Back From A Blog Break

Back From A Blog Break 1

Skylie’s first week at home

Since I wrote about the loss of my miniature Labradoodle, Raegan, I’ve taken a break from this blog. Sitting down to write just hasn’t been on my mind and I never wanted to force it. I had a feeling that the desire to blog again would come back but I needed to let it come back on its own terms.

Saying goodbye to Raegan on November 5, 2014 was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I knew I would have to do it eventually but I didn’t expect it to happen so soon. I thought I was going to have many more than 10 short years with the little girl who easily and quickly became my best friend.

At first, I still felt Raegan with me. Every time I turned around, I expected her to be there. Every morning when I woke up, I expected to see her in her bed. Every time I got into my car, I expected to have her next to me as my co-pilot. However, she wasn’t there. I physically moved on but my heart and soul didn’t.

Even before Rae passed, I made a decision that I would let my heart remain open. It was broken but I kept it open. That’s how I knew that it would be right to get another dog almost immediately. I need a dog in my life. Always. There’s something about the companionship of a dog that is unlike anything else. I sort of broke losing Raegan into two pieces: losing RAEGAN and losing companionship. I knew that I’d never be able to replace Rae (nor would I want to) but I did need a furry friend in my life.

Back From A Blog Break 2

Skylie’s first morning at home

When Raegan died, I think a lot of people wondered what I was going to do. Raegan was such a huge part of my life. How could I possibly get another dog but how could I NOT get another dog? After a few days, some people very gently asked what my plans were. I wanted another puppy but I couldn’t bring myself to do the research. A friend was kind enough to do it for me. She’s a Labradoodle Mom, as well, and I trusted her to know what to look for in a Labradoodle breeder. She sent me a handful of links to responsible breeders that had available puppies or upcoming litters that would be a “match” for me. I did have a few requirements. The puppy should be a miniature female with a fleece coat and calm temperament. I didn’t want another black dog because I thought it would remind me too much of Raegan. I came very close to putting a deposit down on a particular puppy but then I saw a photo of a little puppy named Hayden. Once I saw that photo, I had a strong sense that I’d found my puppy. Hayden shortly became my Skylie Ryce and the rest is history. Skylie has now been with me for just over 4 months. NOTE: For more about how Skylie got her name, click here.

I’m going to write a little bit about Skylie in a moment but I first want to touch on the beginning of my relationship with Sky. Honestly, it wasn’t easy. I was so hurt, tired and in mourning when she arrived. I never doubted that I was doing the right thing but I think I underestimated how painful the process would be. I just had to keep reminding myself that my happiness about Skylie had nothing to do with my sadness about Raegan and vice versa. They were completely separate dogs and completely separate emotions. It was OK to be happy with Skylie and it was OK to be sad about Raegan at the very same time. Both emotions had a place in my life.

I get to know more about Skylie each day. She’s funny, silly and goofy. She loves to toss her toys around and then look up at me, as if she’s wondering if I’m watching her act like a comedienne. She’s mega-cute and reminds me of a stuffed teddy bear. Her poofy hair is adorably out of control and I call her my Marshmallow Fluff! I’m also learning about myself. When people suggest that I cut Skylie’s hair, I turn into Momma Bear. NOTE: NEVER suggest that I cut Skylie’s hair or even ask when her next haircut is. I love the fluff. So there!

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Meeting Skylie for the first time at the airport

Just like Raegan, Skylie is as sweet as pie. She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. She loves nothing more than my undivided attention. OK, she loves running in the snow more than anything but my undivided attention is a close second to playing outside right after a snowstorm.

Skylie is a people-pleaser but she does have a mind of her own. She’s still young so we’re doing a lot of work on impulse control and paying attention. With the right motivation, though, Skylie loves to follow through on commands and tasks. We’re working very hard at obedience school and have received a “thumbs up” from her teacher two weeks in a row!

