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Christmas Time: Visiting Santa

This past weekend we took Alex and  Victory to visit Santa, an annual tradition!  This year, however, went a little differently than last year — Alex was not keen on Santa this year.  (We even tried putting Alex on the floor by Santa, but that did not work either.)  Someday, she will get a good laugh from these photos, below, as you likely will as well!  Alex is very brave and fearless when it comes to everything, except for strangers and doctors, which I suppose are one in the same.  (The pediatrician says this is very normal for her age.)  So, this is how our pediatrician and dental visits go, shown below, and Alex does not give up easily at all!  Thankfully, Santa is extremely patient!

Victory, our beautiful fur girl, did very well, like always!  Victory also tolerated her sister well, too!  And, of course, Santa and his helpers remembered our beloved girls, as this is Victory’s sixth time visiting Santa and Alex’s second time visiting Santa!  You can see Victory’s previous trips to visit Santa here, hereherehere, and here.  This is the only Santa in our area that welcomes both of our girls!  Victory wore her Holiday velvet ruff and antlers; and Alex wore a burgundy corduroy 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 Victory’s and Alex’s second visit together with Santa are shown below along with images of Victory with Santa from the previous five years!  The time really does fly by too quickly!  We are so grateful for our fur girl, Victory!












Victory’s visits to see Santa, 2014-2019!



The girls’ visits to see Santa last year (left) and this year (right).  Great change occurred in a year!


Additionally, each year, I have a photo ornament made with Victory and Santa for our Christmas tree!  This year, I made another ornament of our Victory and Alex together visiting Santa, a memorable visit; and one of Victory visiting Santa!  I also had personalized ornaments for Alex and Victory made for our tree.  I will get Alex an ornament each year, a tradition we had growing up!

Below is our decorated little live Christmas tree from Maine that we order online each year; and, this year, Alex was not willing to sit by our tree long enough for me to take a decent photo, so we will try again, at some point!




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

We hope that you are enjoying the Holiday season!

What surprised me most about becoming a mom

Our little girl, Alex, is nearly seventeen months old, which is difficult to believe.  Almost a year and a half into this journey, I finally feel more acclimated to our ‘new normal.’  My body feels more how it used to feel before Alex; I am getting more sleep, which is so helpful; and we know our little Alex more — her personality, her routine, what she likes, what she does not like, which, of course, is always changing.  Albeit, there are days where Doug and I both collapse into bed at night, with Victory, because we are utterly exhausted, both wondering how we will get up the next day, at the crack of dawn, (Alex is our alarm now) and do it all over again!

Besides the normal things one likely hears prior to having a baby such as, ‘your life will forever change; you won’t sleep for awhile; and you won’t have much time,’ which to a large degree are all true, what nobody really tells you is how much fun you will have with your baby.  Now that Alex is communicating verbally more, and we know what to expect with her more, to a degree, we have so much fun together!  The early months were difficult with trying to navigate this uncharted territory and just generally feeling a little off, in the beginning, trying to get the hang of it all.  Now, as a family, I think we have found our flow, for now, and it is all getting a bit easier to navigate.  Alex is always up for an adventure, with her side kick, Victory, and we have a lot of fun with Alex and Victory.  Alex is almost saying ‘Tory,’ Victory’s nickname!  It is just really neat to witness her growing and changing, there is nothing like it.  All that to say, I am working the hardest I ever have, but I am having the most fun, ever!

Happy Thursday!




Being Present

It is that time of year when things can get hectic and sometimes overwhelming for some people.  This often results in making it more difficult to stay present during these times.

I recently read an article about slow parenting, and it really resonated with me:

“I encourage parents to take some time to just watch their children, whether they are playing, doing homework, or eating a snack,” [John Duffy, a clinical psychologist and author of The Available Parent] says.  “Take a moment to drink them in.  Remember and remind yourself how remarkable your children are.  That pause alone, even if momentary, can drive a shift in the pace”…

“We don’t over schedule ourselves.  My husband and I spend lots of time at home.  My kids dig in the dirt and ride bikes, we blow bubbles and go to the beach,” says [Lindsay Miller, a mother of three boys, ages 2, 4, and 7]…

