Friday, November 13, 2015

Dottie's Birth Story

This is a post I've been sitting on for a little over a month and, while it may seem trite to include this on one's blog, this is a night I don't want to forget. All the details are important to me because there's no doubt in my mind we experienced quite a miracle. :)

Sweet Dottie got pregnant last Christmas (Christmas Eve, to be exact) and weathered the 9.5 months like a champ for the most part. Not to say Dave didn't call me a few times over the summer to tell me was out in the pasture and looked dead (to which I told him 'been there, done that - it's called being pregnant in the Texas heat') or that she didn't become SUPER grumpy toward the end. But who can blame the girl?

I certainly couldn't.

In the days around Dottie's due date, we basically stalked the girl. We monitored every move, wondered if we would drive up to a calf one morning, and were SUPER excited to meet the little one.

And on Friday, October 9, 2015, Dave and I went to feed her with the baby in tow while Taylor worked the rodeo as a Sweetheart and it was OBVIOUS the girl was in labor. Among other things, we had to force her to come eat and she was clearly walking funny and having contractions.


Dave checked on her about 8 o'clock that evening and, though uncomfortable, she was fine. Things were progressing. All was well. 

Taylor and Hallie checked on her again after her shift and we got a frantic "I saw a hoof come out and then it went back in" call. We weren't panicked. But we did wake the baby, we grabbed our boots and headed to the barn. With the thought that Dave could quickly help her out by pulling the calf and we would be on her way.

But that was not the case.

When we arrived, Dottie - who LOVES FOOD MORE THAN LIFE - had gotten up and was eating hay. We had to make her take a seat and Dave set out to try to pull the calf. I immediately noticed the hooves were HUGE and he could only get it out far enough to see the baby's tongue. 

Not. Good.

We got some great advice and called the vet immediately. He assured us he would be there as soon as possible. Some friends soon arrived and we brought her inside the barn - to her pen - and she looked at her empty feed bowl and snorted at us. 


The tension was building because we weren't sure how long the calf had been stuck and, well, we had watched way too much Dr. Pol in the months leading up to the birth. Which actually prepared us more than you would think. But I digress...

By the time the vet arrived, a small group had assembled and Taylor was absolutely terrified her calf was dead. As was I after Dave quietly told me the vet had informed him that the baby wasn't moving. After quite the struggle, baby boy arrived. Not breathing. Not moving. Like, he came out and his head banged into the ground immediately.

Not. Good.

By this time, sweet Taylor was holding Dottie's head. And she was SOBBING. And SHAKING. But she never let go of her cow.

This is where Dave and his NICU skills came in suuuuuper handy because he set out to arouse the little guy. And, while he apparently wasn't concerned because "he had a strong heartbeat from the get go," the rest of us didn't know this and were terrified. After what seemed like an eternity (but obviously wasn't), the little guy began blinking and we heard a very quiet "moo."

Now I would love to tell you Dottie was so overcome that her son was ALIVE that she jumped into super mom mode. But, to be honest, she began eating all the hay around him. She. Was. Not. Amused.

So Taylor took care of the (not so) little guy.

Imagine our excitement when Dottie walked over and started licking the baby...only to learn she was licking the hay off his face. And eating it. Gotta love her. :)

It was an anxiety-laden night. Thankfully my parents arrived shortly after his birth and took of Tiny duties while we all got Dottie settled and, you know, tended to her child. 

The next morning Dave, Tiny and I headed to the barn early while Taylor caught a few hours' sleep. Everyone was still doing well, Dottie let him nurse and he finally stood up. Progress!

So. Stinkin'. Cute.


Sweet boy is now thriving, running around the pasture and enjoying life with his mom. Dottie has decided she won't let anything bad happen to him, to feed him when he needs it and to love him when no one is watching. And we'll take it.

Because the truth is that this could have gone either way and, though it may sound silly, this mama is so incredibly thankful that her sweet teen didn't suffer a loss that would've seemed giant to her animal loving (and very attached to Dottie) heart.

