Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Approaching 4th of July at the Lake

My family is blessed to have access to a cottage at a small lake that has been in the family for 60 years.  There have been many happy memories here, and though times have changed, many things somehow stay the same.

The cottage has gone from a one-story cement block structure that was really small (but in good times you could still cram a bunch of people in it for card games).  It used to have a "party line", meaning you shared the telephone with your neighbors.  I remember when it was a big deal that the cottage got a microwave.  I also remember coming up in the early spring and having to use water from the lake to flush the toilet.  Now it is quite modernized and I am writing this for you on our Wi-fi.  There have been several generations of neighbors in this area too, and time changes and things change for them as well.  I remember lazy days sitting on the porch, reading a book, or rocking inside reading a book.  Now I spend most of my time and my husband's (who has been awesome with his daddy-toddler bonding time) chasing after our little guy.

It has also been a change from suburbia and a townhouse to actually be able to give my son some freedom moving about the yard (being careful of the giant water hazard in front).  There are lots of trees and fresh air and he had a lot of family to meet, as we recently just had a large family reunion.  Some things have not changed though.  Like seeing the rite of passage that some of my family embarked upon.  Waterskiing.  Pulling stunts on the tube.  Taking my own son for his first tube ride.  What special memories, which I have found more excitement and anxiety-provoking than they used to be for me.  I was talking with my sister about how I was more nervous tubing at 5 mph with my son than I used to be tubing at 30 mph around a corner while trying to switch tubes.  While I am fine taking the consequences of my watersport prowess (or lack thereof), I am acutely sensitive to ensuring that my son does not suffer from my risk-taking or have a bad memory that he is traumatized for life... There is a time for taking those risks though.  Seeing my teenage and twenty-something cousins get rug burn (from the water) and get yanked around like they were on a bull at the rodeo, I see this as an environment where I did learn how to take risks.  I did have the same "peanut gallery" as they call it, of aunts, uncles and cousins who as long as you had the will to persevere, they would stick it out in the muck until you got your butt out of the water, without making fun of you.  If you have the perseverance to stick it out and earn your ride around the lake, no one is going to make fun of (or remember) how long it took you to get up.  Between raking the pine needles (a job I didn't find out until more recently was more about staying out of my grandparents hair than it was about function) or scrubbing the  cement walls and scraping mold or cleaning out the shed, because if you wanted to go for a tube ride, you had to be able to get to the tube.  These, along with the exciting and slightly riskier jobs- cleaning out the gutters, caring for the boat, all played a role in developing my work ethic- and my play ethic.  They all played a role in making me a "calculated risk taker".  A lesson you can't learn in helicopter-parent suburbia.  I guess cottage life is a microcosm for childhood as it can be for family as well.

One thing I realized this week- I am not afraid of being made fun of for no longer doing the antics and risky stunts I used to do as a teenager.  I'm kind of over it.  Yes, it was fun, it had it's place.  But now that someone calls me "Mommy", I can't afford to end up pulling muscles and getting bedrest and I really don't need to.  Just like changing tubes at high speed or standing on the tube or getting up on the water-skiis or dropping a ski used to be a huge accomplishment and thrill- my two year old learning his numbers, saying "Mommy" and dancing around with a cross in his hands singing "Alleluia" at the top of his lungs give me more of a sense of glee and accomplishment.  I am content with that.  You can call me an old wimp- but you can call me a contented old wimp : )

Friday, June 26, 2015

End of June already? Jeep counting and the magic of numbers

As it's getting to be the end of June, time flies so fast!  We are about to embark on a family vacation/family reunion (I will continue blogposting, but they may be short, or perhaps very entertaining... dependent on how everything goes : )

I am finding toddlerhood more entertaining now.  My husband and I have gotten into playing a new game that our son actually initiated.  It's called Jeep counting.  I have always loved Jeep Wrangler (it's one of my dream cars) and my son now loves them to (in part due to a very entertaining book by Nancy Shaw and Margot Apple, Sheep in a Jeep).http://www.amazon.com/Sheep-Jeep-Nancy-E-Shaw/dp/039586786X

