Friday, February 28, 2014

Deuce-Deuce.

It's the last day of February -for this year at least. And it's not yet the first day of March. Funny thing about February is that extra, twenty-ninth day that appears every four years. Even funnier thing about that day is that it's my brother's birthday. Yep, homeboy is a leap-year baby. 

So, technically, I don't have to celebrate his day this year and, while I'd love to be the bratty big sister who says "screw your birthday Bub", I love a good excuse for dinner and drinks. Thus, happy birthday Bub. 

Oh, and I love birthdays because we can get away with doing things that we wouldn't usually do. Like having Instagram photo challenges or eating cake for breakfast or, in this very case on this very post, rapping a little birthday diddy for our brother. Yes, you read that right, I rapped for all of you in celebration of my brother's birthday. 


I wasn't even kidding. 

Happy deuce-deuce Bub. 
After watching that you know we're both going to need some strong drinks tonight. 
Bottoms up! 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Things I Ponder -As of Late

Here are the tough thoughts I've been working through lately.

-  If you cut a crow in half would the inside be as dark as the outside?
-  Who assigns the dates to days like National Donut Day and National Spaghetti Day?
-  Is there such a thing as too much coffee?
-  How does camera angle make such a difference in the way I look?
-  Where are my glasses after this move?
-  When socks disappear, does the dryer eat them?
-  If I opened a bookshop would it be socially acceptable to spend the day reading?
-  Is color coding a love language?
-  Who can I hire to invent a robot that files all the things?

Please, share your latest ponderings. Or the answers to mine. And, did you see the big announcement last Friday? Maybe expand your ponderings a little broader these next few weeks.

I wrote one of my favorite posts yesterday. Just in case you missed it. And today I'm taking over The Blog Baton on Instagram if you're itching for more of me than what's here. 

Finally, are you joining me in celebrating my birthday month in the #sayyesproject Instagram challenge?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Once Upon a Time... Not-so-Long, Long Ago.

My dear Mama Bird mentioned that she read this beautiful letter from a husband to his wife. And her response to him. That it was a part of a monthly series called marriage letters that were a way to catch little snapshots of their marriage through prompts. And, I thought, oh that's magical and fun.

Then my mom wrote hers. And I was convinced that it's something worth doing. Something worth doing for Jason and for myself and for our kids one day. For them to know there was life and marriage and family before them because, at 25, I'd never thought of my parents without one another. It changes lives. 

So, for this month, I write about that "Once Upon a Time". 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Dear Jason,

It all started with a broken promise. It started with a young girl, just nineteen, thrilled about her new chapter of sisters and all those muscle-bound, fratty boys we were meeting in random places -like a run-down bowling alley complete with missing letters in its neon sign. Those memories sound like bumping beats, smell like spilled beer, look like too few clothes and lots of hairspray. They're all poorly lit and yet so clearly you are there -present, unassuming, waiting patiently.

From early on you ignored my fuss. You heard me say, no frat boys allowed, and you giggled that shy, yet confident scoff that seemed like a cute habit at first but was, in fact, the strength of your sureness escaping a little bit at a time. And, it's that confidence that's kept me wrapped up in your clean smell, your strong arms, your sure grip over the five years that bring us to today. 

It's that confidence that broke that my promise: that stripped my heart of its best intentions and reminded me God doesn't work within the confines of my expectations, but outside of them. Just like you, Jason, that way you operate outside of expectation. Though your muscles scream gym-rat, you overflow with substance. You have an IQ indicative of computer-nerd genius, yet you are more social than my Degree in Communications could ever make me. You attempt to hide your creativity in computer-science, but you are a visionary (our new kitchen screams so). It's that element of surprise that makes me proud to call you mine, makes my heart burn a little brighter for you, makes me more proud to be a bearer of the Thomas name. 

That broken promise -an arbitrary rule that said life shall be frat-boy-free- birthed a marriage, a home, and, one day, our family. Last week we sat on the floor of the house in the midst of construction amazed by the wonderment that's become our lives when, just five years ago, I told you I had no time for you. Thank goodness you didn't listen. 

