Sunday, March 25, 2012

Kidspeak- love

marek- "mommy I love you! And daddy and sis. And briar bunny and Boyd in heaven. And the chickens. But not the wicked witch."

Meagan ~ via blogpress on my iPhone :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Saying Goodbye to Boyd the Wonder Beagle.

Today was the saddest, most horrible day I have had in a long long time. Unless you've been through it, I can't even begin to describe it.

About three days ago, Boyd's health started rapidly declining. He stopped eating. He spent most of his  time laying down. He began to have constant coughing spells, which were an increase from those he had been having for several months on a regular basis. He could barely stand and didn't do much moving or walking. He was unsteady on his feet, shaky, and just plain not well. Sometimes he would come over to me and sit and want to be petted and he would "smile" at me with his eyes. But I could tell he was not feeling well. Sometimes he would have spells like this, that would last a day and would then resolve. Sometimes it was weather related (he had bad arthritis and about five years ago we were told he likely had cancer (he had several colon polyps removed and also had some other lumps) and that he would likely not live another year.) Sometimes giving him an anti-inflammatory pill or a shot would help and he would be better the next day, back to his old self, chasing and panting and playing, jumping over the fence, etc. This time I was just waiting and hoping for that recovery, and it never came. He just got more miserable and thinner. he didn't touch his dog food, but eventually I did get him to eat some pork chop, and just this morning a taco salad :)

Yesterday Evan and I decided that it was time to call the vet, and we knew that it was likely his time to be put down. We had decided 5 years ago that he was old enough that we weren't going to put him through cancer treatments. We just wanted to live as long as his quality of life would allow. We knew this day was coming, but it wasn't easy. I was doing okay until I actually called to make the appointment. Then I just started crying uncontrollably and pretty much continued on and off throughout the afternoon and evening. Last night I was crying in bed and feeling terrible and not sleeping. I wanted to be near him. I went outside and put a sleeping bag on the ground and lay down with him. He put his head in my lap and despite his labored breathing, I felt him relax and enjoy the attention. I decided to bring him inside to lay in bed with me, like he used to do when he was a puppy, and I put a blanket down and he lay next to me. For the next hour he went through cycles of heavy breathing and coughing, and every ten minutes he would have a coughing fit and would struggle to stand and once the fit was over he would collapse onto the bed in a heap. I felt terrible for him. It was then that I knew that his time had come, and that he was in pain and needed to see the vet. I also knew that there was practically no chance that he would come back from the vet alive. It was a horrible feeling. I felt like I had failed him. I felt like I was his owner and I was never supposed to end his life. I cried and I petted him and I rubbed his ears. I rubbed his belly and massaged his legs through coughing fits. I tried to make him comfortable. And eventually I knew that he wanted to be on his own, and in his dog bed, so I carried him back outside for the night.

Today we took the kids to grandma's and Evan brought Boyd and picked me up and we went to the vet. Doc Smith said immediately that the cough he was having was signature of congestive heart failure, and that fluid was leaking into his lungs and also that his abdomen was filled with fluid. He had a lump under his chest. He didn't fight and the only time he walked was when a young girl came into the waiting room and he tried to walk to meet her. It broke my heart. Paula and Doc were wonderful. Paula is always so caring and I know that she practically feels your pain with each animal issue you have. Boyd didn't struggle when I carried him in and didn't fight or whine or panic when I put him on the table. He didn't fight when Doc shaved a spot in his leg and he didn't even flinch when the needle went into his leg. This was so unlike him, but he was so peaceful and he looked at us so knowingly, like he knew what was coming and he wasn't scared or upset or worried. Evan and I petted his head and I rubbed his ears. I just cried and cried. His eyes were saying everything to me. Telling me not to worry, that everything was okay. Fifteen years of looking at those eyes and you learn a lot about what a dog is thinking. He lay down easily and Paula gently lay him on his side. I petted him until doc confirmed that he was gone, and then petted him some more. He looked so happy, and peaceful. He didn't struggle to breathe anymore and there was no more coughing or shaking. Paula carried him out to the car for us and we wrapped him in the same sleeping bag that we had cuddled with the night before. I stayed in the car and cried while Evan went inside and took care of everything. I felt some relief that it was done, and peace that he had looked so sweet and so rested.... but so much sadness and grief that it was overwhelming. He was my first "baby" and now I had let him go.

