21 November 2011

Goodbye Dearest Laurel

My dearest little one I'm so sad to say goodbye ever, but our time was particularly abbreviated.  Your life began almost 9 weeks ago.  I didn't even realize at first that you had joined us.  Then after a couple weeks went by, I began to suspect that our love might have been blessed with another little life.  I took a test. (+) showed the picture I sent to your Daddy.

You should have seen his joyous face when he ran into the house to hug me!

He was pretty sure you would be a little brother for the G, you see, because the plus sign was blue.  What a card your Daddy is!  He certainly made me chuckle that day.

Over the next couple of weeks I began to feel the telltale signs you were setting up a nice little home in my tummy.  It bulged a touch, some of my clothes became snug, an ache here and there to say hello.  So, I made an appointment to see a doctor to begin our regular exams as you grew.

Then last week came around.  I began to notice just a slight shade of spotting, but it was my week to go see the doc and I had read that a little spotting can be normal in early pregnancy.  But it persisted every day until Wednesday the 16th when we went in to see our doctor.

(What an amicable lady she is, too!) No real comment when I mentioned the spotting and we moved on to our first Ultrasound with the gentle smiles of 'experienced' parents.  Then she panned across your little body and we watched.  You were quite still inside and out.  The doctor measured you, 'Looks like just a touch over 8 weeks.  And I'm not seeing a heartbeat.'  I've seen hundreds of various ultrasounds, but only a few of tiny babies so I know the form, where to look, but not all the developmental timeline type details.  My mind raced - can the heartbeat be reliably seen at 8 weeks or to they have to be older? The scan continued with no change.  Then she said what our fears had hardly glanced at, "I'm afraid you are having a miscarriage."

Tears began to sting the inside of my eyes, my lids closed, they stretched down across my cheeks to run across the world.  God?! Why? Why do I now see you walking away with my little one? My little girl.  The one I had just recently thought to name Laurel? But wait! She's beautiful and so joyous!  We love her! Oh, please, no!

Cling to my Love.  Cling to my husband's hand and my Lord's heart.  He is a good God!  Yet my heart also knows, He is the God who gives and takes away.  I've often tritely said how he has four answers to our prayers, and today I prayed for healing yet received a rending 'No - I love you too much.'  Why? Mystery.  Can you trust and accept that my child?  NO.  no. ... yes. You are Lord and I love you.  I can trust there is a reason, even if I don't know it.  I can even trust that it is good, in some way.  But it brings grief.  Swelling, palpable pain in my heart for the miraculous little one.  That you gave.  And took away.

Then I think of her holding Your Hand.  The hand of the One who loves her even more than I.  And every time that shimmers through the tears of my heart, she is smiling.  Smiling?  Radiantly, like You've just told her a joke about how you made the Platypus or that Unicorns are real or that she will sing songs that cause crystals to dance and form in Glory.

And somehow the corners of my mouth turn up a little.  Salty with tears, but marveling.  Because I know Laurel is safe.  And will always be loved both in my heart and Yours.

Do I still have questions, pain, and tears? Yes.  My heart hurts.  But only a little compared to what it could.  I wonder if I will see her someday in heaven.  The radiant soprano singing forth the dawn in praise to You.  I'd like to think so.

Goodbye, dearest Laurel.  You lived.  You were precious to us.  We know you are with God.

You are loved.

Laurel Elizabeth Neveau
Sept 17, 2011-Nov 16, 2011

29 May 2011

New Camera-itis!!

I got a new camera a couple weeks ago.  Yay! 
 This means a couple of great things.  1) I can take more and higher quality pics. 2) I can now shoot HD video of my favorite subject (little G) and others.  It is an Olympus PEN P-L2.  I picked Olympus because when I was a horsevet I learned that they are the best in the world at making incredible lenses and things that help you see through those lenses even around corners, under flaps, and in the wee dark recesses of a snotty horse's throat.  I picked the type because it's a cool middle ground between the uber convenient point-and-shoot cameras and their bulkier, finer big Bros the digital SLR.  It is called a Micro 4/3rds and through engineering wizardry they combined a small digital body with interchangeable lenses for a whole lotta fun!

