Monday, October 29, 2012

In The Trenches: Infertility

Today's guest is Jen's friend, Asta. We love her witty comments and her heart. Her daughter, Stella, sent her paci away to Ada when she gave it up. How sweet is that?


I thought I was going to hyperventilate. Could you actually be pregnant with another baby? I checked the text message again, and yep, it was really from you, and no, it didn't seem like a joke. Of course I was ecstatic for you. I've seen you walk through infertility and the loss of your first child (and then thankfully, the births of your boys). I knew this new life meant a lot to you.

But even in the joy, my stomach sank. There are days when motherhood just about does me in, and I only have one child. I can't imagine being you and facing the prospect of four kids under age 4! And yet, what's one of my highest desires right now? It’s to get pregnant and add another child to my already crazy life.

Asta, Stella and hubby Isaac after completing a 5K mud run!

This isn't my first time dealing with infertility. It took several years of trying to finally get pregnant with my daughter, Stella. We've always wanted at least two kids, preferably spaced the "optimal" 2 years apart. Well, Stella turns three soon and I'm not pregnant yet, so obviously God is running late according to MY perfect plans.

The waiting game is different this time around. Thankfully, I do already have a cute little girl living in my house. I'm usually too busy with her to dwell on what I'm missing. One hard part about infertility now is that my life is full of other mommy friends, and there's always somebody announcing a new pregnancy! I see other families with more kids and feel sad that Stella doesn't have a sibling yet.

Over the past few months, God has been working in my heart, and I am mostly at peace with waiting. To get there, I had to deal with some ridiculous lines of thinking. They seem pretty absurd now, but that’s where I was.

Ridiculous thought #1- "The reason I'm not pregnant is because I haven't proven myself as a good mom." It's as if I imagined God looking down on me and saying, "Hmm…that poor dear can hardly handle one kid. I'd better go easy on her and not send another!" Or worse, I must be doing such a horrible job that he's regretting His decision to let me be a mother in the first place.

While there are a lot of things I don't understand about God, I'm 99.9% sure that's not how it works. Lots of people who have NO business being parents have gotten pregnant (and reality TV wouldn't be nearly as entertaining without them). I don't actually believe that only those who are worthy receive joy-filled bundles from the stork. And yet…if I don't watch out, it's easy to feel like I must not deserve another child.

Taking after her dad.

Ridiculous thought #2- "I am such a wimp for thinking that parenting one measly child is hard work." Because I'm not dealing with, say, a newborn AND a toddler at the same time, I have a hard time feeling worthy of the exhaustion that comes with being a mom. My friends with two or more kids are the "real" moms, while I'm stuck back at the rank of "junior" mom.

I'm still wrestling with that thought, because, at the very least, more kids equal more laundry, and that sounds harder to me. The truth I try to hold on to is that God has given me THIS life for a reason. The comparison game can mess with your head no matter what aspect of life you apply it to.

Jen, I would love your prayers as I continue to wait and learn how to deal with God's answer of "maybe, but not yet."



I am so thankful for your honesty. You are in the trenches and so many couples can relate (though I wish that weren't the case).

I am also thankful for your friendship and support, and the example of great parenting you've shown me (People, Asta's daughter ASKS for broccoli for breakfast), and how you continue to serve and seek Him in all of this.

Ann and I have had you on our prayer list for a long time and will continue to intercede for you!



Friday, October 26, 2012



Does everyone assume at-home moms are lonely?

On Monday morning I took the boys to storytime at our local library. I was planning on meeting a friend but her plans changed.

After the books and singing I got the boys settled with their toys (the incentive for sitting through the aforementioned). I noticed the women next to me chatting and I struck up a conversation with one of them. She asked if I had heard of this particular mom's group and was I interested in being a part of it? She was very kind and explained how nice it was to have an activity option every day and partake in adult conversation, especially since she was at home full time now. I took her business card and out of obligation and said I'd look into it.

