Posts Tagged ‘Lucy’

2013 Year-End Update

ShattucksThis year has been one of our more change-heavy ones! Here’s a few updates from the last time we sent out a Christmas letter.

Steven joined Bloomerang as VP of Marketing in May. He educates not-for-profit organizations on how to use web and social media for donor retention, and I usually learn a thing or two when I read his published posts across the internet. He is also a bit of a local expert on social media and inbound marketing. We often get jests from family and friends that they see/hear more from Steven on TV and radio than in person! Steven is still involved with the Historic Irvington Halloween Festival, Art Institute of Indianapolis and CICOA, and he continues to speak at various conferences and meetings all over the United States.

As of August, Leah is Communications Director for Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter. I am responsible for media relations, marketing and promotions and overall communications for the statewide chapter. The Association provides complimentary services to families caring for those with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia, as well as raises funds for Alzheimer’s research. This fall, one of my design pieces I completed for Joy’s House – the annual report & calendar – won a national award for creativity and design. For fun, I dyed my hair red to celebrate my 30th birthday in May and was featured in the Indianapolis Star with my childhood best friend for our unique ways to celebrate the new decade.

Wes, now 2, has recently exploded his vocabulary. He has been named “class clown” for his humorous antics and ability to lead his other classmates into silly phrases and actions. Despite his goofy side, Wes is very loving and enjoys giving hugs and now, kisses. He scolds the dogs just like Daddy and then nuzzles his face in Lucy’s fur (which then gives him hives). We’re still in diapers, but he’s showing more interest in bathroom procedures. His favorite foods are pizza, grapes, apple sauce and green beans. His favorite color is purple, or sometimes, yellow. Right now, he’s fascinated with the “Chri-muh tree” and points out every single “ai-pwane” in the sky.

Jake, the 8-year-old Italian Greyhound, is becoming a cranky old man. He loves to groom himself and stay warm under covers, and he makes it known when he doesn’t want to be bothered. He still has lots of affection and follows me around the house until I sit down long enough for him to hop in it. Lucy, the 4-year-old lab/pit sweetheart, doesn’t realize how big she is. She is wholly devoted to Jake, and she obeys his every word/move. She wouldn’t hurt a fly, though she looks out for her pack members. She and Jake are an odd pair, but they are the best snuggle buddies – especially in a patch of found sunlight.

As we get older, our world gets smaller and perhaps more boring. But, we’re happy and ready to see what 2014 brings! Thanks for being a part of our lives.

Posted: December 6th, 2013
Categories: Leah
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Comments: 1 Comment.

Doggone It – Part 2 (Lucy)

Since my last post, Part 1, I have received a steady stream of encouragement and sympathy. I really do not want to hand my dogs over to another family, believe me. If we can figure out a way to alleviate some of the allergy symptoms, we/I will. The issue is that our pediatrician likes to have at least a 2.5 year history of issues in order to proceed with any testing or diagnosis. I’m hoping the symptoms die down a little this fall when Lucy isn’t shedding as much.

Speaking of Lucy, she deserves to have her story told as well.

In April 2010, my sister was getting ready to deliver my nephew, Jeremiah, born with spina bifida. It was considered a high-risk delivery, so our family rallied together during his arrival and first surgery procedures. I spent many hours at Riley Hospital for Children, worrying, praying and holding the newest member of my family. During the months leading up to his birth, Steven and I were looking for another dog. Nothing had panned out well for us.

38116_772374333688_5369743_nI was sitting in a waiting room at Riley when Steven texted me that a friend and neighbor found a stray puppy walking along Ellenberger Park. They didn’t have room to keep her overnight, and Steven offered to take her in while we tried to find her owners. I came home late that night, but as soon I walked through the door, she greeted me with a wagging tail and crooked ears. She was a little shy, but she craved our approval, and we invited her into our bed (with Jake, of course) that night.

Honestly, we didn’t look very hard for her owners. She was too nice to be just a stray, but later that week, we heard about a similar-looking dog also wandering in Ellenberger Park. How could anyone dump such a sweet little girl?

We started calling her Lucy. That name was reserved for our first baby girl, but we decided it fit her. And she was our first baby girl. She was probably 4 or 5 months old when she became a Shattuck.

Lucy is the kindest, dumbest dog I’ve ever known. Her reasons for living are only to please and to play. Unlike Jake, she was housebroken in less than a month. She could chew through indestructible bones and toys within minutes. And she followed her big brother Jake all around the house, learning to wait until he was finished eating to drinking to venture toward the bowls. (If she forgot, he quickly let her know her mistake.)

