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Wordless Wednesday 3/3/2010

March 3, 2010 1 comment

Love

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Goodbye dear friend

February 23, 2010 10 comments

Baxter when we first brought him home

This month our little family faced yet another deep and difficult loss. Our precious dog, Baxter, passed away on February 18, 2010 at about 1:00 am. Words can’t explain the bond we felt with Baxter “BB”. He came into our life unexpectedly in June 2004. He had been abandoned by his owner and was being kept at my cousin’s house. They didn’t really have space for him and so we offered to bring him home. From that moment on, he was our first baby. I had never known immediate love before. I didn’t realize that it was even possible with anything other than your own children. But we did. We loved him deeply from the moment he came home. I remember he wandered off that first night and I was in tears. I was crying over a dog I had only known for about 5 hours. That was how instant it was. We got him home, cleaned him up, removed ticks, and fed him. We spent hours snuggled up with him. He was so sweet and easy to love. He burrowed his way into your heart and you just couldn’t let him go. He made an impact on everyone he met. I don’t know many dogs that have their own theme song, but our BB did.

Baxter the week we lost him

Baxter during the last week with us

We made it our mission to give him all he had missed in life and to make up for the pain he had suffered. He went with us hiking, canoeing, camping, traveling, shopping at Lowe’s, boating, and visiting family and friends. He LOVED to get dressed. He would prance around so proud. I think it was all the attention he received. He wandered off quite often… he loved to catch a scent, but always came home to us.

Baxter gave an immense amount of love and companionship. We joked that he was an equal opportunity lover. There will never be a dog like him. He was the best gift we could have hoped for. Several years ago, at a routine checkup we discovered he had a heart murmur. Over the next 4 years it progressed until the last year when it was as bad as it could get and he began coughing. The coughing turned to hacking and then to a distressed breathing. It was heartbreaking to watch our best friend deteriorate, especially when his mind and spirit were so strong and sharp. We don’t know for sure how old he was when we got him, but the vet guessed 5. So, he would be almost 11. Until the end he seemed so much younger than that. On the evening of the 17th we knew it had gotten bad. He had already had 2 bad days and a bad night and was now stressing to breath constantly. We called our vet at midnight and told her that this was it. We were not sure that he would make it through the night and we didn’t want him to go into distress. We knew it was coming, since she had told us a week ago that it was really up to us at this point as to when would be best, but we just didn’t expect it so soon. But we knew this was it. We met her at the office and spent an hour crying, sharing stories of him with her, snuggling with him and finally, saying goodbye. His weak heart only had 5 beats left in it and he was so peaceful. And in that moment our hearts were shattered.

Never would we replace Baxter. This was a truly special dog that had a place in our heart that will never belong to another. We cried and cried. On Friday, we brought home his ashes and felt some peace knowing he was home. More times than I count I would expect him to be there. Split seconds of forgetting he was gone. His loss has been unmeasurable.

So, a few days later, yesterday in fact, we did something we never thought we could or would do. We rescued another dog. Yes, less than a week later, we have invited a young puppy into our home and our family. We NEVER thought we would find ourselves here. We had wanted another dog many times, but always decided not to because Baxter needed to be an only dog. We were happy to make that sacrifice for him and his happiness. When the end of his life was nearing, we were in agreement that it would probably be a long time before we got another dog. Yet, here we are. How did we get here? How did we come to this decision for our family when we always felt it would only be proper and necessary to wait for a while after losing a pet?

Anyone that has lost someone very close to them will tell you that each day without them in the beginning feels like an eternity. And that has been so true. We have tried to just be open with our emotions. The first few days we cried as we shared stories and memories. We cried as we looked at his picture. But we started to realize something. We realized that we will be mourning him for a very long time. We realized that no dog will ever replace him. He has a place in our heart that will always belong to him. We realized that loving another animal doesn’t diminish him, doesn’t take away from him, but to us it honors him. It is a way to pay it forward. He gave us so much, we want to give to another dog.

We also realized how many dogs there are without homes that love them and commit to keeping them happy, healthy, and safe. It was heartbreaking. We realized that not everyone can rescue, but we can. So many insist on pure breeds for a number of reasons; always had a certain breed, wanting to “know what they are getting”, etc. But that isn’t true for us. When we started seeing this and realized this, it suddenly didn’t make sense any more for us to not give a dog a home as soon as we could. We will be mourning regardless, why not be loving and supporting a dog who needs us too? When someone has two dogs and one passes, they don’t stop loving the other dog. They mourn and learn and grow. There is enough love to go around. And that is what we learned. We are only limited by ourselves. We are capable of mourning and missing Baxter and wishing he were still with us at the same time that we learn about and love a new member of our family.

