Category Archives: Animals

Today: Halloween 2015 | A strawberry and a lobster.

I sort of have a love/hate relationship with Halloween.  Actually, it’s more of a hate/hate relationship.  Like, aren’t people creepy enough already, without having to dress up like zombies and murderous clowns?  

Also, I’ve said it before, but I’m not a fan of fall decor.  I have already promised Nick that if and when we move to the suburbs, I will not be decorating our lawn with punny tombstones and fake spiderwebs.  I just won’t.  And I’ll probably want to turn our lights off at 5 instead of give out candy on Halloween… mostly because I don’t want teenagers and their serial killer costumes to give me nightmares.

I’m the Grinch that stole Halloween.  Except that I’ll leave three very important elements behind:

  1. Candy (obvi)
  2. Babies in costumes
  3. Dogs in costumes

The rest is no good.  But these three things? These three, I embrace.

I had every intention of dressing Clark as a banana, to complement Grace’s strawberry costume (#fruitsmoothie)… but his, shall we say, robust figure did not fit into any of the peels I found.  The poor guy was almost off the Halloween hook entirely (and if anyone deserves a break lately, it’s him), but when I spotted a lobster costume tucked in among the Christmas decorations (Yesssssssss!  And no, it’s never too soon for Christmas!) at T.J. Maxx on October 30th, back on the hook he went.  

I’m basically keeping this costume accessible year round.  It’s just too good.

Grace’s strawberry costume got lots of use last week too, from gymnastics to running around Nick’s office, to actual Halloween.  She kept telling people, “This my costume.  A strawberry.”

We spent the evening with friends in Charlestown checking out the festivities around the monument, and I’ve got to say… Halloween wasn’t all that bad.  In fact, it was pretty great.  But now it’s time to get the Christmas boxes out of storage.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s the best Halloween costume you saw this weekend?

 

Today: Fresh from the farmers market.

First things first: Thank you so much for all the love and kind words about our happy news!

We had great luck at this week’s farmers market at Crescent Ridge.  The farm animals were out and about, the weather was perfect, and we scored some really beautiful produce. 

farmers market haul

  • Eggs for Nick (and eggshells for me to grow little plants in)
  • Raspberries, blueberries and and a basket of “pretty uglies” tomatoes from Ward’s Berry Farm
  • Peaches and peppers from Silvia Farms

Needless to say, we also got ice cream.  With sprinkles.  

We’ve already done some serious damage on the berries, but the rest will go into breakfast parfaits and a blueberry + thyme lemonade I’ve been dreaming about (probably the most pregnant thing I’ve said today).  I’m also planning on a tomato tart and 900 Caprese salads.  As for the peppers, they are almost too pretty to eat.  Almost.  

Anywaaaay…. I hope your week is off to a lovely, delicious start.  To quote my animal-obsessed child, “Bye, goats. I love you.”

Also On Tap for Today:

What is on your menu this week?

 

Today: Down on Drumlin Farm.

Grace and I have been trading colds for what seems like months.  After a rough night (and more snow), we really needed some fresh air.  It’s good for the body and it’s good for the cranky, wintered over soul.  

Couldn’t help myself.

After breakfast and Irish music in the neighborhood, we drove out to Lincoln (about 30 minutes from the city) with our Audubon member cards in hand to see the baby (and, like, grown up) animals at Drumlin Farm.  Our first stop was the Yellow Barn to see the tiny black lambs before eventually making our way to the baby goals kids.

A real, live pile of kids.

The sun was shining, the chickens were clucking, and the lambs were climbing in and out of the hay bin (I respect any creature that passionate about snacks).  It was the perfect day and the perfect way to start breaking out of my winter rut.  It’s a deep one.  (Speaking of which, I am working on a rut-busting plan.  More on that later.)

Pig tails…

This does not answer the chicken or the egg question… but I like it nevertheless.

This makes me so hopeful for spring.

Added bonus: We got to see nearly every character from our favorite bedtime story, The Very Busy Spider, on the farm today.

Also On Tap for Today:

Let’s talk spring.  What adventures do you have planned?

Today: An afternoon in the pumpkin patch.

