Sunday, August 30, 2009

They Were a Little Jumpy this Weekend...

...the girls, that is. On the trampoline.

Hope is fearless on the thing and scares me to death! Charlotte was introduced for the first time this weekend and just giggled and giggled. Grace is not nearly as subdued as she used to be and Liv is just a wild woman. Maddie is a total instigator and I'm certain that eventually somebody (read: Liv) will be going over the side under her watch!


I just limp around and take pictures while trying to avoid stepping in doggy poo.

I could just eat her up. She found the whole experience "electrifying"...

One of the few times she was still. Oh, the hair this child has...

See, she's coming out of her shell ....

...and this one obviously has no problems being a wild child ...

These two cracked me up with this one...

After looking at these pictures again, I just realized I could've titled the post, "Hair", not typed another word and y'all would have completely understood.

And people wonder why I'm always running late because of hair. Sheesh. I'll just direct them to this page from now on.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Firsts and Lasts

So Monday was the first day of school for my sweet Grace. It was a hard, hard, hard day for me, my friends. I was not ready to watch her walk into that school. At. All.

The decision to put her into a private school was not taken lightly. Several factors were taken into consideration, but ultimately we decided it would be what was best for her. And me. As much as I knew it was the best decision ... it was still very hard to let her go. You see, Grace is my helper. She's the one I can always count on. She's also just a really, really sweet girl to be around. I knew I was going to miss her.

But Monday morning came and she was beside herself with excitement. She also felt like she was gonna throw up -- a trait she inherited from ... her mother. The morning did NOT transpire in the way I had hoped and because of several circumstances we ended up running late for the first day of school. Um, yeah. She wasn't technically late, but we certainly weren't early either.

I had pre-planned all the pictures I wanted to take DAYS ahead. Pictures of me and her, pictures of her with one of her best friends, pictures with her teacher... Guess how many I ended up with before school? Four. Four pictures. I wasn't mad, just disappointed. Okay ... and a little mad, too. I really wanted a picture of us together. Why? I don't know. I just did.

Anyway, here's my girl ~ not in front of our house or pretty flowers ~ but sitting in Phil the Burb.
First day of School_2349

And the one (ONE!!!) picture I got in front of the school. Can't tell she's excited or nothin', can ya??
First day of School_2354

I had only taken 3 pictures at this point because we were running behind, but apparently my girl felt like she had been subjected to a full fledged photography session because no sooner had I finished taking this picture when she turned to me and said,

"Are we going to do this every morning? Because if we are then I might as well just stay home!"

Oh yes, she did.

I didn't get a picture with her teacher, but at least I got one outside of her classroom. She was losing a little patience with me at this point.
First day of School_2359

I walked limped out those doors, got into my truck and bawled my eyes out. Then I pulled myself together, went home, put my foot up and watched the clock like a hawk until 2:45 pm. I also watched a little Food Network, but that's neither here nor there.

My friend Anita picked me up and went to get our girls together. I was never so relieved to see Grace's sweet face walk out those doors in all my life! She was smiling and bebopping her way to the truck like she had done this for years. She was a teeny bit overwhelmed, but mostly had a really good day!

And to celebrate her very first day of school EVER, we went to Sonic and got a Jr. Candy Sundae!!
First day of School_2368

And your probably asking yourselves, "We get the 'Firsts' part of the post title, but what about the 'Lasts'?".

Well Monday was the last "first" day of high school that My Boy will ever have. I can't believe that I'm the mother of a senior, y'all. I'm also having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that I'm going to have an 18 year old son in less than 3 weeks. Or maybe it's hard to believe that I'll have an 18 year old AND a 9 (NINE!) month old!!! Oh my word. God is good, isn't He?


Anyway, this is the last year to sit in the football stands and cheer him on (and pray he doesn't get hurt!) on Friday nights. That makes me really sad. He's played football since he was 10 years old and it will just be ... well ... weird without it.

I guess this means we'll have to retire our Warrior headdress hanging on the rear view mirror of Phil, too. ::sigh:: I just love that thing.
First day of School_2363

So there you have it, my friends. The 'Firsts' and 'Lasts' of this past Monday. It was an emotional day to say the least. I'm spent.

