In the past year, I didn’t post much here on I Do… Now What? It was a busy year! Here’s what I’ve been up to:
In January, not much happened except that I spent a lot of time managing my horse, Apple. We moved her a few times, trying out different boarding facilities, and I also did a lot of training sessions and lessons with her in the beginning of the year.
In February and March, I taught my final Hypnobabies class, after which I “retired” as a Hypnobabies instructor in favor of focusing on completing and teaching my own birth education course, which is called Better Birthing. I completed building my comprehensive online course and launched it, which was a big accomplishment for me.
In March, we got our puppy Moosey. He’s now fully grown and he’s very sweet, a fast learner, and gets along amazingly well with Macy. He is still learning manners, potty training, and respecting personal space, but I’m confident that after he gets through his teenage stage he will be a well-behaved dog.
In April, Cory and I got our first Covid vaccinations which we were very excited about! That month is also when we got our pony, AJ, and decided to start trying to sell our horse, Apple. We were able to find a new home for Apple fairly quickly, which was a relief.
In May, our kitty Luna passed away. She had chronic asthma which was no longer responding to treatment, so we chose to end her suffering. We said goodbye in the comfort of our own home with a mobile vet.
In June, we started trying to put Cody and Abi in some extracurricular activities to help them socialize. Unfortunately, Cody was not into it, and while Abigail loved her dance classes and gymnastics, we only continued for a few months because of concerns about Covid resurging. That month, I also started fostering kittens through a local rescue, which I did for a few months and plan to possibly do again in the future.
In July, I turned 29. We rehomed our parakeets, Oliver and Oakley, who absolutely hated me and would not let me touch them. I’d been accepting that they’d just be cage-bound and that was fine, but at this point I finally decided that everyone would probably be happier if we found them a different home, and the home I found for them is a great one.
At the very end of July, Cory and I decided to “open” our marriage and we became polyamorous. That was a big shift, needless to say!
In August, we both started dating other people and the poly adventures began. Cody finished homeschool Kindergarten, and then after a short break I started first grade with him. At the end of the month Cory turned 30.
In September, Abigail turned four. I also met my boyfriend, RJ and we fell in love.
In October, Amelia turned one and Cody turned seven. We rehomed our bunnies as well, Kit and Karma, because my allergies were becoming less bearable. As always, I found them an amazing home where I know they will be loved and well-cared-for. On Halloween, I went to an exotic bird store just for fun to play with the parrots, and accidently fell in love with a cockatiel. I couldn’t stop thinking about him, and ended up buying him later. I’ve named him Pikachu, and he is a wonderful bird. He’s very friendly, cuddly, and makes many lovely sounds (as well as some that aren’t as lovely, but that’s part of the deal with birds).
In November, Cody got his first Covid vaccine, and we started catching the kids up on their vaccines for school as well, since we had at that point decided to be done with homeschooling after this school year. That’s right, my kiddos are going to public school next year! Hallelujah!
In December, we ended up selling our pony, AJ. We are now horseless and for the time being that feels like the best thing for us. Ultimately, neither Apple nor AJ were the well-behaved trail horse that I was looking for when I started this journey. Both had training and behavioral issues that I wasn’t motivated to take on, and while I learned a ton from my brief time as a horse owner, I am glad to be done with that for now.
In December I also met my new puppy, Pepper. I know, I know—another dog? Yes, another dog.
As you may have noticed, most of my updates this year are involving animals. We started the year with one dog, two cats, two birds, two bunnies, and a horse. We ended the year with two dogs (and one puppy on hold at the shelter), one cat, and a bird. Why so much pet shuffling? Well, I’m glad you asked. Here’s the long explanation of how it all happened:
While I really enjoyed having Macy as our only dog, which was the situation for about eight months, I fell in love with my parents’ new puppy in February. She was their second dog of the same breed, which is an American Bully, and both the puppy and their adult dog are absolutely wonderful. I found myself with a burning desire to have an American Bully of my own.
For background info, Macy is an American Staffordshire Terrier, and both breeds fall under the category colloquially known as “pit bulls.” However, American Bullies are a newer breed and they are specifically bred for their incredibly gentle and calm demeanor. That’s what I fell in love with and that’s exactly what I got in Moosey. He’s still an adolescent, so he can definitely have moments of being extremely, well, bullish. He’s bowled people over a few times, which of course is not ideal! But, he’s slowly learning to behave himself a little more politely, and is overall the sweetest and cuddliest of dogs. I know when he grows up he will be more gentle and well-behaved—but even as an energetic pup, he’s a total sweetheart. We love our Moose!
