Vernon Volumes text

Vernon Volumes text

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Amelia Island Omni - Cliff Drysdale Tennis Bootcamp weekend

Andrea and I went to the tennis bootcamp at the Omni and the Cliff Drysdale Tennis center this past weekend. There were some familiar faces like Sal and Luis, but also some new pros like Nikki, Eric and Han. We were on a court with a couple of ladies from up north, and they were good players and competition for us. We were pushed to work on a lot of different shots and while we didn't enjoy all the games, it was a good opportunity to improve and practice.

Unfortunately it rained on Sunday morning, so we didn't get our Sunday clinics in, but we will go back in a couple weeks to make up that time. We're lucky that we live close enough that we have the option.

Kids weekend with Grandma and Grandpa

The kids spent the weekend with Grandma and Grandpa this past weekend while Andrea and I were at our tennis bootcamp. They learned to play majong, played the piano, played with Grandma's guest dog Zee, and played croquet. It was a fun weekend together!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Fun in Florida with Alex and Laura

After Grandpa's surprise party, we enjoyed the rest of our weekend with Alex and Laura. They stayed through Monday (which was MLK day), and we went out to eat, went to the beach at the club, rode in their convertible rental car, and watched the Chiefs lose a heartbreaking close game to the Patriots.

Saturday was the nicest day of their visit, in the mid 70's, and we went to the beach in the afternoon. We played bocce ball in the sand, chased the birds, looked at some big jellyfish, and built some stuff in the sand. After the beach, we played a Scotland Yard board game and watched the Australian Open.

Paige's dream is to own a convertible, and she was super pumped to see Alex and Laura arrive in style in their rental car. On Sunday we had to run to the store, and although it was pretty cold on Sunday, we took the opportunity to put the top down and enjoy the ride. On the way home Laura drove and we even let Paige sit in the front seat since we were very close to the supermarket and driving on slow roads. She loved it!

On Sunday we played some more board games, watched some football and even played five person Roblox. Connor was on his Xbox, Paige on her PC, Alex on Andrea's iMac, Laura on her laptop, and me on my desktop. We played Murder Mystery 2, the Shark Attack game, and Surviving Natural Disasters. It was actually a lot more fun than I expected, although Connor did rage quit a few times.

Sadly, we finished off our Sunday together with the Chiefs playing the Patriots in the AFC Championship game. Although it seemed like they were on the verge of winning a few times, Brady spoiled it for us and the Patriots prevailed. It was a disappointing end to our Sunday, but we had a great weekend with family and the Chiefs at least made it a close game.

On Monday, Alex and Laura ate lunch with us at Cantina Louie and then drove to the airport and got back to Chicago in the afternoon. We're glad they made it home safe, and it was awesome for them to come to Florida to make Dad's birthday extra special, and to hang out and spend so much time with us. We love you guys!

Grandpa Rick's 70th surprise birthday party

On Friday night, January 18th, we surprised Grandpa Rick at Cantina Laredo for his 70th birthday. Alex and Laura flew in from Chicago, and we all worked to plan a the surprise dinner. For the weeks before the party, Andrea and I worked hard to find a nice venue, get decorations, and a birthday cake. Grandma Alice was in charge of the guest list and she invited many of Grandpa and Grandma's Florida friends. At one point we were worried we'd have too many for the room!

I'd asked Dad to meet our family at Cantina Laredo for dinner, and thankfully he accepted the invite so we didn't have to get too creative to get him there. The guests all arrived by 4:30, and Grandpa Rick and Grandma Alice showed up around 5pm. The room accommodated 30 people, and we had exactly that number on the big day. I pretended to be on a phone call in the lobby when they arrived, then I walked them to the room and opened the door for the surprise.

We all enjoyed our dinners, Mom and Dad mingled with the guests, and then we sang "Happy Birthday" and cut the cake.

Overall, it was a beautiful night, and it was fun that everything came together and Grandpa was surprised. We cleaned everything up after we finished and snapped a picture outside the restaurant before heading home.

