Welcome home, Penny!

Penny’s “coming home” story was not exactly how I pictured it to be, but it is her story and it should be told just the same.

In March 2013, our beloved 10yo shepherd passed away unexpectedly. I had no idea how much it would hurt to lose him – I feel like I thought he would just be with us forever. We didn’t know when (if?) we would want another dog. After a big move and some time, we decided in December that it was finally time to start looking. From there, it happened unbelievably fast.

IMG_3439I started searching shelters and area rescues, and when I found her (then named “LaLa”), a 7-8 month old terrier mix, I was in love. I went out on my own to meet her before we brought our girls out, and it was hard to leave her on that first day. You could tell she was a little nervous, but you could say that she warmed up to me quickly. She was sweet and snuggly and she just wanted to sit on me and nuzzle. I was just hooked. The foster mom said she had been great around the kids and other dogs, so I knew she would be great with kids. I left and told the mom we would all be back together the next day to pick her up. I envisioned letting the girls out of the car and having her rush up to them with licks and a happy, wagging tail. I went the next day to get everything we needed for her and, excitedly, we piled the girls in the car after school and drove them out – telling them NOTHING.

It didn’t go the way I’d pictured it in my head. When we all got out of the car, I smiled at her and whistled a little….and she ran. She ran and hid.The girls were trying to figure out what was happening, and we were trying to surprise them, and instead I was trying to coax this dog out of hiding just to come meet them. Eventually, I picked her up and held her a bit and then handed her to my husband, who took her in their living room and sat on the couch with her. They petted and snuggled her while I filled out the adoption paperwork, and the girls were positively giddy with excitement. She was sitting there, being perfectly cooperative, but scared. She rode in my lap the whole way home, and within a few minutes

Going home!

Going home!

was licking me and giving me some indications that she remembered me and was happy I had come back for her. When we got her home, that’s when we started to realize that we were dealing with more than just a puppy from a shelter. She was still sweet, gentle, and loving, but she was also terrified. She started to follow me around a bit, but if I turned around and took a step toward her to pet her she would bolt. She wouldn’t eat or drink, wouldn’t go in or out of doors, and would tuck her tail and ears if you so much as looked at her.

However, she slept like a champ in her crate in our room at night, and we could see glimpses of playfulness in an unexpected tail wagging or turning her head toward you when you called her name. She took a particular liking to the littlest munchkin, who we have since affectionately named “The Penny Whisperer”. I started just taking her along everywhere I went because she does great on a leash and in the car, and I figured that socializing and incorporating her into our lives would have

Note the pinned ears and the tucked tail - even though she loved her already, she was still unsure

Note the pinned ears and the tucked tail – even though she loved her already, she was still unsure

the most comforting effect for her. She is now a pro at school drop off, but the first time out and about brought out some definite uncertainty.

She is getting better day by day, but we know there is a long road ahead. As of this day (day #10), she is following me around just about everywhere. She will eat (slowly) when you put her food down, has had no accidents in the house and sleeps in her crate pretty darn well. She spends most of her time curled up on “her” blanket on the couch, but every now and then I can get a little playfulness out of her for a moment. Our biggest hurdle is my husband, who is one of the biggest dog lovers ever, but to her he brings up something she is scared of. She will get on the couch if he is sitting on it (which is actually a new thing), but will not approach him if he is standing, and will circle outside a room if she has to in order to avoid walking right by him. She will take a treat out of his hand if he gets down low, but retreats as soon as she gets it. All progress is good progress, but I hope that she will soon learn she can trust him – and all of us – and that we love her already.

Welcome to the family, Penny!

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If it’s dreary outside…

….then bring the sunshine everywhere you go!

That is quite the yellow shirt! I was actually wearing a cute tan top first, but when I looked in the mirror I felt like taking a nap. I then went back into my closet and stood, staring at everything, and thought, “What is the brightest piece of clothing I own?” There ya go.

It is one of my favorites, actually, but I rarely wear it because I rarely wake up feeling a nice shade of bright and sunny yellow. Today, I was feeling quite the opposite, and decided to force a little sunshine on myself. To my surprise, it totally worked! Who wudda thunk it?

I was also really happy with my hair today, so I thought it deserved a little recognition of its own. Bam!

Not that it’s related to today at all, but I did snap a pic of my outfit yesterday. Actually, I took about 15 of them, and no matter what I did I couldn’t get my face right. I had a double chin, then I looked like a zombie, then I kinda looked like a turtle with my shoulders all hunched up….I just couldn’t get it right. At that point, I decided silly was the way to go, and I’m ok with that.

I’m not even totally positive I brushed my hair yesterday.


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Adventures in Mommyland

Mommyland = My mom hitchhiked it out west for a visit.

Ok, so she flew like a totally normal person.

