I’ve had a love for Japanese sewing books since I discovered them last summer. I stumbled upon them via Pinterest on day and spent many a day after that looking at the books online and reading blogs about how to sew a pattern when you can’t read what it says. When I discovered a couple were available in english, I ordered them immediately. Of course I was still intimidated by the books—the pattern sheets are layered and need to be traced and seam allowances need to be added. When You & Mie and Elsie Marley announced the Happy Homemade Sew-along, I knew this was the perfect opportunity to jump in.
I’ve had the Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids book for nearly a year and the Hoodie (Pattern S) has been high of my list of patterns to try. I had actually decided on the fabric for it about four months ago, but I hadn’t gotten around to sewing it. Also the fabric I wanted to use was brown and I wasn’t exactly sure how receptive little miss would be of a brown hoodie. When the sew-along was announced, I started brain storming on what I could do to make brown more interesting. My inspiration in part came from Heidi and Finn’s Elsa Tunic. I had decided tinker bell’s green would compliment the brown nicely and when we were at the fabric store looking for the right green fabric, we also found a purple tinker bell fabric that became the lining of the hoodie and a dress shortly.
So Japanese pattern books are laid out of bit different than what we are used to. The front of the book is filled with beautiful photography with the kids wearing the clothes and the back of the book is the instructions. The patterns overlay one another on the sheet and they are printed on both sides—this means you need to trace the pattern. Also, seam allowances are not included so after you trace the pattern, you need to include the seam allowances as well.
Overall, I really enjoyed putting together this pattern. The most difficult part was the neckline, but between the tips I had read to make the binding slightly larger and going out and buying the right size elastic. (The pattern called for 1/4” and I only had 3/8” on hand and that 1/8” made a huge difference in the fussiness of trying to get the neckline done.) I’m still very slow at sewing so it took me around 2 hours each day of the sew-along.
I have a pair of shorts and a dress cut out of the same fabrics. The hoodie and shorts will make a nice cover-up for after dance or gymnastics or swimming I think.
Main Fabric: Brown Woven Supplex from Chez Ami
Supporting Fabrics: from Jo-Anns
Pattern: Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids Pattern S
The sew along provides great instructions if you’re looking at making this pattern:
Announcing . . .
Where to buy the book
Mixing it Up
What you’ll need
Schedule and Sew-along Prize
With Jake and the Neverland Pirates being all the rage in the preschool class, someone decided she wanted a pirate costume.
The skirt was made using the The DOUBLE-LAYER Square Circle Skirt tutorial from Make It & Love It with a red and white striped knit..
The vest was made using the Pirate Life costume tutorial and pattern on MADE. The suggested size range was from 2-4 years old, so I extended the top and side seams about a half inch. The outside of the vest is a cheap black satin that was used for another project, the bias tape was made by hand using this tutorial on how to turn a fat quarter into bias tape with a red and white stripe from Jo-Anns. The lining (which totally wasn’t necessary, but totally adds an element of fun) is Pirate Girls in Pearl from Michael Miller’s Out to Sea Collection.
The last piece was the blouse. I used the Audrey Dress pattern from Violette Fileld Threads as the base. I wanted it blousey with room to grow into so I cut the size 5 dress pattern with the length of the 3. From there I gave the hem and neckline and 1/4” hem and sewed a piece of elastic 1” from the edge around the cuff. I made a center slit at the neckline and added bias tape to the edge and then sewed the recommended amount of elastic 1” from the neckline. I added 3 button holes on each side to add laces to to the blouse.
And the best part is add a set of fairy wings and she now has a pirate fairy costume as well.
Like every other little girl an Elsa dress from Frozen was a must have this year. And having [semi-]recently taken up sewing, I find costumes are a great way to practice sewing because they don’t have to be perfect.
This project was very much a make it up as you go plus art direction by a very opinionated three year old.
I made the dress in knit because I think it’s easier for them to dress and undress versus coming over and asking to be velcro’d or zipping into a costume. And in theory, the stretch of the knit means they can wear it longer? The sleeves and top are a very light weight knit with some sparkle to it that barely shows up even in person. The blue is something I had that is a much thicker knit (in hindsight I’d use a lighter weight knit).
