Wednesday, August 31, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things...

To sum up my posts about my trip to Georgia, I thought I would list some of my very favorite things about the trip.  There were entirely too many wonderful things to name them all, so today I'll go with my five favorites.

1.  Visiting with my Mimi. 

I love visiting with everyone in my family, but my sweet Mimi and I have always had a special connection.  This woman is the most genuinely caring and compassionate person I've ever known.  She has taught me so much about giving selflessly and loving your family with every ounce of your being.  Here in Hawaii, I struggle daily with the guilt that comes from being so far away from my family that I love so much, and that guilt hits really hard when I start thinking about all the precious moments I miss with Mimi.  I'm so thankful that I got to see this sweet woman, sit with her, and hold her hand on my visit home.  It was really a blessing.

2.  Enjoying time with my whole family... plus Kent's family.

Kent and I are so blessed to have families that live 15 minutes away from each other.  It makes every trip home an awesome one in which we get to see every single family member.  My mom, dad, brother, sister, grandparents, his mom, his dad, his brothers, his grandparents... it's truly wonderful.  I cherished each moment with all of these awesome people.

3.  Being around animals again! (Aside from just dogs.)

You guys know I love animals, but this island is not the place for much more than about two dogs or cats.  I miss the critters from back home.  Growing up, we had just about everything... chickens, goats, a donkey, cows, horses, cats, dogs, hamsters, guinea pigs, mice, birds, you name it.  Not that my brother and sister and I are older, my parents have cut it back, but it sure was nice to see (and smell) the horses!  I also loved visiting with the old kitty cats.  (They may not look like much in the photo, but I think they look pretty spectacular for 17 year old outdoor cats... haha)

4.  The green, green grass everywhere and the pretty flowers that are different from what I see in Hawaii

  Yes, Hawaii has lots of beautiful flowers and tropical plants, but I just missed what was back home.  It's funny because I think of everything as being green here in Hawaii since the mountains are always so super green, but I'd forgotten just how GREEN things can be in Georgia.  I think it's because the trees on the sides of the roads are so much  more dense than anything you ever really see here.

5.  Visiting places I don't get to go unless I'm on the mainland.

It may sounds silly, but I was super duper excited to visit the places that we don't have in Hawaii.  Hobby Lobby was a big one.  That place is like my own personal Disney World.  I was overwhelmed by all the home decor, art supplies, and yarn!  Here in Hawaii, the only "arts and crafts" people seem to do are lei making and scrapbooking.  Plus, few people find a need for yarn in the consistently 70-80 degree weather, so the selection is generally pretty sparse. Aside from Hobby Lobby, I thoroughly enjoyed going to Chick-fil-a (best chicken biscuits EVER), Zaxby's (another fantastic place for chicken), Applebee's, and, of course, Olive Garden.  Yummy yummy!  Now if only I could get those places to deliver out here for me...
That just about sums up my trip home. :)  Hope you guys are having a fantastic Wednesday! 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tail Wagging Tuesday: Special Pup Feature- Ben Wade

This week's special feature belongs to a very special friend of mine here in Hawaii.  SueAnn is a fellow animal lover whose kind heart and compassion shines through all her actions.  She volunteers to guard the honu, or sea turtles, here on the island, she snorkles all the time to spend time with the beautiful fish in the ocean surrounding us, and I've never seen her dislike any furry or feathered animal.  Her little dog Ben Wade seems to be an extension of her heart of gold, so naturally, I had to ask if he could be a special feature.  :)  She said yes.

So.... let's hear what SueAnn has to say about her adorable little Ben Wade.

What kind of dog is Ben Wade, and what made you pick that breed?
     Ben Wade is a Miniature Poodle/Bichon Frise mix.  I am pretty allergic to animal fur/dander, and neither of those breeds shed.

How did Ben Wade come into your life?  Where did you get him? 
     Ben Wade was at a chain pet store in a mall in Virginia Beach.  We would occasionally stop in there to see puppies just because they are cute, and some were in little bins where you could reach over and pet them.  He had a bunch of feces stuck to the hair on his backside and I brought it to the attention of one of the sales persons. She assured me that he was getting a bath later that day, so it would be taken care of. I went back a day or two later, and it was the same thing - all that dried poop in his raggedy looking hair. Bring it up again to the sales personnel and was told the same thing.  Went back again, same condition, so I bought him.  I would not support a chain pet store because the chances of the puppies coming from some sort of "mill" condition are high.  And as it turns out, when I got the paperwork on him and I Googled his breeder/owner, it's a notoriously alleged puppy mill.