Good thing I bought that double pack of Nutella last week.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Random Things ~Or ~ Business As Usual

Well, I just passed week 2 (TWO!) of the Flip Flop and Drop Debacle of 2009, which can now be referred to as Post Traumatic Idiotic-Moron-for-Tripping-on-My-Flip-Flops-and-Falling-on-My-Can Syndrome. Or PTIMTMFFFMCS.

Whichever you prefer. I'm easy.

Some of you have asked for pictures of my foot. Sorry. Feet are gross. I took about 15 pictures of my foot and erased every last one of them. Not because of the bruising, but because unpedicured toes were just too ugly to look at. But here's a pic of the lovely black boot!


I've learned a few things, experienced a few firsts and have most definitely exhausted my family with all my demands kind requests these last few weeks. I've gotten up a few times against doctor's recommendations and tried doing a few things. My sanity depended upon it and in my head I justified every ill advised act.

Unfortunately, my ankle paid for it. So, the first thing I've learned is that when I get a wild hair in my keester to get up and you know, try and take pictures of my adorable sleeping baby or cook a full blown meal, it usually knocks me back down for a few days. Ask me how I know.

But honestly now. How many of you, broken ankle or not, could resist getting up to take pictures of this?


or this?


Totally justifiable if I do say so myself.

And it's fairly safe to say that Food Network has been my best friend over the last few weeks. You all know that I absolutely adore the Next Food Network Star and this last one was a doozy! I absolutely LOVED Melissa d'Arabian and was just thrilled that she won. Well, ever since I saw her pilot on the last show I have wanted to make this and this. And I made BOTH this week! Let me tell you, my friends ... it did not disappoint.

However, my ankle did not approve one teeny tiny itty bit. ::sigh::

In the last two weeks I've also realized how to get rid of my dry, cracked heels. It's simple, really. Stop walking on them. Really. They've all but gone away. And for me, that's a miracle. The little Vietnamese lady at the nail salon will be so thrilled, y'all!

I am a barefoot girl and quite frankly, that is one of the worst things you can do for your heels. I'm fairly certain that's why I was kicked out of Fly Lady. I wouldn't obey the whole "put your shoes on and tie them" mantra. Well, that and I don't think ever in the history of Fly Lady was anyone else's entire house deemed a "hot spot". I'm just sayin'.

And speaking of personal hygiene (okay, there was just no good way to segue into that!).

I took one of the longest, most enjoyable showers ever today. I didn't realize how grungy one could feel from just sitting and doing, oh you know ... NOTHING! I washed my hair (which Marinell the Hair Genius, was so kind to color and highlight for me a week post breakage. She stayed late ~ like until 10pm late ~ Just. For. Me. I love her. I don't think I could have handled both a broken ankle AND bad roots. It's just not right, y'all.). Anyway, I washed and rinsed although I did not repeat. I shaved my legs, which has proven to be quite interesting with a broken ankle. I shaved under my arms (I only have to do this twice a month, so it's quite exciting for me when it happens.) and I used my vanilla bean body scrub.

I also plucked an eyebrow or two and gave them a haircut. If I don't trim them Monk begins to call me Abe in Abe Vigoda. Got to the link. You'll understand. I did not, however, put on any makeup. Because I don't have to, that's why. It's been quite freeing actually.

Here is my makeup-less self lounging about the couch. As usual. Nice, huh? Blech. Picture courtesy of 9 year old Grace.


I've worn makeup only twice this week. Once when I went to Costco and once when I went to Target.

And speaking of Costco... ( ahHA! Now THAT was a good segue!)

I was getting cabin fever and some grocery shopping needed to be done, so my good friend Anita came over and went with me to Costco. Monk made her pinky swear to make me ride around in one of those little Scoot About things that beep like a Mac truck when you back up. Right at the end of the shopping trip my Scoot About died on me. Lucky for me Anita is a NASCAR fan because she whipped right in behind me with the shopping cart and drafted me all the way to the checkout line. It was classic.

