After watching our dog, Rory, spend a fun weekend carousing with two puppy friends, we could deny no longer that she needed a friend. We flew through the deliberative process and, against my better judgement, we followed our hearts and adopted an adorable young puppy. Just like Rory, Max (short for Maximus) comes from the Kansas Humane Society, where he had been given up for adoption at a tender, young age. Considering he is currently only 2 months old, that age was tender indeed. A Brittany spaniel / Labrador mix with enormous floppy ears, silky soft chocolate waves, and eyes the color of the ocean, Max is most definitely a heart-breaker. He is confident, outgoing, and enormously playful – to Rory’s mixed delight and chagrin. Already weighing in at 12 lbs, he appears to be well on his way to matching Rory’s size – or at least coming close. His back legs seem too tall for his front, and he lopes out to frisk among the fronds of grass with an endearing, sideways canter. Our first night together showed that for all his bravado and spirit, Max is indeed still a young puppy. He cried for hours before we broke down and allowed him a spot to curl up next to my chest in bed. Our sleep was fitful, but this morning I could already see progress as he learns the ways of our household. His wide eyes soak up everything we do – and especially everything Rory does, so already we are working to demonstrate commands and reward Rory generously for performing well – and show him how to sit. We’re worried, of course, about guiding him well through this developmental stage into a dog we’ll be happy to have as part of our family for many years to come. We’re stressed – it takes so much energy to watch EVERYTHING he does all the time! And of course, we’re tired. But when he nuzzles me and looks up with those big blue eyes, yearning for approval, I can’t help but think that there will be a happy ending to this story.

He moves quickly – so good photos are difficult to snap, but this gives you some idea of what our bundle of joy looks like.



Dining Room Art Project – Phase 1

The dining room recently received a bit of “bling”. (I refer to art and accessories that way, at least until a new word upstages bling in popular culture parlance. If this has already happened and I just didn’t notice, please leave me a comment.) The wall space between the new buffet and our storage shelves was bare. The only accessories? The dimmer and the thermostat. This is not exactly what I would consider a showcase. Enter two fun and inexpensive projects! I ordered a vintage map from Jamaica and cut out a simple mat to showcase it in a very simple “gallery style” frame and then made my own art with a photo project featuring our own gorgeous doggie, Rory! Read on for more!

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Doggie DayBed

Rory, the Queen of Cute.

We recently completed a huuuge project on our to-do list – the “industrial chic pallet daybed” I’ve mentioned. The daybed lives in the office, where it plays host to occasional visits from me and frequent lounging from Rory. I have since rechristened this piece of furniture the “doggie daybed”. The daybed itself is awesome – Tyler built it, so of course it would be. The base is made from reclaimed shipping pallets and Tyler took this project a step further, using an extra pallet for scrap wood so he could build extra support for the base. This thing is sturdy. We bought a twin mattress (and a waterproof mattress protector-note the drool spot in the photo between Rory’s paws) for the top.

I ordered a daybed cover from West Elm to bring the whole piece together. That sounds like an awesome idea, except that to my chagrin, West Elm skimped on the construction of said cover, using BUTTONS (buttons?!) on the short end to construct an impossible envelope instead of using a zipper on the long end to make for easy mattress insertion. The mattress WILL NOT FIT in their existing pocket. I measured the case and the mattress and the case has plenty of room to accommodate the mattress (we bought the extra-basic thin mattress, not the gigantic pillow-topped ones that are so popular today). After stewing angrily for a few days over this shoddy piece of workmanship, I took matters into my own hands. After 45 minutes with a seam ripper, the cover is successfully on the bed and looks pretty good- from three sides at least ; ). Much better than the wrinkly sheet in the photo, that’s for sure. Of course, the fabric store was out of 100″ zippers so I have basically sandwich bagged the cover around the mattress for the time being, but this is a start. I’ll post soon with final glamour shots and a how-to.

2010 Explorations – Ongoing

-EXPLORATION – Push myself to try new things, go new places, and challenge my routines.

