Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Blue Year!


I can hardly believe that our "little" Sol has turned the big ONE today. I remember meeting her in August of last year when she was just weeks old and instantly falling in love with her rambunctious personality.

August 2011 @ 8 weeks
When she got home for the first time she began to explore, her big blue eyes capturing every crevis of her new surroundings. Those first 2-3 weeks were filled with sleepless nights. Waking up every 2-3 hours to potty train and for the first week bearing the howls of her adopting to her new home away from her brothers, sisters, and parents. She soon settled in all to well...

Sol NOT sleeping in her bed! Clearly the pillows did not serve as a barrier.
From the start she LOVED playing outside and practiced her "sit" often.
@ 3 months

 Practicing "lay down" with class.

Going for rides became her favorite pass time.

By September she was ready for morning rides to school with Bennett.
@ 4 months she was finally understanding "leave it". This was a tough one...

Sol letting dad know that she wanted to be included in his nap.

@ 5 months Sol was allowed to have 1 chair in the house.
And she LOVES laying in it and watching the birds & squirrels outside.

By November's falling leaves my little girl was really getting big! @ 5 months
By January Sol was starting to find her "attitude". @ 7 months

She began to outgrow her chair - but she didn't care. It was still her favorite spot!

By February she was a head above the bridge. @ 8 months

After a day a playing, both of us needed a nap, however, Sol was not invited on the bed.
I woke up surprised to find an 80 lbs puppy snoring.
I seriously have NO idea how she got on the bed!
Totally stealth... 
When she was awake Sol became our official "greeter"!

Yep.... not giving up on her chair @ 8 months.

When I shared it may be time to leave her chair behind she practiced her best pouty puppy look. It worked.

@ 9 months she had also learned how to open the door.
Here she is letting me know she was ready for her walk!

Picture perfect @ 10 months.

Girl knows a good thing when she sees one. Too bad she got busted this time!
And you guessed it - those pouty lips greeted me. Didn't work though.

@ 11 months she became my "business partner".
Here she is telling me to shut it down and play ~ it's the weekend!

Sol has brought so much joy and conversation into our life. While she has given us some scares - there have been a couple emergency room visits - she has an incredible spirit that keeps us smiling when she is around. My favorite thing about her is that, like her mom, she always takes time to stop and smell the flowers. We love you Sol! You truly are sunshine.

Happy 1st Birthday!
We can't wait to celebrate many many more with you.

Love Great Danes like we do? Sol came to us via Victory Great Danes.
There are also great rescue sites like the Georgia Grat Dane Rescue.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


 A couple of years ago, my husband and I ventured south, way SOUTH to Argentina. I remember feeling slightly appalled when people would ask us... 

"Are you not scared?" 
"Don't people 'disappear' down there?"
"What is there to do that close to Antarctica?"

I was not deterred,  quite the contrary, I was actually content with the challenge of proving folks wrong! While I was keenly aware of the, shall we say, disturbances throughout Argentina's history, I also knew too many families and students from Argentina that spoke highly of the country, its people, the FUTBOL, the night time 'ambiente', the polo, and let's not forget its art.... meat and WINE! So in 2008 when my husband said, "let's do something different" I immediately thought 
Buenos Aires & Patagonia.

The iconic Floralis Generica opens and closes as the sun rises and sets. 
Five years later we are still talking about our 2008 journey and thinking of heading back this winter. So I thought I would share with you why we fell in love with Argentina. 

This is Argentina as I remember it...

 As morbid as it may sound, our first stop in Buenos Aires (BA) was the Recoleta Cemetery! This was unlike most cemeteries I had been to before.

There were school girls hanging out here after class. It was a hang out!

Of course you have to pay homage to "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" inspired Evita Peron's tomb.

Some of the other crypts were more beautiful than words could express.

 This was a walking city for sure! We spent a good bit of time meandering through the neighborhood of Palermo with its fresh fruit & veggie markets everywhere. 

