a bucket list before she left.

Layla was our nine year old boxer; the sweetest soul that gave us love in our lives in a way that we never knew we needed.

On a Sunday morning in September, I woke up and found Layla laying beside our couch on the ground, which was an unusual spot. I kept calling her to get up, but she wouldn’t. She wasn’t moving, she was breathing shallowly & quickly, and the only thing that indicated she was conscious was her eyes were trying to look at me. As a previous veterinary tech, the first thing I checked were her gums and her paws. They were pale and they were cold. I yelled at Michael that we had to go to the vet immediately.

Her heart rate was touching 200 beats per minute, and her vet didn’t know why. So we were sent straight to the cardiologist. During the echocardiogram, I could feel the room become eerily quiet. I was rubbing Layla’s head while the techs held her body down to her side. The doctor was hovering the scan over one particular spot for awhile, and I noticed the two technicians look at each other. I didn’t know what they saw, but I knew it was not fucking good.

“Hemangiosarcoma.”
“7cm x 10cm x 3cm.”
“Drowning in her own blood.”
“Dying.”
“Nothing we can really do.”
“I’m sorry.”
“Euthanasia.”
“We will give you a few moments.”

We were shattered. In a second, hopeful became hopeless.

She was bleeding into her chest, and the blood in her chest cavity was preventing her from breathing well. They told her we had to hospitalize her and put her down within 24 hours. We were at the office going back and forth between our options. The main thing was: we wanted her back home for at least a day so she could feel comfortable, not in a kennel with no one around that loved her. We also felt these hospital visits were stressing her heart out more. We also got the information for a vet who could euthanize in our own home. When we decided this, the cardiologist recommended a Chinese herbal drug that was used in war by soldiers in order to stop bleeding.

We started her on that medication, and we spoiled the hell out of her. We moved our bed to the living room floor, so that we could be right next to her.

Instead of 24 hours, we had her for three more months. There were two more of these cardiac episodes, and the second one she couldn’t pull through.

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So thankful for this medication because we believed it gave us more time with her.
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Our living room set-up for the next month or two.

Before she passed away, we did some bucket list things with her. 

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First things first! We got her nine cupcakes from a local bakery. She LOVED them and we may have given her some vanilla ice cream, too. She had the worst smelling toots after this. 😅
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We took her to the coast where she was always the happiest pup. Look at her looking up towards the moon!
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We just let her hold the frisbee instead of throwing it. We didn’t want to stress out her heart.
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Her last national park visit was at Crater Lake. This was at sunset the day we got there.
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At her favorite park in Portland, Council Crest.
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This was a camping spot we stay at and the colorful leaves during fall were INCREDIBLE. I was taking photos of her, but she wanted to cuddle up to Michael. 😍
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Got one. ❤️
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And we can’t forget all the cuddle sessions we had in between all of our adventures.
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My cousin owns a tattoo shop and did this for me the day I found out.

On December 22nd, 2018, she passed away in her sleep. She passed away the night we flew to Texas for Christmas, and she was with our dog sitter. It breaks our hearts that we were not able to see her or kiss her or hold her one more time before she died. It shattered us more than anything knowing she was not with us, when she left. In a way… it felt as if she waited for us to leave.

Dogs die. But dogs live, too. Right up until they die, they live. They live brave, beautiful lives. They protect their families. And love us. And make our lives a little brighter. And they don’t waste time being afraid of tomorrow. Dan Gemeinhart

We love you, Lays. We miss your little wiggle-butt more than anything.

 

the ocean’s magic.

There is just something mysteriously magical about the ocean. Maybe it’s all of the brilliant shades of blues it can be, or maybe it’s the unpredictability of its storms, or even all of the life that is teeming underneath the surface. Whatever it is, whenever we visit the coast, there’s a sense of awe that just takes over us.

We are currently planning our honeymoon and the biggest thing we want is to next to the ocean with warm water (Oregon’s beaches are so cold!). Quick side story: When we visited Costa Rica, one of our favorite days was when we spent all afternoon with surfboards. Michael taught me how. When I finally stood up on my surfboard, I looked up and saw that he was riding the same wave with me! We had the biggest grins on our faces before we ate it. 😋

Anyway, we’ve sort of narrowed it down to where we want to go for our next trip. Thailand? Costa Rica again?! Maybe even Hawaii. Hmmm…

In the meantime, the Oregon coast is pretty amazing, despite it’s frigid waters.💙

