Heater, Mother of Lance

Once upon a time

Every morning at about 9AM Chuck wanders upstairs having spent his morning doing WHO KNOWS WHAT in the dark corner of our bedroom. Something to do with candles and a tattered copy of Twilight probably, but he instinctively knows that it’s precisely that time of the day that I like to take pictures. And maybe he’s going to be in one of them. Hopefully today I will be in a forgiving mood and snap a shot of him lounging on the couch, doesn’t matter, he gets a treat anyway if he balances that cage of live lobsters between his ears.

Which begs the question: why have I not tried that one yet? Anyone have access to some lobsters? Preferably some persnickety ones with anger management issues.

He knows it’s time to work, always has, and if I don’t make him pose for a picture he becomes listless, begins to stare nervously at walls and inevitably will stand next to one of us awkwardly like he’s about to fall over. Even Leta notices this behavior, and last night when Jon and I got back from a quick business trip and she asked where the dogs were, her response to the fact that they were at a kennel was, “Can they please stay there?”

“You don’t want the dogs to come home?” I asked.

“I don’t!” she yelled. And when I asked her why she explained, “Because Coco is crazy, and Chuck creeps me out!”


We recently started a chart where Leta can earn rewards if she gets herself dressed in the morning, goes to bed without a fight, and tries new things. That last part is pretty open, and she’s earned points for trying new food, wearing a a pair of pants that had a displeasing texture (one that caused her head to fall off), and a few days ago we got her to touch Chuck. VOLUNTARILY. She was reluctant at first, but that reward chart just loomed in her brain, and out went her hand, two of her fingers hovering over Chuck’s back. And then she did it, she dropped her arm and for several hundredths of a second her skin touched Chuck’s fur, and the resulting shiver that went down her spine shook the bed wildly causing Jon to wince as his vasectomy had yet to heal.

Last week when it was time to get dressed up for Halloween, Chuck was ready to work, ready for the challenge, although there wasn’t much of one to conquer. This year his costume involved nothing humiliating (relatively speaking) nor did it require him to pose in possibly illegal positions. Our goal this year was to help bridge the wide divide between the dogs and our wonderfully peculiar oldest child. Leta, the dogs can play castle, too!

Just to give you an idea of what we were working with, here’s Katey in Chuck’s full costume:

  • Daddy Scratches

    2009/11/12 at 4:29 pm

    OK, Coco looks cute and all, but Chuck’s costume? That’s just plain rad.
    And kudos to Leta for bonding with Chuck five years on.

  • mandi

    2009/11/12 at 1:50 pm

    Fabulous costumes. Chuck’s outfit totally takes the cake though!

  • Daddy Scratches

    2009/11/12 at 1:53 pm

    By the way: If you ever wanna deck Chuck out in a Darth Vader costume, I know a guy. Just get a clothespin for Chuck’s nose. Oy.

  • simpliSAHM

    2009/11/12 at 1:56 pm

    Princess and Knight…of course! Perfect choice.

  • rheaa

    2009/11/12 at 1:57 pm

    Chuckles looks so stoic.

  • jesuisaloette

    2009/11/12 at 1:58 pm

    So freaking cute!

  • imjeffp

    2009/11/12 at 2:02 pm

    You know, Katey looks pretty hot in that getup.

  • tuckeremma123

    2009/11/12 at 2:02 pm

    How do you do it? I have 3 labs and they wouldn’t hold still like that if I held a T-bone over their heads. Chuck and Coco are amazing!

  • BlogalaCart

    2009/11/12 at 2:03 pm


    I grew up in a lobstering village with honest to god lobstermen as my neighbors.(I know, wtf?)

    Expect a trap filled with live lobbies on your doorstep tomorrow.

    Your welcome.

    Send my apologies to Chuck.

  • jessiCat

    2009/11/12 at 2:04 pm

    I love the last picture of Chuck. His face is all “WHYYYYYY do you do this to me, woman”. So cute!

  • dooce

    2009/11/12 at 2:04 pm

    #9. BlogalaCart, you send em, Chuck’ll balance em!

