Saturday, November 14, 2009


I'd like to apologize in advance to anyone who reads this.

If you read Shannon's blog, you may have seen my comment about the wonderful morning I had on Wednesday. If you don't read Shannon's blog, here's a recap:

I woke up and looked out the kitchen windows into my neighbor's backyard. This was a problem, because there should've been a fence between our windows and the neighbor's backyard. Apparently two very rainy days followed by a super windy night had done some damage to our already tattered fence. Four entire sections had fallen into the neighbor's yard and a couple of the post were not exactly vertical. As I picked up my phone to call Jamie and tell him about this unfortunate development, I glanced over at Kona still in his crate. He'd had a bit of a stomach thing going on and had thrown up Monday evening and again overnight in his crate. So when I saw something on his pillow I assumed he had tossed his cookies again. Oh if only he had just tossed his cookies...

When I opened the crate, he came running out rather frantically and I realized the something on his pillow was ALL OVER - he was covered in it, the crate was covered in it...the floor around the crate and the wall behind the was horrendous. And it. Smelled. Horrible.

Here is where I make mistake number one, both chronologically and in severity of the error - I ignored the fact that he was standing right near the back door, and chased him into the bathroom. The problem with this approach was that el poocho was leaving a wake of diarrhea every where he went - walls, floors, furniture...nothing was safe. In retrospect, I should have put him out back and hosed him down, but it was cold out and there was the fallen fence to consider. Here's a riddle: what's worse than waking up to find your neighbor's dog on your back patio? Finding your neighbor's DIARRHEA COVERED dog on your back patio. We're not super close with our neighbors. I don't think that would've strengthened the relationship.

Anyway...into the bathroom we went and Kona got the most thorough bath he'd ever gotten. And I gagged approximately 723,295,774 times. Do yourself a favor and try not to imagine the state of my clothing following this bath. It wasn't pretty.

After changing into something slightly less poo-covered, I dragged Kona's crate, pillow and blanket outside to hose down. This actually would've been the easiest part of the clean-up if it were't for the run-in my ankle had with the concrete on our patio. It's a nice sized cut, and it still hurts. Meanwhile, Kona is locked in the bathroom drying off and blessing the floor with fresh gifts from his lower intestine.

Thankfully at that point I had an epiphany - the tie-out! We'd bought it and never used it. I don't even remember why. So Kona went outside, tied to one of the fence posts that was still standing while I scrubbed the floors, walls and furniture in my entire house. The places I found diarrhea....this is the stuff nightmares are made of.

At that point, Kona was shaking violently outside because it was rather chilly and he was rather wet, so I threw his now-hosed off bed things in the washer (cycles: rinse, wash, rinse, wash, rinse...just trying to balance out all those who conserve water) and brought him inside, still on the tie-out, tethered to the back door. He may come in, but he may not come near me or my carpet until he recovers.

And that leads us to the quarantine. For the past few days, this has been the pathetic outcast pooch in my sunroom:

Sad, no? But it took 24 hours with no food and 48 eating nothing but white rice before the stomach bug started to show signs of leaving. He's still on a bland diet and still tethered to my back door, but hopefully tomorrow he'll get a good bath and be loosed, free to roam the house at his leisure once more.

But not the backyard, because the fence still has a ways to go before it's pronounced healed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Pantry

I’m in an interesting season of my life right now; one that I never imagined myself in. I always thought I’d be a stay-at-home mom if at all possible, so I didn’t foresee myself being a career woman. But I’d always assumed I’d work until I entered mommyhood. Being a full-time housewife without kids at home isn’t something I expected. I try to be very careful not to complain too much because I know how good I have it – most of my friends work and would give anything for a day just to sleep in and watch Gilmore Girls. And so many families do not have the option of being a one-income household. Especially a one-income household that lives in a great house and can still afford to do things like travel and go out with friends. So I’m well aware of how blessed I am.

But blessed is not the same as fulfilled. And while I’m grateful, a sense of fulfillment has been hard for me to find.

It’s not that I don’t have things to give my time and attention to. I’m a wife, a homeowner, a middle school volunteer at church, a friend, daughter, sister…all things that I can give my time and attention to. And there are a lot of opportunities that I now have the time to pursue: going back to school, becoming a CASA, volunteering, scrapbooking, home improvement projects, getting in better shape, etc., etc. It’s just that I’m having a hard time not being where I thought I’d be and embracing all these opportunities. I tend to spend more time wishing things were different.

I gave this analogy to Jamie the other day: you know when you’re hungry and you have something very specific in mind that you want to eat? Like maybe chocolate. If you go into the kitchen and all the chocolate is gone you feel like there’s nothing to eat, even though your fridge might be full of delicious, nutritional things. And you might eat something just because it’s there but it doesn’t satisfy. It’s not what your tummy is really wanting. And, if you’re like me you start whining that there’s nothing to eat despite that fact that actually there are a lot of options.

My hypothetical pantry is very full right now. But I still find myself whining that there’s nothing to eat. I want some chocolate and everything looks like celery to me. And I’m sure my attitude is as obnoxious to God as it was to my mom when I was living at home.

I’m trying. Really I am. Jamie – who gets to hear all my whining - might disagree. There will come a time in the future where I will look back longingly at this time in my life. I know there will. I need to figure out how to appreciate this season and embrace its blessings before it ends. And I have bigger things to schedule my day around than my regular 11:00 date with Lorelai and Rory Gilmore.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I know, I know, I haven't written a real post in forever. It's just because nothing is happening. I'm not working, I stay home with Kona all day and it's less than thrilling. Biggest recent happening - I went to lock-in for the middle school girls at our church. We were expecting 60 or so girls and wound up with 140. There were 5 adults who stayed over night. That's a crazy ratio. But I loved it! I hope the girls had as much fun as I did!!

Anyway, my apologies for not writing anything of note, but I just had to share this because it's too funny. Enjoy!! (P.S. Do yourself a favor and hit pause at the end of the video or you'll have to endure a commercial).

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Good, Better, Best!


This past week since my last update has had its highs and lows. I had gotten down to 142, but seemed kinda stuck there. Three more pounds and I could be in the 30's. Three more pounds!! So I thought I'd crack down this week. Phase 2 of the 3-part workout started Tuesday so I figured I would make sure to really eat healthily and knock out those three pounds. Unfortunately, it became hormonally necessary for me to consume copious amounts of chocolate. The routine for the last few days has been, wake up, eat a healthy breakfast, eat a healthy lunch, steal a chocolate from Jamie's birthday stash, eat a healthy snack, eat a healthy dinner....and then fall apart completely and eat whatever sweets I can access. I am a weak, weak woman. I also skipped my morning workout for the first time on Tuesday. But it worked out ok. I usually plan to take a 30 minute nap right after work to give me some energy for the evening (ah the bliss of being young and childless). Tuesday I slept 30 minutes later and worked out when I got home. So I got more sleep in the morning and worked out after work instead of my usual schedule. It's all good.

