Roni the Chihuahua & Road Trip


Tuesday morning, with 5 hours to pack and get the estate in order before Beckett and I left for our excursion across America, I found a collarless Chihuahua in our backyard.

It might be helpful to know that:

a) I do not love small dogs. Especially Chihuahuas.

b) This is not the first Chihuahua that has gotten stuck in our backyard. (Which is odd now that I think about it.)

I seriously didn’t have time to figure out where the dude came from, so I just set him in the front yard and went back inside.

…less than 2 seconds later…

I came back out, picked him up, and took him inside (much to Mack’s chagrin).

Beckett played with him while I Googled “what to do with missing dog”.

I really really had to pack for our trip, preferably without a lost canine in my house, but I tried to do my civic duties anyway.

I canvased the neighborhood.


I uploaded his picture to

(Stop looking at me like that. At least I uploaded his picture…who cares if it was upside down!?)

I took him to a local vet to see if he had a microchip.

He did. His owners hadn’t registered it.

After consulting with Taylor and the vet people, 

I took him to the animal shelter, because that’s where people look for missing dogs…right?

While I was checking him in with the cast of Swamp People the animal control guys, I started to have second thoughts. It didn’t help that the dog looked back at me with his terrified, beady little Chihuahua eyes and whispered, “I trusted you. How could you do this to me?” (Quote to be read in a Spanish accent.)

It also didn’t help that Beckett was yelling, “PUUUPPPPPYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!” with big ole crocodile tears running down his face.

But, really, we had to pack, so I drove back home.

And then immediately drove back to animal control.

Me: “What are the chances we could just maybe possibly keep the dog at our house until his owners come to get him?”
Animal Control: “Well none now. He’s in our system.”
Me: “Ok.”
{walk away, load Beckett up, start the car, walk back}
Me: “Like, really in the system, or almost in the system?”
Animal Control: “He’s really in the system. He’s up for adoption in 3 days.”
Me: “And how long after that before you put him down?”
Animal Control: “Uh…just call.”
Me: “Ok. Okokokokokokokok.”

I cried.

That little booger won me over. I called Taylor at work and made him promise that we would rescue him if the owners didn’t come get him. This stupid dog was not getting put down on my watch.

I also texted this picture for good measure:

I even thought ahead about naming him Roni when we adopted him. That way we’d have Mack-n-Roni. (That’s the level of humor I operate on.)

Beckett loved him, Mack warmed up to him, he won me over with his gentlemanly charm, and his goopy eye and bad teeth were fixable. I hoped.

But, alas, our family is not growing just yet. I called animal control on Thursday and the same guy answered. He said he saw a missing dog poster for Roni on his way home so he called and the owners came to pick him up.

It was fun while it lasted, Roni. If you’re ever in the area again, give us a shout. We’d love to catch up.

Road Trip

My brother, me, and pint-sized Brooks took a road trip to Illinois, by way of Kansas, to see my grandparents, aunts, and cousins. It was a long overdue trip. So overdue that my cousin Corbin has 2 kids (one being 5 1/2) that I’d never met.

We drove to Kansas, spent the night, and rode the next day with our parents to Illinois. And then reversed that a few days later. In total, we spent 30 hours in the car with a 19 month old.

Can I just brag on the Beck for a second? He cried for 20 minutes the entire trip. That’s less than 1% of our road trip. He was an absolute peach face.

Momfession – he watched 30 hours of Finding Nemo and Cars so it was kind of a trade off: possible brain damage for a peaceful road trip.

The toddler did awesome; I was whiny. Mom and I shared the backseat that is less than spacious to begin with, so once the car seat with a 3 feet wingspan was added in, it was pure torture. We had to cross our legs the same direction or we didn’t fit. On top of that, Dad requested the bag of cookies from the back about every 15 minutes, so, long story short, we realized we might have missed our calling as a mother/daughter contortionist team.

In Illinois, we:

played cards with Grandpa at the rehab place

Side note: old people love kids. It was awesome to see the joy on their faces when Beckett would say hi to them. I did have him ride on Uncle Jared’s (aka Juncle and/or Uncle Yared…still deciding which is more obnoxious) a lot because some of the old souls were very enthusiastic about wanting to hold Beckett. And by enthusiastic I mean persistent and creepy.

Beckett watched more tv while we chatted, naturally.

We also hung out with our cousins/aunts/grandma.
This is the first time all of the cousins have hung out as adults and PARENTS. It was kind of surreal. We all agreed that we, as cousins, create excellent humans. Corbin’s lady is Filipino and they have together created the most beautiful half-Filipino kids. Maddy’s main squeeze is black and they just had the most precious, beautiful-skinned baby, Mason. And then there’s Beckett with his translucent blond hair and piercing blue eyes – white on white on white. People would never guess they were all related.
It was so great to see what a beautiful mom Maddy makes. Mason is only 6 weeks old, so I’ve been anxious to {gently} squeeze his little buns. And Corbin’s kids? Even more beautiful in person. They make dolls after kids like that. And my cousin Kendall – she is the happiest, best aunt of all time.
Also in Illinois, we played with grandparent gadgets.

like the chair that stands you up, for people who have trouble getting up from the recliner. Or for people who like to play with fun things.

and like the chair that takes you down the stairs. (“You” is used loosely there. It can refer to actual you or your luggage. Or you with a slice of pumpkin pie that you’d like to eat on the way downstairs instead of at the table downstairs.)

and like the glasses/hats found in grandparent mini-vans. 
(Jared as Stanley Tucci in Lovely Bones, anyone?)
Last but certainly not least, we played Super Mario Brothers 3 on original Nintendo. Yep, you read that correctly. The orig. It was just as fantastic as I remember.

Goodbyes in Illinois were a little tearful. Now that there’s a new generation of Sparks, the oldest generation is, well, old. Grandpa talked a lot to Dad about heaven and how you never know how many more moments you’ll have like this. 
I’m so very glad we took the time to go.

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