Carrion bird

turkey vulture in november

We have begun our descent into the grayness of November. The deer are entering their time of being libidinous and dumb, and arrow have already taken a few of the bucks.

But soon the guns will crack, and gut piles will be scattered throughout the land.

And the turkey vultures will glide through the sky, casting their nostrils into the air current for the scent of blood and bile and stinking rumen.

The will drop from the sky and eat their late autumn repast, and then fly up into bare trees to digest their grisly fare.

Odd among the avian kingdom, the turkey vulture has fine sense of smell, and the black vultures and the ravens are keyed into their wanderings.

Turkey vultures will soon be heading south.  But maybe not. If the snows don’t fall, they’ll hang around to cast around on the air currents, fighting with the winter ravens as winter’s famine takes its toll upon the land.

I came across this big carrion bird on Saturday as I traipsed around in the first gloomy weekend of November. It had three companions that soon took to the wing at my approach.

But this vulture stayed put for a while longer, staring down at me with imperious disdain.

The great feast for the vultures is nigh.  The gray skeleton trees and the rutting bucks mark its coming.

This one seems to know what it is coming along with the sinking sun.

Natural History

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Golden Retriever Saves His Lost Canine Sister

Dog Golden Retriever Saves Lost Canine Sister

Photo Credit: News on 6

Knox, a Golden Retriever in Grand Lake, Oklahoma, deserves a hero’s cape and reward after finding his canine sister who had been lost, alone and hungry, for days. According to News On 6, although rewards, boats, and drones were unsuccessful and finding Tara Vreeland’s missing dog, Knox came to the rescue.

Tara has three dogs, Knox and two German Shepherds – Scarlett and Ruger. These days the three dogs hang around their neighborhood enjoying the usual doggie delights of fetch and walks, alongside rides in golf carts. In the past, when Tara was an anchor and reporter for Channel 6, Knox used to go to work with her. She said that back then Knox “used to run the roost there, used to run around on the floor.”

On a walk in early September, Scarlett “just darted through the trees,” according to Tara, “she was gone.” Tara searched for hours, but had no luck finding her beloved dog. Tara then offered a reward, went on a boat on the lake to scan the cliffs for her dog, and asked a friend to use a drone to search for Scarlett. Nothing worked. After four days of searching, Tara began “really just trying to think outside the box,” as she told News On 6.

She walked Knox to a spot near the bluffs. She noted that Knox has not been trained as a search and rescue dog, but she wanted to see what he might find. Suddenly, Knox “put his nose to the ground like Scooby Doo, and just starts sniffing around, sniffing around, sniffing around,” Tara said. She added, that she “was scared for the worst.” Then, she heard a dog’s whimper and a collar’s clink, and felt like her “heart stopped.”

Scarlett had been found, trapped on a small ledge, 20 feet down from the top of the bluffs. Despite days without food or water, Scarlett was somehow okay. A neighbor climbed the 20 feet down and brought Scarlett back to Tara and hero dog Knox.

Tara tried to describe how she felt about her superhero, “I can’t put into words how incredible I think he is. He’s pretty cute, he’s really funny, he’s feisty, he can be a little bit of a brat, but he’s also a hero.”

Reporter and friend of Tara, Tess Maune, said, “I believe any pet owner knows that undeniable bond that you have with your dog, your cat, your rabbit, whatever it might be. When you have a pet there is a deep connection.” We here at Halo understand that connection and are so glad that Tara’s connection with Knox helped her find Scarlett. As Tara told Tess, “It’s a happy ending when everyone was scared there wouldn’t be.”

Halo Pets

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Nothing to see here…just three gorgeous Giant Schnauzers, brought to you from the Facebook page of Schnauzer Lovers. Happy Sunday! Until next time, Good day, and good dog! Dog Blog

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I would also suggest getting the services of an an…

I would also suggest getting the services of an animal communicator to help with behavior and issues with trust.

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Friday Funny: Cats vs. Dogs

Now that’s funny. Enjoy your weekend! I hope it’s sunnier where you are than it is in Northeastern Ohio. Until next time, Good day, and good dog Dog Blog

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Pet Ownership Survey

A student at John Brown University is asking for help on a school project dealing with pet ownership. Please participate in his survey if you get a chance. I’m sure he’d appreciate it. I just took it, and it’s very easy – took me less than 5 minutes. It mostly deals with transportation and boarding. […] Dog Blog

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Happy Halloween!

Family Halloween Costume Ideas

Happy Halloween! We spent the weekend on our annual trip to Indianapolis to hang with my sister (who is genuinely the biggest Halloween fan I’ve ever known), but now we’re back for our first ever Halloween at home.  Pre-kids, I always joined Robbie wherever the band was playing, and since having kids, we’ve always spent the actual holiday at my sister’s. (Top photo is from this weekend, and the photo below that is from last year.) This year though, Robbie is actually off the road today. Woohoo! We’re attending Essley’s school Halloween parade this morning, and taking the kids trick or treating in our neighborhood this evening. It’s amazing how much you appreciate the simplest family holiday plans when you don’t always get to spend holidays together. The best.

