Buddies,  Family Matters,  the sticks,  Tis the Season

We love our dog.

dogs don't pose

We took our Christmas card photos yesterday. It wasn’t really a big deal. I used my handy dandy waterproof point-and-shoot camera and took most of them handheld. A few were self-timer and then later my mom came to the rescue and took some more. I’m much more casual about our photos than most families I ‘spose. I figure the people I’m sending them to don’t mind crazy candid shots as opposed to something fancy and set up in a studio. Of course studio portraits are always nice but such pain in the butt to pull off. They always boggle me with their packages that never include the poses I want.

Holly and Bug toes family portrait time 1

Anyway, I bribed Bug with her advent calendar candy (which she was going to get anyway) and we pulled the dog in too. Holly is such a huge part of our life now. She’s so sweet! She goes everywhere we go. She won’t even leave our sides except a few times randomly to go wandering down the street three houses away. The fence in our yard is not nearly high enough and she lumbers over it without even sneezing. But usually, she likes to stay in the house with us which is fine with me because guess what? She doesn’t stink!!! I’m serious. She’s the perfect dog.

come on dog!

She’s not very good at posing though. And she’s also black, which is pretty much impossible to photograph. Silly dog.

mom pile

the dog is not cooperating

What’s a family portrait session without a million and one outtakes, right?

christmas imp rubbing Holly's tummy

Holly thought it was a family love session. Which it sort of was.


In the end, I love this one the most. Secret of this pose? I was tickling her. How else do you get kids to cooperate in pictures? I ended up designing the card with six of the photos on one card, which is good because a lot of them were blurry and I’m hoping that printing them small will improve their quality. We shall see.

But while I’m on the subject of the dog…


Is this normal? Do dogs normally sit in chairs?

chairs are for dogs, silly kid

She does it all the time. In fact, Bug was quite perturbed with her because she wanted to sit in that chair and no manner of cajoling would get Holly out of it. Finally, Bug just sat on top of her and Holly didn’t even flinch. She’s such a nutty dog. She doesn’t even like dog treats. We’ve tried them all. She only likes pig’s ears, which are kind of gross. Have you seen them? They are, in fact, an entire pig ear right off the pig. Yuck. I like my food to be a little less literal. But Holly eats them and it’s better than giving her cake so we buy them and give them out on rare occasions.

she sleeps on my bed!

Also this. Is this normal too? She sneaks onto my bed when I’m not looking and likes to take naps there. She knows she’s not supposed to though so when I come in the room scolding her, she guiltily slinks off and flops down on her dog bed with a huge sigh. She totally sighs just like a human. She also snores and farts (but not stinky ones of course).

this is what she does

She’s family.

In other news, it has come to my attention that my friend Heather has started a fund raiser for me. She’s crazy! And then, she contacted some big time bloggers (who I am blessed to call friends) and they wrote about it and pretty much blew up my site with all kinds of people coming to see how I’m doing. That’s why this site was down the other day, if you were wondering. Your love done broke my blog.

Anyway, I’m terribly at a loss for words on how to thank everyone properly. People are coming out of the woodwork to donate a few dollars here and there and it is crazily adding up! I don’t have access to the amount but Heather has been sending me emails now and then. I’m shocked and awed and just completely out of the right words. So please help me to stay humble and use this blessing properly.


  • K

    I love Holly! And yes, it is normal for dogs to sit in chair. My Delilah loves chairs (and couches, and beds). Love all your outtakes. They are better than potraits in a studio (in my opinion).
    Merry Christmas!!

  • Aunt B

    We have 3 labs and they are the craziest dogs we have ever owned. Anywhere your smell is they have to lay down. The other day one of the dogs was laying on the floor sleeping with her nose in one of my husband’s shoe. I guess she missed him. We have to turn the heat down at night because they produce so much heat I swear the bedroom is 10 to 15 degrees warmer and then if they lay up next to you it’s like a heating pad. I put a sheet over the comforter so it’s easier to wash.

  • jessica

    I’ve heard a few numbers and I’m SO excited for you! Eeee! It’s the least we could do for someone so sweet and giving and caring as you.


  • OMSH

    I love, love, love that Holly made a dog person out of you.
    And yes, dogs love your bed over theirs.
    And yes, dogs prop up in chairs.
    And yes, dogs think they are human (and at times I think they are more human than I am).

    Y’all are too cute with your hot pink tree and your borrowed dog! :)

  • Mrs. Wilson

    You love your dog, we love you.


