“Update Weekly”, She Said…

So much for my lovely Saturday posts, about my works in progress…Life doesn’t seem to want to play that way. But at the same time, I don’t really have any excuse why I didn’t post the last two Saturdays. I was not really busy as such, but I got sucked into the world of designing a knitted piece.  I am not anywhere near being able to show anything off for it, because I still have so much to figure out myself, but I have an idea and that is already a big step further than I have come before.

 

Our household for some reason cannot shake the sickness these last few weeks. While we are all better than the week before last, it seems that Liana just picks the most inconvenient moment, to decide that she is in fact still sick. Most of the time, this happens in the middle of the night, preferably just at a time that doesn’t allow me to fall back asleep before getting up at the ungodly hour that my alarms rings at the moment. Then I can only look on with jealousy how Stephen and Liana cuddle back into bed, and I have to go out into the cold morning, with the rest of our town likely only waking up 3 hours later.

Because I work for an international company, as part of a US based team, my work schedule depends on the time in our US office, rather than the local time here. Unfortunately in Spring, the clocks are turned backwards 3 weeks earlier in the US than they are in Ireland. (I am saying “the US” but have to admit I’m not even sure if the entire country switches the same day. Maybe there is parts that don’t change time at all?) That in itself would not be a problem, if it weren’t for the fact, that my normal working hours start at 6am. With the new time difference between the offices, until the end of March, I have to start my shift at 5am, which means I get out of my bed at 4am.

For the 10 years, before Liana was born, I was overwhelmingly more likely to see 4am by staying up, instead of getting out of bed at that time. And I am pretty sure that there have been a lot of times that I stayed awake that late. Through my teenage years, I was definitely a nightowl, sleeping as much of the day as I could and then staying up as long as I could. Even once I started my work life during college, i had a job working nights, where I’d finish around 6-7am.

Somebody needs to invent time travel, just so I could see my own face when I tell my younger self the hours I work now and how much I actually enjoy them. Nothing beats coming home early and having free time to spend playing with Liana or whatever other tasks are accumulating at home. To be quite honest as well, I sometimes feel like I am still half asleep the first few hours at work, and once my brain fully wakes up, a good portion of the day is already over.

 

For good news I can announce that I am finished with the first half of my C25K Challenge. You can always follow up on my current status here. There have been some injury delays, and there were days when I couldn’t face running due to being sick, but I made up those days and I am now all caught up. The next big challenge is going to be Friday, I have to run 20 minutes, without any walking in between. Right now I feel like there is no way I am ever going to be able to do that, but I am getting support from my friend, who trains for her marathon. She will run with me and try her best to motivate me.

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Today I’m pretending it’s Saturday

The last week has just raced past. My whole family caught a nasty stomach bug, Liana was the first to go down on Sunday and both Stephen and myself fell ill on Monday. Only today (Sunday, but my pretend Saturday) we are all feeling back to normal again. So far I have not figured out, who gave us this bug, but I promise, if I do, that person will not be happy. On the other hand, if they had the bug as well, they were probably punished enough.

I was so sick, that I didn’t even feel like doing any knitting, which is very unusual for me. So this week, I only managed to do a little bit, on Friday evening and Saturday during the day. And because I still did not feel great yesterday, I didn’t write a blog post. And that is the reason why right now, I am pretending it is still Saturday, so that I don’t have  to face the fact that I already missed out on the second week in my weekly post.

 

At the moment I am working up a load of these booties. These are still in an unfinished state and need sewing up, but I have a whole bunch of these at home. I am not quite sure yet, what exactly what I am going to do with them when I am finished, but for some reason I find it quite relaxing to knit these. It is instant gratification as well, because these bad boys knit up in just over 30 minutes.

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This is what they look like before sewing up:

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To go with the booties, I have been playing a bit with designing some mittens. It is hard to get the dimensions right, because I don’t have any babies around me at the moment. I have been thinking about maybe giving a set as a gift to a colleague, who recently had a baby, just to find out if they are the right size at all.

