Category Archives: hubby

Penny Girl

I write this with very tired eyes and a big ol’ happy heart.
Chad and I drove down to Austin this weekend to pick up our little Penny girl.
The moment was long awaited, and we were so happy to finally get to hug & squeeze her!
She is 9 weeks old, as light as a feather, and bouncing with energy.

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She is a clingy little thing, our Penny girl.
She loves to be held and snuggled and prances along underneath our feet.
Anytime we let her outside to play, she bounds right back and sits right on top of our feet until we pick her up. And how in the world can you resist that?
We have survived two nights with her. (Feels like 12) I suppose it’s good parenting practice, seeing as we are up every two hours to let her out to potty.  We are crate training her, but I just couldn’t let her cry that long, so of course I brought her into our bed to snuggle. It worked like a charm. She curled right up into my neck and was sound asleep within seconds.
Chad says tonight is the first night of full night crate sleeping.
I’m going to have to wear ear plugs, because her tiny puppy whimpers break my heart.
The plus side? She sleeps for hours. The bummer? She is alert and ready with her sharp puppy teeth and claws when she wakes up. I already have one battle wound.

I love watching her with Chad. I know that sounds so silly, but you can tell how much she already loves him. She follows him everywhere and loves to play and snuggle with him.
Plus, their size difference makes me giggle!
They will be great jogging partners one day.

So excited to have this little one in our lives. When we lost Gertie in December, we knew we wanted to fill that puppy void.  Penny is the perfect puppy to add to our family. We see so much of Gertie in her (they have the same parents!) and we can’t wait to see what kind of dog she grows up to be.  Can you tell we are dog people?

Penny Lane.
Isn’t she just the cutest little red ball of fur?
Don’t worry, you’ll see much more of her on Instagram whether you like it or not!
Wish us luck and a lot more sleep!

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Chicken Fried Steak & Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

 When you are from the South, you’ve definitely heard of/tried/seen a chicken fried steak at some point in your sweet little life. Well, it also just so happens to be my husband’s all time favorite food. Whenever it’s on the menu, bam. That’s his pick. No question about it. I, on the other hand, loathe red meat. I don’t like to eat it, pick it up, look at it or even have it in my kitchen. Lucky for him, however, I happened upon a pretty interesting looking recipe for one and thought I’d try it out. You know how people always say “don’t judge a book by it’s cover?” Well, I’m guilty of that. I literally will check a book out at the library because I like the way the cover looks. I don’t even read the back of it. That’s pretty much what happened with the chicken fried steak recipe. The food blog was super aesthetically pleasing and they made that steak look good.
They won this red meat loathing girl over.
Judged it by it’s cover. Bought the ingredients. Fried it right up.

I will say, it was pretty intimidating because Chad stood behind me the whole time.
Judging me. With judging {i know how I like my chicken fried steak} eyes.
I have never fried anything in my entire life.
I might have sloshed some hot oil around and let out a little curse word.
But once I got the hang of it, I was frying that steak up like a boss.

I must admit, it was fun to try something new. And I evened out the playing field by oven roasting some healthy brussels sprouts. {my favorite}
Oh. And, Chad gave the clean plate of approval.
(and then I took a bow, did a happy dance, and enjoyed a cold beer)

Balsamic Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels Sprouts
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • Sea Salt, to taste
  • Fresh Cracked Pepper, to taste

How To:

Preheat oven to roast at 375°F.

Peel off the outer, beat-up layers of the brussels sprouts.
Trim the ends, then cut brussels sprouts in half.
Balsamic Brussel Sprouts

In a large bowl, toss together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Then add the brussels sprouts and toss evenly.
Balsamic Brussel Sprouts 1 Lightly oil a cookie sheet and spread out the brussels sprouts. (cut side facing down) Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, flip the sprouts over, then roast them again for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
Balsamic Brussel Sprouts 2

 

Chicken Fried Steak via (I’m A Food Blog):

Steak Ingredients:

  • 1 steak of choice (I chose a round steak from Whole Foods and pounded it for tenderization)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • oil for pan-frying

Gravy Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons duck fat   (I know.)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • salt and pepper

How To:

(Depending on what type of steak you purchased, you might have to pound it a little to tenderize it. I did this for about two minutes on each side)

Chicken Fried Steak

Place the flour into a shallow dish (I used glass pie dishes, as they were shallow but large enough to hold the steaks) and mix with the salt and pepper. Crack the egg in another shallow dish and whisk lightly. Dredge the meat in the flour, then the egg, then the flour again.
Chicken Fried Steak 1

In a large frying pan, heat up about 1/2 cm of oil over medium-high. Once the oil begins to simmer, add the steak and cook until golden brown and crispy, about 4-5 minutes per side. (I ended up cooking each side a little longer on medium heat, as my cut of steak was a little thick) Remove from the pan and set aside while making gravy.
Chicken Fried Steak 2 In a sauce pot, melt the duck fat over medium heat. Sprinkle in the flour and cook while stirring until thoroughly mixed. While whisking, slowly pour in the milk, then the broth. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, whisking occasionally until slightly thickened. Taste and season with salt and pepper. (This is a little difficult as it can thicken pretty quickly..so just make sure to stir the whole time! I had Chad help me with this step!)

