Category Archives: Wrigley

Wrigley, the Champion Chipmunk Chaser…..

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about………more of Wrigley’s heroism! On Wrigley’s tombstone (and there will likely be a tombstone) it will read, “Here lies Wrigley Nunley; friend to all.” No matter where we go, Wrigley is under the impression that everyone, man, woman, child or pup, would like the pleasure of making his acquaintance. Whether on the sidewalk, the street or the Prairie Path, whenever Wrigley comes across another pooch, he comes to a screeching halt; his front paws out stretched, digging into the ground, while his hind quarters are up, with his tail wagging, as if waving a white flag in surrender. After Wrigley meets his new friend, he happily resumes our run, on the lookout for more new pals.

Because he is more of a lover than a fighter, Wrigley is not your ordinary, garden variety Labrador. I always thought that Lab’s were known for their killer hunting instincts; proudly bringing half nibbled critters (bunnies, birds and rodents) home to their parents. Thankfully, Wrigley is not that kind of Labrador. He prefers to live in tandem with nature, such as the five bunny rabbits we’ve seen perched in our backyard and the army of chipmunks burrowing tunnels under our walkway (compromising the infrastructure. Surely, one day the sidewalk will just collapse, like a giant sink pit). Wrigley’s cute as a button as he lies on our front porch, his chin wresting on his front paws, eyes darting back and forth, from right to left, as he watches the critters make merry in our yard. Tom the Cat would be so disappointed (as one who wages a full scale assault against Jerry the Mouse)!

Well, the other day, as I was lugging groceries in from the garage, I decided it would be easier if I propped open the screen door that leads to my Mud Room. I was bringing in the last of the bags, when out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a flickering shadow. I did a double take, inspecting more closely, when to my surprise I saw a chipmunk climbing up my collection of umbrellas, darting across our chest of drawers. Naturally, I dropped my bags and started screaming. Seriously, who wants a chipmunk in their house? With my own cat like reflexes, I ran into the Mud Room, throwing the umbrella stand out of the way, slamming the door from the Mud Room to the Kitchen behind me.

With all of my screaming, Nick came to the immediate conclusion that Wrigley had been hit by a car. He ran with me out the front door, to his relief, finding Wrigley calmly laying in the front yard (very much alive). While I ran through the garage (continuing to scream) for a broom, Wrigley suddenly perked up, as if, after nearly 8 ½ years, he was alive for the very first time. Wrigley sprang into action, sensing danger, darting into the Mud Room. Thankfully, as quickly as I noticed the shadow, I saw the blasted critter, flying, like a bat out of Hell, from the Mud Room, with Wrigley in hot pursuit! I half expected to find that stinking chipmunk, having expired from a heart attack, stroke or brain aneurism in our driveway, with rigamortis setting in.

All hail to Wrigley; the Champion Chipmunk Chaser! Such a good deed, protecting his family from the wild, should be rewarded. Hot dogs for everyone!!!

More fright, more fear, more blasted chipmunks, more heroism….  

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How Much is that Doggie in the Window?

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…….more celebrating Wrigley’s birthday! This week commemorates his 8th birthday. Milk Bones and rawhide for everyone!


Wrigley as a pup

How much is that doggie in the window?

Well, actually, we didn’t find him in a shop window. Perhaps you can tell by just looking at his perfectly square, regal head and his beautiful, angelic face that Wrigley is, of course, a pure bred Chocolate Labrador Retriever. In other words, he hails from…….Wisconsin. I mean really, for a dog this special (read: NAUGHTY, but lovable) one must pay top dollar and travel five hours round trip by automobile. One of our most favorite things about him, other than his charming, winning, dear, sweet and funny personality, is his enormous block head. It is so big that people frequently mistake him for a Rottweiler. While he is my baby, I am thrilled to pieces that I didn’t actually give birth to him the old fashioned way, because that head would certainly have been a real deal breaker as it made its way through the birth canal. I have nightmares just thinking about it!

