Thursday, March 28, 2013


Today we took Will back to the eye Dr.  We have been patching his good eye for two hours a day, every day since January in hopes that it would strengthen that weaker eye and no surgery!  I was so proud of him for reminding me about his patch.  He would even wear it for longer than two hours if I didn't remind him it was time to take it off.  I really thought that it was helping - I hadn't noticed it crossing near as much as in January. didn't work.  The Dr. told us that it might have helped by about 10%, but he still recommend we go ahead with the surgery.  He said that it would be a more fine tuning surgery and should last longer than the previous one.  I'm sure hoping so.  Jon even asked if he would still have to wear his glasses after this to which the Dr. answered yes!  However, he did say he has been wrong before, but more than likely he will for sure need them for another year.  I personally think he looks pretty cute in them - Will however, would get rid of them in an instant!  So he is scheduled for surgery on April 8.  We would welcome any prayers you are willing to say on his behalf.  Will has been pretty fearful of A LOT of things lately - things that NEVER scared/bothered him before.  Pray that he will be brave and not fight anything the day of surgery.  Pray for the guidance of the Dr.'s hands.  Pray for good results - that this surgery will work.  Pray for Jon and I as we help Will through this.

This was actually before he got his glasses.  His new patch actually attaches to his glasses and made out of cloth.  These patches were like a big Band-Aid.  We did use these a couple of times when we couldn't find the other patch!
Willie D. with his glasses!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Oh man....YES!!!

Well a couple of weeks ago I was doing a little cleaning around the house and decided to wash the entry way rugs.  The weather has been so crazy that they were getting pretty dirty.  I went down to check on them to see if it was time to put them in the dryer when I noticed the washing machine was making an odd noise.  It was on the spin cycle, but not spinning.  I thought, great I broke it!  I had shoved all the rugs into the washer so I would be done with it in one load.  Now I had to put soaking wet rugs into the dryer and dry them several times - so in the long run I should have split up the rugs.  Well, I mentioned to Jon that the washer wasn't working quite right and I needed to do more laundry, so he took a look at it (the next day).  He couldn't fix it so he called the repair guy out to see what they could do.  They arrived and I kid you not they were here like five minutes!  He told me that it was beyond repair and I would need to get a new washer.  Oh man.....YES!!!!!  You see in the almost 14 years Jon and I have been married I have never owned a new washer or dryer.  I had been wanting to get a newer, bigger more efficient one, but Jon said as long as these were doing their job there was no need to get a different one - which I really couldn't argue with him.
The weekend didn't really allow us any time to go shopping for a new one so I had to wait until Monday.  We decided to shop locally since those are the ones that would service it (if it ever needed it).  We were going in for a washer, but I was secretly hoping to walk out of there with both a washer and dryer (even though the dryer was perfectly fine!).  We looked over a few and he explained the difference between them and I finally decided on one.  In the meantime I looked at a dryer (while Jon took a phone call) - there was a HUGE difference between that one and the one I had at home.  I thought I am going to have a bigger more efficient washer and then when it comes to drying my clothes I'll have to split the load in half and do two loads for the one.  How in the world is that ever going to save me any time?!  So once Jon got off the phone I shared with him my dilemma.  He did agree!!!  He told me that he buys things to help make his job(s) more efficient and decided that I should too!  I was beyond excited.  What a great guy!!  So we ended up getting a new washer & dryer.
So, we went home cleaned up the spot where the new ones would go and moved the old ones out of the way.  I was never more excited to do laundry - EVER!!  The washer (and dryer) I picked out have glass lids - which I've never had before.  So the first load of laundry I did, I stood there and watched it!  I know - sad, right?  I guess you can say I am easily amused!!  I tell you what they are unbelievable.  Laundry takes half the time now.  I can easily do one load to my two loads before AND the washing & drying time seems to be quicker.  Maybe it's not....maybe I'm just more excited to do laundry now that I actually don't forget about it!  I'm still not 100% sure if washing the rugs is why the washer actually called it quits but I'm sure thankful I washed them - for more than one reason!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Where were you?

I was really hoping to blog about this yesterday, however we were very busy with an event at church that I had to wait until today to talk about this.  A year ago (March 24) we attended the biggest party of the year!!  Our dear friends held a benefit for our family - "Raise Your Hand for TJ!"  It was more than I would have ever imagined. 

