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Photographs: Pumpkin Patch

This past weekend we went to the Shenandoah Valley with Alex and fur girl, Victory, to visit the pumpkin patch!  It was our second time together visiting the pumpkin patch as a family of four!  Alex is so much bigger as compared to last year’s pumpkin patch visit!  Alex is growing like a weed and she is changing all of the time!  The weather was beautiful!  Three years ago, Doug found a dog friendly pumpkin patch and animal farm, Hill High Farm, located in Virginia, for us to get this year’s pumpkin!  Alex loved looking at the animals, especially the llamas, and Alex and I rode a little train, which Alex, of course, loved!  (We recently took Alex to a petting farm, earlier this month, which she also loved, and she even rode a horse!)  Doug is still figuring out what he is going to carve on our pumpkin for Halloween this year!  Additionally, we visited a nearby local farmers market that had all sorts of unique items along with some of the best apple cider donuts and apple turnovers!  We also took Alex and Victory to Zaxby’s in Winchester, Virginia!  Victory was in heaven, as always!  We really enjoyed our time together; and a few images from our trip are shown below!  Also, here is a look back to our previous pumpkin patch visits: 2018; 2017; 2016; 2015; and 2014!

Additionally, I included a few photos from our field trip to another pumpkin patch with Alex’s school that took place earlier this month!  It was also a beautiful fall day, and Alex had a grand time, and she picked her very own pumpkin off the vine!

We look forward to Halloween next week — the girls will surely look adorable in their Halloween costumes!

Happy Fall!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a few photos from Alex’s field trip with school to the pumpkin patch!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Victory: A Birthday Celebration — 8 years!

This past Saturday, October 12, marked six years since we adopted our sweet dear little Victory!  The time is going by much too quickly!  We decided to make October 12 Victory’s birthday — the day we went to Michigan and adopted our sweet fur girl.

As such, on October 12, we celebrated Victory’s birthday marking her sixth year with us since her adoption!  This also marks nearly fifteen months of being a ‘big sister’ to Alex!  This year, for Victory’s birthday, we did a pastel rainbow theme with a silver accent!  (As shown below, last year, we did pastel theme with a gold and silver accent; two years ago we did a gold and champagne theme; three years ago we did a light pink and gold themed birthday; four years ago we did a pink themed birthday; and five years ago, we did rainbow themed birthday for Victory!)  We purchased some fun pastel rainbow decorations, party hats, balloons, and a cream sweater for Victory, a tradition, in honor of her birthday!  Victory also enjoyed her very own prime rib that we got for her while on our anniversary dinner!  (Here is a brief video of our fur girl, Victory, on her birthday enjoying her prime rib!)  Victory looked absolutely adorable and beautiful on her birthday, as always, shown below!  This is the second birthday that Victory celebrated with her sidekick, Alex!  (These days, it is really difficult to get the girls to sit still together; however, a few candid images of our sweet girls together are shown below.)vvVictory had a fun birthday and she truly enjoyed being over fed!

We are truly the lucky ones to share our lives with this wonderful, loyal, and loving being.  Victory has also fully embraced her ‘big sister’ role!  Victory is very attuned to her little sister and loves to greet Alex in the mornings!  It melts our hearts!  Victory continues to join us each morning and evening for play time and story time, in addition to all feedings!  We also do our best to keep Victory fully integrated in our outings as well!  We are so grateful and thankful for our Victory.  She means the world to us and we lover he very much.

For Victory’s birthday, we gave her a new: large sherpa blanket to use for her naps on our bed, one of her favorite places to rest; a cream sweater; and a gift card from my parents!

(All birthday decorations are via Sweet Lulu.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A look back at Victory’s birthday celebrations over the years…

 

 

If you are considering getting a dog, I hope that you consider adopting a rescue dog.  There are so many dogs in need of a good, loving home.  As shown below, Victory, a rescue, has changed so much physically and emotionally over the years since we adopted her, pictured on the left (image from Victory’s foster mom via the Michigan Sheltie Rescue).  You really can save a dog’s life, while simultaneously enriching your own life/lives.