“These days when everyone is so busy, we need to be intentional about making space for family time…”  Family time, says Contey [cofounder of Slow Family Living] is different for all of us.  “You might say, ‘we’re all here on Thursday mornings, so let’s make a leisurely pancake breakfast’; or one night a week take a walk in the dark before bed.  Something like that can feel really special and the kids will remember it as they get older”…

I loved the above line about simply watching your children.  There is so much to really see when we truly stop to just simply watch and show up in the moment.  We usually incorporate fun outings on the weekends as a family.  But sometimes, maybe, it is nice to not do anything.  This month, I am inspired to slow down and let Alex take the lead.  Maybe this will mean that she will gather up all of our laundry and put it in the washer, a favorite ritual!  (She also likes to stop the wash in the middle of the cycle by pressing all of the buttons on the washing machine!)  Also, maybe this will mean she will carry her little step stool all over the house.  She loves to use her step stool to get up on the beds or chairs to sit along with trying to pet Victory, while she is sitting on our bed.  She also loves to go into the bathrooms with her trusty step stool, especially when one of us is getting ready, whereby she takes down all of the items on the counter and then run around the house with her menagerie, as she always needs to be holding something whether that be my small canister of gum, lotion, Doug’s case for his glasses, or her bubbles, etc.!

It is nice to notice the little things — like witnessing how Alex figures things out, what makes her laugh, and seeing what she enjoys, and truly being with her, which is what all kids desire.  This is not a new idea but it feels this way, for me, sometimes, especially when I feel in a hurry and hurrying Alex along, too.  However, things always go much smoother when you simply are in the moment and not rushing through things.  I captured a few images of our girls, Alex and Victory, recently.  They both are always so present.  (And, yes, Alex’s crib is the only way to keep the two of them in the same vicinity these days!)

I wish every single one of you the gift of presence.  To quote Mary Oliver: “To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.”











Here is a brief video of the girls together!

Season of Gratitude: 2019


It is that time of year, autumn, our favorite season; and it is a time for reflection and harvest.  I have learned that a gratitude practice can be really helpful.  So, on this cool early morning, while Alex is still asleep in her room; Victory is curled up resting on our pillows, at the head of our bed; and Doug has just left for work, here is what I am immensely thankful for:

  • writing during this cold dark morning in silence with a cup of hot apple cider next to me
  • the early mornings where I have a little time to myself
  • sleep and more sleep — so thankful for more (and more uninterrupted) sleep
  • getting to be a ‘fur mamma’ and human mamma
  • our healthy toddler who is thriving
  • our fur girl, Victory, who recently received a clean bill of health at the vet during her annual exam; and, notably, she has even lost a pound, with one more to go, per the vet!  Her daily walks and her new food are really helping in this area!  (And, Alex has now surpassed her fur sister in weight!)
  • our warm house filled with wonderful natural light
  • the sound of Alex’s giggles and growing vocabulary
  • everything about my husband, the way he smells, his touch, and how he fathers
  • walks outside taking in the cool fall air
  • our second trip to the pumpkin patch, as a family of four
  • our second Thanksgiving as a family of four
  • opportunities for personal growth
  • our ‘night-night’ routine with Alex and our fur girl, Victory
  • our family time together
  • our family dinners together
  • our family outings together
  • a strong, healthy marriage
  • nearly finishing the revisions on my long-term photography project; it has been such a process and journey; and I am reviewing the body of work and moving onto the next steps
  • my mentor who has helped guide me through this creative photography project process
  • friends who are always there, no matter what
  • Doug’s new position at a research and development lab
  • the way Alex looks at us in the morning when she has just woken up — there are no words to describe this feeling
  • listening to Alex talk to herself in the early mornings, which is so endearing
  • a play school, which Alex loves, where she is constantly learning and growing
  • spending one-on-one time with our girls
  • lunches and dinners with good friends
  • enjoying good books
  • enjoying time for exercise
  • the privilege of being taught by others
  • the ability to be present
  • the ability to choose
  • the ability to write, think, imagine, and create
  • feeling at peace
  • the way Alex loves Victory, it is just so sweet — even though, for now, Alex is calling Victory, “Lou Lou!”

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!

