Tag Archives: newfoundland dogs

Blackberry Summer

15 Aug

Hank tapped at the front door and not sure if he really needed to go out or if he was just sulking because he didn’t get a taco I grabbed a couple of grocery bags just in case.  Outside he pulled to the left and kept on going, not bothering to look back and seek approval as he usually does.  They say you shouldn’t let your dog be in charge of the walk.  That’s probably good advice.  But tonight I didn’t mind, I was anxious to be outside and since when is your 150 pounder not in charge anyway.

This afternoon I asked my mom what the weather was doing out there.  She laughed and said it was only 88 and tomorrow only 90, “maybe fall is on the way.”  Our summer, while significantly cooler than that, seems to be just kicking into high gear.  Summer around here seems to ride in on the wheels of RV’s and hazy sunsets reaching full ripeness alongside the juicy berries that pop out to color the green.

Hank and I walked on enjoying the reprieve from the winds that blow relentlessly across the golf course for most of June and July.  It was not until we were headed back that I spotted a cluster of ripe blackberries.  I took one of the bags that was shoved into my pocket to grab a few.  But as berry pickers know, one cluster leads to another and another and before you know it, you are full on in a ditch filling up a Thriftway bag.

Blackberries are more temperamental and less forgiving than blueberries or strawberries.  You have to work a little more diligently.  Getting them means taking on the risk of a thorny vine hooking onto your jeans or snagging your shirt, getting a little scraped up is just part of it.

All of this impromptu berry picking had me thinking about seasons and what we associate with each one, images popping up of what we do and who we’re with, some things a constant and defining presence, others changing.  My idea of summer has evolved to include northwestern things now that I’m experiencing them a second time around.   The scrapes I’ve endured while acclimating myself here make this summer a little sweeter.

Once we were back home it didn’t take long for Abigail to catch on that those blackberries had come from right outside our door.  We headed out again; this time all four of us walking into our summer.

A summer that is always defined by each other, and is more recently defined by cobbler,  delicious blackberry cobbler.


Party Animals

19 Mar

If you’ve known me for more than 10 minutes, whether as an online acquaintance or real life pal, you know that Hank is an important part of our family.

Like most families with pets, we treat Hank like he is one of us.  He is s-p-o-i-l-e-d.  His inner core is made up of sugar and sweetness.  He drives us crazy.  We sometimes complain about how disgusting or annoying he can be, but it’s all in good fun.  Now all the rest of you.  Don’t even try and criticize my big bear.  Like I said, he’s family.  We can talk about him but you can’t.

So in the spirit of family traditions we always celebrate him for his birthday.  Hank turned 3 on March 16th.

And because Hank loves walks and Abigail is napping, we’ll take a walk down memory lane.  (I get my cheesy sense of humor from my mom.  It’s one of my finer qualities, I think.)

Believe it or not Hank was smallish once — for a couple of weeks when we first got him.  Back then he was still giving unwanted kisses and sleeping a lot.  Some things never change.

By the time his first birthday rolled around I was 8 months pregnant with Abigail.  I don’t know who was bigger at that point.

Our family looked a lot different when his second birthday arrived.

This year we were up in Portland dropping off our visitors at the airport and hanging out at the zoo when Hank turned 3.  He didn’t mind though.  He was living the good life with Asia and Olivia and their awesome backyard.

Abigail and I threw him a party today.  We brushed him for 30 whole minutes and gave him peanut butter in his Kong.  Then we put on party hats and I tried, rather unsuccessfully, to get a good picture.

Sometimes it really is the small things in life that make life special.  Or in our case – the big things.

Happy Birthday, Hanky “Good Boy.”  We love you!


Saturday Baking with Abigail

5 Nov

In a moment of internet browsing (also known as time wasting) I came across a little treasure on Tasty Kitchen. I went to Fred Meyer for the sole purpose of buying a block of cheese. I wanted to have neat little rows of fish crackers lined up on my baking sheet just so. The recipe claimed it was easy, and it was!

Abigail helps me in the kitchen sometimes. She invites herself onto the kitchen counter and we have fun. Here was our fish cracker reality.

We baked with our hats on because it was so cold in our house! Actually, because I didn’t want two greasy hair pictures in the exact same shirt in one week. Please note the shirt has been washed. Also just want to point out to the big wigs at Columbia that my thermal shirt AND awesome hat are from your store, which we love, in case you wanted to give us some free stuff. And also because I snipped a hole in the bottom of this shirt sewing Christmas ornaments last year and I’ve never gotten over it. ANYWAY…

Here’s Abigail’s step by step guide:

1. Let your mom make a “fish” cookie cutter from an aluminum can. As soon as that is finished, take it and squeeze it in your hand. (See above picture.)