 

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These are some more booties, these are actually sown up as well, just missing a little button to make them complete:

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And of course I can’t leave you without a current update on my lovely shrug from last week. I have made a good bit of a dent into the work, but unfortunately I can’t work any further on it at the moment, because I completely and entirely got the yarn requirements wrong, and ran out halfway through. I now need to buy more, which I had kind of planned to avoid until I had used up a good bit more of my stash.

 

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Look at this great pattern though, I never knew I could fancy a stitch pattern as much as the brioche stitch. I will definitely have to knit something else soon using this stitch.

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My knitting in progress

My Zero to Hero Blogging Challenge has come to an end. It feels like an end of a mini era, like I know have to start facing the blogging world on my own.

The last challenge that I found really interesting was to create a recurring post, where I would regularly write about a particular topic. I was thinking about this feature for quite a while, and I decided that I would do a weekly post, always on a Saturday, about projects that I am working on, at that time or have been working on in the past week. It will be anything that I have on my knitting needles, to go into my sewing machine or am working on with any other craft.

A lot of bloggers post these kind of updates as a “work in progress Wednesday” (followed up by a Finished Objects Friday)  and you’d be surprised how much time I was able to waste today trying to come up with something equally as eloquent to describe my new Saturday posts. In my mind, I was playing around with something as simple as “Sandra’s Saturdays” or going “fancy” with “Super Saturday Stitches”. After much time spent scribbling S-words on a notepad, I have not quite been able to settle on anything that I really like. For now, I will leave these weekly posts nameless, and when inspiration hits me (or I get a suggestion from a follower *hint hint*), they will be christened officially.

In the past week, I have started a new project, and I already know it will take me a small eternity to finish. The pattern is the F477 Women’s Shrug and Hat (the link will bring you to the Ravelry pattern page) and it is the first time I have ever knitted in Brioche stitch. Quite honestly, if I had known the slow speed at which this pattern knits, I might not have started this project. After 3 evenings spent on it, I am roughly 3” into the 45” Brioche stitch part of this pattern.

first progess

I am using a yarn that I had lying around at home, begging for my attention, it is Stylecraft Special DK which gives me the correct stitch gauge asked for in the pattern, the row gauge is not as important, as the pattern provides length measurements instead of row counts, for how long the pattern should be repeated. I am using my 6mm circular needles, part of my Lana Grossa Interchangeable set.

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And luckily I have a job where I spend my Saturdays mostly monitoring and am there in case something goes wrong, to coordinate efforts. Most Saturdays are kind of quiet, so I was able to work on this a good bit more today. This is how far I have come by now:

newest progress

I have created a bad habit of starting projects and not finishing. Then, after they have spent month on the needles I decide that I actually need the needles for another project, pull them out and then frog the project. Stephen was teasing me last night, that he already knew that this shrug would never get finished and that he would find it lying around somewhere, once I lose interest. Just that statement alone is making me stubborn, to prove him wrong.

If you are on Ravelry, you can find my project here, and this is my profile page. Even though I have been a member of Ravelry for a while, I have not been very active apart from using it as a pattern library. I think it is time to dig a bit deeper into the community.

Blogs that Inspire me

As part of Zero to Hero day 23, we were supposed to write a roundup, and I wrote it and thought I scheduled it, but for some reason it did not publish. I’ll have to have another look into the art of scheduling posts 😉

But since I don’t want you all to miss out on the post I have written, I am now publishing it manually 🙂

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Today I am writing all about posts/bloggers that have inspired my crafty side, since I started this blog. It is amazing the different projects and people you can find out there in the blogosphere.

A blog I love to follow is the Mad Knitter.  It is hard for me to pick just one post that is inspiring me, because in general, every time I read the blog I feel like picking up my needles.  I feel like Liz knits things that I would enjoy knitting and I am amazed at how many projects she seems to be able to finish. One post in particular that I have gone back to a few times is this one, an overview over what she had on her “sticks” at that moment. It would be a great goal to achieve her level of knitting and to be able to maybe make some money with knitting. At the moment I am a far way off, but I suppose you won’t get anywhere in life unless you “shoot for the stars…” 😉 .

