Living it up Dog Days Style

So much of my blog is centered around taking steps to make a better tomorrow. In an attempt to do that I can sometimes forget to live in the moment. That’s why, every now and then, it’s good to take a step back and live life a day at a time. That way you can truly appreciate all that you have instead of focusing on what you don’t have. That’s exactly where I’ve been and what I have been doing lately…

Last weekend we had the pleasure of having my brother-in-law Bryce and my niece Neve come for a visit. Last year Bryce brought Ruby with him  (aka Roosky Littlemoney) but this year it was Ruby’s little sister’s turn for a trip out to Colorado!

Since they are only a few months apart in age, Penelope was especially happy to have her cousin come for a visit!

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As soon as we picked them up from the airport the first thing we did was head to downtown Denver for a cuppa of joe from The Market.. along with some goodies for the girls.

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We spent the rest of the weekend playing outside and eating popsicles. It was a blast!

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There were a few particularly hot days that were spent at the museum and a nearby park…

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This required refreshments in the form of ice cream and iced coffee, of course. We found an awesome coffee shop in downtown Littleton. Bryce loved it so much we frequented it three times in a 24 hour time span. It was bordering on obsessive, but we just couldn’t help ourselves!

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During the afternoons while the girls napped Bryce, Bridget and I would watch season 4 of Downton Abbey. I was too busy finishing up my grad degree during the winter to stay on track and I had been dying to watch it. Brent tried to crash our Downton Abbey party but got banned when he made fun of us for laughing too hard at semi funny one liners. When he’s particularly bratty we call him “Thomas”, which ironically is his middle name, so he doesn’t know that we’re actually insulting him. Then we laugh our snobby inside joke laugh, which I think would technically make us “O’Brians” but he doesn’t know who O’Brian is so it’s okay.

  Once the girls woke up they required mani/pedi’s. They had very specific nail color choices… with sparkles of course.

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Look at those hand models!

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There was also a lot of running round naked (not pictured) and jumping on the trampoline. The days were filled with lots of squeals and laughter followed shortly by lots of “mine!” and tears. It was everything we hoped it would be.

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The weekend flew by and we were all sad to see them go but Penelope was especially sad. For the first few days after they had left she would wake up every morning looking for her Nevey. (She still talks to her imaginary friend Neve in the backseat of the car.) Ruby, however, was super excited to have her little sister back when the trip was over. We’ll see them again shortly when we meet up for a family reunion at the end of summer. I can’t wait to see all of them!

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After Bryce and Neve left I decided it was time to get back into the swing of summer. I had been thrown off since the surgery and was ready to get back to my dog days groove. So for the past week I have spent a lot of time outside cleaning up my garden and catching up on maintenance.

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 I was sad to see that one of my pumpkin plants had died while I was recuperating from surgery. It’s such a bummer because it had the biggest pumpkin on it 😦

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But the rest of my stuff is coming in quite nicely if I do say so myself! I think I can officially call myself a gardener.

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Penelope’s favorite plant is the “pickle plant” aka fresh dill. She’d sit there and sniff that sucker all day if I let her which makes sense because she is as equally obsessed with actual pickles.

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Bridget loves the raspberry bush by our front door and is so happy to see that the fruit is ripening before her two week trip to St. Louis. (She was afraid that she would miss them.) It’s seriously like having a candy jar by your doorstep. You wouldn’t believe how sweet the raspberries are!

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I was super excited about my first ripe tomato. I think it was the color that made me so giddy. Isn’t it pretty?!

Other than the lovely things that have been growing there have been some other magical things going on in the good old back yard as well. One morning I woke up to find two unexpected guests. We’ll call them dasher and Dancer. I’m pretty sure they were just as interested in my garden as I am…

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And on the super lucky mornings we see hot air balloons!

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The warmer the weather gets the lower they fly, which is awesome because it always looks like they might land right in our yard.

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In my attempt to get back into my summer groove I’ve gone back to blowing drying my hair via bike rides and spending my afternoons at the pool with my sweet girls. I haven’t been able to establish a workout routine yet but it’s the first thing on my to do list, that and eating healthier.

This summer definitely took an unexpected turn. I could easily spend my summer wallowing over what I’ve lost but that would be a disservice to myself and my family. I have so much to be thankful for. I felt like I just needed to take a little time to gain some perspective in order to truly appreciate it all… but now I’m back 😉

The Little Things

Yesterday while I was driving to the gym I saw an old lady walking her cat on a leash. At first I thought it was a monkey but it indeed was a cat. For some inexplicable reason this put me in the best mood.

Manic maybe?

Since I’m in this mood I feel it is a great time to share some of the things that make me happy. The following are listed in no particular order.

1. Groundhog Day– Punxsutawney Phil is a celebrity at our house. For as long as Bridget could remember we would wake up early on February 2nd to see if Spring was on its way.

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The beauty of relying on a groundhog to do the predicting is that if he doesn’t say what you want then you can disregard it because he’s just a groundhog. What does he know anyway? He’s scared of a shadow for crying out loud!

