Friday, November 20, 2015

2015 Dragon Boat Festival-Sept. 19

Abbey's Chinese Dance group was invited to dance at the local Dragon Boat Festival celebration. Our little Chinese Dancer was delighted to be able to dance. (We had a little photo shoot and I couldn't choose between the following poses)

It was a beautiful, warm September day.

Best buds..Lily and Abbey

Anna, Layne and Waverly came to see her.

Waverly loves her "Aunt" Abbey

and her aunt is quite smitten with her

The races were interesting to watch

and there were other interesting sights

I'm grateful for the chance to introduce Abbey and Elijah to a small portion of their Chinese heritage. Events like these make it easy to have a conversation about some traditions and celebrations held in China.


Friday, November 6, 2015

In Memoriam~She did life her way!


Our family has one less being with us tonight.

Our dog, Layla, has been sliding downhill, health wise for quite a while. We watched while she struggled to get up stairs, then we watched while she began refusing to go upstairs(even with a bribe of food),  we watched as she repeatedly would fall and have to be picked up, (sometimes several times before her legs would hold her), we watched as she got to the point where she couldn't tell when she had to go to the bathroom, and after the accident, she apparently hurt too bad to move to another spot. We watched and wondered, "Is it time?"

her back legs had atrophied to the point that she rarely bent them

Today it was time. We said goodbye to her at the vet's office, with tears in our eyes, while she breathed her last breaths.

Layla was a different sort of pet.  She wasn't obedient at all, neither was she overly loving. She did not get overly excited when we came home after an absence and never demanded to be petted. She was incredibly stubborn and only obeyed if she was forced, it involved food or it was her idea first. Losing Layla is hard because she was our dog! She wasn't a poster-dog for greatness, but she was ours and we loved her! I do believe in her own non-emotional way she loved us. Even at the end, she would, with great discomfort, rise and come to lay where someone in the family was, just to be near one of us.

We got Layla after losing our beloved dog, Dot. John, Jr. had had shoulder surgery and was depressed over that. Beth was lamenting going to college and us getting a dog that she wouldn't know. So, we only waited about a month after Dot's death. We took John, Jr and told him to pick out a Chocolate Lab from a litter in Sanford. We saw this cute as pie, little butter ball of brown fur with gorgeous honey brown eyes. John picked her up and said, "This is a friend!" Thus, our life with Layla started!

Immediately we found out how rotten, spirited she was. Puppies chew and we expected that. We didn't expect that John's glasses left on his nightstand would be one of the casualties of this puppy! I mean the lens, rims and all...crunch! One night, the girls and I were in the den and for some still unexplained reason, Layla went ballistic. She was running back and forth, back and forth, only stopping to momentarily nip at one of us. When we tried to catch her, she would nip harder until we let her go. By the end of her little tirade, she had all three of us perched on the back of the couch, where she couldn't reach us. Yep, that was our girl!

At our wit's end, we decided she needed obedience training.  She and I attended every class and she "graduated". Her graduation pictures depict just how obedient she had become.

The first one...

the second one...

Notice the lack of hat-she refused to let me put it on, and the vise-like grip I have on her collar, because she had decided one picture was enough and she was getting out of dodge.

All throughout her life, she would open the screen door at her whim and take off! She would immediately go roll in some sort of foul smelling poop(I think it was cat), tree a cat if she could find it and then come home and sit on the porch waiting to be let back in. (Which wasn't to be until she has been thoroughly scrubbed). She had recently calmed down her wanderings, but last May she got a wild hair and took off, like old times. I looked out and the mailman was riding closely behind her beeping his horn. She was just trotting along, without a care in the world, (her hearing had also gone).

One memory is her first trip to the beach.

We stayed at a friend's house across the road from the beach. The first day there, we're playing and we see this dog getting in the middle of some other beach-goer's bocce ball game. (Layla adored balls). One of the kids said confusedly, "That dog looks like Layla!" It took a few minutes before we realized it WAS Layla! She had jumped the gate we left her in, crossed the busy beach thoroughfare and come to play ball on the beach! We took her back, washed her off and put her on the porch to dry. We had the windows open, when the next thing we knew, this resolute dog had jumped through the window to get in the house!

