Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Jake took Pup-pup to be groomed yesterday. Before they even started the process, Pup-pup started to seize. At the three hour mark of the seizure, Erin called me crying and scared. At hour four, he passed away. His little heart couldn't take it anymore. All of us are shocked and so very sad.

Pup-pup was a happy little guy. Everyone loved him. When I told Ty he was gone, Ty decided it was best Brutus died first so Pup-pup wouldn't be scared in heaven. Erin has decided he wanted to be with Nana. Either option brings just enough peace, but we still question. It all feels so unfair.

I told Lauren what Ty had to say and she laughed remembering the day all five dogs were here when the cable guy arrived. We took all of them outside to what the kids named "Mimi's Pup Park" to keep them out of the way. Layla hid behind Makenna. Cheech and Chong hid behind Lauren and Brutus had laid down already so there was no way he was getting up to investigate. Pup-pup pranced right up to that guy and barked at him with as much authority as his little ten pound body could muster. It was in that moment Jake, desperate to toughen up his new addition called the dog, "Pup-Pup Death Johnson"! And we all roared with laughter! Pup-pup believed he was mighty and all the other dogs believed him too.

It was that day I placed a tiny studded leather collar into my cart on Amazon because I knew what I was getting him for Christmas! I shared my plan with a friend and she wanted measurements when I got to puppy sit because she was making him a pleather vest with a patch of the American flag and eagle to further demonstrate his bad boy image.

He was a sweet little dog and a light in Erin's world. She is heartbroken. We all are. Rest in peace Pup-pup. You are loved here.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Father's Day Well Spent

His card read "This Father's Day, let's spend some uninterrupted time together, going for a walk, having something to eat, or just talking. We have 5 minutes." So much truth in one little card.......

It was a Father's day well spent with good friends. One sweet family is moving to Texas next week so we are embracing what final moments we can. These are my people and I am not all together thrilled to see them leave but excited about their future in Houston.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Year One

Taylor and Lauren are celebrating their one year anniversary in their third house together, sleeping on an air mattress because their belongings are on a truck somewhere in the continental United States. We hope. These two have navigated three addresses in three states, a five month Army induced separation, the devastating loss of a close friend, the loss of all three of their childhood dogs and all the emotions involved in learning how to be married. To say they have been in the trenches, would be an understatement. They weathered some tough moments this past year but they are on the same team, loving each other and growing stronger together. We are incredibly proud of them. Happy Anniversary! We love you Mr. and Mrs. Taylor Baird.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Family Photos

We took advantage of a sale a local photographer held back in February in hopes Lauren and Taylor would be able to come home at some point this year to join us. Lynn at was able to accomodate our last minute request and was sweet too.

Friday, June 16, 2017


So the week was anything but easy. We worked hard to make it as normal as possible. Ty attended VBS. Kate helped our friend teach preschool camp. On the final day, she dressed for the theme "trolls" much to the delight of her tiny friends.

On Tuesday Kate had her annual eye exam. We discovered her vision is much worse than last year with damage from October's concussion. New lenses have been ordered with special (read expensive) protection to aid in helping her eyes relax. If this doesn't help, she will require vision therapy. Tuesday was not our day.

Oliver came home from the vet Thursday evening with instructions to be contained in a small space, prevent him from getting up on furniture to avoid falls and keep our home as stress free as possible. Realistic? Nope. But as he regained his footing and grew more comfortable we saw noted improvement. He made a break for the stairs within hours of his arrival and I woke to him on my bed Friday morning. He needs antibiotic twice a day for a week. As result, Makenna looks like she lost a battle with Edward Scissorhands and we have both worn more than he has consumed. All indications are he will be fine even though it is still unclear what happened.

Layla is breaking our hearts. She is so sad and lacks her usual zest for life. As crazy as it sounds, I miss her antics. We had to prematurely remove Brutus' bed and food bowls because Layla kept smelling them and then frantically searching our house and yard for her best friend. We all miss him.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Fur Family

Sometimes life is cruel. On Monday, we made an appointment to say goodbye to our sweet Brutus Tuesday evening. This journey of slowly letting go has been brutal. Brutus' mental health declined in such a way, we had no choice but to protect him and the children in my care before something tragic happened. Brutus was too amazing a dog to allow his final moments be anything but peaceful. He deserved only the best care. As heartbreaking as it was to make this appointment, the process itself was so quiet and pain free, our sweet guy literally snored through it. Not able to pull ourselves away afterward, Erin decided it was time Ryan had a great dog in heaven and we have all found peace in that image.

