Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Our sweet Stella Bella

Our sweet pup went to heaven this week.  She just got sick and died.  We tried to get her help, took her to the vet, got her some tests and meds and even though we did what we knew to do, she still passed away.  The thing is, she passed away while we were gone.  We gave her love and said our good byes to her, but in my heart, it was only a "just in case" and honestly, I thought she would be fine in a few days.  Whatever made her vomit so much blood was going to heal.  I wasn't ready to say good-bye to her.

Back up about 11 years and we had Stella's dad, Satchel, living with us.  He was a bully dog too and lived up to the name-- he was big and fierce and lovable.  We loved him as our own while he lived under our care.  Nate, my brother, was in prison and I had made a promise to him, that whatever it took, I would take care of Satchel.  So, we did.  We wanted to get him fixed because he was a little too high strung, but for whatever reason, we never did.  Once Nate was free, he came and picked up Satchel and took him from our lives-- it was painful because even though we knew he wasn't ever our dog, we loved him.  Nate eventually pulled his life together, met a girl, moved in, and they got another dog.  It's the classic, boy meets girl, girl has a litter of 13 puppies.  As a thank you to us, Nate picked the "best looking" and probably the most high energy pup of the litter and drove up one Christmas, he gave us that sweet pup.  She was always our pup, from the moment she came out, and while the other dogs didn't yet have names, she was already chosen and named.  She was our first child-- our first real fuzzy practice kid.  Stella.

When Nate died a little over 2 year later, and Caleb either worked nights or was gone all together for work, Stella would climb in my lap and I would sob into her coat.  She licked my tears and let me know it was going to be ok.  She was my grief partner.

We didn't intend to have a puppy and a baby at the same time, but that's what happened.  When we got pregnant with Cole, Stella instantly treated me different.  It's like she knew I was carrying her very best friend and she couldn't wait.  I asked our dog trainer if I should be worried about having a bully dog with a baby, and she said to me, "that dog will love your children deeper and protect them better than she will you."  In other words, once the baby was born, Stella would think she was the momma.  And, she did.

She has loved our children deeply, taken them both for her own pups-- alternating sleeping in each room to make sure they're taken care of-- jumping up if there are cries and growling if there is a bump in the night.  Cole and Stella were best friends, with Cole dressing Stella up and playing superhero with her, or throwing the stick for catch.  Amelia loved to climb all over Stella, and she was just so patient, never once snapping or acting as if she didn't like it.  I think Stella felt it was her privilege to help raise our children.  She went to bed at 8 with them, and woke up once they did.  She was every bit the Nana dog from Peter Pan-- I'm sure if she could have told them not to fuss or gotten them a snack, she would have!

I always said that when she died, it would probably feel like I'm loosing my brother all over again, and whether it's because I said it, or because it's true, it does.  The only tangible connection from my brother-- the best and final gift I got from him-- is gone now too.  She really was a fantastic dog, and Nate chose her for our family.  The dog of Cole's childhood was chosen by my brother.  Nate and Cole never met, but their stories have been linked together through different avenues and this is one of them.  It breaks my heart to see this path close now too.

It's hard to keep a firm hand on those we love who have passed away.  It's like holding the wind.  Stella, was my wind for a while, and now she's gone too.  The chasm of time is ever marching forward and Nate is ever staying in the past.  It's almost like Stella was a bridge.

Maybe that sounds silly, but that's how it feels.  I have felt so thankful and so glad Nate gave us Stella.  She has comforted me in many times of sorrow.  I just wish I would have been with her in the end.  I hope she knew how much we loved her.


Sunday, March 8, 2015


Oh, there's just too much to catch up on, so I'm not going to.  I'm going to muse away and not try to have a point at all.  It has been a year.  One whole year.  That's a long time online.

To say that this has been my outlet for grief would be an understatement.  It has been pretty much my only outlet for grief.  I have processed and mourned and been real here.  I guess typing on my computer and getting it out there has been pretty meaningful.  People can read it or not, and I can get it off my chest.  I like that.

I drive past Nate's grave almost every day now.  I live close to it, but now I am working part time at my child's school and so when I drive carpool or go to work, I drive right past him.  I say hi to him, because even though it's his grave, it's also his body way down under all the dirt.  He's there in that hoodie that we buried him in and in the pocket of that sweatshirt is the note I wrote him, the last words I spoke to his body.  It's a weird feeling to know that he's there and not.

