Thursday, December 29, 2011

Goals continued....

Last week, I posted my review of 2011 goals and new ones for 2012. They were all fitness related. You can read it here

I also have some goals for 2012 that are not fitness related and figured the best way to stay on track with those is put them down in black and white!

1. Replace my coffee addiction with green tea. I drink ALOT of coffee. 3 cups at home in the morning and a triple latte every single day. I got the most awesome latte maker for Christmas and I can make tea lattes with tea bags instead of coffee. I've been doing this for about a week and am really excited about the change. Green tea is supposed to be good for you - high in antioxidants, soothing, better for fat burning and disease prevention. Plus coffee is so acidic and with all my stomach issues, a switch is in order.

2. Eat sugar one time per week or less (most of the time). I am a sugar addict. I LOVE cookies, cake, candy, etc. If given the chance, I will (and do) eat it every day. All this sugar is just so bad for me and I know that. I can't perform at my best physically or mentally. The last couple months have been particularly bad. I'm not getting enough sleep and my body is craving sugar. I am going to break the cycle.

3. Take the necessary steps to establish a non-profit organization. Trevor and I have always said that our ultimate goal is to do something helping animals. We have decided over the last couple weeks that we want to help special needs animals, ones that are difficult to find homes for and may have no where else to go. The first step to doing that is to establish a vehicle with which to meet this need. By the end of 2012, we will be established and have helped at least one animal.

4. Budget. Enough said.

I am looking forward to the promise of a New Year.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Guest Holiday Blogger - Asha

Its been two months since my last guest post. I was just a kid back then - only 8 months old. On January 9th, I'll be 11 months old, almost to my first birthday! So much has been going on. My mom and dad have been working so hard to figure out what I need. Its been exhausting for all of us. We've had some ups and downs. We are all learning a lot!

My behavior has been all over the place. I would have some good days and then I would have some bad days. I have been taking medicine for the last several months and it was working, but not as well as everyone had hoped. About a month ago, my mom and my vet decided that I needed someone who specializes in cases like mine, you know....the difficult ones!

We were referred to a behavioral vet who could help us with my medication and my behavior. I was feeling much better from the medicine I was on, but it just wasn't quite right and we all knew it.

We went to visit with him last week and it was great. He was so nice to me! He and my mom went over all my history and came up with a plan for moving forward. My mom and dad sure have a lot of work to do! They have changed some things and I bet at some point I'll start to respond to those changes, right now I am still trying to figure out what the heck is going on!

They took me off my old medicine. I was supposed to get it all out of my system before I started a new medicine. I guess I never realized how much that medicine was helping me. When I stopped taking it, I felt totally out of control. All I wanted was to get upstairs and tear things up. Two days in a row I did just that. It was awful. Then the vet said to start me on my new medicine. I've been on that for about 4 days now and I am definetly starting to feel better. I sure hope that continues. Once I've been on this medicine for a while, my new vet is going to consider adding some other medicines to help me. I have a hard time controlling myself, I get really worked up, anxious and I can't stop running and barking.

Maggie and I have really had our ups and downs. Last time I posted, we had worked it all out. Shortly after that, some new issues cropped up. Maggie sure gets mad at me sometimes. For a while, I was apprehensive around her and I didn't want to play with her because I could never tell when she had enough of me. Mom and Dad really worked hard on that and now Maggie and I are back on speaking terms. I like to play with her and she lets me. Mom and Dad say that we need to keep an eye on it, so that's what they are going to do.

My vet's office is located inside the local pet store. My mom takes me over to the pet store several nights a week. We walk around and I check things out - I like to smell all the new smells. Plus I really like the dog food aisle and the fish tanks. Someday I'd like to have my own fish. Mom says maybe when I get a little older, I'm not responsible enough yet. Anyway, I really like all the girls who work at the vet and so when we go to the pet store, I walk right over to the vets office and hop up on the scale. My favorite person there is named Angel. She usually is at the front counter, so I jump up on the scale and look for her. I can tell if she is working that day or not. I like how she smells. She is my best human friend, other than my mom and dad. I LOVE her and she loves me. When I find her, I go nuts and she gives me lots of pets and loves. When my mom makes me leave her, I always bite my mom's heels and say "I don't wanna go!" I meet lots of new people there and the employees are really nice to me. I get at least one belly rub every time I am there. My mom likes it because it tires me out and it makes me happy. She loves to see how happy I am and how much I like people. New people can't even tell that I am deaf and blind. Mom says that I walk around like I own the place!!

