Good Times

Lilly Belle

7 Comments 06 June 2011

For those of you who pay attention to our family updates on Facebook and Twitter – remember back in January when I posted something that said, “Y’all are going to think we’ve lost our minds…”??  I didn’t think about what I was doing when I posted that message as it stirred up some serious speculation as to what exactly we were up to!  And because we are forbidden from publicizing any potential show information, I was unable to quell the furor over what we had done…not that I really wanted to by that point…(insert Lila’s devious little laugh here)!!  Let me be the first to finally say that no, the news was NOT that Casey had gotten pregnant and let me also say, good lord, people, how crazy do you think we are???!!

You have probably figured out by now that the little secret that we were hinting at was that we had in fact welcomed home a new member of the family – a 7-week-old fluff ball named Lilly Belle!!  And yes, I for one think that we were completely nuts to take on this new challenge in life!  But before I dig into some more details about Lilly, let me first go back to where this apparent lack of judgment all began to take shape…

When Casey and I first started dating during the first semester of our senior year of high school, 18 years ago this September 25th (our first date was a Garth Brooks concert at Texas Stadium, by the way), our families both got Golden Retriever puppies – funny coincidence, I know.  The Kruegers got Scout and we named our new pup Maverick.  Though technically Maverick was my mom’s dog, it wasn’t long before he and I became the portrait of a boy and his dog – best friends.   A little less than a year later, I went off to college and had to leave Mav behind because of the school’s requirement that all students live in a dorm their first two years of school.  But as soon as those two years were up, Maverick came to live with me in San Marcos when I moved into the fraternity house where he became an instant superstar with all who came to know him.

A few years later, Casey and I tied the knot, bought our first home together, and settled into our new life together – just the three of us.  Maverick was our baby in every sense of the word – we loved him dearly, took him everywhere we could, and bored our friends and families with our stories about him.  Fast forward to 2006, Eliot had come into the world with a bang, and Maverick was an old man – 91 years old in dog years.  Our house was on the market to sell and the economy was beginning to slide.  And one morning we woke up to a crisis – Maverick was unable to get up from his bed – his hips had been losing strength for several months by that time and they had finally given out.  The vet explained that there was nothing that could be done for him that would improve his life in any significant way and we made the gut-wrenching decision to have him put to rest.  We were crushed and were in no way ready to think about getting another dog soon after Maverick had passed.  Eliot was 2 years old at the time and was pushing hard for another dog, but we resisted, promising her that we would get her one as soon as the home sold and we moved to another place.  (The picture above was taken the night before Maverick passed…Eliot was saying goodbye to her buddy.)

So now you know where “the promise” got its start.  We’ve talked about this promise several times over the last few years, but I haven’t thought much about the actual time that has passed since it came to be.  I can’t believe it has been 5 years since Mav left us and I can’t believe how much we still miss him!

Enter:  Lilly Belle…little girl has a lot to live up to following in Maverick’s wake!  Lilly is a Golden Doodle – we just couldn’t have another dog that wasn’t a golden, but we decided the Doodle part (she is half golden retriever and half standard poodle) was a good compromise since they are hypoallergenic and do not shed (Maverick was a year-round shedder, leaving a cloudy trail of fur everywhere he went!).    She came into our world weighing 8 pounds, basically fitting in the palm of your hand, and acting about as atypical for a puppy as you can imagine…she was M-E-L-L-O-W!!  And she was also an instant superstar in our house – Eliot was incredibly motherly, the quints didn’t know what to think so they just tugged on her ears and pulled her tail, and Casey and I were thrilled to see our kids so happy…even though I think we were both a little afraid of what this new little package would do to our sleep, our curtains, shoes, couch legs (you get the idea), and of course our sanity!

