Role Reversal

I remember growing up and always wanting two things: 1.) A baby brother, or 2.) a dog. My parents never gave me either and I think I've always had a desire for both of them throughout the rest of my growing up years. When my Dad and Karen had a little girl, I'm not gonna lie, I think I was more excited than anyone, (excepting of course Karen...and no I'm leaving out my Dad on purpose. I was that excited.) No, Rachel wasn't a little brother, but she was a little half-sister and I was ridiculously excited. So, that basically put to rest my desire for a baby sibling. Onto #2, I still had an unfulfilled want there. Every time I see puppies in a box for free or adoption day at a local petstore or see someone with a puppy I am just in love. So of course I have been hinting at the idea of getting a dog ever since Topher and I got out here to S.C. and had our own house with no "No Pet" regulations.
That all aside, won't you be surprised then when I tell you that yes, we got a dog, on Saturday, HOWEVER, it is definitely not my dog, nor was she my choice. No, no, no. TOPHER, who does not like dogs, did not really want a dog and certainly wouldn't ever hold a single cute puppy I thrust in his face...yes, TOPHER, chose our dog, and she is most definitely his dog.
Quite randomly too I might add. As of about a week ago, I had finally found the perfect litter of puppies. It was the breed I had been looking for, (Brittany Spaniel) and since it was mixed with a labrador retriever (also family friendly), and about $775 cheaper than purebred Britanny's, I had chosen my puppy. I was going to call this week and see about putting down a deposit, and I was going to drive out there in 6 weeks when the puppy was ready to leave its mommy and take it home with me. :)
But Topher, was still really hesitant. They were expensive, a big commitment and he just wasn't sure.
So, on Saturday afternoon we were running errands and there was a PetCo. I suggested we go in just to price out supplies and things we would need so he could put his mind at ease about the price of a dog.
We went in and it was Adoption day. I fell in love with the puppies, (not because I wanted to buy one, just because they're puppies, and I have to hold puppies when I see them) and Topher, fell in love with a sweet Gordon Setter/Retriever Mix. She was full grown (45 lbs., so small), 2 yrs. old, sweet and affectionate as can be, and Topher had to have her.
I mentioned about 3 times, that we could leave, that we could go price things out, but Topher was stuck on this dog. He took her out to walk her around twice and at one point just said he really had a connection with this dog, and later told me he couldn't imagine anyone else taking her home.
Well. I'd say that settles it. If Topher is ever that certain of something, I don't question it. I trust his gut more than anything.
So, about 3 hours later, we were out the door with a new dog and $165 worth of supplies for her.
Yeah, I think we were both a little in shock.
In fact, I'm still in shock. I have discovered that I am NOT dog person like I had anticipated I would be, and instead TOPHER is the dog person. He and Grace love her, and I'm....well...I'll get there. :) Like Topher told me last night, we can give her a good home, and I would rather she is here than on Death Row at a shelter. Did you know that dogs at a shelter can be there between 1-7 days and then they get put down?? So so sad. :(
She was on death row and this Kennel/foster care program rescued her from death row hoping she could get adopted. I'm glad she did.
We have named her Willow, because it's my favorite movie ever and let's face it "Sorsha" is a bit dramatic and Madmortigan didn't fit a girl dog. :)
Willow is already housetrained, she is obedient, loyal, sweet, gentle, quiet and just the best first dog a person could want.
Topher told me he thinks it's a blessing we got her, because if we hadn't, we would have gotten the puppy I had found, and it would have been SO MUCH WORK. Work that I wouldn't have been able to handle, and that Topher would have resented. Instead, Willow is easy, sweet, Topher enjoys taking care of her, and I'm realizing how wrong I was about a puppy. :)
Oh, and Grace loves her. I think it will be good practice for when we finally have a baby, not to mention a distraction for her. :)
So, without further ado, here is Willow.