While I was at Costco I also purchased a double pack of Nutella and my life hasn't been the same since. I think about this stuff and what I can do with it incessantly. I do believe I'm going to make a pizza creation that involves a pizza crust, Nutella, almonds and marshmallows. I'll let you know when I try it. I could use my finger and eat it straight from the jar, friends. It is that good.

And just so you know ... the Scoot Abouts and Target were much better than the Scoot Abouts at Costco. I'm fairly certain that the Target one was so fast that it broke some sort of supermarket speed limit. Poor Sis was having to chase me through the store while pushing a loaded grocery cart. I just laughed maniacally and went faster, embracing the whole NASCAR like experience from Costco and had to refrain myself from trying to "bump" Grace into the Chef Boyardee Ravioli. That is until I nearly gave myself whiplash by accidentally letting go of the little lever thingy and my little Scoot About came to a rather unpleasant and abrubt halt!

(BTW, Jennifer asked me where I got Hope's puzzle rack and the answer is Target, of course. And the best part is that it came with 4 puzzles!! For under $20!)

Well, that pretty much wraps up my exciting life around here lately. What have y'all been up to? Anybody have any new blog worthy recipes to try? What are your eyebrow plucking habits? Finding any new interesting blogs? Anybody else draft people in a Scoot About at the local Costco?

Really. These are the things that make my life happy right now.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The 2nd Birthday Party...

Poor Hope. It really stinks being the 5th child. Actually, if you ask Olivia, she might tell you it stinks being the 4th child, too. And little Charlotte just doesn't have a chance at all, I'm afraid.

Birthday celebrations just seem to get more and more difficult with each child I have. Somewhere in all the hubbub of vacations, broken water pipes, broken air conditioning, broken ankles (it was a month of brokenness apparently!), Hope's 2nd birthday party just didn't happen.

::slapping myself:: Bad momma.

So because of the current state of my ankle bone, we knew a bigger family birthday party just wasn't gonna happen. I can barely get to the bathroom, much less try and get things read for a birthday party. So we improvised.

We decided that we would have a mini, mini, mini, mini birthday party for her this past Sunday. There were no party plates or hats, no balloons, no special outfits and no guests other than me and Monk and her 4 sisters. The cake was and $8 chocolate cake from Wal-Mart and the two gifts she received from Monk and I weren't even wrapped.

This little party we had went against everything I have ever believed that a birthday party should be. I felt like we had somehow let Hope down and gypped her of her special day. (Because we all know that when you deny your 2 year old a birthday party she will most definitely need therapy as an adult, right?) I felt that having this sort of impromptu party was somehow a major fail on my part.

But you know what? I was wrong. Dead wrong.

This little mini family party turned out to be one of the single most enjoyable birthday parties I've ever had with one of my children. There was no frantic shopping, or cleaning, or decorating. It was just us and our sweet 2 year old girl.

SHE didn't care that there weren't party plates and hats. SHE didn't care that there weren't balloons. SHE didn't care that her gifts weren't wrapped or that she ate an $8 Wal-Mart cake. She just smiled and giggled and loved the fact that we sang Happy Birthday to her.

And that my friends, is not a fail. It's what celebrating is all about. As a matter of fact, after it was all over I began to ask myself why I hadn't done most of our previous birthday parties this way. It was fun, relaxing and best of all .... I wasn't in a bad mood beforehand. Or during. Or after. I just enjoyed laughing and smiling at my sweet girl.

And just so you know that Hope had a great time .... here are a few pictures to prove it!

The $8 Wal-Mart cake


This is what she looked like when she saw daddy bringing her gifts!

Her new puzzles and puzzle rack...

The child has a fettish for picking her nose ...

She had just discovered her new Mega Blocks

Hmmm... what's in here?

Building, building, building...

And then there was cake ...

... and just so I don't forget her dimples and rolls...

She's a lot like her mother where the cake is concerned ...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Couch Confessions

Tomorrow will be one week since the dreaded Flip Flop and Drop Debacle of 2009 began.

I have spent and entire week either on the couch or in the recliner. At first I thought this was going to be a really cool mini vacay where I watched nothing but Food Network and had people wait on me hand and foot. Where life was good and the living was easy.

