Tuesday, February 10, 2015


When last we met, this boy had just joined the family.  

This is Brinx.
And he quickly became attached to my hip.

We go for long walks, to doggie school and he follows me everywhere. 

Of course, he's no longer a 35 pound bundle of puppy goodness. 

Now he's an 85 pound bundle of personality like no other dog I have ever seen.

For example - on St. Patrick's Day, he got in the cupboard, grabbed ONLY the green food coloring, and decorated himself.

And the kitchen floor.

Yes, that's a true story.  

It looked like a leprechaun slaughter in my kitchen. 

He has destroyed numerous outdoor pots - and I mean BIG, HEAVY pots  full of plants - by knocking them over and playing in the dirt.

He loves sticks and frequently brings giant logs or 6 foot sticks into the house. 

Whey don't we stop him, you ask? 

Because he's figured out how to open the back door from the outside and brings in whatever he pleases.

Like sticks - this is actually a small one.

Or the kids deck chairs.  He was REALLY proud of this one. 

We quickly realized that we have to keep the door locked when he's outside.  

Of course, then this happens.

If I'm doing dishes at the kitchen sink and he's outside, this is my view.
He was explaining how displeased he was that he was OUT and I was IN. 

Although, if he's inside and I'm doing dishes, THIS is my view. 

Apparently he's "helping".

He's also very protective.

No vacuum cleaner, floor scrubber, blender or mixer will ever attack me, so long as  Brinx is in the house.
And that goes for outside threats too.

For example, he protected us from the big bad lattice work on the bottom of the deck.

By pulling it all off and bringing it to me.

In pieces.

Again, very proud of himself.

Baxter tolerated him well enough when he first got here.

But soon, he was taking up all the bed space.  

Well, until he chewed up all the dog beds.

But as the year has gone by, he's calmed down quite a bit....

He has been sitting like this since we brought him home.  

I think it's dignified.

Brian calls him a sissy dog. 

And you can usually find him sitting near me. 

That's his spot.  Those are my feet.

No, my socks don't match.

Yes, I'm OK with it. 

This was my view Christmas Eve - everyone was asleep but me and my boy. 

Usually, being next to me isn't enough.

We must also be touching. 

No matter where we are or what I'm doing. 

My feet again.  

We've had a little heartache and he's done a bit of mourning with the loss of Baxter (more on that later), but he's bouncing back now.

And yes, I am most definitely a bit obsessed with my dog - but with two pre-teen/teenage daughters in the house who have raging hormones, typical teenage angst and absolutely no use for their mother whatsoever, it's been nice to have someone excited to see me walk through the door, who gives me unconditional love and doesn't talk back.

Besides my husband, of course.  

There it is ladies and gentlemen - the cure for those rough teenage years.

Get yourself a good dog.


And seriously - that face?

I melt.  

*tap tap* Is this thing on?

Hello out there!  

Yes, it's been a year  - A YEAR - since I've posted.  

I have so much to catch up on - I like to record things here so that I can go back and see what we've done and how things change.  So, starting this week, I'm going to do a few posts to catch up on everything that's happened over the past year.  

Yes, YEAR.  

Good Lord.

Some highlights:

One daughter in high school .
One daughter in middle school.
One sweet dog gone to heaven.
Another sweet dog joining the family.
A wedding.
A few birthdays.
A few home projects.
A lot of running around.

I'll be back soon with the first update - and lots of pictures.

Stay tuned!!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

We got a new home security system!

His name is Brinx.


So, a little back story....

Since we lost Chauncey last year, we've been casually looking for a new member of the family.  We didn't want a baby puppy because - let's face it - we don't have the time for a "newborn".  

We went to adoption events on a pretty regular basis, I scoured Petfinder looking for the perfect fit and nothing happened.

I should make it clear that Chauncey was Brian's boy, through and through.  I felt that it should be Brian's choice what dog we ended up with and when. 

We (meaning Brian and I) knew we wanted the following:

A big dog
A shepherd mix
At least 4 to 5 months old - preferably older
A rescue

The girls wanted an itty-bitty puppy that wouldn't get very big. 