 

Eleven Years In

11 years of marriage.  15 years together.  You are my favorite human being.  You are always by my side, through everything; and life without you would be totally incomprehensible.  I admire your character, patience, sense of humor, and your kindness that you show to everyone.  Most of all, you are my very best friend.  You are the greatest gift of my life, and each day spent with you is truly a gift.  I look forward to many, many more years together, knowing that we can get through anything together, as a team.  Each year just gets better and better with you.  This has been a wonderful year filled with much growth, a truly wonderful gift!  I have enjoyed witnessing become an incredible daddy to our girls!  You are the best part of who I have become!  We are so blessed.  Happy eleventh anniversary, my love!

 

Pups in the Park!

This past weekend we took Alex and Victory, in their matching jerseys, to Pups in the Park at the Nationals!  This was our sixth time, fifth year, attending Pups in the Park at the Nationals with Victory, and our first time with both Alex and Victory!  (You can view our previous trips to Pups in the Park: here, here, here, here, and here.)  

We had nice weather, although it was quite hot and humid for the tail end of September.  Alex loved seeing the other dogs, and she had no problem going up to the other dogs!  (We saw only one other sheltie at this game!)  Alex lasted about two hours after the drive to the stadium, with heavy traffic, and no afternoon nap.  Alex did pretty well at the game; she sat some of the time and she liked to roam in our row.  We were fortunate in that we did not have people sitting on either side of us in our row so that Alex, luckily, had some room to move around!  Importantly, Alex gave Victory a treat all on her own, during the game, shown in the short video below — it was so heartwarming!  (Alex had only done this once before, the evening before, while at dinner, and I was in the present moment and I was not quick enough to capture!  Alex was so proud of herself she clapped, we all did!)  Alex slept the entire ride home and Victory napped in our bed all day Sunday from being exhausted her outing to the game!  It was a fun time together; and I will always remember Alex’s and Victory’s first Nationals’ game together!

Below are several photos from our visit!  We look forward to going back for more games next year!

Happy Wednesday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a few iphone images from the game!

 

 

Here is a video from Pups in the Park — Alex feeding Victory a treat!

The Importance of Rest

I do not have a blog post prepared for this week as our home has been hit by sickness the past week, and our schedules have been quite full as well.  Alex is doing better, thankfully.  She had a terrible, terrible cold and an ear infection and an eye infection.  And, then I got sick with strep throat!  So Alex and I have been on antibiotics and we are doing better.  Doug and Victory did not get sick, thank goodness.  I really learned the importance of rest during this time.  I had not felt so badly in a really long time.  Doug was so kind that he got up early with Alex in the mornings, took her to her swim lesson, and he took Alex out on a ‘daddy-daughter’ date for several hours so that I could truly rest (with Victory) in bed.  They went to the Lego store, which Alex absolutely loved, where she got some more Legos, of course!  And they also went to Bass Pro, which welcomes furry family members, where she ran all over the store and climbed all over the all-terrain vehicles!  (Doug did not get one photo as he was too busy watching and running after Alex!)  I had so much on my to do list to get done last weekend, but I got what I really needed, which was sleep and rest.  So getting sick taught me that we really are more productive when we actually truly rest and get good sleep.  According to Arianna Huffington, we all do better with just one change: more rest and sleep.   So, I learned that I want to get more rest and sleep, I need to make a conscious effort to make it happen.  So far, I have found, it makes a world of difference.  So here’s to getting more rest!  (I am so glad we are feeling better as we are taking the girls to Pups in the Park this weekend!  It is our first time attending as a family of four — it should be an adventure to say the least!)

Happy Thursday!

 

Faye Moorhouse: Women and their Dogs

I am in love with illustrator Fay Moorhouse’s series, Women and Their DogsWomen and Their Dogs consists of nine paintings that portray the everyday life of the ordinary woman and her faithful furry friend.  This includes trips to the supermarket; bedtime; and trips to the park, which truly come to life in this handmade zine.  Moorhouse’s playful style creates endearing studies of people and their furry family members, while highlighting the humorous and intimate relationship we share with our canine companions.  Perhaps we see a little of ourselves in her work, shown below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The above images are courtesy of Fay Moorhouse.

