Saturday, October 12, 2019

Welcome Home Miss Nellie

It's amazing what can happen in 36 short hours. 

But let's back up---since getting Gus we have always talked about our next dog being a golden retriever or at least part Golden. Brodi will go down in history as one of the best dogs and his demeanor was so calm and loving. We had a hard time thinking about getting a Golden so shortly after Brodi and thus we went with another Pitbull, Gus to allow our hearts a little more time to be ready for more Golden love. So when Stoli started having a tough time we knew what was around the corner and of course, that brought up the question, do we get another dog. And if yes, when? 

We immediately knew we were a two do family, just as when we said our goodbyes to Brodi, so it wasn't matter of if we would get one but when.

We were open to lots of possibilities---well, all possibilities that involved a Golden. That's not to say that we weren't open to others but we kind of had our hearts set. Or at least, I did. So I put it out to the world and posted on Facebook that if anyone knew of someone needing to rehome a Golden or a Golden of sorts, to let us know. I started looking into Golden rescue sites all over in the Midwest from Texas to Minnesota to Chicago and Denver. & I found a few but in the end, we knew we needed a puppy. We needed a puppy so that Gus didn't feel threatened so they would have the best chance possible to get along. We were confident that when the timing was right, it would just fall in our lap. 

This puppy fell in our lap & just like with Gus, I think Stoli had everything to do with it.

AT 4:30 pm on October 10th my BIL sent me a screenshot of a puppy. One insanely cute puppy. This puppy (and the mention of 5 others) was just posted to a Swap and Shop site that my BIL happens to be on & due to an upcoming vacation they were looking to find them homes rather quickly. Thing is, puppies (or pets of any kind) aren't allowed on this site and it got taken down relatively quickly but my BIL was able to make contact with her. He asked if there was a girl since we wanted a girl and then I started texting Justin. We got a couple pictures. I texted the lady and asked her to hold her until that evening as I was headed home to discuss with my husband. She agreed & when I called her at 6:00 we said yes. Justin's exact words, "Fuck it, let's do it. We got this." 

They stated they would bring her to us or we could meet them halfway between where we lived and they lived on Saturday which would have only been about a 45 minute drive BUT I had a better idea. Since we were trying to keep it a secret from the boys -- thank goodness it was only 36 hours, I am terrible at secrets -- I thought maybe my mom and dad would meet them a day earlier and they could bring her up and surprise the boys since they were already coming to their football games. 

Mom and Dad were all about it. So was the puppy---

And of course I had it all planned out. We would get to Logan's game, they would be there and say something about forgetting something in the car and then pull her out---but that didn't go as planned. They weren't able to get there as early as were needed to be so plan b was to surprise the boys at the field---no dogs allowed but we were going to press our luck just this once. & you know all those amazing YouTube videos where the kids freak out crying about the new puppy---yup, that didn't happen. I think they were stunned silent. 

But they were beyond excited and happy. & we named her Nellie.
In part because of my love for Nelly the rapper & in part because of the little girl from Little House on the Prairie who was blond and had curls.

Other names in consideration - Stella, Harley, Charlie, Penny. In the end Justin let me choose.

After Logan's game we headed home to have lunch with Grandma Sara, Papa Tom, Grammy and Craigster before heading to Kaden's football game which gave us time to introduce Nellie to Gus. We weren't sure how it would go but looking back, it probably went better than we could have asked for. Sure they were curious. Sure Gus was excited. But he was gentle and all the conversations that we had with him prior (out of the boys' earshot) had paid off.

It didn't take long at all before Nellie made herself at home. She reminds me so much of Brodi, loves the cold tile/hardwood floors and wants to be everywhere you are.

As for her and Gus. Well, they are best of friends. The first couple of nights it took a little getting use to for them to fall asleep but they figured it out. For as big as Gus is compared to Nellie, they play so well together. Nellie isn't intimidated and often goes after Gus full force but Gus remains gentle. Gus stepped right into that big brother role as he taught her how to go up and down the stairs and when we call for them, he comes running for a treat which also brings her running. 

And as soon as we get home & let Nellie out she whimpers until Gus is with her. It's sweet to see just how much of a bond these two have created in the last week and I can only hope that it matches that of Stoli and Brodi's. We could only be so lucky.

Welcome home, Nellie. You've completed our little family.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Monster Bash 2019

It was tournament time for the Aces again. The last of the fall tournaments and we once again were keeping our fingers crossed the weather would hold out. 

We drew the early games on Saturday morning, 8 am and 10 am. We rolled through the first game with a win and then even before it ended we knew we were getting pushed back on our second game. Which wasn't the most convenient because we would have to miss a football game and some of our boys would have to miss a baseball game for other commitments. We would play with nine though...that is if we were going to get to play. 