Another blog I have in my WordPress reader and that I keep stopping on is Marissa Made it. Another fabulous crafter, she has the most gorgeous photos of her projects. They really make me realize how much more I have to improve on, but at the same time as well how much I envy knitters who have easy access to amazing yarns, since the only shops that we have locally stock predominantly Acrylic, with a few mixed fibers thrown in. I am very much looking forward to seeing what she is going to make with the Star Wars fabric in this post, because I am not sure if I can keep myself from buying whatever it is going to be.

Already from the title, the Snail of Happiness had me chuckling. This blog is very much in a different direction as the other two (no less talented though), and while she writes quite a bit about her crafting (mainly her masterpiece – and it is quite impressive!) she also has posts about sustainability, which is something that I would love to be able to bring more into my life. The snail also live geographically quite close to me, so while I was posting pictures of our storm, so was she.

And Life gets in the way (again)

By now, I should be way further through my challenges, than I am. Zero to Hero suffered, because I had a long weekend and did not feel like looking at my laptop, as it reminded me of work. On the upside, this meant I got plenty of knitting done in this time, and will write my first craft related post soon,

My C25K came to a screeching halt on Thursday evening, as I was cycling home after my Power Yoga class. I cycle everywhere in our little town, and thought I had gotten used to the erratic Irish driving by now. Irish drivers in general seem to lack experience with cyclists, so much so that the Road Safety Authority Ireland has placed ads on tv, to inform them of the basic rules of the road and common courtesy when sharing the road with cyclist.

Funnily enough, the very first rule that is mentioned is “On left turns, do not overtake a cyclist as you approach a junction. He might be continuing straight ahead”. To my misfortune, the driver that I encountered on Thursday, must have been skipping through this very basic part of driver’s education. He overtook me (so was clearly aware that I was there) and then cut of my way as he turned left. To avoid crashing into him, I braked heavily (with new brakes just checked in the shop a week before). I lost control of the bike and went over the handlebars. My left hand and knee took the brunt of the impact, but I still have bruises on both my legs, which are by now turning an interesting shade of green/yellow. I’m looking forward to the looks I’ll get when I walk into the pool at Aqua Aerobics tonight!

I was fuming when I got up, because the driver did not even stop to see if I was injured in any way. Completely oblivious to what he had just caused. Thankfully my bike was not damaged, the seat only turned slightly, which forced me to stand in the pedals the rest of the way home.

Overall, I am thankful that I am not more seriously injured, because it could definitely have been worse. Apart from the bruises on my legs and my two palms, I lost a few layers of skin on my left knee, due to which I have not been running again. Today is the first day that I am not limping when I am walking, so I will go to my Aqua Aerobics and see that as a sort of trial run to see how much pressure I can put on it. When I was a teenager, I injured the same knee (fell off a climbing wall and hit a few stones on the way down) and I remember it taking weeks before I was able to do any sort of sport again, and I was on crutches for a good month. I know that this time is by far not as bad, but I think there is a hesitation in my sub conscience, that remembers the pain only all to clearly.

Where have the days gone?

Ok, I have to admit, I got a little behind in my Zero to Hero Challenge. The reason for it is simple, I found the next challenge quite hard. The one I got stuck on, was “Build on your last post“. The post that was meant was this one, about the wood that we gathered as a family.

Now normally, a follow up should be really easy. I could tell you all about the weather that we have been having recently (which has been crazy!). Right now, I can’t even tell you anymore, why I got so terribly stuck with that challenge. I should just write it all down really fast right now, before something else gets in my way.

On Wednesday (12/02/2014) Ireland was hit by a bad storm, which has by now been classified as one of the Top 5 storms to hit Ireland since records began. Apparently it still has the potential to be called “The worst storm”, depending on the final assessment of all damages. It has hit us, as part of I think 9 separate storms, since the start of the year. Pictures of the damages caused by these storms are quite scary, I have never seen anything like it. You can go here to find some pictures.

