We didn't think we were ready to open our hearts to another dog so soon after the death of our beloved Elgin. But Dharma was depressed. After two months of non-stop whining and crying we realized that Dharma needed a companion. We went to the local pounds, but never found a dog that met all of our requirements.
Not a puppy
smaller than 40 pounds
good with kids
goos with other dogs
We cyber stalked several of the local rescue organizations. Lost Dog Rescue Foundation, Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, Best DAWG Rescue, Operation PAWS for Homes . Lauren adopted Elgin from Washington Animal Rescue League (WARL) ten years ago and it seemed appropriate to go back there and visit some dogs. We saw several that we liked but they didn't meet all of our requirements. We waited a bit longer and decided to take another trip to WARL and then we found Chloe. She was in the puppy room, which we didn't plan on going into because we didn't want a puppy but the boys begged to "just look".
Once we met Chloe, I knew she'd be a perfect fit for our family. She is actually four years old, not sure why she was in the puppy room. We all adore her and she's fit in so nicely into our family. I highly recommend going to WARL the next time you are looking for a dog or cat to add to your family.
Sometimes even the simplest salad deserves it's shining moment.
Cherry tomatoes sliced in half with an apple and a sprinkling of sunflowers seeds and feta cheese.
(oh…. and it's gluten free, skip the feta and instead add olive oil and it's instantly vegan!)
The amount of snow we've gotten in Maryland has come as a huge surprise for many of us. Our families in GA and NC received an even bigger surprise of snow! Don't forget to fill those bird feeders, supplying food for the local birds to rely on. The bird feeder in our yard has become a local hangout and the kids and I have enjoyed bird watching along with researching the different types of birds that frequent our backyard. The book we are using to research the birds is National Geographic's Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern North America. Be sure to clear any snow from the top of your bird feeder and fill it often. Enjoy your new hobby!
A new spin on pasta night!
We all have those nights during the week where we barely have time to boil water let alone chop vegetables. Kids have sports practice, I have yoga classes to teach, homework needs done and the dogs need walked. On those particular crazy, busy nights I rely on dishes like this one. Simply boil pasta and in a saucepan sauté onions and spinach. After draining cooked pasta, mix onions and spinach with pre-made pesto sauce. I buy mine from Costco and it tastes fantastic, a little goes a really long way!
There are so many ways in which to tell your friends and family that you are expecting, but this is hands down my favorite! I had a wonderful photo shoot with a family that is expecting their second child and wanted to announce it to their family in an anti-cheesy way. They aren't fans of the heart shaped hands on the belly or the dad kissing/talking to the belly shots, which I can't blame them I'm not a fan either. So we came up with this simple, creative way to document the arrival of their newest family member. Using sidewalk chalk we wrote the year in which each member was born and the year that the baby was due to arrive. Hopefully we can recreate this shot with the baby sitting in his/her place next fall!
For my thirty-six birthday I decided to give myself the gift of a
breast reduction. I have always had large breasts and felt that it was time to
finally take matters into my own hands and have the surgery that I've been
dreaming of for years. I had enough money saved and knew it was the right time
in my life, I was done having kids and I had maintained the same weight for
years. During the required mammogram before the breast reduction the doctors
discovered a tumor. Within a month I was lying on the surgery table
to remove the tumor. (You can read more about the journey here.)
Since my breast surgery I have had to get a mammogram every six
months. The type of tumor that I had removed, Phyllodes, has a high
reoccurrence rate and grows rapidly. Thankfully I have not had any
reoccurrences and this past week after the mammogram appointment the
radiologist announced that she was going to recommend that I move to yearly
mammograms. It's almost been two years since my surgery and I am beyond
thrilled to not have to endure the emotional tumor of getting a mammogram every six months.
Every time I stand in the paper gown and hold my breath while the
machine presses down on my breast I say a prayer in my head, "Please God
don't let there be anything. Please God!"
"Okay you can breathe." The technician calls behind her
I try to release all of the worry but it's hard not to feel as
though you are back in time, to the day when they did find something. Each and
every time I have panic attacks as I drive to the appointment. I practice the
breath work that I do in meditation and I try my best to remain calm but it
feels as though I am on an emotional roller coaster. On the outside I look the
same, but on the inside I am in turmoil. Flashes of my journey during the past
two years enter my head, in between prayers to God and then doubt about making
the decision to not have the full mastectomy....I think I age ten years in
those thirty minutes before my appointment.
"We are going to miss seeing you.", my friendly
technician says to me. I have been fortunate to get the same technician almost
every time. She's probably about my mom's age and has amazing skills on being
gentle while also being efficient and getting the images that the doctors need
without having to redo them because of a skin fold or another type of hiccup.
She makes this stressful process a wee bit easier to manage. We often end up in
a conversation about yoga and I instruct her on some yoga poses to do in
between patients. I live and breath yoga. Everywhere I go I have incorporatedit into my life.
"When you leave we all talk about your images.", she
says chuckling to herself like she's a child telling a silly secret.
"Huh?", I reply with a hint of worry. "Your pec muscles are
gorgeous! Tell your yoga students that pec muscles make better mammogram images
because the muscle pushes the breast tissue out. I've never seen a woman with
pec muscles like yours." "Thanks, I think." She gives me a wink
as I nervously laugh to myself. All of those chaterungas are paying off!
I haven't fully accepted and embraced my new body, I'm still
healing physically and emotionally. I still feel betrayed by my body, yet at
the same time I am in awe of my strength to not only endure this experience but
to share my feelings and experience openly online and in my yoga classes. I've
embraced the vulnerability of breast cancer. This two year journey has been eye
opening. When faced with a life altering decision, you look at the world
differently. You don't take things for granted. I've become very clear about my
goals and how I want to share my message with the world. I'm continuing to surround myself with the people who lift
me up and encourage me to be the best version of myself.
And today I
celebrate one year and 6 months of being sober!
You don't need breast cancer to reevaluate your life...put
yourself on the to-do. You deserve it! Let's honor Valentine's day by focusing
on self-love and sharing the best version of YOU with the world.