The Day We Got a Corgi

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Today is a very special day. This is the anniversary of the day we brought little baby Joey home. (Edit: Yesterday was the very special day. I’ve come down with a nasty bug that hindered all productivity yesterday, including this post.)

Mr. B and I spent the better part of a year weighing the pros and cons of getting a puppy. Some days it was the best idea ever, and other days we considered the responsibilities of puppy training and thought “nah, better not”. We researched breeds, scoured rescue shelter websites, and talked about the joys and messes that another dog would bring into our lives.

Mr. B fell in love with Corgis, and after considerable research, we decided a stubby little herding dog would be a perfect fit for us. Still, we weren’t sure we were ready for the commitment of adding another dog to our busy, on-the-go lifestyle. It wasn’t until the beginning of last year that we were once again perusing tricolor Corgis on the internet, that Mr. B declared that was what he wanted for his upcoming birthday: a puppy. I didn’t give it much thought, he’d been making similar declarations for a year, and the dedication to this particular decision never lasted very long. This time was different, though. The next morning, the first words out of Mr. B’s mouth were “I’m getting a puppy!” Holy crap, I realized, he’s for real this time.

And so, it was an unseasonably warm Sunday in January when Mr. B and I made the three-and-a-half hour journey to visit a Pembroke Welsh Corgi breeder. As we pulled into her driveway, the breeder stood on the stoop holding the puppy that we immediately fell in love with. From the moment we met him, Joey stole our hearts. He was friendly, sweet and playful, not to mention so stinkin’ cute! We couldn’t believe no one had snatched him up yet – so we did just that. We loaded him in the car and brought him home. (And took about 3,937,569,348 grainy phone pictures of him.)

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Over the last year, Joey has brought so much joy to our lives. He is the happiest, kindest, friendliest soul, and I can’t imagine our little family without him in it. Bringing home a new puppy is a huge commitment, but even with all of the chewing, the dog hair, the obeying-commands-only-when-he-feels-like-it, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. The love I have for this fuzzy little creature is at crazy-obsessive levels. HE’S JUST SO CUTE.

Thanks for making us smile, Joey. We love ya, little buddy!

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Defeated

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I’m an optimistic, positive person. I really do try my best to see the bright side, the silver lining, and all that other happy bullshit.

I do. I promise.

But this is not going to be a cheerful, upbeat, I-love-life kind of post. Come back tomorrow if you are looking for a half-full glass. My glass today is filled with Ketel One (dirty, up, 4 stuffed olives – in case you were wondering), and while it’s nearly full at the moment, we are barreling toward empty at a mind-boggling pace.

2014 sucks. We are only six days into it, and I am not impressed. It has been chock-full of disappointment. Some of the disappointment has been expected (though no less disappointing), and some of it has been so rough and unforeseen that it knocked the wind out of me. The kind of shocking disappointment that leaves you gasping for breath as you lose all control of your tear ducts. The kind that makes you ugly cry. Repeatedly.

My family has let me down in unimaginable ways, all to pacify someone who hasn’t been honest with them. They have hurt me in ways I could never fathom because they are being manipulated by someone so whose self-centered, cold nature continues to astound me. Based on past experience with this person, I can only imagine that there are lies being told which I will never be able to guess, let alone correct.

I am not hurt by the instigator. I am not shocked by them. I am not grieving the loss of their support or unconditional love, because I never truly believed it was there. I am, however, blown away by the reach they have. By the family members who let me down because of this person. I am heartbroken by the people I thought were my biggest supporters, my most loyal allies, my steady supply of strength. I am discouraged that they could be convinced to abandon me when I want and need them by my side the most.

There is no bright side to this, no light at the end of this particular tunnel.

I am defeated.

Deflated.

Tomorrow I will pick myself back up. I will stand up, forge ahead, and I will enjoy every moment of a beautiful, amazing experience that I will cherish for years to come. But tonight I will collapse into the strong, steady arms of my love. I will cry an ugly, ravaging cry while he strokes my hair and calls on karma to right the wrong. I will let the grief and disappointment invade my body until I am consumed with sleep. Tonight I will give into the hurt, the pain, the unbearable betrayal. I will just feel it; that is all I can do right now.

