Tag Archives: Ninjababy

(emotionally introducing) Garth Brooks

things have been pretty exciting here at home lately…
we got a new dog.
at first i was a little nervous to be excited about getting a new dog. kind of like it was cheating my love for ninja.
like saying i didn’t still miss ninja, or worse yet, saying he was replaceable.
and this is where i feel like having dogs is like being a parent.
i have all my parent friends tell me that you don’t actually love your first child more than your second child. it’s like you didn’t think your heart could actually fit more love in it, until you met your second child. and then you know your heart is capable of it. and you can’t ever imagine that you would have thought any differently.
that’s exactly how my life has been since march. my heart showing me what it is capable of.
back up to this winter… without a dog.
i was having a terrible time not having a pet around. it’s no secret how much i love dogs, and i am sure it wasn’t much of a secret how out of character i was without a dog.
i just kept thinking… well, as soon as we move to a different house. that’s when we will think about getting another dog.
plus, what i was really thinking was… there will never be another ninja.
fast forward to march. i spent a couple days with my parents in cedar rapids. my mom has a friend who is a foster mom for dogs. i thought some “dog therapy” would be good, so we headed to amy’s house for a couple of hours. amy has 4 dogs of her own, and was fostering a dog named joey.
i can’t really say that i fell completely in love with the dog right away. i thought he was a very sweet dog, and seemed incredibly lovable. but again, he wasn’t ninja.
amy told us that he was a stray dog in a town south of cedar rapids. the shelter there is known to be a high kill shelter and had him on death row. knowing this, the shelter in cedar rapids brought him to stay with amy while they tried to find a home. she also went on to tell us that he had an application put in on him already, and she was taking him to meet the potential family soon. knowing that he was wanted was reassuring to me. in a few different ways. one, i knew amy would make sure the family was a good fit, and he would have a good home. and two, it reassured me that maybe i still needed to wait a bit before getting a dog myself.
but, for some reason that nite i sent derek a message and told him that i had to put an application in on this dog. even though i was almost certain that things would work out with the other family. i felt like i needed to make sure the dog was taken care of… just in case.
well, things didn’t work out with the other family. and derek and i were back in cedar rapids the next weekend… and had time to spend with the dog needing a home.
(on a side note… adopting a dog is quite the process. i filled out a huge application. we had 3 references called, our vet called, our house inspected and a vet visit!)
things happened really quickly, and we were able to take this new dog home that weekend. it wasn’t what either of us had expected, and i wasn’t exactly sure how i felt about it. except that it felt right.
first thing was first, his name had to be changed. weird or not, i had a really hard time professing my affection to a dog with the same name as my old boyfriend. it just felt odd. so our new family member became known as garth.
garth brooks.
i think he was feeling as rushed and confused as i was the first couple of days. he was very nervous about things, and i was still looking for a routine. garth was trying to decide if he was safe, and i was trying to decide if it was safe to say i was happy with a new dog.
it’s interesting because i think we were both on the same path. he obviously had come from a home (as he was neutered when the shelter found him), so he had obviously known some kind of love and security. and i was still grieving a dog that had given me lots of love and security.
both of us were unsure. and even though it was weird, it felt right to be unsure together.
it has been about a month now with garth brooks and i getting to know each other. and i have loved every moment of it. and while there will never be another ninja, that’s okay. i don’t want there to be. but there is now a garth who wasn’t asking to be a new ninja. and consequently who i am madly falling for and including in my love.
it’s like we both changed our expectations about previous lifestyles and hold no grudges about past loves. we both have a place in our hearts for each other. there is no room to feel like we are cheating or replacing… because neither of us are. our lives have just expanded enough to add a new love.
and it’s exciting.


I’ve had a little bit of “writer’s block”-
… it started out as a heart block (broken heart),
leading to a mind block (brain clusterfuck),
and has resulted in writer’s block (depression).

It’s hard for me to to ever admit feeling down, blue, upset –
but as it turns out, feeling sad isn’t just for the Betty Fords.
(Or maybe it is and I am now one of them… and by “them” I mean my mother.)

My dog died… and even though it happened 2 months ago, I am still sad.

