The Joy Project – Day 13

The Joy Project - Day 13 1Today was a pretty tough day. It’s been exactly 8 months since Raegan passed so she was on my mind quite a bit. I think about her all the time but I always seem to think of her more on the 5th of each month.

Family friends of my family’s hosted a BBQ today and I went to it, along with my sisters, brothers-in-law, parents, nieces and nephews. I felt a little distracted during the event but I had fun. This family always holds awesome parties with lots of fabulous food and laughter. We’ve been doing holidays and occasions with them for over 20 years so they’re a big part of my family’s traditions.

There were many things throughout the afternoon that made me laugh. I loved the kisses I got from my 2 year old nephew. He puckers up and leans in to plant the biggest smooches on me…it’s precious! I had a blast splashing cold water on my 3 year old niece (I promise that it was done in a light-hearted manner…she loved it and giggled each time! πŸ˜‰ ). Her little sense of humor is adorable.

As the BBQ came to an end, I said my goodbyes and walked to my car. As I was driving out of their suburbanThe Joy Project - Day 13 2 neighborhood, I thought about the day and how I felt. I thought about my friends and family. I thought about Skylie. Of course, I thought about Raegan. I pulled onto the main road just as I caught a glimpse of the beautiful setting sun.

I couldn’t stop looking at the fiery ball in the sky. It was gorgeous. Since I always called Raegan my Rae of Sunshine (and Skylie is now my Sky of Sunshine), whenever I see a particularly breathtaking sunset, I know Raegan is shining down on me.

The sunset peaking through the trees was very symbolic of today. Not only did it bring me comfort but it also reminded me that it is very much like joy. Sometimes you just catch a peak and that’s all you need to see to know that it’s there.



The Joy Project – Day 12

The Joy Project - Day 12 1It’s almost 10PM on Independence Day and I’m at home. It is important for me to be with Skylie for the first time she hears fireworks as I know this experience could, very well, affect how she reacts to loud noises in the future. I want her to have the best possible experience with them.

I’m elated! Skylie is a champ. When the first few fireworks went off, Skylie looked up but she didn’t seem scared or distressed. As the pops and crackles became more frequent, I set my plan into action. I went downstairs and pulled a large frozen Kong from the freezer. Skylie looooves her Kongs! She has to work hard to get the frozen food out of it and she normally devotes all her attention to it.

Tonight is no different. Skylie is happily chewing on her Kong, working for every last drop of food. She’s loving it. She has barely even looked up since the beginning of the fireworks. The only thing that’s on her mind is trying to figure out how to get the food out of the very bottom of the Kong.

I also put out a brand new chew, something called a Texas Taffy (beef jerky) by Merrick. I’m sure that when Skylie finishes her Kong, she’ll start gnawing on the jerky. I think I covered all my bases tonight. In case I need more distractions, I also have a Greek yogurt-filled marrow bone and a venison trachea.

At this point, since the fireworks seem to be winding down, I’ll be very surprised if we even need the bone and trachea. I can save those to play with on another day. πŸ™‚

My dogs have always broughtThe Joy Project - Day 12 2 me joy but today was especially joyful because I knew that it would be a milestone of sorts. So many dogs get scared and wind up lost on the Fourth of July (more so than on any other day of the year). I’m very proud of Skylie’s go-with-the-flow attitude and her reaction (or lack of reaction) to the noise. I’m ESPECIALLY proud because (as I’ve mentioned for days now) our A/C is broken so all the windows in the house are open. The fireworks are probably louder than they will be every other year because I’m making the assumption that I’ll usually have the windows closed to act as sound barriers going forward. πŸ™‚

Happy Independence Day, everyone! I hope you enjoyed your day as much as Skylie and I enjoyed ours!



The Joy Project – Day 11

The Joy Project - Day 11 1Once again, I’m a day behind. I feel like this is becoming a habit so I’m promising myself (and you) that I’m going to complete 2 posts before going to bed tonight so I can be up to date on The Joy Project.

Yesterday was July 3 and I spent the day at home after a few long days of switching rooms and sorting through everything. What a project! It’s no wonder I woke up with stiff muscles in my neck yesterday. πŸ™‚

I rested on and off throughout the day yesterday and just puttered around the house. I spent some time playing outside with Skylie and really didn’t do much of anything.

At bedtime, Skylie and I got settled in to what is our new routine. I got into the right side of the bed and lifted her onto the bed with me. Skylie sleeps on the left side of the bed. I have always kept a large cup of water on the night table, which now happens to be next to “Skylie’s side” and as I got comfy in bed, I heard noise. I looked over and there was Skylie…taking little drinks out of my huge cup. I was SURE she was going to spill the water everywhere.

What was I supposed to do?! She was thirsty, possibly from the raised temperatures that we have due to the broken A/C. I got theThe Joy Project - Day 11 2 cup and put it on the chest that’s next to my side of the bed and I went to get Skylie’s water bowl. I filled it with a bit of water and put it where my cup had previously been. Skylie took a few little sips and nestled into the pillows for bedtime.

I’m a MEGA dog-lover but I’ve never actually really had a dog sleep in bed with me before Skylie. This girl doesn’t know how good she has it! πŸ™‚ I don’t know if I’m going to keep the bowl on the night table permanently but I couldn’t help but giggle when I saw the sight of her drinking from it.

