Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Goals Round Up

Here's a quick update on my 2013 goals. I will post 2014 goals and update on our Christmas soon. 

 2013 Personal Goals: 

1. Workout consistently (3 x per week). - I did pretty well with this goal for part of the year, but ended up slacking off a lot towards the end of the year. I have this as a goal in 2014, but more specifically I want to make this a habit or a new “norm” in 2014. 

 2. Finish losing baby weight and then some. - I have done really well with my weight loss this time around, but I still have around 10-12 lbs to lose before I am at my pre-baby weight and then I would like to lose another 5 lbs on top of that. I am continuing to do Weight Watchers, which has been very successful for me in the past. I am also planning to do the Lifetime Fitness 90 day challenge. I definitely accomplished this goal in 2013. I now weigh the lowest I have weighed since high school. It feels great and I’m loving it. 

3. Track WW points daily and weigh in weekly. - I did pretty well on this for part of the year. Now that I am at a pretty good weight I am just watching my weight. If it gets too high I’ll start tracking more diligently. I try to weigh in at least once a calendar month. 

4. Do a daily devotional. - So I typically read the Proverbs 31 devo’s and I have done several ‘She Reads Truth” devos this year, but in general I still have a lot to work on with this goal. 

5. Take my prenatal vitamin daily. - I’d say I accomplished this goal in 2013. 

6. Limit my Diet Soda intake and drink more water. - Done. I gave up Diet Soda for Lent and then picked it back up again with a vengeance. Sometime in late 2013 though I gave it up. I still have an occasional Diet Dr. Pepper if we are at a fast food restaurant, but we rarely go out for fast food. I’d say I have maybe one Diet Dr. Pepper every week to two weeks. Not too shabby. 

2013 Work Goals: 

1. Start getting into work between 7am and 7:30am. - Ok I pretty much sucked it up with this goal. Going to restart on this one in 2014.

2. Complete all account reconciliations by the 15th of every month. - I’ve done a pretty good job with this one. 

3. Be able to complete the Annual Statement by myself for 2013. - I’d like to say this one is done, but there are some things that are outside of my control with it. Hoping to work on it again in 2014. 

2013 Family Goals: 

1. Cook at least 3 times a week. - I’d say this goal was accomplished. I usually cook 2-3 times per week. The girls eat a lot more “real” food as opposed to easy mac and things of that sort. I still want to get better at this, but I’d say I’ve come a long way since last year. 

2. Limit grocery store runs. - Accomplished. I typically go to the grocery store in Sundays and then maybe once more on my lunch break one day during the week. 

3. Spend more time with Autumn and Olivia. - I think I’ve managed this one even though I haven’t managed to get into work early. I usually leave by 5pm and I spend time with the girls until they go to bed at 8:30pm. I also typically spend all weekend with them unless we have something going on where we have Mimi and someone else watching the girls.

4. Teach Autumn more about praying and reading her Bible. - I think we can still do some more work on this one, but Autumn definitely still loves to pray, read her Bible and go to church. I think we’re doing something right. 

5. Pray with Andrew more often. - Need to work on this one more. 

6. Plan more family meals with extended family (at least monthly). - We’ve done this one more in 2013, but not necessarily because of my efforts. Papa and Grammy plan almost weekly family nights, which have been great. 

7. Plan more girls nights. - I definitely suck at this one. I need to work on it more in 2014. It’s so hard to carve out time for yourself and especially for catching up with your girlfriends (especially if they’re mommies too). 

8. Weekly family meetings. - We didn’t really do this one well, but we did stay more organized as a family by using Outlook calendar invites. 

2013 Financial Goals: 

1. Keep my spending under a certain dollar amount each month. - Definitely still working on this, but I’ve made a lot of progress.

2. Have monthly meetings with Andrew at the beginning of each month to go over our personal financial statement and our financial plans/goals for the month. - We haven’t had formal meetings, but we do prepare monthly financials and go over any areas that need improvement. 

