Tuesday, December 17, 2013

an early gift

Here's the thing.  I have always loved animals for as long as I can remember.  However, as our family has changed & grown (& grown), having pets was not on my list of priorities or desires.  Three years ago, my husband & children horn-swoggled me into adding a puppy to the mix.  Ella entered our family right after K'Tyo came home & right before Kendi came along.  I'm pretty sure I was out of my mind, but truly, Ella is the best dog!!
Kameryn has also had a very big heart for animals, & last Christmas she begged to get a black pug from one of Kade's classmates.  She pled her case with the argument that she'd be living at home while attending college, so it would ease the pain of not having the full campus-life experience (eye roll).  Let's just say that Joe is not very good at saying no.  So Daisy is part of our family for the next few years until Kameryn graduates.
Anyway, a few months back, Kearsten moved into her own place in SC where she is teaching & decided she was ready to have a dog.  She found an awesome dog through a rescue.  His story is so sad, but he is the happiest guy.  For some reason, this just really struck a chord with me.  I was inspired to start looking at rescue dogs.  Joe pretty much thought I had gone mad, especially after we had a bad experience a couple years ago with someone not being honest about a dog's disposition with children & other animals.  I guess in every bad thing there is good b/c I learned that you need to ask way more questions & trust your instincts about the dynamics of your family combined with the personality/needs of the dog.  We met some awesome people involved in rescue & met a couple of sweet dogs, too, but one didn't do real well when he met the little ones & the other didn't think much of Ella.  About 2 weeks ago, we connected with a family that needed to find a new home for their boxer.  When we saw a picture of him, I about fell out of my chair.  He was sitting with another boxer & a pug!  He also has the same coloring as Ella (reverse brindle, which looks black & white).  He's also only 9 months old, but bigger than Ella.  We agreed to meet since we would be in the same city due to an appointment with one of Kemeri's specialists.  What a day that was!  Kemeri's appointment went way over, & then when we got outside, we discovered it had been snowing.  A lot.  We went ahead & made our way to meet "Gus".  Honestly, we almost said no.  When he was brought outside, he was freaking out.  It was like he knew something was up, & he was obviously attached to his owner.  Maybe that's why we ultimately agreed to give it a try?  I don't know, but we agreed to take him home & somehow convinced him to get in the van.
He insisted on sitting between the car seats, which was fine with the girls (especially Kemeri).
Kemeri seemed to know that he needed some reassurance & TLC.
And the rest is history.  Within a day, he acted like he's always known Ella, the kids, & us!
He also thinks his 55-60ish pound self is a lap dog.
And he rides in the front seat to drive the kids around like it's his job.
And he even decided just now that he ought to share the chair with me while blogging.
Gus, Gus-Bus, Gusters, Augustus...We're glad he found us & that we found him! <3 p="">

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

trees & memories

November of 2012, I attempted to do a thankful post every day.  November of 2013 saw but one post.  It wasn't because I wasn't thankful.  I am thankful for a whole lot.  I found myself in a very introspective frame of mind with little motivation to put it to words.  We did make a trip to SC to visit Kearsten for Thanksgiving.  It was a short, but much needed, trip to hug my girl.
At any rate, have I ever mentioned that I truly enjoy decorating for Christmas?  It makes me feel like we are getting the house ready to celebrate Jesus' birthday in a way we don't fancy it up any other time of the year.  Before we left for SC, I got everything done except for the live tree we always go out & get together at the tree farm.  This last weekend's weather threw us a curve ball.  It was awfully cold for the littler people in our household, so for the first time in as many years as I can remember, we did not go with all the kids in tow.  Kam & Kade stayed home with the little ones & Kyler offered to go along.
Honestly, I got all blubbery at the tree farm.  It felt funny, I have already been struggling with the changes that have taken place this last year (read: 2 have flown the nest & I don't like it), & I have just been overly emotional anyway.  Since it was so cold, we opted to pick a pre-cut tree instead of taking the wagon out to the field.  We decided to tell Kyler it was his pick.  He picked what looked to be a pretty good-sized tree (ok, he has his mother's affinity for the wide trees!), so we had it wrapped in the netting & headed out to the van.  This is where the whole day turned around for me.
The tree was wayyyy bigger than we thought, & there was no way it was sliding in through the back to rest on top of the seats like we planned.  After some time, we came up with the ridiculous brilliant idea to put the tree in through the sliding door on the side & let it hang out for the ride home.  Total genious!  Kyler & I sat on the 2nd bench to hold onto the tree so it didn't jump ship on the busy road home.  Kyler was sure we would be remembering the year he lost a tree on Rt 42, but we made it! Our hands & faces were frozen (it was windy & snowing the whole way home), but I was laughing so hard that my tears were no longer sad ones!  New, crazy memories are okay. :o)
Is that not an ridiculously obnoxious sight!? 
Even more obnoxious is the amount of space it takes up in our living room, & I LOVE IT!
The kids enjoyed decorating, but the lower branches became a bit heavy.
We have 2 other trees on the main floor of the house.  This next one is in the kitchen.  It is so special to me because I decorate it with copper-colored cookie cutters & jello molds that my grandmother gave me many years ago. 
And this tree is & always will be my most favorite.  People often ask me for parenting advice, which I always feel ill-equipped to give, but here's something I strongly suggest:  Save those sweet ornaments your children make in Sunday School & school (or wherever).  They are treasures, & I enjoy unwrapping them every.single.Christmas.  Some of them are now 20 years old.  The kids even enjoy looking at them.
Through the love of family, traditions, making new memories, heirlooms given in love, & carefully crafted treasures made with love by the hands of my children, I am reminded of God's love & most precious gift of His Son at Christmas.