Saturday, July 12, 2014

Tales of the Tail: In Loving Memory

It took me a while to get through 13 years' worth of memories and pictures, to be able to choose the photos for this video. I put them in mostly chronological order, so you can watch us all grow up together.

The year Kip found us, BD and I were college students. He was with us for all the biggest milestones of our life - college graduation, engagement, wedding, moving across the country, buying a house, having a baby... he was right by our sides through it all.

{click through for video if you're in a reader}


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tales of the Tail: How We're Doing Without Him

*Today is Day 10 without Kip. We are missing him every minute of every day. Every place I look, every direction I turn...there is something that reminds me of him. He just took up such a large space in our lives for so long. And now that he's gone, that spot is so very,very empty.

*I guess we are doing about as well as could be expected for people coping with broken hearts. I think the initial shock of losing him is starting to wear off, and we are beginning our "new normal" without him. I didn't have much appetite for a while, and I wasn't sleeping well, and now some of those early stages of grief are beginning to fade away. I slept well last night for the first time since Kip died.

*Subconsciously I listen for him: the sound of his collar jingling, the sound of him jumping down off our bed, the sound of him getting settled on the couch -- all the little sounds of him that are so deeply embedded into the minutiae of our life.

*Automatically my eyes look for him around the house as I move through my day: the couches in the den, our bed, on the floor by the back door -- all of his usual spots.

*It's often the little things that hit the hardest - open the dishwasher and he doesn't come running; start a load of laundry and he's not automatically standing behind you hoping for a treat; he doesn't interrupt our morning workouts, asking to go outside or begging for breakfast. BD says he misses Kip the most when he comes in the door, and Kip doesn't come running with his tail wagging.

*I haven't been able to vacuum. I know that as soon as I'm finished, the entire house won't already be covered in another layer of dog hair. And as many times as I wished that would be true before, I'd give almost anything to have it happen again.

*Our little MC is very confused and missing her buddy. She talks about him and looks for him frequently. We have been very careful with our words when we're explaining to her. She's old enough to realize he's gone but not old enough to really comprehend the situation. Depending on what she asks us, we tell her that Kip died, or that he's not here, or he's not coming back. (We consciously avoid any reference to "going to sleep" or "going to the doctor" or "going bye-bye" etc.) 

*We were able to pick up his remains the other day. So at least now he's back home with us again, where he belongs. He came back to us in a beautiful, small wooden box with flowers carved on one side.  

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Tales of the Tail: Saying Goodbye

Everything transpired so quickly that it was hard for us to process what was happening. On Sunday he was fine and on Saturday he was gone. We knew he was sick, and we knew it was serious, but up until Saturday morning we were treating him with meds and hoping for a recovery. To what extent we were unsure; we were just hopeful.

On Monday we knew he wasn't feeling well - lethargic but still eating, and then he seemed to perk up on Tuesday.

He wouldn't eat on Wednesday morning, so BD took him to the vet. The physical exam didn't reveal anything, but when the blood work came back on Thursday morning, the vet diagnosed him with a bleeding ulcer, most likely caused by the nsaid he took for knee pain/arthritis.

Once again on Thursday he seemed to feel better; we started his course of meds, and he was willing to eat some boiled chicken and steamed rice that I made for him. By Friday he had some additional symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea), so BD took him back to the vet. His blood work on Friday had actually improved from Wednesday, so we were encouraged by those results. His symptoms were indicating that it was a small bleed, and he was producing enough new blood until the meds could really kick in and heal the ulcer.

However, on Saturday things went downhill quickly (most likely the ulcer ruptured), and he showed us that he was ready to go. We were in contact with our vet several times throughout the day on Saturday, and he supported us in the hardest decision we have ever made. Unfortunately, our vet doesn't work on the weekends, so we had to take him to the ER. Thankfully our vet called them ahead of us going, so they were aware and understood the situation when we arrived.

It was a long and emotional day for us, but we were with him until the very end, so he was surrounded by love. We said the same words to him that we've said for 13 years: "We love you, Kip. You're a good dog, Kip." And then he was gone. It was very peaceful.

We miss him so much.   

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Tales of the Tail: Kip, 2001-2014

We had to say goodbye to our beloved Kip yesterday, after a sudden illness over the past week. He was our constant companion for 13 years, and we loved him deeply. We are not quite sure what life looks like without him. He has left a huge Kip-shaped hole in our hearts.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Two Years Old!

Our sweet girl turned two years old earlier this month! Since this blog doubles as her baby book, I wanted to document some things that I want to remember about her at this age:

  • She refers to herself in the 3rd person as "MayMay" - which is her version of her name. She has essentially given herself a nickname because almost everyone now refers to her as MayMay.

