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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Gone, but not Forgotten

I've been putting off writing this post for a while now, because, unlike most of my blog entries, this one is not fun to write. But I want to write it because the subject of this post meant so much to our family. So here goes.

On September 8, 2012, we said goodbye to our dog, Dixie. Of course, if you have a pet you know that they become much more than just pets...they are members of our family, and it's terrible to have to let them go. Dixie was no different. Although I know she led a happy 13 and 1/2 years with us, and that it was her time to go, it was still very hard to say goodbye.

Dixie had a quirky personality, and I have to say that, if there was a positive aspect to dealing with her loss, it has been remembering how unique and special she was.

She was always a loyal guardian, sometimes to an extreme. If anyone got too close to me, even someone she knew, she'd start growling. And if she thought someone was being hurt, she was right in the mix, ready to protect. Even poor Ryan wasn't always immune to this treatment. He'd give me a high five, or try to tickle me, and my guard dog would spring into action. He actually has a scar on his arm to remind him where Dixie's true loyalties would always lie.

She loved her home with us, and I never worried about letting her out in the front yard alone. When I lived in an apartment in law school, I could just open my front door, let her dash across a little driveway to a green median to do her business, and she'd always come running right back. We've had more than one well-meaning neighbor stop by to let us know she was "loose" in our front yard, not realizing that I'd let her out there on purpose.

I remember so many things about what made her special and memorable. She loved to have her head petted, and she licked people's fingers like they were ice cream cones. She chewed her paws when she was nervous, and played with her favorite stuffed duck, Webster, like there was no tomorrow. She had an odd affinity for small metal objects - I often found her chewing on paper clips, stray nails, bracelets, and beaded shoes. She could do a few tricks, like sitting, lying down and playing dead, but before long she learned that she could get her treat faster if she did them all together in rapid succession :)

She hated being confined or left alone, digging and scratching her way out of many crates and gates (and seriously marring one laundry room door at my in-laws!). And she was a snuggler, often burying herself under couch pillows or warm bodies when she could find them. She lived with Ryan for a while before we were married and he still remembers how Dixie would cuddle up against his back while he slept (I guess whatever provoked the scarring injury was forgiven by then).

Yes, I'd say Dixie entrenched herself in our lives while she was here, and we loved her for it. It's still hard to believe she's not sleeping in a patch of sun somewhere or snuffling around the kitchen table for scraps. I sometimes think I still hear her, scratching at the back door or whining to be let up in our bed. I tried a few times to make her sleep at night on her own bed, but she wasn't having any of that. So she slept with us, somehow taking up a third of the bed, even though she only weighed ten pounds! I can't count how many nights my legs fell asleep because they were bent at awkward angles trying not to disturb Miss Dixie's space :)

I miss her, and I know I'll never have another dog like her. It's been hard to pack up all her little things...her food bowl, and leash, and toys are such a part of our life that I don't really even notice them any more.

But I think that's okay. I think that's how it should be when someone you love is gone. They don't suddenly disappear from your heart or from your life. And we wouldn't want them to. They leave little reminders behind that comfort us and take us back to those happy moments together.

So, for now, I think I'll leave Webster the duck just where he is, and take my time packing away that little pink collar. I'll leave a little room at the foot of the bed, and be glad that I was blessed with such a friend.

Rest in peace, sweet Dixie.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Football Season

We kicked off the 2012 football season with a fun trip to Waco and a great game! The boys were amazing - especially with no naps! - they had a great time cheering on the Bears and hanging out with lots of family. Even though it was miserably hot outside (like it always is at the beginning of a season), we braved the heat to enjoy some tailgating with our friends and family. I have to say, Baylor tailgating has grown leaps and bounds since I was a student there.  We love the new game day atmosphere and all the school spirit. In fact, the boys and I enjoyed it so much that we decided to spend the second half of the game back at our tailgate spot.

Don't get me wrong - they really enjoyed the stadium atmosphere too - but keeping them from jumping on, bumping into, and/or grabbing random fans around us is getting more and more challenging :) Thankfully, everyone around us seems kind enough to indulge the little ones for a while. Griffin made friends with a boy several years older than him who was sitting in the row behind us. They played peek-a-boo, gave fist bumps, and even shared a bag of chips before the night was over.

And the Bears played a great game against the SMU Mustangs - also a big change from my student days!  We're looking forward to lots more tailgating, football, and (hopefully) cooler weather this fall.

Sporting our green and gold

Parker's first Baylor game!

Lots of fun with Uncle Stephen

Jasper was groovin' to some timeout music


First day of Preschool

The boys started back at Sonshine Academy today. It's a preschool at a local Baptist church that I'm so thankful for. Griff goes twice a week, and Jasper's starting for the first time this year, attending one day a week. Which means....for FIVE WHOLE HOURS every week, this mama gets a little alone time, and her little tykes get some time to play with lots of new friends, doing crafts, singing, dancing, and learning about the Lord. What a blessing for us all :)

Let's go, Mama!