A Scrambled Work-Life Balance + Reminder to Be Free

You may have noticed less posts than usual here this month, and that’s because my work-life balance has been majorly scrambled. January is always slower for work, which is honestly a blessing after the 60 hours a week I put in during the holiday season. But this month, my husband, who most of you know works for a band, has also been on tour for the last two weeks straight. In total, Robbie is gone about half the year, but he always come home once a week for two to three days, during which I work full time while he cares for our kids. When he is on the road, I have child care a couple of days a week to work, but the rest of the time it’s me being a (temporary) single parent, and I’m admittedly usually on the border of losing it by the time he arrives home. As much as I adore my kids, I’m  more than ready to hand them off when he walks in the door. It can be a bit much for both of us at times, but over the years, we’ve created a routine that works well for both of our jobs and our roles as parents. But having him gone for two weeks (the longest in a row he’s been gone since before we had kids) and trying to work full time, get the kids to school and activities multiple times a day, get them fed and bathed and dressed, and taking care of stuff around the house, etc. without a break has been pretty freaking exhausting. I like to post here at least three times a week, but this month I just had to take a step back.

I will say that in the past, I probably would have stayed up until 2 AM to work, gotten four hours of sleep tops, and then pushed myself to run on fumes to get through each day. This year one of my goals has been to go easier on myself, and allowing myself some time to just breathe or meditate or watch freaking Netflix for a half hour before I go to bed (which has been by midnight every night) has definitely helped me operate on just more than survival mode during this time.

Essley and I stopped at a local forest preserve the day before Robbie left (back when it felt like early spring at the beginning of the month; it is 100% winter now), and I snapped these photos with my phone. When things have felt like too much over the last couple of weeks, I look at them as a reminder of how easy it is to take a moment to just allow myself to be free, like Essley. I mean, this girl is truly on the most free spirits humans I’ve ever met. It’s so easy to be inspired by that. It’s also kind of amazing how our little ones, no matter how much they push us to the edge, can be teachers to we adults, isn’t it?

Things will be back to normal here in February, both at home and here on Bubby and Bean. In the meantime, I’ll just going to do what I can, and keep looking at the photos as a reminder on the best way to be. I also want to give a major shout out to actual single working parents and those who have their partners gone for truly long periods (like those in the military). This shit is hard, man, and you are amazing and inspiring and strong.

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Friday Funny: What Do You Mean Let Go?

Those eyes! Happy weekend, everybody! Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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A Little Valentine Card Love

Eco Friendly Valentine's Day Cards
Valentine's Day Cards from Bubby and Bean
Recycled Valentines

Valentine’s Day may be a month away, but that didn’t stop my 5 year old from taping a Valentine’s banner to the fireplace literally the minute the Christmas decorations came down. This past weekend, she even asked if we could start making Valentines for her classmates. And while I gently assured her that we didn’t need to do it quite this early, it did prompt me to reopen the Bubby and Bean Art Shop shop after a short break following the holiday rush, with a bunch of Valentine’s Day cards., that I am now sharing with you all today. For those who didn’t know we had this little side business (I don’t talk about it much here, but I started it back in late 2010!), I create greeting eco-friendly greeting cards, every single one of which is printed, cut, scored, and folded individually by hand. If you’re thinking of sending or giving hip, handcrafted, earth-friendly Valentine cards this year, I’d love for you to check them out.  Oh yeah, and you can take 25% of your order today through this Friday (1/18/19) with code LOVE19. Hurray!

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Why coyotes are not basal Canis

The traditional understanding of coyote evolution is that coyotes are basal wolf-like canids. This understanding comes from the hypothesis that coyotes directly evolved from Canis lepophagus in North America alone. Coyotes look and behave a lot like jackals of the Old World, and because we know that the larger wolf-like canids evolved from jackal-like ones, we just assumed that the coyote was a primitive form.

One problem with this positioning has always bothered me. Jackals tend to have proportionally smaller brains than wolves, but coyotes have proportionally larger brains than wolves. Domestic dogs have evolved smaller brains from wolves, although wolf and dog brain size comparisons aren’t as cut and dry as people think. 

No one thinks of dogs as basal forms of Canis, so it is possible for animals in this lineage to lose brain size, just as it is possible for a primitive lineage of canids known as coyotes to evolve a larger brain.

Please note that my discussion on brain size here isn’t really a discussion about intelligence, because the literature on which form is most intelligent is quite all over the map. Domestic dogs kept in Western countries in the modern way do appear to have social cognitive abilities that virtually all other species lack, while wolves are much better at working with each other to complete tasks.

But coyotes have proportionally larger brains than either wolves or dog do, and in this lineage, larger brains are generally a derived characteristic.

However, the really important data about coyote evolution is the discovery that they shared a common ancestor with gray wolves much more recently than commonly suggested. A genome-comparison study of various North American canids found that the common ancestor of both gray wolves and coyotes lived around 50,000 years ago. Because anatomically modern gray wolves replace the Mosbach wolf in the fossil record between 300,000 and 500,000 years ago, the ancestor of both had to have been a form of gray wolf from Eurasia.

The coyote is thus a jackal that has evolved in parallel out of the gray wolf lineage, which means it is not a primitive canid at all. It likely evolved this jackal -like morphology and behavior because the form of gray wolf that it derives from was unable to compete with the dire wolf, the American lion, the short-faced bear and the machairodonts as a top-level predator. It was forced to evolve a smaller body that could be fed on carrion and small prey.

We know now that there is a big difference in what prey predators target once they exceed 20 kg. Predators that weigh more than that mass target large vertebrates, while those that are smaller than that weight target smaller prey. Although coyotes do cooperatively hunt deer, they primarily feed on rabbits and mice. So by becoming smaller, coyotes were not directly in conflict with dire wolves or the other large predators of Pleistocene North America.

