Wednesday, September 30, 2015

30 Days of Memories: Day 11

I unpacked some more pictures for the shelves today and ended up with more than 30 pictures, so today is a two-fer day.

I think kids need dogs, and I have always had a soft spot for Dalmatians, but there was no way we could afford to buy one from a breeder. When my ex-husband and I bought our house in Loveland, we went on the hunt for a dog for the kids. We applied to adopt from the Dalmatian rescue and when we were approved, went to see the dogs they had on hand.

Jake was this emaciated skeleton of a dog, but he had the best personality and he had to come home with us. Jake's original name was "Sunny" because of his disposition, but that was a dumb name, so it got switched pretty quickly. We were warned that he couldn't digest beef proteins, which is a problem for a lot of Dalmatians, but rescues feed the food that is donated and can't be too terribly picky.

Jakers quickly decided that he was my dog and did not care for my husband. In fact, one night, my ex came home late from a night of drinking and Jake wouldn't let him in the house. He quickly adopted the kids as his pack and never showed one ounce of aggression toward them.

I cooked his meals for months, just to get weight back on him. He went from looking like a walking skeleton to a well-fed (okay, maybe a bit obese) working dog. We had Jakers for about seven years before he started getting cranky. I chalked it up to old age, but when he snapped at one of the kids' friends, I knew something was wrong and took him to the vet. They couldn't find anything wrong and also decided that he was getting old and hard of hearing, but just to be on the safe side, they decided to run some blood work.

I griped about the cost of the blood work - the kids and I had NO disposable income and getting hit with a vet visit and a $90 blood test was definitely not in the budget - but I grudgingly agreed even though I knew it would be negative.

I was wrong. I got the call at work the next day. Jake had end stage renal failure. We could treat him, but there were no guarantees that he'd live any longer and his quality of life (as I could see it) would be in the toilet. He might have two weeks, he might have two months, but the fact was that our beloved dog was dying. I set the appointment with the vet to have him put down, burst into tears, and dreaded telling the kids that night.

How was I going to explain to the kids that we were going to kill their dog? Jake had been with us through so much - a divorce, moves, a flood, first days of school - every major milestone in their lives that they could remember, they had Jake with them.

I explained to them what was happening with Jake and let them decide if they wanted to be with him when we put him down. He was feeling pretty good, excited about going on a car ride, on his last day. The vet and his tech were amazing and took us to a grassy hill away from the clinic. All of our hearts broke as we petted him and watched our Jake take his last breath.

Our trip to Mexico a few weeks later was exactly what we needed to get away and begin the healing process. Jake was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime dog for all of us.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

30 Days of Memories: Day 10

Dinner in Steamboat during our girls' weekend. I'm still very thankful that I met them through Hall. I firmly believe people come into our lives for a reason. Part of the reason Hall came into my life was to introduce me to these phenomenal women, for which I will always be grateful.

Monday, September 28, 2015

30 Days of Memories: Day 9

My cousin Tonia just celebrated her 18th wedding anniversary to Steve. Ashinator and Digger were so super cute as the flower girl and ring bearer.

The bridal party got ready in a room with a fruit platter and my Grandma kept feeding Ashinator all the fruit she wanted, not thinking about what was going to happen to her gut with all of that fresh fruit. The fruit started to work their magic during the ceremony, and every so often, Ash would disappear with my mom to the bathroom and then sneak back into line. A few minutes later, she'd disappear and reappear again.

Luckily, it wasn't too distracting and it makes for a cute story.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

30 Days of Memories: Day 8

As you have probably noticed, I like cool frames. Mom and Bill bought me this frame after Jay and I got engaged. I still haven't gotten around to having our wedding date inscribed, but maybe I will by our tenth anniversary.

The year we got engaged, we had family pictures taken, which was Jay's idea. He wanted to give his parents pictures of all of us, instead of just doing engagement photos. I love him a lot for that. Marrying into a family with teenagers and a woman who had been divorced for 12 years was no easy feat, but from the beginning, he did his best to include the kids.

Now, in the past seven years, there have been some rough patches, which was to be expected. The kids and I were pretty much it, so to have someone else join the family had its hard moments, but it has worked out.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

30 Days of Memories: Day 7

This picture was taken at my cousin's wedding 14 years ago. I only know how long ago it was because of Facebook - their anniversary was last month and I remember seeing it pop up.

They had a Roaring 20s themed wedding, with all of the groomsmen in zoot suits. I'm not much of a seamstress - I can sew and follow a pattern - but my attention to detail isn't quite like my mom's. I spent every night for weeks at my Grandma Mary's house after work, sewing the boys their zoot suits. Grandpa Moe was still alive then, and Grandma and Grandpa would babysit my kids while I was at work in the evenings, so I would go over and spend an hour or two each night sewing while the kids slept on the floor and Grandpa Moe watched Archie Bunker.

The movie The Mask with Jim Carrey had recently been released and Monster was very much enamored with it, so he insisted on his zoot suit being yellow just like in the movies. I couldn't find a yellow zipper, though, so he was stuck with a black one that made me crazy. I could have taken apart his pants and re-set it, but I sewed well into the night each night and got up really early each morning to go to school, so exhaustion just wouldn't allow me to do it.

