I've started this post about 1.3 million times. Every time I start it, I just can't. So I don't. I'm going to be stronger this year, so here it goes.

Last year when I was in Mexico (which may be part of the reason for the lack of posting those pictures and stories), I was able to keep in contact with my parents and pup by FaceTime since we all got iPhones. It was great. I was so happy to see his face. Especially since he wasn't doing well without me. Before I left, I took him to the vet to see if he was ok because he was acting funny. Vet said some titers were a little high but still normal and everything else was ok. I left for Mexico thinking my baby boy was just fine. But he wasn't.

While I was gone, my parents took him back twice. They thought he wasn't eating because I was gone, but he was used to their house so that made no sense. Then maybe something was wrong with his stomach. Maybe he was in pain. Still no answers.

When I got back, I took him in again. They re-did the blood test and it turned out that he had advanced kidney disease and it was rapidly shutting down his kidneys. He had about 20% effectiveness by then and I was heartbroken. Absolutely smashed. This boy that I didn't even want, but turns out I needed, this boy who helped heal my mom, me, my dad, and everyone he met, was sick. I just couldn't.

We decided to do treatment for a time and see how he responded to it. He did, but not as well as we would have liked. So on March 9, 2013, I took my best friend in for the hardest choice I ever made. He went peacefully and surrounded by we who loved him.

I think I cried for three straight weeks. I couldn't sleep, because he was always there to keep me warm and safe. I stopped walking, so I gained weight. I was just unhappy. I never realized how lonely I felt until there wasn't a happy face to greet me when I got home. My cats are awesome, but they're not snuggly (Tigger was - boy, do I miss that cat!) and they don't really care when I'm home, just so long as I feed them.

This went for about a month and I just couldn't take it. I looked and looked to see who I could see on the Paws and Prayers website and I found my new little man. Eons ago I had watched The Matrix (and loved it!) and decided that I wanted a dog named Neo someday. Just so happens that they had a litter they named after Matrix characters. And one was named Neo. Kismet? I think so.

Neo is a St. Bernard/Red Tick (English) Coonhound mix. He's big, awkward, crazy, and the love of my life. I never set out to replace Raj, but to replace that hole he left in my life. Neo is very little like Raj, except he loves. All. The. Time. He is happy and waggy. He is sweet and crazy. He is my boy and I love him. I'm back to walks almost daily (we've even started running again!) and I sleep. Oh, how I sleep.

Neo at Howl-o-ween in his Neo costume.
I never thought of myself as a dog person but now after having the best dog in the world, I can't imagine my life and my home without one. They bring such joy and comfort.


Baby Quilts

Ok, so it has been about forever since I posted here. I'm terribly sorry. I haven't even posted my pictures from last year's trip to Mexico!!

Anyway, I'll start on the back log of what I've been working on this past year and promise to be better about blogging. :)

Last year I had two friends have babies. I had never made a quilt before, but it was on my 2013 resolution list to make one top to bottom. So, I made two.

The first was a Jelly Roll Race Quilt. I got a jelly roll of a really cute line from Riley Blake called "Saddle Up" and I used the girly colorways from it and then mixed in some Kona solids to break it up and add to it. I didn't do any sashing because I didn't know how yet, but I think it turned out ok anyway.

I used a Denyse Schmidt that I got at Jo-Ann's for the back and I just did some straight line quilting to add some bulk to it. This was the first time I used my walking foot, too. I used pre-fab quilt binding and hated it so now I only make my own binding.

I also added a little label that I made from grosgrain ribbon and fabric ink and stamps.

The second quilt I made was from a pattern called On The Boardwalk by It's Sew Emma. My cousin used it for her niece's quilt and I loved it so much I asked for some help to make one for my longest friend's first baby.

The fabric I used was a FQ stack of the Mo Willems' Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (from the Fat Quarter Shop - love them!). My friend and I are big readers and baby E is going to be too. This is one of my favorite children's stories so I jumped at the chance to use the fabric. (My mom gave the book at the shower so she got a bag with the quilt, its pillows, and books.)

I used the multi panel from the stack for the backing - it was a tight squeeze, but I was determined to make it work. I did straight line quilting long the boxes on the front and bound it with a dot print (by whom, I now forget).

Along with the fabric was a panel that had two pillows and a hand puppet. I made them all pillows, though. I used some of the leftover fabric from that panel for one of the pieces on the front. (Thanks to my girl Yvette for helping me with all the cutting - I never would have finished it!)

So, there you have it. Two baby quilts done. I'll do another post about my Lorax Quilt and the one that I've got in the works now. I also did a tshirt quilt (which, coincidentally, is the largest quilt I've ever made) so I'll post about that one too.