We count Jeeps.  We (my husband and I) actually get quite competitive about it.  They have to be Jeep Wranglers.  I am actually looking forward to our 11 hour trip to see how many jeeps we can spot.  My son can pick them out almost as well as he can pick out basketball hoops...  which, in the "I never thought I would do this until I became a mother category"...  I found myself watching Thailand play Indonesia and Indonesia- Philippines basketball games because they were the easiest to find on YouTube.  I had searched and found Harlem Globetrotters video for my son, but as I watched one of the players do acrobatics on top of the hoop, thought the better of my son getting ideas from that.  He enjoys watching basketball and then practicing the moves on his own.

I have also found grocery shopping and just walking down the street to be more interesting as my son is so excited to identify numbers and point them out to me.  He identifies numbers on price tags, addresses, license plates.  The whole world is just full of entertaining numbers to him.  He got so excited at the grocery store when we were practicing identifying 4 and 5 and he found an item for $4.50.  Aah the magic of being two.

Monday, June 22, 2015

GK Chesterton and Feminism

GK Chesterton

“It [feminism] is mixed up with a muddled idea that women are free when they serve their employers but slaves when they help their husbands.”

This is kind of an interesting quote I ran across.  GK Chesterton, what an interesting character and prolific author.  If you haven't read any of his work, really, you should look into it.  "Mere Christianity" and the "Screwtape Letters".   
Check out: chesterton.org to learn more, or search through his writings for yourself.

Should you have the time, they are thought provoking.  (As a slight digression, I enrolled my son in a reading program at the library and as I log his books into the computer I realize he "reads" more books in a day than I do in a year... I'm trying to work on that...  I do love Bookbub and moneysaving mom.com where I am notified of free e-books.)

It is interesting how in the stay at home mom/ full-time mom debate, his quote does seem to be relevant.  Not to get a big argument going here.  I definitely see both sides as a part-time mom.  I also think both sides need to worry less about judging each other (and I think the debate is getting to a less-judgemental point).  But it is interesting when people assume that an employer is freedom and the family can be slavery.  

I fairly recently had a change in circumstances that makes me appreciate the above.  I am a veterinarian and without getting into too many details, had a job change fairly recently.  I had previously been employed by a great mentor and veterinarian.  Things change, and I could tell that change was coming.  Sometimes, living in fear of change is worse than the change itself.  My husband and I prayed and we took a big risk and I began my own "business".  I say it in quotes because I'm really more of an independent contractor than a "business".  I work independently at many different clinics, I'm a "substitute" veterinarian so to speak.  I love it!  It gives me flexibility, a better income and allows me to order and prioritize my family.  It was a HUGE risk, as I was definitely not guaranteed any work.  It has called on my skills in marketing, sales, customer relations and more.  It has been wonderful as it has exposed me to many great clinics and clinicians who do things differently and so even after 8 years of being a veterinarian I continue to learn.

My husband and I prayed together before we made this choice.  It was really an act of faith on both of our parts to embark on this new adventure.  Right before we were ready to leave one job and I started my business, our church made a plea for more money as they were operating in the red.  My husband and I had been wanting to donate more money to the Church for a while, but the uncertainty of our situation had made us cautious.  That weekend, of course, the homily was about the widow woman who gave all she had.  We spoke about putting trust in the Lord, increasing what we gave (not a lot, just a little, God also calls us to be good stewards and make sure our families are cared for).  This was a physical act of faith to follow what had been more philosophical.  While things at the beginning were a little stressful, and for a small amount of time, I questioned whether this adventure was wise, things went extremely well.  There was an opportunity I had hoped for that did not pan out, but 6 months later, I realized, sometimes God says "No" for the right reasons.  It's nice to have that hindsight sometimes.  We are so much happier now and while life as an independent contractor is unpredictable and has difficulties (and requires an accountant), this was the right decision for my family... which also ended up being the right decision for my career.  So hopefully sharing this with you is a testimony that putting family first can bring freedom.