So, without further ado... here are a few shots.  

Gabey and Rocky the dog. Photo with only slight enhancement.

Gabey and my dad.

The best little cabana boy you've ever seen.

Macro lens - check! Can't you just feel the fuzziness of that sage. 

Terrifically cute boy-o (with last year's hat on big head-o) - check!

My favorite boys! - check.

Papa & G with the 'pinhole' effect.

I'm lovin' me some great lens! :)

Don't remember the name of this effect, but isn't it cool!

A gorgeous sunset over the vineyard. 

**any and all effects made with my camera!**

11 May 2011

From Chickies to Peeps...

We have a picture of me and my sister from when we were kiddos in Gabriel's room by his bed.  I love it and some nights as I'm telling him who all loves him before saying good night, I include his aunts and uncles as well as parents and grandparents (Mommy loves you, Daddy loves you, ...).

Here's a video with a very special audience... Gabey's Auntie P!  The visual quality is the pits but I captured my little fellow as we were saying good night the other night with a special message.

So basically you have to come visit soon so he will be able to tell his Aunt P night-night in person.  :D

Love you, Sissy!

08 May 2011

Chicken Run... well sort of.

A rare photographic triumph: catching the Blue-Laced-Red Wyandotte pullets in a recent tete-a-tete with homo sapiens toddlerensis.

I have some chickens.  They are no mensa scholars as one might assume from the whole chicken thing.  But they are quite fun to have around and we look forward to them earning their keep.  Dorcas, Hazel, Bluebell, and Merle.  Although not the brightest matches in the box, they each have their own personalities and prove quite amusing as they peck and flutter around our little homestead.  They have it quite good as their pen is underneath the playset and they get the run of the vineyard and garden a few times a day.  The other afternoon we had an interesting interaction between the Girls, as I call them, and Gabriel.  

Here's how it began.  For some unknown reason, they decided to hop up the ladder to the top level of the playset.  I believe that Bluebell was the instigator (she's not just dull, she's so vapid sometimes I think she has to remind herself to breathe out).  

Unfortunately for the Girls, they did not realize that prime antagonist #1, the Boy, was on the loose and in hot pursuit. (Not to be confused with prime antagonist #2, the Dog, who has decided that chicken herding is her calling in life since she never got to hunt hogs, well her calling right after holding down the pillow in the living room and the pillow in the bedroom while snoring loudly).

Pecking along from what they believed to be a new, peaceful, elevated perch, they had little inkling that they were about to besieged by a tow-headed prince.
 (Cluck - I'm the King of the World - Cluck)

 Duh-nuh, duh-nuh. Dunuhdunuhdunuh, Dun-Nuh!!!!  (Jaws theme)

Eeek!  He's really coming!  He's almost here, Dorcas!  What will we do?!? The sky is falling! 

We'll never make it out alive!
Slide, fly, or perish!

Fly it is! Head for the hills, Girls!

Whew!  That was a close one.  ;) But all's well that ends well.  The girls toddled off into the vineyard to continue their decimation of the pill bug population and the Boy went Weeeee down the slide.  

A good time was had by all. 

Or most.  Or at least me.  And the Boy. 

05 May 2011

A day in the life of Gabey's Mom, a photoessay.

Here are a few snapshots from a day in the life of our little angel...
Peace.  At least when he's sleeping.

Question everything. Even at naptime.

A little bit saucy and always pushing the limits.

But helpful!

Likes to read or be read to.

"Bunk" - the way he shows affection.  To Mommy, to Daddy, and even to Ele.

(We thought he was over this.)  
Still eats dirt if the occasion calls for it.

Daredevil.  Already taking after Daddy.

But loves animals, especially the horsey, like Mommy, too.

Full of surprises.

Tractor, tractor, tractor - to the 50th power.

No, really.  He says it at least 100x a day.

