Sunday, August 10, 2014

Happy Birthday, Fox!

Recently, we had the joy of attending a party to celebrate the 1st birthday of our sweet little guy, Fox.  He’s Lolee’s little buddy:

Mandy, ever the clever party planner,  knew that this was probably the only year that she could get by with doing a woodland animal theme, and I think that she did the most incredible job!  Her decorations were just as cute as could be:

And, truly, there were woodland animals everywhere:

Even the food made me feel like I was in a wooded wonderland:

Of course, there were presents, and Fox really got into opening them.  He had a great time:

There was birthday cake…

…Which my little buddy certainly enjoyed!

We can’t believe that a whole year has gone by…Fox certainly has grown.  He’s walking now, which means that his mother spends most of her days just trying to keep him from jumping off of the hearth and chairs and such.  He can say a few words, including “book” – he finally likes to have someone read to him.  He’s all boy – climbing curtains, banging things on the furniture, and roaring and screeching and generally being noisy.  He even roars and screeches when he is perfectly happy.  I have an idea that rearing him over the next several years is going to be quite the adventure for Mandy and Jeromy. ..

But with a face like this…

…They can’t help but love every minute of it!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Jake and Jessica – A Happy Day!

Earlier in the year, we received this “save the date” card, mounted on a magnet (how smart is that?):

Jake is Robert’s nephew, the oldest of the Mayo clan.  Alan was home during this time, and since Nestlé was still with us at the time and we needed someone to be home to keep an eye on things, I had a little begging to do.  Alan had wanted to go to the wedding, too, but was kind enough to step back and let me be the one to go with Robert (Robert and Alan went to visit Susan and the family at a later date).  It was already pretty exciting (Jake and Jessica truly were made for one another), but when I found out that they had asked Paisley to be their flower girl, I was even more excited!

You see, we were there when Jake’s parents were married those years ago….

…And Mandy was one of their flower girls!

Jake's wedding was held at a beautiful venue, and the whole place was buzzing with excitement.  Paisley’s mother managed to get a few pre-wedding shots…here is Paisley hanging out and gearing up:

Before too long, it was going to be time!  Paisley was armed and ready with her basket of petals:

Soon, the big moment arrived!  It was Paisley’s duty to prepare the pathway for the beautiful bride, and she took her job seriously!  While Jessica and the rest of the wedding party were all smiles and giggles, and even danced their way down the aisle, Paisley was not going to succumb to all of that frivolity!  This was serious business – she had a job to do! -- and her stoic countenance and stern concentration were certainly reflective of this solemn, blessed occasion:

It was a really special ceremony – Jake and Jessica were married by the same preacher who had married Jake’s parents.  (How many people can say that?)  And as I said earlier, Jake and Jessica really are a good match and we hope they have a wonderful life together:

I have to say, though, that of all of the wonderful things that I witnessed that day, I was most inspired by Robert’s sister, Susan.  Susan is now battling her third round of cancer (this time it’s lung cancer).  The day would have been strenuous for any mother-of-the-groom, but I can only imagine that for someone right smack in the middle of cancer treatments, it had to be absolutely exhausting.  Despite this, Susan donned her wig, her gloves, and her pretty dress and was there for her son for the whole day.

Susan, Paisley, and Grandma Lynda:

Mandy’s favorite picture (and I must say, mine, too) of the whole event was this touching moment of Susan dancing with her son:

Susan is such an inspiration to me, and whenever I’m feeling whiny about some goofy thing I’m miffed about, I just think of her and immediately stifle myself!

My second favorite photo is this one:

It reminds me of a picture I took behind the scenes when Mandy’s flower girl, Avery, was a little scared about going out in front of all of those people, and Mandy gave her a little pep talk:

The cycle of life and love continues, and we were grateful to have a bright spot to celebrate so early in the year!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Honoring Nestlé

I had just recently returned to blogging, with plans of several more fun little posts to come (a wedding, bragging on Fox, and even a picture of my first decorative painting piece).  This post is not fun and is most unexpected:  I lost my sweet Nestlé rabbit this morning.  I really did not see this one coming.

We had gone all of this time thinking Nestlé was a girl, and only very recently realized Nestlé was a boy.  This is partially due to the fact that we are dumb; it’s also due to the fact that when we bought him, the feed store swore that we were buying a girl; and then there’s the whole factor that rabbits are one of very few animals that can actually retract their testicles and hide them inside their bodies, and Nestlé had only recently decided to “let it all hang out”.

I had taken him to the vet yesterday where the diagnosis was that he had a little ulcerated sore on one of his testicles…no big deal, according to the vet.  Dr. Becky said that with rabbits she sees it all the time, and that, in fact, she has seen many rabbits with many more of those sores (Nestlé only had the one), and that his wasn’t nearly as big or bad as what she usually sees.  Some antibiotic ointment, some oral antibiotic, and we were on our way.  He would be good as new in no time.

I hurried home because I was already late for my appointment with Paisley and Fox (Mom and Dad had somewhere to go), so I kissed Nestlé and put him in his cage, and then I headed to the Lackey household.  When I got back last night, it was obvious that Nestlé had a major diarrhea attack while I was gone – something that he had never, ever had before!  I cleaned him up, put more ointment on his spot, gave him his oral medicine (which he actually liked!) and spent some time cuddling him before heading to bed.

This morning, straight-a-way, I went to his cage to check on him.  He was alert, but certainly was not his perky self when I took him out.  No diarrhea, though, so I cuddled and nuzzled him for a while.  He was panting a little, and I set him down on his newspaper to see if he might need to take care of some business.  He sat there for a couple of minutes so I started ironing Robert’s shirt.  I saw him take three little wobbly hops towards the dining table, where he then laid on his side and began doing something that I can only describe as convulsing.  I screeched and ran over and picked him up.  As I held him to my chest, he made a couple of little clicking/coughing sounds and then went limp.

