Life Lately { with the Pups }

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Hello stranger. It's been a long time since I've visited here. A lot has happened over the last 6 months. Some good, some bad, some I can share, some I can't. For the last few weeks I've felt drawn to open up a blog post and share something, and today is the day. The one thing I've missed most about blogging is looking back on our little family adventurers, so I'm hoping that I can get back to documenting those, even if just for myself.

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Like most of the country, we have been enjoying some beautiful, yet unseasonably warm weather lately. We've all gone a little stir crazy these last few months, which I'll recap in a few, so we took the opportunity to get everyone out of the house and visited Alum Creek beach. I was so nervous to let the pups run free by the lake, but they all cooperated for the most part and luckily neither of us had to jump into the lake after any pups.

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Abby throughly enjoyed drinking lake water and howling at the other dogs that were running and jumping into the lake. We jokingly refer to her as "The Sheriff" because any time another dog is having a good time, she will run up to them and start howling. Like she is saying, "stop having fun guys!" She does it to our other pups, as well as complete stranger pups at the dog park. If she is not in charge, then no pup is allowed to have fun.

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Lately we have been trying to take more adventures with the pups, especially Miss Abby. She is almost 15 years old (in May) and she has had her share of health problems these last few years. A few months ago she had a surgery to remove a growth from her side, and we believe the stress from the surgery possibly caused a stroke.

Immediately after the surgery, and for the following 2 months, she was unable to walk. In the house she would scoot on her hind end to get around, and we had to use a harness to help her walk and go potty. It was a really stressful couple of months, and we never got complete answers to what had happened, but she has quickly bounced back, has regrown strength in her hind legs and for the most part is able to walk on her own. She still has a few bad days, usually when the weather is rainy or super cold, but she also has days like this weekend where she was running all over the beach.

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Although he looks like he is enjoying this trip to the park, this little guy was less than thrilled to be there. He has become somewhat of a hermit and doesn't like to socialize with other pups. He really doesn't like to be outside much either and prefers spending his days either snoozing in our bed on a pile of pillows, or snoozing on my lap while I watch another episode of the Real Housewives or Fixer Upper.

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Our little man has had his share of medical issues too. He had a growth on his front leg that was growing rapidly and was causing him some discomfort. About a month ago he had it removed at OSU and we discovered it was a soft tissue sarcoma, which is basically a cancerous growth. After the surgery we had a follow up appointment with an Oncologist and she confirmed that it was a stage 2, which is considered low-risk, and they felt they had contained all the cancer cells. We will need to follow up with chest x-rays every 3 months to ensure the cancer has not spread to his lungs, and we need to monitor his little leg to re-evaulate should the growth come back, but the Oncologist felt that he should be in good shape for the remainder of his lifespan.

He is 11 years old, but I'll be honest this took me by surprise as we have had this growth removed in the past and our other vet did not believe it to be cancer. But as with the situation with Abby, it's just another reminder that we need to enjoy our time with the pups, and to try and stress a little less when they are driving us crazy because their time on this earth will always be way too short.

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And then there is Bryn. I think she had the most fun at the park. She spent the entire time socializing; she is our little social butterfly. She thought every human at the park should pet her and every dog should play with her. This is the best picture we got of her, and it's still blurry, because she would not stand still for one moment.

This little girl has had her share of issues, but mostly because she is a klutz and does something crazy to hurt herself. She has been in a cone for the last few months because she keeps licking a spot on her front leg where she had an IV over the summer. She swan-dived off the bed and hurt her neck, which landed her in the animal hospital for 4 days until they could control her pain. We are super lucky she didn't need to have surgery, or else it would have been 3 surgeries in the last 9 months for these pups. Needless to say we definitely deserve a discount...the 4th one should be free! But hopefully we are done with vet visits for at least a little while.

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But back to this beautiful weekend. The pups had a wonderful time, and we were glad everyone was somewhat healthy enough to get out of the house. We've had 2 of our 3 pups in cones lately, and I had many comments about the pups finally being cone-free when I posted the above photo on Facebook. Well almost cone-free, we still keep them in cones when we can't keep an eye on them.

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{ He is so happy to be leaving the park and heading home...our little hermit! }

Here's to hoping for more great weather, healthier pups, and more blog updates! Make sure to stop back soon!

Another Round of Birthday Fun

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A few weeks ago I had another birthday. My birthday is a little bittersweet. I love to celebrate birthdays, and as a Leo, I love celebrating my own. But this whole getting older thing just stinks. The best way I know to survive birthdays is to celebrate as much as I can, and not count the candles on my cake.

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This year for my birthday I wanted to go to the zoo and feed the giraffes. I saw people doing this a few years ago, and had just missed the feeding time, so it has been on my bucket list for a few years now.