Tomorrow will be brighter, but tonight I am defeated.

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Our Christmas Festivities Lasted an Entire Week

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While I won’t be disassembling the Christmas tree or packing up the holiday decorations until after the first of the year, it seems the Christmas season is officially over. {sad face.}

This year, our Christmas celebration lasted an entire week. Since we both have multiple, separate families to spend holiday time with, it would be impossible for Mr. B and I to spend quality time with everyone in one or two days.

We started the Sunday before Christmas, with a ham dinner at our house with Mr. B’s mom, grandmother, sister, and future brother-in-law. We spent the evening sitting around eating, drinking, and catching up. Even though they all live nearby, we don’t get together often enough, so it was great to see everyone.

Monday night I ventured back to my hometown for dinner with my dad to spend the night at his house. Christmas Eve morning my dad and I woke up before the sun to head to Pittsburgh’s Strip District. This is one of the coolest parts of Christmas, so it’s totally worth getting up at the asscrack of dawn. We got to Pennsylvania Macaroni Co. around 6 am, and joined about 4 million other folks in the pursuit of fresh Italian goodies for our Christmas feast.

This is the line at the bulk cheese  at PennMac at about 6:30 am on Christmas Eve. It looks crowded and miserable, but in reality everyone is in a great, festive mood.

This is the line at the bulk cheese at PennMac at about 6:30 am on Christmas Eve. It looks crowded and miserable, but in reality everyone is in a festive, friendly mood. AND DO YOU SEE ALL THAT CHEESE?! Happiness. Pure happiness.

After purchasing (for 4 people, mind you) no less than 5.5 pounds of cheese, 2 gallons of olive oil, 4 sticks of Margherita pepperoni, I have no idea how much deli meat, plus some stuffed olives and sundried tomatoes for good measure, we figured we should probably find some breakfast.

You know how they say you shouldn’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach? That’s some solid advice.

Maybe we’ll try that next year.

Eh. Doubt it.

Anyway, breakfast was ah-mazing. This pretty much sums it up:

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Afterwards, we meandered to the spice store, the pepperoni roll cart (from Sunseri Brothers, naturally, because I couldn’t settle for one that wasn’t bigger than my head. Duh.), the wine shop, the sausage shop, and of course, the bakery for some fresh Italian bread. If you couldn’t already tell, we like food.

We eventually headed home for naps and to meet up with Mr. B, who had to work that morning and wasn’t able to join us on our little shopping excursion. That night my dad made his famous “dad’s spaghetti” for us. It’s not your typical spaghetti, it’s actually penne in olive oil with banana peppers, hot sausage, sundried tomatoes, and broccoli. IT’S DELICIOUS. But it’s also super spicy, so Mr. B had steak.

The rest of the evening was spent drinking, laughing at Joey, and exchanging gifts. My cousin had planned on visiting with us, but she wasn’t able to squeeze us in to her schedule after all. (No worries, I got to spend the entire weekend with her, which is way better than an hour or two.)

Early Christmas morning, Mr. B and I headed back to our house to exchange our gifts. We bummed around the house watching Christmas movies and swearing we’d never eat ever again. Then we took a little nap and ate some leftovers.

Christmas bums.

Christmas bums, enjoying a little snuggle sesh.

Christmas evening we ventured across the farm for dinner with Mr. B’s dad’s family. We ate more and watched the little kids play games. Some how, Mr. B got pulled into a game. I’m not clear on the objective of this particular game, but it involved putting cookies on his head.

Our final Christmas gathering took place last night, when my cousins came up for dinner.

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Nate was here this summer, and Tyler is going to school nearby so we get to see him all the time these days, but I hadn’t seen their sister, Danielle, in about 5 years. She actually spent the weekend with Mr. B and I, and her brothers joined us yesterday. Before they moved across the country, Dani was my little buddy, and I’ve missed her so much.  It was so nice to see her again and spend some quality time with her. She’s not exactly my mini-me anymore (since she’s as tall as me these days), but she’s even cooler than I remembered. Hopefully, it won’t be another five years before I see her again.

