Tuesday, May 26, 2009

8 Months and more...

Payton's 8 month (almost 9 month) post was delayed due to all of the craziness over the last few weeks. I will post a tribute to Lily, but right now it is just a little painful to look at all of her sweet photos. Trust me, when you see her montage, you, too, will cry.

Just yesterday we had another four-legged child emergency. I came home from work to find Sawyer, our two y.o. gelding, in a cold sweat, with white gums, and thrashing around. He was having a serious case of colic and I was uncertain if he would even make it until the vet got there (he was in shock from the pain, I think). I was panicked between trying to keep a large animal from rolling and twisting his intestines, my baby screaming because I was upset, and the dogs barking and running to the neighbors...and I was all alone. Luckily, Wes, my aunts, and my mom all arrived relatively quickly to help me with the situation and we were able to get him on his feet and give him an injection of pain killers until the vet arrived. Today he seems comfortable and normal and we are praising God because I truly thought Sawyer was heading back to the "horsey hospital" for colic surgery (which is very risky and expensive).
Back to Payton...
8 1/2months have passed since our precious little boy arrived. This is officially my favorite phase so far. I loved the tiny infant stage, but this is much better! Perhaps it is because Payton says "Mom" and "DaDa" and it melts our hearts. Along with this fun stage comes a much more mobile baby that can do things like army crawl across the room and stick his finger in an outlet (yes, I caught him in the act!) I did not know he could do that already! All of these toys and he chooses an outlet? Therefore, Wes and I have begun the tedious task of baby proofing. We have pretty much made his down stairs play area and his bedroom as safe as they can be, but he continues to hit his head all of the time. He never braces himself when he starts to fall, either from a sitting or standing position, and crashes to the floor. Oh well, he will learn one day...

Payton's favorite toys these days are xylophone toys and this bead toy (see above). He loves the sounds they make. Maybe we have a musician on our hands. He will army crawl across the floor in record speed to find what he wants. He also has a fascination with board books, but not because he likes to read them... he likes to eat them. However, Payton has learned to turn pages and it makes story time very interesting.

Check out the army crawl...

Diaper changes have also become a whole new beast. Payton turns into a super wiggly squiggly little boy interested in anything but being still. He also grabs at my face really hard and so I have started "discipline routines" (which really only involve a firm no and redirection to something else), but it is so hard to use a serious voice with him because he immediately turns on the tears as soon as he senses any change in his Mama's happy voice. Those tears break his Mama's heart.

Finally, Payton has hit a new milestone: the big bath! It is so fun to watch him splash and play. The boy lives for his bath time.

The next few pics are from last weekend. We are one busy family these days (when we are not dealing with an animal crisis).

Payton met his new friends, Caleb (pictured on the left) and Quinn (to the right). Bonnie and Julie (sisters) are friends of mine from high school that now live far, far away and were in town to celebrate Caleb's adoption. I was lucky enough to meet this special little boy. I LOVE adoption stories!

The state track meet was also last weekend. Look how big Payton looks standing by the fence! He charmed my athletes and they entertained him. He tried numerous times to climb the fence. I am in real trouble when he figures out how to really climb! The meet lasted Friday and Saturday and the little man crashed on Saturday. Jen, who watches Payton sometimes, was so kind to give my back a rest a hold him while he napped for an hour. Can you tell Payton likes Jen (pictured below)? He often throws his hands up when he squeals with joy when he really likes someone!

In between the sate track meet, Payton and I joined Wes at the local Pet Rescue Fair where he and Jackson held down the Blue Ridge Boxer Rescue table. The day was a success! Many people became interested in pet rescues instead of breeders and two dogs were adopted from the local SPCA. 850,000 dogs are euthanized in the US each MONTH! With stats like this, we must do our part to fight this battle. Marcy, a horse/rescue friend of ours organized the event and did a stellar job. I cannot wait until next year! The boxer rescue alone raised enough money to treat several heart worm cases and with 10 other rescues there, it is hard to tell how much money was raised for the cause.

Finally, the weekend ended with a trip to Grandma and GaGas house for a family picnic. Payton and Bryden posed for pictures (aka wrestled). The boys are getting "so big" (another one of Payton's favorite games). Bryden also gave Payton a bottle. How cute is this? It was a much better weekend than last...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

My Heart Aches..

Lily Kite
May 16, 2003 - May 24, 2009

I am too emotionally drained at this point to say much more...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Is it time?

