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I have been offline and out of touch for over a week while I moved from a hotel back to my house where we have no internet or cable and very limited electricity. On top of all that we made the choice to put Barley to sleep. She was down a significant amount of weight. Not eating. And as a blind/deaf dog that was 11 (which is a decent age for a Golden)… I really felt like if she just had one issue it would be ok- but her face was all bloody from her rubbing it on the concrete due to allergies, she was falling, not even trying to find food. She was a mess. And I couldn’t get her up. When I would try to let her out in the morning she just wouldn’t get up. So I decided to let the vet decide. And the vet said she was living in a lonely world. And the fact that she had dropped so much weight…

I’m sad.

But this is how I choose to remember her. Back when she was healthy. And happy. At the farm.


Pet ownership is no doubt a heartbreaking deal. But so worth it. It never gets easier saying goodbye. But I will never give up loving a dog like this- having one or more in my life. Never.


Barley baby you were such a great dog.

We brought you in right after I had Cole- we had no time to train a dog and you seemed to know that. You trained yourself.


You slept in his carseat:)


you were such a little bear


I will never forget the day the boys picked you out of the litter…


I miss you so much my sweet girl


I feel like my eyes will always be red and swollen. This was hard.



I don’t understand people that don’t love dogs. I really don’t. As heartbreaking as it is to give one up- it’s one of the best parts of life.


So while my heart is broken and the tears are still flowing- I will never regret bringing you into our lives. I love you big girl. You are so very much missed.

Sarah "SophieBugsMom" - So sorry about having to say goodbye to Barley… we know that decision is forthcoming in our household too with our 12 year old Cavalier, Maggie. I walk into the kitchen every morning and peer into the doggie bed as she tries to wake up and wag her tail to greet us. Our furbabies are definitely a blessing to all of us… but so hard to let go.


Lisa - I’m so sorry. I can relate as we had to put our 16 year old dog down 4 years ago. I still miss her and could cry at the thought of losing her.

azjenny - I am so sorry about your beautiful Barley! I absolutely agree-can’t imagine life without our wonderful pets but losing them is heartbreaking. The only thing that makes it any easier is knowing the time was right for your decision.

Angie - I’m so sorry about Barley! Its so hard loving those fur babies when its time to say good-bye. My hubby was a K9 officer for years and his very first dog was the best damn dog there ever was. She mothered my babies and was fiercely protective of them. Especially my daughter. Its been 2 years since we said good-bye to her and to this day if I start talking about her I burst into tears. I can not have a dog or 2 in my life either. Hugs to you and your family.

Elizabeth's - I wish I was there to give you a comforting hug. My eyes are tearing up. This was a beautiful tribute to your beautiful dog. She is among the angels now running free. thanks for sharing and I agree so much about owning a dog. Nothing like it!!!

gayle - This made me teary…I sit here with Chris’ dog, Luke, a golden, age 7 at my feet. They are the sweetest dogs but we need to give them an out. Your dr. is wise. Thinking of you all now. Respect is such an important part of owning a pet. You are showing love and the respect.

Kim V. - I’m so sorry, Elisa. Making that decision is gut-wrenching, but so is seeing them struggling. I’m crying for her, and for you. What a beautiful girl she was, and what a happy life she had with you. Thinking about you all.

Laura H - Tears are flowing as I read this post. As an animal lover, I completely understand the emotions you are having. Dogs are family! My heart breaks for you! Hold your memories close to your heart, and know that in time the pain will subside. Hugs

Hannah - :( I know how much you love your sweet dogs. I never trust people who don’t like animals…so I totally get what you are saying.

I don’t really have anything to say other than it stinks and I wish it didn’t. I’m in a similar boat, our dog Augie is at that point too…in fact we have this conversation every single week. I just haven’t been able to do it…yet. It breaks my heart to think about it…which in turn makes me think of you and Barley and my heart breaks for you too. Love you.

jordan - so sorry for your loss..ty for giving him an amazing life and ty for making the decision not to have him suffer…
we put our dog down 3 days before xmas..and i still cry..
but as my daughter tells me..dogs do not have to live as long b/c they are born full of love and goodness and give us unconditional love in the short time we are blessed to have them

beach iphone style

So the night before we leave we go out for one of my good friends bdays


Dinner at a local place is always good


And then we hit the road. When you need something out of the back- you ask the long dude


And then you stop for the night and the girly who has been stuck in her seat goes a little crazy at the hotel in the middle of nowhere


So we hit the road the next morning and we find this dude on the side of the road. He looked like a good time so we picked him up.