Reasons why I am the least enjoyable person to be around this time of year (an abbreviated list):

  1. The only pumpkin-flavored things I like are pumpkins.  I don’t want my coffee to taste like a gourd.  I want it to taste like coffee.  Same goes for my M&M’s and my gluten-free beer.
  2. And don’t get me started on fall colors.  I love our condo.  I don’t want to make it ugly with brown and orange stuff.
  3. I am allergic to wool.  Your sweaters had best keep a safe distance from the hives that are about to creep up my neck.
  4. I’m not ready to say goodbye to tomatoes.  If summer tomatoes were a person, and that person was my boyfriend and that boyfriend broke up with me, I would not give his stuff back.

Ward's Berry Farm pumpkins

Nick (who is very much a real person and was once my boyfriend) and I were married in the fall of 2012 and our caterer nearly sent me to a home with her “festive” dessert display at our menu tasting.  I like to think I was a pretty easy-going bride (don’t we all?) and also thought I had made my firm “no fall colors” policy quite clear, so when she rolled out a table festooned with fake leaves and plastic pumpkins, I barely contained a simmering rage.

baby in pumpkin patch

This year, though, I can’t help but look forward to cooler mornings, crinkling leaves and carving pumpkins.  I am guessing I have my daughter to blame thank for that.  Seeing her experience new things is just the best, whether it’s her first time in the water, her first time eating solids, her first time being held by a strange man dressed as the Easter bunny or yes, even her first Fall (I felt like capitalizing the season would help you see that I meant that, and not that I delight in watching her tumble over and potentially become injured). Watching Grace reach for a giant pumpkin and squeal in delight as she grasped its stem has me changing my ways.  All those adorable fall outfits hanging in her closet don’t hurt either.  And if I really dig deep, I guess I could cop to an affinity for soup and scarves.

This weekend we took advantage of the late summer (very-nearly-fall) weather and spent the afternoon at Ward’s Berry Farm in Sharon, Massachusetts.  It’s about 30 minutes from the city and not far from where I grew up.  After walking around a bit, we ventured out to the pumpkin patch to find that their healthy, growing pumpkins were bigger than our healthy, growing child (and too big, frankly, to fit underneath her stroller… or like, in my handbag).  So instead of picking one up there, we took 100 photos and then ventured back to the farm store and purchased a smaller, much more portable, sugar pumpkin.

white pumpkins

I also picked out a few of these gorgeous heirloom gourds and white pumpkins.  They’re like the gateway drug of fall decor… fall-ish, but not brown and orange.  I am dying to make one of the succulent topped pumpkins I saw in the fall issue of Country Gardens (side note: I am 900% obsessed with Next Issue… which is how a city dweller with no garden comes across such gems as Country Gardens.)  Perhaps I can make green and white the new black brown and orange?  And then maybe I will get a show on Netflix about my life as an over-tired working mom who wastes time making succulent topped pumpkins when she should be, like, sleeping?

heirloom gourds

In addition to a tremendous selection of farm fresh produce and local treats, Ward’s is also home to Sunny Rock 4H Club’s barnyard animals.  Grace was sort of ambivalent about the goats, but Nick got right in there.  The man never misses a chance to feed the animals.

goats

Did I mention they have mini horses?

fly fly lil sebastian

If you asked me who my all time favorite television mini-horse is, my answer would obviously be: It’s a tie between Lil Sebastian + MiniDuh.

You know, fall’s looking pretty good, after all. (But do not tell that caterer I said so.)

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your fall bucket list?

Today: Feeding the giraffes and stalking the sloths.

Shortly after Nick and I started dating, we made plans to visit the Roger Williams Park Zoo.  He’s always loved animals, whereas I’ve always been a little whatever.  (This was after a feral cat specifically chose the underside of my car as its final resting place… but years before I met Clark.  I think that timeline goes a long way in explaining my ambivalence towards non-humans.)

I think I was probably Googling something like, “Great… but do you have any baby hippos?” a few days before our trip to the zoo when I came across an announcement for a giraffe naming contest.  We spent the better part of a week going back and forth with name suggestions before submitting our top choices.  Nick tried to get the little leggy fellow named after one of his clients from Romania (I just made my husband sound way more mysterious than he actually he is), while I was certain I had hit it out of the park with Thomas Girafferson.  I mean, come on! USA! USA! Likely not a spoiler alert: neither of us won the contest.