This has been a rough week for our family. Lily is on a high dose of prednisone for her cancer and it makes her a little agitated. She and Carmen have never been best buds, mostly because Carmen snarls at Lily and considers herself dominate over Lily. Lily has always looked at the situation a little differently and generally blows of Carmen's nastiness. Well, on Wednesday night Lily had enough crap from Carmen and went after her pretty good. She made Carmen look like a snaggle tooth shark. Poor Carmen's mouth looked awful! Carmen went in for emergency dental surgery on Thursday and came out minus a few teeth, but otherwise unscathed. We were dreading another vet bill as our finances are still so tight as we are trying so desperately to pay off some of our adoption and chemo debt. Wes picked up Carmen and went to pay the bill and the office staff informed us that it was "taken care of." We finally felt like we had gotten a much needed break as we are so emotionally drained from the Carmen's surgery, Lily's cancer, Topper's death, and a variety of unexpected bills that we need to pay for this month in additional to the normal stuff. We don't know who paid (but we have a good idea) but we are so grateful for this unsolicited gift!!!!!
While Carmen seemed to pull through the surgery just fine and was back to her regular self, Lily took a turn for the worse last nite and we decided it was time and scheduled the vet to come out this evening when I finished school. Wes planned to take her on a car ride and thru the Wendy's drive thru to get hamburgers. Over the course of the day, she seems to have rebounded a lot and back to her usual self. We called the vet and canceled the euthanization appointment for tonite. I hope this is the right choice, but I am not certain. I don't want to be selfish, but if she is happy I want to give her all the time she wants. This is torture! Now I am wondering...is it time?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lily's Birthday Celebration

The vets said is was impossible, that her lymphoma would spread and she would not make it to her 6th birthday, but Lily-Lu has surprised us again! Ladies and Gents, Lily turned 6 years old yesterday and we had quite a celebration. After her grim diagnoses last July, Wes and I vowed to do what ever was best for Lily all along; whether that meant footing huge bills for chemo or calling the vet to come to our house when it was her time. We had quite a scare two weeks ago when Lily's legs swelled and we called our vet's cell phone and asked her if it was time to say good bye. She told us to put food in Lily's bowl. So I did, and Lily devoured her chow. The vet said, no, it was not her time just yet since she was feeling well enough to eat and to call her with an update the next day. We are so blessed to have a vet that cares so deeply for Lily and has literally spent hours and hours of research, phone calls, and treatments to help our Lily. Dr. Laura Jones is AMAZING! We are so thankful for her efforts! So yesterday we celebrated our Lily and everything that she has brought to our family. We gave her sandwiches from Arby's, hiked up to Humpback Rock, attended a horse show in Keswick, and gave Lily a cake (aka wet dog food) at the end of the day. Our beautiful girl sported a Princess scarf all day because we wanted everyone to know that she truly is our Princess and deserves nothing but the best. While we know our time with Lily is very limited, that did not stop us from celebrating what she has meant to our family! Enjoy some images from our celebration!

Daddy kissing Lily at the top of the Rocks.
Payton and I trying to take a pic from the top. Not bad for taking it myself. (Can you tell I have no fear of heights?)

Our family photo at Humpback Rock.

The deer was saw on our hike. She was right next to us and Lily did not even make a peep.

One happy hiker! Thanks, Erin, for sending me the craigslist link to the Kelty carrier! Such a great find!!!!! And is this face not the cutest ever!!!!!!!!?

This is the video I took with my digital camera of Payton's Aunt Brooke riding in the first round in the Prix at Keswick last night. She won this event last year on her horse Marcy (Thanks for the Memories) and was third this year on Esters Sims horse Consolado. Lily, Wes, Payton, and I cheered Brooke on to a great finish. Unfortunately, my memory card was full by the time she got to the jump off. She had a speedy time but pulled one rail in the jump off.

We had a great day!

Monday, May 11, 2009

I love being a Mama...

even if it means I do things like this:
The other day Wes went to make brownies for me and pulled out a carton of eggs, only to discover that I had put 5 empty egg shells back in the fridge. My brain has turned to "Mama Mush." I guess I need a little more sleep but it is so hard to put Payton to bed early because I just want to soak up every minute with my little man. He usually goes to bed sometime between 930 and 11. We don't really have a schedule or a bedtime routine and it works for us.

He is so much fun! Now he says Mama and Dada... I am still not convinced that he really means it, but it is so fun to hear. Being a mom turned out to be so much fun. Mother's day was really special this year and all I really needed to celebrate was the little boy that is screeching in his johnny jump up as I type. While I started Mother's Day really only thinking about how cool it was that this was my very first one, my thoughts quickly turned during church. To honor mothers during the service one of the church members sang "Labor of Love," a touching song about Mary's labor the night Christ was born. (If you have never heard it... check it out on itunes!) But it wasn't just Mary that I was thinking of... I was thinking of C and how she labored through her pregnancy and birth to bring Payton into this world. She labored with love in heart and tears in her eyes as she made her adoption plan, just as I labored through piles of paperwork and anxious months of waiting. Mother's day must have been hard for her, so while I celebrated, I did so with love and affection for C and gratefulness for the choice she made for Payton. We both love this little boy with a Mama's heart and want all the best for his future.

