Friday, June 29, 2012


We were all a mess after losing Aspen on Sunday.  Monday brought with it reminders of her absence and it was almost too much to bear.  I was so thankful that the boys and I could get away with Grandma for a few days to Lancaster, Pennsylvania for a bit of a retreat.  And Grandma had quite the itinerary planned!  Lancaster is known for the Amish and the boys loved spotting their horses and buggies (of Boogies as Mason called them) or the kids on their little scooters (Gavin thought they dressed like leprechauns).  We even went to a place that teaches you about how the Amish live and had an Amish home, farm, schoolhouse and blacksmith.  One of the perks of being so close to the Amish is being able to buy the food that they cook, it is amazing!  We went to a bakery and bought pie and cake and sticky buns and gained about 10 pounds.  We also went on several factory tours including Turkey Hill Ice cream factory, Wilberbud chocolate factory, and Julius Sturgis Pretzel factory.  In the ice cream factory the kids could make up their own kind of ice cream (yum, chocolate salsa flavored!) and even design the packaging and create their own commercial.  They loved that place and I think we could've stayed there all day long, playing in the ice cream truck, milking the cows, and eating all the ice cream we desired.  We sampled Wilberbuds at the chocolate factory which are shaped like Hershey Kisses but 100% better.  At the pretzel factory we learned to twist pretzels just like they did years ago and had fantastic soft pretzels.  The kids enjoyed every minute, mostly because they were with grandma and she spoiled the pants off of them.  It was just what we all needed to get our minds off of our miserable weekend and put smiles back on our faces.  We came home recharged and refreshed.  Thanks Grandma for being the perfect hostess and for showing us a great time!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Our most loyal companion

Today I made the most difficult decision of my adult life.  Our sweet girl Aspen was put to sleep today after 12 wonderful years of companionship.  We got Aspen when we were newly married and a litter of wriggly black and tan pups entered the veterinary technician program I was a part of.  I took three home that first night for fun and Jeremy asked if we could keep one.  She stole our hearts from the first moment she entered our lives.  She was our first baby and we doted on her and took her everywhere we went.  She moved to Virginia from Utah with us, riding in my little red Saturn with our cat, Anya, as Jeremy and I rode in his little Chevy truck pulling them behind us and over the Rocky Mountains and through the Kansas plains.  We snuck our fur babies into hotels along the way.  Aspen loved to play ball and would chase it for as long as we were willing to throw it, faithfully bringing it back and dropping it at our feet every time.  She loved the water and the snow.  We looked forward to snowy mornings when the white blanket outside was untouched and we could let her out to dive over and over in the piles of snow.  She welcomed each of our children home from the hospital, giving me a look of "really, another one?" each time.  With each baby she went down a rung on the totem pole and accepted her lot in life with grace.  The babies got older and crawled on her and claimed her toys as their own, pulled her tail and tipped her food bowl.  And all the while she was gentle and loving to them.  There will never be a more well behaved dog, Aspen was the most obedient dog I've ever met, learning cool tricks like rolling over and perfecting her "stay" for long stretches at a time.  We had beds for her on each level of the house where she would lay on the closest one to the rest of us, or mainly me.  She knew I was her master and followed me everywhere.  The boys would often want her to come with them downstairs and she would not budge until I came too.  As a young dog she had terrible separation anxiety and would nervously pace the house until we came home, with accidents to greet us and let us know she was not happy.  We crated her every time we left the house after that and she was fine.  Soon after we moved to Virginia, Aspen developed epilepsy, and had seizures every so often even with the medication she was on for them.  The boys were always so kind to her during a seizure and would whisper "it's ok, Aspen, don't be scared" until she came out of it.  The boys adored her.  They would fight over who got to hold her leash on walks or sit by her in the back of the car.  Gavin never grew out of crawling all over her and was often found snuggling up to his beloved pup.  She really was the best dog we could ever have, our first day in our current house we showed her which rooms she was allowed in and which ones she was not and we only had to show her that once, she never crossed the thresholds.  She never jumped up on people or chewed things she shouldn't, and she never needed a leash outside, she would stay by your side and come when she was called.  She deserved better than what we gave her but we feel so lucky to have had her as a part of our family.

