Mia’s Puppies- 4 Weeks Old

One month! It’s great milestone for puppies, and I view it as leaving the newborn puppy stage and entering the puppyhood stage. (See updated puppy pictures here!)

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This past week has seen more potty training, puppy teeth beginning to pop out, yips and barks from the puppies’ pen, sound training, and, the most exciting part, weaning!

Weaning

The puppies will begin eating a little bit of softened Life’s Abundance Small & Medium Breed Puppy Food. They start with one small meal a day, and I gradually work them up to three meals a day. I like to wean slowly, over the course of 2.5 weeks, so that it’s gentler on the sensitive puppy tummies. Because of this and the fact that they are on such a great food, I very rarely see any puppy diarrhea or vomiting. The quality ingredients and excellent nutrition works to keep them healthy from the inside out!

A few of the things I love the most about this particular kind of food (and I have tried several brands in my years as a breeder) are:

*It contains only high quality proteins. Protein is essential for all bodily functions (brain, heart, muscles, skin, coat, bones, etc), and not all protein is created equally. Life’s Abundance has quality controlled protein sources of chicken meal (which is more nutrient dense than whole chicken) and eggs.

*It is enriched with DHA and contains guarantee probiotics, prebiotic fiber, antioxidants, Omega-3 fatty acids, and a complete array of essential vitamins and minerals.

*It hasn’t been sitting on a store shelf for months! Life’s Abundance makes their food in small, weekly batches. This means when I order food, I know it is as fresh as possible, and fresh food is more nutrient rich.

*It has all of the good stuff and none of the bad! No artificial flavors or colors. No corn or wheat or corn/wheat glutens. None. Ever. Corn and wheat are very difficult for dogs to digest, meaning they can irritate the digestive system and provide very little nutritional benefit.

This isn’t just “puppy food.” This is a top-of-the-line, nutritious diet. I have seen the positive effects of good nutrition, and I simply cannot overstate the importance.

Socializing & Sound Training

In the next weeks, the puppies will get to hear, see, smell, and experience a wide variety of different things both inside our home and outside. This wide base of experiences provides them with a solid base of socializing. Obviously, new families will have to continue this socializing process, but the earlier it’s started, the better! It helps puppies to develop temperaments that are less reactive or fearful and more calm and confident.

So far, they have heard normal household noises while they hang out in my kitchen, and they have also heard a video soundtrack played very quietly of animals, traffic, and household noises. Playing these sounds quietly for them off my phone or computer gives them non-frightening exposure to some noises that may be loud and startling in real life.

And, of course, they puppies get the wonderful experience of being handled by a child. My daughter is old enough to play very well with the puppies. It is so good for puppies to get used to the unpredictable and sometimes rough movements of children, as well as their shrill voices. My son is also very interested in the puppies, but he only gets to touch them briefly with his mama’s help. He is still in the “grasp and pinch” stage of babyhood. So his puppy interactions are closely monitored!

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I hope you are all doing very well and staying healthy!

Mia’s Puppies- Three Weeks Old

In the past, I have very intentionally kept my blog entirely free of politics, current events, etc. However, I am finding it hard to even sit down and begin writing a blog post about my puppies during the COVID-19 situation. I am struggling to find the motivation to write about my dogs when there are so many people being negatively affected by this global crisis. My blogging seems shallow and weak.

However, here I am. I am here because I believe we will get through this. Life must go on. Life WILL go on. I am here, because maybe seeing this post will be a pleasant break from the news. I am here, because maybe you need to be encouraged to live today in FAITH and not FEAR.

So before I dive into my normal blogging, I want to encourage each of you today to have a spirit of faith and remember that even though things seem wildly out of control, God is still in control. He isn’t surprised by anything, and “though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil, for You are with us.” (Psalm 23:4) Also, I encourage everyone to be responsible and respectful. Please respond kindly; and think of others, not just yourselves. Protect those who are high-risk by implementing the recommended social distancing. We will get through this!

And with that, I guess I’ll begin. Like I said, I barely have the heart to blog about something as light and carefree as puppies, but I will do my best.

To start off, here is a picture of Caramel. I hope she brightens your day! Also note those beautiful yellow flowers peeking out in the background. Forsythia are my favorite kind of flower, because they are bright yellow in March or April, a sign of hope that spring is really here! I cut some today off my bushes that have started blooming beautifully this week. (You can see the rest of the litter here.)