I used a combination of the Bloom Dress and Contrast V-neck Sweater patterns from Patty Young’s Sewing ModKid Style book as a guide. The dress is a 4T, but I used the length of the size 10 (which turned out to be perfect with a 1/2” hem for length). The color blocking from the contrast v-neck sweater was used on the front and back pieces of the dress. My plan was to use the contrast v-neck as is for the front without the neckline banding and just hemming under 1/4”. This however made the neckline way too low, so I ended up moving up the bottom panel a few inches and leaving the angle of the neckline unchanged.
The first order of business was adding an ombre dye to the blue knit (per 3 year old art direction that said it needed to be darker at the bottom than the top)—next time I’d either skip this step or use a sheerer fabric for the skirt as you really don’t see in the end result.
The pattern was cut and assembled adding a layer of tulle for the cape between the color blocking sections on the back (the tulle was about 2Xs as wide as the dress and and inch longer than the back blue piece). The bottom corners were rounded and the top was gathered leaving about an inch from both sides. In hind sight I’d use a bit of a heavier sheer so it would hang and swoosh better (because all capes need to have a good swoosh).
The overskirt was made with an opalescent fabric that Miss E found at Jo-Ann’s and declared the perfect for an Elsa dress. I only purchased a yard which I sewed into a long tube and folded in half. I marked the waist based on a peplum top that I like where it hit and the eyeballed the v dip in the front. I ran a gathering stitch through the middle of the fabric along the fold and pinned to the waistline. I zig-zagged stitched along that line to create to two layers of the skirt. I wish I had gotten 1 1/4 yards or so for a little more room in the skirt.
For embellishments, there are snowflakes stenciled on both the cape and overskirt in a white pearl acrylic paint. Snowflake stencils were made with the cricut in various sizes.
The bodice snowflakes are from Etsy and the additional crystals are from jo-anns (all iron on).
And of course the attached cape wasn’t long enough (or the right color), so we used the no sew tutorial from Make It & Love It for a longer (and bluer) cape. I was informed Elsa’s cape is not white nor are her sleeves so despite all my reference material on Pinterest, I apparently was not on the ball for this project.
We finished just in time to get the DVD!
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I didn’t want a golden. They were over-bred, too-popular, etc. Chris did and Cisco’s predecessor certainly warmed me up to the breed. After we lost Dakota way too early, I was on board with getting another golden. Finding a golden proved to be harder than I thought, we tried to go the rescue route, but everyone didn’t think we could handle a young golden and kept steering us to dogs that were 4 or older. Chris was not on board with that plan since we just lost a 2.5 year old. So I turned to looking for breeders and couldn’t find one with a litter on the ground. I finally connected with Cisco’s breeder who had one pup left—it was a male who he described as the “largest, blondest, and most active in his litter.” Perfect—Chris’ preference was for a blond, male.
Chris and I drove out to the eastern shore to meet the breeder, see that he had the paperwork I had learned from my research to ask for and for the health clearances on the parents. We got to meet his mother, grandmother, and grandfather who all seemed like really nice dogs. And then we met Cisco who was significantly larger than his litter mates. Well, everything seemed in order so we left with our new pup. Cisco whined almost the entire way home. We used to joke that we should have turned around and taken him back. Cisco whined a lot growing up. He HATED being stuck in traffic and would whine whenever we were. And the whining increased to epic proportions anytime anyone would go swimming without him.
Chris was out of work and we decided that was the perfect time to get a pup. Chris spent the first few weeks of having him following him around like a hawk making sure he didn’t get into trouble and getting him housebroken. I think that’s probably why by the time he was 10 months old we decided he was well behaved enough that we could consider getting a second dog. Seven month old Berkley came to live with use when Cisco was ten and a half months.
Most Active. Who knew those two words (that I kind of brushed aside) would end up having such a big impact on my life. Cisco was a rock star graduating multiple leaves of basic obedience. When we finished the last before he was a year and they suggested I try agility with him, i figured why not, he’d learn to listen a bit better and it might be kind of fun. Cisco was over two before we took a break from classes. And that was when I learned exactly how active he needed to be. He would constantly be in your face wanting you to play or do something. Walks, throwing balls, nothing seemed to tire him out. Then one day after we had played ball twice and been on a walk and he was still demanding more, I decided to work on some tricks with him and after 10 minutes, he was good. Ah ha! Not only did his body need to stay active, his brain did too!
