Friday, October 23, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

We ventured out to play in the mud at one of the local "U-Pick" pumpkin patches this week. I'm not sure which Reagan was more excited about... the mud or the pumpkins!
It was so funny to listen to her trying to find her perfect pick... "Nope, too big." "Not this one, too squishy." "No way, too dirty." I was beginning to think that we were never going to leave that place! She finally found her perfectly plump little pumpkin in a box of tee-tiny ones that had already been picked. I found almost half a dozen bigger ones that I plan to carve up for Halloween!

Ryan gave Reagan a spin around the patch in one of the wheelbarrows that were provided, and you would have thought that she was on the newest ride at Disney World to have heard her happy squeals.
Stay tuned for the post where we all get oooey, gooey, and sticky from pumpkin guts when we carve out our jack-o-lanterns!

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Million Dollar Dog

***We're almost all caught up! This will hopefully be my last "retro" post, and then we can just focus on the here and now!***

On Monday, October 5th, we had to take our little dog Dixie (six year old, 3.8 pound yorkshire terrier) into the animal hospital for emergency surgery. Our vet had been telling us for the past year that this surgery was probably going to need to take place, but we just kept putting it off. Until the day came when we couldn't put it off any longer.

Dixie had a hernia on her belly, and it was suddenly getting bigger by the day. Our vet suspected that Dixie's small intestine had somehow gotten trapped in the hernia, and she was worried that it was becoming necrotic (dead) and that it would cause Dixie's other organs to become rapidly infected... leading very quickly to Dixie's death. We agreed to let her operate to remove the hernia and to save Dixie's life.

Dixie was also having problems with her teeth, which is very common for such small breed dogs as Yorkies. Their little mouths just aren't big enough to properly hold all of those teeth! Dixie's teeth were jammed in there so tightly that they were literally growing on top of and over each other. Severe periodontal disease had set in, and she needed to have a massive dental cleaning. The vet convinced us that now was the time to do it since it would save us a little money on the anesthesia fee by only having to put her under only once to perform the two surgeries. So we agreed. She warned us that she would probably have to pull a few of Dixie's teeth that were very badly damaged, but she also suspected that those teeth would possibly just fall out on their own during the dental cleaning. That was fine by us, because then we wouldn't have to pay for a cleaning and an extraction!

The vet had given us a written quote when we had initially discussed all of these surgeries last summer. I took that quote in with me when we made the decision to go ahead with the surgery. The highest possibly number on that quote was very high, but it still fell under "that" number of where we felt we were spending too much to save Dixie's life. Ryan and I had already made the decision on what "that" number would be... anything over it meant it was time to consider putting Dixie down. We went for the surgery.

Dixie was in surgery all day on Monday. The vet phoned me numerous times throughout the day to let me know how things were going. She phoned shortly after 2pm to let me know that Dixie was out of surgery... she had repaired the hernia, made sure there was no damage done to the small intestine, and she had pulled NINE of Dixie's teeth. She informed me that Dixie had over 50% bone loss in her upper jaw from the severe infection in the teeth. Dixie was having some post-operative difficulty, but she said that I could still come in when I got off of work to come get her. By the time I got there, Dixie had gotten worse as she was bleeding from her nose. The surgery on her mouth had been so extensive that the space where her canines had once been was now an infected hole that led straight into her sinus cavity. The vet recommended that Dixie spend the night in the animal emergency hospital across town, but warned me that it was going to be very costly. I explained to Dixie's vet that there was no way I could afford anything more than I was going to be paying her that day, so that I would take Dixie home and take my chances. She phoned the emergency hospital anyway on my behalf and gave them a head's up of what was going on and told them to possibly be expecting me sometime during the night.

It was at this time that the receptionist of the vet clinic handed me my bill for Dixie's surgery. I nearly had a heart attack right then and there. I was frozen in shock because the bill was almost THREE TIMES HIGHER than what we had originally been quoted. I began stuttering and stammering that the bill was incorrect, and that I needed to see the vet immediately to settle this dispute. I still had the original quote in my purse, so I pulled it out to hand to the girl. It was then that she pointed to the date on the quote... from last summer... and she told me that it had expired.


I started crying. Not just little soft tears trickling down my face like a dainty little lady might would do. No, I was sobbing... red faced, barely catching my breath, snot running down my face... sobbing! I had this astronomical bill to pay, and we weren't even sure if Dixie was going to live through the night. One of the technicians pulled me into an exam room and told me to sit down and to put my head between my legs. She also handed me a box of kleenex and told me that she would be back soon.

