Loss

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Losing a pet is a huge loss. For us it means losing the furry friend who used to wake us up in the morning. It means losing our cuddle buddy and the one who got us off the couch to walk around the block or two. For me it means so much more because Snickers was my girl. She was my buddy.Ā  The past 8-10 weeks we bonded more than ever. She was diagnosed with a huge mass on her spleen back in November. She did not have a good prognosis. So when she started needing to go out multiple times during the night, I was her companion. At first and for most of the time, I actually walked her outside and sometimes even around the block at all hours of the early morning, 1am, 3am, 4am, I walked her. In her last 2 weeks I let her out back and that was sufficient. She still needed to get up often and the last week nearly hourly. I didn’t mind at all. I had gotten used to no sleep, extra coffee to keep alert during the day and thank goodness for the Hallmark channel as I could watch 3-5 movies a night!

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Snickers loved her friends. She went to doggie daycare at Doggie Playhouse in Palatine 2 days a week. We quickly made those days Tuesdays and Fridays so she could be with Sheila (pictured above at daycare). Sheila not only hung out with her, she loved her. Snickers began to follow her everywhere. Sheila took her to go see the other dogs, to help feed the other dogs. Wherever Sheila went, Snickers followed. This was a special place, it is a special place. It was sort of appropriate that Snickers got to say her final goodbyes to Sheila on Friday. I got a call at Noon that she wasn’t doing well. I knew from seeing Sheila and Robin at daycare when I went and got her that it wasn’t good. Snickers lingered for one last kiss and we left. I had to run and do my part time driving job while we waited for our 2pm vet appointment. The boy in the car said “oh she’s so cute!” and she was, all curled up in her blanket. I knew it was the last car ride my dear girl would have.

We arrived at the vet’s at 2pm and she was gone by 2:20pm. She walked in, tail between her legs, head down and barely able to walk. She’d lost 10lbs or more- it was hard to tell with the mass being twice or more in size from when they’d seen her on the day of diagnosis. She was pale, her gums were white. I knew, they knew. She crossed over the rainbow bridge and ironically woofed, and snickered as she went. I wonder who met her first? Tyke? Scout? Both of them? For the kids, it’s hardest. They have had 3 losses in a little over 2 years. Tyke died in October 2015, Scout at the end of September 2016 and Snickers just 15 months later. It’s tough. Meghan is angry- “Why do all our pets have to die?” Cole is understanding but said “I never want to get another dog again, we have bad luck with dogs.” and Quinn said “well it wasn’t unexpected Mom but it’s sad.” I’m a mess. I’m not sure if it’s because she died or because of the lack of sleep I got over the past 8-10 weeks. Since Friday I have slept 2 nights. 8 hours one night and 10 last night and I feel worse than when I only got 3 hrs of sleep. I wonder if the adrenaline rush is gone. The adrenaline that kept me awake and on alert is gone. I am able to now rest and sleep and my body needs to reboot.

No matter what, loss is hard. I’m glad we’ve had the 5 dogs we’ve had in our life. Lucky, Cedar, Tyke, Scout and Snickers. I am open to getting another dog but I shook on it with John and we will not be getting another one. I understand his logic- we have 3 kids who are active – and we are gone a lot of weekends and we just don’t have the time. Had it not been for doggie daycare we wouldn’t have been able to have Snickers. There were many Saturdays we put her in daycare for the day while we did our weekend thing or we’d board her overnight so she was able to run around with her doggie friends while we ran around. I am forever grateful to have had 5 dogs though. They really did make up a huge part of our lives. I loved them all and we will someday see them all again.

