Raising My First Child, Bella, Our Family Dog

Raising My First Child, Bella, Our Family Dog

Yes I am that Mom that is always going to show you pictures. What can I say, I'm proud.

My family adopted our dog Bella on June 7, 2014. Our family had had a very challenging year that year, including the loss of our family dog Sara. Come June we decided we were ready to have another furry family member in the house and my brother somehow convinced my parents to let us find a rescue puppy to adopt. My family has always adopted retired greyhounds, which are usually adopted at age 3 or 4, whenever their racing career is over. When you adopt them they are usually just ready to be loved and to be lazy, and they are usually very well trained and well behaved.

Bella was a good puppy, she just had a lot of training she needed to do. I mean starting at square one with housebreaking her. Then shortly after we started that process she got sick and my brother and I were up every hour to take her outside in the middle of the night. We even set up two iPads as baby monitors for when she started crying to go outside.

Bella grew fast and learned quickly. We did obedience classes with her and she graduated at the top of her class. She was promoted from sleeping in her crate to sleeping with my brother at night. We, of course, were still waiting for her to "chill out" and grow out of her puppy phase, but I think we are still waiting for that. Bella learned how to be comforting and loving to each member of our family in a special and individualized way. The day I left for college Bella just laid on the floor with me while I pet her with tears running down my face. She had been there for me through so much, I couldn't believe the emotional connection that I felt with the pup lying next to me.

Then in October, Bella experienced a bit of a setback. My mom and Bella were walking and were attacked by two stray dogs. Bella still suffers from lasting anxiety from the attack.

She has always been very protective of our family. When all four of us were living in the house we would always say that Bella had to do a head count to make sure everyone was accounted for before she could settle down. Since the attack, we have had to work with her on her separation anxiety and her response to seeing other dogs. Sometimes she still gets anxious around people she doesn't know if she feels like they might be a threat, even if they are just someone coming to say "hi" and approaching too quickly.

Bella has come a long way since October. This summer is going to be another summer full of doggy training, especially working on ways for her to be less anxious when people come to the house or when she sees other dogs her size. I can't help think back to that first summer with Bella and our hourly bathroom breaks or the walks at 5 AM. She is such a part of our family that I really can't imagine our house without her running around after stealing a sock or laying on the stairs where she can see what everyone is doing.

Cover Image Credit: Rachel Jennings

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When You Make A Girl An Aunt, You Change Her World In All The Best Ways

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest girl in the world.


My brother and his wife recently blessed our family with the sweetest bundle of joy on planet earth. OK, I may be a little bias but I believe it to be completely true. I have never been baby crazy, but this sweet-cheeked angel is the only exception. I am at an age where I do not want children yet, but being able to love on my nephew like he is my own is so satisfying.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a very protective person.

From making sure the car seat is strapped in properly before every trip, to watching baby boy breathe while he sleeps, you'll never meet someone, besides mommy and daddy of course, who is more concerned with the safety of that little person than me.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her a miniature best friend.

There is something about an aunt that is so fun. An aunt is a person you go to when you think you're in trouble or when you want something mom and dad said you couldn't have. An aunt is someone who takes you to get ice cream and play in the park to cool down after having a temper tantrum. I can't wait to be the one he runs to.

When you make a girl an aunt, she gets to skip on the difficulty of disciplining.

Being an aunt means you get to be fun. Not to say I wouldn't correct my nephew if he were behaving poorly, but for the most part, I get to giggle and play and leave the hard stuff for my brother.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her the best listening ears.

As of right now I only listen to the sweet coos and hungry cries but I am fully prepared to listen to all the problems in his life in the future.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the best advice giver.

By the time my nephew needs advice, hopefully, I will have all of my life lessons perfected into relatable stories.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a number-one fan

Anything you do in life sweet boy, I will be cheering you on. I already know you are going to do great things.

When you make a girl an aunt, she learns what true love is.

The love I have for my nephew is so pure. Its the love that is just there. I don't have to choose to show love every day, I don't have to forgive, I don't have to worry if it is reciprocated, it is just there.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest person in the world.

I cannot wait to watch my precious nephew grow into the amazing person that I know he is going to be.

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A Poem: My Mother

In honor of Mother's Day, that was on the 12th, here is a poem dedicated to my mother.


To the only person who can be my mentor, friend, and leader at the same time

To someone who would make me read my own books before bedtime

And puts everything down to make sure there is a smile on my face

To the person that I find impossible to ever replace.

Somehow you are always right even when it seems wrong

And when the worst does happen, how do you still manage to stay so strong?

I'm not only impressed but inspired by you

Knowing that somehow you'll always know me better than I do.

When I'm frustrated and annoy you, you simply try to understand me

Because you have always told me that even when you can't understand, plain acceptance is the key

You have listened to all my laughs, heard me cry, and felt my emotions like they were your own

You are the only reason I am joyous and the security I need to know that I am never alone.

To the only person who has truly taught me how to live

And watched me grow and make mistakes yet still knows how to forgive

Because that's who she is, certainly not like any other

There are many women but none like my own mother.

Happy Mother's Day!

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