Robert thought he was still alive (though barely), so I headed to the vet to be there when they opened.  He was gone when I got there.  In my talk with Dr. Becky, she expressed that she was absolutely shocked.  The rabbit that she saw yesterday showed her no reason to even dream that he would be gone this morning.  Other than his little lesion (which she swore was minor in terms of rabbit ailments), she considered him to be in good health and would have never guessed that this would have happened.  Here is a picture of my sweet bunny that was taken just day before yesterday – he was hanging out on the hearth as he usually did:

I got Nestlé two years ago as a birthday present from Robert.  He was pretty small, and very, very sweet:

It didn’t take him long to become a regular member of the family.  He loved the dogs and his favorite thing was to chase Toffee around the house, hoping to get Toffee to play with him.  And if there was a sleeping dog nearby, Nestlé wasn’t scared to try to get a little cuddle:

He really, really loved being outside whenever we were out, and his favorite spot was near the wheelbarrow underneath the oak tree:

Nestlé’s playfulness was not just limited to the dogs; he absolutely loved running alongside Opal Chicken, taunting and chiding her to chase him.  She did not really like him, though (hence, there was always a fence between them):

I once read that rabbits don’t really like to be cuddled and held, but that did not hold true for Nestlé.  I can’t tell you how many times I would be sitting in the family room, watching TV or on the computer, and I would feel something touching my leg.  It was Nestlé, standing straight up, putting his front paws on my leg to get my attention because he wanted me to pick him up and snuggle him under my neck…and I always did, no matter what I was doing or how busy I was because I knew what a special privilege he was bestowing upon me.

I love my bunny, even now, and I always will.  Nestlé, thank you for being part of my life – I will dearly miss you.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Bluebonnet Beauties

In Texas, spring time is heralded by the arrival of the bluebonnets.  Families everywhere park on the side of the road or search to find some little patch of those beautiful flowers so that they can take family pictures.  It’s almost like a rite of passage, and lucky for me, Mandy and her little family is no exception.

In fact, this is one of my favorite pictures of the kids together – not just because of the flowers, but because it shows each of the kids as I have come to know them.  Paisley:  Oh-so-quiet, oh-so-serious, oh-so-obedient.  Fox:  Not-so-quiet, not-so-serious, not-so-obedient!  (So very different, yet we all adore them both!)

Here are a few more pictures of all that’s beautiful:

Happy spring, ya’ll!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A Lesson in Egg Shaking…

In addition to the butterfly exhibit and general hanging out, Alan and I accompanied Mandy and the kids to an event, just before Easter, at the local mall.  Each month the mall has some little activity for the kids and this event was all about Easter.  Apparently, Paisley hadn’t been all that excited about going, but when she learned that the Easter Bunny was going to be there, she decided it might be pretty fun after all!

I have to say, this thing wasn’t some cheap little thing…it was quite nice, especially for a “freebie”.  There were little baskets with a stuffed animal for each of the kids, and one of the activities was decorating a little planter with a face, after which each of the kids received their own plant.

Paisley did pretty well with that…and then came the activities.

A really sweet young woman in a striped shirt did all that she could to make sure the kids had a good time.  She sang, she danced, and she led the kids through a whole string of “follow-me” activities (whatever they pay her an hour, it isn’t enough!).  Paisley needed a little nudge to get out there, but she finally did go and gave it her best shot:

The Lady in the Striped Shirt passed out Easter eggs filled with rice (taped shut, of course) and led the kids in shaking their eggs to music.  She was even nice enough to give one to Boyfriend!  Paisley shook her egg for a small bit.  However, after a while, she came back to sit with us.  No amount of nudging or coaxing would get her to go back out and play with the other kids.

We couldn’t figure out what the problem was.  Was she scared?  Was she shy?  No…as it turned out, the problem was that all she could focus on was seeing the Easter Bunny.   All of that dancing and singing and egg shaking wasn’t what she came for…where was the Easter Bunny?

Finally, it was time for the Easter bunny!  Hooray!  Paisley’s face lit up with anticipation…and then promptly fell.  It seems that it was not the Easter Bunny who was visiting (he was still busy in the workshop, I guess); instead, it was Mrs. Easter Bunny, and Paisley could tell the difference, and Paisley didn’t really like the difference.  All of that wanting, and all of that waiting, and when it finally came…it was a total letdown.  Paisley didn’t even want to go see that bunny, but we talked her into it.  Her enthusiasm is evident:

Do you want to know who actually did have fun?  In fact, the most fun of anyone there?  That would be Fox:

That kid had the greatest time!  He smiled, he giggled, he flat-out laughed out loud!  And snuggled and cuddled and cooed with Uncle-Vinnie-Who’s-Never-Even-Changed-A-Diaper-Nor-Made-A-Bottle (yuck!).  Oh, and Fox shook his egg….and shook his egg…and shook his egg.  He didn’t care about the Easter Bunny, nor Easter baskets, nor any of that.  He was just having fun in the moment...shaking his egg.

Mandy and I were having one of our daily phone chats and discovered we had both been thinking the same thing:   How many times do we miss out on all kinds of fun because we are so fixated on the Easter Bunny coming?  How many simple joys of today are we missing because we are waiting for some future event?  In my desire to move to the mountains and pines, am I missing the forest for the trees?  And even when my Easter Bunny comes, if it’s not exactly what I’m expecting, will I be crushed?  What would happen if I quit fixating on the bunny and just followed the girl in the striped shirt and shook my egg?  A little something to think about…