Friday, February 28, 2014

Gideon's First Haircut

I've been putting it off, because he is so young still, but this afternoon I broke down and cut Gideon's hair.  I'm not overly attached to my baby's hair, if I don't like how it is growing in, I trim it.  Gideon has had this long patch on top with some tufts on the sides and today it looked to puffy because of the stuff growing in underneath.

I took nearly an inch and a half off the top.  It was a challenging experience, using the clippers on a wiggly baby, but we made it work.

Most people probably won't notice, but I really like how it looks.
 He seems pretty pleased with himself.  Apparently I didn't traumatize him.
 Gideon's been dealing with some rough teething issues so we are trying out the amber beads.  He seems not to mind the necklace under his shirt.  At this point I'm willing to try anything.  Thankfully his 4th tooth just broke through this morning, but if these first four teeth are an indicator for how the next 16  will come in I'm scared.  Good thing we kinda like this kid.

Charlotte's Birthday Party

For several months now Charlotte has been telling me that for her birthday she wanted to have a pirate party.  I was hoping that the pirate thing would be out of her system by now, after all, they were pirates for Halloween, but no such luck.  Charlotte is still pirate obsessed.  I set about to planning a little party for her and her friends.

Last night after the girls went to bed I assembled and decorated Charlotte's cake and I;m happy with how it came out.  I learned a few things, messed up in some places, but it was fun to make and she was so excited when she came upstairs this morning and saw it on the table.
At her party we had a treasure map (that I drew up 10 minutes before the party started since the idea occurred to me while setting up) that showed Charlotte how to navigate her party.  We started with some coloring pages while we waited for everyone to get there and get settled in.  We then moved on to a pirate story.  We moved from there to building pirate ships.  I was busy helping assemble little egg carton pirate ships so I didn't have hands free to take pictures.
 I almost always include a pinata in the kids parties because every kid loves whacking at something, no matter their age.
 Charlotte got to start it and then each kid got a turn, youngest to oldest.  Lily took a few good whacks.
 Junior  was the last to get a go at the pinata and he killed it for us.
 That led to the best part, filling a goody bag with candy!
 The next stop on our map was a pirate picnic.  We had some little sandwiches, fruit, and apple juice.  I figured that I needed to feed them some real food before filling them with cake and ice cream.
  The last stop on our map was the treasure chest cake.
 After the cake was consumed we opened presents.  I love how these kids enjoy giving gifts.  They were all so anxious for Charlotte to open the gifts that they each brought for her.  Charlotte loved her presents.
When we got home the mailman delivered Charlotte's gift from Tyson and I, which was a box of musical instruments.  I'm already regretting it, but she's happy.

Charlotte's Birthday

Charlotte turned three yesterday.  I asked to stay little, but she refused and insisted that she must grow up.  We had planned a party, but it would be held on the day after her actual birthday so on her birthday we decided to have a fun outing to celebrate.  A few weeks ago we went to Jabbers for a little friend's birthday party and the girls have been talking about it ever since so we decided to go and play for Charlotte's birthday.
They have a toddler play area that was perfect for Gideon.  Look at that guy, growing up as well.
  This swing is a hit with all of the kids.
 Charlotte put on a little puppet show for me.  The elephant and zebra were friends.
 He hasn't figured out how to build with the blocks yet, but banging them on the table is a lot of fun apparently.
 Lily loves the construction zone.  This girl is a builder!  She spent a lot of time building a really big house (this picture is just the beginning of it) and then some boys came along and knocked it down.  She sobbed!  I could hear her from across the room.  One of the boy's mother was there, trying to help her feel better, but it took her a long time to get over the loss.  Finally I got her to start building again.
 She started working again when this other little boy came up to her and asked if he could build with her saying "I don't knock things down."  They played together the rest of the afternoon.
Charlotte is an independent player and entertained herself all afternoon.  She's also quite the builder, but when her towers fall down she just starts right back building them again.  This one fell down several times and she just smiled, picked up the pieces, and started again.
After Jabbers we got some pizza for dinner, because that was what Charlotte asked for, and then headed home for a quiet evening.  At least for the kids, I had to finish getting things ready for her party.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Nine Months

Life moves on.  I've really wanted it to just stop for a little while this week, but it just doesn't work that way. 