The committee consisted of close friends who were thoughtful enough to listen to our wishes (I felt like I was acting like a spoiled brat on my requests).  I wanted something that represented TJ - it would have to involve music, dancing and overall FUN!  A few of the committee members would fill us in on different details, but I had NO clue it was going to be all that it was.  I remember going early to check things out.  I was overcome with emotions the minute I stepped foot into the door.  There were inflatables, games, face painting a photo booth.  Lime green was everywhere.  There were tables upon tables of items donated for the silent auction.  And a stage full of items for the live auction.  The wall of pictures of TJ, our family, and the words written to describe TJ by his school and church classmates!  A supper consisted of Subway sandwiches, grilled burgers, hot dogs - all of TJ's favorites.  Our new friend Tyler Sash signing autographs all night!  We can't forget about the event that everyone was waiting around to witness - the shaving of Allen Goemaat's hair and beard!  And then the people....all the people!  I was completely taken back by all the people who came out to support our family.  There were familiar faces and several faces I was seeing for the first time that night.  We had family and friends who traveled from Missouri and Nebraska.  Words cannot express the emotions we were feeling that night.  I had no clue it was going to be that big of an event.  I remember thinking how I wished that TJ would have been able to be there.  We would have LOVED it!!  It screamed TJ!!  I couldn't help but think about all the fun he would have had - dancing, face painting, and I know he would have spent a majority of the night in that photo booth!!  It was everything we could have ever hoped for and so much more.  I couldn't believe the generosity of all the people.  They raised so much money that night - it was quite unbelievable!  Just a side note:  we have put that money into a special account and every year around TJ's birthday we are hoping to pay it forward.  All of those who donated that night were paying forward to us - it's the least we could do to honor them and our son. 

Were you there that night?  If so, I'd love to hear what you remember about that night.  Or maybe the things you enjoyed.  You can respond on here or send me an email (  I'd love to hear what you have to say!

I just want to give one more shout out to the AMAZING committee who put on such a memorable night.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!  Words cannot express all that you did for our family.  You went above and beyond to honor our son and for that we are forever grateful.  We love you!!

Here are just a FEW pictures of that incredible night!!

The AMAZING committee!
front row: Tom Morrison, Josh Brink, Cody DeZwarte, Megan, Margie & Kip Greenhalgh, Tanya & Kenny Davis
back row: Jes Morrison, Carly VanZomeren, Amy & Ross Terpstra, Mike & Julie VanUtrecht, Diane & Rick DeZwarte 



Tyler Sash signing autographs

The crowd of people!

Allen Goemaat along with my sister Jeana after she cut off all of his hair and beard!!!

The tables of silent auction items.


Our Family!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A New Journey

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the day we took TJ to the Serenity House in Oskaloosa.  I remember that day all too well - it was a Monday.  Let me rewind a couple days before that.  Friday we had had a special meeting with all those that were helping to care for TJ.  We met in this room with doctors, nurses - all those we had begun to love and trust as family.  I remember them telling us that they didn't know if there was anything more they could do for our precious son.  Tears were shed, hugs were given and genuine love was in that room.  Arrangements were being made for us to come "home."  The weekend would pass by and Monday was soon upon us.

I was absolutely scared to death to leave that hospital and all the people we had gotten to know, trust and love.  How were we ever going to manage each day without them.  It felt like the days after TJ was born and we were taking him home for the first time.  Except we weren't taking him "home".  He would never set foot into our house ever again.  He would never lay in his bed or ride his bike or play the computer or sit on his bar stool at the island.  This was all so hard for me to grasp that day.  We would be taking him to a new place with new people.  Would these new people care for him and love him like these wonderful people had.  I had NO clue what to expect and it terrified me!

I remember A LOT of people coming and going out of his room.  One of the first visitors was from Dr. Buatti (his radiation dr.).  He apologized that he couldn't have done more for TJ and in all his years of doing what he does - he hadn't seen anything like what TJ was experiencing.   I recall Dr. "Smirnoff" coming in to say good bye.  We had developed such a special relationship with this dr.  I honestly wanted to bring him with us.  Then Dr. O (his chemo dr.) stopped by.  She asked us about TJ's bracelets - the one with Romans 8:37.  I got out my Bible and shared with her this verse and explained the meaning behind it.  I took the bracelet off my wrist and gave it to her to keep - she was absolutely thrilled.  This woman had such love and compassion.  Then someone from genetics came in to ask questions and take a sample.  There was even a lady who came from Make a Wish.  I won't go in to great detail - I was just NOT impressed with her.  It was one dr. or nurse after another coming in to say their goodbyes.  There were MANY tears shed that morning. 

