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Photographs: Mornings with Mamma

As I mentioned, I love the mornings.  The house is quiet, the sun is coming up, and my loves are all together — there is nothing better!  I love our mornings even more with our baby girl and our fur girl, Victory!  I always play with baby Alex in the mornings and Victory, of course, joins in on the fun!  A few of my favorite images are from a recent weekend morning together with all of my loves together!  We are so blessed and I want to remember these moments forever.  A few images from our mornings together are shown below.  Also, it hardly seems possible that our little cherub is four months old today!  We are so grateful!  Finally, can you spot Victory’s snout in one of the images below?


















Today is a big election day in our country!  So stop reading and go VOTE VOTE VOTE.  Regardless of the results, it is projected that more people are voting this year than two years ago, which is encouraging.

Illustration by Lily Vander Ploeg

Photographs: Mornings with Daddy

I love the mornings.  The house is quiet, the sun is coming up; and my loves are all together — there is nothing better!  I love our mornings even more with our baby girl and our fur girl, Victory!  Doug plays with baby Alex on the weekend mornings and Victory, of course, joins in on the fun!  A few of my favorite images are from a recent weekend morning together with all of my loves together!  We are so blessed and I want to remember these moments forever.  A few images from our mornings together are shown below.




















Happy Halloween from our Cherubs!

Happy Halloween!  I cannot believe how quickly the time is flying by that it is already time for Halloween, one of our favorite times of the year!  It is Baby Alex’s first Halloween!  Victory is a unicorn this year for Halloween along with her little sister, Baby Alex, shown below!  We think they look pretty adorable!  They even got “Booed” this year!  Victory was Super Woman last year; a fifties girl two years ago; a lioness three years ago; a butterfly four years ago; and a ladybug for her first Halloween, five years ago.  Victory will help us hand out candy tonight in her costume and she will show off her pumpkin masterpiece carved by Doug, shown below.  We may take Baby Alex trick-or-treating to a few nearby houses in our neighborhood — we will just have to see how it goes!  Doug spent a few hours the other night carefully and diligently working on carving his Halloween happy face pumpkin!  Additionally, here are links to other pumpkins carved by Doug: last yeartwo years agothree years agofour years agofive years ago; and six years ago!

We hope that you all have a wonderful and safe Halloween!




Photographs: Pumpkin Patch

This past weekend we went to the Shenandoah Valley with our baby girl and fur girl, Victory, to visit the pumpkin patch!  It was our first time together visiting the pumpkin patch as a family of four!  The weather was beautiful!  Last year, Doug found a dog friendly pumpkin patch and animal farm, Hill High Farm, located in Virginia, for us to get this year’s pumpkin!  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!  We also took our baby girl and Victory to Zaxby’s in Winchester, Virginia!  Victory was in heaven!  We enjoyed our time together; and a few images from our trip are shown below.  We hope to return again!

Happy Fall!



















Three Month Snapshot: Alexandra

How is our baby Alex already three months old!  The time is going by so very quickly.  We are savoring each day and fleeting moment!  The theme for this month summed up in one word is groove.  Our days typically have a sequence of events that occur, which I think Alex likes!  She is sleeping in her nursery at night, and it is going well.  She usually sleeps through the night; and other times, she is still getting up once during the night to eat.  She is also growing, growing, and growing!  She has outgrown a lot of her clothing, that I continue to pack away to make room for her bigger clothes!  Baby Alex also loves play time and story time in the mornings, one of our favorite times together!  She also loves to play with her toys, especially her rings, with her Daddy!  She is always in a good mood in the mornings and she is always smiling up at me when I greet her in the morning.  It melts my heart.  Now, Victory joins us every day for play time; story time; and for every feeding in the nursery!  (Previously, Victory was a little nervous to enter the nursery, but that no longer holds true!)  It is really wonderful!  Victory is the most active ever since adopting her as she is always attentive to her ‘little sister!’  We now refer to Victory as ‘Mamma Victory,’ since she is so attentive, attuned, nurturing, and loving to our precious baby Alex.  She loves licking Alex each day — it is really quite adorable!  Baby Alex is ‘talking’ and becoming more vocal each day, which has been really fun to witness!  We are excited to see her little personality continue to develop!

Everyone is adjusting pretty well and we have a groove to most of our days together.

A few highlights from Alex’s third month include:

-she is sleeping!  We are tired some days, but we are doing pretty well.

-she is sitting up in her Bumbo seat while holding her head high!

-she rolled over for the first time during this month!

-she loves tummy time and she loves holding her head high while on her tummy — she seems pretty determined, and we think she might be a ‘mobile baby’ soon!

-she sometimes sucks her thumb, but still loves her paci!

-she is very interactive — she smiles at us a lot, which is really lovely!

-she recognizes Victory and has felt her fur and head with her hand a few times.  (We can’t wait for her to fully understand who Victory is!)

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

-she loves her new toys that her Daddy picked out recently from the Manhattan Toy Company, which we love!  (She has a super strong grip with both of her hands!)

-she still loves her swing, and she takes at least one nap in it daily, typically!

-she had a few more ‘blow outs’ this month that necessitated an immediate bath!

-she still does not love bath time — she tolerates it at best!

-she loves to go on walks in her Ergo!  We try to get out most days for a walk together, which has been really nice!

-she is even doing FaceTime now with her grandma and grandpa!


A few highlights I would like to remember:

-greeting Alex in her nursery in the mornings!

-loving her smell and her velvety smooth skin!  I wish I could bottle that lovely smell up and keep it forever!

