Category: Parenthood

Life with an Old Dog

Our dog is old. Lucy is thirteen and to be honest – we are surprised that she is still with us. This time last year, we weren’t expecting her to survive through the spring. And this past summer, we figured that she’d be gone by Thanksgiving. A handful of months ago, we stopped all medical inventions beyond an anti-anxiety pill we give her when unfamiliar people stop by with the understanding that we’d know when the it’d be time to say goodbye.

Well – we think it’s time. Lucy isn’t the same. We know she is leaving us – we can see it in her eyes. And I’m not quite sure just how we’re supposed to say goodbye to a beloved family member who has been a constant through the deployments, separations, the birth of our children, multiple moves, and far too many moments of joy to count.

During our brief time as part of this world, there are many who are subjected to horribly unfair experiences such as outliving children, enduring unfathomable devastation at the hands of mother nature, or receiving a diagnosis with little hope. So writing about a life event that so many have faced multiple times – the death of a dog – may seem small and indulgent to some. But I can’t help it. Our dog – our wonderful, loving, sweet, and joyful dog is dying.

We’ve prepped our kids on the very real possibility that Lucy won’t be around at Christmas. They understand that Lucy is old and not herself. And as much as we love Lucy – we don’t particularly enjoy life with old and dying dog. We have some hard decisions to make in the next couple of weeks and I hope that we are strong enough to do what is best for Lucy and her quality of life. The past year has felt like we’ve been slowly ripping off a band-aid. And at some point, we are going to just have to pull it off.

When we adopted Lucy, we were in our first year of marriage. We welcomed her into our family knowing that we’d likely outlive her and would have to eventually say goodbye. Our time with her has been filled with profound joy and an embodiment of love that only a dog can provide. And as we prepare to say goodbye, it’s my hope that she understands just how much she is loved.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Cindy Lou Who

Happy November! We’re still riding high from our Halloween candy-induced coma. A sweet friend hosted dinner and drinks at her house and then we went trick-or-treating as a large group. I know I sound like a broken record when talking about our neighborhood but it really is a fantastic place to live and I recommend this little corner of northern Virginia to everyone wanting recommendations on where to live upon receiving orders to the national capital region. One of my favorite things that our little neighborhood school does is the book character parade on Halloween morning, which consists of the kids walking around the track while parents ooh and ahh while snapping photos and cheering them on.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Cindy Lou Who Costumes

The kids decided chose not to wear the costumes we purchased for trick-or-treating this year to the book character parade. Instead of trying to find a book that corresponded with a skeleton and a witch, they wanted to pick a character from their favorite books. And that is how we ended up with Greg Heffley from Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Cindy Lou Who from How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

Cindy Lou Who Costume

For Cindy Lou Who, we sectioned off the top of her hair and used a toilet paper roll for height and braided her sides with pipe cleaners. She wore her Christmas dress from last year and the red capelet is the Christmas tree skirt for our small tree. I made the bow from ribbon that I found in one of our Christmas box. And then told her to cover her eyes as I sprayed enough hairspray to make Poison weep with jealously. Her costume was easy, fun, and free.


I am happy to report that her hair held up the entire day and the braids only fell out when using the monkey bars upside down on the playground after school. She absolutely loved being Cindy Lou Who and I couldn’t have picked a better character for her to be for the parade.

Greg Heffley costume Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Greg Heffley was another easy costume but not entirely free. I purchased the white T-shirt ($3 at Michaels) and the Hello My Name Is tags ($2 at CVS) but other than that, it was simple to throw together. We also sprayed his hair jet black but the blonde was peeking through almost immediately. The little guy absolutely loves the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney (it’s his favorite!) so there was no question as to who he’d be for the book character parade.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Cindy Lou Who costumes

I adore how their school allows children to dress up on Halloween and incorporates books into the event. Both costumes were comprised of stuff we had laying around the house and we had a lot of fun together working on the finishing touches the morning of the parade. It got me thinking about who I would dress up as in a book character parade…maybe Sarah Silvia Cynthia Stout or Mrs. Piggle Wiggle or Barney Northrup from The Westing Game. If you were in a book character parade, who would you dress up as?