Friday, January 25, 2008

Snoopy Buddha.

Many of you know that we had to give Paco, our beloved 5 year old mix (in the photo with our lovely Siva), a new and improved home this last year. We adopted Paco, a beautiful blue heeler, german shephard, pit bull mix, from the Kitsap Humane Society when he was 8 weeks old. He is such a joy - incredibly intelligent, attentive, people-oriented. Unfortunately, with a new baby, we just could not give him the exercise that he needed each day. He now lives with my parents who have an acre outside of Poulsbo and a greyhound labrador mix that is the only dog that can keep up with him. They run and run and run and run...

Kelsey and I have missed Paco terribly, especially these last few months. While Siva, our lady labrador, is dearly loved and will always be our first baby, at fifteen and a half years of age she moves very slowly, sleeps most of the day and, although she loves kids and babies, is old enough that the only thing she gets up for or excited about is the low calorie, fiber-rich kibbles that pass as dog food. She is riddled with lypomas, non-cancerous fatty masses, and she can barely get up off of the floor due to severe arthritis. She has traveled the country with us and backpacked in several Midwest and Western states. She has steel plates in her knees, the result of the rupturing of both ACLs. She used to be a frisbee-catching master and could tirelessly swim in mountain streams too cold for most of us. She is now a lovely, old dog who we appreciate everyday - we know these days are limited. The vet said that should she not go on her own terms, that we'll know when it is time... she will finally refuse the tasteless kibbles.

So Kelsey and I started talking about a doggie addition for our family, but more importantly, for Owen. Dutch was discovered out of our interest in beagles, which consistently make the top ten list for dogs that are good with children. We've never been "pure bred" people, rescuing our dogs from shelters or from other fates. Siva was six weeks old when we got her - a non-papered daughter of two hunting labs, she was destined for the humane society.

I came across pocket beagles during one of my late night web searches and began asking questions of Kate, of Metropolitan Pocket Beagles. She immediately directed me to Dutch even though I had inquired about another in the litter. He was the first in the litter to be adopted, only to be returned due to a sudden illness in the family. He was the family favorite. Kate and I had several exchanges. My main concern was that beagles can bark quite a bit and be obsessed with what comes to their nose. Kate responded by saying that pocket beagles "...bark less and wander much less than their full size counterparts." Dutch will not exceed a foot high and about 15-20 pounds. There is a bit of controversy over pocket beagles, and whether they are actually just "runt" beagles. AKC or "pure bred" status does not matter to us - what does is that we find a dog that will be gentle, calm, smart, loving and is a size that is managable for Owen.

The photos are not staged. Dutch won't leave Owen alone - whether Owen is eating, sleeping, sitting. Dutch is very calm, very smart, and VERY into Owen. It is such a gift to our family to have this newest canine member. We think he will bring all of us, but especially Owen, great joy. We are calling him our Snoopy Buddha.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Images from our goings-on...

Owen is taking a nap after his morning PT session and will be up and hungry soon. Afterwards, we are off to spend some time with Grandma Leslie and Grandpa Herb before Owen's 3:30 pediatrician appointment... a full day for us. I wanted to share some photos (below) from the last few weeks, so thought I'd attempt a quick blogging in between our various activities.

One photo clearly shows off Owen's FABULOUS belly. Another is evidence that we've been working on sitting upright with support and have some cool new options, customized by Barb, Owen's physical therapist.

Also included are some photos from our weekend get-away at the Hethcote's. Owen and cousin Lily spent time together on the floor - she is totally taken by Owen and couldn't keep her hands off of him. It is so good for Owen to be around Lily - to hear her "coo" and talk, to feel her touch and to know that there is another little one about the same size sharing his space. The four adults stayed up until 11:00 pm (!!) and made our own sushi rolls for dinner. Such a treat to eat good food with great friends.

It's another great day - the sun is shining and Owen is spasm-free.

Xo, S/K/O

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Six months.

