Come On Vamanos … Everyone Let’s Go!

Barcelona- Here We Come!

Oh hello there! The pugs send warm March snuggles to everyone trying to stay warm in these last weeks of winter. I hope these Nor’easters haven’t got all of my friends on the East Coast too down.

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Olive is giving you her sexy look. Try not to be seduced.

The Grumblers have begun the process of selecting a location for our International vacation of 2018. We have gotten a bit stir crazy here and need to go explore a few foreign destinations and get lost in a non-English speaking city. Last year we were a bit limited because Freddie was just turning one and the thought of packing him up and schlepping him through a foreign airport made my back hurt.

This year is a whole different story! He can walk substantial distances by himself, and can communicate with us a whole lot better. I know I might be pushing it, but fingers crossed that he is potty trained by the time we leave.

We threw around a whole bunch of destinations that sounded like a good time. The tops of our list included: Portugal, Tel Aviv, Corsica, and Costa Rica. Decisions, decisions … Of course I was trying to pick a vegan friendly destination that Aaron would also enjoy, and since we have been hibernating from the cold these last few months, warmth was a definite requirement.

And then over a lovely dinner out, Aaron threw out the idea- Barcelona. I don’t know why, but I just wasn’t expecting that from him. Hmmm…. Barcelona. I studied abroad in Valencia, Spain in college, but my Spanish skills are quite rusty and I never thought that he had ay interest.

How vegan friendly is Barcelona? If it is anything like Valencia was 10 Year’s ago, we are gonna starve. I did some research. I found a very helpful book entitled Barcelona Vegan Travel Guide Who knew that there would be a whole book dedicated to my cause?

Barcelona Vegan Guide
I hope this saves me from Spanish meat and dairy!

Well, Barcelona it is. We leave in September, and on this vacation, we will be bringing my sister. Freddie’s Aunt Bananas (aka Hannah). I tried to convince her to come as Freddie’s nanny, but she shut that down real quick. Aunt Bananas will be a regular old tourist like us (I’m secretly hoping that she will entertain Freddie on the flight at least).

This brings me to my new project. Brush up on my Spanish! Oh Duolingo, how have I not tried you until now. I even enlisted the help of a professional. I found my new Spanish tutor, whom I refer to as Ana Excelente on Thumbtack. She’s beating my language challenged ass into shape. I get tested and everything. I always get an A+.

Freddie watching Dora
Freddie is brushing up on his Spanish too. Dora to the rescue. Now if he only could figure out English sentences.

I am very excited to try out the CatBar, Dolce Pizza y Los Veganos, and the several macrobiotic restaurants that appear in my vegan guide book. Have any Barcelona traveling tips? Or fun spots to visit that are off the beaten path? I am very aware all things Gaudi BTW. Let me know!

A World Without Cookies is Somewhere That I don’t Want to Live

Its so fun whenever you start to see little things in your children that remind you of yourself or your partner. Like that little sideways glance they do whenever they are doing something that they know they aren’t supposed to be doing. Or the twinkle in their eyes that they have whenever they are happy that is the same little twinkle you noticed on the first date that you had with your partner. Insert cheesy smile that looks like a picture you have of your sister when she was 6.

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He is literally Aunt Banana’s clone in this picture.

At most meals these days, Freddie likes to enjoy a few cookies. Where does he get this love? I’ll tell you. Just like his Mama, Freddie has a crazy love of all cookies. How can you say no to that face? Of course we enjoy organic, vegan cookies, but cookies nonetheless.

We have a hard time making it through the grocery store without taking a little timeout for cookies. Freddie has become quite familiar with the packaging of our favorite brands. Just take a gander at our recent Whole Foods break.

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We love Alternative Baking Company cookies!

We like to shop and then sit in the cafe for a brief snack time. Sometimes we chat with cafe workers, sometimes we don’t. Freddie had a Peanut Butter cookie and I enjoyed a Lemon Poppyseed cookie made by the Alternative Baking Company.

I think I even have rubbed off my love of cookies on the rest of the Grumble. Everyone loves peanut butter cookies in this house. Mother Hubbard is our Pug Cookie brand of choice.

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That’s a peanut butter cookie that I’m holding at the bottom of the picture.

Pug Daddy and I do have regular debates about the appropriate texture of cookies. He tends to enjoy a crunchier cookie, but I prefer a softer and more chewy cookie. Shall I say the most hated word in the English language? I prefer a MOIST cookie. That’s right, a MOIST cookie.

So lots of cookies are in The House of Grumble. How do households survive without regular infusions of cookies? I have no answers and do not understand this lifestyle. So I proudly pass down cookie love to the pug children and my human child.  More cookies please!

To Pug Chiropractor or Not To Pug Chiropractor?

Last week we took the girls for their annual vet visit at Point Breeze Veterinary Clinic (shout out to Dr Schroth). They all did really well. Everyone’s weight was right where it is supposed to be and the girls all got their vaccinations. All was well in the world and we were hoping that we wouldn’t see the inside of the vet for a solid 12 months.

A few days later, Ellie Mae started acting a little bit strange. She was hiding from us and gradually losing her appetite as time went on. We were getting so worried. Of course this all happened over a weekend and eventually Pug Daddy and I agreed that we should take Miss Ellie Mae to emergency clinic for fear that she was having some kind of adverse reaction to her vaccinations.

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Ellie Mae sleeping on the couch

After Pug Daddy spent several hours in the Emergency Room waiting room, the vet diagnosed Ellie Mae with Intra-vertebral disc disease and potential herniated discs in her cervical spine. As someone who works in Physical Therapy, I knew that this could be bad especially since dogs can’t really do much in the way of rehab. The doctor on duty prescribed pain medication and recommended that we follow up first with our regular vet and then with the doggie neurologist. We would most likely need a doggie MRI and possibly spinal surgery to correct her disc issues. We even got a handout about fitting Ellie Mae for a doggie wheelchair. Dollar signs flashed before my eyes right before I pictured Ellie Mae accidentally rolling her doggie wheelchair down the stairs. A lot of anxiety followed, as well as many glasses of wine.

Fast forward to a few days later, and Ellie Mae and I are waiting to see Dr Schroth. We go into the examination room and she reassures me that she doesn’t think that Ellie Mae is a surgical candidate. Whew!!! She does agree that she needs lots of rest and thinks that we should keep up with her regimen of pain pills.

It just so happens that while Ellie Mae and I are at the vet, the canine chiropractor is available. Dr Schroth suggested that we just talk to her and see what she recommends. Sigh… whenever my baby pug is in pain, I have to try everything right? So I justify a trip to the Pug Chiropractor in my mind. “We’ll just try it,” I think to myself. “The worst thing that can happen is that it doesn’t work” right? So we did it. Ellie Mae got adjusted and we sent some kind of energy into her spine. I feel some good vibes, don’t you?

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Ellie Mae’s chiropractic summary

The results aren’t in quite yet. Stay tuned…