The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Thinking

Since even before Lucy died I’ve been trying to figure out when is a good time to adopt another dog. Now that our house is empty, it’s even more on my mind. I really don’t like not having an animal in the house, but I also don’t want to rush into anything.

I’ve had my eye on a small pekingese with a rescue organization. She’s had a rough life, which makes me want to give her a really loving home. But I worry that she’s not a cat, and she’s not a big dog like Lu, and that somehow we just won’t connect with her.

I had zero plans of adopting a golden retriever puppy this summer and yet, an ad popped up for a litter on a local website I frequent. With golden’s it can be hard to find puppies with a good pedigree and good health. This litter had both, plus they are blondies. It seemed kind of like a sign? Like Lucy pointing me towards this. And yet a puppy, that’s a lotta lotta.

I reached out to a few people I trust and got some excellent advice. In the end though, it’s something we have to figure out on our own. Right now, I’m leaning towards no to the puppy. Delaney is running a fever right now and even dealing with that feels like a lot at this moment. I’m hoping we can meet the small dog, but I also know if we meet her, the girls will want to come home with her. Perhaps we’ll end up waiting there too.

Any advice internets?

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Thank you and some grace

Thank you to everyone who has left a comment, called, texted, emailed, said a prayer, or thought of us over the last few days. I’m not in a place where I can respond right now, just reading them at times is difficult, but please know your support means everything. Truly.

The people I’ve told in person about Lucy have expressed their sorrow, then asked “So how are the girls taking it?” with the look on their face saying they must be crying buckets yes? My very honest answer has been “Actually, they’ve been complete assholes.”

When Maddy died Delaney cried, she slept with her collar, she had nightmares and had to sleep with me, it hit her very hard. Caden too, just not as deeply. But Lucy? All they can talk about is the new dog they want us to adopt. I am broken, and Caden is yelling at me because she wants me to buy her yet one more thing and is pissed that I won’t. I can’t even.

We have had several heart to hearts about thinking of others, respecting someone else’s sadness, and remembering Lucy before we move on. I think I finally got through to them yesterday. When I picked them up Caden asked how I was feeling and if I missed Lucy. Amy and Matt came over for dinner (saviors!) and the girls didn’t mention a new puppy a single time.

I’m going to give them some grace and allow that maybe, this grief was more than they could manage and they didn’t know how to process it. Lord knows, that’s the case for me. And so we talked about how it was okay to miss Lu, and it was okay to cry about that, and that it was okay to be sad. I’d rather they be sad and cry with me, then act like she had never been there. Please don’t ever forget Lu. She was the best, she deserves more than that. I think those words are finally sinking in with them, and hopefully the rest of our week will go much better.

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Lucy, the end

my lucy

Oh man. This post is hard to write. I completely jinxed myself when I said that Lucy was recovering and doing well. She spent Friday at the vet and was noticeably both better and worse. Her incision wasn’t bleeding anymore, but she was refusing food and was having serious difficulty walking or putting any weight on her back legs.

I spent all of Friday evening just sitting next to her, trying to let her relax and get some rest. She ate a little, enough to take her medicine, but was refusing most food. Saturday morning I got up early and tried the food again. No go. She was clearly in pain, she couldn’t walk at all, and with her refusal to eat, all the signs were there. We already had an appointment at the vet, so I called ahead and told them her condition.

For some reason, I sent a text out to a few family members to tell them we were taking Lucy in. I knew we needed prayers and support for the morning, and my parents ended up driving in to be with us at the appointment. My mom and I were with Lucy until the end, and I made sure her final moments were of me telling her I loved her. She is running through fields, jumping off docks, and chasing tennis balls that she can actually see now. While I am beside myself with grief that she’s gone, I am also so happy that she is finally not in pain.

I have tried to keep it together in front of the girls, but when I’m alone, I have cried so hard I hyperventilated. To lose my sidekick, my ever present partner in crime, is something I cannot comprehend right now. When I come home tonight and her smiling face doesn’t greet me at the top of the stairs, well, I can’t even think about that now.

Lucy was such a social dog. I always laughed that an introvert like me had two extroverted daughters, and extroverted dog and an extroverted cat. She was never more happy than when she was around a bunch of people. She loved those two years when we had a nanny, and she had company in the house all the time. I remember a few months ago when we were painting the walls grey. We were in the dining room which is small anyway, and she plopped down in the worst possible spot. She was *right* in the way. My dad said “Lucy! Get out!” and I laughed. I told him you can’t say that to her, that she would leave but come right back. He laughed, but we all watched as she dutifully got up and walked out of the dining room, through the living room, into the kitchen and right back into the dining room where she lay down in the exact same spot.