I have had some really good days where I really feel in control. Days where I don't need to run and bark. I can lay down in the kitchen and just relax or wander around downstairs like the other dogs. I've also slept through the night several times. Then, I have some really bad days where I feel totally out of control, I run and bark and am restless at night. I know my new vet is going to help us with this. I just know it. I feel like I have more good days than bad days and most of the time I feel really happy. I smile alot.

Last night my mom helped me do my Christmas Shopping. Every night when we are wandering the aisles at the pet store, the employees ask if they can help us find anything and I always say "we're just looking", but last night I was ready to buy. I got gifts for all the dogs and cats in my home because I love them. Its our first Christmas together and I want to do it right. I also bought something nice for myself too - my mom says that's what you are supposed to do at Christmas.

We don't have a Christmas tree at our house. That's probably for the best, I think I would destroy it. I hope that some day we can have a tree and I'll help decorate it.

This is how I spent most of my day... Mom usually comes home and finds me like this. It takes me a couple minutes, but I somehow realize that she's home, I jump up and I run through the house with my nose in the air following her scent until I find her. That's the best part of my day....until dad comes home. I know when he walks in the door and I go running to find him too.

I am still a puppy and I do all kinds of puppy things. Soon enough I will be grown up and my puppy days will be behind me. I love my life. I struggle sometimes, but Buster told me that's how it is for everyone. I guess these are things I'l learn as I grow. Everyone tells me how lucky I am, but I already know that. I know that I have found my forever home and I don't even remember it any other way.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What about the cats???

You know. not only do we have three dogs, but we also have THREE CATS!!!!

The cats live upstairs, they have their own floor. The dogs stay downstairs except at bedtime. We started this division back when we just had Gus the cat, Opal and Wookie the dogs. Opal was not a cat kind of dog, so it was best to keep them seperate. Everyone seemed to like this set up, so we've kept with us.

Norwyn (aka Tuna), Daisy and Roxie (aka Baby) are our sweet kitties. We workout upstairs and they do that with us, they also spend time with us while we get ready for the day and when we sleep. Their favorite time is when we are in bed. They love to snuggle. Every night we sleep with all three cats on the bed. Tuna lays to my right, Daisy lays in my pillow and Baby lays either between us against Trevor or on his left. Every. Night. Then around 3 am, Asha jumps on the bed and joins in the slumber party. I would not have it any other way.

Daisy is the bridge between the old pets and the new pets. She is the only animal who has known every pet we've ever had. We got her 6 years ago and she is now 15. We figure she'll live to be 20! We hope she'll live to be 20. She is such a dream - never a problem, loves all the other animals.

Tuna is a bully. He found us. He was a stray who decided he wanted to live with us, then he realized we had other cats and he's never fully gotten over that surprise. He torments Baby, we've finally started to keep them seperate so she can have some peace!

Baby is about 3 now, but she'll always be our baby. She was a stray kitten and we decided she should live with us. That was when she was about 6 months old. Just a baby.

We love these cats, I don't post about that often, but that does not mean that I don't love them with all my heart. I really try to give them as much attention as I can. They don't get to sit on the couch with us - the dogs would chomp them, but they know they are loved and well taken care of. Sometimes I will wake up in the middle of the night, I'll reach out and touch all three of them and they all start to purr. That is music to my ears.

2011 Year in Review

I must be getting older because time just seems to keep increasing in speed. I do not know where it goes, it seems there is always something to look forward too and that makes the time go even faster. The hours go slow by the years fly by!!

Here are the highlights of 2011...

I had a marathon PR to set this year and my training starting in January. There were some long runs in the cold. Lots of long, dark, lonely miles.

I turned 37 on February 26th. On February 27th we held the 2nd annual Max Muscle Vancouver Half Marathon. It was SO cold that day. We grew the event this year and look forward to growing even more in 2012.

We realized that our dog Opal was taking a turn for the worst and going downhill fast. In 2010, we lost our dog Wookie and our cat Gus to cancer. We were heartbroken to think that we would lose Opal too. So began the long talks about heaven and the 24 hour a day watch for any changes that could signal improvement. Those signs never came.