On that Wednesday, when I finally made it home (2 out of 3 access routes were blocked by fallen trees, and the third was only passable when police waved you past a small wood) I was greeted by small chaos in our backyard. Water was standing on our patio to about 3 inches and the fences on both sides were blown over. One side fell victim to our big trampoline, which decided that staying in our garden was no fun, and instead moved over to our neighbour 3 doors down. Stephen had already managed to get the trampoline back into our garden, and has secured it as best he could, with bags of old ash. He got help for this from neighbours, and it was nice to see the community spirit really working. We were by far not as badly affected as other regions of Ireland, (one town declared a state of emergency, and a mini hurricane was spotted in another) but at the same time it was scary, because this kind of weather is so out of the ordinary for us.

Despite the weather, Zelda was getting anxious for a walk, so we headed out, once the chaos in the garden was cleared and the wind died down a little bit. We went for our usual route, which is close to the river, and quite exposed to the wind in the middle of 2 rows of trees. One part of the route was particularly bad, if I had known, how many trees went down on that stretch, I would not have walked it, but by the time I realised, the way back was as bad as the way forward. You can see below a few pictures I shot on that day. I haven’t walked the bit of the route where the trees are down since, because I can easily see, that there has been no effort made yet, to clear them, so far people are focusing on the trees that are blocking roads and are easily accessible instead of the footpaths off the beaten track. If Stephen and I owned a chainsaw, I know we would go straight down there and start cutting down the trees for firewood. We have even been thinking of renting one for a day or two, but with no experience, a chainsaw would be a dangerous thing to hire. We’ll probably just continue to cut down the smaller branches with our little handsaw, the wood we’ve brought home so far is plenty, and will already require us to build a new wood storage solution in our garden.

 

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It’s that time again ..

… and no, I don’t mean Valentine’s Day. I am actually one of those people that don’t really celebrate Valentine’s at all. We don’t have any dinner plans, I am sure I am not going to come home from work to any flowers/gift and I have not thought of any special ways to tell Stephen I love him. I prefer making an effort every day, instead of choosing one “random” day a year, to make up for the last 364.

What I actually mean is, it’s time to start a new challenge.  In fact, from tomorrow on, I will be doing the Couch to 5K Challenge (or C25K), by Cool Running. Since the program is actually planned out for 9 weeks, I have made the decision to use 2 of my 15 30 day challenges for this. In the process I noticed that the last week of C25K, you run 5km or 30 min on every “action” day,  so I was able to actually condense it into the 60 days that I will have available. As a result, I had to shift my other challenges around a bit, I am sure there will be more of that further into the year. To get a feel for what I have planned this year, you can have a look here.

My version of C25K

You can see below my timetable of how I am planning to tackle this challenge. I know, I know, I am starting the challenge with a Rest day, which is probably not the most common thing to do. I needed to make sure that I was able to put rest days on Wednesday and Thursday every week, because I already have activities planned (Aqua Aerobics and Power Yoga) so it would just be overload if I went jogging that day as well.

I am also going to add this to the new fancy page I have for my current challenge(s) (which is perfect for today’s Zero to Hero Challenge – Add a new page.) On that page I will mark every completed day, so you I am completely accountable on my progress. I’ll have to do a bit more playing around with different options as it seems the table is not showing us as nicely as I designed it.

C25K – Part 1

Day 1-6

Rest

Alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Rest

Alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes

Rest

Rest

Day 7-12

Alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Rest

Alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Rest

Alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Rest

Day 13-18

Rest

Alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Rest

Two repetitions of the following:
• Jog 90 seconds
• Walk 90 seconds
• Jog or 3 minutes
• Walk or 3 minutes

Rest

Two repetitions of the following:
• Jog 90 seconds
• Walk 90 seconds
• Jog 3 minutes
• Walk 3 minutes

Day 19-24

Rest

Rest

• Jog 90 seconds
• Walk 90 seconds
• Jog 3 minutes
• Walk 3 minutes

Rest

• Jog 3 minutes
• Walk 90 seconds
• Jog 5 minutes
• Walk 2-1/2 minutes
• Jog 3 minutes
• Walk 90 seconds
• Jog 5 minutes