Emmett’s first Halloween was last year and he was still a baby, so I can’t wait to see how he reacts now that he actually gets it. And Essley has been talking about this day since early summer. Essley is going to be an excessively glittery mermaid (her current obsession), and Emmett is going to be a dinosaur (his current obsession). I’ll be sharing lots of costume photos on my Instagram Stories, so come on over and join us.

I hope your Halloween is spooky and fun and a great memory maker.


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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A Gift Of Holiday Memories For My Kids

Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids

This post is in partnership with Snapfish. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible.

I know, I know. It’s not even officially Halloween yet (one more day!) and I’m already posting about the holidays. But let’s face it – these days, the holidays basically start on November 1st. And if your schedule is, um, intense this time of year like mine is, you need to get motivated earlier than later for holiday projects. Thankfully, the holiday project I’m sharing today is really fun (and easy!) to put together, and the rewards are pretty incredible.

Essley is now almost four (her birthday is just three days after Christmas), and because she was at an age last year where she really “got” the holiday season, she’s been talking about it nonstop. She brings up memories, asks questions, and most of all, expresses a truly endearing anticipation for the season’s arrival. A couple of weeks ago, she asked to see some photos from the holiday seasons she’s experienced so far in her life. As looked back through photos on the camera roll on my phone, I realized that we didn’t even have a single photo of her or Emmett (or any of us) printed out from the holidays. And that gave me an idea.

Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids
Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids
Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids

I’ve made photo books from Snapfish as gifts before, and have always been impressed by the ease of creating them and quality of the finished project. I’ve also absolutely loved seeing how happy the recipients have been with them. (Robbie still says the one I made him for Father’s Day last year is his favorite gift of all time). So I decided I’d put together a special photo book of holiday memories to give to Essley and Emmett, knowing how much it would add to their excitement for the season. And I can’t tell you guys how much fun I had, and how touched I was, while making it. There were lots of emotions involved, let’s just put it that way.

I chose the 8×11 Hardcover Photo Book (I’d gotten this one before and loved the size), then went with the “Winter Joy” theme (so pretty). I uploaded all of the holiday photos I could find on my phone (you can also use your desktop, Instagram, or Facebook to upload) from the last three years of holidays seasons (since Essley was born), and then played around with the different layouts, backgrounds, patterns, fonts, and the hundreds of embellishments available. The Winter Joy Theme made it so each page was filled in (love how easy that is!), but I changed around about half of them so I could highlight different photos and make the book unique. I chose my favorite photo of the kids from last year’s holiday season for the front cover, and a used a black and white version of it for the fact. For the inside photos, I included all sorts of different memories – from the kids visiting Santa to them opening presents to Christmas mornings with their grandparents to them snuggled up together watching holiday movies. I’m a huge fan of the how you can personalize Snapfish‘s photo books to make them into family keepsakes that can be enjoyed year after year. And I love how budget friendly they are as well.

Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids
Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids
Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids

The day the photo book arrived, I surprised Essley when she got home from school with the Christmas tree set up and plugged in (just for the day; we’ll bring it back up from the basement in a few weeks). She was thrilled. Then I told her to close her eyes, and I presented her with the photo book. She could not believe that she was looking at a special holiday book with Emmett’s and her pictures throughout it. She told me it was the best present she’d ever gotten – which admittedly she says pretty much every time she gets a gift, but I believed her that it was one of her all time favorites. Emmett was all sorts of excited too, and sat on the floor looking through the pages and pointing at photos for a good twenty minutes. All of us enjoyed looking through it together, and it got us really pumped for this year’s holidays. I’m going to make one for every year from now on.

Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids
Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids
Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids

If you’re in the market for personalized holiday gifts that come from the heart, or just want to gather your holiday memories into something tangible, I can’t recommend a photo book enough. And now is the perfect time to make one, because you can take 40% off at Snapfish with code MELISSABOOK40. Woohoo!

How do you preserve holiday memories? Who else has little ones who are stoked for the holiday season?


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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5 Ways to Make Sick Days Better For Little Ones

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I received product and compensation from Mead Johnson Nutrition to create this post written by me. All experiences and opinions expressed in this post are my own and not those of Mead Johnson Nutrition. You can contact Mead Johnson Nutrition with product related questions or comments toll free at 1-888-777-3395.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I went to a movie for our first date night in many months. Our daughter Essley had a slight cold (mainly just some sneezing) but was active and playing, so we left her and her brother with my mom and headed out. Guess what? We made it through about half the movie before we were back in the car on our way home. Essley had started vomiting from coughing (all it takes to make this child throw up is the mention of something that grosses her out, so when she’s even a little bit sick, you can pretty much guarantee there’s going to be some barf), and was weeping that she wanted her mommy. A few hours and a couple more barf sessions later, she spiked a fever. She woke up throughout the night, and despite my best efforts, refused any fluids. This continued into the next morning, and by early afternoon she was beginning to get dehydrated.