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Things have been pretty quiet and peaceful here. Mia’s puppies are three weeks old, and they are doing very well. They are growing, and Mia has been doing a fantastic job. Mocha is the smallest puppy weighing almost 2 pounds, and the rest of the puppies are around 2.5 pounds. Hazelnut is the biggest, weighing in at almost 3 pounds.

Here’s a brief summary of a few of the things I have been doing with the Mia and the puppies.

For Mia:

During the first couple of weeks, care for the momma is exceptionally important. Mia has access to food and fresh water at all times. She also receives a daily supplement. Top-notch, dense nutrition is of the utmost importance for a pregnant and nursing mom. Without the proper nutrients, her milk supply will lack in quality and quantity. If I want healthy, growing puppies, I must be giving momma the very best.

Mia receives Life’s Abundance All Stages Food. This mix provides high-quality ingredients and robust nutrition. It’s made in small batches and tightly quality controlled and tested for safety, so I know each scoop I am giving her is fresh, full of nutrition, and free of unhealthy additives and fillers.

Mia also receives one NuVet Plus wafer each day. This supplement is to help support her immune system and provide an extra boost during a time when her body is working hard to care for puppies. Good quality ingredients is something I really care about. NuVet uses human-grade ingredients made in an FDA-registered facility. Quality ingredients provide better quality nutrition. This supplement is not available in stores and can only be purchased through veterinarians and breeders. (You can purchase it here using my order code 47834.)

For the puppies:

Mia has been giving the puppies 100% of the care they need during these first weeks. I have simply been handling them a little bit each day, and I have been providing clean bedding.

The puppies’ eyes have opened, and that means I have begun potty training. I expanded their pen a little bit to provide them with a space to potty away from where they sleep. Obviously, this will take a few weeks for them to master; but even now, they are beginning to seek out and use this area. Dogs have a natural instinct not to soil the area where they sleep. By providing them with a “potty area,” I am utilizing this natural instinct and building a good foundation for crate and house training.

In the coming weeks, the puppies will begin to be more active and alert, and they will begin exploring their small world. I’m very excited for the warmer weather, because the puppies always enjoy spending time outside. This is one of the reasons I enjoy spring, summer, and fall litters!

Come back next week for another puppy update!

In the meantime, please stay safe. Pray for each other. Remember that God’s grace is sufficient and that He is the master of all. As a closing, here is a line from a song I listened to the other day that spoke to my heart. “Bigger than all my problems. Bigger than all my fears. God is bigger than any mountain that I can or can not see. Bigger than all my questions. Bigger than anything. God is bigger than any mountain that I can or can not see.”

We can rest in God’s hands, and we can be assured of His love and care for us.

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Mia’s Puppies- 1 Week Old

It’s been a full last couple of weeks! This is the first time I have had puppies from two litters overlap. Let’s just say, busy busy busy! So here is a very quick update on the little pups around our place.

Mia’s puppies are one week old today, and the last two of Jade’s puppies are eleven weeks old. Beau and Rose are soon heading off, though, and they get to go together to their new home! These two sweet pups are getting so big, and I think they will do very well together. Rose is a bit more mellow and calm. Beau is a social butterfly who thrives on action. They will for sure be a fun pair! Double the trouble, and double the fun!

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And in a quiet corner of the house, Mia’s puppies are eating, sleeping, and growing. Mia, as always, is a spectacular mom, and her puppies are thriving.

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This litter has such a beautiful variety of colors and coat types! I’m looking forward to watching them grow.

Thanks to all of you who offered name suggestions for this litter on social media last week! There were lots of good ideas, and you will likely see them in some of my next litters! I decided to use a coffee theme for these pups- Caramel, Mocha, Hazelnut, Vanilla, Brewer, Maxwell, and Espresso.

 

 

 

Heading Home!

And just like that, we are done with Mia’s 2019 puppies! The last two months have just flown by. I remember thinking when Mia’s puppies were born that by the time they left for new homes, I would be nearing the end of my pregnancy. And now here we are! While I always enjoy puppies, I also have some relief that these cute little guys are in their new homes. With my growing belly, I was finding it harder and harder to muster up the energy to keep up with the puppies. 🙂 I know they will be so happy in new homes where they can get the individual attention they need.

I had so much fun meeting and getting to know the puppies’ new families! I am definitely fortunate to work with these folks who I know are going to give my special pups wonderful homes. It’s such a blessing to see my puppies bringing joy to new families and also know that all the effort and time I put into raising them is worth it!