    I love the shot you decided to use for your card. It’s definitely fun. I haven’t done a studio shoot for cards in a while for the same reasons as you. And, when you do them yourself, you have all the fun outtakes! Without having to pay for them!

    ps. Your pink Christmas tree is just too awesome.

  • Valerie

    I love your picture with tickle bug. And I keep looking at your dog because she looks like mine, who also loves to curl up in my favorite chair. I have also seen her get in a lawn chair even though she doesn’t fit very well. I have been thinking about you and hope you are taking care of yourself.

  • Andrea

    Our dog Dusty lies on couch, daybed, armchair and bed – basically anything soft and cosy where he can alternatively curl up or sprawl. I remember finding him impossibly squished into an armchair much to small for him. He is also a big black dog.

    I know the famous TV dog trainers of the world warn against animals on furniture…something to do with top dog stuff…but i try to ignore it.

    Glad you have such an awesome dog to round out your little family. Dogs are awesome!

  • Amanda

    I love the holiday photo out-takes! As far as the dog stuff, yep it’s normal from what I’ve seen with my mom’s dogs. The dog seems like a wonderful new family member.

  • MargieK

    Dogs may enjoy being on a comfy bed, chair, couch, or mattress — but (unlike cats), they’re trainable! Especially labs (who are usually pretty smart). They can even learn that it’s OK to be on one particular chair but none of the others. They can learn that it’s OK to be on the furniture at your house but not mine (it will take a little reminding, but they eventually “get” it).

    So while it’s “normal” for them to WANT to lie on a comfy surface, you don’t have to allow it if you don’t want to (you’re still the boss, the leader of your pack, as Cesar would say). Remember, anywhere they’re allowed to go, their fur will shed, and — imperceptibly at first, but obvious with time — the oils from their coats will leave marks, too (we notice this most with our black lab, Kohl). Perhaps you don’t mind getting dog hair all over your clothes when you sit on your couch — many people don’t.

    We choose not to allow dogs on our beds or our furniture (we have Kohl plus a rhodesian ridgeback mix, Bruno), but our college student son lets them on the loveseat in his room (Bruno practically lives there, but Kohl likes to follow us around). Our son keeps an old sheet on the loveseat, to limit the spread of dog-hair and so the upholstery doesn’t get stained with the oil from their coats. We wash the sheet every couple weeks.

  • Cc

    At least she isn’t sleeping in your bed with you. Annie and Mischief have taken to sleeping in bed with us. It’s hard to stop them since we’ee sleeping on a futon on the floor. Plus we don’t have any furniture for them to sit on.

    Heather is indeed awesome for arranging this surprise for you. You deserve it.

  • Becca

    Welcome to the world of being owned by a dog! Yay for Holly.

    Double Yay that you don’t have to deal with puppy potty training, training, chewie, craziness in general.

    I love all your family Christmas photos by the way and think it is a great idea to do a collage of them. I might have to steal that idea for the future…

    I agree with CC above – you definitely deserve all the bloggy love!

  • isaida

    Love the pictures. The one of you and Bug is beautiful Would frame that one! As for the bloggy love/donations, you deserve every penny. You have touched so many people with your blog. People like me who you would probably never met. You are awesome and one of my favorite bloggers.

    Keep your head up – everything will work out! You will stay in my prayers.

  • Ninabi

    Your blog has always been something I look forward to- your way of making the everyday into something special and magical.

    I’m glad the sweet dog has joined you and Bug. Sometimes animals just know when you need a friend.

    And I’m glad that something good is coming your way for Christmas via the internet. You’ve sent a lot of goodness out and now some of it is making its way back to you!

  • Julia

    I’m loving these little updates about your new life out in the sticks – I’m sure it hasn’t been easy or fun, but I hope you’re enjoying yourself!

  • Amanda

    Everything about your dog is…normal. Mine does all of the same things you pictured. And..love the Christmas photos. I’m not a big fan of the posed look, so I really just love yours plain and simple. :D

  • TexasLea

    We have a dog that not only hogs the couch but when she gets in the bed she steals the pillows too! I’m seriously jealous that you have a dog that doesn’t stink. Mine get pretty bad and there is not much worse than coming home and finding a stinky dog laying on your pillow.

  • Beck's Mom

    We also love black retrievers. Our daughter’s has long hair (Flatcoat – similar ‘feathers’ to Goldens). When she begs to come inside at night all we can see thru the slider is her pink tongue. Since our daughter doesn’t like pink, her collar is red. Her farts are often volatile (consider yourself blessed) and have been since we got her at age 10 weeks. I’m glad you have a pup around – protective companionship with a friendly set of ears that track whatever is going on. Blessings!