The following prayer/poem I wrote over 14 years ago is still relevant to me and hopefully you as well..

March 14, 2001

Why do things seem so tough sometimes?
Why do we get thrown such curve balls?
Why when we are looking for answers do we get nothing but more questions?
Why when things seem like they are going to clear up
A cloud of fog descends
Why do we get thrown everything at once?
Why do you choose the time you choose for everything to get confusing?
I will not know these answers for a while,
If I ever know them but perhaps…..
Things seem so tough because we are looking at it from our point of view, our view that easy is always best
Our curve balls are our gifts
We are looking for the wrong answers
The fog is for reflection
You only give us what we can handle
It is not the timing of our challenges that matter, but our journey to address those challenges
Lord you are so magnificent in your ways that humans can not even fathom your wonders
Your grace is so encompassing that instead of feeling frustration
All we need to feel is your love
That is also all-encompassing
Thank you, Lord, 
For those gifts that I appreciate
And most importantly

For those gifts I do not know how to recognize……

Friday, June 19, 2015


In case you haven't guessed.  I do my postings on Tuesdays and Fridays.  What's the scientific reasoning behind this?

To tell the truth, I wanted to do posts two days a week... and the first two days of the week my two-year old learned to say were....drum roll... Tuesday and Friday (plus it works out that that breaks up the week a bit and is about 3 days apart).  Please continue to look for new posts from me on Tuesdays and Fridays and please share my blog with friends!  I'd love to share more vet advice and other stories with whoever is interested... Don't hesitate to ask questions or post comments, I'd love to hear from you.

On the trying to eat healthy front.... well, with my son's food allergy when I was out with a friend and her daughter, they chose healthy smoothies with kale.  I noticed they use almond butter in some of their smoothies and asked if they used separate equipment.  The barista said, "I'll just rinse the equipment out real well." Yeah- no.  So what healthy alternative did I pick?  Chocolate peanut butter gelato ice cream from the frozen food aisle.  0 points for healthy eating.  Bonus points for very happy toddler in chocolate coma....  Pick your battles....

I have the picture of the fountains above as that is my son's favorite activity.  Watching fountains.  Including watching water flow into the bathtub from the faucet.  Last night, bath time was especially long because he kept wanting "fountain" and the water coming out into the bathtub.  It's pretty cool how it doesn't take much to entertain a toddler.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The toddler as a personal recorder... and canine thunderstorm anxiety

So, our son is developing quite a vocabulary.  Fortunately, my husband and I don't use foul language (I actually have been made fun of for how "clean" my language is, especially for the veterinary field.)    We have known for a while about his excellent hearing skills.  (say "cookie" a room away and I guarantee you he will hear it).  We have gotten into the habit of spelling out words, but there have been times where we almost think he has figured out how to spell his favorite words.  We are in trouble.  We also have been trying to teach him Spanish, and they do so at daycare, so I'm not sure that even if my husband and I try to talk in Spanish we can talk without him understanding.

The other day, my son was happily playing in the other room with his basketball, so I was trying to share a story from work with my husband about a client who was unhappy with another doctor.  I was explaining to my husband that I never threw the doctor under the bus and that the client was being unreasonable.  My son comes happily in singing "Mommy throw doc under the bus- Mommy throw doc under YELLOW bus."

Oh, the things kids will say.  I'm not sure that I'm looking forward to that age 3-5 period when they are brutally honest about everything.  We'll see how we make it through that one.

Diet update- Being our anniversary week, I wasn't really good about eating that well this weekend (I mean, you go out to a fancy restaurant, you are going to get more than just a salad...)  I was proud of myself though that at our favorite taco place where I always get 3 tacos- I cut myself back to two and I'm also happy that I convinced my meat-and-potato husband to try a Thai recipe this week.  I will let you know how that goes...