Laura's birthday

Laura and Alex flew in to Florida on her birthday for Grandpa Rick's surprise birthday party. We wanted to show our appreciation to her, and to try and make her day special, so the kids made her birthday cards, we got her some balloons, and a big apple pie!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Chloe's story

Andrea and I got Chloe on October 5th 2003. She had been born sometime in late August and was available to be adopted by early October. We drove out in to the country to the farm where Chloe was born and weren’t sure what we were looking for, or what kind of dog to expect. Andrea had read up on Schnoodles online and had seen a few pics of what they might look like. We liked the idea that Schnoodles wouldn’t get too big, would be smart, and wouldn’t shed. When we arrived at the farm, we met the owner, and then she showed us the puppies. They were all so little and so fluffy and cute. There were about seven or eight puppies, and when she let them in to the room to meet us all of the puppies ran in different directions. Most of them ran over to some bowls to sniff for food and water. The puppies had different colored yarn around their necks to help you tell them apart, and one puppy with purple yarn came over to see us instead of everything else in the room. I took note of that, and as we played with all of the puppies, we kept coming back to the one with purple yarn. Of course, that was the puppy we picked, our Chloe.

On the way home we were excited about our new addition and we stopped by Abby’s house. Her kids were excited to meet our new puppy, and we told them her name was Chloe. It didn’t seem right to have just a first name, and the name Chloe Louise seemed to fit nicely and it was the same middle name as Abby which made it even more special. The next few weeks were difficult but so much fun. We picked out a collar for Chloe and of course it was purple, her collar would always be purple. We didn’t have a yard at the apartment, which meant we had to take her out on a leash rain or shine. Chloe went poop in the apartment one time and after being scolded she never pooped on purpose indoors again. She was a fast learner, eager to please, and we loved her so much. Early on I taught Chloe to come, sit, and stay. Chloe eventually learned to beg and to do a lot of commands based on hand gestures alone, which was useful later in her life when she lost her hearing.

Chloe’s always been a good dog, the best dog. She wasn’t a typical dog in many ways. Maybe because we started out in an apartment, and maybe because I gave her a bath every week, she was a very clean dog that didn’t really love the outdoors. Chloe would avoid puddles, mud, and only would occasionally roll around in something gross. She almost always smelled good, and was always so happy after a bath, zooming around the house while I snapped the towel at her. Chloe didn’t really care for other dogs as much as she did people. On walks Chloe wouldn’t pay other dogs much attention, even when they were barking and straining to come sniff her. We took Chloe to a dog park once and she hated it. Chloe liked people and liked to talk to them with her little howl.

Chloe wasn’t always a perfect dog. She had her quirks. If you left food or anything remotely edible within reach, Chloe would find it. While staying with the Gobles she got in to Ryan’s lunch box and ate his protein powder. A few days before Christmas in 2015 she managed to jump up on the kitchen island and chowed down on a gingerbread house. When a babysitter left her Chick-fil-a dinner within reach, Chloe gobbled it all up. Chloe sniffed out, and shredded, an adult diaper that a guest had used for incontinence issues. In one of her grossest moments, she ate Connor’s poop after it had overflowed his diaper in to the exersaucer. Chloe also loves to shred tissue, it’s one of her weird nervous habits. If you leave tissue in any trashcan within reach, Chloe will pull it out and tear it into confetti. I spied on her once while she was doing it to see if she ate it and she didn’t. She just quickly and methodically tore it to little pieces.

We worried about Chloe over the years, but she’s such an easy going and sweet girl. When we had Connor, and later Paige, we were concerned that she would be jealous of the kids and worried she might bite them. Chloe was always patient with them when they were little, avoided them when necessary, and cuddled them occasionally. When we moved to Florida Chloe rode in the car with me all the way and kept me company. We haven’t had a fenced yard for the last six years of her life, and it’s been much more difficult to let her out than our house in Missouri. I’d considered leashing her when we let her out, but typically Chloe will just wander the grass, do her business and return. There have been a very few occasions where Chloe will see someone and run off to sniff them, and we’ve been fortunate that she’s always been very well behaved.

As Chloe’s gotten older, she’s slowed down quite a bit but somehow still has a puppy look about her. Maybe it’s the cute haircuts, maybe it’s her bright eyes, maybe it’s her size, but everyone is surprised when we would tell them how old she was. The last few years we call her our “old lady” and would try to be extra gentle and sweet with her. Chloe has never been much of a cuddler, but recently she would nuzzle you and bury her face in your lap. She likes affection and loves it when you rub her cheeks. Although she couldn't hear much any more I still talked to her. I’ve worked from home since 2011 and I thought it would be lonely to work from home, but Chloe has always kept me company. I talked to her during the day when I have trouble figuring something out, and it’s always comforting to have someone in the office with me. In the evenings Chloe would lie in the family room with us while we watch TV and liked to be wherever the family was.