After I left I replayed the interaction, trying to put a finger on my discomfort. Is it because I'm usually the one inviting people to things? It is strange to be on the other end I suppose. But as I thought more I realized exactly why it was awkward for me: She assumed I was lonely. Her mention of adult conversation and activities presumed I needed both. She probably saw a tired-looking pregnant lady dragging around three busy boys and assumed my life was isolated and chaotic. I'm not offended by this--she has no idea what my life is like! And after all, I was there alone...and looking tired and pregnant! Come to think of it, when I see another mom alone at storytime I sort of assume she's lonely, so why wouldn't they assume that of me? (And I've even mentioned MY moms group to one of them!)

I don't feel lonely in the least, nor do I feel isolated. But it got me thinking--what picture do people have in their minds when they find out someone is an at-home mom? And do I see myself as "one of them" or do I still feel like there's a stereotype and I don't fit it?




It's funny because if anything I crave alone time. I understand that you can feel lonely even in a room full of people but it's not something I feel often in this season of life. Sometimes I think a moms group sounds like fun but every day? How do they have the time?!

I've seen this go around Facebook a few times. Funny, eh?


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Monday, October 22, 2012

How To Tell Your Children About Down Syndrome


Recently,a friend asked me how to explain to their child what is Down syndrome. I told her I wasn't exactly sure how to explain it because it's hard for me to wrap my brain around it! It's hard to explain a syndrome that used to limit people and now because of Early Intervention and Medication Intervention people are living two to three times longer than they did before, AND are capable of doing so much more than they ever could before. It's hard to explain a syndrome that talks about an extra chromosome. Um, yeah, like I really get what I chromosome is!

I've recently seen two videos I thought would be good to share. This one you can share with your kids.

I love this next video because it shows great diversity. This you can share with your kids, too. Don't worry there's nothing risky about it! They just might think it's a bit boring.

Our family is constantly learning new things about Down syndrome. For Catina and June, Down syndrome will not be unusual to them. I also believe that children are being taught younger and younger about acceptance of all types of people. It's our job as a parent to show acceptance when we encounter someone who is different than ourselves, and to ask questions and or find out more information to help our kids have a better understanding of those around them. This can help them know how to relate in a positive way.

As our lives progress I'm sure we will learn more about Down syndrome and better ways to explain to others what it means. When we do, I'll be sure to share!


P.S. To our friends who are "listening" in. This week we have received three requests from women who are waiting for their future children. Please remember to keep those who are trying to get pregnant or waiting for a child in your prayers. It's much appreciated!


Thanks for the videos!

I wonder if I know how your friend feels about telling her child about Down syndrome. My boys are obsessed with Ada and think (or hope!) every baby they see is her. I know a day will come when I'll need to explain what's different about her, and I feel like in that moment I have the chance to really set a standard for the way they accept others for the rest of their lives and I want to do it right. At the same time, I realize "that moment" has really already happened! I just have to keep those lines of communication open like you're saying.

And many prayers for our friends who are waiting. My heart aches for them and their journey.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Work At Home Mom


I've always felt a little less-than when people comment about women being great multitaskers. I've always known I had trouble multi-tasking, but this phase of life has really brought it to the surface.

What's particularly difficult for me is juggling the day-to-day versus the brain-required tasks. If I have something on my list that I know will consume my brain, it actually BEGINS to consume my brain the minute it hits the list. Even though I know full well I can't even give the task an ounce of energy until kids go to bed or Levi gives me time on the weekend, it will weigh me down like a ton of bricks, making those already-difficult every tasks almost impossible. This is an issue with working out of the house.

I've been doing this freelance work for more than a year now. I am so thankful for the work. We started praying that God would somehow provide more income (even though I wasn't looking for work and Levi's salary was set in stone). A week later I got a call from a previous employer asking me if I could do some projects on the side for him. No coincidence. I love the work and the flexibility; it's actually the perfect scenario for me.