Even though I’m sad that it is over, it was a wonderful Christmas. The entire week was filled with fun, food, and lots of love and laughter. I can’t wait to do it all again next year.

How did you spend your holiday? Has anyone else sworn off eating for the rest of forever?

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A Year Ago Today {Our Proposal Story}

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One year ago today, Mr. B made me the happiest girl in the world when he asked me to be his wife. In honor of our little anniversary, I’ve dug up one of the first blog posts I ever wrote: the story of how Mr. B put a ring on it.

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In our corner of the world, it can be kind of hit-or-miss when it comes to appropriately timed snowfalls. I’ve gone trick-or-treating in the snow, and I’ve worn shorts on my birthday in the middle of January. Last year, however, Mother Nature got it right. Well, at least for the week of Christmas. A few days before the jolly fat man in a red suit came to visit, our town was blanketed in gorgeous snow. It was beautiful. It was the kind of snow that sticks to the branches and the rooftops and makes everything so very pretty. Then, the sun came out, which is a rare treat for us between the months of November and March. The sky was blue and the world was white and everything was so dang lovely that for one day, I didn’t mind winter. So when Mr. B suggested taking the horses out for a trail ride, I happily saddled up Sally. We even, at Mr. B’s suggestion, bundled up Daisie Mae in her fluffy, pink vest and let her ride along in the saddle bag. (Being a Chihuahua, she’s not one for snow, or getting her feet wet, or long hikes through the woods.)

Daisie, all bundled up in the saddlebags and ready for a horseback ride. Somehow, this is the only photo we managed to take on the day we got engaged.

Daisie, all bundled up in the saddlebags and ready for a horseback ride. Somehow, this is the only photo we managed to take on the day we got engaged.

We set out on my favorite trail, which runs though a beautiful pine forest along a small creek, “down in the hollow”, as Mr. B says. As you can imagine, it was made even more stunning by the sunlight pouring through the trees and reflecting off of the snow. Mr. B suggested that we veer off the trail a bit and walk down to the creek to take a look at the icy waterfalls. I found this odd, because he’s not one for hiking either, but I didn’t think much of it. We tied the horses up, unloaded Daisie from her perch in the saddle bag, and I followed him through the woods down to a point in the creek where a huge rock jutted out over a little waterfall. He really was on the cusp of an ideal engagement proposal. But then Daisie and I mucked it up.

When Mr. B and I stepped on to the rock to admire our surroundings, I realized that Daisie was no longer behind me. I spotted her back on the trail, whining and looking anxious about her inability to get over (or under, it could have gone either way) a log that had fallen across the path. So obviously, I lost focus on how amazing Mr. B is to have taken me on such a lovely outing, and began trying to coerce the dog into hurdling the log and joining us on the rock. Mr. B, in all of his nervousness, was not prepared for such a hiccup in the plan and blurted out “Hey!” to regain the attention of his clueless fiancee-to-be. It worked, and when I turned around he pulled a diamond ring from his pocket and asked, in a much sweeter tone, “Will you marry me?” Overcome with love and joy and excitement, and blinded by the sparkly diamond, I said “of course!” and promptly forgot about Daisie and her troubles. Mr. B and I spent a few sweet moments on the rock in the middle of the beautiful winter scene, reveling in our love and the life we share, and laughing about the silly little dog and what a pitiful attention span I have. It really was wonderful. It may not have gone according to plan, but the whole thing was just so very “us” that I can’t imagine a better proposal!

Oh, and on our walk back to the horses, we realized that Daisie wasn’t nervous about clearing the log after all. Turns out, her fuzzy vest was snagged on a stick, and she was unable to free herself. Oops.

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To Mr. B (a.k.a. Ryan) (a.k.a., my hunky man-friend) (a.k.a. the love of my life),

In exactly 138 days, I will be stealing your last name, and I cannot wait! You’ve made me so deliriously happy, not just in the last year, but in every single day that I’ve known you. It hasn’t always been easy, and I know it won’t always be smooth sailing in the future, but there is nowhere I’d rather be than by your side. I truly believe we are better together. Hand-in-hand, we can take on the world. You are my love, my best friend, my comfort, my teammate, and the man whose smile I can’t resist.