-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 nursing Alex, especially in the mornings and evenings, as it is one of my favorite times of day with her!

-hearing her little ‘baby talk;’ ‘cooing;’ and ‘chuckles!’  She is becoming more vocal each day!

-admiring her eyes — they are the prettiest blue eyes I have ever seen — I know that I am partial!

-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 toys with her Daddy!

-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.

-enjoying taking our girls to the Eastern Shore for crabs!

-looking forward to taking our girls to the pumpkin patch this weekend, weather permitting!

-enjoying dressing up our girls for Halloween — they are simply adorable together in their costumes — more to come!

-enjoying seeing Alex FaceTime with her Grandma and Grandpa!

-constantly 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, of our precious girl along with some images of Alex and Victory during her third 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; and her second 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 images from Victory’s Birthday!




A few iphone images from this month!

Victory: A Birthday Celebration — 7 years!

This past Friday, October 12, marked five years since we adopted our sweet dear little Victory!  (The time is going by 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 fifth year with us since her adoption!  This year, for Victory’s birthday, we did a pastel theme!  (As shown below, last year, we did a gold and champagne theme; two years ago we did a light pink and gold themed birthday; three years ago we did a pink themed birthday and four years ago, we did rainbow themed birthday for Victory!)  We purchased some fun pastel decorations, party hats, confetti, and a new pink sweater for Victory, a tradition, in honor of her birthday!   Victory also enjoyed a smoked beef tenderloin that her daddy made for her on the big green egg!  Victory looked absolutely adorable and beautiful on her birthday, as always, shown below!  This birthday was a little different in that Victory celebrated with her sidekick, Baby Alex!  She had a fun birthday and she enjoyed being over fed!  We are the lucky ones to share our lives with this wonderful, loyal, and loving being.  Victory has also embraced her new role as ‘big sister’ and ‘Mamma Victory!’  She is so attuned to her little sister and loves to lick Baby Alex and show her loads of love and affection.  It melts our hearts!  Victory keeps busy checking in on her little sister along with joining us each morning for play time and story time, in addition to all feedings!  We are so grateful for this special bond of our ‘children!’

For Victory’s birthday, we gave her a new: water dish (to use in my office) from one of her daddy’s favorite stores; a pink sweater; and a gift card from her Grandma and Grandpa Carver!

(All birthday decorations are via Oh Happy Day and Sweet Lulu.)













A look back at Victory’s birthday time 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.


Ten Years In

10 years of marriage.  14 years together.  You are my favorite human being and soul mate.  You never let me walk through anything alone; and life without you would be totally unfathomable.  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.  Each year gets better with you always by my side through everything.  This has been an exceptional year filled with many changes with our expanding little family, a positively wonderful gift!  I have truly enjoyed seeing you become an incredible dad to our cherubs!  You are the best part of who I have become!  Happy tenth anniversary, my love!


#FindYourFido: Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

It is the #FindYourFido Adopt a Shelter Dog Month via the ASPCA!  Approximately 3.3 million dogs enter the U.S. shelters each year.  Anyone who has been reading this blog, for any length of time, knows that dog rescue is near and dear to our hearts.  Victory is a rescue and Biscuit was a rescue.  So, when the ASPCA asked if we could share in this campaign, we were happy to participate and help spread the word about this important topic.

How can you get involved?  The public can get involved by visiting here and by using the hashtag, #FindYourFido, to promote shelter dogs, and searching for local adoptable dogs across the country.  Please consider adopting a dog who needs a forever home.  I can attest that you will not only change the life of a dog forever, but your life will also, simultaneously, be forever changed in an extremely positive way that you cannot even imagine!  Biscuit and Victory have changed our lives for the better forever!  We cannot imagine life any other way!  A few images of the transformation of our precious Biscuit and Victory are shown below!





The extraordinary transformation of our rescue dogs, Biscuit and Victory, are shown immediately below!


Biscuit and Victory are integral family members!


Victory is recently now a “big sister” and she is my “co-mamma!”  She has grown so much and loves taking care of her baby Alex!  You can watch a very short video of Victory taking care of her sister, baby Alex, here!

Are You in the Photos?

Prior to having baby Alex, I was the person always taking the photos, and while I appeared in some images, I did not appear in too many overall.  Now, having a baby, I want to have some images where Doug and I are photographed with our baby girl!  A few times in the past two weeks, we took a look at the weather and then did some impromptu photo shoots together.  (I just made sure to dry my hair, which is a treat these days!)  It is easy and it does not require much time or planning!  We hope to take advantage of the weather through the fall and take some more photos together, as our baby Alex is not going to be small for too long, and we want to be able to capture this time with her in our arms, to hold onto forever!

I even think when we are out and about, we will start asking people, even strangers, to take photos of us with Alex and Victory.  I want to have Doug and I represented more in our camera roll!

I still do impromptu photo shoot with Victory and baby Alex, a few of those recent images appear below, too!  I try to always keep my camera on hand, especially when I think, “I want to remember this moment!”  It is always fun to capture the everyday, the moments we are most likely to remember versus only capturing the “big” events and milestones.  Play time in the mornings is a favorite for baby Alex and Victory, who is now fully integrated with her sister!  Victory joins play time and story time each morning and Victory licks baby Alex literally from head to toe, including every fold and roll!  It is adorable and I think Victory knows that she is a ‘big sister’ or a ‘co-mamma!’  It has been really wonderful to witness Victory’s love for her sister!  Baby Alex is aware of Victory, but she has not yet fully ‘discovered’ Victory — we can’t wait until this happens!

Happy Tuesday!