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

 

 

 

 

 

Counting Down The Days

We can almost count on two hands the days we have left here in Germany. It’s been slightly hectic but not too much that it feels as if everything is spiraling out of control. I’ve been packing to keep me busy since I left my job at the end of July. The wedding came and went and now here we are. Next chapter! Just like that!

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I’ve been actively searching for homes and there is a massive amount to choose from! Our Realtor sent me over almost 90 properties to start sorting through a while back and we’ve finally figured out what we are looking for. Location is key for work and also easy to get to stores, city, etc. And my number one main “must-have” is a fence for our dearest Harley Noodle Jones Butt Butt. I just want to be able to let him outside so he can run free around his “own space.”  Waterfront is also ideal but not a necessary factor at the moment since there are so many lakes around us!

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Today Harley and I ventured out to our favorite spot, “The Butterfly Field” and through the woods…which is also a mansion for ticks and other such things! He had a little bit of a photo shoot and loved all the snacks he was getting! Living it up in the place we called home the last three and a half years.

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There are many new houses being built directly behind us blocking our entire bedroom and bathroom windows. In a year from now, our house won’t be the home we once had. This town won’t be what it once was. Things are changing, people are coming and going and that’s just how life is!

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Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxo

 

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

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

Harley and Me – Lessons I’ve Learned From My Dog

I had a dog growing up but I never thought I would be a dog owner.  When I broke up with one of my ex-boyfriends I think I started to miss the dog more than him so I wanted to get a dog out of spite and the possibility I would run into him at the dog park to show off. You all know you’ve been there and wanted to do crazy stalker-like things to your ex. No? Ok…maybe that’s only me! But let’s stay on topic, shall we?

Harley was a sweet little 3 month old pumpkin when we got him and since then it’s been a wild ride with our million-dollar dog. We call him that because he’s always sick and our vet bills are always through the roof with surgeries and the like. How many of you have had a dog eat a sock at 3 months old only to have surgery done that cost $1400!!! INSANE! Anywho, he will be 2 years old in February and since he’s been sick these past few days I thought it would be good to write about him. (He’s snuggling with me right now as I write this to make sure I don’t give out any false information or leave anything out!)

Patience is a Virtue

I can be patient only in circumstances where I have to be on my best behavior. For example: in a meeting, teaching, meeting new people for the first time, dinner parties, etc. However, most of the time, I’m a loud mouth and when I want something done I speak my mind until it’s done. I suppose that would make me annoying. Once Harley came along and during his “puppy training” he had to learn how to sit for X amount of time before he could be rewarded with treats or love.

Harley waiting to get his ball

Every day there is some reason I tell him to “wait” or “stay” and he does just that. He doesn’t complain, he just does it. So now when someone is asking me to “hold on a sec” or “I’ll do it later,” I  try very hard to hold my tongue and allow things to happen as they are supposed to. I know eventually I will be rewarded too!

Beggars Can’t Be Choosers

Harley is a labrador…that means two things to me. 1. The absolute best looking dog there is (I’m biased) and 2. He’s the goat of dog breeds. He wants to eat everything he can find. This proved to us in his first 3 months (as mentioned above) when he ate a delicious smelly black sock of Toblerone’s. We always vowed we would never give him people food since the day one lady told us she keeps all her Lab’s alive until the age of 17 by not feeding them people food. Makes sense but we give in to those puppy dog eyes and he LOVES potatoes. So, he gets to have a snack here and there and we soothe are worried minds by telling ourselves that he gets a lot of exercise and gets to have a really good doggy life by eating really yummy food! I’m welcoming your criticism with this, I know.

Back on topic, as he begs for food, he doesn’t care what it is normally unless it’s kidney beans, cucumbers, or bananas. He doesn’t whine about it when we give it to him (which is not all the time by the way), he just accepts it (obviously…like I said…a goat.)  For me, I’ve learned to be the same. When I don’t see that giant pink diamond ring I’ve been waiting for…I won’t be upset. I’ll just take it ( and at this point, I’ll rip it out of his hands!)

Stop and Smell The Roses….Every Rose

Every single day that we go outside he has to lick every rock, eat every piece of grass, and smell the ground every 4 feet. Walking with him is atrocious so now we just let him run and he does his own thing. Whiplash is so not worth it for me! I take him out a lot every day even though I don’t need too but I like to. He loves to go out and run around and play and he’s in a great shape…so wish I could be!

After a day at school or when Toblerone comes home from work, we take Harley outside to play and it relaxes all of us. We take a moment to chill out and to get ready to relax for the evening together. It’s a nice way to cool down and Harley taught us that sometimes all you need is a little bit of time and some fresh air to get your mind stable. Who needs meditation???

This also taught us to definitely not sweat the small stuff. He doesn’t worry about bills or if the water is too cold in his morning showers. He simply just lives. The simple life…we start to appreciate that more and more each day.

You’re Never Too Big To Be A Lap Dog

Every time I sit on the ground for whatever reason Harley always comes and plops himself into my lap. Literally his fuzzy butt is on my leg. It’s probably the sweetest thing he does. Perfect for snuggling with him. Reminds me that no matter how old I am, I’m never going to be too old to snuggle up to my mom and rest my head on her shoulder or lay my head on my dad’s stomach.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Harley follows me every where. He snuggles up to my legs as I’m cooking or as I’m putting on my makeup. He’s my little…I mean BIG sidekick. When I moved from the US to Germany I felt really alone at first and as if I had no part of me here. No family, no friends, etc. I had my materialistic things but what I didn’t have was the companionship of familiarity.

Somewhere along the line I had forgotten that Harley came from the US with me. He was just as much apart of the change as I was and he was and is the family I brought with me. I talk to him all day in English….sometimes German since he’s a bilingual smart ass and he loves me. That’s all I need in the world.

What have you learned from the fur balls in your life?

This lesson is brought to you by the letter H and the number 1 1/2 🙂

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxo

30 Day Blog Challenge – Day 21

Day 21- A picture of something that makes you happy

Easy enough….my baby!! Harley Jones!!!

We got him when he was 6 weeks old from a breeder and he was the sweetest little thing. Then we got him home and the terror began. He was a crazy little man and didn’t let us sleep and continuously convinced us he was a Vampire. I used to go to work looking like a murder victim. Blood coming from every space of my skin. He had such sharp little teeth and used to bite us.

Then as he got older, he decided he wanted to run the house and wouldn’t listen to us at all. He held us hostage in our own house. The barking started and the numerous dead things he swallowed whole because he wouldn’t “drop it.” Seriously, what did we get ourselves into?

But then….Now, he’s 17 months old and he’s starting to listen really well…he handles guests much better and doesn’t jump on them nearly as much. He’s become the sweetest little guy and is increasingly sweeter with each day. When I see his face and look at these pictures of him I just get all overwhelmed inside with love. He’s my own little baby!

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UPDATE: So Tobes and I are off to a cute little hotel in the mountains a few hours away. We will be there until Saturday. Looking forward to the massages, champagne and breakfast in bed, and getting away from having to clean. I’m beyond exhausted at the moment. I cleaned until my face turned purple today so I could come home to a clean house. I’m such a house wife. Anywho, I’ll have lots to tell you about after our adventure. And no worries…I’ll post the blog posts! Can’t wait for this crap to be over with.

In other news, my 27th birthday is exactly in 7 days…one week. I feel so old. And so unaccomplished. I need to work on that!

Until next time, readers! xoxoxoxo