We never imagined ourselves here, but yet here we are. I am processing the loss of Baxter and remembering all the joy he brought, while Reagan is sleeping next to me. I think Baxter would be proud. He would be happy to know another dog has a chance at a home that will give him anything and take the time for him. And Baxter will always know his place in our hearts, we are confident that we did a wonderful job of loving him during his time with us.

Reagan on the way home

So, here is the new member of our family. Reagan Gold. He is a four month old Schnauzer, Yorkshire, Beagle mix. His mommy got pregnant unexpectedly and the owners surrendered the 3 pups. He was the last to go and we knew the moment we met him that he was meant to be a part of our family. Aaron is still sleeping with Baxter’s collar in his hands. I still cried as I wrote about Baxter. Our family has a lot of healing to do still. But we have also laughed and smiled many more times in the last two days. We have something positive to focus on if we feel stuck. And with all of the loss we have faced this year, Reagan is a gift for which we can’t even begin to say thank you enough.

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2009 in review

January 4, 2010 Leave a comment

I had big intentions for this holiday break. I planned to clean and organize around the house, write, and relax. But, as is often the case, life had other plans. 2009 went out with a storm to match the rest of the year. I can say that 2009 was one of the hardest years of my life, easily. Interestingly, A doesn’t feel the same way which intrigues me. People really can experience the same things and have very different feelings about it. Since we are starting a new year, new decade in fact, it is the time for reflection. I find it easier to to move forward after I have reflected on and processed the past. So what did 2009 hold for me? Even though it was a difficult year there were many blessings.

  • January, February, and March were painful, literally. I was experiencing severe pain when I was supposed to have my cycles and was on various rounds of hormone treatments to try to get things fixed. The pain was awful and we were close to heading into surgery. But a blessing came in April in the form of a recommendation from a friend to go see a specialist. We went to the reproductive endocrinologist and felt relief finally after an in-office procedure.

    M Meeting Mickey and Minnie

    M Meeting Mickey and Minnie

  • May was full of fun as we took our first family vacation to Disney.  It was an incredible week!  We had a long road trip, stays at various hotels, the Georgia Aquarium, Disney, MGM studios, and Ruby Falls.  It was wonderful to watch M experience all these new adventures and the awe on his face.  It couldn’t have been a more perfect way to celebrate M’s birthday or spend time together as a family.
  • We also had some frustrations in May and June.  We have two rental homes and one of them had come open.  We had two different people back out on us after signing leases, one of which had already started painting!  It was so frustrating, especially when we work so hard to provide good homes.  I worked non-stop at the rental for two full weeks to have it ready and we did finally end up with wonderful tenants.
  • In July we found out that we were expecting a baby, but then lost her that same week.  It was an incredibly difficult time.  I had a D&C that month and in August the pain from the start of the year was back again.  I had to have the same in-office procedure done again and begin to recover emotionally.
  • We welcomed our new niece, L, in August.

    Holding my new niece, L

    Holding my new niece, L

  • In September I celebrated my 30th birthday, but not in any way that I had imagined I would.  I was still quite depressed about the miscarriage so I just didn’t feel up to partying it up.  It was a nice birthday spent with friends at dinner, very low key.
  • October was a respite from chaos.  We enjoyed our Halloween and the fall season and M started his big boy school.
  • November started the holiday season and brought mono back.  I never even knew I could get mono again after having it as a teenager.  It totally knocked me down.  I was very thankful to have a job with generous sick time because I had to use it as fast as I earned it.  This is also when I started this new blog.  Oh, and there was the whole ER trip for M when he decided to stop urinating!!
  • December brought the usual family gatherings, M’s broken arm, illnesses for M and A, and some much needed time off work.

    In the ER with M

    In the ER with M

This was the first full year in our new home, a blessing I am so thankful for.  A and I weathered the rough financial storm the U.S. has been in pretty well.  We both retained our jobs, but are taking a pretty significant monthly loss on one of our rentals that can make some months tight.  This has been a VERY tough year for me professionally.  I have missed so much work and had a very difficult time focusing when I am there.  I have always prided myself on my work ethic and abilities, but for the past year I have been spending all my energy on only surviving (emotionally and physically).

I truly believe that life is about balance.  It is usually pretty easy for me to see the balance in things.  This year has been difficult to see the balance.  I try though, daily.  I remind myself that I am truly blessed and that pain and heartache is only temporary.  I am hopeful that 2010 will be an easier year, a year to progress and grow.

