Monday, September 1, 2014

Nicole and Chris get Married!

This weekend held an epic family event...Uncle Chris and Aunt Nicole got married!

 picture borrowed from Nicole's Facebook page because it is AMAZING!

The wedding was in a planetarium, which I have never heard of but was so incredibly beautiful and unique, just like them.
Love these two so much!
With it being a wedding full of our family I didn't seem to have the time to take many pictures, which is very sad for me.  (Not many is 75, which is truly NOT MANY for MEEEE) This is the ONLY picture with me in it, and I think I have one other of Henry... photo taking fail.
 I do think I managed to get all of the really important WEDDING stuff... like the first dance
Sweet speeches about first meetings and fate
The cutting of the amazing light up cake
And at this family shot which gives me so much joy!  There was MUCH more dancing and fun to be had, but I was too busy enjoying the day to stop and document it.  I did snap some pictures of those closest to us before joining in the party.
Candice and Lucas, all dressed up and looking nice

Nanny and Grandpa, putting up with my ten attempts to take a picture of them!

Grandaddy, Aunt Jill and Great Grandma.  So glad Aunt Jill was able to come in from Florida!
Nieem hanging out with the moon Chris made.  Chris said "Nicole said she wanted the moon... so I made it for her."  LOVE!
Grandaddy and GrandVal

Table decorations
The South Carolina crew came in for the big event of course.  Matt and Blair...
Kelsey and Thomas...
Aunt Brenda and  Uncle Wayne
Boo, Chris and Cici
Someone passed out...
Just love this one
Victoria and Ethan... Ethan's dancing was a BIG hit out on the dance floor!
More decorations made by Nicole's mom.  So great!
As the night wrapped up,  they released a wish lantern into the sky...
So amazing
We love you guys so much!  Congratulations!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Another Ellie Update

So yesterday was National Dog Day. We celebrated by taking Ellie to an internal medicine specialist.

What? You didn't know there were specialist vets?  Ones who require a referral to even see?  Well, there are.  And we went to one.  Because, in case you haven't picked up on this yet, we are crazy dog people who will do nearly anything for our sweet girl.

When I last updated you on Ellie I think the end was eminent.  We were giving her fluids and trying the kidney medication, but really I viewed that as a way to put a couple of weeks between what was obviously needed and the start of kindergarten.  Even that was a hard decision and came with lots of caveats of "if she stops eating again then it's time" or "if she can't get up to ask to go out it's time"... all these lines in the sand of quality of life I was not willing to ignore just to put some time between the first day of school and the loss of our sweet girl.  Basically, we weren't willing to let her suffer, but if we could humanely buy some time we would.

So as each day went by it was a constant reevaluating... how was she?  Was she eating?  Was she getting up and moving?  Does it need to be today??  But each day that passed was a day at least the same and sometimes a little better than the day before.  She was eating a good amount, but no dog food.  We were (are) making her meals.  She was drinking a lot, asking to go out, wanted to be with us and would follow us from room to room, barking when people came in... she was doing okay.  Not great mind you, but okay.

And so here we are entering into the third week of school.  She is doing... better.  Definitely better than her darkest days four weeks ago.  But her arthritis is still an issue and her lack of interest in food is causing constant stress for us with the worry that any minute she will stop eating all together.  So our vet recommended a specialist.  Actually, they recommended him back when we found out about the kidneys and the cushings, but at that time it felt like wasted money trying to stop the inevitable.  It still feels a little like that, but if we are giving her all of these medications and trying to have her feel better, we figure we might as well pour our money* into the smartest doc in town.

Yesterday we met him.  I absolutely adore him.  It cost only slightly more than a regular vet visit.  He was very aware of the cost of everything without making me feel guilty.  He didn't want to rerun blood work yet because he said it didn't really matter what it said, based on her clinical signs he would suggest the same treatment either way.  I appreciated that.  He supported everything our other vet has done so far, which was reassuring, but also added two knew steps to the process that he thinks will help with her arthritis and her eating, our two major concerns.  He said her kidneys are bad but not awful, and that while she will most likely need the fluids for the rest of her life, we can hopefully get her healthy enough to only need them every other day or maybe a couple of times a week.  Right now we are doing it twice a day, so that was exciting.

He was also realistic.  He said that if these things don't work, then we need to begin to accept that medicine only takes us so far, and that she might just be at the end of the days.  I appreciated that too.  That he sees the line where it's okay to accept there is nothing more we can do.

We started the two new medicines yesterday and we already see a difference.  She ate dog food this morning for breakfast.  DOG FOOD!  She is moving better too.  So we have hope.  Not a lot, but some.

What it all comes down to is we love our girl.  And we are willing to do these things if the make her comfortable and happy until the end of her days.  She really is a very good dog.

*If you are curious, we do have limits on the spending.  I wish we didn't have to, but we do.  Everything we are doing is actually pretty reasonably priced, all things considered. And the cost of giving her the monthly medications she is currently on is not bad.  I am happy I got a new job that gives us a little more freedom to make these decisions based on what we feel list best and not on money.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

So Turns Out Ice Water Is Really Cold...

I was challenged by my friend Whiteny to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge this weekend.  If you would like to see Henry gleefully dump water over my head you can check it out below:

I know there are always some push back when things like this happen... complaints about jumping on the bandwagon, wasting water... but I find it amazing how much attention and funding this challenge is bringing to an incredibly rare and deadly disease.

So I completed the ice bucket challenge, and we all three made our donations:
 You can make your own donation to ALS research at 

 Funding and research is critical to finding treatments and cures for the diseases that take our loved ones from us.  Please keep that in mind once this challenge is all said and done.  Consider making donations to other areas of research that impact your life.  Small amounts from lots of people add up to making a huge impact.  But most importantly, be aware of how your congressmen and women vote in supporting funding through research channels like the National Institute of Health.  It is impossible to tell you all the NIH does to further research in our country because they do SO MUCH, but I will say that without them we would have had much less time with our sweet Missy, and without them my future working in public health research would be on shaky ground.  Yet in the last ten years their funding has been cut by 25%, which adds up to billions of dollars lost to medical research. 

So with that I will step off my soap box and just say Charing and Candice, you are still on the clock!