Happy Birthday, Lily!

Friday, February 8, 2013 with no comments

A bittersweet day today… 9 years ago today Lily was born at a breeder’s home in Massachusetts (family friend of a friend). We picked her up 9 weeks later, but I always celebrate her birthday on this day. So to the baby girl who the vet didn’t think would last until Christmas, Happy Birthday, you made it, old girl! :)

It’s bittersweet because though she is still here with us, and still coping with her tumor and the medication side effects, I know it’s most likely to be her last birthday. So last night I stayed up really late and fired up iMovie. I put together a slideshow of all my favorite photos of she and I, and later of her, Joe, and even Ben.

I hope you can see the love shine through that we have for her, and how happy she has made all of us:

Lily Tribute on Vimeo

We love you, Lily, and are so happy you are still here with us, short as your time may be.

(Benjamin is 4 years 1 month 3 weeks and 3 days old and baby girl is 31 weeks growing)

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New (to me) Camera!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 with 2 comments

You know how they say that if you put an idea or a request out into the ethers, and if you visualize it (sort of a la “Law of Attraction”), it will come true? A few weeks back, I decided that for giggles, I’d put an ad out on Craigslist that said I was in search of a used camera. That if any photographers out there had recently upgraded their own camera, but had an older body sitting around, I had $100 to give them for said camera. I actually got some emails saying what a ridiculous request it was, that why don’t I “go buy a point and shoot” for that kind of money. Because no one believed that anyone had that big of a heart to generously donate an expensive DSLR “just because”.

Of course, these people have never heard of the wonderful women (and men!) at the ClickinMoms photography forum. I see that sort of generosity on a daily basis, from the abundance of business and technical knowledge and critiques that the professional ladies dole out, to the friendships and positive thoughts others provide. It was here, that I stumbled upon a “Pay it Forward” post. These posts are entirely about just paying generosity forward… and her gift was her used Canon 40D DSLR camera. The exact one I was asking for in my Craigslist post. You simply had to respond that you were interested, and she would do a random drawing to determine the winner.

Long story short, I won the random drawing, and am now awaiting my own Canon 40D camera!

Even though it was introduced way back in 2007, it’s still an upgrade from my current Canon Rebel XT. I love my Rebel, and even though it’s a “beginner’s” camera, it still took wonderful photos, and I feel like I know it inside and out. But I’ve long outgrown it, and have been attempting to save for a “newer” body. But with Lily’s health and a new baby, my camera priorities took a back burner. With this upgrade, the 40D will definitely bump me out of the “amateur” realm, and I’m so ready to take on that challenge of learning this new camera! I still don’t have any plans on going “pro”, but love taking my hobby up a notch!

Alicia of Alicia Gould Photography was the generous contributor, and she requested that my only requirement was to also pay it forward. So now I’m trying to find a way to pay this amazing generosity forward in my own way, in my own local community. So if you hear of any opportunities, let me know! And thank you again, Alicia, from the bottom of my heart… I’m so grateful for this camera!

(Benjamin is 3 years 11 months 1 week and 5 days old, and baby girl is 20 weeks 4 days growing!)

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Still Standing

Friday, November 9, 2012 with 1 comment

I would have thought that when Lily’s brain tumor was diagnosed, I would have realized that her time here was limited, come to terms with her inevitable death, and cried all I could cry. But denial is a powerful thing. Yes, I saw the tumor on the screen. Yes, I knew she had fallen over a few times, and wasn’t her true, normal self. The past few weeks though have been filled with so much love and fun times with Lily, taking her to parks, watching her wade around up north in the streams, and having her chase a ball or two in the back yard. We were so happy with her progress, that on Friday, the vet decided to try and dial down her dosage of the steroid she is on (prednisone). So instead of the 1 1/2 tablets she was getting, he wanted to try and just give her one per day.