Cisco’s first few years were spent with weekend agility classes, the occasional trip to doggy daycare, weekend hikes, and walks around the neighborhood. He was definitely a bigger fan of daycare than Berkley was. And while lots of times I wasn’t so sure that Cisco and berkley liked each other, usually when I went to pick them up they were hanging out with each other. During this time Cisco got a reputation of being a class clown (something he never outgrew) and finding this stinkiest, grossest things to roll in. The stinkier the better and because of this, I got him back from daycare bathed quite often.
His third year I wasn’t going to take the winter off from agility classes so I decided to try agility at A Click Above who holds classes inside. Our first class, I was told Cisco was fat and needed to loose weight. When we took him to the vet as a pup, the vet said he wouldn’t be surprised if he was over 100 pounds as an adult. So I didn’t think anything of it when he was 93 pounds—after all I could still feel his ribs. I even took him to the vet and she said, he’s big boned, I’d be lucky to get him under 85 pounds. Much to her surprise and everyone else’s he got down to and stayed around 70 pounds. Average for a golden retriever. And he measured in at 23.5”—average. And lived to an average age. But Cisco’s life was anything but average.
Cisco had horrible allergies. Our vet didn’t mess around and sent up straight to the allergist. He was on allergy shots for 5 years. Then he developed food allergies—allergic to chicken, beef, eggs, etc. Then there was his cyclical dropping white blood cell count that resulted in a couple weeks of lethargy and loss of muscle mass about once a year. For a while I was convinced we’d be luck if he saw five. But over the years, regardless of strange medical conditions, he kept on going.
Cisco was my green dog. A green dog who could have definitely benefited from a better handler. I think Cisco loved agility, but between having to teach and re-teach obstacles, I think I put a lot of un-due stress on him chasing the elusive Q. We stopped trialing to re-teach the teeter three separate times—sill goldens and their teeter issues. One of my biggest lessons came when someone I didn’t know came up to me and said that will my reaction to not qualifying, the whole demeanor of my dog changed. I didn’t have a big reaction to not Qing, but he was intune enough that he knew I was disappointed.
I don’t know how many times people came up to me over the years and remarked on how happy Cisco was in the ring. We had so many runs without a Q, but one of my favorite Qs was way back in novice where halfway through the course he ran around and visited the ring crew before coming back and finishing the course with me. He was just having so much fun and that’s what this sport is all about. I should have concentrated more on that, than worrying about whether or not he was going to get his contacts or whether or not she was going to get his weave poles—neither of which I had taught him properly the first time around.
While Cisco and I continued to have fun, we were always chasing that elusive Q in Standard. Apparently it was me always overthinking and wanting it too badly since our only three Excellent Standard Qs came on courses I missed the walkthrough on. So after we completed our AX, I stopped running him in Standard. He saved my butt big time on his title run. The only running non-standard courses helped us out a lot. And Cisco’s absolute favorite class was USDAA Jumpers because there were no weave poles!
I have this active pup to thank for so many people, experiences, and adventures in my life. I have met some of my very best friends because of agility. I’ve been places I never would have gone otherwise. So many memories, laughs, and adventures can be attributed to this dog. He secured my love for a breed and lead me down a road that led me to Riot and so many more adventures.
Cisco’s main activity was agility. We dabbled in Obedience (including Rally), but Cisco loathed obedience—his entire demeanor would change when he was asked to heel. We tried dock diving which once he figured it out (it was a bit more difficult than jumping off the dock in Maine), he loved. But finding events was hard so we didn’t get to do much. Then along came Riot and Riot’s wonderful breeders who introduced us to field. Cisco, my pet golden which you need to go back many a generation to even find a Working Certificate, LOVED field. Now this was his sport. And despite not knowing what I was doing, and not really training for it, he came within on bird of passing his WC and earning on JH leg in the first and only trial I entered him in. Oh how I loved watching him work in the field.
I wish I had taken him back for more JH tests. I didn’t because he had no line manners and I was afraid he was going to hurt himself trying to get out of the blind and to the birds. Last fall I entered him in a senior stake for fun at the PVGRC fall WC/WCX. By this time the poor guy couldn’t hear the duck calls and I’m not even sure he could hear the gun shots, but boy when they got his attention and he saw those birds fall, he was in heaven. Field definitely should have been his sport.
Cisco was never a fan of having his picture taken, but did on occasion humor me with a good picture or two.
