Happy Birthday, Teddy!

So, if you follow me on Instagram, you know that we celebrated our pup’s birthday on Monday.  He has been a part of our family for almost a year, and it has been so wonderful to watch him grow and learn.20180205_084531.jpg

We adopted Teddy from the SPCA.  He was in a group of dogs who came from a hoarding situation, meaning that the owner had too many dogs to be able to care for all of them.  He was unsure of a lot of human social interaction but was very comfortable around other dogs.  He knows the rules of play with dogs, but the rules when interacting with humans were completely foreign.

Over the last year, he has learned so much.  We have game nights at our house that are so helpful with Teddy meeting and interacting with new people.  He has learned, for the most part, to calm down when coming in from outside.  I mean, he’s still only two and a puppy for the most part.

For our dogs’ birthdays, we have a tradition of taking them to Petco (not sponsored) and letting them walk around the store.  They get to sniff all the toys and go home with a toy and treat.  This was the first time Michael and I can remember actually taking Teddy to a store like this, so I was interested to see how this would play out.

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He was a bit unsure, with his tail tucked and his back legs shaking.  There were so many sights and smells and sounds.  We decided to take him closer to the end of the day when the store wouldn’t be as crowded.  I think the experience overwhelmed him at first, but gradually he seemed to adjust.

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We walked around the store a few times.  But my favorite part was when two of the employees got down to approach him.  He went right up to them and let them pet him.  It was an amazing moment, that I, of course, forgot to take a picture because I was part of the interaction.  I wanted to be in the moment for him in case he was unsure.  But he was actually braver during those interactions than he was just walking through the store, itself!

Later this month, he will go to the vet for the second time since he has been a part of our family so he will have more opportunities to interact in unfamiliar settings.  I’m so proud of our pup, and I look forward to seeing how much he will grow and learn this year!

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My Mom

This month has been more difficult due to the upcoming one year anniversary of my second daughter’s passing, but this month also has a few silver linings.  One of them is my brother’s birthday, which I talked about here.  And another is my mom’s birthday.

Their birthdays are pretty close together, which is pretty sweet.  So August has always been a month of celebration in our family.  So, today I’m going to celebrate my mom.

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My mom is one of the most generous people I know.  She has a servant heart and a love for people.  And her children are precious to her, as are her grandchildren.  She has special sayings for my brother (Hey Bud) and me (Precious Cargo), but she also gave nicknames to both my girls.  Her love for my daughters means the world to me.

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She was present for both of my daughters’ stillbirths.  She cared for both Michael and me during that time.  I remember last year, coming home from the hospital and both Dad and Mom were cleaning the house, scrubbing the doggie door, vacuuming the living room, because they knew it would relieve my stress and let me rest and recuperate.  She gathered up all of the things in our nursery both times and put together each of the girls’ memory boxes.

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She is the fulfillment of a Proverbs 31 woman.  She speaks with wisdom.  She sets about her work vigorously.  She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.  Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.  Her children call her blessed.

I am so proud of my mama.  She has taught me what it means to be a mother, and I will always be thankful for that.  Happy Birthday, Mom!

Friday Ramble: My husband

This is going to be even more stream of consciousness than normal. Have fun.

My Husband

My husband turned to me this week and asked if I had told anyone about his birthday. Does the blog count? No, the blog doesn’t count, right?

He doesn’t really like the spotlight to be on him. He is genuinely selfless in that way. He’s eager to help other people and sacrifice his own stuff, but in no way wants to be the center of any kind of attention. I know some people who would love to do that, just to see what he would do, but I’m telling you now, this is not permission to do that in any way.

For some reason, I had this overwhelming desire to seek out all of my old Xanga and LiveJournal posts. There are some blog posts on a website I used to use that are gone forever, but those two sites still had everything from my college/young adult years. Oh man, I was so angsty, you guys. So. Angsty. Maybe I’ll find a good post to share.

But another fun outcome from finding all those old posts was to re-live those first years of dating Michael. All the ups and downs. It made me realize just how special of a person he is to me. We have been through so much as a couple, and I’m so glad I have such a patient, supportive, caring guy to go on these adventures together. And I’m really thankful that he put up with angsty Katy.

I could go on about what a great guy he is. How talented he is with saltwater aquariums. How proud I am of his integrity and work ethic. How grateful I am that he chose me to live this life with.

But he doesn’t like the spotlight, so instead, I will just say, Happy Birthday Michael!

A Ramble for my Birthday

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Next week, I will turn another year older.

When I entered my 30s, I was excited.  I felt like I was leaving so much of the pressure to perform, to meet the expectations of society as a 20-something.  And I did.  But now that I’m well into my 30s, I realize that I merely swapped those expectations for new ones.  However, I’m definitely more sure of myself than I was in my 20s.  And I know what I like and I don’t like, and I’m not afraid to try something new without having that need to do it perfectly the first time.  I’m learning how to switch off the people pleasing filter in my brain when making decisions.  It doesn’t work every time, but I am learning and I am okay that I’m learning.

A couple of weeks ago, it dawned on me that next week, I will be ten years older than my mom when she had me.  Now, to be fair, when I was ten years younger than I am now, I was engaged to be married, and I would only be married for six months, and I’m really glad that I didn’t get pregnant that first year of marriage because I had way too much growing up to do.