Chicken Fried Steak 3

Now, enjoy your chicken fried steak and balsamic brussel sprouts and then have your husband do the dishes and help you clean the hot oil from every corner of the kitchen!
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The Christmas Dress

When I was a little girl, my mom would always pick out a Christmas Eve dress for me to wear.  For several years, she actually made my Christmas dresses. Looking back, those always turned out to be pretty interesting with their rather large early nineties peter pan collars, tacky plastic buttons, and sparkly reindeer tights.
{Not slighting my mother’s sewing skills, though. She is amazing!}

These days, choosing what to wear is a little more exciting. This Lulu*s dress made for a perfect Christmas Eve outfit. I actually forgot my black opaque tights, so I threw on the only thing I had. And I’m glad I did, because I actually loved the fun little touch these polka dot tights gave the dress.

We were in Austin at Chad’s parents this year, so I wanted to take these photos in front of the cabin {on their property} where we were engaged Christmas morning two years ago. Their log cabin home is so magical at Christmas and it brings about wonderful memories and cozy feelings. I love that I get to spend Christmas with both of my families. It really is such a wonderful time of the year.
As Christmas came and went, I honestly felt the best gift was getting to see everyone and spend time with the ones I love. It doesn’t happen often enough.

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Dress: c/o Lulu*s
Tights: Forever 21
Heels: c/o Lulu*s
Necklace: c/o Savoir-Faire

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Sweet Gertie Girl

If you follow me on Instagram, then you know this already. But, we had to say goodbye to our sweet Gertie on Saturday afternoon. These past few days have been the hardest time for both Chad and I. Since many of you have asked, or have followed our story since we welcomed her into our home last November, I wanted to share with you what happened over the past few days.

Gertie started vomiting on Tuesday night, and so Wednesday morning, we took her into the vet to get her checked out. {Obviously, at this point, we were not alarmed in any way shape or form} The vet was a little worried and told us that her symptoms were lining up with a possible Pancreatitis prognosis. They did some bloodwork and an x-ray and confirmed that she did indeed have Pancreatitis. Her levels were higher than they had ever seen. I’m talking sky-high.
This really made us nervous, but we thought it could be fixed. The vet kept her throughout the day and put her on pain medication, antibiotics and IV fluids to help her recover.  She improved, but not as much as they’d have liked. We picked her up Wednesday evening, and transferred her to the over night Animal ER and there, they continued the IV fluids and medication. Early Thursday morning, we picked her up and took her back to our normal vet. She was wagging her tail and seemed to be on the mend and back on track to being our sweet, crazy girl.
They did want to keep her throughout the day just to try and get some real food into her system and what not. Thursday evening, we picked her up and brought her home.

She was back to being her {almost} normal self.  She hovered under me as I cooked dinner in the kitchen {like usual}, she wanted to play, she ran around the house…We just, at that point, had no worries.  She slept with us that night just to be sure, and everything seemed to be going great.

Friday evening, we were supposed to go to a Holiday party in downtown Dallas. As I was showering and getting ready, I could tell a change was happening in Gertie.  She began shaking uncontrollably like she had been the day we took her in.  She was uncomfortable and standing with her back arched. She kept hiding in dark corners of the house, and it just broke our hearts and made us very worried. Her little eyes and face looked so sad and our worry increased ten fold.  We skipped the party, and got into bed with her.  She couldn’t get comfortable all night long.  I didn’t sleep a wink.  I cried on and off just because it was hard to see our happy go lucky puppy in pain.  When the sun came up, I was just laying there waiting for the vet to open so we could call and take her in.

When we got there, our vet knew something else was wrong.  At that point, they thought she had an obstruction of some kind or that possibly her little intestines were telescoping in on each other.  {which, either diagnosis would explain the terrible pain she was in} At this point, she couldn’t even lay down. She was in so much pain and shock, that it was hard to even look at her.  They did another x-ray and sent us off to the ER again to prep her for surgery.  At this point, we felt relief that there was a plan.  We thought, okay, surgery. Then recovery. Then home.
Well, when we got to the ER, they had a different plan. They didn’t want to cut her open without confirmation of something in there because it would slow her healing process and possibly  make her regress with the Pancreatitis.
So, over the next two hours, they ran more x-rays with a barium juice that she drank to show how the fluid was moving through her digestive system.

