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Monday, November 26, 2012

Sunrise & Sunset



Both photos straight out of the camera.
All God.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

My First Babies


My firstborn with my first fur baby.

I am looking forward to the sweet days where I will be smiling instead of crying every time I think of Pepper. I really miss him.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pepper: 2004-2012


Pepper
April 4, 2004 to November 23, 2012

Here was Pepper doing what he loved the most: exploring the outdoors. This morning, he went outside for the first time in almost two months. And after I was done taking a few pictures of him, he walked towards me (which is what he was doing in the photo) and then went back inside the warm house. I really think he did this just for me: so I could capture the "real" Pepper.

Pepper was a great cat. And he was deeply loved. I just really hope he felt that we gave him a good life.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pepper: Chronic Renal Failure


My dearest beloved 8-year old cat was recently diagnosed with chronic renal failure. And he is dying. He is severely dehydrated and only weighs 5lbs. We have to help him clean his dry coat because he is too weak to do it himself. He is also incontinent and Mom has been very patient with him and I am so, so thankful for that (he lives with my Mom here in Indy). We brought him back to the vet last Saturday as soon as I arrived in town (literally an hour from the time when we arrived) and the veterinarian gave me four options:

(1) Do nothing, in which he will die in a few days---we may witness it, we may not. But in between, he will be very ill, will most likely have a seizure and be in pain before he goes into coma and die. Not even an option.
(2) Give him IV fluids since he is so severely dehydrated. Start a new strict diet, which can only be purchased at the vet office and continue IV subcutaneous fluid injections at home. He has a 50/50 chance of responding to this treatment. And if he does, we can choose continue to do this.
(3) Hospitalize him for 3 days where he will receive continuous IV fluids and receive medication to stimulate his appetite. Best option for him but again, it is not a cure. There is no cure. This just gives him the best chance to live "longer." And it is also very expensive. It will costs us $400 and even though Hubby is more than willing to let me spend the money, I'm not so sure. Eventually, we will be back to where we started.
(4) Say goodbye and put him to sleep...

I chose option #2. But the thing is, I left the vet office starting to mentally prepare myself that I will be putting my first own pet this Friday. I chose the immediate IV fluid option because I wanted him to be in a somewhat decent state while we spend his last few days and the holiday with us. But Pepper is a fighter and he started responding to the treatment. His appetite has greatly increased. He is able to jump on the counters again. And he is beginning to look "normal." I was instructed to give him 100ml lactated ringer subcutaneously when he stops eating. I still have yet to do that. He asks for food and actually eats an entire can a day. So now I don't know what to do.

Our friend Hannah brought a very good point and I have been thinking about it ever since: I need to make my decision by outweighing the quality of life versus quantity of days. Is Pepper happy? Does he want to keep living like this or does he just want to go? I am so heartbroken and my eyes hurt from constant crying. Ultimately, there is no cure for chronic renal failure. My cat Pepper will die.

If I decide to put him down on Friday, the rest of the family can be there too to say their goodbyes and to give me support. I will also be able to bury him right away in my Mom's front yard by the garden, where he loves to spend his days just watching the birds.

If I decide to let him continue to live like this, I will be taking him home to Georgia. My Mom does not want to see him during his end of life and I completely understand. I truly believe Pepper can benefit from the current treatment methods and may live a few more months. But he is still incontinent, which means he has to stay in a cage whenever we are not with him. That could mean 10-12+ hours on days that I work. He has been staying in the cage on his on will but as a rescue animal from the humane society, I just don't like that idea. Pepper was born in the human society and I hate for him to spend his last few days/weeks/months back in a cage. And because he was born in the human society, I truly believe this is the reason why Pepper loves the outdoors. Even though he has stopped going outside, I'm sure once he is well enough, he will want to again. But I cannot let him go out in an unfamiliar place and possibly let what happened to our late cat Jack happen to him, too (thus the reason he stayed with my Mom). The expense is something I also need to consider (special diet, IV bags, tubings, needles, etc). As much as I don't want it to be, this is a pretty huge factor. Right now, the 1 liter IV bags costs $20, more for the tubings and needles. And his special diet food is $2/can, which he about consumes one can a day.

