Thursday, January 20, 2011

How I Spent My Winter Vacation

The school district where Grams works has a winter break. Just one week after returning from the Christmas holidays, our school district closes for a winter break. When we first moved here 25 years ago this was shocking to me. I now realize that they do this because many of the kids participate in the Nueces County Junior Livestock Show which is one of the largest shows of its type anywhere in the USA. It seems like everything stops for the stock show. Some of the churches don't even have Sunday School or religious education classes that weekend. That's how seriously everyone takes the stock show. One other item of note is the weather. It seems like every year the weather is nasty during the stock show. It's almost always cold and wet.

Winter break means no work for Grams as a substitute teacher. This year I saw this as an opportunity to spend a little quality time with Our Little Princess. I arranged to meet her Mom in Beeville for lunch and a baby exchange on Wednesday and I would keep her until Sunday. We made these plans back in December.

Baily and Ralphie
Shortly after these plans were made, my son asked me if I would dog sit for my grand-dogs, Ralphie and Baily. Both Nick and Marie had to be out of town on business for an entire week and boarding two big dogs is expensive. So we brought Ralphie and Baily home from Houston with us. Nick was coming to Corpus Christi for a bachelor party the next weekend and would pick them up then.

I wasn't too worried about having both The Princess and the dogs. She has a dog at home and has been around Ralphie and Baily before. Plus, Ralphie and Baily are pretty gentle and laid back dogs. And, I figured I could always put the dogs in the back yard for a while if they all needed a break from each other. I didn't consider that the weather would prevent this.

Baily "mothering" Our Little Princess
Ralphie wasn't too interested in anything except snuggling up on the sofa and sleeping. He's good that way. Baily on the other hand was extremely interested in anything Our Little Princess was doing. She followed her around like, well, like a puppy dog. Baily seems to have some strong "mothering" instincts. She was all about whatever The Princess was doing and was right in her face at every opportunity. At first it was a little bit daunting. The Princess would shake her finger at Baily and tell her "no." Baily didn't respond much to her "no" so I would sometimes have to intervene with a more stern voice, but as soon as I looked away, Baily would be back right next to the baby.

I didn't really take the bad weather into account with my planning. It was rainy, cold and nasty all week. There was no opportunity for outdoor play for anyone. I couldn't take baby for walks and I couldn't let the dogs out to play. It was pretty challenging just to find a break in the weather so the dogs could go outside to take care of their business. After a couple of days, it was exhausting to try to keep Baily out of her face all day long. So a couple of afternoons, I bundled up Our Little Princess and took her to the local mall to enjoy the indoor play area. It got us out of the house and gave everyone, including the dogs, a break.
Rain, rain go away

But, as the week went on, Baily and Our Little Princess became buddies. Baily could easily turn into one of those dogs that little girls could dress up like a doll. She just loves to be played with and doted on, especially by children. By the end of the week, they were playmates and fast friends.

There is one other photo I want to show you. In the wake of Christmas, I have not returned our living room furniture to it's usual configuration. On previous visits, Our Little Princess could sit on the sofa and be in between Grams at one end of the sofa and Grandad in his recliner. But, with our current configuration, each of us sits in a chair and there is an end table in between the chairs. This seemed to frustrate her and she clearly didn't like it. But it didn't stop her from sitting between us. She just climbed up on the table and had a seat. Problem solved!

Who needs a chair?
When Sunday came, Nick took his dogs home and we took Our Little Princess to meet her parents in Three Rivers. We returned home to an extremely quiet house. It's almost like adjusting to my empty nest all over again. But it was nice and quiet while I watched the red carpet arrivals and the Golden Globes. I do enjoy my empty nest ... but now and then it's nice to have the chicks visit.


  1. Bailey sounds just like our Lyla. Definitely a lab thing, I think.

    Your little Princess is such a cutie. Too bad the weather was cruddy but what a wonderful way to spend some vacation time!

  2. Bailey sounds just like DD1's Rico. And they look the same too (Rico is a mix of sorts--maybe border collie and somethign...I don't know)! And you can dress Rico in clothes. He just doesn't care.

    What a cutie your grand is!

  3. Love your pictures! We've got a golden - their all the same!