Saturday, January 30, 2016

Happy Birthday Harley!!

Mr. H ~

Happy 8th Birthday to my baby boy!! 

so thrilled to be 8!


Today is officially your big day. 8 whole years. Wow. I'm sure all people say this about their pets, but you really are the BEST dog in the whole world. And you sure have been through a lot with us. 


A wedding.....
our ring bearer!! 



Four moves (three of them cross country). 
road trip #1 from SD to DC

road trip #2 from DC to SD....first trip to the beach!


road trip #3 Monterey to MD...Enjoying the campground at Mt Rushmore



two kiddos..
meeting C for the first time

relaxing with Norah

cuddles with C

And a whole lot in between. 

I remember driving to Fresno to pick you up. It was about a month or so before we moved to DC to be with Daddy. I had always had pets growing up, but you would be my first official pet. We had discussed getting a dog for a while, the various breeds, etc. Because we were living in an apartment we wanted a smaller dog but it had to also be a cool dog. Daddy didn't want to be walking a fluffy prissy little thing. Eventually we discovered the french bulldog and we were sold. Now to actually find the right frenchie. After searching and waiting we found a woman in Fresno who wasn't an official breeder but had a few pups for sale. My mom and I went to check it out and there you were. It was you, your brother and sister. We knew we wanted a boy, and you were so much cuter than your brother. Adorable. I knew you were the one. It was fate. 




For a few weeks you lived in San Diego with me until our big move. During that time you rode around in a hoodie pocket (I can't believe you were ever that small) and played non stop with your cousin Sonny. And before I knew it we were off to the East Coast. You did amazingly on the drive. So good, Grandma Rachel still talks about it. You never made a peep on the entire drive and were a champ when we snuck you into hotels. And you only chewed up the corner of one cabinet in one hotel.....cost of doing business. 



Just like me, Daddy loved you instantly. We were our own little family unit. I think you liked living in DC. We took you to the dog park often, you got to experience snow, and we tried to take you with us when possible. But then we moved back to San Diego and things got better for you. We had a house with a yard, so no more crate during the day. And of course we can't forget dog beach. Your favorite place in the world. We went almost every weekend. It was sad to move away. There were no good dog beaches or parks in Monterey (dogs were welcome at some but there were never many dogs to chase), but I was home all day and you had a yard, the best of both worlds. Sleeping and relaxing all day every day. It is pretty much the same here in MD: less than ideal dog park situation but you get to relax all day since I don't work. I am sure you miss chasing and annoying other dogs, but you are a pretty lazy pup and seem to prefer sleeping. 



You are such a cuddle bug. The perfect lap dog. Preferring to be snuggled under a blanket or relaxing by the fire over a walk anyway. Typically you hide if you know we are going for a walk. Or if we happen to get a leash on, you make me drag you down the driveway and are constantly trying to make your way back to the house. I never have to worry about you running away, that's for sure. 

To celebrate the big 8, Mommy and Charlotte made a special doggie custard for you and your very own birthday hat. We sang to you and gave you lots of extra cuddles. You are so loved Mr H!

all mixed up and ready for baking!


trying out the hat she made!

with the birthday boy!

getting all set up

singing to him :)

open wide!! mmmm!!

Harley approved!!

extra loving for the birthday boy!

We love you so much Mr H!! Happy happy birthday!!! 

Love,
Mommy, Daddy, Charlotte, and Norah

Friday, January 29, 2016

i LOVE a good burpee

The other day I was talking to Matt about exercising and the gym and when I really transitioned to the bad ass I am today. Haha, no we were just discussing the crazy exercises I am sometimes subjected to (burpees, battle ropes, tire flipping) and why I LOVE LOVE LOVE a class over solo time on the gym floor. So this reason is two fold. 

1. I have always hated solo gym time on the floor. I can hang for a while but quickly run out of steam. I have the best of intentions when I start. It goes a little something like this: "Ok I'm going to do cardio for 40 minutes. Then a few arm (or leg) machines. Then at least 500 abs. (Because one time I watched this Britney Spears special and she says she does 500 abs so I can too)" And this, my friends is how it actually happens....After 40 minutes on cardio I get off, complete a few machines and then lose all steam. Abs: crunch crunch. done. Weights: Meh. Home? Yes please! Wine? Pour me a double!! (I worked out!!)

So after realizing my weaknesses, (and of course getting a groupon deal) I come to reason number two...

2. Wired Fitness Bootcamp. When we lived in San Diego, right after Matt got deployed, I decided I wanted to really work on reducing my body fat. My sister had been to this outdoor bootcamp on the bay and thought I would really like it. Boy was she wrong. I LOVED it!! The reason why I loved it so much could be multiple bullet points. It was on the water. It was hard. The people there were amazing. Exercises and cardio I had never done before. Bryan. It was hard. 

after some searching I found this gem! Mission Bay Crew. I was about 3 months pregnant with C at the time.


