We have known for several months that Calvin was not looking good. He had a stroke a year and a half ago and we really thought that was going to be the end of him. He rallied though and came back from his stroke, not the same as before but still a friendly happy dog that was a wonderful member of our family. Well last night Calvin started shuddering as he was breathing in with every single breath. And just by watching him we knew it was time. We called the vet hospital for advice and went to the ever trusty Dr. Google for information and it all said the same thing. Calvin was in pain and was hurting. Eric ended up carrying him to the car because he could no longer stand up, he would just slump over when placed on his feet.
We arrived at the vet hospital and the receptionist took one look at him and confirmed what we already knew, he was looking very bad and we needed to make some decisions for him. I am thankful for the decision being easy. It was very hard to watch him be in that type of pain and be that out of it. He could hardly pick his head up and seemed to be in some type of spaced out zone. I have no doubt that he would have died within the next day or so but we did the right thing by him and had him put to sleep.
What can I say about Calvin? He truly was a phenomenal dog. The best family dog I have ever seen. He was so unfailingly patient with the kids and the babies. I remember that when we brought Andrew home from the hospital that he was totally uninterested in him until around 6 months later he discovered that this small little package would feed him from the high chair. He would start sniffing around our future babies as soon as we brought them home from the hospital, looking for scraps. In his later years the babies crying would bother his ears and he would howl with them when they were sobbing. His sweet little heart couldn't understand why I wasn't doing SOMETHING to make that baby happy and quiet.
Calvin had a cast iron stomach. I can not even begin to describe the amount of food he ate off counters. Dozens of cupcakes, loaves of banana bread, pound boxes of See's chocolates, all was fair game for him and he rarely was ill from it. He would slink at the slightest disapproval in our voices and look mournfully at us for his transgressions.
Calvin would let the kids tug on him. Pet him. Roughhouse with him. He would not let them climb on him. But ears, tail, gums, stealing his bone, stealing his toys, all was ok with him. He did not snap at them. At most he would groan and get up and move. He was unfailingly tolerate with them and he adored them always.
Calvin was the best dog I could ever ask for. There will be no replacing him. He was truly one in a million.
The girls have been asking to get their ears pierced for several months now and it seemed like a perfect Christmas present for the both of them!
To say they were very excited would be a huge understatement. They were so thrilled to pick out their earrings. Lucy picked out sparkly 'diamond' flowers and Gwen chose little red ladybugs.
Lucy chose to go first and was extremely brave the whole time. She gasped a little when they pierced her first ear but she took it like a champ. There were zero tears from her. Just a whole lot of excitement!
Miss Gwen hopped up into the chair and prepared herself to do as good of a job as Lucy. And she did!
Gwen was closer to tears than Lucy but she is a tough cookie and didn't even make a whimper. She is very thrilled with how nice her ears look now too! They are getting so big and grown up now. I can hardly stand it.
It has been an odd Christmas season for me this year. We put our tree up and got it decorated. And that is just about everything that I have done for Christmas. The kids were super excited for the tree though and it looks like the season in my front room. Which is all I need. It is going to be a nice, mellow holiday, I can just tell.
Mr. Oliver has decided that he can play and wrestle with the big kids almost all the time these days. He grabs his blanket and curls up on the floor with anyone who is willing to let him be big. It is very cute and way too grown up for me!
Miss Gwen has been making huge strides in reading since this summer! I was quite concerned this summer when we worked and worked on letter recognition with Gwen and it just didn't seem to be sticking. She had a very hard time remembering letter names and often got them twisted around entirely. I thought she might have some version of dyslexia because it really did seem that she was struggling. I should have known that this determined little girl would not let anything stand in her way though. A month ago Gwen asked to try and read a book to me. I have a set of very early readers and the first book is called Mac and Tab. It is where I start with all my kiddos and a month ago she could 'tap out' the sounds in the words but not blend them together to actually get the word. Last night she asked to try and read it to me again though and, much to my happy surprise, she blazed right through it! I am so impressed with her determination and drive. She is going to be another reader I am quite sure. I am so ready to have a reader that loves the girly books like I do.
A soggy wet Halloween was our fate this year. The kids had a marvelous time though. Other than Ollie. He was not into trick or treating at all. Poor little buddy. He rode in the stroller the whole time. Of course once he was home and discovered the candy in everyone's buckets he started shrieking for his share. Now to try and get ready for the sugar crash insanity in the next few weeks!
We had a whirlwind day of school conferences. 8 in all! We were very pleased with how all the kids are doing though and so excited to be able to connect with all the kids teachers. Andrew had the most conferences by far. Now that he is in middle school we had 5 teachers to meet with instead of just one. Andrew is doing amazing in middle school. It is a fabulous fit for him. He is organized and thriving with all the change and hubbub with moving from class to class, keeping his binder organized and tackling all the work and projects coming from all kinds of directions. The best part of the conference about Andrew was when the teachers told us that he is a kind, helpful, attentive student in class. Those are positive character traits and they are more important to us than any number of A grades in classes.
Zane's conference went equally well. He is doing phenomenal and his teacher wants to retest him for the highly capable program in the spring. She said that he is doing beyond extremely well in math and is definitely ready and capable to do the work that the hi-cap kids are doing. She also said that he is an on task leader in the classroom and is hoping to use him to help a couple of kids that are struggling a bit more socially in class.
Lucy is doing really well in school in just about every area. She is testing a smidgen low in reading so they are going to do some pull out extra reading help with her to hopefully propel her up to where she needs to be by the next assessment. That information was no real surprise to either of us. Lucy has never truly enjoyed reading or even being read to. She is very active and reading is an extremely static activity. On the positive side though, she is doing amazing at writing and at math. Lucy's teacher said that writing is a much more difficult process than reading so it is interesting that Lucy loves to write and illustrate books while she does not enjoy reading them at all. I think it is because writing is somewhat active and she can get her wiggles out while she is doing it. Lucy is doing amazing in class and is quite a good listener when she needs to be.
Gwen is doing so extremely well in kindergarten! I was very nervous at the beginning of the year. We worked daily on letter recognition and it was a very slow process to get her to recall the letter names. So I was very curious to hear if she was on track or not. Her teacher told us that Gwen is right where she should be. She knows almost all of her letter names and sounds and is well on her way toward being able to read. She can tap out the sounds in words and is very close to being able to blend the sounds together. I have full confidence that she will be reading by the end of the school year. My guess is she will have the blending piece down by January. Gwen is a great listener in class and her behavior is exactly on task. She does tend to be a perfectionist in her work and will add more details than necessary to her drawings when she should be adding words but that is a problem we can deal with. Gwen and Andrew are very similar in that way.
All in all a fabulous conference experience. I am excited to hear how they go in the spring!
So I had an epic fail with my well child check calendar this year. With Eric changing jobs and then changing insurance plans I let the well child checks that should have been done in August slide completely. Oops. It happens.
I finally took the crew in though and they are all doing well. Everyone is growing as expected and there were no real concerns at all.
Height: 58" (98%)
Weight: 87# (93%)
Height: 32.25" (50% short stuff)
Weight: 27 lbs.3 oz (87%)
Height: 45.75" (91% super tall lady!)
Weight; 45 lbs 9 oz (77%)
This has been a crazy month and clearly this blog is suffering from all the insanity! We are deep into soccer season and the kids have been very busy with practices, school, Awana and general life. I have hardly had time to pull out my camera at all! I will get back to it. I promise!