3. Buy a new house. - This goal has been postponed indefinitely. Starting to pay for daycare x 2 in early 2013 hit us hard. I’m hoping we can still buy a new house in 3-5 years, but it’s not in the immediate future. Some home repairs are definitely in the works for 2014 though.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Teaching the True Meaning of Christmas

So, I’ve been trying to be very intentional with Autumn this Christmas season. I want her and Olivia (who is too young now to understand much) to really understand the true meaning of Christmas. I really even debated on whether or not to do the whole Santa Claus thing. In the end I gave in. We’ve even given into the “Elf on the Shelf”. Ours is named Gus. Gus has found quite a few inventive hiding spots over the last couple of weeks. Anyways, here are a few things we did this season to try to emphasize the true meaning of Christmas: 1. I started reading an Advent devotional with the girls each night. I have fallen off track with this though. To be quite honest the one I bought was probably just a bit too old for Autumn. I’ll probably try again next year. 2. I have tried to read one or two stories from the Jesus Storybook Bible every night. I am hoping to get through to the birth of Jesus by Christmas. Autumn actually pays attention to this very well and the book is so beautifully written. 3. I had Autumn go shopping with me for toys to donate to my Company’s toy drive. She then came up to my office and dropped them off. I really want to do this or something like this every year. 4. I plan to have Autumn help me write a letter to the child that we sponsor through Compassion International. 5. The girls only get 3 presents from Santa Claus (plus stocking stuffers, 1 present from Mom & Dad, and 1 present from each other). I tell them that they only get three presents because that is how many presents Jesus got. This also helps to limit the gift/spending chaos. 6. We will attend a Candlelight service on Christmas Eve. I hope to have Autumn sit through the service rather than going to the nursery to play. I know there are a lot more things that we can do, especially when the girls get older. What are some of the ways that your family emphasizes the true meaning of Christmas? How do you talk to your little ones about this?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Autumn 3 Years and Olivia 1 Year

I'm trying not to completely neglect this blog, because I really do enjoy keeping this as a way to track the development of our girls. It's just a crazy season in life and I'd much rather be spending time playing with Autumn and Olivia than on my computer writing about them. 

Anyways, here is a quick update on where they are at 3 years and 1 year. 

Weight – 29 lbs (25th percentile) 
Height – 37.5 (50-75th percentile) 
BMI – 14.5 (10-25th percentile) 
Clothes – She is pretty much a 3T, but I’ve noticed that some 3T pants are actually getting short on her, but they’re still big in the waist. She is tall and slender, which I’m sure will work in her favor when she is older. 
Eating – Autumn loves sweets and carbs. She eats really well sometimes and then barely even picks at her food other times. I’d say she is a snacker. She eats so much at snack time that she doesn’t eat much at dinner. Some of her favorite foods include: fruit snacks, raisins, grapes, donuts, chicken nuggets (from Old MacDonald’s – although she thinks they’re all from there even though I think I can count on one hand the number of times she’s been there). 
Potty Training – Autumn is pretty much potty trained at this point. She still has accidents on occasion, but they are becoming fewer and farther in between. I placed my last (hopefully) order of pull ups this week. Once those are gone then we are going to try to go diaper free at bedtime. She wakes up dry almost every morning anyways. 
Sleeping – Autumn hates to go to bed or take a nap. She is a girl that is always on the go. We’ve found that setting a timer for playtime before bed usually works well. Lately though she has become afraid of the shadows in her bedroom at night and she is using that as an excuse to sleep in our bedroom when Andrew is not home. (If Andrew is home he’ll make her sleep in her bed). We usually try to put her down to bed between 8 and 8:30, but she usually doesn’t fall asleep until 9pm or later. She will come out of her room every few minutes and say “I forgot to tell you something.” I’ll ask her what she forgot to tell me and then she’ll say something cute like “I love you” or “I need to go potty (again)”. She’ll do anything to avoid bedtime. 
Personality – Autumn is a very spirited child. Andrew says that she is spirited for a girl, because he thinks most boys are wilder than she is. Autumn is opinionated and down right adorable. She is pushing all of her boundaries. The other night I was talking to her about needing to make better choices and needing to stop making bad choices. She looked at me and said “but I’m learning.” Too freakin’ cute! I get so frustrated with her at times, because she dawdles and pushed limits and doesn’t obey, but then she goes and does the sweetest and cutest things. She is a very sweet and kind little girl. She almost always says thank you and does so even when she isn’t prompted to do so. We’re still working with her on asking for things “nicely.” 
In short, Autumn is a sweet wild crazy and adorable little princess. 
The other day Autumn and I played 20 questions . I asked her what a lot of her favorite things were and I hope to do this once a year around her birthday to see how her answers change over the years. 

