big moves & half birthdays

Over the past few weeks, a couple super awesome and fun, life changing things have occurred which I would love to share with you. In fact, both things began or happened on the same day. 

Before I get ahead of myself though, if you want to follow along with our adventures of newlywed life, turning a house into a home, and all of the highs and lows of everyday life, click the subscribe button on the right (or at the bottom if you’re on mobile).  It doesn’t send you crazy stuff or give your information to anyone—it just sends blog updates directly to you!

The first thing that happened is that our girl Blue turned six months old and we celebrated with a family photo session on the bed. 

For a pup who is not allowed on the furniture, that is quite a big deal.

She still loves the outdoors, probably even more than me, and would love nothing more than to spend all day, every day outside.

Which she can’t really do at the moment because she is recovering from being spayed. That cone of shame is legit.  She is so confused by it.  You are more likely to find her completely stationary, whining in confusion than anything else.  

Related Post: Oasis

She likes chicken in her food better than beef, she loves learning how to heel, and she thinks that working out with mom is super fun.  She recently chewed through her first rope and loves getting balls stuck under couches… until she realizes that she can’t get them back out again.

My other piece of fun, exciting, potentially life changing news news is that I signed up to be a Beachbody health and fitness coach and I’m super excited!  I am working on my website, learning the business, the lingo, and mostly just enjoying myself so far.  I was already on a path of discovering my own fitness journey while sharing it with others, so I decided to jump in and try coaching!  

I have been telling anyone who breathes about Beachbody since I started using it a couple years ago because I have major heart eyes for the programs.  They also have superfood smoothies and other products that I am fast falling in love with.  

Needless to say, we have some exciting things happening in the Shugart household this year.  I thought 2019 would pale in comparison to 2018.  Boy was I wrong.

If you have any questions for me, like what I do as a coach or if you want to know my fave workout programs, I’m down to talk about it any time.

Until next time,
Jamie out.

puppy’s first walk (+ teething)

Blue update—4 months old!

In the past month, Blue has continued to grow and learn, we took her on her very first walk, and she had a couple vet visits.

My favorite things about the past month:

  • How much she still loves snuggling
  • How joyful she was after her first walk

My least favorite things about the past month:

  • Her rabies vaccine & how sore she was afterward
  • The occasional accidents inside (there’s a lot more pee now!)

Things I have learned:

  • Teething seems awful

Our girl Blue is still a puppy and it is hard to remember that sometimes!  She is growing so much and learning every day.  I have to remind myself that if I am consistent, she will get it—right from wrong, how to behave, etc.  The occasional accidents still happen inside and I just have to remain consistent in reminding her where it is appropriate and how to ask to go outside.  Comparing her now to her tiny self at eight weeks old is crazy, even though I know she still has a lot more growing to do.  She has come such a long way!

We had two vet visits in her fourth month where she got her rabies vaccine and lyme vaccine.  Poor thing was super sore and sleepy after her rabies vaccine and we had to warn all of our New Years Eve guests to be gentle when petting her.  Her next vet visit finished up her shots and we opted to go for the lyme vaccine as well because we plan on camping and hiking with her.

Riding in the car is still one of her least favorite things.  We are trying to associate it with positive destinations and take her to my parents’ or my sister’s regularly.  She gets extra love, snuggles, and play time at their houses and you can tell she is growing attached to my family.

She isn’t napping as much as she used to and is still a little needy when she is awake.  I often find it difficult to get things done at home when she is awake because she wants to play or snuggle and be involved in some way.  Chores are easier—it’s when I sit down to write or edit that she gets bored.  Luckily, the day after she turned four months old we put in a fence (watch out for our next update!) and this has gotten a lot better because she can run and explore outside.

Her very first walk was adorable.  It seemed a little overwhelming for her, with all of the smells, noises, cars, and people.  Once we got home, though, it was obvious that she ultimately had a great time and we’re excited to go on a lot more walks in the future.