And, yes, she finally named him. His official name is Dramatic Entry. Fitting, no? But I had begun calling him Clyde until he had a name and it kind of stuck. So it's kind of his nickname now. :)

Friday, October 30, 2015


My sweet, sweet, Taylor,

You celebrated your 16th birthday 2.5 weeks ago amidst goat shows, caring for Dottie's new calf, working at the fair as a Sweetheart, and participating in the Calf Scramble. It was SUCH a busy week. But it didn't slow down your reaching yet another milestone.

I've gotta be honest - I spend a LOT of times these days thinking about just how little time I have left with you at home. Keeping us hopping. Making us laugh. Challenging me to be a better person. Playing with your little sister (who has, by the way, decided you're the best person on the planet...after 7pm each day). Giving me the illusion that you're still a baby.

The thing is that you'll ALWAYS be my baby. But, in so many ways, you're plotting your own course, making your own way, and blossoming into one of the most awesome young ladies on the planet. Of course, that's a completely unbiased opinion. :)

I cherish these days. And hate to see them end. Even when we butt heads and have polar opposite opinions. I love, love, love that you aren't afraid to fight for what you believe is right, don't back down in the face of adversity, and are always a champion of the less fortunate. You are, quite frankly, a much more caring, empathetic and compassionate person than your mother. And I'm so very thankful for those traits!

You, my love, are destined to make a difference in the lives of others and the world around you. I have absolutely no doubt you will blaze new trails, travel the path less taken, and make me scratch my head a few times. And, in the end, you will - as always - surprise me and make me more proud than I knew was possible.

Not gonna lie - I totally miss the days when you only wanted to hang out with me, allowed me to take as many pics as I wanted, and let me fix your hair. But I'm also mesmerized by the stunning beauty I am blessed to call my own. Even if I have to steal your selfies off Instagram for my blog... :)

I hope you always know that I'm here. No matter what may come. Continue to surprise. Decide what you want in life and go get it, my girl. You'll have no bigger cheerleader than me. Just remember...always my baby you'll be. 

Much love,
Mom (aka "Mother" as you like to call me these days)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Tiny Takes the Beach

The morning Tiny left the beach to head to Louisiana, we had a little beach walk because you have to take beach pics with an adorable little subject. Particularly when you KNOW your teen isn't gonna cooperate for a little photo shoot. It's a rule, right? :)

She explored and I snapped. And she was adorable.

And needed a hand at times to navigate the thick sand.

But mostly was super independent. And precious.

She may be tiny. And have tiny footprints. But she's left huge marks on this big ol' world since coming into our lives.

And I wouldn't want it any other way.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Last Days in Paradise

Our last couple of days at the beach were bittersweet. Tiny was gone with Nana and Boppy so we headed to the lake for some kayaking with the older girls. Love the workout of kayaking. Not gonna lie. :)

Then we spent the afternoon hanging out in the waves...

...and walking the beach. We found a starfish and also had a close encounter with a 4-foot shark that we didn't even realize until a fellow beachgoer alerted us. Fun times.

That night we headed out to dinner and finally took a few pics...

...on the beach for posterity.

We ate dinner at a super fun restaurant, hit the mini golf course again and even went to one last souvenir shop. Because these girls because one can never have too many t-shirts.

The next morning we bid adieu to the beautiful beach and picked Tiny up at Maw Maw's a few hours later.

And we made quite a fun detour... West Monroe!

And we even ate at Willie's restaurant, which may have been the best food we had on the entire trip. No lie.

Many, many moons later (or so it seemed), we finally made it home. And jumped right into back to school preparations as my girl started 10th grade two days later. It was such a fun trip and I'm so glad we decided to drive a little farther for vacation this time.

Next year, though...I imagine we won't venture quite as far. :)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Surfside and Sleepy

We made good on our decision to spend vacation Wednesday being lazy, no doubt.