Promises aren't made to be broken -at least not en masse. They aren't celebrated when they result in failure. But, like you and God, let's operate outside expectation. Let's remember how once, not-so-long-ago, we defied even our own imaginings and held tight to one another. May we do so as we build this home together -picking our furniture and flooring in minutes flat-, as we fill it with a family of little crazy kids -goodness knows they'll be whirlwinds just like us-, and as we ride this marital roller coaster off into the sunset. 

One promise I'm sure of: that one where I said "I do".
am 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

On #ThomasHouse2014: The Hunt

Don't even begin to think that hashtag means 2015 will hold a new house because now that we've intensely remodeled and boxed and unpacked let it stand: moving is not for the faint of heart

Several people have asked about our process of buying the ThomasHouse. And, at first, I thought there's not much to say. But, I'm a talker, errrr, writer, who loves to share and quite possibly over-share, so why skip this part?
Our home buying process was relatively frill and thrill free. That is, until escrow. But we shall begin at that first moment where we realized we had most of our ducks in a row and it was time for a house in which to put them. 
To house hunt or not? 
That was the question for two years prior to our big purchase. Finances were so much a part of it, as was my dad's health, our marital philosophy (the honeymoon period where we wanted no major responsibility last years for us), the local housing market, and the list of moving parts goes on... Finally, come the end of summer last year and our second wedding anniversary we decided to dedicate ourselves to the search. 

Jason loved to do the looking online -hello Zillow and RedFin. Numbers and stats spoke to him, all I saw were things I didn't like and big price tags. For me, it was about going to the house, seeing the neighborhood, walking the lot. We found a few we loved (at least from what the website could show) so we made appointments to see them. And they flopped. 


Do you believe in love at first sight? 
I never have and, after house hunting, probably never will. I really struggled going into house after house and wishing SO DEEPLY for it to have the feeling of "the one". But then, that didn't happen with my boyfriend at first. I guess for some of us romance is determined by time and relationship, not by intense, immediate emotion. Call me a pessimist, a bitch, or someone with expectations too high; I never walked into a house and just knew. In fact, it usually took me a good three hours, warm meal, and glass of wine to get any feeling that could be put into words. 

Often Jason was the visionary, seeing walls that would warm up with some fresh paint, carpet that could be replaced to update the home, and a way to open up what felt like cramped space... I didn't. Usually I'd see clutter, dingy walls, dirty carpet. I'd see their stuff in the space and be convinced it wouldn't look comfortable with any of mine. 

Priorities puh-lease.
So, to help a wife out, Jason suggested creating a list of priorities. We'd done this before, but the moment we walked into a home we'd lose focus on the list. So we rededicated ourselves and it was a blessing. We each got two things that were non-negotiable and our "expertise". That's to say mine were: a kitchen worth cooking in and an open floor plan conducive to child-raising. His were: a sizable lot and garage worthy of man-cavedom. Then there were our third choices which were important but not needed. Mine: an area to host my garden and rose bushes. His: room for a boat one day. Likes, loves, but not completely necessary. 

The priorities allowed us to leave the house and ask the right questions. Did it have my top two? And his? Both answers "YES" move to the bonus points. Sometimes the YES answers were conditional or contingent upon some set of changes, others they were straight, no-doubt, easy answers. Our home was the only one that had all four base points plus both bonus features sans ridiculous renovations (though those did come our way). 
And now that you're overwhelmed with house-hunting goodness go ahead and tune in next Tuesday for more on the #ThomasHouse2014. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Doubt&Devotion

My favorite way to start church posts is this: I grew up in church.

Mostly, I like to say that because I did. And because it made maturing my faith a challenge. It wasn't like I had a few years of doctrine to work through, a dozen church experiences to analyze, and a few Christian friends to think on... I had a library of church experience that overwhelmed every bit of my thought process. I didn't have little bits and pieces to organize and deal with before moving on to the next, but rather was attempting to organize all the parts into bigger parts and struggling.

