200 :: Not Tonight

200_Swinging

I know
the wave of summer
by watching Ellen,
free in the rhythms of her little being —
in sync
with herself.

I saw the way the way Amie
wrote emoshons (emotions)
on a scrap of paper
on the floor, in her room
and I wondered about ordering a spelling curriculum.
(I could use it too.)

I kept Wallace up too late,
because I wanted to keep
reading Edward Tulane* to the girls,
but it’s such a sad story — that
it’s hard to find a good stopping point
and the sadness of the book
was flowing into the sadness in my heart.

It isn’t a wide river
but it contains
unresolved thoughts about Harry;
unpleasant visits to the orthodontist;
and, most recently,
an unsettling conversation in which I felt
worn down
when I was hoping to feel
built up.

And so as much as I wanted to sink into Edward Tulane, I couldn’t.
Not tonight.

*The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

164 :: Goodbye Harry

164_Goodbye_Harry

I wake up to a soft whining at 6 am
Harry?
No, I slowly remember.
Harry is gone.

I am putting Wallace down for a nap
A dog barks outside
Harry?
No.

I catch myself looking for him
anticipating the sound of his tag
as it jingles against his collar
when he follows me around the garden.

I expect to see him curled up
on the couch when I come down the stairs.

It seems so quiet now.
“Maybe the house will stay cleaner?”
I say to Jeffrey.
We both laugh.
As if Harry was messy.
only his paws on a rainy day

All of his belongings fit in a brown paper grocery bag
with room to spare.
He took everything with him
except his bottle of ear wash,
which he hated anyway.

The girls said goodbye.
I couldn’t tell who was more sad
and who was more mad
at me.

Because I did it.
I decided to find him a new home.
I made the arrangements.
I brushed his fur one last time
and kissed his black nose.

And now it is quiet
But I keep hearing Harry.

152 :: 365

152_Flying_Tent

What were they doing?

Oh, you know, just trying to see if they can make the tent fly . . . and fly away with it.  I think they were hoping to make their way to India?

They ran back and forth in front of the front door so many times — I couldn’t stop laughing.  At first Harry was chasing them, but he ran out of energy before they did and lay down to watch in the shade!

Harry

hen house

If you are visiting this page for more information about Harry, thank you.  We are looking for a new home for Harry because our baby is approaching toddler age, and we don’t feel safe with them together over the next few years.  You will find our story and more photos below.

Update :: Harry has found a new home.

118_doggiedilema

I have a doggie dilema.  I don’t trust Harry with Wallace.

It all started last summer.  Harry was hit with a stick by a young boy (who was too little to understand how to act around a dog), and ever since then Harry has been leery around unpredictable children.  I watch him very closely when new children come over to play.  I do my best to show children how to pet him and talk to him.  But sometimes he growls unexpectedly.  And he even snapped at a friend’s four-year-old daughter.  She was not harmed but I was mortified.  That was one of my worst moments last year.

Dog training is mostly about training people.  But children too young to control their bodies cannot be “trained,” and Harry is a terrier.  He is not a docile beast.  I’ve never worried about him with our girls because they raised him.  He obeys and respects them.  And the girls know his quirks.  But Wallace is beginning to reach out, grab, and move himself around with more force.  Harry clearly knows that Wallace is his baby (sniffing, licking, tail wagging), but I don’t trust his terrier instincts around unpredictable movement.

Ideally we would just hold Wallace in our arms for the next two years until he is old enough to touch Harry gently — every single time.  But that would be rather ridiculous.  How would he learn how to crawl and to walk?!  Or we could keep Harry gated off in his back hallway when we’re not holding Wallace.  But that wouldn’t be fun for anyone.  Which leads me to my point: I think it would be best to find a new home for Harry.

Harry has been a part of our family for four years.  Just looking back at photos makes me start to tear up.  He has grown up with our girls.  They have learned so much confidence while training and handling him.  They’ve experienced unconditional dog love.  And pure doggie joy.

baby dog

Harry sit

july pup

tug of bread

And — oh — the antics we went through with Harry and his sister Nancy!

rain

How did we manage to train him not to murder chickens?!  (Oh, wait.  He did murder one.  But just one.)

his birds

Uggy

Harry's Hole

Hours on the beach.  In the woods.  And in the snow.  Walking.  Running.  Chasing.  Barking.

run

snow dog

run

queeny anne

tree light

harris

Are you crying yet?  I am.