At the tender age of 8 (56 in dog years…he’s older than both of his parents!) he is just as naughty now as he ever was when he was just a pup…..which is plenty naughty. When he was a little guy, I would always tell him that if he didn’t shape up I would take him to Chinatown where they would make Moo Shu Wrigley out of him; at nearly 100lbs that would have been some pretty good eating.

One of Wrigley’s favorite past times is to swipe things that don’t belong to him. He’s surprisingly quiet and cat like for such a moose of an animal. He loooooves it, almost as much as a good belly rub (and who doesn’t love a good belly rub?), when you chase him around in circles after he steals something. Oh, he lets me know when it’s go time. The chase is on, when out of the blue, I hear an enormous thud upstairs, and then I hear him tear down the hallway. He’s got something that doesn’t belong to him, and he can’t wait for me to find out what it is! Sometimes he does these things for the sport of it and other times he just can’t help himself. Once, when Amanda was little, we were having lunch while we watched one of Nick’s baseball games. She was eating a lovely sandwich, made from very thinly sliced left over filets, while sitting in a folding chair. Before we knew it, Wrigley had quietly snuck his enormous head between the chair and the armrest and was nibbling at her sandwich from the underside. She never saw him coming.

Like any good Lab, Wrigley’s been up to plenty of mischief during his first eight years. He once ate the arm rest off of the door of our car, down to the metal stud. Twice he has eaten a tray of brownies, which the vet’s office informed me was not a lethal dosage for an animal of his size. When I inquired what would be a lethal amount, they did not respond, and I think they may have reported me to DPFS (Department of Puppy and Family Services). Seriously, when I brought him in for his 11 week check up, the doctor was running behind schedule due to an unexpected bunny rabbit emergency. When I told them I couldn’t wait any longer because I had to pick up my human children from school, they said I could leave Wrigley with them for his check up, but that he was so darn cute he might not be there when I returned. I told them, “Don’t make any promises you’re not willing to keep.” Those animal lovers are crazy! I once had to bring them a stool sample and they thought nothing of the fact that I had dog poop in my Kate Spade purse. I am quite sure Ms. Kate Spade had never intended her beautifully crafted handbags to be used to carry doggie stool samples. Wrigley was such a holy terror when he was a little pup that I cried nearly every day for the first six months. Chuck would tell me, “If you want to, we can give him away.” Between sobs I would tell him, “Of –course- I- want-to-give-him-a-way-but-he-lives-here-now.” 

He has gnawed through the telephone cord, while I was talking on the phone. He ate a Burning Bush, one branch at a time. When he didn’t die right away, I prayed that it was a slow releasing poisonous bush, which it was not. He ate all of the bark, strip by strip, off of our beautiful Crimson King Maple tree. It went in to shock and died. He ripped entire sheets of lattice off of our deck. When he would dig holes in the back yard, and all you could see were his hind quarters, I would tell him, “Go ahead and keep digging. It’s just about deep enough to be your grave.” One time he was angry with me because I put up the gate to keep him near me in the kitchen, and just to spite me he went and took a bite out of my favorite Puma gym shoes, and brought the piece over to me and dropped it at my feet. But I think my favorite naughty Wrigley story would be when he spent the night at my parent’s house and while George slept on the couch (because Wrigley was peacefully sleeping next to my mom on George’s side of the bed, and George did not want to disturb him) Wrigley stole his teeth! My mom heard a strange clank, clank, crunch sound and made the unpleasant discovery that George’s denture plate was gone! She pried open Wrigley’s mouth, and stuck her hand inside to find that he had already dropped it on the floor. Thankfully there wasn’t any damage; they were just covered in gooey, slimy, dog slobber. Apparently Wrigley hasn’t read any of Emily Post’s etiquette advice on how to be a good houseguest.