Autumn’s 20 Questions: 
1. What is your favorite color? Pink 
2. What is your favorite toy? Ariel that Aunt Alli bought at Disneyland 
3. What is your favorite fruit? Grapes 
4. What is your favorite TV show? Sofia the 1st 
5. What is your favorite movie? The Little Mermaid 
6. What is your favorite thing to wear? Ariel clothes 
7. What is your favorite animal? Giraffe 
8. What is your favorite song? Part of Your World from the Little Mermaid – “I wanna be where the people be” 
9. What is your favorite book? The Little Mermaid 
10. Who is your best friend? Alanna from school 
11. What is your favorite snack? Fruit snacks 
12. What is your favorite drink? Probiotic Yogurt Drink that Mommy drinks, also really liked Strawberry Kiwi Capri Sun 
13. What is your favorite breakfast? Yogurt 
14. What is your favorite lunch? Strawberries 
15. What is your favorite dinner? Macaroni and Cheese 
16. What is your favorite game? This game 
17. What is your favorite thing to play outside? Running and playing with Milo 
18. What is your favorite holiday? I don’t know 
19. What do you sleep with at night? Ariel pillow 
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? Ariel 

Weight – 19.5 lbs (25th percentile) 
Height – 27.75 (10-25th percentile) 
Head – 44.5 (50th percentile) 
Clothes – She is mostly in 12-18 months, but some are big on her and she still wears 6-12 months in quite a few things. 
Eating – I have not come across ANYTHING that this girl will not eat. The other night at our Christmas get together for my Dad’s family, she even ate smoked salmon. She eats very well and she is officially drinking only from cups. Yea for no more bottles! 
Sleeping – Olivia is generally a great sleeper. Most nights I can put her down pretty easily by 8pm and she will sleep all night long, until around 7 or 8am. Occasionally she isn’t ready for bed and fights it. This is usually because she isn’t tired enough or she’s too tired. Either way I’ll let her cry it out for a little bit and then she’s out for the whole night. 
Personality – Olivia seems to have an easy going personality. She is very vocal and is becoming more and more so. She is generally very sweet and loves to smile and laugh. She is very clingy to me these days, but that is normal for this age. 
Developments – Olivia isn’t walking yet, but is very close. I’ve seen her take a few steps, but then she’ll drop to the ground and crawl. Right now that is more efficient. I think she will be walking by Christmas, but we’ll see. 

Overall we have been blessed with the two sweetest and most beautiful little girls I could ever imagine. Autumn and Olivia I love you both so much and I am so happy that I am your Mommy.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Scarf Swap 2013

I am way behind in blogging. Pretty much just blogging once a month these days. I was having issues getting Blogger to work on my work computer (since I usually update the blog on my lunch breaks), but I think I've got it figured out.

Anyhoo today I need to blog about the Scarf Swap and do a quick update on the girls. 

Scarf Swap 
Last year I participated in The Tichenor Family Blog's Scarf Swap for the first time. I loved the experience and was excited when the time came for this year's swap. 

This year I was paired with Rose from Kansas. She is a military wife and is originally from Texas. She shared her likes/dislikes in scarves and I went in search of a pretty striped scarf for her. Instead I happened upon this gem from Old Navy. 

I picked it off the rack because I liked the colors and when I tried it on I thought it was cute. But then after I tried it on I unfolded it and realized that it is an American flag. 