One of my goals for 2010 is to explore. These explorations don’t have to be grand adventures (although I wouldn’t rule one of those out), just small challenges to try something new.


  • We took Rory to the Arkansas River to walk, meet geese, and play in the water. This was a new experience for her, too! It’s especially fun to try something new with a friend, whether of the human or canine variety. Witnessing their exploration and experiencing something new together is both fun and stimulating. As it happens, Rory did not care for the geese, although she loved sniffing their poop. We also learned that she is not averse to water, just baths. Even though it was winter, she loved wading into the water and splashing around.
  • I prepared pork ribs and a HAM for the first time. I’ve never been much of a meat-eater, and hence not much of a meat-cooker, but it was nice to add some variety to our weeknight menus, which had fallen into a bit of a winter funk. Next time, we are not buying ribs at Sam’s, though. We ate them for five nights. Two people should probably not buy meat in bulk. The ham was great, too, although I would recommend the same advice. Less is more, people.
  • Tyler and I have been sampling beers. We both enjoy different styles of beers and by sampling each other’s choices, we have been exposed to an even greater variety. I have three new favorites that I can’t wait to buy again. Tallgrass Buffalo Sweat (a stout), Tommyknocker Maple (mmmm…), and Avery White Rascal, a Belgian style wheat beer.
  • Now that Tyler and I are “morning people” as his coworkers call us, we’ve started getting out earlier in the day. Instead of treating ourselves to a late dinner out at a restaurant, we’ve begun splurging on breakfast. I’m totally fine with this as breakfast is my favorite meal. In the past couple weeks, we’ve gone to two “new” places: Jimmy’s Egg and Good Egg. Good Egg is a local breakfast spot. I thought it was a little overpriced, but the pancakes were HUGE. I should have only ordered one because it was at least a foot in diameter. These pancakes were the size of the things you see on Man Vs. Food. I liked the fact that you could choose various “mix-ins” for the pancakes batter and whole wheat pancakes were an option at no extra charge and the flavored coffee was excellent. I can see us going back. The chairs were all park benches, though, and not very comfortable ones, so they do get a demerit for that.

Rory’s First Snowfall

Rory and I have been having the most amazing time. Depending on what part of the country you hail from, Wichita either got a lot or a very little snow this week. We had a couple inches to play in, and when it comes to snow, I will take what I can get. Rory loved everything about the snow: the taste, the feel, the way she can slide in it or burrow in it or toss it into the air with her nose. She thinks of snow as an all-you-can eat snow buffet and stops every couple of seconds to take a bite of her new favorite treat.

We have played outside in the snow more times than I can count and we even ventured out for a 2.5 mile hike yesterday. There was no one else around – just me and my snow-loving dog. The snow really brings out the Great Pyrenees side to Rory and for once her coat doesn’t look as white! The forecast for the next week shows us remaining cold and possibly seeing a few more flakes. I hope the fun lasts ; ).

Fall Puppy Update


Rory is now 8 1/2 months and has been with us for nearly 6 weeks. She’s nearly 70 pounds and you can definitely tell! She’s getting stronger and faster every day and has so much energy. A little boy we met on a walk this week recommended I change her name to “Rory the Racecar”. I take her on walks at least once a day and one of her favorite things to do is visit the playground across the street and go wild on the soccer field. We still have not taken her to obedience school, but she now responds with 99% accuracy to “sit” (even outside with lots of distractions!), and knows “wait” (especially when in relation to food or walks), “down”, “shake”, and “other paw”. She responds sometimes to “come here”, “roll over”, and to words describing her toys. She loves to race around the backyard with Tyler.



She’s very curious, and like a child, will stick anything in her mouth just in case it tastes good. In the picture below she is trying out some leaves, sticks, and a flower. It’s not all fun and games – Rory can be incredibly stubborn and she frustrates me to no end – especially when she has been digging in the mud or trying to sample her fresh poop. The good things outweigh the bad, though. I might be biased, since she is fresh and clean from her bath yesterday and spent the morning in bed with me. : ) She also LOVES to socialize with children and other dogs – so if you have some of those, bring them on over!