Just like a parent thinks their kids is the smartest, cutest or brightest –
Ninja, my dog, was obviously the best.
He was my dog and had the loyalty to me that a son has to his mother. A fierce protector with the gentlest of hearts; Ninja was a lover and a watch dog all in one. He was a 90 pound lap dog that never left my side.
Having Ninja made me a little less afraid of the dark. He made me not want to be gone from home for too long. Ninja made me love snow days with him curled on my feet while reading a book. He made the alarm clock seem not so bad. He gave me companionship on sunny days outside (especially while mowing the lawn). Ninja made coming home from vacation something to look forward to. He made my bed a little more cozy. He made my house a little less quiet and my life a little more routine. Ninja made stories (and photos) for naughty kids to love. He made watering the lawn seem like less of a chore, and taking a car ride more like finding gold. He made old dogs find their youth, and young dogs find their obedience. Ninja made my husband a bit jealous at times, but never held a grudge for the accusations. He made my heart melt with his wildly beating tail. Ninja made my life a lot more comfortable and a little less sad.

I miss my dog terribly. He made getting through life’s blocks a little easier.

part one of a good love story.

about 3 and a half years ago, derek told me about an ad in the pioneer classifieds offering lab puppies for free.
this is how my love story with ninja began.
he was the biggest pup in the litter and rode curled up against my chest the whole way home.
i have loved him ever since.
fast forward to a few weeks ago… three and a half years later (and 80 more pounds) we have a dog who needed new knees. the first surgery was back in october. i won’t go into much detail… but, damn. it was a long healing process from that one. so when it came time to think about fixing the right knee i had my doubts.
four more months of recovery? four more months of trying to keep an otherwise active dog inactive?
i was leaning toward no.
but a few weeks back mother nature tricked us with a spring-like weekend. ninja was in heaven. he was outside all day… rolling, running, eating poop…
being a dog.
i was all excited thinking that his “bad” leg wasn’t even really that bad. he would be fine.
but the next day he could hardly walk on the right leg. and i figured that was my sign to schedule surgery.
we had the surgery planned for the time that we would be on vacation with the parents. it worked out nicely, actually. having (planned) extra care after the procedure this time.
with any good love story, i thought about him the whole time we were gone. it’s no lie when i say i had dreams about him giving me kisses.
(derek is cringing right now… but, i am not kidding!)
i freaking love that dog and could not wait to get him back home.
fast forward again to today.
ninja got to come home on tuesday and like good lovers would, we have spent the past 3 days on the couch, nuzzled in each others limbs.
i am convinced that my love missed me just as much.
his big 80 pound body has been either sitting/laying on me, drooling and snoring for hours on end.
and i wouldn’t have it any other way.
i adore this beast.

holy update.

whoa… its been awhile.
my new year has long since started and things seem to be on a little better note than when the “year” ended.

in with the new.
i have a new job. and while it is true that i miss my kids that i worked with for the last 2 years, i have grown to love my new ones. i terribly miss the kids i used to work with. in fact, i went back to visit them during my fall break and my heart felt so good. (not to mention i felt like a celebrity!) they all looked so big and old… it was incredible. i loved seeing their faces.
don’t get me wrong, the new kids that i am working with are pretty incredible themselves… in fact, i love my new job. not only the kids, but my co-workers, and the entire population of families that i get to be involved with is something that i see myself doing for quite a good amount of time. i have the opportunity to work with some amazing programs, and i am so fortunate to be able to work where i do. it really is a good fit for me, and i am so excited to go to work every day.
speaking of fall break, my new school is an extended year school, so i teach from july to the end of may. i love this schedule! we started around july 18th, had a 3 week fall break at the end of september, have normal breaks around holiday time, have a longer spring break, and an extra break at the end of april. if someone told me that they would give me more summer back in return for fall break there would be no way that i would be up for the trade. not only is fall the best time of year to have a 3 week break, the break also happened to fall on the most important day of october….

my birthday.
this year my birthday was a little more relaxed than normal, but not any less celebrated. because i was on fall break, i was able to spend a little time in marion with my family. my mom was able to take some time off work so we could do some serious birthday shopping… love. a couple days before my actual birthday derek took me to my favorite restaurant in des moines, sage. we had a great meal, as always. on the actual sweet day of my birth, i was treated to a massage before we had a little birthday party at taki. i had a great time and am so thankful for the friends and family who were able to make it out. the rest of the month continued with various birthday celebrations, which of course i enjoy… no sense in cramming it all in on one day when we have the whole damn month to celebrate….

