Me and my shadow

Among her many…uh…quirks, Electra seems to have a teensy little bit of separation anxiety. And by teensy, I mean that she has a tendency to lie on our shoes when we try to put them on in the morning in a cunning attempt to keep us from walking out the door. She howls (eardrum-shattering, the-neighbors-probably-think-we’re-killing-her howls) when we come home, whenever we come home, whether we’ve been gone a week or 10 minutes. And just the sight of a suitcase (whether we’re packing it or rearranging the closet) can send her straight into a frenzy. She follows us around the house, wide-eyed and panting, refusing to let us out of her sight.

Electra strikes again

There is no denying our dog is a sweetheart. She loves to snuggle. She’s awesome with the kids. She immediately loves everyone who walks through the door (which won’t bode well for us if someone ever breaks into our house). In many ways, Electra is the perfect dog.

And then she goes and reminds us that even our sweet, droopy-faced hound can be a freakin’ jerk.

Case in point–not only did Electra manage to swindle us out of two 7:30 feedings by feigning starvation when I came downstairs after putting Henry to bed (even though Stevie had just fed her not even 5 minutes prior), but she also decided to dig the Iams bag out of the garbage while we were upstairs putting Cadence to bed, and then she proceeded to tear the bag into tiny pieces and strew them across the floor just so she could lick the last few crumbs out of the empty bag.

Crumbs! All this for crumbs, people! After she already had double dinner.

Seriously, the dog is out of control.

Bad ideas

Sometimes, Electra just has bad ideas. Yesterday was one of those days.

First, she tried semi-successfully to jump over the baby gate when some guests came through the front door. She got a little too excited and greatly over-estimated both her athletic ability and the height of said gate. If it wasn’t for me standing there at that particular moment and giving her hind end a firm shove, she would have gotten that long, Basset body of hers high-centered smack in the middle of the doorway.

And you better believe if I didn’t fear a resulting injury, I would have been all over taking a photo of that for the blog. I mean, there are few dogs as uncoordinated as my dog and, well, sometimes you just can’t help but document the mess.

Electra’s second bad idea of the day happened about 20 minutes after I raised the baby gate, hoping to prevent another misguided leap. So this time, she thought maybe she’d try to squeeze her way through the space at the bottom.

Sorry Miss Electra. I don’t think this one is going to work out either. Even Henry is trying to tell you this is a mistake.

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The Family Photo Fiasco

Every year, as the summer gives way to fall, I start getting a little anxious thinking about our Christmas cards. I know, it’s a really stupid thing to fret about, but I can’t help it. I enjoy sending cards out. Plus, for the friends and family who don’t have Facebook or regular access to my blog, it just might be the only update or piece of correspondence they receive from us during the year.

As much I love writing letters and keeping up with the people I love, let’s face it, there are only so many hours in the day and with two very active kids, a husband, a dog, a full-time job, a couple of unfinished writing projects, I’m pretty much tapped out when it comes to sitting down and writing letters. Hell, even my epic emails have fallen by the wayside in recent years.

I have several local photographer friends who take really beautiful photos, the type I would definitely love to see hanging on my wall. But here’s the thing, I hate having my photo taken…like, seriously hate it. And besides that, I guess I must like torturing myself and my family as I default to setting my camera on a tripod and trying to take our own family photos because, let’s face it, what’s more fun than trying to herd your hyper husband, silly daughter, teething infant, and food-whoring hound all together long enough to shoot enough photos where you can work your Photoshop magic to swap out the strange expressions and closed eyes and cobble together something to throw on a Christmas card.

We lucked out the year Cadence was born. We’d run up to Phoenix to scout out a location where I was going to shoot another family’s photos and decided to just haul Electra along and make a day of it. We found a bench to sit on. I put the camera on a tripod and set the timer (this was before I bought a wireless remote). Then I ran back over to grab a seat next to Stevie and situate Cadence in my lap.

By some strange luck, a freakin’ peacock suddenly meandered by, just behind my camera, which made Electra sit straight up and take notice. The shutter clicked a split second before she started pulling on her collar and trying to give chase.

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And that photo was our only real family photo right up until last Christmas.

Sure we had a couple other cute shots, just Stevie and Cadence and me. But Electra…she just wouldn’t cooperate.

