Animals, Around Here, photography

Puppers Pictures

Well, there’s a new doggie addition to our home, a teeny fox terrier/pomeranian mix named Petal. I LOVE HER!! Ashton is also a sweet little lovely dog, and he’s doing great with her and adjusting to life with an energetic baby dog around. It’s pretty awesome! I also worked on a project called Everyday Smiles, where we gathered photos of anything and anyone who makes us smile. That’s mostly what this collection is. Enjoy the photos! (There are 24 of them, so they’re behind the cut!)

Continue reading “Puppers Pictures”

Around Here

Around Here – Early Summer 2016

Happy Summer Solstice, and happy Summer time! The weather has been amazing here this week, highs in the 70s (F), and cool breezes, sunny skies… SO very pretty!


Outside my window… A breeze is blowing, and birds are chirping! It’s very soothing!

In my head… Honestly? I’m half laughing at myself, and half feeling like a very boring creature of habit, because when I decided I should do this kind of “currently” / “around here” type entry, I searched my previous posts for the last time I did one. Turns out, it was pretty much exactly the same time of year, and I said many of the exact same things I was thinking of saying today!! Oh, man. My habits are deeply ingrained, apparently. June hits, and suddenly, my writing ramps up, and I have a strong urge to clean, organize and plant stuff. That’s not all bad. But I’m bummed I haven’t made more progress on most of my goals from last year. Just goes to show I should do these posts more often, to keep myself on track better!

Also, as a general update from last year, I only stuck with that psychiatrist I mentioned for about 2 months. Her scheduling policy stressed me out so much, it was just dumb. I finally told her I can’t see her if appointments with her were causing more stress than they were helping! I haven’t seen a different therapist since her, and not sure if I will again soon or not. For now, I’m just leaving things as they are.

On the kid front… Homer is amazing. He wants to play with his friends a lot, and he is gaining more life skills, like getting the water pitcher out and pouring himself a glass when he’s thirsty, and pumping himself on the swings. He still asks me to push him on the swings and get him water, though, and he still wants to snuggle a lot (yay!). He is not sleeping in his own bed all the time, but he falls asleep there, and he has actually just recently started to stay there longer again. Sleep is an ongoing issue for us to figure out, but we are working on it. And the more sleep he gets, the better a mood he’s in, which is surprising to no one! Right now, he falls asleep around 11pm and sleeps until 9 or 9:30am. Which works pretty well for all of us night owls at the moment, but will need to work on shifting earlier and earlier if we’re going to have reasonable sleep hours for the school year.

His anxious/angry outbursts have become fewer, and less intense when they do occur. Thankfully! I think getting better sleep and eating well seems to help a lot.

Overall, Homer is just such a cool and sweet guy, always genuinely complimenting others, trying to connect with everyone he comes across, shouting, “HI!! HIIII!!!!” to strangers across parking lots, chatting up a storm with cashiers at stores. He’s so outgoing and chatty, and it amazes me how he can seem so grown and so little all at once (I’ll probably say that about him forever!).

He has delved into experimenting with using profanity, which I try to discourage! And he is so good at so many video games, and board games that he genuinely beats me a lot. I couldn’t believe it when he recently beat me at checkers!!

He is scared of the dark still, but more open to suggestions for overcoming it, instead of just panicking like he used to. His problem solving skills overall are becoming really impressive. As is his vocabulary! He cracked me up when he told Joe recently, “You always overestimate how much space I need!” I don’t even know exactly what they were talking about, something with Minecraft, I think. But holy cow, how cool is that?? “Overestimate.” He just amazes me!

The Menagerie… Ashton chews tons of stuff, wags his whole body whenever I come home, and is the best snuggle-dog ever. An all around goofy dog, who I’m so grateful is mine. His potty training is EXCELLENT compared to this time last year. We haven’t even bothered with the crate in about a year. It was helpful to have for a long time, but there’s just not really a need anymore.

He still barks at people, and sounds at the door, but stops a little more quickly now. He no longer barks at dogs who bark outside or dogs who bark on tv. Yay for progress! He knows sit, down, wait, spin, sit up, and roll over. He’s a good guy. Things I want to work on with him: not so much barking, not grabbing every thing that falls on the floor (be it food or Homer’s toys or whatever), not chewing everything he finds (i.e., Homer’s toys), learning how to “back off” as in, not licking our faces when we don’t want him to! He’s really doing awesome, and I love him like craziness!