Where did you get the name Ben Wade?  
     One of my favorite movies is the Russell Crowe and Christian Bale movie "3:10 to Yuma."  In it, Russell Crowe plays an outlaw named "Ben Wade".  He always wore black.  Ben Wade is black with a white chest and a white soul patch.  I also liked the outlaw character, for though he was ruthless in his dealings with men he viewed as rotten as he was, he had a soft spot for women and creatures.  One of my favorite discussions with someone about his name was with a guy who knew the movie "3:10 to Yuma," and when I reminded him of Russell Crowe's character being named "Ben Wade," he replied, "Oh yeah.  So is your dog a real bad-a** too?" (not realizing we were talking about a Poodle/Bichon mix).  Haha!

What are some of Ben Wade's favorite things to do?  Any little quirks that make him "him"?
     Ben Wade likes to play fetch with any stuffed toy, he likes to tear around the yard with any good dog friends, he loves to go for good long walks (but could care less about the dog park), and his all-time favorite thing to do is sit in the lap of someone who doesn't mind having him there.  

     Hmmmm...quirks, he has a few...when we get up in the morning and go downstairs, if Big Daddy (my husband) or Joshua (son) are already awake OR if we come home from even a five minute trip, he must bring us a gift.  By that I mean, he looks around for a stuffed toy to carry to you, and he doesn't want to play fetch, he just wants to present you with a gift.  He HATES car rides.  They make his nose run and he will often vomit afterward.  I think it has something to do with the ride from the puppy mill... probably a dirty or too cold vehicle from the Midwest to the pet store in Virginia Beach.  I have tried short (five minutes) trips just to drop off the kid at school or go pick him up, take him to a friend's house that he likes, etc., but Ben Wade is almost 4 years old now and he reacts the same.  Actually, I take that back.  The first year and half or so, he would also shake uncontrollably.  Poor guy just can't get over it.  

      If he is hungry, he goes to his bowl and knocks it around (it's stainless steel, so it can be a bit loud) and around and around until I get the message.  Or he will put both front paws in it, and push it over to me as if to say "Um, can you please put something in this?".  And if I have picked his bowl up off of the floor, he goes over to the big dog's giant bin of kibble and scratches at it until I walk into the kitchen and give him some food. See, we have a puppy who eats large breed puppy food and Ben Wade eats adult small kibble. I have to feed the puppy outside so that they don't eat each other's food.  Also, Ben is a VERY slow eater, while the puppy inhales his.  And sometimes Ben is not wanting any breakfast, so if he won't eat his food within ten minutes or so, I have to remove his bowl from the floor and put it up on the counter so the puppy can come back inside.

What makes Ben Wade so special to you?
     He is very special to me because he has the best heart of any dog I have ever known.  He has been picked up uncomfortably by small children, and he has never growled or lifted a lip at them.  He just goes limp and waits for them to hurry up and put him down.  He LOVES people.  More than one person has commented that he's not a yippy, snappy small dog.  (I don't know, I have met a lot of nice dogs, but maybe they haven't?)   Also, a former neighbor had a male Rottweiler and a male Doberman who were nice, but were often dominant over other dogs. Ben Wade approached them with his calm energy and they just kind of accepted him right away, and sometimes we would all walk together, dogs nose to nose sniffing something interesting together.  Other dogs in the neighborhood who do not get along with any other dogs are friends with Ben Wade.  He naturally sends calming signals and he's so well balanced, that other dogs don't get any negative energy from him.  I like that he has made friends with dogs that the owners didn't think their dogs were capable of being friendly. He just has that "something" - a heart of gold that other dogs recognize.  He's also very loyal to me and is always right there by my side.  He's also a great snuggler when it's time to go to sleep - he nestles into my neck/shoulder with that soft warm little body of his and everything seems right in my world.  I can't imagine my life without him. 

A big thanks to SueAnn for sharing her sweet little guy with us!  If any of you guys have a sweet pet you'd like to share (not just dogs), please e-mail me at TailsToTell [at] Live [dot] com, and we will set up an "interview." :)  I'd love to feature your sweet pal!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Tastes Just like Chicken...

