My Dog, Gidget

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I’ll be honest. I’ve put off writing this post for some time, because today would have been her 18th birthday. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to write it. Instead, I knew penning this story would bring up many emotions that I wasn’t sure I was ready to confront.

Over the years, I have written several posts about my miniature poodle, Gidget. From my references to her in other posts, one could easily tell how much Gidget was a part of my family. Sadly, on Friday, October 13th, 2017, Gidget passed away in my arms at the age of 17. Just writing that sentence makes my heart break and brings tears to my eyes. Losing a pet is tough. The house is quieter with a sudden emptiness in all the rooms, and days no longer consist of vet trips, feedings, and asking, “Where’s Gidget?” However, during these past ten months, I have learned what it means to love and be loved by an older pet. The lessons are ones that people, no matter what their life consists of, can relate to and use.

  • Enjoy the present and don’t worry about the future. Gidget started getting sick late spring of last year. My family began to grieve and dread what life would be like without her. Yet, Gidget was still with us, not in pain, and could have a couple of months to a couple of years left. From this, Gidget taught us to enjoy the present and not worry about the future. Changing my mindset and starting to live in the present with Gidget made all the difference. Reflecting on her younger years and funny memories became easier because we were still making special moments. The future comes far too quickly, and the best thing anyone can do is to live in the present.
  • Be thankful for the times you spent together.My opinion might be a little biased, but Gidget had the world’s biggest personality. She was sweet, friendly, sneaky, a ham, and a major cuddle-bug. She always knew how to put a smile on a person’s face and how to get all the attention. (Ever had a dog who would take a small piece of food and “attack” it in front of everyone just to get all the claps and praise? Yes, that was Gidget.) Looking back at all of these times, I am always brought to laughter. A piece of advice: whenever you are feeling sad and missing a loved one, reflect on the good times you spent together. This is just one of the many ways you will feel closer to them.
  • You’ll never regret spending time caring for a loved one. Everyone has their own way of taking care of loved ones and should do what works for them. In my family, we treated Gidget like an elderly human family member. When she got really sick and even before that, our lives rotated around her and her needs. Life was busy during this time, with vet trips three times a week for fluids and assisting Gidget with her feeding four times a day. However, if we were given the chance, every single member of my family would do that all over again, because, in return, Gidget gave us love. As I mentioned above, she was a huge cuddle-bug. It was our nightly ritual for me to hold her on my chest as we drifted off to sleep. Towards the end, Gidget never wanted to be put down at night, and I don’t look back at the loss of sleep and everything we did for her with regret. This is the same with other family members and friends. Go the extra step for them when they are sick.
  • Love never truly leaves you.Whether it be a human or a pet, loved ones will always stay in your heart, no matter what. There are little reminders of Gidget throughout the house, just like there are reminders of my grandfather, who has passed away. In her later years, Gidget taught me that she will always be a part of this family and will keep loving us, even after she’s gone.

Loving an older pet is something very special. You and your animal grow closer on a different level, and they become more dependent on you. In return, your pet gives you extra love and many memories, just like Gidget gave my family and me.

xoxo,

Megan

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Dear Mom, Thank You and Happy Birthday

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Today is my mom’s birthday! In honor of her special day, I decided to share an article I wrote for the May issue of Forsyth Woman. 

Dear Mom, Thank You:

On Sunday, May 13th, many people will honor their mothers and grandmothers. Every year on Mother’s Day, we celebrate the women who have raised us and taught us about life. Mothers spend time teaching their children, cleaning up after them, staying up all night when a child is sick, and making sure we have food to eat and clean clothes to wear. Growing up, they were our chauffeurs, chefs, nurses, cheerleaders, and life planners. No child will ever understand what a mother goes through for 18 years, all the worry, joys, and tears. One of the biggest things a mother does for her child is teach them lessons about life. These lessons are different and vary from family to family. We also learn knowledge from our grandmothers. Most of this knowledge has been passed down through the generations and is timeless.

I was raised by the hardest working single mother I know. She always made sure my sister and I had what we needed, even if it meant she went without certain things. Growing up, we lived with my grandparents. To me, my grandmother is more than just a grandmother. She is an inspiration, just like my mother. There are many lessons that these two women have passed down to my sister and me, and I have picked out a few of my favorite to share below.

  1. Always say “I love you.” One time I remember being on the phone in the same house as my mom. We were in two different rooms at opposite ends of the house. As we hung up, she said “I love you.” I didn’t think much about it at that time, because it was a common phrase we said as we hang up phone calls. However, thinking back, this little phrase can mean the world to someone and make someone’s day. It is a little phrase one can say at any time to just show someone they are thinking about them.
  2. Always celebrate birthdays. My mother goes all the way for birthdays. She decorates the house with a theme, days before the actual day, allowing the birthday person more time to enjoy it. Go overboard for this person because, after all, it is just one day a year and everyone deserves their special day.
  3. Always stay strong and never give up. I could write a book about all the trials and tribulations my mother and grandmother have gone through and are still standing. My 85-year-old grandmother is a two-time cancer survivor and stroke survivor. Her doctors call her the “energizer bunny.” Their actions are perfect examples to always keep going, no matter what life throws at you, and that you are stronger than you think.
  4. Organization is the key. My mother is always organized with everything she does. On the other hand, I am not. I’m always learning ways to keep my papers, forms, and life in order from my mother. There is no shame in color-coding, having separate notebooks, and a place for everything in the house.
  5. Family comes before everything. My family is very close-knit and I wouldn’t have it any other way. After my grandfather passed away, my grandmother, mom, sister, and I relied on each other for strength. We have an unspoken motto that whenever someone battles anything, we battle it together. They are “my tribe.”