Because her heart is so big, her brain is quite small. Isn’t that what an American dog is supposed to be like? She continually bumps into tables, doors and walls, is afraid of the vacuum sweeper and doesn’t know a stranger. She also thinks she is a lap dog and whimpers if she doesn’t fit into small spaces like Jake does. I laugh at her antics but also appreciate her ability to sense when I need a hug. She is a wonderful comforter and snuggle companion.

Her 55-pound body is muscular and strong. Her tail alone can wipe out glasses sitting on the coffee table, or take out small children. I was hesitant to introduce her to newborn Wesley, but she has been gentle and caring toward him since Day 1. I like her call her Mama Hen. She protects her people and guards her little boy from the wild world.

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She and Jake couldn’t be more opposite. He prances; she stomps. He’s delicate; she’s clumsy. But they are great siblings to each other. She made him a better dog, really. They got onto the same feeding and potty schedule, and they learned to play together. The commonality is that they both want to be with their people at all times, and they are both lounging, lazy couch potatoes. They may fight one minute, but soon after you’ll find them cuddling together.

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And Wes? Oh goodness. There is a form of love between the three of them that I’m unable to describe. He is of their pack, and I dread the day it has to be broken – from sickness, death or whatever.

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I honestly don’t know that I could endure a night without listening to Lucy’s snores and grunts in the dark. A life without Lucy would be… I just don’t know. Foreign.

She is our Lucy Bird, our Lucyberger and Lucy-loo.

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Posted: August 30th, 2013
Categories: Leah
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Doggone It – Part 1 (Jake)

Wes rolls around on our bed, which is covered in dog hair. Then he gleefully grasps Lucy’s face in his hands and laughs as she gives him a big kiss. He pats Jake and tells him, “Hiiiiiii!!!” and then rubs his eyes. Within minutes, I have a kid with red hives popping up all over his face. <– This is a fairly common occurrence over the last few months.

I fear we may have a child on the brink of an official diagnosis of allergies. And I fear that our dogs are included in the unknown list of allergens. Of course, this is not confirmed, and we have been told that kids have to be at least 2.5 to get tested for anything, but I am starting to unravel slowly.

I try to sweep/vacuum/dust/whatever as much as possible. We have wood floors in every room. No carpet anywhere except for a couple area rugs. Our house is small, so it’s easy to clean. But days get away from me, and soon the laundry piles up, the sheets need changed and the floors need sweeping again. It’s not an ideal situation for a child with developing allergies and acute asthma (also not diagnosed, yet), which makes everything all the worse.

My dogs – Jake and Lucy – are my companions. I can’t imagine life without them.

Steven, on the other hand, could care less if we had to find new homes for our beloved animals. At least, for a little while. But even though they get on his nerves more often than not, I see glimpses of attachment and – dare I say it – love from time to time.

National Dog Day was a few days ago, and it was also the day I realized that I may eventually have to endure pain that I haven’t experienced before. You see, I ached for a dog of my own as I grew up. My sister had allergies similar to what I suspect of Wesley, and we even had to move our pet cat, Sarah, outdoors. So of course a dog was out of the question. (Plus my dad claims to “hate dogs,” but I don’t fully believe him.)

I had a stuffed animal dog that I cuddled with for ages, probably even up until high school. I clearly remember thinking that I wanted a dog similar to the size of my stuffed animal – one that would cuddle with me a night and fit within my arms as I laid on my side to sleep. I didn’t know what kind of dog would do that, but I would find out. My mom cheerfully replied every time I asked for a dog, “You are most welcome to have a dog of your own when you live on your own.”

As my college graduation date approached, I started my research. I wanted to adopt a dog from a rescue organization. Online compatibility tests always matched me with hounds, and I decided to adopt a retired racing greyhound. I connected with a few Indy rescue organizations. Once I learned that my new job and living environment might not be a good fit for a greyhound, I looked into Whippets and then Italian Greyhounds.

Funny thing is, every book I read and all the sites I visited cautioned new dog owners about Italian Greyhounds. There were many in foster and adoptive care because of high owner surrender. Difficult to train, very clever animals. But I wanted one badly. I passed the tests and home visits and thought I would be giving a home to a gray or blue 5 or 6-year-old girl Iggy. Most dogs in rescue programs are adult, but I didn’t care.

A few weeks later, I received a phone call that a 6-month-old puppy was surrendered as a “failed show pup.” His ears turned up in a funny way, so he couldn’t be bred or shown. The owners had let him roam free on a horse farm, so I was told that he was muscular, a unique color and “cute as a button.” His name was Jake, and could I meet him this week?

