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chickens and eggs.

our favorite thing to do in the evenings is sit outside and watch the chickens.  garrett has become so aware of the animals in the last month and he just lights up when martha or milo walk into a room.  literally, smiles from ear to ear.  when outside, he just watches the chickens so intently.

who needs television when you have the entertainment of chickens?!




what better way to learn where food comes from?  he loves eggs.  we started him with just scrambled yolks and after several days and no reaction to the yolks gave him the full egg.  yay for no egg allergy issues!



this kid. he lights up our life. and then some.

a nursery complete. {almost}

i have so loved putting garrett’s nursery together.  we opted to not go with a theme.  we couldn’t pick just one.  our interests range vastly and we ultimately wanted a variety of images and influences for our little guy.  with, at the most 18 days!, until his arrival we are mostly finished.  i just have a photo/painting collage that i will put together above his changing dresser.  his essentials are complete and in place.  now we just wait.

this is what the room looked like before.  carpet.  a not so appealing baby blue.  then came the hardwood flooring.  new neutral paint color.  lots of days sitting and dreaming what it is going to be like having a little one call this space his own.

i love the colors navy and white.  i have a great piece of artwork that will go above the changing dresser that is the red sox, red sox.  so i tied in a few pieces of red.  his toy basket under the bookshelves and laundry basket.  i love the black out curtains.  they are navy and don’t have cords!

i really wanted a minimalist furniture approach which led to the wall mounted bookshelves.  they don’t take up floor space and i love how inviting the books are.  i walk in and immediately want to take a book off the shelf and start reading to garrett.  hopefully, he will feel the same way.  the planet mobile might be one of my favorite things.  who knew i was such a space nerd?!

the husband installed an entirely new closet system, one that will grow with garrett.  the shelves are adjustable and there are tons of accessories to personalize what will work best for you.   top shelf is 0-6 months.  baskets have socks, hats, shoes.  bottom shelf is 6-12 months.  after taking these photos i quickly realized i have a stripe problem.  apparently i have envisioned my little guy in a lot of stripes.  i am good with it.

garrett’s toy basket.  oh how i would love to have his toys forever fit in this little basket.

three drawers of diapers, cleaned, stuffed with inserts and ready to go.  only one is brand new, meaning we are tremendously blessed for cloth diapering mama friends that have either just given or sold very cheaply their diapers.  i am still a bit overwhelmed but i figure it is going to be a learn as you go experience.  i am pretty excited.

my sweet girl.  not quite sure about all of this new stuff that is suddenly in almost every room of the house.  i have found her sleeping in the nursery a couple of nights which makes my heart melt.  so many changes these past nine months have happened, with the biggest one yet just days away.  we are all so tremendously blessed and filled with love.

pottery barn slipcover sectional for the win.

our pregnancy has taken its first victim.  our beautiful leather couches that were our christmas present to each other.  the smell of the leather was just too much for this pregnant lady.  i mean i went back and forth a thousand times but the final decision came when i broke down crying one day after lunch because i didn’t want to go back home.  my home.  i didn’t want to go.  it made me miserable.  the couches had to go.

the husband surprised me with his interest in getting a replacement couch.  it took me four years to get him to break down for the leather ones.  i wasn’t going to push.  we did decide that since leather was no longer an option, slip covers would be ideal.  when out one day we walked into pottery barn and the husband fell in love with the small sectional.  i saw the opportunity to mention that the couches are actually for sale, not just sitting.  we left with measurements and a couple days later placed our order.

conveniently, he decided to take advantage of our living room with basically no furniture and to start/finish the hardwood flooring.  below is the laminate flooring.

our helper, martha stewart.  during this process we lost sam and she was VERY attached to us and vice versa.  my girl is typically the one wanting to be outside 24 hours a day.  after sam, she would go outside to do her business and immediately come to the back door and bark to come inside.  she is slowly starting to spend more time outside but is much more by my side than before.  i don’t mind the change at all.  i think it has helped us both grieve and find a new normal.

new bamboo flooring complete.  it is crazy what a difference real wood makes.  as each room is completed, i just get more and more excited about the finished look.

martha loving her new floors.

our new couch was delivered and we really do love it.  we alternate who gets the corner each night.  the cushions are wide enough for perfect snuggling.

we also finished our upstairs guest room.  here is the only before photo i could find when it had carpet.

and after with the wood floors.  sigh.  i really am in love.


final goodbye my boy, my sam.

