Saying Goodbye To Harley Noodle Jones

I hate that title. I hate everything about it. Note: This is a long and sad post. So read at your own free will.

I didn’t think I would be writing a post like this for years to come and its completely breaking my heart to do so. Harley deserves a post all about him and for those of you that have followed closely with my journey moving to Germany, you know how huge of a part he really played in that whole ordeal.

Toblerone and I got Harley when he was just a couple months old in March 2010. He solidified everything for us and from that point on we were a family.

H-man went first with Tobi to Germany and I couldn’t join them fast enough. I had to finish out my duties at work and tie up loose ends in the States before I moved. Once I got there, Harley was my main focus since I didn’t have a job or anything else to do except take care of the house (and who wants to spend their time doing that! lol) I dutifully made up a dog training excel spreadsheet and got to work on that! Harley would be smirking at me knowing that lasted all of 4 days! Ha!

Truthfully, Harley was the only close friend I had in Germany as strange as that sounds. It was so difficult to make friends there. He was the one reminder from the US I had and he spoke perfect English. He got me 🙂 On days when I was especially homesick he would take me out for walks to ease my mind for a bit. He was my person.

Back in the US, my world traveling dog watched us go through a heck of a time trying to get pregnant and he sat right with me throughout my pregnancy even though I was barfy (is that even a word?) and barely could move. When the boys arrived he was ALL about them. I didn’t know for sure how he would react and was worried because he was my baby for so long, I was sure he would NOT be impressed with how much attention they would be getting.

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He did take the backseat a bit and I felt awful for it. The twins took over my life and with no family around to help I powered through and did the very best I could trying to manage his schedule and their schedule. But I think he knew I loved him all the same.

Harley and Arjen barking at people passing by. They were a team!

Our blondie twin had a crazy special bond with Harley and I didn’t really see it until I was going back through pictures and there the two of them were over and over again.

I got pregnant again with our little girl this past summer and once again, Harley man had to take the backseat since the sickness took over my body. I laid in bed all day – could NOT function. I did slowly start to feel better later in the pregnancy and by Christmas time, Toberlone was awarded his green card and we booked a last minute trip to Germany. (Side note: NEVER travel during winter holidays with 3yr old twins while 7 months pregnant. NEVER. EVER.)

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Fur Ball got to go on vacation at a great place he loved to go to. A doggy resort so to speak. Fireplaces, fluffy warm dog beds, access to jump on the couch or a bed and to run outside free. NO kennels. That wasn’t his style. While he was there over Christmas he was having the absolute best of times with the resort staff 🙂 (aka the wonderful family who treated him like their own.) He got loads of pets and snacks during their family Xmas party and he sent us daily pictures to brag about how awesome his days were there. Meanwhile, in Germany, I was in WWIII with the time change and toddlers who were kept indoors due to the freezing cold weather. It was interesting…

New Years Day we were driving 3 hours to a hotel in Frankfurt near the airport to make it easier for us to wake up the following day and hop on the plane with the kiddos and my large and barely in charge self. I get a phone call from his host family telling us that he was having a hard time using his back legs and at one point he couldn’t walk up the steps anymore to go inside. They asked for permission to take him to the emergency hospital and we immediately said “YES.”

Initially, the Vet at the hospital said she thinks it could be a pinched nerve in his back and they wanted to do a CT scan the following morning to take a further look. However, his glucose levels were extremely low so that was a different concern.

Fast forward, upon arriving in Detroit and waiting in line at customs, I get the phone call from the Veterinarian and her words to this day are just muddled letters. How do you take in difficult news with 40 languages going on around you while trying to wrangle two extremely tired and moody children through customs? How? Well…you don’t. You listen…you try to take it in… and you cry in front of hundreds of strangers.

Diagnosis: Insulin-producing tumor in his pancreas. His glucose levels dropped so low that in fact, even with surgery to remove the tumor, he would never regain the use of his legs and would only have a few months with us.

What. The. F*ck. Is. Happening. Right. Now. (sorry for swearing but I needed to emphasize the pain)

I couldn’t get home fast enough. In hindsight, I noticed things about him that were giving us signs. He was always thirsty…was starving and begging for more snacks and waiting by his food bowl in the mornings (this is a dog we had to beg to eat!) and he needed way more potty breaks.

As soon as we got back to the house we rushed over to the hospital to see him. I couldn’t even tell the receptionist who I was. I squeaked out a, “I’m Harley’s Mom…” and the rest Toblerone had to take over. The Vet met with us and through tears, we asked her to let us take him home but she recommended not to do that because he had a seizure the night before and they wanted to keep him alive until we arranged his euthanization. Ugh. “Keep him alive.” Double Ugh.

