cousins, horses, and puppies, oh my!

On our way home from our long weekend of celebrating my mom’s birthday and meeting our newest nephew, we made plans to stop and visit with Michael’s cousin, Nicole! She’s been inviting us to come up to their place ever since they moved back to Virginia, so I was glad to finally make it happen!

They live out in the country, and her husband Brian works with the horses there. We arrived in the early evening, just around golden hour.  Between the animals, the middle-of-nowhere feel, and the sunset, this was basically a little slice of heaven for me. (Can you find Scout?)They had several horses, and I was so excited to meet them. This one, named Dublin, was my favorite! Such a sweetie. Kaelyn was the most smitten with the horses. She could not stop stroking their noses and talking to them. I loved seeing her fascination and joy. There’s just something about a horse barn… ok, everything about a horse barn… that makes me feel so much peace, calm, and happiness: the smell of hay and sweaty horses, the soft sounds they make as they move in their stalls, and the sweetness of a horse pressing his giant head up against your side, waiting for you to rub his nose or scratch his ears. Horses have a profound effect on me that nothing else seems to, which is why I often miss my days of working at the barn and riding so very much.Nicole also has a few chickens (and the coolest chicken coop I’ve seen), so the girls loved watching them, too. Kaelyn even helped find an egg! I promise, she was much more excited than she looks here.They also had a litter of hunting dog puppies for us to visit with. The girls were so excited (and these babies looked so little compared to Scout)!Brian grilled up some chicken and corn on the cob, and we enjoyed dinner outside together. Nicole brought out ice cream for dessert (a Teerlink family tradition for Sunday nights!), and I believe this was Kaya’s first time ever having it in a cone. It was a hit! Kaelyn’s first cone! Michael, with his ice-cream-sandwich-shoved-into-a-cone-topped-with-an-extra-scoop dessert, covering up his eye to be funny, because for the first time since I met him almost nine years ago, he had an allergic reaction to something! His eye was completely swollen and red. He was fine, but it was a little concerning to me just because he’d never had anything like this before.Being silly (with that swollen eye)!It was sad to leave, but we still had a few hours of driving left to get home. There’s nothing like having fun with your cousins (and second cousins)!


We adopted Scout on National Puppy Day (March 23rd, without even knowing there was a whole day in celebration of puppies!), so now that we’ve had her for just over a month, I thought I’d write a little update.

I almost can’t believe she grew from this little baby…

…to a taller, longer puppy in such a short time. She still only weighed about 17 pounds at her vet check-up at 14 weeks old, but she seems so much bigger overall.

Scout is still learning to walk on the leash without playing tug-of-war with it, and she’s getting used to walking alongside the stroller when we all go out. She also loves to sit outside with us when we’re working or playing in the yard, although clearly, her leash isn’t long enough, because she tends to wrap it around whatever she’s tied to until she can’t go anywhere.

The girls love to take turns dishing out her food at mealtimes, and she’s actually very good at practicing “sit” and “stay” while they pour it into the bowl. Kaya spends every morning playing with her, and sometimes even cries when we need to put Scout into her crate while we go get washed up and dressed. She sure does love her puppy. Kaelyn took a little longer to warm up to Scout, but now she loves to pet her. I’ve even heard her say, “I love you Puppy”, which completely melted my heart.

Scout hardly ever barks. She did howl and cry a lot during her first few nights here, but now she sleeps soundly. Thankfully, we’re also done with 3 am wake-up calls for me to take her outside to go to the bathroom!

Speaking of going to the bathroom… I was just about to laud her for going 3.5 weeks without a single accident… and then she peed on the floor last night. Whoops. Overall though, training this time around has been a whole lot easier. She’s still banned from the carpeted areas of our home (except for the office, but only when we’re in there working and can supervise her closely).

Apparently, she only likes to sleep on her dog bed when it’s upside down and/or folded in half.

Rawhides are her absolute favorite thing… I should probably buy stock in them, because they’re the only thing that can entertain her for any real length of time. She loves any toy with a squeaker in it, and actually hasn’t destroyed any of her things yet.She’s earned the nickname “Skit-Skat-Skoodle-Scout”, which might seem completely random, unless you’re a big fan of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, in which case, you’ll remember the line “Skit, skat, skoodle doot, flip, flop, flee. Everybody running to the coconut tree.” Sometimes we shorten it to just “Skit Skat”. We really, really, like that book in our house.And if you’re wondering where the name Scout came from… Kaya really likes the Leapfrog series, and insisted long ago that any future dog we’d have would be named Scout. Or maybe we’re more sophisticated than that and named her after the classic, To Kill a Mockingbird. I’ll let you decide! 😉

She absolutely loves to snuggle… on your lap, under your legs… or both. She will take any cuddles she can get, which might be my favorite part of having a dog.