Thank you to all of you for investing in this process and giving these sweet pups their forever homes! I hope you all experience many happy and healthy years with your new friend!

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This last picture makes me smile! One of the puppies’ families gave Reese this shirt as a gift. It says “Official Puppy Tester.” And she LOVES it. Every day, she has been asking me if she can wear her puppy shirt.

On a different note, if anyone has looked at my list of upcoming litters, you would have noted that there is a litter of Irish Setters listed for March. Yes, that is right! We are officially on “puppy watch” with Duchess! She is due any day, and I am very grateful that she decided to wait at least until all of Mia’s puppies were gone. We get to start this whole fun process over right away again; and sometime in the midst of it all, our own sweet little boy will make his arrival. While the work does look a bit overwhelming, I am blessed to have a wonderful network of family and friends who have lovingly offered to help with baby and puppies! It really does take a village!

I hope you have a great rest of your weekend!

Some Puppy Cuteness for Your Weekend

We are in the last weekend with Mia’s puppies! On Monday, they start heading off to their new homes. It’s such an exciting time to see how much the puppies have grown and see them each taken into loving new families!

Mostly for the benefit of the families who are eagerly waiting to pick up their new bundle of fluff and love, here are some pictures of the puppies from the last few days. 🙂 Enjoy!

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Micky

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Micky

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Calvin

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Calvin & Hobbes meeting Auntie Duchess

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Calvin, Charlie, & Hobbes

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So many things I love in this picture

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Calvin

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Winnie

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Micky

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Hobbes

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Winnie

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Lucy & Winnie

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Lucy

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Hobbes

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Lucy

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Minnie

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Minnie

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Calvin

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Winnie

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Winnie

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Charlie & Micky

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Charlie

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Charlie

 

Six Weeks Old

We have now entered the stage where the puppies are fully active and independent. It is a very fun and interactive stage! Here is an overview of what the puppies have been doing in the past two weeks.

-We have nearly completed the weaning process. They still get a little bit of milk from Mia, but they are mostly transitioned onto Life’s Abundance Small & Medium Breed Puppy Food. The food is still softened to make it easier to chew; but within another week, they will be crunching away on the unsoftened kibble. We will also be starting them on NuVet Plus supplements in a few days. Once they are fully weaned off of momma’s milk, puppies’ immune systems become very vulnerable. The immunity they received from their mother’s colostrum (early milk that’s full of antibodies to fight infection and diseases) is already waning, and they become susceptible to bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections. In fact, a puppy’s immune system does not become fully mature until 18-24 months old. To combat this, we use NuVet Plus, which is an immune system supplement designed to build and protect a dog’s immune system.

-We are continuing potty training. I have the puppies on a fairly strict schedule to help them master the potty training. For some reason, it seemed to take this litter a little bit longer than some to catch on to the “potty area” concept. However, we have FINALLY gotten to a point where I say that they all get it and are doing well. I’d say 90% of the messes end up in the right place. Woohoo! That means a lot less clean up for me! (And with my growing belly, clean up is becoming a bit cumbersome!)

-The puppies are getting to experience new sounds. Each day I try to expose to the puppies to some new sounds. I often use YouTube videos designed to desensitize dogs frightening noises. The idea is that playing these sounds at a low volume helps the puppies become accustomed to the strange sounds, and then they are much less likely to startle and become frightened when they hear similar sounds in real life. They have heard traffic noises, fireworks, and thunder. They also get to hear normal house hold noises like a noisy toddler, vacuuming, etc. All these things are good exposure and socialization for young puppies, and it gives them safe and positive experiences with noises that can sometimes be frightening.

-The puppies are also getting to experience some new toys and textures! They have a variety of toys that they enjoy playing with, but the most sought after one of all is a simple old sock. It’s soft, stretchy, and GREAT for tug-of-war. The other prized possessions are some of the Life’s Abundance chews I give them on occasion. They have had Buffalo Bully Sticks and Porky Puffs, and they LOVE them! (They will even abandon the sock for the treats.) Having healthy chews for young puppies is so helpful! It keeps them occupied, quiet, and gives them a good way to get all that puppy teething and chewing out of their systems. All puppies chew, and it’s important to give them healthy and constructive things to chew on.

-We had a brief reprieve of winter weather last week and the puppies got the chance to go outside for the first time. They had a blast! They loved sniffing in the dirt and grass, chewing on twigs and leaves, and simply getting some new sights and smells.