We finally got the go ahead for a 2:00 start but that turned into more like a 2:45 start. Thankfully the boys came to play and we walked away with another win and our fingers were crossed for a decent start time on Sunday. As of 10:30 that evening we still didn't know when we were playing as games were still finishing up so we just planned for the early start of 8 am, which meant leaving the house at about 7:10 and then finally the text came through--10 am start time.

It was a nail biter but with a score of 10-6 they pulled out the win. Onto the semi-finals & now we would get to sit and rest, next game wasn't until 4. And again, by the skin of their teeth, they won, 18-17. But let me just say, they had two, two out rallies that were critical and that were led by the bottom of the batting order. Kaden earned his first double of the season in the first inning and then came through huge in the final inning when he walked up as the tying run with two outs. He ripped a double and then proceeded to third on the throw to home. We were down by one with two outs and Jackson up. While Jackson battled, Kaden stole home on a wild pitch evening up the score. We needed one. We needed Matthew to let Jackson get around the bases and that's exactly what he did. Jackson stole second and then third when Matthew walked. And then Cade walked. Bases were loaded, there just wasn't a good time for Jackson to steal home until Cole stepped up, two pitches later, Jackson crossed the plate the boys were headed to the championship game!

Championship game didn't go as planned. We had played the team before and although we did better than the last time, our bats weren't as solid as they needed to be and they were punching it in the holes. In the end, they got 2nd but not too shabby when you had 17 teams in your division. 

So proud of these boys and how they have come together over the course of this year. They really started to find their stride & it showed with their spirit and their grit because they never gave up and in fact, fought back in two separate games! As long as baseball season is and it's good to have a break, I am sure going to miss watching them play.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Park Play

A day off from school meant a trip to a park. We decided to head east though since Olathe was the only school in the metro out, figured we would take advantage of the quiet parks in Leawood and OP. Bonus, Cousin Colton, met us there.

They played and played. & when they asked what else they could do, we sent them off to run up a huge hill and play leap frog -- I mean whatever works, right!

And then we got ice cream. Three chocolate dirt worms coming right up.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Canyon Creek Flavor Raiser

With a new school comes a whole lot of new! New building. New schedules. New teachers. New staff. New PTO. New playground. NEW. NEW. NEW. It's all new. 

& so is the money---since there really isn't any. Our school was fortunate enough that our old school provided us a good little jumping off point since almost 100% of our students moved from there and we had paid into their PTO for a number of years. But even with that, we had a lot to raise for our kids to be able to experience everything that school has to offer. So we got to work. 


The students broke into their CREWs and they got to work. The goal was to raise $21,500.00 -- it was a lofty goal but the boys and their friends were determined. The kicked off the campaign with Kona Ice and then for two weeks they worked, well the families worked, on raising funds. Funds that would help send our kiddos on field trips. Help bring special guests and speakers into the building. Help provide and show our teachers and staff with appreciation throughout the year.

When it was all said and done, they not only hit their goal---they smashed it and came in at $23,147. Okay, maybe they didn't smash it, but they hit it! & to celebrate the end of a successful campaign, the school held a Color Run. The kids collected bracelets for each lap they made and as they passed by stations they were doused with color powder (that tasted pretty yummy as I was told) and squirted with water to activate the color. 

After the run, they got to enjoy another Kona Ice and the sunshine.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

A Rainy Weekend

When rain is predicted for the majority of the weekend but the sun peeks out for a few minutes, you take advantage of it. I'm not even sure what the occasion was, but Janet and Craig came over and before we knew it, we had a game of four square going in the driveway. We had to play for well over an hour and that hour was filled with so much laughter. The boys particularly found it funny when Justin got hit in the "balls", their words not mine! 

It's Saturday evenings like this that make everything right in the world & I wouldn't trade them for anything because sadly they are far to rare for us. So, when they happen, you better believe I am soaking it up as best as I can.

It also made for one very rainy home opener for the Chiefs but again, Kaden and buddies made the most of it. Go play, have fun & don't come back until you're wet head to toe--mission accomplished.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Stoli Girl

Our Stoli Girl. She was a damn good dog and she loved us fiercely for 14 years and a 11 months. Her only job in life was to love whomever gave her a furever home and I am thankful every day that we got to be that family. She took her job serious and never once gave anything less than EVERYTHING she had to us.

From the very beginning Justin and I knew we were in trouble and it's safe to say, she was our first REAL impulse buy as a couple. We had gone back to PittState for a football game with friends but while we were tailgating a little puppy was placed into my arms. We knew her mom, Asia, she was our friend, Wade's dog, and was just the sweetest. & as sweet at she was, I had always told myself I wouldn't get an aggressive breed dog as I grew up with rottweilers and I knew the stigma and judgement that came with it. And then she was placed in my arms. I never stood a chance and neither did Justin. Instead of going into the stadium, we went to the ATM and drove straight to PetSmart. 

