Sunday, April 26, 2015

All Dogs Go to Heaven

When I was a kid I wanted a chocolate lab so bad I couldn't stand it.  My parents wouldn't let me have one because they knew I'd never take care of it.  Well, when I was 17, right before Christmas, I got in the shower and when I got out there was the cutest black lab puppy sitting in a box in my room. (imagine a really cute picture of a black lab puppy)  I was smitten from the get go.  My aunt got her for me and my mom was less than thrilled.  I'm pretty sure I spent all my Christmas money that year on Gracie.  I was 17 and had no idea what I was getting myself into.  I don't remember much about her as a puppy.  I think she slept in a crate in my room.  I don't know what she did while I was at school.  I do know that she was always waiting on me when I got home from school.  In fact, when she was about 5 months old, she was so excited for us to get home from school she came barreling down the driveway at the same time as I was turning to go up the driveway and we collided.  I panicked.  She ran off wimpering.  I was hysterical.  I tried to call my mom on my cellphone from the driveway and luckily my little brother (who was around 11 at the time and had the most level head and handled the whole situation) was coming in the back door at the same time I called so my mom knew we were ok.  We took her to the vet.  Her leg was broken but because it was so close to her growth plate we had to see a specialist.  You can imagine how expensive that was.  She had a cast on her leg and I'd have to wrap a grocery sack around it every time I took her out. 
(I'm going to have to dig out some cute puppy pictures to add here)
My first year of college she had to stay home with my parents because I lived in the dorm.  I missed her.  She was always so happy to see me when I came home.
She came to live with me my sophomore year when I lived in a house.  The first tailgate party we hosted happened to fall around my aunt's birthday.  Gracie was never to be left in the house loose alone.  Well everyone got a ticket to the game last minute and the last person out left Gracie in the house.  When I got back there was cake and icing everywhere.  She had gotten the birthday cake off the table and had her own little party.  She was so bad.  She would get food off the counter all the time.  Once she got chicken fingers out of the toaster oven while they were cooking.  That's talent. 
She loved the lake.  She would swim out and try to get on your float with you.  Most people hated that.  When we would all go out to ski or tube, I never could go right in front of the house because she would swim out and chase me.  I think the lake was one of her favorite places. 
When Patrick and I got married she came with me to Morris.  Patrick already had Sam, his yellow lab and they were best buds from the beginning.  She had puppies that year too (they weren't Sam's, we don't know who the daddy was).  She was a good little mama. 
She was so proud of her babies. 
Last week she started moving slow.  We thought nothing of it.  She was almost 14 years old.  Well by Wednesday she wasn't eating.  Friday I had to go out in the yard and find her when I got home from work to get her in out of the rain.  She could only take 2 or 3 steps before she would fall and I'd have to pick her up again.  It was heartbreaking.  I got her in and she plopped down right in front of the door.  She was in the same place when Patrick got home 5 hours later.  We got her moved closer to her bed but she wouldn't eat or drink.  We decided we would take her to the vet Saturday morning.  When we got up Saturday morning Patrick went down to check on her and she was still in the same place we'd left her.  We got her loaded in the car and headed to the vet.  It was packed, Patrick stayed in the car with her while I went and told them we were there.  I broke down talking to the poor receptionist.  They came out to get us and we went back to the room.  The vet came in and examined her.  She said her liver was enlarged and that was probably what was causing her symptoms.  She gave us a few options.  She let us know that it could possibly be infection or something else causing her liver to struggle but most likely at her age it was probably just giving out.  She was so kind and told us she supported what ever we decided.  We decided that moving forward with treatment was not worth putting her through for maybe another week with her.  The vet was so kind and reassuring to us.  They let us hold her and say good bye.  As I was sitting there I was so mad at myself for not spending more time with her.  For not taking her to the lake again, not laying out in the yard on a blanket with her.  I was just so sad I took the time I thought we had for granted.  I know she was just a dog but that dog saw me through some of my life's biggest accomplishments.  She was there when I went to prom, graduated from high school, went off to college, moved in to the first place where I paid bills, when Patrick and I went on our first date, got engaged, when I finally graduated from college and got married.  She was there when we got home from our honeymoon and we moved in together.  She was there when we brought Barrett home and she was there for every day in between.  She was a food thief and an escape artist.  She got in the trash and was a little bit racist (which was odd since she was black).  She was the only reason I've ever had the police called on me.  She was the best bad dog I've even known and she will be greatly missed.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Horton House Daily: Week 15

Day 99:  I invited my college friends to come watch the first Grey's Anatomy and pretend we were in college again.  Lorie, Elise and Olivia came and I'm pretty sure we didn't hear a word of Greys.  We actually ended up watching Frozen.  Times have changed.
Day 100:  Barrett tested out of Early Intervention.  Patrick got a job offer.  And my hormone level finally dropped to normal (8 weeks after my miscarriage).  It was a good day for sure, filled with so many answered prayers.
Day 101:  Ally and I enjoyed a quiet night of tv after Barrett went to bed.
Day 102:  I forgot to take a good picture so I shared my love of journals.
Day 103:  I actually posted a video of Barrett saying "block"  because it sounds like a bad four letter work that begins with F.  Its hilarious.
Day 104:  I devoured some cookies and milk after Barrett went to bed.  I felt a little bad but not for long.

