In Loving Memory of Bailey, our Little GSP

Matt and I lost our best friend last night. Our beautiful, energetic, vibrant, happy pup Bailey passed away very suddenly and we are heartbroken.

We first met Bailey when she was just a tiny 4 week old puppy. When we brought Bailey home at 7 weeks we quickly learned that in addition to being cute as a button she seemed possessed with never-ending energy. She kept us very busy that first year… I don’t think she ever let us sleep in past 8AM!

As Bailey matured we found ourselves adapting our lifestyle around her boundless energy and intelligence. We hiked with Bailey on a regular basis, did agility and nosework training with her, and bought a house with a big yard for her to enjoy.

In 2009 Bailey started competing in DockDogs. This opened up a whole new world for us – exciting new places, people, and experiences – and also gave us the chance to develop an even closer bond with our dog. We traveled thousands of miles and spent countless weekends with Bailey by our sides and I know that she loved every minute of it.

We told Bailey that we loved her every day and we meant it. The night before she died I remember going into the bedroom to get ready for bed and finding Matt kneeling down on the floor, snuggling Bailey’s soft ears with his face and whispering good night to her. We had no idea that that would be her last night with us but it comforts me to know that she clearly knew she was deeply loved by us.

We don’t know exactly what happened to Bailey last night. She was out in the yard before dinner as is her usual routine. She generally comes to the door when she is done hunting/playing/patrolling the yard but she hadn’t shown up yet so I started calling her. She didn’t come when called (which is also quite usual if she’s still absorbed in her squirrel-stalking!) but after calling for her a few times I got worried and turned on the back lights. Then I saw her, collapsed in the middle of the yard, a dark figure in the snow with the lights reflecting off of her jacket. I ran out in the yard and carried her limp form inside. We rushed her to the vet but she was gone.

Bailey lived an action-packed life and threw herself wholeheartedly in everything she did with 110% enthusiasm. She was only six years old and she brought joy to Matt and me for every single minute of her time with us. We loved her unconditionally and we miss her terribly.

In loving memory of Bailey
May 11, 2007 – January 30, 2014

Advertisements

A (Long) Look Back at 2013

As 2014 rapidly approaches I am happily reflecting on the wonderful year that I had in 2013.  Most importantly, I married my best friend and the love of my life (and had a blast doing so!).  I also started running again after a six year hiatus, I spent time with Bailey, and I cooked lots of yummy foods.  All in all a good year.  Here’s my official recap!

Matt and I got married!

On June 8th Matt and I got married at Sweetwater Farm in Glen Mills, PA.  The celebration started Friday night with a laid back barbecue ‘rehearsal dinner’ during Tropical Storm Andrea (luckily we were under a covered patio!).  Then the sun came out on Saturday and we got married outside at the edge of the woods before partying the night away with our guests in a renovated 18th century red bank barn that doubles as a winery.  After our wedding Matt and I honeymooned in beautiful St. Lucia.

I ran! (a lot)

When Matt and I returned from our honeymoon I decided it was time to get back in shape.  I started streaking on July 1st and we bought a treadmill on July 18th.  Spurred on by a goal that I set for myself (100 miles in 42 days), I started walking, jogging, and then running like crazy.  I hit 100 miles in 21 days, 200 in 37 days, and 300 in 54 days.  Then I nervously entered and triumphantly finished the Run-A-Muck, my first 5K race since freshman year in high school.

After Run-A-Muck I was completely hooked on running.  So much so that I overdid my training and injured my foot to the point where I could hardly walk.  I didn’t want to break my streak, so I switched my training over to the elliptical trainer in our garage.  With time my peroneal tendonitis healed and I was ready for more 5Ks.  Matt and I ran three races on consecutive weekends in late October/early November (Fueled Up, Oy Vey, and Trinity) and then enjoyed a crowded Turkey Trot on a chilly 29° Thanksgiving morning.  Matt hurt his back so he cheered me on from the sidelines at the Athlete’s Closet 5K in mid-December, then I finished off the year with a new personal best (25:13) at the New Year’s Eve 5K at the Upper Main Line YMCA.

iFit Stats as of 12/31/13

I started tracking my mileage on July 18th and I’m finishing off 2013 with exactly 812 miles.  That’s an average of 4.86 miles a day since mid-July, whew!  My best month was August with 180.2 miles, followed by a strong December with 161 miles.  My longest run was an 8 mile jaunt in Wallingford, PA on December 22nd (I didn’t mean for it to be that long… I got lost!).  I’ve been streaking for 184 consecutive days and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon!

Bailey played!

I can’t write a year end recap without mentioning our cuddly, energetic, “petite” German Shorthair, Bailey.  Bailey turned 6 in May, competed at the DockDogs Regional Championships in June, had a GSP house guest in July, wallowed in the mud in August, and frolicked in the snow in December.  When she wasn’t outside patrolling the yard for squirrels, Bailey snuggled with us on the couch (she’s only allowed on the furniture if we invite her up) and snoozed in her doggie den bed.  She also started K9 Nosework classes in January and she’s working on hunting for birch scent now.  (That reminds me that I really need to do a post about NW one of these days… maybe next year!)  🙂

Hiding behind the tulips

We cooked!