April: Running, running and more running. I also found the joys of the running skirt. Never thought I'd like it and was shocked when I realized that I did.

I had a personal best marathon on May 1st - 4 hours and 23 minutes. Many said I couldn't do it. But I did. We went to Eugene that weekend. We were gone for one night. When we left, Opal was still able to use her back legs just a little, when we returned, she never walked again. On May 23rd, it was finally time to say goodbye. After three weeks of helping her walk and carrying her when she needed it, she told us she was ready to be with Gus and Wookie. This was devastating to us. We miss her terribly and her absence made us miss the other two even more.

Our triathlon training kicked into high gear. We did lots of running, biking and swimming.
This was also the month of the Vancouver USA Marathon. I was the volunteer coordinator and that took up much of my time during the month.

The Rev3 Half Ironman Triathlon was July 9th. I had a personal best time there at 6 hours and 23 minutes. Afterwards, we drove to the Humane Society where we picked up Asha, a 5 month old deaf/blind puppy who would forever change our world.

Trevor and I celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary. Impossible to believe.

Exhausted from the addition of Asha to our household, I spent most of this month sleeping on the floor with her at night to keep her calm.
We also had our second annual Triathlon and this year added a Duathlon. The event was a success and we look forward to doing it all again in 2012.

The highlight of my year was a weekend trip in October to visit my Grammie in Florida. I love her so very much and being around her just makes me feel good. I need a dose of her and I sure got it!

Thanksgiving - my parents came to visit for the first time in three years. They got to meet all the pets and we had a great time!

Here we are, the end of another year. Time to reflect and look forward. Its been a year full of highs and lows - just like every other year. I am so grateful for all that I have and in 2012 really want to focus on all the blessings in my life. Its so easy to get bogged down in the crap. On that note. Happy New Year. Hopefully 2012 will be the best year yet!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Goals 2011 status report and 2012 details

2011 is quickly coming to an end. I feel like I just got used to writing 2011 on my bank deposit slips and now I have to remember to write 2012! This has been a crazy year (aren't they all?) Its time to look back and see how I did on my goals for this year. Its also time to write down some goals for next year. Let's start with did it shape up???

Here were my goals - the bold is how I did.
1. Increase my speed. I want this to be the year of the sub-5 hour marathon. I start training in January for that. I would also like to complete at least one Half Iron distance triathlon in under 7 hours, dare I say - under 6:30.
Speed was the theme of this year and I am thrilled to say that I achieved goal #1. I completed the Eugene Marathon in 4 hours and 23 minutes. My previous best time was 5 hours and 4 minutes. Going into this race, people told me that it couldn't be done - that type of improvement was impossible. A woman at breakfast on race day told Trevor that I couldn't do it. Obviously, she didn't know me. I was so very proud of myself on this one.
In July, I finished the Rev3 Half Ironman in 6 hours and 23 minutes - previous best time was 7 hours and 4 minutes.
Look for more speed goals in 2012. Now that I have started to push myself, I am excited to see how much more I can do.

2. I really want to work on my swimming. I want the fear and anxiety to lessen this year. I completed the Ironman swim this year. I have that on my swimming resume now. I really want that to help, I want to draw on that accomplishment when I am feeling scared or anxious. I know that I will speed up if I calm down.
This may have been my biggest accomplishment of 2011. In every triathlon we did this year, I was able to stay calm and enjoy the swim. I didn't lay awake at night worried about it. I was able to converse with others in the hours leading up to the swim start. I didn't feel sick to my stomach or scared to death. This year I decided to stop letting the swim control me. Rev3 Portland Half Ironman was the most physical swim I've been in. I was swam over and also had my goggles come off my head when I was kicked by someone. I had to stop for a few minutes and tread water while I got them back on. I was able to remain calm through all of it. What a difference that makes in the grand scheme of things. The day goes much better when I don't waste so much energy worrying about the swim!

3. I want to win my age group at the Girls and Dudes Triathlon in July. Last year I came in second, by 10 seconds. This year I want to win.
Damnit. I came in 2nd again this year - only it was by 3 minutes this time instead of 10 seconds. I raced this event harder than any other. I ran great off the bike - 8:30 miles. I felt really strong. I think the competition keeps getting tougher....we'll see what happens next year!

