Friday, April 1, 2016

iliana white - 8/2001 - 4/2016

iliana has been fighting a long battle.  last night she endured her worst seizure ever.  at one point i asked will if she was dying.  neither one of us was sure.  we called conti and she rushed over to watch dax sleep while we took iliana to the doggy er.  the doctor there confirmed she was stable at the moment, but anything could change at any time.  we knew we needed to watch for signs of heart failure and the doctor could not confirm that this was a seizure and thought it could have possibly been cardiac fainting, since her heart raced and raced for twenty minutes after it was over.  will and i knew when we headed to the vet we'd likely not be bringing her home, so we were sort of surprised when she stabilized and was able to come home one last time.
this morning we woke up and noticed (from her bed wetting) that she must have had several other "events" throughout the night.  she wasn't herself today.  she was lethargic.  she could not stand.  she could not hold her head up.  we let her sleep.  once she finally did try to wake she barely stood and then peed all over the bed.  after that, she collapsed.  i stripped the bed and loaded the washer, but kept her in my arms.  i told my work that i was going to need to take the rest of the day off.  i knew the time had come.  will and i both agreed we needed to call to make "the appointment".  we made the phone call and i started to wrap up work when will found some paperwork i was given back in november of last year about "laps of love".  this service has doctors come out to your home to help your pet move on to heaven.  we immediately called them and they said we could have someone out this evening.  after chatting through the options we booked them and called to cancel the other appointment.  then, the clock started ticking.
every second that passes you think you've made the wrong decision.  but, every time i looked at her face i knew she was not the same dog that we've loved for so long.  she was fighting hard, but the battle was taking over and she just could not fight it anymore.  i sat with her all afternoon.  i petted her, felt her soft ears, petted her cheeks, admired her whiskers and her eyebrows and her spotted fur.  dax petted her, kissed her, and sang her lullabies.  daddy held her, rocked her, and talked to her.  we all took turns saying good bye the best way we knew how.  by afternoon she still was not able to do more than lift her head.  i had to hold her up to go potty outside and just let her bask in the sun and feel the breeze in her fur.  she never even took one drink of water or searched for one bite of food today (which if you know her, is very out of character).  she was fading.
conti came over to be with dax.  she planned on swooping him out for some distractions while mommy and daddy worked with the doctor.

the doorbell rang.  my heart sank.  we knew this was it.  the doctor came in.  we told dax to say goodbye to the doggy, that she was going to meet Jesus.  (we chatted with him earlier about it and explained it all the best way you should tell a four year old...)  he gave her a kiss and told "yaya" goodbye and off they went.  we talked to the doctor and told her we'd like to do it outside since illy loved the warmth of sunshine and breeze.  we all headed out back and sat down with the sweet girl while the doctor did what she had to.  she was very gentle and let me hold illy's head and cradle her while we said goodbye.  she left us.  we cried.  we sobbed.  we're still sobbing now.  but, she's gone.  she's at peace.  i hope she knows we did all we could to keep her comfortable and happy and to prolong her life as long as we possibly could.  it's going to take time to heal,  and we're cherishing every memory as we walk down this path.

illy - i love you.
i love how you lick my hands, legs, and feet uncontrollably.
i love how you let me hold you like a kitty cat.
i love how you rub your face while walking around upholstered furniture.
i love how you love to bask in the sun and feel the wind.
i love how you bat your eyelashes.
i love how you circle, and circle, and circle to get comfortable.
i love how you snuggle up with us when you sleep.
i love how you love to eat, just like momma.
i love how you love me rubbing your ears.  you'd vocalize just how great it was.
i love how your spots made you look like our little cow.
i love how you were always sad if i cried.  you loved to kiss away the tears.
i love how you never took crap from anyone and you always stood up for yourself.
i love how sometimes you snarled at me and showed me your teeth, but you always apologized by licking later.
i love how you scratch the side of the bed to be picked up about 15 times each night.
i love how you terrorized eligh.
i love all of your nicknames:  illy, donny, yaya, lana, iwiiana, illy fo shilly, lanalana ding dong, yana fo shanna, phil donahue - etc.
i love how you snore like daddy when you are getting really good sleep.
i love how you cracked us up.  one time you ate the cap off a huge bottle of lotion to get the contents out.
i love how you used to devour your chew chin sticks.  we used to spend $20 a week on your habit.

i love how you fought so hard through cushings, tumors, pancreatitis, ripped out nail beds, broken teeth, fights with your sister, and seizures - but you never gave up.

you will be greatly missed.

Thursday, March 24, 2016


best little friends ever.  dax is always talking about joshua and apparently joshua is always talking about dax.  so, when i saw them both dressed in their gingham button down shirts i told them i must have a photograph to document this immense friendship.

today was the Easter musical performance at preschool.  we didn't have our expectations set too high since in previous attempts at singing on a stage dax has either frozen completely up, or been more interested in the plants behind him, the carpeting, or laying down on the stage.  however, our hearts leapt out of our chest today when not only did dax stand still with his classmates, but he actually sang words and did the hand motions too!  we were so proud of our sweet boy pulling this off.  he sung his little heart out and our favorite moment was when he sang "roll that stone away" and he acted as if his stone was heavy to get up the hill, but easily rolled down at about 50 mph.  he gave struggling rolling hand motions followed by rolling hand motions that were almost completely out of control.  too hilarious.

we love to see his personality blossoming and watching him develop friendships.  he's pretty popular at school and we're glad that he's proving to be a good and compassionate friend.  we're so glad he's not shy like mommy and daddy. every night he still prays for his friends, his teachers, and his family.  such a sweet soul.