Fifteen Month and Sixteenth Month Snapshot: Alexandra

I completed the monthly snapshots of our beloved Alex during her first year.  Here is the snapshot of Alex’s fifteenth month and sixteenth month!  (You can view Alex’s thirteenth and fourteenth month here).  Alex is just changing all of the time and she is still growing like a weed!

Alex is still extremely busy!  She is always doing something!  She is quite curious, adventurous, and she loves exploring.  She loves being read to and she now likes to go to bed with her board books, which she is pretty hard on, as she breaks the binding of the books, at times!  (We have already had to replace a few books!)  She loves playing hide and seek!  She usually likes to hide in our bathroom or my closet and she thinks it is hilarious when we ‘find’ her!  She also loves to play telephone, and Doug usually plays this game with her — they hand the phone back and forth and pretend someone is calling for little Alex!  She also recently started brushing her own hair, it is so cute!  She also loves Taylor Swift’s, The Man song, which we play in the evenings, and she dances, and it is incredibly heartwarming!

During this time, we did a lot of swimming!  Alex took swim lessons at the Goldfish Swim School and she swims regularly at our gym!  Alex loves the water and she is pretty brave when it comes to trying new things, thankfully!  She still loves her bath time as well, and Daddy usually gives her a bath in the evenings these days!  We took our girls to Pups in the Park along with several trips to the park, book store, as well as dinner outings!  We also took Alex and Victory to Lowe’s and Bass Pro, during bad weather; Alex loved getting on the boats and the all-terrain vehicles, along with the big lawn mowers at Lowe’s; and she also loved the Lego store, near Bass Pro, too!  We also took a trip to the petting farm and two trips to the pumpkin patch!  Alex was adventurous and she rode a horse at the petting farm, shown below!  We celebrated, one of our favorite times of year, Halloween with our Super Girls!  Alex also participated in a school Halloween parade and celebration, and she had a wonderful time!  Alex even went trick-or-treating to about a dozen nearby houses!  She had a ball, and she even helped hand out candy before getting too tired!  We also took a lot of long walks in our neighborhood together, which Alex enjoys!  (We have to order the Bob Stroller soon, as Alex has already just about grown out of the Bugaboo Fox Stroller, sadly, which should have lasted until she was about three, but she is so tall!)  Alex also attended two birthday parties and she had a ball!  One party took place at Pump it Up, and Alex went down steep slides all by herself (Doug, fortunately, carried her up the steep steps, multiple times!)  A brief video is below!  We, of course, also celebrated Victory’s eighth birthday!  Alex, especially, loved celebrating Victory’s birthday — she absolutely loves balloons!

Alex has started saying more words!  It is endearing listening to her talking to herself in her room early in the morning!  Alex is sleeping eleven to twelve hours a night, although the recent time change has caused Alex to wake early, but we are almost back on track, fortunately.  We are so beyond elated!  She is also still taking a morning nap and afternoon nap.  Alex loves to climb and, when she wants up, it is the cutest, she says, “I sit!”  Most of the time, she usually can get up on the object she is climbing, on her own.  Alex now climbs up the stairs and goes down the slide at the park all by herself!  Additionally, Alex loves Victory and says “hi” to Victory all of the time.  There is a resident dog at Alex’s school named “Lou Lou.”  Alex, consequently, calls every dog, including Victory, “Lou Lou!”  When we are on walks together, and when Alex spots a dog, she waves and says, “Hi, Lou Lou!”  We are working on getting Alex to say, “Tory,” Victory’s nickname!  Alex still likes to run after Victory, so we keep that to a minimum, for Victory’s sake!  Victory is a good sport with Alex, and we cannot wait for when Alex really understands that she cannot run and pull on Victory — we will eventually get there!  Victory loves her little sister, too.  She is very tolerant, thankfully!

Alex, as of the fifteenth month, is officially off the bottle!  Yay!  She is slimming down a little, too, as a result.  She loved the bottle, but it was time for her to exclusively use the sippy cup!  (Alex still loves her paci for nap time and bed time!  We are aiming to get rid of her paci by age two, per the pediatrician and dentist!)  Alex is also feeding herself, pretty well, with a spoon and spork!  She really loves being independent!  She absolutely loves fresh watermelon — a favorite fruit!  She loves carrot sticks, too!  We are introducing more fruits and vegetables and she is even eating more chicken and beef!  Victory is always close by, during meals, to gobble up Alex’s food droppings, and Victory is even getting more brave going under Alex’s highchair to eat the food droppings, while Alex is still in her highchair!

