Saturday, October 25, 2014

Goodbye, Abby

Two weeks ago, we celebrated our family dog, Abby, turning Sweet 16. Today, we had to say goodbye. Two weeks ago, we thought she might just live for 16 more, but in two short weeks, she lost 20% of her weight, stopped eating, and blood work confirmed that her organs were shutting down.

So we said goodbye today to our sweet Abby. Goodbye to a furry friend that has been a part of Jenny's life for 16 years. To a frenemy of mine for 11 years, the duration of my relationship with Jenny.

I call her my frenemy not from my perspective but from hers.  I disrupted the happy little dynamic duo that those two had 11 years ago, and she's been stuck with me ever since. I kicked her off the bed, I made her the 3rd wheel. It was always clear where her allegiances were.

But Abby and I had a special relationship too. Working from home, we were forced into coexistence for 8+ hours per day, and I was her source of food, water, and doing her business. We formed a nice little bond during the work days, though I knew she would fight me to be the first in line at the door when Jenny got home each night.

We shared a love for food. I loved double-doubles from In-N-Out, and so did Abby. She had no qualms about helping herself to a burger or two that weren't being attended to. Bagels, Funfetti cake, Krispy Kremes. It really is a bit of a miracle she made it to 16!

And yes, she wore diapers. Diapers that have saved us thousands of dollars in carpet cleaning and replacement.  

I loved Abby. Saying goodbye to her has been difficult for me. She brought smiles to our faces so often, and was a quiet comfort when we needed it. When we couldn't conceive and struggled through infertility test after infertility test, she was the deserving recipient of that extra helping of love that we so desperately wanted to give a child.  When the wait for Bailey rolled on and on (and on and on), Abby provided a little bit of solace in those times of pain, frustration, anger. She was a source of laughter and happiness. When we started to take life a little too seriously or got a little too stressed out, there was our little diaper-clad Bichon, armed with a smile and a rapidly wagging tail, ready to soak up any affection we wanted to send her way.

Any time Jenny would get sick, Abby would jump on the bed and curl up right next to Jenny, loving on her as she was in pain. To me, it was just a beautiful image of their relationship.

This is the Abby I'll ever forget:

Perhaps the most beautiful part of saying goodbye to Abby was Bailey's response. Jenny told her (because I was a blubbering mess and probably would've said something not-so-age-appropriate) that Abby was very sick and that she was going up to Heaven to be with Jesus. Her initial response was "She gets to go to Heaven and play with Jesus? COOL!" What a refreshing reminder of the perspective we should all have of our own lives.

After a few hugs with her "little puppy" as she calls her, she said goodbye and went off to her nap, giving me a few quiet moments with Abby. There's nothing fun about loss, even if it is "just" a family pet. Abby was just that, a member of our family. She will be deeply missed, but so joyfully remembered.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Potty Time

The flood gates have been opened. Bailey decided that this weekend would be the weekend to embrace "girl potty".  Jenny's hard work and patience over the last handful of months finally paid off and she wasn't even around to celebrate it.  Jenny decided to crown me "husband of the year" but let's be honest, I'm just riding her coat tails.  She's been so persistent and patient with Bailey, and we've been expecting a breakthrough any day.  Thunder officially stolen.

With Jenny away at a MOPS retreat this weekend, it was just me and Bailey for a couple days.  I had been away for a few days prior, so Jenny informed me that Bailey had moved from the practice potty to the "big girl potty", a smaller seat on top of the regular toilet.  What I didn't know until today was that the first attempt at the new seat resulted in Bailey promptly falling off. Probably better that I didn't know that...

Before Jenny left for her retreat, she chaperoned Bailey on an unsuccessfully 30-minute potty-fest at Bailey's insistence. So, come Friday afternoon, Bailey and I were playing and she announced that she needed to go potty.  I marched her into the bathroom and told her to grab a seat on the practice potty. After she so gently corrected me about her new "big girl potty", I plopped her down on the toilet, grabbed a seat on the little step stool, and settled in. It wasn't more than 3 minutes when Bailey hit pay dirt. At the sweet sounds of peepee spraying the sides of the toilet, I let out a little shout of joy while Bailey gave me one of the biggest smiles I've seen from her.  After she finished, I help her off the toilet so she could view her accomplishment and then flush it away.  After a little celebration we added a sticker to her potty card and went about our business.