these words are so incredibly difficult to write.  i want to get all of this down before the emotions fade.  it is all so raw and not quite real.  yesterday, my sweet sam died.  during the time it took me to eat breakfast and take a shower, his life ended.  suddenly, without any known cause, my almost 7 year old pup passed away.

i found him and martha stewart together.  his collapsed body next to hers, with her head resting on his body.  i immediately knew something was terribly wrong.  i ran to my boy but i was too late.  there was nothing that could have been done.  i called my husband, who rushed home.  i called the vet to ask what to do.  i brought martha inside.  there was nothing i could do.  we made the decision to simply have him cremated.  we didn’t want to have him sent off to the vet school in raleigh for an autopsy.  the results aren’t going to change anything.  i just want him, both his spirit and physical body, to be at peace.  the vet suspects an underlying heart condition, probably genetic.  there were no symptoms or behavior changes.  he spent the last four days with both of us home, being his normal, completely happy self.  for this, i am thankful. we were able to say our goodbyes.

i want to share my love for him throughout his life.  i don’t want to remember yesterday, i want to remember his life.

the husband and i had just briefly talked about getting a dog.  he was traveling a good bit for work and i was in undergraduate school.  we had milo, but milo is really the husband’s pet.  i wanted a dog so badly.  when the husband was away for a business trip, i found two golden puppies that were both available.  i called and got his reluctant approval and made the four hour {one way} trip by myself.  i got lost and ended up pulling over at random houses to ask if anyone knew of the golden retriever breeder in town.  small towns for the win, someone finally pointed me in the right direction.  my sam came running up to me first and i brought him home that day.  i had no toys, food, bedding, crate.  i was completely unprepared.  but sam and i managed those first few days and long nights.  just the two of us.

this photo makes me smile for many reasons.  one, this was his first rubber toy.  we still have it.  seriously.  there have been many a toy destroyed between then and now but somehow this one remained in tact.  in fact, it is now martha stewart’s favorite toy.  last night we were removing a few things that were just too hard to have around.  sam’s bed.  his food and water bowl.  but i couldn’t get rid of this toy.  i now think of it as sam’s gift to martha.

looking back at all our photos reminded me how much we loved this little guy.  we took him everywhere.  mountains.  beach.  every lake and pond we could find.  it gives me great comfort looking at how many amazing memories we have together.  we didn’t know his life would be so heartbreakingly short, but i don’t think we would have done anything differently if we had.  we jam packed his life with lots of adventures and belly rubs.  he was loved.

his first trip to the virginia farm immediately after exiting the car he found a mud puddle.  that is my boy.  never saw a body of water he didn’t roll right into.

proof that we owe the blue ridge parkway mountains an apology.  our destructive puppy didn’t read the sign.

more fun at the farm.  there are SO MANY photos of him swimming.  he just loved the water.

he slept in bed with me during a lot of really difficult days. his head on the pillow beside mine.  he accepted my hysterical, tearful face into his chest, with his paws around me, every time i was spirit-broken.  he always knew just when i need to lay down and cuddle into him or when i needed the nose nudges to get out of bed.  he was the only one that knew my deepest, darkest thoughts.  how in pain i was after each loss.  the guilt.  the anger.  he knew my secrets.  my love and responsibility to him kept me here.  truthfully.  in those dark moments i thought everyone else would be okay if i disappeared, but sam.  not sam.  and so i stayed and i tried to get better.  one of the most touching comments sent on facebook was this, “he must’ve known that he got you through the hardest times and that the days ahead will be filled with joy.”

we are doing okay.  i have enough perspective that i know things can always be much worse.  i lose it in moments when i think about how much i wanted him to meet our baby.  so i try not to go there.  not yet allowing that reality to sink in.  it is just too painful.

martha stewart is doing okay.  she definitely is a bit more attached to us, which i don’t mind in the least.  in fact, it is exactly what i need.  we can all use some special treats and extra cuddles in these times, and my sweet girl is no exception.  milo is also getting extra love.  extra cuddles for everyone for the next few days and weeks as our life without sam becomes the norm.

although too short, sam had an amazing life.  he was so incredibly loved and loved us back with everything he had to give.  in the end, nothing else matters.

puppy outtakes

a lot of people asked how we got the pups to pose for our announcement photo.  lots of outtakes.  and lots of treats.

like most photo shoots, i think the outtakes tell the story.  these were some of the best and really capture the hour we worked for one shot.

i love this one. i am trying to get their attention with treats and the chickens clucking was much more interesting.

we were close and martha was sitting in place but sam bolted.

then he came back just in time to roll around a bit.

finally, the perfect shot.

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