It’s so strange – I can’t believe it’s been an entire year since I said “yes”, but at the same time, I can’t believe it’s only been a year. It feels like such a whirlwind, and yet, I can’t imagine my life without you in it. I’m so lucky to be able to spend the rest of forever with you.

I love you, baby, and I can’t wait to be your wife.

Love, Me

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It’s Not Christmas Without… {12 Days of Blogging}

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I’m joining Amber and Erin as part of the 12 Days of Blogging Christmas linkup. Today’s prompt is “it’s not Christmas without…”

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There are so many things that make Christmas special to me. From new traditions. like the ones Mr. B and I are creating together, to the old traditions that out families have built over decades, each little piece makes the holiday season joyful.

One tradition that I brought to the table was Christmas lights. Mr. B didn’t have much desire to climb on the roof during the coldest months of the year, just to have a higher electric bill. I, on the other hand, couldn’t stand the idea of a naked house in December.  It’s just not Christmas without the glow of the lights prettying things up.

Being the good sport that he is, Mr. B agreed to decorate the exterior of our home for our first Christmas together. After we headed to town for a shopping cart full of string lights, that sweet, sweet man hauled his ladder out of the garage and got to work. And again, the following year, without much protest, he hung the lights once more.

{If I had a picture of our home all lit up with twinkling lights, I would insert it here. Sadly, I don’t have any photos of it. #badblogger.}

Except last year (our second Christmas together), we had a bit of a problem with the lights. See, we checked each strand before putting them up, and yet…they didn’t always work. Not that a strand died and needed replaced – no, that would have been too simple. More like entire strands of lights would go out one night, but work fine the next night (or even a few hours later).

We tried to separate the iffy lights from the good ones, but when we used the “good ones” later in the year to decorate for a party, we realized they were all shit. Rather than taking a chance on the three strands that had yet to be fickle little assholes, we decided to pitch the whole lot and start all over.

Really, it was our own fault. We pretty much bought the cheapest lights we could find since we needed a whole house worth. So when they didn’t last, we were bummed, but not terribly surprised. You get what you pay for, I suppose.

We ended up not getting replacements this year; we simply had other priorities, and that’s okay. (We will probably snag some right after Christmas, when the holiday decorations are dirt cheap.) It’s sad, I miss laying in bed at night and seeing the soft, yellow glow lighting up the yard. I miss coming home after dark and seeing the cheerful sparkle from down the road. It’s not Christmas without the lights. Don’t get me wrong, even though I wish the house was all lit up, I’m certain that this Christmas will be wonderful with or without the lights. And it is heartwarming to remember how willing Mr. B was to do all that work for a holiday tradition that he didn’t give two hoots about. That boy really makes me smile sometimes.

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The Happiest Christmas Tree

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I’m joining Amber and Erin as part of the 12 Days of Blogging Christmas linkup. Today’s prompt is “favorite Christmas music”.

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Each year, Mr. B and I venture out to the local Christmas tree farm to cut down our own pine beauty.

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And every year, as soon as we decide which one is perfect for our home, a certain song starts playing in my head.

Ohhhh, I’m the happiest Christmas tree. Ho ho ho. He he he. Someone came and they found me and took me home with them.

It plays as background music to my thoughts the whole way home, and I hum and dance as we start to decorate the tree.

Ohhhh, I’m the happiest Christmas tree. Ho ho ho. He he he. Look how pretty they dressed me! Oh lucky, lucky me.

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And through the entire Christmas season, I’ll catch a glimpse of the tree and hear that sweet little ditty start up in my head.

I’ve got shiny bells that jingle and tiny little lights that twinkle. Whenever anyone passes by, I blink my lights and I wink my eye.

Oh, I’m the happiest Christmas tree! Christmas day, wait and see, I’ll be laughing happily with a ho ho ho he he!

Unlike, oh, every other song to ever get stuck in my head, I never get sick of it. I can’t say it has any special meaning for me, it just brings a smile to my face. Maybe it’s just that I have a tendency to give personalities/hopes/dreams to inanimate objects and this particular song lets me know that I’m not the only one to do so. Maybe it just makes me feel a little less crazy. Then again, maybe it’s just a happy-maker.