I thought this scarf was too good not to pick out for Rose. She loved it and even wrote me a sweet thank you note expressing her gratitude for choosing a scarf that fits with their lifestyle. 

Rose has a mom-in-law and sister-in-law who are both redheads, so she knew when I said to avoid bright pink that I was very serious. Rose wanted to find me an Autumn inspired scarf, since I expressed that I love all things fall. She came across a beautiful torquoise infinity scarf and just had to get it for me. I absolutely love it. The color is great for me and it adds a nice "pop" of color to an otherwise boring outfit. I'm looking forward to wearing it more as the weather finally starts to cool off.

The girls are busy busy busy. Olivia is almost walking. I've seen her take like 2 steps twice, but she hasn't taken off yet. I think it will be easier once she is walking because then she and Autumn can play with each other easier and really start to become friends and playmates. Olivia is also teething now and I expect more teeth any day.

Autumn just turned 3 years old. I can't believe my baby is so big. I'll blog about her birthday in another post (if I actually get around to it). She is a constant challenge. I'm convinced that all preschoolers are bi-polar. She is happy and singing and dancing one minute and then screaming and kicking her legs on the floor the next minute. I keep having to remind myself that the actions we take with her now might not show immediate changes in her behavior, but we are building the groundwork for who she will become. 

Lately she's been regressing some. She wants to be held like a baby and she refuses to get herself dressed and do other things that she knows how to do. She'll say "I can't do it, I need help." She's also still having a lot of poopy accidents (very few pee accidents though). I worry that I'm not giving her enough attention, but then I also worry that giving her attention when she is regressing is sending her the wrong message, that it is okay to act like a baby. We've started not putting her in time out for set times (like 2 or 3 minutes), but rather telling her to go to time out to calm down and when she is calm and ready to listen then she can come out. We also remind her to take deep breaths after she has crying spells to help her calm down. Autumn HATES to go to bed or take naps and getting her to do so is quite a struggle. She does much better when Andrew puts her down, but she also specifically asks for me to put her down. Autumn is a lot of fun and she has so much spirit and personality. She is just a lot of work sometimes and she quite honestly wears me out! Gotta love her though!!
This photo of Autumn was taken around 10pm one night. She had gone to bed and played for an hour and a half then came out looking like this and claiming to need to go potty.

In other news, we are planning to pick up Milo, our new puppy in a few weeks. He is one of the cuties in these pics.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Overdue Update

It has been way too long since I've posted an update on our girls. They are growing like weeds!

Olivia is 10 months now. I don't think I did her 8 or 9 month update.  She started  crawling while we were on vacation in California in late June (almost 8 months).  She also got two bottom teeth around the same time.  She crawls (crank crawl like big sister did) and pulls up all over the place. She will "walk" some with rolling push toys. She loves to smile and laugh and eat. 

She LOVES stuffed animals. She has a favorite bunny that she loves to stroke the ears on. She lights up when she sees me grab it at night time.  I think it is interesting that I can already see personality differences in the girls. Autumn was never very into stuffed animals, but oh does she love her baby dolls. 

Olivia continues to have a great appetite and is pretty much eating all table food at this point.  I don't think I've come across anything she doesn't like. 

 I also think Olivia is going to be my sensitive child.  She's always showed signs of empathy; crying when big sister cries.  Lately though I've noticed other signs that she is sensitive.  She bit me while nursing and I firmly told her "No ma'am!" to which she responded with a huge pout and big tears! I'm pretty sure Autumn just laughed when she bit me and I scolded her. The other night Olivia bit me again and I scolded her again then she refused to nurse. I had to pump and then feed her a bottle.  I'm hoping we can get these nursing issues resolved quickly, so we can enjoy the last two months of nursing before she is weaned.

Autumn is a pill! She has so much personality and she is oh so girly! All princess I'm telling ya!

Some of my favorite things I've seen her do lately are bossing people around. When she is in a room full of adults she will realize all eyes are on her and then she shows off and then tells us what to do.  One night this week my grandparents were over for dinner. She started singing Disney songs and then she told us to all hold hands and sing with her. Then when we were done singing a song she would say "Amen!"

