Sofia’s first birthday and a pinch of Halloween

Sofia in the Fall

This post is way overdue. After I terrified half of the blogosphere last January telling my blogger friends stories about my neurosis during the first weeks of my life with Sofia, I haven’t written another post to let you know how things have been working out in the following months (well, except Stefano’s very quick note back in April). I thought it was time for me to break the silence.

People say that puppies are like babies. They are absolutely right. After Sofia turned 6 months (about 3 years old in human terms), my domestic life got much easier and quite enjoyable.

Sofia in the Fall

Sofia is a sweet, cheerful and happy dog. She is great at playing with children and other dogs and everybody ends up liking her and petting her. Some chewing is still there, but it is getting better and better. Is she the most disciplined dog? Of course not! I find myself being less strict with Sofia than I am with Her Majesty. Every time I am about to put her in timeout, she looks at me with those begging eyes as if she wanted to ask me “are you seriously considering to put me in timeout?…” Well, that look is too adorable to resist, even for me! 😉

What I really learned and discovered during the past months can be summarized in two words: unconditional love. Unconditional love is such an unattainable feeling. It is the purest kind of love. I believe it is what Sofia feels for the members of her family. She is happy for me and with me when I’m in a good mood and she is sad when my day is not so great and I feel kind of blue. She tries to comfort me: she licks me and lays down with one of her paws on my foot as if she was telling me “don’t worry. Everything is going to be fine. I’m here for you”. Sometimes I feel that she can read my soul. All this without saying a word. Only with her body language. And most importantly, without asking anything in return.

Sofia in the Fall

When did I find out that I had fallen in love with Sofia? It happened this summer. One afternoon, I was home by myself (Stefano was on a business trip). She started feeling very sick and I had to rush her to an emergency hospital. Thank goodness my friend and neighbor was home and she was kind enough to drive me and Sofia to the hospital. I’m a very bad driver and, under the circumstances, I couldn’t think straight. When the doctor told me that she had no idea why Sofia was sick and that it would have been better to hospitalize her for the night, my heart missed a beat. I cried all my way home, I barely slept a couple of hours that night and I found some peace again only the next morning, when I got a phone call from the same doctor telling me that Sofia was much better and I could go to pick her up. You see, that night I realized that I cannot imagine my life without Sofia.

So the message that I would like to send to those who dislike dogs (like the previous version of myself) and those who are undecided whether or not to join the dog lover camp is simple. Sure, a dog is a huge commitment. Sure, a dog can be messy and the cleaning is virtually endless. Sure, life with a little puppy is a nightmare. However, if you are patient enough and willing to surround your dog with love, tenderness and care (yes, and the right amount of discipline!), it is only a question of time before this wonderful furry creature starts to fill your heart with infinite love and joy.

Banana and Nutella sandwich

Enough with this! It simply does not sound like me and people can get scared. 🙂 Only a few more words on the photographs of this post.

Her Majesty was really excited about Sofia’s first birthday. She made one of her own favorite treats – a banana and nutella sandwich – and prepared the shooting set for Stefano taking care of every single detail. The last photograph was taken by Her Majesty herself and Stefano is really proud of his pupil! 🙂

Halloween decorations

As you can see from the image below, she also decided to give you a sneak peek of her Halloween dinner menu: who could ever resist bat eyes, skeleton stake and ghost gloup? If you are wondering what ghost gloup is, Her Majesty told me that it is a new ice-cream in her fantasy world. Maybe a variant of glop?… Care to join us for dinner that night? Anyone? 😉

Francesca Xx

Halloween decorations

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About Francesca

I am a cook and the founder and art director of Flora's Table, the fine cooking and wine blog. Check us out at www.florastable.com :-)
This entry was posted in F'sT Home and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

52 Responses to Sofia’s first birthday and a pinch of Halloween

  1. Zoale.com says:

    Precious pictures! I can see why he stole your heart :). Love the menu!

  2. talkavino says:

    Sofia looks great! And you are absolutely right – an unconditional love is what you get from the dog. Enjoy!