She was our first baby.

She didn't realized just how much she was going to be needed those first few months, we didn't either. After Justin's dad passed a few short weeks after we brought Stoli home, she became a much needed source of love and comfort for Justin. 

She was also the reason Justin bought the house he did, Merriam allowed Pitbulls. & so after, I moved in too. And as she started to approach her first birthday Justin sent me a picture of a golden retriever needing a home. Enter Brodi, another impulsive decision on our part. We were two for two.

Brodi and Stoli were as opposite as two dogs could be---Stoli LOVED the heat and would find the sunniest places to lay. Brodi LOVED the cold and would bounce around for hours in the snow. Brodi would shed like no other, Stoli not so much. However opposite they were, they were best of friends and both lived to love on us each and every day. 

They saw us get married. They were there when we brought both boys home from the hospital. In fact, Stoli was my first indication I was pregnant with Logan. She's always been the nurturing and protective type but when I was pregnant, she wouldn't leave my side. 

As the boys grew--so did her heart. She had enough love to go around and would let our boys crawl all over her and love on her like no other. I think that's when she was happiest. 

When they would seek her out and put her in hats. 

Or Chiefs shirts. 

Or sunglasses.
She didn't mind one bit because the more they loved on her, the more she loved on them. 

Besides us---she loved going to the lake. She loved sitting out in the hot sunshine. She loved playing "dead" and doing lots of tricks (in her prime). She loved celebrating her and Brodi's birthdays because that often meant ice cream.

The sad thing, she sometimes got a bad rap for just being what she is and I didn't do enough for her I failed her. Because for anyone who got to know her, or anyone who came to our house and took two seconds to say hello to her, knew she had a heart of gold and fell just as madly in love with her as we did. Sure she's a pitbull and she's got a big bark but she was the sweetest, kindest dog. She never knew someone that she didn't like -- and she had a problem holding her licker but that's only because she wanted to smoother you with lots of love.

I wasn't sure how long we would have with our dear Stoli & she gave us a scare at around 11.5 when she ATE two finger puppets. She NEVER ate anything but her food so this caught us all off guard but sure enough, two. She ended up having two MAJOR surgeries and was in puppy ICU for about 2 weeks. But we LOVED on her and she fought hard, she just wasn't ready to leave us and I'm beyond grateful that she didn't. We still had so much love to give to her.

& then her best friend, Brodi, left us. He was in pain and she knew it. You could see her sadness almost immediately and I honestly believe she never completely got over losing him. Even after we rocked her world and adopted an energy filled 5 month old pup. But we only successfully adopted the pup because of HER, because she welcomed him into our home with open arms. 

Outside of Brodi and Schultz, Stoli wasn't really around other dogs. Her hair would raise when she would see one in the distance but I think that was more her in protective mode either way, we didn't know how she would react to a new pup in the house & if it wasn't a fit for her, it wasn't a fit for us. We submitted paperwork to adopt Gus from the Missouri Pitbull Rescue & we were a shoe-in. We got the call back & we set up a meet and greet for the next day but that quickly turned into a home visit too. His foster momma had done her research and she was ready to give Gus the best chance at a FURever home--we were too. Stoli was the wild card. But I should have known, she sensed it in us. She knew this was important to us. She sat at the backdoor as we met Gus and then she met Gus. By the end of the night...well, you get the picture.

It took no time at all for the two of them to become best of buds. Gus annoyed the heck out of her but she loved him still.

From day one she was a cuddlier. As much as she loved being under the covers, she loved being close to her humans even more. She could have laid there all day long if it meant having 30-50 pounds of South boys on her. Most of the time it was Logan but every once in awhile Kaden would crawl up to her and snuggle too. 

In her final days we made sure she knew just how much she was loved. The boys didn't know when, Justin and I had decided to keep that to ourselves but they knew she wasn't feeling well and that she didn't have many more days. Each and every time before leaving the house we would all give her our best hug, kiss her sweet nose and love on her just in case it would be the last. We didn't want the boys to miss out on saying goodbye to her. She's been a constant in their life for 8 and 10 years & saying goodbye was important for all of us. Especially, Stoli. 

Fourteen, well, almost 15 years ago, I never thought that little brown dog that was placed into my arms that fall day would change my life like she did. She taught us so much about unconditional love and how we should never judge a book by its cover.

Thank you, Stoli. For every thing you given to us over the last 15 years. You loved us with every ounce of your soul. You will be forever ours. Say hello to Brodi for us & run like you've never run before--you're free.