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Loving Winter 2019

Happy winter!  Winter is not one of our favorite seasons of the year, with less day light and colder temperatures, but we are embracing our time together!  Below are a few things I have been recently loving this winter!

 

 

1. Gathre World Mat — We gave Alex this play mat for Christmas, and we love it, and she loves it, too!  It works really well, by creating a smooth surface, for playing!  We also have Gathre bibs, changing mats, and a mat for the high chair, that we love!

2. Matimati Bibs —  Since the teething has been in full swing with Alex, we discovered these bibs and they work really well to keep the drool off of her clothing.  They also wash up quite nicely, too!

3. Nuby Massaging Brush — We love the Nuby massage brush/teether!  Alex especially loves it, as she uses it each day!

4. Steve Antony Panda Books — We read to Alex daily, and we fell in love with Steve Antony’s panda books that we fortuitously discovered this fall!  They are wonderful.  We have one more to order, and then we will have all of these panda books, that are available right now!  (Steve Antony also has other wonderful books, too!)

5. Inheritance, by Dani Shapiro  — I love Dani Shapiro’s books.  I have read all of her books, except for one, I believe!  I love reading memoirs, and this was a very interesting and moving memoir.  This memoir explores such questions: What makes us who we are?  What combination of memory, history, biology, experience, and that ineffable thing called the soul defines us?  It is a fascinating read, and Dani also has a new forthcoming podcast coming out next month.

6. Orvis Dog Leash — This leash is back at Orvis, which we had monogrammed for our beloved Biscuit!  We recently got this same leash with Victory’s name engraved on it, like Biscuit’s leash.

Happy winter!

You can view other things I love here!

Six Month Snapshot: Alexandra

We made it half a year, six months, outside the womb, together, and baby Alex had her very first half birthday, recently!  How is our baby Alex already six months old!  So much has happened this month!  The theme for this month summed up in one word is transition.  Baby Alex is changing all the time.  In fact, she got her first two teeth, which are coming in, the two located in the lower middle of her mouth, which we have affectionately named, “chomper” and “pointy!”  She was quite fussy during the later part of December, just prior to her teeth cracking through the gums.  Her sleep was pretty erratic, during this time, and we were both pretty tired, and we still are tired, imagine that!  Her sleep is slowly improving, but it is still erratic with the teething. The drool is also quite real with the teething!  We really love these bibs, which help preserve her clothes during teething due to all of the drool!  It is hard to believe she will have 16 teeth by the time she is two!  We are wiping these little teeth stumps (“chomper” and “pointy”) daily, per my dentist’s recommendation, to help keep them clean!  Our baby girl is eating solids for mostly for dinner this month after really not liking the rice cereal, and she also is not a fan of the oatmeal!  So far, she likes squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, mango, avocado, and pears!

She has also moved to her ‘big girl’ stroller seat on her Bugaboo Fox!  We finally have the swaddle down for sleeping, it only took us six months to figure this out!  We use two swaddles concurrently: this arm swaddle and the Ollie Swaddle!  Baby Alex cannot escape wearing these two swaddles, finally, which helps prevent her from waking up!  We hope that we get down to only getting up one time a night or not getting up at all during the night, but the teething has not made things easy at night, recently.  She still really loves to roll around on her tummy and she can spin and roll around like a pro.  She can get into the crawling position, and we anticipate her to be mobile soon, which is a scary prospect!  We already started to baby proof our home.  This month our baby girl also started going to her play school a few days a week and, so far, it is going well!  She did, however, get sick, with a fever, for the first time, which was difficult, likely due to teething.  She is doing and feeling better now, thankfully.  During Alex’s sixth month, we also celebrated her first Christmas and New Years together!  We had a great time together celebrating with friends!  Alex also experienced her first snow recently!  She continues to grow and grow!  We are biased, but we think she just gets more beautiful each month!  We go to the pediatrician later this week for her sixth-month check-up; and we hope at, some point, she slows down with her physical growing!  She is very long and we are going through clothes like they are literally going out of style!  She is wearing mostly 18 month sized clothes, depending on how the clothes fit!  Victory is still doing well in her ‘big sister’ role!  She loves greeting Alex each morning while licking her from head to toe, a morning ritual, which we have coined, “Victory doing her morning rounds!”  We have some evening time, mostly at night with Victory, and I think she really enjoys this alone time with us!  We love our girls and we are embracing it all, and we feel so blessed beyond words!

