Weekend 4.15


Well Gang…we got a dog. She’s a Bernedoodle, and was 18 lbs and 10 weeks old when we picked her up. Her name was supposed to be “Neve,” which is Spanish for snow, but Mike couldn’t pronounce it (“Nee? Ni? Nah? Nic? What’s this dog’s name again???”) so we messed around a bit and came up with Nieve. It’s pronounced “neev” and Mike could get his head around calling her “neevey” so the boys were like close enough.

The boys had surprisingly strong opinions about her name. I had offered up Muffin, at one point, thinking it would be cute if we called her Muffy, but Raines recoiled as if I had suggested Satan.

“I am NOT,” he declared, pompously, “having a dog named Muffin.” His voice was dripping with teenage disgust.

Alrighty then.

Mike has never been good at the name game – his only contributions to naming our children were to offer up, Bear, Napoleon, and/or Galois repeatedly – so I didn’t expect much from him. And since the nut sometimes doesn’t fall far from the tree, Pax’s contributions to dog naming were, true to form, limited to things he could see: “Let’s name her…tree! Sign! Sky! Cloud!” This, coupled with my traditional dog name suggestions (Muffin, Daisy) drove Raines to near madness.

Raines was begrudgingly willing to consider ‘Coco,’ but not ‘Lake’ because he might use that for a baby name himself someday. I offered up ‘Fanner’ (Old Norse for snowdrift) which he shrugged off, but not without some thought.

Anyway, once we (I, actually) found Nieve the boys became locked in – they loved the name with a passion I found surprising.

Which is funny, because once we got her…OMG. She is a bouncing ball of biting fluff who hates her crate (Mike spent the first two nights sleeping on the floor of the kitchen), and she’s alternatively good as gold or an abject terror.

Raines now refers to her as “the beautiful monster,” and…yeah.

ps. It helps that Bad Gal Nieve & Pax have matching freckles.

PSA: New Balance restock. If you’ve been trying to get your hands on a pair of New Balance 990v5, Nordstrom just restocked (but sizes are going fast). My personal favs – these New Balance platform sneakers are still sold out in light gray, but a black/dark gray/white just hit and it’s pretty great.

I don’t know, guys. Are we doing fisherman sandals again? They’re so big and clunky, they were the last thing I wanted to wear in the heat. And they tend to be short-lived (as far as trends go). The only way I’ve genuinely liked to style them (at least in black) is with some sort of slouchy, wide-leg jean (like this). That said, Freda Salvadore has a taupe pair with studs that read more shoe than sandal and those? Those I love. Sigh. It’s complicated, I guess.

Top picks under $100. There are two, actually. Social Threads has this striped, button-front midi dress that is all French-girl sophistication, and this swingy little trapeze number that somehow gives off zero teenager vibes (I’d wear it with flats or sneakers).

Ooooo…a Saks sale. Saks has $50 off (for every $200 you spend) and my top 5 picks are this crochet dress (swoon), this navy Staud dress with carefully placed cut-outs (been eyeing it for a while), these absolutely wild jeans, these hoop earrings (the wear-forever kind), and these delicate silver strappy flat sandals that would transform an outfit…comfortably.

It’s called, ‘Wild brown’. I’ve been looking for a fresh twist on leather jackets, and this faux-leather track jacket from Adidas – in wild brown – has the best, most nostalgic 70’s, vintage-y vibes. I….kinda love it.

My weekly outfit inspiration: This entire outfit (black top, jeans, espadrilles) from Emerson Frye. I’m wild about that exact top, but to re-create, even a black tee would work – the genius is in the details. I’d wear it with this pair of Mother jeans (the true-blue wash of ‘wish upon a star’), these espadrille-ballet flat hybrids in tan, and finish off with unapologetically bold earrings that are more cool than fancy. Currently eyeing up this pair (oddly affordable, though, so I’m suspicious) or this pair from small, mom-owned biz Nickel & Suede (suuuuper lightweight earrings made out of leather – my sister swears by them).

If I worked in an office…I’d be picking up some sort of menswear-inspired suit vest. I’d layer it under a blazer or denim jacket for work (paired with trousers or cargo pants), and then wear the vest with jeans to happy hour. (The jeans, if interested, are this pair.) The inspo photo is showing the outfit with a longer vest (Express also has a really good one) but I like the idea of a short vest. Rag&Bone has a perfect one, but J.Crew and Banana (on sale!) each have a much more affordable option. Or try Ref’s sustainably made vest in 100% linen – love it.