  • Amanda

    I just love your blog, you’re so real and down to earth and think not too long ago we were (fairly close) neighbors! I wish I could pitch in on the fund, but I’m in a similar situation. Starting over, just me and my girl(who my mom calls bug! Can you believe that?) I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. Your pictures are beautiful, just like you two! The dynamic duo!

  • pinky

    Oh Brenda, reading Heather’s blog post and comments made me tear up. I had no idea, I’m so glad you mentioned it here.

    Those photos are the best ever. I love the pink tree, I love Bug sitting on the dog, I love your big, wide smiles. Beautiful :-)

  • Neil

    Merry Christmas. Love the photos. I don’t think I ever saw a pink Christmas tree before. And thank you for doing that beautiful banner for the blogger concert for me… for free… in one day. That is the type of generous spirit you have always been, always there for others. I hope that if you ever need a hand during this move, or during any transition period, you would just ask any of your online friends.

  • BeachMama

    My dogs used to sit on the couch, then I banned them :). Now that we are down to one dog we still let him lie on the bed, but he promptly gets down as soon as I crawl in, but not after warming up my side just enough to keep my feet warm.

    Heather is amazing as are you. You will be Blessed as we are to know you, look forward to hearing all about it when it arrives :)

  • Rebecca Hendric (clarke)

    Hi there,

    It appears that life has taken a big change as mine has as well. I will tell you that the support and blessings that you mention at the end are what have gotten me through my difficulty in the last year! If you ever need anything, email or call me. I have learned so much about how AMAZING God is and how truly blessed I am!

    hugs to you my friend,

  • Jana

    Happy Holidays you two! :)
    For the dog Question, check out this blog (http://www.desiretoinspire.net/) on a monday. They have a project which is called “pets on furniture”. I think your lovely Lab is not the only one who thinks it has to sit more comfy than the ground…

  • Linda

    Love your photos, so gla dto see how you are creating your own life and happiness.
    I am so glad Heather set this up, it wonderful to be able to help from so far away. Have a very Happy Christmas and may you be blessed in teh New Year, be able to make all teh new decisions and moves with peace in your heart
    May God bless you

  • Kari

    Hugs to you and Bug, Brenda! I love seeing the out-take photos; I think they are awesome! The photo of you and Bug really made me smile though. It is so good to see that you and Bug are settling in well. :-)

  • April G.

    What fun pictures! I love the one of you tickling Bug.

    You don’t know me but I have been reading your blog for several years now. I wish I could help you too but I’m an impoverished grad student! I went through a divorce a few years ago, and I know how hard it is–emotionally and financially!–to set up on your own again. I’m sending you lots of support, even if I can’t send $!

  • that guy

    Dogs love to sit anywhere you’ve been. They like your bed because you’ve spent a third of your life in it, imparting your essense on it.

    Don’t keep pig ears around for too long, they will start to stink. Keep feeding your dog pig ears, the dog farts will peel paint.

  • Siera

    Love the family pics! I’ve never had my own dog, but from you describe she sounds normal. My high school boyfriend’s dog would sleep half standing half sitting with her hind legs resting the couch and her front legs standing! It was quite the site. Said dog, a Doberman, would also sleep in a basket made for a miniature poodle. And my sister’s old dog would sneak up on the hide-a-bed when I would visit if I slept off to one side and there was no getting him off until he was good and ready. He was like a sloth.

  • Lish

    Holly seems like such a wonderful dog! I know that people go ga-ga over puppies, but I find it quite nice to adopt a nice older dog who comes pretty much pre-trained.

    I have a hand-me-down dog from my brother, who was unable to have him at his new apartment, and it’s wonderful — all the fun without the hard working of training!

    And yes, dogs love chairs and people beds. The hand-me-down dog has an old pillow from my bed in his dog bed because he loves to prop his head up. He also has an old pillow on the couch for the same purpose. And on the foot of my bed. And in the backseat of my car. They find a way to make you spoil them without even realizing it.

  • Jenn

    Yes, it is completely normal for dogs to sit in chairs like that. Our dog passed in October and he would hang out on our couch like that all the time. When we first adopted him, we didn’t intend for him to be on the furniture but it soon became obvious that he was getting on the furniture while we were out of the room and getting off when we heard us coming.

  • Amy

    I love the fact that you got a dog :)) I have had one dog or another for the past 35 years and must say the years I didn’t were the hardest. Dogs just so totally enrich ones life :))

    She looks like a complete sweetheart and so happy for you and the BUG :))

  • Amy

    And yes, they will adopt a spot on your furniture if you will let them :) My older dog has his chair in my office, he loves it and I love the company. :)