As for Tails, he is still a goofy, playful guy. He plops himself down in the middle of board games. He sits high on my chest and licks my nose when I watch tv. He runs around the house like a madman in the middle of the night. Sweet, silly Tails! He’s doing great, I’m happy to say.

In the creative corner… I have finished a first draft of my first novel! A pretty big milestone, yet at the same time, the work ahead is daunting as hell. I keep trying to sit down and edit, and haven’t done much of any of that. I really need to block out some time to concentrate on it, or it’ll take me another four years just to edit it!

I also have a lot of ideas for paintings and crafts, so I hopefully will have a lot of creations by the end of summer! I’m hoping to rope Homer into some creative time, too. It’s so important to use our hands and senses and experience textures and colors, etc. I’ve got lots of ideas I think he’ll like. We’ll see how it goes!

In the garden…My fairy garden from last year is super dead, but I’ve been all excited to make a new one, a little succulent garden or something. I don’t know, I feel a little discouraged, because I don’t know where I could put it that Tails won’t eat at it, though I suppose the balcony could be an ok choice.

In the kitchen… Nothing new. Still not eating the best. Lots of processed junk. I’m looking forward to improving that, and using the idea of fun blog posts as a method to motivate myself to improve on this (like making food and/or fitness related blog posts). Also, I’m just using my health in general as inspiration, because I’ve been feeling pretty blah, and am ready to change some stuff up.

On the fitness/health track… Same as above. Lots of improvement needed. The good news is that I have a Fitbit now, and it does help get me motivated. It’s fun being close to 10,000 steps and then knowing you just need to push a little harder to get there, and then feeling the buzzing alarm on my wrist as the Fitbit cheers “10,000!” So cool.

I’m going to try to implement a really regular walking routine. I hate feeling like I’ve been SO off track for so long. It really gets me down sometimes. But I know I have the power to change that, so I just need to find some ways to do it! My first plan is getting up a little earlier and just taking Ashton for a 30 minute walk each morning. He and I could both use it and it’d be a great start to the day. And I have to take him out anyway, so why not, right? Just gotta start and stick to it. Easier said than done, evidently, given that I’ve been telling myself this for a few years now. But maybe the 115th time I say it will be the time it sticks. Who knows!

I am reading… the 5th book in the Harry Dresden series by Jim Butcher, Death Masks. So good! I’ve missed these books, as I took a long break from the series, and it’s cool to get back to it.

As for reading to Homer, we’re reading a mix of books, like Dr. Seuss and a few early reader type books. I also just finished reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to him, and we’ve just started on James and the Giant Peach.

I am watching… a LOT of Game of Thrones. Joe and I have been marathon-ing it over the past few weeks and we’re almost caught up!

I am playing… some cool games with Homer lately, like Minecraft Battle Mode on Xbox, Mario and Sonic at the Rio Olypmic Games, and a cool phone app game called Brain It On! So fun!

I am thinking… way too much lately! So I’ve been trying to calm my mind a bit more, meditate, relax and slow down so I can enjoy summer to the fullest!

I am thankful… for quite a lot. I’m thankful the weather is turning sunnier and a little warmer (I like the cool, low 60s temps we’ve been having a while, but the low 70s temps are just downright gorgeous!), I’m thankful for knowing how to handle anxiety when it gets into hyperdrive mode, I’m thankful for friends who are just awesome people to connect with, for writing, reading, and story telling, and most of all for my lovely family, and fantastic friends, both near and far.

I am going… to sleep more, walk more, and eat better. With those as my main goals, I am excited to see what fitness goals I accomplish by the end of summer. I’d like to work up to it being really easy to walk 4 miles at a time, for that to just feel like a normal outing. And I’d like to be able to do 5 pushups in a row (up from my current zero!), and to be eating healthy foods on a daily basis. I’m also going to figure out a schedule for writing and editing, and get a jump on finishing the first draft of another novel in the works, and start editing the first one. I’d love to have a completed second draft by end of August. Wish me luck!!

