Snow Day

It snowed today. And I was not smiling about it…until my plans were canceled and I didn’t have to go anywhere. Then it was beautiful!  It didn’t amount to much, but the ground and trees are white. It should–should–be gone by Sunday so we can have our annual Easter bonfire. But this is Minnesota, so you never know.

Meanwhile, inside, JuJu was decorating for Easter, loving on her puppy, and eating a balanced meal of cake and pudding (she actually did have an extremely well balanced meal before earning her cake and pudding).

Poor Cocoa. He’s such a good puppy.

I guess it turned out to be a pretty good day! The snow won’t last and my sixty-degree days will be back before you know it!

Once again, I learned not to judge a day by its morning.

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Wee Bit of Snow

We got a little bit of snow last week.

Just a little bit, though.

No, but seriously, it was the biggest storm of the season…and we only got about 5 inches. Which, growing up in a state where we could get a foot of snow overnight and still have to go to school, is really not a lot. The roads were a little more slick than usual and people momentarily forgot how to drive, but everything worked out. And now we have this beautiful new snow cover! (Our yard was starting to look green again!)

Cocoa was SO happy! I was working when the snow started and luckily, was able to leave early. When I got home, this guy ran to the door and begged to be let out! I went out with him to get some pictures and he was like a kid on the last day of school. He was free! He refused to come inside.

We also got this little one out in the snow! She was okay with walking on the driveway, but was very, very concerned about walking in the snow. We lured her out there with the promise of seeing her LLAMAS (she always screams that word). She even got to pet our friendliest llama, Millie. But then we tried to get her to play in the snow with us and that wasn’t as successful. My mom and I both wanted to sled down some of the snow piles, so we did it by ourselves, hoping she would think it looked fun. Well, she didn’t. But, I took her down with me anyways! She enjoyed Cocoa kissing her when we got to the bottom, but did not enjoy the rest of the process! (Two days later she wanted to sled down the snow piles!)

We checked out the snow sculptures at the Winter Carnival last weekend and Juliana’s highlight, and therefore our highlight, was running into this massive Great Dane! She expects every dog to be as friendly and cuddly as Cocoa, so she walked right up to it with an open mouth and outstretched arms, ready for a hug and a kiss. Luckily, this dog was very friendly. The owner even let J sit on the dog! Those were the biggest smiles of the day.

Living in Minnesota, we learn to live with, and thrive in, the snow. J definitely brought out my inner child and, even though she may not love it right now, has reminded me how much I love it! It’s fun to have these storms every now and then! But, I’m good with an early spring, too!

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Birthday Snow Dog!

It’s my best friend’s birthday today! He’s ten! I honestly can’t believe we’ve had him that long. I still remember the car ride home the night we got him and listening to him whimper in the kennel those first few nights.

When he was just a little puppy, my dad would bring him with when he picked me and my friends up from school and I don’t think I had ever fought so hard over the backseat in my life.

This dog lives for snow. Obviously, being born in December in Minnesota, he was familiar with the white stuff since the day he was born. He didn’t know what to think when his snow started to melt in the spring. He wouldn’t even pee on the grass until every little patch of snow was melted. And he still does that to this day. Whenever it snows, whether it’s the first or the twentieth snow of the season, he has to get outside and run, jump and roll in it as soon as he can!

Of course, he’s come to love the warmer weather, too. He discovered that we will actually take him out for runs when we can see the ground and that swimming is almost as fun as rolling in the snow! I think it’s safe to say, though, that his favorite part is having us outside with him.

He’s the most empathetic dog any of us have ever known. He reacts to our emotions before we can even identify them. Sometimes it’s annoying when he feels our anger bubbling and slinks away, but I love when he senses even the tiniest bit of happiness in me and immediately turns on the charm and grabs his rope! “The rope game will make you feel so much better, Carrie!” He literally never leaves my side when I’m sick (or really even when I’m feeling fine) unless I give him permission and is always willing to dish out some kisses to make things better.

I always feel bad saying this because I feel like I’m insulting the only other dog I came to deeply love in my life, but Cocoa was my favorite dog from the second we picked him. He was mine. He was my first puppy. I loved (and still love) Larry deeply, but he was my dad’s dog. It’s no secret that I’m number one in Cocoa’s heart.

I don’t even want to think about what life would be like without him. I’m just so incredibly grateful to have him now.

Happy Birthday, Buddy!

(P.S. Have I mentioned how photogenic and willing to pose he is?!)

Twenty One

Yesterday was my birthday. I so wanted to be writing about how my twenty first birthday was the best yet. There were so many reasons for it to be. But, of the birthdays I can remember, it ranks near the bottom. I’m not a big fan of alcohol, so going out to a bar was never even a consideration for me. All I wanted was a day with my niece followed by a family dinner and some champagne. And that is what I got. But nothing went above and beyond that in any way. I went to bed feeling disappointed and hoping that this wasn’t foreshadowing the year ahead.

So, I’ve decided to write a shortened version of the post I wanted to write anyways. But now it isn’t about looking good; it’s about reminding myself of my many blessings. In the grand scheme of things, an off birthday doesn’t matter that much. But being grateful for all of my blessings is one of the most, if not the most, important things I can do in my life.

So, here goes. Instead of writing about twenty one of the things I am most grateful for, here are a few of the things that had me counting my blessings this week.


Since J learned how to play the rope game, one of Cocoa’s ropes has been rapidly unraveling. I got him a new rope for MY birthday. That’s how much I love him! He was so excited and it has become his new favorite!

