Sunday, July 26, 2015

Kooter (with a K) Boyd

Kooter, Spring 2001 - 7/22/15
We had to say goodbye to one of our furbabies last week.

We had just taken him to the vet the week before for a small growth on his leg (turned out to be only cosmetic) and also because we had noticed he'd been acting a little different lately. Nothing too alarming, and after talking to the vet we attributed it to all the changes with me being pregnant/sick and him not getting as much attention, and with him getting older and having arthritis and just becoming more grumpy in general. The vet offered to run labs but we decided to just wait and see if he cheered up with more attention. Bad decision on our part.

vet visit #1
Tuesday night we noticed he was really sick. He couldn't walk and was stumbling all over the place. His head was bobbing around and he looked miserable. We talked about taking him to the after hours clinic but didn't want to spend a small fortune when google said it very well could be vestibular disease, which is what Sydney had last year and goes away completely on it's own. We decided to wait until the next morning when we could take him to our vet and reassess. Another bad decision on our part. He was still in poor shape in the morning but at least had his head up. I had appointments all morning and when we got back home after lunch he had gone downhill fast. He was vomiting blood and was extremely lethargic. Thankfully my mom was available to come watch the kids so I could take him to the vet. The vet was 95% sure he was in renal kidney failure and there wasn't anything we could do for him at that point. He offered to run tests to rule out a tumor or obstruction that could also be causing the bloody vomit, but wasn't optimistic that he would even be able to survive surgery if it turned out to be something else. So we had to make the decision to have him euthanized. Ugh, that is something you should never have to go through, especially while pregnant and hormonal. Rick stayed with him while they gave him the injection while I disappeared to the car so I could have my emotional breakdown in private.

The last picture I took of him. My poor baby kitty was feeling so terrible.

I wasn't expecting to be so upset. We knew our pets were getting old and that the end would be coming sooner rather than later. And as much as I hate to say it, after having kids your feelings do change about your pets. I swore I would never let that happen. I have loved animals since before I can even remember. I wanted to grow up and become a veterinarian. I used to be the obnoxious person who dressed my pets up and put them on our Christmas cards. They were my babies before we had babies and I definitely treated them as such. But then I had real babies and on most days felt stretched thin by the responsibility of taking care of so many living, breathing, demanding bodies. I was now staying home where I was followed around by them 24/7. And they got older and needier and I caught myself feeling annoyed and frustrated by them a lot. But man, I lost it when it was time to say goodbye to that cat. He was a huge part of my life for so long. I had just turned 18 when we got him. He's been part of our family for my entire adult life and his presence is missed and his absence around the house is very obvious.

And then there was the awful part of telling the kids. Rick did all the talking because I was trying to keep my composure. He didn't even finish the sentence before they were both wailing. Especially Harrison. He is surprisingly the more sensitive one in these types of situations. Harper, on the other hand, didn't even wait 30 seconds before jumping at the opportunity to ask for a new kitten. Over and over. And then she went on to say, "Well, I guess the good thing about Kooter being dead is that he can't try to eat our new lizard that we caught today. You know, because when you're dead, you just lay there with your eyes closed and you can't move. ::imitates a dead person with her eyes closed and tongue sticking out:: So now my lizard will be safe since Kooter is dead now." Ummm...okay? I just stared at her blankly and then couldn't help but laugh. She definitely provided some much needed comic relief, albeit very morbid and somewhat creepy. :) Thankfully her brother was still crying so he didn't hear her comments or I'm pretty sure it would have made things way worse.

As if this post about a cat isn't long enough already, I'm now going to share some stories and pictures from his life. I went through pictures on the computer and through old photo albums and it's pretty embarrassing how many pictures I have of our pets! Like I said, they were our babies before we had babies.

going way back to 2001

He came to us when we were still living in Victoria 14+ years ago. And by "we", I mean Rick & me. So if you're doing the math, yep. We started dating a couple of weeks after I graduated from high school. And I graduated as a junior. I was 17 and he was 22. Cradle robber, all the way. I'm sure much to our parents' delight, we moved in together about 6 months after we started dating. Not at all how Current Kelsey would have had it play out, and definitely not what I hope for our kids' futures, but I like to think that it worked out perfectly and God was very present in all those not-so-wise decisions we were making :)

