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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Murray :: Our sweet puppy is gone

I never blogged about the most exciting addition to our family besides our two girls - our mini Goldendoodle puppy, Murray. I know people will wonder why we didn't rescue and it's not really something that needs defending, but: Emmeline has allergies, so we needed a non-shedding dog, and many rescues won't work with families with young kids. We watched rescues and our local humane society for over a year waiting for the right dog to come along, but when that didn't pan out (over and over again) we decided to go with a breeder. We've had rescue dogs before and we will again when the girls are grown, but for now, a breeder was the right decision for our family.

We added Murray to our family in early December 2017 (he actually came home on Chris's birthday) and he was amazing and so incredibly loved by everyone - even Chris, who liked to grumble about him but would turn around and scoop him up for pets the second he came home, and who I found cuddling together in Chris's recliner more than once.  He absolutely loved people and other dogs (though he liked to announce his presence to other dogs with loud barking...the second they'd get close, he'd want to play play play).  Carys loved to wrestle with him and lay on the floor while he'd lick her face incessantly (and when I'd say, 'Murray, off!' she'd say, 'No, mom, I love it!!'). Emmeline loved to train him and practice the "leave it" command with him. Both girls were at their happiest when they'd be watching a movie and he'd jump on the couch and cuddle them. They'd even fight about who he greeted first when we came home from being gone. And me? I loved taking him on late night walks, and I loved the special time in the morning when he'd wake me up early to go out and I'd fall asleep on the couch and he'd cuddle up behind my knees with his head on my leg. 

And I'm devastated to say that last week, in a horrific accident, he was killed. The front door was left open, and while he wasn't a door dasher, if a door is wide open and his people are outside...he's going to go outside. People were in our yard and he ran over to say hi and my biggest life regret is that they weren't able to grab him at that point...and then he ran across the street. As he was running back to us, he was hit by a car who was speeding down the street (conflicting reports as to whether the person was on the phone, and I can't bear to look at the video footage to see). He survived the hit with no external injuries, but it was clear he was hurt. 

I immediately took him to the emergency vet, where they let us know he had massive internal injuries. They did their best to stabilize him, but that night called to let us know he was declining and needed surgery ASAP. They didn't think he'd survive being put under, much less the surgery, but he amazed everyone by surviving both. The next day we visited him and left him some drawings the girls had made, and that night we got our nightly update call that things were actually looking okay and for the first time the vet was able to use the words "cautiously optimistic." Unfortunately, just two hours after that, we got a call that he'd gone into cardiac arrest.  Basically, at that time, our entire family melted down: Emmeline didn't understand what was going on, but was sobbing because everyone else was sobbing, Carys knew as soon as she saw my face what the vet had said and immediately became hysterical, I knew as soon as I answered the phone that it was going to be bad news and had already started becoming emotional, and lost it as soon as they uttered the words, and Chris just said, "FUCK!" and hugged us. My parents came over to comfort us and I don't think I've ever slept so badly as I did that night.

He was only 9 months old. 

We opted to have him cremated with the remains (what an awful, awful word) returned to us. We got a beautiful carved wooden box for him, and Carys asked if she could have a necklace to put some ashes in, so we let her pick one out from Etsy. 

I can't bear to look at pictures of him yet, so it's hard to add pictures to this post, but you deserve to see what a gorgeous, wonderful boy he was.  

These are two pics Carys took the day before he was killed. He'd gotten shaved down for the summer a couple weeks ago, so his hair is super short. We'd just come back in from being outside and he was tired, so the girls made him a pillow bed.  Carys woke him up taking these pictures, and I took the phone away and said to leave him alone so he could nap, and he fell right back asleep. I'm so, so, so glad she got these pictures taken, even though he looks SO tired...because I had no idea these would be the last pics of him.


And one I just happened to already have uploaded to Blogger that I never published and it popped up on me when I was adding the pics above - he was about 5 months old here, I think.

And then we were lucky enough to have him in some pro pics we did a couple months ago (pre-shaved) and I'll always be thankful that I decided to bring him with us to the shoot so we have these pictures. 

God, I miss this boy. I can't believe he's gone.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Emmeline's Fourth Birthday :: Halloween Party

I can't believe I'm writing about Emmeline's FOURTH birthday. And writing about it SIX MONTHS LATER. To be fair to me - I started this post in December, but you know. Life. I'm only writing this post now so that I can look back and remember it and because I have pics from Carys's seventh party to share - probably in about six months.

Em's officially out of the toddler stage and into the preschool stage and guys, I just love that kid so much. She's absolutely hilarious and one of the biggest regrets of my life is that I can't remember every single delightful thing that she's said - and they're just gone forever; I can't rewind and find them again. SOB. When she's sad, she's the saddest, most heartbreaking kid ever, with these big sad eyes welling up with tears and you can hear the despair and tears in her voice as she pleas, "Mama, don't be mad!" And the girl has a TEMPER with every single letter capitalized. She throws things and is just fiercely angry when things don't go her way. But most of the time - God, I just want to eat her up. And squeeze her and kiss her and never let her go. I can't tell you how many times I am driving with her, listening to her amusing stories, and I just have to reach back and squeeze and hold her hand because I can't pull over and take her out of her carseat and love on her.