We were go, go, go the entire time she was here. The weather was quite cooperative for an Oregon October, so that made all our exploring much more enjoyable! The clouds stayed away long enough for Mom to catch a pretty stunning glimpse of Mt. Saint Helens as we were driving up – then we got to watch the fog roll in from 4,000 feet.

With my mama in front of Mt. Saint Helens

It was neat to take my mom around what I am beginning to see as my “home”. The landscape is so different out here, but I have grown more used to it over the last 7 months. It was interesting to hear her fresh comments about how green everything was, how different the trees were, how high up the mountain roads take you…..it was great to explore all over again. For a few days, I got to take in all the excitement all over again, just like when we first moved and everything was so new.

Running through the corn maze

Everything about fall makes me happy. Well, I should rephrase: everything about the fall I know makes me happy. I find that I am torn between my normal excitement for the changing leaves, the fall family fun, and holiday activities on the horizon, and the knowledge that I am mere weeks (maybe days?) away from rain for the next 200+ days of my life. Hubby’s family is coming for Thanksgiving, my dad in December, and my baby sis over New Years – and I have not a clue what to do with them while they’re here. I have so many cool places I want to show them, but not a one of them are winter-season excursions. It’s no use taking them up a mountain just to point off into the distance and say, “Ok, if you can imagine that those clouds are NOT there, right now you are looking at a [volcano, waterfall, gorge, ravine, coastline].”

Multnomah Falls

I wish that it wasn’t quite so black or white when it came to “the good time to visit Oregon”. Although, I suppose the flipside to that is that any visit from June-September is pretty much guaranteed to be awe-inspiring. Note to the people I love: June-September, unless you really enjoy the inside of a townhouse.

So, for now I will enjoy the changing days as they come – along with the occasional, unexpected sunny afternoon. On those days I will buck my system of responsibilities and demand that everyone that is awake be outside at all times. The tough part is not letting the dreary and rainy days drag you into a funk of couch-lounging. While it’s great on occasion, it can certainly eat you up and spit you out to the point when you aren’t really sure what happened to the last week of your life. I try very hard not to get sucked into those places, but sometimes it is not an easy task.

Being away from my family is a hard thing to swallow, but it’s comforting to me to know that the holidays are in view from here. Holidays, no matter which ones they are, always make me happy, and I know that this year will be a year of building new family traditions that are just for us. We can miss those we love, but still know that this is a time that brings our little family in even tighter. I was so happy to have Mom here, the girls loved their time with her, and it was nice to have my little dose of home. But, for now, it’s back to normalcy, which isn’t really so bad.๐Ÿ˜‰

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Today, today, today

I did recover from the slow start to my day. Ready for the afternoon ahead, in my most favoritist (yup, I said it) jeans ever. Shout out to DKNY SpringStreet, because I would wear these every day if I could. Every.single.day. If only they weren’t all grunge and baggy…..they drag the wet ground, which is a problem for an Oregonian.๐Ÿ˜‰

Day #16:



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What day is this?

I don’t know what day I’m on, since I reevaluated my challenge to “dressing for the day”, instead of “dressing up every day”. So, some days (like yesterday), when I have gym plans in the middle of the day, I just decided to hang out in my gym clothes for the day. I’m not in this to make things hard on myself – I’m in this to make myself FEEL better. I feel fine in my gym clothes (which are cute, by the way!) when it’s a day that I am actually going to the gym. I just don’t want to be this girl, no matter how adorable she is:

Today I am not going to the gym, and I actually have a parent-teacher conference this evening, so I have no excuse to still be slouching around in my super comfy yoga pants. Granted, I have made beds, done laundry, and taken out the trash, so I have not been entirely non-productive. Still, though, that is not the point of this whole thing, so I need to suck it up and get on with my day. I will have to return to post a picture of today, but, in the meantime, here’s proof I’ve been keeping my end of the deal over the last week:

(Love my shoes!)


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Feeling a little discouraged.

I have lost my way a bit in my challenge. I discovered a few things I need to either adjust or overcome in order to actually make this a worthwhile life change. It’s an evolution, right?

  1. Some days it just.doesn’t.make.sense to go through a whole song and dance. Gym days that also include shuttling both girls to two different activities at two different time? I think just a quick shower after my workout should suffice. I think I should adjust my personal challenge to, let’s say, 5 out of 7 days. I think I should be allowed two days a week for (reasonable) slumming should it be appropriate. If I’m going to be home all day, then going to the gym at 4:00pm, do I really have to get all dolled up to sit at home…only to take it all off and put on my workout clothes? Eh, that seems a little silly. I think I could just start the day out in my gym clothes, a ponytail, and call it a day.
  2. This past week’s snag was a pretty obvious one – I only have so many things that I feel cute in. Getting dressed does NOTHING for you if you feel like crap in what you’re wearing. I spent all day cleaning out my closet, and have vowed to use my personal spending money (my blow money, for any Dave Ramsey fans out there), to buy myself pieces that I LOVE, that I FEEL GOOD in, and that FIT me at the size that I am – not the size I wish I was.

I am trying to make myself better – a better woman, wife, and mother. To be honest, I think it needs to be in that order. They all feed off each other, and I think I need to start in the right place so I can end up at the right goal.


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My apologies.

Believe it or not, I have been continuing with my challenge. However, a problem with my photo gallery (I’ll take a picture, but then it won’t show up in my gallery at all. I keep getting an error message about not having any pictures to display. Bah humbug.) has kept me from being able to post pictures. Also, I repeated a few outfits over the last few days, and it’s just silly to post repeats.๐Ÿ˜‰

I am going to have to suck it up and get out my “real” camera and just do it that way. At least then I know the pictures will be there when I go to upload them!

Anyway, I was able to get these pictures off my phone before the trouble started. This is last Saturday and Sunday…notice the repeat on Sunday. I was wearing different pants, though, so that has to count for something, right?

Day #11:

Day #12:

I’ll retake the picture I took this morning with my actual camera….even thought the picture this morning was PERFECT thanks to freshly applied makeup and the perky result of a delicious cup of coffee. Bleh.


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Day #10

Recap of yesterday:

Yesterday was MUCH better than the day before. I felt good and it trickled down into everything else I did. Overall, it really was a great day.

Day #10:

I don’t normally talk about the day as it’s happening, but something strange happened this morning and I think it may be worth noting as an experiment point. I started the day like this…

It’s not that it’s bad – actually, that’s one of my favorite shirts. The jeans are more of a trouser style, and I usually save them for the in-between dressy occasions like church or a nicer-than-usual dinner. It actually kind of felt strange to be wearing them outside of what I considered to be an appropriate occasion. I put BG on the bus and came back home, and started thinking about whether or not I wanted to go to Friday playgroup. That’s odd, because that’s something I look forward to all week! I was feeling the funk.

So, I thought, “Maybe I pushed too much today.” I thought that perhaps putting myself “together” didn’t mean that I had to be dressed to the image standard of when I am called to be on my best behavior. That’s not me. I fully recognize when that version is necessary, but it certainly isn’t necessary all the time. I ditched my duds and went back to the drawing board. It took me about 5 minutes to throw on an outfit that changed my mood and made me smile. NOW it’s going to be a great day!

And, just because……RAWR!

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25 Random Things That Make Me Cry

  1. The big reveal on What Not to Wear
  2. The commercial where the little kid packs a stuffed animal in the dad’s suitcase and then the dad takes pictures of it everywhere he’s traveling….you know the one
  3. Attempting to sing praise music out loud
  4. “Baby Blue” George Strait
  5. The realization that my dog may die someday…..yes, I said, “may”….you don’t know….
  6. When contestants on Hell’s Kitchen get reunited with their families there right before the end
  7. The Allstate commercial with the teddy bears
  8. The fireworks at Disney’s Magic Kingdom
  9. The end of the Fantasmic display at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  10. While we’re at it, I might as well throw in every.single.Disney.parade.ever.
  11. A Baby Story on TLC
  12. Old school Winnie the Pooh
  13. Any mention of the movie “The Ring”…out of sheer, unadulterated terror
  14. Catching a glimpse of a bride in her wedding dress
  15. This video
  16. When people with inspirational stories on American Idol turn out to be fantastic singers
  17. When Ellen Degeneres surprises people
  18. “Born This Way” Lady Gaga (no, I’m not kidding)
  19. The happy ending in every Disney princess movie
  20. Actually, probably the ending to every Disney movie, period.
  21. When Bruce Willis cries. In any movie. Ever.
  22. Seeing snow for the first time in a season
  23. The cute little baby lamp at the beginning of the Pixar movies
  24. The wedding scenes at the end of “Say Yes to the Dress” episodes
  25. Spontaneous standing ovations
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Day #9

Recap of yesterday:

Yesterday was a rough day. I have to admit that I was having some issues holding my head up high and continuing on. All I felt like doing was throwing on my fat jeans and a t-shirt and calling it a day. It took me a LONG time to find that outfit that I finally settled on – everything made me feel unattractive and gross yesterday. It really was a test of my mindset. It was an interesting lesson in the real impact of all that I am doing. I realized that my struggle in the morning to get dressed in something I felt “pretty” in set the tone for my day. It was hard to snap out of the funk once it started. I felt a lot like how I did before starting all this in the first place, and I didn’t like it!

After a meeting yesterday morning, though, the mood changed. I went to the mall to find a pair of jeans (I only have one pair that I like, and I think that was adding to my rut). I spent about an hour in the Gap with a fantastic sales clerk who patiently brought my pair after pair. Finally, I found a pair that I not only like, but LOVE. (FYI, They are the Gap Curvy 1969 in a mid-wash….just in case you’re curious.) It turned my afternoon around, and just that one pair of jeans – and feeling good in them – did the trick.

But, enough about yesterday. Let’s move on to today!

Day #9:

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