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Catching Up 3.0

I think it’s fair to say that I’ve got some catching up to do, eh?  These past two weeks . . . if I could erase them, I would, but since I can’t, I guess I’ll go forth.

Despite my world being turned upside down, life has had to continue, albeit at a different pace.  Grief has a way of slowing a person down, to the point where some days, you’re doing good to put one foot in front of the other.  Thank heavens for friends who continue to check in with me to see how I’m doing.  I received a card and Amazon gift card from my precious friend, Kris.

She and I have done numerous online Bible studies together.  She has a heart of gold. ❤

So, back to the blogging . . .

To help me gauge where I last left off as far as blogging goes, I’m digging into my Flickr account.

Ugh.  Loads and loads of pictures, because that is something I’ve managed to keep up with . . . photographing and uploading tons of pictures so I can remember every moment of every day.

I can be extra that way.

I have been doing a crap-ton of reading . . .

Poolside and in the pool as well . . .

I must have read the second book right after.  Alas, but I didn’t take a picture.

I started on the Throne of Glass series (shout-out to Megan, who’s dying for me to get to the last book so we can discuss the characters).  I will not get to Once and for All until I finish this series.

Y’all, Throne of Glass is every bit as good as Megan promised.  I flew through the first book.

While I waited for the rest of the books in the series to arrive from Amazon, I started on the third book of the Storm Siren series . . .

I loved this series!  I have discovered that I like books that delve into magic powers.  Perhaps one day, I’ll finish the Game of Thrones series.  I’m in the middle of the second book and refuse to watch the series until I either finish or ever (I’ve heard it’s a bit graphic).

Meanwhile, my new books arrived . . .

All Photos-547

I do believe I hear angels sing when the Man in the Brown Truck delivers Amazon packages.

In the middle of reading all of the aforementioned books, I also participated in a Proverbs 31 online Bible study . . .

This book needs to be read by every single person.  We all tell ourselves lies that, gasp, we actually believe.  Jennifer’s wise words, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and her gentle leading to scripture passages, help readers learn strategies to combat the negative crap that goes into our thought closets.  I’m going to be keeping this book close at hand to refer to.

I haven’t just been reading; I’ve also been working out.  The only day I missed was the one in which Molly passed away.  I couldn’t even pick up my arms that day.

I did my workout the next day . . . and cried throughout the entire program.

I have been keeping at it, though, and I’m starting to see results.

I’m currently doing Body Beast, another Beach Body program.  It’s a weight training video series, my favorite!

I really, really like it.  It’s definitely challenging, but the payoff has been worth it.

There are even weights incorporated into the cardio and ab workouts!!!!

Yesterday, when I was brushing my teeth, I randomly looked up and saw a little bit of arm muscle action going on.  The vain part of me was a teensy bit happy.

Please ignore the pink thing around my waist. It’s my Flip Belt, which I wear when I’m walking. It holds my phone and kleenex. I love it, but it’s not very fashionable.

Pele and Gambit have been sticking close to me since Molly passed away.  They don’t stray far even during my workouts.

I’m trying to walk at least three days a week.  I spread my walks out around leg day because my ankle still cannot handle too much at one time.

My pace isn’t great, but whatever.  My only competition is my brain and my bum ankle, both of which come out battered some days . . .

This was my ankle after a day of only doing a shoulder workout . . . no walk that day.

I keep trying to put into practice the lessons I learned during my Bible study . . . I am not defined by my circumstances.

The last person to finish a race is still a finisher, same as the person who came in first.

The fact that I’m getting out in the heat and humidity means I’m trying . . .

I read the following quote in my Bible study book:

I’m going to print this, laminate it, and display it prominently in my classroom as a reminder to my students and to myself.

One small snafu in my workout plans happened when the new ear buds the Mr. gave me for Christmas stopped working the DAY we left for his surgery.  I was not very happy; monkey wrenches and I do not get along.

I called the company because they were still under warranty, and the representative I talked to was extremely helpful as he explained the return policy.  After emailing him a copy of my receipt, he confirmed that my pair was still covered.  He then sent me a pre-paid mailing label to print out with detailed instructions on how to package them up.  I had them in the mail the day we got home from the hubby’s non-surgery.  I got a new pair in the mail on Monday . . .

