Friday, January 27, 2012

Dog Therapy

I think that Erin was a little shocked when I asked her to bring Cash over shortly after Honey passed away. I knew that it would be hard to see him, but I also knew that I often turned to Honey for comfort during difficult times and that Cash would eagerly fill in for her as best as he could. During their visit, Josh wondered if Cash might come spend time with me while I work during the day. Erin lives just around the corner from us. Cash is usually alone all day too. I have been really struggling during the day when I'm home all alone. I relied on Honey's companionship even more than I knew. We tried it today. It still was not a perfect day, but it was easily the best day I've had since she left us. I'm so thankful to have such good friends. Thanks Erin and Cash-y!

'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. 
-Lord Alfred Tennyson

I know that some people would never want to feel this terrible pain again. I can't say that I'd blame them. However, I personally feel that the years of joy and happiness far outweigh the recent pain of loss. I would do it again in a heart beat! I would give anything to rewind the clock and spend time with Honey, even knowing that I would have to go through the pain all over again.

So, we've been thinking about a new pet or even pets. We have a huge grassy yard and a lot of love to give, so I think that we will probably add new family members sooner rather than later. No one will ever replace Honey, but I have a big enough heart that it can fit lots and lots of pets and people. I am starting to feel a twinge of excitement when thinking about the possibility of opening my heart to a new animal. I am not pretending like this is what Honey would want. It isn't. She always loved having us all to herself. She thrived as an only dog and would probably selfishly wish to always be our only dog. But, I do think that she would understand that I have too much love to give to not open my heart and home to a new friend. I don't think that she'd want me to be lonely.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Honey Bunny Bear

I've been sifting through photos to create a photo book with pictures of Honey. I think it has been therapeutic to remember all of the good times instead of the end. She was such a character. She had a very subtle personality. I really think that she blossomed under our care. Anyway, here are a few of my favorite Honey moments.

Staring contest.
A cat used to always walk along the fence on our back patio. Since Honey was not always the quickest, I would cue her that the cat was there by "Meoooooowing" at her. She would jump up and run to the back door to watch with interest as the cat meandered by. It was a highlight in her day.

 Enjoying the view.
We took many hikes together. One of our favorite places was the Nature Trail at Piestewa Peak. I think I might need to go there today. She loved exploring and loved to roam off leash. But, she'd never lose sight of me. 
She did not like bathing. At Wag 'N Wash, they offer a drying area where you can suck the water off of the dog's coat. Oh boy, that was the worst. It was like we were vacuuming her, which vacuuming might have easily been her second least favorite thing. However, she was always so good, even when she didn't like something. She'd grin and bear it.

She had such a special relationship with Josh. She would cuddle with him in ways that she would never ever cuddle with me. He was definitely her favorite petter.

Fall leaves.
She adored children. She liked all people, but she really liked kids. In this picture she was enjoying a visit from The Fagan Family.

The ranch.
Josh's parents ranch provided Honey with many days of entertainment. She jumped right in and joined their pack of dogs. In this picture, she and Kody were joining me for a brisk Winter walk. I think that this was the first day that she saw snow.

Wind in her fur.
Joshua and I loved to look at her when she had her head out the window. It was pure joy. She was always so happy to go somewhere. Then, she was always so happy to get home. Really, she just enjoyed being with us as much as she possibly could. Maybe it was her that never took a moment for granted.

This is not your typical engagement photo, but I wouldn't change a thing about it. Honey was there for some very important moments in my life. This was one of them.

Although Joshua wouldn't let me make Honey a part of our wedding party, I thought she's make a great flower girl or ring bearer, we both knew that it was a priority that she be there. She sat in the front row and watched us marry. She certainly got her fair share of sweets that day and enjoyed being a part of the festivities. 

Lazy Sunday.
The best times with Honey were right here at home. She was always near me. She followed me from room to room to room. She kept watch over me like a little guardian angel. As years rolled by, she became more and more comfortable in her own skin. She blossomed.

She loved her new backyard and all of the grass. We spent hours working out in the yard together. I remember on this particular day, I decided where Josh and I would get married. I brought my camera outside to take photos of the side yard from different angles to see how it might look. She was patiently waiting and watching over me.

 She never liked getting wet. Joshua persuaded her out into the storm for a treat. I can almost picture her eyes squinting as she stood out there in the rain.

Mt. Graham
This is one of my favorites. She is laying by a creek on Mt. Graham. She was so happy and content...such a good dog.