Since I didn't get to finish telling you guys all about my trip to Georgia because of the craziness I had to deal with last week, I thought I would finish up this week.  Hope you don't mind.... because I've got lots of pictures to share. :)

One of my favorite events of the week was the "Low Country Boil" we had at my parents' house.  I had never been to one before, but I knew it would be "some good eatin'."  Since I was so excited about it, I went to the grocery store with my dad to pick up enough food to feed just under 20 people. (In other words, A LOT of food!)  We got potatoes, corn on the cob, sausage, shrimp, and the seasonings for all that, plus the ingredients for an amazing "Tater Sauce."  Then, my daddy saw some crawfish (a.k.a. crayfish).  He thought it would be cool to throw some in the pot with everything else, and I thought so too.  After all, we'd never tried them before.  Since we didn't know how exactly to eat them, and since we weren't sure if we would like them, we didn't get a ton.... just enough for everyone to try one if they wanted.

And they were a hit.  

 Everyone found them to be some interesting little critters.

I think my cousin's description of the taste is my favorite.  She said they taste "just like chicken... soaked in lake water."  Haha! 

Unfortunately, I only got a photo of this little guy after everyone had gone through the line at least once.  I wish so badly that I'd thought to take some photos of the huge mounds of food before everyone started digging in (I was surprised that so much could fit into one pot to cook!), but when the smell of all that yummy food got to my nose, my tummy took over my brain.  It was time to eat!

This is where the whole feast was cooked.... All in that one boiler pot.

Even if I didn't get photos of the all the food, I got a lot of photos of the fun...

Everyone had a great time eating, talking and cutting up, playing frisbee with the dogs, shooting BB guns, practicing with bow and arrows, throwing a baseball, and just enjoying each others company.

Now I can't wait to have another low country boil very soon!

Have you guys ever been to one?  Ever tried a crawfish?  If so, do you like them? :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Heard of a Maypop?

I learned something new when I was on my trip home.  I learned what a Maypop was.  Ever heard of one?

Yesterday, I showed you this photo of me and my sweet Mimi.

If you look in her hand, you'll see that she's holding something... and nope, it's not a lime.

It's a Maypop.

My lesson on Maypops began when Mimi spotted some plants Kent's dad had in his field.  She thought they were perhaps blackberry or blueberry bushes, and when she asked him what they were, she was surprised and delighted to find out that they were Maypops.  Evidently the mention of this plant gave her a flood of happy memories because she just started smiling and laughing.  Kent's dad was nice enough to go get her one, and it tickled her to death.

I soon learned from both my Mimi and Kent's dad that "back in the day" children would often play with Maypops to make little animals.  They would stick little sticks into the "fruit" to make legs.  Kent's dad said he played under his porch with his tractors in the summertime, and he would make whole herds of Maypop "cows" to work on his "farm."  I thought it all sounded really neat, so I was excited the next day to find that my Mimi had stuck toothpicks in hers to make a little animal.  I decided to take it a step further and surprise her by adding ears and eyes.  

Here's the result...
I thought it looked like an adorable little green hamster.

It also makes me wish kids today would use their imaginations more often and create their own toys out of the nature around them instead of relying on ready-made toys... but that's a rant for another day.

After learning what children used to do with Maypops, I decided to do a little research on them to learn exactly what this plant is, and I thought I'd share a little bit with you.  (The following information was mostly gathered from Wikipedia... not always the most reliable source, but I feel that this information was accurate.)

Their official name is "Passiflora incarnata,"  but it is also commonly called Maypop, Purple Passionflower, True Passionflower, Wild Apricot, and Wild Passion Vine.  It is one of the hardiest southern wildflowers, and the Cherokee in Tennessee called it ocoee, hence the Ocoee River and valley.  It is also the state wildflower of Tennessee.

The fleshy fruit of this flower is called the Maypop, and it's green at first but becomes orange as it matures. 

I also thought it was interesting that the fresh or dried whole plant has been used as an herbal remedy for nervous anxiety and insomnia.  In cooking, it can be used in jams and jellies, and can even be eaten as is for a tasty but very seedy snack.  Evidently, it was a favorite among Southern colonial settlers and Native Americans.  

Pretty cool, right?  Have any of you guys ever heard of a Maypop?  Or better yet, played with one?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pools are Cool

I thought today would be as good a day as any to start sharing some of the fun things that happened on my trip home.  It was so wonderful to spend twelve glorious days at home with friends and family.  I only hate that the events of the past few days have overshadowed  some of the leftover joy I still feel about my trip.  Anyhoo... after arriving home on a Thursday afternoon, I spent time with my family until Kent was able to join me on Saturday.  The following day we had a fantastic pool party at his parent's house, and both my family and his were there.  It was amazing!

