Thursday, July 20, 2017

Not Just A Dog

Last night we had to make the difficult decision to put our beloved Australian Shepherd, Bear, down. A few weeks ago we took him to the vet because he was very pale and was breathing very hard.  We had some test done and found out that he had contracted an auto immune disease that attacked his platelets.  They put him on prednisone and my dad has been taking him out every Friday to check his levels.  He has been doing pretty well but yesterday afternoon he took a turn for the worse.  He couldn't get up on his own so I carried him to the truck so we could take him to the vet.  When we got there she couldn't get any blood out of his leg so she was finally able to get some from his neck; she tested his blood and he hardly had any platelets left.  Dad and I both knew the decision that we had to make but it was one of the hardest we have made.  Grady was at the vet office with us so we all sat with Bear and told him good-bye.  We told him to go to heaven and say 'Hi' to my mom and Mason.

A dog is not just a pet; they become part of your family.  Bear was my brother and he was the first dog that I ever loved like a brother.  We took him everywhere and he was loved by everyone, even my Grandma Berndt, and she wasn't really a dog person.  Dogs bring so much happiness to your life and I can't imagine living life without one.  They teach you patience, unconditional love, and how to care for someone else.  They are excited overtime you get home and always wiggle their butts and kiss you even if you've only been gone a few minutes.

Bear had a very gentle soul and LOVED Grady and was so patient with him.  He helped my dad when my dad got hurt at work, laid with my grandma when she was so sick she couldn't get out of bed, and was there for us when my mom passed away.  As a pup, he was so silly and loved to run around and always wanted to play ball outside.  In the winter when it would snow he would jump after the snow when we were scooping.  He loved the water hose and LOVED to run in the sprinkler.  If you took him outside on his leash he would always grab the leash from you and 'walk' himself.   He always had a little puppy in him and would run around really fast and do a quick spin, even at 10 years old.  He is a dog that will NEVER be replaced.  Oh Bear Boy, I miss you so much.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Happy 4th Birthday Grady Eugene!!

Ahhhhh, the sweet boy of ours is officially FOUR YEARS OLD!!  I simply cannot believe it.  Being a mommy to my boy has been the best thing I've ever done.  Don't get me wrong, it's hard but it's so amazing.  I'm so glad God chose me to be his mommy!  Happy 4th Birthday Grady Eugene Charles've made our lives so much better and I can't imagine what life would be without you. I hope you enjoy your day!  Love you to the moon!!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Thank You

I just wanted to stop and say, 'Thank you' to everyone who has called, texted, emailed, sent cards, flowers, commented on a Facebook post, and instant messaged me/Jesse.  We truly appreciate it and while I didn't/haven't responded to many I just wanted to stop and say 'Thank you'.

It's still difficult and fresh and while I know it will take some time knowing that people care and often ask how I am is a great reminder that I'm not alone.

Friday, July 7, 2017

And She Loved A Little Boy Very Very Much - ...

'Even more than she loved herself.'  I'm so lucky to have such a wonderful child.  A child that has helped me so much the last two years; overcome some of the toughest/hardest/most emotional moments of my life.  As most of you know, I lost my mom two years ago.  I'm not sure I could've made it through that time without my son, Grady.  He helped me smile on my darkest days and I didn't have a choice but to take care of him.  The last few weeks he has helped me grieve the loss of his brother, Mason.  He still continues to make me smile on my dark days and I continue to care for him.  He hugs me when I'm crying or upset and always wants to know what's wrong.  He often tells me that he misses his brother and his Mee-Maw and just doesn't understand why they can't come down from Heaven to play with him.

I truly think I'm the luckiest to have such a sweet and caring boy.  To my sweet boys, one here and one in heaven, I love you both so much; more than you'll ever know.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Mason McCray Lukenbill

Mason McCray entered the world at 7:09 pm on June 22nd; he weighed 12.5 oz and was 10.5 inches long.   We started the labor process at 7:00 pm Wednesday June 21st and I delivered Mason 24 hours later.  It's an experience I wouldn't want anyone to have to go through; I don't think I've ever been in so much physical and emotional pain at the same time.  It's gut wrenching knowing that you have to go through the labor process but you know the end result is no good...I don't get to take home our baby.  

Mason came out looking just like his big brother, Grady.  I think he was going to be the spitting image of him, he already had his nose, lips, and chin.  I miss knowing that Grady won't get to be the big brother he was so excited to be; I was looking forward to watching him be a big brother.  He was going to be the best!  That isn't to say that we won't try to have more children but Grady will be older and I LOVE the age he is at right now.  

I miss you and love you Mason McCray.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

A Feeling Of Emptiness.

I feel like a part of my heart broke when we lost Mason.  Somedays are fine and I can make it through but the other days are hard.  I often think about him and what his life would have been like.  Sometimes I go to rub my belly and realize that there is nothing in there to rub.  It's frustrating/heartbreaking that I was pregnant one day and the next I wasn't and I didn't have a baby to bring home.  I often think, 'what if he could've make it a few more weeks?  would he have survived?'...I hate thinking of 'what if's'.