At the end of the month Blue began teething.  One day I looked down and one of her front teeth was HUGE compared to the rest of her mouth.  It. Was. Adorable.  She began chewing on her toys in earnest and it seems to me that teething must be an awful business because there was hardly a time when she was awake when she wasn’t chewing something.  So far she is doing great and only chewing on the things she is supposed to chew on.  Knock on wood!

Over the next month we plan on more walks, getting acquainted with the outdoors, and lots of social time with other dogs.  We are looking into obedience training and got her a big girl collar in preparation for her next growth spurt.

Until next time,
Jamie out

Puppy’s first holidays

Blue update #3—3 Months Old!

Our girl Blue is three months old, growing like her life depends on it, and loves spending time with us and her toys.

My favorite things about the past month:

  • Blue’s explosive growth
  • How she is finally learning that her crate isn’t a negative place
  • Watching her run behind a grown dog and how cute and clumsy she looks
  • Watching her with my 10 month old nephew and how quickly she has learned to be gentle with him

My least favorite thing:

  • How she won’t stop chewing on my bathroom rug

Things I have learned:

  • She looooves learning
  • She notices when one of us is gone
  • She is still a puppy and new to this world

Blue turned three months old on her 13 week birthday!  She has changed so much since we brought her home just a few weeks ago.  She weighs over twenty-five pounds now and her paws are ginormous.  She got her rabies shot and has only one set of shots left in her puppy vaccines.

Around week thirteen, she began to become a little more aware.  She recognized that things can be scary, or that she can get hurt, or that some things are unknown.  She would get nervous and distrusting of things she didn’t know or understand, and if there was a loud startling noise, she reacted more dramatically than she would have just a week before.

Blue has gotten better since then and is growing in confidence in her own home and den.  She got too big to ride on my lap in the car, so she is relearning about car rides by riding in the back and isn’t the biggest fan.  She started playing with my sister’s dog, a five year old chocolate lab named Coco, and has so much fun with her in her fenced backyard.  Coco is really good with her, being gentle enough but still having fun rough housing and being pups together.

She is growing like a crazy pup!  She is super playful, but her eyes will suddenly droop and she absolutely must take a nap.  The other day when we were wrapping presents, she couldn’t sleep through the noise so she went to our bedroom to take a nap by herself.  That’s the first time she has done that!  She always loves being underfoot or napping with her head on our feet.

We are excited to start taking her on walks, to dog parks, and to keep teaching her more things.  She loves sitting and laying down, and her new chew toys she got for Christmas are her favorite toys still.  She loves her big fluffy bed, but isn’t so sure about baths or being brushed.  The last time I had to give her medicine, she did great and ate the whole thing.  

Over the next month we expect her to continue growing quickly and hope that we can accomplish more leash training.  We hope to get her a fenced backyard ASAP so that she can explore and enjoy, as well as become comfortable outside on her own.

Until next time,
Jamie out.

our puppy is a genius

Blue update #2—Weeks 10 & 11

In the past two weeks we dog sat another puppy, marveled at Blue’s genius, and had a potty training regression.  

My favorite things about the past two weeks:

  • Transitioning to only getting up with Blue once every night.
  • Getting lots of good puppy snuggles and kisses.
  • Watching tiny Blue climb up and down our stairs.

My least favorite things about the past two weeks:

  • The great potty training regression of 2018.
  • Hand bruises from sharp puppy teeth.

Things I have learned:

  • That Blue is really really smart.
  • That Blue is already great at posing.
  • That Blue loves to please us.

Blue has gained over five pounds since we brought her home.  At her eight week vet visit she weighed 10.8 pounds and at her 11 week vet visit, she weighed 15.8 pounds.  We feel pretty good about her size and are hoping she is right in the sweet spot when she is an adult, which should be between fifty-five and sixty-five pounds.  She is happy and healthy and still learning daily.  It is amazing to watch her pick up on things.

For the most part, things got easier for us as a family these weeks compared to the first two.  I have definitely grown more attached to our high energy fur ball and absolutely love her snuggles and puppy kisses.  She is really good at hugs and snuggles, especially when she is tuckered out after playing with a puppy friend.