There was a lot of food (which I didn't photograph because I was too busy eating).
My Mimi and Kent's Gran enjoyed sitting in the shade and chatting...
There were pretty intense ping pong games going on...

And we even set up for a game of volleyball in the pool...

But the most popular game of the day, at least with the guys, was trying to jump and hang on to a giant float...
(It may seem like a funny looking float, but it was made to catch floating rings of different sizes.)

Just so you can see, here are a couple of photos with some of my favorite people.

Like my sister...

my Mimi...

and my Mama.

All in all, the pool party was an awesome way to kick off my week at home.  Seeing our families talking and enjoying each others company was wonderful.  I only wish we could get together like that much more often.

How often do you all have family get-togethers?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tail Wagging Tuesday: Special Pup Feature- Chase

Yes, I'm doing Tail Wagging Tuesday a day late.  I had been so excited to share this week's feature with you, but after the fiasco I experienced on Monday, it just didn't happen, so I say better late than never. :)

This week's special feature pup is one that I just met in person last week.  He belongs to my sister, and I had the privilege of going with her when she rescued him while I was home.  He was found by the pound "running at large," so he was picked up and brought to the shelter.  At this point, he is still very very thin (he weighs only 60 pounds, yet his frame could easily support 80 pounds), but due to his microchip and the fact that he was already neutered, it's obvious that someone loved him at one time.  Even though she's had him such a short time, I thought it would be neat to share his story now, so that we could revisit him later to see how he fills out and how his personality and training develops.  For now, let's see what my sister Brittany has to say about her new "fella" named Chase.

What kind of dog is Chase?  How old is he?
      He’s a German Shepherd, and he’s about two years old.

Where did you get Chase?  What's his story?
      Since my dad got a German Shepherd, I’ve wanted one of my own, so I started searching on Petfinder.   I found two that I liked, but for one reason or another they didn’t work out.  One was definitely bred to be a working dog instead of a pet, so I brought him to a family friend and dog trainer who trained him and got him a job.  The other dog seemed like he was going to work out, but at the last minute I was told he had medical problems that would effect the other dogs in my household, so I had to turn down the adoption.  All along I’ve been checking Petfinder and local shelters because I really wanted to rescue one.  Then, I saw his picture on Petfinder while my sister was home.   He was so close by that I couldn’t resist going to look at him. 

 This is his photo from

     Once we got to the shelter and saw him, I couldn’t believe that such a sweet, beautiful German Shepherd was in the shelter without a home and family.  I was a little nervous, but I had a feeling that I was doing the right thing by getting him out of there and taking him home to be spoiled and loved. 

How did Chase get his name?
      For a day and a half, I pondered names.  He was the hardest-to-name animal I’ve ever had.  I thought he might be a “Jake,” but my dad liked the name “Champ” (like his German Shepherd growing up that looked similar).  In an effort to please everyone, I kept the search going.   Then, I started noticing some of his nervous habits like chasing his tail.   He also chased cats and my family’s old Blue Heeler named Lacey--in an attempt to flirt with her, for which he got an "earful."  After seeing these things, my sister suggested Chase, and I thought it was almost like a combination of Champ and Jake, so Chase became his name… and it fits him perfectly.

Even though you haven't had him long, what are Chase's favorite things to do?  Things that make him unique?  Crazy quirks or special sweet things he does?
      He loves to go on long walks outside, and he will do anything for food.  Since he loves food so much, he’s picking up new obedience commands quickly.  He also loves to play with his new “brother” Jett. 

     As far as things that make him unique, he acts like he’s an overgrown cat.  He’ll rub against your legs or another dog or a chair or anything just like a cat.  Then, he’ll stretch like a cat.  It’s pretty funny.  He is also very vocal when he’s excited. 
    He knows when it’s bedtime, and he’ll go into my room then come look for me in the hallway, and he will do that over and over until I “put him to bed” in his crate. 

What makes Chase so special to you?  What does he mean to you?
      Well, he’s my first dog that is solely my responsibility.  He seems so appreciative of his new home and the love he’s getting.  I think, especially since he came from a shelter, that he’s going to be a really special dog that tries hard to learn quickly and please his family.  I couldn’t ask for more.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I had hoped to start this week off with fun posts about my fabulous trip home.  However, life decided to throw me for one heck of a loop in my return to the island. 

