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Christmas Time: Visiting Santa

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

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

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

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

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

We hope that you are enjoying the Holiday season!


















Fun Gift: Fur Mammas and Human Mammas

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







Finished Product:

Loving Fall 2018

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

You can view other things I love here!

Happy Wednesday!

Season of Gratitude


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

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

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

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

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

Four Month Snapshot: Alexandra

How is our baby Alex already four months old!  The time is literally flying by so quickly, and she is changing and developing daily!  The theme for this month summed up in one word is flow.  Doug and I are going with the flow with Alex each day, as she is in charge of or schedules, most of the time!  However, there is becoming a little more predictability to our days.  Doug and I are getting more into the swing of things, each day!  This month, Alex is captivated with putting her fists (and any object within reach) into her mouth — we do not see any signs of any teeth coming in, yet, but she is drooling more and she loves to go to town on her hands!  Alex is also sleeping through the night most nights these days.  There are still some nights, though, she gets up to eat.  She goes to bed quite early and, as a result, she is up early.  Doug and I have been going to bed earlier ourselves in order to get more rest.  She continues to grow at rapid speed!  Each month, I pack away the clothes that no longer fit!  She just recently had her four-month doctor’s appointment and she is in the 95th percentile for length!  Baby Alex still loves to play and to be read to in the mornings and evenings!  I love spending time with her in the mornings as she is very well rested and full of smiles!  It is always so wonderful to see Alex smile so big when she sees us in the morning — it is the best!  Victory still comes into Alex’s nursery during the morning, day, and evenings, which is great!  Victory still licks our Baby Alex and cleans her daily!  It is really adorable!  Victory has been doing well, too, except for a recent ear infection that we are treating, which we, thankfully, discovered early.  As such, our little Victory should be on the mend!  Finally, we are looking forward to celebrating our first Thanksgiving together as a family of four!

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

A few highlights from Alex’s fourth month include:

-she is sleeping for much longer stretches, along with a few descent naps these days!  She now uses a larger velcro swaddle wrap, which is working well!

-she really loves to suck on her fists and fingers and she loves this teething glove that we recently discovered!  The Nuby products have worked great for us, thus far!

-she is sitting up in her Bumbo seat while holding her head high!  This month she has seemed to have almost outgrown her Bumbo seat!  Her thick thighs get stuck in the leg opeinings!

-she is rolling over more frequently and she can roll over from her back to stomach and from her stomach to her back!  She also loves to lay and play on her side while doing ‘scissor kicks’ with her legs!

-she loves to play ‘peek-a-boo!’

-she loves tummy time and she is doing tummy time for longer stretches!  She, so badly, is trying to move her little body, but she is not quite there yet, but she is making progress!

-she is even more interactive this month — she smiles at us a lot, and she makes lots of different noises and sounds, which is really lovely!

-she loves for us to blow air on her stomach — she chuckles so much!

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

-she loves to move her legs, while playing — they are in constant motion!

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

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

-she is still very alert and observant!  We take her out to eat with us and she loves experiencing new experiences, thankfully!  She did well this past weekend at her first Navy football game where the Navy won!

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

-she still does not love bath time — she tolerates it at best!  Alex is now a member of our gym!  We look forward to taking her with us to the gym!  We soon plan to get her into some swim lessons soon at the Goldfish Swim School!

-she still loves to go on walks in her Ergo!  We try to get out most days for a walk together, when the weather is nice outside, which are becoming less and less, unfortunately, with colder weather upon us.


A few highlights I would like to remember:

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

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

-loving on her chunky body along with all of her folds and rolls!

-loving her smell and her velvety smooth skin!

-loving how she smells after a bath!  (We love the Baby Cetaphil line!)

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

-remembering that Alex’s body runs warm and when she gets warm, her cheeks turn a really rosy color!

-remembering that she gets extremely fussy right before bedtime in the evenings!

-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 at increasing decibels each day!

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

-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 Daddy!  (Daddy is in charge of Alex’s books and toys!)

-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 Alex out to dinner with us — she is pretty well-behaved!  We are lucky!

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

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

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




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



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

























































A few iphone images from this month!

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!