Rest

Day 25-30

• Jog 3 minutes
• Walk 90 seconds
• Jog 5 minutes
• Walk 2-1/2 minutes
• Jog 3 minutes
• Walk 90 seconds
• Jog 5 minutes

Rest

Rest

• Jog 3 minutes
• Walk 90 seconds
• Jog 5 minutes
• Walk 2-1/2 minutes
• Jog 3 minutes
• Walk 90 seconds
• Jog 5 minutes

Rest

• Jog 5 minutes
• Walk 3 minutes
• Jog 5 minutes
• Walk 3 minutes
• Jog 5 minutes

C25K – Part 2

Day 1-6

Rest

• Jog 8 minutes
• Walk 5 minutes
• Jog 8 minutes

Rest

Rest

Jog 20 minutes with no walking

Rest

Day 7-12

• Jog  5 minutes
• Walk 3 minutes
• Jog 8 minutes
• Walk or 3 minutes
• Jog 5 minutes

Rest

• Jog 10 minutes
• Walk 3 minutes
• Jog 10 minutes

Rest

Rest

Jog 22 minutes with no walking.

Day 13-18

Rest

Jog 25 minutes.

Rest

Jog 25 minutes.

Rest

Rest

Day 19-24

Jog 25 minutes.

Rest

Jog  28 minutes.

Rest

Jog  28 minutes.

Rest

Day 25-30

Rest

Jog  28 minutes.

Rest

Jog 30 minutes.

Rest

Jog 5k.

Anybody out there who is starting this challenge as well, or has completed it? Any tips, tricks, hints on how best to do it?

Zero to Hero – Day 16

Today’s Zero to Hero Challenge is all about making a writing prompt our own. And the writing prompt is the following:

Do you have a reputation? What is it, and where did it come from? Is it accurate? What do you think about it?

I think, in every stage of my life I have had a different reputation. Once I started school and into my young teenage years, I was the know-it-all. Looking back, I think I must have been hard to get along with and I am amazed, that I had any friends at all. There is nothing wrong with knowing that you’re smart, but I drove the whole thing to the extreme. There was one particular day (in Geography class) that summed up quite nicely the way I behaved in school. The topic was rivers and lakes of our district in Germany, we had our maps out and everybody who knew the name of a river or lake was meant to go up to the blackboard and write it down. I’m not sure anymore if I actually went up and contributed (although I would nearly bet money that I did) but I was definitely scrutinizing what everybody else wrote. One of my classmates wrote down “Ahse” and I went up, and loudly explained to the teacher and the class, that that was incorrect spelling, that it should in fact be “Aasee”. Turns out, rather embarrassingly, not only was my classmate right (Ahse is a river) but my contribution didn’t even qualify, because is was too small to actually qualify as a lake under our conditions. It was humuliating for my 10(or so) year old self, but it still took me another few years until I actually learned my lesson (and boy did I!!).

 

Through my teenage years, my reputation was the weird one. I had lost most friends that I had growing up (anybody wanna guess why? 😉 ) but made new friends. The group I hung out with would probably have looked a bit goth, but I myself never dressed in that style. It was a time when I didn’t fit in with my class and dreaded going to school every day. The reputation that I had spread fast, even to people I didn’t know. When I walked through our school (which had around 1000 students), I frequently had people walk up to me and ask me if some weird thing they heard about me was true, or I could hear them talking about it under their breath. I heard a rumor at one stage that one of my classmates made a website about me, using a nickname that I hated, which was how everybody referred to me, at some stage even the teachers joined in. I never found the website, to this day I am not sure if it ever even existed. After years of this, my spirit was crushed, and only going away for 6 months gave me a chance to build myself up again. I gained confidence, changed school and managed to make new and true friends.