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I took Steven with me to meet Jake, the puppy. I fell in love, instantly. He wasn’t the blue colored older girl I hoped for, but he was mine. I knew it.

jake2He had a pink nose and a wild, energetic spirit. I left work during my lunch break to let him out of his crate and play with him every day. Since he was crated most of the day (if not he would have trashed the apartment), I felt bad for keeping him crated at night, too. One night I brought him into bed with me, and he climbed right into my arms and fell asleep. He was the dog I day dreamed about as a kid.

Sleeping with my dog has been a nightly occurrence for 7 years now. Sure, he’s too clever for his own good, and I admit he’s a bit of a jerk, but I love him. He was my original companion before Steven and I got married. We spent evenings together, played together and enjoyed the single life together. I love how he buries under blankets and grooms himself for 20 minutes every time he sits down. I love how he jumps into anyone’s lap and makes a new friend. He has tolerated Wesley’s toddlerhood well, and everyone loves him. Seriously, everyone. We can’t go anywhere in public without people pointing and asking questions and wanting to pet Jake. (Poor Lucy is too average.)

I really can’t picture a Shattuck house without Jake. If we have to find a new home for him, I will be heartbroken. He is my dog.

Jake, Jakey, Jake-a-roo

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Posted: August 28th, 2013
Categories: Leah
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Comments: 1 Comment.

The Leaders of our Pack

I haven’t written much about our dogs, Jake and Lucy, lately. We’re not the type of people who toss the dogs to the side post-baby, but I rather like to think of them as additional toddlers in the house. Okay, so, they don’t take up all our time anymore, we don’t go on as many walks and they spend more time alone than before Wes was born. However, they still hog our bed at night, cuddle on the couch and enjoy lots of snuggles.

Since the dogs aren’t first priority anymore, I’ve noticed some things.

1) The back yard is full of poop. Gross. I spent 45 minutes filling a trash bag full of old dog doo so that I don’t have to watch every step that Wes takes this spring. We haven’t ever really worried about this because we rarely had people stomping around in our yard, and frankly, the lawn mower pretty much took care of our needs… Double gross. But I’m now actually really excited to spend more time outside, running, chasing and kicking balls around.

2) Our house reeks of dog. I used to be much better at keeping up with the dog smell around here. Now I feel like it’s gotten waaaay out of hand. I also used to blame the smell on my super pregnant nose, but I don’t even have that excuse anymore. If I complain about the stink, I can only imagine what people think when they visit. Just cleaning the couches and rug doesn’t cut it.

I think I’ve pinpointed the problem – Jake’s mouth. Seriously. His breed (Italian Greyhound) has frequent dental issues from their lack of panting. His breath has been pretty foul lately, and I think it’s past time to get these rotten teeth extracted. He’s going to be one of those old, toothless dogs – we’ve already pulled several over the years.

To make this post even more gross, here’s why I think our house – mainly our living room –  smells so bad. Jake grooms frequently; pretty much any time he gets comfortable, he finds the need to lick everything. And occasionally he misses and ends up soaking whatever he’s laying on as well. Enter stinky couch!

Of course, we’ll have a whole ‘nother smell issue once it’s warm out and the dogs “sweat.” Ick.

But now that I’ve totally convinced some of you to never invite a dog into your family, here’s the absolutely wonderful things about our furry kids.

  • They love Wes. I mean, truly love him. They follow him around the whole house. From Day 1, they were smitten.
  • Through Jake and Lucy, Wes learned how to love pretty quickly. Parental love and dog love are two completely different things.
  • They are guardians. Sure, they’re not very frightening, but they try to sound so to all those who pass by our big picture window. It’s kinda endearing to know that they want to protect this “pack.”
  • Once they get over your presence in the driveway, and we greet you at the door, they will love you to pieces. And lick your ears. Everyone kind to us is welcome in their domain, haha. In fact, they may sit in your lap. At the same time.
  • They make Wes laugh. Hearing his laugh makes me laugh and life is grand.
  • They let Wes poke, prod and pull. Well, Lucy does. Jake doesn’t like to be disturbed when he is napping, but who does?
  • They provide wonderful company when Steven is out of town and when Wes is asleep. I’m never alone.

So I guess the dog smells, once addressed, can be tolerated for the sake of everything above. And even cleaning up dog poop is pretty manageable.

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Posted: March 23rd, 2013
Categories: Leah
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:60 with the Shattucks

Posted: February 5th, 2013
Categories: Leah
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Comments: 2 Comments.

Autumn News

Joy’s House 13th Annual Gala

(Early) fall is the busiest time of year for our family. October, specifically. Here’s a run down of what’s up with the Shattucks.