I absolutely love these ear buds.  Even though I’d purchased an Apple watch a few weeks ago, it doesn’t do a good job tracking my heart rate when I lift weights.  I had done some research about this and discovered that the reason is that your blood vessels constrict when you work out, so it’s hard to keep a consistent and accurate heart rate on the watch.  The ear buds check your pulse through your ears.

Now, I will say that the power cut out on me three times yesterday when I was walking / working out, which was not good at all.  I’m going to track the issues and, if necessary, return them again.  Ugh.

One thing I learned while I didn’t have my ear buds was that I could still use the Record app, which is done by Under Armour.  My Apple watch connects to it via Bluetooth, so I can start workouts from either my phone or my watch (the app also installs on the watch) and track things there.  MyFitnessPal (my food app) receives the workout information from the Record app.  This has led me to believe that you can use the Record app with any Bluetooth enabled tracker.  Interesting, eh?  Oh, and I used my regular iPhone ear buds while I waited for the Under Armour ones to arrive, and I still got updates about my progress (calories and distance) from the Record app.  So cool!

One other thing I’ve been doing over here in the land of Auburnchick has been eating out with the Mr.

One day, he texted and asked about dinner.  Here’s what I sent him . . .

He wanted to know if I wanted to meet one of the guys he works with.  He even mentioned Mexican food, my favorite.

Thirty minutes later, the transformation was complete . . .

Forget the Today Show makeover.  All I needed was a straightener and my own makeup.

Last week, we visited an one of our favorite restaurants, Bonefish Grill.  We had not been there since I was in my boot . . . way back in January.  I wore a new shirt, which the Mr. had ordered for me.  Bonefish Grill has the kind of ambience you’d wear it to . . .

The back just makes this shirt . . .

What a lovely dinner too . . .

Don’t be hatin’

Edamame and the House Salad for me.  I can’t exactly remember what the Mr. got, but he was very happy.

There’s still more I could update you on, but this post is way too long already.  I’ll have to save the rest for another post (or two or three).

Autopilot

If I could choose a song title to represent my life right now, it would be “Achy Breaky Heart.”

Today marks one week since my sweet fur baby, Molly, passed away.

I had to take a break from my blog because the grief has been all-consuming.

I didn’t know the weight that sadness carried with it.

I’ve always heard people describe feeling numb after a tragedy.  I guess that was me in the initial hours as I had some practical stuff to take care of.  The worst thing was taking Molly to the vet so they could care for her body.

The Mr. helped me get her to the car, and I was so wracked with grief that I could hardly walk.  Parting with her at the vet’s office near about did me in.  I don’t even know how I managed to drive myself home.  Thankfully, nothing is very far in Podunk, Florida.

I had originally thought that I’d do my workout as a distraction.  The Mr. ordered me not to out of concern that I’d hurt myself.

Well, I don’t know what I was thinking, because by the time I got home, my limbs were so heavy that I barely made it to my bed, where I fell, exhausted and at the lowest I’d been in a very long time.

All I wanted was Molly, and I cried so hard for her.

I eventually dozed off until the Mr. came home for lunch.

After he left, I got up and saw to Pele and Gambit, who, the Mr. had reminded me, needed me more than ever.

I think sometimes we forget how sensitive animals can be, and those poor babies had been through the wringer as well.  Molly was their sister/mama, and her absence left them extremely confused and, dare I say it, sad.

I sat and loved on them the best I could, and then I blogged (my previous post).

Chicky called me a couple of times during the day and let me pour out my heart to her.  I’m thankful for her thoughtfulness.

Late that afternoon, I decided to go for a walk.  I knew I needed the fresh air, but y’all, it was so hard.

I don’t think I’ve ever cried when I’ve been out walking before, but I did just that . . . so many times . . . during my three miles.

Rooster called me while I was outside, and he listened patiently as I sobbed on the phone.  We had all been close to Molly.  Because he and I don’t have issues with allergies, we were able to handle her dog hair better.  Molly used to sneak into his room and crawl under his bed when she was afraid of storms.

When I finished my walk and looked at my stats, I was a little surprised.  Even though I had purposely walked a lot slower, my heart rate had been pretty high for most of my walk.  Grief can be so hard on a person’s body.

