Monday, August 29, 2011

Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend...

A few days ago, my mom called me and said that their dog was acting like she had suffered a stroke.  She couldn't walk, was having accidents, was shaking, etc.  Belle was over 15 years old - 112 dog years.  Years ago, when Clay and I were first married, several of us went to the pound to try to "win" a small dog in a lottery.  They had to pull a number because so many people wanted a small dog.  I happened to be visiting from Utah that weekend and went along, to "up" the numbers - so we would have more of a chance to win her.

Wouldn't you know it, I won the dog.  And instantly wanted her for myself!  I reluctantly left her with my parents and over the years, many people have offered for her.  Pretty much any one of us kids would have taken her in a minute if my parents hadn't wanted her.
Time marches on, and Belle grew older, as we all must do.

We have been expecting her to leave us for a while now, but we were all really hoping that she would go in her sleep...a fitting end for a good pet.

It wasn't to happen, and today, the difficult decision was made to help Belle pass over to the other side.

Clay went over this afternoon to help dig the hole in the rocky ground of Mom and Dad's property.  When the kids came home from school, they wondered where he was.  I chose to tell them that Belle was really sick and old and was going to die today.  Dad was over helping to dig a hole so that she could be buried.

The kids took it pretty well, then Emma decided that she wanted to say "goodbye" before Belle went to live with Heavenly Father.  Knowing that Kristen was taking her kids over for the same purpose, I piled them into the car and we went to pay our respects.

I'm not sure what I expected - but it was evident when we arrived that Belle really did not have much more time - she was very disoriented and lay very still.  The kids went to say goodbye and pet her.  Emma said something like, "Goodbye Belle.  Have fun with Heavenly Father.  I hope you have a happy ending!"  Mom kind of grimaced and said, "Gee - I hope I have a happy ending!"

I came into the room and said her name, and darned if the old girl didn't try to sit up as straight as she used to in order to greet me.  I patted her head and had her rest her weary soul on the pillow.  Tears came into my eyes as I remembered all of the times that she cuddled with me when she came to my house when my parents were out of town, or how she would scavenge the floor after the kids ate something for a treat!  It's funny - you don't think that you can feel the spirit when a pet is getting ready to pass to the other side, but I swear that there was something in that room.  Peace.  Kristen felt it too, so I know I'm not crazy.

 At 5:45, my dad, Clay, and Adam went to the veterinary clinic and stayed with Belle while she passed.

At 6:45, my "little" family arrived at my parent's home.  We chose to use this as a family home evening lesson - we talked to them on the way about what happens when we die. The kids were all in their pajamas.  Clay began to fill the hole, then I asked Zach if he wanted to try.  He did.  One by one, all of the littler kids lined up behind Zach to take their turn filling the grave.  Tearjerker for us adults.  A stone was placed on top and the kids put flowers on top.  Then we had a few prayers (from the kids).  Emma prayed that Belle would have a good time with Heavenly Father.  Alyssa blessed the food.  We all sang "I Am a Child of God" and said our final goodbyes to a loyal little friend who will be remembered.
Rest in Peace, Belle. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

1st Day of School - Times Two...

So, everyone knows that school has already been going for a little while here in good old Tennessee, right?  Yes, I know...I am a bit of a late bloomer in the blogging world - but, here are the kiddos on their first day this year!

We actually had TWO first days of school.  One for the three older kids (Zach, Reagan, and Emma) and a second one for Miss Alyssa!  And it was extra special for the little miss, because it was her 1st day of school EVER!  Where has the time gone...Okay, I know that she is only four (almost), but she is going to pre-k, which is 5 days a week and 6 hours a day.  May not be kindergarten yet, but that is full fledged school in my book...
Aren't they cute? My Big Kids...
Zach, Reagan and Emma are continuing their education at Christiana Elementary School...Z is in the 5th grade (Gulp...middle school starts next year - and he is already wearing deodorant) R and E are both in the 2nd grade...CRAZY to think about since they started out so little and it seems like only yesterday when they were in the special care nursery and couldn't come home until they were almost 5 lbs.

Alyssa - 1st day of pre-k

Alyssa goes to Pre-K at Eagleville School, which we absolutely love - but totally hate the 14 mile drive each way.  She has the same teacher as Emma did 3 years ago - and this teacher is wonderful.  We expect to see Alyssa grow and develop so much in this next year - and are very excited to see what she learns!  So far, she seems to love it, but is a little grumpy when she comes home because the day is a little bit long for such a young scholar.
She wouldn't smile until Emma jumped in the picture!
And, where does that leave our little Ashleigh?  LOST.  She doesn't know what to do with herself.  Every bus she sees MUST have one of her siblings on it.  The other day, I heard her talking to herself in the car...

"Where Emma?" - she answered herself sadly, "At School."

My little sidekick!
"Where Yissa?"...another woebegone, "At School."
She proceeded to do this until everyone was named...she even included Clay and answered that he was "at work"!  A little pathetic, don't you think?  However, she is enjoying the extra cuddles with Mom at naptime and all the attention to herself when we run errands, etc.
Best buddies - when they aren't trying to kill each other

I am excited for this year - and a little sad that almost all of my kiddos are old enough to leave me!  This school year is bound to be chock full of fun anecdotes and happenings, so - STAY TUNED!!!