  3. Francesca says:

    Remember what you used to say to me? You come home and the only creature always happy to see me is my dog! You were absolutely right! 🙂

  4. ChgoJohn says:

    What a fun post, Francesca! Pets in general, and dogs in particular, have added so much to my life. I cannot imagine living without a canine companion. I think Sofia chose her forever home wisely. Her Majesty’s Halloween menu has me salivating. I do hope She’ll ask Her kitchen staff to share the recipes with us. 🙂

  5. Bizou says:

    Sure I will only if I were close to you. This is such a true beautiful story and made my heart melt. Been in your shoes many times, I am a dog lover & had 2 dogs not too long ago. So I’ve been debating whether I want to commit myself to ALL that comes with having another dog or I rather miss that UNCONDITIONAL love you are talking about?!?.. I certainly miss my dogs SOOOO much. Sophia seems to be a beautiful personality & Her Majesty’s photography deserves to be in a very special place.
    Happy thanksgiving to you all & enjoy the special menu.

    • Bizou says:

      Ps: Happy Birthday Sofia.

      • Francesca says:

        Thank you for your lovely words, Bizou! I have many friends who have lost their beloved dog and, after a while, adopted a new one. Honestly, I don’t understand how they could do it! I have always thought that they were replacing one creature with another.
        However, I’m talking about something I don’t have direct experience of. I have recently realized my feelings for Sofia and I don’t even want to think about the day she will not be with us anymore.

  6. sabine says:

    A beautiful declaration of love, Francesca! Happy first birthday to the pretty, pretty lady dog! And your little one´s Halloween menu surely gives a glimpse on the future cook & foodie 🙂
    Have a lovely remaining week!

  7. Oh Francesca, this post brought the biggest smile to face and warmed my heart completely. I am SO happy that Sofia has found a special place in your heart. It’s funny how puppies can make our lives hectic and crazy but the love they show the minute you walk in the door is enough to make your heart melt. I’m so happy for your whole family 🙂

    • Francesca says:

      Thank you sweet Heather! I know you and Matt can understand me very well since you are going through the same situation with Mia … well without all my drama and hysterical behaviors of course! 😉

  8. milkandbun says:

    Lovely post, Francesca! Happy birthday to gorgeous Sofia! 🙂 I’m sure your family is very happy with such cuty dog!

  9. Amanda says:

    This is so beautiful. Sofia is so sweet and I love your description of unconditional love. I’ve been thinking a lot about the topic lately, debating about having Magesties if/when and it was just so sweet and real to see you kind of going through the emotions here. I love the menu by the way!

    • Francesca says:

      Thank you, Amanda!
      Having Majesties is the most wonderful thing and the love of a parent for his child is truly unconditional. Let me share with you my experience hoping that it might help you during your “decision process”.
      For many years, motherhood was not even an option for me. I was very focused on my career and social life.
      When we finally decided to have Her Majesty, I had done lots of the things I wanted to do back then. Never, not even once, during the past years, I felt like I gave up my dreams to be a mother. And believe, when you are exhausted, not regretting your past life helps … a lot!
      The baby’s first years are fantastic yet totally “monopolized”. A mother has a key role and she cannot be replaced, not even by a very cooperative father. Your life will revolve around the baby for a long time.
      So here is my word of advice if I may: be sure to be in a good place with your body, your mind and your dreams before starting your motherhood journey. In my experience, happy babies come from happy families. There is no other way.
      F. Xx

      • Amanda says:

        What a beautiful comment. I completely agree. And that’s what I’ve been trying to do. I don’t want to project my dreams onto a child. I want to live them and have that be a contagious sentiment. Thanks for your advice. I really appreciate your candid answer. xo.

  10. Beautiful Sophia, I cannot tell you how heartwarming and beautiful your post is. Your relationship with Sophia is so special. Reading what you wrote made me cry and remember my sweet Izzy, it is 2 weeks today that she passed. I think Sophia is very special and so are you for loving her, the love of a pet is almost indescribable and very deep. So glad that Sophia is ok after the scare.

    • Francesca says:

      I’m so sorry, Suzanne! I didn’t mean to be insensitive or upset you in any way. Of course, you miss your sweet Izzy beyond any words. I’m afraid this feeling will accompany you for a long time. Somehow, they leave a print in our hearts that is meant to last forever.