God help the next dog we get, she has some big shoes to fill.

Lucy, I know you know, but I should never have done that surgery. I thought it might give you some pain free final months, but all it did was push you over the edge. I’m sorry. Forever sorry. I love you to Pluto and back baby girl.

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So very tired

The girls are going to day camp this summer. They do three field trips a week, and every day is packed full of activities. If it’s nice out, they are outside the majority of the day. When I signed them up for this, I was really excited about this. So! many! field trips! Lots of activities!

Two of the field trips this week involved bus rides of 30 minutes or more. Caden fell asleep on both bus rides back, and fell asleep on the bus ride to the MOA yesterday. This kid is tired. Delaney slept on both bus rides back. Also tired.

The thing that bums me out about all of this is that I have to be fairly careful about bed time. They can’t really stay up super late because they can’t sleep in the next day. I’ve been letting them sleep a bit later since we got back from vacation, and even then, they are bears to get up every day.

Every once in a while we talk about getting a nanny next summer, but I just don’t know about that. They’d get to hit the pool and sleep in and stay up late, but it’s more expensive. A lot more expensive. I’d love to find someone to nanny share with, but I think that is more pipe dream than anything else.

(The girls are watching me type this and Delaney can’t believe I’m writing about bedtime and Caden told me to go to care.com to find a nanny. Oh these two.)

Anyway, there is no good solution to this. I’m hopeful next summer when they’re a little bit older they’ll be able to handle the activity a little better. Until then, we soldier on.

Lucy is recovering well. When the vet called to check on her I asked for better pain killers, since all they gave me was an advil equivalent. They gave me some narcotics for her – woo! She had a rough first night, but has been more comfortable and sleeping better since. Thank you so much everyone for your thoughts and prayers!

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Update

Lucy went into surgery at 9:30 yesterday, I got a call at 10:05 from the vet. They had made the incision, but the tumor was entangled with the muscle. She described it as dark, with a blood supply and nerves tangled in it. To remove it would mean removing the muscle, more than Lucy could handle at this age. She recommended closing her back up and I agreed.

It was a long day at work.

After work I picked up the girls then picked up Lucy. She was weak but walking on her own. I will give myself credit for doing all of my crying by myself, and holding it together completely at the vet. I even asked all the questions I wanted to ask.

Here’s what we know. Lucy’s blood work is completely normal and since they didn’t remove anything, her recovery should be much easier.

And what we don’t know? We have no idea if the tumor is cancer. Googling got my lots of cancer websites though, so I’m assuming it is, although wouldn’t her blood work reflect that? Shaving the area where the tumor is has made it very obvious just how large the tumor is. Considering the fact that it’s growing, I can only imagine it is just a matter of time before she has little use of that leg. What decisions we make beyond that are unknown.

More than anything I just hope that we can recognize when enough is enough for her.

Sorry, I didn’t plan on posting more than a few sentence update on Lu, but I’m emotionally drained from the day and she is consuming all my thoughts.

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Lucy, again

afterlight

A month or so ago I took Lucy into the vet. I thought she had an ear infection, but I also wondered if something else was wrong. She just wasn’t herself. They looked her over and concluded she did have an ear infection, but that it was also time to remove the tumor on her back leg. It’s been there for a while and we’ve been keeping an eye on it, but it’s now impeding her mobility and making her more than a little miserable.

The tumor is right by (under?) the muscle of her back leg. It affects her strength, which affects her ability to squat or get up when she’s laying down. It’s grown significantly in the last few months, and is now very noticeable when you’re looking at her.

We briefly debated even doing the surgery considering her age, but the agreement was that the benefits to her quality of life outweighed the risks. So this morning we dropped her off to have the surgery. We’ve done this before. She had another large fatty tumor removed in 2013. This tumor isn’t as big, but will likely be as involved of a recovery. I’ll work from home on Thursday, and will try to make it a short day in the office on Friday.

If you’re the praying sort, we really need the surgeon to be able to remove as much of the tumor as possible. We don’t have a good idea of where the tumor is exactly, and I’m hoping it isn’t tangled up in muscle or arteries.