4. I want to end 2011 with the same feeling of accomplishment I have at the end of 2010.
I feel pretty good about 2011, although I have to say that it will be tough to beat 2010. Hear that 2012...its a challenge!

5. Give all my love to my pets every single day. We lost two of our fur babies this year. I loved them every minute of every day as their time drew near. I want to give that same kind of love to the rest of the pets. I don't want the mundane things in life to be more important. If they want my attention, I will give it to them.
We lost our sweet Opal this year in May. I spent a lot of time with her, especially near the end. Just as I did with the others. We are working on spending quality time with all the pets. With 6 of them, its tough to make sure everyone gets attention, but I think we do pretty well. I love them all with my entire heart and I try to remember that we are all they've got - so its important to make sure they know that we love them more than anything.'s what I working towards:
1. I want to improve my swim. Now that I am feeling comfortable and confident in the water, I want to improve my stroke, swim stronger and faster. At the end of the season last year, Trevor worked with me on bilateral breathing. I don't like change and so this is going to take some work. My goal is to swim all my events this year that way and see how my times improve!

2. Sub 2 hour half marathon. My best time is 2 hours and 30 seconds - I did that in September and it haunts me.

3. Sub 4 hour marathon. Gulp.

4. Sub 6 hour Half Ironman. Double Gulp.

5. And again this year - the goal is to be 1st in my age group at the NWPT Triathlon in July.

I do have some goals that don't pertain to any sort of athletic event, but I'm keeping those to myself. We'll see how 2012 goes....

Couldn't we all use some drugs?

This week was Asha's appointment with the behavorial vet. The week prior was a great one. Asha seemed to be calming down and settling into an even state. I was feeling more hopeful, like I could live like this forever - if this was as good as it got. I was almost thinking she didn't need to go to this special vet. Her appointment was Tuesday morning. Monday and Tuesday, Asha reminded me that she did, in fact, need this extra help. She did a bunch of running and barking and was just restless.

Trevor had to work, so it was just me and Asha. It was about a 30 minute drive - the longest trip Asha has ever taken in the car. I was nervous about it just being us, but she did great. I brought a bunch of treats and peanut butter filling kongs to keep her busy. She layed on the back seat and just relaxed.

As always, Asha was thrilled to be some place new. Everyone at the vet's office wanted to meet her and had questions about her. The vet was super nice. I really liked him and so did Asha. We started at the beginning and covered just about everything I could think of. Asha acted up a bit and so the vet was able to observe her behavior and how I handled it.

After two hours, we came up with a game plan. There is no easy fix for our situation. It is a combination of getting the right drugs and really working to modify her behavior. Change won't happen overnight. I knew that going into this appointment. We have done a lot of work to change her behavior. The things this vet suggested were really just an extension of what we have already done. He seemed to think that Asha has more of a problem controling herself than anxiety. For example, she'll be laying calmly and for no reason jump up and start barking. Trevor compared it to Tourette's syndrome - she has no inhabition and just acts without control.

Asha is currently taking medication for her epilepsy. She also takes an anti anxiety pill. That pill has given her loose stools and we decided to switch her to something different to get rid of that side effect. Here is the one problem with that - Asha needs to stop taking the current anti anxiety meds and let them get out of her system before she starts the new one. Then the new one has to ramp up. So, that is a week without any meds and then probably 3 weeks before the other one really kicks in. The vet said "it could get worse before it gets better". That made me feel a little sick to my stomach!

She was exhausted on the way home!

We headed home with a list of things to work on...First of all, Asha needs much more mental stimulation than most dogs. She can't see or hear, so she doesn't get any stimulation that way. We have tried to give her food puzzle type treats, but she is so smart that she figures them out and then gets bored. The vet suggested that we pick up her food bowl and only feed her from these food puzzles.

The thing that Asha does that is really the major issue is her running and barking. I do not believe she does this when we are not home (we are going to video her while we are gone to confirm this). But when we are home, if we don't hold onto her leash -she will run and bark like crazy until we go stop her. The vet thinks that when we touch her and stop that behavior, she feels rewarded by our touch. She is SO social that any interaction is a reward. So he wants to us to use her leash to break the behavior and then reward her with the touch when she has stopped. She has a leash attached to her collar and when she runs, we try to step on the leash to stop her or grab the leash. Then, when she settles, we'll touch her as reward.