Then it was time for us to actually leave.  We had a couple of nurses and the head nurse help us out.  They gave us a gift and told us to read it later (I think they just didn't want to cry anymore)!  We carefully put TJ into the van.  One thing I remember which is kind of a side note.  TJ had gotten this amazing pillow from physical therapy and I kept telling everyone I was going to steal it.  Well when we went to leave they gave it to us too!!!  I can't fully explain this pillow, but it would form around whatever you wanted it to.  We usually put it under his head and formed it to stabilize his head so it wouldn't roll over to the side all the time.  We did use it to help his head in the van.  We gave hugs, thank you's, cried and we drove off.  We were leaving everything that was familiar to us.  Everyone who had helped us so much.  What were we going to do without them.  Not only that but it was like we were heading down the road of uncharted territory, but the only exception was we knew where the ending destination was going to be and that SCARED US!!!

I called the Serenity House to tell them we were on our way.  I was completely drained after that hour and a half drive.  We pulled into the garage where we were met by familiar faces.  We placed TJ in the wheel chair and headed for the Daisy Room.  It was absolutely beautiful yet there was something about it that made me feel uncomfortable.  I saw no monitors, nothing that resembled a hospital.  How was I going to know when TJ was in trouble?  How would we be able to help him?  It scared me.  I also asked how many nurses do you have to which they answered only one per shift.  To which I asked how many patients do you have?  I can't remember how many they had at that time, but they told me potentially up to six.  This worried me - how was TJ going to get the help he needed when he needed it.  We were spoiled in the PICU.  However, I had to realized this was not an intensive care unit.  Once I changed my thinking I began to calm down a bit. We were all clueless on how long we would actually be there and I think that terrified me as well.   I KNEW this was the right place and the right decision for our family.  We were all within 15 minutes from each other now.  I will have to admit the first couple of days I wanted to go back to Iowa City.  However, this place became my home away from home and my family away from my family.  I grew to LOVE that place and all the people in it.  We have such precious memories of that place and all who work there.  Oh the stories I could tell (which maybe I'll do later)!  The nurses, aids and volunteers have a special place in my heart - it is almost indescribable.  And so began a new journey in our life - one that would change us forever.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Trash and Treasures!

So I've been inspired lately by some blogs I read to declutter my house.  And to be quite truthful I was getting tired of all the piles and messes everywhere.  It's been a SLOW process but I've been trying to tackle one room a week.  I figure one room a day is setting me up for failure.  Also, it seems our schedule doesn't allow for me to do one room a day - I just don't have a whole entire day at home anymore it seems.  So for the last week I've been working on the kitchen.  I started with the pantry.  It seemed like I was running out of room to put food away and other things I have in our pantry.  I've reorganized it and threw out a lot of unneeded things.  I really wish I would have taken pictures of all what I've done - you would have been impressed - I know I was!!  Next I worked on four cupboards and two drawers.  These are between my fridge and pantry and seem to just be a catchall.  One cupboard is designated just for the boys "craft" items - play dough, crayons, markers, coloring books, colors, paper, etc.  Another has all of my fine china, candle stick holders, wine glasses, etc. we received as wedding gifts.  Another was a catchall for a bunch of odds and end type things.  And the last one - which I almost don't want to share - housed all the boys papers from school.  When the boys would come home from school I would go through their papers and then put them into this cupboard.  Well, the last time I cleaned this cupboard out I told myself I was only going to put in there the papers I wanted to keep.  This way when it got full - I could take them out and put them into a Rubbermaid container.  Well.....I must not have listened to myself because there were A LOT of papers I threw out.  I was also shocked when I found things in there from when TJ was in 2nd grade.  I know - it was bad!!!  I seriously thought it had not been that long ago.  By the time I had all four cupboards and two drawers done I think I had five garbage bags full of things to go to the dumpster!  I'm beginning to think I'm on the verge of being a hoarder.  That's scary.  It was fun to go through all those papers.  I found old journal entries TJ had made and had to laugh at quite a few of them.  I kept every one of them.  In fact I kept about almost every paper where he wrote any kind of story.  I found myself wanting to keep it all.  I did throw away his spelling and math papers.  Well when I was going through all the papers (of all four boys) I ran across a certain item that got my attention.  It was a piece of paper (you know the kind that is on a huge roll and it's usually brown) that had been ripped.  It had TJ's writing.  I couldn't quite figure out where this came from until I ran across a similar one written by Anthony.  Then it dawned on my - this came from church camp (his last one).  Here is what I found:

