Our Family is Growing By Two Feet... AND Four Paws! (Meet Cheetah)

So, if it wasn't exciting enough for our family to be growing by two feet, we thought we'd add another four paws.  Yeah, we're crazy like that!  And we are completely aware of how crazy the timing seems... because most people who are renovating an old house while planning a wedding and prepping for a baby would probably not choose to adopt a 75 pound dog.... But we never claimed to be most people!

Here's how this actually came to pass:  We've actually always sort of assumed we'd be a two dog family.  You know how you have vague pictures of your family in your mind?  Well for us, there were two kids and two dogs.  Greyhounds are low-energy and they enjoy the company of other greyhounds, so it seemed natural.  

That is, until we began fostering other greyhounds and we discovered that Barkley is a bully who basically makes life miserable for other greyhounds who have tried to live with us.  Seriously, if one of them cries, he will run over to bark at them until they're quiet and heaven help them if they accidentally bump into him in our narrow hallways.  Barkley essentially steals their lunch money and gives them wedgies... or whatever the dog equivalent of that is.  

We ran through fosters Louciano, Friendly and Monty this year and while Barkley and Friendly seemed to get along fairly well, we never got that feeling... you know, that feeling that something feels right.  

I actually started to feel a little sad about how we'd probably never get another dog once the baby arrived and I'd been worried about Barkley feeling neglected or lonely once we're preoccupied with little Singleton.  Enter Cheetah.

Cheetah was supposed to be just another foster but he and I bonded right away.  He is the opposite of Barkley in many ways (very athletic and VERY affectionate) and yet Barkley didn't seem to hate him.  Of course, there were some growls at the start, but Cheetah was so affectionate and persistent that eventually Barkley sort of gave up and accepted him.  He even let him cuddle up at night!

By the end of our two weeks of fostering Cheetah, Corey and I were desperately trying to distance ourselves from him.  I think we both knew he was a good fit for us but neither of us really wanted to say it.  This pretty boy who roots through garbage like a raccoon, has a tongue that's so long that it comically pokes out of his mouth at times, howls like a Husky, climbs over tables to get to you and gives the fiercest cuddles, had weaseled his way into our hearts (and Barkley's) and we knew giving him up would be tough.  When I filled out my foster report, I outlined just how amazing he was but recommended that he go to a family with another dog (since he's such a social boy) or who lived in a house in case he howled during the day.  

The e-mail I got back from our director of adoptions urged me to break him of the howling habit since all the applicants lived in condos.  Little did I know at the time, that was code for, Are you sure you don't want to keep him?

Corey took the news as fate and called the director back to ask about the possibility of us adopting him.  He didn't want to discuss it with me unless he knew it would be possible.  Her reply was that if it were best for the dog, it was never off the table.

And so we began a series of difficult conversations.  Were we insane?  Would we have time for another dog?  How much would he cost?  What would people think?  In the end, we knew we had already decided to keep him.  He belonged with our family and we decided that when life throws us another family member (even four-legged) we shouldn't turn it away.

I expected to feel regret after making it official and I waited for the sinking feeling to come... but all I felt was relief!  Relief that Barkley had finally found a brother and relief that we hadn't let him go to another family.  Already, I feel even more safe and secure in a house with two big dogs.  I now have a cuddly dog who has already snuggled me during some of my worst blue days as I've faced pregnancy depression.

We also got in touch with his kennel mom and learned that she had a little girl who would crawl into Cheetah's crate as a toddler.  Even on walks, we can tell he loves children so now Barkley will also have someone to teach him how to behave around the weird bald puppy with a funny bark who's coming this December.  We couldn't be happier with this turn of events!

Here are some shots of Cheetah in our (unapologetically) overgrown backyard.

And here he is sitting, which is very unusual for a greyhound due to their muscular anatomy.  See how surprised Corey is!

Mostly, he likes to curl up on the bed or couch with as many pillows as possible.  I woke up today to dog breath in my face because he is happiest when he's sleeping very close to me.

I learned that his (human) kennel mom is currently pregnant and we wonder if that's why he bonded with me right away.  It's like he smelled me and said, Oh, I know what to do with you!  You'll need lots of love, so I'll cuddle you all the time!

He's definitely my boy!

Our 300th Post!

Thanks to my little blog hiatus, it has taken us a while to get here!  Can you believe post 200 was back in September?  This time, Corey and I are each choosing our five favourite posts from the past 100 (excluding yesterday's pregnancy announcement and the Condo Survival series, which are hands-down favourites) and writing a little about why we chose each post.  

