Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sophie turns TWO!

Our baby is no longer a baby! It's a challenge slowing down to take in all the "lasts"... when a thought like 'I cant wait until..' jumps in my head I do try to stop... because there is no doubt these crazy baby/toddler years will be over soon enough! But... no diapers or tantrums? Those I could have done without from the get go!

Here is a walk though time ...

Sophie's birth announcement photo:
1st Birthday:
And April '09 ... when will she look at a camera again?

We had a small gathering at the house with some close friends to celebrate Sophie turning 2 (birthday is April 26th) .. it was fun and crazy, just as any event is with kids running around! Hope you enjoy the pics... and many thanks to the dear friends that helped us celebrate :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Day at the Farm

One of our days in Ohio visiting this Easter the girls got to enjoy time with the animals at the Fledderjohan farm! They had so much fun ... memories they will remember for a long time! They got to bottle feed the baby goats and see cows, chickens, cats, dove & quail, horses and of course the barn cats (which seemed to be Caroline's favorite!). It was all good and fun until we had to clean our shoes... ewwww!

Caroline and Sophie sure had a great time with their cousins Shannon & Katie - Thanks for showing them around girls! xo

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pansy Days

Fun event the girls and I went to while in Ohio. The local True Value had a "Pansy Days". They supplied clay pots for $1-2/each and the kids got to paint them! When they were done, they would dry them and plant a daisy of their choice in their pot to take home. It was a little nerve racking keeping the girls together, but all in all fun to watch!

My nephew's wife, Erin, met me there with her sweet kids - they obviously had more experience going out together than I... they were all so good for her! I was a bit envious..

The only mishap was Sophie getting an itch on her head... ha ha ha

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Day in Ohio

This year we spend Easter with Scott's family in Ohio. What a fun weekend we had visiting for three full days! We drove up so that we could also bring back a beef ... so there were also 2 long days of traveling - 9-10/hours each way. The girls did pretty good watching DVD's. I thought to myself "what did parents do before DVD players in cars?!". Then I remembered my childhood... no seatbeats and riding in the back of a woody wagon was fun in itself!

Here is a slide show of our Easter Day events. Day started at my in-laws/Dave & Bonnie, with the girls hunting for their Easter baskets - then we went to my sister-in-law's (Diane) home for dinner and an egg hunt for all the kids.

Sophie gives her love to all..

Easter Egg Hunt

Sophie missed out on the egg hunt - but we are blessed she is such a good nap taker!

While the drive was long, it was tolerable and worth every minute all of us got to spend with the family. While we love Atlanta.. we do miss our families. I feel even more blessed to have two great families - mine is just much further away!

I had some trouble with the slide shows and sizing the pictures. If you would like to see each picture in full size CLICK HERE

Thursday, April 9, 2009


It's been just about one month now. A day that I was not prepared for even though I knew it was coming. It all started last fall with SISU - what we thought was first a bee sting, then an infection from a lodged stick in her jaw.. to hearing the news of the cancer. New Year's she was given weeks, maybe months - but we continued to feel optimistic and started her on anti-flam and pain medications .. just hoping to have just a little more time. On 12/30 she had surgery to remove the mass that was below her right eye - but it returned rather quickly. Withing 6 weeks you were unable to see her eye because of the swelling. It was a blessing that she did not seem to be in any pain. That is.. until around 9 weeks from surgery.
The beginning of March she started to have some sneezing spells. Some of which were bloody. It wasn't too severe so we increased the anti-flam meds in hopes to slow down the progress of what was obviously invading her air passages.
The meds seemed to not help.. at all. On 3/12 she started to make odd noises when she licked crumbs from the floor - sounded like a bulldog. Over that weekend it became worse .. when she rested/slept the noises that she was making was even scaring the girls. The tumor in her face had obviously begun to block her air passages and it was causing this snore like sound.
On 3/16 I was at home working and the girls were at daycare. Sisu laid near my feet, as she usually does, unable to rest. As I watched her .. I witnessed a loved dog unable to breathe. She did know how to breathe through her nose - so she would end up gasping for air through her mouth. She was unable to sleep or relax. It was torture to watch her suffer ... unable to do anything to help. It tore my heart out. I couldn't take it.
I tried to call Scott several times to share my grave concern - he was busy with clients and unable to talk. I thought "how can I do this? continue to watch her suffer?" I couldn't - I knew the answer and I couldn't believe I was faced with it on this day. Where did the weeks go?
I called her Vet and said "i need to make an appointment for Sisu". They of course ask for what.. and it took several moments before I could say the words I needed to. The frog in my throat nearly had me gasping myself. Finally I said "The cancer has gotten the best of her - it's time". UGH. I set the appoint for 5pm with full hopes that Scott would be home from work to take her in.
I finally reached Scott and shared the news. He knew.. but he had been debating the idea himself. I decided to close up the office and I went to pick up the girls from daycare so that we could all spend the last few hours together. Scott arrived home also and we went out into the yard and threw the ball countless times. Our ball-aholic dog was running around with her typical 101% energy and enthusiasm. This made me second guess - what am I doing?! She's alive well and FULL of spirit!! See.. she could breathe perfectly when she was playing like this - why? Because her mouth is wide open! When dogs pant.. they do so through their mouths, tongue droopin for thirst. But the reality is as soon as caught her breath, the dreadful noises and struggles began all over again. It was tough to pep talk my ownself that this was the right decision - this poor dog needs to rest, we can't throw the ball around the clock (although I think she would be very capable of doing so!).
The time passed by much too quick and the debate in my head and heart continued to battle on. Scott said "lets see what the Vet says - confirmation from him would help". Our much loved neighbor Staci rushed home to give her goodbyes before Scott left. The times we would get a call from the neighbors telling us Sisu had strolled up to their house for treat was countless. So we all said our goodbyes .. and no, it was not easy. I hugged her and had to push Scott and her away...
Thirty minutes later Scott calls and shared that the Vet supports our decision either way, but also acknowledged that it will only get worse. Goodbyes were given... it was time. In my mind I knew that I could not watch her suffer. I had to deal with the grief, sooner than later.

