I am officially THAT dog owner.

These terrors on four feet have had quite the weekend. Between a doggy birthday party, a charity dog walk, training class, two new crates, and today’s grooming session, we are starting off Spring Break with a bang.

Percy turned 1 on Friday so I gave in to temptation and may have gone overboard on a doggy birthday party. Since we tend to adopt rescues, it is rare that we know when the dog is born. (Drake and Haas will have an adoption day party in February so they don’t feel left out)

Peanut butter and carrot pupcakes with bacon sprinkles and some dog safe ice cream.

Oldest Child baked pupcakes and decorated them with peanut butter frosting and bacon sprinkles. Youngest Child picked out dog ice cream and Mom bought party hats and streamers. We even invited one set of grandparents who possibly humored us because there was dinner first. (The rest of the grandparents live too far away and think I may be a trifle puppy obsessed.)

520E92BB-9733-40BA-9F17-4726CB25DD0CPercy loved it! I loved it! The kids laughed. Dad sighed but said the pupcakes weren’t bad. The hats didn’t last but Percy thought they were good fun to carry around.

Then, on Saturday, Percy and I went to a dog walk set up by one of the seniors where I teach. We have this super amazing teacher who set up senior projects that students design to benefit the community, the school, or themselves. This year, one of the students decided to raise money for a local dog rescue. This was Percy’s first venture out into public where many dogs would be present. He was a bit vocal at first but quickly settled down. We were both excited to meet some of the other dogs from my department even if Percy was a little intimidating.


Lavender and Ingrid with Percy wondering why they don’t love him.

Percy thought the best part was when he got to hang out with the girls’ soccer team. They were on their way to a jamboree and were a captive audience to my attention hog. He was shameless. Percy played up the big eyes and held court with about 6 young ladies until it was time for training class.

In class, the excitement caught up with poor Percy’s stomach. Now, in two out of three class periods, they have had to get the mop out for both ends of Percy. I sure hope we keep getting to go back…

On Sunday, Haas and Drake got new crates. Well, to be fair, Haas got a new and bigger crate and Drake got Haas’s hand-me-down crate.  Now my living room looks like the animals broke out of the zoo. The crates take up an entire wall. When the doors are standing wide open, I suspect guests wonder what kind of creatures require cages that large. I try to get the guests out of the way before the stampede toward the food bowls happen. I haven’t lost a guest yet.  Of course, I am a bit of an introvert so there aren’t many guests, but I still stand by my perfect record!

We are starting the week with clean and good smelling boys. My groomer is a super hero and willing to take all three boys at once.  I really don’t tip her enough for making my boys so handsome.

Drake was a bit tired after his first trip to the groomer. 

We wish you a wonderful week with lots of puppy love from our family to yours!

Breathe. Be kind. Repeat.

Teenagers are frustrating, whether canine or human. Neither want to listen and both require more patience than I have today.

Here is Drake, ready for a nap. It is hard to remember they are still technically puppies until I see this face.

The lack of patience is my own failing. I knew what I was getting into both with the profession as well as the dogs. Neither group is “bad” and both act according to their natures. Not being naturally patient, or kind, I have to struggle sometimes with my nature to be who I need to be for both groups.

Weighing on my mind today is a piece of advice one of my favorite high school teachers gave me when I was student teaching. She told me that it was better to be kind than to be right. I really (like obnoxiously so) like to be right. I need to be kind.

My frequently misbehaving furry friends need kindness. They need me to forgive them them for trying to eat the half filled out scoring guide I was using to grade an essay. They need me to gently repeat, over and over and over, the lesson that humans don’t play by biting and nipping. They need kindness in redirecting their long-contained energy away from rowdy play on the couch. It is a kindness to teach them boundaries and proper behaviors and to do this in the most compassionate way possible. They also need me to remember that they are puppies, even if they are in big bodies.

They know they aren’t supposed to play on the couch. It is strictly for napping and nice boy time. Here, Percy is determined to get Haas in trouble.

