Wednesday, December 28, 2011

First World Issues - Animal Rescue

In case you're a first time reader, one of my passions (aside from documenting KIC's antics) is helping find homeless animals "forever homes." There can be something so soul gratifying to be able to take an animal whose chances were otherwise VERY slim and work hard to finding a home that is compatible with them and their needs. When the "magic of the universe" happens, it's pretty incredible to witness. And for my part, I've met some pretty incredible people who I am extremely blessed to call "friend" as a result of volunteering.

Animal rescue is not easy work by any stretch of the imagination. And when you become a foster parent to an animal, the stakes get a bit higher, emotionally, physically and financially. Our expenses as fosters (not including most medical because the rescue covers that) are well above $6000 each year. That doesn't include the time spent on transportation, or adoption events or crazy random situations (cat with two broken hips and a broken pelvis sound familiar?). That doesn't include the damage done to our house, or the strained neighbor relations or even the strained family/friend relations because they think I'm crazy (yes, I'm putting the blame where it belongs). Over and over and over again, we did it because on every level it was rewarding.

Recently, I've gotten hammered from several different directions that makes me realize it's gotten to be more stressful than joyful. I still LOVE the animals I have in my house (including Havoc and Mayhem) and still wish for them to find good homes, but the stress is starting to outweigh the good. People with good intentions give out my name in number in the hopes that I can help their friend/neighbor/cousin/random stranger place an unwanted animal, thinking that just because they don't want their 9 year old German Shepherd mix who gets annoyed because they won't control their 2 year old child and now she's snapped at the kid, SOMEONE SURELY wants an otherwise "perfect" dog. Or someone knows someone who has to find a home for a dog IMMEDIATELY. Only after several hours of frantic work, does it come to light that the situation isn't dire and that the animal truly DOESN'T need to be rehomed after all. Worst of all is the discrimination. "Hounds don't make good pets because they are bred to hunt." "Does that dog have pit bull in it? I can't have a pit bull, or anything resembling a pit bull, because I heard of this one time that a pit ate all of a baby's fingers." "I don't want a girl dog because I don't want to feel her teats." "I don't find orange tabbies attractive" as the tabby in question turns herself INSIDE OUT showing why she'd be a perfect fit. "Black cats bring bad luck." Sadly, I've witnessed all those statements. I could provide the statistics of all of the dog breeds I've seen get homed, but I'm sure it would fall on deaf ears.

While my "I may not be able to save everyone, but I can make a difference to this one" attitude wanes, it leaves me wondering what the future holds for me. The need to match homeless animals with families hasn't diminished because people don't spay and neuter pets and shelters are full all over the nation. And the truth is, I just don't have the time to devote to the animals now that I tackle the challenges of balancing a 12 hour work day, a much more active home life and figuring out what the plans are for our little family. But I do know that without a support system, internal and external, the Shoup Animal House doors are destined to close for business - permanently. While some may rejoice at this news, I am a conflict of relief and sadness. Overall, the entire experience has been so extremely rewarding on so many levels, it will be hard to walk away.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

JOTW: Matisyahu "Miracle"

Artists like Matisyahu sort of defy not only definition, but stereotype as well. When you see an orthodox Jew with the yarmulke and long beard, the last thing you'd expect is to hear lyrical stylings reminiscent of Bob Marley, yet that is what you get, and more, from Matisyahu.

My friend Bonnie turned me onto this song. While I am acutely aware of the fact that it is about Hanukkah, much of the message is universal.

On a side note, today is the day that my same friend Bonnie moved away, so I post this in tribute of her and the fact that tonight is the 8th night for all my Jewish friends. Happy Hannukah!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Who Needs Video Surveillance With This Kind Of Intel??

Kids are parrots - any parent of a child over the age of 2 becomes acutely aware of this. Whether it's words used at an inopportune time or actions, you see yourself reflected in your child. Most of the time, this is a huge compliment - it means you're doing something right. Other times, the 'F' word comes up during a visit with your conservative in-laws and you just want to crawl into a hole and stay there in the fetal position.

We, in the Shoup House, have recently experienced a different kind of parroting. Specifically the "eye witness account" type of parenting. I'm rubbing my hands and cackling with glee because I am, by far, the more pious parent (stop laughing, stop laughing right now!) while my husband is the more off-color one. I expect to be entertained, courtesy of KIC, with his antics for YEARS to come. We were on our way to school when this little nugget was revealed.

KIC: "The other day, my daddy had to go potty extremely bad." As my husband is nicknamed Tiny Bladder Boy and family trips are often scheduled around his need to stop, this did not come as a surprise.
Me: "Oh yeah?"
KIC: "Yes, he was running out of time!!"
Me: "Oh no!"
KIC: "He almost had to go potty in the street!"
Me: "Oh gosh!! Where did he eventually go potty?"
KIC: *dripping with condescension* "In.the.potty" Because, come on, isn't that where EVERYBODY goes?

A follow up call to Brent confirmed this story. I have HIT the jackpot for blackmail material courtesy of KIC!! Keep my toys this year, Santa, I have all I need.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

JOTW: Gayle Peevey "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas"

I've shared this before and will continue to share every year until I no longer have a Jam of the Week. I love a sappy Christmas song as much as the next guy, but there is just something about this sassy song that tugs my heartstrings every.single.time!

