Friday, December 12, 2014

Hello Birdie

Meet Birdie, the newest member of our family.

Birdie is a 7 year old American Pit Bull Terrier that came to us from the Central Oklahoma Humane Society after she was found emaciated and abandoned in western Oklahoma.  You can tell by looking at her belly that she was used for relentless breeding and them presumably dumped when they were finished with her. People are gross.

I've had a bleeding heart for shelter dogs my whole life and for pit bulls ever since Matt and I started dating, almost 10 years ago now.  Pits get a bad rap, but they were once known as the "nanny dog."  They need to be raised in loving homes with plenty of socialization to counteract any aggressive tendencies, really the kind of home any dog should be raised in. 

Matt's parents pit bull, Tara, sweet pup passed away this summer.

We knew when we bought a house we wanted to adopt a second dog, that was one of things I was most excited about.  No more hoping to find decent rentals that are pet friendly, but have size restrictions, breed restrictions, you can only have one, etc.  I came across Birdie one morning on the OK Humane website, went to meet her that afternoon, took Matt back the next day, and 2 days later she came home with us.

 At first she would barely move off the couch, I looked at Matt after a few days and said "I think we've adopted a pillow."  She's been such a sweetheart from day one and cuddling is her favorite thing, but I was worried about her extremely low energy level.  I'm assuming she spent her life neglected, pregnant, in a cage and didn't really know how to be a dog.

After a few days of Shep showing her the ropes though she understood that backyards are fun!  Tennis balls are fun!  Walks are fun!  Being a dog is fun!  She also wasn't potty-trained which makes me think she had never lived inside a home, but she took a cue from Shep and was completely potty-trained within about 2 weeks.

Birdie has been with us since November 1,  a little over a month now and she's a different dog than when we brought her home.  She used to freeze on walks because she was so afraid of road noise.  Now her whole body wags when we pull out the leashes.

About a week after we brought her home we were all outside doing some yard clean up, Shep was busy monitoring squirrel activity as usual and Birdie just started galloping around the backyard and doing what seemed to be jumping for joy.  

Did you ever see that video that was going around a while back of the cows jumping for joy after they were released into a field and saved from going to a slaughterhouse?  If not you should look it up.  Anyway, that's what it reminded me of.  

It's so sweet to see how getting dogs into loving homes makes their little personalities shine.

We took Shep to the shelter to meet Birdie before we brought her home, Shep loves to be the alpha female and Birdie happens to be submissive and mellow so the dynamic between them has really worked out well.  We do separate them whenever we leave the house, probably not necessary, but that way we don't have to worry. 

Birdie is such a mother, you can tell she's used to caring for puppies.  She carries a stuffed animal with her everywhere and when we get home from walks she won't come inside until the three of us have gone in first.

Mother/dogger Christmas pjs.

Birdie loves my mom, probably because they can gab about kids together.

I think this pic is so funny, the dogs look exceedingly serious.  Classic parents trying to smile for a nice family photo but the kids aren't having it.  They're just thinking how they hope mom doesn't post it to FB with some lame caption like "Sure do love this bunch!! #familyfurever" and tag them.  If that happens they'll lose all emo credibility. 

Speaking of Facebook, it's like, so lame.  Shep is totally going to deactivate for at least a  week but first she's going to post a status about how she's deactivating and see how many "likes" it gets.  If it doesn't get 50+  she'll probably just stay on because what's the point of deactivating if you don't garner attention from it? Truth Shep. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Oh What Fun

The Christmas season is in full swing and with that "Holiday Home Tours" are aplenty.  Come on in and take a gander at what's happening around here.

Let's start with my favorite, the dining room. I've been so excited about this space since the first time we walked through the house and it just keeps getting better.  Our latest addition are the West Elm curved upholstered chairs in dove gray, they are so handsome and so comfortable.

I kept things pretty sleek and minimal in here and I think that's why it ended up being my favorite.  I added live greenery to the buffet {free tree clippings from Lowe's}, mini ornaments on the tiered serving stand, and a bowl with champagne bottles for a festive touch. The WE manzanita branch is always down there, but it looks especially holiday paired with everything else.

I also strung several large tree clippings on a red ribbon and hung them on the mirror.  These branches are gorgeous and fragrant, this room smells so good.  

The West Elm bar cart is always one of my favorite things to play with. I cleared out the gourds that used to be in this vase and added blue and orange ornaments to echo the rug, chair pillows, and chandelier; then stuck some more clippings in it.  There's also a little WE reindeer ornament.  

Note about this candle: I highly recommend it.  It's like a $3 Glade candle and it smells like citrus and pine needles.  I don't like the heavy sugary smells of most holiday scents, this one is fresh while still smelling like Christmas.

Moving into the kitchen...

An oversized ornament along with a Christmas tree plate in the window and an ornament garland adorning the pot rack.

Over to the kitchen shelves, now that we have the new captains chairs I used an extra dining room chair and an old Target ottoman to make a cozy nook in front of the window.