Hobbs 6 months, Wrigley 1 year

But more than anything……Wrigley is a lover. He has a girlfriend, Genevieve. When she’s not outside, he’ll meander to her house and tap at her front door until her mom, my friend Missy, either lets Gen out, or allows Wrigley in. His best friend in the entire world, however, is Hobbs who lives next door. They have been pals since they were puppies. Hobbs is a Golden Retriever by birth (meaning normal), but is an honorary Lab through friendship. He certainly holds his own when Wrigley, The Bull, comes charging at him at top speed. Hobbs is a true friend.


Nana and Wrigley

He loves his Nana, my mom, in a completely bizarre and unnatural way (though she totally encourages his obsession). At the mere mention of her name the drooling, the whimpering and the pacing begins. He reverberates with excitement! Nothing trumps his Nana.


I’ve never had a dog before and had absolutely no idea the kind of love you can feel for an animal. To me Wrigley is not just a dog, he is my baby. When people ask how many children I have I say three; my son Nicholas, my daughter Amanda and my furry son Wrigley……….I am now one of those crazy dog people.

Wrigley represents the very best parts of our family; love, affection, a sense of adventure, loyalty, devotion, adoration and satisfaction. He plays hard and he loves hard. He enjoys everything with such complete freedom and abandon; swimming at the quarry, sticking he head out the window when we go bye-bye in the car (someone always gives him a window seat), the vigor with which he takes off for our runs in a dead sprint (nearly taking my arm out of its socket every single time), the way he flies down the stairs when he hears the garage door open, and he hesitates for just a moment at the window in our Living Room to make sure it’s us, before he meets us at the door, and the way he enjoys and appreciates a fine meal.


Amanda, Wrigley and Nick; February, 2003


Christmas, 2009

When we first got Wrigley he was seven weeks old, Amanda was seven years old and Nick was ten. Soon Nick will be heading off to college and Amanda will be driving. Where did the years go?


Wrigley's most distinguised portrait, December, 2006

This is Wrigley, our beloved dog who has never missed a meal, a chance to go bye-bye in the car, never turned down an invitation to go for a run, never met a stranger, never missed an opportunity to nudge a guest in the crotch or ask for a belly rub. This is Wrigley….this is love…….Happy Birthday!!

More loyalty, more love, more devotion, more family……..


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Memories of Christmas….

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……a more relaxing Christmas with my family! Well, we did it; we simplified our Christmas Eve celebration. Gone, this year, was the four course, four star dinner (along with the days of prep and hours of clean up). Gone was the elaborate and gorgeous tablescape (along with the ironing of the linens and the polishing of the silver). Gone were the fancy frocks (along with the dry cleaning bill). This year we ushered in Christmas with casual, comfortable style, with all the pomp and circumstance reserved for Christmas Day.

I thrive on the rat race. I absolutely live for complicated matters, trouble and aggravation, all for the sake of authenticity, but even I must confess, the respite was welcome. The afternoon began with our annual cocktail and appetizer festivities with my friend Judy and her family. Putting our children (one college and three High School students) in charge of arriving at church early enough to secure a pew, while the adults arrived in just enough time for a little socializing before we took our seats.

What a treat! Instead of getting dinner underway after mass, we slipped into our sweats, packed up the car, with Wrigley in tow, and headed to my mom and George’s house in Chicago for our new and improved celebration. On the way, we made a pit stop at our favorite Chinese restaurant, Chicago’s famous Orange Garden. By 7 pm, we were sitting around the dinner table enjoying the most Heavenly and delicious meal. Who needs a beef tenderloin and crab bisque soup when you’ve got the world’s best egg rolls and shrimp fried rice? Fa-ra-ra-ra-ra (you have seen the cult classic; The Christmas Story, with Ralphie and the Red Ryder BB gun haven’t you?)……and clean up was a snap!


Wrigley and his stuffed Christmas bone


The remains of a Christmas toy...