About 15 minutes passed, and I had managed to calm down a little bit. I was steadily on the phone with Ryan and Anna, and we were all trying to figure out what to do. The vet came into my little exam room, and she said that she was sorry but that the bill was correct. She apologized for the confusion, but said that there was nothing they could do about the fact that I was basing my decision to go ahead with the surgery on a year old quote, and they were basing their numbers for the surgery on current data. We worked out a payment plan, and Ryan, Anna & Reagan came to get me and Dixie from the vet because I was too traumatized to drive. I was exhausted, and I had a limp dog laying in my lap that was bleeding all over me and my truck.

That night was a very long night. Reagan was an angel... she had made get well cards and welcome home posters for Dixie, and she decorated the little cage that Dixie was to sleep in. Reagan even managed to be calm and quiet that entire evening so as to not disturb Dixie. I stayed up with Dixie until about midnight, and then Auntie Anna slept on the couch beside Dixie's cage for the rest of the night. I was up at 4:00am to check on Dixie again, and by that point the bleeding had finally stopped. By that afternoon, she was starting to show signs of life again.

It took about two days, but Dixie finally started eating and acting more like her normal self. Considering that she doesn't have any front teeth any longer, she has to eat canned mushy food. Trust me when I tell you that stuff smells horrible! Reagan won't even come into the kitchen when I first open the can of food because she says it smells too bad.

Dixie has had to have two types of medicines twice a day for the first ten days after surgery, and she has to wear a cone to prevent her from licking or scratching the stitches on her belly. The cone has also served as a reminder for Reagan that Dixie is still healing, and that we need to be extra calm and gentle when we were around Dixie.
We took Dixie back to the vet this afternoon for her post-surgical check up, and everything is looking good. The stitches on her belly were removed, but she will still have to wear the cone until all of the scabbing has disappeared. Her mouth has almost healed completely as well, but they still want her to eat the soft food mixed with her regular food until she figures out how to eat with the majority of her teeth missing. Of the 42 teeth that she is supposed to have, Dixie now only has 23!

Ryan has taken to calling Dixie his Million Dollar Dog, and he has even joked around about getting her a gold "grill" to wear in place of her missing teeth! Needless to say, we had no plan or intention of paying that kind of money for our little dog, but we are extremely grateful that she should now be able to live for at least another 6-8 years!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Meadows Maze

On October 4th, we took Reagan to Meadows Maze for some "ear resistable" family fun!

Meadows Maze is a corn maze in Pitt Meadows, but it is also so much more. Reagan had a blast when we took her last year, so we knew that it was an adventure we wanted to repeat again this Fall.

As soon as we got there, she was running for the "Meadows Mountain" to grab her burlap sack and slide down the tube. Again and again and again and again!
The only way we were able to convince her to stop sliding was to turn her attention to the cow rides... make shift cow barrels that were positioned together like a train and then pulled behind a four wheeler. All of the kids had a blast on this thing! Once Reagan had finished her ride, she joined Ryan, Anna and I for a hay wagon ride through the corn maze.
We ventured over to the petting zoo, and Reagan instantly fell in love with a baby goat that she named "Little Buddy." She wouldn't let anyone else come near "her" goat, and I seriously thought she was going to ask to take him home. He was pretty cute, but something tells me that he would be pretty stinky too!
As if all of that wasn't enough, there were pony rides too! Reagan thought that she was tough stuff as she rode the pony round and round the ring.
We finally made our way into the corn maze. Each year, the maze builders create a new and more elaborate maze. This year, the design was based on the new bridge in our area called the "Golden Ears." How appropriate of a name of a bridge for a corn maze design!
We were given a map with 12 check points to find through out the maze. Seriously, thank goodness for that map because after only about 2 minutes of being in the maze I was so turned around I didn't think I would be able to get out. We found the first check point by accident, and then I decided to use the map! From that point on, I was on a mission. There was no way that we were going to leave that place without checking in at each of the 12 stations. I started barking out orders... left, right, straight, follow the loop, stop! Ryan started calling me his GPS... but I got us through the whole thing with only getting lost one time! Reagan started pretending that she was having to clear the path for us to get through the maze by using a fallen corn stalk to beat through the bush, and Auntie Anna picked up a fallen corn stalk to use as her torch like on Survivor. Needless to say, we got a few funny looks from some of the other folks that were there. Of course, I also heard one guy say that if you wanted to get out of the maze then I was the person you needed to follow because I obviously knew where I was going! HA!
We made it out of the maze, and then we let Reagan play in the hay piles for awhile before heading home. Of course, that was after she rode the pony and the cow train a few more times, slid down the slide a dozen more times, and gave her little buddy a few more handfuls of food!

