Monthly Archives: September 2014

The Beaming Heart

Last week, I finally finished putting together a gift box for my longest, dearest friend in the world.  We’ve been friends for over 20 years (no… seriously!) and she and her fiancé moved to Hawaii just a couple of weeks after Studly and I arrived in Texas.  We’ve never been far apart for long, and have never been THIS far apart ever.  I miss her terribly!

It’s both comforting and heartbreaking to have her going through the same things I have been since moving.

It’s nice to know, with regard to many aspects, that I’m not alone.  And that I have someone I can talk through these things with.  And not just someone, but… HER!  Someone I love, and adore, and miss terribly, and want only the best things for.  She and I have been through so many different stages of life together and now this is no different.

So I decided a while back to put together some things for her and ship it out her way, but it took me a while to get it all together and actually mail it off.  But it finally happened, and my heart was BURSTING!  Ladies, if you haven’t had the opportunity to surprise someone with something, even just something silly and insignificant, then I can not tell you enough how much of a difference it will make in your heart.


I may need to pause and take a moment to share something with you:  I’m not telling you any of this to get kudos or to flaunt my creativity, or write a “yay me” blog post.  That’s not what the intent is here.  Not even a little bit.  The intent of this post is to just show you how much this can truly change you and only for the better.  Now… back to the point. 🙂


I not only wrapped up some fun things like a witch-hat headband for Halloween, some fuzzy socks, a robe, pajama pants, and a funny tank top along with a super hilarious turkey hat for Thanksgiving (most of which was in the dollar section at Target, FYI), but I also sent her a book I’ve been telling her about (can’t wait to tell you guys about it, too!) along with a gratitude journal that I started off with a very personal letter and on the last page wrote her one of the most amazing quotes (because she and I share deep, introspective, word-driven hearts):

May your days be filled with small, sacred moments of awareness.

May you set side your hurry, your pulling, your wishing for different.

May you linger over meals and take walks with slow steps.

May you hold books with pages, mugs with steam, and hands who know your secrets.

May you settle in, right where you are, refusing to wish for something different.

Enjoy your time, friends.  Live your moments – live them full.

~Vicky Westra

I just think that is so beautiful and can’t think of any better way to put it.  And on top of it just being an amazing wish (mine for all of you, at that), it is just so timely and spot on for what my dear dear friend and I are going through right now.  SO it was absolutely perfect!

As I was grabbing the final things for her package, I also grabbed quite a few (way too many, really… I have a problem!) blank sets of note cards and hoped to get back into the habit of sending random notes to my loved ones and friends on occasion.  So when I finished packing up and wrapping her package, I grabbed a few of the note cards and jotted a quick note for my mother and older sister.  And my heart just continued to grow and grow!

Again, I cannot express in typed words how much joy I felt as I anticipated them receiving these note cards and feeling a distant hug around their necks from me.  It was so so thrilling!

And I do have to give a shout-out to a bloggy friend Elisha over at Waiting For Baby Bird for the final push to get my butt in gear and finally get back into sending these little surprise notes.  She mentioned in a post last week that she did the same and it sparked that flame in me again. 🙂  Thanks, girl!

Anywho, here’s the grand finale – the package that I sent to my dear dear friend was set to arrive tomorrow, and I honestly had all-but-forgotten about it for the weekend when I got an alert on my iPhone that she posted a picture and tagged me in it.  I didn’t jump to check it right away because we were watching a movie and I figured it was just a flashback kind of picture from when we were young… but boy was I off base!  She’d gotten the package a full day early, somehow, and posted a collage-pic of her holding the bright-pink wrapped box on her balcony, and few shots of the inside package.  I was so excited!  She also wrote the sweetest note with her post and I. Was. BEAMING!

There’s just something that happens in you heart when you do something for someone else that gets you absolutely nothing in return… it’s just…  It’s amazing!  And you know what’s funny?  Up until writing this paragraph, I didn’t put it together, but the message that we heard at church today actually touched on this topic as well – there have even been studies done to find what it is that makes the happiest people, well… happy!  And you know what they found?  It was the most generous people who were the happiest.

That’s really all… I just wanted to share with you all how giving a little, very little, something can make SUCH a big difference in your week.  AND in that of a very dear friend.

So go out this week and do something for someone.  It’ll swell your heart until it almost bursts.  It’ll limit any kind of funk you may be in and it’ll quickly become something that you’ll want to do again… even if you hear nothing from the recipient.

Trust me… give it a shot and let me know how it goes!  I want to hear ALL about it.  Bring us the deets!

This week, Hope is Trying to make someone smile…



Lunch Dates and Baby Elephants

Studly and I finally had some much needed time out and about together.  We’ve just had so many little things (and some not-so-little things, too) popping up lately that we haven’t made the time for each other that we really should have.  But that all changed today.