I skipped again today, completely accidentally. I woke up to an alarm that didn't quite sound like mine and realized it was Jamie's. I'd completely forgotten to set mine and overslept. It was kind of blissful. And I hit it hard yesterday - ate healthy, worked out in the morning, power walked after work - so I wasn't too concerned about a morning off. Plus, phase 2 is HARD! Anyway, when I did drag myself out of bed and over to the bathroom scale, I found...wait for it...I'm officially in the 130's!! Woot woot!! If my scale had decimals (which it doesn't because it's one of those crappy ones with the wheel thing instead of a digital read-out), it would probably say 139.7, but I was definitely below the 140 line. Woo hoo!!


A couple months ago I bought a pair of pants at Banana Republic that were a little bit too tight. They were on clearance, I loved them and they didn't have the next size up. And I wanted to lose weight anyway (I know, you shouldn't buy clothes that don't fit because you plan on fitting into them soon and all but I liked them). I'm wearing them today. And they fit beautifully! Mazel tov!!


MOMREKA!! (that's "mom found it" for those of you who don't speak, um, whatever that is). In December, while at my parents' house for Christmas, I did a load of laundry and stupidly left my wedding rings in the pocket of a sweatshirt I washed. When the load was done, the wedding band was there, but the engagement ring was no where to be found. My whole family searched high and low. We checked the washing machine trap, we searched through the laundry, we tore my room apart, we checked the trap again, we looked in the trash cans and in all the nooks and crannies of the house, we checked the trap a third where. It was gone. In January, my dad once again checked the trap. Still not there. I was sure it had been washed out to sea and I shed many tears for it.

But, lo and behold, my mom randomly checked the trap again yesterday and THERE IT WAS!! In all its sparkly cleaness! Perhaps a bit misshapen (though I haven't seen it yet, so that might just be from my finger), but shiny and waiting to be reunited with its partner on my left hand again. I could not have gotten any better news! I can't wait to have it back on my finger and look married again!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Challenge, Extended...

Well, Shannon's and my post on our less-than-perfect silhouettes has led my mom to extend a family challenge: $10 a person to enter and whoever has lost the most weight by our trip to Wisconsin gets the pot.

Challenge, accepted...

Me and Shannon jumped on board and all three of us ladies brought our husbands into it, too, though I don't know if George and Dad are truly enthusiastic about this competition or if, like Jamie, they don't even know their wife has committed them to it (hey if I win there's an extra $10 in the pot for me!).

Here's where I stand right now (though I loathe to publish this on the internet): I weigh 147 pounds - or did when I started - and hate the way I look in a bathing suit. I am 25, I've had no babies, I have no excuse. Never mind, hold on, I work at a desk job. 8 hours a day of sitting. All. Day. Long. It makes my hips wider just thinking about it. Secretary spread much? Yes, I think so. So there's my excuse. I feel justified.

Here's my goals: Ideally, I would like to get under 135 pounds. That's a 13 pound weight loss. If I can get under 140, I'll be happy. Under 135, totally content. And anywhere in the 132 and under range would have me purely ecstatic. More importantly, Jamie and I are hoping to spend Labor Day weekend in Hilton Head. I do not plan on leaving the beach while the sun's up. Just me, a good book, and the sand and waves from sunup to sundown. And I want to go on that beach vacation with any bathing suit I choose and feel good about. Not look like I'm ready to walk the Victoria's Secret runway (though I'll take that!!), just be secure and confident with how I look.

And most importantly, I want to be healthy and strong so that Jamie and I can start planning a family, and I can feel confident going in that I've done everything in my power to prepare my body for a healthy pregnancy - for both me and (hopefully) the future little one.

The Plan: I've bought a book and a DVD to help me eat healthier and work out consistently. I've started a calorie tracking notebook to make sure I consume the right amount of the right kinds of food. Every morning I get up and do my dvd workout and in the evenings, I just make sure to do something active, even if it's a leisurely walk with Jamie. The tendency for us is to get home at 5:30 and veg out until bed. I also keep track of how much water I drink and try to get to bed on time, two small things that are supposed to make me feel better and lose weight. And lastly, I've cut caffeine out completely. Oh how I miss it...

The hardest part so far has been the meals. I actually like them. But I LOVE carbs. I want bread with every meal and pasta at least once a week and a bowl of cereal once or twice a day - usually big ones. I miss these things, but I'm enjoying the fish, chicken and eggs that have mostly made up my meals so far. The workout's not so bad but I do find my muscles are sore and/or weak the rest of the day, which stinks. Just me getting stronger!! Or something like that.

So far, so good because I'm down 3 pounds and it's only day 5. I've consistently kept my calories within the recommended limit and I've consumed a full lake's worth of water! I do miss my morning caffeine, but I think I'm sleeping better without consuming any.

Can I make it 25 more days and reach my goals? I don't know, but I'm feeling good so far. Weak and sore, but good. And it's always good to have a little healthy competition to inspire me! So Mom, Shannon - BRING IT ON!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Flabby Fat and Lazy!!

Ok so I'm going to piggyback off of my sister's post here and say it's officially time for the Hotalens to start getting back in shape. Question: What happens when you take two college soccer players, throw 'em off the field, get 'em hitched, and plop them into desk jobs? Answer: they gain 20 pounds and painfully pasty skin. So that's where we are - two former athletes who still want to eat like we're running 4 miles a day or so and are suffering the consequences.

We're not so thrilled with our less-than-toned selves (and I have no pregnancies to blame it on, unlike my sister) so it's time to do something about it. Jamie and I started a Biggest Loser challenge a month or so ago thinking we could both lose 15-20 pounds by eating healthier and adding some exercise into our routines. Unfortunately, taking a short jog in the morning and walking each evening and counting calories has resulted in both of us losing about 2 pounds in the past 4 or 5 weeks. Not exactly what we were hoping for. So it's time to kick it into high gear! Tonight I'm hitting Wal-Mart and finding me some books/dvds to make the next 30 days get skinny days! I'll let you know what I find and, 30 days from now, how it worked for us.

Family, when you see Jamie and I in Wisconsin in August, hopefully there will be a lot less of us to see!!

My goal is to get to a weight BEFORE we have kids that I'll want to get back to AFTER we have kids!! I don't want to start working out after my first baby is born saying, "Well if I could just lose the baby weight PLUS that 15 pounds I never lost before getting pregnant, I'll be happy!"

In the coming weeks, look for a thrilling post called, "Body Image: Why are we NEVER Satisfied?" HAHA

Hello Skinny Hotalens. You are greatly missed. Please come back.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Trashpicking! Wheeeee!!!