Oh dear, friends. How wrong I was.

Never, ever, ever wish that you could have a break from things. You just might get one. Literally. I have never been so sore and bored in my entire life.

Now don't get me wrong, I love me some Food Network and can scarcely get bored with Paula making things like Peanut Butter Cups in a Blanket. Seriously. They exist. Or the lovely Giada whipping up something Italian-ish and making it look incredibly easy. And I can't forget Ina. Dear, dear Ina. So full of class and making simple yet delicious looking dishes like Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes or Apple Pear Crisp. She's delightful.

It's the sitting that's getting to me. The mindless sitting. After about 3 days of it I had determined I was done. My rest was over and I was ready to get moving again.

::insert raucous laughter here::

I went to my doctor's appointment yesterday. He re-took some x-rays and I was waiting for him to come in and tell me they were mistaken and they were all wrong and it was just a bad sprain. ::insert raucous laughter again:: A bone in my ankle is definitely broke. It broke because of SEVERE strain to my ligaments and I ALSO have a slight crack in my outer metatarsal on the outside of my foot. He then told me these things:

1. He was putting me in a boot up to my knee

2. I have to wear it for a minimum of 30 days.

3. I have to stay on the crutches for 2 more weeks ( Crutches are of the devil, my friends!)

4. I have to stay off of my foot as much as possible for the next TWO WEEKS!

5. I'm looking at 6-8 weeks for recovery.

This is the part where I go crazy. And I start to soul search.

I do believe that God is Sovereign. And for that reason alone I believe He allowed this to happen to force me into a season of rest and reflection. When I say force, I mean it in the best of ways y'all. You know that still small voice that we all (as Christians) can hear? I do believe the Bible calls him the Holy Spirit. Yea, Him. Well, He's been after me a while and I've been pretending not to notice, you know. I'm noticing now. Loud and clear. I've been doing some reflecting and frankly, I don't like my reflection too much at the moment.

So I'm purposing to read my Bible and pray every day (hey, I just remembered that's a song!). Praying that the Lord would create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit in me. Praying that even though I don't like my circumstances right now that I would take the focus off of me and onto Him. Giving Him the glory in all things. Even the Flip Flop and Drop Debacle of 2009.

And the rest? I haven't had rest since 1982, y'all. I need it. My body needs it. My spirit needs it. My house doesn't need it, but that's a whole 'nother subject. It's one of those areas that's going to be difficult for because of my natural Night Owlish tendencies, but it's something that's necessary I believe. I know the dark circles under my eyes will thank me.

And the complaining? Oh, I'll still complain ... that's just me. But I'll praise, too. I'll be praising a lot more than complaining. Or at least that's the plan. Y'all can call me out if I don't. Just be nice.

I'm a delicate flower. As evidenced by my beauty and grace at falling in flip flops.

Phil 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Story of How I Broke My Ankle

Yes, you read that right. I broke my ankle this past Saturday. Let me tell y'all, I am a picture of grace and poise.

It all started like any other Saturday. I jumped crawled out of bed, begging my eyelids to work with me and dragged sorry self to the kitchen. I threw down a bowl of cereal and proceeded to start getting ready for the day.

I was scheduled to take pictures of two little boys that morning who were one month and two years old. I'm usually on the floor or ground while shooting so I need comfy clothes. I pick some jean capris and layer a couple of shirts. My footwear of choice are some cute brown flip-flops that I had purchased on Thursday.

(Note: I rarely ever wear flip-flops, y'all. Ever since my experience with some unpleasant Plantar Fasciitis, I just don't wear them. Veeery unlike me to wear these to shoot pictures in.)

(Just in case you didn't catch it in the last parenthetical paragraph above .... there was some foreshadowing going on up there. Read it again if you must.)

I was already running behind and I knew it. I always run behind. I do believe it's a spiritual gift of mine. If not a gift, then a curse. All I know is that I'm proficient at it.


Because Charlotte is now crawling (NOW CRAWLING, Y'ALL!! OH, WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE?!) I couldn't bring her with me. In hindsight, this was probably a very good thing. I had to nurse her right before I left so she wouldn't need to eat while I was away. Charlotte, who is a Power Nurser Extraordinaire, decided my breast milk was like a fine wine that morning and apparently needed to savor the moment, rolling the flavors around on her tongue a little. Or something like that.