happy easter!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

soccer mom

it happened.  today was the day.  today was the day that dax got to "play" soccer for the first time.  (i use the word "play" loosely because it was more like a tutorial on how to actually get acquainted with the world of soccer.)  however, we knew from the instant that this boy is a natural.  he's been geared up about it since we signed him up, bought his shin guards, socks, and a new ball.  he knows daddy used to play soccer when he was little and he wants to be just like daddy.  he even played along with the obligatory front porch photos to mark this momentous occasion.
now we like to take pictures with a cheese face.  this means you close your eyes.

more cheese.

shiny new soccer ball.

this picture is brought to you by olan mills.

now he's being a ham.

he was stoked when we reminded him last night that today would be soccer day.  we all got up early and the house buzzed with excitement about the main event!  we got him all dressed up in his uniform and loaded up the car to head to the soccer field.   
seriously listening.

not a fluke, still listening.

you got it.  still listening.

following directions and doing his stretches.

dax was excited to see where he'd be playing and joined all of his other "friends" on the field.  i settled in a spot on the grass while will helped dax get acquainted with the game.  however, it was not too long before will got to come and join me because dax was ready for this!  dax immediately took to listening to each of the coaches and was more focused and intense than i'd ever seen him.  he listened, stood still, did as he was told, and was good at what he did.  it was the first time we'd ever taken him to a practice of some sort where he continuously got thumbs up from m&d.  
he'd learned this stretch before at gymnastics, but never actually done it properly.

getting excited to use the soccer balls!

dax getting some kudos.

who is following instructions?  my child!

dax will show you how to do it.  you put your foot on the ball - just like this.

amazing control getting the ball through the cones without over shooting it!

looks like a natural!

super confident on the field!

amazing foot work!

go for the goal!

we were so proud to see him enjoying the game and doing as he was told.  it was an overwhelming feeling to see him doing so well and being in love with playing, meeting new friends, and learning a new skill.  we were very impressed with his mad skills and cannot wait for next saturday to see him do it again!  

officially a soccer mom.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

sixteen years

the first grandson in our family turned sixteen years old this past valentines day.  nobody ever dreamed there would be twelve years separating him from the next grandchild (dax).  however, it did give us all a good chance to spoil james parker completely rotten.  nah, i promise he is a good kid - but he's still pretty rotten.

 james loves golf, hunting, and the west virginia mountaineers.  to make his birthday special we got him a custom cake with some of his favorite things.  to top it off we selected a ball cap like the one he wears on his facebook page.  he was pretty shocked when we had a little mini hat that looks just like one he owns!  (hey, your mom asked me to stalk you on facebook when you set up an account - so, i had to!)

everyone loved the cake and even found the weaponry very comical.  the rifle ended up being the source of many a conversation and much laughter throughout the day!  it doesn't take much to amuse this group!

james was a good sport and didn't really care too much about the dismantling of the cake, so long as he got the strawberry cake and ice cream!  he raked in a ton of cash (almost $500), remember i said rotten?  here he is opening one of about a hundred cards full of cash.
it was wonderful to have all of our family together for this special occasion.  it was awesome to celebrate with so much love, laughter, and excitement!  kids really do grow up so fast.  it's so hard for me to imagine that this sweet guy is old enough to get a driver's license!  where does the time go! 

so thankful we're all within a drive of each other and we can be together for holidays, birthdays, or just on a whim!  it no longer takes an airplane trip and lots of planning to just live life together!

my sweet sister beth has lost over eighty pounds within the past nine months!  that is the weight of a 12 year old!  so impressive!  she and her husband have embarked on quite a journey and they are really knocking off the pounds.  we hardly recognize them as they continue to slim down!  i love this picture above because i see my sweet sister feeling so much better and her eyes are once again sparkling.  it was so good to be with her and be able to spend time just laughing, joking, and hanging out.  this happy time together will surely be a treasured memory.

Friday, January 8, 2016

had ourselves a merry little christmas

christmas was super special this past year.  not only was dax 4 years old and full of excitement and wonder, but all of my side of the family joyously descended upon north carolina for a southern christmas!  a christmas without travel is amazing!  conti and i filled their bellies with meatballs, cheeseplates, prime rib, and even banana pancakes.  it was amazing to have time at the holidays with everyone together.  we loved all being around and able to watch dax feel the excitement and enjoy all of his new toys and gifts! 

we spent christmas eve at auntie conti's house.  it was amazing that everyone could come to town and between the two of us we had beds for everyone and nobody had to stay in a hotel!  that has never happened before! everybody enjoyed seeing conti and keek's new home in the south.  james even got to play a round of golf with uncle keek.  he and keek love some golf!

dax's santa list comprised of a bicycle, a kazoo and underpants!  santa did a great job being a good listener and got dax everything he asked for and more.  will and i got dax an instant camera and a watch with a timer.  he loved all of his gifts and enjoyed unwrapping everything to find out what was next even more!  he had too many gifts with all of the family sending him things, and he spent practically the entire day unwrapping!  with his big boy bike being his main gift he was excited to get outside and test it out.  we all went out to watch dax on his first big boy bike ride.  the weather was a balmy 75, so will even walked around in shorts with no shoes.  c'est la holidays in the south!
the entire group!
sleepy boy forgot that this was christmas morning!
"i got a bicycle!"
the kazoo!
gran helping dax learn how to ride his bike.  (don't worry a new helmet is on the way.  the one we ordered was too snug!)
dax using his new instant camera.  he LOVED taking pictures!
the family playing like "jimmy fallon" with dax's new musical instruments.
we all had a great time at the holidays and are looking forward to a healthy, fun and happy 2016!  we've got a feeling this year will be something amazing!