But sometimes the work isn't just PowerPoints and marketing posters, it's laying out a book or going back and forth with printers. Knowing the task is going to require concentration, not to mention parts of my brain that are a little dusty, I start feeling the pressure...and the pressure makes even the most menial of everyday tasks feel like an obstacle to that Brain Task that's coming. Doing laundry feels like a burden because I have this Task waiting for me, nevermind that I know full well I can't touch it until tonight!

Of course I'm learning to manage all of this, but I just completed one of those weeks where my whole family felt this weakness. Thank goodness my husband can crank out some laundry!




I think its unbelievable all that you do. I'm glad the Lord has given you strength to do it all. You are doing amazing job and I don't believe this is your weakness. You actually got it all done even if Levi did the laundry. I don't doubt that this feels heavy on you and there are times I wish you could quit even though you don't mind the work. I'm glad you and Levi are in it together.

Seriously, Jen, there's nothing that could've made this week better except hiring a sitter and having someone else do the work!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Rusty Art

Greg and I love rusty garden art. We bought this on a romantic get away in Hocking Hills. Maybe some day we will take a welding class and weld lots of big art together!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Oh My Little Ada!


Most days I don't dwell on Ada having Down syndrome. I do think about it every day because as a mom I really have to. I think about if I have all her doctor's appointments scheduled; I think about whether or not she's had enough tummy and sitting time each day, if she's held a spoon, if she's tried picking up puffs by herself, etc. Now I do believe a lot of moms who have typical children think about these same things, but I'm thinking about them because I want Ada to reach her highest potential alongside Down syndrome.

Ada is now sitting up and clapping. She seems to be raising her arms when we say "How big is Ada?" At times I wonder if that is an accident but I have to believe she really does get it. She loves to be bounced up and down and will laugh like crazy when I do it. She's eating baby food really well and has started to eat puffs and soft bread. She is constantly up on all fours rocking like she is getting ready to crawl.

So hard to get this girl to smile for the camera because she's obsessed with grabbing it and observing!
Last week I took her for her 9 month appointment and she is a little over 13 pounds. She's still in 3-6 month clothing and can wear 6 months but it's a little baggy on her. It actually works best to wear 3-6 month pants and 6 month tops. You know how much I hate changing bins for clothing the first year of life so most of the time she just either has to go baggy or a bit short. Poor thing!

Her doctor is so pleased with how she is doing. He said she is on the curve in every way for a typical child. This is good news right? But somehow it feels strange to be excited about that. I mean, wonder if she wasn't? She'd still be Ada. We'd still love her. It's in these moments I get confused as to how I should be hoping. Do you hope for the smartest physically fit Down syndrome child who can compete with some typical children? It just seems weird.

Sitting up like a big girl in her crib.
 At the Down syndrome walk this became evident to me. People send me Down syndrome articles and videos all the time. I totally appreciate them. It's great to see. I remember people sending me, and at times still do, all the videos about children who were deaf and could speak well or who turned out to be great musicians. Great for those children and great to know about the different potentials children with these disabilities can reach! At the same time I wonder if my child can't do those things will that be disappointing? I really don't want to be disappointed in them especially if it's not their fault.

It's this weird conflicting emotion that goes on inside of me. When these moments come I remind myself that I just want each of my girls to be the best they can be. To reach their full potential and not the full potential of what their disability is.

Another weird conflicting emotion races through me when someone sends me a video or article about a person who has one of my children's disabilities and says "Wow, can you believe they can do this?" I am surprised at their unbelief and sad that they didn't realize that, yes, these children can do these things.
They do them all the time. 

June helping Ada in therapy.
I feel burdened at times of having to be the advocate for the deaf or those with Down syndrome. I don't really want to be the educator but the Lord has placed me in this position and continues to give me in Grace and Patience to share what these children can do and be. Even in this burden, I can become excited about it and think about my future. Will I be someone who leads parents who have children with these disabilities? Will I be able to run an organization that advocates for them? Will I be able to come alongside a parent who is having a hard time dealing with their child's disability?