It all started in Atlanta... at 5AM.  I had two stops between Atlanta and Honolulu-- one in Houston and another in Phoenix.  The lovely people in Atlanta that boarded the plane before me and the second half of the passengers decided that their belongings were more important than ours.  They demonstrated this by bringing ridiculously big carry-on items that took up all of the room in the overhead bins, leaving none for those of us unfortunate enough to be called a bit later on for seating.  I found a space just big enough for my carry-on bag that held my cameras and laptop, placed my bag in the bin, checked to make sure it would close, and took my seat.  A few moments later I noticed another passenger move my bag over to try and squeeze theirs in.  This, in turn, made my bag stick out.  Before I could get up to fix it, I saw a flight attendant hauling my bag down the aisle and toward the door.  A moment later I was contacted and told that my bag was checked all the way to Honolulu... with no questions asked about whether or not I needed anything in the bag for the 13 hours I had left on my journey.  The doors closed, and all I could do was hope that the bag with my priceless possessions holding videos and photos from my trip along with the charger for my dying phone would make it to Honolulu.

Fast forward to the next flight out of Houston.  I barely made it on time thanks to the kind people with oversized bags in Atlanta who delayed that flight's departure.  Still, I tried to remain optimistic.

The next and final flight was out of Phoenix.  The stupid airport in Phoenix.  After landing in one terminal, I had to leave the building, catch a bus to another terminal, and go through security all over again.  Oh so much fun...  Still, however, I tried to remain optimistic.  Surely things would be better when I just landed in Honolulu.

I touch down in Honolulu earlier than expected, I make my way to baggage claim, and I wait.  And I wait. And I wait.  For 45 minutes we all stood there waiting for bags that in the past have beat me to baggage claim.  Finally, bags start popping out.  I get the bag I checked originally, and I wait.  And I wait.  And I wait.  Then I realize the carry-on that had to be checked isn't coming, so I head to the counter for help.  Soon I find out that for some reason it was sent to Kona on the Big Island.  After telling them how badly I needed the bag as soon as possible, they promised to call me when it came back later in the afternoon.  I was angry, my phone was dying, but I went to find my ride.

I was overjoyed to see "my boys," but it was overshadowed by my rotten luck of the day.

Little did I know it was about to hit the rotten rock bottom.

When I get home, I unlock my front door to find the closet door ajar.  Then, I notice my sliding glass door is open and my papasan cushion on the lanai is thrown on the floor.  As I continue to look around-- in fury by this point-- I see every drawer in my house is open and has been rifled through.  Upstairs every door is open, and more drawers left half open.  Then, I notice one little travel jewelry box is gone.  It held mostly costume jewelry, but it also held an opal and diamond ring that my mom gave me for my 16th birthday. It is irreplaceable,and the sentimental value far outweighs the monetary value.  That was when I just lost it.  I sat down and cried a moment, then I called Kent.  He reminded me that I should call the police.  When I did that, I had to sit and wait for quite a little while before they arrived.

It's strange.  I never thought I would feel so violated just from someone breaking into my home, but I do.  Just knowing that someone came in, uninvited, and ran their hands through my things picking and choosing what they wanted makes my skin crawl.  And it kind of hurts my feelings.

The police came, and so did some wonderful people that Kent works with.  I had fully prepared myself to deal with all that had to be done with the police report, calling maintenance, and straightening up alone, but I didn't have to.  Even before the police arrived, some guys from Kent's work showed up to help me remember what I wouldn't and think of the things I forgot.  They even found a phone charger for me since mine was in my "lost" bag.  Wives called to check on me and see what I needed, and even though I said I was fine, a couple of good friends came and brought me dinner, ate with me, sat with me while my windows and doors were fixed, walked my dogs with me, and stayed so I could feel safe taking a shower.  My sweet neighbor even brought me milk and cookies (because we all know they can make everything feel better!).  I seriously couldn't ask for more support in such a yucky situation.  Even though I'm away from my blood family, it felt good that a family based on a brotherhood and sisterhood of sorts formed when I needed it. 

I did finally get my missing bag back, and all in it was accounted for, but the uneasy feeling I have from the break in is probably going to linger for a while.  I am pretty certain whoever did it simply saw an opportunity in a vacant house, but I still can't feel completely comfortable again.

Anyhoo... Just needed to share that story to get it off my chest and feel a little peace of mind from looking at the whole situation.  Hopefully, I can get a decent night's sleep since I've been up for over 24 hours straight.  For now I'm off to snuggle with Duke, who will alert me at the smallest sound, and try to fall back into some sort of routine tomorrow. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Checking in from home...