Treat Yourself Well

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Treat yourself! It’s important to take care of YOU. If you feel bogged down by life perhaps it’s because you are doing everything for everyone else and nothing for yourself. I have been busy volunteering, taking care of the kids and being a supportive wife and friend. I have sacrificed my time and my energy to care for others and with our dog having cancer my sleep has been greatly sacrificed of late. A lot of people would have put their dog down by now. She’s got cancer and a diminished life span but she’s happy for most of the day and so I can’t. As long as she still pees and poops outside she will remain with us. She even goes to doggy daycare at an expense which means I usually don’t buy anything for myself. Well that ended last night and boy-oh-boy was it fun!

Last night I was invited to a private Lularoe sale. No – I am not one of those people who can wear or wants to wear leggings as pants and if you are that person go for it- you probably have a smaller butt than me šŸ˜‰ But in all seriousness, the leggings are buttery soft and the tees too so a combo of that and I’m in for pajamas/loungewear for home. I do however love their dresses and the price point on those is $65 or less. I wore one to the Christmas party for John’s work and it was so pretty and COMFORTABLE and it had pockets too! So when I had a chance to pick from her live sale and pay just $250 for a box I jumped at the chance. I was able to get 4 dresses, 2 tees, 2 pairs of leggings and much more. I can’t wait to go get my box of goodies today. I can even edit the box in case I don’t like what I chose. What a gift to ME! I opted to use the money my mom sent me for Christmas to offset the cost so it was a fun night, 3 hoursĀ online checking out different styles and items and chatting with new friends. It’s the first time I spent money without a care in the world and it was invigorating and it made me feel good to do something for ME!

So take time for you- whether it’s going for a walk you want to go on or buying a new this or that or getting a cup of coffee out because it feels good to be waited on, do it. Take the Oxygen mask first and take care of yourself. Some of us might take a few hours to read a book in the quiet of our rooms while our spouse takes care of the kids. Some of us would feel rejuvenated by going to dinner with a friend. Taking care of yourself looks different for all of us. For me- it’s buying something for myself. I do pretty well with reading a book and seeing friends but I refuse to spend money on myself.

I am taking money away from the family because I stay at home. Now before you get all mad at me for saying that- it’s a little bit true YET if you add up all the stuff I do my husband would be in the poor house if he had to pay for services rendered. Maid service, chef service, TAXI service (no joke I am in the car more than I am not), child care services, tutoring, and more, I do it all. And that’s ok. Our marriage is a negotiation and from day one we decided that we wanted to raise our kids and I would stay home until I felt the need to get a job. I did work outside the home for about 18 months until we homeschooled and let me tell you that was a huge job without any financial compensation and I loved it for 5 whole years. Now I am a part-time driver and am seeking a new business opportunity (making websites- check out my new venture Websites by Allie when you get the chance). I am contributing more than money can buy and that is good enough for me. We all negotiate differently for what we want in our lives and our marriages for me- I am happy to be here when the kids get home from school (after I taxi to get them of course) and I enjoy cooking dinners and taking care of the house although there are days that a maid seems appealing.

So take some time to take care of yourself today. Call a friend, get a coffee, buy a new dress or some shoes you’ve had your eyes on. Life is good and as long as you aren’t going to go into debt to get yourself something then by all means treat yourself. It means that you matter. You deserve it. You and I both know that if your kids needed something you wouldn’t hesitate so why hesitate with yourself? Treat yourself today!

Date Nights and Why You Need To Have Them

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John and I have been married since 2001. We met in 1999 and we dated as most people do when they first meet. We would go to a movie, dinner, and even canoeing. We did fun things together and we did them all the time. We’d have stay-in dates and adventure dates, like a weekend in Nantucket or Vermont. Then in 2003 we had our first son, Quinn, and our date nights ended. Quinn had a seizure disorder and I was NOT leaving him with anyone. It was nearly a year before we left even for a few hours. I barely left him alone with John let alone us both leaving. We began to do date afternoons, times when family could watch him. They were short, like a few hours, but they rejuvenated us. We would eat out or go for a walk and talk and reconnect.