A few highlights from Alex’s sixth month include:

-this arm swaddle has really helped us with sleeping during the day and night!  I highly recommend it!

-the teething has not made Alex too happy!  As a result, she has been up a lot at night the past few weeks, which has not been fun for anyone!

-she still loves to grab her feet and grab anything in sight and put it in her mouth!  We are still using the teething glove!  She has managed to get into Victory’s water bowl recently!  We have taken the first steps to baby proofing our home.

-she makes lots of sounds and she says, “agee;” “hey;” and “atoy toy.”  We have no idea what these words mean, but she repeats them!

-she loves to give her vocal cords a work out, at times, while screeching quite loudly!

-she is learning to swallow without sucking first!  We are working on introducing more types of foods, each week!

-she loves to give Victory treats!  We open up Alex’s hand and then Victory comes over and licks the treat from the palm of Alex’s hand, and Alex thinks it is the funniest thing, as she chuckles and smiles!  Alex does love to stroke Victory’s fur and she does not seem to mind Victory’s daily licks all over he body!

-she loves to play and she loves to be read to!  We are a fan of these books!

-she still finds the mirror very captivating!

-she has learned how to spit and thinks it is fantastic!  Sometimes, we even find her spitting in her crib in the mornings and she thinks it is so funny!

-she is sometimes holding her bottle on her own!

-on a daily basis Doug asks Alex where she is hiding her cookies, which is very important, based upon this video!

-she is still very alert and observant!  She is still going to the gym with us sometimes in the evenings, and she seems to like the care center, so far, when our favorite care provider, Lynn, is there to care for her, so we can get a work out in several times a week!  We plan to take her swimming soon, when it gets a bit warmer outside!

-she still loves her Ergo, and we have done some walks together, despite the colder temperatures!

-she still loves her swing, and she takes at least one nap in it daily, typically!  (I am not sure what we are going to do when she outgrows her swing!)

 

A few highlights I would like to remember:

-photographing and making videos of Alex — I want to remember and capture as much as I can!

-enjoying our first Christmas and New Year together as a family of four!

-greeting Alex in her nursery in the mornings!  One of my favorite times, and Victory always joins us!

-loving on her long, velvety soft and smooth body!

-loving how she smells after a bath!

-loving how her hair is so fluffy and soft against my skin!  It keeps growing!

-loving her chuckle, which is so adorable.

-watching her ride on her Daddy’s shoulders around the house, which she loves!

-watching her eat her first foods, which has been fun to witness!

-watching her greet Victory in the morning and her Daddy in the evenings during the week after work!

-watching her explore her environment!

-remembering that she loves (prefers) to be naked, in her diaper, at home!

-remembering her sticking her tongue out to feel her chompers!

-remembering how peaceful she looks while she is sleeping!

-remembering how she likes to dance while holding our hands to keep her balance!

-watching her meeting and interacting with new people — right now, she is open to other people and does not seem to mind being in the company of others!

-remembering her getting sick for the very first time.

-giving her a bath without her being so upset, although she still is not loving bath time!

-enjoying our morning time consisting of: play time and story tine together, a time when baby Alex is very animated and she is generally in a really good mood, and now Victory joins us, which makes it even better!

-rocking Alex to sleep at night in her swaddle!

-marveling at her smile — she has the most wonderful smile that melts our hearts!

