Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Goodbye, Friend

I have some sad news.  I posted about it last week on my other blog, but not here.  My thought process was that it is more of a "family" blog, and it was more "family" news.  But I haven't been able to post on here without recognizing what happened, and I'm sure once you read, you will see why.  

We lost a very dear friend a few weeks ago.  Ivan passed away on August 9, 2012.  He has been on this blog a lot.  
You can see him here:  When he first joined our family.
With Dad here:  Getting cuddles.
You can see his sweet face here:  Under the Christmas tree.

This was his most recent photo. 



I am devastated.  He seemed perfectly healthy when I fed him his dinner and said goodnight on Tuesday.  Wednesday morning he looked so terrible, we rushed to the vet.  She took him in the back, ran some tests, did x-rays, and everything was normal, save for him being very dehydrated.  I thought that was good news, that he would be fine. I set him up in his carrier, said “see you later”, and went about my day.

Later, she called to tell us that he was looking better, but they wanted to keep him overnight just in case.

Thursday morning I had a missed call from her, and called back right away; thrilled that he got come home so soon.  But the news I received was the exact opposite.  Physically, Ivan would never be coming home.

The shock, complete and utter shock, has worn off, but not the sadness. My furry friends hold such a respected place in my family, and a tender place in my heart.

It is particularly breaking my heart that I didn’t get to say goodbye.  I had no idea he was going to leave this world.  He barely got an extra head pat because I was running around after Little B.

Speaking of the munchkin, I never imagined having to go through this.  Not being able to explain to my son where his friend is.  Ivan was obviously around since the day LB came home from the hospital.  When he was younger, he just let him play on or around him.  Now that Little Brontosaurus is older, they played out in our mudroom together, daily.  To the point where Ivan was almost a live-in babysitter.  His second word (second only to dada) was cat.  When we leave the house, he still calls out “Bye cats!”.  He goes to Ivan’s room, and points in there and says “Cat?”.  He wants to know where his friend is.

I want to thank everyone who has shown support, and who will once they read this.  Also, thank you for all the love and prayers that were shared when he was sick in the past.  This was unrelated to his urinary issues.  In fact, I really don’t have any answer as to why he passed away; something else that will forever haunt me on sad days, I’m sure.

Our house feels empty. My heart feels heavy.

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Ivan,
My dear sweet friend.  I miss you so much.  As I sit here writing this, I miss you trying to fit yourself between my belly and the computer.  I miss you when we come home and you aren’t in your favorite sun spot by the door, and I miss the sound of your expectant “meow” for your breakfast.  I miss you trying to eat our food, and breaking into the groceries.  I miss you following me everywhere I go.  I am sorry for all the times I yelled at you, squirted you with water, and pushed you aside (because you really did follow meeverywhere), but I am sure you know that I love you.  And I know you love me.  No one, feline or otherwise, will ever replace you, be certain of that.  You were truly a one of a kind, a wonderful cat.  So sweet, so loving, so mischievous, and full of energy and life.  I am so sorry that our time together had to end so soon, I will forever wish that we had more. You will always be fondly remembered, and dearly missed.
- Mom

His first day home.

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I am not sure how long it takes for it to stop hurting every day, but I’m not there yet.  I know it is different for everyone, so if it hard to understand that I’m still upset, I’m sorry.  We have been keeping busy and it is easier when we are out of the house, but…we always come home.

I am doing a few things to memorialize him/help make me feel better:

1.  I am going to put up a standalone bird feeder and plant a flower garden outside our big dining room window.  I had wanted to put one up for him since we moved in, but our trees are too tall to hang one.  I had thought of it the day he was at the vet, that he would be able to see great from that window, and it didn’t have to hang from a tree.  I might sprinkle some of his ashes in the garden, I haven’t decided yet.

2.  I bought a nice frame to print out a 8×10 of our favorite photo of him to keep with us.  It is a semi-shadow box, so I will put his collar and his favorite toy in there as well, along with one of our address labels that has pictures of all of us on them.

3.  I  love the symbology of the tree of life.  I have a few necklaces already, but I found a plain pendant that I really like, and I am going to add a paw print charm and a tiger’s eye charm to it.  Such a thing doesn’t exist, I’m trying impatiently to find a way to get it done.

Originally I did not think we would get another cat for awhile.  That has changed a little.  It will still be a few months, but I do think another cat will find its way into our home.  

————————————————————————————————-

Thank you for reading.  This has really been especially hard for us.

“I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)”

Goodbye, friend.

 

Friday, August 3, 2012

July Vegan Food Swap

I had intentions of jumping back into blogging.  In fact, I still act like I blog every day.  I take pictures of my food, I blog in my head as I'm eating (I can't be the only one who does that, right??), and then I put my Little Brontosaurus to bed and sit down on the couch and...

What can I say, the little guy wears me out!

But, I did at least take the time to sign up for last month's Vegan Food Swap, hosted by Cat at The Verdant Life.  

I had a ton of fun making up a box for Ashley at Season of the Vegan, and received a lovely box from my partner, Barbara (who is not a blogger, I didn't forget a link!).