Alex did pretty well at her fifteenth month doctor’s appointment; however, she is not keen on going to the doctor’s, even for well visits.  And, of course, she is still off the charts!  Alex also had her first trip to the dentist during this time.  The pediatric dentist was very nice and thorough; however, as mentioned, Alex is not keen of any medical professional these days!  Importantly, her two-year molars are the last teeth to come in, and then we are done with teething!  Yay!  At the dentist, the tears came, but the dentist got done what she needed, thankfully.  Teeth brushing is not one of Alex’s favorite times, nor is it ours!  Flossing is a real struggle, as one could imagine!  Interestingly, it is actually easier for me to brush Victory’s teeth, and I brush her teeth about five mornings a week!

Alex will still cuddle with me in her glider, right before bed, in her dark room, just before placing her in her crib, and I love receiving her kisses and hugs, hearing her talk, and feeling her soft curly hair against the side of my face, as I know these times will not last forever.  We are doing our best to embrace the now, the present.  I am savoring each day with her and she is one of my greatest teachers, in addition to Victory and Biscuit.  Alex has a beautiful smile, eyes, and personality — we think she is absolutely adorable!  Alex is worth every minute of our wait and our journey to get her; ultimately, she entered our lives right on time, when she was supposed to come.  We are so happy we get to be Alex’s parents.  I am very grateful to be able to document our every day, as these seemingly ordinary moments are so precious and fleeting; I always want to have these images for posterity.  Life is good; and we love getting a front row seat seeing our adventurous girl grow up!  Each month gets even more fun with our girls, Alex and Victory!  We are so, so grateful!
































































































































A few iphone images from Alex’s fifteenth month!


Here is a video from Alex’s fifteenth month — Alex in the pool at her swim lesson!



























































































A few iphone images from Alex’s sixteenth month!


Here is a video from Alex’s sixteenth month — Alex at Pump It up!


Here is a video from Alex’s sixteenth month — Alex at Nordstrom’s helping Mamma pick out some new boots, while saying, “I sit!”


Interview: Hugo Coffee Roasters

Interview with Claudia McMullin, Owner, Hugo Coffee Roasters


Recently, I had the opportunity and pleasure of interviewing Claudia McMullin, owner of Hugo Coffee Roasters, located in Park City, Utah.  What makes this company unique is its commitment to dog rescue.  I also love the names of the coffees, which are dog inspired, which you can read more about in our interview below!  Additionally, you can learn more about Hugo Coffee here.


KATHERINE CARVER: My husband and I recently learned of Hugo Coffee, and we love your mission supporting rescue dogs.  How and when did Hugo Coffee come into existence?

CLAUDIA MCMULLIN: Hugo Coffee originated as a coffee shop in the Park City, Utah, Visitor Information Center in 2013.  By 2014 we realized that, in order to serve our customers the highest quality blends with consistency and trust in our supply chain, it was important to develop our own roasting capabilities.  Hugo Coffee Roasters was developed and currently provides a line of premium coffees, cold brew and espresso, which is sold in our retail shop and to numerous Utah wholesale customers, including grocery stores, restaurants, and corporations. 

Hugo Coffee was founded by in 2015 and is named after my handsome rescue dog, Hugo.  In a former life, I was the Executive Director of the animal rescue now known as Nuzzles & Co.  Animal rescue is in my DNA and that of my brand!   Hugo Coffee gives 8-10% of proceeds (not profit — meaning I give regardless of whether my company makes money) of all sales of its retail products to animal rescues.

Hugo Coffee’s Mission Statement: Hugo Coffee’s mission is to save dogs by roasting superior fair trade, organic coffee.

Hugo Coffee’s Vision Statement: Hugo Coffee’s vision is to become the go-to coffee for animal lovers nationwide.