Our littlest vintner.  In fact, we have been teaching him not to pick the grapes this week.

Our smart boy already knows tons of words. 

Here is his response to 'Where's your hair?'

And 'Where's your ear?'

Then after his bath he asks for 'Brushing.'

And he's even learned to put shoes on.  Mine that is.

He takes his game down the slide, although best results are when Mommy or Daddy are there to catch.
Alls well that ends well, though.

Happy Mother's Day from our little family to yours!! :)

13 April 2011


(I picked that title because it rolled off the tongue better than instagram*cracker, which somehow just didn't sound right ;)

I've gotten a new app on my iPhone lately and it's trying to consume my life.  Or maybe just fill in the gap where my old camera used to fit and hold the place before I can get a new one.

It's called instagram.  If you've been wandering through the interweb long, you've probably seen what it can do.

Basically it takes pictures either new ones or ones in your photo album and ramps them up a bit.  Or tones them down.  Or just waves some digital wand over them so they look like 1977.  That's even the name of one of the filters.  1977.  I'd like to say it was a good year.  I was in existence then, although I took all my oxygen in liquid form, as in from the womb.  But I like the 1977 filter very well all the same.

So here are a few of my favorites so far...

Here's the first before-and-after group.  Starring my favorite subject, of course.

The nice thing about the instagram photo is it really tightens in on Gabriel and perhaps gives it a wistful feel.  Well, it does to me at least.

Next up I definitely caught some 'emotion' that my Photo Journalism teacher would have been proud of. Let's just say Gabey wasn't having one of his angelic moments.  ;)

I really like how the instagram filter made the colors pop out!  It makes the slide seem more fun and his frowny face all the more stinky.  

On that note, or maybe not...
Another before-and-after.  This time of a more amenable subject.

While the double lip rolls on either side have always spoken to me, the instagram version is really soulful.  It takes, "Can I have a cookie, and have it delivered to my pillow?!" to a whole new level!

Next is a before-and-after that I took while we were walking in the vineyard yesterday evening.  Although we have only had about 4 drops of rain this spring, the vines are very vigorously growing.  Unfortunately they are also being attacked by killer aphids.  So we attacked back with some of our favorite glossy red aphid killers... Ladybugs.  I really love the change in mood that the filter from instagram gave this one.  I'm thinking of creating a bounty hunter poster with him to hang among the vines and scare the begeezers out of those aphids. 

Instagram has plenty of black-and-white filters, too.  It made this little lily take itself very seriously.  It may require therapy to return to the happy-go-lucky life it had before.  ;)

And finally, to round it out with my little assistant putting his watering can skillz to use.  I'm happy to say no plants were harmed in the making of these fun photos.  The same can not be said for aphids.  Ah-ah-A!!!!    If you want to have this kind of fun and make your pictures just a bit more fancy or whimsical or 'old school' then I highly recommend Instagram.  Fun will be had by all!

And a snippet of video to feed any Gabey addictions out there... ;)

05 April 2011

How Now, Brown "Cow"(?)

I've been digitally rifling through some of my favorite photos and thought I'd trot them out here.

And it brought on an interesting Then:Now juxtaposition for me.  To start with we have a then of Ele, Zoe, and I during my final year in vet school.  That was then...

This is now.  At least for Ele it is.  She still likes to go out to visit the horsey.  She still gives me snarlys and inspires me with her ability to snooze at basically any time of day.  And she's still the Best Dog in America (at least in my heart).

This?  Now.  She still loves to rest and roll over.  It still makes me smile every time she does.  :)

This is also now.  This not only makes me smile, it makes my heart squeeze in the way that only your baby loving your best doggie friend can.

But that is also then, now.  Because that pic was actually taken, I think, 6 months ago now.  It just flabbergasts me how quickly my little Gabey grows up.

This was then.  Relatively speaking.  This was in the 25 seconds that Gabriel wore his Halloween costume which I spent 12 hrs+ sewing for him.  Regardless, he was the cutest baby dino in the world for those 25 seconds.