-admiring her eyes — they are the prettiest deep blue eyes I have ever seen!  We think she is going to keep those beautiful blue eyes!

-loving her long, dark eye lashes!

-enjoying the beautiful morning light in Alex’s nursery each morning!

-staying in our pajamas for days, not leaving the house!

-knowing how much our little Victory affectionately loves her ‘little sister!’

-watching Alex play with her Daddy!

-having our first real date night this month, which we hope to do one to two times a month!

-knowing on the days that I feel totally exhausted, that I will someday really miss these early days, and I need to remind myself, at times of this fact.

-still asking myself what will I miss about this time of my life when it’s all gone?  This question keeps everything in perspective.

-most of all, we are cherishing getting to be Alex’s parents!

Doug and I are very grateful for our little girl and our little family!  We feel so fortunate.  We look forward to seeing Alex’s little personality continue to develop and unfold.  Below are a few images: Alex’s monthly portrait; Alex and Victory’s monthly portrait; followed by photos of Alex throughout this month; and some iphone images during her sixth month with us!  You can read our birth story along with viewing images from Alex’s birth here; you can read Alex’s first month snapshot here; her second month snapshot here; her third month snapshot here; her fourth month snapshot here; and her five month snapshot here.

It has been quite a bit of work keeping up with Alex’s monthly photos; printing of the images; creating her photo book for her first year; creating blog posts; and writing Promptly Journal entries.  However, this time will only happen once, and we want to record and remember it, so we are going to keep going with this process through the first year, where so many changes occur, sometimes seemingly over night!

 

 

 

 

 

You can see the extraordinary change in only six months, below!

 

 

 

 

You can see the the change over a six month period, immediately below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few iphone images from this month!

 

 

 

Good Read: Rest


 

Recently between feedings, naps, and reading before bed, when I can, I recently finished reading, Rest by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang.  It was a good read and also enlightening and insightful, especially entering this year, 2019, where I hope to make more time for rest, despite having a baby, where things always seem quite busy.  The premise of the book is how rest and work are integrally connected and that you actually can be more creative and efficient when one gets proper rest.  I highly recommend it, for all, especially creative persons!  It certainly changed my perspective on rest, work, and creativity.  I think dogs have a great perspective on rest that we can learn from as well!  Some favorite quotes from this book are shown below!

“…it is not constant effort that delivers results but a kind of constant, patient, unhurried focus that organizes the investigator’s attention when at work and is present but watchful during periods of ease.  Devoting yourself only to the first and neglecting the second might make you more productive in the short run but will make your work less profound in the long run.”

“Figures as different as Charles Dickens, Henri Poincaré, and Ingmar Bergman, working in disparate fields in different times, all shared a passion for their work, a terrific ambition to succeed, and an almost super human capacity to focus.  Yet when you look closely at their daily lives, they only spent a few hours a day doing what we would recognize as their most important work.  The rest of the time, they were hiking mountains, taking naps, going on walks with friends, or just sitting and thinking.  Their creativity and productivity, in other words, were not the result of endless hours of toil.  Their touring creative achievements result from modest ‘working’ hours.”

“We think of routine as the opposite of creativity: things done by routine require little thought and leave no room for creative interpretation of flexibility.  In reality, German sociologists Sandra Ohly, Sabine Sonnentag, and Franziska Pluntke argue, routines can enhance creativity.”

“A combination of routine and freedom, a world laid out to support creative work while reducing unnecessary distractions and peripheral decisions, nicely describes the world that focused moorings and routines make.  And if creativity is supported by routine, rest is absolutely dependent on it.”

“In order to keep rest from being invaded by work or crowded our of your day by a long to-do list, you need to use your routine like a fortification to protect your time.  That same routine also lets you get more done and makes you more creative.  It’s another example of how work and rest are subtly connected and mutually reinforcing.”