Ever since that day, whenever Reagan makes a wish (on a star, while blowing out pretend candles, before she goes to sleep at night, on a flower she picked...) she wishes for the same thing... "I wish I could go back to Meadows Maze every day." Too bad they have already closed for the season, or we would for sure take her back to play again!

Something tells me this is going to become a yearly tradition for this household!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

PreSchool Party Day

***I'm still trying to get you all caught up... so I'm back tracking with this post, as well as a few more that will be coming soon! I hope to be back to blogging in real time by the weekend!***

Reagan is really enjoying her preschool, and she complains on the mornings that she doesn't go. She loves her teachers, and comes home every day pretending that she is either Teacher Bev or Teacher Anne. Ryan, Anna & I have become the "boys and girls" of her classroom, along with every stuffed animal in our house!

I am amazed at the things that she has learned already. This month, the science focus is all about photosynthesis. Seriously... she's three years old and she's learning about photosynthesis! The math focus for this month is sorting, and she has proven that she has a bit of my OCD tendencies with how she now sorts and organizes everything she puts her hands on!

The last class of every month is called "Party Day" and the children celebrate whomever has a birthday during that month. The parents are invited to stay for the first 30 minutes of class on Party Day, and the kids have the chance to show off all the things that they have learned from the previous month. Ryan, Anna & I were all three in attendance for Reagan's first Party Day, September 29, and of course I have a video of one of her performances...

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

All of the kids were asked to bring in a photo page (front & back) that describes their life. I was so excited to help Reagan with this project... I mean photo collages are a passion of mine, right?! We titled her page "REAGAN IS..." and each photo collage depicted a different aspect of Reagan's life.

Reagan is... A BEACH BUM.
Reagan is... AN ANIMAL LOVER.
Reagan is... A GYMNAST.
Reagan is... A VERY HAPPY GIRL!
Me? I am just so very happy and thrilled that Reagan loves her school as much as she does!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ice Skating on Thanksgiving

***I'm moving back into the present to write this post... I'll go back to covering things from the last month tomorrow!***

Today is Thanksgiving in Canada... a fact that I may never get used to. It just seems weird to be celebrating Thanksgiving in October. So weird, that I usually don't cook a big meal for Canadian Thanksgiving... I save it for November for American Thanksgiving! That was my original plan for this year as well, until Auntie Anna started asking why we weren't having turkey today. So I made a last minute decision to cook a quick turkey dinner. Normally, Thanksgiving dinner takes me two full days to prepare with endless homemade from scratch casseroles and a deep fried turkey. Not today... everything we ate was pre-prepared and frozen! All I had to do was throw it in the oven, heat it up, and place it on the table. In less that 2 hours, dinner was ready! It wasn't as good as my normal turkey dinner, but it was a heck of a lot easier!
Earlier today, we celebrated the fact that for the first time in a couple of weeks Mommy & Daddy were both home all day! It was so nice to not have to go to work, and we wanted to have a fun family outing. We decided to take Reagan ice skating for her very first time ever, and she was so excited. A little nervous, but excited just the same!

Reagan takes after her Daddy... she is a natural on the ice. Her first few moments were a bit "tricky", but it didn't take long before she was asking to skate all by herself. (Please excuse my horrible black roots that are showing... I'm getting my hair done this week, and I'm saying goodbye to the platinum blonde!)

Thank goodness that Auntie Anna was there with us and that she brought her camera. I had mine with me, but as soon as I turned it on I realized that my batteries were almost dead. Sure enough, I didn't even take a single picture before the camera shut down. Anna saved the day by taking lots of pictures... she even captured an adorable video of Reagan skating on her own (with the aid of the learning thing!) that I am sure we will always cherish. Pay attention folks... the video you are about to see will one day be worth lots of money when Reagan is an Olympic gold medal figure skater!

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

After such an eventful morning, Reagan was completely exhausted. She never actually fell asleep, but I sure enjoyed all the snuggles that I was getting.