Friday, May 1, 2009

It's so hard to say "Goodbye"

when you know it is forever. Friday morning my Mom called while I was in the shower and Wes poked his head in the bathroom and said I needed to head over to the farm immediately because Topper, my 36 year old pony, was dying. My Dad found him cast in his stall that morning, taking shallow breaths. I threw on my pjs and ran out the door to comfort my old man Top. Most likely he had a stroke around 5 or 6 in the morning and I knew it was over. My sister called the vet for me and while I was waiting for her to come with the injections, I sat in the stall with Topper's head on my lap and let the tears flow and remembered everything that I loved about my Topper-man. Topper was so much more than just a pony to me: he was my best friend during those awful middle school years, he was playmate when we galloped in the fields, he was my teacher in the ring, and he was and always will be "my pony."
My mom promised me when I was 12 years old that Topper would never ever leave the family farm after she overheard me crying in his stall. I said to Topper then, "Mom wants me to ride horses because my legs keep growing and yours aren't. But I won't, because if I do she will sell you. I won't let that happen, you can be my pony forever." After hearing this Mom said I could ride horses and that she would never sell my pony. She never did. She did, however, attempt
enlist Toppper into the ranks of the school ponies, but to no avail. Topper had a list of tricks he would execute on each of his first time riders. Most of the time, he was successful in scaring the newbie out of riding him ever again. He would grab the bit and run, or drop his inside shoulder and run through the middle of the ring, duck out on jump, or just jump even if the rider did not
want to (remember that, Em!). A few of her students loved the challenge and Topper instantly took to them. He wanted a rider, not a lump on his back, when he was in the ring and if they passed the test, they must be able to ride. That is what I loved about my Old Man. He loved the ring and he made riding so much fun. We weren't a team, we were one. I knew him. Although the last time I rode him was two years ago (I did not want to stress his old bones), I felt that same
familiarity and comfort. My cousin Willow took him in a pleasure class at a few horse shows that year and scored some blues. Even then, he knew he was in the ring and would show off for that judge. What a charmer!?

One of my favorite memories with Topper was playing "Pony Express" out in the fields with my farm buddies when we were kids. Lindsay, I am sure you remember this well. We would run trot and canter through the fields until we reached the straight stretch at the bottom of the paddocks. We would then line our ponies up, count to three, and race to the end. Sheer delight! All the while screaming and yelling at each other and laughing. Topper tolerated all of this nonsense, but I think he liked it. We never really kept tabs on who won the most, but Topper won his fair share.

Trick or Treat


Topper, Trick or Treat as he was known in the show ring, also carried me through my first few medal finals and won some Large Pony Hunter year end awards on our local show circuit. He was a farm icon after spending more than twenty years at KKF. Even these last few years, he taught young camp kids how to groom while he dozed in the cross ties...until they touched his ears. That still ticked him off. I remember one little 6 y.o. girl saying, "I love Topper. Can he be my pony? I know I cannot ride him, but I think he is the best one here." My heart jumped a little. How did this blind, deaf, toothless, shaggy, rickety, 36 year old pony make this little girl fall in love with him? He must be special.
Topper not only won my heart and the affection of little kids, he was a friend to his field mates. One of the hardest moments for me Friday morning was bringing Max in to see Topper. Max was Topper's field mate and protector. When the young horses would run up to harass Topper, Max would step in chase them away. He was glued to Topper. Although Topper was not as attached to Max, I know he appreciated the protection. While I was sitting with Topper waiting for the vet, Wes brought Max over to Topper. Max gently nuzzled Topper as if to say, "it's okay, old friend, you can go." and I bawled at the touching moment, almost like I should not have been watching this intimate moment between friends. But I wanted Max to understand that we did not take away his field mate and best friend. It was Topper's time. After the vet was done (and believe me, she had tears too), Max screamed in the field for several hours, mourning his friend. To say that horses and animals cannot experience feelings of loss, love, and happiness is completely crap. Animals do have emotions.

Topper was a Connemara/Thoroughbred/Something cross, but made a great sport pony. He will always be the one I think of first when I think of my horses of the past. Topper was Top-notch. So, Topper, Topman, TipTop, Old Man, say hi to Misty, Pokey, Penny, Cocoa, Hershey, Sandy, and Ransom for me. I'm sure Willie is thrilled to see you again. Max will adjust to life without you, although he screamed for you for hours. Enjoy your fresh legs, new teeth, good ears, bright eyes, and endless green fields. We'll race together again one day, live it up until then, my dear Old Man.

Payton on Topper back in October. I am so glad I have this picture!

Topper, here is what some of your admirers said about you:

Thanks so much for letting me know. Topper was a special pony for
me. He introduced me to the large pony hunter division and to pony
jumpers. I believe he was about two years older than me, which would make
him 36. He taught a lot of kids to ride during those years. - Jakki
(former owner)

For the last few years, my horse, Max, protected Topper from the bullies
in the field. They were always together. I'll miss him and I know Max will, too.
- John (Owner of Max)

awww. what a great pony. We had to say goodbye to my Chelsea 2
years ago and I still miss her. She and Topper can kick up their heels
together :) -Tara (knew Topper from our years showing together in Large Pony
Hunter divisions)

what a remarkable pony...can't imagine kemper knoll without him. -Katie
(childhood farm friend)

Aw, so sorry to hear about Topper. He was very special! - Lindsay
(member of the "Pony Express")