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Oh we tried several times over the years to get all of us in another photo. My favorite was the time we tried to get a quick shot (not even anything real formal) out on the porch swing. This time, I was sure it was going to work. It was a beautiful spring day. I’d just gotten the new wireless remote, which would completely eliminate me having to run back and forth between my camera and my family. All was going well, we were smiling and I was just beginning to press down on the remote button when a rabbit suddenly tore out of the bushes behind us and Electra made a wild leap and tried to jump right over my head while Stevie flashed a classic Stevie grin at the camera and Cadence stared at our howling hound with a look of horror on her face.

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Yeah, that one ended up on our Christmas card that year. I mean, come on, nothing says The Romanos like a crazy photo on a card.

Last year, we had fun using our Christmas cards to announce Henry’s impending arrival…

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And this year, well this year I really wanted to get a new photo taken, and even tried to find a little space in the calendar to reach out to one of my photog-a-friends and see if we just might be able to work in time for a session.

No such luck.

And so, down to the wire and wanting to get something in the mail this year, we turned to the old tripod and remote once again and gave it our best shot. We crowded in the family room since our trusty ol’ Nebraska weather finally decided to dump a whole mess of winter on us. Forty minutes, three dozen tries, two Photoshop head swaps, and one wheezing hound dog later and we managed to get something for the Christmas card.

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Oh, but the outtakes are too much fun…

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Our Dog, the Creeper

So H-man has officially started solids. After hearing him holler at me every time I tried to eat something in front of him, and having him constantly grabbing at my food and putting EVERYTHING in his mouth, we decided it was time to get the little man started. With Cadence, we tried rice cereal exactly once. She made faces and gagged and absolutely hated it. I took a bite to see what all the fuss was about, and I gagged too. That shit was worse than Malt-o-Meal, and tasted like stale, sweetened styrofoam, so we promptly switched to fresh veggies (steamed and pureed) and Miss C was hooked.

With Henry, we decided to just skip the disgusting rice cereal altogether and just get to the good stuff. His first foray into solids was a spoonful of pureed peas. The kid was immediately hooked. Since then, he’s gobbled up squash, had a few bites of pears (which he hasn’t quite decided if he likes yet), and seems to be developing a love/hate relationship with bananas (much like my own). But sweet potatoes…oh, sweet potatoes. H-man goes nuts for sweet potatoes. He scarfs them down about as fast as Electra eats a bowlful of kibble, and he moans “Mmmmm…mmmmm” the whole time he’s doing it. Stevie and Cadence and I laugh and little H-man just gives us a big gummy grin and then opens his mouth wide and demands another bite.

It didn’t take long for Electra to remember what having a baby in the house means…accessible food. Our dog is no dummy. She’s learned that Cadence is no easy target anymore. Cadence is at an age now where she finds our hound’s food-stealing downright offensive. And even worse for Electra, Cadence will fight back. She knows enough to yell and grab Electra’s collar to pull her down off the counter or the table. And she has even snatched pieces of food right out from under Electra’s nose when necessary.

Electra knows Cadence is no dummy, not anymore.

But now there’s another little human in the house, and he’s short and slow and messy and generally clueless, at least when it comes to Electra’s intentions.

And almost overnight, our dog has become a creeper again–watching, waiting, calculating Henry’s every move, just waiting for a chance to sneak in a lick of his face or his fingers. Electra knows, the only thing better than a puree covered baby is a food-dropping toddler, and well, my friends, those days are just around the corner.

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The Great Bagel Delivery, Part 2

Last year, Stevie’s sister, Michele, decided to send us a little taste of New York for Christmas–a box with 1/2 dozen fresh egg bagels in it. She wanted to surprise us, which was awesome, but she’d never met Electra. How was she to know that our dog is a crazed food whore who would chew through layer of packing tape, a cardboard box, and a Ziploc freezer bag just to get to the bagels inside.

I caught Electra, with her head shoved in the box, just as she was attempting to swallow one of the bagels whole. Stevie and I couldn’t decide if we were angry, or a little impressed with her good taste.

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After the Great Bagel Heist of 2013, Michele let us know that we should keep an eye out for another delivery this year. The box arrived on Saturday, and Stevie made sure to set it on top of the piano where it was well out of reach. Electra spent the morning parked in front of the piano with her nose in the air, licking her chops, reminiscing about the delicious bagels of yesteryear.

By the time we began unpacking the box, she was drooling on the floor and panting heavily.

She gave it a valiant effort, stretching as far as her beagle/basset legs would let her, but she came up short. This year, sweet hound, the bagels are ours.

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