Monday, June 02, 2008

Washington's Lady

Friday night we added a new member to our family. A woman Jesse works with sent out an email on Wednesday saying that she had a puppy she needed to give to a good home. The kids and I have been begging Jesse for months for a dog, and after he talked to the owner and got some details he agreed! The owner was having a baby, and with a two-year old just didn't have the time to give him anymore. So Jesse brought Charlie home Friday night. He's an eleven-month old Shih-Tzu/Cocker Spaniel, fixed, up to date with all shots, house and crate trained. Sounds perfect right? Unfortunately, Charlie needs socialization; he's frightened of EVERYTHING! When Jesse brought him home, Molly, Mia, and I poured out of the house ready to greet him, but he wouldn't come any where near us. In fact we couldn't even get him in the house, and when Jesse tried, he slipped out of his collar and got loose.

Jesse and I were up until after 1:30 am hoping that Charlie would go into his kennel so we could catch him and bring him inside. Didn't work out that way. We were all miserable and felt awful. But the next morning when we got up, he started hesitantly coming to the front door, then darting away when we approached. Jesse propped open the screen door, and soon Charlie was trotting in and out, but we couldn't get the door shut behind him until Mia slipped behind the solid door and slammed it before he could get out. It was definitely a rocky start. I was feeling sick and miserable on Saturday, so I spent much of the day in bed. Charlie decided I was safe, and soon joined me there. He gradually allowed Mia and Jesse to pet him just a bit as well.

Sunday morning, we woke up to a whole new dog. He greeted us with a quick lick on the face and used his paw to grab my hand and hold it in place so he could lick it as well. We discovered by accident (Mia let him outside without the leash) that he's now comfortable staying in the yard. I'm in love with this little guy! I had to leave him in his kennel for much of today, and when I got home, he hadn't messed in it, and had a sweet smile to see me while he ran around outside. When I finally sat down after unloading the groceries and putting them away, he threw himself into my lap for a big hug. It will take some time for him to get used to friends and family who stop by, but he's a real cutie with a terrific personality.

Washington's Lady by Nancy Moser is light historical novel about the first First Lady, Martha Washington. Martha Dandridge Custis had faced an overwhelming amount of death in her life before she met George Washington, losing two children and her first husband, as well as siblings and her father. She was an amazingly resourceful woman who left her estate to live on Washington's less well established of Mount Vernon, rallied fundraising drives for poor soldiers during the Revolutionary War, and took care of the family and estates during Washington's six years as leader of the Colonial Army. She sacrificed much of her personal life for his public one, and before she died burned all of their personal letters, so it's difficult to really know who Martha Washington was. Moser does a great job of capturing this enigmatic woman and portraying her fear of death, over-protection of her children, and support of one of America's Founding Fathers. The narrative skips along a bit, making the story a little choppy at first, but Moser really shines a light on Martha Washington and what motivated the woman behind the man who helped create this country.

I'm starting a new book contest today. If you would like to win a copy of Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver (the 10th anniversary edition), drop me an email at before midnight tomorrow night. I'll announce the winner here on Wednesday and post my review of this fantastic read that should be on every woman's bookshelf. Good luck!