Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Winning at Bees and Bulldogs

You guys! I have so many exciting things to report! It's like my whole life has changed since I last wrote. I'm back at work! My succulent lives! I have a dog! Landon killed it at the regional spelling bee! We went to the Rodeo! Some of this will have to be covered later, so we'll stick with the B's for now.

Like this gorgeous, noble, MAJESTIC bulldog who now calls our house home.

"Draw me like one of your French girls, Jack."

This is Lilly Belle, now named Magnolia Jane "Maggie," and we adopted her on Saturday from the fabulous Lone Star Bulldog Club Rescue.

She is 4 1/2, completely deaf, soft as velvet, and sweet as sugar.

She had a rough start at life on the streets. She has a chemical burn that is healed but will never grow fur, scarred up ears, and needed a mommy tuck when she first got to rescue last year because she is a petite girl who clearly had far too many litters than her body could handle.

We had a meet and greet Thursday night. She was calm and sweet and loved the kids. We were powerless in the gaze of her gentle eyes.

She is perfect. She is petite in size, doesn't bark - doesn't make a sound actually, unless it's some dainty snoring while she's sleeping, doesn't jump, and doesn't chew. She was in her foster home for 5 months, so they really felt like they knew her personality and she was the only foster dog at the house that was allowed to be loose when her foster parents went at work because she was so well behaved. She's great with other dogs (there were 9 at her foster house!), great with kids, loves to be outside and loves to play dress up.

The hero we don't deserve

We simply adore her.

Since she's deaf, the comings and goings and low-level chaos of our house don't bother her in the slightest. She sleeps soundly through the night and only wakes up in the morning when there's a change in lighting. On Sunday morning the kids were so excited to play with her and it wasn't until the sun came up high enough through our skylights to wake her that they could attend to her in the way she has quickly become accustomed.

We went to the Rodeo on Sunday and this was our guard dog 10 minutes after we returned.

Oh hai, where did you come from?

She ADORES James. He is her sun, moon, and stars and she looks at him with little heart emojis swimming around her head. I suppose it's only appropriate, since he made the call to the Rescue Club to start the process of finding our perfect match, 15 months after we had to give up on poor Winston.

She has integrated well into the family routine. She volunteers to help with chores and likes to take little loops through the house periodically to check on things.

She wakes up in the morning looking like a model and is ready for hugs.

At work today I was missing her when James randomly texted me a picture, just so I'd know she was busy being majestic at home.

You guys, I flipping love this dog.

And I look forward to sharing a few hundred smooshy faced pictures of her with you.

Lady Magnolia, killing it

In other things that start with the letter "B," Landon had the Area Spelling Bee at the Botanic Gardens Lecture Hall yesterday!

He'd been studying his massively expanded spelling list since he won the Bee at his elementary school, though honestly we just remained thrilled that he'd won the first round and saw this as a bonus experience. I think he did too, though he was definitely edgy and nervous when Monday morning rolled around. He made me bring his packet of words into the lobby and quiz him until he started. I tried to be helpful by only asking him words I knew he'd get right.

I mean, not that we don't think he's brilliant or want him to do well, but as we walked into the auditorium on that Monday morning James and I really just wanted for him to not go out first. These were all champions of their schools! Middle schools and 6th grade campuses were there! This was the big leagues and we were happy to be present.

And then shit got serious. There were 16 kids total. 4 went out on the first round. Then 5 more. At the start of round 3 we were down to less than half! And Landon was still up there, calmly and confidently spelling out words without pause or hesitation.

We were floored.

His words were:
1. damask
2. cavil
3. gaiters
4. piedmont
5. recompense
6. docile
7. noisome

And he just banged them out without even a "can I get a definition please?" We couldn't believe it. By round 8 it was Landon and an 8th grader from the middle school he'll soon go to for the last six rounds.

Just the two of them. Up and down.

He kept going:
8. cinnabar
9. eviscerated
10. balaclavas
11. phaeton
12. cursive

And then, he got "blemish." In many ways, it was the easiest word he'd gotten so far and he just froze. "B-l-e..."


He added a silent a. He told us later he totally knew how to spell it but he out-thought himself because he thought it couldn't be that simple so late into the competition. So the 8th grader won!

But you guys, he got 2nd!

He was runner-up at the Area-Wide competition and will get to go watch the Regional Competition in March. That's the level of competition from which the winner goes directly to the National Bee! We were so very proud of him!! He was so proud of him! It was the best Monday morning.

He got a trophy and a silver medal. He got to go eat a donut with his dad before going back to school while I headed in to my first day of work in 2019, and then I stopped on the way home so I could surprise him with a selection of frozen pizzas, dark chocolate brownies, and ice cream when he got home from climbing. What shopping cart could look better to an 11.5-year-old?

It was such a special day. Area Spelling Bee Runner-Up! A dog to come home to! And a mom back at work, our sweet nannies back in our life, and a homemade dessert on a non-birthday evening.

The rest of the week has a lot to live up to.


  1. Big Congrats to Landon! That is definitely something to celebrate! And welcome to the family, Miss Maggie!

  2. Congratulations, Landon! Hooray for being back at work! And welcome Maggie! We got a rescue puppy in September after not having a dog for quite some time and it is so awesome having a dog around again. Particularly now that we're past a lot of the most annoying puppy behaviors.

  3. OMG! This is a really hard area for the Spelling Bee, so Landon must have some serious skills! Also, love the new baby! Yeah!

  4. Love the beautiful new member of your family! Keep posting pictures of her, she's adorable :) And huge congrats to Landon. What an awesome achievement!

  5. Oh, the tongue on your new pup! What a cutie pie! Congrats to Landon on the Bee :-)

  6. One of the most effective lessons in life is trusting yourself and what you know when it seems too easy/crazy/etc to be true. Congrats to Landon on the bee and your family on the dog - she's clearly a sweetie. Glad you are not currently being jerked around as a political pawn - and hope that lasts!!