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Posts from the ‘Personal’ Category

Mother’s Day Wish

I cannot believe Mother’s Day is already upon us.  All mothers and mother figures deserve to be celebrated on Sunday.  Mothers that have been blessed with babies; mothers who’s babies left too soon; mothers who are waiting to meet their special baby; mothers who are yearning to become a mom; fur moms; and those who are mother figures.  We need all types of mothers to help us through this life.  The journey towards motherhood is not always freshly paved. The path towards parenthood, for us, was filled with unexpected twists and turns, which made for a long and complicated journey.  We thankfully got our “one,” and she is certainly “the one.” There were previous Mother’s Days where our hearts ached after experiencing loss.  As a result, we are so very grateful for Alex and Victory and for this season together. I feel so thankful that I have the privilege of being a mom, which I never take for granted.  So wherever you are in your journey, you are worthy of every celebration held in your honor.  Happy Mother’s Day, to every type of mama out there!

“In all the world, there is  no heart for me like yours.  In all the world, there is no love for you like mine.” — Maya Angelou

Below is Alex and I together on our first and second Mother’s Day together.

A Year of Resiliance

It has been quite a year! I will never forget on March 13, 2020, Alex was sent home from school, and Doug was sent home early from work and we felt so unsure of everything. And, at that time, we had no idea what was in store for us all collectively. COVID-19 has impacted all of us in some way. Sadly, so many thousands of people have died from COVID-19. Even though it has been a tough year, with a lot of shifting living with this virus and the uncertainty of it all, some good things have come from this year. And, it feels like, with spring coming soon, along with the vaccines, that there will be a new sense of freedom without the fear of getting really sick.

During this time, we have been able to spend more time with Alex and our fur girl, Victory! Even on days Doug and I are incredibly tired from the juggle, it has been really nice to have this time together, which I will never forget. We have been able to spend a lot of time outdoors together since we had to readjust from our normal outings. Doug and I have been able to spend more time together as well, which has been really nice.

Victory seems to love us being home. She is even more attuned to us and she loves to go out with us, even in the snow this year, where she pranced around like a puppy! (Usually, during past winters, she was not a fan of the snow!) We love her so very much and she has been a real sense of comfort for us all, a constant and steady presence in our lives.

Alex has enjoyed the the extra family time together. And, she has changed in so many ways, this past year, just look at the physical changes, not to mention all of the developmental change, shown below! I cannot believe we were working on getting rid fo the paci last March! My baby girl has blossomed into a beautiful little girl! (Also, here is a link to the video of the girls, below.) We even started doing yoga together in the evenings, and Alex really enjoys it. She does a mean warrior pose, tree pose, and downward dog pose! When things are deemed “safe,” we plan to sign Alex up for some fun classes!

We have learned to live with this great uncertainty for quite awhile, and we still do not really know how things are going to look, post-COVID, as our previous normal, that we were accustomed to, will not be quite the same, I imagine. It has taught me to really readjust expectations and not really have any expectations.

This time has definitely forced us to slow down more and be more present; and I have learned not to take anything for granted. Our oven, dishwasher, and Peloton all broke during COVID. It took months to get parts and replacements due to COVID! I will never take anything for granted, even the simple things that seem so ordinary.

This time has also provided me time to finish my long-term photography project, get the images copyrighted, and to finish my proposal in preparation for submission. And, due to the pandemic, Doug was able to review everything for me, which has been incredibly helpful and insightful.

Overall, I think 2020 has forced us to consider the idea that life as we know it can shift; it can change; it can be re-imagined. And most of all, we have learned and have been forced to be resilient through it all. And, someday we will be able to share this time with Alex through photos, videos, and our memories!

March 13, 2020

March 13, 2021

Snapshot: Winter 2021

It has been a long winter for us due to COVID, and we have greatly missed our weekend family outings together to various places this winter. We knew that this winter would be the toughest season, with a little one, due to COVID, and having limited options in order for us to all stay safe. We have made the most of our time with our little family and we spent a lot of time outside in nature and at various play grounds, trying to keep things as normal as possible. Overall, Alex and Victory have been doing well, despite limitations due to COVID. Alex is growing in every way. We have played many games in the house, which Alex loves. She loves this memory game, and she has a great memory and she has won games against Doug and myself! She also loves ‘hide and go seek!’ Alex sometimes gets impatient, while hiding, that by the time we count to 10, she is running out saying, “Find me! Find me!” It is adorable! Alex loves her books and she loves “practicing her letter and numbers,” as she calls it! This has also been the perfect time for potty training, which Alex is getting close to being fully potty trained! In addition to Alex enjoying the snow and her new sled, Victory has enjoyed the snow this year, and there appears to be a spring in her step and an “inner puppy” within her at the age of nine, as in past winters she has not really enjoyed the snow! We always shovel the snow so that Victory has a “pee pad” in the grass for her to go potty that prevents her from touching the snow! Victory is always up for an outing, as she comes running down are stairs to join us, which has been great!