In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s Nat King Cole in all his glory:

See, it’s catchy and fabulous isn’t it?!?

Also, it should be noted that I (obviously) had this song playing while I wrote this post. Upon hearing it, Mr. B chimes in, “you know that song basically just justifies you killing a tree, right?” Ahh, that Mr. B. Always so full of Christmas cheer.

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The Train {12 Days of Blogging Christmas}

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I’m joining Amber and Erin as part of the 12 Days of Blogging Christmas linkup. Today’s prompt is “Christmas tree/home decor”.

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I’ve already told you how excited I get about putting up Christmas decorations each year. Growing up it was no different; I was thrilled to pull the old boxes out of the attic, unwrap each festive item, and find it a place in our home. My favorite part of all was setting up the train.

It wasn’t just a train, it was an entire town. Not just any town, actually. Since it’s always a winter wonderland and the Claus’ reside there, I think it’s safe to say it’s the North Pole.

This year, my dad passed the train set down to me, and he helped Mr. B and I set it up at our house. It takes up roughly half of our little living room, but it makes the whole house a tiny bit more magical. Once my dad got it running for us and showed Mr. B how it all works, Mr. B and I finished setting up all of the little details.

My great uncle, Uncle Mike, hand painted all of the houses, buildings, and figurines.

My great uncle, Uncle Mike, hand painted all of the houses, buildings, and figurines.

 

Santa and the Misses have a cozy little home right next to Santa's workshop and the toy store.

Santa and the Misses have a cozy little home right next to Santa’s workshop and the toy store.

 

There are so many pieces to the train that we can't use them all at one time. This is what we've got set up this year.

There are so many pieces to the train that we can’t use them all at one time. This is what we’ve got set up this year.

 

The trolley and the working car are on a separate track in the middle. Mr. B set up this cute coal platform along the train tracks.

The trolley and the working car are on a separate track in the middle. Mr. B set up this cute coal platform along the train tracks.

Oh, and just in case you are wondering how Joey feels about this, check out this video on Instagram.

What Christmas traditions are near and dear to your heart?

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Thanksgiving Weekend Recap

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Happy Monday, kids! Welcome back to real life! If you are anything like me, it’s been a real struggle to get back in the swing of things after the long, lazy weekend of gluttonous consumption. (I’m wearing pants with an elastic waistband today, just in case anyone was wondering.) I haven’t really been expected to accomplish anything since last Tuesday, so dealing with “responsibilities” today has been a challenge.

On Wednesday, I spent most of the day baking. I had every intention of doing more than baking, but apparently I am a bad judge of how long it takes me to do things. I honestly believed I would get up early, bake until about lunchtime and then have the rest of the day to do other things. HA. I baked cookies, pies, and pumpkin rolls for a solid twelve hours. TWELVE HOURS. (It would have taken me longer if I hadn’t talked Mr. B and Tyler into icing the cookies for me.) When I was done, I wasn’t up for anything that didn’t involve wine and my couch.

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Thursday was spent bouncing around Western Pennsylvania and consuming excessive amounts of turkey, ham, sweets, and wine. Our first stop was Mr. B’s mom’s house for a full feast with her family, followed by a quick visit to Mr. B’s dad’s side of the family. We didn’t have time to eat there, but we wanted to pop in and wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving before heading to my dad’s house for turkey dinner number two. We stuffed ourselves silly for the second time that day, and my dad got to spend some time quality time with his “grandpuppy”.

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Friday and Saturday were spent eating leftovers and putting up Christmas decorations. Friday night, Mr. B and I went to Friendsgiving at Kristin’s house, where we ate and drank just as much as we had the day before, but with friends instead of family. It was a blast.

Late Saturday afternoon, Tyler and I found out that our great aunt had passed away. She played an important role in both of our lives when we were young, so her passing (while not unexpected) was pretty hard on us. To take our minds off of our feelings of grief and helplessness, Mr. B. suggested we try assembling the train set. We’d planned to wait for my dad to help us (since, really, he’s the only one who knows what he’s doing), but we agreed that having a project to keep our hands and minds busy was a good idea.