“Naps can provide an opportunity to have new ideas.  The studies show that you can learn to time your nap to increase the creative boost that it provides, make it more physically restorative, or probe the traffic between the conscious mind and unconscious mind.  Napping, in other words, turns out to be a skill.”

“Frank Lloyd Wright likewise advised architecture students that in the afternoon ‘a short nap was a must,’ as it ‘divided one day into two and helped to refuel the creative spirit.'”

“Dalí argues that the real work of painting happens while the artist sleeps, particularly in the nights before starting a new painting.  He urges readers not to regard this sleep as a period of ‘inactivity and indifference.’  To the contrary: ‘It’s precisely during this sleep,’ he says, ‘that you will secretly in the very depths of your spirit, solve most of its subtle and complicated technical problems, which in your state of waking consciousness you would never be humanly capable of solving.’  It is in the dream that ‘the principal part — that is to say the sleep — of the work is already done.'”

“Naps are powerful tools for recovering our energy and focus.  We can even learn to tailor them to give us more of a creative boost, or provide more physical benefit, or explore the ideas that emerge at the boundary between consciousness and sleep.”

“The deliberate stop also makes you more productive over the long run.  Many writers start their careers believing that the best work is done in bursts of inspiration only to discover that they do higher-quality work and get more done if they pace themselves.”

“Creative work is a marathon, not a sprint, as writer (and marathoner) Haruki Murakami put it.  In both running and writing, ‘once you set the pace, the rest will follow,’ Murakami says.  ‘The problem is getting the flywheel to spin at a set speed — and get to that point takes as much concentration and effort as you can manage.”‘

“Whether they’ve looked at memories of creative people or measured the effectiveness of breaks on performance on divergence tests, they’ve found that breaks provide a fairly consistent boost to creative thinking.”

“But you don’t do great work by sprinting to the finish; you’re more likely to accomplish great things by stopping at a strategic point and continuing the next day.”

“Sleep turns out to be important for the maintenance of the brain’s physical health and the growth of new brain cells.  It’s essential for the consolidation of memories and processing of new skills, and for the interpretation of experiences.”

“Sabbaticals give creative people a chance to reanimate their creative lives, explore new interests, and make life-changing breakthroughs.  Together, they help intelligent, ambitious people stay curious, engaged, and productive, and help them lead long creative lives.”

“At first, researchers mainly investigated the benefits of exercise for healthy aging, but studies now show that for people of any age, gender, or athletic ability, exercise can increase brain power, boost intelligence, and provide the stamina and psychological resilience necessary to do creative work.”

“Exercise generally has indirect but positive effects on creativity.”

“Workaholics are more likely than other people to feel anxiety about work when they’re out of the office, and exercise provides an outlet for nervous energy and a different focus for mental energy.”

“We shouldn’t be surprised that people manage to be physically active and do world-class work.  We should recognize that they do world-class work because they are physically active.”

“Because play is voluntary, intrinsically rewarding, mentally and physically engaging, and imaginative, it’s often absorbing and effortless; even when it’s physically challenging or uncomfortable, it’s not difficult in the same way a hard day at work is.”

“Deep play is a critical form of deliberate rest and an essential part of the lives of creative people.  It provides a way to unify what might otherwise be disparate and scattered activities into a unified whole, a life that is greater than the sum of its parts.”

“For creative and prolific people, seeing outside activities as expressions of the same interests that guide their professional lives builds a bridge between the worlds of work and rest and help turn these activities into deep play.”

“Deep play is also striking because even if it speaks to the same profound interests and uses common skills, it also establishes clear boundaries between work and play.”

“Sabbaticals can also play a critical but easily overlooked role in one’s intellectual development.  These don’t have to be the scheduled well-organized sabbaticals that are a prized feature of academic life.  Some of the most powerful life-changing sabbaticals are relatively short.”

“The most fruitful sabbaticals, like other forms of deliberate rest, are active.”

“Yet a weeklong sabbatical can be restorative when done skillfully, and even a monthlong sabbatical can be life-changing.”