At that point, Chad and I left the ER and went to get coffee & something to eat. We were so emotionally drained and exhausted beyond belief.  We sat in a Target parking lot and talked about what was happening.  I think it was the first time we were actually able to process things.  Up until that point, the Dr.’s were throwing meds, x-ray results, plans, & hefty bills at us.  There was never a time where we could just talk about what was happening. At this point, we had already paid several thousand dollars.
We were both avoiding the elephant in the room up until then.
We sat in the car and had the dreaded conversation. Neither of us could muster the words that had to be spoken.  I cried like a baby and made ridiculous exclamations like “I’ll sell my engagement ring!”…”I’ll do anything!”….At that point, I was just thinking of the financial part of it.  I wasn’t even thinking about how much pain our poor Gertie was in. We let that conversation linger as we drove back to the ER.
Neither of us wanted to even talk about it. It didn’t matter how much we had to pay or what we had to do. We loved our girl.
When we got there, the vet was very concerned about Gertie. Her x-rays were very murky and they believe that her abdomen was possibly poisoned by the Pancreatitis or just very angrily inflamed. The fluid was not being digested and so surgery was necessary.  This is where things got really hard.
The Dr. could not confirm that there was indeed an obstruction. Complications could have happened with the Pancreatitis causing her organs to fail, and that could explain why her digestive system wasn’t working.  There wasn’t a cut and dry answer.
We talked a lot about options, but basically we were looking at an open ended question.
There was a very large chance that Gertie would never get better.
That we could cut her open and explore around for an answer.
That we could keep pumping her full of pain meds & IV’s…and never know what was wrong.  They also told us she might never be the same after this.

We asked the vet to leave the room, and we talked for over an hour about what was best for Gertie. We called our families, we cried and held each other, but when it came down to it, we had to think about the well being of Gertie. We were willing to do whatever it took to help her, but seeing her shaking in pain despite the pain meds?  Seeing her in shock and drugged? It was too much for us.  We knew she was in pain and we both knew in our hearts that this was a problem that wouldn’t easily be fixed. There was no definitive answer to her issue.
There were no red flags or signs for the vet to go off of. Something was terribly wrong, and we both knew {we all knew} that it wasn’t going to be fixed.

We didn’t want to cut our Gertie open or make her suffer anymore. I can tell you that our decision was the hardest decision either of us have ever had to make. We both sobbed as the decision was made. We had no idea when Gertie got sick that we wouldn’t have much time left with her. We knew in our hearts that it was the best decision we could make FOR HER.  Not for us. Selfishly, we would have wanted to keep her alive. We loved her. She was a part of our family. But it was too much for her little body, and we knew she was failing. She fought so hard. Like a champion. Looking back now, we think maybe the reason her Pancratitis levels were so high? Is because she was sick for a while and we didn’t even know it. She was so strong and such a happy girl. We never even knew.

We said our goodbyes to Gertie around 2pm on Saturday. I couldn’t stay in the room, so I held her and talked to her like I always used to. I looked into her eyes and told her how sorry I was. I wanted her to know that we were sorry we couldn’t help her.
Chad stayed with her and held her through it all.

Our drive home was terribly sad. We were in shock.
When we got home, we just sobbed for hours. We cried in every room of the house that night.  Sunday morning, we woke up and cried again.
We told stories about Gertie throughout the night and the next day.
We laughed and we cried. We walked around the house in all of it’s silence, and we cried some more.

I know this sounds silly to some, but we brought Gertie into our lives a few months after we were married. We thought of her as an addition to our family.  She was our number three. She was a light and a joy, and when we thought of home? We thought of her. Gertie grew as we grew, and we loved everything about her.
She was a beautiful dog, the spunkiest puppy in the land. She was always making us smile & laugh even when we were mad at her. She was mischievous and sweet all wrapped up into one ball of red fur.  We always joked she was the perfect combination of Chad and I.  Red hair and green eyes.
Gertie brought so much joy into our lives. She was always ready for an adventure. We grew to love her little nuances. The way she would jump on the bed when we folded the laundry, the way she would lean against the door when she wanted to go potty, the way she would light up when she knew we were going for a walk, a run or the park, and just all of her little “gertie-isms”. Everything about her, we loved.

Our life seems a little more empty. But our hearts are filled with memories of her.
We so appreciate your kind words, texts, emails and phone calls.

Losing a pet is such a hard thing to go through. We only got one year with our Gertie, but she filled it up with joy for us. And we know we filled hers too.
We thought of her as our third limb. We took her everywhere.
Chad was amazing to Gertie. He took her on runs, walks, to the dog park..you name it. He woke up every night when she was a brand new puppy, to take her outside. Every single night. He loved to watch her run and play, which just so happened to be her favorite thing. We would take her to Erwin park, take off her leash, and let her just fly. She was so fast with those long legs. She loved wide open spaces and being in nature. Chad and Gertie had a very special bond, and that makes it even harder for me to come to terms with this whole thing.
He lost a best friend, and for that, my heart breaks even more.

We find joy in knowing that Gertie was our little girl. She was the runt of the litter that no one wanted, and we gave her a good home. We keep saying to ourselves…when no one took her home or wanted her? We did. The breeder warned us against it, as they thought she could die.  But we brought her home and we loved that little 3 pound pup all the way up until her last breath. And we still love her. We always will.

She was so good to us, and she will never be replaced.
We rest in knowing that God will bring us peace and that Gertie is no longer in pain.

Thank you for your kind words & support. We so appreciate it.