ANYWAY, a friend came by the house while I was at work. Rick opened the door, saw Sheri standing there holding a scrappy-looking kitten, and told her, "she's not here...and don't you dare go by her work." Long story short, 30 minutes later I came home with the scrappy-looking kitten begging Rick to let us keep him. He just shook his head and smiled at me. The poor guy had been attacked by a dog and was snaggle-toothed, so Rick suggested the name Cooter like from Dukes of Hazzard. But of course we had to spell it with a K, because obviously K names are the bomb dot com. And that is the day that Kooter-with-a-K came to be part of our family.

back when futons and ugly belts were cool
He was a special kitty. And I mean both types of "special." I mentioned how he was attacked by a dog. I think it knocked something loose in that head of his. You would think his traumatic experience would cause him to be afraid of dogs. Nope. He actually later had an encounter with a dog who was growling at him...and instead of running away, Kooter started purring and rubbing and petting himself on the dog's TEETH. But cats? He hated other felines. Even as an almost 20lb cat, he once hissed, ran, and hid from a 6 week old kitten.

Then there was the time he literally had a panic attack. He was about 3 years old at the time. Since he was "special," he was an inside kitty. He would occasionally creep out into the backyard but at the first butterfly flying by he would usually get spooked and dart back inside. But one time he got a little more adventurous. He found a gap under the wooden fence and ventured into the neighbor's yard. After a few minutes of exploring over there, he looked around and realized he was "lost." I heard him howling and tried to get him to go back to the gap he originally went through, but he was frantic. Then I tried to get him to use his cat instincts and climb up the fence, but that wasn't happening either. Heaven forbid he use his claws to climb up something made out of a tree. I ended up having to stick my arm through and shimmy him up and over the 6 foot privacy fence. He was so upset that he was actually hyperventilating. Like I said, he was special :)

hyperventilating kitty

Then there was the one time he did actually act like a cat and jumped from his little cat jungle onto the top of our tv armoire. We were sitting on the couch watching him in awe. Then he got even more brave. We had a window ledge that was about 3 or 4 feet away from the armoire, and we watched him study it and slowly talk himself into jumping across to it. He jumped...and then missed. He got tangled up in the curtains and the whole rod came tumbling down. And even though they say cats always land on their feet, this definitely didn't apply to Kooter. He was fine though, and got up and darted off, and we laughed and laughed until we were crying.

He had so much personality and was unlike any cat I've ever had. Even people who claimed to not be cat people loved Kooter. He had many nicknames, mostly thanks to Rick, because Rick is goofy and loves giving people and animals random nicknames. A few off the top of my head: Kutro, De La Escuala (I have NO idea), Big Gay Orange, and Fat Bastard.

The thing I will remember most about him was how extremely clingy, codependent, needy, and affectionate he was. And relentless and determined to be in your lap at all times or on the bed at night. We would shut our bedroom door at night and he used to meow and meow and scratch at the door begging to get in. But he purred so loud and rubbed against our faces and it did not make for good sleep, so he wasn't allowed in. There were occasions we made exceptions. So there were also more than a few times he got chunked across the room. One time in particular, he hit the wall and slid down, and yet 30 seconds later he was back begging for love again. He purred constantly. He was so much more like dog than a cat. He was never independent and never snubbed people like most cats have a reputation of doing. If you snapped your fingers, he would sprint in from the other room on command and jump up in your lap. If I told him to give me kisses, he actually did. He was ALWAYS up for a snuggle. He was definitely the most loyal pet I've ever had and even though it was reeeeally annoying at times, it was also my favorite things about him.

Such a cuddler
If he couldn't get you to spoon or cradle him, he was always working his way onto people's laps. He didn't mind sharing, either.

Sooooooo persistent

And if he couldn't find a lap, you can guarantee he was always nearby

He was so good with the kids

he was EXTREMELY tolerant and never growled or hissed at a person in his entire life
he was a lazy, sleepy cat
always up for kisses

Christmas was his favorite time of the year. He LOVED lying under the tree. And trying to eat ribbon.

He was the best cat I could have asked for. So thankful for over 14 years with him.  We are really sad to say goodbye.

Bye, Kooter. We loved the heck out of you. You sure will be missed.

Monday, July 13, 2015

24 Weeks

It's hard to believe it's been 4 weeks since my last pregnancy update. What's even harder to believe is that I just typed that last sentence! Every day of this pregnancy has felt like an eternity. When people say in conversation that they can't believe how fast time is flying by, I feel the exact opposite. I sort of feel like I've been gestating an elephant and have been pregnant for 2 years. Ha.