I have been going back and fort with my decision and I am just so exhausted. I really, really do not know what to do. Please pray for strength and compassion. And that whatever my decision is, it will be not based on selfishness and my happiness but for what is best for my cat Pepper.

P.S. I love that photo of me and Pepper. I am so thankful my husband took a second to snap that photo of us as we were napping.

Flu Shot


This was Nathaniel's reaction when I told him he was getting the Influenza Vaccine last week. Not really; he was just being his normal silly self while we were waiting :) But he did cry. But thankful he did not have any side/after effects from the vaccine. He could have received the mist method but since he has quite a bad seasonal, dander, dust, etc allergy (ummm.... thanks to me), we chose the shot.

Also, I edited these photos using my old laptop. We are currently in Indiana and my dearly missed iMac is in Georgia. I cannot believe I used a laptop for editing for years when a simple tilt can completely change the look of the photo. Hopefully these are not too horrible cause I honestly do not know.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

237th Marine Corps Ball

Fort Gordon, GA

Last night, we attended the 237th Marine Corps ball and we had a fantastic time! It was our fourth USMC ball and this year, I decided to re-wear one of my ball gowns (2010) since no one here in Georgia has seen it before anyway. Michelle, a friend and a fellow Marine Corps spouse, did my hair and make up. And Hubby was so handsome in his sexy dress blues and was such a trooper (he is still sick!). We even stayed up suuuuuper late to watch a late showing of the new James Bond movie "Skyfall." (The movie ended shortly after 3am). This is definitely one of the perks of being in the military: we get to dress up and look all purdy pretty :)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Lot's-O-Huggin' Bear


We saw Disney on Ice: Worlds of Fantasy with our Mom's Club two weeks ago and Nathaniel loved it.  Above is a photo of him growling to Lot's-O like Rex the dinosaur.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Oktoberfest


I am playing catch up on my blogging!

Last month, we went to the Oktoberfest event held on base. It was a last minute decision to join our friends since I already had a very early morning photoshoot and we had spent the entire day at Steed's Dairy that day. But I'm glad we went because Nathaniel really enjoyed it. And I had a great time taking photos of the festive carnival lights.

I am so grateful we finally purchased my dream camera this year: Canon 5D MKIII. Just look at the photos---barely any noise/grain and I had the ISO bumped up to 2000! I am so happy that my skills are no longer limited by the camera. It still amazes me every time I use it.

Trick or Treat


Nathaniel dressed up as Spiderman (of course!) last week for Halloween. He was very shy at first but eventually warmed up to the idea of trick or treating. This is first "real" trick or treating since we just went to the mall last year. Hubby dressed up as dorky Peter Parker and I was supposed to be Mary Jane. Unfortunately, we have been so busy that I wasn't able to plan it well. Hopefully, we will be more coordinated and better prepared next year.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Halloween Mantel


Better late than never right? I have been meaning to share these photos for a couple weeks now but just haven't had the time to sit down and edit them. I tried to keep our Halloween mantle kid friendly since Nathaniel's imagination is beginning to soar and everything is either super amazing or super scary. I know if it was up to my husband, it will be gory and full supernatural things. Yuck.

The branches are from our backyard that I spray painted black. (I'm actually thinking about re-spraying them with white and glitter to use for Christmas!) I used one of Nathaniel's craftS from school and made the potions using water and food coloring. I really wanted a stack of potions books too but I wasn't willing to pay what the stores were asking so I just used my Wicked series books. And lastly, the fabric banner is my second sewing project. (We finally purchased a sewing machine last month!). The mantle is definitely still not done to my liking and I hope to build more upon it during the next couple years.
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