Wednesday, 28 December 2011

My days with Buddy... days 7-10

Okay, I have really lapse in my postings of my days with Buddy.  I guess its because he is doing so well, so I really have little to say, other than, "he's doing great!"

Today, I need to make a modification to a previous statement regarding the genders of the puppies.

Yes, I made an error in this little one...
...actually, not so little.  This is the largest of all Lucy's pups to date.


I called her Big Bertha.  Well, this has been changed to Big Bert...drop the "ha".

Yes - she is a he.

I discovered this just 2 nights ago.  The kids had just left for home and I came in for a puppy cuddle, picking up this sweet little one, when I thought..."hmm - what is that?"  In my preoccupation with Little Buddy, I happened to pass over the existence of this...
Yes, amid this big belly, he is definitely "endowed".  What I believed to be an umbilical cord is actually his manhood.

Sorry little guy.

I have to say that I am quite embarrassed by this oversight.  When Alyssa was just 5 days old, waiting for discharge, my regular doctor was unavailable to do a check over before we left, so another doctor was brought in.  As Lys lay "naked as a jay-bird" this professional kept referring to her as "him", "he" etc.  I was so put off by is lack of knowledge in human anatomy.  I never forgot that.

Now I realize - I'm not so smart either.

ps... Buddy now weighs 150 gms.  Three times his birth weight!!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

My Days with 6 (missed day 5 - I know!)

100 grams!!

yes...100 grams!!

At 5 days old, Buddy has hit the goal of 100 grams.  5 days!  He has beaten the odds and doubled his birth weight.  

True confessions time...on Monday I really had doubts that we would make it to this day.  I wanted to believe with all my heart that he would survive.  I googled small birth weight puppies and read stories that I should never have read.  I also doubted my abilities to really pull this off.  The first few chimes of my alarm clock in the middle of the night really made me doubt it!  

Little Buddy is a popular little guy.  People all over the world have been checking in on his progress, praying for his survival and hoping for success.  

I have been asked by many people if they could be his new family, but I have decided that Buddy is mine.  He and I have a bond that formed some time during one of those early morning feedings, in one of the kisses placed on his soft little head.  It would be impossible for my heart to cut those ties.

Welcome home, my little Buddy!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

My Days with Buddy... day 4

           Buddy is now 24 hours OFF the syringe.  Last night I gave him his last 2 cc's of Mammalac.  Actually - most of it ran down his neck because he really didn't want it.  As soon as I set him down, he found his way to his dear Mamma and latched on and stayed there for half an hour.  He has clearly decided that the "real thing" is better than that artificial stuff.  
           I am now getting some least more than 2 hours at at time, but I did wake up a few times in the night - just to check.  Apparently my mothering instincts are still pretty acute.  
He is not fully out of the woods yet.  He is still pretty small - just over 70 grams, almost at 80 - so I would like to see him well over the 100 grams before I am breathing easy.  
          Thank you for praying.  I am convinced that he is the most prayed for dog in the world right now.  I can't go anywhere in this little town without someone asking how little Buddy is.  I think we all love to hear about miracles - especially at this time of year.  On behalf of Lucy, Buddy and me - thank you for your clear signs of love and concern.  We are blessed!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Many of you have been asking about the other puppies.  Today I was finally able to take a few pictures of them and I promise to put in more as the days go on.  Lucy is still pretty unsettled if they are taken from her close supervision, so I try to respect her wishes in this.

Here is their first family photo.  They are still a little "rat-y" looking, but day by day they are getting cuter and cuter.  As my friends know, I have to name vehicles are Eleanor, Boo, the Beast, and Eddie (as in VanHalen).  I have a purse named Lizzi.  My camera is Nik.

Well, these puppies cannot remain nameless forever, and although they are going to be renamed by their new owners, I do have to call them something other than Buddy's sisters.  So, introducing - on the left - Emma and in the middle - Bertha.  Now before you start freaking out, I need to explain.  These 2 puppies are much larger than little Buddy (see his head size compared to theirs??).  These two brutes think nothing of pushing him off a good milk supply to fill their own large tummies, so they got named "Fat Emma" and "Big Bertha".  As much as I try to keep them away from Buddy, and even in their complete blind state, they are amazingly able to smell and scootch over to Lucy if they even sense that Buddy is getting fed and they are not.