Lilly’s feather-light weight didn’t hold and neither did her mellow disposition.  Her weight doubled the first month she lived with us and then doubled again the second month…she now weighs nearly 50 pounds and she is only six months old!  And there is nothing…absolutely NOTHING…that is mellow about Lilly Belle!!  She has a pretty bad habit of nipping at pretty much every living creature that comes anywhere near her and she is extremely social and loves to give giant bear hugs to everyone she encounters!  And I think she somehow got some Ox blood mixed in when she was conceived ’cause little girl is incredibly strong.  Her sweetness is matched only by her brattiness – the latter characteristic will hopefully fade away as she matures past the juvenile stage!

In spite of her size and the sharpness of her teeth, the kids still love their Lilly Belle though their love has been tempered somewhat by Lilly’s constant nips and her oblivious-ness to the impact her 50 pound frame has on their not quite 30 pound bodies when the two collide (which happens quite frequently)!  Eliot is not quite as motherly as she was at first, she too has felt the pain of the nips and the claws…but at least Eliot doesn’t call her “The Monster” anymore… ;-)  Yep, Lilly has some growing up to do, but she is fun and smart and I know she is going to be a really good dog when she matures a bit.  I had forgotten how much work it is to raise a dog and I could do without the extra responsibilities that come with the joys of dog ownership, but it’s all worth it…really, I mean it! :)  No joking, the kids love her and they will grow to love her more as they get older and I can’t imagine raising a family without a dog being in the picture.  It’s the way I was raised, it’s the way Casey was raised, and it is the way we would like to raise our kids as well.  That being the case, there is only one thing more to say:  welcome to the family, Lilly Belle!!

P.S.  The picture above with Brooklyn is how our 50 pound lap dog likes to ride in the car.  She starts off in the very back of our Expedition and quickly squeezes herself up between the side window and the back seat, essentially riding in the lap of whichever of the five is riding in that particular car seat.  Brooklyn loved having Lilly in her lap on our way to Denton last weekend!


God bless,



Your Comments

7 Comments so far

  1. Michelle from Australia says:

    I had seen some of the pics of Lilly Belle on your FB posts. And I think she is a true Jones. Which means, in my humble opinion, she an absolute cutie!

  2. Kristen says:

    She doesn’t shed and shes hypoallergenic?!?! Sounds like just the dog I am looking for. I have heard great things about Golden Doodles! We have a Yorkie who weighs just 5 lbs. We LOVE him to death but he needs a play mate. Hes been very lonely since we had to put down our golden back in January. Hardest thing ever but I think we will be ready for another one sometime this year….maybe… Best of luck with Lilly Belle!! She is too cute!! We literally laughed out loud when we saw the pictures of her grown. She looks like she has SO much personality! Enjoy her!!

  3. Michelle says:

    Lily Belle is so cute! And big! RIP Maverick. Losing a pet is like losing a member of the family.
    I do need a dog that does not shed. Our dog is a lab mix and there is hair all over our house.

  4. Jessica says:

    She is absolutely adorable. I love your show and can’t wait for more episodes. Your family seems like so much fun.

    God Bless.

    Jessica :)

  5. Linda M. says:

    She’s cute and she’s fun and she’s a bit ornery. Fits right in! ;-)

    You’re right; growing up with a pet teaches responsibility, patience and love. All good lessons in my book.

  6. Donna says:

    She is so adorable! What a beautiful family….
    I hope the family is well and I’m waiting to hear of some new shows!!

  7. katie says:

    Ethan, Casey, Eliot, Jack, Brooklyn, Lila, Ryan, Britton and of course, Lila-
    Your family is so awesome. You are not only down to earth, but somewhat normal (y’all know what i mean!), funny, SMART, sweet and you’re just perfect and a breathe of fresh air.
    My mom won’t watch TLC’s reality shows with me, but she watched your show all the time, for the resasons I listed.
    The names of you children, let me just say, are ADORABLE. They are the kind of names that my friends and I create when playing house or thinking of our dream family. Casey and Ethan- you’re relationship is adorable and you don’t fight. You understand your differences, comprimise and hey, you two will DEFINETLY be together forever.
    Will you please, please, please let Eliot, Jack, Brooklyn, Lila, Ryan & Itty Bitty Britty know that I am watching out for them always and think they are the sweetest, cutest little things?

    God bless your adorable family forever and always.

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