And here are some pictures to wrap up the post! Take special note of the pictures of Hobbes and Micky. They are the only two sweet boys that are still available!

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Calvin

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Winnie & Lucy

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The puppies love getting some extra play time in the living room. They especially enjoy crawling through the legs of the rocking chairs.

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Lucy

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Charlie

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Hobbes

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Charlie

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Hobbes & Winnie

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Micky

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Winnie (This little guy is so photogenic!)

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Micky

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Minnie, Lucy, & Calvin

Four Weeks Old

So much has changed with the puppies in the last two weeks, and they are becoming a lot of fun! (A lot more work, but that’s okay.) I am beginning to see personalities, and the puppies can finally play for more than a minute or two at a time before getting tired out. They show interest in people, and they are starting to explore their world by sniffing, licking, and, of course, chewing.

Here are some of the highlights of the past two weeks:

  • Potty training! I use the Misty Method of early house training, which establishes a sleep area, a play/eating area, and a potty area. This gives the puppies a solid foundation for crate and house training once they go to their new homes. I’ll be honest, though- this litter has been a bit slower than some to catch on to potty training. Things are improving, but I had a very frustrating few days where they decided to sleep in the stinky potty box and pee on their bed. 😦 After a lot of insistence, I have convinced most of them to stop peeing on their bed. They are certainly far from perfect, but I am seeing definite progress.
  • Weaning time! This really shows how much the puppies have developed. They are now ready to begin transitioning off of Momma’s milk. I start with one meal a day and slowly work up to three meals a day, while decreasing the number of times they nurse from Mia. Right now, the food is softened while the puppies master how to chew. Because nutrition is such a huge part of a puppy’s overall health and well-being, I am very particular about the food I give them. For healthy puppies, we must start with a healthy diet. The puppies are starting on Life’s Abundance Small & Medium Breed Puppy Food. This food is jam-packed full of vitamins, minerals, and essential nutrients. There are high quality proteins (so important!), DHA, antioxidants, guaranteed probiotics, prebiotic fiber, Omega-3, dietary fiber, and a host of healthy fruits and vegetables. I find that my puppies do very well on this food. With my past litters, I have not had trouble with vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, or constipation. I attribute a lot of that to Life’s Abundance food. Its excellent nutrition does very well for a puppy’s young and sensitive digestive system. SMPuppySm

Coming up in the next couple of weeks, we will continue weaning the puppies with the goal of having them fully weaned on unsoftened kibble by 7 weeks old. The puppies will also be getting their first vaccinations, their health exams, and they will be introduced to lots of new sights and sounds. I try to expose them to a variety of household and outdoor experiences to help get them accustomed to strange sights and sounds. This helps foster a calm and confident temperament. Of course, there is still a lot of socializing that needs to happen after the puppies leave my home at 8 weeks old, but I try to give them the best start that I can.

Also, one of the best things that I can do for the puppies in the next month is play with them! Simple, positive human interaction is one of the easiest and best ways to socialize young puppies. Reese is certainly having a lot of fun playing with the puppies now that they do more than just sleep. I have given them a few toys chew on and play with, but they truly enjoy getting human attention, whether its snuggling on an open lap, getting a belly scratch, or playing a little game of chase.

Yesterday, I took some pictures of the puppies. The individual pictures went very well (you can see them here), so I decided to try a group shot of all of the puppies. I have seen adorable pictures of puppies all lined up and looking sweetly at the camera. I thought surely I could get a picture like that. However, I learned that this is not a one-person job.

Perhaps I’ll try this again another day when I have someone to help me. 🙂

And one more picture for today. This little pup was SO tired after getting his picture taken. I hope the rest of your week is as relaxing as this!

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Two Weeks

It is a BITTERLY cold and windy day today. It’s the perfect kind of day to stay inside and snuggle puppies.

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The past two weeks have been pretty calm and uneventful, which is good! The puppies are steadily gaining weight. Mama Mia is doing well and caring for her pups like the very experienced mother she is. Since birth, the puppies have more than doubled their weight, most of them now weighing between 1.5 and 2 pounds, and their eyes recently opened.

Their main interests right now are eating and sleeping, but they are beginning to show little bits of awareness. Some of them are trying out their unsteady little legs, and I am seeing very brief playful interactions among them.

I am doing something new with this litter of puppies that I am excited about. It’s called an Early Neurological Stimulation Program. It is a program designed by the military in raising dogs for training. The goal of the program is to build a calm and confident temperament that can better handle stressful situations. The program is done during the first two weeks of life when a puppy’s brain is going through its most rapid development. It is a daily series of 5 exercises each done for 5 seconds, so it’s very brief and gentle.

