We have had the most amazing past few weeks! For two weeks, we had mom and dad Kleven come see us... all the way from Wisconsin! Originally going to be a weeklong visit, it lasted for another week and included glorious home-cooked meals ready for us when we got home from work, a dingy basement being painted, wallpaper scraped, furniture rearranged, and lots of other fabulous things tht would simply not have gotten done had we not had the visitors. They completely blew us away and blessed us immensely by giving so much time and energy to help us get settled into our new home.
A week later, my parents and brother and Champ arrived for thanksgiving! It was surreal to welcome them into our home and to show them around our corner of the world here in Michigan. The snow had softly fallen a few days earlier and there was a gorgeous little white blanket all over to greet them. We spent almost a week of hanging out, jamming on the guitar (the boys), dressing my windows with my little dressup box of hand-me-down curtains (I will never say no. Never.). We actually had my MI extended family over for a bustling houseful including kids and new puppy! Wait...did I say new puppy?
A few weeks ago I called on a fabulous craigslist ad boasting a litter of golden retriever puppies. Joel and I have, for the past year, disagreed on small dog or big dog (with a little nobleman like Champ in my background, can you guess which one I voted for?). But alas, we could not decide on one. It has been a long fought battle, and the closer we got to the day where he would be surprised by a new puppy, the more thickly I laid on the "I hate big dogs, let's never get one," and "look at Champ, Joel we reallly need to get a maltese," comments. I was on a roll. The day after thanksgiving my parent's "wanted to go into Jackson to go shopping." (This should have been Joel's clue # 1 that something was up and that someone was lyin'... my parents are NOT black friday shoppers... I think we made up some baloney about my dad wanting coaxial cable at best buy... a little more believable. As we neared Jackson and my palms got sweatier (did Joel seriously believe the fact that the big red Christmas bow I brought was truly for champ's little neck?) my dad mentioned, "oh... I have a friend I"ve talked to on the radio who is from Jackson, MI... he just moved here and I've GOT to see him." Joel bought it hook, line, and sinker and agreed to go out to Pleasant Lake to a remote farmhouse. Thank goodness for Garmins.
When we arrived, my dad went to the door while we stayed in the car and came back with the news, "he's in a wheelchair and wants to meet the whole family." At this point Joel jovially agreed and when the door opened out tumbled 7 roly-poly puppies, one after the other rolling over each other, squirming, wimpering, kicking to be the first ones waddling out triumphantly. "Hi puppies!" Joel said..."oh honey... they're golden puppies." Me, with a grin, "Merry Christmas Joel... which one do you want?"
It took a few moments to explain that there was no ham radio friend, and he had been hoodwinked by the Dunlap family. I don't think I've seen him smile so big in a long time. We finally settled on a placid snugglesford of a chunker buddha-belly boy who just wanted to lay baby-style in our arms, paid our money ("THAT'S why you wanted me to bring the checkbook!"), and spent the rest of the ride home naming him, doting over him, and snuggling the little cowboy.
THAT is how little Koda ("Bear") came to the Kleven family, and that is how we lose lots of sleep thanks to crate training and potty breaks and that is how we now need marriage counseling on how to raise our puppy and that is how Diana wants to quit her job and stay home and mother the little puppy breath-face. We absolutely love the munchkin, adore inventing nicknames for him, and abhor disciplining him (Joel is a little stronger in that area than I).
Stay tuned for more pictures of the little waddling wonder and of our fabulous time together with our wonderful families.