It is sibling rivalry at it's finest.  Each trying to get the best position at the expense of the other.  Lucy has 6 very functioning milk apparatus (apparati?) but they all seem to want the one that Buddy is securely attached to.  Sometimes they make me so frustrated (I am a little biased toward my little guy), and I will give them a little scolding as I remove them.  They just seem so selfish.

But then, just when I think that they are just the most evil little creatures, they do the most amazing thing.  When feeding time is over, they provide the greatest source of warmth for their skinny little brother.  At nap time these two plump little puppies curl up tightly around and over Buddy.  Their chubby bodies creating the perfect temperature for his tiny frame.

Just a normal modern family.  At times a little selfish, but when the chips are down they create a safe and warm place to protect their own.

After all, we can all use a little cuddle every now and then.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

My Days with 3

"Make sure that you weigh him to see that he is thriving."

Hmmm... weigh something that is the size of a box of paperclips.  That won't work so well on my bathroom scale.  After much pondering, I remembered the postage scale at the school.  Thankfully with Christmas here, not much is needing to be weighed these day, so I have absconded with a measuring devise for Buddy.

At the clinic on Monday, Buddy weighed in at just under 50 grams.  Do you know how much that is?  These are a few things that weigh 50 grams - just to give you a little perspective...

* 10 nickels
* a package of Trident gum
* a small stapler

That was the original weight of Buddy.

I am happy to announce that as of today, Buddy is a grand total of 70 grams!!  That's like adding 4 more nickels!

Way to go little Buddy!!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

My Days with 2

I guess this is actually still day 1, but days are feeling like weeks right now, so bear with me.

The syringe feeding began, just as the Doctor ordered.  I am not unaccustomed to such lengths for animals.  I come from a long line of soft-hearted animal lovers.  I well remember my Dad trying to save and rescue wounded or even dead animals.  We once had a gold fish - named Goldie (original, huh!) that was belly up one morning.  I cried and Dad went to work on her.  He filled a glass with warm water and added a pinch of salt.  He then laid the floating fish in the glass and started to give it "artificially respiration" by stroking its gills.  For some reason I, to this day, believe that this little fish came back to life. Not sure if that's a correct memory, or the firm belief in the power of my father.  Needless to say, with that in my past - along with many concussed birds that hit our french door, brought back to health by my Dad, and other such stories, I am a believer in miracles with animals.

Through out the day yesterday I did the feedings.  9:30, 11:30, 1:30, 3:30, 5:30.... every 2 hours.  Alyssa drove to Three Hills to see the little ones, so she helped with the 7:30 feeding while I was at practice.  She found out it was not as easy as one would think.

First of all, Lucy is NOT pleased with this process.

She is a remarkable mother.  At only 2 years old, she has the amazing instincts of an old pro.  She goes into complete panic when I pick Buddy up to feed him.  She cries and nudges my hand with her nose.  She loves me and trusts me, so she doesn't get mad, but she definitely lets me know that this is not what she likes.  It is like she was trying to tell me, "Let me do that!  This is MY job!".

Sorry Luce - it doesn't work that way with this little guy.  I have to help you.

The feedings went like clockwork.  He doesn't like the syringe much - especially when I give just a little too much pressure on the plunger and he gets a bit more than a drop at a time.  But with persistence, things are going well.

Then, we saw it.  Lys noticed it first.  Buddy is latched on to Lucy.

I couldn't believe it!  But there he was, snuggled up close, little paws on either sides of her teats.  He was really sucking.  We watched to make sure that he was swallowing properly, and sure enough, he was doing it.

Lucy looked at me as if to say, "See?  I told you this was my job!", and laid her head down and closed her eyes.

We cried.  We thanked God for His tender care over these "insignificant ones" that are so significant to us.