It was nothing big, but it was just what we needed.  Lunch and a few hours wandering through stores, picking things out, and trying things on… nothing more than just some good, quality time together.  And it was glorious.  But that’s not really the point of this post.

While we were at lunch, we talked.  And that was probably the best part.  We shared what’s been on our hearts and minds, lately, and talked about the future.  Among other things, we discussed how things always seem to pop up and that waiting for the “right time,” something illusive and practically nonexistent, would mean never taking that step toward what we want.  Toward a big reason for us moving here.  Toward a dream that we’ve had for quite some time.

So although we aren’t diving in and actually doing anything right away, we’ve decided that we will finally start actively researching domestic adoption in Texas.

This makes it so much more real, ladies… SO REAL!!

We’ve got a lot to do regarding our financial situation, thanks to the things that have popped up recently that we weren’t prepared for, but frankly – we still don’t even know what the process or laws specific to Texas even look like.  We even have to figure out if we’ll use an agency, and which one.  We’ll have to make some difficult, serious, very honest decisions about what, if any, restrictions we will make on anything.  And then we’ve still gotta save up enough money to be able to fund the whole thing.  It’s quite the list.  But today’s decision is really just to take that first step into making it all a reality.  But that first step in not only a doozy… it’s also super meaningful.

We’re taking the first step towards finally becoming parents.  To no longer just being Hope and Studly, but mommy and daddy.  Finally.

They say the average wait time for domestic adoption is somewhere around 2 years… which, oddly enough, is about the same as the typical gestation of a baby elephant.  So that has become our symbol.  A symbol of our future.  Of our family.  Of our someday baby.

It’s kind’ve like a symbol of hope.

And hope can be trying, at times.  Can’t it?  There are days it seems so far away.  Days when it seems pointless.  Like you’re just wasting your energy and emotion on something that may never happen.

But our hope endures.

I’ll be sure to keep you guys posted on things as we work through them.  There’s definitely a lot on that list, so… there won’t be a shortage of things to share.  Just be patient with me as it’ll take some time.  But feel free to check in with me!  Ask questions and I’ll be more than happy to answer them, too… that’s a promise!

These days, I’m just trying to take things one step at a time… and as they say – the journey of thousand miles begins with a single step.



Remember how I told you that I was losing my marbles in the last post?  Well, I didn’t have to go full-throttle and give you an instant example right away, did I?  Oh wait.  I did that anyway.  *sigh

Sorry about that, ladies.  As I said then, I’ve been in a really weird place lately.  There’ve been a couple times where I’ll actually shake my head and kind’ve laugh at myself.  That’s how nuts I’ve been!  And let’s be honest – if you can’t laugh at yourself, then who CAN you laugh at?

I have GOT to get out and make some friends, already!

Anywho… I figured it was well past time for an update on the Pup.  It’s been two weeks since his first surgery after injuring himself and we had his first follow-up appointment today.  To recap, a little over 2 weeks ago, Pup tore both of his ACLs as well as both meniscus.  It wasn’t in some freak accident or sudden moment of action, it was really pretty out of nowhere.  The only thing we knew ahead of time was that he was starting to be a little hesitant on one of his feet.  He didn’t limp or anything, but rather than just sitting normally, he would kind’ve pick up his right foot and then sit back.  It was little things like that.  So since we needed to find him a vet anyway, I just used this as the final push to make that happen.

We tried out a Vet just down the street and she suggested that although it could be his cruciate, the inflammation that they found around his knee was more likely caused by a tick-borne infection that he seemed to have due to some elevated blood levels.  Rather than pushing to spend money that may be unnecessary (we did just buy a house, after all), we opted to just go with a round of antibiotics for this probably infection and see how he was doing in a week or two while limiting his activity when possible.

Womp Womp.

Like a week later, after he seemed to be practically back to normal but still in the middle of his antibiotics, we both completely flaked.  Studly went outside to start playing ball with the Pup and I watched him walk out with the chuck-it and ball without saying a word beyond how he gets to be the fun one while I worked on organizing a room in the house (Hah… story of my life, really).  And then after like the 4th time he threw the ball, the dog suddenly yelped while running after it… he stopped dead in his tracks, picked up his leg, and and looked back at Studly on the deck.  He totally ditched the ball (which is absolutely unlike him) and went back toward the house.  Once he got there, he tried to put his weight back on that leg and Studly said as soon as he did, he totally jumped… almost as if something had bitten him.