When we weren’t busy planning a wedding or running, Matt and I spent time in the kitchen making lots of yummy meals.  Here are a few of our favorites from 2013:

Smoky Beef ChiliBanh Mi Steak SandwichesZacatecas Skirt Steak Tacos

Chicken Lo MeinWhite Pizza with Sausage, Spinach and RicottaPork Carnitas Tostadas

Pozole RojoCoconut Cream PieCaramel Corn

Rotisserie Chicken BurritosStuffed Poblano PeppersMexican Pizza

I blogged!

And, finally… in 2013 I blogged!  WordPress sent me a stats summary for the year so I thought I’d share a few quick factoids.  My blog had over 58,000 views in 2013 and my visitors came from 150 different countries!  Thank you very much for visiting, everyone!!!

My most popular post by far was this recipe for Candied Yams (it had over 1300 hits on Thanksgiving day alone!).  Other popular posts were my DIY Tutorial on making your own “vintage” blue ball jars and my Rotisserie Chicken Burritos.  I’ve really enjoyed blogging in 2013 and I can’t wait to continue next year!

~~

OK, I’m off to get ready for a New Year’s Eve party.  Have a wonderful last few hours of 2013 and happy new year!!!

Snow Day!

It snowed again today!!  The snow started falling at 7:30AM and didn’t stop until another 3-4 inches were heaped atop the snow that we got on Sunday.  Yay snow!  Matt took a “snow day” (aka spent some quality time with his early Christmas present, an Xbox One) and I went into work for a few hours and enjoyed a productive morning in the nearly empty office.  Once the roads were plowed I came home to play with Bailey in the snow.  Did I mentioned that I LOVE snow??!!

Dashing through the snow!

Bailey loves the snow, too.  Here are some photos from this afternoon… see the one where I totally whacked her in the head with a giant snowball?  Oops!!

After playing with Bailey I shoveled the whole driveway… talk about a work out!  Now I just have to find the strength to get up off of this comfy couch and go run my daily mile(s) for the Runner’s World Holiday Streak.  Today will be day 163 of my streak, woohoo!

Did you have a snow day today?  How did you spend your day?

Birthday Walk at Ridley Creek

Last Friday was my birthday, woohoo!  Because we were entered to run in the Trinity 5K at 9AM Saturday morning we kept Friday’s celebrating pretty low key.  We got breakfast at Manhattan Bagel (my favorite) and worked a full day while hydrating like crazy for the race.  After work we took a nice walk with Bailey at Ridley Creek State Park before eating a pasta dinner and getting a good night’s sleep.  Here’s a photo of my Ridley Creek walking buddies… the perfect birthday companions!  🙂

380 Matt and Bailey

The weather was gorgeous during our walk.  Since we weren’t planning on doing any running in the park I brought my camera along to capture the beautiful autumn colors and my favorite photo subject, Bailey.  Here are a few of the photos I took:

Bailey hasn’t been to Ridley Creek State Park since I hurt my foot in late September.  She was so happy to be out and about again!  She was sporting her new ‘walkeez’ fleece harness and she paused for lots of photo ops.  She’s such a good dog!

Bailey

Hiking in the park with Matt and Bailey was the perfect way to spend my birthday.  What’s your idea of the perfect birthday afternoon?

Bailey

Bailey on black

It’s been a while since I posted about Bailey so I thought a nice picture-filled update would be fun! Here are some photos that I took earlier this week.  I love this dog!

Bailey the Little GSP

The above photo is classic Bailey.  She looks very serious because I’m holding her frisbee in my hand and trying to get her to make a nice expression for the camera.  She’s like “come on, just throw it already!”  This is what happened when I finally threw the frisbee…

Open WIDE!

The weather is too cold for dock diving now but Bailey is keeping herself busy patrolling the yard for squirrels, lounging in the afternoon sun, and burrowing as deep as possible into her doggie sleeping bag when it’s time for bed.  Bailey has also been taking K9 Nosework classes for several months.  Last night she finally graduated from searching for treats to hunting for “birch” odor, woohoo!  I’m biased, of course, but I think she has a very good nose, don’t you?  🙂

Baileys' nose

As I write this Bailey is curled up between Matt and me on the couch.  She is not normally allowed on the furniture but when it gets cold out we let her snuggle with us.  If we snuggle too much she gets hot and hops off the couch to cool off though…. which just happened.  Now she’s headed up to bed.  Good night, Bailey!

Happy Bailey

A Word A Week Challenge: Silhouette

I don’t usually participate in the “A Word A Week Challenge” but this week’s photo challenge topic was too good to pass up, especially since I just uploaded the perfect photo today!  This week’s challenge is Silhouette:

Bailey at Promised Land State Park

That’s Bailey gazing out over the “upper lake” at Promised Land State Park in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains.  I was going through these photos today because I am planning on doing a post on Promised Land very soon.  Stay tuned for more photos, info and a trail map!

The A Word A Week Challenge is run by Sue over at A Word in Your Ear.  Thanks for giving me an excuse to post this photo of Bailey’s silhouette, Sue!  🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is inside. Here’s what Bailey does when she’s inside!

How Bailey prefers to spend her time inside.

We joke that Bailey is either “on” (full blast running, hunting and playing outside) or “off” (sleeping peacefully inside). In this photo Bailey is demonstrating her favorite sleeping position: snuggled into her covered “dog den” bed with a comforter tucked over her face for good measure… she’s such a prima donna!

Also, I have to point out that she puts herself into bed this way with no help from us! It’s really a cute sight to wake up to in the morning… 🙂