Thankfully, by late afternoon, Essley was starting to feel more like herself again. And as awful as it is (for the little ones and the parents) when your kid is ill, I’m actually grateful we’ve been through it enough times that we now know what works to make ours feel better – including how to make those sick days a little more enjoyable in general. With the school year back underway (aka the time my kids seem to be sick more often than they’re not) and cold/flu season quickly approaching, I thought I’d share some of the ways we get through our sick days as pleasantly as possible. (Please note: there are my personal tips that work with my own kids when they’ve got non-serious illnesses like colds. None of this should be taken as medical advice. If your little one is sick, you should consult your pediatrician.)

1. Find ways to make rest fun. My kids like to be active pretty much all the time. Even when they’re sick, they usually want to be up and doing something. Rest is important for healing, but getting them to relax is a challenge – so we try to find ways to make it fun. We do story times where they can pick out books and we sit in a chair across from them to read to them (think story hour at the library), so it feels like a special event. Or we have movie “marathons” where they can choose two movies to watch in a row, as long as they stay sitting or lying down. (They’ll never argue with extra screen time!) Sometimes we even have contests to see who can rest the longest. If resting doesn’t seem boring to them, they’re more likely to do it longer.

2. Make cuddling a priority.  This might seem like an obvious one, but I wanted to include it because sometimes I personally need the reminder. My kids and I (and their dad) are very affectionate in general, but sometimes if they’ve been sick for a few days and I feel like I’ve fallen behind on work or things around the house, I start to stress and become so focused on getting that stuff done that I forget how healing it can be just to snuggle with my kids. It helps keep them calm so they’ll rest, and it’s also emotionally and mentally good for them to know their parents are focused on taking care of them. On the other side, some people actually advise against this because it increases your chances of getting whatever your child has, but I’m telling you guys – there is nothing my kids want more than to be held when they aren’t feeling well.

3. Restore and/or maintain hydration. As I mentioned earlier, Essley tends to throw up even with colds, and that combined with the fact that she has very little interest in eating or drinking when she doesn’t feel well can quickly lead to dehydration. Being dehydrated not only makes kids feel worse, it can also escalate an illness to something more serious very quickly. When Essley was sick a couple of weeks ago, the first thing I did to help her stay hydrated was give her some Enfamil® Enfalyte® oral electrolyte solution. It  didn’t take long for her to feel better and become well hydrated again. We’re big fans of Enfalyte because it’s a clear formulation with no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners, and it (quickly!) replaces electrolytes and water that can be lost if your little one is vomiting or having diarrhea (or even exercising or playing on a hot day). When Essley had to go to the ER for flu over the winter, the hospital recommended it (and it’s been used by hospitals for over 25 years), so that was enough for us to always keep some on hand. And the flavors (Cherry Splash or Mixed Fruit) are mild, which Essley prefers to strong tasting drinks, especially when she’s ill. One major thing I’ve learned since becoming a parent is how much a sick day can take a turn for the better when your child’s hydration is restored. (Again, always consult with your pediatrician if you are concerned about illness or dehydration. Here are some great resources as well: Is My Child Dehydrated? and Maintaining Hydration. There is also a handy infographic at the end of this post.)

4. Play doctor/hospital.  If your kids are older they probably won’t go for this, but for my 1.5 and 3.5 year olds, this is the first thing they want to do when they’re not feeling well. Essley always picks one of her stuffed animals or dolls to be sick alongside her, and she takes care of it while I take care of her. (When she was sick a couple of weeks ago, she took Happy Dog’s temperature, kept him hydrated with Enfalyte, and covered him in bandages.) I think it makes her feel less alone in her illness, and also makes her feel like she’s doing something important. It’s one of our “go-to’s” on sick days.

5. Break the rules. When the kids are sick, we let things like strict bedtimes and other “rules” (no treats before meals, must clean up current mess before moving on to other toys, limited screen time, etc.) slide. Our number one goal is to get them better as quickly as possible with as little misery as possible, and loosening up schedules and rules a little during those days makes them easier on everyone.

How to recognize dehydration in toddlers

I hope the small things we find helpful when our kids aren’t feeling well prove helpful for you as well! How do you make sick days better experiences for your kids?

This is sponsored by Enfamil® Enfalyte® Oral Electrolyte Solution. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible.


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Win a Copy of Katherine Schwarzenegger’s New Children’s Pet Rescue Book! #MaverickandMe

A New York Times bestselling author, Katherine Schwarzenegger has written a 32-page hardcover book for little animal-loving readers ages 4 – 7 . Maverick and Me shines a spotlight on a homeless…

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