When we went back to see him in ICU…omg…I can’t even describe how awful it was. There were surgeries going on in the middle of the room and all around were cages full of sick dogs. When we got to Harley he lifted his head up, looked at us and laid back down. I couldn’t believe that we were seeing our boy in this situation. It was unreal and maybe the jet lag didn’t help or the pregnancy hormones for that matter.. He didn’t want to eat and there were catheters and tubes hooked up to him all over the place. At this point, I still had not come to terms with the fact that we had to let him go.

We arranged for a home euthanization the following afternoon and as Tobi brought him home in the snow, he put him in the grass one last time to feel the snow on his paws. My heart was crushed watching him carry him inside for the last time.

The Vet gave him a steroid to hopefully keep him going and seizure-free until he got home and that alone made it seem like he was his old self! Gave him a bit more pep and when he saw me he lit up and tried to stand up to come to me.

We laid on the floor together and with his paw on my heart I told him it was ok and I was sorry for not being here for him but he was home now. And all would be ok.

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We tried to help the boys understand that they needed to say goodbye because he was going to heaven but that was the first time they heard the term “Heaven” so the concept was out the window. They patted his head and our nanny took them off to the library and out for donuts so we could say goodbye to Harley. Just us three musketeers again.

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The actual process happened so fast that I couldn’t even catch my breath. A month shy of his 9th Birthday, he was asleep and gone within seconds and I broke. I sobbed and cried asking the doctor to bring him back. As if somehow willing him with my broken heart was enough. But there he laid, peacefully on the couch in slumber like he always did in that spot. The Vet placed him on a stretcher but she put the coziest and softest blankets on him and tucked him in like a baby. He looked so peaceful and I didn’t even know what I was looking at anymore. I kissed his soft ears and watched as he was carried out to the car. I said goodbye one last time and off he went.

A week or two later we got his ashes back in a beautiful box, a clay ornament of his paw print and the first thing I did was look at his ashes. How did our beautiful 90lb boy end up as a small bag of flour? How did that happen?

Days following his passing I walked around with his favorite bear in my shirt because I couldn’t deal with life without him. I even went outside and took a walk as I always did with him at noon, imagining him there with me.

The boys watched me break down every day and would say, “Mommy sad? Mommy miss Wau Wau?” (Wauwau is what the dog says in German but that’s what they called him.) Eventually, the crying wasn’t full sobs, it was silent tears and then it shifted. The boys started to cry and ask where he was. This was worse than anything else. I had to try to put on a brave face for two little boys who didn’t understand where their dog went. And to this day, (even this morning actually) they cry for him and miss him so much.

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I ache to my bones for this dog who was my friend. He was the constant thing I had in my life and I feel guilty that since the boys came around he took the back burner. He didn’t deserve that.

 

I’m not a religious person but I hope more than anything that wherever he is he is happy. Or that he’s somewhere with me here. If there really is some sort of afterlife or rainbow bridge, I hope to meet him there one day. For now, I like to imagine him swimming, playing frisbee, eating a million snacks, and keeping a collection of his favorite sticks.

He was my very first baby and I knew that if I never had kids, he would be enough. I lost my first boy and the grief is all-consuming.

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Miss you sweet Harley Noodle Jones ButtButt.

Until next time, Readers. xoxoxoxoxo

 

 

 

 

 

Here I Go Again

It’s been ages! 3 years to be exact and I have been missing this creative outlet of mine. Life is VERY different than what it was when I first started this blog and now with more grace and perspective, I’m ready to get back up in the saddle, so to speak.

Where to begin? I’ve left you all for so long. Last you heard from me was when I had the twins and then poof…I was gone. Because let’s face it – TWINS ARE HARD! We are now in the “threenager” phase which frankly has me kicking my butt for not relishing in how easy the “terrible twos” were. I wish I could say I have a good handle on these kids but truth be told, I’m hanging on by the necks of their shirts. They are ridiculous and as the days go on I’ll be sure to let you in on all that is them and their twinado tyrants.

So do you want the good news or bad news first?

Bad news first? Well alright then.

This is bad news, actually, horrible and horrifically sad news…we had to say goodbye to our beloved Harley Noodle Jones Butt Butt. I’ll get into that in another post because he deserves his own space. But man. Losing my guy has left me utterly heartbroken and if it wasn’t for the fact that I have little humans who need me to function at full force each day, I would be on the ground in tears for eternity. He was my baby and the gaping hole in my life since he left is excruciating.

Yes, I know people lose their children and parents and that is also horrifically sad but he was my person. Furry and slobbery…my person. More on all that is Harley later though.