Cole and Nate have a mixed up path that has never met.  Nate was here when I went into labor with Cole and chose to leave Boise even though I was having my baby.  He left.  4-6 hours later (I can't remember what time he left-- I was in labor!) I had sweet Cole.  I have a wonderful message Nate left me from that day, and I wouldn't have that if he had stayed...  but I also don't have any pictures of Nate and his nephew.  Fast forward a year and Nate dies, his body is in a casket in the funeral home and little Cole is in my arms.  I can see them both, just like I could feel my baby and hug my bother a year earlier... but this time Nate is the one who is there but not.  Now I take my kidlet to school and Nate is across the street-- all the time, across the street.  It's poetic I think.  It's sad.  It's sweet.

It's March.  It's spring.  I'm sad.  I don't think I'll see spring quite the same ever again.  I know that death is a wound--something you carry with you.  It's odd how it peeks up sometimes and grabs a hold of my heart.  I am sad that Nate doesn't get to be apart of the friendship Colin and I share.  I am happy that through Nate's death, Colin and I became bonded like we hadn't been before.

That's how life is, huh?  It's the good and the bad and the mixed up feelings that go in between.

Have I said, It's March.

I want to write again.  I want to share the good and the bad and have this outlet again.  I need it.

So, musings are done.  It is late and if you haven't heard, there's an awful time change tomorrow.

Good night, sweet friends, good night.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I wrote this shortly after Nate died. I thought 5 years later it was worth remembering how I felt. March 11 always smacks me in the face and I am right back to how I felt those first few days.

How do I express the depth of loss I feel? I don't know. I feel like a piece of me has died along with my brother. My brother, dead, how can that be? He was full of life- perhaps too full. He lived life to the extreme. I loved that about my brother. I hated that about my brother. He was never afraid to say his mind, to live out loud, to be adventurous. He was smart, yet made bad choices. He was so funny and had this contagious laughter-- I couldn't help but laugh along, even if it was something we shouldn't laugh at-- like the Chin (that's a joke between him and me) He was someone I always looked up, even when he was troubled. I couldn't help but look up to Nate. I couldn't help but love him. He knew me my whole life. He was there teaching me to swim, to ride a bike, to tumble. He helped me grow up in many ways, some ways were hard. I learned we can have the greatest families, and still choose drugs. I learned that sober Nate and not sober Nate were very different people. I learned to love him even when he wasn't himself. That to judge people is so very wrong, we just don't know where they're at in their journey. He was itching to have peace. He was always searching, not realizing that the God who loves him, wanted Nate to be at peace in Him. Nate did love Jesus. Nate always spoke of his relationship with Jesus. He was solid on that point. He just had an addiction-- to sin. Don't we all. Why does some sin kill? Why does some sin entice us to such depths? I don't know.
I sit and think of Nate. I think of how it seems like he was just here visiting me while I was pregnant. How thankful I am that I left a birthday party early to spend time with Nate. That was the last time I saw him. I will miss my big, spontaneous brother. I will miss his lanky hugs, his crooked smile, his insatiable laugh. I will even miss his teasing. I will love him forever, I will love him for always, as long as I'm living, my brother he'll be.
So much sorrow. How can I handle it? I don't know. I don't know.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Perspective is everything

I know I've been vocal about how crappy our life has been these past few months.  We've had a lot of really annoying things over the past year. 

2009 was the year that life crashed around me.  I try to compare what life has thrown at me this year with that year and they don't even compare.  It's like complaining about a splinter when you know the pain of a broken leg.  Yes, they both hurt, but one is more of an annoyance that anything; the other is pain.

I remember that pain.  Yet, tonight I was reminded again.  There is a family in our church, a family I don't actually know, who lost their daughter last night to a long 2 year battle with cancer.  It is gut wrenching and horrible and devastating.  It is impossible.  I have been sobbing for their loss for the past hour.  My heart is remembering my own loss, thinking on loosing one of my children, and the loss of their sweet, beautiful, innocent daughter... it's more sad that words can express.  

My life right now is a freaking cake walk in comparison to their current journey.  I know it, I've walked it. 

Perspective is everything.

I am so sad for that family.  In my own circumstances, where life is annoying, I choose to dwell on the good rather than complain. Friends, help me to do this.   