Day 105:  I went to the dentist and they sent me home with a balloon for Barrett.  He was so excited.  He insisted we take it with us the next day.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Early Intervention: Yearly Evaluation

(I just want to start by saying that the Lord has been showing out this week in the answered prayers department.  This is just one of many prayers that were answered this week.  I'm blown away and humbled by His faithfulness.  We are blessed beyond anything we could imagine or deserve.)
I know I just posted a little update but I wanted to post this update as well.  It was a year ago that we started this journey.  We had Barrett's annual evaluation yesterday and it went great.  They came to our home this time and Barrett was in his element.  He really showed out.  I'm so proud of that little booger.  The speech therapist was showing him pictures in a book for him to label.  He did great.  He labeled everything, he even said "scissors".  I'd never heard him say that and didn't know he knew what they were.  Needless to say we were impressed.  I knew there was a chance that he would test out of the program.  I didn't think that he would so I wasn't prepared at all when they all said he no longer qualified in any areas.  I knew he'd be fine in everything but communication.  I really thought he'd still qualify in communication.  He's made so much progress but he's still a little behind.  A 25% delay would have him on a 20 month old level at 27 months.  He scored at a 21 month old level.  So he was close to qualifying again.  When he was evaluated last year his communication was on the level of a 5-7 month old.  He was 15 months old.  We had no idea he was that delayed.  So we are so happy with the progress he's made.  A year ago he made no sounds other than crying and he really didn't even do that too often.  He made no efforts to communicate.  Today he "talks" all the time.  We understand about 50% of what he says.  But he's learning new words every day.  Our speech therapist recommended we continue to practice what they've taught us and if he's not continued to improve, in June seek private speech therapy.  So that's what we're going to do.  I'm so happy that he's made progress but I'm going to miss seeing these sweet ladies every month.  They have probably helped me as much or more than they've helped him.  When he hit that age where he just wasn't eating, they both were like "totally normal, he'll eat when he's hungry, don't sweat it." they were right.  When he started throwing fits, they both assured me that not only was it normal, it was actually a good thing developmentally.  It's been nice to have an outside voice to assure us that we are doing a good job.
We're going to miss Ms. Amy and Ms. Tamara. 
I guess I'll quit rambling now.  I've been blown away by everyone's support over the last year.  I've heard from mom's that have been down the same road and it was always so encouraging. 
" He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.  When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us."
 2 Corinthians 1:4
This has become one of my favorite verses this year.  It is so true.  I've had the opportunity to talk to a few moms that are starting this journey and I have loved being able to hopefully encourage them. 
I took this picture after he went to bed.  I went in just to watch him sleep. I'm so proud of him.  I just felt overwhelmed by God's grace.  We are so blessed and I never want to take that for granted.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Horton House Daily: Week 14

Day 92:  Ally got her much needed Summer haircut.  She always looks so tiny after she gets groomed.e4
Day 93:  Mom, Porter and Harper were making pagach.  They were fighting over who got to roll each one.
Day 94:  We had a fun day!  We started with the church Easter Egg hunt and had a blast with our friends.  Then we headed to Grandmother's house for lunch.  We all had a blast riding John's go cart.

Day 95:  My sweet little family after Easter Mass.

Day 96:  Going through all the goodies we got in our baskets at our parents houses. 
Day 97:  We went to watch Elise play ragball.  It was the cutest.  Barrett actually took this picture.
Day 98:  Patrick took the night off and we went to the park.  It had been a while since he'd gotten to see Barrett play at the park and he's just gotten so brave.  Then Barrett threw up in the truck on the way home.  I was afraid he'd gotten then terrible bug that's going around but I think he just got too hot.  He's been fine since we got home.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Weekend

We had the best weekend celebrating Easter!
We started earlyish Saturday morning at our church's Easter egg hunt.  This was the first time we'd taken Barrett and we had the best time.  We got to play with friends and it was so much fun watching them together.

It was a cool, breezy beautiful morning with my little family.

These boys are just the cutest.  I pray all the time that Barrett is blessed with good friendships through life.  During high school my best friends were through youth group at church and I hope Barrett is lucky enough to have the same.

After we left church we headed to my Grandmother's house for lunch and to visit with them.  Barrett hunted eggs again.

He liked to stop and open each one as he picked them up.  There wasn't anything in these eggs and he was so confused because the other 3 times he'd hunted eggs there was candy in them.

John brought his go cart and we all had a ball riding it.  Barrett was terrified at first we he cranked it up but after he saw me ride it he wanted to ride and then he cried when we made him get off.

He was pouting on Uncle Patrick because we made him let the others have a turn.

These three had a blast.  I love this picture of them laughing.  My Granddaddy would let us ride whatever motorized toy he had at the time.  There are so many pictures of us piled in just like this laughing our heads off.  Those are some of my favorite memories and it makes me so happy that our kids get to experience the same.