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Meed Conner. He was a hungry fella and was the only one out of all of the giraffes that would eat anything from us. I guess the giraffes were a little scared of all of us, especially the kids. They also didn't like anyone wearing baseball caps. But luckily Conner cooperated and I got to check another thing off my bucket list.

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For those who are local, it cost $3 for a few leafs of lettuce. There are multiple feeding times throughout the day, including 9 am, 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm and 5 pm.

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We then had to stop by one of my other favorite creatures. A few years ago I took a camel ride for my birthday and checked another item off my bucket list. I think this guy might have remembered me from a few years ago, and was wishing me a happy birthday!

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I am always excited to see the flamingos, and enjoyed this one practicing his yoga moves. The flamingos were really active that day, and you can see the one guy in the upper left who was showing off.

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It was so super hot that day and most of the animals were lounging around. This guy had the right idea about keeping cool.

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I have no idea why the polar bears weren't keeping cool in the water. There is a baby polar bear named Nora that you can visit with in the morning. We didn't arrive until later in the afternoon, but I would love to go back and see her sometime. I heard they are moving her to another zoo, so I'm not sure if that will be able to happen though.

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The elephant was keeping cool with a little hay on his back. It was crazy to see him so close. I feel like most of the time they are pretty far off in the distance.

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More lazy animals, although this guy was really pretty.

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And of course I had to include a pic of my love who made sure I had a pretty amazing birthday.

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He started my day off with waffles, bacon and mimosas. Then after our trip to the zoo we had dinner at Cooper's Hawk, one of my favorite restaurants.

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On Sunday my family and Rick's family came to visit to continue the celebrations. We cooked tacos, Mexican rice and Mexican street corn. It was so delish and a lot of fun to catch up with everyone!

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My bro and I cheesing it up for the camera.

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We joke we only get along when wine is involved.

It was a great birthday, and I'm trying my best to continue the celebrations as much as I can. I love celebrating but I'm not ready to celebrate the next birthday anytime soon.

Weekend Recap { Alpacas and Wine + A Few Other Creatures }

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Last weekend we, along with my brother and SIL, visited the Yellow Butterfly Winery in Coshocton County, and my oh my it was an experience. Before we get to the winery, let's talk about the trip there.

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The winery was a little over an hour and a half trip, but thankfully we were driving out of the monsoon that has been hanging over Columbus for the past week. The day (for the most part) turned out to be beautiful, and there was a lot of nice scenery to take in, as shown below:

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Exhibit A: We came across a random goat enjoying a little salad of grass along the side of the road. He clearly had escaped his leash, and had no cares in the world. We said Hello!, snapped a few pics, and headed on our way.

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Exhibit B: We then came upon a field of the middle of Ohio. We were driving by and Rick casually says..."are those zebras in that field?" I had to do a double take and then of course we had to snap a pic to document this sighting. I mean who was going to believe us right??

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We arrived at the winery and let me tell you this place was hopping. The parking lot was full of cars and we immediatly understood why. The tasting room was in this beautiful yellow barn, that had a nice big back deck with live music and amazing views.

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Views of this little guy that is.

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He was very interested in what I was doing, and we clearly are quickly becoming BFFs. Rick says he totally wants to be my BFF and braid my hair in this pic.

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Before we had any tastings, I of course had to take approx 180 pictures of these beautiful creatures.

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Again my BFF { 😍 }

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And yes we attempted a little photoshoot with the alpacas.

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In all seriousness, how georgous is this view? We didn't get to sit on the deck and enjoy it as the rain soon followed us from Columbus, but I totally want to come back and enjoy a glass { or two } of wine and enjoy watching my favorite animals.

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Before we headed back up to taste some wine, Sarah commented it looked like the alpacas had recently been vaccumed. We expained they were likely recently shaved, but we had a fun little laugh. The kinda do look like they were vaccumed.

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Overall it was a fun time. The tastings were 3 for $1 + tax, which you cannot beat. And my tasting was free because we told them it was my birthday { which was true as it was last week }. The wine was a little too sweet for me, but I did enjoy a few of the dry red wines. Rick thought they were still a little too sweet for him, but he likes the really dry wines, and I prefer more of a semi-dry. I think most Ohio wines are a little on the sweet side, so that's to be expected.

If you are looking for a fun experience I would highly recommend Yellow Butterfly Winery. They have a fun country BBQ dinner and live music on Saturdays, but you do have to make reservations by the Thursday before. Just something to keep in mind.

After leaving Yellow Butterfly Winery, we headed over to Ravens Glenn Winery for some tastings and dinner. They had some really good wines as well and a beautiful dining room. It was dark, and too rainy, so we didn't get any pics, but trust me if you are in the area, I would recommend stopping by that one as well.