Finally, we have a vibrating collar and we are going to work on using that as a way to tell her "good girl". Right now, if she does lay calmly or do something good - and we pat her on her side (that's the current sign for "good girl"), or if we give her a treat, she gets up and runs and barks. We will use the vibrating collar like a clicker - so vibrate the collar and give her a treat until she realizes what the vibration means.

We are also changing her food.

Exhausted yet?

We stopped giving her the anti anxiety meds on Tuesday. She was okay on Wednesday, but the next couple days her sleep patterns were off. Thursday evening I came home and Asha had cut a path of destruction, plus pooped twice in the house. She hasn't destroyed anything or pooped in the house in probably two months. Friday - she did the same things. This totally confirmed to me that the anti anxiety meds had been working. I struggled with putting her on those and after the past two days, I am so glad that we did. The vet told me to start her new meds right now instead of waiting the entire week. We started that last night - we'll see what I find when I get home today. Hopefully they kick in quickly.

I wonder if she knows something is different. I wonder if she feels out of control and doesn't understand why. I don't want that. I want her to feel calm and relaxed. That's what this is all about. She does have a lot of time where she is content, but there is too much time where she is not.

Asha did great last night. I sat on the kitchen floor with her for about an hour. She layed down against me and put her nose behind my knees and just slept. She does this great thing when she relaxes - she lets out a big sigh. I love that. She slept just about all night long too. She got up at 3 am to go out to the bathroom, then came back in and got up on the bed and fell fast asleep within seconds.

Maggie and Buster are doing great. Sometimes Asha really gets on Maggie's nerves, but she has been very tolerant lately and we are doing everything we can to make sure that Asha respects both Maggie and Buster's space.

I so look forward to Asha improving. She can be such a good girl. She is growing and learning every day. She teaches me so much and watching her amazes me. Nothing stops her, she isn't afraid of anything and she really loves people. It fills my heart with joy when I see her meet someone new. Her little tail wags a thousand miles a minute. She has her favorites too. I take her to the petstore and walk her around, she loves the smells there and someone always wants to pet her. Our vet is located in the petstore and Asha LOVES one of the vet techs named Angel. And Angel loves Asha right back. It makes me so happy to see the two of them together.

I love this little doggie, with all my heart. We'll do anything we need to do in order to give her a good life. To us, a good life means one where she can be calm and relaxed most of the time, where she feels safe and loved. A life where she knows that she belongs with us and that is where she most wants to be.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


My absence from blogging can be blame on one thing....I've been feeling very overwhelmed. I've kept it to myself because I was trying to pretend it wasn't true. A couple weeks ago, I finally admitted it myself and had a bit of a breakdown. I am feeling better about things now, but still a little apprehensive.

Asha has been draining me. I think I have been hesitant to post about it because I don't want people to tell us that we should get rid of her. Finding a different home for Asha would be like someone with human children saying they needed to find another home for one of their babies. Its not even a possibility.

When we decided to bring Asha to live with us, neither of us expected her to have so many anxiety issues. I know that I thought she would require some extra work because she was blind and deaf. I thought we'd have to watch her more closely, we'd have to get up and make her stop doing things instead of yelling at her. I NEVER thought I would be dealing with a dog who would be so anxious sometimes that she was out of breath from it. Asha has epilepsy and that showed up about 2 weeks after she came to live with us. She isn't wired like other dogs and so she needs different care.

We have done everything we can think to do. We have a trainer who comes to the house every week and works with all three dogs (and us). We've done research, talked to other blind/deaf Aussie owners, found forums, read blogs...all in an effort to find the answer.

Asha is on anti anxiety medication and it has helped quite a bit, but she still has episodes and its really hard on her and us. It can be mentally exhausting to have her constantly bark in a way that will not allow us to relax. The intensity varies - some days are worse than others. This past week has been the best she's even been, but that followed about two weeks of the worst its ever been. Right before Thanksgiving, it was so bad that I sat on the floor in tears one day. As I sat there crying, all three dogs came over to comfort me. Buster said "mom...I remember feeling hopeless and scared. I didn't know how I could go on that way....and then
you came. So don't worry. It will be okay"

That was pretty much the lowest point. As I sat there sobbing, I thought "how can we go on living like this?" That's a horrible feeling - hopeless, helpless, scared and alone.