One of my baby apps went off on today telling me that I should be in my 23 week of pregnancy and Mason would have been the size of a grapefruit.  I think I have finally gone through all of my apps/emails to tell them to stop reminding me of these moments.

I try to be strong for my husband and Grady but some days are very difficult.  Grady is having a hard time understanding what is going on but I have a hard time explaining everything to Grady without completely losing it.  Grady has an understanding of heaven from the loss of my mom and he learned about Heaven in school too; but I think because he didn't actually get to see Mason he still has this sense that he will eventually be here.  I know this will take time but the beginning process of grieving truly sucks.

Friday, June 30, 2017


I haven't been blogging in a while just because I had been busy and tired.  I'm going through a very difficult time and I've found that if I write about it, it helps me greive.  I don't expect people to understand or even to comment on my posts, this is something for me, to help me get through this and to find a new normal.

Last Wednesday, June 21st we received some devasating news...we lost our precious son at 21 weeks.    I had a major arthritis flare up on Monday and took some prednisone and went about my day.  Tuesday came around and I thought that I hadn't felt Mason (baby#2) move since Sunday night but didn't think too much about it.  Wednesday morning came around and some maternal instinct came through and I knew something was wrong.  I called the Dr. and they told me that it isn't abnormal not to feel him kick at 21 weeks but to come on in and they would check things over just to ease my mind.

When the Dr. put the doppler on my stomach and she couldn't find a heartbeat I knew what was happening.  She got me into see the ultrasound tech as soon as possible and my worst fears were  heartbeat.  It isn't something that you can really prepare yourself for.  It's instant heartache and pain knowing that you have lost a child and also knowing that you have to in fact deliver this child....knowing the end result isn't what you expected.

I miss you so much Mason McCray...I only hope that I will see you again some day.  I love you sweet boy.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Momma's Boy

My almost 4 year old has been the biggest mommy's boy the last few weeks.  Normally, Jesse would say he always has been but he has noticed that it has become even more so than normal.  I think a lot has to do with the fact that he had been sick with the start of pneumonia and also I think he knows that things will change when his brother comes along.
my poor sweet boy resting with mommy when he had pneumonia
I'm trying to enjoy these one on one moments that I get with him because I know once his brothers arrives we won't have as many opportunities like we do now.  Every night before bed we all go into our room and Grady gets to watch a show; he calls this 'nuggle' (snuggle) time.  I think it's his favorite time of day.  He is also giving extra hugs and kisses and just always checking in to see what everyone is doing. 

I love this boy so much...I hope our second is as sweet as Grady!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

2 Years Ago...Life Changing Moment

Two years ago today my mom died...I don't think in the last two years I have actually said those words.  It's usually I lost my mom, she went to heaven, she's no longer with us....I've never said died.  It hurts to write those words and I absolutely HATE this day.  My life hasn't been the same since then and it never will be.  

I remember absolutely every detail from the time my dad called me on Saturday night the 30th to when the Dr. came out and told my dad and I that my mom didn't make it.  It was just my dad and I there at the hospital when she died.  We told Scooter, Dustin, and Shelby to go home and we would keep them updated.  It all happened so fast that none of them made was my dad and I waiting int he waiting room, praying that she would make it, but in my heart I knew she was gone when they wheeled her past us.  It's a day I wish I could forget but I can't...sometimes I won't think about it for a really long time and one day I will get a flashback and it hurts like hell...I wish I could forget.  

There are still days when I go to pick up the phone to call my mom and have to remind myself that I can't...she won't be on the other end to pick up.  But I will NEVER erase her number from my phone.  I often think about all that she has missed because SO much has happened the last two years.  Scooter graduated high school, Dustin got married, Grady has had two birthdays, my parents wedding anniversary, the announcement of Jesse and I having a second child, the reveal party, and so much more.  

I miss you mom, more than you'll ever know. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Disney World

We've been home from Disney for a few weeks now and we had a great time!  We did all four parks and Magic Kingdom twice.  Five parks in five days was exhausting but Grady had so much fun!  The weather was great in the mid 80's except for the last day we were in the park it was 94 degrees, so we didn't stay too long at the park as Grady just wanted to swim in the pool!

We left on a Saturday morning and didn't get to Orlando until about 5 pm.  By the time we rode the Magical Express from the airport to the hotel we were exhausted, so we grabbed dinner at the hotel and relaxed so we could gear up for our first day in the park on Sunday.

Sunday morning we slept in a little, grabbed some breakfast and headed to Epcot.  We started our day by riding a Nemo ride and seeing some fish in the aquarium, some dolphins, a diver, and Grady enjoyed the interactive Crush 'ride'.  We spent about 2 hours in that area and ventured off after that.  We had a tough day with Grady as far as following directions and listening that day.  I think he was so overwhelmed and wanted to do EVERYTHING and unfortunately Epcot really isn't that toddler friendly.  We ended finding a playground for Grady to play at while we rested our feet.  We saw a few characters but Grady wasn't too fond of standing in line waiting!  Grady made his first purchase at Epcot (a fan with water).  He grabbed lunch in one the countries and left at about 3:30 pm.  We got back to the hotel, swam for a while, grabbed some showers and headed to Disney Springs for the night for dinner.  We were all so hungry we stopped at a BBQ place that served quickly.  We ate and then went to the biggest Disney store I've ever been to.  Grady was in heaven and literally wanted one of everything! He picked out a few items, we stopped by the Lego store to check that out and Grady thought the Buzz Lightyear and Woody legos were so cool!  We also stopped by the T'Rex Build a Bear and Grady build his own T-Rex that he named, Tractor T-Rex.  We made the long haul back to wait for the bus and by the time we got back to the hotel we had walked 7 miles for the days...needless to say we were exhausted!