2. Cupcakes– I know this is a weight loss blog and we shouldn’t speak of such things but moderation is the key. Cupcakes are even better when you can use them to celebrate random holidays like Groundhog Day…

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or co-ed golf themed bridal showers…

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or poolside birthday parties…

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3. Sparkly Snow- I like snow on sunny days for a few reasons. First, if it’s sunny then the likelihood of it melting before it gets annoying is high. Second, it sparkles…duh. And third, it’s probably warm enough to play in.

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I woke up to this beautiful scene this morning and this view reminded me of all of my failed attempts at a vegetable garden, which brings me to the next…

4. Gardening– I said it makes me happy, I didn’t say that I was good at it. We’ve been in our house for two summers and both times I have tried and failed to have a vegetable garden.

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The first year I managed to hoe up all of the weeds and I was just about to plant the seeds when I had to go out-of-town unexpectedly. My grandmother died that summer and I was gone for almost a month. We came back to a jungle of weeds… it was awesome.

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The second year I was extremely pregnant and hoed up half of my yard in some peasant form of nesting. My friend Cate worried about me and came over to help.

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The bulbs she planted here were the only things that were actually planted. Once Penelope came along my dreams of a garden were replaced with poopie diapers and endless breastfeeding.

But if you’ve been reading for long enough you know that if at first I don’t succeed I try and try and try again… It borders on lunacy.

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 So far I have successfully kept an herb garden in my kitchen and I’m so excited for spring this year so that I can try again.

4. Avec Eric- I stumbled on this little gem on New Year’s Eve. It’s on Hulu and I sat down with steamed lobster tails, a salad and a glass of wine and had the best time watching this show. This may have been attributed to the wine (I’m a cheap date) but I watched it again sober and have quickly developed a celebrity crush on Eric… he’s French.

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I love his outlook on food and life in general. I’ve already watched both seasons since then. I like the first season best but you should check it out.

5. Sum Sum Summa Time– Summer is by far my favorite season of the year. As soon as the Christmas decorations are taken down I pine for the day that summer will begin. It’s just made up of so many of the little things that make life enjoyable like riding your bike to the pool…

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evenings spent sprinkler hunting…

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backyard campouts…

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and hiking of course…

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6. Tacky Holiday Decorations– Speaking of which I STILL need to get the Christmas lights down from my roof. Whenever the weather is great I’m home with the baby alone, then when I do have someone to watch Penelope the roof is covered in snow. Plus, I have a bad track record with roof tops. You can ask my brother-in-law Bryce, his neighbor had to rescue me one time because I was laughing too hard to get down. Then there was this other time when I had to borrow a ladder from my brand new neighbor so that I could climb on my roof in my purple bathing suit… in November… (long story). My lights are red and white so I’m tempted to play it off like I’m celebrating Valentine’s Day with lights. I did say TACKY decorations after all…holiday

7. Library Treasures- There is nothing like just randomly grabbing a book off of the shelf at the library only to find that it was the best read you’ve had in years. I don’t know if it’s the fact that you have no expectations going in that make it so great or what, but here are a few of my favorite library finds…

Angry Housewives Eating Bonbons by Lorna Landvik

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That led me to Oh My Stars by Lorna Landvik which was even better…

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Then, I found the rose trilogy by Jennifer Donnelly. (She wrote back to me on Facebook one time… I was star struck.) I happened to pick up The Winter Rose first which is actually the second book in the trilogy. The next book I read was The Wild Rose which is the last one. Finally this winter I read The Tea Rose which is supposed to be the first book. If you love strong female characters, mystery, scandal and a dash of sex with a lot of romance you will LOVE this series. Each book highlights a different female character. What I love about it is the fact that 1) they are strong enough to save themselves and 2) they’re lives are connected so you get to check in on the characters that you’ve come to love.

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8. Hot Air Balloons– We are fortunate enough to live close to a popular hot air balloon launching spot. There are many times I’ll be sitting on my back deck drinking coffee and one will fly overhead. Bridget loves it when they are close enough to see us wave at them.

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9. Music- I especially like to find music that no one else has found yet… Okay, who am I kidding? I’m not cool enough to discover this music but my best friend is. She’s that cool “aunt” who climbs Machu Picchu, founds a television festival in Austin (ATX) and discovers awesome music. She then passes it along to me. It’s my life line to the person I was before kids. (Not that Radio Disney isn’t awesome.) Because of her I have been introduced to numerous artists of all kinds of genres and through this music I get to experience all kinds of perspectives.

10. Long Runs With My Dog– Sir Scout is our knight in shining armor. Sure he interrupts my running occasionally to sniff a butt or two but he’s a great running partner. Plus, he kind of pulls me along when I need a little encouragement.

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11. Old Ladies Walking Monkies Cat’s on Leashes– I’m just as baffled as you are as to how this could make me so happy but for some reason it does.

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It really is all about the little things in life… What makes you happy?