On Tuesday morning, Oliver started violently seizing and had to be rushed to the same vet. Our vet was wonderful, kind and compassionate. They admitted him, ran tests, started iv fluids and lots of meds. Twenty four hours later, he was still not stable and the prognosis was not good. I am still in shock and if I am being completely honest, angry too. Nothing about any of this is fair to my kids. But this evening a new combination of medication eased Oliver's symptoms to the degree we decided to take the kids for a visit. Oliver is still not totally stable but looks so much better than last night and this morning, we are cautiously optimistic.

Sunday, June 11, 2017


Saturday was off to a rough start. Brutus kept me awake until after midnight Friday night with his pacing and whining. Layla woke me just before 4 am to go outside and that is when I discovered the indoor pool in our kitchen and laundry room.

Two loads of towels and 6 gallons of water in the shop vac later, I made tea and started breakfast. Greg came home from work and rented a snake to unclog the floor drain that backed up when the water softener cycled over night. We are grateful we didn't sustain permanent damages.

At 11, Makenna called needing me at the scene of an accident she was just involved in. Everyone was fine but quite shaken up. The young lady driving the car Makenna was in was in shock and Makenna took care of calling both me and the police. It was later noted how responsible she was with the way she managed the scene. She does demonstrate strong leadership skills so those "bossy" moments do have a happy ending for those of you still in the trenches with a preschooler. The other vehicle's owner was screaming at the girls and acting out of control which further exaggerated the shock symptoms for Makenna's friend. This mom was not happy but kept everyone separated until the police arrived. Fortunately I was right around the corner from the scene and a homeowner at that intersection was a firefighter who was able to stand with the irate man and access the burns and abrasions from the deployed air bags. All in all, this was the kind of accident to have if you have to have one. The girls learned a lot and everyone walked away. Amen.

So moments after we finally wrapped up at the accident scene, my sister arrived to deliver my nephews for the day. My 3 1/2 hours sleep and adrenaline rush depleted enough of my energy to change what plans I had for the boys but we still had a great day together.

The cousins love each other's company and it is a joy to stand back and take in their banter. Ty tries so hard to impress the older boys and they are sweet about engaging with him. And then there is Kate and Brennen. Their bond just keeps getting tighter.

At 10:30, I passed the figurative baton to Greg and went to bed. I heard nothing after that until he delivered a hot cup of tea at 9:30 this morning. Redemption at it's finest involves the company of family, seeing God's hand in an accident and a solid night's sleep.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Week in Review

 Ty declared the elephant was smiling, much to the entertainment of those around us.

The weather this week could not have been more perfect. We have had the windows open and enjoyed being outside almost constantly. A day at the zoo, a morning at the orchard, front porch swinging, hiking with picnics and an afternoon stacking firewood for spontaneous bonfires filled our days. Of course we had to make sure the new firewood worked that evening. Marshmallow tested and kid approved.

Makenna's report card arrived. She earned all A's except for one B and three comments about being a class leader with a few about her positive attitude left us questioning whose report card we actually received. Just kidding. Obviously we are proud of her accomplishments this year. She is adjusting to her new job and the scent of Subway bread once again fills my van as it did back in Erin's Subway days.
He stole this bone from Layla who originally stole it from Lauren's dogs. No one had the nerve to take it away from the grumpy old man and he shocked us when he decided to gnaw on it for a bit. It has been awhile since the old boy has swiped anything. He is currently on three medications and specialized food in hopes of aiding in his dementia and anxiety symptoms. He bit a small child last week which rocked me to my core. Brutus has never bit anyone for any reason and this bite was totally unprovoked. The child was fine and his parents were more than understanding but the escalation in his dementia has broken our hearts. He now gets to spend his days in our bedroom when small children are in the house. Watching him age has been beyond hard on us.
Layla is going through withdrawals after the mass exit of Lauren's fur babies earlier this week. She loved the rough housing and endless playtime. When they left, Layla attempted to go with them. My son-in-law nixed her plan pretty quickly. That guy is smart because as innocent as she may appear in this moment, she isn't!