Thursday, December 29, 2011

More on Chien

Thank you for everyone that told me my previous post was not showing the final pictures. I fixed it, but for some reason could not get all the pictures to load properly, so I am finishing that post with this one. But be sure to scroll down to see the rest of the pictures that are now working properly in the old post too.

I just love this one of Ben and friends!

And Chien playing in the snow.

A great shot of his favorite past time...

A lot of people have been asking about how we are doing without Chien now and how the kids are taking it. The kids took it surprisingly well. Ben was a little upset the day he died, but I am not sure how much he truly understood or how much he was reacting to how upset Paul and I were. I was so worried about how they would take it, but they seem just fine. With that in mind, I began to realize just how young they are and how much Chien was really Paul and my dog. It breaks my heart to think that some day when the kids are older, Abbey and Juliette likely won't even remember Chien and Ben may remember, but just barely. If/when we get another dog, that will be their childhood dog that they grow up with and remember. Chien was my dog. He was Paul's dog. He was our first "baby" and was with us through the amazing growth of our family. So it has been the hardest on us. The kids are fine, but Paul and I are still missing him a lot, every day.

One final picture...I love this one because it shows Chien "smiling" the way he always did when we showed him any sort of attention or love. And I love the way the sun is shining on him - looks like Heaven shining down on him and he is happy. This was taken right before we found out he had cancer and I think it is my favorite picture of all because it shows his joyful spirit and total love and dedication to his family. Boy, our next dog sure has a lot to live up to!

As a side note, I know I am very behind in posts. We had a fabulous trip to TN for Christmas and I promise to post all of that soon - I still need to download all those pictures. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday as well!
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Sunday, December 18, 2011

RIP Notre Chien

Notre Chien passed away this morning. He was 9 years and 7 months almost to the day (5/19/02-12/18/11). We took him to the vet on Thursday and she gave him a new steroid to try, but she did not think he would last the week. He seemed ok Friday and Saturday morning, but Saturday afternoon he started throwing up a lot and not moving. So we gave him some Pepcid AC for his stomach (vet recommended) and he seemed to feel a little better after that. He even came up to our room to go to sleep just like normal. Sunday morning Paul had to pick him up to bring him outside to potty. It was just like how you read in books when dogs go off into the woods to die...Chien just laid down in the yard and didn't want to come back inside (which is very unlike him because he hates being in the backyard by himself). Paul picked him up to get him to walk around, but he just went back further into our yard as far from the house as possible and laid back down. So Paul picked him up and brought him inside so he wasn't in the cold snow. He went to be by himself away from us (which he has been doing lately anyway) and died at some point after that. We checked on him after Church and he was gone.

Chien was the best family dog. Paul and I got Chien the weekend we got back from our honeymoon, so he started our family long before we had kids. Domi, Tim, Andrew, Hunter and I drove out to almost Iowa to a farm "just to look" at the puppies. I think we were there about a half a minute before we were each picking out which puppy we wanted to bring home. We stopped at a local store to buy different color collars so we could tell Chien and Cooper apart (although we still don't know if the one we put the collar on was the one we picked at the farm)! It has been fun to have brother dogs with Domi - and whenever they got together to play they knew they were brothers and would play differently than they did with other dogs. Chien was 7 weeks old and 7 pounds when we got him.

He often sat in our laps, which did not seem to change even after he became 70+ pounds - he still considered himself a lap dog!

He was our "baby" for almost 4 years before we had Ben.

Still pretending he is a small puppy...

He loved going to Mama Kay and PaPa's house because the lake was his most favorite place.

He would swim for hours.

And eagerly anticipate a ball being thrown into the lake so he could jump off the dock and swim to retrieve it.

Before kids, we took Chien to dog parks, dog beaches, and even our local park!

Such a pretty dog - he always got compliments.

And he loved playing in the snow too.

Then Ben was born and Chien was great with him! It took a few days for him to get used to the idea (he didn't come sleep in our room for a few nights at first), but then he fell in love with Ben just like we did.

And then he was always near Ben - especially when it was nap time...

And he quickly earned a place in Mimi's heart when she came to visit.

And he also earned a place in Nana's heart, which was not easy. Chien was the very first dog Nana had ever pet - she said he just looked so soft that she wanted to touch him!

Grand-Patch became his buddy too...

Just being part of the family.

His car space got limited when Ben came along, but he enjoyed riding next to him.

And even managed a way to sleep in the car with Ben.

They were fast friends.