  1. Touch in between the puppy’s toes.
  2. Hold the puppy with its nose towards the ceiling.
  3. Hold the puppy with its nose towards the floor.
  4. Cradle the puppy on its back in the palms of my hands.
  5. Place the puppy on a cool surface.

These exercises get the puppy accustomed to be handled, even in slightly uncomfortable positions, and this kind of handling is excellent as the very first stepping stones of socialization.

Another one of the exciting things to happen is that Reese finally got to hold the puppies! I made her wait until the puppies’ eyes were opening before I allowed her to hold them. She did a great job being gentle, but she still needs a lot of guidance. 🙂

Now that the puppies’ eyes are open, the next big event is potty training! I usually begin between 2.5 and 3 weeks old. Since the puppies can now see, they will soon begin exploring. The first new area I will introduce to them is a potty station. This will teach them not to pee or poop in their bed, which is the foundation for later crate training. It also helps minimize the mess for me! By having a specific potty area with either paper or shavings, it keeps the puppies, their bed, and their play area much cleaner! Any smell and mess is much easier to manage when it’s contained and not tracked around by seven sets of tiny paws.

Here are the updated individual pictures of the puppies. They are getting cuter every day! I chose cartoon character names for this litter. Enjoy!

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Winnie (the Pooh)

 

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Charlie (Brown)

 

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Lucy

 

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Calvin

 

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Hobbes

 

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Micky (Mouse)

 

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Minnie (Mouse)

Call the Midwoof!

It’s a happy Sunday here today! Mia safely delivered seven puppies this morning, all without any assistance from me. I am grateful and excited for a couple reasons. First, SEVEN puppies! After delivering a single pup via c-section a little over a year ago, seven puppies seems like such a crowd. Secondly, I am very grateful for an easy, natural delivery. Although I didn’t need to intervene, I cautiously watched from the sidelines. My vet didn’t have any concerns about Mia’s ability to deliver naturally; but, of course, a little extra vigilance on my part was certainly warranted. The only thing I did was give her some liquid calcium to help with efficient contractions, and I am very pleased with how things went!

A little bit of surprise this time. We have our very first apricot puppy! Mia is an apricot color, and we have always used a red Mini Poodle stud. Our previous litters have only had red puppies, with very slight variations in darkness. This time, though, we have a few shades of red and one very distinct apricot. It’s fun to see the beauty in variety!

Here is a group shot of our seven beautiful fur babies- five males and two females. I’ll post individual pictures of the puppies in a few days. Enjoy your Sunday!

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Christmas and New Year’s with Our Crew

Now that Christmas is over, I am finally taking some time to sit down and breathe again. I love the holidays, but they are definitely a busy time! It makes me appreciate the calm and quiet that comes in January.

Except, I’m not sure how much “calm and quiet” I will be getting this January. The year ahead is going to be a fun and exciting year! (I’m pretty sure I say that every year.) We’re starting 2019 off with a bang, hoping for Mia’s next litter of puppies to be born in the beginning of the month. Then, we will have Reese’s second birthday. I can’t believe she’s almost two!

Then, around the time Mia’s litter is heading to new homes, we are crossing our fingers that a litter of Irish Setters will arrive.

AND THEN! In the midst of all that crazy puppy fun, we are anticipating the arrival of our own sweet baby boy!

Of course, life doesn’t always go according to my schedule, but this is what we are planning for the coming months. To be honest, it looks a bit overwhelming to be caring for two litters of puppies during the last months of pregnancy and over the time that Baby will be born. But at the same time, I will feel very grateful if the Lord blesses us with two litters of puppies. I think the distraction and busyness of puppies will help the last months of pregnancy to fly by, and I certainly won’t complain about that!

There are a few verses that come to mind as I prepare to tackle the exciting, stressful, overwhelming, and amazing months ahead. After all, it will be by God’s grace and strength alone that I will be able to cheerfully and gracefully navigate the next big changes of life.

“And He said unto me ‘My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas time, and we wish you the Lord’s blessing in the new year!

Reese posing with Mommy…

and Daddy!

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Zach, Reese, and Mia when we cut our Christmas tree

Jade striking the most beautiful pose

Timber living his best life- happy and always on the move

Duchess working on getting the treats from her new Wobble Ball treat dispenser