Happy Holidays, everyone! Thanks for reading in 2011. Hope you continue to read in 2012!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

JOTW: Justin Hines "Say What You Will"

In a serendipitous turn of events, Brent and I got to attend an NSO Pops performance at the Kennedy Center last week. Justin Hines was a special guest of the headline act and I'm glad he was. He's got a beautiful voice, a wonderful stage presence and a musical gift. This song is about appreciating who you have in your life while you have them. It was a great performance and at the end he got a standing ovation, as he should. I hope he continues to invade the US with his gift.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It's like watching a train wreck

We are very blessed to have KIC in a daycare that hosts "Parents' Night Out" once a month. KIC specifically requested to participate this month, which is A-ok by me. Tonight, we were discussing what Mommy and Daddy were going to do while she was at PNO. She very graciously let me know it was okay if daddy and I stayed home. I told her we were going to be having a conversation with Santa. "At the North Pole?" she asked. "That's right, Santa is at the North Pole." KIC took this to mean we were going to the North Pole. "Okay, but I need to change into my blue dress and then I can come with you to talk to Santa." "Katie Mary, we're not-" "Wait for me, k? I just need my blue dress and then I can tell Santa I want a Barbie and Rango and then he can tell you what I want." "Katie Mary, Mommy and Daddy aren't - " "And I won't go to Parents Night Out and I'll wear my blue dress and we'll go see Santa.". *sigh*. "Okay, baby. If we go to the North Pole to see Santa, we'll take you with us."

Honest to goodness, I used to be the queen of witty repartee. What the heck happened to me? If you need me, I'll be in the corner, working on my conversational conducting skills.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

This hurts me more than it hurts you

I remember hearing that when I was growing up and feeling like it was a complete crock of ... Anyway, I was face with that very situation this morning. On our way to school, KIC found a cookie. She asked me if she could have the cookie and I explained we don't eat cookies for breakfast (unless you're in college, but that's a whole different ballgame). She agreed and we discussed when it was appropriate to eat cookies (after lunch, after dinner, when you're sad, when you're mad at daddy - oh wait, that's me). I was very proud of her for helping to establish boundaries!

Imagine my surprise, then, when I opened the car door to see the telltale Oreo cookie crumbs around her mouth. As I stood there in shock, she opened her mouth to reveal even more evidence. I explained why what she did was not appropriate and meted out her punishment - no tv tonight. I left her in her class letting her know that I was fine with her, but that she shouldn't have eaten the cookie after I already said no and reinforced no television for the evening. As I left her classroom, I could hear her heartbroken sobs and that's when I realized - this really does hurt me more than it does her. I wanted to rush back to the classroom and tell her everything was okay, but it wasn't okay and even if I did that, I'd be consoling myself more than I would be consoling her. I walked away, brokenhearted, knowing that she'd be fine in a couple of minutes but feeling like Mommy Dearest. I know when I get home, she'll be giggles and smiles and happy to see me, but that moment will weigh on me all day. This really did hurt me more than it hurt you.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

JOTW: Aloe Blacc "I Need a Dollar"

The other day, I was lamenting (to myself of course, because who really laments out loud) the fact that many songs today have one refrain and then a chorus that repeats over and over and over.  I'm sure there are exceptions, but much of what I've been listening to has been that way.  For reference, it's part of why I cannot appreciate the "genius" of Lenny Kravitz.

Then I heard this song.  I really like it's throwback appeal and the fact that he tells a story during the entire song.  Plus, who doesn't need a dollar??  Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The one where I get schooled...time and time and time again

We had a wonderful weekend in the Shoup house.  Cookies were exchanged, decorations were put up, fun was had and gates were crashed.  More on the gate crashing later.  For the most part, the weekend was awesome, however, once again, I was humbled by my preschool-aged child.  And by humbled, I mean schooled.  See for yourself:

Role Reversal
Me:  We need to go to Home Depot, but we might have to go home first.  I don't think I have my credit card...nope, wait, I have it.  We're good.
KIC:  Mommy, where's your wallet?
Me:  I was a bad girl and I left it at home.
KIC:  Next time, be a good girl.
Me:  (stunned silence)
KIC:  Mommy, next time, be a good girl.
Me:  (petulantly) Okaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay

Is it too early to join the NRA?
KIC:  Mommy, what do we need at Home Depot?
Me:  We need some lights for the outside, a Snoopy inflatable and a staple gun.
KIC:  I want a gun!!
Me:  Baby it's not that kind -
KIC:  I want a pink gun!!
Me:  Well, it's not -
KIC:  I want a pink gun and I can shoot.
Me:  Baby, it's not that kind of gun  A staple gun helps us make sure the lights and garland stay in place.
KIC:  Ohhhhh, okay.  But I want a yellow and black gun.
Me:  (submitting to the inevitable) Okay, baby, okay.

You're in Trouble!
While wrapping garland around the porch railing, a slat that was loose came completely off the rail.  KIC was HORRIFIED that I broke the rail.  She looked me dead in the eye and said very calmly, "I'm going to tell on you."  I watched, fascinated, as she marched over to her father, with the offending slat in her hand and said "Daddy, Mommy BROKE it!"  What she didn't know was the fact that I've been reporting the loose slat for months, so by telling on me, she was really getting her daddy in trouble, a fact I told him.  After Brent and I were done discussing the broken slat, KIC marched right over to me and said with the same calm precision, "I just told on you."  Well, at least I know where I stand.

-  What are you stupid??
KIC:  Look, Mommy!
Me:  I see!  You've picked up sticks!  How many sticks do you have?
KIC:  Two, but Mommy, I made an 'X', see??
Me:  Yup, you sure did.

If anyone knows of a good tutor who specializes in keeping one step ahead of your not even 4 year old, send 'em my way otherwise, this could be a long, agonizing trip to the land of useless parents.