family, Teddie Aspen

Dog Lessons

It wasn’t long ago I was digging through boxes leftover from my childhood home. I ran across an American Kennel Club certificate. Maximillian was his name.

I had heard his name many times in my life, often with a sneer from one of my brothers. They loved their dog, and I was the reason we got rid of him. Maximillian, the prized pooch, couldn’t stop knocking me over as a newly walking toddler. So, he had to go.

All this to say, I didn’t grow up with dogs. I had a cat named Snoopy I treasured but was allergic to (a story for another post), but never a dog. I just didn’t get dogs. Never wanted one. And who knows, maybe I was even a little scared of them from all my hard knocks as a babe.

As an adult, when my family wanted to get a dog, I resisted. We even had a dog live with us for a while that didn’t really work out. We ended up taking him to a new home where he could have the room and attention he needed.

Then Penny came along. My sister-in-law became her unexpectedly permanent foster mom. She needed a place to live and a family to love her. Would we be interested? I didn’t really want this at all. We could take her for a 2-week trial to see if we could handle it.

And she never left. We live together but I wouldn’t say she loves me. Still, my heart softened seeing how much everyone else loved her. She changed our family.

And then came the dog that I really did love. Chester. The unlikely, homely, wiry guy from the pound. The underdog. I didn’t even know why we would ever need 2 dogs. I was just getting used to 1! Then Chester who got scared by sudden movements and noises, Chester who always backed out of the room…Chester came along. He was very shy at first but eventually came around and became sweet, playful Chester. He loves to run and bound through the woods, and his sad eyes will pull at your heart strings every time. Chester changed my heart about dogs.

Now there’s the newest member of the clan named Nash, who I’ve taken a liking to. I even embrace my extended family and friend’s dogs. Heck, I even get to walk dogs and dog sit once in a while. Truthfully, I still don’t know how to act around dogs, and they can tell. It doesn’t come naturally for me and maybe never will. Thankfully, I’ve learned that many dogs are pretty forgiving if you at least try. They teach me about protection, loyalty, priorities and unconditional love. They seem to bring out the best in people just by being there and present in the moment. That bowls me over in the best of ways.

dare to be different, Teddie Aspen

Crotchless!

This is definitely a post for the record books. It’s no secret I rise in the dark and wee hours of the morning to get my fitness on before most even think of waking.

I normally dress in the dark and move about in a quiet but fast pace to not startle others. On most days that doesn’t work but the effort is there.

I have had my share of friends who put their shorts on backwards or inside out sometimes and they have done it more than once.  We giggle. We move on. I have admittedly put my shorts and bras on inside out but always corrected it because you could feel the difference.

Then today happened. A story like no other. I did my usual morning routine and arrived at the gym. I scurried into the gym in the dark and said hello to a female friend on the way in. Put my keys and phone in the bin and jetted to the girls room. Took care of business and looked down in complete and utter surprise. An oh shit moment of how in the hell did this happen. What am I going to do and send help please but no phone was with me!

I hear the rumble in the next stall of toilet paper being jostled. Who is it? Do I know them? Who cares! I shout who’s there? The reply was who do you think is here? OMG no time for games, it’s Kim. Thank you Jesus an ally. A trusted friend. Don’t come out yet I have a wardrobe malfunction I said. Ummm, okay she replied. What kind of problem? I don’t know let me assess the magnitude. Oh it’s bad. Thank God nobody saw this when I walked in. Or did they?

My dog ate my pants. She specifically and mindfully crafted a crotchless pair of Nike pros! Yes I wrote a crotchless pair of shorts. Not on the seams like a normal rip she actually chewed around in a methodical fashion. See below for proof:

I have no clue how I didn’t notice before I left, on my drive but I am ever so thankful I had to use the restroom before class since today was squat day. Disaster averted or kind of. Now that my class mates think I legit shit myself and had to leave class. If you think I’m joking see below:

Or if the shit yourself comment wasn’t bad enough I got one about Aunt Flo coming for a visit. Sigh, big sigh, deep breath. Now that my morning has been an absolute cluster fuck I should note the following. My little princess of a bitch dog is mad at me. I threw away her favorite frisbee yesterday because she ate it. It was supposed to be indestructible but clearly it wasn’t and neither was my Nike pro shorts that I happened to like a lot. So I will leave you some cute pictures of my dog but confirmation of her devilish side.

Life lessons learned today. Put your fresh laundry away even when your dog wants to lay on your clothes at bed time. Check your drawers before you leave the house and make sure you have panties on so you don’t flash the world your you-know-what accidentally. Take a few extra minutes and wake the house up to avoid utter humiliation.

I will be forever explaining this in the weeks to come. No, I didn’t shit my pants. I had a wardrobe malfunction. My dog ate my shorts. Enough said! Thank you Teddie. I know you can be sweet like the picture below but also evil when you want to be.

3Splitz Farm, family

Never Have I Ever

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Never have I ever…

….driven a tractor.

….cleared out my own patch of overgrown rose bushes.

….mowed acre after hilly acre of thick wet grass with a push mower.

….ridden on a four-wheeler.

….shared my bed with a dog.

….eaten an avocado.

….moved myself into a farmhouse.

If we were playing the game “never have I ever,” which of these would you agree with?  Which have you already done?

