Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Our Gentle Giant

Brooklyn O'Reily Gaffney
July 5, 2005- December 25, 2014

My first experience with a pet's death was when I was 2 (my mother told me this story) My sister, then a kindergartner, was coming off the school bus when her bus driver hit and killed our dog Scrappy. She was heart-broken and apparently my reaction was to march around the house yelling, "Scrappy is dead!" over and over. In my defense, I was 2 and still pooped my pants, so I'm pretty sure I wasn't too keen on the concept of death.
We didn't get another dog until I was about 8 or so. His name was Cruiser and he was a giant some kind of poodle and he was awesome. When he was only about 2 years old he was hit by a car and killed and we were devastated. I remember my parents taking us to the lake to try to occupy us and I sat on the beach and cried and felt an empty place in my heart.
We got another dog a few years later. He was a black lab and we named him Cody. He was a wild dude and when he was a few years old we discovered he was epileptic. One night he ran off and his meds wore of before he got home. We think he seized and then he was hit by a car. Once again, we were crushed. Needless to say, cars were not my dogs' friends.
When I grew up, moved out, and was on my own I knew I'd eventually want a pup of my own and told myself I'd never let him/her outside without a leash or fence. A few months after meeting Kary we moved in together. We signed a lease and were in our apartment August 1st, 2005 and brought Brooklyn home on August 5th. Before we moved in together we did research and tried very hard to adopt a dog. We even had a few visits and were evaluated. We were told that our place was too small and we weren't a good candidate (even though we had a dog park in our neighborhood) After many rejections we decided to screw it and I looked on petfinder...I know, not cool but we wanted a dog! I found a family that had boxer puppies. Kary and I contacted them and made arrangements to check out the puppies. We drove about an hour to SC and found the place. When we arrived, the 16 year old son introduced us to the dog parents "Princess Millie" and "Rambo". They looked big, healthy, and strong. Then we were taken inside to see the puppies. I remember hearing little noises that sounded like kittens. I leaned over the box and remember gasping at how adorable they were. Most of them were napping. I had no idea how I was going to pick one. Suddenly, a big squishy face poked out right in my face and put his paws up as if he was reaching out to me. I picked him up instantly and said, "He's the one." Kary asked if I was sure I picked the right puppy. "I didn't pick him." I replied. "He picked me."
I remember on the drive home we were kind of freaking out. When we got home my sister (who lived below us) came running up to meet him and started crying at how cute he was. I felt like I was going to puke because I knew I was in for a lot of responsibility. We lived on the second floor so for the first few weeks I remember getting up with him at night and walking down a flight of stairs at 3am to let him pee and poo. I didn't care though because I was in love. The next few years were a whirlwind of trips to the dog park, birthday parties, road trips, and just crazy dog lady love.
When Brooklyn was 3 we got him a baby sister, Brixton. (That's a whole other story) Then came the human babies. That's when things changed. Brooklyn was no longer allowed to sleep in the bed or be on the couch. He took it pretty well and had his buddy Brixton but I felt bad that he maybe felt like he had been replaced.
I can't help but feel guilt that I didn't give him the best last few years. I didn't always acknowledge him and would get snarky with him if he would hover while I ate or drool on my clean pants. He also had the breath and farts that could knock you out. He also snored like a bulldozer when he slept. I wish I could have one more hug, one more drooly kiss and I wish I could tell him one last thing:

"Thank you, Brooklyn. Thank you for teaching me unconditional love. Thanks for teaching me how to be a mother and put someone else before myself. Thanks for always protecting us and making us laugh. Thanks for the company when Kary worked late and went to school. Thanks for always greeting us at the door with the most excited demeanor and boxer c as if you hadn't seen us in days. Thanks for just being the coolest, most gentle dog. Thanks for seeing us through 5 moves. Thanks for punching a few dudes in the balls as they entered the house to remind them who was boss. I am so sorry I didn't notice you much over the last few years. Motherhood kept me busy and I hope the extra hugs and kisses from the babies made up for some of that lack of affection. We won't ever forget you. You will forever be my first "baby." Thank you for an amazing 9 years and thank you for going so peacefully so we didn't have to see you in any pain. Rest easy big guy, as London says, "We will always keep you close to our heart~ the place that holds all the things we love."
Love, mamma

Some of my favorite memories over the past 9 years...

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Summer Life

I am super lucky to be able to spend every summer with my kids. It is an amazing perk of being a teacher. Most days start with London waking me up to remind me that is is "morning time!"...followed by Izzy yelling, "mommy?!" Luckily, this is usually around 8:30 or 9 and on some days as late as 10am. We spend morning eating breakfast, watching cartoons and just playing on the floor. This summer we made the awesome decision to get a pool so we usually swim in the afternoon and also have fun in the blow up pool and with the hose. I try to take them places every day but some days I just don't have the energy or patience to take them out solo. I do best when I meet up with friends with me some back-up if needed. Luckily, Kary has Mondays Nader Fridays off so we are able to do some fun family trips. This summer we went to NY for a wedding and then to PA for family time and spent 11 days away from home.  We traveled 13 hours to NY, then 3 to NEPA and then 9 back home. The kids are rockstar travelers and usually do better than me. We also went to "Discovery Kids", "Tiger World", "Zootastic", the Water Park, "Bounce U" and went to lots of playgrounds and parks. We went to a few Concerts on the Green and hung at Crafty Beer Guys and went out to eat a lot. Some of our favorite places are Pinkies, Cafe 100, Lupies, Hawthornes, Bad Daddy Burgers (veggie) and 131 Main. Kary and I spent our evenings watching the entire series of Breaking Bad and Orange is the New Black on netflix. We also enjoyed drinking wine in the jacuzzi after the little ones went to bed. It was a pretty awesome summer. We also have a trip planned to Wilmington to see some family and then to NEPA again at the end of Septemeber for Wine Fest and to see more family.
Here are pictures from the many fun days we enjoyed this summer.