Yesterday Jamie and I went for a walk and saw this:

on our neighbor's lawn with a sign that read "$75". Today when I was walking Kona, I saw the sign had been changed to "Free". Much more in our price range. So we snatched it up. Along with this:

And this:

And of course this:

Which I have been having a great time with, sticking it in random places for Jamie to find.

Three cheers for furnishing your home with your neighbor's castoffs!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Uncle Jamie's Video

Rebecca's video reminded me of this beauty I had wanted to share with everyone. Christin so generously allowed me to make this for Uncle Jamie when he wasn't with us in New Jersey. Please notice how she gets distracted watching her own reflection in the TV. How hilarious is this child?

I apologize for cutting it off at the end. I really wasn't sure if it was ever going to end...

To give credit where credit's due - song and choreography by Christin herself.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Two Years Better

Jamie and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary on Tuesday. Since it was the middle of the week, we took it easy with dinner and a movie at home and saved the real celebration for today.

It was a pretty perfect day. We slept in and then headed out to the Chattahootchee for some tubing. We spent a good two hours on the river and decided it's a great place for floating. There's a couple quick spots, one class 2 "rapid" (where Jamie's tube got completely full of water), and lots of deep areas to swim (when the water's not 50 degrees, which it was today). And listen to this brillance: the tube rental place uses tubes that are solid on the bottom. No tushy scrapping the rocks, no wet rear end, and we could toss our shoes and stuff in the tube with us without worrying about losing them. I couldn't, however, bring my camera without worrying about it getting wet so you'll just have to imagine what it was like. We had such a nice time, we're considering buying our own tubes and going several times this summer.

Part II of our day was dinner out. So we went home, washed the river stink off and headed to Carrabba's for some grub. We decided since it was a special occasion (and since we had a gift card with $60 left on it) to do it up big. So we had an appetizer, some sangria and dessert. Yes, Jamie paid for dessert in a restaurant. Can you believe it? The boy gets pretty reckless every once in a while. It was delicious, we left completely stuffed, and I know exactly what I'm having for lunch tomorrow. That chicken bryan is the bomb.

We took some pictures when we got home (because for some reason we both feel weird taking pictures of ourselves in public and we hate asking strangers to do it).

First Jamie had to check out how his grass is doing. He really wants to kill the crabgrass and get the yard looking good again, so he's been treating it with crabgrass killer and fertilizer. It's getting there. Don't ask us about the backyard though...

Then he closed his eyes...

Then he closed his eyes...

Then he finally got one with his eyes open!!

Ah yes a good one!

What a cute little old married couple we make :)

Not to get too mushy on you, but I really think our marriage has just gotten better over the last year. We've worked out some of the kinks of adjusting to married life and really just work so well together now. I would not have guessed a year ago that we'd be working in the same office and really enjoying being together so much!! But I just love being around him. He makes me laugh and still gives me butterflies all the time :) Here's to two great years together and many more to come!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Little Visitor

I found this little guy in our backyard when I took Kona out this evening (after getting home from a date which included dinner at Stevi B's - with a coupon - and a movie at the dollar theater; total price - $16.68. Now that's a Hotalen date!).

He didn't look too happy with us. He just sat and stared at us staring at him.

Kona was surprisingly uninterested. He's a sweet dog. Not a smart one.

Don't you just want to take him home and make him your fluffy little birdy pet?

I think his name should be Pierre. He looks French to me.

Maybe it's the aloofness.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Jack's Memorial Service

The service for Jack was last night. Everything went well and it was really a very nice time of celebrating his short life. So many friends and family came out to support Shannon and George and we all really appreciated the outpouring of love. Several members of the family shared testimonies. Here's the text of what I was able to share:

"When my I first heard that Jack was sick and might not make it, my first response was sadness followed quickly by anger. Where was God? Why was He allowing this to happen? But over the two weeks we got to share with him, my heart changed.

When we first got to CHOP two days after Jack’s birth, I expected my sister, who is so crazy about her kids, to be devastated. And she was. But she was also drawing so much strength from her faith in God. I watched her and George over those two weeks exemplify what it means to really, truly trust God. I know their hearts were breaking at the thought of losing Jack, but over and over again I heard them say that they KNEW God was able to heal him and they KNEW His will for Jack was perfect. No matter how much they wanted Jack to stay here with us, they trusted that whatever happened God was still good, still in control and still the perfect, loving God they believed him to be before Jack got sick.

I also watched their beautiful example of love for each other. All marriages go through tough times, but I can’t imagine anything tougher than this. And Shannon and George allowed all of those around them to see what real love looks like. I watched them support each other, pray for each other, comfort each other. I watched each allow the other to cry when they needed to, laugh when they wanted to and grieve in their own way.

And I watched hundreds of people – many who have never even met Shannon, George or Baby Jack – pull together to pray for him, faithfully for two weeks. I saw close friends and strangers touched by Jack’s story and his parents example of faith.

Shannon – as my big sister, you have always been my idol. But never more than now. Thank you for showing me such a perfect example of faith; of what it really means to trust God in every circumstance. Even when we don’t understand His plans.

Shannon and George – thank you for your example of true love. Thank you for allowing us to learn by watching you. Thank you for showing Jamie and I what a Godly marriage looks like even in the toughest of circumstances.

And Jack – thank you for the two weeks you spent with us. Thank you for allowing God to use your short life to draw many of us, including me, closer to Him. I will miss you little buddy, but I so look forward to the day we can worship our Savior together.

I still don’t know why God allowed this to happen. But I can still trust Him. And I’m no longer asking where He is. He’s right here and has been all along. And though I’m heartbroken over Jack’s death, I know God is still in control and He is good. No matter what happens, He is still good."

Friday, May 15, 2009

Remembering Baby Jack

Memorial services for Jack will be held Wednesday May 20th at Laurel Hill Bible Church, 1260 Blackwood Clementon Rd. Clementon, NJ. The service will start at 7:00 PM and you may arrive at 6:00 PM if you wish to visit with the family beforehand. There will also be refreshments served in the church fellowship center following the service.

Shannon and George would like anyone who would like to share how Jack has touched their lives to write down their thoughts and email them to us. These will be displayed in the welcome center of the church on Wednesday night. You may email George and Shannon directly, send a message to my mom's Facebook inbox with the subject "Memorial Service", or leave a comment here. Just be sure to let me know you want it shared at the service.

We are all so thankful for your kind words and prayers over the past couple of days. I wanted to let you know that Shannon and George have suggested that anyone who wants to honor Jack's memory could send a donation to Compassion International or consider sponsoring a child. There is a button now on my sidebar to take you directly to Compassion's website.

People have asked about meals and their financial needs. They have requested that instead of prepared meals, gift cards to grocery stores or restaurants would be more useful at this time.