What are you up to? Do you have any summer goals? Feel free to let me know in the comments section below!

Around Here

Around Here (Early Summer 2015)

Outside my window… Summer is here and it’s pretty dang beautiful…


Don’t ask me what that is, as I have no idea! It’s growing outside our windows, though.

Anyway, I do realize that the First Day of Summer is technically June 21. It says so on our calendars, after all. But to me, it’s silly to say, “Summer is starting in a few weeks!” when kids are out of school, and it’s 85 degrees outside!! Summer is now, people!! I’ve even heard, “But it’s June, it’s not supposed to be this hot yet!” Which makes me laugh, as I have always lived in hot climates, and June = Summer in my mind. But really, I’m just trying to live the seasons by what’s actually happening outside, and Summer has definitely arrived early. We had some high 80s days, and today is like 75. And freaking perfect!!! It makes me ridiculously happy.


In my head… People who read this may or may not know that I have general anxiety and OCD, and take medication to help with these things. Because of the medication aspect, I decided to start seeing a psychiatrist in order to figure out what to do medication-wise (keep things the same, or what changes to make, if any, etc.). I’ve seen her only once. Well, twice. But the second time was messed up because we had each written down a different time for the appointment, so we only had like ten minutes to meet. Anyway, so what’s been taking up space in my head lately is lots of wondering if she’s the right fit for me, not because she’s a bad therapist. On the contrary, she seems like a great therapist! What she says is great so far. But she’s so weird about scheduling that it is kind of causing me anxiety. Which is just awesome when you’re there to be treated for anxiety!

Anyway, I just felt like writing about that, because if you’re like me, you torment yourself with whether or not you really need therapy (which probably means the answer is “yes, you do”), and then there’s the whole process of finding one, seeing who is covered by insurance, and then CALLING to make the first appointment, which is the hardest part, if you ask me. There’s just a lot of rigamarole and honestly, it’s a giant pain in the ass to get started. But I’m hoping it’ll be worth it, and I already think it is. Just getting started has already inspired me to take care of myself in other ways, too, and shown me the importance of doing so. And that is a good thing!

On the kid front… Homer is so funny. I feel like I always start any story about him by saying that, but it’s really true. He and I have been playing a lot of video games and board games together, which has been really fun. I try to take him on little adventures nearly every day. Recently, too, we tried out a drop in daycare place, and he was super anxious about it at first. When I picked him up, though, he was already talking about “when I come here next time…” Next time!! I’m so proud of him for rolling with it so well. He only cried a little, I only cried a little. And now we have a nice place he can go, so I can go to appointments or have some me time, or something!

Also, guess who’s been sleeping in his own bed at night AND stopped nursing??! There’s been some very big stepping stones over here lately!! And he’s taking it all in stride.

One tough thing that happened recently was sort of multilayered… First, he saw his little buddy, Marcus, get stung by a bee on the face, which lead to a very strong fear of bees, unsurprisingly. And all flying bugs, really! Then, Homer got stung by a bee on the bottom of his foot as he ran barefoot through the grass! At least, that’s what I think happened. He was screaming and crying for such a long time. He kept saying there was a splinter, but there wasn’t. And he wasn’t near any wood. And the crying was similar volume and pitch to when he got shots, so really, all evidence points to a bee sting. But the poor kid, whenever I said that (which wasn’t too often), he’d get like ten times more upset (and this was hours later!). He hated the very idea that it even could have been a bee! Poor kiddo. I’m glad he’s doing better now, at least. I think the apprehension of flying insects may last a while, though.

Funny Homerisms…

“We should call Ashton: The Sweet Destroyer… Becuz he’s really sweet to us. And he destroys everything.”

“I gotta drink this water. I’m so dehydrated!!”

He also used a few other large vocabulary words completely correctly. Like “automatically,” and… I forget the others. It’s just so incredibly fun listening to him talk, the stories he tells, the way he says things. Today, he said, “Hey look! The sprinklers are sprinkling!” It was so cute!