While I took that into consideration, I'm the mom, Brian is the dad and we have veto power. 

One day, while perusing the Interwebz, I saw this:

He reminded me of Chauncey with those markings, yet his face was so different - he looked like a little teddy bear.

I showed Brian and he was hooked.

He's a Shepherd/Pyrenees/??? mix.

Your average mutt.  

He came from a high kill shelter in Tennessee and was being fostered in Kentucky by Black Dogs Rescue.

We live in Maryland.

After many emails and pictures, and adoption applications and waiting and waiting and waiting, we finally had a date to "meet" him to see if he was a good fit. 

Then this happened.

It's beautiful, but it was keeping me from meeting my puppy.

The adoption event got bumped from Saturday at 2:00, to Sunday at 2:00. 

Then it snowed in West Virginia - in the mountains the rescue foster mom had to drive over to get to us. 

So, it got bumped to 5:00.
Then 6:00.
Then 7:30.

We finally met him at around 8:30.
On a Sunday night.
About 45 minutes from home, in 20 degree weather, standing in a parking lot with a bunch of other "adopters" there to meet their new pups.

It was love at first sight.

When we got him, he was 17 weeks old, 31 pounds and had the biggest paws ever. 

He's now 19 weeks old and weighs about 35 pounds.

Yes, I know.  He's a beast. 

The first week there was a lot of this...

Followed by a whole lot of this....

Those first few days he was busy exploring and moved so fast I couldn't get a non-blurry picture of him to save my life - unless he was sleeping.

Brinx slept on her the whole way home that first night and ever since then, Olivia has been the most tolerant of him.  Which is weird because we all annoy the crap out of her on an hourly basis apparently...

Brinx is a counter surfer and most certainly will need to learn some manners soon because he really is going to be a big boy and I don't want him to inadvertently hurt someone with his exuberance.

Puppy school starts in the next week.

I'm going to train him to run with me when he gets older (at least 16 months for big dogs from what I've read).  I am hoping that I can get out and take him on my early morning park runs and that he will be a huge deterrent for anyone that would think of messing with me.

Baxter is less tolerant of him, but he's getting there.  

Baxter will never be an alpha dog but Brinx was such a nuisance to him those first few days.

Baxter finally laid down the law and scared the piss out of Brinx - literally - and I didn't think the old boy had it in him, so there's that. 

And now there's a lot of this...

We're going to need a bigger bed.

Friday, November 8, 2013

You can find me in California!! (Kinda...)

I'm visiting Meryl, Chris & Zoe at Picardy Project today!

Well, virtually, anyway...Come visit! 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Catching up...

Oh how I wish I had something exciting and wonderful to write about but, sadly, I don't.  Such is the life of a mom with two crazy busy kids.  Her's just a little snippet of what's happenin' around these parts lately...

Halloween came and went.  For the first time in 13 years, Olivia wasn't trick-or-treating with us - she chose to go to a completely different neighborhood with a group of friends and break our tradition.  I tried not to cry.  I was unsuccessful.  (Yes, I'm THAT mom).  Luckily, I still have a few more years with Sydney and she actually seems to enjoy being with us, so there's that.

Olivia is gearing up for Cheer competition - her last one with the local athletic association since she'll be in High School next year (WHAT?!!)  so we are in "practice 2 1/2 -plus hours every day of the week for the next 14 days while  managing to go to school, do homework, and still cheer at games an hour and a half away since the team made play offs this year " mode.  It's crazytown around here and she'll be beyond exhausted next week when competition is over (and will immediately get sick - she does every year).  I'm sad it's her last year cheering and competing  since she says she doesn't want to in high school.  I'll probably cry. (See?   I really am THAT mom!)

Sydney is flipping and tumbling and gymnastic-ing all over the place and really enjoying it.  She seems to have found her thing in gymnastics, and I'm happy for her.   I went to her Halloween party and realized that it was the last Elementary School Halloween party I would probably ever attend since she starts Middle School next year.  Do I really have to tell you how that makes me feel?  (See above).