Thank you again for all your love, support and prayers!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

With Hope

Our Baby Jack is home with Jesus.

God is Still Good

We may not have our sweet little baby boy with us for much longer. He's struggling to get the oxygen he needs, and the doctors are saying they cannot turn his ventilator up anymore. He's having some bleeding on his lungs and doctors are afraid any more pressure in them will cause him to bleed more severely. While adjusting his ventilator could buy him more time, the bleeding would eventually lead to his death and would be painful for him. Doctors are encouraging Shannon and George to have him taken off the ventilator. Right now, we are at CHOP waiting for George's family to join us. Once they are here and have gotten a chance to see him, doctors will be taking him off the ventilator. There is always the possibility that Jack could start breathing on his own. This would take a miracle, but we know God is more than able. If we don't get that miracle, Jack may live off the ventilator for only a short while or he may hang on for several more hours.

Pray that we get our miracle.

Please be praying for Shannon and George as they deal with this heartbreaking time in their lives. Pray that God would strengthen them and comfort them and show us how to best support them. Pray that God's will is done in this little one's life and that we are all able to trust in His loving sovereignty. And pray for the lives that have been touched by Jack in his short time with us.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Oh My Stinkin' Goodness

Not that my night with the girls was crazy or anything, but today, after having spent the past 18 hours with Shannon in her house, I got home and checked Jack's Facebook group to see if there were any new updates. To say that Christin had a stomach bug would be grossly understating the magnitude of the yuckiness we encountered last night. Poor little Christin was absolutely miserable, and while I'll spare you the details suffice it to say there was more than one point during the night that I vowed to NEVER have children of my own. Christin was ill, Lindsey was beyond exhausted but refusing to sleep choosing to scream instead. At one point, I was holding Lindsey - in absolute hysterics - in one arm and holding back Christin's hair and "assisting" her with the other. It was a bit insane for a while there. But we all managed to get a few hours of sleep and after several truly miserable hours, Christin seemed to rebound quickly. And I may just be willing to give Jack and the girls a cousin or two at some point. But I'm shipping them up to Aunt Shannon's house if they ever get the stomach flu.

Jack is holding steady and is trending upward again, but very slowly. Doctors were considering trying to run his new pic line again today, but I haven't yet heard if that's a sure thing. Shannon and George have a meeting today - right now actually - with Jack's doctors and hopefully I will have some news from that meeting soon. In the mean time, prayer requests remain the same: liver function, kidney function, lots and lots of urine!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

So I Don't Get in Trouble...

I wanted to jump on here really quick for a super brief update. I'm at Shannon's again for the night helping with the girls (who are NOT thrilled about bedtime today!!).

Jack had a decent day and his urine output was up from the previous days, but not what it needs to be. They tried to move his pic line from his belly button to his arm or leg. The veins around the belly button close as a newborn grows and cannot be used for too long. They were unable to run them and the poor little guy had to endure a few attempts in his right arm and leg before they decided to wait. They'll try again later; possibly tomorrow, but I'm not totally sure on that.

Shannon said she did see him open his eyes at one point, so that was very sweet for her to see! He's still with us and fighting!!

He had a good day, but he still needs to have some major improvement in his kidneys and liver. Keep praying!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Note About Visiting

Shannon and George wanted me to let you all know that they are so grateful for the cards, calls and visits (not to mention meals, babysitting, etc.!) everyone has offered. They (as well as the rest of us!) really appreciate the support and love they've been shown over the past couple of weeks. They love having people stop by to see them and to pray for them and Baby Jack at the hospital. Now that their schedule is changing, Shannon and George will only have a couple of hours a day together with Jack, so they are asking that anyone who wants to come by does so before 2 or after 5:30-ish. Just give them a buzz or send a text message - probably better since they can't take calls at Jack's bedside - when you're planning on stopping by and they'll let you know if they're available. Sometimes they are meeting with doctors, sleeping or otherwise taking care of things and can't see anyone and would hate to have you drive up there if they can't see you. Thanks so much for your love, care, concern and prayers. We have been really, truly blessed by all of you!!

A Much Belated Update

I apologize for not updating yesterday. Our Mother's Day was a bit frantic. Jack had a bad night on Saturday, and by Sunday afternoon they did not think he was going to last much longer. All of his supportive machines were turned up as high as they could go and he was still struggling.

Thankfully, our little fighter once again pulled through. He's still in very critical condition but he's hanging on. Yesterday, the swelling started effecting his lungs and his ventilator had to be turned up again, but he has been able to pass some urine today (on track for about .65 by the end of the day - remember 2 is desired) and they've been able to tweak a few things to help his oxygen intake. Today they have been able to turn down the ventilator a bit. George said he is basically back to where he was last weekend.

Basically, his kidneys are not functioning well and his liver isn't functioning. They cannot do anything to make these organs work, so he is on what they call "supportive care", which means they are doing everything they can to buy him time so his body can repair itself. It is possible for him to stay like this for a long time. Technically his kidneys and liver could start working at any time, but it is likely it will be a long, long road. The prayer is that he can keep fighting until this happens and does not get to a point where his body is too damaged to keep going.

I'm sorry it took me so long to get you all these updates. I know so many people were worried yesterday and I hope most of you were able to get some info from Facebook. Last night Shannon came home for the first time to sleep in her own bed and get some time with the girls. I stayed with her to help with the grunt work, since she still can't lift her daughters or drive. Lindsey welcomed her by developing a small stomach bug and vomiting a few times for Mommy. So I was a bit busy last night and this morning helping with the girls. I hope you all can forgive me!!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Weary But Hopeful

I don't even know what to write tonight. Jack is still struggling and did not have a good day today. His urine output was only about .5 (it needs to be around 2) and he continues to look very swollen. Yesterday Shannon told us he weighs 11 pounds with the excess fluid but his "dry" weight is only about 7 lbs. 2 oz. It looks very uncomfortable for the poor little guy. My heart breaks for him.

Please keep praying for his kidneys and liver. He could really use a miracle. And God has shown us He can do that.

Virtual Prayer "Meeting"

Jack's kidneys are not doing as well as we would hope today. We haven't been up to see him yet, but Shannon tells us his urine output is low and his swelling has increased.

Shannon and George's small group from church is asking everyone to spend some time in prayer for Jack tomorrow (Sunday May 10th), at 6:00 PM EST. Please join us in praying for his healing, specifically his liver and kidneys. Pray that they would be functioning normally and our little guy will start seeing some dramatic improvements soon!!

Note from Vanessa James (friend and small group memeber) on Jack's Facebook group:
"Every time we check this page we are amazed at how many people have signed up to pray for baby Jack. Whether you know George and Shannon or not, you're support for their beautiful baby boy and their family has been overwhelming. And, on a personal note, you have been an encouragement to everyone who is concerned for Jack. It's just nice to know you're out there.