I'm a pretty logical person day to day. I'm strong and independent. So the grief I have been feeling for the loss of Sisu has taken me by surprise. The first few days were the hardest without saying. I had Scott quickly remove her crate/food/etc from the garage. Reality is.. that didn't make much difference. All the "firsts" like playing in the yard with the girls and going to the our cottage on the lake without her are the hardest. Quite frankly - they suck.

By the way, the photo I shared above is Bailey and Sisu. Bailey went to heaven 2-1/2 years ago - she was 14 yrs old and lived a full life with Scott. How hard it is now to see that photo. Both of our beloved pooches are together again.

I would like to share some of the humorous, sweet and even annoying habits -- all of which are missed.

  • While dog hair in the house is niltch, I have to vacuum and sweep more. Sisu was a vacuum that never required batteries! Every time I wipe out Sophie's highchair I miss seeing her waiting with baited breath..
  • When I see a squirrel on the deck (or even if I dont!) I cannot call Sisu and say "SQUIRREL Sisu SQUIRREL!" Thereafter to watch her bark and dance like Snoopy. It was hilarious to watch. Often times we would open the door to the deck and watch her run after them... never to actually catch. But wow she tried ... if only her feet would move as fast as her spirit!
  • The girl's have one less activity. Believe me when I say when they spent time with her it was an activity in itself. Often times you would find them propping up pillows and blankets around her, cuddling together. Sophie would typically just plop down on top of her to sit on her belly as she was resting. Caroline got her kicks out of pulling her tail or just merely hanging on for a ride/pull around the room! The toy vacuums and push toys have now been brought back out of the closet ... as they were all too often taken away because both girls loved to chase Sisu with them.
  • Man's best friend. Scott often times called Sisu MY DOG .. only when she was bad of course! But I'm no dummy (ok, sometimes maybe) - he enjoyed and loved her the same as all of us, maybe more. Hanging out in the garage now seems a bit more dull these days - am I right Scott? No more throwing the ball with neighbor/friend, Greg ... whom often times threw the ball so many times for her she would wear the pads off her feet running across the blacktop!
  • The racquet has been hung up/retired. As I said before, and as just about anyone knows if they met Sisu knows, she was a ball-aholic. At home you couldn't be outside for more than 1 minute (no exaggeration) without having a ball dropped at your feet. Constantly even if you said no. Sisu was no typical ball catcher. Tossing it across the yard was child's play to her... and anyone doing it would get worn out within minutes. A few years ago we started using a racquet .. hitting it as far as we could. Across the culdasac and into the neighbor's yard, often times we would try to fool her or send it into shrubs to sit back and watch her incredible Retriever skills shine bright.
  • When playing with the ball she never knew when to stop. No joke her back legs would weaken and give out! We would have to force her to lay down to rest and not throw the ball for her until she regained control of her tongue, hehe!
  • The "hyper dog" the greatest invention for throwing a ball has been put up in the closet. This contraption was a sling shot for tennis balls - and boy it was great! We kept this down at the cottage where it was more challenging to throw the ball because of all the trees. Here we could aim it right to the sky, or real high through a few trees for it to land in the lake 75' away! Sisu would nearly fly off the deck and run to the dock to jump into the water. I swear she could jump 15' when in a full sprint ..
  • Ladders on the dock - when she was 3 we taught her how to climb them! Yes the straight up and down style. Amazing dog I tell you.
  • All discipline was out the window when our friend Brownie stopped by. His family were Sisu's babysitters when we took trips .. so really they became Sisu's extended family :) So what do extended families do? They spoil that's what. Sisu was such a well behaved dog - no jumping on strangers - no begging for food - trustworthy all around. That is until Brownie came around! Sisu would jump 2-3' in the air and all over him as soon as he would enter the door. It really was hilarious. If we were in the yard and he drove up, she knew his truck .. her excitement and love for him was obvious :)
  • The river and lake are quiet without her presence. If we didn't throw a ball into the water she needed no direction to find the water for a drink or to cool off. It really was funny when throwing the ball in front of the house, occasionally she would dart down the side of the house with the ball. We knew.. there she goes to cool off :) Labs love water .. she was a shining example of that. Her beautiful coat was proof also .. shedding was really minimal with her.