The last couple of weeks have been so much better! By 22 weeks with Harrison my vomiting was finally gone. That's not the case with this pregnancy, but it feels much more like normal morning sickness than the constant nausea/vomiting I've been dealing with for the last 4 months. I have more chunks throughout the day of feeling almost like my old self again and I am SO thankful. We are getting out a lot more and even though I still feel crappy, I'm functioning so much better. As far as the vomiting, I'm still throwing up some but nothing like before. I feel the worst in the evenings so I'm still not really up for cooking dinner again yet, but my appetite is back and I'm and keeping so much more food down. Progress!!!! The light at the end of the tunnel is getting bigger.

I've had other issues pop up since my last update, but I will GLADLY deal with them over the HG misery. My pelvis is giving me a lot of trouble. More specifically, my sacroiliac joint. I had this same issue with Harrison but it's a lot worse this time. My OB referred me to a chiropractor and I am now going in 3 times a week to get re-adjusted. It really seems to help but usually by the next day the pain is back. It doesn't hurt at all while I'm still, but the moment I try to stand up or walk it's awful. The other day I was on the floor with the kids and I literally could not get back up by myself. It's a glimpse into what getting old is going to be like and I'm definitely not looking forward to the elderly years...

Here is a belly picture taken last week. After my chiro appointment we ran into Hobby Lobby to look for fabric for the girls' room. We walked down the mirror isle and Harper looked up from the game she was playing on my phone and said with big eyes, "Whoa Mommy. Look at how huge your belly looks! Hold on, I need to take a picture of it!"


Pregnancy Highlights:

How Far Along: 24 weeks

Size of baby: 12 inches long (about the size of an ear of corn) and 1 1/2 lbs.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: I have finally gained some weight! I'm up 10lbs now. My appetite is back in full force and I also get really nauseated when my stomach is empty, so I'm eating a ton of food now. So, so happy! I have missed food :)

Maternity Clothes: I just went through my closet and found a whopping 2 shirts that aren't maternity that I can still make work.

Gender: A sweet baby sister. We are 90% decided on a name. Rick is 100% decided and I am trying to get there.

Movement: Baby H is a feisty one. Lots of kicks and punches and hiccups. The kids love watching my belly bounce all over the place.

Sleep: SO much better. I was so scared to alter my meds but when I finally did, I realized it wasn't even helping. So I've been feeling drowsy and exhausted for nothing. Now I'm off all meds and my insomnia is much better and I wake up feeling refreshed.

What I miss: An occasional beer on a hot summer day.

Cravings: Banana splits. Harper had her first one a couple of weeks ago and I haven't been able to get it out of my mind ever since. It's super mean though because even though ice cream sounds so good to me, every time I give in and indulge it usually makes me feel awful and doesn't stay down. 

Symptoms: Still some nausea and vomiting, SPD joint issues, nosebleeds, and my lovely chloasma is back. I've had it in every pregnancy and it doesn't go away until I'm done breastfeeding. Boo!! 

Best Moment this week: Starting to feel a little better and actually getting out and enjoying activities with my family!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Fostering, & Other February Fun

Elby joined us on February 2. We got a phone call asking if we would be willing to take a 6 month old baby and his 5 year old brother. We of course said yes(!!!) and a couple of hours later, CPS dropped him off. So surreal to be handed a baby you know absolutely nothing about other than his name and birthday. His older brother ended up being placed with their 2 other siblings since they were all closer in age. We had the pleasure of being Elby's family for 3 months before the judge placed him with his brothers and sisters. We loved him dearly. He was seriously the easiest baby I've ever met. He loved to eat and sleep and was happy and content 95% of the time. He was smart and loved playing and engaging with us. He is a big reason for our eager excitement about this new baby on the way because he was a great reminder of how wonderful it is to have a baby around. And I'm sure he also set us up with some major false expectations since Boyd babies aren't nearly as easygoing as he was. Ha!

