No, we don't have a dog. I forgot to mention (in the post about Maggie) that Jonathan and I were on vacation up with my parents. :)
It was a great vacation - I was getting over a heavy cold and got to rest and sleep and read books - generally be "off duty" for a few days. As much as I love my son, and love being a mom, there is a lot to be said for being off duty occasionally!
Jonathan was full of energy (as usual!) but he had his choice of four people at his beck and call for much of the time we were there. Not to mention great-grandparents who wanted to see him too. He got to play outside with the dog and the cats, hammer on boards ("bang!!!") be taken around for wheelbarrow rides, play with balls, pick crabapples (up on a ladder!) eat yummy food, get a bath from Grandmommy and Granddad, play with puzzles, build with blocks, listen to music...he had an incredible time.
I wish that families weren't so spread out across the country these days. I'm envious of those extended families who someone stayed together locally for generations - you know, you marry the boy next door and settle down across town from both sets of parents! Gabe and I have a few friends who actually were able to do that, and it is so neat to see. Their children really know their extended family, because they see them every week!
Compare to our situation: my sister is marrying and settling in Boston, my brother is currently in Texas, my parents are in Northern California. My in-laws are in Southern California, but a long enough drive away that we don't see them all that often either.
It makes me sad to be so spread out, but I don't know of a way to fix it. My parents work hard to make their home (and area) an inviting place to come vacation as well as live. And boy, is it ever working! My cousin's family just bought property just down the road from my family, as did my aunt and uncle. Even my grandparents in Texas are considering moving to the area! So that is a sort of gravitational base that will definitely make for fun family reunions and good vacations. But the reality is that Gabe and I will probably have to go where the jobs are. Sarah and Nathan will go where the grad schools are, and who knows where Jonathan will end up. Maybe in Africa. :)
I guess I'm just a little envious of what seems a simpler life, and a very good thing: raising your kids in the larger community of your extended family. When I left for college I never even thought about that. When I married Gabe and settled down here, it still didn't seem important. Now that I have children, I have realized how very dear family is, and I am sad for the loss of their nearness. I think that maybe this means I've finally grown up a bit.