And to keep this post real and honest… With having a dog again, I have had moments where the anxiety and fear of something awful happening to my children floods over me. Sadly, through training Scout, I’ve realized that I haven’t completely forgiven myself for Kaya being bitten two years ago, despite being told (and reminding myself repeatedly), that it truly wasn’t my fault. We’re trying to make Scout into the best dog she can be, and we’re teaching the kids how to be safe around dogs. We’re giving it our best effort, which is all anyone can really do.

down on the river

This weekend, my in-laws came up to our neck of the woods to go camping, which meant lots of food, fun, and family time! They camped down at the river, so that gave us a chance to cookout, enjoy the sun, and go tubing.

_MG_6794 _MG_6793 _MG_6813Dad and Jeff kept teasing Michael for being so slow to get ready and actually get in the water…_MG_6818…so he tried pretty hard to catch up._MG_6819 _MG_6820 Lelia tried to get Jax to go swimming (“tried” being the key word)!_MG_6779 But as you can see from the look on his face, he was not so thrilled._MG_6777The puppies still had their share of fun outside the water, though. I think they wrestled all afternoon! (And yes, that’s Fallon doing a somersault!)
_MG_6782 _MG_6823 We filled up on hotdogs, burgers, homemade mac n’ cheese, and strawberry salad! (And of course there were s’mores for dessert!)_MG_6846

Kaya had lots of grandparent cuddles…_MG_6791_MG_6803 _MG_6811Seriously… how precious is my princess?
_MG_6839-2There is nothing I love more than spending time with my family.

dog park

On Saturday, we met up with Jeff and Lelia at our town’s dog park. I’d never even been to a dog park before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Luckily, it was actually well-kept, clean, and relatively large.

Jax mostly kept to himself at first. He’s usually pretty submissive, so seeing a giant Malamute (among other big dogs) when we first arrived might have intimidated him a little._MG_6562 _MG_6563 A certain little girl was thrilled when all the dogs swarmed around her as soon as we walked through the gate. She just sat and watched them the entire time without making a peep. Little animal lover!_MG_6598_MG_6607We met Jeff and Lelia’s dog, Fallon, for the first time! They just got her last week._MG_6581 She is about the same size as Jax (for now anyway). It didn’t take long for them to become buddies! They started following each other around…_MG_6571 … and then they had a huge [friendly] wrestling match!_MG_6600 _MG_6609_MG_6614Jax was wiped out (and dirty) by the end of the afternoon._MG_6596 He had a bath as soon as we got home, and then we made him wait out on the porch to dry off. “Can I come inside now, pleaaase?”_MG_6625It was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

photo-a-day for may (1-6)

As I mentioned last week, I’m doing this photo challenge for May. So far, it’s been a lot of fun and it has helped me see each day a little differently!

Day 1 (I bought this!): “Granola” bars for the flight home. I don’t normally buy these, so they were a treat!

Day 2 (morning ritual): I run at least four miles, five times a week. Starting my day with exercise is so invigorating!IMG_20130502_231754

Day 3 (this is really good!): We had some AMAZING weather on Friday. It actually felt like spring! Kaya and I enjoyed some time outside with my mom and dad-in-law. Kaya is infatuated with Scrappy, and he was so patient with her!


Day 4 (in my cup): Sweet Frog frozen yogurt! I think I put nearly every chocolate topping on it…IMG_20130504_191120

Day 5 (paper): I received my institute diploma! (Institute is basically a church program that holds classes to study scriptures). I was missing just one class for credit, but I finally finished!IMG_20130505_203049

Day 6 (broken): My heart has been broken since I said goodbye to Maggie yesterday. I wanted one last picture together before we went to the vet.image

creepy sleepy

After work today, I decided to spend some time at the town library. Okay, truth be told, I was secretly dying to read Dog Fancy magazine. No, really, I'm being honest here!

Anyway, I sat down and delved into a world full of dog sports, ads for flea and tick preventatives, and funny photos of dogs on vacation. Sadly, my delight was short-lived- after about 30 minutes (who am I kidding, it was probably even less than that!) I felt my eyelids slowly drooping, my heavy head declining toward my chest… And I was fighting the inevitable.

I can sleep basically anywhere. In Europe, I managed it on airplanes, crowded buses, trains, and even in airports! 

Anyway, back in the library, I thought for sure I was winning the battle. My eyes were still open, yes, I could see the plethora of books surrounding me. "I'm not sleeping, I can't be sleeping, not in the public library!" I thought (or dreamed, perhaps?!). Then, hearing a gruff chuckle, I woke up. At the table across the walkway, a middle aged-man was guffawing at my expense! 

Oh well. I attempted to keep reading for the next while, but gave up and went to put my magazine away, hearing the man recommence his cackling (yes, cackling… alright, that might be a bit of hyperbole…)

What's so funny about a girl falling asleep in the library anyway?