And Chien quickly learned the benefits of having a baby in the family...

Chien went on many boat rides, whether the canoe or the big boat.

And always made sure to protect his family. This was a great example that I will never forget - Ben was in this tube and started to float away from the dock. Chien jumped in, swam out to the tube, grabbed the rope, and brought Ben back - all without a word from us! We actually thought Ben was ok (we were swimming in the water by him), but Chien was sure to take care of him!

Always a good sport when the kids would play with him or dress him up.

Or when we would try to make him play like he was a human...I'm pretty sure he did not enjoy going down the slide, but he was a good sport about it at least.

Abbey always gave Chien a lot of love too.

Back at the lake, staying close to his family.

Sleeping with Ben - he didn't usually sleep on Ben's bed, but every now and then Ben would invite him up there.

Our last family picture with Chien taken over Thanksgiving. A good friend of mine from high school, Kelley Peck, actually took this picture and had it made into a Christmas ornament and sent it to us, which was so meaningful to our family, especially now considering he passed before Christmas.

I can't say enough about how much Chien has meant to our family. He started our family and although with each new child he slid further down the totem pole, he never seemed to mind and always welcomed each new member with love and a desire to protect them. The kids have loved having Chien and I could not have asked for a better dog for them - he was always gentle and kind and patient - not once was I ever even slightly worried about having him around them. Some people say that dogs have no souls and therefore do not go to Heaven, but I believe that anyone who has ever had a dog knows that cannot possibly be true. I believe he is running in fields, chasing balls, and swimming all day long now. We love and miss you Chien - thank you for 9.5 wonderful years!

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Family News

Well we have some big news in our house...our little baby Juju is becoming a big girl and is now officially potty trained! After training Ben and Abbey in less than 3 days each, I figured I had this down, but Juliette offered me a lesson in humility by showing me that she is very different than her brother and sister and I, in fact, do not know as much as I think I do! Although the 3 day method actually took about 7 days with Juliette, she now fully has it (both during the day and at night and out in public restrooms). What a big girl! Although it does make me slightly sad that our baby is growing up and we no longer have any babies in the house, we are looking forward to the extra money we will have from not buying diapers (considering we have had at least one child in diapers (sometimes two at the same time) for the past 6 consecutive years!).

And in other news, I have returned to work part time for my old company as a "seasonal senior manager". I will work 10-15 hours a week primarily from home and primarily on my old client. It will go through their busy season, so through the end of March. I went to training last week and will start getting work next week. So things are going to be busy, but I felt it was a rare opportunity that I could fit into my current lifestyle without too much trouble and I could not pass it up. So we will see how it goes!
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Monday, December 12, 2011

O Christmas Tree!

The kids could not wait to get started on Christmas decorations and we finally found some time to do that! It was a long drawn out process though. We lost our Christmas tree in our basement flood this summer, so on the first night of Christmas decorating we all loaded up and went to Menards to pick out a new one. The next night, we assembled the tree (which Ben really enjoyed). The third night we strung lights on the tree. And finally, we were able to actually decorate it! Ben is an old pro at this point...

Abbey did awesome as well, although she does tend to put all the ornaments in the same spot...

Decorating can cause quite a mess. Luckily, we had Cinderella on hand to do some vacuuming!

She did hang a few ornaments too.

Good job Abbey!

Then the stockings were hung on the railing with care...

But then it was off to bed.

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Saturday, December 10, 2011


In the abundance of pictures from Thanksgiving and my very late blogging about it, I noticed that I seemed to have forgotten to describe what we did on Wednesday during the day. Abbey had dance class so we all went to watch her (which she loved). We couldn't be in the room, but the waiting room has a tv with a direct feed into the class, so we get to watch her every week while she is dancing away!

After dance class, we went to the downtown Arlington Heights Park (which is right next to the dance class) and see all of its Christmas decorations! Watch out Santa, the sled has a new driver!

Oh good, Papa will help her drive!

And Mama Kay will help her walk around the fountain...which has been transformed into the landing for the huge Christmas tree (although we did not make it to the tree lighting ceremony this year). there is some collaborative driving...sounds very safe I'm sure...

This was cute - Ben pretended that each of the grandparents was a gift (which of course they are, but he meant the tangible kind) and he was driving the sleigh to different places and dropping off the gifts (at which point the respective grandparent would get off the back of the sleigh). I love this picture though!

Ok, now I should be all caught up on Thanksgiving...I will get caught up on everything else soon hopefully!
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