He also wasn’t the most affectionate dog. He would love to sit next to you, but if you started to pet him, he’d get up and walk away. Fortunately as he got older, he became better about letting you pet him. Even though he didn’t like to be petted, he was quite the lapdog and you could find him a lot of times on my lap at agility trials when he was younger.
I hope we gave him a good life. So many things to recount—two trips to the GRCA National Speciality, nine trips to Maine (where he could swim all day and still swim some more), more agility trials to count. Sharing his life with two other dogs—he and Berkley had an interesting relationship and he was a fantastic big brother to Riot, having a human kid move in on his turf who he tolerated and entertained, and more agility trials and training classes than we could count. Not to mention an adoring fan base.
So many things about him that I’m going to miss—his demanding dinner starting 30 minutes before it was time to eat, his wooo-ing when you finally got up to feed him, seeing him laying on the bathroom floor getting out of the shower, him in your face anytime he needed something and him showing you when you said “show me,” escaping multiple crates to get to me (he destroyed 3 soft sided crates and if you didn’t clip the zippers together he would un-zip them. His head sticking out the “sunroof” at agility trials. How sensitive he was and the two weeks he spent in our bedroom after we lost Berkley. Him sulking over obedience and having his picture taken. How goofy he could be running around with toys, with such joy. They way he was so gentle when he played with puppy Riot. How much he loved his flying squirrels. The way his ears would perk up when you said “swimming” or “bumpers.”
Rest in peace sweet boy. I will miss you Cisco-Biscuit.
Have I mentioned my new interest in sewing? I’ve been finding it quite therapeutic to step away from the computer and do something that doesn’t require looking at a screen.
I had the opportunity to test the Eva Dress & Top pattern for Rosalie & me. I ran across her early patterns on pinterest and immediately fell in love with the top. I had been eyeing some of the plaids at Jo-Anns and decided this tops would look adorable in one. What i didn’t realize was the plaid I picked was a thicker flannel and a bit heavier than what was recommended. I still think top turned out well and the flannel is nice and cozy for M.
The pattern provides options for both a top and a dress, and ruffle or bias tape or plain sleeves. It also gives two sleeve lengths—the 3/4 shown or right above the elbows.
The pattern is fairly simple even for a beginner like me. The most challenging part for me was the placket in the back. Since I’m still new to sewing (this is 6th pattern I’ve sewn), the top took me a few evenings to complete. I added to the complexity by making my own bias tape and piping. And attempting to pattern match the plaid. I love the internet because you can find great tutorials on just about everything. I used Sewaholic’s guide for plaid matching and Jona Giammalva’s tutorial on turning a fat quarter into 5 yards of bias tape.
I think there will be a few more tops in M’s future from this pattern.
The Eva Dress and Top pattern is a pdf pattern with color photo step-by-step instructions and includes sizes 18 months to 8 years. It’s being release on black friday and will be on sale through Monday.
Note from the designer: The Eva Dress and Top pattern will be released on Black Friday, and it will be on sale for $5 with the code EVA2OFF. The sale price will be effective through Monday. On Tuesday it will go back to the regular price of $7. You can find it at the Rosalie & Me Etsy Shop.
A long time ago (either 1983 or 1985 according to various sources on the internet), I remember my mom taking my brother and I out to Dulles to watch the landing of the piggy-backed Space Shuttle Enterprise. I really don’t remember much about that day and I certainly didn’t understand the significance of the event we were witnessing.
Here we are almost 30 years later and once again, we had the opportunity to witness history in the making. I knew today was happing and even remembered to grab my camera this morning in hopes of seeing this historic event. Driving into work and seeing the unusually long back-up of people exiting heading to the airport made me wish that I had taken the morning off and headed to the airport to watch this historic event.
As my friend Sarah said, it’s pretty cool that the city stopped for a few moments to watch the shuttle, piggy-backed on a 747 make a low flying pass over Dulles and back into the city before returning to land at Dulles.
Working on the 16th floor in Reston and being able to see the tower at Dulles, I was hoping we’d be able to catch a glimpse and I gathered with my colleagues to catch a glimpse of the shuttle. It was an incredible site, but I like a lot of people felt a sadness as this chapter of our history is coming to an end. The dreams of so many of my classmates growing up included wanting to be an astronaut. Do kids today still dream of being astronauts and traveling into space?
