Thursday, October 30, 2014

Tobin and the Trumpet

Ever since Tobin saw his grandpa playing the trumpet recently, he's been a little bit obsessed with it.  Numerous times a day, he asks me, "Can I go down to Grandpa's house and play his trumpet?"  Usually I say yes, and off he runs, eager to get his lips on that piece of brass again.

During my musical career, I have played the piano, violin, organ, percussion (briefly), handbells, and have sung in choirs; and the closest I came to a wind instrument was being part of a recorder consort for a short time during college.  But I have never played a brass instrument, so this is all new territory for me.  However, Tobin is finding that his grandpa is a patient teacher (note: Tobin isn't getting official lessons yet--I think trumpet lessons usually aren't given to six-year-olds--but he's having fun learning a little bit about the instrument and how to make music with it).

Tobin is having so much fun with this that he confessed to me yesterday that, instead of saving up his money for a saddle and horse (because he wants to be a cowboy), he's going to save his money so he can buy a trumpet.

"Tobin, my dear," I told him, "if you really want to play the trumpet, I am SURE your grandpa will let you use his."

A big grin spread over Tobin's face.

It probably wasn't as big, however, as the grin that would be etched on my dad's face if one of his grandsons followed in his footsteps and became a trumpet player!!  :)

 After Tobin, David wanted a turn.
 How many times have I been thoroughly amused by David's facial expressions during his nine years of life?  Well, whatever that number is, add one more to it, because the photo below absolutely cracks me up!  ;-)
 And then, not to be outdone, Shav wanted a turn, too.
And then the trumpet was passed back to Tobin. 
It's too early to speculate, but I wonder...  What does the future hold for him, in regards to this trumpet?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Two Weeks with Willow

It's been two weeks since Jeff came home briefly from work in the middle of a Tuesday, transporting a very special passenger to us.  

We've learned a lot in the past 14 days.  For example, I've learned to never, ever, ever leave food out and unattended when Willow is in the house--at least, not if I ever want to eat or even see that food again.  Jeff has learned that Willow tries to get away with stuff with him that she knows better than to try with me--like getting up on the couch to sleep at his feet when he's napping there.  David has learned that Willow is STRONG; and when he takes her for a walk, she pulls him around all over the yard (her leash manners are atrocious).  Tobin has learned that he prefers sleeping on the floor of his bedroom, rather than in his bunk bed, because Willow loves to go into his room during the night and cuddle up on the bottom of the sleeping bag, and he loves that.  We've all learned that she's actually a much better indoor dog in some ways than Jed ever was; for one (huge) reason, she lacks the herding instinct that Jed has so strongly, so the kids can actually run around inside without her chasing and nipping them, and boy, do they appreciate that!  ;-)

Not that she's inside all the time.  She actually gets to spend lots and lots of time with Jed in the pasture, and they have been getting along much better than they first did.  But we bring her in sometimes during the day, and always at night.

But enough talking.  How about some pictures from these first two weeks?  :)
These pictures were taken the second evening we had her, and I remember the great relief I felt when she laid down on the floor and fell asleep while we were eating supper.  I didn't want her to pace around the table, begging for food from everyone; but having her peacefully sleeping close to us was nice.  :)

See that box of pizza on the table?  The one Willow opened with her nose and grabbed a piece of pizza from after everyone had vacated the kitchen?  Yeah, that was my first indication that given half a chance, she would steal any people food she could possibly find.  As it turned out, I didn't learn my lesson the first time around, so we had a few episodes of food-stealing before I realized that I just really COULD NOT leave food anywhere that Willow could reach it.

The thing that has softened my heart the most about Willow is how gentle she has been with all of us, but especially with the little ones.
As you can see, Moriah has spent quite a bit of time with Willow; and despite the abundant hands-on love that Moriah gives, Willow has not snapped at her or reacted poorly when Moriah pets and hugs and kisses Willow.  THAT means the world to me.

The way she looks is so funny to me!  She's such a mixture of colors that I sometimes find myself just gazing at her, sort of trying to figure her out.  But I'm getting more used to her patchwork coat and her mismatched eyes by now.  :)  She's not the kind of dog that I would have previously considered beautiful, but she's definitely growing on me.  ;-)

One evening soon after we got Willow, Moriah and I were outside enjoying the gorgeous evening, and Willow was with us.  Moriah kept alternating between jumping on the trampoline and coming over to pet Willow--both were fun choices.  :)

Josiah has been helpful with Willow--taking her out for a walk if I can't get to her right away, and so forth.

There's something so special about petting a sweet dog.  :)

There have been a few difficult moments (for me) since she arrived.  Like the time Willow got into a bowl of egg salad that was sitting on the counter and ruined it all...and the time she did that with a container of leftover ham from my mom's birthday, leading to more of an emotional outburst from me than I should have let happen...and the time she chewed on the corner of the basket that holds Moriah's hair things...and the time she pooped on the bathmat in the middle of the night (to his credit, Jeff came to my rescue that night, because I was not up to dealing with that one!)...and the times (yes, timeS) when she has peed in the house...and last but not least, the time she had wolfed down some bacon grease I had put on her food, then went upstairs to Tobin and Shav's room a little later and puked it all up.  I'm no stranger to cleaning up vomit, not with five kids in the house; but that...  *shudder*  It was awful.

But most of the time hasn't been that way.

Most of the time, we've seen a dog who eagerly runs up to the pasture to be let in the gate to play with Jed, a dog who eagerly runs down to the house to eat her special food and be with her humans, a dog who really is turning out to be a good fit for our family.
See her under there, hanging out under the kitchen table one day during our lunch?

I've realized something, too.  Even though I've had to sacrifice some things to have her, I've gained some things, too.  For example, when I take her out at night for a bathroom break, I always gaze at the sky; and I have seen some incredible starry skies in the last two weeks.  Without her, I wouldn't have gone outside, especially during chilly fall nights, and I would have missed the splendor of the constellations.  Also, one morning when I was outside with her, I heard a strange sound--a rhythmic beating that made me wonder if one of my children was outside, pounding on something.  But no, they were all still inside.  What could it be?  After looking around for a while, I finally spotted a small woodpecker in our English walnut tree, adding his rhythm of knocks to the chorus of morning...and putting a smile on my face in the process. Without Willow, I would have missed that.

So, am I glad we got her?

Welllll...sometimes. Most of the time. When she's easy, and good, and doesn't pee or poop or puke on the floor, and doesn't eat my egg salad, but does tolerate Moriah's hands-on affection, and does fall asleep on the floor beside Jeff's side of the bed, or on the end of Tobin's sleeping bag, etc.--well, then I'm delighted that we have her.  But I tell ya, if there's one thing that can make my frustration flare up in an instant, it's a misbehaving dog!  Fortunately, her good behavior outweighs her bad; and even when she messes up, it gives me an opportunity to practice my patience, and James says that's a good thing!  ;-)

Here's another thing: I'm one out of seven in this family, and the other six all seem to be thrilled that she's ours, and that carries a lot of weight.  You know something?  That old adage "when Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" doesn't really mean that Mama should get her way all the time.  It actually means that sometimes Mama has to pull herself together, deal with her heart in relation to whatever is bothering her, and GET HAPPY.

I'll tell you a little secret: her husband and children will surely appreciate it.

And in my case, the dog will, too.  ;-)