A few years ago I thought that when my children were a bit older I'd finish my Masters in Counseling. Now I am realizing why I wasn't able to finish that degree and wonder what He has in store for me. The Lord placed these three girls in my home to not only give me the opportunity with Greg to love and raise them, but to change me and put me in a place that will be able to help those around me. Isn't that amazing?!

Thanks, again, for letting me express honestly!




I love this statement:

When these moments come I remind myself that I just want each of my girls to be the best they can be. To reach their full potential....

I know it's coming from a bit of a different place when your kids have a disability, but it's such a great mantra for all of us parents. Just putting on the blinders to everyone else and wanting them to be the most loving, smartest, joyful version of themselves.

Thanks for making us think!



Friday, October 12, 2012

Bereavement Photography - Who Knew?


One of the questions that stuck out to me when I was in labor for our firstborn:

If your baby does not survive, are you interested in having a bereavement photographer come to capture some moments with your child?

Um, NO. Big fat no.

I remember sitting in the bed laboring for Elisabeth, who had a 1% chance of surviving, filling out pages and pages of forms. We'd hoped to prepare for this moment in the coming weeks, doing our version of a birth plan. But she was coming early, so we were timing contractions while we were talking about what to do with her remains if she didn't live.

There was no doubt in my mind that I did not want photographs of our deceased baby. It felt so melodramatic and honestly, a little creepy. I knew we wouldn't have pictures of her around the house, so what was the point?

I am so glad those nurses ignored me.

The antepardum nurses were familiar with these situations and wisely took it upon themselves to call in a photographer who volunteered her time with an amazing organization called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. NILMDTS is a national organization that gathers professional photographers who have not only incredible talent in their profession, but hearts of gold. They are called upon in these tragic moments to capture the memories of families in infant loss no cost at all to the families. (A NILMIDTS photographer was called to photograph the loss of the Duggar baby a couple years ago. You might have seen those precious pictures.)

When our photographer walked into the room I wept with relief. We'd been taking pictures of her with the disposable cameras the unit donates to parents like us, and you know how low-quality those images are. There was a soft morning light coming in through our window and since she'd been born just an hour before, she looked quite alive. I know that sounds harsh, but of course it was important to capture how she really looked when we met her. We knew the professional photos would be amazing.

Of all the keepsakes we have from her short life--her hats, blankets, pajamas--it is the pictures that I treasure most. It is literally all we have of her, and we are forever grateful. No, we don't have photos of her around the house, but I have them in books and in special spots, and I treasure those moments when I can take a glimpse at her sweet little body again through these impeccable photographs.

I hope anyone who finds themselves in this scenario, or knows someone who is walking into this, will pass along the NILMIDTS information. It is truly priceless.




Thank you so much for sharing this information. You explain it so well and after what you've been through with Elisabeth I've realized how important it is to have those pictures. When Elisabeth was born I wanted to so badly get in my car and drive to see her before she left you. Since it wasn't best for me to do this, I was so very grateful to see the pictures of her. She is so precious in this picture! 

This month is National Infant Loss month as well as National Down Syndrome Awareness. Who knew we'd be sharing and remembering the same month for our babies.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Today Is June's Day


It's me again! Today I'd love to tell you more about June and how I really have this love hate relationship with (almost) three-year-olds. Seriously, LOVE and HATE!

June is my go-with-the-flow-with-a-million-smiles girl. She's very grateful and is constantly saying "thank you" for everything you do or give her. She's had about three tantrums in her entire life and those have all happened within the last couple of weeks. I contribute this to her becoming almost three. I don't understand why people say that two-year-olds are terrible because it's when my girls have turned three that they have realized that they want to be babies AND they want to be big girls all while trying to tell Mommy what to do. 

Dirty face girl saying "hi" to her Auntie.
Now, I am not saying that Juney (that's what we often call her) is never disobedient because she truly is my explorer. She's the one who I find standing on Ada's bum when I enter a room or the one who has peeled off all the wall decals because she wanted to know how that worked. This summer she won a flashlight for having books read to her from the library. Catina won that flashlight weeks and weeks before June, who doesn't have time to sit because she is busy exploring. Also, once June did earn the flashlight she decided she needed to know how it worked and disassembled it until there were no more pieces to come apart. 

