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!