Friday, February 29, 2008

more Madison

Here are some more pictures from Madison's first summer in Ohio.

This next picture made us laugh pretty hard. One thing about Madison is she was very protective of...well, everything. This picture is her laying in Crystal's toy box. She found the stash of toys and declared that they were all hers now. You can just see it in her face..."Mine, MINE! They're all MINE!!" Gotta love her.
Notice she's laying very close to the toy box...not wanting to move away so that Crystal could get to them.

One of my favorites.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


I don't know how else to say it but we're trying. We are really sad. We've started remembering a lot of wonderful moments. Still, it seems like we're having a hard time moving to that next stage of grieving. We're just sad and really longing to have her around again.

So let me tell you the story of Madison. Lisa and I were juniors at A&M. Lisa was suffering from separation anxiety from her childhood pet, American Eskimo. She had always wanted a Siberian Husky so right around Lisa's birthday in 1997, we saw an advertisement in the school newspaper for puppy Siberian Huskies. We thought...let's just go look. Our fate was sealed right then.

We drove up to Franklin, Texas where the local Baptist minister breded Siberian Huskies. We went out back to take a look at the litter and Madison stood out. Her mom was gorgeous...slim, red and white. Her dad was a massive black and white mischievous big boy. The owner said that he had to extend this fence to 6 feet because he kept finding ways to climb over. No doubt, Madison took after her daddy.

What we remember was that we picked Madison out very quickly...she was the only black and white female and was very curious abut us. Unfortunately, she had been promised to someone else. We decided that we didn't want any other dog and that if the other owners fell through, then we would take her and we would know it was meant to be. Sure enough, we received a call later that the other people backed out and that Madison was ours.

So this was in April of 1997 so Madison was born in mid February. We picked her up around the first of May and brought her back to Lisa's one bedroom apartment in College Station. Although Lisa and I were high school sweet-hearts and our lives together was certain, our parents warned us that getting a dog so early would be difficult. We still had a lot of school left and travelling would become a little more complicated. We stubbornly had already made up our mind and went for it.

We brought her to Lisa's little apartment and the fun began. Madison was a little terror. She was SO stubborn. The first week she brought Lisa to tears. We were recalling today that when Lisa was breaking down that first week and we were having doubts about taking on a puppy, Lisa said something to the affect..."how am I ever going to be able to have kids if I can't even handle a puppy?"

Funny now. Here are the first pictures of our new member of our young family.

This was the morning we left to drive home for the summer. It was our first road trip together and we tackled it with a 3 month old puppy. What was very memorable about the trip was Madison stayed on the floorboard under Lisa's feet the entire trip. We've always remembered that since she grew up so fast that summer that it was always hard to believe she was ever small enough to sleep under Lisa's feet that whole trip back to Ohio. This first picture was taken at 5am ish right as we were embarking on our journey. These pictures (and they'll be more tomorrow) are from Lisa's mom's house in Ohio. She spent that first summer with Lisa in OH while I went to my home in DC. She grew up SO fast that summer.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Real quick regarding Madison

Thank you everyone for sending your regards and well wishes. We're not quite ready to move on about the twins will return next week. I feel like I need to use this as my personal journal to reflect on what's going on right now.

At times I feel silly being so upset by what happened but then I remember how much apart of this family she has been. To say the least, we are still really hurting. There were many more tears today and more to come, I'm sure.

One realization that I had was her sudden death didn't allow us to spoil her. With an aging dog, you have time to come to grips with what will eventually happen and spend the last days, weeks, or even months spoiling her with love. Although we were fortunate enough to have the time to say goodbye, it is devastating to us that the transition from happy and healthy dog to dying dog literally happened overnight.

We want so badly to be able to spoil her. There is some guilt about Madison being second to the babies, and not getting the attention she deserved these last 10 months.