Going to bed that night was extremely difficult, and I put it off as long as I could.  Pele sensed my hesitation and did something he’s never done before . . . he slept beside my bed.

I slept pretty late the next morning, and I immediately started crying when I woke up.  Ugh.  What a tough way to start the day.

I found a sweet text from Rebecca, who was checking in to see how I was doing.

I don’t know what I would do with her.  She had prayed for us that long 4th of July evening when we knew that Molly wasn’t going to make it.  She was the first person I messaged right after Molly passed away, so she had been sharing, real time, in my grief.

Day 2 was as awful as the first day, and I frequently (and randomly) broke down in tears.

The dogs were still adjusting.

I made myself get out to a couple of places because, as I discovered, the world doesn’t stop spinning just because your heart is broken.  I hurried home though, not wanting to infect the public with my brand of sadness.

I made a batch of Chocolate Drizzled Peanut Butter Popsicles but had a hard time enjoying them.

The face of sadness, y’all, because I keep things real around here.

The Mr. and I attempted dinner out.  He even took me to get my favorite, Mexican, because I hadn’t eaten much in two days.  We talked about Molly . . . about how shocked we still were . . . about whether we could have done anything differently.

I did the ugly cry right there at our table.

What a hot mess.

After much discussion, we’ve come to the conclusion that Molly had probably been sick for a little while (the cough that started months ago), but that something brutal got a hold of her at the end and just wouldn’t let go.

Regardless, my heart still hurt.

Gambit kept close tabs on me, even sleeping on the floor (he rarely does this, preferring his dog bed) . . .

Day 3 was still tough, but I had the small distraction of playing with a friend’s son’s new puppy (no pictures of that).  My dogs were not amused when I got home.  I’m sure they felt as though I was already cheating on them.

I also braved the pool that day for the first time since Molly had passed . . .

With each day that passes, I can’t say that it’s getting easier yet.  I’m still waiting for that.

I still expect to see Molly’s face when I come home from being out.  In fact, that’s been one of the hardest things . . . coming home and knowing that she’s not going to be here to greet me.  One night, when the Mr. and I had gone out to eat, I sobbed as we entered the neighborhood and cried harder the closer we got to our house.  I tried to explain the reason for my tears.  He understood, but gosh, was it hard.  I sat in the car after we pulled into the garage, unable to make myself go in.  He waited until I collected myself.

Bless that man.  He’s grieving too, but he’s supporting me in his sweet ways.

He’s been printing pictures of our fur babies and buying frames.  This experience has been so very hard on both of us.

I’m on serious autopilot right now; joy is found in fleeting moments.

I’m loving extra on Pele and Gambit, finding comfort in their presence.

I found the following quote a few days ago, and it does a good job of summing up how I feel.

It’s not that my love has no place to go.  It’s just that the object of said love isn’t here to pour it out upon.

My sadness is magnified when I see tangible traces of her disappearing left and right.

There’s less of her hair in my vacuum.  Her dog beds are gone (I had to dispose of them because she’d soiled them when she was so sick).  I put away her food bowl.  In fact, only having to prepare two bowls for each feeding breaks my heart.  Even scooping poop in the back yard makes me sad as I realize that there’s nothing in her usual spots.  This might seem funny to some of you, but it doesn’t take much to trigger the tears.

There is just so much to miss:

The way she sidled up to me when she wanted attention
The way she would begin easing her way to me at the first sign of rain or thunder
The way she would patiently wait for her turn to be loved on while we were loving on the other dogs
The way she would slide down beside me on the floor while I was doing ab workouts
The way she would look up at me, her soulful eyes meeting mine, in silent conversation with me
Kissing her in the middle of her forehead where her hair was the softest
Hugging her for endless moments because she always had the most patience for it

I miss everything.

And so it is that even as I begin reincorporating more things into my routine, I do so a bit unwillingly and rebelliously.  I miss my furry friend . . . my partner in crime . . . my Mama Girl.

Oh, and a quick but heartfelt thank you for the prayers, texts, and messages on Facebook and Instagram.  God created us to glorify Him, and one way we do that is by supporting one another.  I don’t know what I would do without each of you.

