Little Mabel (on Instagram) & Goals for 2015

I thought I'd share some of the many, many, many photos I've been posting of Mabel on Instagram.  I just can't seem to help myself.
 From the night we brought Mabel home.
 Cheese starting to warm up to Mabel. It's been a slow adjustment for him, but there are moments when I think he's actually really enjoying having someone to play with.  Hopefully their bond grows more each day. 
 They've definitely got the whole cohabitating on the couch thing down!  Now I'm just holding my breath until they snuggle up in Cheese bed together...
 Cheese has decided to take possession of all of Mabel's toys (and has destroyed several of them).  Mabel doesn't seem to mind, in fact she'll play with anything including Cheese's lobster, which is as big as her!  And she loves playing with Gui's cat toys, especially the ones with jingle balls! 
 Look at those eyes!
 She's great at being my lap warmer while I read in the morning.  She's also really great at chewing the corners of my book...which I am not so keen about! 
 Oh, come on!
 It's hard to get up and do dishes when you're trapped under a baby basset.
There's just too much cute in this photo, I don't know what to focus on!  That "what'd you say, mom" expression, that belly, or those little crossed legs?  

It's almost the new year and while I hate making big resolutions because I usually always break them here's a short list of what I'm going to strive to do in 2015:
  1. Participate in Project 365 - take a photo every day during 2015.  I really want to use my camera more, get to know its settings better, and sharpen my skills.  This is going to be a tough one since I'm notoriously lazy, but I figure even if half the photos I take are pictures of my fur-babies at least it's something!
  2. Read at least a book a month in 2015 - This might not seem like a big feat to the average person, but for someone with a reading disability who doesn't have a ton of spare time to read this is going to be a challenge.  But I think it's a good one to take on.
  3. Continue to do the things that make me happy - baking/cooking, taking photos, being crafty & making books, etc.  It might seem like an easy goal...and yeah, maybe it is.  But I still think it's a good one.
How about you, any goals/resolutions for 2015?  Any fun plans for tonight?  I've never been one to celebrate the New Year in any traditional form and in previous years I've often slept through it!  This year Antoine and I are planning to go see a movie and then spend our day enjoying our time off together.  Anyway, happy New Year everyone!


Mabel: The Newest Addition to Our Family

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram then you already know that Antoine and I added a new member to our fur-family just before Christmas.  Her name is Mabel and she's a 9 week old basset hound.  We've been thinking about getting another basset puppy for years, but the timing was never right.  But since I have all of this week off  from work we thought Xmas might be the perfect time to get a puppy so I can be home to train her and get her adjusted to our household and her new family.
Our little stocking-stuffer!  We just couldn't resist the urge to put her in a stocking and take's just too cute!
Me and a very sleepy Mabel.
After we took her out of the stocking she immediately fell asleep (with back legs crossed like a proper lady) and then we noticed this was stuck to her butt! 

We've had her for almost a week now and I'll admit it hasn't been the easiest week.  The first couple days were really rough: tons of accidents, nonstop crying/whining, and very, very little sleep for Antoine and I.  When we got Cheese he was the last of the litter and was almost a month older than Mable.  He slept all the time and potty training him was a breeze.  Since Mabel was weened only a week or two before we got her she obviously had some separation anxiety from her mother.  But each day gets better, she sleeps more and more during the night, she's stopped whining and whimpering for the most part, and her potty training has greatly improved.  She is very smart and a very quick learner, so I don't doubt that she'll progress even more this week!  She already knows her name, knows to go to the door if she wants to go potty, that she has to wait for me to put on/take off her leash, and how to go up and down our front steps!

It's been a definite adjustment for Cheese and Guillermo, as well.  We expected Guillermo to hide at first and be standoffish, which he has been, but I expected Cheese to be more excited.  He has been cautious and even a little grumpy about the new addition, though each day does seem to get better and better.  He'll even lay with her on the couch now, as long as she doesn't lay on him...he's not a fan of that yet.   I don't doubt that with time he'll come to love his little sister and the two will become inseparable.  At least we're already half way there, she's crazy about him and follows him everywhere!  Baby steps, I guess.  Literally!