Just wanted to check in from Georgia and say hello. :)

I know I've been missing in action for the past week, but my internet access has been a little sporadic.  I'll be back in full force soon, though.   

Since I've been on my trip, I've been soaking up the sights, sounds, and smells of home, and it's been wonderful!

I've also been spending some time with some of my favorite people and seeing friends I haven't seen in a very long time.

I can't wait to tell you guys more about this trip home, but for now, I'm going to go enjoy some more time with family.  Hope you guys have a wonderful Friday and a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Great Big Blanket

Well, I finally finished the crochet blanket (I guess it's technically an afghan, but that sounds like those ugly things on the backs of sofas in the 1970s, I prefer "blanket.").  I've been working on it for a month, and it took hours and hours of work, but now that it's finished, I think it's all worth it. I'm a little proud of myself. 

I used Caron Simply Soft yarn (which I would highly recommend) to make my 5'x6' creation.  The body of the blanket was done with a variety of the fan stitch called the "Peacock Stitch," and the edging was done with single crochet.  Everything came together quite well to make a nice, cuddly, soft blanket that you really want to snuggle up under.  I can't wait to give it to my family to let them enjoy it!  Anyhoo... just wanted to share one of the creations that I've been spending many many hours on lately. :)  

Hope you guys are having a fantastic Wednesday!  I'll be flying out tonight, so I'm crossing my fingers that the flights go well.  Forgive me if my posts are a bit sporadic over the next week, but I'll be soaking up lots of time with friends and family. :) 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tail Wagging Tuesday: Special Pup Feature- Gracie

This week's special feature pup belongs to one of my very best friends.  Jennifer and I were roomies in college and grad school, and she will forever be referred to as "my roommate," despite the fact that we don't live together anymore.  Jennifer's sweet little Gracie holds a special place in my heart because I'm her "God-mom."  Haha!  Jennifer got her when we were in graduate school together, so I lived with this sweet fur baby for a year.  Now, let's see what Jennifer has to say about her...

What kind of dog is Gracie?  How old is she?
     Gracie is a 3 year old red Miniature Dachsund.

Where did you get Gracie?  What's her story?
     Gracie came to live with me during my husband's first deployment. I was currently working on my MBA and lived in a townhouse near school, with my roomie Lindsay. I had always wanted a puppy of my own so the search on Craigslist began. Lindsay found Gracie at a home not far from where my parents lived. I called my parents immediately to pick her up for me. We met my dad halfway between where I lived and where they lived to get her. When I first saw her, I could barely see her little head above the grass. She weighed all of one pound and could fit in my hand. It was love at first sight, and by 9:00 that night, Gracie was finally home.

How did Gracie get her name?
     Gracie was not actually the first name I had picked out for my new pup. I always wanted a little dog, and I was going to name her "Bitsy". With a last name of Cox, however, I thought that would be cruel Lindsay and I eventually settled on the name "Gracie"--I liked the name "Grace" but "Gracie" seemed more appropriate for a little dog.

What are Gracie's favorite things to do?  Things that make her unique?  Crazy quirks or special sweet things she does?
     Gracie has more personality than any dog I've ever known. She loves to sunbathe, play with her "babies", chase her ball, bark at our neighbors--or at nothing, depending on how she's feeling. She knows how to "play dead" if you hold your hand like a gun, point it at her and say "BANG!".   She can also sit and roll over if you give her a treat, and she will give tons of puppy kisses if you ask her to. She loves to go on walks and her ears perk up every time you say the words "walk", "treat", and "ball".  She sleeps in the bed between me and my husband with her head on my pillow and her little legs sticking straight out. And if she doesn't feel like she has enough room in the bed, she will kick you until you move. If she ever has an accident or does something bad, she gives herself away because you will find her hiding in the corner with her tail tucked between her legs in shame. She will even "apologize" by waddling over and "kissing" you until all is forgiven. She is always a good listener, a great companion, and the sweetest "child" I could ever ask for.

What makes Gracie so special to you and your family?  What does she mean to you?
     Gracie is our whole world. She has kept me company through two year-long deployments, and she is always excited to see me or just be with me. She is super protective of her "mom" and she will bark anyone's head off who tries to come between us. My husband Chris and I don't have children...but with Gracie, we feel like we have one. And for now, she is all we need.

Jennifer didn't send me this video, and I'm not sure if she knows I have it, but it's adorable.  So, Jennifer, here's a flashback for you.  Can you believe she was this little? :)

Hope you all loved Gracie as much as I do!