Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Life Without Newfoundlands

This year so far has been, what I would say very unkind. We have seen the passing of our two Newfoundland dogs which has had a devastating effect on our day to day routine and we are finally getting back to some semblance of normality.

The first few weeks after the first one had to be put down, due to terminal cancer, Jack just assumed that he had gone to the vet for a check up. In his own time Jack asked, where is "Biggles," he was his favorite, a big Landseer weighing 145lbs. A temperament better than you could wish for, he was 11 years and 3 months when he went, an old age for a large dog.

Anyway, explaining to Jack the difference between life and death in this case was extremely hard on everyone, it is only now that I can talk about it in any depth. As any animal lover would appreciate, it is like losing a son. We still had our first Newfoundland, "Barney" he was getting to a ripe old age of thirteen.

He had his own problems, due to his age he was having trouble getting around. We used a harness that you placed underneath him to lift him up to take him out to do his thing. Now with the passing of his half brother he was very lethargic over the next couple of months. Eating was becoming a problem and he had to be coaxed for the slightest thing.

One early morning we noticed blood coming from his mouth, his whole right side had suddenly swelled up and on further investigation it was diagnosed he had cancer of the mouth. No doubt the stress of his buddy going had only accelerated the condition. With his age of 13 years and 2 months there was not an option, we had to put him down as well. From having to step over these large mounds of dog laying on the floor to nothing is a huge change. Jack and his sister Madeline cannot quite comprehend what has happened with this sudden life change although Jack does mention that both Biggles and Barney were very sick and died at the vet.

Like I said, the household has settled into its new rhythm with Jack mentioning on occasions that when he gets older he is going to have a small dog. Now does that mean he is looking forward to a puppy?

Just incase we've been checking out the Dog Forums for a little insight into different breeds but we will always be a Newfoundland family. Yes, they slobber and shake making all sorts of mess. They are forever shedding fur and rearranging furniture because of their size but as a family animal you cannot beat the temperament. It will be a while before we jump into another pet but it's always best to be prepared.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Flu Season is upon us once Again!

The posts have been few and far between as of late. The family is in that throws of a vicious circle with the flu bug that mutates every time it finds a new host even though everyone has had their flu shots.

The only good thing is, it isn't as harsh as it normally would be. It started off with Jack's sister Maddie, she's only a year old, puke every time she fed resulting in her being limited to only the recommended electrolytes drink to stabilize her. After four days of minimal sleep the symptoms are wearing off, but in the mean time the incubation period on Jack is in the works. Bedding is constantly being run through the washing machine after numerous early morning wake up calls and I fear that this is going to go on for a long time.

Summer cannot come quick enough, each winter sees the viruses getting stronger or is it that I am getting older and less resilient!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Jackson Hits it Big with Santa!

Christmas day arrives and Jackson is having a good sleep in or so we think. Normally he is up and running at about 6:30am so when 7:15am rolls around we are a little concerned as he normal hits our bed with plenty of noise. Little do we know that he is already up, standing at the top of the stairs looking down at the Christmas tree where his bike is situated.

There is no sound coming from him, he is totally awe struck as he looks at his new Haro bicycle. Needless to say all other presents are secondary and it is the case of when can I get out and ride it!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Disneyland Snow

With Christmas just around the corner and present shopping in full swing, outstanding vacation days always becomes an issue at this time of year.

I'm trying to use up what is left of my vacation for the year and during the weekend the discussion was about when to go to Disneyland to give Jack his first experience. Well, yesterday turned out to be real special day for Jack and his sister Maddie, the time was right to take half a day's vacation and this would suit the amount of time that we though would be achievable with a three and a half year old and a one year old.

Working the morning and getting back home for 1pm worked out fine, a quick lunch and off to Disneyland we go, getting there at 2:15pm. The park closes at 6pm so that gave us just under four hours. We decided to get the Southern California annual pass for all of us and one with parking to get the benefit over the coming year even though there are numerous "blackout days." It wasn't the cheapest pass and it allowed us to go on Sundays for the majority of the year.

Jack's first impression was "Wow" and then he saw the train, of course he is already Thomas the Tank engine mad so this would be our first stop. Would you believe it, we're queuing up for the next ride and the train is full, over the intercom comes the statement, "The train will be at the station for an indefinite period of time." In other words the train had broken down. This is not a good sign for Jack but off we go and as luck would have it the parade was circling the main street island.