It was all so relaxing (except for constantly wrestling Wrigley away from the packages, the tree, the Chinese food, the cookies, everything on the coffee table and all of the squeakers he immediately removed from all of his new toys)! We exchanged gifts, had a few laughs and watched Will Ferrell, in one of his finest performances, Elf. The perfect end to the perfect evening.


Cub fans..


Nick, Wrigley and Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks


Wrigley rubbing Wrigley Field for good luck!

After sleeping in, we opened presents from “Santa” and had a huge breakfast. I made egg casserole and bacon, and George made his world famous, special requested, beer waffles. It was divine. For me, the best part of the day was when my Nick and I laced up our running shoes and took Wrigley for our very own, second annual, Reindeer Run. We zig zagged through the city streets to the Friendly Confines, Wrigley Field. I took a picture of my fellas in front of a souvenir shop, the statue of Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, and of Wrigley tapping his paw against Wrigley Field for good luck (it was like kissing the Blarney Stone or pulling the sword, Excalibur, out of the stone). Perhaps the curse will be broken in 2011. You heard it hear first.

The evening brought a beautiful dinner with our family and cherished friends. More of everything is always better!

More new traditions, more time with family, more meaningful memories and experiences….

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The Art of The Christmas Card: A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words…

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…….more holiday greeting cards! This time of year I love being the first person to our mailbox (okay, who am I kidding? I’m the only one that actually ever checks the mailbox) to find, sprinkled amongst the bills and advertisements, beautiful, colorful envelopes. They are carefully addressed by hand in tones of metallic gold, green and red. It’s like opening a present; carefully folding back the paper to reveal what’s inside. It’s such a treat to see all of the great holiday pictures showcasing long lost pals, neighbors, our closest of friends and family.

The holiday greeting card has always been one of my favorite traditions. I place our cards in a basket on our Kitchen Island. Everyone enjoys flipping through the cards and admiring the pictures. In fact, I save our cards each year in a big Zip-loc baggie. We love to reminisce about how much all the kids we know have changed over the years.

The toughest part about the whole holiday card process is trying to perfectly capture that moment in time. I truly admire those organized souls that dress the family up in the middle of the summer and snap that perfect shot. You know the ones; everyone is color coordinated on a beach somewhere, their faces sun kissed, heads thrown back in happiness and laughter. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to have a family event, such as a wedding, where everyone is dressed up and on their very best behavior (at least while the night is young). I was that lucky once; I had a great picture of Nick and Amanda when they were attendants in Mary Poppins’ wedding. It made for a lovely Christmas card.

More often than not, however, we are frazzled as we set aside time to take our Christmas picture. Some years, we scheduled a professional photographer to have a portrait taken. When the kids were little it was so much simpler. I would take such care in finding the most lovely coordinating brother-sister outfits. The kids were such good sports as I dressed them up in velvet and corduroy and tartan plaid. They always looked like they stepped out of the pages of a magazine.


The professional Christmas portrait

Some of my favorite pictures though are those that I quick snapped here in an afternoon. You know those moments, when you look at the clock and you completely under estimate the amount of time (and patience) that you have, but you make your kids get dressed up anyway and you give it a try. I think the candid shots work out the best, when they get to be themselves. A few times I’ve shot a roll of film (back in the olden days before the invention of the digital camera) in black and white. There is something really special about that timeless quality of black and white film. Without the distraction of all of that color, their true essence shines through. One of the best shots I’ve ever taken was in our front yard, eight years ago. Amanda is standing in front of Nick and he has his arms around her. His cheek is gently resting on her head. They are so innocent and sweet. I love having captured that moment.


Candid shots are always special

Two weeks ago, on our last warm day, I gave my pals a 30 minute warning. This is it; jump in the shower, brush your hair and hightail onto the front porch. I had this great idea. Nick should wear his black and red spirit-wear from the Be All and End All Academy and Amanda should be sporting blue and white spirit-wear from Saint Feels Right for Her; dueling school pride. Wrigley would be Switzerland wearing both a red and a blue bandana around his considerable neck.