Hugo Coffee’s Values and Promise: Hugo Coffee is a friendly, playful, caring company with a focus on community – “Coffee with a Paws.”  Every time you drink a cup of Hugo Coffee, you are saving dogs too.  So, enjoy a cup, save a pup, and turn your daily ritual into an act of kindness.

Our key messages are Dog Rescue and Superior Coffee.  Our company motto is: “At Hugo Coffee we love two things: coffee and dogs … and not necessarily in that order.”  Our hashtags include: #drinkcoffeesavedogs and #drinkhugobehappy.



KATHERINE CARVER: How did Hugo, the namesake of your business, come into your life?

CLAUDIA MCMULLIN: I am a foster failure of baby Hugo at three weeks old.  Hugo came from a backyard breeder who tried to sell all of his puppies at three weeks of age and, when nobody bought Hugo, he dumped him at the local shelter.  Hugo was immediately rescued by the rescue I was soon to lead, Friends of Animals Utah was the name at the time, which is now presently known as Nuzzles & Co.  Hugo needed immediate fostering, and I volunteered.  After bottle feeding that sweet pea (Hugo) I could never give him up.



KATHERINE CARVER: How did you become involved in dog rescue?

CLAUDIA MCMULLIN: I had always had rescue dogs my whole life and was always crazy for dogs (and all animals).  I had been an attorney for a long time and really, really wanted NOT to be one anymore when I heard from a friend that my “dream job” had just become available –  being the Executive Director of an animal rescue.  So I applied, and got the gig!


KATHERINE CARVER: What dog rescue organizations do you support?

CLAUDIA MCMULLIN: We currently support Nuzzles & Co., Best Friends Animal Society, Paws for Life, and Canines with a Cause.  However, I will support any animal rescue.



KATHERINE CARVER: Can you tell us a little bit about the products you offer for sale?

CLAUDIA MCMULLIN: You bet!  Hugo Coffee offers a range of specially roasted coffees designed specifically and intentionally to appeal to a broad palette.  Each roast is created by Master Roaster, John Lynn.  John selects the importer, country of origin, and the farm from which to purchase the organic fair-trade green beans (note that although our beans are organically grown, they are not always organic-certified due to size of our small farm suppliers).  He then skillfully creates the consistent roasts and flavor notes of each Hugo signature roasts.  Each “recipe” is taught to all junior roasters and consistently reviewed for consistent quality assurance.

Each roast is intentionally named with a nod towards dogs.  Specifically, from darkest to lightest roast, Hugo Coffee offers Black Paw (French Roast); Bonafido (Med-Dark Roast); Rollover Breakfast Blend (Medium Roast); Howler Espresso (Medium Roast); and New Trick (Light Roast).  In addition, Hugo Coffee offers Downward Dog Decaf (Medium Roast); Dog Daze Cold Brew (Med-Dark Roast); and our Rotating Roasters’ Choice.

Hugo Coffee’s roasts are comprised of beans from various countries in various proportions and with various flavor notes as set forth immediately below:

  • Black Paw® (French Roast): South American origin with flavor notes of burnt sugar, dark chocolate, and spice.
  • Bonafido® (Med-Dark Roast): South American origin with flavor notes of bakers chocolate and dark fruit.
  • Rollover Breakfast Blend® (Medium Roast): Peruvian origin with flavor notes of maple, milk chocolate, and nuts.
  • Howler Espresso (Medium Roast): South American origin with flavor notes of chocolate, sweet dates, and toffee.
  • New Trick® (Light Roast): Central American origin with flavor notes of nuts, floral, and sweet.
  • Roasters Choice (Light Roast): Rotating single source bean from various countries and small farms selected by Master Roaster every 4-6 weeks.
  • Downward Dog Decaf® (Medium Roast): blend of beans from various and changing countries with flavor notes of banana bread, caramel, and cocoa.
  • Dog Daze Cold Brew® (Medium-Dark Roast): Central African origin with flavor notes of chocolate, nut, and spice.



KATHERINE CARVER: Where can people purchase your coffee, especially with the Holidays quickly approaching?

CLAUDIA MCMULLIN: You can purchase our coffee locally in Utah, at various grocery chains including, Whole Foods.  You can also purchase our coffeeonline at or via

In addition to coffee, we also have this great holiday gift box which includes a bag of Bonafido or Rollover and a box of organic dog treats.  Oh, and our artisan hand made mugs are pretty sweet, too!