I'm still struggling so deeply with the balance between all those childhood lessons turned youth group teachings turned adult sermons that taught me the "how to's" of church with my experience and opinions. A balance that tips back and forth over and over again more than it stands comfortably in peaceful rest.

God started to feel heavy, angry, and waiting in wrath. And for a girl who hates being less than perfect, such a God is frustrating. I didn't understand how His yoke was said to be light when I felt so weighed down, heavy, and burdened. I wanted to speak out, to beg for help in my wrestling, to bounce my rebellious religious thoughts off others, but that space wasn't available.

Then, I read Evolving in Monkeytown by Rachel Held Evans and her words created a safe space within my soul for exploration of His heart, conversations that asked Him hard questions, and time to wrestle with His word as well as those of others. In this time of hunting and seeking, I heard over and over of freedom in Him, of the way He longs for us to be children of light -not just in the bright, shiny sense, but also in the sort of light that is weightless and free. I made it a goal to achieve lightness, to see His light, and to put on the yoke that's light on my weary shoulders.

And I attempt to keep on keeping on in that free-in-Him way.

Over the last few weeks the dearest of dears, Kate from The Florkens and I have been emailing back and forth talking heart issues, faith questions, and spewing about the wrestling that we're doing with God, faith, religion, culture. It's deep, it's exhausting, it's beautiful. It's heart-warming to have a sounding board, to hear my sentiments mirrored and, at times, challenged. Mostly, I love knowing I'm not alone in my fight for faith.

Then, Kate got smart and said we must hold open a space for people to speak, challenge, wrestle, express. And, doubt&devotion was born. We've decided to create a link-up in our little (shared) corner of the interwebs for all that lay in the lands of doubt and being devout and the in between region.
The Florkens
You are invited to join us every Sunday for some talk on faith, religion, any and everything that lies heavy on your heart. We'll both post about our current struggles then at the bottom we'll invite you to join in the conversation either with a post of your own or in the comments section.

Our first link-up goes live Sunday, March 2nd. 
Oh how we'd love to have you. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Path Less Traveled.

Two weeks ago on my way home from work I got pulled over by a cop. It wasn't the first time I'd been pulled over, but it was my first legit, illegal, come-on-girl, traffic violation.

I was getting off the freeway at a ridiculously busy exit in town and I was stuck in the backlog of cars. The thing that made me different than them -and by different I mean, more important- was my right blinker tick, tick, ticking. I was taking the lane less populated -or for the sake of the metaphor to come, the path less traveled. And I felt like I shouldn't have to wait in the line of left-turners anymore. So, I did what every less-traveled-path-goer would do: I ensured my right blinker stayed ticking, I whipped into the shoulder, and I bypassed all those silly sheep headed left.

That's when he struck. With a whoop-whoop of his siren and some flashy lights, he signaled me (further) to the shoulder with his hand. Oh dear. As he approached the car, I wasn't sure what to expect -I was in the wrong, you know.

"I'll let you go free if you can tell me what about that turn was legal ma'am." 
Nothing was, quite obviously. 
"What's so important that you shouldn't have to wait in line like everyone else?"
Nothing was. Nothing is.

And, with that, he let me go ticket-free, but lesson-heavy. In asking about my self-important attitude, he made a larger statement about my life. You see, I'm relatively good at taking the path less traveled and when I do I feel like it should be fast, I shouldn't have to wait, I'm all important and good. When I'm going the narrow way people should appreciate, should dote on me, should, at the very least, let me know they see how noble I am for doing so. Oh how wrong this happens to be.

Taking the path less traveled, choosing the road less populated, it doesn't make me privileged or grander or smarter or nobler. It doesn't entitle me to be there first, to pass everyone else, to have it easy and free of rules. It doesn't mean I get to fly by the masses with an attitude and dust cloud. It means I've made a choice, just like everyone else has, and that choice requires me to follow rules, to think about more than just myself, to do what is right. Because nothing entitles me to such importance, to being above the law -or above the consideration of others-, to skipping the hard parts.

