Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How do you manage 3 dogs and an infant?

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We have worked in rescue long enough to know that dogs are put in shelters for the same reasons over and over again:

1. We’re having a baby/ We had a baby and we don’t have TIME for the dog anymore
2. We’re moving and CAN’T bring the dog with us
3. We’re jerks… (okay, not a real reason, but that is how I interpret all the reasons).

I was a little worried about what our dogs would do once Eliza was born because they’re so used to being our focus and getting lots of walks. We decided to be proactive about the animals and start the baby preparation early. We didn’t have to do much because our girls are pretty well behaved, but we did take some pretty important steps

1. We waited until the dogs were a little older to have kids. Pokey is 5 ½ and Slappy will be 8 in August. Sassy is 13, going on 14, and very docile. Puppies are a lot of work, we know this. We worked hard with our two puppies to get them to become the dogs they are today, and they’re wonderful, sweet, mindful and happy.

2. We started the baby transition before the baby arrived. We started sleeping with no dogs in the bed with us, they weren’t thrilled, but by the time Eliza came around, the dogs were so used to having their own bedroom, that they didn’t even bother trying to steal my pillow.

3. We changed their walk routine. Before, the dogs were often taken to the park with long flexi-leads that gave them a lot of freedom to run and misbehave. We also took them to off-leash parks where they were allowed to go a little crazy. We knew that the dogs were not going to be able to do the things they had done previously, so we shortened their leashes and started making them trot next to us. This took a lot of work, but I did it while I was pregnant, and it helped me get my daily walk in. Slappy is very headstrong, and was very resistant to change, but eventually got the hang of it, and we started to enjoy our walks again. We also started walking them in areas with lots of dogs and people. Our dogs are generally good with other dogs and people, but the occasional freaky greyhound (we have a pack in our neighborhood) can freak a leashed dog out, so we got them around other dogs and people and started making it fun. This way, they won’t react when we encounter dogs while the baby is strapped to my chest. First walk

4. SOFT NEW BEDS… enough said!

5. Lots of toys, chewies and treats that don’t resemble baby toys. I did catch Pokey with one of Eliza’s little toys, and she knew she was in trouble. So far, they have been wonderful. I am still worried about Sophie the giraffe though… that thing has “dog toy” written all over it!

6. Once the baby arrived, I make sure to get up every single morning and walk into the dogs room and give them each a good cuddle. They also get to cuddle with me while Mark holds Eliza and one more good cuddle before bed. I also pet them often. I don’t worry about dog hair getting on Eliza.

7. Don’t be freaky parents… let your dog interact with your baby. Slappy LOVES Eliza. Every once in a while Ill catch Pokey give E a little smooch on the leg. Even when Slappy gets a little overzealous with her kissing, we tell her “enough, good girl” and pet her. No scolding around the baby. All of their interactions with E have been positive.DSC00528

8. In your bed! Best thing we ever taught Slappy. I can say “get in your bed” and she will run to her bed and sit down. It’s good for times when I need to walk out of the room for a minute and E is in her swing, or if we’re eating and Eliza is on the couch next to us. This takes a lot of work, but dear god, it’s worth it!

9. Dog days- My dogs get dog days. Slappy Saturday, Weasel Wednesdays… When we have time, or we reserve a weekend day or weeknight, we treat the dogs. This past weekend we took our first family road trip to the lake for some dog swimming! Don’t let the idea of having two dogs and a baby overwhelm you, or it will! We always include them in walks, or if we go get ice cream. Sheesh, sometime they get to go in the car just to drop something off. IMG_0026 IMG_0037

Like Mark and I like to say- we all had to give up something to bring Eliza home. The dogs are no exception. They gave up walks, attention and sleeping in our bed. We gave up sleep, money and sleeping alone in our bed. Eliza gave up a lot too, and we’re all proud to be happy little family. Being a family is hard work, but it’s not hard enough to warrant giving up part of the family. My assumption is that if you give up your dog because you think it will make your life easier… you’re sorely mistaken. You need to make some changes within you, and then your life will improve. Until then, you can get rid of everything you want, but you will still be overwhelmed.
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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Family trip to the lake!

Today we wanted to spoil the dogs by taking them to the lake for the first time since the baby was born. They have been so patient with us, and have accepted that they no longer get their daily walk. They're always well behaved when walk them and have the baby with us. We are so proud of our little girls (all three of them).