This little deer's tree stump was another freebie from the Lowe's tree clipping bin and the framed print is a Christmas card some friends sent us last year.

And now the living room...

 The mantle: white lights, multicolor and white garlands, silver reindeer, and Christmas tree candles.

If the framed "art" looks homemade that's because it is.  I cut up one of West Elm's shopping bags and stuck it over the print that usually in there.  I happened to do this on the same night that Matt mixed up the most delicious drinks consisting of bourbon, lemon juice, and maple syrup, so let's just say the lines could be straighter.  I'm calling it folksy.

 I love our stockings, my mom got them for us the Christmas we were engaged.  

I put some more live tree clippings around the TV.  Let's face it, this TV is an awkward behemoth poking out into the room.  

I think the only way it would look good was if it were mounted, but it doesn't make sense to mount it because we're planning a living room overhaul in the not too distant future which will include a new TV and new media console then this set-up will move down to the basement and so on and so forth etc etc.  

So for now it gets tree clippings and a fake fire.  I do what I can.

The Christmas tree pictures will be kept to a minimum and that's mostly because I hate it.  I always had a real tree growing up then for some inexplicable reason I decided once we got married to get a cheap fake white tree.  

I think it's because at the time we were living in Fayetteville, AR and in broad terms people there love to decorate for Christmas with deco mesh and tons TONS of bright glitter.  That's all fine, but that's not my style these days.  

To be fair, I really have enjoyed it the past 5 years and didn't realize how much I was over it until I was putting it up this year.  

Next year, I'm going back to a real tree with lots of white lights and minimal natural themed ornaments, hopefully ornaments from West Elm that I get on sale in January.  I might spray this one gold and stick it down in the basement living room, if we've made any progress down there.  I'll just have to see.

**With all these West Elm mentions you'd think they were sponsoring this post {a girl can dream}.  Considering only my sister reads this you can be assured they are not.  I just happen to be passionately in love with a retail store.**

The good news is fake white tree or real green tree, the reason to celebrate this season is very much alive.    

Merry Christmas! 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

TBT: Student Living

I'll state the obvious, I love documenting our living spaces.  That's why I started this blog,  I've only been at it a few months and already I enjoy looking "back" at how the house has changed.  I've always been this way, so today I thought it'd be fun to take a look back at our first apartment (we lived in two) in Cambridge, MA.  All of these will be iPhone photos, iPhone 4 photos to be exact.  Brace yourself.

Actually, before we go inside, let's take a look at Shep's first trip to Harvard Yard.  Notice the camera- wielding tourist behind me.  From the look on his face he doesn't think the John Harvard statue is a place for iPhone pics with dogs.  No.  It should be treated with more reverence than that.  Guess he's never seen The Social Network.

Now we'll get started on the tour, this was a townhouse style apartment built in the 1920's and owned by Harvard University Housing, the best landlords ever.  I often find myself wishing I could pick up the phone and call them.  It was two levels with a basement, about 750 square feet. 

Front door, coat closet, living room. 

Other side of the living room looking into the kitchen.  

We even had a little fireplace.  

Shep was quite the taskmaster during Matt's first semester.

Tiny kitchen!  Notice the mini oven/cooktop.  

Despite this kitchen being so tiny and without a dishwasher, this is actually where I started to really learn to cook.  After we got married we continued living in our college town of Fayetteville, AR where we ate out most of the time.  I didn't really know how to cook and the cost of living was low enough it wasn't too expensive to eat out a lot. 

Boston changed all that, an expensive city coupled with tuition meant that we needed to eat in more and eating out became more for social occasions, which admittedly, still happened frequently.  Before Boston the best I could do was spaghetti with sauce out of a jar and frozen garlic bread.  Now I can't imagine not having cooking in my life and we eat in 4-5 nights a week.  It makes our house feel homey. 

Shep looking for blueberry muffin remains in her snowflake pjs.

Stairwell/wedding gallery wall.

Bedroom, we could see the Charles River from those windows. 

Necessary pic of a sleeping dog in case you're still unclear on if we have a dog.

Looking out of the bedroom into the hall/bathroom/linen closet.

I thought the gray and white checked floor in the bathroom was cute.

Second bedroom, it was sooo small.  We used it as a place for Matt to study.

The front covered in snow.

The view from our bedroom windows, you can see the Charles looks kind of yellow when it's frozen over.  

Shep took to the Boston weather nicely. 

My littlest sister, Avery, who was 10 at the time flew up from Dallas all by herself to stay with us.  

She lined up all the DP cans she and Matt had consumed during her stay.  

She's 12 now and already looks so much older than she does in this pic.  

We even got to sit in on one of Matt's classes where it was decided she'll be HBS Class of 2030.

Cambridge is a special place and we made lifelong friends who are now scattered around the world.  I'm so thrilled we got to spend two years there, I have a feeling the HBS years will be some of our favorites. 

More New England photos here 

Tour our second student apartment here

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