“A life that takes rest seriously is not only a more creative life.  When we take the right to rest, when we make rest fulfilling, and when we practice rest through our days and years, we also make our lives richer and more fulfilling.”

“Taking rest seriously requires recognizing its importance, claiming our right to rest, and carving out and defending space for rest in our daily lives.”

“Deliberate rest is not a negative space defined by the absence work or something that we hope to get sometime.  It is something positive, something worth cultivating in its own right.”

“Deliberate rest help organize your life.  It also helps calm your life.”

“Deliberate rest helps cultivate calm.  It deepens your capacity to focus, which helps you complete urgent tasks while driving off anxiety.  It encourages you to work steadily rather than wait for a burst of inspiration.”

“Deliberate rest also gives you more time.  At an everyday level, deliberate rest helps you work more effectively.  It frees time in your calendar by helping you maintain stricter boundaries between work and rest time, and use your leisure time in more fulfilling ways.  By helping you find forms of rest that don’t compete with work, deep play and deliberate rest reduces your sense of time pressure.”

“Finally, deliberate rest helps you live a good life.”

“Rest is not idleness.  When we treat rest as work’s equal and partner, recognize it as a playground for the creative mind and springboard for new ideas, and we see it as an activity that we can practice and improve, we elevate rest into something that can help calm our days, organize our lives, give us more time, and help us achieve more while working less.”

2019 Word of the Year: Embrace

 

Happy New Year!  We had a wonderful time over the Holidays and we hope that you did, too!  We are back from taking a break over the Holidays and we are getting caught up and back into the swing of things!  Many people write new year resolutions.  I concurrently write down my goals for the year, which I recently finished, while also reflecting upon last year, a life changing year, but I have found it more helpful to have a word, an intention, to focus on throughout the year.

This year, after reflection, I decided the word embrace would be my word for 2019.  Last year I chose the word peace; in 2017 I chose relax; in 2016 I chose present; in 2015 I chose flow; in 2014 I chose trust; and in 2013 I chose the word create.

Embrace defined: /əmˈbrās/ noun 1. an act of accepting or supporting something willingly or enthusiastically.

I decided that I want to absolutely embrace this year.  We waited a long time for this season to arrive and I plan to fully embrace and be present through it all.  We are truly excited to see what this year has in store for us!

Are you considering selecting a word for yourself (or letting one find you)?  There is no right or wrong.  The main thing to remember is that this is your word.

And what do you do with this one little word?  You live with it.  You invite it into your life.  You let it speak to you.  You might even follow where it leads.  There are so many possibilities.

Happy New Year!

 

 

 

Happy Pawlidays!

“Because of the dog’s joyfulness, our own is increased.  It is no small gift.”  — Mary Oliver

Happy Pawlidays!  Thank you so much for a wonderful and remarkable year!  I am very grateful to my readers!  Thank you so very much for reading the blog — it means so much to me.

Below is the front of our Pawliday card (the back of our card containing text is not pictured) along with our matching envelopes using custom stamps and little photo seals of our beautiful Baby Alex and little Victory!  (You can view our previous Pawliday cards herehereherehere, here, and here).  Sending our Pawliday card is one of my favorite parts of the Holiday season!  This is my way of sharing our Pawliday card with all of our blog friends!  Thank you for reading this blog for however long or short you have been visiting!  I truly enjoy creating content for the blog to share with all of you.  We hope that you have a wonderful Holiday!

 

 

 

 

And, here is our top nine images for 2018 from Instagram, shown below!

 

 

Over the Holidays, I will be taking a brief break from the blog to enjoy some down time with our little family.  I will return to the blog in January 2019.  Meanwhile, if you are in a blog-reading mood, you are warmly invited to visit the archives — the links are shown below.

Dog Related posts

Dog Rescue posts

‘Dog-Centric’ Artists Interviews

For Artists posts

Photography posts

Personal posts

Victory Related posts

Happy Pawlidays!