Poor Digger looks like he hit one hell of a growth spurt, with his gangly arms hanging out of his sleeves, but that was my fault - I didn't measure him well. Luckily, though, neither of the boys were bothered by my decided lack of sewing practice and were thrilled to have their own zoot suits for the wedding.

Friday, September 25, 2015

30 Days of Memories: Day 6

Yes the glass is cracked on this one too. I'll eventually get around to replacing it.
Robs is the one who took this picture at Sovigliano, the agritourismo we rented for a couple of days. The Tuscan countryside is even more beautiful than you can imagine. I had only seen it in pictures or in movies, but neither of those do it any justice.

Getting to the Italian countryside was so good for my soul - and for Robs' too. I found her sitting quietly in the swing in the yard at dusk our first night. I took a picture of her just sitting there, enjoying the peace, but haven't even printed the picture because it seems like an intrusion.

I loved Rome and the cities we visited, but the countryside is magical.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

30 Days of Memories: Day 5

Back to Mexico with this picture. I made the kids go out on the balcony overlooking the pool so I could get a good "last day" picture of them. We were all rested and relaxed, but ready to head home. Being on vacation can be a lot of work sometimes.

We went to Mexico shortly after a hurricane had hit Puerto Vallarta and they were still in the clean-up repair stages. The condo's crew worked tirelessly to get the pool repaired. It re-opened about midway through our stay, but I loved the color of the tile so much I stole a piece. When we got home, I took the tile to the paint counter at our hardware store and had them mix up a gallon for my bedroom.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

30 Days of Memories: Day 4

Boy am I glad I never promised to do my 30 Days of Memories in 30 days! I would have blown it the first week!

When Hall and I were together, I was the only one divorced with children. I got married at 18 and had Digger at 20, so while I was in my mid-late twenties, my friends (the ones I met through Hall) were all in their early twenties. Hall and I broke up about the time all of our friends were starting to get married, but by that time, I'd claimed my girls. I got to keep them in the "divorce".

I was thrilled when Staci met her husband. In fact, Robs and I decided that we wanted to have a "Staci" relationship when we were ready to re-enter the relationship world. Holding to that thought, of being as in love with each other as Staci and her husband were (are) served me well, and I can honestly say I'm "Staci happy" with Jay.

Staci was the first of the group to have kids. This is a picture of me with her daughter when she was just a new baby. Now that beautiful baby girl is sailing the Caribbean with her mom, dad, and little brother. A few years ago, Staci and her husband sold pretty much everything they owned to buy a sailboat to live on. While I miss Staci so very much, I also love to live vicariously through their travels.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

30 Days of Memories: Day 3

Day 1
Day 2

(Yes, these are all pictures of pictures. I wanted to stay authentic to the memories on my new shelves, so I'm just snapping pics of what's on each shelf.)

In 2006, I was lucky enough to get to travel with a group of my friends to Italy for 15 days. It was amazing. I took this picture in the ruins outside of the Colosseum in Rome. I remember being absolutely astounded by all of the rich history in Italy. The U.S. is such a young country compared to the rest of the world that I felt like I'd stepped into a World History book. Despite losing my luggage and starting the day in soggy clothes (did you know that if you handwash your clothes and hang them to dry in a humid area, they won't, in fact, dry?), I had such a wonderful day.

I learned that the aqueducts (fontanelles) have some of the best water I've ever tasted. I'm completely a water snob, but I couldn't get enough of the aqueduct water.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

30 Days of Memories: Day 2

Day 1

Yes, I know the glass is broken, I'll get it replaced eventually.
My parents had a time-share condo in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and would take yearly trips. One year, must have been 2002-ish, we were finally able to join them. Things were ugly tight for us when the kids were little, but I was able to save up enough to buy airfare (thankfully it was fairly cheap at the time). Digger saved all of his money from working for Mom and Bill to buy his own airfare, something I believe he's still very proud of. After all, not every 11 year old can say they paid their own way to Mexico.

It was a wonderful week, one I'm very thankful for, because the kids had the opportunity to leave the U.S. In a perfect world, we would have traveled all over the place, but this was the only trip out of the country I could afford to take them on. Mom and Bill having the time-share didn't hurt either, since all I had to pay for was airfare and some spending money.

This particular photo was taken on a "private beach" - you know, the ones owned by every party ship in the area - after lunch. I'm surprised Digger has any semblance of a smile because the poor kid was chaffed. The dang mesh liner of his swim trunks about drew blood on our hike. I think he was just happy to not be walking any more.

Monday, September 14, 2015

30 Days of Memories: Day 1

After three years, I've finally been able to unpack my pictures and get them put up. Jay transformed two pallets into shelves for me, and I am once again able to see the pictures that bring me such wonderful memories.

I thought I'd take the next 30 days to post about each of my pictures and the memories they stir up. I'd love for others to join me, because it's going to be a lot of fun.

This was a girls' trip to Steamboat Springs one weekend a year or so after a bad breakup. I'm thankful for the relationship, because it introduced me to all of these wonderful women who were amazing and supportive through the whole thing. It was a weekend filled with hiking, fun, and laughter and I can't think of a better girls' weekend. (Unless, of course, we're talking about my surprise trip to the Women's World Cup, but that's another story.)

I sadly don't see many of these women on a weekly basis anymore, but I'm Facebook friends with most of them so we get to keep up with each other's lives. I firmly believe that people come into our lives for a reason - they might not stay forever, but the memories made will.