Archive of ‘Dogs’ category

Autumn Dog Walks

By Natalie

image1Recently I went on a walk with the puppy on possibly one of the last warmer days here in Charlotte. Does it get any better than this? It was a white t-shirt, dark denims kind of day. Where the sunlight kissed the pond after a fabulous date, and left it sparkling.



Bingley was overdue for a long long walk. You wanna know how I knew? Because a couple nights before he began barking at me continuously to play, and then proceeded to run around in circles chasing his tail… This went on for a while.. Until eventually he got dizzy, and waddled off to the side of the room.

As Bingley and I passed the bridge we came across a photographer which is a usual occurrence at Freedom Park. Her lens was pointed toward a twitter-paited couple nuzzling noses. The woman wore a short fluffy white dress and a veil. The man wore a fitted suit. A neatly wrapped bouquet of flowers lay beside the photographer. It was some sort of wedding shoot. But on a Wednesday? Perhaps it was an after the wedding session. Whatever they were there for, they seemed to capture the attention of all passerby.

Then, careening downhill came a young boy on a bike. His eyes peeked out from under his helmet, as his hands gripped the handle bars. His dad was jogging behind him, arms out, and ready for anything. The little boy thrust the handlebars side to side in desperate attempt to keep his bike upright. His training wheels were fresh off, and this was his big day. What an event to witness.

His smile was wide, even through his wobbliness. “Mommy! I did it! I did it!” he yelled. A woman with sunglasses and running shorts yelled up to him. “Good job baby!” After a few more steps I began to pass her stumbling behind her daughter’s bike. She whispered encouragements to the little girl who was taking on the slight hill with more caution than her brother. I smiled at them as we passed. This was quite possibly the sweetest scene I’ve witnessed all week. I’m not sure what could even top it next week. As we were going in opposite directions I passed this family of four a few more times. And with each passing I saw the kiddos get better and better. They grew more confidence, and were cycling straighter paths without the aide of their parents. It was adorable.

During this wonderful walk, and all of my people watching I had a thought. “Have I ever been the source of someone’s inspiration?” Young woman walks giant black lab briskly. Young woman discreetly takes photos of trees, and pet. Or so she thinks.

I was inspired by everyone at the park that day, who’s to say I didn’t inspire them? Not just the family teaching their children to ride bikes, or the photo session couple. But the boy sitting on the quiet bench by the ducks working on his laptop. The woman across the way from my bench that sat cross legged on her blanket under the willow tree engrossed in a novel. The old man that sat on his cooler holding onto his fishing pole leisurely. It was the perfect day, with a laid back kind of afternoon. I’m going to enjoy them while they’re here I think. Just until the winter months. Go on trees, keep those leaves changing. And wind keep those cool breezes coming.. We’re loving it out here.




The Truest Companion

By Natalie

First lets take a little advice from Charlie Brown

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You got me! It’s a doggie post today, because Bingley is curled up in the corner on this rainy evening in Charlotte, looking ever so sweet. And I am not ashamed to tell you that he’s my inspiration for the day. Hey, I’ll take it.

I continue to be amazed at what a wonderful addition he makes to our little family. Who else is going to literally jump in the air with joy that you are home? Better yet who is going to remind you to greet your husband excitedly with kisses when he walks in the door from a long day? Who else will crave your attention and love, and put a smile on your face all at once? Snuggle up to you and sigh when they sense you are sad? I wrote a little bit about how Bingley has helped mold me into a better person here.

Bingley, my friend, and companion how on earth did you find a way to so lovingly nuzzle your wet nose right into our hearts? If this doesn’t make you want a puppy people, I don’t know what will.

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Oh the wet puppy paw prints. They get me every time.


Do you see now why I can’t help but call him handsome? He may actually believe that’s his name, considering once I told B he was handsome, and Bingley looked up at me. As if he wished to say “Yes, I’m listening.”




Family walk time. Oh gosh, it melts my heart.

Exploring Freedom Park

By Natalie

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Just to the side of Uptown there lies a 98 acre haven by the name of Freedom Park.

It’s a place where Charlotteans can come and escape the day to day demands, or in my case it was a place to kill some time, and a chance to tire out a puppy.