Now, I adopted Pepper just a few days ago, and the main reason was that I wanted a small dog again. She’s a Pomeranian and American Eskimo Dog mix, very similar to our old dog Sky. I had hesitated getting another small dog because of the situation with our old dog Lila and Macy. They did not get along and we ultimately had to rehome Lila, which broke my heart. But in Pepper’s case, I specifically looked for a particular personality which is submissive but not overly fearful when meeting other dogs. They met before we adopted her, and it went great. Since I brought Pepper home, she’s gotten along perfectly with both Macy and Moosey. Moosey is a little rough at times for her, but personality-wise, they are an excellent match. Moosey gets along with any dog he’s ever met, so that’s no surprise!
As far as re-homing our parakeets and bunnies, those were both decisions that we didn’t take lightly, but ultimately, we knew that both our family and the animals would be better off by re-homing. I have very high standards when it comes to finding new homes for any of my pets, and in both cases I was sure that the people I chose would take just as good care of them as I did.
The Apple and AJ situation was more complicated. Apple was supposed to be my trail horse, but she had a lot more training issues and personality quirks than I was really prepared to deal with as a relatively beginner-level rider. While I did end up gaining a lot of valuable experience from her, and I got to the point where I felt confident handling and riding her, I still wanted another horse that would be better suited for the kids to ride and enjoy. I decided to go with a pony since I felt it would be less intimidating for the kids to ride.
When I bought AJ, I thought he was going to be the perfect, mellow, trail pony for both me and the kids. I decided to sell Apple because AJ was big enough for me to ride, and two horses was a lot, both financially and time-and-effort-wise. I found Apple a home that was committed to continuing her training, and I feel good about where she ended up.
Unfortunately, it quickly became apparent that AJ also had more training issues and personality quirks than I expected, so riding him on the trail was a huge challenge. Still, AJ has a wonderful personality and is incredibly sweet and affectionate, and I was able to just enjoy spending time with him and putting the kids on him for rides around the arena for a few months. By the end of the year, though, I decided that financially it would be better to find him a new home. He is now the pony of a sweet little girl who is learning horsemanship—and he lives in pasture with other horses, and an experienced owner. I am very happy with his new home.
I’ve already explained the sad situation with Luna, and the unexpected situation with Pikachu, so that’s all of it! It’s been a lot of changes to our little “zoo” but ultimately, my goal is now to keep our number of pets stable. Animals are a lot of work to take care of, not to mention expensive. My plate is full! Now I just need to avoid visiting pet stores at all costs! 😉
The animal lover in me is always battling the practical side of me, which knows that I would regret getting any more pets at this point. But Pika and Pepper are truly special animals, and I don’t regret adding them to my family. I really did fall in love with both of them upon first contact! Out of all the cockatiels in the store, Pika was the one who clearly wanted me to pick her up, and then didn’t want me to put her down when it was time to go. She also snuggled on my chest and make happy chirping noises at me, and really, who could resist such tactics?! As the saying goes, “I choose you, Pikachu!” We both chose each other, it would seem.
Pepper was just a happy little face looking back at me from her kennel at the animal shelter, and when I took her out for a visit she immediately jumped into my lap and wanted to stay there. I figured she was always that friendly—until I saw how she tried to run away from the shelter volunteer who came to put her back! It turns out, she is friendly, but she’s also cautious, and for whatever reason she just trusted and bonded to me right away. Since I’ve brought her home, she has been amazingly well-behaved and is learning the house rules extremely quickly. She’s also a snuggle bug and a wonderful companion. <3
Anyway. That’s been my year. My word of the year for 2021 was “balance” and I found a lot of different applications for that as the year progressed. Balance has been important in managing three children, especially getting through the very challenging high-need-baby-stage (which has now transitioned to the high-need-toddler-stage).
Balance has also been very important in my poly journey, as one can probably imagine. Managing multiple relationships at once, while also taking care of my family and home, has been quite the balancing act!
Balance, for me, has meant knowing when to say “no” or “goodbye,” and put certain things down, so that I can better focus on the things that I want to keep in my life. Balance has also meant letting go of perfectionism, and knowing that my best is really enough.
As I go into the year 2022, I feel the word “becoming” speaking to me the loudest. There have been so many changes in my life in the past six months alone, and they are all part of something new—a new stage of my life. I feel like I am finally becoming more truly myself. And this year, I can’t wait to start living that out more and more each day. As always, I’m excited to see what the next year holds!
Happy New Year to everyone out there! I hope this year holds wonderful things for you.