Monday, September 30, 2013

Hunting Season

I am not a hunter.

But after being married to a hunter for nearly 17 years, I'm a seasoned hunting widow. Usually the girls and I do fun projects while the boys are off hunting, but this year, we're missing a girl.

Lexi and Jake both took their hunter safety course this summer, and this weekend, they went on their first deer hunt. It was weird not having Lexi here, and I wondered if she'd even have fun. I knew she was nervous about shooting, and worried she wouldn't get a deer. I made Brad and Jake promise not to make her nervous or tease her. I told them they're lucky she chose to be with them. 

Sunday morning I woke to a text... and a picture....

She is absolutely glowing! There aren't many things that put that big of a smile on her face. Apparently hunting is one of them!

I'm happy for her, and I'm happy for Brad. What a great way to spend some quality time with your teenage daughter! Lexi said now that she's gone hunting, and got a deer, she "gets" why Dad likes hunting so's the adrenaline rush. She is so her father's daughter.

But while I'm super happy for Lexi and Brad, I'm sad for Jake. The kid who has been patiently waiting for his turn to be the hunter for the past ten years, didn't get a deer. He had a couple of opportunities, but he's 12... and then there's the adrenaline.. it's not always our friend. There will be more hunting trips for Jake (he's already planning a pheasant hunting trip for Saturday).

And, it seems there will also be more hunting trips for Lexi.

Brad is over the moon.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


They say dogs become a part of our families.

"They" are right.

Tonight, we are trying to figure out what to do now that our dog Bob is gone.

The truth is, Bob has been such a fixture in our family, we kind of took him for granted. We always assumed he'd be there. 

Bob was born December 14, 2000 and came to live with us on February 4, 2001.

Things were different in February of 2001.

There was no Jake.

There was no Lizzy, and no Morgan.

We lived in a different house.

Lexi was just a toddler.

Bob came into our family, and he just "fit."

He was the "big guy" of the litter.. full grown, he was still the "big guy", weighing more than 30 pounds more than his brothers and sisters. Maybe that's why he fit in so well - we are a family full of "big" guys and gals. There was just something about him that Brad thought was cool, so he picked him.

He made a good choice.

Bob was a great dog. He was a natural hunter, gentle with the kids, never chewed or dug holes.

If there's a perfect dog, then Bob was it.

Oh the memories......

He's named Bob because when we got him, Lexi was obsessed with Veggie Tales and it was either name the dog Bob, or the baby (who turned out to be Jake). We laughed, but the name was perfect for him. Jake called him Boob, which made us laugh too.

There was the time Lizzy buttered Bob.

And the times when Lexi and Jake were little they'd put a leash on him, throw a ball into the lake, and then hold on for the ride of their lives.

And then there are the hunting stories. Brad has millions of them - I just wish he would have taken pictures of Bob with all his pheasants. That dog was a natural. Bob used to get excited when Brad would clean his shotgun. He just knew something fun was about to happen.

He loved beer, steak, half-eaten hot dogs, and scotcharoos. He'd even been known to eat a loaf of bread (including the bag) if given the opportunity. 

We loved him so much and I'm not really sure what we'll do without Bob. Our Christmas pictures will never be the same -- one family member will always be missing. But I'm happy to have the pictures, and the memories. I put some of the best ones together for the kids to watch. We watched it, and cried, and then cried some more. 

Today, I was with Bob when he left this world. We made the decision to put him down. It was time. He lived a good life, and his body was worn out. We were being selfish keeping him around. We knew that, but it was still the hardest decision we've ever made, and today's trip to the vet was the hardest thing I've ever done. We drove around for awhile because I just wasn't ready to say goodbye. It's silly... Bob was Brad's dog, but he weaseled his way into my heart the first month he lived with us. I'm so glad I was with him as he took his last breath today. He looked at me, put his head down, and took a big breath. And that was it. Just like that. It was the most peaceful thing ever. Still, my heart is broken, and I am a blubbering mess, but I know that old man Bob had a good life, and I like to think we are better people because we had Bob. And something tells me, Bob is in a better place now - licking up spilled beer, chasing pheasants, and swimming in heaven's lakes. 

Someone sent me this poem about a man and his dog... it's worth reading and sharing. Just click here. And after you read it, go give your dog a big hug!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Choose Your Battles

Stuff like this used to totally stress me out:
These are the actual shoes Morgan wore to church this morning.
This was our conversation when I questioned her choice in footwear:

Me: "Morgan, your shoes don't match."
Morgan: "Well, my other flip flop is broken, so I thought I'd just wear a boot on that foot."

I couldn't argue with her logic, so I let it go. I snapped a quick picture and thanked my lucky stars we were actually leaving the house fully-clothed and on time.

