Sunday, January 22, 2012

Shadow, 1994 - 2012

Our beloved Cairn Terrier passed away this morning after 17+ years with us. We were all with her when she stopped breathing. It seems she left this life the way she lived it ... on her own terms. She spent the previous 36 hours showing signs of her body breaking down as she wasn't able to stand or walk without assistance.  She's always been fiercely independent and highly energetic so the sudden change was very noticeable.  Once she hit this final stage, in my mind, she simply decided on her own to say goodbye, not willing to lead a life less than she was accustomed to.  She waited until all four of us were surrounding her and let us all say goodbye to her, then steadily breathed her last.  We will certainly grieve for her but are so grateful that she never suffered. She was full of energy to the very end.

Nate, Trey, Joshua, and I spent some time today after she passed looking up photos of her and telling stories of how much she has impacted our lives.  We recalled how Nate and I picked her out from a Killeen animal shelter in 1994.  She was a full-breed Cairn Terrier that was purchased through a breeder then brought to the kennel after she didn't 'get along' with the owner's current dogs.  She was a bossy little thing with more energy than sense at times and we loved her immediately.  We wondered why her name was "Shadow" with her light brindle coloring, but soon discovered that she was constantly underfoot, a 'shadow' to your every step.

As it often goes, she was our first experiment with parenting and she was our first 'child.'  Shadow traveled with us from Texas to Oklahoma, to South Korea, to Georgia, to Kansas, and back to Texas again.  She's been a part of our lives every step of the way and we will miss her eager little personality greeting us each day.

A million memories flood my mind today as I remember with love the adventure this little girl has brought to us through the years ... chewing through every chew toy then moving on to carpet, belts, telephone cords, mattresses, and anything else she could get her little teeth on; taking charge of all of her 'cousin' dogs, no matter their size; hunting and killing rats in our Korean backyard; being adored by Korean children every time we took her out with us; leaping for joy when we brought home our first baby ... and again when we brought home his brother; curling up at the end of our bed to sleep each night and nosing her way under the covers when it got cold; swinging her paws in a swimming motion every time we put her in a bath; digging under countless fences to meet the world on the other side; going duck hunting with Nate and insisting on carrying the duck (which was about her size) herself; meeting our boxer puppy Leo and teaching him who was boss in her house; greeting us at the door every time we have come home in the past 17 years ... the list could go on and on.

I will miss her feisty personality and hearing her steps on the tile in our house.  I'll miss the scratch at the door when she wanted to go outside and the insistent little yelp when she was ready to come in.  I'll miss telling her "no, eat your own food" when she would sneak a bite of Leo's large-breed puppy food and seeing her sweet face before bed each night.  She is such a part of our daily lives and I will grieve for having lost her.

Rest in Peace, Shadow.  You're a good girl.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Hike in Chalk Ridge Falls Park

We decided to try a new hiking trail today near Stillhouse Lake. The park is easily identified and the trail is great. We even got to cross over a suspension bridge.  The boys loved it and took turns re-enacting Shrek and Donkey's journey to the castle over a suspension bridge ... "Shrek! I'm looking down!!" Too funny.

It turned out to be a really fun hike ... and only about an hour and a half longer than we'd anticipated. Because we were trying to locate a cave by way of grid coordinates (from a blog I found online), we weren't exactly staying on the pristine path created for hikers. One thing I learned about land navigation is that grid coordinates don't account for the actual topography of the land. Sure, it may be just to the right a few meters according to the GPS ... but you may have to cross a lake, a small mountain and a couple of barbed wire fences to get there. In the end, we made it to the cave and took a few photos for good measure. It was a superfun family day and a hike we'd love to make again.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Weekend in Waco

My boys have loved the Mayborn Museum for years.
Carter and Joshua at one of the new exhibits.
Kitok's for lunch!  I was pretty jealous of this.  =)
Wingspan of 7'1.5" ... wow.
Watching the Baylor men beat the OSU men at basketball!
Woot!  Woot!
Waiting (patiently?) for the Baylor Football Celebration to begin.
There they are!  The 2011 Baylor Bear Football Team!
My boys with the Alamo Bowl trophy and RG3's HeIIIsman!!
Granddad is ever the Baylor supporter.
My handsome nephews with the Baylor trophies.  Sic 'Em!
Joshua learned to play Chinese Checkers with his cousins.
Some seriously tired boys after a super-fun weekend.

Friday, January 13, 2012

January Family Night: Red Dragons!

We hosted our final battalion-wide Family Night tonight with a potluck dinner, photos from redeployment, announcements from the rear detachment commander and battalion commander, then battery-level FRG break-out sessions. The kids had a great time with a "red dragon" theme, reading books about dragons, creating dragons from glittery red and gold play dough, paper plates, yarn, and crepe paper. It was a fun night and a great way to wrap up a deployment's worth of battalion FRG Meetings.