And my current favorite:

I’m feeling a little cabin fever despite the fact that we’ve been outside more this winter than any winter in recent history. I actually think it’s because of that–I’m so acutely aware of how cold it is all the time because we’re in it. Maybe there’s a little hint of delicious in that, but mostly it just makes me think about how badly I can’t wait to walk out the door barefoot and bare shouldered and relaxed. My zen exercise of the winter is trying not tense up when I open the door. Folks, I’m failing.

But these pictures remind me what treasures come from being cooped up and I think daily about how thankful I am for all the warmth that’s in our lives–I’m not kidding about that one. A down coat, a hot bath, thick walls, 15 kinds of tea, bourbon neat, friends to crowd in, anything at all bubbling on the stove, the fuzziest dog around to sit on my feet…who am I to complain about winter?

Please, please remind me of this. As the great state of Wisconsin so proudly declares: cold nose, warm heart.

Chewy Louie

There is a new Walton in the world. He is fuzzy and soft and has a cute little black noes and four of the softest little feet I’ve ever felt. He has salty breath and floppy ears and a perma-expression that seems to be saying, “Wh0? Me?”.

We named him Louie because I was thinking of our sweet Grace and the fact that Drew always called her Gracie Lou which lead me to thinking that Lou wouldn’t be a bad name for a dog at all, but of course no puppy is up to the task of such a serious sounding name and so it evolved into Louie. Or, in honor of this family’s New Orleans roots, Louis. Either one works. Drew and I never have agreed on how we spell our cat’s name, might as well maintain the tradition for the dog too.

Initially I was pretty dead set on adopting an older dog. I didn’t really want to deal with the chewingpeeingpooping mess of a puppy and we already get up in the middle of the night plenty with the one petit choux in our midst. But then we started talking about Grace and how a little part of us always knew that Grace was never all that interested in being a family dog and our concern that if we adopted an older dog there was a very good chance that it would be seamless, but there was also a chance that that dog also wouldn’t care all that much for life with a two-year-old.

So we thought about it for about a month.

And then we decided to go for it and start from the ground up with a puppy that will never know anything other than a floppy jumpy kid who’s prone to spontaneously hugging animals even if he’s not much of a tail puller. They seem to be getting on with one another just fine, but of all of the family members, I think it’s fair to say that I’m the most gonzo over Louie.

Clearly Louie struggles with relaxing

Other than my dorm years, I’ve never lived a day of my life without at least one dog in the house. Within a week of graduating college I was at the SPCA cozying up to Grace, and so the months that  just passed without the presence of a dog in our lives were kind of long ones for me. For whatever the trials of living with dogs might be, there are few things as comforting as that constant companionship and they always seem to be up for all of the good things in life–walks, naps, laughs, hugs, treats, play, and a little dose of conspiracy. Living with a puppy is about what we expected it to be, but I’m happier too, and as an added bonus, I’m loving all of the earrings that I can now wear courtesy of Louie’s pointy little teeth. Well, kind of. I’m kind of loving that. I do know that we’re all pretty smitten with this (increasingly bigger) little guy.