Our family with my Grandmother and Aunt.
Sunday morning we got up to see what the Easter bunny had left for Barrett.  He was so excited.  He's at a really fun age! 
I made him take a picture by his basket wearing his bunny ears before he could tear into his basket.  He pulled every single thing out and named it and then insisted we open the cars.  I can't say I was surprised.

We got ready and headed to Mass with my family.  Barrett was loud and whiney and wiggly and I was about to lose it.  I was at a point where I was like why do we even bother.  It just doesn't seem worth it.  I was kneeling down and he was squirming out of Patrick's lap and being whiney and I just closed my eyes and prayed, "Just show me that this is worth it.  Show me that the sweating and sshhhing and trying to keep a toddler quiet is worth it."  Patrick tapped me on the arm, I look over to see Barrett kneeling on the kneeler trying to fold his little chubby hands like mine to pray.  My eyes immediately filled with tears.  It was an answer to my prayer.  I can't remember a time in my life where such a simple prayer was answered immediately in such a real way.  I was in awe.  It was like a weight was lifted.  Taking a toddler to Mass is hard, but it is worth it. (I apologize if you follow me on social media, I know you've already heard this story)
After Mass we went to my parents house for lunch.  This is the best picture I got of Barrett in his outfit. 
Hunting eggs...again.  My dad had put candy and dollar bills in the eggs.  Barrett found one with a dollar but he traded Harper the dollar for her candy. 
He was pleased with his trade.
I'm sad the weekend is over.  It has been a great one.  I loved spending time with my brothers and sister and their families.  I loved watching Barrett with his cousins.  2015 has not been my favorite year.  The first few months were tough but I'm not ready to write the whole year off just yet.  I'm feeling refreshed and ready to see what's in store.  This weekend with my people was good for my soul.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Horton House Daily: Week 13

Week 13 has been a fun one.  We've been up to lots of fun stuff.  We're loving this weather!
Day 85:  We met Jackson and Jessica at the park after work.  It was a fun afternoon with these boys.
Day 86:  We went to a fun Easter playdate with our group of boys.  Amy hosted such a fun morning.  We hunted Easter eggs and the boys destroyed their house and a good time was had by all!
Day 87:  Our 7th Anniversary.  I look at those two kids and think they had no idea what was in store for them.  This past year has had its share of ups and downs.  We've laughed and cried and prayed our way through them all.  It's not always easy but it's always worth it.
Day 88:  We went to dinner to celebrate our anniversary.  I posted on instagram "celebrating 7 years of living with clean underwear on the kitchen table."  Because there are those things that you don't know about someone until you live with them. When that person is your spouse, you just have to learn to live with some of the things. Like laundry on your kitchen table.
Day 89:  Barrett was out of school this week for Spring Break so Anna offered to watch him Monday and she sent me this picture of the boys playing together.  They are so cute together and I just love their sweet little friendship.  I'm thankful for sweet friends that offer to watch Barrett for me.
Day 90:  We've reached the "I do it." stage.  It took him about 20 minutes but he finally got them on.
Day 91:  Barrett and I dined al fresco.  It was such a beautiful night.  We're loving this spring weather.
We're looking forward to a fun, busy weekend.  I'll be back next week with a full Easter recap.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April Goals

Another month has passed.  I didn't do great with my goals this month.  I'm not happy with my lack of progress but I did a lot more socializing this month than I normally do so that's not necessarily a bad thing.
(Lets ignore the fact that I didn't crop this screen shot from my phone. K?)
I've done pretty good keeping up with my devotionals.  I've enjoyed that quiet time in the morning.  Patrick and I celebrated our 7th anniversary with dinner out.  I didn't get the pantry cleaned out.  We cleaned out the guest room enough to move the furniture from our room in.  Now its a disaster again.  I haven't really spent less time on facebook.  Patrick is on second shift so I spend a lot of time alone at night so I find myself scrolling through facebook several times in the evening.  So there are still a few things to work on but overall not a terrible month.
Clean out Pantry!  I've got to clean out and re-organize the pantry because Barrett can open the door now and I've got to move all the candy and stuff I don't want him to have up higher.  Play Outside!  The weather is finally beautiful out!  We've been trying to hit the park several times a week.  I want to start playing outside in the afternoons when Barrett wakes up from his nap.  He loves being outside.  Take Better Care of ME!  I'm not even talking losing weight (although I need to do that too).  I've been sick so many times this year and I think its a result of not taking care of myself.  I need to start eating better and exercising and maybe take some vitamins and make sure I'm getting enough sleep.  Clean Up Outside.  I need to clean up the deck and the yard and get it ready for us to enjoy.  Have another "NO SPEND" Month.  I've bought several things this month to get my wardrobe ready for spring and add in Easter stuff, I need a no spend month to recover.  I did it a few months ago and I really liked it.  So I'm going to try it again.  Work on Getting all of our Photos Organized.  I'm so behind on photos.  I should have been working on this each night while Patricks been working but I haven't.  I'm hoping to start to get caught up this month.
So, there's my monthly goals.  Hopefully I can knock them out this month.