It's been a busy several months which have included our first holidays in the new/old house and many major improvements as well as wedding plans.  Here are our top posts since September:

Corey's Favourites (written by Corey) 

Checking the List (Our Six Month House-iversary) was one of my favourite posts since I'm a big fan of lists, and was really proud to go back through our home to-do list and see how far we'd come.  Still working on it, I'm sure you'll see more soon! ;)

When we went for our Snowy Walk, it was just such a lovely little simple date, and having a post to remember it gives me a bit of a smile.  We go out on the trail so often, and we always have a great time.

This was just such a Crate and Barrel-O-Fun!  Nobody had really told us how much fun it was to just grab a scanner and go nuts, and we found so many great things that we wanted and previously hadn't agreed on (like cutlery).

It was so much fun recounting what had happened Exactly One Year Ago Today...(well not TODAY).  When we started looking at houses, this wasn't my first choice necessarily, but I wouldn't give it up for anything!

Possibly, we've left the best for last!  Our Story (As a Children's Book) was a surprise Taylor showed me one day when I got home from work, and I LOVED it.  I love the story, how well the animation turned out, and how cute it is.  It's even on our wedding website! I just can't explain how happy it makes me! :-|)

Taylor's Favourites:

I still really like the Glass Cutting DIY post, because it was our first major wedding project and because I was so touched when so many friends popped over after reading it with bottles they had collected to help us reach our goal.

My Top 10 Modern Christmas Movies post will be fun to revisit each year.  I love round-ups and I love Christmas movies so this was a perfect post for me.

Do You Have (Or Would You Get) a Tattoo? was a fun post to write and Corey and I were sooo close to getting our matching tattoos when we discovered I was pregnant.  Now I suppose we'll have to wait until after Singleton arrives!

I was so surprised and thrilled when We Were Nominated for a Homie!  This post reminds me of how far this blog has come and how amazing my readers are.  I also found some awesome blogs to add to my favourites in the Homie awards nominees list.

Advice to My 20-Year-Old Self was such a fun post to write because I got to ask so many friends for help with it and I learned so much from their answers.  It's amazing to see how similar many of our experiences are!

I can't wait to share so many things with you in the next hundred posts.  Expect more renovations, more wedding preparations, a look at the giant snake-like pillow Corey has on order for me (which is supposed to be the Cadillac of pregnancy pillows) and pictures of yet another (4-legged) addition to our family!  Life right now is busy, crazy, hard at times, but generally beautiful.  I hope you'll join us!


It's Been a While, Baby! (FAQs About Our December Arrival)

You, dear readers, have probably been wondering where I've been and I'll confess that I've been feeling so guilty for not posting sooner and it sort of feels like I'm coming crawling back to you.  I want to thank you first of all for your patience.  I am touched to see that you're still checking in with the blog and leaving comments.

Now for the big news, which you've probably already guessed from the picture:  WE DONE GOT KNOCKED UP!!!  Yes, that's right!  We were lucky (Trust me, I know just how lucky we are!) enough to be able to plan the little one's arrival to coincide with my least busy time of year at work (because very few people buy houses over Christmas) so I'll be able to take a few weeks to recover and start back at work in time for the spring market!  Such is the life of the self-employed, right?  On the other hand, Corey is so excited to take on the role of Super-Dad when I go back to work, so our non-traditional setup will end up working out quite nicely.

Now I feel like I'm talking to a friend I haven't seen in ages!  There is so much to tell you and to share about the past few months and we've had some other developments in life (Which I'll share in other posts.) but for now I want to tell you all about what it's been like for us since April... and, trust me, there have been some ups and downs!  Since we've already shared the news with our family and friends, I'll do this "FAQ Style" since everyone seems to want to know the same things.

Was it planned?

Ha!  Everyone seems to be curious about this because we're getting married in August!  While technically in the realm of "none of anyone's beeswax" we are pretty open about answering this question.  In truth, it was planned (some would say SUPER-planned) but still unexpected.  Here's what I mean:

Corey and I have known for a long time that I wouldn't want to take much time away from work.  When we discussed actually having a baby, we decided that August and December would be the two best times of year for me to deliver.  Back in March we discussed our limited window for conception and we decided on a whim to start trying that month if we were going to only give ourselves a couple of months a year.  I had seen many close friends battle with fertility issues and I had a sinking feeling that we may have trouble too, so I figured we'd give ourselves every extra chance that we could.  Well, the rest is sort of history.

How did you find out?

I found out at only 3 1/2 weeks, which is really early, but I was already starting to feel funny.  I think the turning point for me was when I cried all the way to work one day, feeling like a failure for absolutely no reason.  When the mood swing passed, I realized that it had been really out of character for me, so I bought a test and took it while Corey was at work.

I actually didn't read the instructions and threw the test in the garbage when I didn't immediately see a second line.  It wasn't until later that I went back to check on it.... and called my mom in a daze!

How did Corey react?