  11. Mary says:

    Oh wow, I am so happy for you Francesca – it’s a wonderful read, heartfelt and I know she is the light of your life. How great is this! Wonderful first birthday wishes to Sofia, love seeing your Halloween treats, but most happy to read how connected you two have become. BTW, your pictures of Sofia are priceless ~

  12. Fig & Quince says:

    Who are you and what have you done with Francesca? Ha ha, just kidding. What a heartfelt and heartwarming and just … delightful post. I’m happy to read about this glorious love affair and I must compliment Sofia on her beautiful mane and very gracious manners as she posed for her birthday portrait. What a lady she’s turned out to be! (Although being under your tutelage, I’m not a bit surprised.) Happy birthday to the pretty and wonderful Sofia and LOVE the photo and the menu by Her Majesty! A round of hugs to all concerned! xxxx

    • Francesca says:

      You are right! Some good and caring spirit must have taken over my body and my brain while I was writing this post! 😉
      As you know, it was not love at first sight for me but Sofia won my heart eventually. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and, sometimes, softer. Or maybe it was just meant to be. Who knows? Only time will tell! 🙂

  13. Oh Sofia is beautiful Francesca and those adorable eyes are enough to melt anyone’s heart! The puppy phase is tricky for pretty much everyone… always nice to get through and for life to get back to some kind of normality. The love that you have for her now will last a lifetime! Happy 1st Birthday to your furry child! Happy Halloween too for next week – looks like you’re in for a magical night! 🙂

    • Francesca says:

      Thank you very much, Margot! It looks like you know what I’m talking about… am I detecting a dog lover? 😉

      • Funnily enough our dog’s name is Sophie! She’s a rather shy, very sweet natured and endearing little 3 year old Havanese. For the first couple of months after we brought her home she wouldn’t leave my side… she was so incredibly clingy… if I moved to the other side of the island bench in the kitchen, she would up and move to find another spot where she could see me. She would sleep on her little bed beside my side of the bed where she could hear me breathing at night time. I found it really hard initially, but thankfully she has relaxed a lot these days… and the love definitely goes both ways! My eldest child put it quite nicely when he said that “she’s the glue that holds the family together”! 🙂 Hopefully there’s a little more than the dog holding us together… but such a sweet thing to say all the same. 😉

      • Francesca says:

        Now I see! 🙂 I’m sure there is much, much more! Children have the simplest yet the sweetest life perspective. After all, Her Majesty keeps saying that Sofia is the family member she loves the most! 🙂

  14. Antisocial Patty says:

    I’m so happy for all of you! I’m very much a dog person, and I believe everyone is, they just haven’t met the right dog yet. 🙂 Cheers!

  15. Raphaelle says:

    Happy birthday Sofia! Dogs are so loyal – I could not live without them! And yours is cutie ❤

  16. Hello Francesca,

    Firstly a very happy belated first birthday to Sofia and congratulations to Her Majesty on her photograph, artful displays and not forgetting her ‘interesting’ Halloween menu. I am glad that Sofia has found a special place in her your heart and I am sorry to hear of the worry and distress you had during the summer when she was sick. Thankfully she was ok. This post is heartwarming. 😉

    • Francesca says:

      Thank you, B. Yes, it was an awful experience but, thank goodness, the next morning she was fine and has been ever since.
      Her Majesty is having fun picking from me and Stefano. She has a great eye and she knows exactly what she likes. Not bad for a eight year old girl! 🙂

  17. Sophie33 says:

    Sofia looks like a really cool & beautiful dog! xxx Beautiful pics too! x

  18. It’s very strange because only this morning I was thinking about you and Sofia and thought that you had not to my knowledge mentioned Sofia for a long time. I didn’t have to wonder long because here is your post!! So pleased you have fallen in love with her. Dogs are very special and it is an unconditional love.

    • Francesca says:

      Happy to hear that Sofia and I were in your thoughts! 😉 I’m not very good at expressing my feelings and it took me some time to open my heart to Sofia. Oh well! What can I say? She is too adorable! 🙂

  19. Liz says:

    Sofia would have stolen my heart too. Beautiful photos with great colour combinations. Happy Birthday Sofia!

  20. Karen says:

    Your family life with Stefano, Her Majesty and Sofia sounds like a new adventure every day…just lovely and fun. 🙂

  21. mmmarzipan says:

    Happy birthday to gorgeous Sofia! ❤ heartwarming post!

  22. Dina says:

    A very much belated HAPPY ❤️ BIRTHDAY to beautiful Sofia! All the best for the coming year! 🙂
    Excellent photos capturing the unconditional love in her eyes. Thank you for this ❤️ warming post, So good to see that the puppy story got a happy end with lots of fun! 🙂
    👍 to Her Majesty, well done!
    A wet nose 😘 kiss for the Birthday girl 🌟💫✨
    Dina

  23. What a lovable face! There’s nothing like the love from a dog.

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