On our road trip down to San Francisco, we slept here in our FJ Cruiser the night before. Opening up the rear hatch to this view in the morning was incredible!
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Samuel Boardman State Park is breathtaking. Sadly, we don’t have the ‘classic’ shot of the natural bridges because the exposure was too crazy and couldn’t be edited, but they were the best part to hike on.
Close to the edge and on our way down to the natural bridges!
Look at dat cutie. All smiles here when we get to explore new places.
The access to this lighthouse was about to close, but they gatekeeper let us in because he said the sunset was unreal. He was right and he let us stay way past closing.
Yaquina Lighthouse, Oregon & the sunset.
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It was getting pretty dark at this time, but the soft pinks and the blues were still visible. 💕

 

The beauty and mystery of the ocean fills our lives with wonders, vast beyond our imagination. M. L. Borges

 

olympic national park.

ft. Cody, Michael’s brother
(we forgot our self-timer was on in this photo)

This place in the Olympic National Park is still our favorite spot that we’ve ever camped at.

The water was so turquoise-y blue, the campsite was pretty much empty because it was still winter, Michael’s brother was visiting us, and we didn’t have any service. What could be any better?!

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Hikes along the Quinalt river in Washington.

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Climbing down to this spot was pretty sketch, but sooo worth it.
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We tricked Cody into thinking we were stuck in the forest because of this fallen tree and that we had to go out there with a saw and cut it away. He believed us. 😂
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Peaceful mornings by the river. 😊
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Michael and I converted our FJ to have storage drawers and a full size mattress. Cody slept in the tent we keep in the truck for those just-in-case moments.
Our sweet pea, Layla, all bundled up in our FJ. 💙
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There was definitely s’mores (with cookies and cream Hershey’s because they’re the best!)
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Cody visits us the most and it’s always such a freaking good time when he’s around!

It’s been two years since we moved from Texas to the pacific northwest and we still cannot believe we get to live in a place so endlessly beautiful. It’s the best. thing. ever. There is so much more to see, so after I finish school in 1-2 months, we can really get out there and explore even more.

Here in the corner attic of America, two hours’ drive from a rain forest, a desert, a foreign country, an empty island, a hidden fjord, a raging river, a glacier, and a volcano is a place where the inhabitants sense they can do no better, nor do they want to. Timothy Egan

dog mountain trail.

7 miles.
2824 feet elevation gain.
Kicked our butts.

Two years ago, Michael and I were visiting Portland, OR because he was visiting his new workplace and I was interviewing at OHSU. We talked to a stranger about local recommendations and they suggested Dog Mountain trail.

We didn’t read about.
We didn’t look it up.
We just… went and did it.

It ended up being one of the hardest hikes we’ve both ever been on. The elevation gain was so difficult. We even got cheers once we got to the top by the people that passed us because we told them we were struggling haha 😅.

Last night, we decided to do it again to see the sunset at the top and to hike down at night. We can definitely report that the hike is still very difficult! However, the sunset made it so. worth. it. It was like we were seeing a live painting because the color changes were unreal. And we finally saw all of the wildflowers!! 💛

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When we made it to the first clearing and saw this view!

img_9153Michael waiting for me.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetIt’s impossible to not stop a million times and take in this view… or to take a breather. 😅

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Processed with VSCO with a6 presetThe last two at the top!! The two guys we met took this picture before they hiked back down. We got to enjoy this place with just us… and some Oreos.

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Those bird sounds and wildflowers. 😍

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We can officially say that we were so freaking exhausted after this hike.

We started the hike around 6:45pm.
We finished the hike around 11:00pm.
We got home around 1:30am.
We are so thankful we both didn’t have to go to work or school today.

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend! 😊

my favorite part.

Mac Miller | My Favorite Part

Lets cue this ~feel good song~ because we just got our wedding photos back!!

On April 20th, we had some of our closest friends and family around us, incredible weather, a beautiful four string quartet, lovely flowers done by A&L, & one badass, amazing photographer, Lily Hayes.

Here are a few of our favorite moments, our vows, and photos below.

Continue reading “my favorite part.”

love at crater lake.

Crater Lake is known for its blues… but when you’re there at sunrise or sunset, the colors you get to see are so unbelievably magical.

We had already planned to wake up early, but did not expect to witness the most magnificent sunrise. We felt like we had the whole place to ourselves because no one was around us. This place is also very special to us because it was the last road trip we were able to take Layla on before she passed away.

Experiences like this always remind us to appreciate and love the little things in life. ❤️

Look at those colors!! 😍


Our little family at sunset.


This viewpoint was perfect. It felt like the lake wrapped all around you.


