10 Years of Penelope

Hi friends, happy Friday to ya!

Guys, tomorrow is a very special day. Tomorrow is Penelope’s 10th birthday!

 Happy 10th Birthday Penelope! 

Also known as, recognizes, and responds to: 
Penny, P-na-lope, P-na-low-pay, Punkin’, Punky, Punk, Chunky-Punk, Punky McChunkersons, Roo, Penny-Roo, P-Roo, Roo-da-begga, Pook/Pooks, Burrito, Snugga, Snugglepupagus, Lazy-Butt, Monkey, Chunky-Monkey, Tooomuuuh, and Sissy

I realize it may seem pretty weird to write a blog post about my dog’s birthday. Of course for those of you who know me, you know I’m a little nuts about animals, especially my own, and while we don’t usually make much of a fuss about our pets’ birthdays around here, ten years is a pretty big deal for a doggo and well deserving of some celebration, don’tcha think? 

Oh, but it's so bittersweet. While I am absolutely over the moon that she’s been a part of our family for ten years and that she’s in such great health, it’s difficult to have so much love for something you have such a short amount of time with. You know it in your heart all along, but then one day you notice their snoot is a little whiter, they move a bit slower, and suddenly you’re the girl ugly-crying in the middle of the pet food aisle because you’re holding a bag of kibble labeled, 'Active Longevity for Senior Dogs'. But then you come home, play fetch until you no longer have any feeling whatsoever in your right arm, and as she’s begging to keep going (‘you have TWO ARMS, mom!’), you realize just how lucky and thankful you are to have had even one single day with this furry little ball of love. 

[And then suddenly, you’re the girl ugly-crying at your computer while writing a blog post about your dog’s birthday]  

 Chihuahua puppy with big ears

Penelope when she was just a few months old and approximately 97% ears

It’s hard to believe my little Chunky-Punk is ten years old already. Heck, I'm still trying to figure out how we ended up with not just one, but TWO chihuahuas. Before Penny, Ken and I considered ourselves to be “big dog” people. We both grew up with German Shepherds, and when he and I first met, his BDF (Best Dog Friend) was a rowdy Siberian Husky named Roscoe. We talked frequently about getting a Great Dane someday when we had a nice, big backyard. Yes, we were even *those* people who rolled our eyes and scoffed at yappy ankle-biters and the people who carried them around in purses.

And then we met Penny, and everything changed. 

[Thankfully without the yapping, ankle-biting, or Paris Hilton-esque accessories. We didn't go totally nuts.]

How she came to join our family is a long story for another day, but to say she is the best terrible idea we’ve ever had would be an understatement. She is nothing like we thought she would be, and a million times better than I could ever imagine any dog could be, big or small. So here's to you, my sweet Penny-Roo. And to many, many, many more years of tennis ball obsessing, sleeping in way past noon, and rides in the car to your favorite french fry store <3

Catching Up

Hihihi! I'm alive, I'm alive. I've just been avoiding the blog and most of the internet for the last... four months or whatever. I mean, I've been out there. Scrolling. Lurking Looking. Telling myself I should probably "like" something, comment on something, POST something, buuuuuut... just not really caring enough about being present on the internets to actually do it. Such is life as an introvert without a dimmer switch, I suppose.

I'm slowly coming back around though, so I wanted to quickly share what's been going on lately, as well as a few things we have coming up. Four to six months of life in a single blog post? Why not! I'll try to be as brief and to-the-point as possible, then later, a few of the bigger things will probably get their own long-winded, Steve-style post.

Contributor post on Atlanta Trails. Earlier this year, I was contacted by the founder/editor of one of my favorite outdoor websites, Atlanta Trails, about a freelance writer/photographer opportunity. A few months and many miles later, my first post— a guide to the hiking and running trails at The State Botanical Garden of Georgia— was officially published. You can find the post HERE, and if you're in the area, I highly recommend a visit, especially this time of year with all the changing colors of fall.

Photo of the Month. In June, I posted this photo on Instagram using a few hashtags, as I usually do. A short time later, I received a message from Visit Oconee, our county's visitor center account, saying they had selected my photo for their Photo of the Month contest! ...which I hadn't even realized I had entered into by including their hashtag. I was very excited and honored, nonetheless, and now my photo is featured on their social media accounts and a print is hanging in our local Visitor's Center.  

Senior Photoshoot at the beach. In August, my not-so-much-of-a-baby-anymore baby cousin, Kailyn, asked if I would take her senior photos at the beach while we were all visiting in Florida. I haven't done a lot of portrait photography, but I thought it was so sweet of her to ask and told her we'd give it a shot, with no guarantee that I wouldn't totally screw it up. After an adventurous afternoon of rushing to the beach, out-running thunderstorms, and fighting wind so strong it almost knocked my camera out of my hand multiple times, I was so excited to see that not only had I NOT totally screwed it up, but her photos turned out immensely better than I had hoped. Which I take very little to no credit for. I mean, LOOK AT HER. Is she not the most adorably gorgeous, photogenic high school senior you have ever seen?! I can't wait to share more of her photos with you, but that will have to wait a bit because she's keeping some under wraps to give as gifts and I don't want to spoil her surprise.

Oahu Vacation. In just a few short weeks, we're heading to Hawaii! This will be the biggest trip B and I have taken in our 12+ years together, and for him, the farthest he's traveled (which should be interesting for a dude who doesn't like to fly). A few days after our arrival, we'll be joined by the rest of his family, including his parents which is exceptionally exciting. We'll spend Thanksgiving on the island then on Friday, enjoy a performance by our youngest nephew and the rest of the Morgan County High School band who were invited to play in the Waikiki Holiday Parade. (Did you get to go to Hawaii your freshman year of high school? I certainly did not!) 

The beginnings of our very long, future driveway! 

We're Building a House! Eventually. The building probably won't start until next Summer-ish, but after many months of looking for either a house with acreage or land to build on, we ended up with a beautiful piece of property very close to B's family. I can't wait to share more details about it, and of course, document the building process here on the blog (and if you have Snapchat, be sure to find me over there @histeeeve for more updates in real-time.) Hopefully after this week, we'll finally have access from the main road so we can actually drive onto the property instead of parking in the ditch and hiking up through the overgrown grass, briars, and Lord-knows-whatever-else. 

So, I think we're all caught up now! And I even managed to make it through without talking about the weather once! (It's been hot. SO HOT.) I hope you've had a wonderful summer and, as I'm just realizing it's the last weekend in October, have a fun, safe, and Happy Halloween!

xo, Steve