Over the past few weeks, the thought of blogging has popped into my head a few times. I can’t remember why but the thoughts signaled to me that I’m ready to write again. Since everyone loves puppy photos, I’m going to share some highlights from Skylie’s first 6 months in my next post. Stay tuned. My blog is back…

-LH

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Love Without End

I kissed my Labradoodle, Raegan Sydney, for the last time 10 days ago. She passed away on November 5, 2014 and I started to write this on that very same day. I couldn’t write, though. I opened this again a week later, on November 12, 2014 and I still couldn’t write. Now, it is 10 days after my Rae of Sunshine passed and I’m sitting down once again to write something that I don’t want to write. After all, how can I possibly string a series of words together and explain our unconditional love? I can’t. There are no words that can do it the justice that it deserves. How can I do a perfect job at describing perfection? I can’t.

Love Without EndHere are some simple but meaningful facts that I can say about our love, though. It is timeless. It is true. It is deep. It is complete. It is undeniable. It is without doubt. It is without question. It is without end.

We don’t only love each other every now and then. We have a love without end, amen. Raegan Sydney, you’re my Rae of Sunshine. Your brilliance will light the way for me and you have my heart forever.

XO- Mommy

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Raegan’s 10th Birthday

Raegan's 10th Birthday1I already posted the content of this post as the caption to a photo on my personal Facebook page but since I use this blog as a journal of sorts, I decided to publish it here, too. Today is my dog, Raegan’s, 10th birthday. Below are the words that I shared with her on this special day.

“10 years ago today, my world changed. I had submitted an application to get a Labradoodle puppy from a breeder in Australia & I was watching the litters to see if any of the puppies “matched” my application. 

On October 26, 2004, a litter was born & there was 1 puppy in the litter who, depending on temperament, would be a match.

I had to wait, though, as puppies weren’t allocated until they were 7-ish weeks old. I looked at pictures of that litter closely as they were uploaded to the breeder’s website & I’m looking at “the” email now. It said, “I have a black girl available, if you would like her. She is going to be a large mini, somewhere between 16 and 18 inches. She has a fleece coat, and will be ready to travel the first week in January. I will be allocating her in the next day or so, so if you would like her just let me know!” If I would like her?? Yes, I’d like her! Yes, yes, yes!

On October 26, 2004, the little girl who would become my best friend, unconditional sweetheart, listening ear, shopping buddy, cuddle bum, & beautifully bright Rae of Sunshine entered this world. 

Over the past 10 years, Raegan & I have traveled together, laughed together, cried together, been silly together, done community service together, navigated through this thing called life together, & grown together. 

Raegan, I hope you understand how much I love you. I sometimes hear the phrase “to the moon & back” but that doesn’t even begin to explain it. People have been to the moon & back. I don’t think the incredible amount of love that I have for you can be measured. I’d have to say it’s infinite. 

My love for you has no end, like the George Strait lyrics that I altered & often sing to you:Raegan's 10th Birthday2

“Let me tell you something about our special love,
It’s a love that lasts forever & it’s just between us. 
We don’t only love each other every now & then.
We have a love without end, amen.”

My puppy girl, I cherish every day with you & can’t wait to see what else I’m going to learn from you & experience with you as we start this 11th year together! I’m blessed to be the one who gets to start a new decade with you. 

Happy birthday to my darling Raegan Sydney Huston!!”

XO- LH

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Amy Robach

Amy Robach 1I just walked into the house. I spent the evening at Summit Medical Group listening to Amy Robach speak about her experience with conquering breast cancer. Even though I have been an SMG patient almost my entire life, they only “targeted” me through Facebook ads recently. The very first ad I saw was the one for tonight’s event. I RSVPed immediately because I knew I wanted to hear Amy speak. I have been following her story ever since she stepped into the Mammo Van on Good Morning America for her very first mammogram one year ago. Now, one year later, she speaks so that she may share the journey of her diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship with others. Amy is extremely committed to giving other women a “nudge” to get their mammograms.