Two weeks ago I got pulled over by a cop. And God spoke to me. He said, Amber, what's so important for you to rush the process, to skip the wait, to ignore the rules? And in my heart I realized, nothing is. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Queue the Tears. Kleenex Advised.

After much work, sweat, and some tears, we spent the night in the house. It's fun to wake up and wander through the house in the morning with my cup of coffee and Hazel's loud, snorty self slipping on the wood floors. The last week has been the Hell Week of Homeownership... Only to be surpassed by the Hell Week of Football Season. 

My arms and legs, back and hips, hands and knees are sore in ways that I've never known before. But, more than those muscles, I've really been working out my tear ducts. Oh how good I am at the whole crying bit. So much so, I got to laughing hysterically over it on my drive home from work the other day. What better way to share my skill with you than with a good ol' fashion GIF post. 

I introduce 
the cry-baby spectrum. 

1. The I'm-not-crying, I-don't-need-to-cry cry. 

2. The angry, dramatic, talking cry. 

3. The secret crying in bed cry. 


4. The runny mascara, hyper-ventilating cry. 

5. The hide in my car, self-pity cry. 

6. The ugly, whole-body cry. 

7. The elated, can't-control-my-joy cry. 

And Jason's response:
Which is usually followed by a: 
WHY? 

And, with that, I'm off to buy more kleenex and retrieve my frozen eye mask. Speaking of the eye mask, do you have one of these? Because this is glorious in all ways divine, especially after a good, long cry that makes your eyes all puffy and swollen. Kiss the morning cry face hangover goodbye. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Bring on the Moving Truck

Oh happy President's Day. 
Oh happy day off of work (for most of you I hope). 

Thank you friends for your outpouring of love about our house. Thank you. We've been drowning in all the To Dos but remembering to take little moments of soaking it all in. Usually those moments make me want to cry a little bit because change is exciting and terrifying and all that in between. Plus, I've never been this tired both physically and mentally. Cue a girl who needs a good cry, a hot bath, a bottle of wine, and a 90-minute Swedish massage. (Is that too much to ask?!?)
The house is beautiful -in the ugly duckling transforming to a swan sort of way. I want to post pictures so terribly, but we're in the midst of construction zone mess and in that "it gets worse before it gets better" part of the process. Jason was diligent in taking before pictures and I have done my damnedest to document everything in between.

I'm busy reminding myself this is a phase. A phase that will come to an end, that will be full of memories that we will look back at with giggles and love, but right now, it's overwhelming a bit. There's more paint, more nails, more putty, more ladders, more tape, more madness and less sleep, less healthy food, less make-up, less cute clothes.
I look forward to the day that we can relax in the house without running around trying to get shit done. I think that day is tomorrow (though I'm sure we'll be busy trying to decide where the "natural" place for things are in the new space of the house), but a glass of wine and a good sit on the couch are surely in order.

We did eat our first meal on the old, dirty carpet. There's no where more appropriate for us to enjoy cheap, yellow-wrapper Mexican food, right? Oh how the days have been long and the nutrition so poor. (Can you tell I'm missing cooking and meal planning and running strong and far?)
I've yet to write in the house. But I can't wait. We've got an office with big, built-in shelves that can't wait to be filled with books and notes and pictures and inspiration. I'm hoping it'll be the craft room, beautiful space to Jason's man-cave, garage workshop.

Now, while you enjoy your day relaxing, avoiding the snow (back East) or enjoying the sun (west coast-ers), drinking a sweet drink of some sort, I'm going to be emptying boxes, organizing our stuff, decorating rooms. Cheers!

P.S. Our neighborhood is awesome and sweet and reaching out to us in ways that are heart-warming and cozy. We're excited to settle in to the community that's already here and enjoy new friendships.