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Not Me Monday 12/14/2009

December 14, 2009 4 comments


Welcome to Not Me! Monday!  This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

This week was NOT an incredibly difficult one for me.  I did NOT lose it with my son over and over and over mostly because I was hormonal and tired.  I did NOT have VERY limited internal coping skills to handle the pretty normal idiocracies of a 3.5 yo.  I did NOT turn into “mean” mommy far more times than I could count.  I did NOT turn to my tweeps for emotional support when I thought I would just rather walk away and not come back for a long time.  And I definitely did NOT feel totally touched and warm from the support and response they gave.

I did NOT get my hopes up that I may finally be pregnant again and did NOT take pregnancy tests WAY too early only to be disappointed unreasonably and then REALLY pissed off when AF came to town.  I did NOT know that my chances were slim this month anyways and did NOT still talk myself into the maybes and could-bes.

I did NOT achieve little to nothing on my to-do lists at home or work, making this entire last week feel like a wash.  And I am NOT looking forward to a fresh start this week!  😉

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Half Drunk Challenge

December 7, 2009 19 comments

I am writing this first paragraph BEFORE the half-drunk part to explain the idea behind this. Momalom.com is hosting this blog carnival and encouraging their readers t0 drink and write. Don’t censor, don’t hold back. Let our hair down and let it roll. So, for those of you that know me in “real life”, don’t be startled if this is not what you expect or if it is a bit embarrassing (for me or for you). Please don’t hold it against me, that is for sure. It is an experiment in personal growth… like a blogger’s Spring Break party maybe? I hope it is fun and interesting, maybe a little naughty. I DEFINITELY hope it isn’t boring… what would that say about me?? So, I will close this part, go tip a few back and be back later to bare my soul…

Turn off Mommy before you turn me on!

– oh and family may want to turn the other way!!

I KNOW I am not the only one out there who thinks about this… switching gears, or trying to at least… no, not the car (I manage a stick shift like a pro.. wink wink)… no, I mean when the munchkin turns in, “Mommy” doesn’t just turn off. You know what I mean… right? I wish I could write on here that I am a total rock star in the bedroom (well I can be, but I mean one that is always ready and willing). I wish I could say my desire burns constantly! Ah, but reality isn’t so friendly is it? They say that women need to feel loved to have sex and men need sex to feel loved. I need more than love, I need to find one of my other personalities. I have to forget the mommy, wife, head of the house and find the old “naughty schoolgirl” in there somewhere. I will say that nothing silences “Mommy” faster than a few drinks…

This has gotten a little better with some time (when I don’t have mono and he doesn’t have deadlines), but I assure you that A would pounce like a puppy if I told him we were going to improve things NOW. At least now I can be touched without cringing because I have had a baby attached to me ALL DAMN DAY and would like some fucking personal space for 5 fucking minutes!! Oh, do I sound bitter? Thank god A was an understanding and sympathetic chap when M was a baby or we never would have made it. I know he thinks sex and the bedroom are the last things on my mind, but in all honest truth I think about it constantly. But for me it is often thinking “I wish I wanted it more” instead of “I want it now”. I don’t know how to fix that still. I guess there is the old saying “Just Do It” but where is the fun in that? I love my husband and I think he is a total hottie! I want to want him ALL THE TIME! If I could just get over the bills, the kid, the house, the work, the dog, the this the that…. blah blah blah. I am a mental person… wait… I mean I am a thinker (well probably both). So, things are constantly going on in my head and it is hard to shut them off. But, as I mentioned, the hardest is M. So, our best nights for frisky love is getting M out of the house and us on a date. (You do see the issue here being that we are Attached Parents?) I will give myself a pat on the back though. When I do get “Mommy” turned off, I can really get him turned on. I have been known to send racy texts and pictures, not afraid to hook up in the car, and might have shown up in his office wearing a little Mrs. Claus number. So, I’m not a slacker! I guess, just like he would say if you asked him, I just wish it were easier and more.

So, how do you keep the love alive? And be honest, is this a battle you fight? Just about everyone I know has admitted to at least a temporary slack and I wonder what the real truth would be if they were blogging drunk. 😉 Are you worried that this could be the ONE thing that is/could cause problems in your marriage? I feel lucky that I trust my husband 100% but there is always that little part in the back of my mind that worries he will get fed up. It is that part that causes me to have horrible dreams of him finding someone else sometimes.

So, here’s to the couple-drink-needing-Goddess locked inside Mommy each day and to the ever more regular release of her into the wild. Oh, and to cringing as I realize who will actually be reading this…

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Not MY Child Monday 12/7/09

December 7, 2009 14 comments

Oh, M is going to HATE me for this one day!!