Exhibit A.

Exhibit B.

Exhibit C.

Exhibit D. And I'm pretty sure the older girls only made it downstairs to sit on the side of the pool on this day. Didn't even get in the water. :)

It was a good day indeed.

 On Thursday, we drove to Pensacola Beach and had a belated birthday lunch for Tonto at Flounder's. Taylor, Dave and I ate there years ago on our way back from Disney World. And it's still just as good today as it was then. After lunch we headed over to the souvenir store next door (Tiny had to walk herself, clearly) so the teenagers could get a t-shirt to prove they had been in Pensacola.

My parents decided to hang out in Pensacola for a while and I'm pretty sure they even drove on to Destin at some point but the girls, Dave and I went back to Alabama and hung out here (view from the pool).

Tiny spend this day eating ice. Which she's done every day since, I'm almost certain. She looooooves it.

It was a beautiful afternoon...

...that we enjoyed immensely...

...before heading over to Gulf Shores for a little mini golfing. It's just kind of our thing.

Tiny really wanted to play. But it was soooooo hot outside that she and Dad went back to the arcade where we learned the girl is a GAMER.

After the teens and I finished golf and some go-carting, they got in a few games of shuffleboard before we had dinner at Zaxby's. We tried it because we always hear about it and, yes, their chicken is good. But we're so spoiled by Bush's and Cane's because their chicken was TINY. But, still, good.

We ended another fun day with a beautiful sunset. And some Rita's custard.

But we were also a little sad because Tiny was leaving the following morning with Nana and Boppy. They were going back to Maw Maw's for an extra night and we had a great time with the older girls but it's always hard to see her go. Was a super fun evening, though. :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo

So, yeah, last week was insane. And this week probably will be too - but hopefully slightly less so. All that to say I'm finally making it back to talking about vacation. And, at this point, reminiscing about those slower, relaxing days is comforting. Not gonna lie.

So Tuesday of vacay began like this...

...morphed into this...

...and turned into absolute gloriousness. 

But there was also a short trip on the itinerary - one that I had been super excited about for weeks. We headed to the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo - The Little Zoo That Could - over in Gulf Shores. They weren't kidding about it being a small zoo but it was super fun, mostly because they offer some encounters that we'd never experienced before.

Like interacting with and holding baby joeys!!!

I could you not love this? And, of course, Tiny was enthralled and may have tried to play chase with them. It's just who she is.

They also allowed you to purchase food and feed the animals (sans, you know, lions, tigers and such) throughout the experience. Tiny loooooved feeding them but preferred to do with Taylor. Sissy is pretty much the bomb and the babe will do anything Taylor will. 

If Taylor likes it? Sold! If Taylor eats it? Give me some. It's amusing. And adorable.

This zoo had a ton of goats. It was sort of a strange conglomeration of animals but it was still a fun little outing. :)

Playing peek a boo with Mr. Alligator.

After sweating our way through seeing all of the animals - seriously, it was SOOOOOO humid - we headed to our second encounter. This time we were hanging with lemurs.

They were even more fun than the kangaroos and we could've hung out with them for hours. Such sweethearts and their paws are like tiny hands. We may have held hands and this guy may have groomed the heck out of my hat.

Taylor also wanted to take one home with her.

We headed home right as it started raining - perfect timing - and after a quick lunch, we hit the pool. On this day, Tiny saw her sister in the pool and refused to go to the beach. She was alllll about Taylor. She loved the pool on this day and jumped off the side to all of us. Repeatedly. Which was absolutely a first.

Nana and Boppy made their bacon wrapped, cheese stuffed chicken for dinner that night and it was amazing. The older girls have decided "it's a vacation necessity." And I totally agree. Sooooo good. 

And at this point we were all so stinkin' tired that we deemed Wednesday the "lazy day." Sometimes you have to take a break from all the fun of the first half of vacation and recharge for the second half. :)