In case you can't read it, it says, "Dear Lord, Sometimes I might get mad or frustrated.  But I want you to know I will always follow (misspelled) you! Love TJ"
It was just what I needed.  I honestly had been struggling A LOT with my walk with God.  I had been very angry and mad at Him and had MANY unanswered questions.  There were times I wanted to turn my back and run in the complete opposite direction from God.  Then a couple of weeks ago we went to church with some dear friends of ours.  The service started out with the song 10,000 reasons - which always makes me emotional.  The pastor talked about repenting.  And to be quite honest with you I don't remember the exact words he said but it made an impact on me.  At the end of the service we had several different options to repent - wash our hands, take communion, sit in our chair and pray or write it down and leave it at the cross.  I sat in my chair and prayed and cried, but felt this huge nudge to take it to the cross, but I couldn't do it.  I sat there for the longest time.  Then I did it.  I went up onto the stage, grabbed a paper and pen and kneeled at the foot of the cross.  I wrote everything I had been feeling towards God and asked him to forgive me for hating Him and being so mad at Him.  And then I left it at the foot of the cross.  This was the beginning of my turning around.  I have finally been able to open my Bible and read it again.  I've been able to listen to Christian radio again.  Believe me the steps are small but I'm making strides in the right direction to get back on track again.  I still have MANY unanswered questions that I may NEVER have answered in my lifetime, but I've got to learn to trust Him again and to believe He has a plan for me (one I may not see or completely understand at the moment).  So when I found this paper that TJ had written it was EXACTLY what I needed.  If my 10 year old son can say and do it, then so can I!!!  I honestly feel like I am learning more from him than he ever learned from me in his lifetime.  The wisdom he had at such a young age is still uncomprehendable to me.  

So, as much as I was dreading cleaning, purging and organizing cupboards I really found a true treasure.  I now have this piece of paper in my office to look at every day!  Now I'm anxious to see what other treasures I may find as I tackle another room week by week.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


This year the boys did UPWARDS.  What is that you might be asking.  "Upwards Sports is the world's largest Christian sports league for kids.  They provide a fun sports experience based on healthy competition, Upward Sports Leagues help kids develop skills for the sports arena and values for life. Upward Sports uses the universal language of sports to connect with kids at a critical age and help them discover and build athletic skills, values, self-confidence and a life-long love of the game.  At Upward Sports, families matter. Our leagues give families all the benefits of participating in team sports while protecting them from hectic travel schedules and the win-at-all costs mentality that burns out young athletes. With just a 1-hour practice and 1-hour game each week, Upward Sports fits into busy family schedules while promoting the values that matter to you. Coaches and fans won’t yell at your child; they’ll cheer for them instead! "  (All this information was taken off of their website).  I figure they could explain it a little bit better than me!  For eight weeks the boys had practice one night a week and games on Saturdays.  We got it arranged that all the boys practiced on the same night.  One really cool thing that happened at practice (besides teaching them all the fundamentals) is that they were given a little life lesson every night.  Along with these lessons came Bible verses they could memorize to earn stars!  Another thing they do is equal playing time.  But I will have to admit that one of my favorite parts was something they do on game day.  The have an inflatable tunnel, shut the house lights down, start up the fog machine and it is like we are at an NBA game.  They announce every kid (and coach) as they run through that tunnel - it's pretty cool.  Oh, but they don't just say your name - they have a special name and use a cool microphone for special affects.  Our boys got the names:  Anthony g-man Goemaat, Will I am Goemaat and Charlie Shocker Goemaat!!!  They had a lot of fun with this.  Then at half time of every game the kids go back to their designated room for another little lesson while the parents/guests are given a lesson of their own.  Not only are they ministering to our kids, but they work on the parents/guests as well - it really is an outreach program!  It was fun to watch the boys improve over the eight weeks.  We ended the season last Saturday with an awards night.  Each kid/coach of every team got to run out of the tunnel one last time and then they were given a basketball and video.  They also had some other activities for the night.  We (the boys and Jon and I) really enjoyed this ministry (program) - I'm sure we will do it again next year!! 