We left for the lake and we were a little worried that Pokey might jump over the seat into the backseat with the baby. She didn't and we were pleased.

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The dogs had an amazing time:

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Eliza seemed to enjoy being outside and just stayed awake and alert the entire time:

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Eliza went into the lake for the very first time:
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It was a lovely day, and our first official trip as a family!

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Friday, June 25, 2010

DADDY PASSED HIS BOARDS!


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Originally uploaded by Rachel and Mark H.
I asked Mark to send me a reaction shot of himself so I could post it on here... he failed to do so... In his place- Eliza :)

Mark passed all of his boards. He did really well on them, and is now able to practice in all 50 states!

He is finished with classes, finished with the clinic... and he starts his internship on Monday.

Just think... Dr. Mark Alan Hanses in 7 weeks!

Only good things to come.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

4 dogs are better than 1

One of my very favorite pictures ever... Look at that Beanie smile :)

I cannot believe how fast she has changed!


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Originally uploaded by Rachel and Mark H.
My little girl is already so much bigger than this! I am really enjoying how much she wiggles, chats, coos and smiles.

11 lbs 10 oz. last Friday... what a little chub!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Dear Family in Sterling Heights, MI

http://www.gamedogguardian.com/help-people-help-dogs/racism-proxy

Please read this article and write to your city council. I am offended that such an ignorant racist is in a public office, I hope you are too.

:(

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Cloth Diaper Posting

Since so many people are asking us about cloth diapering (since we do it full time), I thought I would write a post about it so everyone knows what we do, and how well it works!

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First, I would like to say that the photo above is only one day of diapers for Miss E. It saddens my heart that if she were in disposables, that many diapers, PER DAY, would be thrown into a landfill, where they take over 500 years to break down. Environmental reasons aside, I hate the chemicals against my daughter's skin. She got a terrible diaper rash when we first brought her home because she was in disposables. I can't say she never has problems now, but she has never had anything more than a little tender redness.

Check out this test run on Pampers: http://www.zrecommends.com/detail/initial-results-of-our-pampers-dry-max-skin-testing-this-is-interesting/

Can you imagine what that does to a child's little tush?

*steps off soapbox*

We use primarily BumGenius 3.0 OS. http://www.kellyscloset.com/bumGenius-One-Size-Diapers_c_706.html We bought 24 of these. I like them because they will fit her until she grows out of diapers, and they're velcro which is easier to adjust than the snaps. These are also made in the USA, which is important to me.

We have 5 of the BG Organics. http://www.thanksmama.com/BumGenius_Organic_One_Size_Cloth_Diapers_Package_6_p/bmg-0013.htm I like these because they're organic and its cotton on her butt rather than synthetic material. These stain really easily and need to be sunned out. They also take FOREVER to dry in the sun. Its hard to deal with when its raining or winter.

We have 6 small fuzzi bunz. http://sweetpeascloth.com/item_51/FuzziBunz-Perfect-Size-Cloth-Diaper--Small.htm These are made in China, so I don't entirely trust the materials. They're cute, they fit well. We have had a couple leaks with these, but otherwise they're fine.

We have 3 of the GroBaby original OS. These are still getting washed enough and have leaked a bit. The lady who watches her said they need about 8-9 washes before they're absorbent, and then they're fine.

We use about 10-12 diapers a day right now because we like to keep her dry. We do diaper laundry every day just to keep the room smelling good. I don't like leaving filthy diapers in her bedroom for more than a day.

We use cloth wipes and a cloth wipe warmer. I highly recommend the wipe warmer because I use the cloth wipes for everything. http://www.diapers.com/Product/ProductDetail.aspx?productid=17853 The Prince Lionheart wipes are garbage, so don't buy more, they're falling apart. I like the homemade ones I bought from Etsy.

We use the California Baby diaper cream that works with cloth diapers. http://www.amazon.com/California-Baby-Diaper-Cream-2-2e9/dp/B000VOXH4G

I think that's it... if anyone has questions, let me know!

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Eliza in a BG

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

Be still my heart...


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Originally uploaded by Rachel and Mark H.
She smiles all the time...

Her smiles make everything worthwhile.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010