Five Month Snapshot: Alexandra

How is our baby Alex already five months old!  The time is flying by so quickly, and she is changing and developing all the time!  I swear sometimes that she looks bigger in the morning compared to the previous night!  The theme for this month summed up in one word is patterns.  Doug and I have found patterns to most of our days with Alex.  This month, Alex is intrigued with holding her feet, as shown in the second image below!  We find her, many times, in the happy baby yoga pose!  She loves it.  She is also sitting up with the use of her hands to hold herself steady.  Alex’s sleep during this month has been a bit erratic.  Some nights she sleeps through the night and others she is up multiple times, as she has escaped her velcro swaddle wrap.  We are now using the Ollie Swaddle, while continuing to use the Dock-A-Tot, which is helping us get more sleep, which she has not, yet, escaped, which results in her waking up and waking us up.  She is still a morning girl, and the mornings are her best time of day!  We savor morning time with Alex and Victory.  Victory is still doing well having a ‘little sister.’  Victory makes her ‘morning rounds’ with Alex every morning and licks and cleans Alex, a daily ritual!  Sometimes, in the early evenings, before bed, Alex does have a rough time, some melt downs, which are not fun for anyone.  She still fights sleeping, at times, since birth, especially, in the evenings.  She is usually in bed and asleep by 8:00 p.m. most evenings.  She continues to grow, grow, and grow.  She is in 12 month clothing already!  She is really quite long, and I still continue to pack away her clothes that no longer fit each month!  This month we took Alex out to eat with us several times and she did well!  We also took her to her first Navy football game!  It was fun!  We also took our girls to see Santa recently and everything went pretty well!  Most of all, we look forward to celebrating our first Christmas together with both of our girls!  We are just about ready for Christmas and we are doing our best to stay in the present moment!

A few highlights from Alex’s fifth month include:

-the Ollie Swaddle is a life saver.  I highly, highly recommend it, if your baby needs a reliable swaddle!  It is the best swaddle we have found after trying a variety of swaddles since Alex was born.

-she is having erratic sleep at night this month; some nights she sleeps through the entire night and others she is up multiple times.  The new Ollie Swaddle is helping to keep her asleep during the night.

-she loves to grab her feet, her new favorite position, and she is trying ever so hard to get those toes in her mouth — most of the time, she is usually successful getting her big toe in her mouth, which she thinks is great!

-she is still putting everything in sight in her mouth!  We are still using the teething glove!

-she is drooling a lot, but no signs of any teeth yet!

-she likes to spit sometimes!

-she is a pro at rolling over from both her back and stomach!

-she still loves to play ‘peek-a-boo!’

-she still loves tummy time — she is so close to being a mobile baby!

-she truly found her vocal cords — she can screech for long stretches and she thinks it is humorous!

-she absolutely loves the mirror and loves to look at herself in the mirror, which she finds very captivating right now!

-she has started to hold her bottle a little bit during feedings!

-she loves to touch her hair with her hands while she eats!

-she tried rice cereal for the first time, but it did not go over all that well!  (We are going to try giving it to her in a bottle and see how that goes!)

-she also loves it when you rub your nose on her nose — she thinks it is the greatest thing!

-she is touching Victory’s fur more and more.  (We can’t wait for her to fully understand who Victory is!)

-she still loves play time and story time — she loves to be read to!

-she is still very alert and observant!  We take her out to eat with us and she loves experiencing new experiences, thankfully!  She continues to do well when we go out to eat; and she did well at her first Navy football game where the Navy won!  She is now going to the gym with us in the evenings and she seems to like the care center, so far, so we can get a work out in several times a week!  We plan to take her swimming soon!

-she still loves her swing, and she takes at least one nap in it daily, typically!  (I am not sure what we are going to do when she outgrows her swing!)

