Tag Archives: pets

Understanding Death

A few weeks ago, our precious dog passed away. What makes her passing even harder for us all was the fact that we were away and so was she when it happened. The kids were visiting relatives, and I was out of town. Our dog traveled with us often, but considering the amount of travel we had been doing, we decided to leave her with a friend for the last few weeks.

She was an old dog, adopted about 8 years ago when she was already a little over a year old. My best friend agreed to keep her, and updated us regularly on how sweet and easy going she was. And oh was she sweet. In fact, I blogged many times with pictures of my children loving on her. However, after the second week, her health took a sudden turn. Within a few days, our dog was gone.

I wasn’t with her for her last days. My children weren’t with her. The heartache of suffering with her and preparing for her after life care was put on the shoulders of my friend. I grieved from another state, choosing to delay telling the kids until after my son’s 14th birthday.

The older 4 (out of 7) understood what the death of their dog meant: they would not be returning to her in a week and she would not be returning to them. As for the younger 3, the understanding of death is not something they can truly grasp, especially without seeing her sick. The last they knew of their dog was walks through Mount Lemmon.

My very busy, smart and chatty 3 year old has come up to me nonchalantly a few times and said, “Nala is dead.” My 6 year old, who is verbal but autistic, asked where Nala was yesterday. I told him, but he had left the conversation before hearing my reply.

My 4 year old loves dogs. He hugs every dog he sees. It’s been so hard losing our precious family member and she will be missed forever.

But I am going to wrap up children’s understanding of death with something sweet, funny and curious:

Yesterday, the friend who was watching Nala when she passed, stopped by the house. The 4 year old said,

“I want my dog back!”

She crouched down and said very sweetly, but with much sadness, “oh baby, your dog went to be with Jesus.”

The four year old demanded, “why did Jesus take my dog?!”

Give and Take – A Love Story of Sorts

A little over three weeks ago, I promised my 12 year old son something I was sure I never would. A pet tarantula. A few years back, I blogged about this very subject: a promise I made to his dad before we got married – no matter how many boys we have NO SNAKES OR SPIDERS EVER. Ummm, we have 5 boys.

My son was obviously very excited about the possibility. I thought surely I’ve lost what was left of my mind and sane decision making. 

This week we ordered a Mexican Red Knee from an online store. The next day we went anxiously to the Fedex store to pick it up. I announced to the lady behind the counter that we were there to pick up a tarantula. She got very excited, as the employees had all been curious about the box labeled “Live Harmless Reptile.” So much so that she asked if we could open it right there so she could take a peek. I agreed because I was guaranteed live delivery and should probably ensure it was still alive! Within a moment, there were a few other eager onlookers. So we opened the box, removed the Styrofoam lid, then the few pieces of newspaper and then… a small plastic container. 

“Did we get scammed?!” I asked. No way was a giant, furry creature in that small container (the container also had a few squares of toilet paper). We carefully poked around until we saw a tiny spider, no bigger than a child’s thumbnail. I was not expecting a baby, but I was secretly glad I was now going to grow with the spider, so to speak, instead of diving head first into eight, huge legs.

We took it back to my parents’ where we were staying for the night… and also where it promptly escaped. We found it by some miracle and put it back into its habitat. We wrapped that up for extra precaution, but again he escaped. I looked for HOURS. Needless to say, my son was very sad the next morning when I had to tell him. 

But then something happened. He found a small garter snake and was very happy with it, as were the other kids. Each took turns washing their hands before and after holding it. Crazier still, I let him bring it home in the container that was supposed to be for the spider.They made him a little habitat, collected some bugs and fed it. This morning they decided to release it. 

After church today, we went to an exotic pet shop. I had spoke with the owner for quite awhile the night before about which spider was best, and he told us that babies are very difficult to care for. So today we saw their collection of rose hair tarantulas, and my son picked one out.

I admit that while we were in the store, I was having some SERIOUS second thoughts about this all. And again questioning my sanity. But we got the spider and she is now adjusting (I think) to her new home. 

Yep. I must have lost my mind… but hey, the kids are happy!

Dog Has a New Puppy

I need a professional photographer to come in here with a camera (as opposed to my phone), because this dog with “her puppies” is just too cute!

Sweet baby can now crawl. She has taken to our dog and crawls over to her ♡♡♡



Birthdays, Friends and Dogs

This week, my oldest daughter turned 8 and my baby turned 6 months. Where does time go?!


My oldest daughter’s birthday began a few days earlier with old friends celebrating at Dave & Busters, and a furry owl present.



Her birthday morning was complete with many phone calls from relatives and a lovely gift from her cousin.


Later we went to the park, where another homeschooling group was meeting for their weekly park day. She made some new friends, which is always the best present!


In the evening, another family came over to share in the cake and song celebration. They brought Twister, which has kept the oldest kids entertained ever since.


I made the most fabulous gluten free, flower power cake ever, and it was delicious!