Leah – Planning my fourth annual Gala for Joy’s House was a huge success! We raised $120,000 and had 320 people in attendance. Crazy awesome. I also completed my first ever 5K. Perhaps it was too easy walking the 3 miles, but it was really fun. It’s going to be an annual tradition as a fundraiser for Joy’s House, so we’ll see if I actually push myself to train and run/jog it next year! As if I didn’t have enough going on, I’m now a consultant for Usborne Books. I will have a separate post about this later,  but in the meantime, come find me at createalibrary.com or host your own show for free books!

Steven – The Historic Irvington Halloween Festival was a smash. Steven made several media appearances, coordinated all marketing aspects and set a huge record of 23,000 people in attendance the day of the street fair. Since he’s been a part of the Festival in 2009, he’s seen a 230% attendance increase. I’m pretty proud of him. And I’m still dumbfounded.

Wes – He’s making leaps and bounds of improvements through First Steps. His balance gets better every day, and he’s actually “standing” for up to 3 seconds at a time! He loves to “walk” between two people by himself – which consists of one or two steps and then a giant lunge into one of said persons. His words are increasing, and he’s demonstrating more signs. He’s definitely looking more like a toddler these days… and acting like one, too. Small fits and tantrums are happening on a nearly daily basis. I’m sure it’s because of the frustration that 1) he can’t make x y or z work or 2) he can’t communicate his needs. Wes is a good kid – does well at daycare, loves books and enjoys adult attention.

Here he is “yelling” at the dogs. Just mimicking what I do every day.

Jake & Lucy – FLEAS. Yuck. Thankfully, I think we’d rid of them. Disgusting.

More news – Our newest nephew was born! Little Josiah is the sweetest guy in town. I’m pretty smitten, as are his big siblings Elli and Jeremiah.

 

Posted: November 4th, 2012
Categories: Leah
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Summer Solstice

The evenings of the two longest days of the year have been the epitome of what I believe summer is all about. Last night we had dinner outside on the grill. It sprinkled, and Wes found it amusing. The dogs lounged in the dead, prickly grass while we laughed with a happy, clapping baby.

 

Tonight Wes was in such a good mood that we decided to break out the bikes. I recently got a WeeRide, and we took the inaugural test drive. Success!

Minimal experiences make parenting pretty great.

Posted: June 22nd, 2012
Categories: Leah
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Mid-Year Updates

Leah – Been working full time since Janaury as Outreach Manager at Joy’s House. She is still singing on the praise team at church, though not as often as before, which has allowed for nice, non-rushed Sunday mornings with a baby. She still enjoys painting as a hobby, though the Year 4 Collage Painting is still unfinished since last August, so she better get on that before too long.

Steven – Has been working for Slingshot SEO since February as Community Manager. He’s since been knighted as employee of the month (got to wear a cape, too!) was on a panel for a social media conference and asked to join a council of employees. Steven has done really well and I’m proud of his achievements over these few months. He’s also gearing up to be the VBS “mascot” at church again this year – now as Rocketman.

Wes – At 10 months old & some change, he’s eating finger foods really well – especially bread, bananas and crackers. He can drink from his sippy cup and hold a bottle by himself. He’s scooting backwards and turning in circles on his stomach! Sometimes he gets stuck under the couch or between furniture legs. He’s sporting 5 adorable teeth and working on 3 more. He’s 24 lbs and fits into 9-18 month clothes. He loves to talk and laugh to himself, especially at bed and nap time in his crib. Jake and Lucy, the dogs, are his best friends. He’s so serious and studious (see video below), even though he’s a pleasant, happy baby. He can spend nearly an hour looking at, feeling and discovering the properties of a rug. Splashing in a tub is an educational time, trying to figure out how the water gets in the air. And yet he loves to clap, dance and sing along to familiar songs. He has one long, slightly curly lock of hair behind his right ear. (You can view his 10 Month photos here.)

Jake – The Italian Greyhound is 6 years old. He’s getting gray and white all over his head and back. He’s the dominate dog in the house at 12 lbs, but he’d prefer to be king of the family. He prances around the back yard and has trained Lucy to wait until he’s finished eating before she can get a bite to eat.

Lucy – Our beloved, sweet natured stray girl is 2 years old. She likely has developed some of her bad habits from Jake (begging for food, stealing said food off your plate, walking all over the couch and burying within a blanket). She keeps her eye on Wes all the time. If he cries or falls, she instantly finds me – either literally or with her eyes – to make sure he’s been attended to.

House – The neighbors to the south of us sold their house within a week of listing it. We’ll miss them. It’s stirred up the curiousity of moving ourselves to another house within my crazy brain. At some point, Steven and I may purchase my parent’s house, but the timing isn’t right. Given the extent of our busy year, we’ll see if this is a possibility in the future.