Since September, Chloe hadn’t been feeling well. She had a UTI late September and we got her on antibiotics in early October. Towards the end of October we noticed Chloe wasn’t looking very good and I noticed she’d thrown up a few times within a day. Chloe’s always been pretty healthy, but she will have a digestive issue from time to time. A couple times per year I’ll go to get her out of her kennel in the morning and it will be a mess, so I wasn’t all that concerned at first when Chloe threw up. I became a bit more worried though when they weighed Chloe and she was only 10.4 pounds. Chloe’s usually 12 pounds and at her UTI appointment a month before she was 11.4 pounds. She was noticeably skinnier and you could feel the bones in her hips and back. The vet prescribed some anti-nausea medicine and they did some blood work, which showed poor liver function. I gave her the anti-nausea medicine that night and Chloe had a bad side effect from it. She seemed very dizzy, was walking sideways, and didn’t seem to control her limbs very well. After an hour or so it seemed to pass, but the next morning she started to get dizzy again and while I was holding her she started to spasm and I think she had a seizure. We didn’t give her any more of the medicine, but she had a few more dizzy spells and the nausea didn’t get better. Chloe was vomiting or having diarrhea for everything we feed her, and although she put on a little weight, you could tell she’s very uncomfortable and it wasn’t getting better. We tried dog food made for sensitive stomachs, beef with rice, chicken with rice, and just about anything we think she’d eat.

We scheduled an appointment with the mobile vet (Laps of Love) that does house calls for sick pets and will put them to sleep on November 17th. I really struggled with the appointment, especially since we had to leave her and go out of town for Thanksgiving soon after. At the appointment, we decided to try some medicine and some different food and to give her a chance to get better. Over the Thanksgiving holiday Chloe stayed with Grandma Alice for part of the time and then our pet sitter Deb. Her diarrhea didn’t improve, and she was definitely wasting away. Deb gave us the idea to try a different vet downtown at Brentwood animal clinic and we took her to see Dr. Hightman there. He gave us a lot of different medicines, insisted that Chloe was treatable, and put her on a new diet of prescription dog food. For the next week we had to give her multiple pills, capsules, tablets and even IV fluids multiple times per day. It was a lot of work and Chloe didn’t respond well at first. The IV fluids made it hard for her to hold her pee overnight, and she definitely didn’t like getting stuck with the needle. I took Chloe in for a follow-up visit after the first week and really pushed the vet to see if we were doing the right thing and we had a long discussion about the progress she’d made and how we could improve her digestion. Chloe was down to 8.11 lbs and was so weak. She got more IV fluids, different meds for liver issues, and we continued on. Over the next few weeks she slowly improved and for a while did pretty well. She was eating the prescription dog food grudgingly, and her stool improved and seemed normal. Unfortunately, over Christmas, she deteriorated again. She stopped eating, started getting weak, and started to have fluid build up in her legs around her joints.

On January 7th, we decided it was time for Chloe. We're thankful for all the time we had with Chloe, and at the end we were thankful we did what we could and were able to have her around over the holidays. We scheduled the euthanasia for Tuesday, January 8th at 5pm. We gave lots of love to Chloe for her last day, and gave her some tasty chicken and treats. Paige and Connor gave her lots of hugs and kisses. Andrea snuggled with her and wrapped her up cozy in a blanket on the couch. I took her outside quite a bit and gave her lots of extra affection. The appointment with the vet was fairly short, but it was nice that we were at home and Chloe was comfortable. Paige covered Chloe in her pink blanket and we sat with her on the couch as she slipped off to sleep.

Chloe was so special to me. I had dogs growing up, but Chloe was my dog. From the time she was a puppy to the time she was an old lady, she’s been my sweet girl. I love her so much and she is such a part of my life I can’t imagine my life without her in it. I knew the day would come when I’d have to say goodbye. It always seemed far away though, even when Chloe turned ten she was so fit and healthy. Even when she turned fifteen she was strong and happy. I don’t want to say goodbye to her, I don’t want to ever let her go. She was more than just a dog, she was a part of our family and we’ve gone through so much together. Chloe was with us when Andrea and I got engaged, when we got married, when we started a family, when we moved to Florida, and as we all grew and matured together. Chloe came in to our lives when we were 23 years old kids barely out of college. I just turned 39 and it’s amazing all the things we’ve done together and experienced together. Chloe was a part of everything and will always be a part of my heart. I know Chloe will not be forgotten, I just wish we didn’t have to say goodbye.