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Bingley and I took a stroll around the pond on our visit and quickly found out that we were not the only human canine pair spending time together, because Freedom Park is one of the most dog friendly places I’ve seen. It’s been a great place for Bingley to be around other dogs of all shapes, and sizes. And a great place for him to be around children as well. Once we had walked for a bit I took refuge on a shaded bench. That’s where Bingley noticed them. A family of ducks dunking themselves into the water one by one. Instinctively Bingley sat perfectly still observing the synchronized birds. He huffed, and sighed once they swam away, the show was over.

We kept walking much to Bingley’s surprise, because it’s still summer and I figure we might as well take advantage of the warm weather. We passed two men fishing by the bridge. One photographer capturing the last days in a woman’s pregnancy. One mother adjusting her daughter’s bicycle helmet. Two friends laying in the grass reading, and lots and lots of other puppies, and kiddos. Life is good at freedom park. Life is good when you’ve got a worn out puppy. Especially the kind that are so worn out and happy that their tongue limply hangs out to the side.

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The Poes Take Charlotte

By Natalie

Things are getting to be more familiar, but this town is still so very new to me. Naturally, Siri and I have become well aquatinted because it’s a new place, and she knows the way home. There’s got to be an Apple ad in there somewhere. I’ve thought of this many times while she’s telling me to stay left to merge onto the highway. Seriously, I’d literally be lost without her. And Bingley, he’s been going everywhere with me that he’s allowed. You wouldn’t believe how incredibly grateful I am for both. Did I just confess to you that my phone’s GPS, and my dog have been my best friends down here? I told you, I’m a believer in honesty.


A couple weekends ago we decided to do some exploring Uptown. There is something romantic about discovering ourselves in a new town. A new found independence that is now at our fingertips.


We marveled at the unfamiliar, until around lunchtime when we took shelter in a small restaurant. There it was on a quiet street, the menu posted in the window beckoning us to come inside.

Discovering a new area through it’s culture and food, really are the best ways to get to know it don’t you think?


Just this last weekend we visited the lake. It may have been around 80º with a heat index of about 200. But that didn’t stop us! Because I packed cold ice water, apples, and sandwiches with fresh tomato.

We managed to find a spot to picnic in the shade with the help of a sweet park ranger who welcomed us to the area, equipped us with a map of the park, and suggested in his words. “A spot for the pup to take a dip.”



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Can you tell he had the time of his life? It was his first swim, and saying he loved it would be an understatement.

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Oh Boys…

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In other news Brandon is turning 25 tomorrow. I said 25!! Where did the time go? He’s at the age where I’m more excited about his birthday than he is! “Want to go up to Lake Norman next Saturday to celebrate?” I asked. “What for?” he said. He doesn’t even remember his own birthday, and then chuckled after I reminded him! At this point I have a stinking suspicion that he’s just in it for the cake. I first met my handsome husband when he was 18. How lucky am I to have seen how much he’s grown? Happy early birthday Babes!


By Natalie

Greetings from Charlotte!

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1 16ft moving truck, 1 dog tranquilizer, several sad goodbyes, and 6 hours later we made it to our new home.

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As I drove out of our neighborhood I got just the slightest bit sentimental. Because we grew up in Fredericksburg. We dated in Fredericksburg. We married in Fredericksburg. It’s the one place that holds so many memories. It’s everything we know, yet Brandon lives for things outside of his comfort zone. And Fredericksburg, it was a comfort zone for both of us. So we were lead to Charlotte for a new beginning, and lots to explore. 

On the home front.. Bingley has mastered the complexity of stairs. 

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He’s loving a sliding door to people watch, and I’m taking comfort in the familiarity of our belongings. 

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Yesterday morning I went grocery shopping in South Carolina, because that’s about a 15 minute drive away. Carolinas I’m already blown away by your southern hospitality, and killer sweet tea. My grocery options are no longer a Wegmans, Giant, or Food Lion, but a Harris Teeter and Publix. I tried Publix out first just because and I was so pleasantly surprised at how fresh their produce was. Every single employee I passed greeted me. This a pretty big deal considering my latest grocery shopping memories in Fredericksburg’s Wegmans was a woman pushing past me to weigh her Bananas at the ticket station I was literally seconds away from using. I mean my goodness I even wrote a post on How to Get Out of the Grocery Store Alive.