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Definitely going back

girls 1

To be perfectly honest, I was a little nervous about this vacation. The weather wasn’t looking all that warm, the girls were complaining they didn’t want to swim in a lake, and we were spending money to go to a cabin, when my parents already own a place on a lake (that also has a pool). I thought maybe I booked something that we didn’t need at all. Obviously, that was completely wrong because this place was exactly what we needed.

caden_

This vacation was about one thing – Saying Yes. I wanted to be able to say yes if the girls wanted to play in the sand, go swimming, stay up late, sleep in, get a treat, read a book. Whatever they wanted to do, I wanted us to be able to do it. Because the beach was visible from our cabin, the girls could play in the sand whenever, and with three adults someone was always willing to sit by the beach if they wanted to swim. The office was directly behind us, so getting an ice cream treat was as simple as walking 10 yards and writing it down on our sheet (and there was always an adult willing to grab an ice cream treat).

girls 4

I’ve taken vacations with my parents before and know that it’s easy for everyone to get on each other’s nerves when you’re in close quarters. We may have had a few moments, but overall, the week went so well. Everyone pitched in with the cooking and cleaning, and we all retreated to our own corners when we needed to. For me, it was really nice to have two other adults to help with the girls, and the girls got quality Grammy and Grampy time in.

lane grampy

Before we left, my mom and I put together a list of meal ideas and a grocery list. We brought a few things, but bought a bunch of groceries when we got there. It all worked out really well, and we ate all but one of our meals at the cabin. I was a tiny bit done with cooking by the end, but it was nice to just stay where we were and not haul everyone into town to spend a bunch of money on food my kids didn’t eat.

mom erin

We made friends with our neighbors early in the week and found out that the families on both sides of us are there every year (and have been for many years). I spent the week thinking “Could I spend another week with these people next year?” The answer was definitely yes. There were a bunch of kids that the girls played with, and the adults either kept to themselves, or were fun to chat with. We’re automatically signed up for the same week next year, and we all agreed we want to go back. It’s such an ideal situation. Two hours away, 3 bedrooms/2 bathrooms, right on a lake with great fishing, in a well equipped resort.

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Back to normal

laney lake

I was going to write up a wrap up vacation post but anything I write on Sunday is like pulling teeth, so instead, a few last pictures from the lake and a weekend recap.

caden lake

We checked out on Saturday, but weren’t really sure what time we were supposed to be out. We felt good about being packed up by 9am, then found out that was check out time. Since we were out so early, we hit Caribou on our way out of town. Even stopping for lunch, we were home by noon, unpacked by 1:00pm! It was so nice to have Saturday and Sunday at home to decompress.

laney lake 2

On Sunday we did some yard work, then hit the pool. The girls loved the lake, but were so excited to swim in a pool again. Luckily the pool was busy, so the line was too long for the tube slides and this girl did not have to take her already exhausted legs up and down them. We stuck to a bit of swimming, then headed home after a few hours. And now, I hope we can all get up at a reasonable hour in the morning!

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First Crappie!

fish 1

We’ve done a lot of fishing this year. It’s been fun to move off the dock at my parent’s lake and find some fishing holes where we can catch a bunch of fish. (It looks like we were fishing in a field which cracks me up. No! Just fishing deep in the weeds.)

fish 2

For whatever reason, Caden is obsessed with catching different types of fish. She really wanted to go trolling for northerns, not really even understanding what that meant. So far, we’ve caught sun fish (and the bass she caught at my parent’s lake). But last night we put minnows on and the crappies started biting. They were fighters and took a little more finesse to catch, but it was so fun. She was beyond excited to catch one!

fish 3

Wednesday night my dad took them out fishing and they caught a bunch of sunnies. The girls wanted to help him clean them. The fish cleaning house is decent so I let them, but man oh man did they stink when they came in so they went straight to the bathtub.

fish 4

We had enough fish to do a fish dinner last night, and freeze a few packages. If the weather is decent today (it’s supposed to be windy) we’ll head out and try again. For me, if it’s nice out I don’t even care if we’re catching anything. I just love being out on the boat, it’s so peaceful.

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HORSES

horse 1

The YMCA camp offers a horse camp where the kids get to ride for an hour plus a day. The girls aren’t old enough to do it yet, but it’s still all they talk about. They can’t wait to go to that camp. (omg so many cut off horse heads. sorry! sometimes the 50mm lens just doesn’t fit it all in!)

horse 2

In the meantime, we had planned to ride at the resort near our cabin. I thought they could do a riding lesson, but at this age they only do lead arounds.

horse 3

It really didn’t matter, the girls were beyond thrilled to get to ride big horses.

horse 4

They had huge smiles the entire time.

horse 5

Doing things like this always makes me want to find more opportunities for them to ride, it’s just hard to fit one more thing into our schedule.

horse 6

This summer, maybe we’ll just come back and do this one more time.

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