The visit to the zoo, however, was lovely.  I’m not an animal communicator (despite trying to read my dog’s mind on the daily), but they all seemed well cared for and maybe even happy.

When I was trying to come up with something fun to do for Father’s Day (something more fun than breaking a toe, which is how I celebrated my first Mother’s Day), I came up with some pretty bad ideas.  One involved buying a used kite surfing board from one of our old neighbors.  I love surprises (for other people, not so much for me), so the key was finding something unexpected… but ideally, not super dangerous.

And then I found out you can sign up to feed the giraffes at Roger Williams (for a small donation, which is a nice way of saying straight cash, homey).

Question:  What new dad wakes up on Father’s Day thinking, Hey!  I wonder if I will get to feed a giraffe today? Answer: A very psychic one.  In other words, it was the perfect surprise.

Nick got to get up close and personal with Jaffa (who will always be Thomas Girafferson to me) while I snapped photos from the other side of the fence.  It was really fun to watch.  From a safe distance.  Which is how I like my animal encounters.

Actually… there is one animal I would like very much to be dangerously close to.  The sloths.  I can’t get enough of them.  When I was little, I though my sister (an infant at the time) looked like the baby sloth in my National Geographic Zoo Babies book (which was published in 1978 and is currently available for a mere one cent on Amazon… act now!).  In hindsight, I could see how that comparison could be misinterpreted (what, with the gnarly nails and overwhelming body odor), but I thought sloths were cute and I knew my sister was cute, end of story.

After Nick fed Thomas G., we started making our way back to the car (Grace was about 30 seconds away from a melt down and also, I wanted snacks) when we were about to pass the rain forest exhibit.  Strollers weren’t allowed in building, but I saw a sign for sloths, so I quicky abandoned my family took Nick up on his offer to stay outside with the baby while I checked things out.  I was about to make my way back to them, when a woman pointed above me.  I nearly fainted with joy.  A real, live sloth was hanging from a branch directly over my head.  I don’t think sloths fall from things very often (or ever?) but if he did, he would have totally landed in my handbag.  And I would have kept him.

I have no idea where this post is going… but I just admitted to wanting to steal a sloth, so my guess is: nowhere good. I’ll stop myself here.

Also On Tap for Today:

If you could steal, but then responsibly care for (obvi) any zoo creature, which would you choose?

Today: How to spoil your dog and a giveaway from Milk-Bone

GIVEAWAY CLOSED — Congratulations Kim, and many thanks to Wish Bone and all who entered.

When we first brought Clark home, I had no idea what I was doing.  He was my first non-hamster pet, and the first dog I wasn’t mostly terrified of.  I probably should have read a book about dogs, or something… but instead our relationship was forged by a lot of trial and error, several panicked calls to the vet (they all started with “Is it normal for dogs to…”) and lots of Googling.  And the fun stuff, like playing “Can you find me if I am hidden beneath all your half-destroyed stuffed animals?”

You get comfy, I’ll track down the meat flavored toothpaste.

When Clark didn’t eat right away, I would sit on the floor with him, garnishing his dry food with organic apple sauce, sliced carrots and shredded cheese, and attempt to feed him by hand.   When he didn’t, like, do his business… I’d stay outside with him for hours, making up encouraging songs about bodily functions.  I bought him a little toothbrush and meat flavored toothpaste (which smelled like a dead squirrel and made me want to cry) and tried my best to keep his K-9 canines nice and clean.  He was more interested in eating the toothbrush.  I thought he needed a bath before bed time each night (that was short lived, turns out that’s really not a good nor healthy idea), and wondered if there was some sort of Frenchie cuticle oil I should invest in.

During those first few weeks, Nick would often come home to find dog toys strewn about our condo, and me and Clark covered in food, bathing supplies, and fur.  Five years later, I’ve learned a few lessons (a monthly bath will suffice; if he’s hungry, he’ll eat), but I’ve yet to master the tooth brushing thing.

I think he’s trying to show you his molars.

When Milk-Bone offered to send me their new Brushing Chews, I thought…. finally.  No more dead squirrel paste. Clark seems to think they’re treats, which works for me.