KATHERINE CARVER: Where can people find Hugo Coffee online?

CLAUDIA MCMULLIN: You can find Hugo Coffee via the following links:; Amazon; Instagram; and Facebook.


*All images are courtesy of Hugo Coffee.

Loving: Fall 2019

Happy fall!  The fall is one of our favorite times of the year, a time for harvest, and it is finally beginning to really feel like fall, one of our favorite times of year!  Below are a few things I have been recently loving this fall!



1. How to Raise Successful People — I recently discovered this book after I heard the author, Esther Wojcicki, on a recent podcast.  I found this book to be helpful, and I particularly liked learning about her TRICK method: Trust, Respect, Independence, Collaboration, and Kindness, with respect to raising children.

2. Aden + Anais XL Sleep Sack —  Alex is still using a sleep sack for naps and bedtime, and Aden and Anais is one of the only places I have found that still carries them in her size, as Alex is long — these are super soft and comfortable sleep sacks that wash up well, too.  Alex also loves the Aden + Anais burp cloths, which she uses as her little ‘lovies’ while sleeping.

3. The Lululemon Define Jacket — Doug recently bought me this jacket, and I love it!  It is incredibly comfortable and great for cooler fall days!

4. Home Chef — Doug and I recently subscribed to the Home Chef meal service, and we love it!  We love the meal options and the meal kits are great and produce great dinners, which Doug makes for us!  With it becoming cooler and darker earlier, we are cooking more at home, and this is a great option if you are looking to mix things up!

5. The Mary Marantz Show  — I enjoy listening to podcasts, when I get a chance.  I have really enjoyed listening to this relatively new podcast where Mary Marantz brings you honest conversations and her best tips about business, relationships, faith, goals, and more.  I especially loved the episode about finding beauty in our own everyday.

6. Preformatrin Ultra Dog Food — This fall, we recently transitioned and changed Victory’s food to include grain, and we settled on this brand, Performatrin, a Canadian brand.  She loves it, so far, and, for a topper, she still eats the wet Fromm food!  And, thankfully, Victory received a clean bill of health at the vet recently at her annual exam!

You can view other things I love here!

Happy Monday!

Happy Halloween from our Super Girls!

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!  We love the fall season!  It is Alex’s second Halloween!  Victory is Super Woman this year for Halloween along with her little sister, Alex, shown below!  We think they look pretty adorable!  (It is nearly impossible to get the girls to sit together for a photo these days without Alex running after Victory and then Victory running away, as a result!  So, we put them together in Alex’s crib and I took a few photos and I hoped for the best!  Last year, it was certainly easier to photograph the girls together!)  Victory (and Alex) was a unicorn last year; Wonder Woman two years ago; a fifties girl three years ago; a lioness four years ago; a butterfly five years ago; and a ladybug for her first Halloween, six years ago.

Weather permitting, Victory will help us hand out candy on Halloween in her costume and she will show off our pumpkin masterpiece carefully carved by Doug, shown below, of a toddler sitting on top of a pumpkin!  Doug spent almost seven hours, the other day, so earnestly working on carving his Halloween toddler pumpkin, in honor of Alex!  He did a wonderful job!  (Doug previously carved a dog on our pumpkin in honor of Victory!)  A short video of our lit carved pumpkin is also shown below.  Additionally, here are links to other pumpkins carved by Doug: last year; two years agothree years ago; four years agofive years ago; six years ago; and seven years ago!

Depending upon the weather, we may take Alex trick-or-treating to a few nearby houses in our neighborhood — we will just have to see how it goes, as Alex also goes to bed early, per her internal clock!  However, tomorrow, Alex is participating in a school Halloween parade!  It will be fun to see the kids’ costumes!  A few photos are shown below of the girls with the pumpkin Doug diligently carved!  (Alex insisted upon holding her bubbles while sitting next to the carved pumpkin!  She even eats her meals at home with these bubbles on her highchair tray!  And, she would sleep with them, if we let her!)

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





















Here is a short video of the lit pumpkin Doug carved for us this year!


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.