I think we all are ready for spring weather, longer sunlight filled days, and our COVID vaccine! Below is a snapshot of our winter, which included celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas, Alex’s half birthday, and Valentine’s Day together, along with various outdoor outings and indoor games, doing our best to make the best of this COVID winter. We look forward to getting out and about more with spring weather coming soon, we hope!

Little People and the Passage of Time

I love documenting our little family; and Alex, someday, will have a treasure trove of photographs (including books of photographs) and videos to revisit and relive. She now understands, very well, that the iphone is used to take photos and videos. Currently, while I try and take a video, Alex tells me, “I want to see! I want to see!” and she also says, “No photos today, Mama!” making it difficult to take videos and photos of her even though Alex thoroughly enjoys looking at videos and photographs of herself. I am grateful to be able to document this time together, especially during this pandemic, that seemingly feels endless some days, especially during this winter.

Recently, I was looking back at photos of Alex when she was a baby. It seemed so long ago, but not so long ago all at once. (I am not sure if there is a term for this feeling.) At the time, the sleepless nights seemed endless, the teething seemed like it would last forever…and then poof, it was over. All of these little physical, development, cognitive, and emotional changes happen right before our very eyes, but we cannot always see the changes until we look back. Similar to how things in life somehow make more sense after we look back and reflect on them. Something heartbreaking that I realized, too, is that as your child grows, those past versions of them fade away. While we are so fortunate and very grateful to have a healthy child, who is developing and growing up, each day, month, and year with her feels like a gift and theft simultaneously. So, all we can do is savor these moments. Being present in it all, is the best, even during the really rough days, which we have had our fair share of during this pandemic, especially this winter. I find that I almost can take a photograph in my mind of those moments that I want to remember forever. It is quite a journey, and I would not trade it for anything.

A few images of the girls over the past two-and-a-half-years are shown below.

A Splendid Song About Parenting

Have you heard the Abba song ‘My Love, My Life’? It was originally written as a love song, but in the movie, a mother and daughter sing it to each other. (The first stanza is sung from a new mother to her baby girl; and at the end, it’s sung from the same mother, who had died, to her now-adult daughter.)

I never felt this strong
I’m invincible, how could this go wrong
Now, here, here’s where we belong
I see a road ahead
I never thought I would dear to tread

Like an image passing by, my love, my life
In the mirror of your eyes, my love, my life
I can see it all so clearly
All our love so dearly
Images passing by
Like reflections of your mind, my love, my life
Are the words you try to find, my love, my life
But I know I don’t possess you
With all my heart, God bless you
You will be my love and my life
You’re my one and only

I held you close to me
Felt your heartbeat and I thought I am free
Oh yes, and as one are we
In the now I’ll be found
Nothing and no one can break this bond

Like an image passing by, my love, my life
In the mirror of your eyes, my love, my life
I can see it all so clearly
All our love so dearly
Images passing by
Like reflections of your mind, my love, my life
Are the words I try to find, my love, my life
But I know I don’t possess you
With all my heart, God bless you
You are still my love and my life

Yes, I know I don’t possess you
With all my heart, God bless you
You are still my love and my life
You’re my one and only.

The words that especially move me are, “I know I don’t possess you; with all my heart, God bless you.” Parenting embodies that knowledge that, in the end, you must let them go but always love them so deeply.

What’s Your Word for 2021?

I hope you had a nice Holiday. We had some down time with our girls, which was nice. I am still catching up on everything from the Holidays and the start of potty training, which is going well. And, I cannot believe our little girl is already two-and-a-half-years-old! She is growing in every way and she loves learning. Since COVID-19 has impacted her birthday last year, and likely again this year, we are celebrating half birthdays with Alex!

It is a new year, which means there has been much talk about fresh beginnings. For me, I keep things simple and I select a word for the year.

I have reflected on my word for this year: grace.  Last year I chose bliss; in 2019 the word embrace; in 2018 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.  The idea of picking an intention has worked well over the past few years. 

I have nothing against resolutions (or goals, or plans, or to-do lists), but for me, I have found the most impactful way to embrace a new year is to pick a word — just one word — to keep in mind.

As 2020 came to an end, I kept thinking back to an Aristotle quote, “The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances.” I know personally, we are making the best of our circumstances in light of COVID-19 and the current climate in our country. Many people lost a lot in 2020. I love this quote from Rumi, “Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.” I am trusting that what we lost will come back in its own time, in a different form, when we are ready to receive it.

Currently, we are just doing our best to get through this seemingly long winter with a little person. So, I am giving myself more grace, as things have not been and are not typical right now for anyone. I believe grace meets you right where you are on your journey. We are so grateful for our health and that a COVID-19 vaccine is here. And, I have found that having a gratitude practice is invaluable right now — the smallest things bring such joy.

For me, it is an easy reminder to take whatever small steps I can to create clarity and feel better. For anyone similarly overwhelmed by resolutions, I recommend the practice of a New Year’s Word. Plus, since it is so simple, you can change it at any time.