Quick Question: 
Anyone know how to teach a dog to use a dog door?
We've got the dog and the door but the usage is not happening in the least.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

On the Eve of Valentine's

Today, the Eve of Valentine's, it would make sense to write about romance and love and how good it is to have both. Believe me, I know all that. And you do too. So, let's spare ourselves the sappy shit.

When Ashten posted about her Galentine's project, I thought it was awesome and sweet and lovely. Then, I got to thinking about how one-dimensional Valentine's can be. Why is the only love that's focused on that which is romantic? While I love the sweetness that is Jason and I, I cannot help but think of the years of my life was spent not knowing such love, but, instead, being nurtured and raised in other types of love. So when are we celebrating those? The answer is: Today, Valentine's Eve.

Love like that of our family. 
The people who know us day in and day out, who love us dearly year after year despite our immaturity or frustration, who make us feel our best and take care of us in our worst, who make us happy and whole while being the absolute best at driving us absolutely nuts. 


And of our friends. 
Platonic. Surpassing generations, enduring decades, filling our hearts and souls. Those who we aren't forced to be close with, but are, because they do something beautiful in our lives. The group of people around to cheer us on when we feel our weakest, our least, and to celebrate our wins when we're strong and awesome. 

And for our hobbies and passions. 
For some of us it's running, other's hiking, other's drinking wine, and many blogging. Nonetheless how full does it make your heart. It spurs on those moments of life that feel full of life and of force and love. And how it makes our heart a little bit healthier day by day (at least for us exercise loving freaks!). 

And of our place in life [RIGHT NOW]. 
Be it a home, an apartment, a job, a car. We're in a specific spot right now as a result of so many things. And we won't be in this spot, just like this, ever again. So, let's celebrate the little things we love that got us here and that'll get us there because next year it'll look entirely different.

And some of our favorite things.
Like red wine, flat bread pizzas, blueberries and yogurt parfaits, infused water, mason jars, early morning runs with head lamps, the smell of puppies, statement sweaters, boots on boots on boots, snuggles in the cold of night, flannel pajamas, wonderful datess out on the town and the list goes on. 

Oh, and two years ago today we met the sweet Hazel-nut. And, goodness we love her. 
Happy Valentine's Eve Pals.
Have an extra glass of wine or chocolate or something tonight. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Alisha Versus Amber

So this month I have an extra special Valentine I've been waiting to share with you... What better time to do so than the week that's filled with an extra splash of loveliness? Precisely, there isn't one. 

I've had the pleasure of hosting the sweet and quirky Alisha on my sidebar over the course of the last two weeks and I finally get the chance to share her sweet self with all of you! She decided it'd be more fun to share a little compare and contrast action between her and I on the blog rather than the traditional guest post and I've got to admit, I'm a fan of the results! Without further ado, meet Alisha
She's the woman behind the blog at The Alisha Nicole and the creative mind behind Eclectic Star, her jewelry shop. I, of course, am a huge fan of all of her stuff, but this sweet bracelet with all the baby blues of the rainbow. Enough accessory talk, let's get to the fun part of today's post: the interviews. 




Alisha:
Random,
inspiring and
opinionated




Amber: 
 Love, 
faith, and 
food
Alisha: Buying new nail polish and having a day where I do absolutely nothing!

Amber: A spa day at my mom and I's favorite local winery complete with a bottle of champagne.
Alisha: [1] I hate foods with strange textures (eggs, grits, mashed potatoes) and 
[2] I am terrified of spiders like on the verge of tears every time one is close to me terrified.

Amber:  [1] My first blog was a food blog and I gained 12 pounds doing it and
[2] I didn't wear clothes in creative ways until after I got married. 
Alisha: [1] A great pair of leather boots (in black and brown), 
[2] a thick pair of black leggings and 
[3] an infinity scarf in a color that can be worn with anything.

Amber:  [1] The new felt hat I bought from Target,
[2] Canvas Frye boots,
[3] Scarves in every pattern and color (because every outfit needs one).
Alisha: Marc Ecko's "Unlabel" is AMAZING! Best "business" book I have read in a really long time. 
Seriously go get it!