Autumn is also becoming a real Daddy's girl. I love it! She asks for Andrew at night and when she is mad at me. She is starting to guilt him about working late (which means I don't have to!)

Autumn ran her first race a few weekends ago.  It was a 1k and she came in dead last, but she was so cute doing it. She had the whole crowd cheering her on!

Not much else going on here lately, just lots of fun moments with my two beauties!  Let the iPhone photo dump ensue!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Saying Goodbye to Cooper

This is my goodbye letter to my best friend.  I wanted to put down into words a lot of my good memories with him, so I don't forget them as time passes by.


You were by far the BEST dog I have ever had or known in my life.  You were so full of life and love.  I still remember you as a pup staring up at me in the bathroom while I put on my makeup.  You were so small and sweet.  Growing up I always loved having puppies, but I knew that as they got bigger and turned into dogs they weren't quite as much fun or quite as cute.  That was NEVER true with you.  You were even more fun and still pretty cute as you turned into a beautiful and majestic dog. 

Back in 2004, after we had been married a year, we knew we wanted to add to our family, but we certainly weren't ready for any human babies.  I had always had larger dogs growing up (English Springer Spaniels and Chocolate Labs), so I knew I wanted a somewhat larger dog.  Daddy had only ever had dachshunds, but he was up for a challenge.  After researching different dog breeds Daddy suggested getting a Vizsla or a Weimareiner.  We chose a Vizsla because the breed was uncommon and beautiful and just the right size.  We liked the idea of having a dog that people would stop and ask us about (which by the way happened quite frequently).  I also liked the idea of having a dog that matched me.  Kind of like in the beginning of 101 Dalmatians where you see various dogs and their humans and they all seem to match.  Cooper, you always matched me, with your beautiful coat of red hair.

You were born in August in Beeville, TX.  I never met your "real" Mom or Dad.  Daddy picked you up from your first home and took you to Sugar Land to meet your extended family before driving you home to Abilene to meet me.  I remember being so mad that I had to work and couldn't go with Daddy to pick you up.  Daddy said you rode in his lap the whole way home.  You were so tiny.  When Daddy took you to meet your Grandparents and Aunt the little dachshunds ganged up on you and attacked!  Dashy was going straight for the jugular (as Daddy put it).  She would go into convulsions and shake uncontrollably every time you came to visit.  That was especially true once you got to be 3 or 4 times her size.  Frank got used to you, but he mostly kept to himself.

I fell in love with you the minute I saw you.  You were just perfect.  Daddy always reminds me that I really wanted a girl puppy.  He thinks it is funny now that I prefer boy dogs.  You changed my mindset about that for sure.  Of course I got my girls later on once Autumn and Olivia arrived, but we'll get to that later.

I have so many good and crazy memories of our first two years together in Abilene.  Daddy and I had moved from a 2 bedroom duplex close to school into a 1 bedroom apartment across town, just so we could be somewhere that allowed pets.  I remember your "devil runs" before we took you to training.  Every night around the same time you would run as fast as you could in circles around our tiny apartment.  It was like you had all of this energy you just had to get out.  I also remember the first day we left you at home while we went to class.  We left you in your crate and when we came home you were hoarse from crying so much while we were gone.  You would "bark" but nothing would come out.  It was so sad and cute at the same time.

You were sent to a special training camp to learn some basic training commands (in German).  Our good friend Matt (you knew him as Uncle Matt), took Kody there, so we decided we would take you there as well.  I had a hard time sending you off to training because you were so small and cute and I hated to miss out on that puppy time with you, but it was a great decision.  You did great in training.  You learned how to sit, lay down, stay, heel, and eat on command.  You even earned your CGC (Canine Good Citizen).  You stayed at the training camp for 2 or 3 weeks with no visits from us (it wasn't allowed) and then you came home and we began weekly training for several months.  While you stayed at the training camp you were diagnosed with a tapeworm.  They were feeding you and you kept eating more and more and more, but you weren't really gaining much weight, so they suspected you had a tapeworm, and they treated you for it.  They quickly realized that they were in fact right about the tapeworm and you got better and began to gain weight.  You were always slightly food aggressive after that.  I always say that you were starving for the first few months of you life, so it makes sense that you wouldn't want anyone in your way when you were eating.  As you got older and were fed VERY well you began to lose your food aggression.