Until the next Mabel update, happy Monday everyone!


Glamour Shots (featuring Antoine & Gui)

I don't know about you, but whenever I have a long holiday weekend off from work it either goes one of two ways: 1.) I waste most of the weekend doing nothing relaxing and the weekend feels like it flies by or 2.) I am super productive and get a lot done/do a lot of fun stuff and the weekend seems like it's actually 4 days long...until the last day when I say to myself, "Where did the weekend go!?".  This past weekend was definitely the later.  We celebrated Thanksgiving, did way too much shopping, saw Horrible Bosses 2 (hilarious!), went to Crafty Supermarket, participated in Small Business Saturday, watched What If (I highly recommend it), and went for a walk in French Park.  I also made the best gravy I've ever made, baked 3 pies, and edited some photos!  That's a pretty productive and fun holiday weekend for me!

One other feat that I accomplished this weekend was to order our holiday cards.  Every year we do the sappy/corny/ lame, etc. holiday cards with pictures of us and usually pictures of our fur-kids.  We've been doing it for about 4 years now.  This year for the card I had a perfect picture of Cheese and I (that Antoine took this summer), but no good pictures of Gui.  I decided what would be absolutely perfect is if I could get a picture of Antoine and Gui together.  So, on Friday I forced Antoine into what can best be described as Jessica's Glamour Shots and Fun!  I got several cut shots and then a lot of silly ones and outtakes.  Enjoy!
 Awe!  I think this one is my favorite.
 Gui loves the chin rubs.  Antoine looks absolutely adorable in this one!

Now for the silly shots and outtakes...

There were quite a few like this.
 The "grumpy" shot.
 The "like father, like son" shot.
 The "sad" shot?
 The "what do I do with my hands?" shot.
 The "why I oughta" shot.
 The "wild beast" shot.
 The "Gui has had enough!" shot.

I'm so lucky Antoine puts up with my shenanigans...and in cases like this, makes them even more fun with antics of his own!  


Hiking in Yellow Springs

Happy day-after-Thanksgiving, everyone!  I hope you all had a great holiday?  Ours was pretty low-key and involved some tasty food, including a turkey breast that Antoine smoked (delicious!) and my first ever attempt at key lime pie (I used this recipe and it turned out really well).  While Antoine and I usually get into the Black Friday madness, this year we didn't really see much that caught our eye...though we might have to run to Petsmart/Petco to get the kids some Xmas toys (shhh! don't tell them).  Instead we went to a practically deserted Kroger this morning to get the fixings for one of Antoine's scrumptious breakfasts and as I'm typing this he's in the kitchen working his breakfast-magic.  I'm pretty lucky, aren't I?!

Anyway, I thought I'd share the rest of the photos I took from our day in Yellow Springs.  After pumpkin picking and some food to fuel us, we all packed up in our cars (with many pumpkins in our trunks) and headed a couple miles down the road to John Bryan State Park.  Now usually when we go to Yellow Spring we always go hiking in Glen Helen Nature Preserve, but since it had been years and years since I had last been to John Bryan (and Antoine and Aaron had never been), I suggested we go there...
We really had no idea where we were going and just decided to stop when we spotted the gorge trail.
An ordinary occurrence: Gatsby and Aaron going running off together, Amanda and Antoine walk at a normal pace while Cheese smells EVERYTHING (though you can even see him here because he's busy smelling), and I get distracted taking pictures and get left behind.
So regal!
As we were walking someone in the group (all I know is it wasn't me because I was too engrossed in talking photos of fungus) spotted small trails leading to the remnants of an old building.
Another less pristine wall/building.
This crazy tree's roots had grown through this rock...the picture definitely doesn't capture how cool it was in person!
"Come on Dad, it's time to explore!" - Gatsby
"Umm, will someone move this large branch out of my way?!"

All in all, it was a pretty great day!  I mean, how could it not be...pumpkins, friends, ice cream, cute dogs, and hiking.  That's just a recipe for Fall awesomeness!