I am lucky to have a mom and grandmother who are also my friends. My mom is one of my best friends and I know nothing will change that, no matter how many times we disagree and see things differently. Like my grandmother, my mom is my role model and one of the strongest women I’ll ever know. Because of that, thank you Momma!

Happy Mother’s Day!

xoxo,

Megan

The Perfect Checklist for Any Party

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Planning parties and making checklists—two of my favorite things! No matter how many times I plan an event, there are things I forget. Did the invitations get out at the appropriate time? Did I order the cake and other refreshments ahead of time? To make sure a party can go as smoothly as possible, it is helpful to use a party checklist. Below is a handy list for all types of festivities, which can be personalized to meet your needs.

SIX WEEKS BEFORE

  • Create your budget.
  • Choose a theme.
  • Determine the guest list.
  • Reserve your party venue, caterer, and entertainer, if needed.
  • Write down all the necessary equipment, including chairs and tables, and contact rentals.
  • Finalize the details, such as date, time, location, RSVP date, and menu.

FOUR WEEKS BEFORE 

  • Prepare your invitations and envelopes.
  • For a children’s party, ask for an updated class list from their teacher, if you are inviting their classmates.
  • Decide on games, activities, and menu to match your theme.
  • Think about items for party favors.
  • Make a shopping list of food, paper goods, and decorations.
  • If ordering food or cake, place order.

THREE WEEKS BEFORE

  • Mail invitations.
  • Purchase party supplies, at the store or online.
  • Arrange for extra help for a children’s party.

ONE TO TWO WEEKS BEFORE

  • Create a party schedule.
  • Confirm times for when extra help is arriving.
  • Purchase last-minute party supplies.
  • Design a music playlist.
  • Call those invited who haven’t responded to the invitations.

THREE DAYS BEFORE 

  • Buy food and drinks.
  • Charge necessary cameras and electronic devices.
  • Call party venue, caterer, and entertainer to confirm details.
  • Assemble activities and party favors.
  • Clean inside and outside of your home.
  • Designate areas for food, beverages, and gifts/

ONE TO TWO DAYS BEFORE 

  • Bake cake, prepare make-ahead food or pick up ordered items.
  • Decorate party venue.

PARTY DAY 

  • Finalize last-minute details.
  • Turn on the music, lighting, etc.
  • Inflate the balloons.
  • Chill beverages.
  • Assemble remaining food and set out.
  • Double-check that bathrooms are stocked with extra toilet paper and there are enough silverware, napkins, plates, and cups on the tables.

ONE WEEK AFTER

  • Send thank-you notes.
  • Post pictures to social media and send to attendees.

ALWAYS REMEMBER

  • Specify an area for boots, umbrellas, and coats.
  • Napkins (2 per person).
  • Don’t forget ice, ice bucket, tongs or scoop.
  • Paper towels.
  • Extra toilet paper.
  • Plates of all sizes (appetizer, salad, dinner, and dessert).
  • Glasses of all sizes (water, wine, mixed drink, beer, soda, and coffee).
  • If grilling, check the tank, charcoal, and lighter fluid.
  • For an outside party, remember bug spray and citronella candles.
  • Extra batteries.
  • Wine and bottle opener.
  • Garbage bags.
  • Dishwashing soap.
  • To have fun! Enjoy the food, games, activities, and mingle with your guests!

xoxo,

Megan

Article published in Forsyth Family Magazine 

To Inspire and Motivate: Princess Diana

I first published this post a year to two ago in my “To Inspire and Motivate” series. However, I feel as if it is ever relevant today in honor of the late Princess Diana’s 56th birthday.

Princess Diana: 

“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” -Princess Diana

Following the adventures of Great Britain’s royal family is somewhat a hobby of mine. How can you not love Prince Harry and the adorable Prince George and Princess Charlotte? One of my biggest inspirations comes from this family- the late Princess Diana. I don’t like to refer to the Princess of Wales as “the late,” because for many people, myself included, her legacy still lives on.

Princess Diana devoted her time to her two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, and her charity work. Her legacy of compassion and helping others, no matter who they were, still rings throughout the world. When there was a need, the People’s Princess was always there.

For me, I will always remember the Princess through her acts of kindness and her willingness. I was young when she died and don’t really remember much of her life before her death. But, when a person’s legacy lives one long after they are gone, that is when you know they made a huge impact on the world.

Princess Diana has and will always inspire and motivate me to be kinder, more compassionate, and always lend a helping hand to others in need.

Singer Elton John perfectly summed up Lady Diana’s actions in his song “Candle in the Wind.”

“You were the grace that placed itself, where lives were torn apart. You called out to our country and you whispered to those in pain…And your footsteps will always fall here, along England’s greenest hills. Your candle’s burned out long before, your legend ever will.”

Birthdays, Birthdays, Birthdays

Earlier this week, I turned another year older. For many, birthdays come with the thought of getting older. For me, birthdays come with the thought of getting another year to live.

Birthdays are always a big thing for my family and friends. There is cake, decorations, and events throughout the day. This is just a simple reminder to remember how important the birthday person is in everyone’s lives.

Each year I’m thankful for getting another year to be in this world. I’m thankful for getting another chance to take risks, to love, and to experience the ups and downs of life. With each birthday, there is a sense of renewal and a new beginning. Maybe that’s because I’m reminded just how loved and special I am to those in my life.

So, whoever’s birthday is next, whether it be a friend or family member, make sure they know how important they are to you and celebrate their special day, like there’s no tomorrow.

xoxo,

Megan