By the time I got out the door I was running a good 15 minutes behind schedule. I was going to be late arriving and I was not happy about it. Even though I wasn't happy about it, I REALLY needed some caffeine and decided that a quick roll through a drive through for a Coke was not only permissible in this situation, but totally acceptable and necessary. I needed to be on my game and quick jolt of sugar and caffeine was going to do that for me. You go, girl.

I get to their house, 15 minutes late, grab my camera bag and one of my baskets and walk to the door. We get the usual greetings out of the way and then I proceed to make my way back out to Phil the Suburban to retrieve the other "props" I use in pictures. But before I walk out the door, the mom says to me, "do you need any help?".

Now y'all. These words will haunt me until my dying day. If I had just said yes (YES!), things could have turned out SO differently.

I walk out to Phil, open the back doors, grab my last basket that's filled with different fabrics, my lamb's skin, etc.., close the door and begin to step up onto the curb when Lo and Behold...

I got tangled up in them dang flip-flops!!

The next thing that happened plays out like some sort of slow motion scene from a movie. I knew what was coming. I knew it. I just couldn't do a single, cotton pickin' thing about it!! My ankle twisted, I felt excruciating pain and I started going down. My hands were full and I knew my fanny was gonna hit the pavement.

In my head I'm yelling (in that deep slow motion voice), "NNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!". My rear hit the pavement (I'm fairly certain I may have bounced a little) and the basket, along with its contents went flying everywhere.

I laid there amidst the carnage of leaves, leftover lawnmower grass and various quality fabrics and thought to myself 3 things:

1. $#%@#, my ankle HURTS!! ( Just tryin' to keep it real.. I love Jesus, but sometimes I swear a little.)

2. Please Lord, don't let anybody have just seen that!


3. Wow! This one's goin' on the blog.

I sat up and began brushing the leaves and grass of off me and my fabrics. The searing pain in my ankle was unbelievable! But I thought to myself, "Girl, you gotta go take some pictures". I stood up, gathered up my basket and proceeded to walk limp into that house. I was not about to go in there and tell her, "I fell off your curb (because I'm a dork) and may have broken my ankle so I can't take your boy's pictures." Nope. Wasn't gonna do it.

Pride cometh before the fall, y'all. Except mine came after.

And with all the dignity I could muster, I took pictures of those boys for over an hour. Mind you, I didn't get up off of the floor one, single time. At one point though, I swallowed my pride and told her what happened. Mostly because I kept scooting all over the floor like some crazed dog with "itchy rear issues" and I didn't want her to think that I was lazy. Or weird. Or itchy. She brought me a bag of ice for my ankle and I was very thankful for the brief time it stayed there.

Then her two year old started eating it. And that was the end of the ice.

At the end of our time I was ever so thankful that her husband came and offered to carry some things out for me because when I stood on my foot I thought I would surely die. Very slowly I managed to limp out of that house and down the driveway. I felt certain that I didn't do a very good job on the pictures because of the pain I was in and I was just hoppin' mad that the whole unfortunate incident had even happened.

When I finally got in the truck and pulled away, I realized that I couldn't even hit the brake with my right foot. I called Monk, told him to get Charlie ready, I'd be there in 20 minutes so we could go to my doctor's after hours clinic. My foot, ankle, leg and pride were throbbing.

By the time we arrived at the doctor's office I couldn't walk at all. Monk had to go in and get me a wheelchair. Our time in there was rather uneventful except for me wanting to slap the x-ray technician senseless. The unnatural positions she wanted me to put my foot and ankle in were just plain uncalled for! Honestly, I was a little surprised when the doctor told me he thought it was fractured. I expected a bad sprain, but not a break.

He sent me home in an air cast, which frankly is nothing more than two pieces of plastic with velcro around them, and told me to stay off of it for several days and I would be contacted by my normal doctor on Monday. A husband and five children at home and I'm told to stay off of my foot for several days. Nice.