Last night, when the “Young Couples” Bible Study that George and Shannon participate in gathered to pray for baby Jack and the DeVol family, we couldn't help admitting to each other the feelings of complacency creeping in among us all. That's when we had an idea . . .

We know you're already praying, but we ask for you to join us, Sunday, May 10th 2009 at 6:00 P.M. EST in specific prayer for baby Jack.

The Bible tells us in Mark 11:24, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

This Mother's Day, at 6:00 P.M., we ask you to specifically pray for Jack's liver to heal and to show signs of improvement this week.

It's easy for the non-believer to dismiss the miracles of God we see everyday, but whenever I see a picture of baby Jack or read a new update about another hour in this child's life, I thank God for the miracle he's working. Your prayers have been answered. Over and over they have been answered. Please join us in praying for another miracle, and trust in your faith that God will hear our prayers.

Thank you,

The Young Couples Bible Study"

Shannon also added a note there including a link which provides a medical description of what happened to Jack in utero:
I found an article that explains a little bit of what happened in utero to lead to Jack's condition.
I am still searching for an article that really explains what is going on now in his little body. As you are reading here are some answers to questions you may have:
1. When did I aquire these antibodies? I had a blood transfusion when I had an ectopic rupture in 2005 (after Christin, before Lindsey)
2. Why didn't this happen with Lindsey? Apparently Lindsey had a different blood type without any of the antigens that I have antibodies to.
3. How was I monitored? I had regular tests to check my antibody levels and doppler ultrasounds every six weeks. These never showed a reason for concern.
I will keep searching for an article that explains his current condition.
Keep Praying!

Don't forget to join us in prayer tomorrow at 6:00 PM EST!!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Brief Update

I wish I could report that Jack is doing better than he actually is. The report yesterday that his urine output is up where it needs to be was a little off because of a misunderstanding with the doctors. His kidneys are doing better than they were a week ago, but they still have a long way to go. And his liver really needs to start healing. It's the liver problems that are causing the swelling and also effect his ability to clot, so every time he must be stuck for tests or IV's they have trouble stopping the bleeding.

Please keep praying for him and his family. Shannon and George are going to change up their schedule this weekend so that one of them can be home with the girls while the other is with Jack. Unfortunately, Jack will probably be at CHOP for a long, long time so they are having to figure out what their schedules will look like taking care of two kiddos at home and one in the NICU. Staying with him all day every day is just not feasible. While this will be hard on them, I'm sure the girls are looking forward to being back at their own house and spending more than a couple hours a day with Mommy and Daddy (though they must be getting used to the hospital routine; today as we pulled up to the hospital Lindsey pointed out the window and said, "Home! Home!" Not quite Linds, but it's starting to feel that way, isn't it?).

Please don't grow tired of praying for Jack. He is going to need his prayer team for the long haul. He is still very critical and has a long road of healing ahead of him. We all know how easy it is to grow weary of praying when we aren't seeing great strides, but please don't stop lifting him and his family up in prayer!! We are so grateful for it!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

One Week Birthday! :)

Jack has been with us now for one week - amazing when we consider how 6 days ago we thought he was not going make it through his first weekend. But he continues to fight like a real little trooper. We had a little party with brownies and Chick-Fil-A in the hospital cafeteria tonight and celebrated Jack's first week of life.

Good news for today: George told us at dinner that Jack is on track to produce two units of urine today. Two is the optimum number. At first, he was only producing .03 and has gradually worked his way up. This is great news for his kidneys!! Unfortunately, his liver is not following suit. Shannon said the "liver people" (I'm sure that's the technical term for them) were not happy with the condition of his liver currently and that it has been severely damaged. This is what's causing all the swelling in his little body and some bruising around his midsection. It is possible for his liver to fix itself as his kidneys have and the doctors are hoping this will be the case. We are all praying extra hard to see some improvements. Pray for his bilirubin numbers to go down, his liver enzymes to stabilize, the swelling to go down, and a decreased need for blood products.

Doctors are still waiting to see if his brain is damaged and how severely. We want to see him wake up soon! Tonight when I was with him, he wiggled a bit when I tickled his side and gripped my finger when I touched his hand. These were both very faint, not full-strength normal baby movements. But I was still happy to see him moving! It was great to have him grab my finger - the first time he's ever done that with me. Be praying that he will become more alert and that there is no brain damage!!

Other prayer requests are that he would be less dependent on his ventilator and that he would be able to receive more calories, fat and fluid (the swelling has to go down before they can increase his nutrition intake).

Thanks so much for all your prayers!! I'll try to get some more recent pictures of Jack soon!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wednesday Night Jack Update

Just got home from the hospital visiting our little man. He may be only a week old and very sick, but this little guy brings us so much joy. Just to be with him and touch his little hands and feet and see the beautiful movement of his chest rising and falling is wonderful. Every moment with him is a gift, and all of us are so thankful to have more time with him.

Tonight after we got back from the hospital, I put Jack's almost-2-year-old sister Lindsey to bed. Because I was the only one here with her, because I'm a big pushover and hate to hear my nieces cry, and because I get to spend precious little time with them and figure I can't mess them up too much in just a few short days, I let her sit with me in the living room until she fell asleep instead of putting her in her crib. She sat on my lap, head on my shoulder, arms wrapped around my neck as she drifted off and I sat there hoping and praying for a day that I'll be able to snuggle with Jack and feel his little arms hugging me, too.

His doctors say he's had a "general upward trend". So that is, of course, a good thing. But the progress seems to be slower than they would like. He's moving his mouth a little bit and tonight reacted when my mom touched his bottom lip, but we're still hoping to see more alertness and movement. He has not opened his eyes since they stopped giving him sedatives and he is still not moving his extremities at all. We're looking to see some baby wiggles soon!! The more normal baby stuff he does, the better! And of course, more and clearer urine remains a constant prayer request!! (This is without a doubt the first time I've ever heard so many people praying so fervently for tinkle!!)

Please don't stop praying and know that we are grateful to each and every one of you for your part in the miracles that we've seen in Jack's little life!!

I know Jack has some people in his prayer corner who've never met my sister and her family. So for those of you who haven't seen Shannon, George and the girls, here they are:

Please keep praying!!!

This is just a brief post to ask you all to KEEP PRAYING for Jack! He has not shown any improvements over the past 12 hours or so and he really needs to make some strides. Please pray extra hard that he will begin waking up soon! It has been amazing to see God answer prayers for this little boy. Please don't stop!!

