Well, this was an extremely tough loss. 16 years. How do you put into words what a 16-year friendship means to you? I got Riley from a pet store in Lubbock when I was living alone and wanted a companion for my last year in grad school. He had a big head and a tiny body and I was intrigued by the sign that said "Beagle/Corgi mix." Over the years he grew into his big head (and then some) because he never passed up an opportunity to eat. Didn't matter if the item in question was really edible or not - he would give it a shot. He had a tank for a stomach because crayons, toys, dryer sheets, wet wipes, and even a King-sized Toblerone bar were no match for him. Our exchange student Kim learned of his insatiable appetite when she left her bag on the floor one time. (He smelled gum). Our friend Mike saw his skills first hand when Riley jumped waist high to snag a cookie from him. My mom lost a bag of bird seed because Riley got hungry one day. Meezy would occasionally taunt Riley by holding food out of his reach, but overall Riley had a pretty good record against him, including snagging a whole Taco Bell burrito when Meezy got too cocky. If you've known me over the past 16 years, then you've probably known Riley (and his signature one ear up/one ear down look). He's been my shadow. I joke that if we put a pedometer on each of us, we'd have the same number of steps at the end of the day. I originally got him so that I wouldn't feel lonely, but I never could have imagined he'd spend 16 years making sure I wasn't. He was a GOOD, smart, mischievous, hungry, and above all else - loyal - friend. Rest in peace Riley (Bubba, Riley Roo, Rooster Dooster, Biggies, Ri Ri). You were one of a kind. March 2005 - February 2021
Thursday, February 25, 2021
We let Dutch invite his closest friends over for some outdoor fun to celebrate his birthday. It was a beautiful day and they played soccer most of the time. That was followed up with some Domino's pizza and an Oreo ice cream cake (two of Dutch's favorite things). We also brought him up to his school to get a video in front of the message board. Jude decided to sing happy birthday to him (his own rendition), which resulted in this hilarious exchange:
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I can't buy or borrow books fast enough to keep up with his reading habits. He brings books to school so he can read if there's any down time. He stays up late every night reading in bed. He also loves Minecraft, riddles, anything chocolate, big homemade waffles, and walking home from school. He's a stereotypical big brother who teases and tricks his little brother into doing things for him. He LOVES his dog, Zoey.
It was not an eventful birthday this time around thanks to a global pandemic, but luckily this kid doesn't need fanfare to enjoy himself. He's happy with donuts and just spending time together. There's definitely something special about him. He's the one who comes running when I say, "Look, there's a lizard!" He's the one who is already bringing food to his mouth before I have to say, "Just try it." He's the one who can put down the Ipad when a new puzzle or board game or Lego set is presented. He loves reading and excels at it. He loves his dog, Zoey, and mentions her in every school assignment he's allowed to. He uses big words and sometimes answers math problems faster than his big brother. He loves snuggly pajamas and cold pillows. He's also got a tender heart and gets his feelings hurt easily. He brings me happiness every single day.
He started Kindergarten this school year, but only virtually for the first semester. For him, that meant getting all of his daily work completed in about an hour and then not having anything to do for the rest of the day. He's very advanced in reading and pretty advanced in math, so it's not like he was falling behind, but I didn't want him sitting idle for too long. I sent him to in-person starting in January and I think it's been great for him.
He has fallen in love with Hamilton, the musical. He tries to memorize a lot of the lyrics and I often find him listening to it in his room. He's been known to wake up at 5am and sneak into the living room to start watching TV. He's willing to try new foods, but loves pizza, kolaches, and broccoli and cauliflower the best.
I think my favorite thing that he's said recently was "Someone at school today said 'Jude' and I answered, 'Depends. Who's asking?', like in Hamilton." That kid, man. Six going on sixteen.
Thursday, October 29, 2020
Can you even call yourself an adult if you haven't bought new windows for your house? Just kidding. That's just me trying to make an expensive, mundane purchase sound cooler than it really is. When we bought our house (built in the 1960s), the majority of the windows had already been replaced by prior owners. There were a few irregular-sized ones and some "fancy" ones left that had diamond designs on them. They had lost their efficiency many moons ago and I'm guessing they had not been replaced yet due to the expense. Actually, I'm hoping that's why they were still there, and not because people actually thought they looked nice. Here's what we were rocking before replacement:
The horror! It's okay to cringe. We finally pulled the trigger on updating them to a modern design and current energy efficiency. We used Window World and were pleasantly surprised by their prices. The installation went really smoothly too. Here are the after pics:
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
As with many people around the world in 2020, we started thinking about what remodeling projects we wanted to undertake at our house. A while ago we noticed a slight leak in the roof area of our sunroom. We think that room used to be an exterior patio that prior owners enclosed, so its roof wasn't part of the main roof and clearly wasn't covered appropriately. We knew that had to be dealt with, so we got a quote on removing all the old windows, replacing the interior sheetrock, putting on an adequate roof, and installing two sets of sliding glass doors. That turned out to be more expensive than we thought it would be, which got us thinking about just how much remodeling we wanted to undertake this year. If we're going to spend X amount of money on the sunroom, why not just knock everything out at once with one company who can accomplish multiple items on our to-do list? Rarely am I thankful for a quote that comes in higher than expected, but in this case, it resulted in some amazing transformations that might not have happened otherwise! I'll start with the sunroom, since I already mentioned it.
Here's the before:
Thursday, May 28, 2020
I mentioned to a friend I was looking for a Corgi rescue, and he happened to find out about an owner surrender who had posted about it online. He sent me the owner's contact info and I immediately messaged her. We arranged a time for me to meet the dog the next day and OMG, I fell in love immediately. She was a 7 week old Corgi and probably the tiniest dog I've ever seen. She looks like she has a fox face, but she's definitely got the Corgi build, and she hops like a bunny when she runs. She didn't have a name yet because the owner said she had only had her a week, so Dutch did the honors and named her Zoey.
It was an adjustment having a puppy in the house. It's literally been 15 years since I had one! Constant bathroom breaks, little accidents, stolen socks, chewing on everything, etc. The first couple nights were rough because she woke up every couple hours and wanted to be taken out of her crate, but after being with us a week or so she started sleeping longer. We're getting a good stretch overnight of about 6 uninterrupted hours of sleep, so I'm good with that.
Riley doesn't care too much about her, which is good. He occasionally will bark or sneer at her if she gets up in his business, but for the most part they leave each other alone and co-exist well. Zoey likes to follow Riley around the backyard to see what he's doing and it's adorable to see a stout Corgi/Beagle followed by the tiniest puppy.
You just can't help but smile when you see Zoey and it really has been a joy having her in the house. She's already brought so much happiness to my boys. I'm glad we are able to give her a forever home!