But the idea is not lost on me that time is slowly ticking away.  I will soon reach the “every pregnancy is a high-risk pregnancy” age.  Though to be fair, considering my history, every pregnancy already is a high-risk one, but there are just so many statistics out there that get scary.  On the other hand, I haven’t really been living up to the regular statistics anyway, so who is to say I’m going to start doing that anytime soon?

And even though I feel more in tune with myself, I have acquired more of a hesitation and filter on the things I want to say.  Partially, because in the moment, my brain is usually just jumbled with an incoherent word knot that only unravels as I leave a situation.  Partially, because I realize that motivations and intentions of others are always more complicated than I thought they were.  Things have become grayer to me.  I am slower to judge a situation or a person because I know I will never have all of the facts.

And even though these first years of my 30s have been wrought with pain and loss, there is so much I’m grateful for.  I am grateful for the friendships that have developed here in Dallas, and here in the blogosphere.  I am grateful that I have a husband who has become the breadwinner so that I can heal and hopefully someday get pregnant again.  I am thankful for the tasks God has given me – with the Alzheimer Walk, the SPCA, Hope Mommies.  I am thankful that he turned my sorrow and grief into a ministry, a place I can shine His love and joy into the dark nooks and crannies of infertility and pregnancy loss.

And it’s not perfect, and never will be this side of eternity.  I’m learning to lean on God when I feel isolated and alone.  I am learning that I don’t have to be the best or have all the attention or be first to have value.  I am learning that I don’t have to have a lot of feedback in order to make a difference in someone’s life.   I’m learning to embrace my limitations and live within boundaries, and that neither one of these things makes me less than anyone else.  And even if someone wants to think of me as lower than them, I am learning not to feed that comparative attitude within myself.

I have no idea what this next year will bring me.  I’ll be honest, I’m not as excited as I was when I turned thirty.  But I know that God is here, present in my life.  So whatever this year brings – heartache or overwhelming joy, or both…

Bring it on.

Happy Birthday, Loco!

Today is this one’s birthday.

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We love our Loco-bear.  He gives the best snuggles.IMG_9498.JPG

Loco is a champion.  When we adopted him, he had heartworms, and we couldn’t afford the surgery, so we had to put him on Heartguard and hope for the best.  This is a very risky way to treat heartworms, but he managed to beat heartworms last July!

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Also, he is a boxer.  Well, a boxer mix, but that breed has a life expectancy of at most 12.  He turned 13 today!  He beat another set of odds in his life!  We celebrate every day that we get to spend with this pup, but this day is super special.  I can’t wait to spend some time with him after work!

How do you celebrate doggie birthdays?

Have you ever had a dog that beat the odds in something?

A Year in My Life of Transition

If my life were a movie, I feel like the last year would be edited into a montage.  So, in a recap of the last year, I thought I would share a montage of my year in photos.

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Having my family come to visit in July was wonderful.  I am very thankful to have their love and support in the ups and downs of this past year.  Having a mom that I can vent my frustrations to (and vice-versa) is invaluable.  Also, having a dad and brother who will listen and be able to say exactly what I need to hear is pretty great too. 🙂

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This year, I have been especially grateful to be with this man.  We have had several small adventures through this past year, including beer brewery tours, concerts, long nature walks, even watching people launch things off of ramps to see if they could fly (also known as the Red Bull Flugtag, as seen above).

Family

At the end of September, my in-laws walked with us in the annual Alzheimer’s Walk.  I am so thankful to have married into such a  supportive, compassionate and loving family.

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When Michael and I were visiting my parents for Thanksgiving, they took us on a hike through this beautiful park.  This past year, I have learned a lot about spending time in nature as a way to heal, relax and process.  I have incorporated it into my prayer time as a way to connect to God.

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Now, who would put up a picture from a cruise to talk about her job?  This girl!  The whole reason I went on this cruise was because of my job! This was our Christmas bonus this past year, and for Michael and me, it was very much needed.  Even though my job has been in a steady state of transition pretty much this whole year, I know that I have the love and support of my work family.  That really makes a difference.

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Speaking of family, this is one of my favorite memories of the past year.  I was honored to be able to watch Lori’s two older boys while she and her husband were welcoming in their third!  I think of this sweet family as an extension of my own, and I don’t know how I would have made it through this last year without them!  They are truly a God-sent gift into my life.

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The trip to New York was a pivotal point for me this year.  It was uncomfortable and pushed me outside of my limits.  From the moment I got off the plane to the moment I was back in Dallas, I was in community with people unlike me.  A lot of the time, I was by myself in the middle of one of the largest and most diverse cities in America, and I realized how I had forgotten to be with people.  When I came home, I was determined to keep a grasp on this feeling of worldwide community.

That’s when I really started feeling uncomfortable with where I was in my life.  I realized how much time I was allowing myself to go through the motions unchallenged.  A few weeks later, I’m signing up for a Spanish class at the community college that has allowed me to meet people from different countries and cultures who don’t always agree with me, even about core value things.  And, I’m learning to disagree gracefully.

There are more days that I keep my head down than I would like to admit, but I’m still learning to grasp for the challenging opportunities to grow.  I’m still trying to see the world from another’s perspective and make decisions in accordance with the direction and purpose I feel called to in this life.  I hope to go even closer to the life I feel called to lead in this next year, and hopefully I will continue to take you all along in my journey.