We love you Chloe Louise Vernon. Our Chloe Bear.

Fun with the Froehlichs

On Saturday afternoon we went to the Froehlich's house to hang out. We watched some NFL playoff football, played with their new puppy Sloan, and checked out the new house they're building. It was a fun day with friends!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Connor's glasses and contacts

In our previous post about Connor's contacts, we'd gotten some sample contacts, but hadn't yet received his glasses. Since then, Connor's gotten his glasses and he's also been wearing his contacts almost every day. Unfortunately he's really struggled with getting the contacts in to his eyes. His right eye tends to be a little easier, but his left is really hard to pry open and keep open as you get the contact near it. We've had him spend 15-20 minutes at a time working on putting the contacts in, and typically he will use a finger on his right hand to bring the lower eyelid down and will use his left hand to pull open his upper eyelid. Just as he brings the contact close and it touches an eyelash he'll blink and give up. It's frustrating to watch, and it's definitely frustrating for Connor.

This past week he's been getting better. He's been getting close to the mirror and a few times has actually touched the contact to his eye, but he just didn't quite get it to stick without one of us guiding his finger to his eye.

Finally, yesterday January 5th, Connor did it! He got the right contact in and we were all super excited for him. Andrea and I were so proud of him, but we didn't really expect him to get the left contact in. Connor worked at it, and he finally got it in all by himself. This morning he did both again. We'd told him previously that if he can get them in and out by himself for three days in a row we'll give him $50, and we're hoping that tomorrow morning he can get it done before school and will get his reward.

Great job Connor!

Shawn and PVIC 3.5 team at the city finals

My team played in a championship match yesterday morning against Southside. Our head pro Mike came out to watch along with some of the other teammates that weren't in the lineup. We barely made it in to the finals as a #4 seed and while we'd beaten the #1 Baymeadows team a couple weeks ago, we knew the #2 Southside team would be a big challenge. Unfortunately we lost the match overall 1-4, although I did win on line 3 with Ross. We had a good match and did pretty well together, pulling out a good win in the tiebreaker.

Ear Tube Removal Surgery for Connor and Paige

On January 3rd, we got up early to go to the surgery center to get the kids' tubes removed from their eardrums. Both kids have been really annoyed lately with having to wear earplugs while swimming and the issues the tubes cause. We're hopeful their Eustachian tubes have gotten large enough that the ear drum can drain on its own if needed, so we decided it was time to get the tubes out.

When we arrived for the surgery, Andrea went back with Paige first and I went back with Connor second. Andrea took some pics of Paige (which got lost due to an iPhone issue), and I took a few pics of Connor before the surgery. The surgery consisted of removing the tubes from each ear, scraping open the eardrum tissue that had previously been adjacent to the tube, and then filling the hole with some fatty tissue from the earlobe.

Paige's surgery went well, although the surgeon had a mistake with the earlobe. While the incision and stitches should only have been on the back of the earlobe, the cut went through to the front, so she had stitches on the front and back. Connor's surgery went off without a hitch.

As the kids recovered from the general anesthesia, we sat with them and talked to them. When we first sat with Paige, she was still unconscious. We were talking to the nurse when Paige regained consciousness and her eyes went super wide and she sat up abruptly. She was definitely out of sorts as she woke up, and she asked about Connor and where Connor was. She is such a sweet and thoughtful sister. She was a little emotional, and we held her a bit and tried to get her to relax as they took out her IV.

Connor was wheeled next to Paige about 30 minutes later and he woke up fairly quickly and without much of a fuss. He asked for his Iggy monkey and also asked how Paige was doing. They both drank some water and apple juice, and eventually we got permission to take them home. They were given the option of walking out or taking a wheelchair, and both were excited to take the wheelchairs. We snapped a pic of them before they got in the car.

They are both restricted from physical activity for a couple of days and have been mostly relaxing at home. So far, they are doing well, but we want to be extra careful they don't do anything that might dislodge the patch on their eardrums. They've been warned to sneeze with their mouths open, and not to try and hold in a sneeze, or do anything that might raise the pressure in their ear canals. Hopefully they both heal without any fuss and we can look forwards to swimming without ear plugs this summer.