Garden update- tons of lettuce, a fair amount of kale, two tomato plants that I almost think I need to hang string from the floor above because they have overgrown their tomato cage.  My watermelon plant looks rather scraggly and so do a couple of my other plants.  I can't really blame them, 90 degree weather will make you kind of look scraggly- human or vegetable...

Pet update- with it being thunderstorm season I find a lot of my canine patients (and strangely, one feline patient) have thunderstorm anxiety (and 4th of July time can make it hard too with all of the fireworks).  My dog Dewey (the 60 pound Rottie/Shepherd/Lab that is submissive to the 6 1/2 pound cat with no claws), just recently developed thunderstorm anxiety.   Last year, while at our family cottage, the power went out after a tree had fallen on the cottage next door.  Since that time, he has been VERY anxious when there is even a storm in the air.  He gets clingy and trembles.  It's very sad looking.  I had occasionally used "doggy valium" with him, but then you have a 60 pound dog who behaves like a drunken college student (quite difficult with all the stairs we have in our townhouse).  I have recommended "thunder shirts" to clients before, they seem to work in a couple of cases, but some dogs it makes them more anxious.  The "doggy valium" isn't very effective either because you have to:

  • give it 2 hours before a thunderstorm (we don't always know when one is coming)
  • be home at that time to give it at the appropriate time
I also will suggest aromatherapy- lavender is calming for humans as well as canines and felines.  DAP or Adaptil is a doggy pheromone that is similar to the feline equivalent (Feliway) which can be helpful for all sorts of anxiety.

Counterconditioning is also important.  This involves designating a "safe" spot in your house for your dog to go to when frightened.  Condition them to be relaxed and that treats and lots of attention occur when they are in this spot.  During the winter (when there are not thunderstorms to worry about), play thunderstorm "music" at the lowest volume that they tolerate and with positive feedback (food and attention rewards), slowly build their tolerance up to this.

I also have been trying a product called Zylkene.  It is over the counter and can be used for a lot of different forms of anxiety.  It is not a medication, and it not very strong (it is a nutritional supplement), but it has a compound in it derived from milk that can be calming.  They actually make some prescription formula "calming" foods and this is one of the ingredients in those.  So far, I've used it twice this week and my dog has appeared at least a little more comfortable.  I'll have to see how it goes as thunderstorm season continues...

Friday, June 12, 2015

A new diet...

In discussion with a doctor friend of mine (who typically eats way healthier than I do), I have decided to embark on a healthier diet.  I eat a wide variety of food and am kind of a foodie, but I ate the Atkins diet before it was the Atkins diet.  I love dairy, meat and sugar on the side.  My friend had suggested an "alkaline diet" to help with various health ailments.  Well, if you search alkaline diet, it seems like there is a wide variety of what people view it as.

No meat, no dairy, no sugar and caffeine.  So that basically leaves fruit and vegetables.  Now, I am a realist.  I know I can't live without meat, dairy and sugar.  I have tried to cut out the caffeine (to the chagrin of my husband who I think is wondering how he is going to survive the mornings with me not having caffeine.  I am continuing to have one meal (or less a day) without meat, sugar and dairy (if something that I am making happens to have a small amount or dairy in it, say borscht, with a dollop of sour cream, I will allow it).  This diet has proven interesting (and I give myself more laxity on the weekends).  After all, I did make my boys cinnamon rolls (known as ferris-a-rolls by my son). Try the recipe at: http://moneysavingmom.com/2010/01/bread-machine-cinnamon-roll.html.  My son is a carboholic (one day this week he ate a chocolate chip waffle, no bake cookie, tortilla, banana bread and french fries).  He does have his foodie moments (hummus and feta cheese?) where he will eat apple/banana or apple carrot pouches and he does actually know what lettuce is (less you think my kid only gets junk).  My husband is a total meat and potato guy.  Yes, a fruit/veggie diet is hard for everyone in the household.  My hubby has been supportive and we had chicken-vegetable kebabs with Jamaican seasoning on Sunday and he's been giving me enough time to make lots of fresh juice and smoothies, but let me tell you... that only gets me so far.  I will continue to update you on how I do on this healthier diet (lots of salad and soup).