In Switzerland, my roommate Katherine managed to catch me sleeping while doing my "scripture study". They all had a good laugh at me, the creepy sleepy "mummy"…

girl’s best friend


One of my very favorite things about going home is seeing my puppy.


When I was a junior in high school, my brother and I tried so very hard to convince our parents to let us have a puppy. At the time, we already had a dog, but he was getting old and had already suffered a herniated disc in his back. Despite our love for him, we wanted a dog who could run and play with us. My mom finally "instructed" my dad to take us to the humane (or as we later discovered, not-so-humane society) to LOOK at the puppies.

Once there, we peered into a cage that contained 3 puppies- 2 were obviously brothers, and the other was a husky mix. We first walked one of the brothers. He was sweet, but a little too calm for our taste. My brother and I went back and had a look at the second brother, who was all black with white front legs and white hind paws. "Look at his 'socks!' " I exclaimed. Maybe by now you can guess where this story is about to lead…

We took him outside and he was the boldest, most energetic puppy we had ever seen. As we went back inside, my dad started telling us how we had to put the puppy back. I held the little guy close as we tried to persuade him that this was the perfect dog and we couldn't just leave him behind.

"What a cute puppy!" A lady walking by commented. Both my brother and I knew that we couldn't put him back in his cage now, that lady would snatch him up and he would never be ours.

Being such convincing kids (maybe we should've grown up to be lobbyists) we finally managed to get our dad to agree to adoption.

Here's our little "Socks"…

Socks and Barney…

We loved him so much from the start, but he was actually a very sick little guy. Just a few days after bringing him home, he couldn't seem to stop . Mom called the vet, who said to bring him in immediately. Socks was diagnosed with the deadly Canine Parvovirus, and was hospitalized for a week. Miraculously, he came home.

And now, nearly 5 years later, he is still my buddy. My dog always remembers who I really am and never stops loving me, even if I'm in a bad mood or make mistakes. Dogs see straight to your heart, and that's why I love them.

un weekend chez les parents

This was the first weekend of summer, and my job hasn’t started yet, so we decided to go visit our families! I haven’t seen my family since Christmas, so it’s been awhile. I also got to do some other fun activities while we were there, like go to the dentist. Ahhhh!

We got to see our dogs, Scrappy and Socks.


Michael also worked on our car with his dad…

I’ve got myself a cute little mechanic now =)

And we adopted a new guinea pig!

Ok, ok, he’s stuffed. But still cute!

dog-gone good day

Today I slept in for the first time in a while- we got up at 10:20! All right! After that I did the normal Saturday thing… aka LAUNDRY, which is probably my least favorite chore, even though it's not at all labor-intensive. strange…

The best part of the day was this afternoon when we went to the humane society to volunteer to play with the dogs! We saw a lot of little sweethearts, including 3 beagles. One of them was there when we went last July (luckily this is a no-kill shelter). Michael enjoyed seeing "Harold" again, and he actually looked a lot healthier than before =)

It was easy to choose the dog I wanted to walk: the furriest one with the most energy, course! Her name is Gracie and she looks like some kind of Shetland sheepdog mix. She doesn't like chasing balls, but she sure loves playing tug-of-war with her leash and running after you!

Here she is before we tired her out:

We ran like crazy, and then decided to brush her, because she had a lot of extra hair and some matting. Here's what we got off of her:

And then we ran some more…

And then she was a tired little girl.

I love making the dogs happy, even if it's just for a little while. I could go there every day and never get bored. One day I'll bring a puppy home, but that won't be for a while!

putt-putt, dogs and dinner!

Today was awesome!!  Michael was off work so we slept in a bit.  This afternoon Michael came up with a crazy idea- but wouldn’t tell me what it was!  He got me in the car and just drove.  And well… we went and played putt-putt! (which we’re actually both REALLY bad at).  It was so much fun to play outside and have time together!  He won by just ONE point.

On our way there I saw the coolest dog EVER.  Take a look yourself- he even smiled at the camera!

After I [barely] lost at putt-putt, we went to the Montgomery County Humane Society to volunteer!  We spent time with a lot of the dogs there and took two of them on walks.

It’s really a sad place to go- none of those dogs have families to love them, all because someone was irresponsible with them in the first place.  Sure, a dog needs food and water, but the biggest thing a dog needs is companionship.  None of the dogs there have that, and was nice to know that we could give it to them for at least a little while.

I walked a little sheltie mix named Rhett, and Michael walked Harold, a very old beagle.  He was so glad to just get outside!

Michael and Harold

Is this not the cutest face?

After playing with the dogs, we went to Olive Garden to celebrate (belatedly) our one month anniversary!  It was great to go out and not worry about cooking =)