Remembering Molly

Ten years ago, I brought this furry bundle of joy home from my local animal shelter.  I’d fallen in love with her from the moment I’d seen her.

She’d been found living on the street and couldn’t have been more than seven weeks old.  She was tiny and simply adorable.

Molly was a force to be reckoned with, let me tell you.  From the moment she tore into the house, she decided that she wanted to be the boss.  Aubie took issue with that, while Pele cowed behind Aubie.  Molly instantly took to her new big brother and hounded him relentlessly.  The first night with her in the house was quite the experience, and I wondered what I’d gotten myself into.

She was pretty sick those first few weeks with some serious intestinal parasite issues.  The vet who cared for her told me not to hold out for much . . . that she probably wouldn’t make it.

What nobody knew at the time was that Molly had a stubborn streak that was a mile long.

We took her to a soccer tournament in Virginia because she was too little and too sick to board.  She was so small that she crawled under the seats separating the front and back sections of the car.  Rooster took such good care of her during the games so that we could watch Chicky play.

Molly proved the vet wrong and survived those first few, antibiotic-laden weeks.

She actually did more than survive; she thrived.

I’m pretty sure there was more than her attitude and the medicine at work.

She was experiencing the power of love, and she gave as good as she received.

Molly didn’t like a lot of people; it took her a number of visits with someone to accept the person.

She immediately loved us, though, and was a loyal and protective companion.

She and Pele had tons of fun in those early years . . . back when Pele had ruined me, and I was letting the dogs get on the couches.  Mind you, Pele had just come into my home six months prior, so he hadn’t taken long to rewrite the rules that had been firmly in place for Aubie . . . typical second-child syndrome, you know.

Molly and Pele used to fly from one couch to another during play time.  They chased each other hard and fast.  This play continued even after they were banned from the furniture.  Every time Molly got a bath, her playful streak would come out, and she and Pele would go nuts.

From the get-go, we suspected that Molly had some cat DNA in her because she imitated some feline mannerisms.

For instance, she used to walk on the back of the couches when she and Pele would play,  She also liked to rub against people’s legs when they walked through the house.  That’s something she never stopped doing, and with her thick, white fur, dark pants and dresses were not safe while Molly was around.  She also rubbed up against the sides and back of the couches.  I later grew to suspect skin allergies were the cause of this, but who knows.

After Aubie passed away, Molly immediately took ownership of the Alpha position, and she quickly let the other dogs know it.  Pele often got in trouble for getting into stuff when her short, sharp bark alerted me.  I used to watch as he would throw her dirty looks when I was reprimanding him.  They were siblings in every sense of the word.  She did the same thing to Gambit when he would go to the neighbor’s fence to smash his head through to try to get to their dogs.  Molly was the enforcer.

Notice that I didn’t say that she was the rule follower.

Not only was Molly sassy, but she was smart.  Wicket smart.

Molly and Pele were best buddies and got into some trouble together.  We firmly believe that she and Pele were the fur baby equivalent of Bonnie and Clyde.  Molly was the brains, and Pele was the muscle.

Molly loved to run . . . out of the house and around the neighborhood.  You could watch the two of them communicate silently, with just a look.  It was in that moment that they would bolt for the laundry room door . . . the one that led to the garage.  Pele would jump on the door handle, pulling it down as he landed, and the two of them would run out of the garage to freedom.  We started keeping a key in the lock because of this.  She knew when that door was unlocked, and shenanigans would ensue.

Molly hated thunder but, as the Mr. discovered one day, loved to play in the rain.  She got out of the house when it was storming, ran to the pond across the street, and looked back at the Mr. as he tried desperately to get her in.  Despite the loud booming, that dog was only coming back when she was ready.  Remember that stubborn streak I mentioned?  Yeah, it wasn’t so good during these kinds of instances.

Molly’s need for speed, coupled with her intelligence, led to one of the funniest escape antics I’ve ever seen.

Here’s how she looked from the other side of the fence . . .

To be sure, Molly kept us on our toes!

She eventually mellowed out as all dogs are wont to do as they age.

She began getting gray hair in her ears, although her face maintained its puppy appearance.  Her wide girth often had us singing, “I like big butts, and I cannot lie.”