Sometimes you gotta hide behind a bush to get those ~*angles*~ of Wizard Island. Photography can be a pretty funny hobby.


The girls and the moon.


Mount Thielsen in all of its glory in the early morning.


Sunsets here are pretty darn great, too.

This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.
John Muir

If Crater Lake isn’t on your bucket list yet, it should be!

 

The Bitzers

an unexpected adventure.

This weekend we were planning to backpack up to a fire lookout in Mount Hood, Oregon. On the way there, we started noticing snow along the forest roads. I always get a little suspicious with road conditions once snow starts to appear, but Michael gets… a little ‘confident’ in his FJ when if comes to a lot road-wise. 😜

When we got to huge snow covering on the road, he pressed the gas and we plowed right through only to get us stuck in about 2-3 feet of snow. It took us an hour and a half to get out because all we had to use was a poop shovel, a skillet, and two hiking poles to plow all of the snow away from his truck. It was exhausting, but so hilarious after it was all done.

 

We obviously had to change our plans last minute, so we looked on google maps and found Timothy Lake was pretty close. There were also campsites you could backpack in!

It. Was. Beautiful.

We had absolutely no service with no one around us. After a stressful week of work and school, it was exactly what we needed to unwind. 20190511_143800

Once we set up everything, we hiked about five-six miles around the lake. We got back to camp right in time to set up the hammock and catch the sunset. 🧡41C51B51-3562-416A-8B8A-7505E545E9A1

Continue reading “an unexpected adventure.”

parts unknown.

Jeanie here.

When I was in college, I was obsessed with the food industry. I was just beginning to fall in love with cooking. I found myself reading endlessly about different styles of cooking from different chefs. When I found out Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert were visiting a nearby university for a speech, I couldn’t pass it up. I was at the edge of my seat hearing about their culinary stories and their friendship. What stood out to me most was when he was asked where was his favorite country to visit he said, “Vietnam.” He kept talking about how much he fell in love with the food, the people, the country, and the culture when he visited there and it made me fall in love more with my family’s history.

His passing stunned the both of us, especially me.

I’m in disbelief that someone so loved, inspiring, and unique struggled with such dark demons that he couldn’t imagine his place in this world anymore. After writing about all of the hidden secrets of the culinary world, we are left wondering about the unknown parts of his mind. I just hope so deeply that he somehow found the peace he was looking for. Our thoughts are always with the loved ones that people leave behind.

In light of what has happened, we have removed all references relating to Michael’s ex harassment towards us and her own struggle with mental illness. She has privately informed me that she is seeking help and therapy and we only hope she betters herself. We wish her the best as she finds a path of positivity and light. It is critical that ones struggling with mental illness seek the help they deserve.

something about us.

Hi you guys!
We are a little intimidated, but excited to start sharing more about our lives here.

We both have a mutual love for learning about photography and sharing our adventures via our Instagram, @thebitzers.

However, we want to share more about us. The outtakes. Our behind-the-scenes. Blogging is an entirely different animal, but we hope that some of our personal experiences can be relatable to someone out there.

To introduce ourselves, here are some things about us!

Jeanie here.

  • I love love love to cook. If there is anything I do to unwind, you can find me in the kitchen or the grocery store or even just thinking about food.
  • I currently work/study in the field of oncology. Cancer has had a pretty significant impact on my life, so I couldn’t imagine doing anything else career-wise.
  • My mom is hilariously over-superstitious about life. I am a little scared I may become like her, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing because she’s an incredible woman.
  • Guilty pleasure? Ice cream. Fries. Naps. Sometimes all at once, sometimes not.
  • I used to paint a lot, especially portraits of others. I was in several art shows up until college and it was one of my favorite times when I was younger. Taking photos and cooking has now become my creative outlets.
  • What I can’t stand? Being misunderstood.

Michael here.

  • I love working with my hands: building things, gardening, MacGyver-ing things, etc.
  • I work in public health working with infectious disease surveillance. AKA I work with microscopic things that can cause some serious illnesses and try to predict when those outbreaks can affect people.
  • I’m a constant daydreamer for new adventures. On my GoogleMaps, you’ll find a ton of saved pins relating to unique sites to explore, places to camp, favorites places I’ve been, and adventure suggestions from people I’ve met.
  • I enjoy my daily reads from Reddit, NPR, or The Oregonian. 
  • I grew up surfing and that is the one sport I wish I could do more often. Need to learn how to adjust to the cold waters of the west coast.
  • Guilty pleasure? Video games, particularly PUBG or Battlefield.

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