The potty card - a genius idea Jenny's been using - is a card that has 3 spots for stickers.  Bailey gets a sticker each time she goes in the potty, and for every 3 stickers, she gets to pick something from the "special toy" box - a collection of garage sale finds and consignment sale bargains.  A little incentive/positive reinforcement never hurt anybody.

After round one, I was pleasantly surprised and even more so that I didn't have to invest 30 minutes sitting there, watching and waiting.  

I'll spare you the details but between Friday afternoon and Sunday afternoon, Bailey dropped it like it's hot (peepee and poopoo) NINE TIMES!!! She only cried wolf once and every other time, she told me she needed to go and took care of business within a few minutes of sitting down, usually just a few seconds.  I'm so proud of her.

Jenny captured #10 for me this evening to give you a glimpse of where I spent most of my weekend.

So I won't take any credit for the potty training, but after this weekend I can take credit for:

  1. Bailey learning how to stand on my back.
  2. Bailey sitting on my head.
  3. Bailey somersaulting over my knees.
  4. Bailey enjoying watching golf, and sort of knowing that when the ball disappears into the hole, it's a good thing.
  5. Bailey climbing up a metal ladder at the park all by herself.
  6. Bailey melting down in the church foyer last night because there was no music on for her to dance to. I wasn't too concerned about all of the eyes on me until Bailey took the cry to the 2nd dimension. You know what I'm talking about - after the initial outburst, there's this calm before the storm as she sucks in all the air she can, only to let out a scream that seems to last for days. 
As you'd expect, Jenny was more impressed with the potty training than when Bailey and I showcased her new talents (#1-3) this evening. 

For those looking for tips - I have none...sorry to disappoint!  She told me she had to go, I listened, and she did all the work. I guess I tried to encourage her and I made a ridiculously big deal about how exciting it was and how proud of her I was.  After the first couple times I think maybe she's seeing it as more fun then walking around in a diaper full of excrement! There's so much fun associated with going in the potty - she gets to flush, she gets a sticker, we do the "peepee in the potty" dance (Abby even does it sometimes!), she gets toys.  Not a bad gig. Oh, and I'm pretty sure she's using it as a way to get out of eating food she doesn't like and to delay going to sleep.  Whatever the reason, it's progress.  I'm ready for Abby to be the only one in diapers. :-)

Friday, July 25, 2014

I found my nickels!

Ah, toddler discovery...Bailey is SO curious these days. About food, people, animals, nature, BODY PARTS.  Oh, and she's not just curious, she's incredibly verbal (read: loud) about it.

Mama, I found my "nickels"!! They're so bumpy!!!!

And the parroting - not just of us, but of anyone within earshot of her.  It's not uncomfortable at all when she yells bits and pieces of conversations that complete strangers are having.  So thankful for a sense of humor.

I never could've imagined that Bailey would be as talkative as she is. Although there are moments of awkwardness, it is so much fun to see her be curious, express herself, and verbalize so much of what she sees and does. 

Over the 4th of July weekend, Bailey experienced a number of firsts:

First light rail ride & first Rockies game - shocker, they lost.

First hike up to the rock in Castle Rock and her first walking stick, because what 2 year old doesn't want a walking stick?

We've had Bailey home for almost a year and a half.  Good friends of ours left a week ago to go meet and bring their little boy home.  When I heard their news, I was quickly transported back to that afternoon in Dallas when I got the call from Jenny that it was go time.  I remember how the next 48+ hours were a total blur and before I knew it, we were in a van on the way to meet Bailey.  I remember holding her for the first time, finally having the child in my arms that I had been thinking of and praying for for months.  

And, I remember that "oh $*!t" moment when we walked into our hotel room with Bailey for our first night together. I was thrilled that I was finally able to care for my child, but also shellshocked that, just like that, I had a child to be responsible for, to love, to care for.  All of those months of waiting so quickly morphed into a new reality as a family of three.  I am so excited for our friends - will you please pray for their travel, their process, and their bonding time with their little one?  Such exciting, important days for this family.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


As Bailey has grown and her menu options have increased from various foods in liquid form to eating just about anything, she has become quite the culinary artist. Bored of her usual menu, she has created some pretty interesting food combinations.  And by interesting I mean GROSS.