Ooo…plus size: Eloquii & Gabi Fresh’s new collaboration is gorgeous, and giving all the Mara Hoffman vibes. My fav pieces are this dress, this surf-inspired one-piece, and this sexy suit – I mean wow.

Post-partum or perimenopause? This oversized, longsleeve tee from Free People is so freaking cool and would be perfect worn loose (especially with cut-offs), half-tucked, or loosely knotted – possibilities are endless, comfortable, and forgiving. It’s the edgy sleeves for me.

What I’m currently wearing. It’s oddly hot in Vermont and we don’t have a/c, so I’m lounging on the bed in this Vuori top and shorts set. I picked the color ‘beach sand’ because I’m a sucker for a good name and all white/sand feels really current, but now that I see how shockingly light and airy these pieces are…maybe I should’ve gone with the black. Anyway, they’re much cuter IRL than on the model, and comfy, too. Article coming soon. (Full disclosure: the article is sponsored, but this mention is allll me.)

It’s mud season in Vermont, and Bad Gal Nieve has giant white paws…that come back into the house completely muddy. This genius Mud Buster cleans them really, really well (and she tolerates it just fine).

I make cakes now. I’ve been making this Vegan Strawberry Cake a few times a week – it’s delicious. It’s actually gluten-free, but I’ve been using the alternate directions for regular flour (just what I have on hand). I’ve also tried it with other fruits (mango, passion fruit) and it doesn’t disappoint. This Vegan Strawberry frosting recipe is good, too, but in a pinch we just top with dairy-free whipped cream.

“…it’s also the birthplace of the movement of civil rights.” Tennessee lawmaker Justin Jones was interviewed by MSNBC about what it is like to work in the Tennessee house of representatives, and I found his answer both shocking (I somehow missed that up until July 2021 the Tennessee Capitol Building contained a statue of the first KKK Grand Wizard seriously WTF) and uplifting, too. It’s easy to get reallllllly depressed about the US’s actual history, but his words served as a reminder that we also have a noble part to our history, too.

Enjoy your weekend, Gang. And if anyone has tips for dealing with a new puppy biting, barking in the cage (I mean crate), etc…I’m all ears.




    • Haha – Julieta just texted the same!!! I think I got lost deep in those baby name books, haha. And clearly haven’t gotten that far in Duolingo. 🙂

  1. We got a puppy in January who the first few nights was horrid in his crate. Barking, whining, yelping, howling and pretty much making sure no one in the house got any sleep. We finally relented and put him in bed with us. After the first few days, we armed everyone in the family with ear plugs, told them to plan on hearing the puppy and went the route of letting him cry it out in the crate. He lasted a few hours and finally fell asleep. Next night, not a peep. We do have the crate in our bedroom so he is not feeling too separated from us. We also had the same issue with biting. We joked we had brought home a shark instead of a dog. Puppies are just bitey, there’s no getting around it. It is helpful for them to have lots of their own things to chew and bite on and if they bite you during play immediately quit playing. All that said, hang in there. Puppies are tough in the beginning but it’s worth it in the end. Ours is 6 months and we haven’t had any biting issues for the last month or so.

  2. About puppies biting, the one thing that seemed to work for us is to wrap your hand around whichever jaw you can get your hand around. The advice I was given was to push your fingers further into their mouth but that didn’t work for us. You have to make it sort of unpleasant for them.

  3. Puppies are bitey! It’ll pass. The puppy months were soooo hard but now that our lab is almost three, I can say it’s totally worth it 🤪

    Good luck! She’s gorgeous.

  4. I did the “sleep near the dog’s crate to help them adjust” thing and our pup kept waking me every 2 hours. After 5 nights of that I gave up and slept in a different room and she slept for 6+ hours straight! Apparently having me in sight made her want to play. We also enjoyed the online puppy training classes from Baxter & Bella.

  5. We were first time dog owners when we got our puppy 2 years ago. If you need help, get help asap. We didn’t and tried to do a lot of training on our own and then eventually had to send him away to a training boot camp when he turned 1 and was too big for me to handle. We have a Bernese/Portuguese mix and the Bernese side is strong – Velcro dog for sure and does not like being on his own. Get puppy used to the crate asap to make life easier for you as puppy gets older, otherwise it’s going to be hard when she gets bigger. Also, we hand fed (all meals) our puppy for about a month so that he could recognize that hands come with food and treats and is not for biting – this helped immensely! Also join a bernedoodle FB group. Lots of advice from real dog parents. Just wanted to share because we were totally not prepared when we got our puppy and wish people had given us more advice.