Several years ago, I started looking at other teachers in a different way. Before, I watched for teaching techniques, content delivery methods, and behavior management “best practices”. Those things are certainly important, but maybe that wasn’t where I should have focused. I thought that there must be a “right” way to do everything in the classroom and that this would be best for my kids. Then, I started  looking at the teachers the kids loved and were willing to work for. Some kids will learn, behave, and succeed no matter what or who is teaching. Some need structure and routine and for the teacher and classroom to be predictable. Some need variety and constant stimulation. They need me to remember that they are still kids, even if they are in grown-up sized bodies. All of them need kindness.

I decided, then, that if someone were to describe me, the words I would want them to use (and didn’t) was that their teacher was kind, calm, and capable. I want my kids to feel peace and safety. I know that life isn’t peaceful, safe, or often kind. But. (Isn’t there always a but?) I can be kind, as much as possible.

I’m not there, yet. It is likely that I will never get there, but I will keep trying. I still get frustrated when kids argue or refuse to use time and resources given to them. I get loud when a 90 pound dog uses me as a trampoline or smacks me upside the head while trying to play. Then, I have to remind myself to be kind.

Today the phrase is written in large, clear lettering on an index card on my desk. (I am struggling to be kind and not insistent on “right”)

So, in the interest of accountability, today, tonight, and tomorrow, I will be kind in the following ways.

I will be kind to my students by remembering that Caesar can be hard and giving them some down time, even if it is just a few minutes.

I will be kind to my boys by taking one for a walk and giving the other two a special treat. They all get extra play time.

I will be kind to my department and bring muffins for breakfast tomorrow.

I will be kind to myself and remember that although I wasn’t always who I wanted to be today, no one is perfect and I can try again tomorrow to be calm, capable, and kind.

(Don’t) Let them eat cake.

I am not sure which is more frustrating, teenagers who are required to read The Tragedy of Julius Caesar in February or a group of stinky, over-sized dogs. Both of them are driving me to my favorite, wonderful, most excellent, slightly-scary-but-beautifully-decorated-hair stylist for excessive amounts of hair dye to cover the grey. (I go see her in a few weeks, so Hi, Sis! See, I appreciate you lots!) Currently, it is a toss up as to which group I would want to spend the rest of my week hanging around.


On Monday, we had a snow day. It was perfectly timed. Percy went in for the big snip so the new boys and I had a lazy morning. Then, because it was Monday and I have a standing dinner date with my grandfather, I was able to get a little work done and bake a spice cake. The house smelled amazing and looked pretty good for having two kids, three dogs, a cat, and a husband. It was a good day…until I went to get Percy.

For once, Percy didn’t immediately forgive me for taking him to the vet. A month or so ago, this guy forgave me immediately every time I held him down and put multiple cream medications in his eye for what looked like pink eye when it happens in my students.  Apparently, this trip was less than pleasant and required some time apart.  He went off with Haas and left me to start dinner.

When I came back into the kitchen after an absence of about 6 heartbeats, the Teenager was chasing the big boys out of the spice cake 15 minutes before my grandfather was set to arrive.  P-awsome.  (The big boys are still alive.)

Spiced sadness

Teenager saved the day with chocolate mint cookies and life was good. Life was really good until Percy ate a cookie. That required some unpleasant clean-up the next morning but Dad helped with that one. Since I am not 15, I’ll spare you the description, but, ew.

Tuesday, I had the joy of starting my least favorite Shakespearean tragedy with teenagers who are done. They were much more interested in getting out of school early than investigating the political intrigues of ancient Rome.  I couldn’t blame them.  An hour early is still an early out with the possibility of a snow day the next day, too.

We didn’t get a snow day. There was much sadness. Looks like a full rest of the week filled with

“I don’t get it!”

“What page are we on?”

“Can I go to the bathroom?”

“Do you have any toys you don’t immediately shred and make a mess all over the living room floor? I just vacuumed!”

“Don’t eat that!” (To be fair, this one I say to both my dogs and my students)

So, M-, I’m gonna need the industrial hair color and maybe an extra hour in the chair. I’ll bring extra tea. Love you!