Yesterday Cisco, Riot and I made our return to the agility world with a Saturday appearance at the PVGRC agility trial.
The day started off with Riot running in Open FAST. My philosophy in FAST is get in, get what you need, and get out. I don’t try for maximum points, I just try to find a nice flowing path that incorporates the send bonus and gets us the points we need. Riot Q’d with 58 points in 17.something seconds and got 3rd place for his first OF leg.
Next came Exc A Standard for Riot. It wasn’t a great course, but for a dog that was acting like a kid in a candy store before we got into the ring, I think he held it together pretty well. I had to call him off the teeter (and my voice isn’t completely back from a few weeks ago, so it was more like screeching him off the teeter). I’m very happy with his dog walk. He stopped just like he was supposed to and I kept on running. I for some reason changed my plan after sending him into the blue tunnel and he missed the panel. Totally my fault. His weaves looked a little slow and it looks like something tripped him up part of the way through. Below is his standard run.
It was finally Cisco’s turn. It had been a long day of waiting in crates for Cisco and that’s something he usually doesn’t do good with so I was a little worried which dog I would bringing out to run. I can’t tell you how great it felt to be running Cisco. He’s my old dependable dog. He may not be the quickest, but he knows me and I know him and being out there running with him, I just knew he was going to know where to go. We finished clean and I looked at the time and saw 42.39 and my heart sunk. JWW courses are known for having course times between 38 and 43 or 44 seconds and I knew 42 was iffy. I probably could have pushed him a little harder, but it was a great run. I had to go get Riot for his run so I didn’t have a lot of time. I tried to figure out course time between runs and thought course time was probably 40 seconds. Oh well, we didn’t get that elusive last leg this weekend. It turns out course time was 42 seconds and since times are truncated, that meant he qualified! With 0 MACH points. This is his fourth MXJ leg with 0 MACH points. So with that Cisco earns his MXJ which was my ultimate goal for him. I knew he wasn’t fast enough for MACH to be in the realm of possibility and he was stressing too much in standard, so I stopped running standard with him after his AX. He’s now officially retired from running regular classes with a grand total of 31 MACH points. He’ll begin his preferred JWW career probably at the June PVGRC trial. His last regular run is below.
Finally, I ran Riot on the same course I ran Cisco. Running Riot is a whole different experience. We still don’t have that experience together and Riot doesn’t always read turns and sometimes he read turns too well. The video for his run got messed up, but he had a couple of really wide turns that really slowed him down. Overall I’m very happy with the little guy and he did run the course clean coming in 1st at 35 seconds.
I’ve been reading about baby led weaning and other various techniques and methodologies to introducing babies to food. One of the ideas with BLW is that the baby starts feed themselves sooner than with other methods. I’ve also read that giving them a spoon while you feed them helps them learn to self feed as well, but so far that idea has led to waiting until she removes her spoon from her mouth and her pulling slobbery bits of oatmeal out with her spoon leading to a bigger mess.
So I’m not necessarily completely on board with any one method, but the idea of Emily starting to explore different textures of food now instead of just getting used to the texture of the oatmeal and purees is very interesting to me since I have a lot of issues with textures of food. I’m getting better, but still.
So in an effort to offer her more variety, I decided to give her avocado. It’s very soft so I didn’t see it as a choking hazard and just because Chris and I don’t like it, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t offer it to Emily. Well I tolerate it in california rolls, but see above mentioned texture issue.
Em was not a fan of the avocado. We managed to make a huge mess with it, but she didn’t make the connect to put it in her mouth. She did nibble on a few pieces of it I held up for her, but she was not impressed. I tried mashing some up and putting it in a little of her oatmeal which is how all foods have been introduced to her and she still wasn’t having it. I added some apple baby food to see if I could sweeten it up for her, but she still was not a fan of her oatmeal-apple-guacomole.
We’ll probably try again tomorrow—wearing only a diaper as we made a huge mess today.
Way back in 2007 I attempted to take a picture of the moon. It didn’t turn out so well and since then I’ve wanted to try again, but never got around to reading up on how to better take pictures of the moon or had a clear night with a full moon and the time to go out and get a shot. With all the hype around last night’s supermoon, I decided to try the moon shot again. Not that I had time to really read up on shooting the moon, but I had read a couple of posts on message boards about shooting the moon and I’d like to think I better understand how my camera works than I did three and a half years ago.