On the weekend Blue turned 11 weeks, we dog sat our friend’s puppy who is one month older than Blue and twice her size.  He is a shepherd mix—a herding breed—and is much more calm and less high energy than our girl Blue.  He is also better at sleeping through the night than she is.  And while they were both mostly house trained in their own homes, this weekend turned into utter chaos that caused both dogs to regress a little bit.

Our visiting pup wasn’t sure how or where to potty at our house, so he decided that inside was the perfect spot.  We had a lot of accidents the first couple days, especially because he refused to go outside.  At first Blue just observed this, but eventually she started to go inside as well.  As you can imagine, this got pretty frustrating.   

The short story is, we got the dogs on a strict schedule for going outside.  If they weren’t in their crates, they were going outside every twenty minutes, whether or not we thought they had to go.  This cut down on the accidents dramatically, and improved our relationship with them as well.

Dog sitting also emphasized repeatedly how intelligent our Blue is.  Not in comparison to the other dog, but just in the way that she would help him when he didn’t understand.  For example, he was terrified of going down our stairs, so Blue got right next to him and went down every step with him one at a time.  He also kept chewing my carpet, so Blue finally laid a chew toy across his paws and showed him to chew on that instead.  I have never been more proud in my life.

We are growing closer daily, and as Blue learns more and more, Will and I enjoy her more and more.  Often times before bed you will find the three of us sitting on the floor and playing with a ball or rough housing.  By the end of week eleven Blue weighed in at almost 19 pounds.  It’s safe to say she is heading into a big growth spurt!  She is still fearless and resilient.  We didn’t go a lot of places during these two weeks and she is definitely learning that the house is her den.  We still keep doors to a couple rooms closed to avoid temptation for her, but in the rooms she is comfortable, she is great at only chewing on her own toys.

Until next time,
Jamie out

Read more: 
Weeks 8 & 9Bringing Blue Home

the pitfalls of potty training

Blue update – Weeks 8 & 9

If you didn’t know we got a puppy, go read this blog post ASAP!

Being a puppy mom has been incredibly hard and incredibly rewarding at the same time. Blue is a smart cookie. I can tell when she’s just ignoring me, or when she’s sneaking off to do something she knows is naughty. But I also rejoice with her as she begins to get it. As she begins to ask to go outside so that she can “go potty” and as she obeys when we say “come” and “sit.” I am so surprised that at nine weeks old she knows so much. Obviously there is still a lot to learn, for BOTH of us. 

Golden Retriever Puppy: Blue at 9 weeks

My favorite things about the past two weeks:

  • When Blue learned to go up and down the stairs to the bonus room.  She’s still so small that she looks like a bunny hopping up the stairs, and I have to encourage her down every step when we go back down.  It’s adorable.
  • The first time she asked to go outside to “go potty.”  
  • Watching her grow right in front of my eyes.
  • Her play date with our friend’s three month old puppy where they played until they literally dropped.
Golden Retriever Puppy: Blue at 9 weeks

My least favorite things about the past two weeks:

  • Her tiny sharp puppy teeth as she grabs onto my hand and won’t let go.
  • How dry my hands got from cleaning up pee accidents inside and washing my hands afterward.
  • How much she cries at night and how much we had to get up with her the first week.
Golden Retriever Puppy: Blue at 9 weeks

Things I have learned:

  • It is okay to change your mind and do what is best for your family and your pup.
  • She is really really smart.
  • If she is acting “bad,” it is most likely my fault, not hers.
  • I cherish my sleep.
Golden Retriever Puppy: Blue at 9 weeks

Her first week here was hard on all of us. We coddled her a lot at night and she struggled to sleep. We got up with her seven or eight times one night.  She learned that crying would be rewarded, so in her second week here we had to try to unlearn that.  We all lost some more sleep.  But we are confident it is what is best in the long run.  We want her to be comfortable and confident when she is home alone and when she is sleeping at night.

