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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The boys win again!

Apparently I am meant to wash dirty socks and sports uniforms for the rest of my living days because the boys team takes another win in our family! I know that I have always said and firmly believed that I was somehow meant to be a mother to a daughter but we found out this morning that get to have another go with a boy. Its a good thing I love having these rough and tumble creatures in my life! Actually, in many ways I am relieved to be getting one more of a great thing. I know what to do with boys and they seem to love their mama. This pregnancy has been tough and because I was so sick this time and not with the first two I was pretty convinced that this would be a girl. I even allowed myself to think mostly girl and bought a few things that will either have to go back and be exchanged for something a little less pink or will be gifts for future ballerinas! It was fun while it lasted but this also means I have a lot more of what we will need already on hand. Last night we actually watched the video recording of McCall's and Landry's ultrasounds to get us all really excited for today. We brought the boys with us for the appointment and they loved watching the screen and guessing what baby body part we were looking at. They had seen their big "reveal" on the video last night so when the doc got to that point they raised up their hands and cheered for a new addition to the team! It was so fun to see how excited they were. Mike and I were surprised but of course we are so happy that the baby is healthy and looks strong. We are thinking of the name "Elliot" but I'd love to hear any of your great suggestions of favorites. My favorite thing about knowing that I will have another boy is that I still get to keep my title of "Princess Mommy". I do have to say I adore the special treatment of being the only girl in the house!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

They're Back!

At last my little critters are home with us again! They had a great trip full of swimming pools and beaches and fireworks and golfing. McCall says that his favorite thing was Boogey-boarding with his Poppie in Santa Cruz. Landry loved playing his favorite sport with his dad and brother-- golf. They went to the driving range one day and he hit a ball 90 yards! It was almost 5 full weeks of major playtime for these boys. I am so glad that they are so loved by our various families but of course we missed them terribly and couldn't wait to see their little faces coming off the plane-by themselves! Eeek! Yes-their dad made the decision to send them alone on the plane, very much against my wishes, but they did okay and felt very grown up. It is a long flight-3 hours and 40 minutes but they were entertained by dvds and backpacks stuffed with art supplies. It is amazing how brave they can be when given the chance. I still don't love the idea considering all the many factors that could change a flight plan while in the air and I think I have heard rumors of changes to the laws for unaccompanied minors in the upcoming year so we'll see what will happen in the future. For all we know we could be moving back west (my secret wish and hope) at any point so maybe someday soon these flights won't be such a normal part of our routine. It is just great to have the boys home. We moved them into one bedroom while they were gone to make room for the nursery and it seems to have sparked some nice changes to their cooperative relationship-at least for now. Last night they decided to set up a tent in their room and have a movie night and "sleep over". In the end Landry opted for the comfort of his top bunk and I spent much of the night getting McCall to calm down enough to sleep. It has been pretty emotional for the boys to hear about Jackson when they got home and landry seemed to get out his tears on the first day but McCall's have kind of taken time to develop. Last night they watched "Beethoven" and it triggered some sad feelings for McCall. We talked a lot about what Jackson might be doing in "doggy heaven" and we decided that it made us feel better to imagine him chasing bunnies and ducks and swimming in a pool and going down a slide into the water. We also thought he probably would be eating hamburgers from a dinner table. That must be heaven for a dog! In the end we all felt a little better but we also agreed that it was okay for us to all feel sad for a while since we all miss Jackson. This is tough stuff! Mostly we are just happy to be home together again. Give your kids an extra squeeze today!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Saddest Day

I hate to even write about this but yesterday we had a very sad day for our family. Thankfully the boys are with their dad in Utah and didn't have to witness this but our sweet dog Jackson had to be put down yesterday. Before I give the gruesome details (even though I will spare you most of them) I should say that he was almost 11 years old and has been with us since he was 8 weeks old and has had a very happy, climate-controlled life. He is a most loving and most-loved animal. It all started on monday morning at 7:15 when one of our famous Cleveland summer storms blew in. The storms are very loud and since we live very close to Lake Erie the thunder sounds like it is right on top of our house. Jackson is terribly frightened of loud noises like fireworks and thunderstorms and he goes into anxiety mode long before we hear the first crack of thunder. A vet even prescribed Xanax and Valium for him to treat his symptoms when this happens. As soon as I heard the thunder start and Jackson started whimpering and pacing I gave him his usual dose of meds. I went back to what I was doing in the kitchen and continued to talk to him to try to soothe him which is our normal course of action for our big furry baby. After about 10 minutes I noticed he was quiet and had gone down into the basement which would be way to soon for the medication to help at all. When I found him he was a mess. Apparently he had a seizure which made him collapse and do other things I don't need to describe for you. I panicked and called for Mike to come down (thank goodness he was home!). Mike immediately called the vet and we took him right in. He had never had a seizure before and I had no idea what was wrong with him. He was completely lifeless and seemed very disoriented and I didn't realize it right away but he had become temporarily blind as well. The vet was really concerned when he saw him and tried to take his temperature and couldn't get his temp to register on his digital thermometer because it was so high. They took him right away and put him in a bath of cold water to bring his temp down. At this point they sent us home because hearing our voices but not being able to see seemed to be agitating Jack further. They gave him more valium to calm him down so he could rest and they promised to keep me posted at home. After a few hours they called me at home and said there hadn't been any improvement and that he could possibly be blind and paralyzed so I needed to prepare myself for the worst and consider putting him down. I was so upset but knew that his life would be miserable if he couldn't even stand. They wanted to keep watching him and see if there was any improvement. I got the next call at 4:00 and the vet sounded so positive and upbeat when he let me know that Jack's vison had come back and he was standing but still weak. He also said that we needed to take Jack to and internal medicine vet because Jackson's organs were experiencing shock as a result of the temp spike and drop and that there was a problem with his blood platelets causing internal bleeding. So we went to see the specialist and his prognosis was not so positive. He gave me a long list of procedures that they could try to manage the bleeding but added that the DIC (the name for the condition) was a secondary condition and his guess was that Jackson may have a brain tumor or some other mass that may have triggered the seizure to begin with. He looked me straight in the eye and said, "We can go ahead with exhaustive measures to try and save Jackson but it would not be wrong of you to let him go now." I know that vets can't really recommend euthanasia to you other than as an option but I really got the feeling that this man was telling me what he would do if this were his pet. So I called Mike and he came to the vets office to help me make this horrible decision. I sat with Jackson while we wated for Mike and he was hooked up to IVs and a heart monitor and it was the saddest thing I have seen. I was bawling and everytime Jack heard me sniffle he would try to lift up his head or put his paw on my leg almost as if to comfort me. He is such a little protector. I was crushed but I could also see that this was really bad and not going to get better. So Mike arrived and he was shocked at how bad Jack looked. We sat together with Jackson for at least another hour because I just hated to say the words that needed to be said. I just couldn't bear the thought of putting him though any more procedures and risking him dying alone in the middle of the night in a strange place. His breathing got worse and finally we made the decision to let him die peacefully. We sat with him as the vet gave him the medicine and he just went to sleep. It was so sad but I felt really calm and knew that we were doing the kindest thing for Jack. We have so many happy memories of Jackson that we get to keep with us and that pup had a pretty sweet life for a dog! It will be really hard to tell the boys when they come home but this is an important part of life and they will make it through. I think this experience will make it difficult for me to have another pet for a long time because it was so traumatic but maybe one day we wil be ready to do this again. I do love having a dog in our family and this one will be greatly missed. Any happier pet stories than this one today? I could use a laugh!

PS-This is a picture of Jack alive and just sleeping-I'm not completely morbid!