Well. I was contacted today and it is definitely broken. I have an appointment on Thursday (THURSDAY!!!) to see how it looks and if they're going to give me a boot or a cast. They told me to stay off of it until then. Do these people not realize I have a family?? And I honestly believe my butt will be petrified by then! In the meantime, I'm being waited on hand and foot. Sort of. I'm mostly sitting and complaining that my hiney hurts. And my ankle.

Out of utter depression, I ate an entire IKEA chocolate bar by myself yesterday. I figure by Thursday I'll either be the size of Shamu or in a diabetic coma. Forget the pain meds, I self-medicate with chocolate. And Fritos. And Salt 'n Vinegar Almonds (my new favorite). You know....all those low fat food items.

And since a post is rarely ever complete without a picture .... here is a peek at the pics I took on Saturday. With a broken ankle. In case you forgot.




Thursday, August 06, 2009

Harley. The Dog with a Purpose

Most of you may remember that fateful day last summer, almost exactly a year ago, when I announced to all of blogdom that we acquired a Harley.

Little did you all know that it was a 100 pound, brown, slobbery beast of a Chocolate Lab!

For the last year Harley has been the source of many emotions in our family. Many of them un-Christian like on my behalf. He chewed my new-to-me love seat, broke our back window, pulled out trash, slept on furniture, contributed about a 1000 pounds of dog poop to our back yard, shed about 2000 pounds of hair through my house, got me in trouble with neighbors for his barking, took food from the table and most recently managed to pull down the sheers on my windows in my family room. To say the dog caused me great deals of stress is a severe understatement.

On the other hand, he has the most amazing, pitiful brown eyes I have ever seen on a dog, he turned into a wonderful playmate for the girls (aside from knocking Hope and Charlotte over on a regular basis), he was voted top of his class in his obedience training and turned out to be a decent guard dog.

But he was just too much.

Our 1950 square foot house just wasn't big enough for 2 adults, 5 kids, 2 dogs and 2 cats. Especially when one of the dog weighed more than 3 of my children put together!

Needless to say, I have been on a quest for some time to find Harley a more suitable home. Some people told me to take him to the shelter ~ that somebody would surely take him. Even though I didn't feel right about it, I let Monk take him to the shelter one time and they told him they didn't have room and they would take Harley straight to the back and euthanize him!!! Monk brought him back home.

I finally decided to put Harley on Craig's List. Surely somebody would want this dog. I put my first ad out a few weeks ago and I received 3 emails, ALL of which were families desperate to have him as their pet! The first family sounded WONDERFUL! They had 4 children, all 5 and older, 10 acres of land for him to run on, a pond for him to swim in... and then they fell through. The second and third people fell through as well.

So this past week I put him back on Craig's List. Two days of nothin'. At one point I questioned as to whether God was testing me in my patience through Harley. I figured that somehow this dog was going to be used to begin a good work in me. Or kill me. Then it came.

The email.

Not just any email though. It was someone interested in Harley, but not just as a pet. This person had a 12 year old son who had gone through a kidney transplant at 4 years old and had Asperger's Syndrome. They were looking for a dog that could be trained to be a service dog for him. The mother had been told that Labs were highly trainable and very good service dogs and then proceeded to ask me what Harley's rehoming fee was. They were trying to save money to be able to afford the training once they had found a dog.

I was floored. I read the email to Monk and after a very brief discussion we decided that there was no way we could sell Harley to these people. We were going to give him to them. I contacted the mom via email and prayed she hadn't already found another dog. The next morning (this past Saturday) she called me.

She was overwhelmed that we would give Harley to them and said she had been praying for a dog for her son Tyler for 2 months. She had planned on spending that Saturday going to shelters trying to find a dog that would work for them. But on Friday evening she happened to get on Craig's List. Coincidence? I think not. She told me that before they could consider him they needed to let the trainer work with him to see if he was a good fit. I agreed to meet them at a local park so their trainer could look Harley over, work with him and see if he could indeed be trained.

So, I loaded Harley into Phil the Suburban and off we went. We had a short meet and greet before I handed Harley over and assumed my position in the truck (I couldn't let him see me otherwise I would be a distraction). I watched the trainer tug at his hears, his tail, generally mess with him to see if he was aggressive. He wasn't, of course.