Part of me cringed a bit at the thought of the dripping water on the night table and quilt but then I decided to take a deep breath, relax and…enjoy! πŸ™‚



The Joy Project – Day 10

The Joy Project - Day 10 1When I became a “doodle parent,” a person who has a Labradoodle, Goldendoodle, Schnoodle, Cavoodle or really any type of poodle cross, I immediately made other “doodle friends.” It’s kind of like a little club. I went to doodle romps, doodle playdates and all sorts of doodle events with my first miniature Labradoodle, Raegan.

I made some very good friends over 10 years ago and I’m still close to lots of those people to this day. While some people stayed as pleasant acquaintances, others became a big and cherished part of my life and are forever friends. These friendships were made possible by our shared love for our doodles. My Rae of Sunshine brought much friendship and warmth into my life.

Since I lost Raegan, I’ve been consoled by so many of those friends. They ordered flower deliveries when she passed, sent beautiful cards with heartfelt sentiments and were in touch in every way possible to let me know that they, too, were heartbroken and saddened. We’re a doodle family and there is so much empathy and compassion.

As soon as Skylie was old enough, I started taking her to doodle events. Her first doodle party was at BarkBox headquarters in New York City. Skylie was just about 4 months old. We met so many new doodles there. It was a little overwhelming because this group didn’t have any overlap with “Raegan’s friends.” There were all new (and younger) doods and all new people. I guess it’s kind of like having 2 kids in school and becoming friends with 2 sets of parents, 1 from each child’s grade. Raegan was born in 2004 and Skylie was born in 2014. All these new people had relatively young pups so we were all in a similar phase in our dogs’ lives.

One of the parent/pup pairs that told me about the event was Jessica/Samson. Samson is an adorable and incredibly photogenic Goldendoodle. I initially connected with them through Raegan’s Instagram account and when I got Skylie, I connected with them further through hers. Check outΒ Samson on Instagram. You’ll fall in love!Β Samson and another Instagram pal, Hudson, told us about the party. We first met Jess and Samson in person (and in doodle) that night. There were so many pups and people milling around that we didn’t get to talk much but we did introduce ourselves and our dogs to each other.

Last week, Hudson had his first birthday party on Samson’s rooftop patio. This party was more intimate than the party at BarkBox and everyone got to spend more time getting to know each other. I talked to Samson’s parents quite a bit. Jess and I exchanged phone numbers so we could text each other some photos from the party.

We’ve sent a few texts to each other throughout the week and yesterday I got a particularly sweet text from Jess. She asked if I was feeling better, sent me the link to The Happiness Project (a book we’ve both been meaning to read). It reminded her of The Joy Project that I’m doing. She then jokingly (I think it was half-jokingly or maybe even only a quarter-jokingly πŸ˜‰ ) saidThe Joy Project - Day 10 2 that we should start a doodle wine book club.

This text brought me joy on a few different levels and I’m sure that Jess didn’t even think about it when she sent it to me, proving that the little things in life can actually become big things. Being nice to others, having a sense of humor and being light-hearted can brighten someone’s day (which is just one reason why it’s always important to be kind). It was really nice that she saw something that made her think of The Joy Project. Her suggestion of a doodle wine book club made me smile. Just the thought of that brought me joy. C’mon…cute dogs, wine and books? That sounds amazing! I was also glad to be forming new friendships. The new friendships certainly don’t replace my current doodle friends but it’s great to be meeting people through my puppy, my Sky of Sunshine, who now brings additional warmth to my life.

Make new friends but keep the old.
One is silver – the other gold.



The Joy Project – Day 9

The Joy Project - Day 9 1I have been so busy with manual labor that I didn’t have time to write blog entries for a few days. Yes, that’s right…manual labor. πŸ™‚ I’m still writing 30 blog posts for The Joy Project in 30 days but I’m playing a bit of catch up today! What brought me joy on Wednesday was something that also brought me physical pain and exhaustion!

The air conditioning here went out several days ago but not before it flooded the basement. A new furnace and entirely new A/C unit needs to be installed (in addition to new carpeting in the basement and part of a wall). My bedroom was unbearably hot…to the point that I was actually worrying about Skylie since she was panting quite a bit.

Coincidentally, every time I walked by the guest room, I kept thinking about how I liked the furniture in there more. As I thought about it, it made sense to switch rooms because the old guest room also has a ceiling fan which is a huge help in keeping cool. Additionally, there is a queen bed versus the full sized bed in my old bedroom.

I was excited to “move” into the new space because I like it a lot more. I started moving EVERYTHING…clothes, office supplies, coats, the content of my closet, shoes, etc. I also had to move all that same stuff from the former guestThe Joy Project - Day 9 2 bedroom into my former bedroom. It was basically doing a swap of the content of both rooms, with the exception of furniture. It was a HUGE project!

My shoulders ache from carrying and lifting items. I was sweating from the heat. Skylie had no idea what was going on but she happily followed me between the 2 rooms all day long. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. I can’t even count how many armfuls I carried. In the process, I got rid of about 8 huge garbage bags of items I no longer need as well as junk that I accumulated over the years. It’s nice to rid my space of a lot of clutter.

Now I’m in the “new” room and it feels so much better. Yes, it was tedious and time-consuming but it brought me joy to make the change!



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