And yesterday we drove a few hours to meet friends we miss dearly from our old hometown. We spent a wonderful day at the zoo with them ♡♡♡


Little Baby is now a Crawling Baby! And she’s quite pleased with herself.


She now crawls up to our sweet dog, who is never missing attention and affection from the kids.





Bunny Catching 101

Together, a 10-year old, 7-year old and 4-year old can come up with some great ideas when boredom strikes and their little brothers are napping and Mommy is doing yard work (i.e. not paying attention).

Lately, they have been very excited about all the bunnies they have seen.  They have taken notice of their favorite spots, and even staked them out.  But today was the day they were going to actually catch a bunny.   Here is their fool-proof master plan on how to catch a little rabbit.

Step One: Make sure Mommy is busy and occupied and not paying attention.

Step Two: Find the cat carrier by climbing up tall heights on wobbly stools, sifting through tools and other dangerous objects that are supposed to be hidden and out of reach.

Step Three: Find the cat.

* Now here is what I pieced together from their messy evidence scene: Since capturing the bunny themselves was impossible, they had devised a plan to get our cat to chase the bunny for them.  One would set the cat loose where the bunny had been spotted, one would hold open the pet carrier with firm instructions to only let the bunny be closed inside, not the bunny and cat together.  That could get messy.  The other child would chase the cat in the direction of the cat carrier while the cat chased the bunny (hopefully, also in the direction of the carrier).

** That plan was shut down by Mean Mom because getting the cat meant going in my bedroom, and that was not allowed while baby was sleeping.

Step Four: 7-year old asked me if he could get his bee-bee gun.

“What?!  You want to shoot the bunny???!!  NO!!”

“But Mom, it won’t hurt the bunny.  Please?”

* Now here is what I pieced together from that plan.  They would just wound the bunny so that he couldn’t get away from them as easily.  Then they could catch him and SUCCESS!

**  That plan was also shut down by Mean Mom.  I continued mowing the lawn…

After a little while, I didn’t see the kids or hear them, so I became worried and thought I should check on them and make sure no other resourceful plans had been devised.  I went inside to the cool air conditioning…

* Tip for other moms:  Don’t check on your kids if they are inside when it’s 100 degrees outside and you’ve been doing manual labor for an hour.  You won’t want to go back out.  You will rationalize this by, “Hey, the yard is at least half mowed… better half than none at all!”

Why Pre-Nuptiual Agreements are Crucial

I hate spiders and snakes. My kids have asked if I like little, tiny, barely-visible-to-the-naked-eye dust spiders. NO. What about spiders that don’t hurt you? Hate them, too. The bottom line is, nothing should have eight legs and eight eyes. And for my smart-ass 10-year-old son, and anyone else who will point out that brown recluses only have six eyes… THEY STILL HAVE EIGHT LEGS! And they do wicked damage to their victims. Hate, hate, HATE them all.

Similarly, nothing should have no legs and eerily slither around. Yes, dear children, that goes for non-venomous snakes, too!

When my dear husband and I were still engaged, it came to my attention that he was once a snake and spider owner. Meaning, he willingly caged both a python and a tarantula, kept them in his room and fed them LIVE creatures!  A few times, the snake escaped and was found coiled up in the laundry basket by his mother (ahhhhhhh!!) and once slithering down the hallway for his parents’ bedroom (clearly, the snake had it out for the poor mom).  His mother also told me there were a few occasions when dear hubby would FORGET to put away the nasty spider before falling asleep and she would have to do it for him.

There are a few comments I would like to make before continuing with the meat of the story (hahaha I made a pun!). First: in the laundry basket…. Are you freaking kidding for me? Secondly: who plays with a spider?!  They are not cute.  They cannot play catch or roll over.   Thirdly: how can one go to sleep with a giant spider on the loose??  Something is wrong with my husband…

So I heard these stories with great horror, but the wedding invitations had already been sent out…  But truth be told , I was quite disturbed! So I made him promise and swear in blood to me that no matter how many boys we have, we would never EVER let them have a pet snake or spider.  Of course he agreed.  The wedding invitations had already been sent out.

We now have four boys.

A few days ago, the oldest boy came inside with 3 baby orb weavers. These grow into the huge spiders commonly called banana spiders. He actually tried to run upstairs with them!  He then thought I was naive enough to buy into his story that he was putting them into an escape-proof bug jar for observation purposes.  HA!

But the day I knew would come finally did yesterday.

Out of the blue, the 7-year-old asked, “Mommy, can I have a pet tarantula?”


“Why, because you hate spiders?”

“Yep.”   The 10-year-old then said,

“Yeah, and if you get one, she will just kill it anyway.”  Hahaha!  I didn’t try to defend myself.  He was right.

“You would kill it??”  I felt not one ounce of pity for the boy when I nodded my head.  After a few minutes,

“Well, can I get one when I’m a man?”

“Sure, kid.  When you are a man and NOT living in my house, you can have whatever pet you want.”

To which the 10-year-old replied, “but she won’t come to your house for a visit.”  I didn’t try to defend myself. He was right.