3 years with a Miracle

Anyone that knows Grace, knows that she is energetic. They can see that she is happy, care-free, sometimes crazy, and frequently sassy. They'll find that she is almost always tough, rarely gentle, fairly loud, aggressively affectionate, quite witty, and that she is almost always trying to love something or someone. All of these traits are things you would imagine in a healthy, vibrant, full of life little girl. They make you think of resilience, and spunk and of a little kid whose spirit is unbreakable. Isn't ironic then, that all of these qualities are seen in a little girl, who by all outward appearances is strong, and tough, and yet at the heart, she is quite a contradiction to all of those qualities.
I was putting little Grace to bed the other night and laying next to her. We had just sad prayers and she had thanked Heavenly Father for her heart. I sang her a lullaby, like I usually do, and it was the Primary tune that says "He gave me my life, my mind, my heart"...After I sang this to her, she fell asleep and I just laid next to her and watched her breathe. Once upon a time, saying something that cliche would be ridiculous to me, but, being around little kids now for a while, I find it a perfectly normal thing for a parent to do. In fact, it is so so comforting and relaxing to watch my little one sleep and watch the rise and fall of her chest. I rarely am at as much peace anywhere else, as I am laying next to Grace just watching her sleep.
Well, I was lying there and I put my hand over heart, just to feel the steady, rapid little "thump thump" and I immediately started to cry! I don't know that I had ever really comprehended how fragile my spunky little girl is. But it truly hit me that she is a small, fragile little thing on the inside. That her heart is easily weakened, and that it is her spirit that is so resilient. What a miraculous contradiction. She is so strong and vibrant, and yet there is every reason in the world for her not to be so.
I'm so grateful for her, and the blessing she is in my life. I'm so grateful that she was given the gift of a new heart from some kind, and generous family. I'm so grateful that her spirit is such that she could take such a small, tiny little organ and give it new life. I'm so grateful that she is so strong, and that even though she could be weak, and sickly, she isn't! She has beaten all the odds and has always overrun any and all expectations with her health.
But, being reminded of the fragile nature of her heart and health is good for me, it is a good reminder to me to cherish her. I think I forget how special she is sometimes. Which, may sound bad to people that would never dream of being angry with her, ;)...but as her mommy, I do frequently forget what a miracle she is. It's hard to remember when she is yelling, or screaming at me, or kicking or throwing things, or throwing a tantrum on the floor, giving me the silent treatment, or when she has once again gotten into my craft room :). But, all of those things aside, the rotten truth of the matter is that at some point in her life, she will need another heart. I don't know when. But, I know it is lurking in our future somewhere. I try not to think about it, because I can't bear the thought of having to go through it again and having her aware of it all. I think it will be much harder when she is older and she will be scared. I would rather have her be unaware and to just have me hold her through it all. When she is older, it won't just be her family's trial anymore, it will be her's, and I can hardly bare that thought.
But, when I look at her and see her fiery spirit, I know that that is why she has so much spirit. She could never handle the future that's ahead of her if she were fragile and weak.
So, I will try to appreciate her spunk more. I will try to cherish my time with her more and to cut her more slack. After all, she is a miracle, just like every baby out there, and she's not perfect. Nor is her mommy. So, we will just keep chugging along day after day, and hope that Grace can keep beating the odds.
Gracey I love you. I'm so grateful for you, and your strong, fighting spirit. I love you just the way you are. I love you even when you yell at me, and throw things at me, when you slam doors in my face and when you sneak into the cookies. I love you I love you I love you. Please stay strong. :)
I wanted to post this so we have a record of what we did on her 3 yr. Heart Birthday, but, after my emotional ramblings up above, this will all seem rather mundane...oh well.
For Grace's Heart Birthday we took her to the bookstore to pick out a new book, and let her choose the restaurant for dinner. We gave her numerous options, like Outback, Olive Garden, Applebees, and Wild Wings, and despite every option we gave at her, she was adamant she wanted Chick Fil A. (I even threw Hooters in the mix to see if that would catch her interest! But nope. Chick fil A it was) So we got her Chick Fil A, took her to the park to run around and play and had a really fun time.
That night after Grace went to sleep, Topher and I decorated the house with hearts and red and white balloons and streamers. When Grace woke up she was so excited! It was really cute. I made her pink heart pancakes for breakfast with pink whip cream even.
At church she whispered to her nursery leader that it was her "heart's birthday" and then for dinner she really wanted to have our neighbors over. So we had a yummy dinner with our sweet neighbors and sang Happy Heart Birthday to her over a heart shaped Red Velvet cake. We had a really nice night and I was reminded how special Grace is and how blessed we are. I had to laugh out loud several times, because it just amazes me how much energy she has. I think I counted over 11 laps around the main floor and she was giggling the whole time. She ran into things and kept on going and kept on laughing, and it's that resilience that just astounds me. How many of us would run around in circles for 15 minutes, giggling all the way, run into a refrigerator, laugh hysterically and keep going? Well, Grace does. :) She just keeps going every day and I think she picks up speed as she goes! :)
We love you Grace and we are so grateful for you. Thank you Heavenly Father for answering all our prayers, some when we wanted, others when we needed them and didn't even know it. Thank you for knowing what we needed and when, and for knowing we needed Grace in our lives. I know now that she would be a force for good wherever she is, but I'm grateful we got to keep her here and have her mold us into better people for the next little while. Thank you for giving her a new heart and a new life. Happy Birthday Gracey's Heart.