I cried all the way home. Evan buried him at the farm. I didn't think I could be there. He said words that I wanted said, and wrapped him in his sleeping bag. I thought I was doing okay until I got home and saw the front gate open. I had that sickening feeling that you get when you know someone left the gate open and your dog got out. And then I realized that Boyd was never coming back and would never get out again. It was a terrible realization and I started crying all over again. All night I would cry over silly things like seeing his picture, or remembering times we had and things we did. I went outside to let the chickens out for a while and shooed one away from Boyd's full dog food bowl, telling it to get away from Boyd's food. Then I broke down all over again, realizing that he wasn't going to be eating it so what did it matter anymore? Looking at his doghouse, or his crate on the porch with his dog bed and his "babies" inside it. These things are just heartbreaking.

Ardyn cried and Marek has asked me a few times where Boyd is. As soon as Evan came home Marek asked "dadddy did you bury Boyd?" Oy. Ardyn found a picture of a dog in a coloring book and colored it. She also added her own drawings of a halo and wings to the dog. She gave it to me and said "look Mommy, Boyd's an angel!" Heartbreaking. over and over again.

When we told the kids that the vet had put Boyd to sleep, they asked to see him and say goodbye. We uncovered him and put the kids up in the back of the Durango with Boyd, on his blanket. They petted him and I petted him again and Ardyn and I each kissed his soft ears, just like I always have. It felt good to say goodbye again. I felt guilty that I hadn't carried his body outside myself. I felt guilty that I wasn't going to be there to bury him. But I knew that Evan would do everything just right.

Tonight I am so very sad, and my headache from crying is immense. I hope that each day gets easier and that we can find another dog to raise and love as our own.

We Love You Boyd!
RIP Boyd Atticus. We loved you very very much. You were an amazing dog, you listened, you cared, you were there for us always. It was so hard to let you go.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Kidspeak- Dizzy

Marek was spinning around and around and around while driving his car in a circle.

When he stopped spinning he said,

"The house is tipping!!!!!!!"


Kidspeak- My Name Is

Overheard from the playroom:

Ardyn: "My Name is Liana. Like Li but with Ana at the end. Liana.

I am Liana. You can be 'Mr. Cheese Sauce'."


This has been a fun week. I haven't been feeling quite myself, but I can't complain of any real problems. I just get crampy and tired if I am on my feet the past two days so I am pretty much hanging out in my bedroom, watching TV and playing with the kids, reading books and magazines, etc. The kids are playing really well, and although they are doing a good job of making a mess big enough that I will likely never clean it up.... that's okay. At least they are behaving.

I've been trying to do things that will require little to no movement. I am not nauseous (except on rare occasions after I eat) so compared to previous pregnancies this is really great. But with both pregnancies I had thyroid problems in early pregnancy. With Ardyn's pregnancy they let me take synthroid, but the previous (with Marek) I was just told to "suffer" while they took blood every single week in Peoria to make sure it didn't get too out of control. I have a fairly good inkling that the strangeness I am feeling is a combo of the third month of pregnancy, crazy wild hormones (including the progesterone supplements that I have to take twice a day until I reach 10 weeks) and perhaps a bit of thyroid problems. I have gained one pound. So I am not complaining. As long as you don't come to visit me and expect to find me dressed, with my hair done, or a place to sit. There are also no spoons. But life's good.

I've been spending my time on Pinterest :) and just today finally got my laptop out instead of just using my phone. I wanted to organize my pinboards alphabetically and clean a few up, so I did that.

I've been working on starting seeds in my seed starter, which I haven't done for YEARS so I am happy to be back in that swing. When I was in high school I started to get very interested in landscaping and gardening. While living at Mom and Dad's, a neighboring farmer and good family friend told my dad that he had something for me. It was a HUGE Galvanized seed starting unit that had been in his barn and he just wanted it out and to get the space back. It's got four shelves and uses both 4 foot bulbs and regular lightbulb style bulbs on different tiers. My parents are obviously really cool parents because they allowed me, and helped me, to drag the thing home and put it in their basement and thats where I used their electricity to grow all kinds of plants, like the one year that I grew something crazy like three entire flats of tri-colored geraniums. For a while I collected various types of geraniums and searched greenhouses for new varieties and cool hybrids. I had scented, and bug repelling and all kinds of them.