  • myla

    2009/11/12 at 2:05 pm

    I so needed this today, thank you. xox

  • Lauren AT In The Pudding Club

    2009/11/12 at 2:08 pm

    Chuck looks mad at Katey for wearing his outfit in the last picture – no one told me I had to share! And I want to build a fort with Coco and feed her pink marshmallows.

  • kcbelles

    2009/11/12 at 2:08 pm

    Sir Chuck! And his damsel in distress, Lady Coco! What great costumes! I love them – very original, too, for your canine companions. Too cute about Leta and the reward system you’ve got going. Smart way to get her to try new things.

  • Shauna- Fido and Wino

    2009/11/12 at 2:13 pm

    I love that Chuck sits there with something pressed between his eyes! My dogs would flip out maybe spontaneously start talking or something!

  • brooke

    2009/11/12 at 2:14 pm

    i made my dog wear a pumpkin outfit, and the cat wouldn’t even pretend for one second to wear the hat. i posted the pics on my blog too.

  • TexasKatie

    2009/11/12 at 2:21 pm

    Okay, so I just want to eat them up they are so cute. Chuckles and Coco, that is. Not Katey. That would just be weird.

    Seriously, you have two of the cutest doggies in the world.

  • JillyLly

    2009/11/12 at 2:23 pm

    I agree with #7, Katey looks hot in that get up. Are these pics going in the 2010 Calendar? Because the first one of Coco and the last one of Chuck are priceless!

    PS. What does Katey’s husband look like? I’m overly curious..

    PSS. I have to hand it to to Leta for always having such a perfect concise way of describing things. “Because Coco is crazy, and Chuck creeps me out!” HA! Love it.

  • mommaruthsays

    2009/11/12 at 2:25 pm

    Did it help? Does Leta just LOOOVE them now?

    (I’m guessing not…)

  • eryn.chandler

    2009/11/12 at 2:25 pm

    i laughed so hard/loud when i saw the first coco pic that i hit my funny bone on my elbow.

    well worth it.

    freakin’ love it

  • gingela5

    2009/11/12 at 2:28 pm

    Chuck needs an FML bubble above his head. Those are GREAT costumes! 🙂

  • Linnnn

    2009/11/12 at 2:34 pm

    Chuck would rock it out as The French Soldier in Monty Python and the Holy Grail:

    “I don’t want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries… No, now go away or I shall taunt you a second time.”

  • KatieC

    2009/11/12 at 2:37 pm

    We’ve had the same fun in our house, the mighty power of the treat!


    I’m wondering if Chuck’s night-time bed is still intact or has Coco demolished it yet? Our jessie has a habit of nibbling on her night-bed and I would like to get her one like Chuck’s if it’s indestructible!!

  • kirst

    2009/11/12 at 2:40 pm

    What gingela5 said!

  • Svaha

    2009/11/12 at 2:42 pm

    Love the last pic.

    Chuck looks like he’s ready to call his rep about non-union models working his gig.

  • NatashAbdool

    2009/11/12 at 2:43 pm

    I love that pic with both dogs in costume!!!!

  • katielea

    2009/11/12 at 2:45 pm

    I agree with myla…I needed this today as well. Great pictures! I wish my cats would allow this. I have tried with a Santa hat & a sombrero with no success. 🙁

  • Liams Grandma

    2009/11/12 at 2:50 pm

    I love Chuck. He needs his own website. Truly. And take on an anthropomorphic personality, interacting with his fans, etc. He is absolutely, utterly fabulous.

  • kellyjcallahan

    2009/11/12 at 2:52 pm

    I am so tweeting and facebooking this to all my medieval recreation friends… They’ll be so jealous. Hell I’m jealous, my dogs didn’t look this good for Howloween.

  • leesavee

    2009/11/12 at 2:57 pm

    That is totally the perfect outfit for Chuck. He is a Renaissance Fair dog.

  • Becca

    2009/11/12 at 3:04 pm

    Chuck is so long-suffering. I love him.