When I got to the checkout the girl asked if she could unload my cart. What? Unload it onto the conveyer belt? “That’s ok I got it.” I said. Then she bagged my groceries while the cashier rang me up. When I was finished she began pushing the cart and insisted that she help me unload the groceries.  When we finished unloading the groceries in the trunk I spewed out all sorts of thank yous and have a great day’s. Then when I got in the car I had the biggest smile on  my face because everyone was just so pleasant. Now all of a sudden I find it so sad that people are not more kind in passing just because. Because why not?? Why not smile at the person you’re passing in the grocery store? Why not be extremely appreciative that yes the 8th employee you’ve seen in the grocery store has asked you how you’re doing this morning, and if you need any assistance? You know what? I think I may be a happier person down here. Just a hunch. 

Then guess what else? When I pulled in to our home our neighbor was in her car and she said hello, and stretched her hand out to introduce herself. Then she said “Welcome to the neighborhood.” with this big ol smile on her face. So yes, we miss everyone back in Fredericksburg, but so far we are loving this new place we’re calling home.

And just because how could I not? Share the first day in our first house… and the last.

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A Dozen

By Natalie

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Yesterday morning I attempted to pour milk into my freshly pressed coffee and it didn’t seem to pour. As I rubbed my eyes, adjusted my glasses, and looked a bit closer I noticed that the cap to the milk was still on. If that doesn’t describe this move I don’t know what will. It’s been an exhausting week, and no matter how many cups of coffee I drank by the end of the day I still found myself nearly asleep on the hard wood floor next to Bingley on the dog bed at 9:30pm, because Bingley, well… he’s been frazzled too.

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It’s been exciting, it’s been emotional. It’s been a whirlwind really. Our time in Fredericksburg is quickly coming to an end. That’s becoming more real to me now, as I believe it has become for our loved ones here.


Basically Bingley has been a whole lotta trouble, jumping all over my sister while she sat on the floor attempting to organize, and wrap precious belongings. He plopped himself in the middle of the kitchen like a ton of bricks as my aunt tried to maneuver around him. He’s gotten his wet nose all over me while he sniffs inside a box. He’s been clingy and barked to get himself back inside where the people are. But he’s also licked up the spills, been quite a bit of comic relief, and found quiet corners to fall asleep in. He’s found me when I’m taking a break and sitting on the floor, and comes to rest near me. Basically yes, dogs are a handful. Dogs are a nuisance, but this dog… he’s a whole lotta sweet, and a whole lotta handsome as well.


It’s the last Monday in our house in Fredericksburg. We’re soaking it in. Bingley’s sitting in the morning light with his nighttime jammies still on, which in this house means he’s roaming collarless. B is in his office shredding lots of papers, and packing up his belongings. I’m in the craft room sitting near a naked desk, and bare walls. My coffee is still hot, and I think I’m ready for the day. I’ve moved 11 times before this.. I think making it a dozen will be just fine.

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San Francisco – Our Day in Pictures

By Natalie


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Riding on the trolly with Laura. Grandparents may or may not have been left careening downward on that fast moving trolly. Don’t worry, we were sure to leave them with light saber Jesus.


Exactly. What on earth, why was this random picture on the trolly?

we may have been terribly split up from the rest of the family but it’s alright because as Laura so perfectly described it, this experience was like a weird dream. Unexpectedly split up into several different groups, and then there was the three of us, walking around Chinatown with Dad and Natalie.

We did however take the time on our quest to regroup to see fun places like this building.



And then it just kind of hits you all at once. Woah I’m across the country! I’m in San Francisco.



And then you see things that remind you of your pup at home.


But trust me Bingley is having a grand old time. I know, because we’ve been receiving pictures like these.. Playtime with his best bud Jack.

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Weekend in Pictures

By Natalie

Do you ever have those weekends where you finally get a chance to sit Sunday night, and you wonder “What on earth did I do all weekend?” Mondays are not my favorite. I can’t imagine they’d be anyone’s favorite. It’s not so much the going back to work part. I enjoy my job. It’s the leaving the family behind part that I really dread. After a weekend full of love, and events with family I find it difficult to muster up the strength to lock Bingley up in his crate for the day, and drop B off for a similarly long day.

