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(In 2007, I donated peripheral blood stem cells to a 21 year old stranger.  Read about my journey.)

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Tuesday
Jul022013

Dog days of summer

Summer is here in full force.  Even though the kids have only been out of school for one full week, it feels as if we've settled completely into our summer routine.  Our schedule is full of camps, soccer, softball & volleyball.  The kids are outdoors and active almost all day everyday.  We do summer justice around here.  Have to, considering how miserable it is outside the rest of the year, right?

One thing we didn't anticipate this summer?  Having 5 dogs in the house to kick it all off.  Kinda gives new meaning to "the dog days of summer", huh?

No.  I haven't become THAT crazy dog lady.  Not officially.  Not yet.  

Only 2 of the dogs are actually ours to keep.  You see, my husband and I took a much needed trip sans kids to our house in Aruba to recuperate after my high school softball season ended.  We had planned to bring one foster puppy back from ARF (Animal Relief Foundation), but somehow fell in love with a brother & sister who had been found at 4 weeks old running through a busy street.  They had been living with a foster family on island for about 4 weeks.  We decided to each transport a puppy back on our flight.  What's one extra puppy, right?

Tell me you could've rescued just one of them and I call bullsh&t.

They are the "K" litter and their foster mom before us simply called them "the babies" so we named them Khloe and Klaus.  Yes.  Klaus is after Niklaus, the original.  He's smart and adorable and TROUBLE with all caps.  Just when you think his nautiness is too much, he flashes you his smile and you melt.  If you don't get the reference, I'm not entirely sure we can be friends.

Just before arriving home, we heard from the family of our first foster puppy, Divi.  Not going to delve into the hows or whys here, but let's just say she wasn't the right puppy for them.  SO, we ended up taking her back to find her a more suitable home.  She is now 8 months old and has a TON of energy.

In case you don't follow me on Facebook and missed that our beloved Chester passed away last month, well, he did.  Be thankful I wasn't blogging at the time because you would have needed to take stock in tissues after viewing the goodbye pictures we captured.  It totally sucked and my heart still feels shattered when I think about him.  But he left us with a little gift.  He simply adored the foster pup we had at the time, Gabby.  She is a wonderful, sweet girl and, serendipitously, her forever home fell through 3 times, the final time being the day after he passed away.  We like to think that he picked her out for us.

So we ended up keeping Gabby, now 16 weeks old.  She makes a great foster big sis to the pups.  She plays well with them, almost to the point that we wonder if she has a touch of herding genes in her.  She also acts like Mother Hen, taking care of them and keeping them out of (too much) trouble.  She seems to understand that they, too, are rescues and need a little extra love.

Add Gabby and the 3 fosters to our own 12 year grumpy old Cattle dog Jasper.  Whew.  Let's just say the dogs have temporarily taken over our lives.

Key word: temporarily.

I keep telling myself that.  In fact, it's become my mantra.

this is temporary.  this is temporary. THIS IS TEMPORARY.

Much like the brutal winter weather.  Much like the chaos that is my softball season.  These dog days of summer are truly temporary.  

We just found a home for Miss Khloe and have bites on Klaus and Divi that may turn into their forever homes very soon.

I am sure we will wake up one morning well past the 5am the fosters demand and will find ourselves in a new stage.  Not gonna lie, I'm kinda hoping it will be titled the lazy days of summer.

How about you?  How's summer going so far?

Wednesday
Apr102013

Animal Relief Foundation Aruba

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I've added a new hat to my ever growing collection: puppy foster mom.

Over the last 11+ years of traveling to our house in Aruba, we've noticed an abundance of street dogs and wondered what we could do to help out.  On our last family trip to the island, we were fortunate enough to be on the same plane as volunteers for a great organization called Animal Relief Foundation Aruba (ARF).  They raise funds and team up with vets to spay and neuter some of the wild dogs.  In addition, they rescue entire litters of puppies from a "kill bin" on the island.

Yes.  There is a "kill bin" where people drop off their puppies and they are put to sleep.  How very sad.  There appears to be an endless supply of puppies.  Yet, there is not an endless population of families on the island.  So, they started transporting the puppies to the US to increase their chances of finding a family.  There is no rabies on the island, thus no quarantine.  Just a small amount of extra paperwork going through customs.

When I was there for my birthday celebration, I offered to take home a puppy with me and to foster her until we could find a family.  We weren't sure what to expect from the experience or how long we would have her in our home.

Meet Divi (later renamed Bama by her family):

She was about 14 weeks old when I brought her home and was adopted by my Assistant Coach 5 days later.  During that 5 days, I grew very attached.  Lots of puppy snuggles and kisses.  I not only opened my home to her, but my heart.

Said heart nearly broke into a million pieces when I handed her over to her forever family.  It helped tremendously that I would be seeing her all season.  

Plus, ARF promised the first is always the hardest.

I chose to believe them and opened my home (and heart) to another little guy last week.  A couple offered to transport him from Aruba to Boston for us on their flight home.

Meet 9 week old Edward, Crazy Eddie... or Phoenix, as his new forever family is calling him.  He's been very helpful when I'm trying to work... ehem.  

New math: puppy does not equal productive.

He's such a love.  Even our grumpy old guy, Chester, is smitten and protective of him... especially when he whines in his crate.

It took 5 days to find him a forever family, but he's staying with us until this weekend while they get settled into their brand new house.  He's going to my neighbor's sister.  As smitten as I am by him, it doesn't hurt as much this time.  I know he's going to a great home and we are just a temporary stop in his journey.  Plus, we'll get to see him again :)

I get a lot of questions about the dogs.  Are they just mutts?  Well, kinda.  Aruba Cunucu dogs are an actual breed.  Since most of the rescues are dropped off, their parents are often unknown.  As a breed, they are very social, active, intelligent and friendly.  Both of the ones I fostered have the signature ears, body style and tail.  They will grow to about 45-55 pounds.