It’s hard enough to get the kids to cooperate, much less Wrigley. He’s really not very good. He’s laying down, he’s standing up, he’s looking at imaginary squirrels, he looks like he’s posing for a mug shot and all he really wants is that treat he’s been promised.

the mug shot

easily distracted

completely disinterested

I think we'll photo-chop Wrigley in...


This year I think we might have to photo-chop him in!

More frantic afternoons, more silly shots, more capturing special moments in time…..

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October 21, Part Two: For the Love of Labs…

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about….more fun for Wrigley! Truly, nearly eight years ago, I suppose what our family should have had was another baby to make it complete. But, to quote the prolific Rolling Stones, “sometimes you don’t get what you want, you get what you need.” And that’s when Wrigley walked, sprinted, barked, nibbled, chewed, nuzzled and cuddled his way into our lives.

There is nothing our boy loves more than treats, a good belly rub and to wrestle. Yesterday, he got all three.


Two of my gal pal’s have Labrador’s; Cosmo, the Black Lab, is a year and a half. Tagg, another Chocolate Love-bug is four months (his parents have known Wrigley for years. What could they possibly have been thinking ?!?). Wrigley is the old man at nearly 8 (he’s almost 56 in dog years).

As soon as the kids were out the door for school, and Chuck was off to work, I tied my shoes, put on my head phones, slipped on Wrigley’s leash and took him for a quick run. After we got a little work done around the house, I asked Wrigley one of his very favorite questions in the entire world, “Do you want to go bye-bye in the car?” “Do you want” is Wrigley’s catch phrase. Do you want…. To go for a walk? To go upstairs? To go downstairs? To go outside? To get a treat? To go to the Vet? Yes. Yes. And Yes. So, “Do you want to play with puppies?” got a great big, “YES, OF COURSE I WANT TO PLAY WITH PUPPIES!”

I opened the car door and like a homerun, he’d gone yard. No dogs play like the Lab’s. A combined 244 lbs of hyper-spastic, energetic and relentless; running, wrestling, gnashing, ear nibbling, neck gnawing, slobbering and panting fun. Now, Cosmo, the 1 ½ year old, he’s in his prime, in peak physical condition. Tagg, the 4 month old puppy has curiosity, tenacity and endless amounts of energy in spades. My Wrigley, he’s a runner, so he’s in pretty good shape, though he is a little thick around the middle (and who’s not?). But more than that, he’s got heart. However, he’d just gotten home from a run, and as the Senior Citizen, he had to rely on his…..wisdom (which is questionable at best).

Cosmo and Wrigley were the gentlest of giants, and I tell you, that Tagg is a toughie. Caught in the crossfire, he was able to withstand the incidental contact of these two monster’s, pick himself up, dust himself off and get right back in the mix for more. After 90 minutes, they were happily covered in slobber and absolutely exhausted. It was a great day.

Wrigley dragged himself into the house and collapsed in a heap at the bottom of the stairs. For the next three and a half hours he slept and snored so hard that the floor vibrated. When I invited him to go bye-bye in the car, to pick Amanda up from school, he was happy to oblige. Only when we got out to the car, and I opened the door, he just sat there and looked at me. He was beat! I had to tell him, “Baby, you’re just too big for me to pick up.” So I hoisted up his front quarters, and fortunately his back quarters rallied and he made it into the car. He was one happy camper, with the window down and the wind on his face.

This was Wrigley’s luckiest of days. Not only did he get to play with puppies, but he also got a bonus sleep over visit from his Nana (his most favorite person in the whole entire universe). I believe that he was happily able recover and muster the energy for a ruckus, because that’s the kind of guy he is. What do you expect from a baby with heart?

More playfulness, more bye-bye in the car, more fun with friends and more tired puppies…..

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