Anthony with the Thundering Herd

Charlie with the Lil' Leopards

Will with the Cobras

Friday, March 8, 2013

Looking Back

One year ago today was when our journey with TJ changed to a downward spiral.  However, honestly looking back there never really was an upward part of our journey.  I remember it as if it were yesterday.  I started off the morning exhausted and beyond tired from the lack of sleep the night before.  I was frustrated and completely worn out.  Carol came over to ride with us to Iowa City.  We had an appointment with Dr. O first and then we were to go to radiation.  But that's not the way it would end up.  We went back to the exam room to wait for the dr. when TJ started his screaming fits.  It would start with "I can't stretch" - in a normal tone - to repeating it several times over and over as his voice became louder and louder to the point he was screaming, shaking and beyond angry.  I remember Dr. O's concern.  I think she was about as scared as I was and at a complete loss at what to do.  We tried to go over and do radiation, but it never happened.  Dr. Buatti witnessed what I had tried to explain to him the day before.  All of this took WAY longer than normal and I needed to get in touch with Jon, but we had no reception.  They told us that they wanted to admit him - how they just didn't feel comfortable sending us home.  Dr. O walked with us to 7th floor - PICU.  We were greeted by familiar faces from the first time TJ was admitted.  I broke down - and fell into the arms of Dr. Erin who held me and told me it would be ok.  I sent Carol to go call Jon - TJ was screaming way to loud for me to have any kind of conversation and I didn't want to leave him either.  This screaming and being unsettled lasted for hours.  I remember having screaming fits with him.  He would yell at me for texting his dad.  I would scream back and ask if I could scream too - to his response was NOOO!!!  I have to admit that now - Carol and I can actually laugh a little bit about it now.  At the time all I could do was cry and scream with him.  I had no idea what was going on with my kid.  What were we going to do to change/fix it?  What was causing all of this?  How long was this going to last?  I remember them giving him so much medication that he was basically sedated that the screaming stopped and he fell asleep (around 9-10pm).  We were again exhausted.  What I didn't know then was that we would be staying there for 10 days.  That my son would lose his voice.  That he would be so medicated that he wouldn't even be able to interact with us.  That they would tell us that his tumor was outgrowing his radiation.  That radiation was really making this tumor angry.  That they didn't think there was anything more they could do for our son.  That we would be making so many huge decisions this early on in our journey.  It wasn't supposed to be like this.  This isn't where I thought our journey would lead us.  Everything happened so fast that I don't think I ever really fully processed it.  It is now - a year later  - that I can see how it all played out.  I struggle everyday with the decisions we had to make.  Were they the right ones?  Could/should we have done something different?  If we would have done this - would TJ still be here?  If so, what would he have been like?  I HAVE to keep telling myself that the decisions we made WERE the best ones for TJ.  My 10 year old son couldn't walk, talk, feed himself or even go to the bathroom on his own.  It was as if I had a baby in the house again - except he was as tall as me and weighed about 90 pounds.  Is that the kind of life TJ would have wanted?  One where he couldn't sing, tell jokes, stories and make people laugh?  One where he couldn't dance, jump, run (not that he really liked to) and walk?  A life where he was totally dependent on someone else to do everything for him?  I would give ANYTHING to have him here again.   However, I have to believe in my heart that that kind of life was not what he would have wanted.  I do believe that is why TJ told Jon he wasn't afraid to die because he knew he was going to Heaven.  I got to thinking about that (what he said) the other day.  He said it so confidently - without being scared.  Would I be able to say that if I were in his exact situation?  I still can't fully grasp how he was able to say that.  How he had such peace about it.  He was so beyond his years.  I strive to be like that.  I miss that voice, laugh, and the touch of his hand.  I know his dad misses the way he used to greet him at the door every night he would come home.  I miss his goofiness.  I miss playing Dance Central with him on the X-Box.  I even miss fighting with him about doing chores.  I miss everything about that kid.  I can't wait to see him again in all his glory - dancing, singing and being the TJ I know, love and miss. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Well, that's not what I expected!