I was still not convinced that he would completely "get it", and that his big aggressive sisters wouldn't allow him to have his fair share, so throughout the night the feedings continued...2:00, 4:00, 6:00.

At 8 am I was out of formula, so I dragged my very tired self to the kitchen to mix up the milk for the day.  I came into the family room - aka the nursery - and settled onto the floor next to the nest of blankets.

There it was again - Buddy latched on perfectly - and his two sisters nicely tucked under Lucy's front and back legs, keeping an open path for him alone to nurse.

I looked at Lucy and said, "You think you're pretty smart don't you!"  She smiled.  (YES, dogs DO smile) and laid her head down and gave a big sigh.

At that moment, I felt very close to God. Through the life of this new little family I have learned that He takes care of those that He loves, and I know He loves Lucy and her babies...just like He loves me.

I have had some very difficult days the past month or so.  I have been criticized and slandered about the very things in my life that mean the very most.  It has cut me to the core and made me feel hurt, alone and damaged.  Although I have had the support of many wonderful and dear friends, this affirmation this morning - on the floor beside my dear little dog - God spoke to me.

It was like He said, "I'm going to look after you.  I know you are hurt.  I know others are hurting you, but you need to let me feed you.  I will hold the others away.  Trust me.  Good people can help you feel better, but I will do more.  Let me."

Let me.

So I have.  Thank you Father.

Monday, 19 December 2011

My Days with one

2:55 am....(pant pant pant).... (dig dig dig)
        "Lucy!  Stop it!  Go to sleep"

- didn't stop - didn't sleep

Fully awake...  "Dan, Lucy's in labour!"

This is the first time that my beloved has been around to experience the miracle of life - at least with Lucy.  Actually, come to think of it, he was only around for Alyssa's birth too since Riley was born half way between the ambulance and the delivery room...

"How long does this usually take?"

"A while"

"I'm going back to bed"

So I began my long night with Lucy.  She has had some pretty bad luck with her babies.  This is her 3rd litter of pups and has up until now, birthed 6 puppies - with only 3 surviving.  I was not looking forward to digging another grave through the snow.

6:17 am..."Dan!!  Here comes one!"  Out plopped a little girl.  She has Lucy's face and white little paws.  Her coat is a warm, rich brown.



6:29 am..."There's another one coming...breech...shoot!"  Watching for the right signs in Lucy, I grab the back end of the next puppy - another little girl and gently...pull (and pray).

She starts kicking right away.  She is jet black with a white face, white paws, and a beautiful white circle on her tummy.



Is that it?  Lucy seems more relaxed and she tends to the cleaning of her beautiful little girls.  If she has any more in there, she doesn't seem to be ready to deliver it any time soon.  I decided that she was done.

7:32 am...was that another contraction?  Absolutely.  Lucy starts to squirm and push and I see him.

so tiny

too tiny

Oh Lucy, I'm sorry.  My eyes are clouded with the tears I didn't want to cry, when suddenly he kicks at the membrane enclosing him.


I quickly pulled off the clear sac and coaxed him to breath.  "Come on buddy, you can do this... come on!!"  There is a little squeak - hardly audible, but I heard it.


Little bitty thing.

While his sisters figured out the whole food supply thing just moments after birth, Buddy is not catching on.  I call Dr. Kathy - friend and vet - and I tell her what was going on.  "Just bring him over - I will take a look"

First vet visit at only moments old.

She weighs him.  50 grams.

Anything under 100 grams is not considered viable.

Not considered viable.  But he is alive - just tiny.  What do I do?

"Are you up for a challenge?" she asks.

To make him live?  "Yes!".  She then proceeds to give me instructions on how to help my little buddy survive.  Make this formula up - feed with a dropper, 1-2 mls every 2 hours (EVERY 2 hours) - keep him warm (at least 95 degrees) - Best if he stays right next to your skin, especially if you are getting hot flashes - he'll like that!"


"Will he survive?"


"What if I don't do this?"

He will die.

Kathy said that there is usually a reason that these little ones are born so little.  It could be what takes him eventually. Even if he lives past the first few difficult days, he could die of something else down the road...