  • Favorites
    • Songs: "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" and "Head, Shoulders, Knees, Toes". She requests these almost every night when I'm rocking her.
    • TV: Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood and Yo! Gabba Gabba
    • Music: anything by Laurie Berkner

  • She tells Kip "No no, bad dog!" anytime he walks near her when she has food.

  • She loves books, baby dolls, and playing outside (especially swinging).
  • She is loving the swimming pool this summer. Last weekend we took her down the big twisty water slide at the pool, and she loved it. She'll stand on the edge of the pool and jump to me. She counts "free, two, freeee!" before she jumps.

  • Her expressive language has exploded in the last 6 weeks. She's consistently saying 2-3 word combinations and beginning to say 3-4 word full sentences. The first sentence I can remember her saying is "MayMay eat more nee-noo (noodles)."

  • She can recognize and name colors and is beginning to recognize a few letters. (Finally, a benefit to having a Mama that monograms everything - she can recognize the letters M, C, and A!!)
  • She recognizes most animals and can imitate their sounds.

  • She always wants to know people's names - mostly her friends and their parents - and then calls them by name.

  • She loves to help around the house. Some of her favorite activities are feeding Kip, gathering up laundry to put in the basket, and unloading the dishwasher.
  • She is wearing 18m clothes and size 5 shoes. I think she's around 22lbs and 31". I'll update with official numbers after her 2 year Dr's appointment. Update 6.27.2014 - She is 22.5lbs and 31.75" tall. The growth chart predictor thing has her adult height at 5'1".

Monday, June 16, 2014

MC's 2nd Birthday Party

We celebrated MC's second birthday at home with friends and family on the weekend before her birthday. Since she has a June birthday, I wanted to do a summer theme, so we decided to have an ice cream party.

So, naturally, the first thing I did was find a cute outfit for MC to wear! (Yep. Those are smocked ice cream cones. I know you're not really surprised, right?!)

We started with a simple ice cream themed invitation:

And then we started figuring out how we were going to make it happen. Even though I'm an introvert by nature, I actually love to plan and host parties. The hosting part is exhausting, but in the end I'm always glad we did it. BD and I make a pretty good party planning team. I like to come up with the theme and decoration ideas, and he is excellent at logistics, and usually even has some good, creative ideas up his sleeve.

I did not want to go Pinterest-budget-busting-overload on this was, after all, a party for a 2 year old, but I did want our house to look fun and festive for the occasion. So I put on my best "use what I've already got around the house" hat, and got to work. Luckily, I am a pack rat when it comes to arts and crafts supplies, so I had quite a stash to work with!

First, I used some pink tissue pom poms to make ice cream cone garlands. One hung in the breakfast area, where we had the ice cream sundae bar set up, and one hung on the fireplace in the den.

Then I decided we needed something special on the front door, so I made a giant 3-D ice cream cone decoration.

Next I wanted to do a photo project with some photos of MC. I just covered an old bulletin board with craft paper for this, and free-handed the art and lettering.

In the dining room we had a few toddler-friendly, non-ice cream snacks. I used artificial flowers for the centerpieces and two additional pom pom ice cream cone decorations. BD made the paper chains for the chandelier - his first time ever making them! I told him that being a girl-dad was going to build up his arts and crafts muscles!

In the foyer we hung some polka-dot balloons on the banister, so it looked festive when people first walked in the front door.

The ice cream sundae bar was set up in the kitchen. We had three flavors of Blue Bell ice cream and a variety of toppings.

We made the first sundae for MC, and everyone gathered around and sang Happy Birthday to her. She wasn't quite sure of what to think about everyone staring at her, but she dug right into the ice cream! (It never dawned on me that I was supposed to put TWO candles in her sundae!!)

Luckily we had good weather during the party, so we had a few toys out in the backyard for the toddlers to play on. After you load them up with ice cream, they really need somewhere to run off the sugar!

It was a great little party - the perfect way to celebrate our sweet girl turning 2! Everyone seemed to have a good time at the party, and MC loved having all of her little friends over to play.

On her actual birthday, we went to gymnastics (her last Tumble Babies class!),

had cupcakes after nap time,

and opened a few presents!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Happy 2nd Birthday, MC

Two years ago today the sweetest little baby girl arrived and filled our lives with more joy than we could have ever expected. This has been such a fun year, watching her grow from an infant into a walking, talking toddler, and we have loved every minute of it. We are so proud to call her our daughter. 

{click through for video if you're in a reader}