Wednesday, May 22, 2013

On Saying Goodbye / A Sacred Responsibility

In case you were worried by the post title, we have not lost Hubbell yet.  

He has recovered very well from his surgery. The biopsy did confirm that he has cancer and the doctor suggests that he has 3-6 months to live (comfortably).  However, as you know, Hubbell also suffers from Golden Retreiver Uveitis.  His remaining eye is quite bad and it is extremely likely that his eye/glaucoma will progress to a point of high pressure and pain before the cancer makes him uncomfortable again.  Our intention is to enjoy our time with him until it's clear to us that his "quality of life" is not there anymore.  I know my dog extremely well and I can tell when he's having a bad moment or he's uncomfortable.  At this point in time, his good days way outnumber any bad days. I can still walk into the room to find he's taken all of his toys out of his basket.  He'll still play tennis ball out in the yard.  He still eats like a champ. He shakes his tail at us like crazy. He still smiles. His life force is still amazingly strong.

I know this won't last long.  It's been three weeks since his surgery and I am honestly amazed that he's still with us.  I seriously believed we had about a week or so when I wrote this post.  There are simply no words in the English language to express how thankful I am for this additional time we've had with him.  I spoil him at any given moment I have available.  I tell him constantly all of the sweet things I feel for him in my heart.  If I'm away from home for more than about two hours, I start to feel panicky and sick and I have to return home to be with him.  Because I still can.  And I want to be sure that he's comfortable.  

I'm writing this post today because I spoke with the in-home euthanasia veterinarian and I feel extremely emotional.  I called her because I want to feel somewhat prepared.  There's also comfort in knowing what the process will be and that someone will be available for us when the time comes.  I have to be honest, I am so scared of that moment.  So scared.  But there is no way I would miss Hubbell's last few moments.  As Alain describes it, it's a "sacred responsibility".  Alain always does have a way with words that makes me feel more at ease.  

Everyone always tells me I'm a "strong person".  A friend even told me that this morning.  But, it's funny, whenever anyone tells me that, I always think to myself, "Wow, I sure do have them fooled".  And I feel that way now.  I keep asking myself how on Earth I'm getting through this.  I cry so much it's ridiculous (although never in front of Hubbell ~ although I know he can tell anyway!).  It's really a kind of torture to not know if we have one more day with him or several more weeks. We have no choice but to take it day by day.  I can't tell you how many people have said I just have to mentally prepare myself for what's coming.  Even the vets.  But I can tell you one thing now (and those who have been through this will probably agree), there is no way on Earth to mentally prepare yourself for this type of moment, for living through the moment when your loyal and beloved family member, your most faithful companion, your very best friend, takes his last breath.  The finality of it is so overwhelming.

Anyway, I have no point to this post. I guess writing it down is rather cathartic.  I want this blog here of mine to be a small/selected record of my life.  I hope my girls will go back and read it one day in the future and know what my life was like when they were young.  And this is clearly a HUGE moment in my life.  One that surely Sophie will remember.  And there a few things I'd want for Sophie & Clara to know:

~ that it's a gift to be with someone in their last moments of life, no matter how hard.
~ that it's important to take care of those who are older and/or sick, no matter how hard.
~ that you have to keep going even when you have a broken heart, no matter how hard.
~ that it takes courage to get through this type of life/death event, no matter how hard.
~ that it's okay to cry, no matter how hard.
~ that there is also beauty in saying goodbye, sadness and loss. 

And I guess I'm reminding myself of those things as well.

Oh Hubbs, we love and adore you to no end.  You are the sweetest soul.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sophie & Clara

My new camera is quite possibly my favorite thing ever.

Maybe because it's a better camera or maybe because I have it out so often but I have photos of my girls now that I absolutely adore.  Here are a few I wanted to share because these photos really seem to capture who they are right this moment.


Sophie lost her 8th tooth of Friday while she was at school.  She asked me to take these photos of her with a new empty spot in her smile. So glad she did.  She totally melts my heart.


And little Clara.  Always with an inquisitive look.  Always looking a slight bit mischievous to me. It's like she's wondering what she can get into next.  Not sure whether to smile or cry.  She's still such a baby.  And delicious.  I want to eat her up.

For my sweet family, thank you for my camera.  From the bottom of my heart.  It makes me so very happy!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Bird Fight

Sophie and I were hanging outside on Saturday when suddenly we could hear birds screeching at one another.  It was LOUD.  Soph and I went to investigate and found these guys really going at it.  I ran to grab my camera and tried to get some shots of them.  They were moving fast and it took a lot of attempts to get these few photos.  But I love them.  These birds are impressive with their displays and attempts to intimidate one another.  I can't help but wonder who won!!!

{This picture is definitely my favorite!}

{Not sure what's going on in this shot!}

{Very impressive, wouldn't you say?}

{Almost out of the frame but I still like this one!}

{Most of my shots looked like this.....}

Anyone know what type of bird this is?  Have you ever witnessed a bird fight like this?  If so, did you get any photographs?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Scout & Atticus popping in.... wish you a VERY HAPPY WEEKEND!!!!