This past weekend was beautiful. It was hot, after all it’s June. Welcome summer. We missed you.

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My weekend started off with a long trail walk next to the Bug. Should I mention he is huge? There was a time when I could pick him up in my arms, to walk the poor little stinker out in the dark in the wee hours of the morning. And then he grew. Faster than my eyes and heart could handle.


Oh Friday night. How my young heart feels you should be honored as the king of weekend happiness. But my married heart of 3 years remembers… It’s just another night. And we’ve worked all week. We’re kind of tired. And Friday night, we enjoyed you in our dating years. We still do. But these days we seem to enjoy you more in the comfort of our own home. Is that so bad? Enjoying your Friday night freedom in our pjs, watching Netflix, with maybe a bag of popcorn, and a soda.


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I headed off to Richmond with the fam for a very important event for all of us…

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The 3rd annual 2014 Lupus Summit. We spent the day becoming more educated on my sister’s illness. The summit included several doctor’s who were so gracious to provide their time to help loved ones better understand this autoimmune disease, and all the treatments that are out there.

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As hard as I tried, and tried, The only family member who was not camera shy was Sean.

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And he was just kind of being a goober. We’re all kind of goobers when we get together. My sister Nadir and I are grown women, and for some reason I find that when we get together for things like this we just seem to get all giggly, and act like children. Something that only a sisterly friendship could consist of.

After the doctors had a chance to speak. We were sent off into breakouts. We attended an informal Lupus Caregivers session where we were able to voice the difficulties we were feeling. I had no idea it would be so relieving to hear that there are other people out there who feel just the same way. And their loved one with lupus is going through all the heartache, pressure, doctor’s appointments, and struggles that my sister Nem is going through. I walked out of that room and when I saw her waiting for us I gave her a hug. Because I’ve been frustrated too. I’ve wanted to do more. And after feeling so much relief from voicing a few thoughts I knew that it was time to just give her a hug, and realize that she’s still my same sister.

And then there was Rita’s…

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That Saturday evening it was hot. When you’re in the car in the sweltering heat, and your husband turns to you and says “Rita’s?” You do not protest. First cherry italian ice of the summer. 2014, I see a good future in you.

Of Sunshine & Good Writing

By Natalie

I went outside today to read for about an hour because it’s one of those lazy Sundays that the sun decides to grace us with its blinding presence so I figured I’d take advantage. I’ve recently finished a book, and I find that when I finish a book, I need to quickly jump on another because if not I won’t read for too long. And reading… it’s marvelous. There is nothing quite like the feeling of becoming completely entranced in a story, as all that’s around you begins to blur. For some reason I have an MO of not finishing books, and I really dislike that about myself. However, for some reason whenever I am reading a book that I can discuss with someone I am much more motivated to continue. Some of the best books I’ve read were the ones that my sister and I read alongside one another. And so, I thought why not start a small little book club. Because yes, I’m not your average twenty two year old, and I find excitement in the thought of a book club.

Graciously, some friends were equally excited as I was about the idea. So we kicked off our book club a few days ago, with a short and simple read. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. And I’m in love with it. I know, I know, you think I’m in love with alot of things, but I am. I love it when I find myself reading a sentence over and over again because I just can’t get enough of it. Each word dripping with symbolism, and creativity. I do love a good writer who captures my heart, and shares their story so eloquently.

photo (4)Having a perfect day to match a perfect read is beyond compare. I laid out in the backyard with my book basking in the sunlight with the rest of the day ahead of me to read on. Finally, I looked up from the pages of the book my mind still lingering on the last words of an exquisite sentence. Off to my left a certain little (Well not so little anymore) pup meandered his way over to me. Dogs always seem further than they actually are, and then all at once they just hit you with their tremendous weight, and drool. I was gifted with the sloppiest of puppy kisses I’ve ever known. I decided to finally step back inside as I was in need of wiping off said kiss much to Bingley’s confusion, and when I did step in from the cloud of heat I found that I had become a much browner version of myself. And B looked on in amazement.

I do so love when the weather is nice enough to read outside.. I do so love the way the sun chooses me to goldenly darken.. I do so love puppy kisses.. I do so love sharing my day with you..

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