Thirteen Month and Fourteen Month Snapshot: Alexandra

I completed the monthly snapshots of our beloved Alex during her first year.  I am still not, for sure, how I am going to share Alex’s second year.  In any event, here is the snapshot of Alex’s thirteenth month and fourteenth month!  Alex is just changing all of the time and she is growing like a weed!

Alex is a busy, busy, busy girl!  She is always doing something, always!  She loves exploring and she is quite curious.  One of her favorite things to do is to stack things, particularly the stacking cups!  She also thoroughly loves stacking while taking a long soak in the bath tub!  She loves her bath time!

Alex started saying “hi,” “bye,” “yeah,” and “yes!”  She is constantly babbling away, while starting to mimic words she hears!

Alex’s teeth continue to come in!  We go to the dentist in a few weeks for her first dental visit!

Alex remains very strong-willed and full of personality!  She is her own little person who is always up for a new adventure!

We enjoyed many trips to our park and pool during these two months, which Alex loves!  Alex is now jumping into the water, floating on her back (with assistance), and going underwater, without issue, on her own!  It is so neat to watch!  She is a little fish who is now signed up for swim lessons, which begin this weekend and we got her some goggles to try!

We also took multiple trips to the book store!  She keeps us on our toes every time and Doug and I usually leave exhausted from chasing her up and down the book aisles!  She is too fast!  She is currently reading this series before bed.

Alex loves our bubble whale machine!  We have fun with Alex and Victory with the bubble machine on our deck.  Alex attempts to catch the bubbles!

Alex started her first day of ‘big girl’ school!  We cannot believe it!  She loves school and she is thriving!  We framed her first piece of art, a water color painting, shown below!

Alex and I were on our own for several days while Doug was away on travel for work.  Alex, Victory, and I made it through okay!  Doug started a new position, which he is enjoying, and we are all acclimating to a new rhythm, as a result!

Alex took her first trip on an airplane!  Alex and I flew to Michigan where she met some extended family for the first time.  Alex did well on the plane.  I was, honestly, a bit nervous flying by myself with her, for the first time, but she did well.  She, fortunately, slept during the entire flight back to Maryland in my arms.  On our way back to Maryland, the gate attendant was so kind — she let us have a row to ourselves, which was wonderful, which provided a small area for Alex to roam prior to take off!  (Alex did well on flight to Michigan as well, she was awake for the entire flight!  And, Victory had a lot of ‘daddy time’ while we were away!  Victory went out to eat each evening!)

During this time, we enjoyed dinners out with Alex and Victory!  And, Victory went on two date nights with us.  Doug and I just celebrated 15 years together since our first date!  Where has the time gone — so much has changed; while, simultaneously, so much has remained the same, fortunately.  I feel so grateful for it all.

Additionally, Alex is interacting more and more with Victory.  Alex really wants to give Victory food, shown in a short video, below — Alex just has to learn to let go of the food so Victory can eat it!  We are looking forward to some outings this fall, which likely will include: Pups in the Park; the petting farm; a Navy football game; the pumpkin patch, and celebrating Halloween — the girls have their costumes ready!  We love the fall season and we cannot believe it will officially be fall so soon!

In between everything, I have continued to work on the revisions to my long-term photography project, which, hopefully, should wrap up this fall, I hope!  It has been a really long journey, but the work is taking shape, and I look forward to staring the next steps going forward.

Life is so full and so good — each month just gets better!  Doug and I are truly grateful for this journey.  We love our girls so very much.  I am savoring our early morning and evening snuggles with Alex rocking in the glider in her room, as they will not last forever.  Importantly, Alex is living her best life!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Technically, during Alex’s thirteenth month, we went on vacation, which I previously shared here; and we celebrated Alex’s first birthday celebration during her thirteenth month as well, which I also previously shared here.)