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4:8

*Please pray for that family.  They could use every bit of prayer to get them though this.*

Friday, February 21, 2014

Food swap

So, I've been apart of this really awesome local food swap. My fantastic neighbor put it together and I am always delighted at the booty I get at them. The last swap was on Monday and I got loaded up with artisan bath salts, chocolate, nut butters, extracts, eggs, cloth napkins... And more! Sometimes there is home brewed beer, bread, butter, jam...  Oh the list goes on and on. It has been a wonderful way for me to expand my tastes and my wallet. Our grocery budget would not allow for all the things that I get each month, but with the swap, I always go away blessed and my pantry gets filled.

It is so fun to get back to the roots of America and swap! I highly suggest it!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

of water heaters and non working cars

This year was suppose to be different than last year.  We were not suppose to have big things break on us and have huge financial issues this year like we did last....

I think life has a way of laughing at us when things are difficult-- by making them more difficult.  At least that's the feeling I've had for the past few months.

I'm not wishing life was easy, but that I could perhaps coast a little bit and not have to worry.

I really am trying to keep my chin up and have a positive attitude.  I don't think I'm succeeding very well today.

I just want to curl up in the fetal position and fall asleep.

Instead I'm sitting on the computer looking at prices of newish cars and water heaters. There are currently 11 tabs on my browser open comparing new water heaters and newish cars. I guess when life throws you curve balls, you have to buy more things?

I am over the spend money on things you don't want to spend money on... wouldn't it be nice to be able to pay off credit cards, sit in a clean, non construction zone house, and think of what I could make for dinner-- having enough to buy any and all groceries I want?  Perhaps someday.  As I think of it, maybe this is just how life goes.  You get 1 step forward to get pulled back 2 more steps.

There are many things I am thankful for-- clean running water (even if it is cold), a warm house, new flooring (thanks Met Life!), healthy kids, my hubby's job, the ability to stay home with our children, good friends who have helped me and encouraged me in numerous ways--especially this last difficult year, support from church, a Bible study group who welcomed us with open arms and has treated us like family...  the list could go on and on.

Tunnel vision is a terrible thing.  Too much focus on the bad has a way of seeping into my heart and making me forget all the truly wonderful things life has to offer.

So, if you see me and I'm in a whiny mood--  just tell me to remember all the great things about life!  This is a season and it too shall pass.  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I'm back

So, life has been busy and full and full of busy. I'm always running here and there and it seems like I rarely get a moment alone to just write.  So, I would very much like to start blogging again.  It's been a long time.
I have decided I need to cut out things that I'm doing just so I don't hurt people.  I sometimes schedule myself 3 or 4 things to do in a day-- which doesn't seem like a lot when you're a business person, but my life consists of nap time schedules, laundry, kindergarten schedules, feeding kidlets, grocery shopping, cooking, etc.  I am apart of a book club, a game club, 2 weekly Bible studies, have a gym membership, and plan at least 2 play dates a week.  I'm tired.  To top it all off, I have also been dealing with a flood/house remodel for over 2 months now.  So, that means, I have random worker men in my house all day almost every day.  I have dust flying, pee on my toilet from unknown people, and a dog who barks at every little noise, because she's confused.

I'm not sure how to say "no" when people want to do something.  I feel like I'm always up for dinner with friends, heck in the last week, we've had dinner with friends 4 times.  I love spending time with people.  I do feel energized when I'm with them.  Then, I come home and realize that I haven't had quality time with my little people, because I'm doing so much.

Last Wednesday, I woke up late, somehow got out the door in 25 minutes, went to Bible study, came home for a quick lunch, took Cole to school, ran errands, did nap time with Amelia, ran to get Cole, went to the gym, came home, fed my kids at 7:30, a friend came over until 9 and then I put the kids to bed.  This is a little busier than normal, but it's not so far out of the norm...  After I put my kids to bed, I realized that I was so busy doing good things that I didn't have any time to just be with them.

I'm trying to figure out what is going to fill me as a person and what is going to take away from my family.  I can't keep going and doing like I am.  I can't schedule something for every night of the week.  I just can't.

I have a lot of friends and only so much time.  I love people, and that's the hardest thing about trying to simplify life, I feel like in order to just be with my family, I have a cut out friendships... and I'm not sure how that works.

So, if I say no to you, please don't take it personal.  Please know that I am trying to find balance with my family.

I know adding my blog back in seems like something else to do, but really, for me, writing helps me to process my life.