Ha!

In the last few months, Molly had begun coughing.  We figured it was from the tree bark that she was constantly chewing out back as limbs always littered the yard thanks to the storms that Florida is famous for.  When I took her to the vet for her yearly checkup in April, I was given a couple of antibiotics for a small red spot on her gums and told that her coughing was most likely allergies.  This made sense given how she’d spent years rubbing against the couches in what I suspect was her attempt to scratch her back.

In early June, Molly threw up a few times, and one night, she pooped in the house.  Her appetite was also beginning to wane.  I decided I needed to run her in to see what was up.

The first concern was her weight loss.

The vet put her on acid reflux medicine, and a round of (very expensive) blood tests was ordered up.  The doctor was looking for liver and kidney issues; however, everything came back clean.  The vet warned me that she couldn’t rule out cancer, especially for a ten year old dog like Molly.  There wasn’t much more she could tell me without sending me to a specialist who could do more invasive and very expensive tests.

So, I gave Molly her meds and tried everything in the world to get her to eat.  For awhile, she seemed to be getting better, but when the Mr. and I left for his surgery, she refused to eat for the dog sitter.

I’m so very glad that we were able to come home, sans surgery (see previous post), because Molly’s health started taking a turn for the worse.

Her eating was spotty, and she just didn’t seem to be herself.  We chalked that up to lack of food = lack of energy.  She was still drinking.

When you don’t feel good, the water comes to you.

I tried feeding her pureed pumpkin and even baby carrot food.  This dog was not living to eat but eating to live . . . albeit unwillingly.

I bought a couple of tubes of high calorie gel and used a syringe to feed it to her.  She despised it.  I was hoping to trigger her hunger mechanism or at least keep her going until whatever she was fighting passed.

It didn’t work, and by yesterday afternoon, she wasn’t tolerating the mix of Pedialyte/water that we were giving her.  She couldn’t keep anything down, and she was having trouble walking outside to potty.

It was awful, y’all.  To watch my big, strong girl lay, confused as she worked so hard to make it to her bed was gut wrenching.

We planned on taking her to the vet this morning if things didn’t improve.  We had a lot of people praying for her, and we were praying too.

The Mr. just didn’t want to make the decision about putting her to sleep.  Doing that with Aubie had nearly done him in with the second guessing.  He just couldn’t do that with Molly, and I couldn’t blame him.

Unfortunately, by 8pm, she was really struggling.  She just couldn’t get comfortable for long periods of time.

I asked the Lord to take her gently, but alas, that wasn’t the road He led us to travel.

I got the Mr. up at midnight, fearing that she was about to go.  He sat with us for two hours, and we spoke words of love into her soul.

We told her how much we loved her . . . what a wonderful dog she had been . . . how much we would miss her . . . that it was okay to let go.

She was stubborn though, and she would not give up.  By that time, she could only lift her head, and she repeatedly looked back at the Mr. to make sure he was still there.

The Mr. went back to bed around 2am; he had to go to work in the morning.  I grabbed my yoga mat, a pillow, and a blanket, and I nestled close to her with my arm around her neck.  She was at eye level with me.

I dozed off for about 45 minutes, and when I woke up, she was still taking ragged breaths.  It was obvious that she was not registering anything though; she seemed to be in a catatonic stage.

I sat with her another hour before things suddenly changed.  I yelled for the Mr., and he came running out of the bedroom.

Y’all, it wasn’t long before she took her final breaths.  It was the hardest thing I have ever watched, but I was determined to be with her to the end.  I think that she became aware of us at that point.  I hope we brought her comfort in her last moments.

And then, at 5:15am, she was gone.

I can’t type this without crying, but I need to process it, and this is the only way I know how.

The loss I felt in the moment she let go was devastating.  Although I am glad that her suffering is over, and y’all, she really, really struggled, I immediately grieved her absence.

This furry baby had been a part of my life for ten years.

That’s a long time.

She and I had a strong bond that was forged from understanding.  She was a unique blend of cray-cray that I totally identified with.  She was anti-social, and I can be that way too.  She used to hide under the bed when she got scared, and there are a lot of times when I retreat to my home to get away from things.

Brokenness met brokenness, and love bloomed.