 

 

A few iphone images from Alex’s thirteenth month!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s thirteenth month — Alex in the pool!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few iphone images from Alex’s fourteenth month!

 

 

Here is a video from Alex’s fourteenth month — first time on an airplane!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s fourteenth month — Alex trying to share with Victory!

Date Night with Your Pup!

Doug and I aim to have one date night a month, which we covet!  (We, thankfully, have a few sitters that we use for Alex!)  However, this summer, it was Doug’s idea to start bringing Victory with us on our date nights for as long as the weather holds!  Victory has adjusted really well since Alex’s arrival and Victory is fully enveloped in our lives as we are in her life.  What we have found is that Victory is in seventh heaven on these date nights!  She is a smart sheltie girl, and we believe she knows that these are special times being spent with her!  We took Victory recently to an Italian restaurant, and she loved sitting on the chair next to us, during dinner, pictured below!  We then took her with us for gelato, which she also relished!  She truly loved being the ‘only child’ for an evening, like old times!  We love this time with our fur girl, Victory, too!  So, if you have a pup, I am sure he/she would love to go out on a date night with you, especially if he/she has other ‘siblings!’  At least it is may be an idea to consider . . .

 

 

 

Our girls riding in the car together, pictured below.

 

And One More Thing Before You Go . . .

My good friend recently shared this book with me, And One More Thing Before You Go …by Maria Shriver, and I absolutely loved it!  This little book grew out of a speech Maria gave at a mother-daughter luncheon.  A few of my favorite quotes from this book are shown below.  I hope that they provide some inspiration for you!

“Well trust me on this: it’s okay to be scared.  And not only is fear okay, its a good thing.  Our fear gives us wisdom.  It lets us know we’re confronting something new.”

“So even if you don’t plan on making history, remember: Fear is normal.  Fear is common.  And it keeps coming back.”

“As you dive into your own future, remember this: If you feel afraid, it means you’re alive.  That good.  Now use it.”

“Don’t lock yourself up and throw away the key.  Don’t be so rigid that you can’t change your plans.  Be willing to change your plans.  Be willing to change, to adapt.  Be willing to switch direction and strike out on a new path if you want.  Or if, like me, you have to.”

“The sad truth is, girls and women often think they’re not allowed to screw up.  They think they have to be perfect.  Let me tell you another thing: Perfectionism doesn’t make you perfect.  It only makes you feel bad about yourself, because no one can ever be perfect, including you.”

“Don’t sell yourself short by being so afraid of failure you don’t dare to make any mistakes.  Make your mistakes and learn from them.  And remember — no matter how many mistakes you make, your mother always loves you!”

“And if you think about it, most of the people you admire — people you know, people you’ve studied, those who’ve changed the world — have also suffered and struggled and fought with great courage to overcome obstacles.”

“Believe me, it’s fair.  It’s not only fair, it’s the way life is.  First you’re happy, and then you go through a time of struggle.  And then there’s smooth sailing, and then the rough ride begins again.  Over and over again.  That’s the way a good life is meant to be.”

“Along with love, courage is what you need more than anything in this life.  In tough times it tells you, ‘I can go through this!’  Even when it feels like you can’t.”

“When you feel down, when you’re having tough times, when you think you simply don’t have the strength and courage to go through something or just to press on — think about your mother or any Important Woman in your life.  Think of her strength and her courage and what she’s had to go through in her life.”

“Balance means weighing and measuring your priorities to put together a life that fulfills you on your own terms, not society’s expectations of you, one way or the other.  And balance also means recalibrating your priorities when you need and want to. ”

“Weigh out your competing priorities and see how you can fulfill them over time, without making yourself insane with guilt.  If you achieve that balance, that’ll make all of us older women envious of you — and proud.”

“Gratitude lifts your spirit.  It takes you right out of yourself and into a different plane.”

“When you’re stuck in self-pity or envy or worry, try getting grateful for something in your life.  It’s good for the soul.”