Those dates meant the world to us and it helped us keep our marriage strong. We moved in 2004 from Massachusetts to Seattle and had Meghan. We had no family there and again, no date nights for nearly a year. We met a lovely couple who had a child who loved to play with Quinn so we went on a date to the movies while they watched him and Meghan. It was so much fun and again- we felt connected and in love again. In between dates, which were often months apart, we’d be sure to watch TV together at night or eat a late dinner after the kids went to bed.

We always had early bedtimes for the kids. They were asleep by 7pm until all 3 kids were about 5 or 6 yrs old. So we had evenings to ourselves until about 2009 when Quinn was 5 and began to go to bed later. By that time we’d moved back to Massachusetts and found a sitter. She was a college student and full of energy and great with the kids. We needed someone who was willing to play with the kids, put them to bed and tidy up afterward. Alex was amazing. She used to clean more than a general tidy up and it was like having a maid and a babysitter in one. She actually taught Cole how to tidy up or inspired his inner cleaner as to this day I credit Alex with Cole’s tidiness.

The dates we’d go on when Alex came were very creative. We had to pay her $14/hour which left little to go toward a proper date. We’d go for walks, get ice cream or go to the mall. It was well worth it though as we reconnected without 3 little ones at our feet because in 2006 we had our 3rd child Cole after we’d moved back to Massachusetts, this time South of Boston and about 90 minutes away from my parents and 30 minutes away from John’s sister’s family in Rhode Island. We splurged one night after having had Alex for a year or so and we went overnight to Providence Rhode Island. I can’t recall what we did except to say we had a great night’s sleep in a hotel! Those 24 hours away really rejuvenated us and getting away was so worth it. Date nights and especially that overnight kept our marriage strong and reminded us of how much we truly loved each other.

Since we moved to Illinois in 2013 we didn’t find a sitter and again were in a place with no family. We began to realize with the kids being older that we could leave them for a few hours and go out to eat. Saturday Sushi afternoons became a thing. We’d be gone an hour 1/2 to 2 hours and it was divine. We’d talk and discuss our future, our life, our marriage, our goals. It truly was amazing. Every week 2 hours together and it kept us connected and it continues to keep us together except today our kids are 14, 13 and 11 and we can venture out a little later, a little longer and boy are we having fun. Last night was our 2nd date night in a month. First in December we went to the company Christmas party and it was great. The kids were accompanied to a school event with my cousin- I actually have one cousin who is local here in IL but I had no idea he lived here when we first moved here. Anyway- the kids were dropped off from their event at 9pm and my cousin went home. We were at the Christmas party til Midnight and arrived home at 1am with our 14 year old greeting us. All was well and we’d checked in with them often.

So, last night we went to Second City in Chicago and saw a Comedy show. It was awesome and it was particularly great because it was my Christmas present from my husband, John. It was so thoughtful and a really great time. We ate at the restaurant next door and it was delicious. I had a hot buttered rum and it was so good and quite relaxing. We ate, we talked, we laughed and then we went to see the show and we laughed a whole lot more. AS we drove home and checked in with the kids again we heard how happy they were and how proud they were to be in charge for the evening. We arrived home at around 10:30pm and they had fun and we had fun.

I’m so glad that now that the kids are older and responsible enough to handle being alone for a few hours so we can go onĀ  a date like it it’s 1999. We may be older, I may have gray hair and John has less hair (sorry babe) but we still have the same love for each other. Has our love changed? Well of course- its different because we have grown up together. We are different people than when we first met online back in 1999. John has the same job- well same career- different companies throughout the years of course- he’s still a Software Engineer with added management now that he’s older. I went from working to a stay at home mom to working to a homeschooling mom and now staying at home again while I transition into what’s next for me. Life is good and Date Nights, or Date Afternoons are important. I can’t wait to plan another one. It felt so good to reconnect and hold hands and laugh. We even kissed a few times which rekindles the sparks. So go on a date- you’ll really will benefit from spending time alone with your significant other.