Our trainer came to the house the following day and we did a lot of talking. She said some things that I really needed to hear. She said "I don't know how you do it, most people couldn't or wouldn't. You are doing a great job with all your dogs. I admire your commitment". Something about those words made me feel validated and made me really want to continue looking for answers.

Asha has an appointment on Tuesday with a behavorial vet - they work with anxiety issues and OCD. They can prescribe medication and I am hoping they will be able to come up with some ways to reduce Asha's anxiety. That's their specialty.

As I mentioned, this past week has been really good. Asha works best on a schedule. She gets really upset if there is uncertainty, so we have been working on a consistent schedule for her and I believe it has made a difference. She has been playing alot with Buster and Maggie - they play until they are all exhausted, panting, out of breath. Then they all sleep. We've also been going to the petstore to do our evening walks. Its cold outside and the petstore is such an interesting place for Asha - different smells every time we are there. The people who work there love her and she gets so much attention when we go.

Asha has also started to develop a close relationship with us. Before, she really depended on the other dogs, lately she seems more interested in being with us. She'll jump up on the couch with me, lay down by my feet when I am working in the kitchen and has started to lick my face when I sit with her - she never did that before!

She constantly amazes me with how smart she is. I sometimes try to imagine what it would be like to be unable to see or hear. I figure she must go off smell and touch, so I try to be conscious of that. When I get home at night and she realizes that I am home, she'll run to find me - with her nose in the air following my smell. I get down on the floor and try to put as much of myself against her as I can so that she feels me there.

She works like a clock - she has a schedule and she keeps to it. She knows when certain things happen. She wakes up at the same time every morning - give or take ten minutes. She knows when she goes in her kennel, she knows when she goes to bed.
When she is good, she is great. I love her so much. Sometimes when she looks up at me with her super blue eyes and her pink nose, I want to crumble because she is such a sweet creature.

There are certainly more times when she sits calmly. It used to be that she was either sleeping or running and barking, there was very little in between. A few times I have come home and she's laying on the couch - not sleeping, just relaxing. She has not destroyed things in several weeks, no matter how long she has been left at home alone. She also hasn't peed or pooped in the house in probably two months.

I am not sure what happened, but last Sunday seemed to be a turning point. That was the best day we have ever had with her. She played with Buster and Maggie, there were no issues, very little anxiety. One night this week, I was actually able to go upstairs and put laundry away for about 15 minutes without Asha barking the entire time. She barked for a couple minutes, then laid down at the bottom of the stairs and relaxed. I couldn't believe it.

We've done ALOT of behavior modification with all three dogs. Asha really disrupted the entire household and we've had to do work with the other two dogs and the cats. Its been exhausting. These last two weeks, we have finally started to see some results from our hard work. While we were in the midst of it all, I kept thinking that we would have to do some of those things forever and that was daunting. For example, we've been giving each dog time alone with us on the couch and that required a "crate and rotate" program - meaning that two would be in a crate while one was out with us and then we would rotate them. Logically - that is exhausting. But it payed off. We don't have to do that very much now, we are all about to be together without issue. The work isn't done, we'll constantly need to work with the dogs and on ourselves to ensure a peaceful home.

I was having a really tough time with all this because I kept thinking about how our lives used to be. Before Asha, we could relax whenever we wanted. When she would run and bark, it would make me sad that life was gone and I didn't think it would ever come back. I told Trevor that I was greiving the loss of that life and moving through the stages of grief. I was angry and sad. I've finally moved into acceptance and this morning I said to Trevor "if this is how it is forever, I would be happy with it". And I meant it.

I know that most people don't feel the way we do about animals. Most people wouldn't allow their lives to be turned upside down by any pet. I think that is the thing that most brings Trevor and I together. We agree that we'll do whatever we have to do to make sure our pets have a good life, no matter what inconveincence that is to us. We made the choice to bring them to our home and now we have to make the best of it.

I know I am a better person because of what we are going through right now. I know that I have learned a lot about myself. The moments of struggle with the dogs are tough, but the moments of love fill my heart in a way that nothing else ever has. When Maggie smiles at me, Buster sleeps against my legs and Asha wags her tail with excitement at my presence, I know that I am loved and its all worth it. This must be what it feels like to have kids.

So I am overwhelmed, but am finally feeling hopeful! I am looking forward to our trip to the vet on Tuesday and continuing to make progress with our special little one. Heaven knows we all deserve it.