I remember playing with you out in the small open area next to our apartment building.  You and daddy would play fetch, although you never really retrieved very well.  You just loved to run and jump and play.  I remember playing with you in the snow.  You looked so beautiful in the white snow with your beautiful red coat.  You seemed to enjoy it.

After we finished college we moved back "home" to the Houston area.  We bought our first house and you got your first backyard.  You loved the open space, the doggy door, and barking constantly at the golfers and squirrels.  Those squirrels loved to taunt you.  They would run back and forth along the telephone wires in the backyard and shake their tails at you.  You also loved to go visit Grandma and Grandpa's and swim swim swim.  You knew as soon as I took off your collar that it was swimming time.  You loved it so much.  You would even sneak out the dachshund sized doggy door and jump in the pool when no one was watching.  We would find you back inside and soaking wet.  While you swam you would splash the water and then try to "eat" the water that you had just splashed into the air.  It was the funniest thing I had ever seen a dog do.

In 2007 I got a crazy idea to train you to be a therapy dog.  We drove all the way up to Huntsville and took a test, which you passed fairly easily.  The only part that tripped you up was the other dogs.  You just wanted to play with them.  Because of your reactions to other dogs we were given "limited" status as a therapy team.  We visited sick patients at Shriner's Hospital and various hospice care centers.  You would let the kids pet you and you would even lay on the laps of some patients.  I really enjoyed sharing that experience with you.

For Christmas 2007 we got a family beach house in POC.  You loved it there.  You would just run out into the water and keep going and going and going.  We'd have to call for you to come back.  You would drink so much saltwater that you would be sick for hours after swimming, but you'd be right back at it the next day.  You never seemed to learn your lesson.

In 2008 I began to run and run and run.  I trained for my first marathon and you helped me.  You would frequently join me on short or long runs.  I think the longest run you ever did with me was either 15 or 18 miles.  It was a piece of cake for you.  I loved having you as my running partner.  I felt safer with you, even though you were scared of your own shadow.  I distinctly remember a run down Commonwealth Blvd one night.  When we started it was light, but it got dark on us.  You were constantly looking over your shoulder and "jumping" as if someone scared you or was after you.  You were literally scared of your own shadow.

In October 2008 we took our first "family vacation."  Daddy and I took you with us to the Ozarks in Arkansas for a week long camping trip.  We ate by the camp fire, hiked, went fly fishing, and generally had a great time.  You loved it!  You even got to go swimming in Lake Ouachita and the White River.  I have some great memories (and pictures) from that trip.

In 2010 you started to notice something different about Mommy.  I was getting "fat".  So, you started to help me.  I think you gained about 5-10 lbs with each of my pregnancies.  We quit running together and we layed on the couch and watched TV.  You were a great couch buddy.  Finally in October 2010 we brought home your little sister, Autumn.  You were not sure what to think about her.  You mostly ignored her and occasionally licked her.  I think you kept thinking she would go away someday, but she never did.  Slowly, she got bigger and bigger.  She started to look like a little version of Mommy.  When she started eating solid foods you enjoyed eating all of the food she threw on the floor.  Occasionally you and I would run together again, but not as often as before.  There was also less room for you in the backseat now that Autumn's car seat took up so much room.  On the positive side, Mimi watched Autumn a couple of days a week and she would always bring you a sausage biscuit from McDonald's when she came over.