So, about seven years ago we (should say I) decided it would be fun to have a dog (again).  Let me rewind just a bit.  When Jon and I first got married we lived in an apartment in New Sharon, so we couldn't have any pets.  Once we moved out to the country I got a puppy - Hunter!  He was a good dog, other than the fact he would bring up dead animals to the house.  Well when we moved from the place we were renting to where we live now - Hunter never would really stay around.  Not sure what ended up happening to him - he just ran off and never came back.  Then when TJ was about three and Anthony was six months old we got a black lab - Shadow - from our baby sitter's niece.  It was a bit of a wild dog.  I remember being outside working in the flower beds - I would set up the pack and play for Anthony to hang out in and it would never fail - TJ would jump in every time because he was so scared of that dog.  Come harvest time, Shadow didn't make it.  She kept chasing the tractor up and down the lane and got hit by a truck that drove by our driveway.  Ok, now back to me wanting to get a dog again.  Our neighbor's dog had pups and they were so cute, plus the boys were older now (and we now had Will) I thought it was time for a dog again.  I always grew up with a dog - the boys needed a pet (and maybe a little responsibility)!  So, I took the boys over to pick out a puppy and we came home with two - Jack and Lady (named after two Thomas the Train characters).  They were perfect.  I never heard them whimper.  They never really had a bad puppy stage where they got into everything.  I honestly think it was because they had each other - they weren't lonely.  We never had any problems with them.

Then about five years ago I noticed that Jack didn't quite seem the same.  Once I got closer I could see that he was bleeding.  I knew he hadn't been hit.  I really don't remember where Jon was, but I called my dad to come help me.  He took Jack down to the vet to see what was wrong.  They called and told me that they thought he had gotten into mouse poison and he was bleeding internally.  There were only two options for Jack - a blood transfusion or put him down.  Well, growing up on the farm dogs came and went (in fact growing up - we would get a puppy at the kiddie barn at the Southern Iowa Fair and by next fair time our dog had gotten hit by a car so we would get another one).  I just couldn't justify a transfusion, so we had to put him down.  They asked me if we had any other dogs which I told them yes.  So, Dad made another trip back to the vet for me, however, Lady was just fine (thankfully).  Dad graciously brought Jack back home for us.  For some odd reason TJ wanted to see Jack.  I wasn't sure that was a good idea, but thought I'd grant his wish.  Well he was in a Styrofoam box and on the box was the name Max.  I began to panic and worried that my Dad had grabbed the wrong dog on accident.  So, the following conversation happened between my Dad and I (quietly so TJ couldn't hear)
                                         "Dad, are you sure you got the right dog?"
                                         "Yea, why?"
                                         "The box says Max on it."
                                         "Isn't that the dog's name?"
                                         "No, it's Jack."
                                         "Oh, I couldn't remember, so I told them it was Max."
WHEW!!  Well, after that TJ changed his mind and didn't want to see the dog.  I was a very thankful.  So, my Dad helped Jon dig a hole to bury Jack.  The funny part - my Dad decided that maybe they should say something - so what does he say?  "Max, he was  good ol' dog!"  We still laugh about that to this day!

Well, since Jack was gone all we had was Lady.  I think she began to get lonely and I believe other male dogs could sense there was no longer a male dog around here - so they decided to come over and make friends with Lady.  How thoughtful!!  Except there was one problem - we didn't have Lady fixed!  So began our adventure of Lady and her puppies!  I think she had a total of three different litters.  I know what you're thinking - why didn't you get her fixed?!?  There were several times we thought about it, but do you remember my growing up - I just knew that the day we would get her fixed she would get hit by a car the next day.  I think at one time we had 11 dogs!  It was crazy.  We did give some away.  Others learned the trick of chasing cars down our lane and didn't make it.  I have to admit she did have some pretty cute puppies!!  The boys would always name them.  And oh the stories we could tell!  That's a whole other post!!

Well, Lady passed away a little while ago and we no longer have any dogs.  I was saddened, but there was a part of me that was a little relieved - I wouldn't have to worry about getting her fixed or having any more puppies.  But as time goes by with no dog - it really has impacted me more than I thought.  There is no longer anyone to give scraps to or when I clean out the refrigerator.  There are no more barks to let me know when someone is coming up the drive (or late at night when they coyotes are howling).  There is no longer someone greeting me when I pull up the driveway.  Although I miss her, I am not ready for another dog anytime soon.  It's just another change in our family we are going to have to get used to.

I tried to find the picture with TJ and Anthony holding Jack and Lady, but it must not be on my computer.  That was probably back in the day when I had film and I actually printed my pictures.  Here is a picture with the boys and Lady's puppies!

Anthony has Denny (for Denny Hamilton)
Charlie has _____! He changed his name every day - it depended on what NFL team he liked best!
TJ holding spot
Will holding Martin (for Mark Martin)