Bonus points for the stand-up, resealable bag! #easilyimpressed

Milk-Bone Brushing Chews have been clinically proven to reduce tartar build-up and freshen dog’s breath.  They look like sweet little bones, but their brushing nubs and 75 degree twist were designed to reach down to the dog’s gum line, and those hard-to-reach back teeth.  They’ve earned the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s seal of approval, and the highly sought after “two paws up” from Clark.

Just casually brushing his own chompers.

The Frenchie is hooked, and I am happy to put away our little toothbrush.

A giveaway from Milk-Bone

The lovely folks at Milk-Bone have offered to give one On Tap for Today reader (US residents only, please… sorry, Canadians!  And French people.) their own Milk-Bone Brushing Chews kit, along with a $25 VISA gift card.  To enter, please comment below.

While your dog is busy cleaning his own teeth, you might think about how you’ll put that gift card to good use, spoiling your fur ball.

Little dude is famous. Kind of.

How to spoil your dog for $25 or less:

  • Do a little research about dog-friendly locations in your area.  I’m partial to the newly released Ruff Guide to the United States (pictured above)… and not just because Clark made his modeling debut in the Massachusetts section.  One of the best ways I can think of to spoil your dog is to spend good ol’ fashioned quality time with him or her.  C-A-R is one of Clark’s favorite words.  He loves adventures, but more than anything, I think he just likes to be along for the ride.  With summer approaching, we’re looking forward to a few dog-friendly weekends away.
  • Treat your pal to a new collar or leash.  A new collar or leash is an inexpensive but practical treat for your little guy.  We have a great waterproof, stink-proof collar from Dublin Dog that is perfect for summer.  Clark’s able to jump in the ocean (or the Swan Pond…) without getting his collar soggy.
  • Speaking of swimming, you might invest in some water safety gear.  Safety first, summer fun second.
  • Pamper those paws.  For less than $25, we can get Clark nice and clean (read: not smelling like Fritos… why does that happen?!) at our local groomer.  We also love B.Y.O.D., a local dog spa and retail shop where we can drop Clark into one of their industrial sinks and bathe him ourselves.  It’s a lot of fun… and a lot less messy than bathing him at home.  You could also stock up on your pup’s favorite grooming supplies.  We use Bag-Balm for Clark’s nose, oatmeal and aloe shampoo in the tub, a Zoom Groom for brushing (perfect for his short coat), and Musher’s Secret for paw protection in the winter.
  • Make a contribution to your local dog park. Living in the city, we really appreciate having a safe, enclosed space to let Clark roam free and stretch his short legs a bit.  We’re lucky to live close to the South Boston Bark Park, which is always really well maintained.  I noticed the other day that you can become a member and support volunteer efforts to keep the park clean and safe.  Seems like  good way to ensure our little guy can continue to enjoy his trips to the park!

Disclaimer: The Milk Bone dog products, information, and VISA gift cards (for this post and giveaway) have been provided by the Milk-Bone brand.  I received a complimentary Brushing Chews kit and a $25 gift card.  All opinions shared are my own (welp, and Clark’s… sort of), and I grateful to be sharing this giveaway with you and your pups.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your favorite way to spoil your dog?  Share below for a chance to win your own Milk-Bone Brushing Chews and a $25 VISA giftcard.  Entries will be accepted until the end of the day on Wednesday, May 28th.  A random winner will be selected and notified by email.

 

Today: The weekend according to Instagram XXIV

Nick and I spent the better part of the weekend in various parenting and child safety classes.  Needless to say, not a whole lot of Intagramming (or housework, or real work, or napping, or Netflixing, or CrossFit) happened.  Sometimes adult responsibilities trump social media addictions.  That’s probably a good thing.  In fact, if I teach a parenting class one day… I’ll add that important note to the syllabus.