Amber: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. 
Oh, and Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen. 
Alisha: Ice cream sundae hands down!

Amber: Oh nachos. Or, more aptly, carne asada fries.
Alisha: Atlanta! No matter how staged their story lines seem I can't stop watching.

Amber: I have a thing for the originals in Orange County, but lately the Beverly Hills ones have been holding my attention too... Maybe that's actually Vanderpump Rules, but who's counting? 
Alisha: At both I'd order a tequila sunrise. Its never too early or too late for tequila.

Amber:  At brunch, a bloody mary. At happy hour, a dirty martini extra olives.
Alisha: Fun. "We Are Young"

Amber: "I Hold On." Dierks Bentley
Alisha: It would be my "10 Useless Facts About Me" post I wouldn't call it bizarre but it was completely random and ended up being one of my favorite posts.

Amber:  It's not so much about how much fun it was to read, but I loved writing this one
Talk about catharsis. 
Alisha:

Amber: 
Alisha: Rocky Road

Amber: Baskin Robin's Quarterback Crunch. It looks like vanilla with little exciting swirls of caramel and then POP! Chocolate-covered rice crispies for the surprise win! 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
And with that, we had fun. Please give yourself the gift of visiting Alisha's space and shop.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Seems Like a Mighty Fine Time to Talk About my Valentine

I know, love talk, really? No one wants to hear more about love with the week being so sappy and saturated. But it seems what better day than today to share the flyover of Mr. Thomas and Me. 

It all starts like many stories you've already heard. Boy meets girl. Boy flatters girl. Boy and girl date a little bit. Girl plays hard to get. Boy will hear none of that flirty mess. Girl gives in. Boy and girl declare themselves "official". 

It's the six month mark that really sets our relationship apart. 

Flashback to freshly broken hearted college freshman girl headed home for summer. Carrying 15 pounds more than my stature was able to gracefully sport  and ready to make a difference in my life, I made three rules. 

              1. Work to feel good about myself.  
              2. Go back to college and put myself out there. (AKA: join a sorority)
              3. Date no one longer than 6 months that saw me as a casual thing. 
Flash forward to July 16th, 2009. 

My Popsicle had been gradually losing his memory and was undergoing a battery of tests. On July 16th, 2009,  -six months after our first date- Popsicle was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's. 

The prognosis: He would decline rapidly and we'd be lucky if he knew who we were in 6 months.

Cue upset Amber beside herself with the thought of such loss. After a day of tears and heartbreak at home with family, the time came to get back to school where I realized I needed to have a serious conversation with Jason. (you know, one of those one's that goes really good or really bad -never in between- and always starts with "We need to talk.")

The conversation went much like this:

A: I need to know two things. The most honest of answers only. 
J: Ok.
A: One, if you aren't ready to have a shotgun wedding to me in the next couple months, I'm not the one for you. I want my dad to walk me down the aisle and I need to know you're on board.
J: I'm in. 
A: If my dad dies, I need to be near my mom and Miah. 
J: Totally possible. I really do love you, you know? 

God handled the timing of that conversation so aptly. So unknown to me. To Mr. T. Or to my family. 

Popsicle's brain held out. We were engaged a year and a half later. We married just shy of three years after our first date. My Popsicle was very much there and walked me down the aisle to my groom. All by the grace of a glorious and loving God. 

Though, tragedy remains. He redeems and beauty is born. 
Moral of the Story: 
God has got a plan. 
Whether you know it or not, 
whether you want to acknowledge Him or not, 
He has a great plan, even for the love of your life. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

And This is How I Say I Love You.

Hey you handsome devils, it's me, Hazel-nut once again. Did you come by today just to see my pretty face? I knew you would.Rumor has it this week is all about spreading the love. And, while love is fine and dandy with a beauty like myself, I've got to tell you about what Valentine's means to me.