Only through analyzing full genomes of coyotes and gray wolves did we realize that our assumptions about their evolution were wrong. Earlier studies that looked at mitochondrial DNA alone found that coyotes fit within a basal position of the wolf-like canid lineage. However, recent full genome comparison of various wolf-like canids that looked at the role hybridization played in their evolution found something interesting. The lineage that leads to wolves, dogs, and coyotes experienced some introgression from a ghost species that was closely related to the dhole. The authors think that the reason why coyotes turn up so basal in these mitochondrial DNA studies but appear so wolf-like when their full genomes are compared is coyotes have retained a mitochondrial line that comes from that ghost species.

So the generalist coyote is a re-invention out of the gray wolf lineage. It is not basal to the wolf-like canids. It just merely resembles the basal forms in some of their ecology, in some of their behavior, and in their odd mitochondrial inheritance.

Natural History

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RIP Aries

From the Facebook Page of Operation Military Resources:Today we honor the life and military service of MWD TEDD Aries R568, a 14-year-old Golden Retriever who served 4 tours in Afghanistan and saved countless lives as an Army bomb dog. Thankfully, his first handler Billy was able to adopt Aries in February 2014 when he found […]


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Happy Birthday, My Loves

Emmett turns three years old today. THREE. I’m not really sure how that happened, but it happened. Remember that little seven month old baby who fought for his brain and life through an epilepsy diagnosis with a terrible prognosis? He started soccer on Monday, is crushing preschool, and is one of the silliest, happiest, brightest three year olds I’ve ever met. I am so proud of him.

Essley turned five a week and a half ago, on December 28th. FIVE. We register her for kindergarten in a few weeks. Unreal! The little baby girl who made me a mama is a tiny star dancer (she is now in three dance classes a week!), loves art and cooking and swimming and soccer, and can’t wait to go to school every morning. She is genuinely the most social person I’ve ever met, but loves her one on one time with me too (which is truly my favorite thing ever). I am so proud of her.

I don’t share a lot of personal posts with the kids here, but I’m feeling sentimental today and wanted to publicly wish them happy birthdays. I know it sounds cliche, but these two are my greatest joys. They teach their daddy and me how to be our very best and how to appreciate the mundane, and they make it so easy to love them. Happy Birthday E and E! You are the two most incredible people I’ve ever known, and you fill me with so much gratitude. Here’s to the best year ever for you both!

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Friday Funny: There’s No People Like Show People

Those crazy dog show people! (Almost as bad as cat ladies) Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Need A Pawtner to Help with Your New Year’s Resolution?


It won’t surprise you to hear that “Getting more exercise” is among the most popular New Year’s resolutions. It also won’t surprise you to hear that 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February.

But don’t be discouraged! People who exercise with their dog buck that trend. And while your pup may not be allowed in the gym, she may be the perfect outdoor walking or jogging partner. Just be sure she’s ready for the workout—especially if you live in a place where it’s cold this time of year.

Check with the vet.
Just how you should consult your doctor before you jump into a new exercise routine, consult your vet about your dog. Ask for advice—based on your dog’s age, breed, or health—to keep your dog safe. Even if she’s cleared, keep an eye on her during walks and runs for signs of exhaustion, like heavy panting, trouble breathing, serious lagging behind or disorientation.

Ease into it.
Again, just like us, dogs shouldn’t go from couch potato to distance runner right away. Start at a slower pace on shorter routes and stay close enough to home that you can cut out easily if you need to. Always have water on hand, even on short strolls.

Be mindful of the weather.
Each dog is different, based on breed, background, and, frankly, their preference. Just know they can’t retain heat the way we do. A coat may help, but be sure it fits well, and still watch your dog for cues that indicate she’s too cold. Plus, snow and ice can be hard on dogs’ paws. Be sure to clean them well after each excursion to remove all salt from between their pads.

As your resolution becomes routine, make sure your dog is getting enough healthy calories to make up for what she’s burning. If you’re not sure about amounts, consult your vet.

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Happy Holidays + Taking a Break

Happy Holidays from Bubby and Bean!

Happy winter Solstice! Merry almost Christmas! I almost can’t believe I’m typing that. Is Christmas really only four days away? I know it’s super cliche to talk about how quickly time passes but truly, this season has gone by in a blink. It’s been the busiest season of work for me ever (so grateful for this!), we just returned from our trip to Mexico for Robbie’s work Sunday night, we had two school holiday parties yesterday, Essley’s winter dance recital is tonight and her birthday party is Sunday, then family arrives to stay with us, and the following day is Christmas Eve! This is the first year both of my kids are old enough to really get Christmas, and the excitement level is through the roof! The day after Christmas, Robbie leaves town for work, I join him on the 30th in Atlanta, and we fly back together on January 1st (my birthday), which is quickly followed by Emmett’s birthday, then a long (boooo!) winter tour for him with the band.

Honestly, I love being busy, and get sad when things slow down. But I also want to take a breath and enjoy the last few days of the season before it’s gone. So I will be taking my annual break from the blog to spend time with my family and catch up on non-work things, starting today. I’ll likely still be somewhat active on Instagram, but we won’t be back with any new posts here on the blog until after the New Year.

However you celebrate (or don’t celebrate!), I wish you the happiest of holidays and a New Year full of joy, love, and peace.

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Download a 2019 Pet Holiday Calendar–and Enter to Win a Wegman or Lil Bub Calendar!

Can you believe that 2019 is just around the corner? Download our 2019 Pet Holiday Calendar! A few weeks ago we updated our Pet Holidays Calendar with 2019 dates–and we just made it available…



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DogTipper

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