The kids LOVED Elby and doted on him constantly. They took it very hard when we had to say goodbye and it was an all around terrible few weeks of adjustment. I was already extremely sick by the point he left and wrestled with the guilt of feeling like I was failing my family, and then on top of that, the guilt of putting the kids through the heartache of losing another foster sibling. There were moments when we questioned if we had done the right thing. Because the truth is, if we had never fostered, our children would have never known that grief. They cried a lot and saw firsthand that life isn't fair and that sometimes it hurts us deeply, and we could have sheltered them from that ugly fact for a little longer. But then they also wouldn't have ever experienced what it's like to love a total stranger so graciously and share their life with them. To extend love and grace the way it's been given so freely to us. Foster care and adoption is extremely complicated. It is both ugly and beautiful. It's full of both smiles and tears. It's hard for every single person involved. But it's also such a great picture of God's love for us and how we are all His adopted children. God commands us to pass that love on to actions and not just words. There are many ways to do this, but God called our family to do it through foster care. We know that He can make beauty out of the ashes of our heartache and disappointment and continue to believe that His plan is far better.

A few people have asked us if having another biological baby means we've changed our mind about fostering/adoption. The answer is no. It has obviously thrown a wrench into our initial plans, but God has had a pattern of doing that to us over the last several years. :) We are learning to rely on His plans instead of our own. Our hearts are still in the same place. We feel called to this ministry. We are open to growing our family even more. How it's all going to play out specifically? I have no idea. I wasn't expecting to get pregnant. I wasn't expecting to be so sick. We're using this time to take a time out and listen for what God has planned for our family and want to remain flexible to whatever that looks like and in whatever timing is His.

snoozing in Target
entertaining him while we waited at the doctor

He wouldn't have fit in if he wasn't a pukey baby! lol. He actually wasn't too bad but this was when he was sick and kept coughing up his bottles.
Poor sick baby. He came to us with croup and then a week or two later was hospitalized for RSV.
love those chubby little hands
couch snuggles after baths...nothing beats the fresh scent of clean little boys
Reading him bible stories
wish I could share all of his cuteness
We will never forget this precious, dimply smile


Here was the rest of our February, according to pictures:

Rick teased me for complaining about a "little tiny scratch" I got on my leg, as he called it. I somehow managed to injure myself on the corner of a ladder while trying to dig something out of the garage. Man, it hurt! But he wasn't giving me any sympathy.

But then my "little tiny scratch" turned into this and he had to quit teasing me. haha. I don't bruise easily so I was proud of this one.


Harrison's class studied a new letter each week and brought a show-and-tell item corresponding to the letter they were on. When they got to the letter Kk, he wanted to bring me. The next best thing: an illustrated portrait. Am I one hot mama, or what?!

he told me I'm wearing a crown since I'm the queen :)


Our church hosted a local If:Gathering this year. Last year I was so thankful to go to the first conference in Austin with a great group of girls and was excited to hear I would be able to go again this year since it meant I wouldn't need to travel. I missed the first day since I was still in the hospital with Elby, but made it to the second day of sessions. It was so good for my soul! I loved all the speakers and content of their messages and then rehashing it all out with the ladies at my table.

It's funny how when you're in the moment and absorbing all the great nuggets of wisdom you feel like your heart is changed and you'll never ever forget what was discussed. And then two weeks later and you can't even remember what the topic of the conference was about. Or maybe that's just me?? Anyway, I'm glad I jotted down notes in a journal because it's been so helpful to reference them periodically. Lately I've been encouraged by Laura Sobiech's testimony. She shared about losing her son to cancer and coping with the grief of that ever since. She talked about how our story is given to us by God and that while we don't get to choose it, we do get to choose how we react and respond to it. I love how she talked about how God gives us manna each day -- a daily ration of grace to handle one day at a time. She encouraged everyone to open their hearts to the things God has for you even amidst grief and suffering, and reminded us that beauty and grief co-mingle and to always embrace opportunities of joy no matter what circumstances we are facing. I need this reminder pretty much every single day so I can keep my crappy attitude in check!

I scribbled down so much more from all the other speakers but it's too much to share here. It really was a great conference! We ended it by writing down on a rock what our next step in faith is. Then we stacked them in a pile. Love this tangible glimpse of how God is working in the hearts of so many women in my community.


And here are some more random pictures from the rest of the month:

Go Texan Day

Fun at the park

Mom, look....I built Jericho! (and then he tore it down)
Such a difference in personalities. Which also equates to a difference in table manners.
My mom gave us a giant dog bed...and this is who claimed it.
My I love her so
shoveling in the donuts
oh boy...she has a love for pretty pink (pricey) purses. She ran to this, picked it up, and told me to take a picture and send it to her dad. lol.

Oh, Harrison.

One of his favorite hobbies

they are best friends and play so well together!

damsels in distress

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