...after I have truly grown to love him.

"Why would you do this?  Why not let him die?"  you might be asking.

Because all God's creatures deserve a fighting chance.  He could have been still born or gotten stuck, but no - he was strong enough to take his first breaths.

I respect that kind of strength and I will do all I can to help him live.

So thus begin my days with Buddy.

Happy Birth-day sweet boy!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Making Lefsa

Today I spent the day with my Mom.

Now, before you go thinking that I believe in ghosts and stuff like that - let me explain.

I made Lefsa.

Lefsa is a wonderful Scandinavian treat made of potatoes, butter, cream, sugar, salt and flour...that's all.  But that combination is perfectly heavenly.

Mom made the best lefsa.  (among other things)   So many of the memories that I have of her centre around the food that Mom lovingly prepared and fed us.  She was amazing in the kitchen.  I now wish that I would have participated with her in the kitchen rather than just watch her.

So now, out of necessity, when I am cooking things that are "Mom food" - I tend to talk to her and get her advise.  It's when I feel closest to her.

This is her domain.

These are her tools.  I inherited them.  Her old potato ricer, her lefsa rolling pin, her Westbend round griddle (used ONLY for cooking lefsa) and her turning stick - that my dad made.  Her recipe has little notes that I made while she gave me the instruction.  Things like, "don't handle the dough too much - it will get tough"  and  "add flour until it feels right"  and  "BUTTER, not margarine!"   These are things that I remember her saying to me like it was yesterday.

Another thing that she told me long ago what this... You must use leftover mashed potatoes.  I asked her a few times why she didn't just cook up a bunch of potatoes, mash them, put them into the fridge and make lefsa out of them.  She told me that it just didn't work to do it that way.  It had to be leftovers.  Trying to argue this with her ended up in her words that shut down the questions.

 "the dough knows"

What?  The dough knows?  What does that mean?

I thought about that today as I pressed 8 cups of true leftover potatoes through that old ricer.  We did a big turkey dinner for a church Christmas banquet on Sunday.

Leftovers.  The remaining bits of a delicious dinner, enjoyed by many.  Maybe that is the secret.

The dough knows

The dough knows that it created from something good.  People ate to their heart's content, the rest was wrapped up to be use later, for a different purpose.  A fabulous purpose...lefsa.

As the circles of dough cooked on the griddle, I could smell Mom's kitchen.  That comforting aroma of rich goodness.

Memories of a house full of family...
kids laughing
playing Skipbo
putting together a puzzle
food always within arm's reach
Mom taking care of all of us

As I spread the butter and sprinkled on the sugar and cinnamon and rolled up the warm flat circle, I cried a little bit.

I told Mom that I missed her.  I told her that we were all okay, but it just wasn't the same without her.

I wished for more time, but thanked God for the amazing time that we had with her.

What a great day with my Mom.  I think I will do it again...really soon!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Christmas Traditions

We all have them - those little "insignificant" things that matter significantly


Growing up, my family tradition included
   * turkey dinner on Christmas eve - with mom's amazing marshmallow pineapple salad
   * family all under the same roof - LOTS of family
   * opening presents on Christmas eve - AFTER the dishes and reciting Luke 2 as a family
   * playing games and eating lefse, homemade carmels, candy cane shape sugar cookies
   * Christmas morning service
   * stockings with a Japanese orange in the toe, filled with socks, candy and other little trinkets
   * left-overs that tasted almost better than the first time around

But - times change.  Some traditions pass with loved ones.  New families are formed of blended traditions, creating a whole new set.

Dan and I have been married for 26 years and although for many of our initial years he followed my family Christmas rituals - the past few years, we have begun to form our own.  Many of them are related to our tree.

(Clockwise - starting at the top left)

1.  Our first Christmas without Mom, I bought all of my siblings this ornament.  It has 9 mother of pearl hearts around it - symbolizing our family (mom, dad, Selmer, Ruth, Gerry, Sharon, Joyce, me and Allan) Every time I place it on the tree I remember the incredible Mom that she was for us.