And guys, she's so smart too. I can't believe I ever worried about her language skills or development, because she's brilliant. She loves shapes and simple addition and rhyming and reading/writing (she loves writing out a string of letters on a piece of paper and asking me what it says). She loves drawing, dressing up, and our new puppy (OMG I HAVEN'T WRITTEN ABOUT OUR NEW PUPPY and he's now 9 months old - whoops!). She loves video games and screens and I have to regulate those strictly, because she'd be totally happy lounging on the couch with no pants on, watching "Masha and Bear" or playing the Nintendo Switch allllllllllllllll day long. Luckily, she also loves her scooter and tricycle and I can usually get her to happily accompany me on a walk. She's got a sweet tooth like no other, and is a crazy picky eater (still).

Anyway. This is why I used to do the monthly/bi-yearly letters (and I can't dwell on the lack of those because I'll beat myself up for stopping them!). She's an amazing kid, I adore her, you get it.

For her fourth birthday, I was at a total loss. She liked a lot of things but I couldn't think of a theme she LOVED. And her birthday being in the dead of winter and two weeks before Christmas complicates it further. I asked her what kind of party she wanted and she kept telling me: Halloween. Halloween?!?!!?  I was 99.9% sure she wanted a Halloween party because she loved Trick-or-Treating so much and just wanted more candy. I wasn't sure if she understood that just because we were celebrating a Halloween birthday didn't mean she'd get to go trick-or-treating around the block again.  She briefly mentioned a Mario party (and I still think that would be cute) but she kept going back to Halloween. So...Halloween it was. And to her credit, she still - six months later - says that her favorite color is black because she loves Halloween.

It ended up being a really small party, and not nearly as elaborately planned as usual. Many of our usual guests couldn't attend and it was a SUPER busy time of year (did I mention that her birthday is two weeks before Christmas? And that we had just gotten a new puppy? And that Chris's birthday is the week before?). But she had a great time and was the center of attention for the day and loved it.

This was a pretty easy party to decorate - I managed to snag most of the decor on giant clearance after Halloween, and obviously we already had a bunch of Halloween decor. I did get a few things at Oriental Trading company (as I do every year) but not nearly as much as I have had to in the past. The trick with her party is always decorating around the Christmas decorations that are out. This year I just decided to cover them all with spider webs and pretend like they didn't exist.

She did not want "cute" Halloween. She wanted "creepy." I asked her if bugs crawling around a skull were creepy and she was like, "Ugh, I guess so."

I made the spider web with twine and I'm excited to bring it out next Halloween!

She asked for donuts instead of a cake, which I thought would be easy. We ended up disappointed with the vendor we used for the donuts but whatever. (I asked for a variety of Halloween colors and to have some of them decorated in orange/yellow/white stripes like a candy corn, and they ended up looking like Emmeline herself decorated them.)

HOW AMAZING ARE THOSE EYEBALL CUPS?!?!? And I love the plants and napkins I got from Target clearance after Halloween. 

The gift bags were luminaries. I don't think I took a picture of what was inside, which sucks because it was cute stuff - a little potion necklace (you can kind of see Emmeline wearing it in the first pic of her) and some tattoos and some plastic bugs and tattoos and bubbles and stuff like that. 


There's something so unsettling about a Christmas tree wrapped in spider webs. Maybe eerily reminiscent of an abandoned house or something? We tucked pictures of Emmeline during Halloween throughout the years into the webbing.

I got a few little foam craft kits on clearance from Target and set the kids up making little skulls and ghosts. It was a fun, easy activity and they seemed to have fun.

Obviously the direction was to come in costume. 

After they made their little crafts, they all went "trick-or-treating." I set the adults up throughout the house and gave them each a bag of candy to hand out to the kids. This was a big hit. Because candy. 

"Trick or Treat!"

Obviously the only logical thing after a bout of trick-or-treating is to separate and sort the candy. 

The cursed donuts. Like really, you don't even want to know how much I paid for these damn things that looked like someone smeared hard buttercream on them with a plastic butter knife.

OMG I love this little shy smile as everyone was singing happy birthday. 

Then we moved onto opening gifts, and the kids had a tissue paper war. 

Look at our adorable tiny puppy!!!! He's huge and annoying now but we still love him.

We took a group picture between the coats on the stairs and the Christmas garland on the railing. Really well thought out, Lara.

Poor Emmeline with her birthday so close to Christmas. I try to make it a priority every year because I never want her to feel second to Carys, but it's SO hard. When we were talking about having kids, Chris said we could have kids absolutely any time EXCEPT December - he has a December birthday and has always hated it. And we saddled this poor kid with a birthday that's a week closer to Christmas than his is! I plan on giving her the option of celebrating during her half-birthday if she'd like when she's older - but who knows? Maybe she'll grow up with winter as her favorite holiday and absolutely love it. 

Happy birthday, you spunky little spitfire. I sure do love you!