Aspen has been peeing in the house a lot in these last few months.  We've tried 4 different medications and nothing has worked, in fact, it has gotten worse.  She's also been battling some kind of respiratory bug that the antibiotics are not working for anymore.  And then Friday she didn't want to eat her breakfast and refused her treats.  Even this morning I cooked her up some sausage that she turned her nose up at.  We've done bloodwork and an ultrasound and some other tests but nobody could find an answer.  It was time.  I told the boys last night that we had decided to do this and it was so hard.  Cameron took it the hardest and kept telling us that we could try something else that might work.  He went to bed crying and woke up the same way.  Gavin has had bouts of tears off and on and just wanted to make sure we took some pictures of her to remember her by.  Mason keeps asking how she gets up to heaven.  We took her to the park this morning to throw the ball to her- one of her favorite things.  She didn't even want to go get it.  It was time.  Jeremy and I are beside ourselves not only with our own grief but feeling so awful about what this has done to the children.  I have been surprised at how much emotion Jeremy has shown throughout this whole process.  He really loved her too.  She took Jeremy and I from a couple to a family and taught us how to be good parents.  We potty trained her first and woke up with her in the night before the little humans came along.  She taught us so well.   I just hope she knew how much we loved and adored her.  There will never be another one like her, never in a million years. We will miss you something awful sweet baby girl.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

School's Out for Summer!

The big boys finished another year of school yesterday.  We have a rising first and fourth grader in the house now!  They got out early yesterday and were greeted by grandma and I who took them to Zinga, our new favorite frozen yogurt place and then back to her house to make marshmallow guns and have a big, sugary war.  The guns are awesome and we can't wait to play with them some more.  Then we came home to our traditional streamers to run through and a big bucket of new summer "stuff."  We're looking forward to some letterboxing, popsicle making, pool fun, s'mores roasting, drive in movies, workbooks (well, the kids aren't looking forward to them), and some fun crafts.  Both boys are excited to be home now, but there were some tears shed over missing teachers.  I remember those days, summer vacation sure is bittersweet.  I for one am so happy to have them all to myself for a couple of months.  We're so proud of both boys and all they accomplished this year, Gavin improved his grades all year, lot's of S+'s, and Cameron did amazing, straight A's for that kid and he was just selected for the gifted program.  That was quite the rigorous process to even apply, but he's in it now until 12th grade.  Jeremy and I are swelling with pride at how these boys have progressed.  We can't wait to have some awesome summer adventures together!

Baseball Season

Cameron and Gavin just finished their spring season of baseball, Cameron was on the Royals and Gavin on the Storm.  Although we are not fans of the league they play on, we do enjoy spending time at the ball fields watching our boys play.  They both love to the game and make progress each season.  Here's to another spring ball season in our back pockets!  On to swimming!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Goodbye Kindergarten...Look out First Grade!!

Gavin is so lucky.  His introduction to school this year was made amazing due to a very special teacher, Mrs. Williams.  If you could conjure up in your mind the ideal kindergarten teacher it would be her.  She is imaginative, patient, experienced, loving, and genuinely cares about each and every one of her students.  And she has been so perfect for my Gavin.  Even though he has been a challenge to her at times this year (like when he pulled his pants down at recess to better shake his booty) she has remained his biggest cheerleader.  Each week when I would come in to help out in class she would always have a funny or endearing story to tell me about my boy, always dwelling on the positive and encouraging me to let his imagination take him wherever he wants to go.  Yesterday was his kindergarten graduation and it was a sad day for me to realize that next year no matter who his teacher is, they won't be as awesome as Mrs. Williams.  I am just so glad that this is the first taste he had for school.  The program was adorable.  They read a book called Chicken Soup With Rice and used it to sing about the months of the year.  Gavin was November and without bias his was the most dramatic (albeit exaggerated) performance of the group.  See for yourself.  I have a feeling this one will be missing school something awful in a week or two.  Even I want to stay in Mrs. Williams room.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Piano Man

Cameron has been taking piano lessons since September.  He has made tremendous progress and he has the best teacher ever- my dear friend Angie.  This was his second recital and he did so awesome.  He was incredibly nervous but he still did great.  We are so proud of him and in awe of how far he has come so quickly.  Piano seems to really be his thing.  I hope he sticks with it and continues to excel.