This is how I found her flashlight. Don't knock the 80s style sheets! We got them for free. ; )
Every morning we have this little argument about wearing her hearing aids. She covers her ears and says "no hearing aids" and then "no brusha my hair." Yes, she is Italian and says "brusha." Typically once I get the hearing aids in she doesn't bother them, but whenever we obtain new ear molds she decides she doesn't really like them (Maybe because they fit better?) and pulls the aids out it seems EVERY HOUR! This time around she has pulled them out so often that the tubes came out of the molds and now I have to bring her in to get new ones. Thank you, now we need to drive 30 minutes for a screaming appointment to wait two weeks until they are delivered, all to start this all over again.

I go back and forth on whether or not we should be forcing her to wear the aids. I do know the facts that show that if a child wears their aids a majority of the time at a young age that their speech is much better later on in life. This can make me feel guilty at times when I let her wander without them. At the same time, I always wonder if she will grow up and tell me that the reason why she didn't like the aids is that they always made this weird sound in her ear or gave her headaches or were too loud. Ugh, how awful would that be?

My ballerina princess. She is loving ballet class!
Now all of this could be her stage, right? Like when we try going pee pee on the potty and she yells. Yes, she yells "NO CHOCOLATE, MAMA!" OK so chocolate is not an incentive for June to use the restroom. She has decided she wants to be a baby right now and wants me to feed her a sippy cup like a bottle. Once in awhile I will consent to cuddle her. I know this is all the inbetween I'm a baby but I'm a big girl stage. Is the hearing aid issue the same thing? Also, what's up with not going in the potty but wanting to put on her own shoes and socks?

June is graduating soon out of the Early On program and will continue her parent tot class along with going to a speech therapist once a week. Right now her speech therapist comes to our home and plays games with her. In these next weeks we are meeting her in a classroom setting where I am not in the room. They will be testing June for her receptive and verbal language. Although June is talking in full sentences her articulation is hard to understand at times. 

This girl is very hard to get out of bed. At times she pushes my face away or rolls over under the covers.
The opposite of Catina who you might call Tigger in the morning.
We are also concerned she doesn't always understand things. She is very literal which is so much the opposite of me and just like her Dad. If you tell her to ask for something nicely she doesn't realize that she should say "Milk please" and instead will say "Nicely" no matter how many times I try to explain that to ask nicely please to say "please."(Here is where I look into the camera like Jim on The Office.) If you ask her to show you her ballet dance she will point to how to get to ballet even though I try to tell her I want her to show me the steps to the dance. This will be our challenge. Mama is figurative and Juney is very literal. 

Prayers for the ever-dreaded, not-really-happening potty training, speech therapy testing, and for patience with my little explorer.




Never a dull moment! What an example at how siblings can be so different, which of course means we have to change our approach with every single child.

Prayers continue!


Monday, October 8, 2012

More About Catina Than I Expected


A couple of things are on my mind before I get to the point that is lingering in my brain. First off, I've noticed that sometimes I sit down to write to you and start thinking of those who may listen in on our conversation. I don't believe I hold back a whole lot because of who may be listening, but I do consider them when I think I want to write something that I think may be boring or self-centered. The things is, in our friendship, I don't hold back anything conciously. I tell you the boring and the exciting, and sometimes it's the boring stuff I love to tell you most. 

Catina at the cider mill. She even asked to ride the ponies. A former fear!
I want to talk about my children a lot because exciting or not-so-exciting--things are happening. All three are in different stages experiencing different challenges and victories. There is also a lot going on in my heart and brain that I am processing in regards to who I am as a person. So I sit down to write and at times don't even know where to begin. This would be the case today. 

Hopefully in my next post I will be able to share what is changing in my heart and what I am learning, but for today I'd love to share about the three girls. I'd love others' input as well as wanting some to know that they are not alone. Some of this may be "boring" but it's what is important to me!