So, my 3.5 year old son did NOT have this conversation with me as I was getting him dressed early in the morning:

M – “Mommy, look at BIG penis!”  “Penis go up!”

I did NOT put on his diaper trying to not break into hysterics…

M – “Diaper on, penis go down.”

Oh, little boys and their fascination with penises.  If you are the mother to only girls, this is one thing you are NOT missing out on!  TOO FUNNY!  😉

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Categories: Not Me Monday, Too Funny Tags: , , ,

Holiday Weaning

November 24, 2009 7 comments
Santa Nursling from EnchantedDandelions

photo courtesy of EnchantedDandelions

A phenomenon has been observed by many breastfeeding supporters… holiday weaning.  The holidays are a time full of events, obligations, cooking, cleaning, visiting, shopping, etc.  What about mothering?  It is so easy for mothers, even brand new mothers, to get caught up in obligations and to-do lists.  Pressure from themselves and family end up ensuring that they aren’t nursing often enough and encourage them to supplement with a bottle.

How do we let this happen?  There are many common reasons.

  1. Offering bottles while tending to to-do lists (shopping, cleaning, cooking, etc)
  2. Offering bottles while with family so that they can feed the baby, hold the baby
  3. Offering bottles while with family so that mother doesn’t have to nurse in front of family
  4. Delaying feedings while busy, etc
  5. Offering bottles so that mother can drink alcohol
  6. Mother not getting adequate rest and fluids
  7. Older children can become distracted and not request to nurse as often

New mothers, at least those that feel they can function, often feel driven to take on just as much as they had previously and the holidays make this desire more pronounced for some.  However, if there has ever been a time to sit back and let everyone else do the work, now is the time!  Did you know that just offering one bottle can affect your supply if you are not also pumping when that bottle is being offered?  Many La Leche League leaders have observed that the new mothers in their monthly meetings often dismiss the idea of “holiday weaning” when it is discussed.  Then, after the holidays, those same women often return and share their stories of finding themselves on the brink of sabotaging their nursing relationship, all without meaning too!

image provided by @crunchynurse

So, how can you avoid this accidental weaning or even just a dip in supply?  It is simple, put mothering first this holiday season.  Offer your baby the breast often, sit and relax as much as you can.  If you are going to be around family that doesn’t support breastfeeding, prepare yourself mentally.  Enlist your spouse to be a barrier.  Excuse yourself and nurse in a separate room if you are more comfortable.  Don’t be afraid to take your baby back if he or she is being held by others.  Remember, your baby needs to eat and you are one with the food.  Babies can also easily become overstimulated during the holidays, so the break to nurse will be good for them for that reason too.

We all love our families, right?  But that doesn’t mean that they are perfect and never offer uninvited advice on your parenting!  Have a code worked out with your spouse that tells them if you are tired, or uncomfortable.  That way they can help excuse you without making a scene.  Family gathering can be difficult anyways, but add to that a new mother and a new baby, you have a perfect opportunity for unwanted advice or hurtful comments.

So, before you sign up to make that pie… and potatoes… and green beans… oh and the turkey (or even host the whole darn thing!) think about it first… what would you like your holiday to look like?  Stress and time away from your precious baby?  Or would you rather be snuggled up next to a fire or a tree and nursing your little one?  There will be many more holidays to come, maybe these first few years can be about you being a new mother and less about you being a hostess.

La Leche League makes these recommendations to help you avoid inadvertently weaning your baby during special occasions:

  • Let friends and family members know that you cherish your breastfeeding relationship. Don’t present it as a problem. For example, when aunts or grandmothers want to help, give them a task—not the baby.
  • When family members ask to feed the baby, tell them, “Thank you, but I’m breastfeeding,” and smile.
  • Use a sling or other carrier to keep baby close to nurse.
  • Work around nap times and other times when baby is sleeping.
  • Avoid long car and plane trips if possible. If it’s unavoidable, make sure to take plenty of time for nursing breaks.
  • Choose clothing that provides easy access to the breast for the little nursling.
  • Shop for gifts online or from catalogues. Keep “real life” shopping trips short or take plenty of breaks to breastfeed.

(This list is from How to Avert Nursing Strikes during Special Occasions)

I hope that anyone reading this will keep it in mind during their own holidays, making sure they aren’t falling victim themselves and also support their family and friends so that they do not either.  After all, breastfeeding truly is the BEST gift you can give your little one!

Also, if you take any great holiday nursing pictures, let me know!  I would  love to feature them on the Breastfeeding Imagery page of this site!!

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