 

A few highlights I would like to remember:

-photographing and making videos of Alex — I want to remember and capture as much as I can!

-greeting Alex in her nursery in the mornings!  One of my favorite times!

-loving on her long, chunky body along with all of her folds and rolls, which are mitigating some!

-loving her smell and her velvety smooth skin — it is so soft!

-loving how she smells after a bath!

-loving how her hair is so fluffy and soft against my skin!  It keeps growing, and her hair appears that it will be relatively thick!

-loving her chuckle — it is so adorable.

-loving her ‘baby talk’ and ‘cooing.’

-enjoying our morning time consisting of: play time and story tine together, a time when baby Alex is very animated and she is generally in a really good mood, and now Victory joins us, which makes it even better!

-enjoying watching Alex playing in her jumper!

-rocking Alex to sleep at night in her swaddle!

-marveling at her smile — she has the most wonderful smile that melts our hearts!

-admiring her eyes — they are the prettiest deep blue eyes I have ever seen!

-enjoying the beautiful morning light in Alex’s nursery each morning!

-knowing how much our little Victory loves her ‘little sister!’

-watching Alex play with her Daddy!

-remembering when Alex first listened to Christmas music, which she loves!

-knowing on the days that I feel totally exhausted, that I will someday really miss these early days, and I need to remind myself, at times of this fact.

-still asking myself what will I miss about this time of my life when it’s all gone?  This question keeps everything in perspective.

-most of all, we are cherishing getting to be Alex’s parents!

Doug and I are very grateful for our little girl and our little family!  We feel so fortunate.  We look forward to seeing Alex’s little personality continue to develop and unfold.  Below are a few images: Alex’s monthly portrait; Alex and Victory’s monthly portrait; followed by photos of Alex throughout this month; and some iphone images during her fifth month with us!  You can read our birth story along with viewing images from Alex’s birth here; you can read Alex’s first month snapshot here; her second month snapshot here; her third month snapshot here; and her fourth month snapshot here.

 

 

 

See how much Alex has grown as compared to last month!

 

 

See how much Alex has grown as compared to last month!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few iphone images from this month!

Christmas Time: Visiting Santa

This past weekend we took Baby Alex and  Victory to visit Santa, an annual tradition!  The girls were both very good!  Of course, Santa and his helpers remembered our beloved little fur girl, as this is Victory’s fifth time visiting Santa!  Santa also welcomed Baby Alex with open arms, too, celebrating her very first visit to see Santa!  This is the only Santa in our area that welcomes both of our girls!  You can see Victory’s previous trips to visit Santa hereherehere, and here.  Victory wore her Holiday velvet ruff and Baby Alex wore a burgundy dress to coordinate for their visit with Santa!  All proceeds from visiting Santa are donated to a local dog rescue, a very good cause near and dear to our hearts as Biscuit and Victory are rescues.  If you are interested, be sure to check with and visit your local pet stores to see if there is a Santa in your area that specializes in furry family members!

A few images from Baby Alex’s and Victory’s first visit together with Santa are shown below along with images of Victory from the previous four years’ visits with Santa!  The time really does fly by too quickly!  We are so grateful for our fur girl, Victory!

Additionally, each year, I have a photo ornament made with Victory and Santa for our Christmas tree!  This year, I made an ornament of our Baby Alex and Victory together visiting Santa; and one of Victory visiting Santa!

Other images include our decorated little live Christmas tree from Maine that we order online each year, along with a few images of Baby Alex and Victory in their matching red outfits by our Christmas tree, including our personalized Christmas stockings!

We have so much to be grateful for this year!  We are looking forward to celebrating our first Christmas together with both of our girls!