Catina's school photo. She's so darn photogenic!
Before Catina started kindergarten we prayed for the right teacher for her and God has answered our prayers. This lady is amazing! She's so gentle, loving and full of energy. A week after school began I noticed Catina was running down our block every day after school having to use the restroom...she was not "going" at school. Naturally I became concerned for her health and hoped there wouldn't be an accident to cause embarrassment. I talked with Catina's teacher and she gave us permission to practice after school one in awhile. 

The first time practicing Catina wouldn't even go near the bathroom. I had to carry her and her feet were firmly planted outside the door! She stood in the doorway and watched me wash my hands, walk around the room and I even did a silly dance to show her how it was completely fine to be in the bathroom. Nothing happened that day but we did have a good conversation on the way home about reasons why she didn't like the bathroom which included: it's noisy, dark and that boys pee on the floor (though we aren't used to that in our house).

A drawing Catina drew of her and her sisters. LOVE!
The next week I went back to practice again and she entered the bathroom and even let me shut the door. We danced and laughed and she seemed more comfortable. When we came out of the bathroom one of the para-pros in her classroom asked how we are doing and I let her know what we were "practicing." She was very excited to help with Catina and bent way down to talk to Catina at eye level. She told Catina she was available to help her at any point during the day to try to use the restroom so there is never a reason to be afraid. Catina promised to try the next day with her. 

The next day came and as I walked up to the school Catina and her teacher came out holding hands, coming towards me looking very excited. Catina had used the bathroom. TWICE! And, guess what? She used it twice the next day, too. This all seems trivial in some ways, but this year has been a year of facing fears for Catina and I am so proud of her and grateful that she has been able to face them. Definitely,a life lesson that can be used forever.

Catina likes to take my phone and snap random photos.
I haven't even told you about the things going on with June and Ada but it seems that I should end here and write about the others later this week.

Thanks for being the good friend you are. It's been great being on this journey together even in these "little" things. I've appreciated the texts from friends who wonder how Catina is doing with her bathroom time. You are always sure to ask.


P.S. I love how I have no idea what you will write before we post our letters and that I get to wake up tomorrow and see your response online. That truly shows how much we trust each other!


During the whole bathroom ordeal I was just so amazed at how patient and calm you were about it all. I think you just trusted that it would happen it time and it did! I hope Catina is super proud of herself. And relieved, in every sense of the word!

Thanks for sharing. Since I'm discovering I have an especially quirky boy in the works I know I'm going to benefit from these lessons. Maybe I'll be calling Catina in a few years asking her to talk him through some of this! (And then they'll become buddies and want to talk on the phone all the time, and before you know it she'll become a Matteson....)


Friday, October 5, 2012

A Little Walk For A Big Cause


This past Saturday we went on our first Buddy Walk. Buddy Walks are held all around the country to celebrate and raise money for those who have Down syndrome. We decided not to get all crazy big this year for a variety of reasons. Time is always a factor but also because we weren't really sure what it would be like. Would it be fun for those coming? Will it be surprisingly emotional? Would it be worth having all our friends there?

Catina with her face painted!

Ada pooped out before we even walked.
So far I've participated in two other events surrounding Down syndrome. The first one was going to see Kelle Hampton at a book signing at a landscape nursery. I went by myself with Ada and fortunately ran into a friend. It felt odd and weird and I struggled with a variety of emotions while I was there. In the back of my mind I was concerned that this event would bring on those same emotions so it was nice to have a few close friends and family go with us rather than a larger group so if need be I could process with them while I was there.

You've got to love a good moustache.

Greg and I in the middle!

Our friends in family with their sombreros!

The event was so much fun! Catina can't wait to go back to the Down syndrome party next year. There was face and hair painting, animals to pet, houses to bounce in, walls to climb, trains to ride, music dance to, good food to eat and so much more. People created teams and dressed up for the person they were walking for. We chose to be Ada's Amigos mainly because Angels were already taken but I'm very glad it turned out that way. We were able to dress up and shake our moroccas while we walked.

Catina, June and their friend Molly on the train.