When I moved to Wyanet the seed starter came too, but hasn't got used much here. The kids and I have got 5 flats started so far, for a staggering selection of chards, salad greens, lettuces, and flowering annuals and a few perennials. The goal is to not buy plants for the garden or the flowerboxes this year.... with the exception of the accent plants (spikes, asparagus ferns, etc) for the containers. So far it's been a fun experience for the kids. They love helping to fill the jiffy pots with jiffy mix and also watching peat pellets expand. Everything is germinating nicely.

I also decided to start some indoor vermicomposting in addition to the outdoor composter. That way we can compost all year long and have more rapidly developing compost. I will compost the yard waste and chicken and bunny poo outside, and compost the kitchen scraps inside. I decided to go ahead with this after I discovered these really nice and inexpensive directions for a do-it-yourself worm composter...

So I started that project and the worms are on order :) I had already read "Let It Rot" back in the days when I started composting (maybe Ardyn was 9 months old?) and then a couple of years later I had gotten REALLY Lucky to find a book on my wishlist "Worms Eat My Garbage" - for 50 cents at the local library booksale. I read all of that but then this morning I went ahead and read it again because I wanted to make sure I was prepared for what I was about to start.

Last week I finished my seed order from SandHill Preservation and I had yet to get that mailed, so I finished that up this morning too. I am extremely excited about growing heirloom tomatoes this year. I grew one variety last year because I started late and found a plant or two locally, but this year I hope that I can get them all started from seed and have several varieties. I watched a special on P Allen Smith last summer where went to Tomatofest where there was a tomato tasting and people came to a party to taste test heirloom tomatoes. I wrote down the winning varieties and will be trying at least two of them in the garden this year :)

I am itching to get outside. But I can't just yet, so I am using this lazy lounge time to prepare and plan :) It's working.

I am slowly (SLOWLY) Working on laundry. It has been not too bad, but up and down the steps and carrying big hampers is a bit much. I did three loads last night, and need to get started again today. The hampers are filling up faster than I can keep up!

I have a red plastic planter that I want to add our house number or something to, but I have yet to decide if I am going to attempt to paint on the planter (which probably won't last long with the plastic) or if I will just use the cricut and cut out letters from outdoor vinyl. The outdoor vinyl works wonderful on the mailbox (also plastic) and I did that more than two years ago and it's holding... so I am leaning that way. But I don't have any white vinyl laying around. I got the idea from this tiered planter, but I don't really want the tiered one I don't believe, so I will just make one big planter to put on the ledge by my front door, next to my red and white watering can with the ivy in it.

The best thing about summer is that we spend so much time outside and with the animals that I don't have so much to do inside the house. It's not trashed so easily :) The only time we come in is to bathe and sleep! Sometimes we even nap in the yard and hose off in the sink outside.

I also have about 12 cans saved and in the basement, ready to do this project.... to allow for some more space for planting on the fence. I bought the paint and just have to poke my drain and hanging holes and wait for a nice day to paint them. That should be fun :)

I am probably going to have plants coming out of my ears this spring, so all the extra planting space that I can get will be useful :) Plus these can be out of chicken and bunny reach if necessary.... which will be nice.

I am wondering if I can cram a cold frame (*from the windows we recycled and saved from our front porch) and a rain barrel, and maybe a living wreath into the spring as well? I recently came across and read "The Year Round Vegetable Gardener" and I absolutely devoured it. I read parts of it over and over and it inspired me greatly. I was so so sad when fall came and our lettuce and spinach and chard supply came to an end, and this year, that is SO not happening. :) I don't know if it will be cold frames or hoop houses or what yet, but I have ideas for both.

If I NEED to, I can even do this for my tomatoes this year....

Cover 5-gallon buckets with burlap and twine.... No More Redneck tomato planters :)

Well, this concludes my brain dump for the afternoon. Soon it will be naptime!
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