This weirdo was on a roll the other night. My dad told him he was wonderful and all of a sudden he was begging for corn (and eating some) and following us out to the pool. He kept a safe distance, but he even walked back in with us after the swim. When I settled in on the couch, he snuggled up next to me and started purring. He is by far my favorite cat.

That same night, we had a spectacular sunset! I’m a sucker for a good sunset!

She was feeling a little under the weather yesterday, but her puppy made her smile within the first three minutes of her arrival at grandma’s house! Nothing can melt me faster than that smile.

This guy is so good at conversing with animals and babies. It takes me back to the days when I called him “daddy” and makes me so excited for the days when J can finally understand and laugh at her grandpa. (Although she already laughs at him several times a day)

This. Cake. It may be the best decision I made yesterday. Mmmmm. Extra moist vanilla cake with raspberry filling and whipped cream. We also made some homemade vanilla ice cream to go with it. It was simply divine.

One week old. Hard to believe that we’ll be celebrating her first birthday in less than two months!

I think the best few minutes of my week happened yesterday morning when J fell asleep on me. There’s something so special about a baby falling asleep in your arms. As I looked down at her, I couldn’t believe how big she’s gotten! Most of our interaction during her first few months consisted of her sleeping on me. But, she’s almost one. Time flies.


Even though the first day of my twenty first year wasn’t what I’d hoped it would be, I am encouraged by the fact that there were still moments of complete joy sprinkled in. No matter what this next year holds, I’m looking forward to more of those moments.

Must Love Babies

I wasn’t planning on being a crazy baby person today, but then a little baby fell asleep on my shoulder and all I could think about is how much I love her. So here’s what she’s been up to at grandma’s house over the last few weeks.

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She’s started wearing her sunglasses more often and I can’t stand how cute she looks!

I love these next few–my dad and I had gone to pick up my new phone (!) and stopped to get some coffee on the way home. J was pretty interested in my dad’s frappuccino so we let her try some!

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Of course a second after this next picture was taken, half of the remaining drink was all over the table…20150410_113445_009

And then she was feeling SOOO happy! Gee, I wonder how that happened 😉
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And later that day, she was interested in the kitty!

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It’s too bad she doesn’t have any pets that love her…

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Here we go…

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Let’s really grab him now!
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Oh no! Where is kitty going?!

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Okay, so maybe Charlie isn’t quite to the loving stage yet.

But J is definitely loving her swing!

20150410_155620Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go play with a little girl and her puppy! It’s a rough life, but, you know, someone’s gotta do it!

“I Love You, I Love You, I Love You!”

We got the golf cart going for our little goofball last weekend.

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We had to de-winterize it and charge it up before taking him for a little run.

But he was having a hard time waiting.

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“I love you, I love you, I love you!”
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“No, I wasn’t just kissing it. Please don’t put that on your blog.”

I love him. I love him. I love him.

That’s why we call him our little goofball.

Happy Monday!

Embrace That Cheese!

I’m that cheesy girl that has “Live. Laugh. Love.” stenciled on the wall behind my bed. And above that cheesy phrase, I have a pair of picture frames that hold 16 of my favorite photos and memories. I first put it up there, oh I don’t know, probably 7 years ago. Well, this weekend I decided it was time for an update because I couldn’t stand looking at my awkward middle school years any longer.

First, I had to determine which ones I wanted to keep in there.

I’ll spare you the baby pictures, but this one has to be shown. This is mine and my parents’ favorite photo of me, like ever.

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Awww, cute little blondie in a strawberry dress!

Then came the new ones. Even though (or maybe because) I went through a phase where I wouldn’t allow my parents to take pictures of me, it was actually really hard to narrow it down!

My dad noticed that this boy didn’t make the cut last time, so I had to include my favorite puppy picture!

Seriously, this cuteness kills me.
Seriously, this cuteness kills me.

Since he’s figured out how to take photos on his cell phone, my dad has been taking pictures of my mom and I more often and I’ve actually been liking some of them! This was this year in Hawaii.

10884820_970005336362808_1347974942_nLast year in Hawaii I was taking selfies for friends and my mom snuck into a few of them. This was the first one she managed to photobomb and I love it not because of me, but because that’s a genuine smile from her and that’s really hard to capture in a picture.

20140104_090738While we’re on the Hawaii theme, even though I hate taking them, I’ve always loved family photos.

(Are you starting to sense a theme here? I don’t like to have pictures taken of me, but I love taking them and looking at them…Still figuring out how to balance that.)

20140108_102349-1I thought about putting a picture from my high school graduation in there, but every picture was after the ceremony when I was just getting tired. And it was dark. So that was out.

Then I looked through pictures from my graduation trip to New York with my brother. That was during my don’t-take-pictures-of-me phase, but he insisted and I’m glad he did because I like this.

IMG_5846Then, I mean, obviously you all know who else I needed to include. That’s right. BABY!

I love this picture SO much! Pure happiness. And that baby face. Oh, Juliana.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis was recently when I was feeling pretty jealous of my momma. I was taking so many cute Grandma/baby pictures and didn’t have very many cute Auntie/baby pictures so I told my dad to just take pictures every time I held her. And this gem was one of them.

If the last picture is pure happiness, this is pure love.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen I had one spot left and I knew exactly what I wanted.

This is my all time favorite family picture. It was the day we got my first dog, Larry, and our house was very new and I was a little sweetie!

Little FamilyYes, I am very much that cheesy sentimentalist. I happen to love my “Live. Laugh. Love.” And now, I can’t stop looking at all these pictures and reminiscing every time I walk past. Gotta embrace it.