Today, I am THANKFUL for my wonderful family. Today was a very good day!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Camping Trip and My New Job

***My next few posts will be full of all the things that we have been doing the last month! I hope to get y'all all caught up over the next few days!***

We try to go camping each year for Ryan's birthday, and this year was no different. Wait, that's not true... this year was different in that we had Auntie Anna with us! Anna had been living with us for just a few days when we loaded up my Yukon XL and headed off to Cultus Lake. Trust me when I tell you that my truck was LOADED!
We settled into our site... the same site we have stayed in the last couple of times that we went camping... and wrestled with putting up the gigantic tent. Thank goodness for step by step instructions!
Once we had all the comforts of home right inside our tent (including the amazing overhead remote control light fixture that took Ryan & Anna over an hour to install) we took off to go see our friends who were also camping that weekend at Cultus. Auntie Anna was in full nanny-mode with all the kids fighting for her attention, and she loved every second of it!
We spent most of Saturday down at the lake. Ryan & Reagan were the only two crazy enough brave enough to get in the cold water. Anna and I sat on the beach and took tons of pictures...

It was an amazingly fun weekend, and I wish we would go camping like that more often. To me, there is nothing like sitting by the campfire roasting marshmallows and eating smores in the evening, sleeping outside in a tent, and waking up to eat a big camp breakfast each morning. I LOVE IT!

One of the highlights of this camping trip was the phone call that I received Saturday afternoon not long after we had returned to our campsite from playing at the lake. You all know that I had been anxiously waiting to hear back from the hotel regarding the night audit job that I had applied for. I was pretty sure that I had the job of the Night Services Manager, but was still a little unsure because the General Manager of the hotel was hesitant to provide me with a schedule. I found out why he was hesitant while we were camping.

You see, the Hampton Inn in Langley knew that they wanted to hire me. The only problem was that they wanted to hire me for a different position that what I was applying for. You may remember from previous posts that I wanted the position of Night Services Manager so that I could still be home with Reagan during the day. I didn't care that I knew I was overqualified for that particular position, I just wanted a job that would still allow me to be a daytime stay-at-home mom. But after talking to the manager again that Saturday, I began to change the way I was thinking. I hung up the phone and looked at my husband and my sister with look of sheer panic on my face. The hotel was offering me the position of Event Coordinator and Group Sales Manager... and they were offering A LOT more money! We discussed it as a family, and my sister was actually the one who made me realize that I would be able to see Reagan more if I worked during the day than if I worked at night. If I worked at night, I would have to sleep during the day... I would never see any of them!

I was still a little hesitant about what decision I was going to make at the beginning of the week when the manager asked me to come in to the hotel again. I didn't want to give up being the one who takes Reagan to all of her activities: preschool, gymnastics, ballet, tap, etc. I was having a really hard time giving up the role of stay-at-home mom and transitioning back into career mode. I was honest with the manager, and I told him why I was hesitant to accept his generous offer. He surprised me and told me that he would be willing to work with my schedule when we needed to. If I needed to come in an hour or two late or leave an hour or two early a few days a month so that I can go to Reagan's special events, that would be fine. He was even willing to let me work my hours around my bridal business... he just wanted me to say yes to the job! So... I DID!

I am the new Event Coordinator and Group Sales Manager for the Hampton Inn in Langley. And there is already talk of me being promoted to Director of Sales very soon! I've been in the position for almost a month now, and I think that I am finally getting used to being back at work every day. The first week was horrible... I cried every day that I left the house, and then I cried when I got home because I had missed so much while I was gone. But I'm doing much better now! I'm enjoying what I am doing, but I still plan for this to just be a temporary return to the business world. I plan to make as much money as I can, and to get as many promotions as I can, before we get pregnant with baby #2. And no... no news on that front yet! We're still waiting another couple of months before we start trying!

Reagan has adjusted fairly well to my new job. She loves having Auntie Anna here with her during the day, and the two of them are CONSTANTLY doing some new fun arts and crafts activity or new creative game. Reagan asks me every morning to please not leave, but she seems to be fine once I do. I think it helps that she comes to visit me at work whenever she needs to. Of course, I'm not so sure if she is coming to see me or if she is just asking to come see the giant 3-story waterslide that connects to the pool at the hotel! She's yet to come go for a swim, but something tells me that day is coming soon!

So there you have it, the first of a few posts to get you all caught up. I'll try my best to get back on track this week... if only I could blog from work!!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Give Me Just a Few More Days...

I know, I know... I'm the worst blogger in the world right now. I promise that I have every intention of writing a post by this weekend that will catch you up on all that has been going on in our world. In the meantime... just know that I'm still here, and I will hopefully be back to my normal blogging self VERY soon!