We are getting ready for Thanksgiving - I'm hosting this year since mom did last year (this means that she gets Christmas this year though - ha!).  We are having a HUGE  crowd so I'm already mentally preparing for it.  At least 12 of us are running the local Turkey Trot that morning, which will hopefully become a new tradition.  The girls are running it with us - although Olivia is NOT happy about it and will probably walk it with her friends.  I don't care as long as she's moving.  She doesn't enjoy running (my God that girl is exactly like me at that age) although Sydney really likes it and has been out running with me a few times so she's looking forward to it.

As for me, I've been running a few early mornings a week with the neighbor  - there's something so perfect about getting up before the sun and running a few miles.  I still can't believe that I enjoy running.  I'm thinking about a half marathon next year but the idea of running 13.1 miles just seems so ridiculous.  And HARD.  I'm a 3-4 mile kinda girl.  I enjoy that distance right now and I'm just trying to run more often rather than longer distances.   Brian and I joined the local gym and are enjoying our time there too - when we get to go, which will hopefully be easier once cheer season winds down.

So that's it around here - my babies are growing up, time is flying by, the holidays are coming and I'm trying to get some projects done for the house.  Anything exciting happening with anyone else out there??

Monday, October 14, 2013

We only planned on cleaning the carpets, but....

I try to steam clean our carpets at least once a year to keep them looking nice.

Dogs and kids wreak havoc on carpets! 

This weekend Brian and I decided to bite the bullet and get it done since we have guests coming next weekend.   I found a $5 coupon for Bissell steam cleaners at Lowes and so off we went Friday night to rent one for 48 hours.  The Bissell was great - and only cost us $34.99 for two days after my coupon - woot! 

We cleaned out the family room Friday night so it was looking like this.  I'll try to give you a 360 degree view...

 The room was awkward to try and place furniture because we have two big couches and two chairs and the TV was placed between the windows - which was the only place we could put it. 

Although we had to run the cable to it (that cord used to be tucked between the trim and the carpet).

That's the dining room through the pocket doors (with all the family room furniture piled high)

The sliding door to the right of the pocket doors goes to the breakfast room and to the kitchen.  The sliding door is on a barn door track.  The door came from my former office, a huge old historic home (I snagged three of them and a few other little goodies before the office was demolished) and probably dates back to the 1920s. Brian and I stripped it, stained it and put a patterned film on the glass until I can afford to replace the glass with colored/stained glass. So, chances are it'll stay like that forever ;)

The door to the right of that door leads to the bathroom.

Bathroom door again,with the guest bedroom door to the right 

 Looking in from the breakfast room, guest room on the left.

Got the lay of the land now? 


Forgive the quality....I'm pretty sure I was a few cocktails in at this point.

Of course, that's usually when I can convince Brian to go along with my brilliant ideas. 
It didn't hurt that he was a few cocktails in at this point too.

Anyone else out there like to have a few drinks while they are deep cleaning - at 11:00 at night on Friday?


Bueller?   Bueller?

Ok, maybe it's just us.
Anyway, I looked at Brian and said "You know what would look great...."

And he was totally on board with what I suggested.

(It should be noted that I have been suggesting this for about 5 years now....)

Never underestimate the power of suggestion boys and girls.

And liquor.

NEVER underestimate the power of suggestion - after someone's been drinking liquor.

This is starting to sound like a PSA for all those young actors on the Disney channel.

Moving on.....

The next morning we got up and started hammering and drilling....

And vacuuming saw dust - Sydney was in charge of that.  

The end result was this - we removed the middle of the double bookcase (which was surprisingly easy) and reran the cable and electric through the bottom cabinets,  so we could put the TV in there and the cable box and DVR in the shelf above.

Later, after the carpets were cleaned (and dry) we moved everything back in - but now it looked like this:

I mean really - why didn't we do this years ago???

 We still have to get some window treatments up there, finish the shelf for the TV (which was quickly thrown together when we realized the TV needed to be higher), and get a bigger TV according to my husband (not gonna happen).

It's so cozy now.  I have claimed the chair to the left (below) as my spot. 

So there you have it - a quick, easy project we should have done years ago.

And now I want to repaint and stain the built-ins darker and do some sort of ceiling treatment.

I just have to convince Brian.....