Layla's great love was tennis balls. Tennis balls have been banned from our house for quite a while. Ever since there was one under our couch. Layla smelled it, torn the skirt and broke one of the legs in her desperation to get that darn ball! This infatuation never waned. Two years ago, Anna had a house sitter stay with her dog while we all went to the beach. She offered to allow Layla to stay too. Layla, at a ripe old age of 10, flat out chewed a whole in Anna's couch, all in an attempt to get a tennis ball! We would take her to the dog park. She would chase a tennis ball until she dropped dead. The other dogs were cavorting around...not Layla. She had her tennis ball, to heck with man or beast!

Her other love was food. She would eat anything and everything. Daniel took her a couple of years ago to live at his house. She was evicted and returned to home about a month later...banned because she ate his roommates Valentines candy! She adored popcorn. I could put a piece on her nose, tell her to hold it and when I said go, she would flip it up and into her mouth!

This dog did not have a mean bone in her body. She was great with kids of all ages and other dogs, too. The babies could do whatever they wanted to her and she would just lay there. We never had to worry about her biting anyone. One time, when Beth's dog was sick and started being aggressive towards Beth, Layla jumped between Beth and her dog and growled at the other dog. Basically, saying, "Back-off!"

We are in pain tonight and will be for a while. Loving and losing a pet is part of life, not a fun part, but a part nonetheless. All of these and more memories will live in our hearts as we mourn the passing of our Layla!



Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The celebration of someone special's 9th birthday!

That special someone....Miss Abbey! My 5th baby turned 9 this past September! We had two celebrations to mark the occasion.

The first celebration was before her actual birthday.

We started out by going out to eat at Chilli's.

Then we went home and had ice cream cake.

Nana and Grandaddy took Abbey shopping at the mall during the day.

After visiting, "Justice" and "The Disney Store", John sought solace through playing his guitar.

He also got to meet Waverly.

Waverly wishes Abbey a very happy birthday!

The second party was one that fulfilled many of Abbey's longings. Ever since we have had our beach house, Abbey has wanted to have her birthday party there. She's also wanted to have a sleepover. This year, it happened that several friends were already at the beach for Labor Day, so we took advantage of them being there and invited a few others...a humungous party was the result!

We started out at the pool, playing volleyball and just hanging out.

Then we had hamburgers and hotdogs

After a wonderful mom friend filled about 240 balloons with water, we headed to the beach for water balloon fun!

Daddy gave out directions

And chaos ensued!

Time for a group picture

and then back to the house for cake, the movie Descendants(Disney), and sleep...after a while!

The next morning after breakfast, we went down to the park. One more group picture before everyone went home. (Our neighbor, Colton, joined us for this excursion).

My girl had a blast, and I think her friends enjoyed it also!

Abbey has always been a kid that when she gets "into" something, she really gets into it. This year we've seen obsessions with Legos, Star Wars, My Little Pony, Frozen and Descendants. She's grown so much this year. Physically, she went from a size 1 shoe to a 5!  She has a great sense of humor, and loves to make her Dad laugh. School wise, we've kind of hit our stride. It isn't very strenuous or taxing. She has a great vocabulary and reads well. Her math skills are way above grade level. Her downfall is spelling and writing. She really struggles with that subject, so this year I've got a new curriculum and am trying to get her caught up.

Emotionally, she's beginning to express how she feels a little more all the time. Over the course of this past year, she has really bonded with me.  I can truly say that I fill the Mommy role in her heart now. She wants to be with me and expresses sadness when she's not with me. She's become my appendage and cuddle bug. I love this personified burst of life so very much. She makes each day fun and sweet. I see pre-teenhood fast approaching and it is very bittersweet. I'm starting to prepare myself for the time that she goes "in the tunnel". I want her to grow up and be all God has designed her to be, but the pulling away part is never really fun.  For right now, though, she's a wonderful, loving, vivacious, articulate 9 year old and her Mom and Dad's baby girl, one of the 6 apples of their eyes!