Happy New Year!

Happy Pawlidays!

“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.” — Gilda Radner

Happy Pawlidays! I wanted to thank you so very much for checking in over the past year — I am very grateful. I know it has been a year filled with much uncertainty.

Below is the front of our Pawliday card (the back of our card containing text is not pictured) along with our matching envelopes using little photo seals of our beautiful girls, Alex and Victory! Unfortunately, custom stamps are no longer permitted by the Post Office; and I know the mail is moving much slower this year. (You can view our previous Pawliday cards hereherehereherehereherehere, 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 you.  Thank you for reading this blog for however long or short you have been reading.  I sincerely enjoy creating content for the blog to share with you.

I will be taking a break from the blog to enjoy some down time with our little family, and I plan to be back to the blog sometime early next year.  Meanwhile, if you are in a blog-reading mood, you are warmly invited to visit the archives — the links are shown below.  Warmest wishes to you for a safe and Happy Holidays!

Dog Related posts

Dog Rescue posts

‘Dog-Centric’ Artists Interviews

For Artists posts

Photography posts

Personal posts

Victory Related posts

Winter Solstice

Today is the shortest (darkest) day of the year in North America. For us, the sun will set at 4:48 p.m.

But, the good news is, the days will now get brighter each day for the rest of the winter. So, if you can make it through today, you will be all set!

Also, we recently came across these wonderful, premium dog treats by Give Pet that supports shelter dogs, and I wanted to share about them, so you can help shelter dogs as well.  We ordered three bags of these treats for Victory, and she loved them, and it helps a cause near and dear to our hearts!  So please support this brand and cause, especially during this pandemic, if you feel so inclined!

Creating a Christmas Memory Tree

While growing up, in my family, we each got an ornament every year through at least college, perhaps through graduate school, I cannot quite remember. I have started the same tradition in our family, creating a family memory tree — a live, living scrapbook. I love documenting our family in photographs, and I love the idea of documenting our life on our tree, creating lasting memories. Long before Alex was born, I have been collecting unique ornaments from the places we have traveled, while also just coming across unique ornaments over the years.

Since Alex was born, I have four types of ornaments I get each year for our Christmas tree: (1) one for Alex, and I try to get one with a date on it, marking each year; (2) one for our family, and I also try to get one with a date located on it; (3) one for Victory; and (4) one photo ornament of the girls together, usually with Santa, but a Santa visit is not happening this year, so I have a photo ornament of the girls together. It is actually a lot of fun, and there are so many places online to get unique ornaments. It does not take too much effort, but it is well worth the effort, for years to come, in my opinion. I usually get our ornaments in the fall each year, commemorating that year.

It is a fun endeavor, and I try to get ornaments that represent a theme for that year, if possible. This year, we got a personalized ornament of Alex swimming, since she really loved swimming this year; a personalized COVID-19 family ornament; a glass sheltie ornament for Victory; and a photo ornament of the girls together, all pictured below.

Alex is beginning to understand the concept of Christmas, and she loves doing the Advent calendar with Victory each evening; she really enjoyed helping us decorate our tree, and we got a larger tree this year, compared to previous Christmas trees; and it will be fun for Alex to pick out her own ornaments, as she grows older, which she will have to share with her kids someday. Most of all, it will be fun, for years to come, to pull out the ornaments, reminisce, and decorate our family tree, containing so many memories!

And, our little loves by our Christmas tree this year.

There has been so much change for Alex in a relatively short period of time — five months; seventeen months; and almost twenty-nine months, pictured below!

How Will You Stay Cheerful this Winter?

The other day, I was talking with Doug, and we noticed that you can really feel it in the air that winter is approaching. It feels like it will be a long and dark winter this year. During COVID-19, we have had the luxury of pretty good weather, for the most part, which has allowed us to be outside for a good bit of time. We have recently ordered new winter coats, gloves, and hats, for everyone, as going outside with Alex (and Victory) will really be our only outlet for activity, outside our home, due to COVID-19.

Since we do not feel comfortable being indoors outside of our home, this winter will test our limits and force us to become really creative. Here are a few ideas to help get through the winter, outlined below.

1. Take a steaming bath.  During the colder months, I take a bath just to warm my body — and then another one before bed. I love this bubble bath.

2. Light candles everywhere. Keep candles flickering in your bedroom, living room, home office, and dinner table, whether they are scented numbers or classic tapers. Since we are home much more, I always have candles burning, and I especially love these.

3. Host a virtual group. My friends and I have been doing Zoom and FaceTime, since we are not able to get together in person due to COVID. It is a nice way to actually see and catch up with friends and family, and it is usually fairly easy to find a time that works for everyone.

4. Walk, walk, walk. It is amazing how moving your body actually makes you feel better, even when you initially don’t feel up for it! I try to walk either outside or on our Peloton tread most days, and it really makes a difference in how I feel.

5. Keep an open mind. During this time, it is amazing how flexible and open you must become. So, staying flexible makes everything easier versus resisting.