Pedey, aka Weasel Dog

It’s been brought to my attention that I have written about Harry and Cinco the leopard gecko, but not Pedey, the other canine member of our household. Well, excuuuuuuse me.

Pedey, oh Pedey. I don’t even know where to start.

He’s a cutie, for sure. We weren’t planning on getting a puppy, not really. Not that day, anyway. IMHO, any day is a good day to bring home a new puppy, but not everyone subscribes to that point of view, so you gotta tread lightly.

Flashback to May 3, 2008. It was Payton’s 9th birthday. I went to Petsmart to pick up something for Harry and the Houston Humane Society was there with the mobile adoptions. I figured I’d scritch a few pups, get a dose of puppy breath, tickle a few fat bellies, and move on. Then I saw this: 

Oh. My. Gosh. I was smitten. That face! Those floppy ears! The speckled feet! The fat belly! The little white blaze down his nose! 

Did I mention that it was Payton’s actual birthday? 

And that I now really, really, really wanted a puppy?

And that I really, really, really wanted this puppy?

Long story short, Payton fell in love with Pedey (his mama taught him well), and we had to have him. Trevor, being the good sport that he always is, gave in, even though we already had one dog too many for him. Payton and I reasoned that Harry needed a dog, and since it was almost summer, the kids could help take care of this puppy.

Welcome to the family, little guy.

I think you’re going to like it here. We have a mentor for you named Harry. He’ll show you the ropes. He makes the mean face sometimes, especially when he has a chewie, but just ignore him.

We’ve got a best friend lined up already (Snoopy), a pool should you become a water dog, lots of toys & treats, and unlimited belly rubs.

It took us a while to come up with the right name for the new guy.

Since he was officially Payton’s dog, Payton got to have the final say. And he decided on Pedey, after his favorite Red Sox player, Dustin Pedroia. The dog is nothing like his namesake: he’s cowardly, lazy, and clumsy with a ball. But the name stuck.

He settled right into our life and weaseled his way into my heart. Let me state for the record that I’ve never had a small dog, and I’ll admit, I’ve never quite understood the appeal. Now before you carry-dog lovers out there go ballistic and send me death threats, let me be clear: I don’t dislike carry dogs or their owners. I’ve just never understood the benefits. 

Now I get it.

He was of course the cutest puppy ever. (I can say that because Maddy, the best dog in the universe, has gone on to her Great Reward, and because we adopted Harry at age 2 and never knew him as a puppy.)

He likes to snuggle more than rough-house. He would rather sleep than do just about anything else (preferably in my lap). 

We call him The King of Comfort, because he always manages to find the most comfy spot available. 

If he’s not fast asleep in a prime spot, he’s camped out under my desk chair. 

Sometimes his legs or tail peek out from underneath the chair, and sometimes he’s completely hidden and I forget he’s there until I scooch the chair back and accidentally scare him half to death.

Sometimes he gets in the chair, right behind me. When he was tiny, it worked out just fine. But now he’s a little too big for that, but he still tries it sometimes. 

He still manages to fit. Mostly.

He likes to make a nest when he finds a comfy spot for sleeping. He will either wedge himself tight in between pillows & cushions, or get himself wrapped up in blankets & comforters. He will also stay in bed until he’s good and ready to get up, instead of leaping up the instant my feet hit the floor, like Harry does.

We don’t know what kind of dog he is, besides lazy & shiftless. Beagle, maybe? He has short, coarse hair; very different from the labs’ hair I’m used to. He has a very wrinkly brow and often looks quite contemplative. It’s mostly for show, though, because he sure doesn’t seem very smart. 

He’s not all that well-trained, either, because he was so cute we were always holding him instead of schooling him to sit and stay. 

He never did learn to love to swim, like the other dogs do. He doesn’t really even like for his feet to get wet, hence the need to be in my lap as often as possible.

Dana Jennings, a wonderful writer for the New York Times said, “Good dogs – and most dogs are good dogs – are canine candles that briefly blaze and shine, illuminating our lives.” I’ve had 4 dogs in my adult life: Maddy, the best dog ever in the history of all dogs. So good, I still get teary when I think of her, several years after her death (and y’all know I’m not much of a crier). So good that the urn of her ashes is on a side table in my bedroom, her name engraved in a simple, beautiful script, the urn way too small to contain all the love and memories she provided. Then there was Lucy, who we got to keep Maddy company. Her canine candle was pretty dim, and there is no urn for her. Then came Harry, and now Pedey. A short but very full doggie history.

Pedey was so happy this past summer, when I was convalescing from surgery and multiple hospitalizations. I don’t usually lay around much, but I had to then. And he loved it. He was always right by my side or in my lap, sleeping away. We joked that we should have snuck him into the hospital, so he could have slept on my bed with me there.

Well, Pedey, rest up; in a few days, I’ll have some more down-time. Are you ready?