Since he wasn’t bleeding or reacting to us touching or squeezing any part of his leg, we decided to just wait until the next day to take him back to the vet (since it was a Sunday).  And when we did, she said that it seemed that he just further pushed the same injury… it was nothing new.  So we took him home and kept on the meds.  He actually got really god on just his 3 legs, but we still refused to play ball or wrestle with him at all.  Basically, no playing for this super active boy… regardless of how much he insisted.  But it didn’t seem to matter.

Two days later he couldn’t walk at all.

We went outside after dinner to find him holding his entire body up with just his front legs.  Imagine a male gymnast up on the rings.  That was our Pup.  He even had his poor long neck all stretched out trying to balance himself and was making all of these awful popping sounds in what we thought were his hips.  It was terrible.  The strangest part?  He didn’t look like he was in pain.  He didn’t even seem to be overly struggling.  It was very strange.  He just appeared to be extremely determined to get his legs working and then really annoyed that they weren’t.  He’s such a brave, sweet boy.

Well, we took him to the closest Emergency Animal Hospital and spent about 2 hours there trying to get things situated.  They were going to keep him overnight and run further tests with the specialists in the morning.  We had the option to take him back home with us, but we decided he’d be in much better hands there… especially since we couldn’t do anything for him anyways and still didn’t know for sure what was going on.

When we got the call the next morning, they confirmed that he had torn both ACLs and both meniscus.  Oddly enough, the hesitation on the one leg that we had discovered weeks before was most likely due to the ACL tearing in that leg.. but that’s not very painful for them.  They went on to explain that an ACL tear in a dog is nothing as dramatic or painful as it is for, say, an athlete.  We were relieved to hear that, but still concerned, as I’m sure you can imagine.  Further explanation showed us that the reason he finally reacted in pain (during the ball-throwing incident) was because that was when his meniscus tore.  And THAT is super painful for them.  Which I can only imagine!

So even though the tick-borne infection didn’t even seem to be a factor (if it had even been real to begin with), the medications that he was on were the same we would’ve needed to give him if we’d known about the ACL and/or meniscus from the beginning.  But now, he definitely needed surgery.  On both legs.  And he’d need to be confined and watched for about the next 12 weeks.

He had the first surgery just 2 days later.  Both meniscus were scoped and removed, and they repaired the ACL tear in the left leg (considered the more acute injury) by negating the ned for an ACL altogether – they performed what’s called a TPLO surgery, which you can read more about here, if you’re interested:  Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy.  But the short version is that they took off the top part of his tibia, and reattached it just slightly over using a metal bracket, and this made it so that his femur could sit directly on top of the bone and remove the need for the ACL altogether.  After 4-6 weeks his bone would fuse back together 100% and the bracket wouldn’t even be unnecessary (though it’d be left in to reduce the need for invasive surgeries and extended recovery).

Fun times, right?  Yeah… exactly.

Anywho, at his appointment today, the Doc said that he was healing beautifully. We no longer need to keep him in a cone and can even stop force-feeding him his meds (since he’d caught on to our ruse pretty quickly after somehow bitting into one of his yucky little pain pills, and then no longer trusting a single things that we’d give him).  He’s no longer at risk for infection to the wounds since they’ve closed up enough, and he’ll be more than thrilled, I’m sure, to sleep cone-free tonight for the first time in weeks.  And I’ll be thrilled not to be woken up every 15 minutes when he struggles to readjust and go back to sleep. Huzzah!

And in about 4 more weeks we’ll be going through this again… though it be on a smaller scale.  Fortunately, he should have a much easier recovery, since he’ll have already healed from the double meniscus removal and will have his left leg to put all of his weight on while the other is healing.  Then when he’s healed for another 4-6 weeks after that surgery, he’ll be 100% fine again.  No needing to limit his activity or change his way of life from before the injury.  He’ll be pretty much as good as new.

Welp, it’s been rough for a bit for quite a few different reasons, but I’m just super glad to know that this one is on it’s way out.  The Pup is doing well and as long as we can continue to swing the Vet bill that we’ve racked up, we should be good to go.  And so far so good on that front, so fingers crossed that’ll continue.

Have any of you had experience with pet injuries?  Am I the only one that didn’t even know dogs had knee caps to begin with?


Crazy Train

I’ve been all over the place, lately.  I haven’t been able to pinpoint when it first began, though I feel like if I’m honest – it was back before we moved.  At least back then it mostly made sense, though.  I had so much going on at once and so much to keep track of that my mind was constantly multi-tasking with no break.  Nowadays, all of that has been dealt with and finalized.  There’s no more long lists of things to make sure we get done properly so as to not end up without a place to live, without a paycheck, without our clothes and without our pup.

So what’s the problem?

If I really try to figure it out, I just end up wandering.  I do tend to stick on something from time to time, but not anything consistent.  And it could be any number of things, really.  Anything from what’s been on the news… to work details… to the secrets of life… to why you park on a driveway and drive on a parkway.  Really though – super random stuff.