It was our intention to not crate her, however after having her for a week we caved and got a crate.  She went in voluntarily on the first night to go to sleep, but after that it got a little harder.  She is attached to the stuff IN her crate—like her blankies—but she isn’t so keen on the crate itself.  As her fur mama I know that she is safe in her own little den while I am gone, and I have peace of mind that my home isn’t being destroyed while I am at the grocery store.  And I am certain that she will grow to love her place once she realizes it isn’t a punishment and she isn’t lonely.

Golden Retriever Puppy: Blue at 9 weeks

Potty training is no joke. We are finding a better routine and schedule that we can all adhere to, but as our days are never the same as one another, that can prove challenging. After four or five days of training she asked to go outside. A week after we got her she asked us three times in one night to let her out. This is where I feel the rewarding aspect of training—to finally see results of hard work. 

She is super smart and Will loves putting her brain to work to train her and then practice things they have learned.  We got her a puzzle ball we can put treats in to help her work her brain also.  A tired puppy is a good puppy, and even though she is very high energy, tiring out her brain is just as important as tiring out her little body.  

Or not so little body.  Two days after we got her I took her to the vet and they weighed her at 10.8 pounds.  By the end of week 9, she weighed a little over 13 pounds.  She is going to be too big to pick up and carry in no time so I am enjoying the lap snuggles while I can.  

Golden Retriever Puppy: Blue at 9 weeks

With full disclosure and honestly, we did not enjoy our first week with Blue.  We were very sleep deprived and potty training proved to be very stressful.  Once we got the crate, things began to improve and I started to get attached.  We made a plan for taking her out at night that would negate some of her crying and got us all on a better schedule. 

We are so excited to watch her grow, to learn with her, and to be the best fur parents we can to this little ball of energy.  Stay tuned for the perils and pleasures of puppy ownership as I take you along for the sometimes bumpy ride over the next several months.  There is so much that we will all learn and experience.

Do you have any puppy advice for me?  The biggest one right now is how to make her happy with her crate and cut down on the crying.  Please leave any knowledge in the comments below!  If you enjoyed this post, please give it a like and don’t forget to subscribe to join the family if you haven’t already.

Until next time, 
Jamie out.


Golden Retriever Puppy: Blue at 9 weeks

We got a puppy!

Friend, meet Blue.  Blue, meet friend!

She is a pure bred Golden Retriever with so much spunk and sass, I’m not certain what we have gotten ourselves into.

We got a puppy!
We got a puppy!

This is Blue at six weeks old.  We started looking for her in October, deciding that getting a puppy around the holidays would be easier with our work schedules being a little more open than normal.  We had known for a long time that we wanted to get a puppy to grow our family, and while she came a few weeks sooner than we had planned, we couldn’t pass up on this beauty.

We drove up to Virginia when all of the puppies were six weeks old.  Blue’s mom had ten puppies, six of which were girls.  We already had our eye on Blue from all of the photos and videos we had seen, but we really wanted to meet all of them in person before deciding.

Blue was always in the thick of the playtime.  She would run and leap into the doggy pile.  If there was a tug of war over a water bowl happening, she was definitely going to be involved.  She was also sweet and loved sitting on our laps being snuggled and giving sweet puppy kisses. We knew she was our girl almost right away.

We got a puppy!

Two weeks later we got to bring her home.  She did great on the car ride back, even though being removed from her mom and siblings was hard at first.  She slept most of the drive and we got to enjoy lots of puppy snuggles before we encountered potty training, puppy nips, and lots of trips outside at night.

I will have a lot of updates coming your way—Blue’s blogs will be two Wednesdays a month while she is young.  There is just so much growing and learning going on at this age!  She gained over a pound in the first week we had her and has learned to sit.  Until that next blog post, here’s a mini photoshoot we had on her eight week birthday.  

We got a puppy!
We got a puppy!
We got a puppy!
We got a puppy!
We got a puppy!
We got a puppy!
We got a puppy!
We got a puppy!
We got a puppy!

Have you ever had a puppy?  I need ALL of the advice!  From crate training, potty training, training her to thrive while being alone, EVERYTHING.  Please leave it in the comments!  If you think my pup is adorable, give this post a like and don’t forget to subscribe and join our family if you haven’t already!

Until next time,
Jamie out