In 2012 you experienced deja vu when you noticed Mommy getting fat again.  You gained more weight with me, and this time you had an idea of what to expect when we brought your second little sister home.  You seemed to like Olivia much better than Autumn (not that you didn't like Autumn, because I know you did).  You loved to lick Baby O and you would frequently sit as a guard to her bedroom door as I sat in the glider in the corner nursing her.  You did that just this week.  Olivia would light up when she saw you and you could make her laugh.  I was convinced that her first word would be bubba (sorry bud - it was Mama).

You really settled into family life with the little girls.  You still got in the way and made a lot of noise, but you also chilled out and sat back while we did our nightly routine and then you'd quietly slip into bed with Mommy and Daddy at night.

In May 2013 you started acting funny one night.  You would stand and stare into space, you wouldn't eat, you wouldn't move much and once you layed down I couldn't get you back up.  Also, the inside of your ears and your gums were very white.  We took you to the doctor and quickly realized that you were very sick.  The doctor had to do an emergency splenectemy to remove your ruptured spleen.  You made it through surgery fine, but for some reason you wouldn't use one of your back legs.  You hobbled around on 3 legs for weeks.  Finally in late June after a weekend stay with Grandma you began to walk on all four legs again.

After your emergency surgery the doctor sent your spleen off to pathology to test the tumor on it.  The results that came back were heartbreaking.  You had hemangiosarcoma, a very aggressive form of cancer.  We knew that our days left with you were limited.  Daddy and I made plans to take you down to the bay several times.  We spent lots of time cuddling with you and we told you we loved you every chance we got. 

We knew what signs to look for when the time came - signs of internal bleeding similar to when your spleen ruptured.  On Monday morning I was standing at the kitchen sink doing some dishes and hurrying up trying to get myself and the girls ready for work and school.  I noticed you laying down on the wood floor a couple of feet from me.  You never lay down on the wood floor.  You always lay down on the rug or your bed or the couch or your favorite black chairs, but rarely just on the wood floor.  I knew something was up, so I told Daddy that something was wrong with you.  We called you over and looked at your ears and gums.  They were very pale, not completely white, but definitely not your normal pink.  We knew your time was probably coming to an end.  Daddy and I got the girls off to school and then we came home to you.  We cooked you up some scrambled eggs with cheese, but you barely touched them.  You took a sip or two of water, but you were pretty lethargic.  You pretty much just layed on your bed. 

Daddy and I packed you up and took you to the doctor's office.  The doctor performed an ultrasound and confirmed that you had loose fluid in your abdomen, near your bladder.  She took a small sample and it appeared to be blood, meaning that you were bleeding internally.  Daddy and I knew that surgery was not an option this time.  Your cancer was very aggressive and surgery would only buy us days or weeks at most and then we'd be right back at the same place we were at then.  We didn't want you to suffer through the pain of a surgery that would be a fishing expedition to find a tumor or tumors.  We knew we had to say goodbye to you.

Cooper, saying goodbye to you, has been one of the hardest things I have ever done.  Everywhere I look in our home there are constant reminders that you aren't there.  I feel like I keep hearing your nails scratching the floor or your collar jingling down the hall.  The hardest part for me is when I get into bed at night, on the nights when daddy isn't home or when he is still working or watching TV in the other room.  I slip into bed and reach for you, but you're not there.  At nights, when the girls are in bed, and Daddy isn't home yet, I feel so lonely and scared.  Our home is way too quiet without you.  I miss my watch dog.  I don't know how much of a protector you would have been if needed, but I always felt safer with you around. 

Last night Autumn dropped some of her food on the floor and she called for you to come eat it.  "Bubba, bubba, come here" she said.  I had to remind her of where you are.  She says you are "with Jesus and Pops."  I know she is right. 

Cooper, Daddy and I are already talking and thinking about when to bring a new Vizsla into our home.  I want you to know that no matter when or who we bring into our home, you will never be replaced.  You will always be our "Bubba".  Because of the joy and companionship you brought to our family we know that we cannot go long without a dog (or really a Vizsla) in our home.

Cooper I will always love you and I will miss you until I see you again.



I'll always remember you like this Buddy.
Note: We will be spreading Cooper's ashes over the bay water in POC, so that we can always remember him at his favorite place.