Owen celebrated his six month birthday on Sunday. It seems as though simultaneously both a mere six weeks and a many six years have gone by. I'm sure all parents feel like this, like time both speeds up and slows down when on the parenting journey. I've included a couple of photos from Owen exploring his thumb. The first one makes me laugh... it seems as though the initial experience was not such a tasty one.

The ACTH wean continues to go as well as can be expected. No spasms but instead LOTS of sleep and quite a bit of vomiting. Our whole experience with the drug was fairly benign, so we see these "coming down" issues as a small price to pay when many babies have much more intense side effects throughout the treatment.

We have transferred Owen's care to Dr. S. at Swedish Hospital's Epilepsy Clinic (part of the Neuroscience Department) and had our first meeting with him on Friday. We want to have a continuity of care that, because it is a teaching hospital, is just not possible at Children's. The latter is an excellent care facility and Owen will still be seen there for various tests and screens. Dr. S., who recently left Children's for a position at Swedish, came highly recommended and our first meeting with him was wonderful. He took an hour and a half to become acquainted with Owen and ended the meeting by reminding Kelsey and I that couples with special needs children face great challenges and that we must always take care of our relationship, the foundation of which supports all three members of our family. We appreciated his willingness to apply both a human and holistic perspective to Owen's care. His experience is impressive, he exhibits both realism and compassion and his bedside manner is quite refreshing. We think he will be a great fit for our needs.

It is a glorious, sunny day here on the Kitsap Peninsula. I was out in the garden a few days ago and was reminded of how early spring arrives here in Western Washington. There are buds on the vine maples and on the red flowering currant, and the crocuses should be poking their heads out soon. We are looking forward to Spring, to getting our hands in the dirt again, and in the next couple of weeks, planting our chard, spinach, lettuce and kale. I am choosing to be positive about this upcoming year and hoping that it will bring much growth and rejuvination.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


How timely, in numerous ways, that this is the buzzword for the 2008 presidential campaign. Kelsey and I have long said that human's ability to adapt to change is one of our greatest traits, one that allows us to move forward, through good times and bad, to become better individuals and engaged participants in our global community. We don't always immediately accept it and it is not always easy, but it makes us react. It makes us think. Whether it be the biodeisel movement, a move towards sustainable communities, a focus on social and economic justice (at home and abroad), a change in where we shop to support the "little guy," or an intimate shift in what a small, family unit thought would be a given outcome, the strength that is gained through adaptation to these new circumstances cannot be artificially created or discovered in any personal development courses.

For Christmas this year, I received a book from my fabulous aunt and uncle, Barb and Kevin, entitled "Keep Going: The Art of Perseverance." It is written by a Lakota, Joseph Marshall III, and is based on conversations he had with his grandfather upon the death of his father. There are so many powerful messages, but one quote was especially moving and relevant. "Difficult experiences, whether they are sadness, loss, hunger, poverty, illness or death, rarely occur because you have invited them into your life. But when life does place hardship in your path, it always offers a chance to learn strength. THAT is the unseen gift."

Change is not easy, it always requires a shift of some sort which means a certain level of uphevel. I do not claim to be a perfect adapter, I'm not, but when I look back at the opportunities that I've had to change, the ones that were the most difficult were the ones that most deeply affected me and instigated positive change.

Owen is doing great. He ended his ACTH treatment today and Janet and I let out a collective hurrah at the last injection. It has been emotionally difficult to administer these each morning the last two months. My mother is amazing - always positive, always seeing the good, always reassuring. Sure, she closed her eyes each time I gave the injection as she held Owen, but she never faltered and always reminded me that it was being done out of love for Owen. His spasms have yet to return and we hope they never will.

We work each day on head control, torso control, grasping objects and becoming familiar with solid foods. We celebrate the "inchstones." He has discovered his thumb, caught glimpses of his hand as it moves across his field of vision. These are causes for celebration.

Kelsey and I so loved seeing so many of you at the Gala Coffiesta. Many of you requested more information on the glass and metal work displayed by Myorian Studio. Dave and Kelly are wonderful souls and their work is equally beautiful.

Thank you for your support of our family and of our family-owned business.

Happy New Year,