We'll Miss You, Buck, Old Buddy!

This picture is a perfect example of how wonderful Buck was with our children.
Here he is with our Kindergartner who wasn't quite one at the time of the picture.

Ten and half years ago, my boyfriend (now my husband) and I had just returned from Montana where we had both worked for the summer. I had it in my head that I wanted a dog. So, before even unloading our stuff, I looked in the paper and found a yellow lab. Perfect!

Tony drove me to the home where the dog lived. We walked up and saw some kids playing and asked if they were selling their dog. The kids looked at us like we were crazy. Apparently, the parents hadn't told them they were selling the dog. Oops!

After talking to the owner and reassuring him that I could give him a good home, he seemed content to let me have him. I paid $100 for him. To this day, Tony and I still argue about who bought him. He lived with me and my roommates so surely, I bought him, right? Right, Tony?

Before we took him away, the owner told us that the main reason he was getting rid of the dog was because he ran away a lot. I figured I'd just have to keep an eye on him. No big deal. So, we loaded him into to Tony's car on top of all our summer stuff.

The dog was named Buck and I took him home to the house I rented with some other girls for my last year of college. It ended up that I wasn't the only one who wanted a dog. That year, four girls and three dogs lived in one house!

Buck was a great dog and I can remember sitting in one of my classes the day after I bought him thinking that it must be some kind of dream that I now owned a dog. I'd always wanted one, but only got to have one for about three months while I was growing up.

I attempted to take Buck for runs, but quickly learned that labs are more into fetching than they are into long distance running, so I took him for walks and threw plenty of tennis balls. Tony also spent a lot of time with him and liked him quite a bit!

It's a good thing that Tony liked Buck, because almost a year later Tony and I were married.

Tony moved to another state before we were married. Obviously, I eventually joined him. Of course, Buck came with me. In order to join him, we had to drive across the state of Kansas in an old Toyota Celica with NO air conditioning. Buck rode beside me panting the entire way. It was so hot that the only thing I stopped to eat was an ice cream cone!

Tony was waiting for us and said he knew when we were coming because he heard Buck's collar jingling!

Wherever we were, there Buck was. He took several road trips with us and I have many memories of him looking out from the back of a Ford Focus hatchback. ( We weren't too nice about letting him ride in our mini van because of the dog hair he constantly shed.) He even visited the arch in St. Louis with us.

He probably thought he was in heaven when we moved to Arkansas and lived across from a field. Tony would take him over to the field to play fetch with him. After three years in Arkansas, his age was showing. Fetch was starting to be a thing of the past, though he would still eagerly chase flashlight beams.

While we were in Arkansas, our first two children were born. We couldn't of asked for a sweeter dog. We have pictures of all the children on top of him. He didn't mind one bit. I do suppose he was a little relieved when we stopped bringing babies home every year and a half once we had our third and final baby.

By the time our third little one was born, we had moved back to the same state we started married life in and Buck was beginning to slow down quite a bit.

Aside from all the shedding and one rather expensive tooth extraction, he was the best dog. He even managed to almost win over a friend who is terrified of dogs. I don't know that she ever really liked him, but she at least wasn't scared of him!

As we got busy with the kids, we tended to give him less attention leading to some guilt on our parts. Still, he had it made. Three young children mean you get lots and lots of table scraps. In fact, he got so many that he could be choosy about what they offered him. As he got older, we got more and more lenient on what he could have. Lucky dog!

He continued to slow down and started losing a lot of weight. It was the beginning of the end.

On Sunday, we made the tough decision to have Buck put to sleep. Something had changed and we couldn't let him suffer.

Tonight, Tony took him to the vet and held him as Buck left for good.

You know, I never really understood how people could grieve a pet so much. After all, it isn't a person, right? True, but Buck was part of our family and he was part of what made our home, home.

We'll miss him. Thanks Old Buddy for a fun ten and half years!


How to Catch a Leprechaun According to Little Man

It's still March! The good news is that no one in our family is sick and we've had some warm days. In addition, my mom came for a visit and we had a wonderful time!

This afternoon, as I emptied Chris' backpack, I was again reminded that it is indeed still March. His teacher had some leprechaun fun with the preschoolers in the days leading up to St. Patrick's Day. Part of this fun involved a naughty little leprechaun named Patrick who kept visiting their class and making a mess right before they arrived to school. My little man ate it up and loved telling me the things Patrick had done.

Well today, I pulled a paper out of his bag that was titled "How to Catch a Leprechaun." His teacher had obviously asked the children how each of them would catch a leprechaun. Then, she wrote down the words. This is how Chris suggested catching the naughty little guy:

"I'd make a trap. (He is big on building pretend traps right now with our next door neighbor boy.) Nets and a vacuum. The vacuum and the net would catch him and he would go into a hot pool and then he would go into a desert. He would find water and drink it and would be okay."

I laughed out loud reading this and knew without a doubt that his teacher had captured his thoughts word for word.

Also, I loved that the leprechaun would ultimately be okay. He has a tender heart hiding underneath that tough boy exterior. I just love, love, love that little boy! I even love him when he acts like a naughty little leprechaun!


Hello March! I take it all back!

March, March, March. You trickster you. You started out full of promise and then you brought nothing but sickness!

Early in the morning, on the second day of March, my three year old awoke with a horrible stomach bug. Within a week, the bug passed through our entire family. Less than a week later, another virus worked its way through our family. So far, I'm the only one who avoided that little bug.

All things considered, I can't complain much. We're all doing well now and the weather is supposed to be fantastic the rest of the week. Tony took this week off and we're ready to enjoy Spring Break.
Still, the first half of March was enough for me to take back my love of March. Call me fickle, I don't care.

I guess it's true what they say about March coming "in like a lion and out like a lamb." The good news is, March is half over and that means we should be approaching the lamb-like side of March. I thinks that's definitely something worth smiling about!

Hello March! I love you!

There are two main reasons I love March.

1. It is not January.
2. It is not February.

It has been a long, cold, and snowy winter. I can handle the cold and the snow, it was the gray skies that about did me in!

But today begins the month of March and I am happy. The skies were blue and the temperature reached the upper 50s. It's hard to complain about that!

In fact, this afternoon marked my first walk outdoors in quite some time. I've walked my daughter to school only a handful of times since Christmas break and today was one of those days. The wind was colder than I expected, but we didn't care. We were all so happy to be out in the fresh air.

I had another chance to walk this afternoon. I had some books on hold at the library and realized that my youngest daughter and I had time to walk to the library before my older two got home from school. So I loaded up the stroller with Jane and her four baby dolls (yes, four!) and we were off.

As I walked, I happened to notice some stubborn ice slowly melting in the shade. It may sound silly, but I felt rather smug as I walked by that ice. At times this winter, it felt like spring would never arrive. Yet, spring is just around the corner. It's such a wonderful season full of hope. I used to think that fall was my favorite season, but now I just don't know. I may be switching my allegiance to spring. At least until September!

Happy 19 days until spring!