I don't know why I feel that I have to justify what I'm saying or why I'm grieving but she really was a member of this family. For 10 years, she was our baby. We took pictures of her like we take pictures of the girls now...ALL the time. This morning, I was getting flustered because I couldn't find her puppy pictures and Lisa had to step in and get the photo albums out to show me where they were. We started going through the albums and it has been so therapeutic. She's a beautiful dog and we took a ton of great pictures of her. Most of the good ones were before we had a digital camera so the next couple of days I'm going to begin scanning in some pictures.

Here are 2 that I've already posted. This one is of Madison being....Madison. She loved visitors (a little too much) and would always have to be in everyone's face. This was my mom's first visit and you can see she's holding a baby. That didn't stop Madison from first just laying across Mom's lap but then eventually climbing the rest of the way up.

This second one is one of our favorites. I took this last summer. As I OFTEN did...I would be toward the end of a roll of film and needing to use the last 2 or 3 photos up, I would find Madison. It was too easy to get a good picture of her with those eyes.

I'll be posting some more stories and pics of Madison these next several days. Just wait till the puppy pics...oh man, was she cute!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

a sad, sad evening

Our hearts are aching tonight because we had to say goodbye to our puppy. Madison has been apart of our family for just over 11 years.

Without warning, today she woke up very weak. I took her to the vet thinking it would be another simple prognosis but the vet had other news for us. It seems that a very agressive tumor had taken over her spleen. The vet estimated it to be 7-9 pounds. While the symptoms she was presenting was consistent with her spleen bleeding out, an ultrasound didn't confirm that. Bleeding out would cause her to be weak but there was only a small amount of blood in her abdomen.

There's a lot more to the story but the vet couldn't be certain that the tumor had spread to other organs and after Madison had a couple episodes during the x-rays, they came to the conclusion that it might have already spread to her brain.

Lisa and I came to the conclusion that this was Madison's time. There were too many signs pointing toward more than just a benign growth on her spleen. Still, we were very uncertain of our decision and cried and prayed all the way back to the vet.

When we returned, the vet told us that a chest x-ray showed something else unusual...Madison's heart was much smaller than it should be for a dog her size. The vet was afraid Madison would not survive the surgery. While it was hard to hear, it was obvious now we had come to the right decision.

Lisa and I stayed with Madison until the end. It was the most difficult thing I've done in my life. We assured her over and over that we loved her. She is going to be missed.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

oh, my girls are growing up

They are growing up so fast. I can't believe how far we've come and where we are today. My computer screensaver is set to slideshow all my pictures so I am frequently reminded of pictures of the girls from the early days. It just blows my mind how much they've changed.

Today, both Lisa and I had different moments where we were wow'd by their progress. The physical therapist that still comes once a week was here today to work with the girls on standing up. She brought a little table for the girls to hold onto and to put things on top that would peak their interest. Lisa was watching as she was demonstrating how to help Alyssa stand up and Lisa said it just hit big our baby girl was and how far they have come.

My moment was a little different. I got home a little late which I hate because it only gives my an hour (or less) to be with the girls before they go to sleep. When I came in and the girls both saw me, they both erupted. They were smiling at me and giggling. They were so excited to see me. I put Alyssa in my lap and we started talking about her day and no matter what I said, she just looked at me and giggled. I've heard her giggle a hundred times but tonight it was a little different, she was hanging on every word I said and would erupt in laughter. This was before Lisa had told me about her experience today. I am just overwhelmed by how my little baby is starting to act like a toddler.

So tonight as Lisa and I are relaxing, catching up on some tv and will be reading a little later, our girls are GROWING!!! It's scary to think we're not too far from toddlers-hood.

Here's some quick pics of the girls enjoying their daddy.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Green beans, anyone?

Alyssa and Katy tried some green beans this week. Alyssa still isn't taking to the new tastes but Katy's doing pretty good. This video is of Alyssa struggling to get those green beans down.