The weekend according to Instagram XXIV

  1. Clark loves being towel dried.  He enters some weird euphoric state as soon as one of us breaks out a towel for him.  It’s one of my favorite things to watch.
  2. I am making a concerted effort to finish a full month of fatmumslim’s photoaday challenge.  We shall see.  Saturday’s prompt was looking down.  While I try to take a fresh photo for each challenge, I woke up at 11:30 PM for a nearly-midnight snack and remembered that, welp… I had forgotten.  So I dug up this one from a few weeks back.  I only managed one workout last week and truthfully, I’ve felt pretty run down lately.  I’m proud of myself for CrossFitting and staying active through 35 weeks of pregnancy, but I am beginning to feel that it’s time to pull back a bit.  I’ve been trying to fit in as much as possible lately (at work, at home, at the gym and elsewhere), and I think it’s catching up to me.  This week’s m.o.: more rest, less stress running around like a nut.
  3. As I mentioned up top, Nick and I took two prenatal classes this weekend– one was on breastfeeding (can I just say, I was not prepared to see so many PowerPoint slides of boobs…), and the second was infant/child CPR and baby care and safety.  I supposed we are officially as ready as we’ll ever be.  The instructor for our second class was especially… um… free-spirited, and offered some pretty amazing advice.  One of my favorites: Worried someone’s not holding your baby properly?  Say something like, “In our home, we like to support our child’s head.”  We’re lucky to have such great healthcare, and really like our OB and midwife.  Which is good, because we’re seeing them at least once a week at this point.  We’ve taken advantage of many of the classes offered, including an early pregnancy class (which exists because when you find our you’re pregnant, you call the doctor and they’re like, “Cool.  See you in ten weeks.” And then you worry about all the things you can mess up during those ten weeks.), a tour of our hospital, and a one-day childbirth class.  Knowledge is power.  As long as you don’t faint while the knowledge is being imparted (there were a few close calls).
  4. Taco Tuesday Saturday.  Don’t these little guys look good?  I piled on Amy’s vegan refried beans with green chiles, spring mix with herbs, hot sauce, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, and some lime juice.  And then I devoured them.  And then I went to bed at 7:15 PM.  Ole!
  5. Clearly Nick paid attention during the swaddling portion of class this weekend.
  6. And one last photoaday prompt: colorful.  You know how I feel about glitter, and you know how I feel about Martha Stewart.  In both cases, more is more.

Also On Tap for Today:

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Today: The weekend according to Instagram XIX.

We had quite the lovely weekend.  We started with an exciting doctor’s appointment, followed with lots of time spent with family and friends, and ended with paying attention to football a nap on the sofa.

The weekend according to Instagram XIX

  1. You likely already saw the news (mostly because I can’t keep anything good and exciting to myself), but Nick and I found out Friday afternoon that we are expecting a girl.  And I am expecting her to have her father wrapped around her little finger.  Clark is excited because (among other reasons) they’ll be able to share clothes.  He loves ruffles.
  2. I found this little guy beneath our stoop early Saturday, just as the rain was clearing.  I like when nature visits the city.  And isn’t that shell gorgeous?
  3. I whipped up two batches of this easy, football-friendly black bean dip this weekend.  You can find the vegan, gluten-free recipe (along with a tour of our new kitchen) here.  (And thank you, Emily, for catching the #2 pun…)
  4. We spent Friday night laughing, eating, and more laughing with friends.  Our new place is really feeling like home, especially with friends and family there to share the space.  Matt and Pam brought us this cheery pink begonia plant.  I have a feeling there’s going to be more and more pink coming our way.
  5. I don’t know if I should tell you this or not… so naturally, I am going to tell you.  Clark got peed on by another dog this weekend.  He was standing on one side of a chain link fence, and the perp was on the other, attempting to mark the fence post (presumably).  Instead, he decorated my dog (who seemed oddly oblivious to the whole thing).  Next stop: the longest, most thorough bath of Clark’s life.
  6. We enjoyed this gorgeous view of the city from my sister and brother-in-law’s new apartment on Saturday night.  I love having our family just minutes away.  The next day, we had dinner with my brother, sister-in-law and niece.  We’re spoiled.
  7. Who ever said you don’t win friends with salad has never eaten salad with me.  I love making a big salad to enjoy on Sunday night, with enough to pack for lunch on Monday.  Because I am both lazy and a forward thinker.
  8. It wouldn’t be the end of the weekend without a polish change.  I went from dark (essie no more film) to light (essie pilates hottie).
  9. Meanwhile, at the other end of the sofa, Clark was down for the count.  That’s what a weekend of fun with do to a Frenchie.

Also On Tap for Today:

What was the highlight of your weekend?