Vacation – Labor Day can’t come soon enough! We’re headed to Hilton Head for a week in September. Can’t wait to bike all over the island and lounge in the sand with Wes. I know he’ll love feeling, touching and examining the sand between his toes.

Family – I’m thrilled to announce that we’ll have another niece or nephew this October! My sister is pregnant with her third baby, healthy and thriving, yet stubborn enough to hide his or her gender from the ultrasound tech. I’m excited because Wes will have the chance to be around a little baby cousin, and I love that all of his cousins on both sides will be able to grow up together. I love being so close in age with all of my first cousins, and getting together with them is always a great time. Thankful that Wes has this opportunity as well.

This video captures Wes on a daily basis. He spends minutes at a time discovering the world with his hands. Who knew a register could emit such interesting music?

Posted: June 2nd, 2012
Categories: Leah
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Big Green Couch

I love our green couch and love seat. So much happens there every day. We may be terrible in that we let our dogs lounge all over the couch, but it’s their domain. We spend a lot of time on those couches – eating, reading, playing with Wes, snuggling, fighting sickness and sleeping there when contracting every 10 minutes.

The couch is in every other photo taken, it seems. Photos taken when friends visit feature the green couch. We’re sitting, chatting, playing a board game or posing for a group shot. When Wes has a monthly milestone and it’s photo time, we usually start out from or end up on the green couch.

The green couch is now 5 years old. We purchased the set with leftover wedding money, and I remember squealing when I saw it. My favorite color. Green is the color of growth, new life and new beginnings. My eyes are sometimes green (when I’m wearing green). My birthstone is an emerald.

Frankly, it’s a pain to clean. Microfiber picks up everything, including dog hair and dog smells. It has its share of cookie crumbs, spit up and slobber embedded deep within the fabric. (It does get a deep RugDoctor cleaning every so often.) I knew it would become outdated quickly, since it wasn’t brown, leather or plain. But we got it anyway.

I’m so glad that Wes will have “that green couch” in all of his baby photos. So many memories are made on that piece of furniture.

Posted: May 25th, 2012
Categories: Leah
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Month 9 Well Check

Om nom nom

Our chunk is getting leaner. After his 9 month check up, we found he’s dropped into the 90th percentile for weight! He remains in the 50th for height. And his poor little head, it’s only in the 10th. However, I found several sites that bring his head circumference into the 25th, so I’m going with that. Why am I suddenly sad to know that he’s not bigger than nearly every other kid his age? Did I really find THAT much pride in his thick thighs? (Oh, and don’t worry – they’re still there.)

He’s getting more independent. And he seems to know what he wants and when. If whatever it is I bring him isn’t IT, he sure lets us know. One of these days he’s going to finally master crawling to ease his frustration with us! The past month, we’ve made a conscious effort to keep him on his stomach up to 10 minutes every 2 hours. Hard at first, but he can now tolerate being on his belly for much longer periods of time, which finally gives him the chance to work on those muscles. I was pleased to report to the doc that he can rock on his knees… it’s amazing what little joys I have in my life now!

We discovered yet ANOTHER tooth poked through his gums recently, and there’s another one just on the brink of appearing. Our neighbors have a rambunctious and highly entertainingly wild 3-year-old girl who, at a year old, had a full set of teeth. I always found this amusing. Perhaps there’s something in our drinking water that creates mutant tooth growth.

Wes refuses to be spoon-fed these days, hence the independence. He insists on feeding himself, except: 1) new textures disturb him (so goodbye bananas for a few months), 2) green foods are only for swiping to the floor and 3) 20% of food actually lands in his mouth. All my fun evenings of pureeing and storing massive amounts of food are at a standstill. Humph. Buuuuut, the good news: he’s able to feed himself formula through his sippy cup! Yessss. I can actually have my arms free during this “activity” again.

Aside from all the above challenges, Wes is a super duper baby. He is chill to the max. He sleeps great – even during the day. He gives amazing morning hugs. His handsome brown eyes smile more than his mouth. He loves to be out and about, so shopping is a pleasant surprise. He loves being outside, taking walks and going on bike rides. He thinks Jake & Lucy are the best things since sliced bread, and they love him back to a million pieces. Jake stands still as Wes “gently” pats and hugs him; Lucy allows him to tug her ears and examine her tail. They are rewarded with those awesome baby giggles that make you cry – I mean, it’s commercial material!

Month 9 photos are up. Enjoy!

Posted: April 30th, 2012
Categories: Leah
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