2.  My new ornament for this year - I buy a new one every year

3.  The mallard duck.  This was the FIRST ornament we bought - or should I say DAN bought.  It was at Woodwards in Red Deer.  Dan found it in a bargain bin - go figure and HAD to have it.  I thought it was hideous. Now it isn't a Christmas tree without it

4.  Flipflops from Hawaii - our happy place.

5.  Truck - actually this one has no significance.  I just thought it was pretty cool - and it's red

6.  Our first Christmas Together - 1985.  It is totally the wrong color and a little 80's looking, but so precious and will always have a place on the tree

7.  My tree - tied up in ribbons, cranberries and weird little plastic popcorn things

8.  A sled made from Popsicle sticks.  Riley made this for me in Grade 1 - Miss Plett's class.  I love it.

This last picture is what has made me most nostalgic tonight

These ornaments didn't make it onto the tree this year.  These are Riley's ornaments.  When the kids were born I started collecting a new ornament every year for them.  Two years ago I packed up Alyssa's and this year it's Riley's turn.

Big tears dropped freely onto the worn little boxes as memories of the significance of each little trinket flooded my mind.  The lion - purchased from the Farmers Market, the bear ice fishing with a penguin, the mouse in a hockey skate, the baseball themed "JOY".

They will soon have a new home that is beginning new traditions.

I wonder if they will find an ugly mallard duck.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Day 30: Three wonderful things that happened this month

As you might have noticed, it is 2 days past the day that this post should have been written.

I could say that I have been busy, and that would be true, but then if you know me at all, you would know that I rarely miss blogging when I am on one of these little "missions"

The truth is that I was really having a hard time coming up with 3 wonderful things.

Actually - I could come up with them, I was not allowing myself to think about them.  Instead I was focusing on the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad things that happened.

How incredibly unwise of me!

My dear friend Erin has been a great teacher in this regard.  Her tweet yesterday said "Spreading the love today!  No negativity!  New concept for the day.  Pass it on!  Merry CHRISTmas!"

She also has a new tat on her arm that looks like this...  It is a pretty cool one with 2 messages of letting GO to let GOD look after all of those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad things that happen to us from time to time.

So, in line with my good friend's advise, I shall not just share THREE
wonderful things - I shall share THIRTY  

*1*   lost 13 lbs
*2*   decorated my office for Christmas
*3*   went to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with Lys, Samm & Luke
*4*   had a weekend of shopping and fun in Great Falls with the family
*5*   sang my favorite Christmas song with Andi and Lys at the THAA Christmas Concert
*6*   hosted a Tea party for my good friends - discovered some FABULOUS new teas!
*7*   spent a day painting Canucks stripes on my nephews' new bedroom wall with Stace
*8*   performed in Mousetrap with an amazing cast of friends
*9*   bought a fabulous new Nixon watch from the Swap and Buy Three Hills site
*10* auditioned 32 talented people for our Spring Musical
*11* stayed at my sis' house for a couple of nights to catch up
*12* celebrated Lys' 23rd birthday at a surprise party for her
*13* discovered sugar free Reeces Peanut Butter cups with only 3 grams of carbs in 5 candies!
*14* found a group of friends, some I haven't even met face to face - but bless me every day
*15* had visits from 2 of last year's dorm girls
*16* saw Breaking Dawn with my kids
*17* bought Michael Buble's new Christmas album
*18* was given an amazing little notebook of great words from my spp
*19* got our pvr replaced  :)
*20* took a much needed break from Facebook
*21* read the Hunger Games trilogy
*22* am reminded every day how much I love this job and these girls
*23* discovery of Winter Spice tea
*24* spent an evening at the Samaritan's Purse warehouse packing Shoeboxes for kids
*25* bought a sweet purse named "Lizzy"
*26* spent some time visiting my Dad in the hospital in Edmonton
*27* sweet words when my heart is really heavy
*28* put a deposit down on our team's tickets to Colombia!
*29* winter wonderland - without being 40 below!
*30* today is the day the Lord has made - I will rejoice and be GLAD in it