“Mentors are generous with their time and wisdom because they see in you something of themselves, and they want to help it flower.”

“Keep part of your childhood alive in you — the part that is curious, asks questions, and is willing to find and cultivate relationships with the people who can answer them.”

“Everyone of us can make a difference.  Everyone can be the difference in the lives of someone else.  And when we are — trust me, it feels like a million bucks.”

“Oh, and one more thing before you go: Have fun, laugh, and enjoy yourself.  It’ll be a blast.”

 

Photographs: Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach

In July, we took our first vacation together as a family of four!  We did not want to go too far from home due to traveling with a little one, Alex, so we decided to go to Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach over Alex’s first birthday to celebrate our first year together and our metamorphosis as a family of four!  Doug, fortunately, found one of the only beach houses to rent that would allow a baby and a furry family member!  We were only a few blocks from both beaches!  We did not have high expectations as we knew this vacation would be different, more like a trip rather than a vacation.  Additionally, we also were not sure how Alex would like the beach and ocean, and we had no idea how long she would last at the beach.  Surprisingly, Alex did really well, better than we initially thought — she lasted at the beach for about three to four hours each morning, which we thought was pretty good all considering.  Alex was not afraid of the water, and by the end of the week, she was walking and swimming in the ocean!  We bought her a puddle jumper, which she did not like at all, so we held her tight in the water and we did not go too far out into the ocean with her.

So, after our first day at Rehoboth, we figured out a pattern to our days, which seemed to work, which went something like this: we woke up when Alex got us up, which was early; we all had breakfast; got our swimsuits and sunscreen on and packed up and headed to Rehoboth Beach where we stayed three to four hours; we had lunch; we got Alex bathed and down for a long nap; we got ourselves cleaned up and took a nap; then, when Alex got up from her nap, we all got ready and headed out to dinner at one of our two favorite places — Dewey Beer Co. or the Iron Hill Brewery; then we got Victory and we all went to Dewey Beach for a long walk (Alex was mostly on my back in her Ergo), and sometimes we stopped for rolled ice cream, which Victory loved; then we came home and got Alex to bed; and, we rested for a little bit after getting Alex to bed; however, most nights, were were so tired we were back in bed with Victory, too!

We were not permitted to take Victory to Rehoboth Beach, but she could still go to Dewey beach, thankfully, in the early mornings and evenings!  So it worked out perfectly!  Victory has been to Dewey Beach several times before, and we think she remembered this beach!  Victory was absolutely in seventh heaven on the beach!  She loved it!  It was interesting because anyone who has met Victory knows she is not an alpha dog.  She is much more docile and regal.  However, on the beach, if another dog approached Alex, Victory stood in front of Alex immediately.  So, I think it is safe to say that Victory has adopted her sister, Alex, into her pack!  It was really neat to witness!  Alex and Victory did sit by each other on the beach (without either one running away), which was sweet, and a short video of our beloved cherubs is shown below along with a few other short videos!  Alex loved roaming freely around our beach house rental and she was into the lower cabinets pulling out everything throughout the house!  In fact, Alex fell in love with two mixing bowls, which she carried all over the house!  So, considering everything, it went really well!  We were also very fortunate for good weather — we had no rain the entire trip!

Some images from our trip are below!  We are really grateful for our time away together with our girls!  We have many wonderful memories of our first vacation as a family of four!  Doug is currently looking for places to go next year!  We want to try some place a bit father away, for next year, but we may end up at the beach again!  (Alex is taking her first trip on an airplane soon, so we will see how she does to consider trips, in the future, that are farther away, where Alex and I can fly and Doug can drive with Victory and then meet together at our destination, as Alex cannot yet handle long drives in the car, and Victory is too big in size to fly in the airplane cabin — and we would never put Victory in the belly of a plane with the cargo for a flight!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a few favorite iphone images from our vacation!

 

 

 

Here is a video of Alex and Victory together at the beach!

 

Here is a video of Alex dipping her toes in the ocean at the beach!

 

Here is a video of me and Alex together at the beach!