And this was my attempt last night:
There is still a bit of green fringe at the top and red at the bottom of the moon which I need to figure out what caused that, but much better than my attempt from three years ago, don’t ya think?
Six months ago a little bundle of joy came into our lives and turned our world upside down. We had no idea what we got ourselves into. But six months later, everything is feeling pretty normal around here.
Emily is growing by leaps and bounds, our little 7 pound, 21 inch bundle of joy is now 18 pounds, 7.25 ounces and 27 inches long. She’s doing a great job of sitting up by herself. Is getting the hand of eating—oatmeal, green beans, and squash to date. Has yet to figure out how to roll over back to front, but is a pro at front to back. Love playing with and examining her toys and anything else she can get her hands on. And is all smiles—well, at least until early evening when she starts to get grumpy because, like her mom doesn’t want to nap and miss any of the action during the day.
We’re looking forward to see what’s in store for the next 6 months.
As promised, here are a few of the pages from our 2010 blurb book.
A couple of random pages. The first was a picture I snapped of Riot with a tug toy that was a gift from someone in the Gaylan’s family when I picked Riot up. He loved that tug but it was in such bad shape, I decided to repurpose it into part of another tug. The next is part of a blog entry from Riot’s blog on a trial. (These pages are not part of the same spread.)
We spent a lot of time putting together Emily’s room so of course it deserved it’s own spread! I used the prototype we used to plan the grid wall that was on my computer as the background of the first page and tiled it to fill the page.
And the last one I’m sharing, is the spread from when Emily was in the hospital with RSV. The text is a blog post from my dad and all the photos with the exception of the patrick picture in the top left corner, are cell phone pictures.
And there you have it! A quick peek into our lives in 2010.
Well, I finally finished our 2010 Book! 2010 is longer than 2009, but not as long as 2008. We had a lot of big events happen this year, but I didn’t take the camera out as much as I usually do, and I didn’t blog a whole lot either, so there wasn’t as much text to be added to the book. (I ended up supplementing with text from my Dad’s blog.)
I’m again using Blurb for the printing of the book. I managed to get my hands on a Groupon for Blurb that someone else wasn’t going to be able to use, so I saved a bit of money on the book (it ended up costing about half of what it would have cost). I’m anxiously awaiting the next time there is a Groupon for Blurb, but I know of a couple of people who bought them and weren’t able to use them. I do wonder if Blurb ended up making or losing money on the deal and how many of the Groupons got used vs. expired because people ran out of time.
This is the first year I’ve tried using their PDF to Book feature so I’m a bit anxious to see how it turns out. It was so much nicer being able to work in Photoshop and InDesign, but it was also much more time consuming. In the past, the books have been a combination of layouts done in Photoshop and using the templates Blurb provided in their BookSmart software. Using Blurb’s layouts is so much faster than trying to design the whole book yourself. As always there are a bunch of spreads I like and a few I don’t particularly care for, but overall, I’m pleased how the book turned out.
I think I decided the overly scrapbook-y type book is not the right kind of book for me, but I do enjoy incorporating some textures and “papers” into my books to add a little more visual interest.
Here is the cover book. It’s a continuation of the mosaic theme I started on the covers a few years back. I’ll try to post a few of my favorite pages/layouts from the book. If you’re interested in seeing the whole thing, let me know and I’ll send you a link to download the PDF (it’s nearly 200MB—eeps!). Just send me a message via e-mail/facebook/PM/however you usually get a hold of me.
I’ll post a review once I get the book (which is estimated to ship the beginning of March).
Berkley came to live with us when he was 7 months old. He had been with his breeder before then. He was a potential show prospect, but just wasn’t going to grow big enough. I still think he had the just about the best head and markings of any berner I’ve seen. (Although I may be just a bit biased.)
Initially when B came to live with us, Chris and he didn’t know what to think of each other. I’d often see them looking at each other and Chris would occasionally say “He doesn’t like me.”
“Give it time,” I’d say, but truth be told, I was starting to wonder if the two of them would ever become buddies.
Chris used to be able to make this low rumbling sound that would always start Berkley barking. He knew how to get his goat.
Cisco is three and a half months older than Berkley and while they were close in age, they didn’t always get along. They’d play and wrestle some, but there was also some tension between them—especially when it came to food. There was probably a tiff or two a year between the two of them over food. A couple drew blood. One sent Cisco to the vet for stitches in his ear. I sometimes wondered if they liked each other but right when I’d start to wonder, I’d go pick them up from daycare and find them curled up next to each other, or I’d see one stick up for the other at the dog park. I think in their own way, they were buds.
