children, family, gratitude, happiness, humor, kids, life in pictures, motherhood, parenting

A Year in Review (Happy New Year!)

I am typing this with a sports-related pinkie sprain.  While I have learned some great lessons this year, apparently I still am slow on the realization that my husband is a competitive beast.  Even playing an innocent family game of touch football in the backyard brings out his win-at-all-costs attitude.  I blame him entirely for the injury, but I blame myself for even playing in the first place.


In 2013 I think the biggest change I have noticed, especially with Full Speed, is the strange phenomena of actually being helpful without being asked.  I am rendered speechless when one or both of my boys volunteers to hold a door, carry a bag, let a dog out, etc. and in turn, make my life a little bit easier.  I didn’t think it was possible.  That’s not to say they are perfect or that it happens all the time, it’s just a tiny, little gleaming light at the end of the tunnel for those parents up to their neck in diapers, bottles and constant demands.  May this help us all set the stage for even more positive changes and growth in the coming New Year.


Another major positive change was being reunited with our dog.  T.Puzzle continues to respond well healthwise to both dogs we have now, and seems to have completely outgrown his allergy to them.  Honestly, we never outgrew our love for her and we never will.


Mad Dog and I celebrated our ten-year wedding anniversary.  I can say without doubt, these past ten years have been the best of my life.  It’s not that life somehow got magically easier once we got married, in fact, we’ve faced some pretty major life events.  It has more to do with having someone in your corner that appreciates you for all the right reasons and sticks by you even when you are anything but your best.  My goal for my family is to create a home that is filled with love and acceptance.  With Mad Dog by my side, this goal is automatic.


Familes, people, circumstances and life are never perfect.  The real lesson is to somehow find the love when all else seems dark.  There are always reasons to be thankful.  Sometimes it takes creativity to glean gratitude from your life.  Just make sure you surround yourself with awesome people and then finding the gratitude will be easier than you think.

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children, dogs, family, gratitude, happiness, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

Walks are for the Dogs

It seems that as long as T.Puzzle continues to do well, the return of the dogs is permanent.  Full Speed has stated that since having them home, he is the happiest he’s ever been in his whole life.  T.Puzzle is excited because he is no longer the shortest living being in our household.  For me, I am in my element when I am walking the dogs.  There is something about their quiet company with nothing but blue sky overhead that fills my heart with joy.  I have even made it a standing ritual that on most days during the week, the boys and I will walk to school with the dogs.  I use the term ‘walk’ loosely.  I need to invent a word that falls somewhere in between walking and standing still.  I’m not sure why exactly that it takes us 45 minutes to walk a 20 minute distance.  Of course once we begin our walk, I am subjected to loads of feedback concerning the weather conditions.   One boy will tell me that he’s certain a blizzard is coming because it is so cold while the other thinks the wind may freeze his face off.  Keep in mind, we live in a very warm climate and it’s only November where most days the temperatures still climb near 80 degrees.  I have attempted some preventative measures to help minimize the climate related feedback.  I brought out a pull-over hoodie for Full Speed to wear on a particularly chilly morning.  He took one look at it and said he wasn’t going to wear it.  Apparently, he got ‘trapped’ in it last year and he wasn’t willing to ‘go in that direction’ again.  All I can say is, thank god for zippers and get your shoes on boy…it’s dog walkin’ time.

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children, dogs, family, gratitude, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

2nd Place

By all accounts, everything is going great with my dog. We also welcomed her long-time shih tzu companion so we are now a family of six. Honestly, the most challenging aspect has been living up to the high level of admiration that both these dogs bestow on me.


T.Puzzle seems to be doing good healthwise so I am cautiously hopeful we can keep the dogs permanently. I constantly remind T.Puzzle that if at any point, he doesn’t fare well, that it will be okay for the dogs to relocate again. He responds by saying, “I don’t mind if I sneeze, Mom. I really like having the dogs around.” .

Since I make over my dogs in a ridiculous fashion every, single day, I said to T.Puzzle, “Do you know who I love more than my dogs?”

“Who?” he asked.

“You, of course!”

“Mom, do you know what I love the most in the world?”


“Soccer. I love it more than you. I love it so much I could play it every day!”

“Really? You love soccer more than me?”

“Yep, but Spaghettios comes in third.”

Ouch! It could have been worse though. If I hadn’t beaten out the canned noodles, I may have lost hope entirely.

T.Puzzle:  so adorable, so honest, so glad he's my kid
T.Puzzle: so adorable, so honest, so glad he’s my kid