2. Your mom will shred a bunch of cheese. Eat some. Then, watch as she blends everything in the food processor.

3. Color while waiting for the dough to chill in the fridge.

4. Roll out the dough and start cutting crackers.

5. Put the crackers on a sheet of parchment to bake. “Eyes! Eyes!” Don’t forget to use your finger to add eyes.

6. Make some “whales” for Hank.
7. Get down off the counter because stamping out a million fish gets a little boring, but don’t forget your free hug.
8. Enjoy! And remember to share.
*For the recipe and a much more appetizing step-by-step guide, go here!

Happy Weekend. Eat something yummy and do something fun together!

Happy Halloween!

30 Oct

I like that holidays here are sprinkled with salt water. On Saturday we dressed Abigail in her cow costume and headed to the aquarium for some Halloween fun. We meandered around playing games, looked at exhibits we’d seen a hundred times, and said hello as we bumped into friends from town. The weather was perfect at 60 degrees and sunny, the fog holding off until we drove home.

Today was reserved for pumpkin carving. I probably make a bigger deal out of carving pumpkins than necessary, but my dad was a great pumpkin carver. I still remember the year he carved, “Trick or Treat” into one of our 3 pumpkins. This was back in the day when geometric shapes had a monopoly on jack-o-lanterns. 

On Halloween, I remember waiting eagerly for my dad to return from work. When he got home we would spread out newspapers and sketch our designs on white paper. We’d push up our sleeves and help pull out gooey pumpkin guts. Then he would carefully carve each face just as we had envisioned it onto our pumpkin with a knife from the kitchen drawer. No fancy kit. No stencil.

We’d get dressed in a hurry and head out for old fashioned trick or treating door to door in our neighborhood. Over time we learned which houses liked to give out frights in addition to treats.  I was always content to hang back on the street for those houses, ghostbusters being about as scary as I liked things.

This year we decided to carve our favorite monster onto our family pumpkin. Abigail danced to “Sarah’s Totally Rad Playlist” on my iPod when she got bored of counter sitting.  I scooped out seeds to roast. We popped popcorn and fired up the DVR to watch Charlie Brown. Abigail had a few mini breakdowns but it was nothing a cow costume or Elmo pasta couldn’t solve.

Hank, dying to be a part of things, chipped in to clean up. Okay, okay. This is totally disgusting, but can your dog do that?!  We let him because it was a holiday and as Ryan said, “You need to keep it real on that blog of yours.” Is that keeping it real enough?

There were lots of things that made this Halloween special, but the one I want to remember forever is the diaper-clad toddler that exclaimed, “Baboooo!” (aka Elmo) upon seeing her finished jack-o-lantern.

Have a safe and happy Halloween, friends!

A Flying Leap of a Weekend!

8 Aug

Hank went flying into a ditch this weekend. Yep, he torpedoed out of the woods not imagining in his wildest dreams that the bottom was about to drop out. I saw it all happen and I laughed. I laughed at my poor dog who yelped as his big belly flopped into the creek below. But so did Asia. Ryan, concerned as he should have been, ran over to make sure he hadn’t broken anything and even waded in to get him. We were relieved he was okay because looking back that could have been bad, REALLY bad. Asia and I were also relieved that we could keep laughing. Ollie got to see for himself why Hank isn’t allowed off his leash.

In other news, we finally got to see Bella the Surfing Dog in person!
Abigail had a blast with her friend, Olivia, at the playground.

Hank did not. And I’m still laughing.

Parental Judgement

18 Jul

Abigail is a gal after my own heart. She loves to vacuum. Most of the time I put her in the pack-n-play because when she “helps” it really means she wants try to ride on top of the canister or push it into the back of my feet or press the button that makes the cord retract. All completely safe activities. But sometimes I have a lapse in good parental judgement because she is just so darn cute when she “vacuums.”

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Welcome to Hank’s Kitchen

3 Jul

Since February I have been working on a Project Life album.  With the goal to capture your everyday life, it encourages you to take snapshots and write down a caption for 365 days.  While it won’t be everyday — I hope you’ll pull up a chair every now and then and spend some time in Hank’s Kitchen.  A gathering place for our ordinary.

“While you’re in the kitchen go ahead and grab some peanut butter.” Hank