Speaking of wonderful thens...  This is another one of those memories that makes my heart squeeze and fill me up with joy.  We were able to take Gabriel to meet my Grandpoppy in January.  It is hard to describe how precious it was to have my little boy meet my Grandpoppy.  I just wish that Gabey could soak up all of the love and wisdom that Grandpoppy has, but he's simply too young.  So they giggled together.  Grandpoppy made faces and laughed and Gabriel laughed back.  And I will cherish that in my heart forever.
Now for a little more recent thens and nows.  We have begun our garden here at the Gallant Fox Vineyard.  The first here is about 4 weeks ago shortly after bud-break for our vines.

 About the time they came out I planted some potatoes.  These are red Kenniac and Yukon Gold.  A week or so after them I planted fingerling potatoes as well.  Some lovely ones with names like Purple Peruvian and La Ratte.  As it turns out, I'm not sure where the pic of now is, but imagine if you will (until I can find it) the mounds have now been scooped around little trunks and the plants spread across the rows in leafy abundance.  If I'm counting correctly, I should have about a month to go on them before harvest.  I can hardly wait to try them!
 I sent these cute little seed packets to my friend K in Dallas a few weeks ago to start her garden.  Our seeds are already in the ground and we have a lovely little stand of corn sproutlings as well as a multitude of different squash, a couple types of cucumber, a couple kinds of watermelon, a few beans, and some peas.  If we only could get a couple of rainy days things would be going like gang-busters.

These are the tomato transplants.  I started them in the house in early Feb and have now moved them all outside where they are very happy.  I learned from last year and every sunny day I could had them outside so they could gain strength in the wind before having to stand up to it all the time.  I also intentionally started with the dirt about an inch down in the transplant containers then once my seedlings were up about 2 inches I added dirt which allowed them to grow more roots along their stem and become even more secure.  We are learning great new tricks every season with this fun gardening adventure.

***Warning, mildly gruesome/icky pictures of my horse's leg wound, not for the faint of heart.***
Now if you carry on, it's all on you. ;)

This is a little old and a little new at the same time.  My horse, Zoe, got tangled in a fence and this is what it did to her leg.  Needless to say, as both a horse owner and a vet, I'm not a fan of barbed wire. Ugh.

This pic was actually about 2 weeks into her recovery.

 And that brings us to now.

This was today when I performed a skin graft on her wound.  It has taken a month to get the infection under control and a healthy looking bed of granulation tissue to grow across the wound.

This pic shows the prepared area on her lower abdomen/flank where I took the donor grafts and her wound on the front of her hock where I placed them.
 Here is the wound where I placed the grafts.  I did two kinds of grafts - a tunnel graft and a series of pinch grafts.  This is quite a tricky spot because of the motion of the joint which will likely disrupt the formation of connections of the grafts.  That's part of why I tried the tunnel graft.  I was able to suture the top of it to the nearby skin, but one of the areas where I attempted to tunnel it through was too delicate and fell apart.  Fortunately, the lower part held the skin I placed in it almost like a little pocket.  The pinch grafts you merely try to get to stay in little pockets made in the granulation tissue.

Here is what the flank/donor site looked like after I took the grafts and had begun closing them.  The long area was for the tunnel graft and the circles were the pinches I took.  Fear not!  The bumpy looking skin in an upside down u around the shaved area is an anesthetic block so she didn't feel a thing.

Now, here is what we have.  A nicely bandaged leg.  Crossed-fingers and a prayer.  I'll post again in 5 days when I remove the bandage.  The textbooks say there is about a 65% success rate in pinch grafting, so there's a chance, although under our sub-optimal conditions I'll be happy if any of them succeed.  

Sort of like life... To be continued... ;)  

****Blogger's note: I am actually a trained, licensed professional.  I am a veterinarian and do not recommend trying this at home.  Unless you are also a veterinarian, enjoy surgery, and have the misfortune of having a horse that like a horse tangled with a fence and lost. Then, by all means, try this at home. ;) But remember, the books left out all the blood, it will definitely get in your way. ****