Gideon is nine months old today.  This little guy must have hit a growth spurt because all of the sudden the pants that he wore last week are way too short and I know that my dryer isn't broken.
He crawls all over the place, pulls himself up on everything around him, and is cruising all over the place.

 He also puts everything in his mouth, EVERYTHING!  He's working on his 3rd and 4th teeth.  I have been able to see them for days, but they still haven't broken through.
  He is such a boy!  He loves cars, balls, and tearing things apart as much as possible.
We sure love this little guy, and maybe someday, SOMEDAY, I'll get a full night's sleep again.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Saying Goodbye

Today we had to say goodbye to sweet Labrador, Oscar.

Shortly after Tyson and I purchased our home we decided that it needed a dog.  I grew up with dogs, Tyson had never had one.  We spent some time looking at the local shelters (because I am a firm believer in adopting dogs from a shelter rather than buying from a breeder) and then one day we found Oscar.  He was still a puppy, less than 3 months old, but as cute as can be and so lovable.  We brought him home with us that night and so since September 2008 he has been a part of our family.  He loves to be with people and developed a protective nature midway through my pregnancy with Lily.
As children came along we came to see just how wonderful he really was.  While he was hyper and a bit crazy with adults, he was gentle and protective of the babies.  Our children have known him their entire lives.  He has been someone to cuddle with, climb on, and playmate.
A year ago we decided that Oscar needed a friend so we adopted Franky.  They played together and took care of one another.  Over the last several months, as Oscar had gotten sicker, they seemed to have grown closer.  Franky cuddled up with him more often rather than running through the yard chasing each other like they used to do.
 Towards the end of last summer I noticed that something was just not quite right with Oscar.  He seemed to be experiencing some lameness in his hind legs.  At first I thought that it was just stiffness from getting up after a nap, but then I noticed it happening when he has been up and about for a while.  He was also very hungry, all the time, and started to put on weight.  Then the seizures started.  Small at first, just little ticks in his face that were hardly noticeable, they got worse, and eventually he was having grand mal seizures.  We took him to the vet who at first was sure that it was just a case of epilepsy, apparently it is fairly common in middle-aged Labradors.  She was going to run some blood tests to rule out other causes, but not to worry.  I didn't, I felt so relieved, epilepsy could be easily treated.  A couple of days later I got another phone call, something was off, it could have been lab tech error, so they wanted to do it again.  I took Oscar back in and they checked his blood sugars, again it was low, and I mean really low, mid-30's.  Dogs are like people here, it should be over 80.  It was his low blood sugar that was causing his seizures.  The vet ran one more test and that was when we learned that Oscar had insulinomas in his pancreas, tumors that were causing his pancreas to secrete too much insulin, causing his blood sugar to be too low, which is what was causing his seizures.  At this point treatment wasn't an option.  Our veterinarian prescribed some steroids for him to act as an insulin blocker to keep the seizures away.  We have known since last November that he wouldn't be with us long.  Our veterinarian advised us on how to know when it would be the right time to let him go. 

Over the last few weeks Oscar has stopped playing, he is just lying around waiting for more food.  It has been a very hard decision, but Tyson and I felt that the time had come to let him go.  Monday was a beautiful day.  It was sunny and warm and he got to spend a lot of time outside on the lawn with the girls.  I also took some pictures of him with each of the kids.  

Charlotte loves her puppy!
 Oscar has been Lily's buddy for her entire life.
 Gideon was sad that I took his toy away for the picture.
 These pictures actually confirmed for me our decision that it was time.  Normally Oscar would be smiling with the kids cuddled him or sat in his lap, but he just looks sad to me.  I told the kids that Oscar would be dying, I was not sure that I could really explain euthanasia to children so young, but they accepted it when I told him that he was going to pass away and that we wouldn't have him anymore.  They have known for several months now that he is sick and that he would be dying someday.

This afternoon Tyson and I took Oscar to be put to sleep.  It was so hard for us, we loved our dog, he was ours before we had children, but he was so wonderful with the kids that it just made us love him more.  I thanked him for being such a good dog and then he was gone.

Last night we used some clay and made a paw print from Oscar that we could keep.  I also went through several years worth of photographs and printed off dozens of pictures of Oscar and the kids.  We picked up a photo album and today put the pictures in it, talking about what we loved most about Oscar and the fun things that we did with him.  

We will miss him so much, but that is the risk that we take when we choose to love someone.  With great love comes the possibility of great loss and you know what, he was totally worth it.