Halfway through January isn’t usually when people post their New Year things. But this is me and sometimes The Nerd Factory is on its own schedule.

​Though, most of it is due to that purple-collared furry thing on my lap. Her arrival has meant being up several times a night, constant vigil for her potty-cues, and not much time or brain power to focus on anything else. Oh wait. It’s just like having a baby. Minus the stretch marks and leaky boobs. After eleven years of saying no and a certain birthday girl having that as her one and only request for a birthday gift… I gave in.

I knew whatever dog we found would eventually become attached to me and vice versa and that scared me. I watched my mom put down her 13 year old Lady & the Tramp look-alike cocker spaniel and my husband take his beloved Boomer Pug to be put down. My heart is already tied irrevocably to our three offspring  and that hurts a lot some days. I figured a dog was overkill.

So on her birthday date with her daddy, they went to our local animal shelter and found a litter of puppies just put up for adoption. They’d been moved up here from Missouri as a tornado had gone through their area and there was no room for them. The mama had had a rough time of feeding her puppies and ended up with mastitis (poor thing!!) and had to stop feeding them at only 6 weeks. With the constant rolling and romping pile of furry bodies, it was hard to decide. They FaceTimed me and showed me this little face…


…and just what was I supposed to do?! This little girl just had to be ours! Her markings were the most distinctive of her whole litter! The other puppies had similar blazes but they were monochromatic instead of the contrast she displayed. She was also one of the smallest puppies and very calm. We didn’t even know she had a voice until we got her home Jan 4 and she made a little noise to Mike as he was playing with her. Her favorite place in the whole wide world? A warm and open lap – usually mine.

Potty training began with 21 degree temps and blustering winds that made her cry and whine when I tried to take her outside. I was so thankful when the snow melted away and the broken-down cardboard box could be exchanged for the grass outside! A corner turned.

The best corner turned?? Pepper sleeping through the night!! She finally did that this week! I feel like I have a brain again and that I’m not operating on def-con level Chaos. I know many moms who pull off life with 5 hours of sleep or less. In 12 years of being a mom, I have never been able to swing that AND be a nice person to be around. Naps only go so far… like a crutch. You can limp along for a bit, but it’s not recommended you drive heavy machinery with a crutch.

Pepper is my shadow when the kids aren’t around. She loves to play with them, but still prefers my lap when she’s tuckered out. I usually have a book handy while she naps on me.

My days have a new routine. Walk the kids to the bus to wear her out for a morning nap while I get some things done around the house. After lunch, go for a long walk on the bike path.


Then read or write while she snuggles on my lap. After the kids get home, they play with her or read to her for their homework – while she tries to nibble the pages. I make dinner while trying not to step on her as she moves around my feet. Then Daddy gets home aka Pepper’s Giant Chew Toy. She sits on my lap and listens as I read aloud to the kids before they go to bed.


By 9pm, she’s winding down (like me) and by 10:30/11pm she’s downright exhausted. She goes outside one last time before she goes in her bed and we don’t hear from her until 7am. ​

So now you know. It’s the year of the puppy over here. Our new normal. Like any change it felt odd and I wished we could go back to the safe “old normal”, but here I am risking my heart on this little fur ball.

As for the Nerd Factory, its cogs are still turning and the gears are moving – just with a little more puppy chow. Check out the new Book Journal tag! I’m stepping up my reading game 🙂