And here's a picture from Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Adventures in eating

The girls are GROWING!!! They are starting to act like little toddlers. I can't believe my girls are growing up so fast. Their personalities are getting more and more unique...but as some people have also noticed, they seem to be looking more and more alike. Their weights are still about a pound apart so I can't put my finger on it exactly but I've had more double-takes lately and have been caught calling them by the wrong name...something I'm sure will only get worse.

Feedings are going great. They are up to two feedings a day in addition to their time with Lisa and we've begun to indroduce some peas. They reacted pretty differently to the peas. Alyssa (who was the tentative eater to begin with) is now also pretty tentative to the new taste. She never refused or spit them back out but she gave this face every time. It was as if she was expecting the rice cereal each bite and was surprised it tasted so different. What's great is it wasn't hard to take these pictures...that expression doesn't leave until she swallows. Pretty cute to see her just look up at us like, "What in the world? Why would you...?" She's too cute.

Katy is an amazing eater. She takes the spoon from us and shoves it in her mouth and then twirls it to get all the deliciousness off of it. When she's done, she'll put the spoon down in her lap or throw it on the floor. Not too fun right now for us but what can you do at this stage but just laugh and roll with it.

Other times she gets so excited that she'll start flailing her arms about and occasionally whack herself in the head. As these pictures show, it gets quite messy with her. Again, too cute.

Be sure to click on one of those so you can see the cereal up her nose and on her forehead. If you've ever fed a baby that stuff, you know it CAKES on. It is impossible to get off without scrubbing something fierce. I'm sure it'll only get worse but cleaning up two babies twice a day is quite the production. Kudos to Lisa for keeping her sanity.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Alright all you twin junkies...

I'll give you what you came and videos of the girls.

The girls are definitely more mobile. They can roll around with ease and purpose. They see something they want and they'll roll over until they get it. This was a couple weeks ago now but one morning Lisa as up with the girls at their normal time while I was sleeping off the remnants of a night shift hangover (meaning I was transitioning back to days after working a strong of night shifts) and Alyssa decided she wanted to come find me. She rolled all the way down the hallway until she got to the door. When she reached the door, she started pounding it with her hand. I woke up, assuming it was Lisa trying to get me to look at something so I got out of the bed and answered the door. To my surprise, Alyssa was by herself at the door smiling and giggling. It was pretty sweet.

Actually, that first picture is Katy. Looks like she's watching Alyssa roll away.

And now some random cute baby pictures

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

One more....

non baby post. The girls will be back tomorrow. Today, I wanted to share photos from our day in Girdwood. It was a COLD day on the mountain but it was gorgeous.

Our friends Lisa and Ben gave me a day on the mountain for my birthday while Lisa got a massage. My mom and the girls came with us so they found a spot in the resort lobby and camped out for a couple hours while Lisa got spoiled and I played.

There were some low lying clouds and fog when we arrived but once we got on the ski lift and above the clouds, we could see what a perfect day it was going to be. I stole these first pictures are from Lisa and Ben's blog

First, Lisa R. and I at the top of the easy run. I had to warm up a little to this mountain. Last time I went, I ended up scooting down on my butt most of the way.

Lisa and Ben at the top of chair 4...which is about half way up the mountain. What a day!!
Me coming down into the clouds. The guy below be was out of control. There were very few people on the mountain but this can tell he was kinda wild.

Andy now the pics from our new camera. After we took a little break and checked in on the girls, I had a hard time getting my legs back into it. I stopped several times to take some pictures and after a hard run, decided to spend my last hour in the easy area.

This is close to where the previous picture was taken, just a couple hours later.
And looking back up where I just came from.

My last run. Lisa had just called me to say they were I was coming down the easy section back to the resort one more time.
What a day!! Thanks Lisa and Ben treating me. Thanks Mom for watching the girls and letting Lisa have some time to relax at the spa. Thanks Scott and Alison from Lisa for the gift card that made the whole thing possible.