Along with some fun snacks for me, Barbara sent some snacks for the little saurus, and a nice box of red quinoa.  


RED quinoa!  

I know this isn't a new thing, but it is the sort of thing I'd never spend the extra money on myself.  Barbara sent a lot of graet quinoa recipes that I haven't gotten the chance to try yet, but I thought this would be the perfect time to share my new favorite quinoa recipe.  

Buttery Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Quinoa


This is one of those recipes that was thrown together one day with what I had lying around.  I pulled out the mandolin, started thinly slicing some Brussels sprouts, about a cup and a half.   I added the Brussels sprouts to a pan that had already started cooking some minced garlic and olive oil, about 1 clove, and 1 Tbsp, respectively.  The Brussels sprouts were cooked until they were soft.  At the same time, I was cooking a small pot of quinoa, maybe 3/4 cup.  While it cooked, I tried to figure what to do with the quinoa.  I don't mind plain food, I eat a lot of my food plain.  Plain potatoes, plain rice, plain quinoa.  Not bare, I use salt and pepper, sometimes olive oil, but really very basic.  Well, the small person I live with does not agree with that.  So on a whim, the quinoa got thrown into the pan with the Brussels sprouts.  Added to that was 2 tbps of vegan margarine (we use Earth Balance around here), as well as salt and pepper to taste, and a few splashes of white wine vinegar.

This has become not just one of my favorite ways to use quinoa, but Brussels sprouts too!  It is all around one of our new favorite side dishes.  I have Brussels sprouts in the fridge, and plain quinoa in the pantry, I can't wait to make this with some of the red quinoa thrown in, to make it extra pretty!

Thanks Barbara, and thanks to Cat for hosting the Vegan Food Swap!
  

Monday, July 2, 2012

My "Vegan Journey"


I think it is really cheesy when people refer to their experiences as journeys.  

Some examples:  "my yoga journey", "weight loss journey", "a spiritual journey".  

But sometimes, "journey" really is the only word that fits.  And where else would be more fitting to start a new point on my "vegan journey", than here?  Since this is where it all began, almost 5 years ago. 

I posted pretty recently that I wasn't vegan anymore, and that was obviously a pothole in the journey.  I did not stop blogging because I was no longer vegan.  I stopped blogging quite a bit before that.  And the reason I stopped blogging was because I didn't feel like myself.  Within the span of a year we lived in three different places.  We packed, unpacked, changed jobs, found out I was pregnant, had my husband out of town for awhile; I didn't have time to cook, I didn't want to cook, I didn't want to blog, and nothing is worse than a forced blog post.

So yes, I was pregnant with my little boy when I had a hard time staying vegan, but that wasn't the whole story.  Something in me was off, and has been until the last few months.  Something woke up!  Its a great thing to actually feel change inside yourself, especially when it is in a direction you see as positive.  

I realized recently that I hadn't been vegan for almost 2 years.  That made me sad.  Then I had to think about why that made me sad.  I still believed in being vegan, in everything it stands for.  In fact, I really did make an effort to keep us "as vegan as possible".  You can probably guess what that means:  We stuck with our almond milk, but we went out for ice cream; we still use lots of nutritional yeast, but sprinkled parm on our pasta alongside it.  Why?  I'm not sure.  When I was pregnant, I truly did crave cheese.  Whether or not giving in to that craving was the best decision can be debated, but at the time I obviously felt it was.  Why I stuck with it though?  Because it was easy.  Also, because of the reaction I got from close friends and family when I went back to being vegetarian.

I was shocked, really honestly shocked, that no one asked me if I was okay with not being vegan anymore.  Because, I really wasn't, I struggled with it.  I realize now the reason for that is they didn't understand why I was vegan in the first place.  Instead, I had multiple people tell me how happy they were that I wasn't vegan anymore.  They were happy that I would be able to enjoy the same things that they enjoyed, that we could share in more of the same food experiences.  I didn't realize how much my decisons about what I ate affected them.  That was ignorant of me.  And I can see how maybe being vegan is a little selfish at the same time as it is selfless.  It makes people uncomfortable, and I am sorry for making my family and friends uncomfortable.  

But, it is time for them to be uncomfortable again, because I'm happy to be back to vegan.  

I know this is a lot of words after not having been aronud for awhile, so if you chose to read this, thank you!  If you're hoping for more posts, I hope you will wait and see.  I would like to keep up with blogging again, but my life is very different from when I was doing this before.  I don't have time to post every day any more, but I do have some time.  

It feels really good to be at the next stop on my "vegan journey".  It also is exciting to be writing on my old blog again (although I do still plan to keep up with the newer one, with more family-type updates), and I have a few reviews and a giveaway to celebrate!  So hang around, I'm hoping to make this journey a fun one!

Stay Strong,      
         

Saturday, February 4, 2012

My Baby's 1st Birthday!

Simon's 1st Birthday was today! I am so proud of him and our last year together. I hope we have a lot more, little guy.

Join us for some pictures of his first cake experience!!