Wednesday, March 7, 2012

In Memory of Mya Dandee March 19 1999 - February 28 2012

13 years ago a little duck-footed multi-colored puppy entered my world. I thought I didn’t want a puppy until Jason brought her too me. “Look! She has eyebrows just like you like!” he said to me. And in fact she did. Eyebrows, extremely long eyelashes, and the longest ears which she would step on for the rest of her life as she walked along sniffing everything. People joked that they weren’t sure what her face looked like because it was always pressed to the ground.

Mya Dandee was named because of the dandee lions that she would snap at in the grass. It was a perfect name for a perfect dog. If you didn’t know her in her prime, you probably wouldn’t believe how smart and understanding she was. She could understand and respond to a plethora of words and conversation. She also knew hand signals when we needed to keep sound out of the equation. She knew many “tricks” that entertained everyone we encountered. She was well behaved, well mannered, and had the most pleasant disposition. It’s hard to teach children to take precaution of other dogs when they’ve been around Mya and how gentle she was with them. Mya was extremely strong. She could pull me up a hill while running, she dragged us along on walks, and during her stubborn moments, would not be budged. While playing with her rope she pulled me over every time. Yet, she was extremely gentle. When our nephew Bradan was very small he wanted to play tug with her and her rope. She would tug much softer than with me and Jason and even let Bradan win! She had compassion!

Two of my favorite ways to play with her was to get right down on the floor with her, steal her toy, and play keep away…batting at her feet and mouth, growling and patting the floor. She would do it right back and try to steal the toy back! It was sheer joy! Second was when she would bite my pant leg and twist and jerk and growl. She wouldn’t let go and I she would position herself over my foot so I would pick her up with my foot (while she was still biting my pant leg) and swing her around, and rub her belly. She loved it and would constantly play this.

We would take Mya everywhere with us in her early years. We decided one of her first years with us to take her to the fireworks show….wrong decision. She didn’t like the bang and hid under the blanket behind and under Jason and shook. We never made her watch fireworks again. We heard her really howl once (a couple other times in her sleep) when we took her to a parade and as the emergency vehicles passed and blew their sirens, her little head tilted back and up, her mouth formed the perfect and kissable little circle and she let out a little howly sound! During her first year of life she had 3 surgeries, one on each eye and one on her leg which required pins and much faithful and consistent physical therapy by Jason. Jason would take her after hours to our apartment’s swimming pool and have her swim to work her leg. He’d physically move her leg every night and work it out. We even took her to the sand dunes to hike in the sand to help strengthen her leg. The doctor told Jason that he didn’t think she would ever really use that leg again, yet there she was running around and keeping up with her cousin Timber, who is extremely fast…just think how fast she could have been without ever having a broken leg! What a strong girl and what a committed and loving dad!

I could tell you of all the hikes and excursions we’ve taken but it would take pages and pages. We took her to the top of Timpanogos, or at least the lake, and to rivers, and camping, and walks. She was the best golf-ball-finder in the world and golf balls were one of her favorite things to chew on! I can’t tell you how many times she would snatch up golf balls without us noticing, she was a ninja! And she would secretly try to hide them from us and would chew on them. When we noticed she had something, she’d try to hide it in her cheek like a squirrel! She was a great bird dog, and even without any training we would walk around the field at my parents’ house and she’d flush out pheasants with ease. She had so much fun. We would take her on my family’s annual fall picnic and even play seek-and-go-hide with her. Her color was perfect for blending in. She would always win, except for that time when a neighboring picnic-er’s dog sped out to try to catch her. Its owners apologized saying that they all thought Mya was a rabbit so they didn’t call their dog back! Ha!

Mya never left my side for 13 years. She started at my side and ended at my side. I can’t think of a better thing to happen. She told me when to go to bed and was there through my pregnancies and sickness and celebrations. She knew what I was thinking and feeling and was always glad to see me. She protected me with her whole being as I did to her. We had special mommy-puppy time where I would give her a brushing, it was our special bonding time. She was extremely kind as Sydney and Peyton entered our world. Even though she seemed a bit annoyed at times at these little creatures, she was so concerned about them and would help me see to them when they were infants, always checking their crib and being there with me. As our children entered our life, Mya did not get to go as many places with us, but she was always there for the big events and always included when we were able.

But time moves on and she got older. Even though she couldn’t do as much with us, she enjoyed what she could. But her eyesight faded and her hearing diminished, she stopped being interested in bones or really anything. I became her “service human” and she stayed with me for protection, it was the least I could do for her, and even when I became “bothered” by her licking or scratching or constant need for only me to take her out, I really loved every minute of it and, of course, am missing it now. It was definitely her time to go. She was scared and confused and I hated seeing her that way. It broke my heart. Deciding to let her go was one of the hardest decisions we have ever come to. She was supposed to be with ME forever, get old with ME, never leave ME….it’s hard not to be selfish with someone as special, as loved, as loving, as a big part of my life as she has been. She had been mine and Jason’s everything for several years until we added to our family and then she became just as big a part of their every day life. She touched the lives of many of our friends and family throughout the years and was cared for by several of them, much to our appreciation. I miss her kisses, I miss her hugs, I miss her breathing. I miss everything about her.