Life Lately

Thursday, August 11, 2016

I've been a little MIA lately with the blog. Life sometimes gets in the way and it's more important to live your life than spend tons of time documenting it...right?? But sometimes I get sad that I didn't have those moments documented to look back on. I love looking at my blog over the years and seeing all of our adventurers. So I'm going to try and take some time to catch up and share some of our favorite adventurers over the last few months.

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Today I wanted to share some random photos (mostly from Instagram) of what we have been up to lately.

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Work has been super busy as we've been in the thick of 2017 planning. Back in April I traveled to St Louis to visit my clients and we had the most amazing dinner at the 360 Rooftop Bar, which was the top floor of our hotel. Amazing views, great food, and a fun time catching up with a few of my coworkers.

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Miss Abby had a birthday back in May and she turned 14. I can't believe she is getting so old, and for the most part she doesn't act her age. She has been my best friend for 14 years and has been through so much with me...both good times and bad. She's been having some health issues, which has been a huge wakeup call that she won't be with us forever. But for now we are just enjoying every moment we can with her.

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Miss Bella had a dance recital also in May. It was so much fun to watch all of the little dancers, and it totally brought back so many memories of my dance recitals. I'm so happy she is following in her Aunt's footsteps, althogh I'll admit she is likely going to be so much better than I was :)

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Our good friends Jackie and Nate had a little baby Girl in July and we had fun at their couple's shower at Good Vibes Winery back in May as well.

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Had a little Snapchat fun with Bryn. We had a little health scare with Bryn in May when she pulled a disk in her neck. She spent 3 nights at the vet and after about 2 weeks of recovery, she was back to being Bryn.

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June brought Peony Season and I took a few (3) trips to Red Twigs Farm for fresh cut peonies.  One of those trips was with my good friend Amy and her daughter Avery.

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How georgous are these blooms? I wish every season could be Peony Season.

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We also spent some time hanging on our deck, relaxing with a good book. Well until it got super hot and we got invaded by bees :(

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Of course we had to celebrate National Donut Day with a free donut from Krispy Kreme (+ a dozen).

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We welcomed some more babies at the Holmes Family Farm. These little ones quickly grew up, so I'll have to share a farm update soon.

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Rick and I celebrated our 2 year wedding anniversary at the beach. Vaca recap to come soon as well!

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We celebrated the fourth with a cookout with my parents. Rick had to work, so earlier in the day I took Mom and Dad for ice cream at Jeni's in Powell, and then a trip to the new outlet stores. Kind of a low key holiday, but just what I needed since we had just returned from vaca.

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Again with the health problems...ugh!! Miss Abby has a sore/growth on her side that we just cannot get to heal. We tried to have it surgically removed, but her bloodwork showed some issues, so we didn't feel comfortable moving forward with the surgery. In the mean time, she has been looking cute sporting her t-shirts to help keep her from licking her side. Although she isn't too fond of the t-shirts, she tolerates them better than the cone-of-shame.

That's been our life lately...busy, but fun times! I'll try and share another update soon...hopefully sooner than 4 months ;)

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins { Clean Eating Version }

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

I am kind of obsessed with the Banana Chocolate Chip Bread at Starbucks. But it doesn't really work with my current clean eating plan. So when I came across this recipe on Pinterst, I wanted to try making a few tweaks to work with the 21 Day Fix plan. The texture is a little different, but it is quite delicious with a cup of tea or coffee for breakfast (or as a mid-day snack). And since all of the ingredients are natural (minus a few chocolate chips), you can feel good knowing you are fueling your body with a healthy snack.

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The modifications I made were to use oat flour instead of real flour and I made my own using old fashioned oats. I also used raw honey instead of brown sugar. I think the oat flour is the biggest change as it does add a little more texture to the muffins and they do not rise as much. The honey made the muffins slightly less sweet, but I think the chocolate chips totally make up for that.

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Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
21 Day Fix - 2 muffins = 1 yellow treat container

-- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
-- 2 medium ripe bananas
-- 2 large eggs
-- 2 cups rolled oats (old fashioned or quick)
-- 1/4 cup of raw honey
-- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (or cacao nibs)

Preheat oven at 400 degrees.

Place your rolled oats in a food processor and pulse until ground into a flour consistency. Then place the remainder of your ingredients in the food processor and pulse until well combined. Drop batter in a greased muffin pan, or muffin liners and fill all the way to the top. I only filled 3/4 the way full, which is why mine are on the small side. You may want to add a few chocolate chips on top to make pretty and add a little more chocolaty flavor.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

I placed the majority of these in the freezer and just pull a few out and warm in the microwae for about 30-45 seconds before serving. Our you can keep in the fridge for a few days to stay fresh.