I think that this was the last picture of Honey and I together. We were taking a walk at the ranch before Thanksgiving dinner. I was freshly married. We were happy and living in the moment.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Honey Passed Away

I feel so blessed that Honey chose me. Being that I found her when she was already middle-aged, I tried to never take a single day for granted. Both Joshua and I loved her about as much as anyone could ever love their dog. In turn, she was our constant, loyal companion. Thank you to everyone who sent out thoughtful wishes, prayers and comforting words.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Honey hospitalized.

Some things in life are just not easy. I've definitely noticed some changes in Honey during this last year. You can see that she is a little more achy than she used to be which causes her to be more ginger when she walks and jumps. She's lost her hearing almost completely. And sometimes, I wonder if her eye sight is disappearing too. However, she's been happy. She started thyroid medicine which has given her an extra jolt of energy. I think that she really enjoyed having so many people in and out of the house leading up to and on the day of the wedding. She recently started chasing her tail. Something that she's never done in all of the years that I've known her. So, I can't say that I was exactly prepared for her collapse on Saturday night, but I can't say that I was not prepared either. I've been noting to myself that this is on the way. When she collapsed again on Sunday afternoon, we decided that it was time for an emergency vet visit. After a lot of poking, prodding, testing and observing, the vet has a strong suspicion that she has fluid buildup in the sac surrounding her heart. You can read about her condition on petmd. Tonight she will have specialist run an echocardiograph. This test will give a very clear picture of the situation and we should know more about how it can or cannot be treated. Needless to say, I'm a big weeping, bawling, crying mess. Joshua is a beacon of optimism and hope. We are crossing our fingers that it is just an infection that can be cured and not something more aggressive like cancer. Either way, I've come to realize that at some point I am going to have to say good-bye to my furry friend and it just seems unimaginable to me. I'm just utterly heartbroken.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Home Updates

We keep plugging away at making our home more and more comfortable. Here is our new and improved office....

Here is how it looked the last time you probably saw it....

 It is now one of the most used rooms in our home. We set up my bead tables in there along with a second television and couch for lounging. This room still needs work, but we intend to use it and enjoy it until the Summer months when we'll strip it all down again to add molding and work on smoothing out the walls further. As you might remember, it once looked like this....

Next we worked on fixing up our kitchen and making room for all of the lovely new items that we received during our wedding. We are losing some shelf space due to the addition of a new dishwasher, so we decided to add shelves above the stove in addition to a spice rack (thanks Marietta) and a tool station.  I think that it turned out great!

Here is what it used to look like when we bought our home...

Additionally, we added a kitchen island to give us much needed shelves as well as counter space. I love our island. There are chairs on one side and shelves on the other. We still have one chair to build. You can see our dishwasher in the far corner. As soon as that is installed, we'll move the island back further to fill the space.

Here is what this part of our kitchen used to look like before we moved in....
Much to Joshua's dismay I immediately started making my list for further changes that I'd like to work on in the kitchen: installation of the dishwasher, new cabinet hardware, lighting, cabinet shelves that roll out in the pantry, etc, etc, etc. 

I do have to say, I am quite proud of how wonderful our home feels. It seemed like we would never get to this place. At times, it was really overwhelming but after touching almost every square foot of this house, I think we really own it in a much more deep and meaningful way than just paying the mortgage. It is ours.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Old Slide Show

Josh's parents dropped off a treat for us this past weekend. They left a set of old slides and a 2-slide projector from Josh's Grandpa Oehler. It was really neat to flip through the slides to see images of our neighborhood from the 1950's. Josh's dad and mom both grew up within walking distance of our home. So their childhood photos often captured our neighborhood in the background. It looks like such a different world. Josh plans to convert the slides into digital photos so that he can share them with all of the Oehlers. Isn't the slide organizer to die for? I love it!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Show Your Colors... in person!

It is finally here! It is finally here! And, it is beautiful! Kalmbach Publishing did such a nice job with our book. I am so proud of all 96 pages! Of course, one of the hazards of working at home is that I have no one to share my excitement with and also no one to take a photo for me. So I got out my tri-pod and took my own picture because this is a noteworthy moment and I don't plan to miss a second of it! And now, I'll share my glee with cyberspace!

PS. This picture would be a whole lot better with a colorful bracelet. Another hazard of working from home: turning into a "Plain Jane".


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