 Then there was the microcenter with its vibrant day time business vibe that by sunset somehow developed a seedy, yet artistic undercurrent. Buenos Aires is a city of paradoxes.

Widest avenue in the world, Avenida 9 de Julio

 The French and Italian inspired Recoleta made you feel like you were on the city sidewalks of Paris!

The laughter and sound of children were in every corner of the city!

The portenos (locals in Buenos Aires) LOVE their bookstores. There seems to be one on every corner! This is my kind of town.
El Ateneo, located at the intersection of Santa Fe and Callao is a splendid bookstore inside an old theater.
Outside of Manhattan, BA is probably among the finest when it comes to dog walkers! At one point I saw a dog walker with 6 dogs having a cafe con leche at a cafe. 
That my friends, is the perfect semblance of multitasking! 

Antiquing through San Telmo made me want to stay in BA forever. 
So many treasures are here! Do people know about this?

Exploring each neighborhood was like discovering a whole other city every time. Each neighborhood has its own culture, taste, and way of being. It was quite fascinating from one street to the next.
 Do you have a favorite?
Walking through the Boca area.

Did I mention how good and inexpensive the food was? Beware, this is NOT a vegetarian paradise! 

Dinner @ la Cabrera

Dining alfresco at Cabanas las Lilas. Image found HERE
The bridge in Puerto Madero
 Then there were the polo fields and, uhm, the polo players, who might I add 
have even made Oprah speechless.
The polo fields near Palermo
Image Detail
Polo mega star, Nacho Figueras. Image found HERE

 The polo players weren't the only artistry of perfection to behold...
MALBA:  collects, preserves, researches and promotes Latin American art from the onset of the 20th century to the present. It was one of our favorite museums.

The Bellas Artes museum was also quite good.

But watching these guys do yoga in the park was super fun! They even let me join their class for the day.
 After a week in the city we were ready for a change and had plans to venture to Bariloche, the lake district and then dive into the depths of Patagonia.

This is what I had envisioned doing! Image found HERE
 However, our plans were put on hold as the Chaiten volcano reeked havoc all over Patagonia on both sides of the Andes. Flights were canceled or rerouted elsewhere with little warning.
Image found HERE
So there we were in the airport for a couple of hours with no other plans when a lovely Argentinian passenger (also stranded) suggested "why not go to Mendoza? The wine is amazing." 
How can you say no to that? 
I've had Malbec before, so on a whim we headed to Mendoza. Best decision ever! 

The next week and half treated us very well!
Even the sandwiches were incredible! Like nothing we had ever seen before.

We spent hours walking in el parque San Martin.
The captivating Cerro De La Gloria Monument

Lavender & butterflies can't help but make you happy!

The outskirts of Mendoza were so impressive.Part desert, part mountain - pure magic.

Regardless of whether you enjoy a soccer game or not - Argentinians KNOW how to enjoy a futbol event!

The game had not ended!

We took long walks and rode bikes everywhere. Sometimes we would spend hours without seeing anyone.
We had an impromptu parilla here after a long day of horseback riding. Amazing meal... not sure you can find this on tripadvisor. :(

It was a great riding day!
Which of course made us thirsty!
Wine wasn't the only treat in Mendoza...
The Mendoza wine country was very rustic. It truly felt like an utterly organic destination.
Something about bodegas (vineyards) that are mountainside...
Every season would have its splendor. Image found HERE

Just when you thought the wine was spectacular...Oh the food!

The presentation of the food and wine was glorious! I think only about 5% of the wine actually leaves Argentina.

After our long days in nature we would always find our way back in our favorite spot in Mendoza, 

Or in the Mendoza Square.
Argentina truly is like no other place in the world. It's unspoiled splendor is a marvel. Argentinian's live life to their own rhythm... dinner at 10:00PM. Family events can start at 11:00PM (the children are invited!). Political discussions take center stage. Fashion prevails in every sense, yet nature still reigns queen. 
I can't wait to go back!