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Saturday evening and Sunday morning were spent constructing a platform, setting up the tracks, and trying -unsuccessfully – to make the train work. My dad is coming for a visit next weekend to help us figure out what went wrong. Even though we weren’t successful in our endeavors, we did manage to distract ourselves from our pain, if only for a little while.

Yesterday afternoon, Mr. B and I took Tyler back to school. On our way home, we stopped at a Christmas tree farm to pick out and cut down our own tree.

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We brought her home, covered her in tractors and Christmas cheer, and then enjoyed some popcorn and a cheesy holiday made-for-TV movie.

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How was your holiday weekend? Did you get to spend quality time with your family and friends? Is anyone else feeling a little fluffy today?

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The Thankful Project {A Room}

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I am thankful for my home office.

That’s odd, right? But I am really grateful for it. It’s my little space. I’m grateful to have a work area all of my own, and I’m thankful to have a man like Mr. B who was thoughtful enough to give it to me.

When Mr. B and I began the huge project of renovating the interior of our home, we discussed the changes we would make in every room. When the subject of the home office came up, he told me it was mine and that I should make it a nice little work space for myself. I protested at first. After all, it was our home, he should have a say and feel comfortable in there too, right? But he insisted that I take it and make it my own. He wanted me to have a place to write and create and just do my thing.

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Sadly, I can’t find any “before” photos of the office. Trust me though, it was a mess. Dingy, scuffed up white walls and stained, trampled green carpet. It was kinda gross. We ripped out the carpet and replaced it with hardwood floors. I painted the walls a soft gray, which ended up being a light grayish-purple that I love more than I would have expected. I painted the doors and baseboards a crisp white, refinished the doorknobs and hardware, and started hunting down furniture and decor.

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I’m still searching for wall art, but other than that, I’m pretty pleased with my little office. We found this desk at a flea market for $75. It is quite possibly the heaviest piece of furniture ever made. And those drawers are the full length of the desk, which means I have lots of great storage. All I had to do was polish it up and refinish the ugly gold knobs.

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This chest belonged to my great grandmother. I’m not sure I love it’s placement yet, but it has such sentimental value that it will most definitely have a place in my office (or perhaps at the foot of our bed??), even if it is missing a knob.

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The lamp on my desk used to sit on my mother’s nightstand when she was a child. I painted it pink and put a new shade on it, so it no longer looks like it’s fresh out of 1974.

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I also revamped an old chair, an old nightstand, and a wicker trash bin with a little bit of paint. (I like color, can you tell?)

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My office isn’t all mine though, I currently share it with Joey.

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I don’t mind though. He’s got a cute photo-bombing butt.

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I love this room. It’s mine. I’ve made it my own and decorated it to reflect my style. It’s my space to write, create, and do what I love. (And, sometimes, pay bills.) But it is so much more than that. It’s a space that Mr. B wanted me to have. He wanted to make sure I had a place in our home that was my own. He replaced the flooring and hauled in the world’s heaviest desk. He wanted me to have a space where I could do what I love, and I love him for that.

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Herding Cattle: What Not To Do

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This is post was one of the first on the blog, but since it’s one of my favorite accounts of Joey (and since I’m pretty sure only my mom and Mr. B ever read it), I’m re-posting it today for a link up with Jackie and Karly.

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Back in the early days of spring, we took Joey to meet the cows for the first time. He’d been up to the cow pasture once before, but that time he decided to wait by the truck rather than follow Mr. B into the herd. This time, Mr. B and I coaxed him into the pasture with us. He wasn’t exactly stoked about it, but he did join us.

The cows were curious about Joey,

 

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but he was not equally intrigued by them.

 

What the...?!?!

What the…?!?!

Please get away from me. Please?

Please get away from me. Please?

 

He tried hiding behind me

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and behind Mr. B.

 

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He also tried seeking refuge between my feet

 

Check those hot boots. Farming can be sooo sexy.

Check those hot boots. Farming can be sooo sexy.

 

and in Mr. B’s arms.

 

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When none of this worked, he ran from them. It backfired – they chased him. Which is the opposite of what is supposed to happen when a dog herds cattle.

 

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Hopefully, with a little bit of practice, he’ll figure out that he is supposed to be chasing them. Fingers crossed.

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