My interest in Breast Cancer Awareness Month started many years ago. For whatever reason, breast cancer awareness became real to me in 1992 when Olivia Newton-John was diagnosed with the disease. I see how many lives it touches. I see how common it is. I see how treatable it can be if detected early and, I’ll admit it, I see how the “breast cancer color” is pink. I love pink. Amy gently mocked me tonight for not wearing pink which was something I actually noticed as soon as I walked into the conference room. How could I not have worn pink? I’m usually the only one wearing pink; I’m never one of the few who ISN’T wearing pink!

Amy could not have been more lovely. Many women asked her questions. I was one of those women. My question was a little different from the other questions.Amy Robach 2 Amy actually took the time to ask me follow-up questions and to brainstorm and offer suggestions. Breast cancer survivors who were attending the lecture also joined in on the discussion. I can’t relate to them in many ways because, thankfully, I have never had breast cancer but, in that moment, I felt like everybody was one body. I don’t know any other way to describe it because I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything like it before. Since I’ve never had cancer, I said a few times that my perspective was different. Nobody reacted to me like it was, though. I actually happened to cross paths with Summit Medical Group’s Chief Medical Officer in the parking lot on my way out and he stopped to thank me for my comments. Or…did he thank me for stopping my comments? ;) I kid.

I’m not sure why I felt so compelled to blog about tonight or why it had an impact for me.

I AM sure about one thing, though. Even though I’m not “old enough” to get a mammogram, Amy Robach gave me my nudge and I will have my appointment scheduled the day after my 40th birthday (many, many years from now).

Please learn more about Amy’s experiences.

Thank you, Amy.

-LH

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Meeting the Rangers in St. Louis

Meeting the Rangers in St. Louis 1This past weekend, I traveled to St. Louis for my second girls’ hockey weekend. The New York Rangers had their 2014-2015 season opener in St. Louis in what was the Blues’ home/season opener. Since my friend, Kelly, flew out to NYC last season for our first girls’ hockey weekend, it was my turn to hit the road (or sky) for a hockey game. I met my New York Rangers in St. Louis. What a great way to start a newMeeting the Rangers in St. Louis 2 hockey season!

Kelly and I might have become friends over our love for our hockey teams but don’t let that fool you and don’t even dare think of us as puck bunnies (“a girl that goes to hockey games hoping to score with one of the players”). Then again, we’re not blind, either. Let’s face it; many hockey players are extremely handsome. That’s not a biased statement; I’m pretty sure that’s fact. ;) That isn’t what drives us to be hockey fans, though. We both love Meeting the Rangers in St. Louis 3learning about hockey and genuinely enjoy the sport. Win or lose, we both support our teams.

The weather was overcast or rainy the entire time I was in Missouri but I still got a nice tour of St. Louis. Kelly showed me the Arch, the Museum of Westward Expansion, a variety of different St. Louis neighborhoods, a few of her favorite restaurants and, of course, her hockey home. I also did a bit ofMeeting the Rangers in St. Louis 4 shopping to bring back a gift for Raegan (my Labradoodle)

While taking in views of the city from the top of the Arch was really cool, I still have to say that going to the Scottrade Center for the first time was the most significant highlight of the trip. I think the most disappointing parts of the trip were seeing misleading signs at the Museum of Westward Expansion. The signs were made by the National Parks Service and they said that Rangers were there to assist people. I didn’t see a single Blueshirt there to Meeting the Rangers in St. Louis 5assist. The false advertising was a definite letdown.

When Kelly came to NYC in January, the St. Louis Blues won in a shootout. That gave her team 2 points and my team 1 point. The New York Rangers won in regulation last week so that gave my team 2 points and her team 0 points. It’s 3-2 right now. I’m ahead by 1 point. The Rangers and the Blues play against each other at Madison Square Garden on November 3 and Kelly has decided to make another visit to NYC. Can I keep my lead? We’ll see on November 3 when the Rangers and the Blues face off again!

-LH

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