 

When moving to Ireland, for quite a few years, my reputation could probably be summed up as the German with a sense of humour. I managed a few times to meet somebody new, who had already heard stories of me. It frequently still surprises people that I am German and actually able to laugh at jokes. Looks like Germans have quite a bad reputation when it comes to that over here. I encounter the same surprise from people, when I pronounce the word squirrel without stumbling over it. Apparently it is something, that no German in the world has ever pronounced correctly… I liked this reputation, and probably tried too hard at times to live up to it. Trying to crack too many jokes and making sure that nobody would ever see a different side of me.

 

My focus on my reputation ended, when I met Stephen and had Liana. I mean, even today I don’t want to be known as something horrible and I make sure to be polite and efficient at work, but I don’t try to jump through any extra hoops anymore, just to make sure I have a good reputation. A good reputation is such a hard thing to keep up, it only takes one slip up, and something you worked on for years could be ruined very fast. I have made my peace with the fact, that there are always people that will not like me and that no good will come from trying too hard to change somebody’s opinion about me.

After years of trying to be popular I now live by the following (if you know who this quote is from, please let me know):

Those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.

I can honestly say, that my life has never been easier and happier, now that I have stopped caring what people think of me. I would recommend this to anybody reading this.

Our Best Friends

Today it’s all about our awesome dogs. Two very unique characters and life would be way too boring for my taste without them. Now let me introduce you to them:

Fatpants

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This is Fatpants after one of his summer shaves. What a beautiful dog!

It’s not his actual name (we’re not that cruel), but it is most definitely his nickname. He has had that name for years, longer than I have known him. When I started going out with DF, I also met Fatpants, and I am sure if at any stage in that process he had shown a dislike for me, there is no way I’d be part of the family now. He used to sleep in the bed, in the space that I have now taken over, and means the world to DF. Luckily for me, Fatpants is just about the friendliest dog in the world and we had absolutely no jealousy issues at all. In the entire almost 4 years that I have known him, I have seen him bark/growl at maybe 3 people (one of which was climbing into our backgarden in the middle of the night, but that’s a whole other story) and possibly 4-5 dogs. He has the protector spirit of the Rottweiler, however he seems to have a very relaxed attitude to what actually constitutes a threat. He just gives you that feeling, were you ever in real danger by any person or animal, he’d be your first line of defense.

Speaking of Rottweiler, Fatpants is a mix of Rottie and Golden Retreiver. Imagine a dog with the colours and physical shape of a Rottweiler, but the long fur of a Golden Retreiver and you should get very close to what he looks like. Unfortunately Rottweilers as a breed have a habit to over-eat, and that trait has been passed on to Fatpants (name makes sense now, doesn’t it?)

Zelda

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This is Zelda as a puppy, just a few days after we got her

This time this is the actual name of our dog. DF and me were playing “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword” just before we met her as a pup the first time, and decided that the name would fit into our family quite nicely. Zelda is 2 months younger than Liana, so they have never known life without each other. She is also the first puppy I have ever owned, so there is a special kind of bond with her. She is a Husky Cross, we however don’t know what she is crossed with. She looks a lot like her mother, just where she is brown, her mother is white.

With the Husky genes, she has plenty of energy, and loves long walks/runs. When she doesn’t get enough exercise, she starts to chew (another Husky trait). She seems to have a love for my shoes, especially left one of my work shoes. I bought 3 pairs of the same kind of shoe, and am now left with 3 right shoes. Our black leather couch also suffered, but so far it was purely cosmetic damage, so we are still holding off on buying a new one, until Zelda calms down a bit.

Her favorite playmates that we meet every now and then out on walks are two collies and 1 greyhound. She always seems a little bit surprised when we meet the greyhound, because he is so far the only dog that has been consistently faster than her.

This post was inspired by my comment on this post, over on hot pink sprinkles. This is part of Day 12 – From Comment to Blog Post of the Zero To Hero Blog challenge.

I am going to leave you now with a few more photos of our four-legged family members.

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I guess we should have known, she was eating shoes from the start

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The two of them cuddling – doesn’t quite happen as often anymore as it used to

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Out for a stroll

 

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Sticks are their favorite toy