At first, it was like Lily was almost 100% back. She was trotting, playing, and even barking at us again when we got to rowdy playing in the living room :) It was different than her normal bark, but still, it showed her spirit was still there. She even flipped over for a belly rub ;) We were riding high seeing her so happy, and it gave me huge optimism that she might last longer than everyone originally thought.

We woke up Wednesday morning to our dreams crashing down. Lily had declined so rapidly overnight, that she couldn’t even stand. When she tried, she fell, her head tilted, and her eyes looked like she had spun in circles too many times and couldn’t focus. It was awful. I immediately started crying. Ben saw my tears, and came over and in his sweet little voice told me not to be sad, and kissed my cheek. I love that kid. I pulled myself together, and waited for the vet to return my phone call. Joe announced he would stay home with her for as long as he could, until we had instructions on what else to do. We hand fed her some food (her lab appetite never quits), and I left to drop off Ben at school.


Waiting at work, the vet finally returned my phone call and told me to give her an extra dose of prednisone, but warned me that unfortunately, she’s progressing as we all knew she inevitably would, and the double dose of meds might not be enough to bring her back. I broke down at work, and finally had to excuse myself to come home. We made an appointment to bring her in the next morning, and in my head, I thought it was an appointment to say goodbye.

By the time I picked up Ben from school, and Joe had returned to work, Lily was miraculously standing, without falling over. Her eyes were back to normal, and she seemed wobbly, but mostly stable. I couldn’t believe it. In the same amount of time that she had declined, she had just as quickly recovered. She was tired, but could at last rest.

Long, exhaustingly emotional day today. Love you, Lily.

So at the checkup the next morning, the vet was happy to see that she had improved, but again warned us that another relapse was inevitable. It could be days or weeks, but she will eventually have another horrible episode, if not worse, than we saw on Wednesday. We discussed surgery, but with the recovery being so hard, and her extended quality of life being poor and limited, we opted not to pursue that option.

Later that day, I took Lily outside for a few more photos. The sun was shining, and Lily was smiling and enjoying the slight chill in the air. My heart is so heavy with sadness at the thought that our goodbye is coming so soon, but it’s also so, so thankful that I get a little more time with her, to show her how much we love her.

smiles today

smiling today

Our plan is to take it day by day, be thankful for every extra day we get to spend with her, and understand that her next episode means that it’s finally time to say goodbye. It will be one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, but it’s all we can do, to ease her suffering.

Love you, Lily.

Ben is 3 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days old

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Losing Lily

Thursday, September 6, 2012 with 2 comments

Most people have already heard from my post on Facebook. We took Lily for her MRI yesterday afternoon, and the news isn’t good. She has a tumor, a big one, in the left side of her brain. It’s been there for quite a while, and it explains all the issues with her right side (the weakness, the sight problems, the clumsiness). I should find out today what type of tumor it is (carcinoma or papilloma), and whether surgery could help her recover. However, even if surgery IS an option, I’m really not hopeful that we can afford it. I asked the doctor about medication, and she is going to take a dose of prednisone (steroid) and prilosec, to help with the fluid and the swelling. That should help a little bit, but even with the medication, the tumor is so big that the neurologist said she has at most a few weeks, maybe months left. So basically, she’ll probably be gone by Christmas, if not earlier.

I’m so devastated, I don’t even know how to describe my feelings fully. We had a really awful night last night, and today my eyes look like I have hay fever. I was in the waiting room with Ben, while we waited for them to retrieve Lily from the MRI… and he spotted a magazine with a yellow lab and two kids on the cover. He ran over and said “look Mama, it’s Lily! That’s my doggie! I want my doggie!” and it took all I had not to collapse and lose it in the clinic. I’m happy he will remember her, but it makes it so much harder knowing he will miss her, too.

I held it together until Joe got home, but this is so, so hard. She has been a part of my family for 8 years… travelled with me all over, and given our whole family such wonderful joy. We all love her so much… our house and my heart are going to feel so empty.

We have already decided to make her last few weeks as fun as possible… spoil her rotten, basically. I’m hoping she makes it to our trip to New York for Columbus Day weekend, as she loves, loves it up there, roaming free and swimming.