Alas — we are in a different chapter of life now.  And I feel strongly about trusting my instincts.  I know I won’t feel safe with Wallace crawling and toddling around Harry.  I don’t believe any measure of training will change that.  Harry is a wonderful dog.  But despite his upbringing and our efforts, he can’t be trusted around active babies and toddlers.  (Unless maybe in the presence of a dog whisperer?)  And so, I’m officially putting out the word: if you know of someone without little children in their life who is looking for an adorable Irish Terrier (well-loved, healthy, four years old) — please put them in touch with me!

58 & 59 :: 365

58_FebruaryBeach

Well, we managed to get off the couch today.  Just barely.  But I’m so glad we did.

sisters

This is the northern edge of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, one of my favorite places.  Travel east over the dunes, through a cedar swamp, across a meadow, and you will come to my parents’ garden.  Growing up, this beautiful wild land was, quite literally, my front yard.  Walking here brings me great peace.  Watching my girls explore this place makes my heart swell.

58_littlegirls

58_woodsytrail

59_mamaandamie

59_pinecone

57 :: 365

couch people

I’m checking out at the grocery store — signing the credit card receipt with one hand and holding a baby with the other.  My big girls are helping me with the bags and the cashier says, “Look at you, you old pro.  You make it look so easy.”  It was a nice thing to say, but I had to laugh to myself.  Well, nice cashier, if only you knew what an effort it was to get out of the house today.  And, in fact, what an effort it is most days to even get up off the couch.  Life would be so much easier if we could all hang out right here, eat popcorn, and read books until this little man can talk to us and walk around on his own two legs.  Not that I want to rush anything, mind you!

 

27 :: 365

sniffing the air 27_365

It is still pitch black outside and the house is quiet when the phone rings at 6:30 am.  School is on a two-hour delay.  I turn off the light downstairs and go to the window, squinting to see out.  As the sky begins to lighten, the magical world outside take shape.  Every limb and tuft is frosted white, and the girls want to go out immediately.  Breakfast first!  After pancakes and hard-boiled eggs, we bundle up and enter the fairy land that is our front meadow, where each little cluster of trees and bushes is a new hideaway.  Hours pass.

By the time we should be packing backpacks and heading to school, the girls are fully immersed in creating a snow castle.  I use the authority of motherhood to declare a family snow day.

snow

plans

keeping watch

his girls

snow ball tree

snow mountain

seven

14 :: 365

please let me in 14_365

I am thinking about framing.  How we frame our images.  And our stories.  How sometimes what we leave out of the frame is as important as what we keep in.  This photo, for example, looks quite peaceful.  We have a lovely blanket of snow, and Harry wants to come in out of the cold.  What you don’t see is the room around the frame of the door — our kitchen and dinning area that is still disheveled from the oven fire on Monday (Jeffrey put it out with a fire extinguisher, thank goodness, but if you’ve ever used one you may know that a fire extinguisher can make even more of a mess than the fire itself!  And although we’ve spent a lot of time cleaning, we both have other work to do.).  This is one reason why I find photography to be meditative, in a sense.  It helps me to focus on the simple beauty of the day by framing a moment and eliminating some of the chaos around the edges.  This isn’t always the goal, of course.  But sometimes it is.  And it helps.

12 :: 365

where are your boots 12_365

I am in the midst of chaos.  Taco shells warming in the oven caused a fire, which filled the kitchen with smoke and set off the smoke alarm.  Holding a half-dressed baby, I throw open the front door (which is normally closed for the winter) and giant clouds of snow blow in while two children run out.  And the dog.  He goes out too.  I try to open a window in the back of the house — but I cannot push it up with enough force because I am trying to plug my baby’s ears to lessen the deafening beeps.  I shift my position and manage to get the window open, causing even more snow to whirl inside.  The alarm finally stops and my head is clear enough now to realize that my children are still out.  Standing at the wide open door, I yell, “COME BACK IN!  YOU DON’T HAVE YOUR BOOTS ON!”

“But Mama,” they yell back, “the snow feels like a giant pillow!”

At least they are wearing wool socks.