Berkley even humored me and played agility with me. He wasn’t necessarily the most graceful agility dog and quickly earned the nickname “tiny tank” as sometimes he just didn’t feel like jumping. And when he didn’t feel like jumping, he’d just plow through the equipment.
Teaching him to walk on a 12” wide board was quite comical. Even though he was small for a berner (22.5” inches according to his jump height card and around 70 pounds), it was still quite difficult for him. We had taken the summer off from classes because it was too hot and when we got back to it, we encountered the dog walk again. He had not mastered the dog walk before the break, so we had no idea what to expect. Berkley just trotted across it, like he had always done it.
Berkley went on to actually trial and retired with 2 legs toward his Novice Agility Preferred title. I knew he was getting old and was going to have to stop trialing him soon, so I had entered him in a few trials in the fall of 2008. A few weeks before the first one, he woke up in a bunch of pain, it turns out he had pretty bad arthritis. I immediately pulled him from the trials he was entered in and his agility career was over. I wish we had gotten that last leg. Not that titles are everything, but it would have been nice to have just a few more letters after his name because he was such a good dog doing what I asked of him even though he probably could have taken it or left it.
I’m not sure agility was his thing. But he was a working dog, and would spend his time patiently waiting for a job to be done. We did try rally probably a too late in life. I did take him to one rally trial and he ended up with a 69—one point from qualifying. He was too busy looking at all the people to pay much attention to me.
Somewhere along the way, Berkley became Chris’ buddy, they hung out on the weekends when I took Cisco (and later Riot) off for some sort of training or trial. Berkley would hop up on the couch and burry his head in Chris’ side. He’d do it sometimes to me too, but more often that not it was Chris and not me. I loved watching the interactions between them later on after all the worrying I had done when we first brought him home.
Fortunately, Berkley didn’t like sleeping in the bed, he much preferred the floor, but he would hop up a lot of nights and clobber me. He’d always be around for a pet or two, but the second you’d stop petting him, he’d nuzzle to get you to start again or he’d go away. He’d always stay in close proximity to you, but usually wouldn’t sit next to you.
Berkley also wasn’t a fan of about 50% of the population. Some people he absolutely loved, other people he wanted nothing to do with, and a few people he would warm up to overtime.
Last April when Berkley hit 8, there was plenty of reason to celebrate—a Bernese Mountain Dog who made it to 8! But we started to wonder when the other shoe would drop. One weekend in July, just two weeks after he was declared healthy at his annual appointment, we found a group of lumps in his neck. We tried to think positive, but in an eight year old berner, we knew the news was not going to be good. Off to the vet we went on Monday and by Friday we had started chemo for Lymphoma.
The first signs the cancer was coming back came right before Thanksgiving with an enlarged lymph node in his chest—one treatment short of finishing his chemo protocol. We switched to a different protocol and treatments continued.
Chemo got us nearly 7 additional months with him. We were lucky to be able to have the extra time to spend with him and for him to get to meet Emily.
I know he had a good life and I hope he was happy. We were fortunate to have him nearly make it to 9 (which for a berner is huge), but it’s never long enough. We will miss him greatly.
Goodbye my sweet teddy bear. Rest in peace.
The past couple of weekends we’ve given Emily a taste of rice cereal. I think I’m going to need lessons in feeding a baby. She seems to be enjoying herself, but I’m not sure how much she’s eating vs. how much she’s wearing.
We had a session with FidoJournalism when Emily was 7 weeks old. Way back in October—it seems so much longer ago than that. Some of our pictures are up on their blog—actually they’re a lot of my favorites from the session. The last one in the blog post might be my favorite of all of them.
In retrospect 7 weeks probably wasn’t the best age to do family photos. I was adamant about doing them when Em was 6-8 weeks old. She was kind of in between looking like a newborn, newborn, and a baby and certainly nothing really got her attention so she wasn’t looking at the camera for most of them. I do still absolutely love the photos and will cherish them.
She just turned 5 months and it such a different baby than we had these done. I wish we could do another professional shoot at 6 months with her, but I think we’re going to have to wait until she’s a year to do another professional shoot.