It’s just going to be so very, very hard to tell her goodbye.

I love you, Lily Bean.




If anyone has any tips or advice on dealing with grief over losing a pet… I’m all ears.

filed under Lily, Public



Tuesday, August 7, 2012 with 1 comment

My first baby. Lily.


posing pretty

favorite duck


lily bean

8 years old, and up until a few weeks ago, healthy.

Fast forward to two weeks ago, and all of a sudden, Lily is falling over after being startled awake, will only turn to the left, has only a fraction of her normal lab energy, and is bumping into things on her right side. Including slamming into the car door.

They have tested her for all sorts of things, and it looks like Lilybean is losing vision in her right eye. It would explain a lot… why she is clumsy when things are left on the floor out of her view, why she fell down the stairs, why she is SO startled when people sneak up on her right side. Now the big question… WHY is she losing her vision?

I have to say, I’m scared. I’ve been fighting back tears all weekend thinking about it. I had hoped that she would live a long healthy life, be there when Ben started school, be around until he was old enough to remember her. Be around long enough for our (eventual) 2nd kid to know her, and possibly have vague memories of her. She was my first dog, and my uber companion when I lived alone in Illinois. She was the reason I met some amazing people at the dog park in Virginia, and she has always been an amazing dog. I put my heart and soul into her well being, and it devastates me to think I could lose her soon. I know it’s inevitable, but this just caught me so off guard. She went from healthy, running around the yard like crazy, jumping into our pool crazy dog, to a dog who looks terrified and scared on a daily basis.

So think good thoughts. We have an appointment with an opthamalogist tomorrow morning. I hope to get more answers as to the cause of her vision loss, and hope it’s by some miracle, treatable. At the very least, I just want her to gain some quality of life back.

I’ll update when I know more, but meanwhile, going to give her lots of hugs tonight.

(Ben is 3 years 7 months 2 weeks and 3 days old)

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Monthly Challenge: Motherhood

Wednesday, June 6, 2012 with 2 comments

I’m a few days late for this month’s entry for the ClickinMoms challenge, but I did manage to find a few photos for how I view “motherhood”. At first I was going to be a bit jaded, and post about how sometimes motherhood is knowing how to give yourself some overdue quiet time at the dinner table:


Sometimes everyone needs a little Caillou :)

But then I went through some of our photos from our vacation trip in February, and thought this one was much more appropriate:

How I view... motherhood

Great-grandma taking time out to watch for big trucks roll by the window with Ben. He looks forward to doing this every trip, and Gigi makes sure they always have a good spot :) Motherhood doesn’t stop with your own children… it keeps growing with theirs.

Check out how Rebecca views motherhood over at Francis Family Fun :)

(Ben is 3 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day old)

Monthly Challenge: Friendship

Wednesday, May 2, 2012 with 1 comment

This month’s theme for the Clickin Moms challenge was displaying how I view “friendship”. I’m a sucker for kids and dogs, and since I married someone who also views dogs as part of the family, it was inevitable that our son be hooked as well :) I captured Ben with our neighbors dog, Goose, both taking a “time out” from the Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Sunday. Nothing beats “man’s best friend” to epitomize how I view friendship.


To view Rebecca’s (from Francis Family Fun) take on this month’s theme, follow her here

Contest – Need your vote!

Sunday, April 1, 2012 with no comments

And with that, I’ve entered my first photo contest. Even if I don’t win anything, I love these photos, and seeing my name linked with the title “photographer” actually made me smile. I entered the “landscape” category, and while the winner is determined by a panel of judges, they also have a “People’s Choice” category, where you can vote for your favorite. So if you have a minute, I’d love your vote! Click the link below to see my two photos I entered, and you get one vote per email address:


You can also take a minute to scan through all of the other entries at FotoDC’s Cherry Blossoms site :) Such gorgeous, gorgeous photos!!

(Ben is 3 years 3 months 2 weeks and 4 days old)

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