Here are a few of my "favorites":
  • Yogurt and fish sticks - dipping fish sticks into fruit-flavored yogurt would be bad enough, but Bailey first tops the fish stick with some yogurt like icing on a cupcake, and then dips it in the yogurt.   

  • Raspberries (or just about any breakfast food) dipped in syrup - OK, I kinda like the sound of that.  
  • Toasted bagel topped with soy cream cheese and pieces of mushy, smashed banana
  • Graham crackers dipped in mustard
  • Salami, hummus, and nectarine "tacos" (that face below is a smile after trying this one)

Her creativity is also shining through by way of her dress up bin and its various options.  Some of these pictures aren't the best quality but these outfits are too good not to post!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day 2014

Three months. THREE MONTHS. It's been quite the drought, and evidently people have actually missed my ramblings.

After a few not-so-subtle hints from my better half, I figured that I better get back at it. What better day than Father's Day?

This video says it all:

A note for my Bailey as I celebrate my 2nd Father's Day...

Today more than most, I remember the journey we've been on these last few years. Before we even knew your name, God was preparing me for the privilege of being your father. The little quote rings so true today that "love makes a family".  

Bailey, I love you so much and I'm so proud of you. You are a beautiful, brilliant, well-behaved little girl. I'm so proud of how much you've grown in the 18 months we've had you home. I love the little conversations we can have now. You express yourself so honestly and I pray you never stop doing that, especially with me and your mom. 

I love your sense of humor and the way you fill our house with laughter. 

I am so proud of the way you behave at home and out in public. Except for the infrequent outbursts (and fork throwing) at restaurants, you are so incredibly good and have such good manners. It makes us so happy the way you behave and follow instructions. 

More than anything, I love that little heart of yours. You may only be 2, but your acknowledgement of God makes my heart smile. Yesterday in the car, as the fire engine drove past us with its sirens going, you reminded me that we needed to pray for the firefighters and whoever might be involved in the emergency. And last night you wanted to talk about God before bed and you asked to pray for little Aimerance (our sponsored child in DRC). I love hearing you repeat our prayers, until it clearly becomes a delay tactic to avoid going to bed. :-)

I love you more than I will probably ever be able to accurately express. You are my sweet Bailey, and I would do anything for you and your mother.  It is a privilege to be your Dada, a responsibility I don't take lightly. I'm thankful to God for the added joy and purpose you've brought to my life.  

I love you,

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Halfway Home - Day 4

Oh the best laid plans...

I had planned on posting "regularly" while Jenny was gone.  After the first full 24 hours came and went, I realized that was a ridiculously overzealous and unlikely plan.

Since Thursday night my evenings (after putting Bailey down) have been a struggle to get off the couch and do anything productive.  

Some highlights and thoughts from the weekend so far:

  • The more interactive tasks can be for Bailey, the better chance they'll go well.  Diaper changes, getting dressed, bath time, brushing her teeth - if she can participate, she wants to. If I don't let her participate, things tend to get "interesting" quickly.
  • Chuck E. Cheese is a little scary. For so many reasons. I think the overstimulation got to me more than it did Bailey!
  • Bailey started randomly singing "Jesus Loves Me" on Friday morning.  I'm not going to kid myself into thinking she knows what all she's saying, but there's something absolutely beautiful about a 2-yr singing about Jesus.  
  • Bailey counted to 10. Correctly!  She had been skipping #6 and repeating 7, 8, and 9 a few times before coming to 10, so I see that as progress!
  • Jenny left me nice notes and treats around the house.  She's so good at doing these little things to show me how much she loves me and appreciates that we were able to make this work for her to get away.  I love her generous heart.
  • Not to be forgotten, Abby has pooped herself twice and she peed on the floor mat this morning. Thanks Abby, for reminding me that at times you're higher maintenance than a child.
  • In my quest to make sure Bailey is taken care of and looks presentable, my appearance on the other hand...
    • I shaved my head this morning. Well, I shaved most of my head, unknowingly missing a large unshaved patch of hair.  I was completely oblivious until a friend gently pointed it out at lunch...
    • I was on the way out the door to church this morning until I realized I was wearing jeans and just an undershirt.
    • At church I realized that I hadn't finished buttoning my shirt. 
On to the pictures...