When we said goodbye, she was relaxed, she looked happy and she looked 6 years younger. When I touched her mouth and tongue and looked into her eyes, I felt that she could see me again. I hoped that we were able to calm her so she wasn’t scared and hurting anymore. When I saw her little tongue and the almost relief and youngness in her face, I almost felt a sense of calm and relief myself. It made it bearable, not easier, but made it able to say goodbye.

The night before she passed, a pack of coyotes ran through the field in the back of our house. They howled and barked and called out. I like to think they were calling to her wild spirit, calling her come with them, to let her know it was time for a new adventure. All day new daffodils were blooming. I want her with me. She will never leave my heart and I hope I remember the way her kisses felt and the solid mass that she was when I hugged her.

I have many many many more stories and memories of my baby girl. I could go on and on. As I remember all the many things about Mya, I hope that you all have memories for yourself of her. Please share those with me if you are able, I would love to hear about my little dog through your experiences.

Mya, you were the best dog I could have ever had! Thank you for making Jason bring you home. Thank you being my dog, my companion, my friend, and my baby. I miss you with all my heart and I want you to be happy and not scared. I will see you often as you watch over us and I will never forget you and what you gave to me and Jason throughout the years. I love you!

Thursday, February 9, 2012


So my children have the great ability to bring humour into everything! It's one of my favorite things about them. Here is a short video of Peyton trying to raise and lower his eyebrows...note the mouth movement as well. Actually, I have to post two videos, becuase they are just too funny not to share! However the first one he had raisins in his mouth, therefore the second is more enjoyable! :) Enjoy!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Christmas time!

Christmas came to Southern Illinois!
Of course the kids were spoiled! How could they not be? They are so stinking cute and have a bunch of family and friends who love them! Enjoy these pictures :)
This is the bird house Sydney painted this summer. She bought it with her own money and painted it by herself.
After begging us to put of the Christmas tree and wanting "Christmas at mine house," which is Peyton for wanting decorations in his house, we finally decorated and put up the tree!
Finally Christmas Eve arrives! The kids got in their new jammies and put out cookies and milk and carrots and a note for Santa, posed for pictures then off to bed! Look at those smiles!
It's amazing how many gifts were under the tree since friends and family had to mail packages to us this year! They were overflowing our family room and Santa hadn't even come yet!
Dad and the kids checked the Santa cam on the internet to see all the places Santa had visited already and how close he was to Illinois! We saw he visited Uncle Ryan and Aunt Irina in Bangladesh already!
Santa came!!
Since it was nice and sunny and warm, the kids got to play with their new toys outside! Sydney rode the scooter she got from Uncle Ryan and Aunt Irina all over and Peyton tried out his cool new green bike!
What a fun Christmas! We got together with a few friends for dinners and parties, but we sure missed our family! We have video of christmas morning and of Sydney's school program that we'll share the next time we see any of you! Here is a poor quality picture, but a picture none the less, of Sydney as an angel at her school program.
Hope everyone had a wonderful Christamas! Happy New Year! We love you all! :)

April 2011 Visitors!!

Okay, so yes, I am WAY late on this one, but better late than never, eh?
In April Gramma Jaynee and Papa Philip made their visit! The kids were very excited and looking back at these pictures, they look so little to how they are now! Gramma and Grampa are due back for another visit! Here are just a few pictures from their time here.
After picking them up at the airport, we stopped by the St. Louis arch and walked around outside and went to the museum inside. This first picture is of everyone posing in the elevator pod that takes people to the top of the arch. We didn't go to the top this time, maybe next time?
The day we wanted to take them to Giant City State Park was a rainy day, so we ended up going to the Lodge, pictures below, and driving around the area to show them how pretty the forests and such are.
Jason's Graphic Designer at work owns an Italian restaurant in DuQoin and we had to take them for some yummy food!
We had some sunny days too! So, we went golfing. Since Gramma and Papa didn't bring their clubs, they had to borrow ours and rent some others, the rental ones had a broken strap and Papa wouldn't use a pull cart so he rigged the strap so he could carry it.
It wouldn't be an outing with the Longs without finding something silly!
We took them to Garden of the Gods for a little hiking! On the drive there we saw a slithery snake slide across the road in front of us! No picture of that one though.
I think this is what they call Turtle Rock.
And what would a trip to the midwest in the springtime be without crazy midwest weather? While they were here we had a crazy storm burst with strong winds and hail. Gramma and Grampa were certain they were in a tornado, and although it wasn't, it did cause enough damage from the wind and hail to require us to get a new roof, gutters, and window screens, as well as inheirit the neighbor's playhouse that blew over! Here are a couple pictures of the hail.
All in all, it was a fun trip. We didn't get to show them hardly all there is to see here, so hopefully when they come back we'll be able to do some more!

Springfield Illinois

So, back in November Jason's mom came for a visit. Jason had to give a presentation in Springfield and we all decided to come along for the drive and see some of the sights while he was being important.
We went to the State Capitol building and the cemetary where President Lincoln is buried. After Jason was done with his presentation we went to lunch at a quaint little restaurant and then went to the Abraham Lincoln Museum. It was all really neat! Here are some pictures from our little excursion, and a video of the kids playing in the crunchy leaves!

Jason and Sydney were trying to be one of Lincoln's wax family :)