She attracted a lot of attention at church, and everywhere else we went.  If anyone dared question her footwear, Miss Confident matter-of-factly explained why she was wearing one rain boot and one flip flop.

I figure someday she will look back on her ridiculous outfits and be really mad at me for letting her leave the house looking so silly.

Or maybe she won't.

Something tells me Morgan will always be confident and strong-willed in all aspects of life, including fashion.

Meantime, today's fashion statement was a perfect reminder of my motto: choose your battles.

This was definitely not worth fighting over, but definitely worth snapping a picture of!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Another Day in the Life

For a few minutes this afternoon, I thought I was starring in a sitcom. It was one of those times that Murphy warned us about - you know, the times when everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. And what happened was so ridiculous it couldn't have actually been for real. It would have been a really funny tv show. Turns out, it was actually just another day in my life.

The three youngest kids and I were gone for the weekend. We got back mid-afternoon. I planned to be back early so we'd have a nice relaxing afternoon before heading to a Boy Scout event this evening. 

I should know better than to plan.

Upon carrying my first load of stuff from the van to the house I realized the kitchen smelled terrible. I figured there must be something rotting in the fridge. I'd been meaning to scrub the fridge anyway, so that's what I did. It wasn't until I was done sanitizing the fridge that I realized the stench was coming from a bowl of tomatoes on the kitchen counter. I'd picked them from the garden last week but never had time to freeze them. Apparently someone realized they smelled bad, and instead of throwing them out, just covered them with a dishtowel. 

So, I then proceeded to toss the rotten tomatoes (and resisted the urge to throw them at anyone, mostly because I knew I'd be the one that would end up cleaning up that mess). The next logical step in my very illogical thought process was to empty the dishwasher. That led to the realization that the dirty dishes from Friday hadn't been washed. 

I kind of freaked out then.

About the time I was freaking out, I remembered that Friday was milk day. I didn't remember bringing the milk in so I had the little girls check the milk box. They found the five half-gallons of milk we'd forgotten to bring in on Friday morning.

I told them to dump it outside and throw the empty cartons away. 

I have no idea why I said that, or what possessed them to actually listen to me (they're not the best listeners or direction-followers).

They dumped four of them out before I realized how dumb my instructions were. Now my rock garden was filled with two gallons of milk-turned-stinky-cottage-cheese-like-substance. It looked like someone had gotten sick outside our house, and I almost got sick when I saw it.

Of course I yelled at them, and they replied "you told us to do it."

I hate when my kids point out  my mistakes.

So, my next great idea was to have them clean it up. We don't have a faucet in the front of the house, so I had them carry buckets of water out to clean it up. That didn't work so well, so I decided to just do it myself (I have control issues). I hooked the hose up (we have to put the hose away after every use or the dog chews holes in it) to the faucet on the side of the house, pulled it through the garage, and turned the water on. That's when I realized the hose had been left out last week, and the dog found it. 

Water sprayed everywhere. 

In my face. 

Across the garage. 

Everywhere but where I wanted it to go, which was on the vomit-looking pile. 

I should apologize to any neighbors who may have been outside at this time. They may have heard some ugly words - I may have even made up some new naughty words. Oops. My bad. I'm truly sorry. I hate swear words, but I was so *#?&%*#@ mad!

At this point I figured what the hell (sorry, naughty word again... I get *#$&%? just thinking about it!).. I've already made a mess in the garage, I might as well keep going. So I duct taped the holes the best I could and started spraying the milk-turned-stinky-cottage-cheese-pukey-looking-pile from the rocks. 

And then I realized that with the hose pulled through the garage door, the door wouldn't close all the way, and the same dog I was so mad at for chewing holes in the hose, saw a glimpse of freedom and zoomed past me and down the street.

Thank goodness for teenage girls who can run fast (they run even faster when they're scared of their crazy moms, by the way). Lexi chased him down. I put the little girls in charge of the other dog and hopped in the van to go help Lexi with the dog.  She offered to just walk him home, because I think she was still scared of me.

Of course all of this happened while Brad and Jake were at the mall buying a few football essentials (last minute, because that's how we roll). I made an angry phone call to Brad and they were home in a matter of minutes.

I must have scared him too.

But there's a lesson here. A lesson that came to me after all those other disastrous realizations and after I had chocolate in hand. My realization: I need to relax. I forget that my kids are kids (and the dog is just a puppy) and I expect them to behave like adults, when they're not even close to being adults. My unrealistic need for perfection turns me into a crazy person. I know this, and trust me, so do my kids. I need to remember that it's probably not the end of the world if the dishes don't get done every single day, or that we have a pile of cottage cheese in the front yard.