But we can’t just have bad news and not follow it up with good news. This is actually great news! My life clearly wasn’t hectic enough so we decided to add yet ANOTHER kid to the mix. And this time… ITS A GIRL!!! Praise baby Jesus and all the pink fluff and tulle he created!!! No, but seriously, this is my best work yet. I mean…LOOK at this face! Can you even deal?!

So I’ll be signing off for now but in a really small nutshell, that is life the last 3 years with a whole lot of other nonsense in between (which I’ll also get to.) Looking forward to getting back into the blogging world…I’ve missed it dearly! I’m hoping you all will take me back in with open arms!

Until next time, Readers!! xoxoxoxoxo

Engagement Pics Are HERE!!!

We only had to wait exactly one week for our pictures and I am SO excited to share them with you guys. Our friend is a great photographer and mostly did scenic shots but is just starting to get into doing people, weddings, etc. And in my opinion, he’s off to a great start! It certainly wasn’t easy with two languages flying back and forth plus a VERY rambunctious 3.5 year old puppy! Harley was playing with his frisbee all morning and being a big crazy. For the “picnic” shots I put his frisbee in our picnic basket to make him sit there! lol. It’s not as easy as it looks!!

The most special part about our pictures is that all were taken here in our little town. This way, no matter where we are in the world, we can always look back on these pictures and have a piece of this chapter of our lives with us forever. We could have gone somewhere else around Germany or even had the pictures done in the US but then Germany would just be a blurb. Somehow we have to mix both worlds in this whole process and this was the best option! I hope you like them!

Note: Images are not as sharp as they should be because I had to downsize the file! 🙂 But you get the idea!

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Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxo

Throwback Thursday

It’s our last week in lovely America!!! Then it’s back to old Germany and back to blogging!

Today’s throwback is in honor of my perfect furry friend: Harley Jones Noodle ButtButt.

This was the first picture we took after we picked him up! His first car ride at 6 weeks and I snuggled him the whole way home. Now he’s 80lbs and such a character but full of love! Can’t wait to kiss his sweet face on Sunday!!!!

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Until next time, Readers!!! Xoxoxoxoxo

An American Easter in Germany

Easter rolled around again and it’s crazy to think that I’ve been here for two Easters already. My how time flies. We were slammed with more snow BUT our home was warm with American friends and a roaring fire of course.

I mean look at these lovely guests!

I mean look at these lovely guests!

We had our American buddies, who live in Stuttgart Germany, drive out to spend the weekend with us which was such a treat for me! I really love having visitors to begin with where I can speak my own language and remind myself of all the slang words I’ve forgotten living out this way! Not only that but these two brought us the most AMAZING gifts!!! I mean…HELLO!! Take a look at these:

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Can we talk about that for a moment? They are not in the military but have access to the military base because one of them works on base, which means they have access to the grocery store with all the American stuff. It’s like this treasure hidden away and I’m not allowed in 😦 I wish they would just grant me access to shop there. I’d be all over that! Anywho, we got a normal sized peanut butter jar with YUMMMY peanut butter inside, loads of reese’s, Sam adams beer for Tobi (there were more but those went bye bye in a mere 5 minutes!), and GIRL SCOUT COOKIESSSSSSSS!!!!!!! OMG! I can’t even begin to tell you. Its amazing. The last time I bought girl scout cookies I think I had to leave them with my parents because I was moving to Germany so I never did get my last one 😦 So…THANK YOU, FRIENDS!!! Made out Easter 1 million times more amazing by bringing a piece of home to us!

So we had a great dinner with my strawberry salad and caprese filled burgers. Totally American, totally loved!
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After our bellies were overstuffed overjoyed we hopped in the jacuzzi for a long time and discussed wedding plans. Obviously not with each other but our American weddings are a week apart. So that’s fun! We snuggled up on the couch and watched the Syracuse game against Marquette and it was totally amazing to see live (thanks to our new “English” channels).

The following morning was filled of Easter fun and more snow…fantastic. Everyone had to find their basket…including Harley and there was also an Easter egg hunt at the end! Loved doing this and now I know why my mom loved doing it every year too 🙂

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We had omelettes for breakfast and then they were on their way home. It was SO nice for us and so easy with these guys. I forget sometimes just how easy going Americans can be and it’s not an all out process like it is with the Germans. Two totally different cultures and two totally different stress levels!

Here’s a little gem for you….check me out in the mornings with the lovely Fe!! WOOHOOOOOOO Sexy thang!

