What you didn’t know you needed

your basic toes in the sand picture 

I looked through some old blog posts recently (it’s hard to believe I’ve been at this thing seriously for two years now!), and what I notice the most when I’m gettin’ in my feels on a blog post is this theme of balance. Taking time for yourself. Saying NO to things so you can say YES to what you really need. I’ve said it a million times:  I overextend myself. I have a tendency to do too much. I need to slow down. I need to take care of myself. It’s there, in a hundred different phrases with a hundred different deliveries (all eloquent and witty, of course, I’m sure).

So this week at the beach with my family is a reminder to myself that this is exactly what I didn’t know I needed. Walking for miles on the beach, collecting sea shell after sea shell, running the dogs until we all can’t breathe and we’re panting and happy. I’m having some adult beverages and a lot of water, going to bed early to get up and meet the sun, and trying to stretch my brain playing Scattergories at night – and giggling when we come up with crazy words and fight for justification.

I know there are beach people and mountain people and indoor people and all kinds of other people, but the beach has always been my happy place. Every year as a kid, my family took a trip to the beach and as an adult, the beach just brings me back to that feeling. The feeling of having nothing you have to do, and being able to enjoy whatever you want with toes in the sand and wind in your hair. As an adult, I have to work a lot harder to be able to not have to do anything for a week…but it’s so worth it once you’re actually sitting in a chair, book in hand, waves rolling out in front of you.

360 degrees of beach watching

hey mom

living their best life, running from waves

We don’t realize how much the stresses of day-to-day life get to us. We walk around tense and tight, with knots in our necks and shoulders because we try to push everything down so we can make it to the next thing. We do need to slow down and take care of ourselves, and even if it isn’t for a week at the beach or any type of vacation at all, we have to intentionally set time aside to breathe and just be. It’s just what we didn’t know we really, really needed.

Now I’m going to finish this post so I can go enjoy the ocean and challenge the sun with SPF 70 applications every two hours. I’ll keep you posted on the winner.

P.S. For a little throwback action, here’s my first post ever!

Happy birthday, Bruno + Oliver!

oliver & bruno

These tiny terrors turn four years old today! I can’t believe it has been four years since I got these little buddies. I truly can’t imagine my life without them.

I introduced everyone to Bruno and Oliver in this post and really nothing has changed since then. Their personalities have stayed the same, and DARE I SAY that Bruno has even calmed down a little! As I type this, they are both snuggled asleep at the foot of my bed. I know they’re dreaming of their loving mother treats and open fields.

In honor of their birthday, my sister and I baked dog treats using the corgi cookie cutter I got this year for Christmas. They came out so cute! The doggies LOVED them. Like, went crazy about them. Here’s the simple recipe. Tips:  Use quite a bit of flour when rolling out the dough! Also, the recipe doesn’t specify whether or not to spray the pan, but we did and the treats didn’t stick!

before baking the treats

the finished product!

is it weird to feed corgis corgi-shaped treats?!

bruno + oliver patiently anxiously waiting

doing their big trick; bruno can’t even

had to take care of my girl nala, too!

These guys deserve to have an exciting birthday, even if they don’t realize why. They have been there for so many important moments of my life. They’ve watched me laugh, cry, and be a brat when I can’t find anything to wear. They’ve lived with me in four different homes and through getting my master’s degree, changing careers, and going back to teaching. They have snuggled up next to me night after night. Most importantly, they’ve never stopped being excited to greet me when I make it home. It’s crazy how much we love our pets; they’re family, too.

Here’s to Bruno and Oliver. Happy fourth birthday to my low-riding, crazy, blonde bundles of joy!

My first-borns

Bruno & Oliver, it’s finally time for your big debut.

Even as I write this, Bruno is sitting sweetly by the couch, gazing longingly at me, his mother the piece of pizza I am eating. And Oliver, the runt, the baby, my youngest, is staring soulfully into my loving eyes at the piece of pizza I am eating.

Reality is tough, people.

Jules and pups

Seriously though – without being too over the top, I received these nuggets as a gift when I got engaged a few years ago to someone I am no longer engaged to. They were not even 5 pounds yet, and I immediately fell in love. It seems like a different life, a different planet, a different time…and in a lot of ways, it was. Bruno and Oliver helped me through a really tough and important time in my life. I can’t tell you how much I love these little monsters. They just turned 3, and they are two of the most handsome dudes I will ever know (sorry Andrew). There is nothing like having a furry family member greet you, love you unconditionally, give you hugs and kisses when you’re feeling down, and smile at you with that huge open mouth – and I have two of them!

Bruno and Oliver as puppies! Bruno left, Oliver right
Oliver on the left, Bruno on the right

Bruno is my mischievious one. Lover of socks, receipts, dog collars, dryer sheets, Kate Spade cross body bag straps from purses your friend let you borrow…you name it, he will eat it. He is curious and he just. Can’t. Help. Himself. I had to stop buying them fuzzy and fluffy toys a long time ago, because he eats them entirely. He’s a tank. He is always busy and running around sniffing or trying to befriend a cat that doesn’t want him as a friend, but he likes to come check in with a kiss every now and then. He and I get our time together when we drive to Greensboro to see Andrew – he likes to ride shotgun with mama. And when he winds down and finally tires out (which is almost never), he is the sweetest thing in the world.

Oliver is my snuggle bug. He is a huge lap dog and he is a H   A   M. He loves attention and he will fight for it in any way that he can. Known for sniffing and lightly chewing the carpet (there just might be a morsel of food there!). He is a little piggy, and yes, a little bit chunky, but I love him just the way he is. He can be a little jerk when he gets jealous for attention or when Bruno breathes near his food, but generally speaking, he’s the sweetest fella you’ll ever know. He just loves to love and be loved.

Most nights, we sleep tucked in tight. I sleep in the middle of the bed with a dog sandwiching me on each side. Somewhere in the night, Bruno will migrate to the foot of the bed or down by the bedroom door to be a “guard dog,” and every morning I get to wake up with two snuggly, happy, soft corgis breathing hot dog breath in my face. I love it.

I finally understand how my mom can say she loves each of her children the same, but differently. It used to feel like a cop out, but I completely get it now. I hate when people pick favorites of my dogs. It’s a package deal, it’s both or nothing, and if you like one over the other, you better not ever let me know about it. They’re different, and they’re both the best things that ever happened to me. They drive me crazy, they cost me tons, they tear up everything I own, and I wouldn’t trade them for all the money in the world.

bruno and oliver treats