As of late...

So we are doing pretty well here in Goose Creek. As of about 2 weeks ago Topher passed off all of the tests and requirements to start teaching. So his first full week of teaching was just this last week. He seemed to really enjoy it and I think he perhaps enjoyed the "discipline" side of things a lot more than anyone would have thought he would. ;) He I guess gave his class a quiz EVERY DAY! And when a student didn't turn in his homework for the 2nd time in a week Topher made him stay after school, ON A FRIDAY and do quizzes for an hour and a half!!! Haha!! Serious. Who woulda thought Topher would enjoy disciplining so much?! Must be because these guys have to listen to him and Gracey...well, we all know Gracey doesn't listen to much of anyone. So, I guess Toph gets it where he can! Just kidding. Maybe. :)
Anyway, he's teaching and he seems to enjoy it.
We also sold our Honda Accord, don't ASK me why!! Toph's idea. So, we only have one vehicle, which I get to drive, and Topher rides his bike to work! FYI it's 10 miles. FYI there's no shoulder. FYI for the first 5 or so miles, it's not a paved road. It's a dirt, pot holed, non-lit, swampy road. Oi. Topher is crazy. Especially because he actually seems excited to head out on his bike every morning. Silly boy. Oh, and if he wasn't skinny enough to begin with, biking and PT with his division seems to be making him lose more weight! What in the?!! Not fair.
Grace is...Grace. She is ridiculously energetic, very strong willed and stubborn, she loves to push ALL her limits and her mommy's, and she is hilarious. She is of course still talking off anyone's ear that will listen to her. I'm convinced that she really does talk about nothing sometimes, just to hear herself talk. She has a wild imagination. We cleaned her play room spic and span, no boxes in there anymore! And her playroom looks awesome now. She played in there and Topher and I just sat and chuckled at the stories she was making up and how she talks to her babydolls in such a condescending "I'm your mommy and youre gonna LISTEN to me!" sort of way. She sighs and groans and gets frustrated with her dolls for not going potty before they left and threatens "sassy sauce" to them if they talk back to her. Its a hoot. Until of course I realize that her sassy ridiculous attitude is indicative of how she perceives ME! haha. Oh well.
I'm enjoying being out here as well. My close friend Martha from Bountiful came out to visit a couple weeks ago and we LOVED having her. Such a ridiculously awesome houseguest! She was so patient with us and our hectic little family. She was so so wonderful! I was not ready for her to leave and Grace cried for 2 days afterwards because she missed her so much.
We try to get out and explore and are seeing lots of new things frequently. It has been a bit hot lately. About 100 to occasionally 105 with humidity between 80-90%. Yeah, it's a bit warm. But we've been really grateful for the pool, the beach and air conditioned buildings. :)
The frogs are everywhere!! We had 10 of them on a 4ft. wide space of our house the other night. They're everywhere! But they're also really cute. If they were big ugly toads I would not be so thrilled. But when they're tiny bright green tree frogs, I don't mind at all.
When we first moved Grace didn't really realize that we were away from all of our family. She would mention them occasionally, but not much. (Sorry family! no offense! she does love you!) But I was surprised that she didn't seem to miss them. However, it turned out to be not that she doesn't miss them, but that she really just didn't comprehend everything. As of last week, she has cried to me several times, especially at night, that we don't live in Bountiful anymore. She says that she misses her cousins, and aunts and uncles, and Gamma and Gampas, and that we can't see them because we moved to "Sow Cawoyina". It makes her really sad and she is constantly asking me when we are going to back to Bountiful or when people are going to come stay with us. So, to all of you family out there I say, COME VISIT US! If not for me, than for a spunky, energetic, affectionate little Gracey that misses you all terribly. :)
Well, we love you all, and miss you TONS. You can always call us, or Skype with us, we LOVE it, (Grace especially does).