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Daddy-Daughter Time - Day 1

Jenny left this afternoon for 6 nights away for the Created for Care adoptive moms retreat and some additional R&R. For the better part of the next 6 days, it's me and Bailey.  Let the games begin!

I'm excited for all of the daddy-daughter time Bailey and I will have. And I am really excited that Jenny gets some much deserved rest and relaxation, and a chance to connect with some new friends.  

If the first 8 hours are any indication, I expect to sleep really well each night.  Within minutes of saying goodbye to Jenny at the airport, Bailey was very unhappy to only see one airplane and one large scary blue horse with crazy eyes as we made our way home. 

After a few efforts to divert her attention she finally settled on playing with her feet for the next 30 minutes, only to fall asleep 10 minutes before we got home.  That was all the nap she was interested in today.  Her "nap" in the crib consisted of getting her arm stuck between the mattress and the crib frame (I think that was a first), smuggling some books into the crib for some reading and ripping, and pretty much doing anything to avoid falling asleep. 

I eventually gave in, got her up, and we enjoyed a nice short trip to Safeway to get some groceries and her usual treat.

Thirty-or-so minutes later, the cookie was just a distant memory. Back home from Safeway I decided to let Abby back in from outside. Evidently Bailey was looking forward to doing this, even though I've seen her open the back door one. Maybe. 

A photo couldn't capture the stomping and flailing, but that larger than life tear tells the story.

Although giving Abby her treat was hardly a consolation in Bailey's mind, she finally gave in.  Moments later, she's sprawled on the tile floor...snow angel time!!

Bailey then proceeded to "help" me with dinner, her interest and attention span lasting all of 30 seconds. I'm thinking our dinners are going to be nice and simple, and can't burn easily.  Keeping tabs on Bailey and food simultaneously is no small task.  

I'm excited for our adventures over the next six days.  It's going to be hard work but it will give me just a small taste of what Jenny has to handle 60-some-odd days per year.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Bring on the 2's!

Bailey is 2!!

We are two weeks into the "terrible twos".  I'd be lying if I said there haven't been moments that make me fear what Bailey may have in store for us over the next 50 weeks, but many more that have me looking forward to them.  It continues to amaze me how fast time flies and how quickly she's growing from a baby into a little girl.

The good the bad, the ugly, open to your interpretation and in no particular order:

  • Last Saturday, we put Bailey down for a nap but she had other plans.  I looked at our video monitor to see what she was doing.  After a quick scan of the crib, something very important was missing from the daughter.  "Honey," I said, "Bailey's not in her crib."  Another milestone reached - Bailey figured out how to climb out of her crib.  She was sitting on the nightstand right next to the crib, as if it was no big deal.  Thinking that she had used said nightstand to climb out, Dad of the Year decided to move it and put her back in the crib.  Bad move - 10 minutes later, WAILS echoed throughout our house - surround sound from Bailey's room and the monitor.  No more nightstand to cushion the fall. So, yeah, that happened.
  • In the 2 weeks since turning 2, I swear Bailey's thrown more tantrums than all of 2013.  The fuse is all of a sudden much shorter and the discontent is displayed in much louder and more animated ways.
  • The yin to that tantrum yang is that her excitement and enjoyment are also filled with much more emotion and animation, as you can see here, when she realized she was about to go to a friend's house (and yes, that is an upside down crown on her head):
  • Bailey's continues to be more independent, wanting to do whatever she can on her own without any help and telling us often, "Bailey DO it!". 
  • Bailey is now treating her various dolls and stuffed animals (and saws, evidently) like they are her babies.  The diaper changes just quadrupled. See for yourself...

  • She is so proud of herself when she accomplishes something on her own, discovers something new, or learns a new word.  Today alone, she discovered that she can put her hands in her pockets, she learned how to say "Panera" and "edamame", and learned how to open and eat edamame. Things that you and I don't give a second thought to make her so happy!

OK, enough talking.  Onto the pictures...

Some fun from Super Bowl Sunday...well, before the game started...

Birthday fun (thanks Nikki for capturing these expressions!)...can you tell she liked the cake???

Fun in the snow!  Quite a contrast to this video from last February.