My Dad being his usual goofball self.

Before the walk began there was a ceremony announcing who had raised the most money and various children with Down syndrome lead us in singing, the national anthem and some poems. It was great to see people of all ages with Down syndrome. Right now it seems easy to have a baby with Down syndrome and I hope it continues to just be a part of life, but looking into the future it can sometimes look a bit daunting.

My friend Kate with her son, Nathan, talking to Darth Vader.

Our friend Chuck with Darth Vader.

This is my favorite photo of that day. Chuck with Chewbacca. SERIOUSLY?! All for Ada! : )

This month is National Down syndrome month so I hope to take some more time to share more about Ada. Not only to help those who have children with Down syndrome, but to help all families become more aware about this amazing part of our population. I also want to share some more of the emotions I have had for those who may have felt the same way I did, so we don't have to feel alone.

I'm really looking forward to next year's walk and sharing this time with more people!




I'm so glad you were the Amigos, too! So much more fun that a bunch of sweet angels.

Can't wait to see what kind of fun everyone will have next year! I'm so thankful it turned out to be a great day for everyone, including June and Catina who will look forward to this big party every year!


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Video by Catina

Catina made this video for her Dad. The last part was her bouncing on the 
big blue ball you see in the yard.

Monday, October 1, 2012

He Will Be Missed


The moment I’ve been dreading for 4 months, if not 14 years, happened today. We had to put down our beloved Buddy.

Buddy's favorite spot--the doorway of our bedroom.

We’d discovered a tumor in his mouth this past May and it was confirmed as cancer, so we knew his days were numbered. But like people always say, you’re just never prepared.
You know I have issues with feeling a lot of guilt and regret in life. I’m not sure what that’s all about, but it definitely came to the surface with Buddy. Before the boys came along our dogs lived like kings. But like I’ve said a million times before, things just change with babies around and the kings turned into dogs. Of course we still treated them great, but they certainly did not get the royal treatment anymore.

Everett sweetly offering Bud some water this July

I had secretly planned on spending the whole summer engaging in Bud-centered activities that would miraculously relieve me of this horrible guilt. And I did spend more time with him, but life took over and things really didn’t change. The reality is that an old dog isn’t interested in hanging out with crazy kids; he wants to lounge on a soft blanket, all alone in the bedroom. Can you blame him?
His condition was really stable all summer, except for a few days here and there. We’d been praying since May that we’d know when the time was right to have him put down, but it just never seemed clear. He’d have a bad day and then be fine for weeks. I was getting frustrated with God, feeling like He was ignoring our prayer for clarity and mercy. My biggest fear was having to make that choice, not knowing if he would have had some good days ahead of him.

By this weekend we knew that Monday was going to be the day and of course the pit was heavy in my stomach. I've been having horrible dreams about this and as you know, basically not sleeping as a result.

But on Sunday morning we knew we couldn’t wait any longer; he was nearing the end. Even though Levi was already at church, his parents happened to be here, so my father-in-law and I took him to the emergency vet and my mother-in-law stayed with the kids. Even though Buddy was not in good shape just minutes prior to our leaving the house, he acted fine on our 20-minute drive and I was able to pet him and snuggle with him the whole way. It really was the perfect ending.
Everett, Levi and Bud in November 2011

And, of course, now I can say that our prayers were answered. It was very clear that this was the day, and yet I was able to still have some good moments with him. We never really had to make a choice; it was going to happen now one way or the other.
We have 14 years of great memories with Buddy and I am so thankful for him sharing his life with us!

When I got your text message that this was the day I, too, felt relieved. I had been praying along with you that you wouldn't have to make this decision. There were moments when I didn't believe He'd answer our prayer but when I received your text my spirit felt so happy that this was taken off of you--that you wouldn't have to choose.  
I'm sad Buddy is gone. If I ever was to get a dog I'd want him to be just like Buddy. He was so sweet and so great with children. I'll be praying for his son, Augie, and your family, that everyone will be able to grieve and adjust to his absence.