The Menagerie… Oh, sweet Ashton. He’s been so sweet and doing pretty well. He’s only a pain when we’re walking, and he insists on barking at every dog he sees. The good news is he is still out of his crate almost all the time, doesn’t potty in the house while we’re gone, and when we went to the dog park, he didn’t bark at all as we approached the gate. He was just plain happy about it! He’s sleeping under my chair as I type at my desk right now. And when we snuggle on the couch, he likes to settle his chin into my leg or on my ankle, which is the sweetest feeling.

Tails is doing well. He’s awesome and loves rubbing all over me every morning. He’s super happy I cleaned my desk. He would’ve slept on it regardless, but now there’s a lot more room for him. See creative corner, next!

In the creative corner… I cleaned my desk!!! Behold, the beauty:

It’s nice to have an actual workspace again. The whole desk had been completely piled high with clutter. Joe started referring to it as the hoarder desk. It was not good. But now it is!! I still need a good computer chair to actually be comfortable sitting here. That’s the next step. But it works. I’m using it right this very moment, after all!

In other good news, I’ve been feeling more like writing lately, I’ve been actually writing more, getting ideas for stories and blog posts, and I feel more confident in sharing that writing, too. It’s hard, because it feels so vulnerable and weird to be like, hey read what I write! But I think the whole point is that I need to write, so I should, and if others gain anything from it as well, all the better. The only way to know my voice is to just keep writing. So I’m going to try to make blog posts here a really regular thing.

In the garden… I am growing stuff!! It’s not that fast-going at all. But it is happening, slowly but surely. The tomato plants and jalapeƱo plants are pretty itty bitty. I doubt any food will come from them, but it’s still fun watching and trying.

The coolest thing in the garden, I think, is my fairy garden!! I just got some new plants for it, and check out how cute it is now…


I’m super happy with it, and want to get much more! But I’m holding back until after construction on our balcony is over (it hasn’t begun yet, but will soon).

In the kitchen… Still stuck, stuck, stuck. Same ol’ bad habits, mostly. I did talk to a friend, though, who is a nutritional coach, and may be getting her guidance to get in my best shape, eating and exercise – wise. I feel like I just need some guidance, you know?

On the fitness/health track… Same as above. A bit stuck. But definitely better. After all, I did actually go walking for exercise with Tina recently! So I’m glad about that. Now I just need to go walking daily, and I’ll be golden. I feel a lot more motivated now, after getting some results other than “perfect” from my latest lab results from the doc. I just got a regular physical, typical bloodwork, just routine stuff. And it came back with high cholesterol and high blood glucose, and low vitamin D. So, I gotta do something, and then go back in in 90 days for a recheck of everything. The silver lining to this is that now I have a time frame and a bit of fear fueling me – I would like to avoid any major health issues, thanks very much. Time to listen to my body screaming at me, “treat me better!” I’m trying, I really am!

I am reading… Still working on Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant, as well as chipping away at Neil Gaiman’s collection of short stories, Trigger Warning. Both are incredibly awesome! I feel like there’s so much more I want to read, too, but I need to finish these first.

I am watching… America’s Got Talent is definitely fun to watch! I’m so glad it’s back!! I’m also watching Silicon Valley, which is hilarious! I’m in the process of catching up on the second season.

I am hearing… I’ve been listening to They Might Be Giants’ album “Glean” in the car a lot lately, and I LOOOOOOOOOOVE ITTTTTT!!! It makes me happy. I’ve been listening to them since I was 10. Weird but true. So new(ish) music by them that is still them, their style, their sound, just brand new to me.. just lights up my whole being. Maybe that sounds silly, but it’s true. I’m really enjoying it!

I am thankful… that the weather has been nice, for beach days and sand, for iced coffee, the smell of sunscreen, beers with friends on their back patios, play time in fountains, cupcakes and/or ice cream with friends… I’m thankful for the comfort of writing, and for the encouragement to write. I’m thankful for my awesome little family, and my wonderful friends. I’m thankful that I’m feeling better than I have in a while. That’s definitely a good thing!

I am going… to a beautiful park tomorrow, to a dance class this weekend (exciting!), and to see Eddie Izzard with Sarah in just over a week!! I’m going to start walking regularly, and writing regularly, and see where life takes me. I’m looking forward to it!

How about you all? How’s summer treating you so far? Anything you’re looking forward to this summer? I’d love to hear from you!