For those of you who don't have Facebook, here's a note George left on the wall of Jack's group:

"Today is the first day we have been able to check this page. We are overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and prayers from friends, family, and strangers. Please know that your prayers are felt and effective. We know that God answers the prayers of the righteous and that he listens to the persistant and you have been both those things. Please keep up the good work:)

Know also that we are praying for you. When we feel we are out of things to pray for Jack we turn our thoughts to praying for all of you. We thank God for you and pray that he will give you the stamina to keep praying Jack through the long road he has ahead of him.

We love you all!
In Christ's Love,
George and Shannon"

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Some Brief Updates

We just got back from our daily visit to CHOP to see Jack, Shannon and George. Everyone is doing well. Jack is doing well on the new ventilator, and the whole family agreed it was good to see his little chest rising and falling (on the old ventilator this didn't happen). Shannon told us they are still looking to see more, clearer urine. An EEG done on his brain showed no significant damage, which of course is wonderful news. There is still much that needs to happen before his full prognosis is known, but every positive sign is an answer to prayer.

Another item to add to your prayer list along with his kidney and general organ function: Doctors are wanting to see Jack wake up. They have not been giving him sedatives and if his kidneys are working and flushing out the sedatives from earlier, he should start to open his eyes more. Obviously this is something we would LOVE to see!! It would be great to see our little man looking more alert. Tonight one of the nurses suctioned some fluid from his mouth and he seemed to respond, so that was encouraging.

Best moment of the day for me personally: Shannon told us one of the doctors said they would like to do an MRI but that can wait and they may do it next week. It was just so wonderful to hear them planning to do something for him several days from now. It has been so touch and go that to hear the doctors planning ahead for him is great!!

Thank you for your continued prayers!!


Last night doctors switched Jack's ventilator to a more mobile, gentle one. They're hoping this will help him to get more oxygen and to breathe more on his own. He has taken a few breaths on his own this morning. He can be moved more easily now, so hopefully today they will perform an MRI to look at his brain and his other organs. He's still producing urine, but needs to be making more.

Several people have asked how Shannon and George are doing, so I'll do my best to answer that question.

Anyone who knows my sister and her husband knows that they love and adore their children and also that they are two people with a huge amount of faith and trust in God. They were absolutely thrilled to be having this little boy and want him to be with them for a long, long time. So of course, seeing him so ill and not knowing if he's going to live has been very hard on them.

But they trust that Jack is in God's hands. They consider every moment they have with him a blessing and know that God is watching over him and knows what is best for him.

Physically, Shannon is still recovering. Having her c-section and then having to get back on her feet right away to be with Jack has been tough. She's sore and has had some swelling in her legs from being up too much. She's getting better, but she could definitely use prayers for her healing, too.

We've also had people ask what they can do for Shannon, George and the girls. Right now, the girls are with my parents and Shannon and George are staying at CHOP with Jack. Their biggest need is just prayer. Friends and church family have offered to cook meals and do laundry and things are pretty well covered for now. So please just continue to pray and we'll let everyone know if there's something the DeVols need.

Thanks so much for all your prayers and love!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday Night Updates

We just got back from the hospital about 30 minutes ago. While we were there, Jack started peeing!! Hallelujah :) The more urine he's passing the better! It indicates kidney function, and that is his most critical need right now. George gave us some notes he had taken from a meeting with the doctor outlining Jack's needs like this:

#1 Priority: Kidney function. Over the next 24-48 hours Jack's kidney function NEEDS to start improving. This is absolutely vital for his survival. The fact that he was passing urine when we were there is an excellent sign, but there still needs to be a significant increase in the amount he's passing to show real improvement.

#2 Priority: Heart/oxygen levels. He needs to be able to get adequate oxygen to his lungs and the valve in his heart needs to close. So far, they have been able to gradually decrease the amount of oxygen he's receiving from his ventilator. This is a good sign, but we still need to see continued improvement.

#3 Priority: Brain function. As we've been saying, doctors have no idea what damage there is or the extent of the damage due to swelling and lack of oxygen. Once his kidneys and oxygen level improve, they will be able to learn more about the brain. He needs an MRI done on his brain to show the possible damage. Right now he is sedated because he needs to be still and sleeping while on the ventilator. Once the kidney function and oxygen levels begin to improve and he is not so sedated, we'll be able to watch for "normal" baby things like crying, wanting to eat and squeezing fingers to indicate brain function.

As we've been saying recently, the kidneys are the most important prayer need right now. Everything else is dependent on the kidney function. So pray specifically for the pee to keep coming!! As my mom's friend said, it's the "golden elixir of life"!!

More News on Jack

Doctors say today that Jack is stll "treading water" - he has not progressed at all but does not seem to be regressing either. The major concern and prayer request is for is kidney function. Right now they are only functioning nominally on their own. His inability to expel fluids causes swelling in his body which means his lungs and other organs don't have room to grow and function properly. Doctors say that it is reasonable to expect his other organs to greatly improve if his kidney function improves. Please pray that this will happen soon! It needs to happen in the next few days if he is going to survive.

Another pressing concern is Jack's heart valve. In utero, babies have a hole that allows blood to pass between the heart chambers. This normally closes on its own, but because Jack was premature and under so much physical stress, it has not. Doctors say they can give him medication to close the hole, but they hesitate to do so because he is already so medicated. It needs to be closed in order for oxygen to circulate through his heart and to the rest of his body.

We do not know much about his brain function or how severely his brain may have been damaged from his other health problems. Unfortunately, his movements seem to be lessening and this most likely means his brain is sustaining damage.

Please pray for his kidneys to start funtioning and his heart valve to close properly!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Jack Update

Tonight around 10:00 we got a message from Shannon saying Jack's numbers were dropping and to please pray. Mom quickly spread the word to start praying and we all hurried over to CHOP to be with him.

Once again, God was listening and Jack rallied. Apparently too many adjustments had been made to the different medications and machines that are supporting him. The combination of all these changes at once had caused him stress and his oxygen numbers had started to drop from the high 90's to the low 80's (100 is perfect). But by the time we had reached the hospital, he was beginning to stabilize.

It's just past midnight as I write this and Jack, his parents, and his little sisters are all getting some much needed sleep. In a few minutes, we'll be heading home also to get some rest ourselves!

Continue to pray for stability and improvement throughout the night. You all have no idea how much the prayers of our friends and family have meant to Jack and his family!!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Jacob Price "Jack" DeVol

Thursday April 30, 2009 1:51 PM 7lbs. 2oz.

On Thursday, my sister's baby had to be delivered via c-section. We knew she was going to need a c-section, and it was originally scheduled for May 5th. But problems with the baby led to it being moved up.

A few years ago, Shannon needed an emergency blood transfusion. The blood she received was not an exact match with her own and so her body developed antibodies against certain proteins in the donor blood. This can become a problem when she's pregnant because her own body will attack her baby's blood if any of these proteins are present. I hope that was a decent enough explanation.