In our first couple of weekends on the farm, at least one of our farmily knocked each of these things off our “never have I ever” lists.  I’ll let you wonder which belongs to who.  There are some surprises.  Many more not listed here.  And ones we can’t even imagine on the horizon.

Funny how this new adventure is taking us each on refreshing paths.  New experiences and challenges are possible at every turn.  Some take deep breaths before we try.  Some take asking questions, even a little trial and error.  It’s learning about the land, ourselves, and even each other.  We are knocking things off our lists while filling up our time with amazing memories.

What’s on your “never have I ever” list that you need to cross off?

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awareness

Nightfall

It was a Tuesday evening in summer. Not too hot out, maybe 75 degrees. Sitting at a friend’s house in their backyard by their pool. Surprisingly no kids were around, not even in the pool.

No laughter. No whining. No birds chirping. No splashing of water. No dog barks. Nightfall was upon us. A simpler time of day in the yard.

The sounds of the night were so very different from the sounds of the day. What an interesting thought or moment in time to recount in this blog. Nightfall.

Creatures of the night were awake and singing to us. From the grass to the trees sounds were in full force. Crickets for sure were out in full force. Was there one or many? I can’t say for sure but it seems orchestrated or echoed.

A variance of chirps and high pitch zaps and wonky sounds in stereo in the backyard. It was calming. White noise, pink noise or whatever noise this refers to. It’s a peaceful sound. A simple sound of the peace within the environment.

How these sounds differ if the environment was a beach, a farm or a cruise ship. The click of the air conditioner turned on. Clack, buzz and the vibration hum set the background tone. The crickets sing on top of the bass sound. Layered on top are random zaps from a nearby bug zapper. Katydids egg on the crickets with their anthem. It’s a full blown orchestra if you listen.

Don’t let the silence kill you. Enjoy the carefree whispers around you. As a mom those silent times are few and far between. Embrace the silence. Enjoy the whispers from the grass to the trees. Appreciate the calming sense of the sound. If you tune out the chaos of the hustle and bustle of today’s world you will most likely sleep better at night.

If on a farm would I hear bears wrestling at night? Would I hear the moos of cows? Would I hear the sound of grass crackling when a deer passes by? Would I hear the sound of a horse wrestling in the solitude of his barn? Would I hear the sighs of those taking in the stars at night from their back porch? I may just have to research this.

I do know if I am at the beach instead of the backyard the night sounds are distinctively different yet calming in a different way. The rushing of ocean waves. Simple sounds but in a repetitive pattern. Swoosh. It may have a soft finish if the wave hits the sand or a harsh sound if the wave hits the rock. How a storm can change the sound in the backyard, the beach or the farm.

From a distant thunder to shaking of the roof when it draws near. To the sound of rain hitting your roof. And how different the sound is if your roof is metal vs. straw.

Nightfall. The sounds that ensue. Have you slowed down to appreciate the sounds of the night in your part of the world? How do your sounds differ from mine? Sounds are soothing. Enjoy your next nightfall. I know I will enjoy my next nightfall wherever my night falls.

dare to be different, inspire

Sally Said

I’m kind of a big deal.

All my friends want to be around me.

At the park.

At school.

At the mall.

Being a big deal can get crazy at times.

Sometimes one of my friends will get really mad if I don’t spend enough time with just them!

I also have to make sure I don’t leave anyone out when I make plans to play after school.

Sometimes picking teams on the playground can be hard work!

I have to make sure I don’t hurt any of my friends’ feelings when I pick teams.

Who I pick first or last can be a really big deal to my friends.

Being a big deal can be hard work.

I have to be extra nice to everyone all time time.

I mean I try to be nice to people all the time but I might mess up and hurt my friends’ feelings.

I don’t know why I am a big deal.

I get up the same way each morning.

I even have crazy hair in the morning.

I brush my teeth just like my friends do.

I am not rich.

I am not famous but I might be famous one day.

I don’t have super powers.

I am just me.

I really like being just me.

I like to smile and have fun.

I like to laugh at funny jokes.

I like to make funny jokes.

I like to play sports and have fun outside.

I like to play with my dogs.

I like to be around people especially my friends.

My friends say I am goofy sometimes.

I make my friends giggle a lot.

I always have fun playing with my friends.

My dad says I am his sunshine every morning.

My dad makes me feel good when he tells me that.

My mom told me once that he calls me sunshine because I can brighten up any room full of people.

Maybe my mom and dad make me believe I am a big deal.

My sister says I can fall in a bucket of doggie doo doo but still smell like roses.

I never really understood what my sister said but my mom explained it to me.

My brother just says I am annoying.

My mom said you are special.

Your smile is infectious.

You can can make people feel better about themselves even when they can’t see for themselves.

I still don’t understand why my sister said doggie doo doo smells like roses but my mom said one day I will know when I grow up.

My family makes me rich I guess.

I love my family.

I guess I love being a big deal, too.

Being a big deal helps others.

I hope you can be a big deal, too.

If lots and lots of people believe is being a big deal then the world will be a much happier place.

I hope somebody reads this story in China or maybe even Russia. And maybe I will write more stories and become famous one day.

In today’s world we need more Sallies. What Sally says is important. In world of crazy corona challenges we all need to be kind and channel our inner Sally. We can all be a big deal. Today, tomorrow and the next day.

Because Sally said so!