Dog Pools

On Sunday morning, Mom and Dad came over to watch the kiddos for a couple hours so G and I could go out on the water together. It was a beautiful day at the house, so we ran a quick errand after our paddle trip to pick up some dog pools, and we settled in to enjoy the day on the deck.

The kiddos eagerly filled all the pools for the pups, and the pups (well, Lucy) eagerly jumped in. 20150802_132531_HDR20150802_132708_HDR20150802_133043It was only a matter of time before the kids took the pools over entirely, and their own water table was forgotten.

After pool time was a picnic, and I’d like to say Guy thoroughly enjoyed his bowl of cut fruit, but he’s smiling because he’s about to dump the fruit into the doggie pool and make Lucy go diving.

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Back of the House

I’m never really sure if these two are guarding the bath or just waiting their turn.



Speaking of the puppies, something very exciting happened in their world today.

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That temporary pen we put up for them in the fall became permanent today after a couple seasons of testing it out, and it’s amazing. The puppies — especially Lucy — were ecstatic, and we celebrated with a stop at Petco on the way home from work today so that Nellie could pick out new toys for the dogs.

She chose three orange and blue tennis balls, a pink and purple rope toy, and a spiky throw toy with a tail, which Lucy adores. That blur in the third pic is Lucy — no dog loves a game of catch as much as she does!

I am so happy we waited to create this pen after living here for a bit and really seeing what our needs were and how something like this could best be utilized — because this certainly isn’t what we would have done two years ago.  And even though Linus was a bit curmudeonly about the whole thing (as Linus is apt to be, of course), I see a lot of fantastic spring games of fetch ahead of us.

It’s a good doggy day around here today.


The Fence

The boats are suspended in ice right now.  Winter settled in last week with single-digit temperatures, treacherous roads, and excuses to stay in.  And though it’s still cold, the sun came out again today, sweeping most of the ice remnants into shady corners.

We’ve been busy.  Paint is being painted.  Rooms and closets are still being organized.  And G is doing so much amazing work that neighbors are stopping by to ask if he’s a carpenter, a builder, a home-fixer extraordinaire.  One of our first priorities was a run for the pups — the days are long right now without a dog door and fenced yard.  Long ago when I started saving pictures of what we were going to do at this house, I showed G several photos of horizontal cedar fences.  He fell in love with a 3-D, mixed-width fence.

We couldn’t find anyone to build the fence for us — apparently, it’s “not traditional” — so G took on the project himself, from design to build.

And after days and days of hard work, G finished making an incredibly beautiful contemporary cedar fence.  More than a dog-holder-inner, it’s a statement fence — part of the architecture of our house from this point forward.

I wish I could point to some equally amazing project that Nellie and I had been tasked with, but we haven’t been up to anything nearly so ambitious.  We’ve definitely been busy, though.  For starters, she’s been making cupcakes all day long.

And cooking shoes.

Over the past couple of weeks, Nell’s capacity for independent play has increased dramatically.  We can almost always find her in her playroom these days, engrossed in her toys and happily narrating the entire experience to herself.  Perhaps it is a coincidence of timing, and perhaps it is a result of more space and better organization of her stuff — everything is more accessible to her these days — but it seems that since we moved in, she has been growing up in leaps and bounds.  And she’s happy.  She’s really, really happy here.

And we couldn’t be happier either.

Even though…

…we’re a little concerned…

…with her obsession…

…with all things girly.

Where did this come from??

I don’t have many good transitions tonight.  My mind is tired, and my blogging is suffering.  So instead of stretching to connect pictures, I’ll just post a few more.

G and Nellie shared an ice cream sandwich with sprinkles at dinner last night.  She was hesitant at first, but eventually decided she really, really likes ice cream sandwiches with sprinkles.

She picked these out yesterday, and is obsessed with them.  She’s kind of a funny kid.

Growing Up

It’s as though Nellie realized that she is a year old now and, accordingly, needs to kick her growth into high gear.  Those two baby teeth she’s had for the last six months or so? Let’s add four or five more — at the same time! That need to hold on to something when she stands? Nah — she can just hold on to some goldfish crackers.

She is making a fierce jump into toddler-hood these days.  Talking more, taking more steps (though crawling is just SO much faster), and discovering new tricks and capabilities.

Last night I watched her pick up strands of spaghetti that were plastered to her tray, and I couldn’t help but think that just a couple of months ago, she never would have been able to grasp a single, slippery piece of spaghetti, let alone toss it back with a slurp and a giggle.

Nellie’s official birthday celebration was a week long — her beach pictures two weekends ago; a party at school on Friday; and our small family gathering on Saturday for the big day itself.  There was a lot of tutu wearing and a lot of cake.

I sent 24 cupcakes from Hello Cupcake to daycare with her on Friday to celebrate and say thank you to the teachers.

She was pumped.

The weather was perfect on Saturday for an outdoor party so we switched the festivities to the screened porch.

Aunt K, M & W, and Great Gma were all there to ring in the one year milestone.

(I am not sure whether G and Nellie planned on making the same expression for the group photo, or whether that was just a pleasant coincidence.)

The Nells sharing a moment:


We made Nellie’s favorite meal: lamb burgers with roasted eggplant and tomatoes, naan, hummus, tzatziki, and grilled lemon dill potatoes.

She killed it.

And never let go of her balloons once during the meal.

Of course, there was cake and singing, and G making funny faces. (Nellie removed the candle from her cake to inspect it, and then put it back so it looked pretty again.)

And presents.

And now we have a one year old.  She’s wearing skinny jeans in leopard print today (a present from one of her daycare teachers).  If that doesn’t scream “I’m a big kid”, nothing would!


Every morning is early in this household.  But while we normally spend some time transitioning from night to day, we jumped out of bed quickly today to try and beat the heat. G is laying the last of the sod in the backyard, so Nellie and I slipped outside with him.  7am is the perfect time for Nellie’s pink swing, before the afternoon sun bakes the backyard and bottom deck, and before the air gets heavy with humidity.

We said good-bye to K yesterday, which was a sad reminder that she doesn’t actually live with us, and Nellie does actually have to go back to daycare one day.

K smiled all week, even when we drove around southern Maryland in search of cool air for an entire day; and even as she pulled her Airborne out of her purse to ward off the plagues the three of us were coughing up.

She had girl days with Nellie every day.  Starbucks, the mall, Barnes & Noble, the grocery store, WalMart, the beach…

But even better than the time spent out was the time spent at home.  Because K had just that: time.

Time to spend with Nellie as she learns to walk. Time to patiently walk back and forth across the upstairs level with Nellie, cheering on the little monkey as she pushed her walker toy back and forth with increasing confidence.

I always assumed the baby stages came in equal parts: not mobile, crawling, and walking. I never realized that crawling could be, in fact, such a short stop-over on the path to complete household destruction.

There have been so many changes lately.  A big growth spurt, more attention to forming words and communicating, and the delightful realization that Nellie can open cabinets and close doors behind her.

Frankly, it’s all a lot easier to handle when K is around to cheer both of us on.