Throughout her pregnancy, the baby was monitored to make sure he did not become anemic (a sign that his blood was being destroyed by antibodies in Shannon's body). He did great all along, but last week Shannon noticed he was moving less and scheduled an ultrasound with her doctor. The doctor felt that the baby was becoming anemic and had to be delivered early to receive a transfusion. We all - including the doctors - thought he would be delivered, receive a blood transfusion and then be a normal, healthy baby.

Unfortunately, Jack's body had trouble accepting the transfused blood. Each time the doctors would give him a transfusion (3 total, I believe), his own blood would break down the donor blood. This caused him to become more severely anemic as the oxygen level in his blood dropped lower and lower. Because he did not have enough oxygen circulating in his body, his organs began to fail. His liver became a main concern and he was transferred to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. When he arrived at CHOP on Friday night, he was in such bad shape that they did not expect him to survive the night. As soon as we heard about his condition, Jamie and I headed right up to New Jersey to be with him and my family.

Thankfully he made it through the night, and continues to fight. His liver and kidneys were a main concern because he did not appear to be passing urine. This caused him to become very swollen as the fluids they were pumping into him were not being passed through his system. Thankfully, a check of his catheter showed it had become dislodged and when it was replaced, he passed a large amount of urine. A baby peeing has never been such good news before!! It means that his liver and kidneys are functioning at least to some extent and already the swelling has begun to subside.

The long-term effects on his system are not yet known. Currently he is in stable but serious condition - an upgrade from last night, but he's still no where near out of the woods. He may continue to surprise us by regaining more and more organ function, but as of right now, we just don't know. If he makes it, we're not sure what organs will be effected and what problems this may cause long-term. A brain scan was performed earlier today and hopefully we'll know the results sometime tonight.

Please keep little Jack in your thoughts and prayers, as well as his family - especially Shannon as she tries to be there for her little boy and recover from her c-section. She was discharged barely more than 24 hours after the procedure to accompany Jack to CHOP. Right now, every time we've prayed for a miracle, our prayers have been answered. Pray this continues!! My whole family appreciates the prayers and support from everyone!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pet Peeve of the Day!

When I was working full-time and chatting with Kristy all day, I would often give her my "Pet Peeve of the Day". Because I subscribe to the motto "Why do something about it if you can whine about it instead." I've been out of work for a while now and they've been backing up on me, so I need some catharsis. So here goes.

Pet Peeve of the Day, April 22, 2009: People who bring their dogs to the store with them. To my knowledge, there is only one store you can bring your pet into and that is PetSmart. Logical, since you're shopping for the dog. What makes people think that just because their dog is small enough to fit into a purse or the child seat of the cart, they can bring them inside? Do you really need Lil Prince to offer his expert opinion on the top you're buying? Quite frankly, dogs don't belong in stores. Especially stores where food items are sold. That Disney commercial with the lady in the grocery store carrying her chiuaua in her purse is just offensive. And yes I know, Paris Hilton and Britney Spears carry their mini-dogs around with them (another topic for another day: how do those 4 ounce fluffy rats get away with calling themselves dogs anyway?) but I have yet to see your face grace the cover of US Weekly or People or any other highly esteemed periodical and your dog has no business in Target. Dogs belong in backyards and sometimes houses. Or even waiting patiently for you in the car if you just can't leave home without him. But I should not have to lint roll the dog fur off my new clothing before it it even crosses the threshold of the exit door, thank you very much.

Well, I feel better. It's good to get that off my chest :)

Be sure to join me next time for "People who use 'ignorant' ignorantly".

P.S. I'm not really angry, just having fun. If you carry your dog around with you, don't think I hate you. But please stop. No, I'm just kidding. But seriously.

For My Family

Well I guess life has been pretty dull lately since my last two posts have been something someone else has done. But this just touches a special place in the Minter family's hearts: Chick-Fil-A song

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Wow...She's so impressive.

Here's a link (I hope) to Arri's Africa* photo album on Flickr. If you like Arri, photography, Africa,'ll like her photos. There's something in there for everyone. So go look. And be impressed.

*For anyone who may not know, Arri is Jamie's younger sister, a senior at Toccoa, who spent her summer in Africa this past year.

Friday, March 20, 2009

He's Growing Up So Fast...

I really need a new subject to write about. Or I need to change the name of my blog to Tales of Kona, or All About Kona. But seriously, can you believe this:

Has become this:

In just a few short weeks? He's a beast!! And, folks, he ain't done yet.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Kona's a pretty easy going guy.

He loves football.

He loves napping on the hearth on hot days.

He loves his pink blankie.

So I was a little caught off guard by his violent reaction the publication the Jehovah's Witnesses dropped by today.

So intolerant.

I guess it's time we had a discussion about respecting opinions that differ from our own.

Because this is simply unnecessary.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Last night I played dodgeball with a 6 foot 3, 308 pound NFL defensive tackle.

Notice I said "with" not "against". I'm not that stupid. We put all the 7 and 8 year olds on the other team and me and Antwan Lake handed it to 'em. Well, ok to be honest the kids actually beat us a couple of times.

My first shift at the gym was a lot of fun. I shadowed a kids' cardio class and a weight lifting class that I'll be teaching soon. The gym is still relatively new (they opened in January, but had their grand opening this past Saturday) so the classes are small. Which is nice for me just starting out. I'll be able to work with a small group of kids and adjust as the class size grows. Which it hopefully will or this will be a short-lived position.

After the classes we had 45 minutes of dodgeball, which the kids just love. And even though we don't have to play, most of the staff joined in including Antwan who owns the gym along with his fiance.

I'm really looking forward to teaching the classes and already started coming up with ideas last night for games and activities I could use. I'm still looking for something else to get more hours, but this should be a lot of fun for a few hours a week!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

We had snow here on Sunday!! Snow is a pretty rare sight here, especially this late in the winter. It was fun and beautiful to watch, but I'm so ready for the 70 degree days that are coming this weekend!!

Check out the pictures of our snowy neighborhood: Snow Day Pictures

Monday, March 2, 2009

Well it's not exactly full-time, but it's a position I'm actually excited about! And it's income - amen and hallelujah!

Starting this week I'll be working at NexGym, a gym for kids that specializes in "exergaming", exercises that use games like Wii to get kids moving. I'll be an instructor teaching classes a few times a week. For now it will probably be very part-time. I don't expect to be there more than 10 hours a week or so. Unfortunately, working with kids, my schedule will be when kids are out of school - weeknights and the weekend. So Jamie's going to be cooking his own dinner :) But I'm excited to be getting back to work and to NOT be stuck at a desk again!!