That was my Molly.

I think that’s why we took such good selfies together.  I’m often teased for the stuff I post on social media, but I am so thankful for all of the pictures I have.  They paint a picture of my life with Molly, our closeness, and how empty of a space her passing has left.

I’m grieving hard, y’all.  This pill is a bitter one to swallow.

Yesterday morning, I woke up, and most things were right with the world.  Today, mine is turned upside down.

I am so grateful that we had Sunday, which was her last good day.  She got outside and enjoyed the sun (and selfies).

I trust God through all of this, as I see His hand of mercy through the events that led to today.  It’s not a coincidence that the last vet to treat her wound up being the first one who saw her and gave her such low chances of surviving her initial health crisis.  She even remembered Molly after all those years.  God had brought us full circle.

Still, my heart is shattered.

So, if you see me, and I seem sad, please understand why.

I need time to adjust.

I don’t know how long it will take me to get used to only seeing two dogs at the door when I come in . . . not hearing her shrill bark when I pull into the garage after work . . . not having her soulful eyes stare back at me when I lean in for a hug.

She used to do this thing where she would put her front paws on your shoulders when you reached down to pet her.  She was the only one of our dogs who could sit back on her haunches.

Gosh, but I’m really going to miss that.

I am praying that God allows our pets to be in heaven.  I want to be reunited with my sweet girl one day.

For now, I’ll let myself feel the hurt of mourning, and I won’t apologize for it.

I know that time will dull the sharpness of the pain, but for now, it’s razor sharp and is cutting through every fiber of my body.

I thank the Lord for leading me to her that fateful summer day ten years ago.  I pray that I was as faithful a servant to her as she was to me.

And to you, Mama Girl, I thank you for always trusting me, even when you didn’t understand.  They say that a dog is man’s best friend.  Well, girlfriend, you certainly earned that title.

I’ll never forget you, and I’ll always love you.

Love,

Mama

Puppy Loving

Saturday was simply glorious around these parts.

The sun was shining, and the temperature got up to 78 degrees.

I cannot remember February ever being this warm before.

I spent some time in the back yard loving on the dogs.

Pele loves the sun.

He was very cooperative when I started taking selfies.

Gosh, but I love this guy.  He’s our oldest now; every day with him is a gift.

Pele may be the oldest, but Molly is the one in charge.

I ordered a new collar for her from Kelli, a high school friend who has an Etsy store that specializes in dog collars and leashes.  Her work is top-notch, let me tell you.

This is the third collar I’ve purchased from Kelli.  They are so strong and stylish too!  Molly didn’t mind posing for me in the yard…

Alas, but I didn’t take any photos with Gambit!  Shocker, I know, but he did get loved on…just not photographed.

Ha!

This weekend’s weather provided a tantalizing whiff of spring, which is right around the corner.

Weekending, the Auburnchick Way

How I love, love, love my weekends.

Seriously, though.

I honestly cannot remember what I did on Friday night.  My school’s football team had an away game, so I stayed home and relaxed.

I may have gone to bed early.  In fact, I remember that I did…right in the middle of watching my DVR’d episode of The Blacklist.

I’d worked super-duper hard all week, and I was just worn out.

Saturday, I wasn’t feeling very well, so I stayed in my pajamas and hung out in front of the TV all day.

I do love college football season!!

I got out the stockings I’d knit over a year ago along with the fabric I’d had cut this past summer and proceeded to add liners.

The Mr. and I stressed over our beloved Auburn Tigers, but they pulled out the win, so we were exceptionally happy the rest of the day.

Later that evening, I whipped up a batch of Detoxinista’s Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal Cups.

Although mine turned out a little gummy on the bottoms, the flavor was divine!  I made a double batch and am sharing them with my friend at school.

I ate the first one while reading up on the next Beachbody program I’m going to start soon.

It’s a three-month program that I may do twice.  My plan?  Beast abs by bikini season.

On Sunday, the Mr. and I attended church.  Getting up was a lot easier after the extra hour of sleep we got from setting our clocks back.

I know a lot of people don’t like it getting dark earlier, but when you wake up at o’dark 30, seeing daylight makes it a little easier.

After church, we ran a few errands (more on those in a later post) and headed home.