I'll admit, there were times when both dogs were with us that we considered just keeping them.  Becoming foster failures, lol.  But we know that our immediate future is uncertain.  There is a high probability that we won't be living where we are as early as this fall.  (That's all I'm saying about that right now, sorry).  

So, for now, we are getting an amazing puppy fix.  The kids are learning responsiblity: feeding, walking and playing with the pups... as well as a life lesson of loving and letting go.

OK, I'll admit, I'm learning that last one as well along with them.

Will share pics of any new foster babies we get in, both here and on Facebook.  Even if you aren't looking for a puppy to join your family, who doesn't love looking at cute puppies, right?

If you want more information about Animal Relief Foundation Aruba, check out their website at: www.arf-aruba.com.

Thursday
Apr042013

Dipping my toes

We're just going to pretend that I didn't fall off the face of the Blogosphere since February, m'kay?  Thanks.

At first it was just a quick break.  Sure, there were a couple of times I'd go a few days, a week perhaps, without posting here at Mommycosm.  The silence made me twitchy at first, but then I settled in and found peace in the quiet.  I never intended to take this long of a haitus from writing.  And this part of my work.

Really.

But here it is.  April.  My last post was in February.

I started writing a few times.  In my head.  But something kept holding me back.

The extended quiet began to feel awkward.  Friends I never would have met without this here blog started to reach out and ask if I am OK?  Did I quit blogging?

I am OK.  I am.

Did I quit?  Not really.  There's a lot going on inside that I haven't wrapped my brain around yet.  Could be major moves going on around here.  Good things.  Stressful things.  Uncertain things.

Instead of using this as a platform to work it all out, I've held back from sharing.  I guess I will when I'm ready.

I am where I need to be right now.

Softball started a few weeks ago.  Enjoying my team this year and I can't wait to see what we can accomplish this season.  We lost 6 seniors from the championship team and people are tempted to call this a rebuilding year.  I anticipate and hope for much more than that.

My husband has been traveling and working a lot.  My kids need me to be present when I am here.  So, I've decided not to take on many projects while I have softball going on.  Picking the low lying fruit - taking just the jobs that are quick, easy and profitable.  It's the right thing for me and them... but I still feel the pull to be doing something more with myself... from a career standpoint, you know?

So... here I am.  Dipping my toes.  Trying to prove to myself that I can begin writing again without the undertoe pulling me in.

How are you?

Wednesday
Feb202013

CoCo Key Water Park in Danvers, MA - indoor family fun

Has cabin fever set in yet this winter?  

It certainly has here in the Cosm.  My daughter and I have come to the conclusion that we have a Cold/Snow Allergy.  Self prescribed with the help of Dr. Google, of course.  We thrive better in the warmer weather when we can get outdoors without our eyeballs freezing.  Needless to say, when invited to try out an indoor adventure advertised as water fun and 84 degrees, we were quick to accept.

CoCo Key Water Park in Danvers, MA is more than 65,000 feet of indoor water amusement with a wide variety of rides and play areas perfect for kids ages 2-12 years.  It is attached to the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Boston North Shore and has restaurants and an arcade all under one roof.  

If you are within comfortable driving distance, you could definitely make do with a day pass, but I recommend staying over for the night, as we did.  The Family Rooms have a separate kids' section that offers 2 small kids' beds and a TV of their own.  My kids were loving it.

As were we.  Typically when staying in a hotel, we get a room with two double beds and end up in some combination of 2 people in each.  Not this time.  My husband and I had a king bed all to ourselves.  Pretty sweet.

CoCo Key Water Park and DoubleTree offer some great package deals that allow you access to the park the night you check in through the day you check out.  It's not much more than the typical cost of a room - very much worth it.  Oh, and there is a Starbucks in the lobby.  Which you know was one of my favorite amenities;-)

It was still winter outside when we had to leave, but sure was nice to wear bathing suits and hang out in 84 degrees for a short while.  Gives me hope that summer will be here again.  Someday.

Planning a trip to CoCo Key Water Park?

Tips:

  • If staying in one of the Family Rooms, know that they are on the second floor and there is no elevator, just a narrow set of stairs.  Plan accordingly with your luggage and/or stroller.
  • Definitely play the roller coaster "game" in the arcade... we tried it out about a dozen times.  Fun.
  • Order the lobster mac & cheese.  It's worth it.  Really, really.
  • Don't go into the inner water area with your cell phone (or camera) unless you have a water proof case.  Trust me.
  • Check to see if anything else is going on at the hotel during your stay.  It was CR-AZY with a dance competition while we were there - therefore, lines were longer and staff was a bit maxed out.  If that makes you tense, choose a quieter time.

Disclaimer: This is not a compensated post.  We were offered a free Stay & Play package and expenses were covered in hopes that we would have a fabulous time and share it with you... as we did.

Friday
Feb012013

Haiku Friday: Climbing the stairs

your vision must be

followed by venture, look up

stop staring... now climb!

 

An inspirational quote smacked me in the face today as I took a few steps forward with a work project that I have been... well... stalling on.  It's just so overwhelming and there has been a nasty little voice on my shoulder asking me "what makes YOU so special, huh?!".  Plus my husband has been traveling for work and I'm having a hard time finding work/life balance with my new Solo Parent role.  That's a whole other post just waiting for me to tackle.

SO.  Something snapped this week and I went all Buffy on the voice... started climbing the stairs.

I've been holding myself back.  Lots of vision.  Way too little venture. 

The actual quote that inspired me is by Vance Havner: 

The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps - we must step up the stairs.

I'm not sure where the stairs are leading, but it's better than hanging around down here.