Saturday, February 28, 2009


Kona, as a general rule, despises water. So getting a bath is about the worst thing that can happen to him (closely followed by having to go outside when it's raining, which leads to many housebreaking accidents when the weather's nasty as it's been for the past several days and according to Mr. Weatherman will continue to be for the next two days at least. Joy). Just look at the absolute joy on his face following his bath:

Don't worry Kona. It's nothing a few minutes with the blowdryer can't fix.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Happy First Month-iversary, Kona!

Today we've had Kona for exactly one month! Here's an update of how he's changed in the past 31 days:
  • He's doubled in size going from about 10 pounds when we got him to over 20 pounds today. His face and fur have also changed a little and he's looking more "dog" than "puppy".
  • He now goes very happily into his crate and even takes naps there during the day on occasion, and he waits patiently for me to get up in the morning without whining or barking.
  • He's (almost!) completely housebroken and is using his bell to ask out.
  • He sits on command and is getting the hang of "Come" and "Lay down".
  • He chases a tennis ball, but only when he feels like and when not distracted by other things; it's hilarious to throw it onto the wood floor and watch him slide around trying to get his footing on that floor.
  • He goes on walks and is very well-behaved on his leash. I don't even use the harness with him anymore.

Over all, Kona is really growing into a sweet, well-behaved dog. The biggest change over the past month I think is he's really bonded with us. Before he seem to see us as the meanies who took him from his family. Now he gets excited to see us, loves to be petted and played with and likes to stay close by when we're in the house. He gets super excited when Jamie gets home from work even though I've explained to him in no uncertain terms that I'm the one who cleans up his poop and by default shall be his favorite human, no questions asked, amen.

Here are some pictures of what a big pooch his turning into!

Kona on Day One:

And Kona today:

Kona and his sock on Day One:

Kona and his sock today:

Can you see a difference? He definitely looks bigger, but I think the most noticeable change in the pictures is his face and ears. He just looks so much older!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

It's creepy and kind of ohh ohh spooky!

*A thank you to those of you who read this yesterday: thank you for reading through my horrendous grammar and getting the meaning behind the elementary level writing. Assuming you understood what I was trying to say.

We had a big ol' storm last night that was really freaky looking. It didn't amount to much - we didn't even get any rain here in the evening - but it was causing severe thunderstorms, funnel clouds and hail in nearby cities. I went outside with Kona and noticed there was two big storms on either side of the house moving really fast and crashing together behind the house. Here's some shots of the clouds over our backyard:

Here are the two storms coming together right above the trees behind the basketball net.

The creepy yellow-ishness off the the left side of our house.

The greenish cloud where the two storms were coming together.

Dark and spooky

Over our neighbors house

At least this time I would've had a puppy to hide in the tub with me.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Best Laid Plans

The past few weeks I've been thinking about what a sedentary lifestyle I've been living lately. So I decided to do something about it. Yesterday evening I sat down and made myself a schedule for the week, planning out my morning routine, my evening routine and an attack plan for the household chores. This morning I woke up all ready to go (helped along by the fact that Kona has stopped whining in the morning; he waits quietly until I come get him - yay!). I got dressed in layers and went to start my morning routine which looks like this: get up, let Kona out and feed him, eat breakfast, take Kona for a walk. So I'm all dressed in my warm clothes ready to go for our walk as soon as Kona and I have eaten and this is what I see when I walk into my kitchen:

That is not a little sprinkle. It's a drenching rain with lightning and everything. Not to worry though, the weather man says it's going to continue throughout the day with occasional hail possible. Perfect.

In other news, Kona is doing fairly well with housebreaking, so I've started to work on some other commands with him. I wanted to wait until he was mostly housebroken and going into his crate happily. I figured he'd learn quicker if going potty and going into his crate were the only ways to get treats. Earlier I thought I'd take a quick video of Kona showing off what he's learned so far. The result was an especially long video that started with me standing there saying, "Come here Kona, come here" followed by my walking out of the shot to go find Kona and then yelling, "No! Kona! No no!!" when I found him in the next room pooping on the floor. Grrrr Apparently he hates going out in the rain. Anyway, I did finally get a video of him doing a pretty decent job of obeying me. For a delicious reward of Fritos.

Look how big he's getting! Can you believe it?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I Keep My Blog Private...

...So the SPCA can't find me:

Hi my name is Tara, and I let my puppy play on piles of rusty nail-filled wood because it makes him happy. And tired. And he sleeps the rest of the day while I get stuff done.

Please don't have him taken away from me. And please don't let anyone know we have piles of rubbish and 4-foot-high weeds in our backyard. We like to pretend it's our own private jungle.

Some updates

First of all, I'd just like to say I made that title bar above from a picture I took on our trip to Buckhead for my birthday. Impressed? I am.

Secondly, I had a request for more pictures of Kona from Kristy and was having a hard time deciding which pictures and stories to include, so I uploaded everything to Picasa and you can look at them through the link on the sidebar.

Kona has been so much fun. He's a sleeper and will snooze away most of the morning. He's doing well enough in housebreaking now that I can take him out in the morning and then leave him in the living room while I shower and get dressed. He plays or naps happily and doesn't get into anything.

We're bell training him, which means I have a bell hanging by the back door for him to ring when he needs out. He's getting the hang of it and definitely understands that he gets to go out if he rings it. Now if he just could understand that he's supposed to go out to go to the bathroom, we'd be good. He's still learning, but he hasn't had more than one accident a day for the past couple days. Which is SOO much better than when we first got him!

This weekend we took him to a friend's house who has two dachsunds, one of whom is only about 6 weeks old. Kona was a little bit baffled by this teeny tiny thing. It was really cute the way he was looking at her and poking her with his paw. Their older dachsund is not so outgoing, so he tried to run away from Kona. Kona thought that was a great game and chased him all around the house. Later on that same day some friends of ours with a 5-month-old puppy came by with their dog. She's a mutt, but they think she's a lab/German shepherd mix and looks like she might have some rottweiler, too. They had a great time playing together and both dogs were exhausted that evening. Which of course was great for us!

Jamie and I are really enjoying him and all his antics and really think we got a great dog! He's friendly with other dogs and people, doesn't bark much at all, hasn't chewed on anything he's not supposed to (yet!), and is just the right amount of loving, loyal and aloof. He loves us and gets very excited to play with us, but he's independent, too which makes it easier to get things done. He's not always under foot.

Enjoy the pictures!!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Reluctant Buddies

I think pretty much everyone knows whose idea it was for Jamie and I to get a dog. And most of you can probably guess who cleans up after him when he has an accident in the house (although I'm not sure it's actually accidental). But Jamie can't help but be a little bit charmed by those freckles. And every now and then when I'm busy, Kona coaxes Jamie into keeping him company for a little bit.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Beauty and the Beast

Ahhh peace....


The promise of another day...

Displayed in a stunning sunrise....

Brought to you by my furry new alarm clock who was kind enough to let me sleep until 7:30 today - just in time to capture the sunrise.