven’t had that in months and months! I felt organized, and ready to get back into the swing of things. That’s when I realized that for the next few months, all of our weekends should be like that. No house projects, no holiday gatherings, just life.

While I usually dread January and February and the cold, this year I’m going to try to embrace them. Spend weekends doing things that matter to us. Things like cleaning our house. We had guests on New Years Day and were forced to clean clean, rather than just the surface clean we had been doing and it made a world of difference! I’m ready to be able to spend some time in the kitchen. Our schedule is a little hectic this month, and it will be good to be ahead of the game meal wise. We’re going to hit a museum one weekend (Minneapolis Institute of Art, per Delaney’s request, any locals want to join us?) and I’m hoping to get the dogs out for some serious exercise play time.

It feels good to approach the new year with a different attitude. Let’s hope it’s still around when I start dating!

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Bake Day 2015

Bake Day! For me, the Christmas season doesn’t really start until we bake Christmas cookies all day with my family. It’s such a holiday tradition, and one we all look forward to. For future reference, this year my recipes were peanut butter cups, gluten free chocolate thumbprints, and a flourless chocolate cookie. All were good! It can definitely be hard to find recipes that are gluten/dairy free, that don’t involve crazy gf baking ingredients I don’t want to subject my family to. I’m certainly not going to bring a recipe that calls for cashew butter and medjool dates! I’d get boo’d out of the house. This year ran incredibly smooth. We crafted and lunched, and didn’t start baking until after noon. We thought for sure we’d still be baking cookies at midnight, but we had everything finished up by 4:30pm.

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Starting off with the craft! Here is Delaney’s. It’s like a faux snowglobe with a tealight stuck to the lid of the mason jar so that it gets all pretty at night. It was very fun to pick our decorations and then sprinkle the whole thing with “snow”.

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Looking through my Bake Day pictures this is the only one of Caden! She really was a great helper! She made one regular jar, then painted one with a snowflake stencil. I put the jars out in the living room, only to find them all moved to the girls’ room five minutes later.

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All the crafts lit up so pretty.

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Delaney and Grammy making a batch of cookies! My girls really, really wanted to make chocolate chip cookies for Bake Day so my mom made it happen.

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Spritz cookies! These used to be my all time favorite Christmas cookie. Later in the day I was sitting at the table and there was a plate of them in front of me. I made them move them because it was too tempting! Also, apparently my mom found a spritz thing that worked because I heard very little cursing while these were being cranked out.

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The laundry room was the holding zone for cooling cookies. And also cooling caramel popcorn. I spent a bit of time in there.

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Cousins and light up necklaces! I loved these.

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I brought Midas along because he’s little and everyone should meet him and get to snuggle him. The problem (or not?) is that he’s so little, someone had to hold him all the time or someone would risk stepping on him. He was a perfect gentleman, and did a little floor cleaning when he was allowed to roam. By the end of the night he was so exhausted he fell asleep sitting up while I was holding him. Note to my cousin Gage – he’s still available for adoption!

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