Bryan (who owned and ran the classes) is amazing. He forces you to do your best all. the. time. I don't think I had ever worked so hard in my life. And I had never done exercises like that before. After my first class I couldn't walk for days. It was the most amazing pain ever. I was hooked. I wanted more. So I signed up for good and went back 4-5 days a week for at least a year and a half. I worked out like that until I was 6 months pregnant with Charlotte. I had never been more fit in my life. And during this time I was introduced to the "burpee".

Oh the burpee. Before I joined bootcamp I had no idea what you were. Some random word I sometimes heard on TV, nothing I could really ever picture myself doing. An "up down" to those military folk. When first attempted I am sure I looked a fool. Awkward legs flailing about...you want me to add a pushup???.....and then jump??? LOL no. After months at bootcamp and the "encouraging" words from Bryan, I perfected my burpee. #nailedit 

Now, not only can I do a proper burpee, but I love them. Any variation of them too. Add a mountain climber? no problem. Add a push up? Isn't that required?! How about a mountain climber, roll over, v sit up, roll back, jump up burpee? If you can think of it, I will gladly do it. And know this: I am smiling on the inside. I love it. Seriously am I insane? I love a burpee?! It is the best combo of cardio and whole body work out. One time I even did a burpee challenge, Samyjo I know you remember that!! 

When the time came for us to move away from San Diego I was devastated to say goodbye to my bootcamp family. It can be really hard to find a great gym/exercise routine you love, and having to leave it is rough. In Monterey I found a good gym with childcare as well as my Stroller Strides family. At that point in my life, with a new little one, it was perfect. Plus I made a ton of wonderful friends. And I was so sad to have to say goodbye to them and start my gym search all over again in Maryland. But I somehow hit the gym lotto again when I found World Gym near our new house. Not only do they have wonderful childcare (even taking babies under 6 months!) but the classes they offer are right up my burpee loving alley. Amazing instructors and a variety of classes to keep me on my toes. I am happy to be tortured every single day. It is so wonderful I have flashbacks of my San Diego bootcamp days, especially when we are working outside doing some random exercise I would have never thought of all while being yelled at. The only thing missing is a view of the ocean.


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Second Christmas

Just after the new year we got together with the Clute side of the family to celebrate Christmas and exchange some presents. Last year we all got together at Nikki's house, but this year we got to host! (next year it's all you Jim and Jen!) We hung out, ate some food and watched the kiddos open some presents. Good quality family time, our favorite!! 

So we HAVE to start this post with an adorable picture of the kiddos with Grandma!! A pile of Clutes!! We sure do make some cute kiddos!!
Jack,1; Norah,4mo; Charlotte, 3

Besides cuddling with Grandma there was some reading....


Some napping....


Some toy nibbling....


and a beautiful ribbon performance....
Charlotte was up first.. 
Then Mommy. She is introducing me right now. (You can't see me, I'm behind her.) :)

check out my moves. haha
yes this is a fairly common occurrence in our house. 

And now it's Daddy's turn!! "Ladies and Gentlemen and Mommys and Norahs and Harleys. Introducing, the amazing Daddy".....

go Daddy!! Great shot Jen!
 and of course a few more turns for Charlotte...

What isn't captured here are her post performance bows. They are the best. Pretty sure we have a little singer/dancer on our hands, but time will tell. 

After all that dancing and playing we were starved!! Time for some delicious dinner! Ham, mac n cheese, veggies, salad and of course pie!!


And finally it was time for presents. We were able to hold off until after dinner, but I know as the kiddos get older and potentially out number all the adults, we will probably have to cave and let them open presents early. I know we managed to talk our parents into that a time or two. You are just so excited you can't wait!! 
harley trying to help Jack open his present

ooo candyland!!

"just what I wanted!!"

hi cousin!!!
And since we had all the kiddos together we thought it was only appropriate we put them in their Monster pants Grandma made them!!
RAWR!!!! "butt monsters" as C would say

the big kids checking out some ornaments

omg these two!

all three munchkins!
C and Grandma!

photobomb Norah and Mommy!

Uncle Jim cuddles. I can definitely see some family resemblance!

Jack and Auntie Nikki!
I wish we lived closer to all these fools so we could get together more often. Now, I'm definitely not complaining about being only an hour and a half away, it's a vast improvement over a five hour flight. (Sadly what the Hall side of the family is now facing). Why can't we all just buy houses in the same neighborhood and live happily ever after?! Where should we go y'all? Hawaii? Tahoe? :) Someone will the lottery!!