And then there are times when it’s more substantial.  Tonight, for some unknown reason, I find myself thinking about the pains and realities of growing up.  It could’ve started with any number of things, but that’s where my brain lands regardless.

When I finally decided to start writing about it, I was kind’ve plateauing on how insane it is how as a society, we are graduating high school and suddenly expected to decide on a career choice for the rest of your life.

I’m 28 years old and I feel like I’ve only really come to discover and appreciate who I am as a person… as a woman… within the past year or two.  It’s been a long process, but how is it that we expect things like that form people when they are so young?  I was even considered by some to be a more mature 18-year-old when I was at that point, but even then I was terrified that any decision would end up being the wrong one.  Of course… I’d never admit that to ANYbody, but if I was honest with myself – that’s exactly how I felt.

I’m no advocate for extended adolescence.  Believe me – I’m all about people getting off their butts and either working or going to school, if they can.  Getting out away from their families to discover who they are as an individual and as part of a greater “societal organism”… but it is kind’ve crazy that we’re expecting self-conscious child/adult hybrids to make such impactful decisions.

I know this is random.  I’m sorry… I’m hoping that maybe getting some of this down and our of my head will open up some free space for more normal lines of thinking.  I am curious, though, to see if anyone else has had similar thoughts or experiences with feeling they would’ve preferred to make a different decision or taken a different path at a younger age.

To wrap up, I’m very happy with the career I’m in.  I don’t plan to hang anything until we have children, and then I hope to be able to be a stay at home mom… but I would’ve loved to know earlier on that I could do other things.  Things that my parents would’ve turned their noses up to as career choices or things that I didn’t yet realized I enjoyed so much or was even just half-decent at.  But I still get to do them now as more hobbies, so… that’s not too bad, right?  🙂

So tell me your thoughts not he subject.  Am I just totally crazy to think this?  What about my general spacey-ness these past few months… anyone else experienced similar things, or am I in my own boat with this one?  Hah.


Special Delivery

Made it safely to visit with my baby sister and meet my precious baby nephew!

He’s absolutely perfect. I wish I could post the millions of pictures I took for all of you to see. I was being a crazy lady with the camera, but Babysis was glad that I did and that I got her some super cute close-up shots of his adorable little teeny features – feet, eyes, hands, wrinkly knees and armpit. Haha

I don’t have much time to write, but Babysis got to come home from the hospital about 5 days after giving birth. She’d been induced at 36 weeks after suddenly being diagnosed with severe preeclampsia when he went to the ER with severe headaches and intense sickness. She even ended up with a pneumonia diagnosis after delivery and BabyBug got a nice week long round of treatments just in case.

His lungs were still a little weak at that point, but he is already past getting oxygen and finishes his last rounds of antibiotics tomorrow. That means he’s coming home on Sunday. Wooooot!!

We are taking regular trips up to the NNICU until then, and I’ve already gotten to get quite a few snuggles, diaper changes, and feeding time with him.

I’ll keep you guys posted and hopefully get back to some other fun stuff on here soon, but for now – I’m going to go love on my little Baby Bug for a as long as I’m here. It’s going to have to last me a while!

Hugs and Love to all,

Setting the Mood

I mentioned (very briefly) in a past post that I wanted to start working on a few mood boards for the house.  And due to some recent massive and unexpected financial burdens, this seems to be the best way to still get to play around with my ideas without spending money that we don’t have.

So I work in stages – am I the only one?  And to start, I’ll give you the Living Room and our shorter term plan…  Or at least something that could resemble it in the hopefully-sometime-sooner-than-2018 future:


The plans include a couch (which we already own), a tufted ottoman (which I hope to make myself), a rug (since our floors are aaalllll tile), and a new entertainment center (I doubt Studly would go along with this one, but I love it for it’s color, and it’s casual, country-chic charm.  It’s definitely a work in progress, and I know it needs more color… or texture… or just – SOMEthing!  But it’s a start.  And this will be the first room we tackle because it’s really the center of our home.  Heh – that’s both literally and figuratively.  Nice one, Hope. *selfhighfive

So I’m shopping around for a rug that’s neutral, with at least a little visual interest in it… but still simple enough to both last us for a long time AND to go with almost anything as we really develop this room… and SUPER duper cheap.  Also, it must be Studly approved, and that seeeeeeriously cuts out pretty much the majority of the good options I find.  *le sigh

So as I work to develop a more long term plan, play around with some varying colors and styles, and work on improving my seriously hurting photoshop skills, does anyone have any suggestions?  Any styles that you’ve been dying to try yourself, but haven’t had the chance or the guts to commit to?

Help a sister out!


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