Three Kids and a Dog

Monday, April 24, 2017

I Thought We Had More Time...

before we had to start worrying about our almost 14 month old Bernese Mountain Dog having any sort of health issues that would impact her quality of life.

Not true. Just 18 months after we lost Adler, I found myself back in a similar situation with big decisions to make. After we returned from spring break, I noticed her dragging her back paws and almost stumbling. Since we had her groomed, I thought maybe one of her nails was cut too short. I watched her over the next couple of days and her wobbling seemed to get a bit better but on longer walks it definitely was more noticeable. After almost a week, I came home after Tom had taken her for a long walk to her front paws pretty bloody indicating that now she was dragging her front paws too. I called the vet and brought her in immediately. They noticed her gait was off and after taking an Xray that showed nothing they sent me to a neurologist for an MRI. After our initial consultation, they were pretty sure that what they were seeing was what's known as Wobbler's Disease found in large and giant breed dogs and sometimes in those under 3 years of age as their bodies grow so fast and sometimes due to this there are ligaments compressing the spinal cord. We did an MRI that showed 30-40% compression between the 5th and 6th vertebrae. The next step was either to take her right into surgery to relieve the compression or mask the pain for who knows how long with medication before she lost total use of her legs. Since she is so young we decided to do the surgery as we wanted her to have the best chance for a normal life.

So last Tuesday, Sadie went directly from her MRI into surgery. There her doctor injected a special cement around her spinal cord to relieve the compression. Surgery went very well and she spent three days at the hospital afterwards (in her own suite because she was too big - 106 lbs. -to be crated). She still has a long road ahead as recovery is 8 weeks with no playing, jumping or walking. Her gait will recover with time and we hope this is it for her and she never has to spend time at the animal hospital ever again!

Two paws shaven as she chewed the catheter guard and pulled out the line so for the second one they had to cast her forearm so it was harder for her to get to it.

The incision site. Just below her neck and at least six inches long, closed with staples.

She can't do much so she enjoys laying in our neighbor's grass as she's only allowed to walk a few houses down. And, today, she sat outside on our front porch for 45 minutes. Leashed but she was as happy as can be - even when another dog walked by!

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Longest Easter

Easter started at 6:30am for our family because 7:30am was the only mass we could attend if we wanted to be at Grandma's by 11am. Keep in mind, I don't even wake up at 6:30am during the week! So it was a bit of a rough start getting everyone out of the house by 7:25am to get everyone to church on time. Good thing it's not a popular mass and we didn't have to go early for seats. I guess that's the benefit of attending the earliest mass on Easter Sunday. The kids were all great and came home to our own Easter egg hunt and their first Easter baskets. Although the yard was a little wet from an early morning rain, they still managed to track down their Easter eggs although Hailey was not thrilled picking up muddy eggs - she refused more than once even though they were Dinosaur Easter eggs.

After our hunt, off we went to Grandma Lou's house for a big brunch and the infamous big Easter egg hunt. Austen and Mark were not going to win this year as Grandma hid their eggs pretty well and went easy on the rest of us. Hailey placed second with Auntie Nina while Peyton and Uncle Mark scored third. First went to Papa and John John! Even a bad hip/knee couldn't slow him down although he was cited for not following the rules! The kids enjoyed big Easter baskets from Grandma too with lots of candy and toys. Too soon it was time to leave as we rushed home to get Sadie and bring her to Grandma Szurgot's house for our final Easter stop. We ate more, played cards, a bean bag game and they had another Easter hunt and an Easter basket with more candy!

I think it may have been the longest Easter on the books for us! I think we were all tired when we finally got back to our house about 8:30pm.
I found my Easter basket!

I found mine in the laundry room!

Easter hunt with "good hair" compliments of her cousin Ryan

I love Mickey Mouse and Grandma got me a Mickey Easter basket

I'm pretty happy because I got a lot of toys and candy!

Look at my Easter basket - I got a Blackhawks one!

Saturday, April 08, 2017


That's all we hear about from Hailey these days. I want to talk about Phillip. Phillip lives in that house over there. Phillip is afraid of the spooky house. Phillip is my best friend.

Apparently, Phillip is a boy in her class and a few months older than Hailey. Now, there are other boys in her class that she likes and talks about but no one can hold a candle to Phillip! In fact, her teachers recently told me that just before snack time she's anticipating where Phillip will sit so she can sit down next to him - and that's before the teachers even ring the bell to signal snack time.

Hailey has even gone so far as to move some other children so she can sit next to Phillip! I like it - a girl who knows what she wants and goes after it!

Here's an interview with Hailey about her BFF Phillip and a picture from the school newsletter of Hailey and Phillip working on a gingerbread house together.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Turks and Caicos 2017 - Part 2

After we decided to leave the airport without our stroller (which we still do not have back), we made our way to the car rental place to meet our contact for the house we rented. Thankfully we did! With Tom having to concentrate on driving due to driving on the other side of the road AND the steering wheel being on the other side of the car as well, we didn't need to be the navigators too. Also, we might have wondered if we were lost as she took us off the main highway and we traveled for about 10 minutes on dirt roads with little signs of civilization. Having just rained, our rental car was covered in mud pretty quickly as it splashed through the puddles and the pot holes. I might have been a little concerned, until we opened up the door to this view. Amazing. I don't think I've ever seen a view this beautiful. The water was like glass most days which was great for kayaking, floating and just for the kids to explore sea life.

The view from our patio

Tom driving on the other side of the road and on the other side of the car!

Halfway through the week, we had some friends come over since they were staying on the other side of the island. The kids had fun finding starfish, hunting for crabs, building sandcastles, finding conch shells and just hanging out together. It was a nice break for them to have other kids to play with all week.

Friends from school

Lots of starfish found at low tide

We spent a lot of time at the pool, hanging out on the beach and going out to dinner as well as exploring the downtown area of Turks. But Peyton will tell you that her favorite part was the resident cat that came with the house, "Goldie." She's a stray who hangs out outside but basically is fed by us renters each week. The kids enjoyed having a cat to care for and even for Tom who never owned a cat before thought it was a nice cat with personality! It was hard to leave her!

Goldie! The resident cat.

Kayaking in the crystal clear waters.

Peyton said the pool was her favorite - she's a true midwest girl at heart!

We got dressed up to go to dinner almost every night - the kids went to some fancy restaurants and did great!

Dinner selfie!

Hailey liked building sandcastles with Daddy!

And tracing his body in the sand!

All tired out!

It was one of those vacations where you didn't want to leave - especially that kind of tranquility and peacefulness. You just want to bottle it up and remember how it felt to read, relax and soak it all in. And, that's exactly what I did:)