    • Omggggg this is so helpful – thank you!!!!! I’m realizing that the cute jumping up stuff won’t be so cute once she’s full grown. Oof. And she is soooooo much happier when we’re all around – the “Velcro dog” totally resonated!!

  6. Find someone who will come to your home to do puppy preschool. It was a lifesaver for our big shepherd, lab, retriever mix. Just a few lessons were perfect and helped us until our puppy was old enough for in-person training lessons.

  7. Diggs Grroov training tool + Snuggle Puppy = crate training in one Amazon order. Also, love that your boys didn’t let you off the hook on the name. It’s good to be the “only” at the dog park.

  8. My advice is to get a trainer, or take her to local social puppy training classes. It’s best if everyone participates. Get her used to baths, touching her paws, caring for her teeth etc. Our vet said that everyone must hold her every day past the point when she wants to get free and wiggles around, then when she calms down again she can be let go. Every single minute you put into her you will get back in good behavior. Think about all of the things you will need her to do when she is older and start getting her used to them now: car rides, socialization with people, listening to commands. Establish a good routine for when you are leaving the house so she knows you come back, start with short spans of a few minutes. If you are in doubt “should we leave her out of her crate when we leave?”, always err on the easiest way for her to not have the freedom to make mistakes. Your furniture will thank you. She is adorable. Congratulations

  9. Apologies to any Tennesseans in the group, but I am low key SHOCKED at all the racist stuff being blown wide open there. Yes, I know its the Deep South, but the progressive greater Nashville area (I have cousins in Murfreesboro who are both religious Christians AND Democrats so I know it can be done!) had me ignoring the rest of the state, clearly.

    A Grand Wizard statue? Expelling two Black representatives vs censuring, but not the white woman (let alone the rep who peed on a chair and the admitted child molester)? The Speaker not only not living in his district but lying about it and taking a larger per diem? Draconian abortiion laws and book banning? I hope all those Vanderbilt students (and their parents) from The North are taking notice of what is going on.

  10. I’ve had lots of dogs. My first piece of advice is to not get a puppy, but that’s not very helpful 😏😬. I would second the advice to expose her to alllll the things. Find a list online and check off everything multiple times in the first year. A confident, unafraid dog is a safe dog. And training training training. Make sure the boys understand the importance of training, especially the timing of the reward. I explained it to my kids like this, “training a dog is like charging the battery on your screens, you have to do it consistently because she will forget it just as fast as your screen runs out of batteries.” Good luck with your third child!

  11. When my brother’s lab went to puppy school, they advised that some dogs are just biters, especially when excited. They said to get multiple stuffed animal toys for him. Now every time I go to their house and the dog greets me at the door I tell him to go get his toy. He promptly goes and gets a toy and then comes back and runs circles around me, but doesn’t bite, because his mouth is occupied!

  12. I moved to the greater Franklin area three years ago from Atlanta, GA (PNW before that) and was immediately appalled by the actively regressive legislating happening in TN. I wondered how so many large companies could be moving to or expanding in TN – did they not know or not care?

  13. Cute puppy!! Naming pets with kids…what fun! Our dog came with his name. Probably a good thing since the kids named our fish and snail Vina and Gary. Good luck!

  14. Absolutely right to think of her jumping and doing all of those things as a full grown big dog. I’ve had two Berners, and they were very attached to me but we also did make sure to train them. Use a no pull harness to help with training to walk because you won’t be able to muscle your way though it very soon! They’re the best. Hopefully the doodle will extend the life span for your little guy.

  15. You’ve gotten some really good advice here – I’ll just add that you’re in the worst of it right now (from a puppy shark perspective). Hang in there, throw a month at it, and you’ll have a different dog. Also, once the puppy teeth fall out, it’s a whole different ball game.

    We got a puppy last fall — I’d say it’s about 60% of a baby, with faster stages. Good luck!

  16. You have gotten some really good puppy advice here! I also wanted to say that we got our very first dog when my kids were about your kids ages and it was the best thing we’ve ever done for a variety of reasons.

  17. I’m late to the party here, Shana, but wanted to share a few tips. Get her on a schedule as quickly as you can. Feed her dinner early (by 5:30) and depending when you put her to bed, take water away around 7:30/8 so she doesn’t have to pee in the middle of the night). Do crate time during the day. Start with really short windows 5-10 minutes and slowly work up. Have a special toy/treat that’s reserved just for crate time. Frozen kongs are amazing for keeping them occupied in there. I also put a white noise machine right outside the crate and partially cover the crate (at night) so it’s completely dark for bedtime. Hope this helps!

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