Bella girl

04/19/2010 at 4:10 pm | Posted in About town, Family | 1 Comment
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Bella kicked butt on Saturday. And sniffed a few, too.

She and I walked in the SPCA K9-3K with a zillion other dogs of all shapes, sizes and colors. It was nuts. No pun intended.

Our team: the Deputy, Edmund, Lauren, Bella and me.


At first, Bella was all “Ooh! Car ride! Car ride!” But when we got downtown, her demeanor switched pretty quickly to “Oh my god what are all of these other dogs doing here and where is the nearest exit?”

She’s a bit of an anxious pup, so I was a little worried about how she’d get along in the middle of a one-block city park packed with dogs.

Definitely on high alert, ready to submit to any alpha who crossed her path, she seemed overwhelmed. But once we started walking she relaxed.

And apparently so did every other single dog there.

The burst of methane in that first block of the walk was strong enough to power the entire city of Raleigh for a year. My hair curled. The Deputy blinked back tears.

Dog butts as far as the eye can see. Hold your breath.

Go, Bella, go!

The route came within a block of the house I lived in when I adopted Bella seven years ago. I loved being in our old ‘hood, smiling at the memory of walking chubby little Bella puppy on those very sidewalks.

She was my first baby in a way. Adopting her was the closest I’d come to nurturing another living creature, besides keeping a handful of house plants alive. A tiny step toward motherhood.

Belly’s puppy phase was almost as hard as having a newborn baby. Almost. She bit me constantly, chewed/peed/pooped on EVERYTHING, and never became one with the leash. I cried (and hid in the bathroom) often. But we survived, and now we’re best buds. Especially when treats are involved.

It’s hard to believe she’s seven now. An old lady in dog years.

She did it!

Time for treats. And a nap.

Baby #2 enjoyed herself thoroughly. Good thing she loves dogs. And kick-ass 80s cover bands.

Happy Easter!

04/04/2010 at 10:01 pm | Posted in Family, I take too many pictures | 3 Comments


04/02/2010 at 9:10 am | Posted in Family, I take too many pictures | 1 Comment

O so freaking cute!

03/26/2010 at 9:27 am | Posted in Family, I take too many pictures | 1 Comment

My niece, known in pretty-swell-land as baby O, has the BEST facial expressions. Her ridiculously awesome smile stretches from ear to ear. And those eyes? Don’t even get me started. These shots are a little fuzzy, but our girl O shines through.

Baptism and baby cows

03/14/2010 at 8:25 pm | Posted in Family | 4 Comments

This past weekend swallowed me up in a big, warm hug. The kind you get a little lost in because it’s so vast and comforting.

We went to my grandparents’ farm in the mountains for baby O’s Baptism, and all of the togetherness and laughter and stick-to-your-ribs food set my soul straight.

Even in the middle of what has been one of the bleakest, nastiest winters on record in North Carolina, the farm is beautiful. The air is different up there. The stars seem bigger.

The day we arrived, a calf had been born. So after dinner my Nana’s husband Bobby led some of us into the dark barn to check out mama and her new baby. We crept quietly behind Bobby, trying to keep up with the skinny beam of his flashlight. Seeing those cows just about made me cry. The baby wobbled after her mama on legs she didn’t yet know how to use.

Small Fry was awestruck. She blurted out, “Hi cows. This is Bobby.” As if to say, don’t worry, he’s going to take care of you.

The Baptism took place in the same tiny church where Small Fry, Laura and I were baptized. My grandparents were married in that church, and it was there that we said goodbye to my Poppi nine years ago. Not much about it has changed, and I can’t tell you how comforting it was to sit in the same pew I used to play in as a child, watching Nana play the organ in the same little nook she sat in years ago.

Baby O was a dream and kept us smiling and laughing the whole time, all wayward curls and fluffy white gown.

I’m so content right now, you could punch me in the stomach and I wouldn’t mind.

Thank you, weekend.

Snow in Raleigh? Say it ain’t so!

01/31/2010 at 10:03 pm | Posted in Family, Small Fry | 3 Comments
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Let me explain my excitement. “Winter weather” in Raleigh usually means ice. We specialize in freezing rain and sleet. The stuff that wreaks havoc on tree limbs and power lines. So to get a good snow is cause for celebration (and mass exodus to the bread aisle at the grocery store). This wasn’t Small Fry’s first snow, but it sure felt like it. All new and fresh.

I couldn’t wait to take her out, so we braved the residual sleet (see?) on Saturday to enjoy the snow before an icy crust formed on top. Tentatively taking her first steps, she kept saying, “Mommy listen” to the sound of it crunching under her boots. While Bella sprinted laps around us, we made our way out into the yard.

Then, because I’d been talking about them all morning, Small Fry began the hunt for snowmen and snowballs. They’re just supposed to appear, right?

We also spent a lot of time in front of the fire. Shoveling snow — and maniacal running — are exhausting.  

And, man, Small Fry tore it up on the sledding hill. She held her own with the big kids. M and I tried to ride with her, but she wouldn’t hear of it. Wanted to go all by herself. My brave girl!


01/27/2010 at 2:06 pm | Posted in Family, I take too many pictures | 5 Comments
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On my grandmother’s birthday

01/12/2010 at 10:24 pm | Posted in Family | 6 Comments
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Here I am with my Nana, on a beach in Florida, where she and my Poppi used to migrate from the North Carolina mountains every winter. I seem to be in my underwear in this shot and not caring one bit about it. Which is how things are with Nana. Anything goes. Be silly. Dress however you like. Make messes.

My parents named me for her, and I’ve always been really proud of that. I love my name because it’s Nana’s name, too.

She is an exceptional woman. Kinder than kind. Gentler than anyone you’ve ever met. Perfect strangers become instantly smitten. I’ve seen it happen a million times, on the face of every waitress who’s ever taken our order. Or the clerk at the grocery store. People often seem surprised by her kindness.

Nana is friend to everyone. Grace defined. How blessed I am to be on the receiving end of her love.

Sunshine girl

01/12/2010 at 3:07 pm | Posted in Family, I take too many pictures | Leave a comment

15 minutes of fame

01/11/2010 at 5:11 pm | Posted in Family, I take too many pictures | 3 Comments
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Check out Bella, the Internet celebrity!

We stuffed her scraggly dog bed into this beautiful Molly Mutt duvet, and she loves it. Her bed is fluffier, and mama is happy to have something MUCH prettier to look at. Click on the image to see Bella keeping it real on the Molly Mutt Web site:

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