I found a few minutes to indulge in a few selfies with the fur babies.  They are just so danged cute, and the day was incredible!

A nap attack hit me hard that afternoon, and I crashed for a couple of hours before getting up to make a pot of black bean soup.  The Mr. grilled out while I cleaned up the kitchen.

After watching a couple of television shows, I called it a night.

Weekends always seem to go by so quickly, don’t they?!

The good thing about this one is that it led into a four-day work week because of Veteran’s Day this Friday.

Silver linings, folks, silver linings.

Looking Out My Window

I’ve been having a bit of fun with the new camera lens I bought for Rooster’s graduation.

I’ve discovered that I can stand inside my house and snap some pretty good photos of visitors.

No, I’m not that nosy neighbor peeking out of my curtains.

heehee

I’m talking about looking out of my back window to my yard.

I saw this little one shortly after my summer vacation started.

A couple of days later, I saw what may or may not have been a different winged friend.

This guy or gal, as the case may have been, found a little snack before flying off to a new perch.

A couple of weeks later, I noticed Gambit staring out my French door.  He was sitting extremely still, concentrating on one thing…

He was quite pitiful.  He loves to run after squirrels.  They always beat him to the trees, but the fun is in the chase.

I wouldn’t let him out because I wanted to snap some pictures.

I’m a mean fur mom that way.

This guy found a little something for dinner.

He scampered around looking for more.

Something piqued his interest…

This is probably my favorite photo of him…

When I was finished, I quietly opened the door.

The squirrel won the race again.

Empty Nesting – A Visual Storybook

Now that I’m blogging again, I’m going through photos I’ve uploaded to Flickr to see what stuff I need to catch you up on.

I decided that pretty much all of my pictures are ones that depict the early stages of an empty nester.

It’s not an easy transition…the house too quiet.  But I’m choosing not to wallow in my sadness…at least not too often…and embrace this new phase in my life.

The Mr. and I have had a lot of time to reconnect.  You can often find us out and about at local restaurants.  Some of our favorites are those that are on the water.

Eating dinner with the backdrop of the sun setting against the water is simply breathtaking.

These photos are unfiltered, y’all.

My days are spent loving on my fur babies.

Gambit is ours until Rooster takes him to his first duty station.

Being home means taking care of the house.  One of my sprinkler zones quit working, so I had to call in an expert.  This local husband and wife team did a great job diagnosing the problem and fixing what wound up being a broken valve for a minimal charge.

There is, of course, my daily workout time.  Sometimes, I run errands afterward (I think that’s my bathing suit peeking out underneath…maybe I went to the pool afterward?).

Empty nesting means cooking whatever I want without a whole lot of repercussions…except when a recipe fails in a major way…

Um…yeah.  Those were supposed to be vegan brownie muffins.  The batter tasted great.  Apparently either the baking soda or baking powder (whichever I used…can’t remember now) had an issue.

Ahem.

Now that I’m an empty nester, I get redo’s without anyone getting mad (I’d take the mad now any day just to have my babies home, though).

I can make such things as Red Lentil and Rice Loaf (and it actually tastes delicious)…something that nobody else will touch and that my children are probably pretty glad I waited to cook until they’d moved out…

There’s midday TV…War Eagle!

There’s homemade salad dressings with small tossed salads on the plastic plates that my boy left behind from his year at Auburn.

There’s uninterrupted reading…

And shopping trips to soothe my heart when I’m having a rough day and missing my children…

 

I can often be found staying up late at night watching Agents of Shield while knitting…

There are Saturday poolside dates with the hubby…

Or trips to the beach…

Where I engage in more uninterrupted reading (unless it’s to reminisce over years gone by when I see cute toddlers testing the water for the first time…sigh)…

And post-sun dinners out…

I am such a blessed gal.  By God’s grace, I’ve raised children who are self-sufficient citizens.  After pouring so much time and energy into making sure they arrived safely into adulthood (again by God’s grace) I’m at the point in my life where I can slow down a little…at least until school starts back up…recharge my batteries…and just be.

This empty nesting thing is bittersweet, indeed, but I take joy in my children’s accomplishments…in their independence…and I will continue to follow this latest turn in the road I call life.

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