Story of my life= gross


lunch stop




“pain is weakness leaving the body” she hates the water, afraid of sharks…we repeated this saying that Blake kept saying (maybe from lax?) to get her into the water to boogie board.


Except I’m the one that ended up with the weird boogie board rash on my belly…


so we head to Bald Head Island


And have some lunch


A little Bob Marley and a little Bald Head


Have I mentioned how much I love this dude? Cracking up that you see me and Cole in his glasses.


He provided our night time music


Did I mention this view never got old??


And this guy turned 17…


And he photobombed


And we had such good beach moments


And loading it all back up didn’t seem to fit


And I wish I was back there now


Topsail Island


Our week at the beach flew by. Seriously.


It was low-key vacay and sometimes those are the best kind


It wasn’t always easy- I would be lying if I said it was.


But when you travel with kiddos that is the way it goes.


It has been a hard year. No doubt about it.


Sometimes it’s good to get away.


I am hoping things are on the up-swing. It’s sorta time.


But for now….


I am thankful for a friend that I can laugh with like no other


A daughter that I hope to get a good diagnosis for soon- but that still loves life like no other


A great house that will hopefully be done soon…


And these beaches that replenish me when I need it.

Melanie - The pics are just beautiful!

Jules - Looks like a beautiful place. I’m so glad that you had a great friend to replenish your soul. May the next few months bring many good things, more information, a finished house, peace.


This was my second time to Topsail and all in all it was a pretty solid week.


It’s not always easy taking 6 kiddos to the beach- and expecting the littles to get along at all times.


Because they won’t. And that’s why it is good to have big kids as well.


To simply remind you that there are ups and downs but at the end of the day- this time flies.


There was a time when I thought I wanted a ton of kids.


And someone asked me recently if I wanted more kids.


Um no. 4 is enough. My plate is so full


Because I do have my 5th baby in this girl….


I am tapped out. There is just no other way around it.


And while I love these kiddos more than anything in the world, it’s time to refocus a bit on myself.


I am happy I started my family relatively young- because I have fun with my older boys like nothing else.


But I am 100 percent realizing that I need to figure out myself as well. What’s next.


And did I mention that my oldest turned 17? Do you realize how close to 20 that is??


I will never forget the day I had him.. thinking I was too young, that I had no idea what I was doing, that I seriously wasn’t prepared….


But it’s all good. He teaches me new things every day.

When Blake makes his joker face….


These pics were all taken with my small samsung nx30 or whatever it is called. I haven’t gone through my big camera pics yet. Back to hotel living. Hoping things settle down soon.


Elizabeth - You look so pretty in all your pics! Don’t ya just love the beach? I never get tired of it.

Living on High

One of my good friends has a cool historic house right smack dab in the middle of our historic small town and it’s a fun place to hang.


I was trying to remember which day I moved in. I don’t remember- it just flows.


She stayed with us right after they sold their old house and couldn’t move into their new/old house so we have done this before. Plus we have traveled together about 5 times now. It somehow works.


We had two kids out (her youngest and my oldest) so that has helped us all living in confined spaces. Her house is still being remodeled as well.


I LOVE the location of her house as it is totally opposite my country 2 acre setting- which is only a few blocks away (I know- crazy).


Here I sit outside, people watch, walk to food, live the urban life. Somewhat.


This has been a tough year- I thought last year was sorta bad but this year kinda trumped it. And for those of you that are gonna come out of the woodwork and flail me please just save it. I know I am blessed. But this year has pushed me in ways I had no idea I could be pushed. And I am still trying to work it out in my head.


The above pic may quite possibly be one of my fave pics ever. She pushes me so hard every.single.day. But I wouldn’t trade her for the world.


At the end of the day I am thankful for good friends that take my kid to the lake to have the time of his life with his buds, good friends that take my rowdy crew in when they know I am going crazy in a hotel, good parents that take my dogs because the hotel wouldn’t allow them…

And to the crappy landlords from the house I just rented- have you heard about karma?


So tonight I take the good and the bad and all things in between. And know I am blessed.

Gretchen P - you are allowed to have a bad year! the great thing is, even on the worst of days, you find something positive-the silver lining! I hope the rest of the renovation goes quickly, and you all can feel settled. It has been a long time coming. you are focused on all the right things, friends and family!! Enjoy having the kiddos home for the summer!

Elizabeths - YES you are blessed and so are the kids to have you and Andy! It’s gonna be worth the wait when all the chaos has settled and you have your life back to normal :)