Up on my shoulders he goes and this keeps him focused, then off to the rides we go and Toontown it is. As you can imagine the time just flies by and I'm beginning to ache because of carrying Jack everywhere. The Christmas parade is a gem and goes for half an hour which brings us to the last hour before the park closes. Time for one last ride in the rocketship and then it's over to "It's a small world" for the fireworks and the snow.

Jack's a little concerned, "I don't like the fireworks" but let's just see, they're high in the sky so it won't be too scary. We get him to hold out until the fireworks start and after all that fuss he loves it, what a display!

As soon as that show finishes the artificial snow starts, foam is dispersed to represent snow and it gives the illusion of real snow, absolutely superb. Jack loved it, Maddie loved it, what a great afternoon for the family. Everyone is totally wiped out.

We all file out of the park to the truck, on the way home it is quiet, except for the deep sounds of children sleeping! PHEW!!!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Monkey Bar Business

Our Jack has been full of himself of late. The climbing equipment at the pre-school always offers a new challenge to him, he has to do everything himself without any help. The monkey bars is one of those things!

The time was coming to the end of his Thursday class and as always the children are playing in the grounds of the school. Jack's on the monkey bars and he will not give up until he can master them and swing himself from one bar to the next over a ten foot span. Well he is not the only child who has this in mind, instead of taking turns which the teachers always enforce, they are horsing around grabbing each other to get the next go. Jack is on the beginning of the bars hanging when he is grabbed by the legs and as a three and a half year old his hands are not quite large enough to completely circle the bar. This sudden movement makes his hands slip and down he crashes with the back of his head hitting the step-up to the bars.

Metal staples holding the wound together.
All I can say is, it was fortunate that his mother was there early to collect him as she witnessed the tail end of the incident. She was able to scoop him up and take him to the nearest medical center where he had eight staples inserted to seal up the wound. Fortunately he is none the worst for wear but it could have been a lot worse.

Always make sure that you have all the necessary information in case of a sudden emergency and be sure to point out the short comings of this type of horse play. I know it's difficult with children of this age, they do have a mind of their own and trying to keep their attention when explaining these type of pitfalls can be exasperating.

A week has past and the staples have now been removed, there is only minor weaping from the wound and of course Jack's back to his old ways once again.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Considering Education Early.

Jack's education is paramount in this day and age of technology, before he was born a lot of research was made into the "What If" scenarios for when he became of an age where he wanted or needed to go to a university of his choice. The long hours spent surfing the internet for leads for the best programs available, the costs and saving programs were mind boggling. During the course of the research I stumbled across this site Golden State Scholarshare. Living in Southern California it seemed the best thing to invest in.

Now, Jack is still only three, coming on four so there is still a lot of time before he will be making those decisions but the ground work has been done. His educational funds are under way but you can never tell what the future will bring. The cost of education increases at a rate that out paces pay raises, home prices are at record levels and natural disasters take their toll on everyone's finances so plan early.

Remember education is one of the most important considerations for your family and researching for information on degrees from top-tiered online and campus-based colleges and universities can take its toll. Checkout Golden State Scholarshare and see what it can do for you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

My First Car or is it a Stroller?

As you may recall in a previous post I spoke about the invaluable book called BABY BARGAINS SECRETS, when we were selecting the infant seat for our vehicle, once again it was used to select the baby stroller. By using this book a lot of the research had already been done and a short list of suitable strollers was drawn up.

To get a better visual of the selected strollers, the next step was to go online and checkout the strollers. Amazon.com for Babies R Us, Sears, Burlington and then Bergstroms. OK, now we have a feel for what to look for, so it's off to the stores next.

After visiting numerous stores such as Babies R Us, Sears and Burlington Coat Factory we eventually ended up at Bergstroms. It was here that we selected the stroller that we eventually purchased, a Peg Perego Milano XL. This stroller had all the necessary features and was robust enough for the daily beating it was sure to take in being folded up and put into the truck numerous times a day.

The beauty of this Cadillac of strollers is that it also doubles up as a baby carriage. In Jack's case, this was perfect for sleeping in without being disturbed by our rather large hounds! With a reversible handle bar you can have the baby facing you or away from you, which always helps when the wind is blowing in your face!!

It folds up very compact for such a large stroller, and is remarkably light for it's size. The wheels are made totally of rubber instead of getting the normal plastic with a small band of rubber. This stroller has been in use for over three years and though it is showing signs of wear it is still sturdy enough for its second tour of duty.

Jack being the expert on how to negotiate that stroller is now showing his sister how to climb aboard!!!