  • gigantic

    2009/11/12 at 3:05 pm

    Can’t stop repeating the words “wearing a pair of pants that had a displeasing texture.” So good.

  • Kay

    2009/11/12 at 3:08 pm

    I am squeeling with glee at the sight of Coco and Chuck! They are so adorable!
    Linnn, you hit the nail on the head with that one! I think my head is going to explode with all the laughter.

  • ...love Maegan

    2009/11/12 at 3:09 pm

    chuck is such a pro. seriously. …and this “Because Coco is crazy, and Chuck creeps me out!” is amazing.

  • madgie

    2009/11/12 at 3:18 pm

    I swear, there is nothing, NO NOTHING, that I love more than looking a pictures of dogs in Halloween costumes.

    This is a goddamn wonderful post.

  • raven1bandit

    2009/11/12 at 3:20 pm

    Love Chuck, Love Coco, Medival Looks are awesome.
    I’m not a fan of Wackadoo land or having to log in…but hey, it’s your blog 🙂

  • Meredith

    2009/11/12 at 3:21 pm

    I can’t stop staring at Coco in the princess hat, it’s not so outrageous but something about her eyes is cracking me up!

    Also cracking me up – the line about Leta trying pants with a “displeasing texture”. That is SO my Anna. Elastic, embroidery, phantom bumps, she can’t take any of it. Oh, and collars. Absolutely no collars of any kind please. :eye roll:

  • kitt

    2009/11/12 at 3:23 pm

    Please oh please oh please use one of these pictures of Chuck for next month’s masthead. Pretty pretty please?

  • Karen Chatters

    2009/11/12 at 3:27 pm

    I don’t know how you get those dogs to not only wear those clothes but to sit still like that. PETA would have a field day with you.

  • TSWC

    2009/11/12 at 3:34 pm

    Heather, I’m not saying this to be an e-jerk or to try to cut you down or anything, I swear–I love your blog and think you’re awesome–but…

    it does not “beg” the question. I *raises* the question. They are two totally different things. To beg the question is to commit a logical fallacy, to, essentially, make a circular argument.

    Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. It drives me totally nuts.

  • NatW

    2009/11/12 at 4:06 pm

    Oh my goodness, he looks so stoic in that third pic from the bottom! Like he’s ready to go to battle!

  • Jennifer M.

    2009/11/12 at 4:22 pm

    That last picture of Chuck by himself leaves me speechless. I think you should sell prints of that.

  • MeMyselfandMommy

    2009/11/12 at 4:22 pm

    Chuck sounds like he might be a workaholic.

  • Ashley in OK

    2009/11/12 at 4:25 pm

    (mostly the Lita part, but the costumes too)

  • toad97

    2009/11/12 at 4:46 pm

    Laughed out loud at both Leta’s comment on the dogs and the costumes they were wearing. Genius!

  • ZooBride

    2009/11/12 at 4:52 pm

    Great pics Heather! However, I have an issue. I want a thorough pic lesson. Is it all your camera or is it Mr. Photoshop? I am beggin’, on my knees, with a handful of Jelly Belly’s. Plllllllllllllllllease!!! Thank you!

    A fellow mommy blogger with an obsession of taking spawn pics.

  • throughtheglassblog

    2009/11/12 at 4:54 pm

    The pictures are hysterical! I love them. Thanks!

  • mrs.notouching

    2009/11/12 at 5:11 pm

    Leta cracks me up! And the costumes are amazing, as always.

    P.S. And I am absolutely in love with the “Saturday Afternoon Eyes” picture.


    2009/11/12 at 5:25 pm

    All Bossy’s Great Dane did on Halloween was sleep. Which separates Halloween from the other 364 days a year Exactly Not At All.

  • scomur

    2009/11/12 at 5:26 pm

    I’m going to be really unoriginal and say that Katey looks better in the chain mail getup than Chuck.

    Also, you should’ve made Leta pose with the dogs. That’ll learn her. Heh-heh.

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Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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