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Things I Love: Fall 2016

Happy fall!  We are so happy that fall is officially here!  Below are the items I am loving, so far, this fall!




1. S’well Bottle – I recently gave the S’well bottle to Doug as a gift, and I quickly decided that I needed one, too!  They keep cold beverages cold, and hot beverages hot!  I love the sleek design!

2. Magic Lessons Podcast – I really enjoy the Magic Lessons Podcast.  There are so many great episodes.  If you like hearing about other creatives’ pursuits and how to handle and deal with fear and the unknown, you will be sure to enjoy this podcast!

3. Hot Apple Cider K-cups – I love hot cider, and these K-cups are really great, especially if you like hot apple cider!

4. Mantra Bands — I love Mantra Bands.  My friend just gave me one recently, and I love it!  These make great gifts, too!

5. Planner — I am ‘old fashioned,’ and I like having a paper planner to keep track of work and personal appointments, items, etc.  I have used this weekly paper planner found on Etsy for the past two years, and I love it.

6. Perfect Over Present – I recently finished reading this book and really enjoyed it.  This book provided a refreshing perspective on life.

You can view other things I love here!

Happy Thursday!  We hope the you have a great, long, and restful weekend!  We are headed to Dewey Beach for the long weekend with our fur girl, Victory, for a respite and to celebrate some long-awaited good news!

Snapshot: Summer 2021

This summer snapshot blog post is a few months late due to the summer and fall seasons being so hectic. However, I finally finished editing our family photographs from this summer, a feat! (I am still roughly six weeks behind on editing our family photographs from this fall, a never ending process!)

This summer we did a lot of swimming, which Alex truly loves. She now likes to dive down for rings and be more independent! This summer we also acquired a new Big Joe hippo and new a Big Joe alligator to add to our growing menagerie! Alex also loved getting ice cream from the ice cream truck at the pool!

Additionally, Alex also continued her horse riding lessons; and by the end of this summer, she has graduated to a bigger horse, named Storm, and Arabian horse, shown at the end of this post! Alex is currently learning how to use the reins to control/direct the horse on her own, and she is making good progress; her teacher believes she is doing great for her age. And, Alex is the most calm little person, while being very present with the horse while riding. It is magical to witness.

This summer was also notable as we celebrated Alex’s third birthday, in July, which is so difficult to believe, as the time is literally flying by. She is a bright, beautiful little girl! We celebrated Alex’s birthday together as a family with a unicorn themed birthday! On her birthday, we took Alex to the National Aquarium, which she affectionately refers to as the “fish house.” Alex had a ball; and we took her out for pizza at one of our favorite places in Harbor East, near the Aquarium, for lunch; and we also took Alex out to dinner on her birthday, along with Victory in toe! In the evening, we all celebrated together at home with a unicorn cake and cupcakes with both of our girls!

Further, we celebrated the Fourth of July with some small fireworks and sparklers with the girls, along with some friends.

During the summer, my parents also came to visit a few times since COVID-19 hit, and Alex greatly enjoyed her time with them!

Additionally, in August, we also took a vacation to Rehoboth Beach, which photographs can be viewed here, as they are not included in this blog post.

Anyway, we feel very grateful, and we hope that you are enjoying your fall. I cannot believe Thanksgiving is next week, already!

Here is a short video of Alex riding Storm!

Transition: Integrating Your Furry Family Member

Before Alex arrived, Victory was our ‘only child’ for nearly five years!  I previously wrote a blog post about preparing your furry family member when a baby arrives.  However, this post, today, is about continuing to integrate your furry family member upon the arrival of a child and it can also be applied to a major life transition.

Even though our hearts expanded in every way, we are so, so grateful, and this is the best season of our lives, it was a big change for everyone when Alex arrived, including Victory.  Our overarching goal was to be sure that not too much changed for Victory, even though a whole lot changed, if that makes sense!  We are all in a groove now, getting sleep, figuring out things as we go, which is great for everyone!

First, we included Victory in Alex’s birth.  Victory was at the hospital, the day after the birth, and it was so lovely and memorable.  I am very grateful to the hospital staff for being so accommodating with our request.  Victory was a hit with the hospital staff, and she got right up into the hospital bed by with me, by my side, and she did not want to leave!  Our entire family was together, for the first time, and I will never forget that time together introducing the girls to each other.

Second, we always encourage Victory to be with us wherever we are in the house.  She knows that she has free reign of the house, but we wanted to be sure she knew that she was still, of course, a part of all family activities, and that would never change.  So, from the very beginning, she learned to go in Alex’s room and be apart of our daily routines, etc.  It is very special to hear Alex say, each morning, “Hi Tory!” and waive her hand to Victory with a big smile!  It warms my heart as Victory always follows me into Alex’s room each morning, even during the times when Alex’s room smells like a bathroom, if you get my drift!  Victory wants to be apart of everything, which is so great!  And, she has and continues to be extremely patient and tolerant of Alex since she was born.

Third, we encouraged the girls to bond.  We never kept Victory away from Alex (Victory has never been aggressive to anyone); in fact, we encouraged her to sniff and interact with Alex.  (There, however, have been times that we have had to keep Alex from Victory).  And, since Alex was quite sick, this winter, both girls have really bonded, and it is so great!  Victory loves licking Alex, and Alex knows not to pull on Victory’s fur or chase Victory, thank goodness.  So they reached some sort of mutual understanding, even with limited verbal communication, between them!  Victory knows so much, and is quite remarkable how in tune she is with everything and every person in our home.  Victory has been by our side meandering through mountain tops and valleys, and she is so loyal and she is always there for all of us, and we never take that for granted. We feel so grateful for her.

Fourth, we also continue to take Victory on outings, which she always loves, and Alex loves them, too!  Even in the dead of winter, when there are not too many options for places to take Victory to, there is always Lowes, on standby, which Victory and Alex love!  We also take Victory with Alex, year-round, to get soft-serve ice cream at TCBY, which is a hit with Victory!  We are very much looking forward to the spring, just around the corner, and the summer where there are a myriad of options for outings with our girls!  Victory loves outings and it is always a ‘morale boost,’ for Victory, especially during the winter when she can get cabin fever, at times.

Fifth, we continue to take Victory on vacation with us!  Even though it is not always easy to find a rental that accepts both a small dog and a small child, we make it work!  Doug is always really good about finding places for us to stay!  Victory has been on every single vacation with us since we adopted her in the fall of 2013!  We would not have it any other way!

Finally, most of all, our love never waivers with Victory, and we spend time with only Victory each day.  She loves her time with us!  She is our fur girl, forever!  And, she is such a great ‘big sister’ to Alex!  You can see their love reflected in the recent images, below.  Doug and I are so fortunate.  We love our girls with our whole hearts.

All of this said, if you take the time, and make a conscious effort, to include your furry family member during a big change or transition, such as adding another family member, it will work out for everyone in the long run!








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!