our anniversary.
this was another fun little celebration that derek and i enjoyed in october. we ended up between two different restaurants. (dessert is a serious thing in my life and if one place can’t offer what i want, don’t worry we will just go somewhere else.) we ended up having a really great evening (“fucking sweet” as described by my romantic husband). derek and i debated for a bit about what we could each other for gifts. we are not really “anniversary gift” people, but since this years gift to give (celebrating the 2nd year of marriage) is cotton i was trying to think of something funny to buy him. instead i got a little distracted with some other news and we decided to just get a couple of new knees….

for our dog.
well we knew that ninja had been having some hip issues for awhile, but we thought that the issues had been pretty well managed with a little diet and one ascriptin a day. but a few weeks ago when i was outside with him i realized that something else seemed wrong and he was having a terrible time getting around and putting any weight on his left leg. of course i was a wreck thinking about what had happened. fast forward through a long story and about 2 weeks later, we found out that he tore both of his knees (the ACL). we took him to ISU to get a consultation done with the vet hospital there and they clearly recommended surgery. luckily, my dad loves our dog as much (well maybe not AS much, but loves ME enough) to help pay for these new knees for ninja. the vet made it seem like a pretty simple surgery that would take a significant amount of healing time, but it definitely seemed like something that we could manage…. that i am still deciding on. we were able to pick him up and bring him back home this last sunday. but he ended up having 2 staples ripped (it is questionable that they weren’t ripped before we actually even left the hospital… fucking cyclones.) so we ended up having to take him back to the hospital that nite and that is where he still is staying. i am so sad to not have him at our house. it is terrible to not have him greet me at the door, sleep on my feet at nite, or wake me up with millions of kisses. hopefully he will be able to return home soon. if it gets much worse, i am not sure how easily i am going to be able to deal with this same surgery on the other knee in december. maybe he will get to leave the hospital the same day as our new family addition…

my nephew.
derek’s sister and her husband had their first baby on november 2. daniel christopher was born a toddler (close to 10 pounds!) but is doing well, as are bre’anna and chris. they are very excited to finally have him… i know this role as great parents is one they each were born to excel at. on the other hand, derek and i are trying to decide on a time to visit them… when the baby is not quite so fresh… you know sometime around his 14th birthday….

which i promise not to be the next time that i update this damn website.


One of the assignments I gave my students this week was to brainstorm some things they were thankful for, and why. (Naturally this is what an elementary teacher assigns that short week of Thanksgiving!) As they came up with some pretty creative ideas, including “Aunt Julie’s apple pie and the sweater that grandma made,” I was working on my own little list of things I am thankful for and I was reminded not forget the little things.
I am thankful for my health. Working with kids for so long has created this super immunity system in my body and allows me to never have to take a sick day.
I am thankful for Derek. The friendship I have known with him is unlike anything I have every experienced. I am grateful that I have his love, support, laughter, and awesome underwear-flicking abilities.
I am thankful for my family. I am so very lucky to have such a good relationship with both of my parents and my little brother. Although there are times when I wonder if I am not truly obsessed with them, beings how I talk to one of them at least once a day, I have come to realize it is a mutual obsession — and we are all okay with it.
I am thankful for my baby, Ninja. With his warm, 93 pound, body sleeping on my legs at nite, my feet are never cold. Also, the loyalty my dog shows me makes me feel like royalty. How can you not be thankful for a companion that loves you more than his own b-hole?
I am thankful for my wonderful friends. Because of them, I have many great memories (that often turn into ridiculous stories.) With these friends I am reminded that while time does continue to move forward — good friendships always last the distance and change.
I am thankful for food. Lord (and the poor waitress at Chilis) knows that I would be a sobbing wreck without it.
I am thankful for Derek’s family. Although I know they don’t always agree with me, (something about using the “F word” too much!) I am grateful that they have always accepted me and appreciated the love I have for their son/brother.
I am thankful for my education. (And so is Iowa Student Loan Liquidity Corporation — I am providing their Christmas bonus checks this year!) As the psychology of a teacher continues to unfold, I realize more and more how much I love to learn, and I am very grateful that I have the time and ambition to continue.
I am thankful for my students. They continue to enlighten my life every day. I learn so much from each of them, I can’t imagine not doing my job. I mean honestly, who knew that you clean a desk with just a little pee on your shirt?

‘Tis the season for reflection.
Happy Thanksgiving.