Sisu was our companion and our entertainment. I am thankful the girls are too young to understand, but they do still say her name. I tried to be simple, yet real with the girls telling them she had an ouchie on her eye and it was time for her to go to heaven. Now they ask when we will get another Sisu :) We are dog lovers so the day will come soon, but not yet. Momma needs just a little more time to get past all these firsts and let time heal ..

April 6th would have been her golden birthday. We have had outreach from many friends sharing their condolences and support - thank you.

SISU.. we love and miss you. You will be hard to replace.

Next week I plan to create a photo gallery ...

Read about Sisu's surgery
and my Tribute to her in January.
Or are you wondering what is SISU?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

RECIPE: Grill Pizza with Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce

Spring brings perfect grilling weather, and there is never a bad time for PIZZA in our house! This recipe has basic FRESH ingredients that will make your taste buds do a snoopy dance! I can honestly say .. I even love this pizza more than my past time all favorite UNO's deep dish!

The recipe is simple as the ABC's, but it does require time! It takes about 15 mins to make, but it must rise for 2 hours, then it is punched down and divided to in turn rise for 1 more hour. The sauce on the other hand is a breeze - chop and roast in the oven for 45mins. You can roll out 2- 12" pizzas or create 4 minis. As for toppings? The sauce is so fresh and delicious on it's own that I enjoy fresh mozzarella alone! Maybe a sprinkle or two of fennel for variation. My dear husband on the other hand is a meat head through and through..haha The more meat the better... and that's ok because custom orders are EASY here!

Take the time.. enjoy this crunchy pizza with those you love! BTW - do not skip the step of brushing the dough when it's on the grill when you turn over the dough - it is key to the PERFECT crunch!

Click on the recipe name below to access the full printable version! By the way, you will only use about 2/3 of the sauce - I save it for serving a small side the next day. Mix with a small amount of pasta (like bow tie), fresh mozzarella or parmasan cheese!

Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce

Grill Pizza Dough

Monday, April 6, 2009


This past weekend we escaped for a couple of days to spring clean the cottage, clean up the yard and get the boat tuned up for summer fun. Well Saturday afternoon we finished up in the late afternoon .. so we plopped our butts down to enjoy the late afternoon sun. It was a beautiful day - 77 degrees! There were fisherman running crazy up the canal and we even saw a few wake boarders!
It was a great view.. frosty beverage and a boston butt smoking in the Green Egg - even a moment free of tantrums and demands... I captured it :) Spring days in Georgia are the best!

The lake however was not so attractive... the rains brought up the good ole Georgia clay! But, I will take this on a rare occasion considering the abundance of sunshine and lack of snow here!

So you are asking yourself - what did we survive? Great weather in Georgia? :) No... actually quite the opposite! While we had our feet up on Saturday we heard something that resembled a sonic boom and felt a quite a rumble beneath our seat! Scott thought there might be some blasting near by.. maybe someone blowing up some granite. Then about 5-10 mins later it happened again. THE EARTH SHOOK! What a crazy feeling it was - but honestly we didnt think anything more of it. No way could an earthquake happen in Georgia.. right? Nothing fell off the shelf and no damage was done, so not another thought about it. Until today when I heard through friends that saw it on the news - it really was an earthquake, right at Lake Sinclair!! How wicked is that? Here is the full story..

The United States Geological Survey reports two small earthquakes in Central Georgia on Saturday. According to the USGS website, a 3.1 magnitude earthquake shook Central Georgia around 4:45 p.m. Saturday afternoon. The earthquake was located beneath Lake Sinclair, 7 miles northeast of Milledgeville and 14 miles southeast of Eatonton.
About 10 minutes later, the USGS reported another quake with a magnitude of 2.2 in Hancock County. Mercer University Physics Department Chairman Randall Peters was tracking the ground shaking activity. Peters says he uses a device called a VolksMeter, a digital seismograph capable of recording seismic waves from around the world.
He says the rainy weather may be to blame for Saturday's events. Peters says lake level changes can trigger smaller earthquakes, and because we've had such a large influx of water into the lake in the last two weeks, that is probably a factor. He says earthquakes are nearly impossible to predict and pretty rare in Central Georgia, especially of this magnitude. "Everybody kind of rushed around trying to figure out what fell and where the noise was coming from. Then we went outside because we couldn't figure it out. I even saw some fishermen out there and I said, 'did you hear that,'" said Louida Salmon. Randall Peters says smaller earthquakes can cause damage to dams, but Georgia Power officials say there were no threats to the Lake Sinclair dam.Peters says his research shows the last recorded earthquake of a similar magnitude nearby was in Haddock, in Jones County, back in 1964. He says that quake registered at a magnitude of 5.