He's a lover not a fighter, you know.

Anyway, they needed some treats for him to see if they could get him to obey some simple commands so I volunteered to run and grab some. When I returned, the trainer's husband had been playing fetch with Harley while he was on a 25 foot leash. Harley was LOVING it! I handed over the treats and reassumed my position in Phil (the air conditioning was much better than the sweltering heat). I watched as Harley did all sorts of stuff for treats. That dog will do anything for food. He and Monk are a lot alike in that regard.

Then I watched as he laid down in the shade; happy, exhausted and full of liver treats. The next thing that happened took me totally by surprise though. I watched this little 12 year old boy lay down on the cement next to my dog. I watched him lay there and pet Harley and talk to him and then I watched him lay his head on Harley. And Harley let him.

And then I did what I'm doing now. I cried.

After a few more minutes they motioned for me to get out of the truck to come and talk to them. When I walked over, the exact words that were used were, "you have an amazing dog". All the stupid things Harley had done over the past year just melted away and all of a sudden I was proud of that great, big, slobbery beast. Then that sweet little boy came over to me, hugged me tight around my waist and said,

"Thank you for giving me your dog."

(If you didn't cry before I do believe you are crying right about now, right?)

I wanted to bust into the Ugly Cry right then and there, y'all. That little boy needed our dog. Our Harley was really smart and he held a greater purpose to his life other than sneaking pizza crusts off of our table and sleeping on the furniture at night. We tolerated his shenanigans for a whole year so he could move onto greater things. A service dog.

We turned Harley over to this lovely family later that evening. Grace and Liv seemed at peace with all of it and even went with us to drop Harley off. Maddie, on the other hand, wouldn't speak to me.

Tyler was SO excited! Harley galloped all over their yard, was terrorized by their other dog ~ a little "snack-size" dog as we like to call them ~ and then he christened their yard with his first of many poops. Good times, y'all. We left knowing that somehow, our dog was going to help this little boy's life. That was a good feeling.

Later that night, after everyone had gone to bed, I sat on our love seat and cried. Not just cried ~ I sobbed great big heaving sobs. Over a dog that had tormented me for almost a year. I questioned as to whether we had done the right thing, had I given away my children's pet for my own selfish reasons, was Harley truly going to be happy as a service dog ~ oh y'all... I was a Perfect. Mess.

Through the wisdom and encouragement of some very sweet friends, I realized that yes, we had done the right thing. Dogs like Harley needed a purpose. They are working dogs. Natural protectors. Harley, who has ALWAYS needed a lot of attention, will eventually be going to school with Tyler, into restaurants with him (now THAT I have to see!), to the mall with him ~ he will, in fact, be the center of attention. Saturday I learned that Harley was not just smart, but really smart. And with the proper training, which Monk and I could never provide, he's going to be an amazing dog some day.

But essentially, it goes beyond that. It goes back to that little boy. That little boy Tyler, will have a companion in Harley. Something a lot of children with Asperger's don't often have. He will have a friend 24/7 that will look out for him and never treat him poorly. He will have someone to sleep with him and to play with him and to always keep him company. Amazing.

Who knew.

Harley. The Dog with a Purpose.

We're gonna miss you, buddy. But we know you're moving on to do greater things.





Monday, August 03, 2009

The Youngest Old Couple I Ever Did See..

So last Friday I took pictures of my two great newphews, Elijah and Austin. You can see some of their pictures here.

Austin and Charlotte are only about 4 weeks apart. He was born October 31st and she was born December 3rd. We always enjoy watching how they are going to react to each other when they get together, seeing that they are almost the same age.

Friday was pretty funny. We sat them next to each other and once Austin stopped giving these "who ARE you?" looks to Charlotte and she quit trying to bite his face, I managed to get the funniest picture of them.

They look like a little old couple. Seriously.

The old people_1709

Notice his hand gently on the back of her neck and her arm laying gingerly on his lap?? And their expressions!!

I think from now on I'll call them George and Edna. The youngest old couple I ever did see...