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photo 4 (4)Per the Newell tradition we spent Thanksgiving up at my sister’s house.  She lives with her husband, two kids, and puppy in a small town named Oakhurst just south of the Yosemite border.  Riggins and I drove up Tuesday and stuck around having fun until we left on Saturday.  That means I spent a number of days with two kids and two dogs.  Here are a few of my experiences.

photo 3 (11)RIGGINS – One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is Riggins comes back being a cuddlebug for the next few days.  In general Riggins isn’t a cuddiler.  No one believes me since he becomes King of the Cuddles when people come to visit us but when it is just him and me (or him, me and a gaggle of other dogs) he spends his time sitting at the front door or laying in his secret spot in the living room.  It really isn’t that secret but it is where he goes to hide when he is about to get a bath or when he knows he is going to be put outside.  Apparently he doesn’t think I can see him behind a dinning room table.  At my sister’s house he has to prove that he is number one and to do that he spends all his free time in a humans lap.  My dad, mom, sister, brother-in-law, niece and I are all used as a place to snuggle up.  My nephew manages to stay clear of Riggins cuddles.  I suppose Riggins can’t pin him down long enough to make it worth his while.  When we get home the next few days are cuddle magic.  When I’m watching TV he will hop up on the sofa and instead of going as far away from me as possible he will come and plop down right on my lap.  I love it!

(Side note – Riggins always wants to cuddle in the early morning.  He will jump up on my bed and lay down so that his back is too me and look over his shoulder as if to say, “hey lady … here I am … get to the snuggling.” )

photo 2KIRA – Kira is my 4-year-old niece.  At least I think she is 4.  I’m really not sure.  Don’t judge me.  I had Riggins age incorrect for almost an entire year once.  I’m obviously not paying attention.  Kira and Riggins are BFF so every morning (early morning) Kira would come into her room, where I was sleeping, and jump in bed to snuggle.  If Riggins wasn’t there yet it didn’t take him long for him to join the party.  Kira has a twin bed so this is a very squishy situation.  Kira was quick to inform me that her and Riggins were going to sleep at the top of the bed on the pillow and I could sleep below them.  Because I’m a good aunt and was really tired I’d shimmy down until my head was below feet and paws and would try to sleep for a little longer.  One morning Kira stole the blanket I was using informing me that Riggins was cold and needed it.  Sigh!

Kira loves me.  I think it is because I always answer “what” to her “guess what” questions which are thrown at me all the time but seem concentrated in those early morning hours.   Sometimes they are mumbled in my sleep but I still always manage to say, “What?”  For example:

Aunt Wendy guess what?  What?  Did you know Riggins is really soft?  I did!

Aunt Wendy guess what?  What?  Did you know Riggins was your baby?  That’s right he is!

Aunt Wendy guess what?  What?  You have aunt in your name.  True.

Aunt Wendy guess what?  What?  Your sister is my mommy.  She sure is.

This goes on for a very long time.  Kira was also quick to point out when she saw me that I had white hair and that people with white hair are weird and annoying.  What can I say to that?

photo 1On Thanksgiving I put her hair in Indian braids but she demanded I use 5 different colored hair bands.  For people who don’t do little girls hair that is 3 too many.  One by one I asked her where the extra ones went expecting her to just bounce between both braids.  On the last one she pointed to her bangs.  Fair enough.  I whipped them up off her face and secured them with the 5th hair band.  A few minutes later I was putting on my make up and she decided she wanted some too.  I did what any good aunt would do and one by one handed her lipstick, blush and eyeshadow for her to apply to her teeny tiny face.  When we were both done I exclaimed we were beautiful while her mom told me that she looked like Cindy Lou Who as a hooker and this was not to happen the next day when family pictures were being taken.  During dinner, hours after her make up had worn off due to extreme play time, she leaned over to me and whispered, “Aunt Wendy.  Do I still have lipstick on?”  I lied and said yes and she smiled big and went back to eating.

photo 1 (17)LOGAN – (BTW I have to tell you I’m having a real hard time with my caps lock key.  You see the other day I cut my toe nails and somehow, I don’t know how, one of the clippings got under the caps lock key on my keyboard and now doesn’t want to work correctly.  Lesson?  Don’t cut your nails by your computer.)  My nephew is 6.  I think.  He is all boy … a very tiny boy.  He loves Legos and anything Lego-ish.  I had been informed that he wanted to take a hike so one day we went for a “hike.”  If I was being honest it was really a walk but both Kira and Logan explained to me what a long hike it was so I guess we will call it a hike.  At one point we went into the park where my sister and brother-in-law got married.  I pointed to the gazebo and asked, “do you know what happened there?”  After a few guesses that were incorrect I said, “your mom and dad got married there.”  WHAT??????  Logan and his sister could not believe it.  They ran up and explained to me where everyone stood.  Then Logan looked at me and with all honesty said, “I sure wish there was a TV in my moms stomach so I could have seen that.”

Later in our “hike” we went past a school and saw a blue heron on the field.  In no time at all Logan whipped out his binoculars for his sister and his pirate spy glass for him out of his backpack.  He then demanded we all crouch low so they could observe the bird.  At first I didn’t comply and instead stood back as they crouched behind some tall grass.  That was until Logan caught me and demanded not only that I get down but that Riggins sit down too.  After awhile I suggested they try to get closer so Logan careful went forward waving his sister on behind him.  They got to a fence and stood behind it watching the bird.  At one point the heron started walking …. away.  Logan broke his concentration and started screaming running back to me that the bird was going to get them!  A few steps later when we were all reflecting on the amazing piece of nature we had just seen he told me he wish he had a gun so he could have shot and eaten that bird.  I’m pretty sure you aren’t allowed to hunt blue herons but if you do I suppose eating them is the responsible thing to do.

photo 2 (17)CAPTAIN SHADOW – My sister’s family has a new puppy.  Captain Shadow.  If you have never raised a puppy you don’t know.  If you raised a puppy awhile back you have forgotten.  Puppies are nuts.  Captain Shadow was actually very well-behaved while in the house (he was a mess on leash since he is too young to go out much).  His only downfall was his need to chew.  Chew anything and everything BUT his favorite thing to chew is you.  Chomp chomp chomp.  Since he isn’t with his brothers and sisters anymore he hasn’t learned that difference between playful chewing and biting.  He doesn’t care.  He just knows he has puppy teeth and he needs to use them.  I don’t remember Riggins being like that.  Obviously I’ve forgotten.  I remember him chewing on things and destroying the apartment we lived in but I don’t remember him biting me.  My mom tells me I’m wrong.  I’m sure she is right and I’m just forgetting that my baby isn’t perfect.

Speaking of my baby, Riggins didn’t have much time for his young cousin.  He tolerated him until he was done tolerating him and then he told the kid to back off.  Captain Shadow did a pretty good job of giving his cousin distance when needed although it took him a couple of times to figure out not to go near anything Riggins was eating or could eat.

I, on the other hand, love Captain Shadow and was more than happy when he wanted to cuddle up next to me and keep me warm.  Soon he will be bigger than Riggins … we will see who the boss is then!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!  Time to get ready for Christmas.