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Until next time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxoxo

German Hokkaido Pumpkin Soup, A Taste of Autumn

I’m sure you all know by now but if you don’t… I’m obsessed with PUMPKIN. If there was a pumpkin flavored gum…I’d never spit it out. I’m really way overly into it. And in Germany, that haven’t got on to the whole Pumpkin fiasco that is America. We have the Pumpkin Spice lattes, Pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin ravioli…etc etc. The list goes on. HOWEVER, my friends and neighbors, they do have one dish that involves the beauty of the orange ball and that is…Pumpkin Soup!

I think within the first 5 days of me moving to Germany I was able to try this and it was FANTASTIC! So…now that it’s a year later…I decided it was time to try it myself. Toblerone’s parents came over last night to drop off a few things and naturally I asked his mom how she makes the pumpkin soup and before I know it we were in the thralls of cooking at 9pm.

Most of the pictures are taken with my iPhone as she busied away doing whatever it was that she was doing. I was trying to document so I would remember for you guys of course!

What you need:

1 ‘Hokkaido’ Pumpkin

1 medium-sized onion

2 Tablespoons Butter

2 cups water

2 Tablespoons Beef Bouillon

White wine

Salt and Pepper

150 grams (about 3/4 cup) Creme Fraiche

200 grams ( about 1 cup) Whipping cream

How You Make It:

Take a sharp knife and cut off the skin completely around the pumpkin. Don’t cut too deep, just enough to get the outer layer off. Then cut the pumpkin in half, scooping out the seeds in the middle. 

Cut the pumpkin into small chunks (easier to cook and puree). Next cut the onion into small pieces as well. Then add two tablespoons of butter to a pot and heat on medium heat. Once butter starts to melt, add the onions. Let onions cook until they are starting to get golden brown.

Easy so far right?? Once the onion is golden brown add in the chunks of pumpkin and mix together. NOTE: If you want a thicker soup you can cut up a potato and cook as well. Once you puree you won’t taste the potato so much and it will thicken the soup. I thought it was perfect without.

So the madre-in-law filled up a bowl of water without measuring and poured the water into the pot as well. Then we cooked it for a good 15 more minutes. Here’s the thing, as I said…without measuring so at a glance I would say it was 2 cups to 2 1/2 cups of water. You basically want the water to cover the pumpkin pieces. This is the “soup” part of it.

Add in the beef bouillon and cover. Let cook for 15 -20 mins. Check the pumpkin. If the pumpkin is soft then it’s ready to puree.  Take the pot and place in the sink and  puree until all chunks have met their doom with the mixer.

Toblerone’s mother has a handy dandy puree machine which I want SO badly! I’ve never seen this in America but granted…I didn’t cook much when I lived there so if you have one, awesome!

Harley Jones was REALLLLLLLLY enjoying this as you can see.

Once you puree, place the soup back on the burner on low heat and start adding in the rest of the ingredients. Salt and Pepper to taste, a little more beef bouillon if you wish, and white wine. So…here’s the other fun part. Earlier I had poured his mom a glass of white wine and in the heat of the moment she grabbed her wine…took a sip and then poured it into the soup. This was about a half a cup I think. But add a little and taste it until it’s to your preference.

Next you add in the whipping cream (leaving behind a little for the finishing touch). Do not whip it or any such thing, just simply pour in and stir. Next add the creme fraiche as well. Stir and let sit so the wine can cook for about 5 – 10 minutes.

In the mean time, toast a few pieces of bread and cut into small “crouton” sizes. I had onion bread here at home so that worked out perfectly.

Pour the soup into bowls and drizzle the remaining whipping cream into the soup like so:

Add your toasted bread “croutons” and VOILA! Chow down time! Keep in mind that this is not supposed to taste like a pumpkin pie. It’s not sweet, it’s just simply, TASTY!!!!

Until next time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

A Father’s Day Picnic

Father’s Day in Germany was May 17th. It’s normally a day where all the men get together and hike to bars and restaurants, drinking the whole way. Must be nice since on Mother’s Day nothing special happens…just the usual cake and maybe a present.  Sometimes this country is totally ass-backwards! I think mother’s should have a drinking extravaganza EVERY DAY!

So this year Toblerone and I didn’t do anything special but spent the day with Harley and had a picnic. There’s this beautiful creek down a few miles from us and Harley LOVES to go splash around and be a crazy man so it was perfect. The weather was warm and sunny – perfect time to break out my awesome new picnic basket for the first time. Check this baby out! (Didn’t try hard enough to get a good angle but the thing is huge!)

And here is the rest of the day!

 

(Side Note: Today (May 22nd) is my baby sister’s birthday – She’s 18!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY MIDGET!!!!)

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo