Tag Archives: dogs

CLE is the place to be!


For once I’d like to say we were ahead of the curve!  With the RNC picking Cleveland to host the 2016 convention and today’s announcement of LeBron coming home to the Cavaliers, there is an awful lot of pride going on here in little old Cleveland.  Much of the charm of Cleveland that we’ve experienced is from the outside simply not knowing how great this city is, so hopefully this is a good thing (at least maybe some of you will be more excited to come visit!!)  Seriously, today I had to pick from going to the beach, the pool, or one of the many parks/playgrounds that are all within a few miles of us, many of them along beautiful Lake Erie.  (I’m very blessed by my hardworking husband who allows us to have this lifestyle – and with a 2 & 4-year-old in tow, the word relaxing you will not hear!)


I figured I was overdue for an update – going on 9 weeks here – and this is as good of reason as any for just that!  See my first two updates here & here, keeping up that momentum, we’ve been keeping very busy.  1st order of business – we bought a house!  Very excited.  We’ve loved living where we are so much, that we bought a house just a few streets over.  1 block from Lake Erie, in quintessential small town America.  Lots of people have been here their whole lives and there is a lot of pride in living here (also evident in the almost 3% property taxes – yikes!)  I’ve also heard it referred to as a bubble – sound like another town GA friends??  We are set to close this week and move over the next few.  Very excited to get settled – also stay tuned for some house projects.  A deviation from what I usually blog about – but I think it may be fun to document.  Thanks to Houzz.com – we have lots of inspiration!

I’m so overflowed with pictures that yesterday my iPhone told me I couldn’t take anymore – so sorry for the photo purge – but we’ve just been doing so much AND it’s just so beautiful here.  (We’ll talk come winter!)  So here are a few more things to do in CLE!

Bay Days Festival.  An old-time carnival invades this picturesque small town around the 4th of July.  The kids had a blast on all the rides (which can also be described as old!) and this year we kept them up late to watch the fireworks.  An amazing display over Lake Erie made it a magical first time (and a lot of live up to!)

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.  I’ve mentioned before how impressed I am with the Metroparks system here.  The zoo did not disappoint, so much so, we bought a pass!  We first got to visit doing a 5k, then went back.  We could go a few more times before we see everything there is to offer.  But a beautiful zoo, easy to get to, and not for the out of shape – as there are A LOT of hills, but makes for some good exercise, especially with the double stroller!  There is tram for those who can’t keep up though!  And not to miss is the Circle of Wildlife Carousel – beautifully handcrafted – you can pick almost any of the zoo animals to ride!  (And you can also see LL on a real camel!!)

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Cleveland Botanical Gardens.  As a member of Atlanta Botanical Gardens, I was happy to learn we get reciprocal membership here in Cleveland!  We’ve been seeing adds for the latest exhibit – Nature Connects – a Lego exhibit – so we went for a quick trip.  In a really cool park of town – University Circle – the gardens sit among many other museums all around a circle!  Will definitely be back often to visit more of these cool places!

Local Beaches, Pools, and Splash Pads.  Kids completed two weeks of swim lessons at our local pool, which doubles as a small waterpark, really I’m impressed with it!  And growing up going to the Jersey shore, Lake Erie beaches don’t bother me, so it’s fun to mix it up and go there, and the kids don’t know any different!  I think I had mentioned before too – but there is a dog beach that the dogs have been loving too!  And even a few local splashpads for more water fun!  (Now if it would only get above 70 – haha my GA blood is already thickening – I have no idea how I ever survived in the 90’s!)

Last week we also wished our Zevon a Happy 10th Birthday!


Anything peak your interest?  We will very soon have our own house, complete with guest room – so come visit!  All the cool kids are doing it! Thanks for stopping by today – have a FABULOUS weekend!


Filed under Canines, Celebrations, Children

Book Review: My Kind of Crazy by Katie O’Sullivan

My Kind of Crazy (click book or see below for description)
By Katie O’Sullivan
Downloaded free on 5/29/14 (released 3/25/14)

Rating: 3 bones

“You might be crazy,” she whispered, “but you’re my kind of crazy.”

Finish Time: 4 nights.  Another Amazon free download.  4 in a row – going back to NetGalley next (or maybe my new Kindle First read!).  This was a cute, entertaining read.  Good summer book, nothing too heavy.  Romance, mystery, weddings, crazy neighbors and dogs, this book has lots to keep it interesting!

Kendall “Ken” recently ended a messy marriage to Chris and has spent her time, and what little money she has, fixing up a B&B in Cape Cod.  It’s getting close to peak season when the story begins and Ken is putting the final touches on her house to open it up to a few booked weddings and hopefully many more.  Surrounded by a great group of friends and other locals, when a new face shows up in town, everyone is talking.

Jon recently had some troubles of his own and retreated to Cape Cod to help with his uncle’s veterinary practice.  Upon seeing Jon with his aunt for the first time, Ken makes some false assumptions, which leads to some humorous first encounters with Jon.  Her friend Dorothy runs an animal shelter and asks Ken to take in a puppy named Midget temporarily.  Also quite humorous, as Midget is a Saint Bernard, and does not fit his name at all.

The story progresses from there with some encounters with her non-dog loving new neighbor, maxed out credit cards, canceled orders, strangers in the backyard, and much more.  Never a dull moment between the developing relationships between Ken & Jon, and Ken & Midget.  A little mystery thrown in, a bit of suspense, make for another nice story.  I toyed between 3-4 stars as I really have no complaints about this book, just really  a nice, sweet, summer book!

Description from Amazon: 

Kendall Roarke is betting everything on making her Harwichport Bed & Breakfast into the premier wedding destination on Cape Cod, despite her recent messy divorce. 

Jonathan Reynolds moved back to the Cape to take over his uncle’s business and start fresh after his own marriage ended. He’s not looking for anything complicated – until he meets Kendall, with her big plans and wild mop of curls. 

Throw an unruly foster puppy and an uptight new neighbor into the mix and things get a little crazy. Now Kendall has to decide if it’s the kind of crazy that she can live with… for the rest of her life.

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Filed under Canines, Chapters

Happy 1-year Blogiversary to me!

Can it really be 1 year since I started this blog?  Wow, does not seem like that long.  I’ve had my ups and downs, figured a few things out, still working on quite a few others, but most days am glad I have stuck with it.  I wish I had some great, ground-breaking news to share, like I figured it all out, but not yet – probably not ever.  But I have come a long way – see my first post here – My dog-eared purpose.

But I’m okay with that, and I think that is what I am taking away from 2013 and this 1st year of blogging.  I may not have discovered my one “purpose”  and I may not ever, but have figured out a few along the way:

  • My purpose is to raise up my 2 precious children to know, love, and tell others about God.  Through both words and how they act and treat others.  And it’s my job to be a model of this.

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  • My purpose is to be a good, Godly wife.  To support and love my husband unconditionally as he works hard for us and has to make tough choices that aren’t always easy.

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  • My purpose is to love and raise my 3 (mostly) sweet dogs.  To show others that pets are part of a family and should also be treated as such.  And with all animals – to speak for those who cannot.  (Hoping to put more emphasis on this for 2014)


  • My purpose is to be comfortable in the skin (or clothes) I am in.  I may not be trendy (although I may try to be), I may wear clothes from Target, or last season, but if my family is loved, fed, and cared for, I’m good.  I know God does not care what I look like on the outside and although I do “try” to maintain a good outward appearance to feel good myself, it’s definitely not all that matters.
  • My purpose is NOT to have all the answers.  I want my kids to see I’m not always perfect.  I want them to see me accept blame if something is my fault and not be quick to point fingers at others.  I want them to know mistakes happen, and we need to apologize, try to make it right, learn from it, and move on.  (Still working on this!)
  • And in all these things my purpose is to love God unconditionally, thank Him everyday for the good and bad, and let His light shine through me, my family, and this blog.

I did update my tag-line to “taking it one book, song, and day at a time.”  That is all I can do, I can plan all I want, but things are not always going to go as planned, and although this is hard for me and will take a lot of prayer and disappointment, it’s all I can do to survive.  Life, kids, jobs, circumstances are always changing, but if I stay anchored in my faith with God as my guide, He will give me all that I need.

Lastly, I’ve seen on a lot of blogs and Facebook posts lately people choosing a word to represent their year ahead.  I never outright stated it, but I think my 2013 word was PURPOSE, and my word for 2014 is INTENTIONAL.  To be intentional in all my actions, words, blog posts, whatever.

in·tent : the thing that you plan to do or achieve : an aim or purpose
in·ten·tion·al: done on purpose; deliberate.

So stay tuned for more book reviews, more inspiring songs and verses, more vacations and family fun, more dog posts, and hopefully some surprises!  I have no idea what 2014 has in store, but I can’t wait to find out through being INTENTIONAL and faithful.

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Thanks for stopping by and God Bless your 2014!


Filed under Calling, Canines, Celebrations, Chapters, Children

Dogs of Halloween Past

No dogs were harmed in the making of this post.  If you know anything about me and my husband (especially pre-kids, and now with kids) is that we are crazy dog people.  Our dogs are spoiled rotten, so please don’t go calling animal control on us, as we have (now) 3 of the most loved dogs in the whole world!

Fortunately for Baxter, he has yet to be subjected to a costume, but unfortunately for Devon and Zevon, I have 9 years worth of photos to embarrass them.  They are such good dogs and good sports and I promise, were never forced into any of these – if anything it earned them more attention!

It was fun looking through past photos, not all are Halloween, but all involve our dogs in some sort of get up.  Many more great memories and topics came to mind too, but let’s start with this one and stay tuned for more!

I hope you enjoy as well!

Here’s some Halloweens past:  (I regret that I don’t have Devon’s very first Halloween which happens to be the first time I met my hubby Steven.  Devon was dressed up as a little hula dancer with a Hawaiian shirt and grass skirt!)




New Years 2012:


Winter 2010:
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Easter 2011:

4th of July 2012:
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02-DSCF0219 25-IMG_1446

Fun with Kids:

Other Fun Times:

Thanks for stopping by.  We love our dogs and hope that came through in all these pictures I have fun pulling together.  There is only one other thing in this life that compares to the unconditional love of dogs…the unconditional love of our Father above and I truly believe He placed dogs on this earth to give us a small glimpse of His love for us!  Amen!

And check out this video/past post here too!


Filed under Calling, Canines, Celebrations, Chapters, Children

Happy Fall!

Love cool AMs spent outside with the pups.  This AM I took 2 of the 3 (on the PTC golf cart paths – it just isn’t wide enough for all 3 to come) for a 5K walk followed by a brief dip in Lake Peachtree!  I love taking pictures although they are all from the iPhone – but I was pretty proud of these few today and just wanted to share.  What are your favorite fall activities with your furry friends?

More to come from these 3 this fall!



Just before they ran off to chase some squirrels!

And don’t worry about Devon – we go for lots of walks at home and I’ve been rotating them each Friday (mommy’s morning out!)

Check out Devy Weather for a whole post dedicated to her!

And finally while on the topic of dogs – here is a fun one from yesterday after the kids went to bed:





Filed under Canines, Celebrations

Book Review: Scaredy Squirrel prepares for Halloween by Melanie Watt

Scaredy Squirrel prepares for Halloween
by Melanie Watt
This book was provided to me free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Finish Time: 25 minutes.  We’re trying something new today.  As LL is weaning from her naps, she is more and more interested in just what exactly I am doing on my computer (and none of her toys!).  As I was browsing titles on NetGalley today (a new free book service I’ve recently discovered), I found a whole Children’s Books section, and figured that my 3 (almost 4) year old can help me review a book or two.  So let’s see how this goes!

A little longer than I initially expected – 8 chapters!!  While intimidating at first, and not having an actual book to hold and know how long we were expecting, at just a few pages to each chapter, and mainly pictures, not that bad.  Definitely intended for a little older age range (although Amazon does suggest 4-8 years old), or maybe a few more Halloweens under our belts could have been beneficial!  I like the character of Scaredy Squirrel, he’s a planner like me, so this is right up my alley!.   And I’d be open to reading more of his adventures as it looks like he has many.  The pictures were the best part.  Even if the words were too high level for LL, the pictures opened up dialogue and made the book interactive for us, especially liked all the costumes.  The quiz at the beginning is good too for interaction.  Our favorite pictures were princess squirrel and all the doggies dressed up towards the end!

LL’s thoughts included that the cover had a silly squirrel with triangle teeth (vampire squirrel!)  And liked that whenever we read the word “squirrel” that all 3 of our dogs ran outside hunting for said squirrel.  She did not like that she thought some of it was scary (although it really wasn’t and definitely intended not to be!) and there were too many words!

Cute Halloween book overall and good one to get into the season!  Definitely a good one for maybe 5-8 year olds who are familiar with the holiday and traditions!

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Filed under Chapters, Children

It’s Devy weather!


“Devy weather” aka Devon weather is defined as the time when the mornings begin to get cooler and Devon, our boxer, gets a spring back in her step.  She wakes up with a purpose and mission and this really is her happiest time of year.  This will be her 10th fall with me since I adopted her in late summer 2004.  And without fail, each fall is the same thing.

The official start of fall is September 22nd but according to Devon, it’s been this week!  Although the final sign is still yet to come (but I’m sure it won’t be long.)  That is Devon sneaking into our bed at night for a little extra warmth.  (And our first sign of spring/summer is Devon not getting up into bed.)  Every year, as sure as pumpkin lattes and leaves falling, the sign of fall in our house is determined by one of our dogs.


Although the mornings are darker and I have a harder time getting out of bed, the dogs are up and ready to go outside by 6:30am (even earlier if Daddy is up at his usual 5:30am).  They promptly bolt back in to gobble down their breakfasts, then it’s go time.  All 3, this year, up from 2 last year, go back outside and go crazy.  It’s all play (I’ll try to get a video sometime), albeit rough play, that sometimes I worry that it wakes up the whole neighborhood (sorry!).  Once we are all up and at it, they bring the party inside for us all to enjoy.  This is actually the norm most days (in most seasons), but it used to be more Zevon and Baxter, now Devon is the ringleader.


It makes me so happy though.  As she is getting grayer/whiter, slowing down on our walks, and limping more often, to see this spark back in her eye is wonderful.  We look forward to many more walks (my typical set-up below), hikes, and hopefully a trip to the mountains or two to take full advantage of this weather.  Don’t get me wrong, we get outside a lot all year-long, but the fall just brings out the best in all of us, especially Devon!


So enjoy this cooler weather or as we call it here – Devy weather!  Much more to come on our adventures!

Do your dogs have any weird seasonal habits?  I’d love to hear about them!

1-DSCF0219This is Devon ready for adventure around 2 years old in 2005!
Devon ready for football season (and ahead the game back in 2005 here with her name on her jersey!)

dogs woods
And here’s to MANY more adventures with our Devy!

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Filed under Canines, Celebrations

God Made a Dog.

This is one of those videos that reminds me where my passions lie.  I get goosebumps from watching this (Thank you Oh My Dog Blog for sharing!)  Dogs are simply amazing creatures.  Filled with so much love yet don’t expect much in return.  Sound familiar?

I’ve always liked that DOG is GOD backwards, another coincidence?

So I just thought I would share for my fellow dog lovers out there.   I’m taking this as another sign to keep on figuring out how I can speak for these amazing creature who cannot, as I know that is part of what God has put me here to do.

March 2013 (169)


Filed under Calling, Canines

Boys will be boys. Observations of my 1 year old boy.


After raising a girl first for 2 years, I have some observations on this little messy, stinky, boy we have been so blessed with.  I will preface saying I wouldn’t trade him for the world, but thought I would make a list of his “boy” traits.  Maybe you can relate?  (or add a few?)  I know it will only get longer with time and this is nothing, but it’s been amusing us and maybe you will find it that way too!

  • I tell him no, he does it again with a smile.
  • He answer all questions with a no (and a smile.)
  • Chases the dogs around with strollers, shopping carts, push toys, anything! (Yes – he pushing Hulk in the pink baby stroller!)IMG_3612
  • While pushing aforementioned shopping cart, went full speed (while laughing and smiling) into laundry room with 3 dogs eating dinner, needless to say – they ran, jumped, scattered.  Boy got knocked over and has scratches to prove it.  (Tried it again the next night too.)
  • Chases dogs with sticks.
  • Pulls dogs ears & tails.
  • Throws things at dogs.  (Sensing a pattern here? Poor pups – never been hurt and we don’t let it happen if we catch it on time.  But they still adore each other!)
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  • Climbed before walking.
  • Thought it was a good idea to stand on the handle on the drawer below the oven, then hold onto the oven door.  Luckily – the oven was not on, but the door opened and he fell backwards.
  • Seems genuinely sad and waives bye-bye when I put a diaper on him.  (I’ll hold off on elaborating any more about his fascination with what is below the diaper!)
  • Places fingers in any and all orifices.  (Nose is current favorite, followed by eyes and ears, both his own and the dogs)
  • First instinct is to throw, bang, or eat anything given to him.
  • Often walks around with said object ready to be thrown at the first dog or whatever crosses his path.
  • IMG_3531Practices extreme pouting, including throwing things or himself on the ground (face-down), or hiding in a corner and saying “no”.
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  • Once diaper is removed and he is put into bath, first instinct is to pee-pee, usually on his sister.  Again does it with a huge grin.
  • Pulls sisters pigtails, ponytails, dresses, basically has figured out how to get a rise out of her. (But still loves to hug her and want to do everything she does)
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  • Trucks, planes, cars, anything with wheels – he is immediately drawn to.
  • And this isn’t a “boy” thing more as having a boy after a girl, but 2 of I’d say his first 10 words included “Rella” (as in Cinderella whenever he sees a pretty girl) and “mermaid”, you know that one.

All these things just confirm my unconditional love for him and just that that love is different than that to my little girl.  (Not saying little girls don’t do any of these things – mine just didn’t!)  After he torments the dogs, I can say to him “give them a hug” (see video at bottom) and he goes and hugs and kisses them (same with his sister.)  He still loves to cuddle and one smile and “mama” make my heart melt instantly.  I’m sure as he grows up and those cute baby toes get much stinkier (and bigger) and he turns into more of a boy, I’ll find more differences and more things to love.  But for now, I just wanted to capture a tiny picture of life with my silly, adventurous, crazy baby boy!  I am so blessed to get to spend every day with him and his sister and have the best job in the world!

(Disclaimer:  If you know me – you know how unbelievably spoiled our 3 dogs are and are never hurt- these observations are meant to be funny and our dogs are no worse for the wear, and if anything they are more loved that ever!)  Check out video at the end!

A few more favorites from July/August:


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   IMG_3477 IMG_3479

Thanks for reading – would love to hear your little boy stories too!


Filed under Canines, Children