Valentine's for my sweet, spicy, sexy soul smells like home, like the cologne of a hardworking man attempting to hold off the baby train, like new people soon to be old, every day loves. Valentine's tastes like hand lotion off the hands of a young, newlywed girl doting on me, like bones and treats galore. Valentine's looks like two young bucks looking over the edge of my cardboard box while I put on my best puppy-dog eyes, like chaotic circles run round the kitchen for those two who I long to have take me home. It feels like nervous piddles on the tile floor of the house I was born in with deep anticipation of having a family, like soft hands scratching behind my ears and tugging at the many wrinkles in my over-sized coat, like family.

You see, two years ago on Valentine's Day, I met Team Thomas for the very first time. They looked nervous and excited. She cooed over me and attempted to lure me into her shaky arms. He laughed at my skittish nature and little whines. I ran like a maniac trying to show my athleticism and speed. Mostly, we fell in love. 

And that's when my life as the world's most loved on, spoiled rotten, attitude loaded dog began. So, here's a little then and now for you. Because what better way to celebrate this day than remember the way we were... And how much life still looks the same, but better, of course.  
I still sleep all bundled up every night... What's beauty sleep without a cushy pillow and warm blankets and a kennel? I cried for months at the beginning, mostly because I just wanted my head rubbed all night long. (Can you blame me?) Thankfully for all of us, I grew out of that stage and now I'm a bone-a-fied sleep Princess. 

Mama T still runs every morning. Oftentimes she's up before the break of dawn, that's one thing I really hate about her. I really don't know how she stays so beautiful when she sleeps so little compared to me. 
I used to enjoy bringing in the paper after her return. Dad loved to have it delivered to him in bed and I was always rewarded with a treat... But now that it's so damn cold and she's going so early, I've opted to stay in bed and greet her upon her return with my best sleepy face. How do you think I did? 

After Mama T gets all pretty and takes her morning OOTD picture and Dad heads off to work, I drag Mama out to the car for our hard work day. I used to whine lots while we drove to work and I'd usually act bratty once we got to work. Now, I just lazily lounge... Even once we're at the yard. 

Good news is, once we get inside and Mama turns her space heater on I hog the little space under her desk for my sweet morning turned noon turned afternoon nap. For some people running is their gig, or blogging, or doing math, for me, it's sleeping.

When I do finally wake up I practice my puppy eye power. Turns out I'm not only a sleeping princess, but a Puppy Eye Princess too. Tell me, wouldn't you want to go outside and play with me? Or at least cuddle on my cushy bed with me? Most of the time Mama resists, but you should see how spoiled I am by all the guys around this place. Eh hem, yogurt spoons, potato chips, water bottles... Don't tell Ma. 
When we get home from work and I'm done running two or three laps around the backyard and eating dinner, I chew on a bone or two. Considering I've been awake for three hours without a nap, I'm usually exhausted and find a spot to rest my tired little head. This red chair has always been a favorite, though my size has hindered my ability to get comfortable as of late. 
I beckon Mama to bed with my puppy dog eyes, but she misses the memo. But that's okay because I love her so. And, because she's really good at rubbing my ears once she does join me in snuggle-ville. If I'm honest, finding my spot on the bed first ensures that I get the best seat and that is a talent of which I am very proud. 
Once Mama finally decides to come join my warm, sweet self in bed, I'm happy to snuggle her despite her inability to do so at work. There's something about my head on her lap that just throws me into deep sleeps and snores. Plus, head rubs. (Need I say more?) 
Basically, I just wanted you to see the pictures of me from before and now, or after. But, I also wanted you to know that if you don't have a dog, you should get one. And the best of dogs are the one's you get for Valentine's day. Who cares about boyfriends, girlfriends, significant others? I won't bring you a rose, but surely I'll drop anything I kill on your welcome mat. I won't buy you chocolates, but I will snuggle you without needing any riveting conversation beforehand. And you can bet I won't ever complain about your cooking. 

Spoil yourself for Valentine's: get a dog. 

From your doggy darling,
Hazel

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