Geronimo is 8!

Today is Geronimo’s birthday.

gmo1

My little boy, who started out as a wiggle-bottomed ball of fluff, the boy who would cry because he couldn’t get on the couch, who was afraid of his own shadow, who couldn’t walk on a leash, is eight years old. He’s a senior dog now! How did that happen?

I can’t help but think of Eleven by Sandra Cisneros. She describes growing up as like rings in a tree or nesting dolls; that you are every age you’ve ever been all at once. That’s how Geronimo is when I look at him. He might be eight today, but to me he’s also the brave international traveler that he was at six, the ball of energy he was at three, the perfect snuggler he was at five, tripping over his feet at one, and everything in between.

gmo2

It feels like I only just welcomed him into my life, and it feels like he’s always been part of it.

In honor of the furry man of the hour, I’m sharing eight fond Geronimo memories:

1. His adoption story!

gmo 2006

2. That time we ran (literally) into a Civil War re-enactment.

3. Geronimo’s first time swimming:

gmo swimming

4. Being so afraid about moving him to Germany (I cried dropping him off at the airport), and then he thrived there!

5. Geronimo’s reaction to the death of Osama bin Laden:

gmo3

6. Quizzing Geronimo on how well he knows me.

7. Geronimo participating in a 4th of July parade in Lubbock. (We were representing Stephen’s work – Above and Beyond Pet Care Hospital – and Geronimo was so not feeling the doggles.)

gmo lbk

8.  The great many runs we’ve shared together.

Geronimo is a perfect companion. At times he is crazy/frustrating/infuriating/bananas, but he is also loving, sweet, hilarious, and adorable. We hit the jackpot with this kid.

gmo hug

Happy birthday, Geems! We love you!

Friday Five

Another week has come and gone. ‘Twas quite a week in the life of me. (You like that quality sentence there?) Let’s get to the goods. Five things on my mind at this very moment:

1. Shameless self-promotion: I wrote a post for the phenomenal website, A Practical Wedding.

apw

If you don’t already read APW, you should! It’s not just about weddings; a huge facet of the website is navigating relationships and reclaiming wife. The stuff on there is amazing, and I’m still in shock that words from my brain were good enough to be included among the other genius posts. (My post from Wednesday on this here blog was also one that I spent a lot of time on. Lots of good comments so far. Check it out and join the conversation!)

2. A new obsession: The Dumb Ways to Die song.

dumb ways

They were talking about this on the radio earlier in the week, and I cannot stop listening to it. So catchy and strange and cute. For the record, my favorite is “Use your private parts as piranha bait.” (If that’s not intriguing enough to get someone to click a link, I don’t know what is.)

3. Romantic moment of the week: I found a journal Stephen kept on and off during the first year of our relationship.

ich liebe dich

Homecoming, fall of 2001.

I had a really rough night recently. The usual deployment stress (not hearing from Stephen + heightened emotions following this news). But then! Then I found this journal on our bookshelf. If you want to feel loved, read the words your spouse wrote after the first time you kissed. I just basked in his descriptions of me and the joy of young love. I’m not going to share anything he wrote (he’d use a drone to strike me down if I even attempted it), but tucked in the back of the journal was a note I’d written him on our two-year dating anniversary in 2003. Here’s a little quote, “Thank you for all that you’ve given me and all that you have taught me. Thank you for always being more than I asked for and more than I could need. Thank you for loving me and letting me love you.” <3  I also have to shout-out to 2003 Amy for using a semicolon twice in that letter.

4. Geronimo related story: I was rubbing Geroinmo’s tummy yesterday and noticed something weird.

geems

First I thought it was a tick. Do we even have ticks in El Paso? Well, I took a real close look and realized, it was not a tick. It was his nipple.

5. Shout out: Today is my friend Julie‘s birthday!

5k

I’ve gotten to know Julie over the course of the last year after reading each other’s blogs and both ending up at Fort Bliss. We regularly meet up to run together, do yoga, and indulge in our love of Starbucks. I consider her my battle buddy, and life in El Paso wouldn’t be nearly as fun without her here. (Never leave me!) Wishing you a very happy birthday, friend!

Now it’s time for me and J to get birthday mani/pedis! Enjoy the weekend, y’all!

Great Strides 2014

Great Strides 2014 was last week.

IMG_5482

Great Strides is the annual fundraising walk for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. I walk to honor my late brother-in-law, Ben, who lived his entire life with CF and died in February of 2013 as a result of the disease.

I first participated in 2011 when the walk happened to fall on the day after Ben’s double lung transplant! How’s that for serendipitous timing? Our team was teeny tiny that day, but I can almost guarantee you that we were the happiest people on the course.

Ben looking like his usual self only one week after his double lung transplant!

Ben looking like his usual self only one week after his double lung transplant!

The following year, Ben was able to participate and led our team with gusto! Last year, we had our largest team to date, but we were missing our most important member: Ben had died a few months before the walk.

There is no cure for Cystic Fibrosis. As it takes its toll on someone’s body, it gets to a point where their best option is a lung transplant, assuming they are lucky enough to get new lungs. The cruel irony is that only 50% of lung recipients make it to five years post-transplant. This is why I’m so passionate about Great Strides and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. I feel like my participation is a way to do something for Ben and for the 70,000 people currently living with CF. The progress that has been made in treatments and life expectancy is awesome, but I’m praying for the day that there is a cure.

IMG_5431

This year our team raised $1,400. Not too bad considering there were only 11 of us. I personally raised $300. Thank you so much to those of you who donated! You were on my heart during the walk.

I think the timing of the walk wasn’t the greatest (there were so many events on that day), but honestly, I also think that for some people it’s easier to not think about it. I don’t begrudge anyone that; we all grieve in our own ways. For me, it helps to participate, but I respect that for others it might make them feel worse.

The walk itself was lovely. The course was moved this year from the semi-industrial looking Fair Park to lush Vitruvian Park in Addison. This was Geronimo’s first time participating, and he loved it! Our regular walks had him in good enough shape to make the 3 mile course no problem.

IMG_5473

Plus he got lots of compliments. Strangers wanted to take his picture and asked me what kind of dog he was. Geronimo got plenty of pets and hugs. We were even singled out by the DJ. As we walked by the stage, he said (into the microphone), “The next time you get your chow’s haircut, don’t take him to the zoo!” I responded by shouting back, “He’s not a chow!” I have no problem admitting that he looks ridiculous, but for the record, Geronimo is a red heel/Aussie shepherd/border collie mix. No chow in him.

G-mo and I walked at an easy pace with my mother-in-law for all 3 miles. I was really proud of her for not taking any shortcuts! We got the chance to catch-up, and the fact that we went slower than I would have normally gave me just that much more time to enjoy myself. Afterwards, I went out to lunch with my mom, her boyfriend, and my mother-in-law. We were all pooped from so much time spent in the humidity, so a little Tex-Mex and a lot of air conditioning made for the perfect end to the day.

IMG_5446

Another great year of fundraising has ended, and I’m already looking forward to Great Strides 2015!

(You can read more about Cystic Fibrosis here.)

(You can register to be an organ donor here.)

(You can donate to CFF here.)