Macy! A retrospective

Nine years ago today, Macy Carlisle Hicks exploded into this world.

Big brother Payton had no idea how much his world would change. Not just having to share his parents & toys, but being bowled over by this little force of nature. Nine years later, he’s still trying to figure her out.

From the very beginning, this little girl was going places. And she would get there with accessories — she always had a purse on her arm, and in general liked shoes more than clothes. I won’t embarrass her by publishing, but we have lots of photos of her in a diaper & shoes — nothing else!

Don’t let that sweet face fool you — there’s a holy terror inside that teeny little body.

She’s a master of disguises. One minute she looks like a sweet, innocent, quiet and tidy little girl.

The next minute, she’s doing this…

From a very early age, Macy was wild & crazy and very, very adept at expressing herself. (Notice the look on my face here: exhaustion mixed with helpless with a little bit of terror thrown in for fun.) She was not even two years old and had mastered the art of the crazy face.

By age 3, Macy had enlisted accomplices and trained them well in her arts. She will likely shoot me in the head for publishing a photo of her in a Dora nightgown; despite her young age there she currently has her fashionista rep to uphold.

This was a common sight at our house in her early years. In this particular instance, she decorated herself while I was talking to a workman in our new house about some warranty repair issues. The guy was in his 20s, unmarried without kids, and he about had a heart attack when she appeared on the scene like this. I asked him to wait a sec while I got my camera. After I took the photo he said, I can’t believe you stopped to photograph her; I thought you would spank her or something. I shook my head and said, spanking a true artist is futile and only makes your hands hurt.

There seemed to be no end to her uses for markers. Thank heavens they’re washable. The blue beard is one of my favorites. I especially like how it complements the blue writing on her Red Sox shirt (and yes, we brainwashed her, too, but it didn’t take, and she can be spotted in Yankee apparel. YUCK.)

She’s not looking too happy in this photo; maybe I caught her and subjected her to a picture before she was done creating her look.

Eventually, she moved on from markers and discovered make-up.

In case you are wondering, it was not Halloween. Just an ordinary day in Macy’s life.

You know how those creative geniuses can be.

At least she looks happy in this photo. I’m just glad she wasn’t blinded by all the sparkly gunk in and around her eyes.

At some point, she roped Payton into the madness.

She wasn’t any  neater when it came to meals, either.

We used to joke (and still do, actually) that Payton rarely had a crumb or speck of food on his face or clothes, but Macy wore more than she ate.

I’m pretty sure she needed to be hosed down after this meal. Spaghetti in our kitchen in Durham. Good times.

She liked to drink with gusto, too.

I love how she has her sippy cup in one hand, and a water jug in the other. If she’s a double-fisted drinker in college, we’ll say, remember when… This too was in the kitchen in Durham; I will never forget that laminate floor. 

This is one of my all-time favorite shots of Miss M.

She had just turned 3 and we were visiting my parents’ friends, Keith & Nancy Davis, at their beach house in Galveston. It was February, so cold and windy but we still got out on the beach. Macy found this shell and was convinced she could hear the ocean.

A beach baby was born. This girl loves the beach: the sand, the surf, the seagulls…all of it.

In the picture below, she’s 2 and at Salisbury Beach in Massachusetts with her buddy Amanee.

Look how tiny she was. But never without her shades, even at age 2. That seems like 100 years ago.

She looks way too comfortable in that beach chair, enjoying the good life.

When she wasn’t at the beach, she was in the pool. Swimming has always been basic to Macy’s existence. Even as a tiny baby, she loved to be in the bath, whether in the sink, the portable baby tub, or eventually in the real bathtub. To this day, she can stay in forever.

Swim team was fun. She especially liked winning a blue ribbon.

And if winning one blue ribbon was fun and made her proud, look what happened when she won two blue ribbons: 

When Macy was still in preschool, we decided to build a pool. Well, we decided to hire a pool-building company to build a pool. Macy was ecstatic, and couldn’t wait for that pool to be finished. 

She has always been a hard worker, and even at this young age she worked hard at hosing down the gunite stage of the pool.

It had to be done twice a day, and she took that job very seriously. In fact, she seemed offended if anyone else tried to do it.

I don’t recall for sure, but I’m guessing that the gunite wasn’t the only thing she squirted with the hose.

Come on, fill the pool already, people! Let’s go swimming.

And swim she does, year-round. Yes, it’s usually warm in Houston, but there are some days in the January-February range that are chilly. Those days do not stop Miss M from swimming. Once when she was 3 or 4 and insisted on swimming on a chilly day, Aunt Sophia asked her if it was “nice and cold” and Macy said, “no, it’s nice cold.”

Not long after the pool was finally finished, Macy found a little frog swimming in, but trying to get out of, the pool.

Her animal loving instincts kicked in and she raced to get the net and rescue that frog. This was just one example of her unconditional love of all critters.