We hope that you are enjoying the Holiday season!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun Gift: Fur Mammas and Human Mammas

We fortuitously and recently came across Le Papier Studio, where we designed a necklace with custom engraved stencil charms of our Baby Alex and beloved Victory!  The stencil of Baby Alex is based on an image from when she was three months old; and the stencil of Victory is based on an image from earlier this past spring while we were on our babymoon!  I took an iphone image of our Baby Alex, in profile, which was no small feat, and I found an image of Victory, in profile, facing the same direction, shown immediately below.  I then placed my order with the images and provided a facing forward image of Baby Alex for reference.  A few weeks later, I received a mock-up along with the actual size of the charms engraved with the girls’ nicknames, “Alex” and “Tory,” shown below; and then I recently received the finished product in the mail, also shown below!  The whole process took about a month.  I love my necklace so much with our ‘girls’ and it is a really neat keepsake that I will cherish forever!  This makes a wonderful gift for any fur mamma and/or human mamma!

 

Images:

 

 

Mock-Up:

 

Finished Product:

Loving Fall 2018

Happy fall!  The fall is one of our favorite times of the year!  Below are a few things I have been recently loving this fall!

 

 

1. Everyday Gratitude — I recently discovered this book and gifted it to a good friend!  This book contains wonderful quotes and thoughts to ponder on a daily basis!  I highly recommend this book to everyone!

2. Family Tree Ornament —  I was looking for a family ornament four our Christmas tree and after much searching, I settled on this one with all four of our names engraved on it, which now is hanging on our tree!

3. Gathre Changing Mat — We have three of these mats and since we love them so much, and we even keep one in our car for emergencies as well!  The mat is light-weight, portable, and cleans up really well!  We even got the mat for the high chair, for when that time comes!

4. Artifact Uprising Brass Desk Calendar — I love making our images tangible.  Each year I always make one of these calendars for our home and for Doug to take to work.  I love it!

5. Lululemon Camo Align Crop Pants  — I love the Lululemon align pant, and Doug gifted them to me recently in the camo pattern; they are really great and very comfortable.  I highly recommend them!

6. Goal Digger Podcast — I have listened to this podcast for awhile and it is quite interesting.  It is a creative business type podcast with many interviews of various creatives and interesting topics!

You can view other things I love here!

Happy Wednesday!

Season of Gratitude

 

It is that time of year, autumn, our favorite season!  It is a time for reflection and harvest.  I have learned that a gratitude practice can be really helpful.  For some reason, during November, I find myself returning back to this practice I learned many years ago.  Perhaps it is the cooler weather and the holiday season in the air.  Regardless, it is giving me so much joy to continually name those things I love in this life.

My favorite way to engage in this practice is just by setting aside a good ten minutes every morning and write whatever comes to mind using stream of consciousness.

So on this cold early morning, here is what I am so extremely thankful for:

  • writing during this cold dark morning in silence with a cup of hot cider next to me
  • the early mornings where I have a little time to myself
  • getting to be a ‘fur mamma’ and human mamma
  • the holiday season, along with the holiday decorations all around the neighborhood
  • our first trip the pumpkin patch, as a family of four
  • our first Thanksgiving as a family of four
  • our healthy baby who is thriving
  • our fur girl, Victory, who just got a clean bill of health at the vet during her annual exam recently and she is almost over her ear infection!
  • our warm house filled with wonderful natural light
  • the sound of our baby’s chuckles
  • everything about my husband, the way he smells, his touch, and how he fathers
  • walks outside taking in the cool fall air
  • our ‘night-night’ routine with our fur girl, Victory
  • friends who are always there, no matter what
  • the way our baby looks while she is asleep — so peaceful
  • the way our baby looks at us in the morning when she has just woken up — there are no words to describe this feeling
  • nursing our baby
  • lunches and dinners with good friends
  • enjoying good books
  • the privilege of being taught by others
  • the ability to choose
  • the ability to write, think, imagine, and create
  • family dinners together
  • the way Victory loves our baby, it is just darling!

Try it for yourself.  Set aside ten minutes and write anything and everything you are grateful for.  See what comes out.  I am very grateful that you spend time reading my words.  Happy Monday!