One recipe I'd like to share is for some great borscht.  This comes from a old neighbor (who was like an adopted grandma), who has a Spanish/Russian/Polish/German/Michigan background.  This is the best borscht I've had (and I did try some outside the Russian Embassy in Mongolia that was pretty darn good).

1 can of cream of mushroom soup
2 cans of chicken broth
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp butter
1 cup julienned beets
fresh dill and black pepper to taste

add 2 potatoes, partially cooked and cubed
simmer 20 minutes

Top with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of dill

I have made it before with vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth, but prefer the chicken broth (even if it's not totally alkaline), I also didn't use the potatoes this last time and it still tasted fine.

It is really good with fresh homemade bread (see previous post) and Kerrygold Butter... But that doesn't exactly fit with my diet plan...

I'll keep you posted on how this all goes... it should be interesting...

Friday, June 5, 2015

Advice and Ramblings of a Vet School Survivor

I was looking over what I had written at the end of vet school for the underclassmen, it still has some thoughts that apply today.  In italics is my take on it after being a vet for 8 years...  It probably applies to many other professions as well.

1) Remember you're NOT PERFECT, if you were, you wouldn't need to go to school.  One of my mantras, "Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgement."  Always learn from your mistakes.
Still rings true- this is applicable to everything (that's why I had a hard time finding an exact source for this quote- so many people have said it).  I am a Type-A veterinarian, but I am not God and so I am not perfect...

2) You're going to make mistakes, and when you do, especially when it involves a patient's wellbeing, tell the professor.  They are kind of like priests with confession.  There is probably nothing that they haven't heard or seen before.  You are not the only vet student who makes mistakes, and most likely, yours is not the worst one.  Ultimately if you speak with a resident/professor/staff, you will benefit, some ways more obvious than others, you will learn from your mistakes and not repeat them, learn humility (always a good thing in a professional student, particularly medical student) and your patient will be better off.

This reminds me of during my internship when I was feeling bad about taking longer in surgery than I thought I should.  A well-seasoned tech told me, "you're doing fine, at least you haven't sutured the patient to the surgical drape like one of your intern-mates."  Yep, that made me feel better, there's probably nothing I've done that someone hasn't done before...

3) Grades are not everything.  The more you worry about the grades, I guarantee you the worse your grade is going to be.  Sure, worry about passing, but not more than that.  The only grade that ultimately matters in life is the respect you have for yourself and the respect your clients and colleagues have for you.  Some people are just not going to like you.  All you have to worry about is working hard, trying your best, and always being an advocate for your patient who can't speak.  The rule I've used is, I'd rather be thrown out of vet school with self-respect, than to feel that I've sacrificed my character to pass.

It's funny, I have actually forgot a lot of the circumstances that led me to the above statement, but I do vaguely remember a gut-check moment when I put it on the line to report a professor who I thought didn't have a patient's best interest at heart.  I think God helps you forget traumatic things sometimes and I forget most of the trauma from vet school and just remember the happy memories.  In vet school, the last 1 1/2 years are called "clinics" there is not really a way for objective grading, it's mostly what professors think of you.  I remember one rotation where almost a year later I found out my grade was a result of a mix- up (it was a poor grade when I had been given a mid-term evaluation of a good grade, it never made sense to me until I found out I had been mixed up with someone else, I used it as an impetus to make me work harder, but that bad grade did affect my self-confidence)

4) People are going to have bad days.  The majority of the faculty and staff are great and well-meaning.  Some people have bad days.  Some, more than others.  Some have baggage they need a tractor to remove.  For the former, be understanding and remember you have bad days too.  For the latter, feel sorry for them, pray for them or laugh; there's nothing more you can do about it; so move forward.