Before our beloved dog Maddy died, Macy asked if our next dog could be named Harry. She had been reading the fabulous children’s book series Harry the Dirty Dog and got an idea.

Lo and behold, when we went to Houston Humane Society we found Harry, a not-so-dirty dog. He promptly became Macy’s dog.

She’s an equal-opportunity dog lover, though, which is a good thing for Ed’s dog Sugar, who is wicked and wily and full of energy. Sort of like Macy.

Then there’s Snoopy, and who wouldn’t love that sweet little face. Macy certainly does.

I thought we’d found the cutest dog ever when we adopted Pedey on Payton’s 8th birthday. He was tiny and soft and cuddly and seemed sane compared to the other dogs in our life.

He is indeed all of those things, although not so tiny anymore. But for some reason, Macy doesn’t like him. She says, I don’t know why everyone’s so crazy about Pedey; he’s ugly.  Ok, Macy, whatever.

The birds get in on the Macy love, too, not just frogs and dogs.

She loves to make bird treats for our fine feathered friends.

Take a pinecone, coat it in peanut butter (the messier the better, according to Macy), then roll it in birdseed. Tie a string in the middle of the pinecone.

Voila — tasty treats for all the birds in your life.

After the hurricane, our friend Amanda found a baby squirrel, appropriately named Ike.

Macy thought this was the best thing ever, and couldn’t wait to get her hands on that little guy.

I hope that the grown-up Ike is happy and healthy with fond memories of the sweet little girl who helped care for him when he lost his home in a tall tree in Spring, Texas.

And don’t forget about Jeffrey, the orphaned mockingbird rescued by the Hoover family.

The smile on Macy’s face says it all.

A bird on your shoulder and the sun on your face: does life get any better?

This was a big thrill: meeting Mo Willems, author of some of Macy’s favorite books.

If you’ve never read “The Pigeon Wants a Puppy” then I urge you to get to the bookstore today. You’ll thank me later.

We met Mo at Blue Willow Bookshop one Saturday and when it was Macy’s turn to go through the line and have him sign her books, she wanted to ask him a question. I figured it would be something about the characters or the creative process, or maybe the illustrations. Nope, she asked Mo, “What’s your phone number?”

Starting school was pretty cool. Macy especially liked her beautiful backpack. So much so that not long after school started, she wrote her name all over it, in messy kindergarten scrawl, with a giant black sharpie.

Kinda reminded me of the time she wrote all over our brand-new furniture, and herself, with a giant black sharpie.

I can’t find those photos. Probably burned them because of the painful memories they invoke. But she looked pretty proud of herself, wearing rainboots & a diaper, covered in black sharpie.

The 50th day of kindergarten was lots of fun, and Macy convinced me to get matching poodle skirts. She’s very persuasive.

We also enjoyed the kindergarten Thanksgiving celebration.

With Macy in our lives, we have a lot to be thankful for. And not just around the holidays.

The Dad’s Day Picnic with Papou was pretty cool, too. Especially because Macy got to have a picnic with one of her favorite guys.

She likes anyone who does her bidding, but she & Papou  have a special bond.

Birthdays are pretty special, and Macy loves every bit of the celebration — the gift cards from Gramma & Grampa are one of her favorites. Birthday dinners at Benihana are pretty great, too.

The chef’s hat stays at the restaurant, though, Macy. Sorry.

Make a wish!

Everyone loves the birthday hat, and Macy insists that each person in our family wears it on their birthday.

Whether they want to or not.

Just wear it — it’s easier than arguing with her!

You never know what will be on her birthday wish list. Some years it’s power tools.  At least she knows how to use them.

Safety first!

No matter what’s on the wish list, though, this birthday girl is always ready to party.

Costumes are not required, but Macy would highly recommend them.

Oh, if only every day were Crazy Hair Day!

May you always have crazy hair and lots of treats on your most special day, sweet girl.

Remember the pig pinata?

Could it have been any bigger?

I had to go back to the store — twice — to buy more candy to fill it.

Then we worried that none of the kids would be able to break it.

Never fear, your baseball-loving brother supplied his metal bat. Plastic bats are for sissies.

Flags of celebration always fly for Macy’s birthday!

This party girl knows how do a birthday up right.

And yes, she still loves pigs.

Has from day one and I suspect she always will.

I’m just waiting for her to discover that some people keep pigs as pets. Thanks a lot, George Clooney!

Macy went through a stage in which she loved to send mail.

She “wrote” or more likely scribbled letter and wanted to mail them to friends and relatives near and far.

One year for her birthday, she got a lot of stationery and stamps.

Maybe she’ll be a foreign correspondent someday.

Or maybe just keep in touch with the people she loves.

Wherever you go and whatever you become, it’ll be great. This I know for sure. Because our Macy girl is wild, silly, caring, imaginative, wacky, creative, sweet, inventive, thoughtful, resourceful, funny, engaging, sensitive, loving, and all-around amazing.

Cheers to Macy!