Monday morning we decided to sleep in again, (and when I say sleep in to us that's about 8:00 am).  We grabbed breakfast in our room and headed to Animal Kingdom for the day.  We had a great time at Animal Kingdom and their were lots of things for Grady to do.  We got to ride a couple of rides, he played forever in the large playground they had there, went on a safari and some some cool animals. We waited in line to see King Louie and Baloo and had so much fun just walking around and taking it all in.  Grady was so much better on Monday and he had a great time.  We grabbed lunch and rested our feet for a while and then headed back to the playground to run off some energy.  We left Animal Kingdom around 4:00 pm, headed back to the hotel to swim and relax and then back to Disney Springs for dinner.

Tuesday was Hollywood Studios day.  It was a pretty warm day but we had fun.  There weren't too many rides but we started the morning off with Disney Live...Grady had fun dancing.  Grady LOVES Star Wars even though he's never seen it and of course Star Wars was EVERYWHERE at Hollywood Studios.  So we stood in line to see BB8 and Grady thought that was so cool.  He also got to see the Storm troopers walk to the main stage and he thought was fun to watch.  He also watched some kids later in the day defeat Kylo Ren while using their light sabers! We stood in line to see Olaf(funny story, after we saw Olaf Grady stopped and gave him a kiss on one of his buttons...LOL), had fun in the Pixar area of Hollywood studios.  The Woody Ride with the lazer guns was our favorite ride!  We stood in line FOREVER to see Buzz and Woody... while Jesse stood in line Grady and I went out and walked around and hit the bathroom.  On the way back Grady got to see one of the Army men from the movie and took a picture wit him.  We had a good lunch and recharged and did a 3D Muppet movie.  Grady thought those were so funny and if something flew at you he would always ask, 'is that on the inside or outside'...LOL! The favorite of the day was the Indiana Jones stunt show..Grady still talks about it.  That was at the end of the day for us so we were tired but it was nice to be able to sit down and relax and watch some fun stunts.  We didn't leave Hollywood Studios until after 6 pm so we headed back to the hotel and had dinner their and just relaxed for the night! 

Wednesday was our first day at Magic Kingdom.  It was so amazing walking in their and seeing the HUGE castle.  Grady thought that was pretty amazing too but didn't understand why we couldn't walk up to the top of it! Grady and I rode the t-cups and Grady's first roller coaster, The Barnstormer. He loved it and I took video and at the end of the video he goes, 'that was amazing!'  Jesse doesn't do fast rides or roller coasters so mommy rides them with him and I LOVE them too!!  We saw a few characters and rode Dumbo, It's A Small World, Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pans' Flight, and did Mickey's PhilharMagic.  We also got to watch the parade and Grady and I had a great spot to watch it! We also had our first Dole whip, Jesse and I loved it but we only got a few bites before Grady devoured it all!! We headed back to the hotel around 4 pm that day, swam, grabbed dinner, and then headed back to Magic Kingdom to watch the fireworks.  It was so amazing being at the park at night and seeing it all lit up.  I LOVED it and the fireworks were GREAT!  We didn't get back to the hotel until 10:30 pm so we went to bed and decided we were going to take it easy on Thursday.

Thursday was our second day at Magic Kingdom and we didn't get there until around 10:30 am.  We decided to have a nice breakfast at the hotel and just kind of take our time.  When we got to the park it was already 90 degrees so we knew we weren't going to be there too long.  We rode Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin (we liked the one at Hollywood Studios better), rode the people mover, Grady and Jesse rode the Tomorrowland Speedway, and walked around for a while and our last ride was The Haunted Mansion.  We were all so hot by then that it was great to sit down on a ride...we left around 3:00 pm that day, swam for a few hours, and then back to Disney Springs for our last dinner.

Friday we weren't in a hurry because our flight didn't' leave until 1:30 pm and The Magical Express wasn't going to pick us up until 11:15 am.  We got up and around and packed our bags and then headed down for breakfast.  We dropped our bags off and didn't have to worry about them until we got to Des Moines.  That was so nice no having to worry about our bags.  Grady played for a while and then we headed to the airport.  My dad picked us up and we headed home to rest and sleep!  It was nice having the weekend to recoup and rest from our busy vacation.  Overall, we had a great time but Jesse and I both said that we wouldn't do 5 parks in 5 days again.  We were glad we did it this time because it helped us decide which parks were our favorite...Grady had TONS of fun and still talks about it all the time and he's already asking to go on a Disney Cruise...LOL!