This is still true today.  With experience, I've focused more on the prayer and laughter.  Life's too short to let others dictate how you feel about yourself.

5) A smile burns 6 calories!  Every time you smile against your will, it burns 6 calories.  The more you smile, the more it becomes a habit, and eventually when you smile it rubs off on yourself and others.

Still true.  Share this with others in the workplace and smiling may become infectious... or... you can do it and then share a drink at Happy Hour after work guilt-free.

6) Remember where you came from.  Remember when you were a child, or when you finally decided to be a vet.  Remember thinking that being a vet was the best thing in the whole world.  Remember when you thought, "All I have to do is get into vet school," and then it was, "All I have to do is get into clinics," and then it became, "All I have to do is graduate".  Sometimes, getting in touch with the reason you got here, will give you a smile, and sometimes it will help you remember how lucky you are, how hard you worked.

It still touches my heart to receive notes from children saying how they want to be a veterinarian and appreciation of saving their pet.  Looking at the world through the eyes of a child is always refreshing.  Kind of reminds me of my two year old who refuses to say he's two.  He either says he's four or ten or fourteen.  He's so ready to get on with life.  Sometimes when we are so ready to get on with life we forget to just take a deep breath and appreciate where we are in the present.

A veterinarian, mother's take on organic...


It's a controversial subject in some ways.  It can lead to judgmental comments and beliefs as well.  I'm not writing this to judge- one way or the other...  just to put some thoughts out there.

I come from a fairly unique perspective.  I am a veterinarian, with an animal agriculture background and also an ethics background.  Combine with that I am a mother and a trying-to-be frugal wife.

Here are some thoughts....

I try to do organic when it comes to fruit and veggies.  I think there is definitely evidence that pesticides in our food supply can have negative consequences we may not be fully aware of.  I try especially on what are considered "Dirty Dozen" foods:


I actually am trying my hand at organic gardening, and my grape vine and my raspberry bush, while not certified USDA organic, have never had any pesticide or fertilizers put on them in the 3 years I've had them.  I think they are gargantuan and do great because they are located directly next to my organic compost pile.  Living in a townhouse, I've been frightened away from actually composting a whole lot (last year I had an experience of finding a dead sewer rat that likely came from the major Atlantic city nearby and let's just say I NEVER want to go through that again, even in the interest of great composted soil).  My parents gave me this thing called a Veg Trug last year and it's been great.  I have it on my porch (we really don't have much of a yard) and no squirrels, deer or other wildlife are able to steal from it and I have tomatoes, lettuce, cilantro, green beans and more in it.  Every little bit helps the grocery bill and it's nice to know EXACTLY where food comes from.

My toddler has also used the garden to learn how to count.  Initially in the spring, we would go out every morning and count the new buds coming up.  Until it got to a point where I couldn't even count anymore.  He has also tried his hand at gardening too.  Which let's just say it ended up being a reason for me to look into vermiculite toxicity... The world of toddlers and pets when it comes to the bizarre things they will get into...

When it comes to organic meats and dairy... Well... this is where my animal science background makes me depart a little bit from the USDA organic crowd...  The amount of growth hormones in cows' milk is very small and is degraded by the process of pasteurization.  Antibiotics are VERY regulated on most farms and in the veterinary industry, they are given sparingly.  Sometimes cows need antibiotics to fight infection.  Their milk is not put into the general supply.  Antibiotic treated cows are always milked last and separately and the equipment is cleaned completely.  There is a withholding time for cows that receive antibiotics before they can enter the meat or dairy supply.  This withholding time is dictated by how much time it takes for the antibiotic to completely clear the cow's system.  Not only do I find buying organic for meat a costly, and in my opinion un-neccesary expense, I have another component to my opinion.  When I was in animal science, and then later on veterinary school, I spent a lot of time on all sorts of dairy and beef cattle farms.  The dirtiest farms I saw tended to be the organic farms.  There's just something to the fact that parasiticides kill parasites and that when an animal has infection, sometimes antibiotics are best.  Sometimes things can't be fixed in an organic way.  Many non-organic farmers try to use organic methods when possible, it benefits the animal (and them) if they don't have to go through lengthy withholding times, but sometimes as I'm sure you parents know, your kid just needs an antibiotic.