Note: I took these pictures from our deck. When I'm outside, the birds love to fly over to the door and watch me through the window.  They chirp so loudly I can hear them out in the back of the yard.  On this day, I had my camera and was so happy to finally get some pictures of them while this was happening.
Scout & Atticus were at Uncle Jon and Aunt Leslie's with their five bird cousins while we were at the beach and while Hubbell was recovering from this surgery.....about three weeks in all (THANK YOU JON & LESLIE!).  Now that they're back, I realize how much I missed these feathery little beasts while they were gone!!!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Capturing Motherhood in a Photo

Big car. Little car.

PS ~ Thank you so much, Leslie!!!  Clara is totally smitten with the Coop.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


It's that time of year and we're finding babies everywhere.  It's so much fun and the cuteness is almost too much to bear!!!  I've been trying to catch photos whenever and wherever I can.....

In Charlotte, there are goslings everywhere at this time of year.

This little quartet still had the yellow baby fuzz on their heads.

The amount of tadpoles in this pond were staggering.

These are the very first tadpole photos I've ever taken.

This baby bunny lives in our yard.

Apparently, this baby opossum does too!

Sophie discovered this sweet baby walking around our backyard. So glad I was able to capture it!

The nests at the Great Blue Heron Rookery are filled with baby herons.  Clara and I watched the moms flying all over and in and out of the nests feeding their young ones. Way too exciting!!!

How about you?  Are you finding any babies around your neighborhood?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Nature Walk With Clara

I think Clara is turning a corner.  She's almost two but I can feel a shift happening.  I can't really put my finger on it but it's getting a little easier to take care of her all day.  She listens and understands more and she can speak and communicate almost everything.  She seems a little calmer.  Our interests seem perfectly aligned.   We start every morning out with a trip to a park/playground and we do at least one other activity each day.  She needs that to satisfy her bottomless curiosity.  I guess I do too! Honestly, I am finally starting to enjoy her company.  Yesterday, after music class (where she refuses to leave my lap!), we went on a nature walk.  Her new thing is she loves to collect acorns, pine cones, seed pods and such.  She collects a whole bunch, we count them (she's now counting up to 9) and then says to me, "Mommy, throw?".  And I let her throw them off the path into the woods.  I can't tell you how much she loves this and she giggles and laughs the entire time.  We then walk down to the teeny tiny creek and I let her throw leaves and other forest "debris" into the water.  She'll say, "bye bye leaf" and smile from ear to ear.  She chases the birds.  She talks to the trees.  It's cooler under the leafy canopy and we discuss how nice it feels to get a break from Charlotte's heat.  Yesterday, we bumped into two young boys who were running and had stopped to do some push-ups, etc.  They saw me taking photos and offered to take a photo of Clara and I.  When I uploaded photos last night, I almost passed out.  I LOVE THIS PHOTO.  It's so rare and I'm so thankful to have this one picture of Clara and I on one of our nature walks.  

Here are a few others of Clara and our finds.....


What a wickedly cool tree!

A squirrel nest?

One of Clara's thrown leaves make a nice shadow in the water.

I loved this little patch of light and the greens that were taking total advantage!

Clara chased this poor robin into the woods for about 15 minutes.

Throwing all of her found goodies off the path.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Special Delivery: MOM

It appears we started a tradition last year on Mother's Day.  Remember this post?  We enjoyed it so much that we decided to do it again.  A quick trip to Target, a raid of the craft bin, and TADA......surprise Mother's Day bags.......  

We decided upon a few rules: 

1. You can't be a former recipient.
2. Sophie cannot wait for them to open the door. She must place the bag right in front of the door, ring the bell and run as fast as humanly possible back to the car.

I picked five women who are really good friends to me but who have also done a lot for Sophie over the years.  I let her pick which three would get a bag.....explaining the whoever is left out can be on next year's list!

Here are pictures of Sophie in action.....

I wasn't even thinking about a good teaching moment that might be buried in this fun little tradition.  During the delivery, Sophie said to us, "But they don't give anything to us."  So Alain and I had a chance to explain that you don't always give to get something in return, that it's great fun to give to others and that our friends have given us many things over the course of the year and this is a great way to thank them and make them feel special.

I hope all of you had a lovely Mother's Day as well!

PS ~ Hubbell is doing well and really rebounded from his surgery.  Doc says we probably have 3-6 months left with him (or until his eye gives out on him (glaucoma is horrible and painful!)).  He was always spoiled but we've taken it to a whole new level now.  I'm so beyond thankful to have this remaining time with him to show him how wonderful he is and to have talk after talk with him about what a dream come true he's been for our family.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


I will be absent from this space for a little while. 

Earlier today we discovered that our Hubbell has cancer. Doesn't matter the type. What does matter is that our time with him is extremely limited.  Extremely. I am a complete, disastrous mess, as you might imagine. Any of you that know me know that this will be a terribly hard time for me. For all of us.  Any of my attempts at strength and clarity have been downright hilarious and quite ridiculous in their failures. It's hard to imagine an Audrey without a Hubbell.  Hard. I really don't know how to get through this, I don't know what to do with this pain inside of my heart. I took these photos on Monday, before we knew that something was wrong. Oh am I grateful to have these now!  Please think of us, mostly of Hubbell. I want for every last moment of his life to be as sweet as humanly possible.  And I don't want to miss one second of whatever we have left with him......not even five minutes to blog.  I'm sure you understand.

I hope to be back. Once I can get my heart in order.  Once I feel I have something worth sharing besides total and complete heartbreak.  Once I can make sense of all this. There will be lots of nature when I do come back ~ it's the one thing that gets me through. As you know.  

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