I told him in the car that day after I had picked him up from work.  His face turned bright red and a vein started popping out of his forehead.  He also couldn't really discuss it for the rest of the day because he was just in shock.  I think we both were.  His reaction worried me for about a millisecond but I quickly learned I had nothing to worry about.  By the next day, he was even more excited than I was!  It's really sweet!

What about your wedding dress?

Luckily, I hadn't found a wedding dress yet when I learned our news.  Even more luckily, I have an amazing dressmaker who is willing to do most of the work very close to the wedding... so we can correct for my changing shape!

So the wedding is still on?

It depends on how I'm feeling when you ask me. ;)  Seriously, Corey has heard me promise to call the wedding off about a dozen times during hormonal outbursts.  The day I could no longer zip up my pants was BAD!  However, Corey's been picking up the wedding planning slack so that I can focus on my two jobs (my actual job and growing a person) and it looks as though we're going to make it.

Have you had a lot of morning sickness?

Yes, and I wish they'd re-name it to reflect the all-day spontaneous vomiting hell that it really is.  Thank goodness for prescription anti-nausea meds, because I don't know how I would have continued to function without my little pills.  People always say that nausea is a good sign of a healthy baby, but I'm beginning to think that's just a fairytale they tell crazy pregnant chicks so that we remain calm.

What about other symptoms?

Soooo many that I never knew were even symptoms.  Every time something weird happens with my body now, I'm on Google just to make sure it's normal.  HOW HAD I NOT HEARD ABOUT ALL THESE MESSED UP SYMPTOMS???  Basically, the answer is that people don't mention them because they're gross and weird and I suppose once the baby comes you sort of forget how much pregnancy sucked.  It's basically like having some other person's body on loan for several months.  And that other person is a disgusting hairy fat man who has a beer gut and yet cannot drink beer.  Also he's constipated and gets nosebleeds.  Sometimes he yells at complete strangers and he's also a terrible driver who likes to eat weird food (think CRAZY cravings) and take naps.  Basically, this man is the worst and nobody should want him around but instead EVERYONE loves him and wants to pat his belly and comment on his massive man-boobs.  Yes, that's how I feel.

My pregnancy has also come with the rare symptom of sudden onset depression.  This doesn't affect me most of the time (never while I'm busy or occupied with something) but it has come in outbursts and it was really scary for both of us until it was diagnosed and I was told that it's linked to hormones.  I'll write more about this in another post, but I feel it lessening in the second trimester so I'm optimistic that it will be easier to cope with once my hormones are more in balance.

These symptoms have meant that after a long day at work, I haven't had much energy left over to blog.  I'm starting to feel better though so I'm excited to resume one of my favourite pastimes.

Have you enjoyed any aspects of being pregnant?

Yes, of course it hasn't been all bad.  Friends and family have been really excited and supportive and we are lucky to have several friends who have (or will soon have) 2014 babies so there's tons of excitement around us.

I think my favourite thing has been taking time each day to go for a long walk with Corey.  It's good low-impact exercise for me and it gives us time to talk about our days and discuss the baby.  Seeing Corey so excited to become a dad has been amazing and I think the experience has brought us even closer.  I loved when he covertly videotaped our ultrasound (until he got caught) and I see him watching the video all the time.

I also love how thick my hair is getting and how sweet strangers are when we tell them.  When I'm not puking my guts out, or feeling depressed, the world seems to be filled with cupcakes and rainbows.  Speaking of which... I feel like a cupcake right now.

Are you hoping for a boy or a girl?

Everyone says they'll be happy either way and I suppose that's true in a way, but I've always pictured myself having a girl.  I don't know why, and it shouldn't matter, but I'm sorry to say that I was sort of hoping for a little girl.  That's not to say I wouldn't adore a boy to cuddle with... it's just not the picture I had in my head, if you know what I mean.  To compensate, I've been trying to get myself excited about having a little boy and I find that it's not as hard as I thought it would be.  We don't know the gender yet, but we did verify that it's just one baby (there are twins in both families) so we're calling it Singleton.

When will you find out the gender?

We'll probably wait until after the wedding.  If I find out now, it will be hard to focus on anything wedding related because I'll just want to plan for the baby!

Have you thought of names?

We have a girl's name but we're still in negotiations over our top boy's name. ;)

Have you thought about the nursery?

Oh, we chose our nursery colours last year when we painted the living room and have been planning it for ages.  I can't wait to start work on it this fall!

Are you showing?

It's so hard to say.  I've definitely been bloated for ages but my stomach muscles sort of gave up a couple of weeks ago and this ginormous gut sort of popped out.  People say it's carrying like a boy but I keep laughing and just telling people it's hamburgers.  I seriously wonder if it's all the carbs I ate to curb my nausea in my first trimester but the bump feels pretty solid so it's possible that some of it is uterus.

I don't know.  People are really complimentary to pregnant chicks but when they say I'm glowing, I'm about 90% sure it's just sweat.

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