Some things that I don't think we know a lot about are the amount of hormones and other compounds that occur in natural foods.  I remember learning that you could get much higher (and more risky) hormones in vegetables like spinach and soy than you can from non-organic meat and dairy.  Just some food for thought...


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Gymnasts in the family

Despite the fact that my cat is 15 years old, she is a gymnast.  My husband didn't initially believe her Michael Jordan vertical jump until he saw it with his own eyes.  This kitty can get pretty much anywhere and in contortions that make you laugh.  As mentioned previously, she loves getting in the crib and our kitchen was baby-proofed long before we had the baby.  We even have to have double baby-locks on our kitchen trash can.  We have watched the toddler and the cat mimic each other's moves.

So... a little over a year ago, my 9 month old tried to climb over his crib.  When I called the pediatrician's office up to inquire what to do.  They said I couldn't move him to a toddler bed until he was a year and I couldn't put a net or anything above because of SIDs/ suffocation risk.  The nurse basically said, "well, I guess put a bunch of pillows and an extra mattress by the bed in case he falls", we put the pillows there, but his room wasn't that big.  I convinced my father-in-law to try to put his new toddler bed together, and see if he was ready for that.  We cleaned it up (it was a Craigslist purchase) and my father-in-law did a great job of putting it together.  It became clear my son was not ready for it.  So his large red fire engine bed has been taking up a fair chunk of space in our rec room, half-forgotten.  Even though the little monkey was physically ready at 9 months to eject himself from the bed, he never did it (thankfully).

Yesterday during my son's nap, my son awoke.  My husband exclaimed, "Duchess!" as he said he saw a flying squirrel or cat exit the crib while my son was flailing.  Duchess had somehow snuck in and most likely had awoken him because she probably was trying to snuggle up with him.  Fortunately we were able to get him back to sleep and I made sure the child safety gate was secure to keep the cat out.

Then this morning...  my husband noticed that our son was standing in his crib.  Being a weekend morning, I was in no rush to get out of bed and so I told my husband not to worry, I'd keep my eye on him and I'm sure he wouldn't jump out of the crib.  I was starting my morning ritual and all of a sudden there was a thump.  He had gone head first out of the crib.  Fortunately, he was ok.  I however did not want to risk him doing that again, so I convinced my husband to spend Sunday morning taking apart the crib and putting together the new toddler bed.  It was like an era ending.  I know I was certainly feeling bittersweet about putting the crib away, the last semblance of my son being a "baby".  My son was jumping for joy, hugging and crawling all over and "helping".   My son said "Bye Bye Crib" with no remorse.  I had to turn to my husband at one point when were were both hot and annoyed and tell him, "you know, some day we are going to miss his willingness to be so helpful."  But the boy thought his "fire cuck bed" was so cool!  He wanted to play up in his bedroom most of this afternoon and tonight, he couldn't stay sitting in his mommy's lap during prayer time, he had to go to his fire truck bed.  He had the hugest grin on his face.  It was like a 16 year old getting their first car.  I asked him if he was proud of his fire truck bed and he said "proud fire truck bed".  So far he has stayed in the bed and gone to sleep.  Hopefully we won't wake up to him wreaking a bunch of havoc in his room and hopefully the cat won't teach him how to open the baby gate too soon : )

photo credit: Poutre via photopin (license)