Tag Archives: labradoodle

Winning At Life!

19 Jul

OMG YOU GUYS.

THIS.

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I don’t even care that it’s mostly full of beverages and condiments.  It’s MINE.newfridge.2

Bonus:  We got it in the scratch and dent section (it has one little dent in the freezer door, which is barely even noticeable) for oh….almost $1200 off the original ticketed price.  I feel like having a Duck Tails moment and rolling around in gold coins right now!  Bwahahahaha!  I’m winning at life!!!  And…done.

Here’s another reason I’m winning:  When I got home from vacation, Mother Nature + my MIL had taken such excellent care of my plants that they are doing great.

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It’s day 44 for the container garden and everything is blossoming.  Both jalapeno plants look just like this, I’ve got one small bell pepper and the eggplant just flowered today.  We’ve been eating leaf lettuce for weeks!  In August, I might try my hand with some more lettuce, spinach, peas, and either rutabagas or kohlrabi.

And because two potential forever homes had to back off at the last minute, we’ve still got this little nugget hanging out with us!

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He is perfect in almost every way.  He’s very smart and listens so well!  It makes me wonder how his brothers and sisters are doing at their forever homes.  We’ve gotten a few photo updates, but no calls.  He is also house trained, which will make his transition that much easier.  The more time he spends with his parents, the better.  They are teaching him all about being a good boy.  He is especially enjoying all the QT he gets with his daddy.

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Sorry for the blurriness, I was afraid that if they noticed me they might move!

What’s going on in your neck of the woods?  Are you dying from the heat wave as well?

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5 Thing Friday

28 Jun

Writing this so late on Friday night seems like cheating but….I MAKE THE RULES.

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1.  Unless you live in your family’s old Y2K shelter (see how I dated myself there?), you have heard the excellent news that the Supreme Court ruled DOMA unconstitutional.

via Hollywood Reporter

I cried.  I cried even though Pennsylvania doesn’t yet allow Christina and I to tie the knot.  Not that she’s made any moves yet.  AHEM.  I don’t even care – I’m just so happy that the country I love is one step closer to equality.  According to Human Rights Campaign, 30% of gay Americans now live in states where they have equal rights.  I hope that you realize how epic this all is.  We are living through the next wave of the civil rights movement.  When we have children, we will get to talk about them how we fought for our right to love against all the odds.  P.S.  I can’t stop looking at the cover of  The New Yorker.  That rules.

2.  How have I gone my entire life without trying spaghetti squash?  It’s basically the easiest thing in the world to make and it tastes like al dente angel hair pasta.  It’s like the perfect pasta substitute.  I’m not a huge fan of pasta…it’s just so heavy.  So from now on, when the wife is craving pasta I am fulling whipping myself up some spaghetti squash!  I cut the squash in half, scooped out the seeds just like a pumpkin, and laid them core side down on a cookie sheet covered in water.  I baked it for about an hour at 350F.  You know it’s done cooking when you squeeze it with a towel and its soft.  Then, you shred the flesh with a fork and it looks just like spaghetti.

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3.  Remember when I impulsively threw myself into container gardening?  Not too shabby, right??  Well just like the gays, all of the plants are beating the odds!  Below you can see a side-by-side of my lettuce on the day I planted it and today, day 24.  I’ve even harvested some and it’s still awesomely bushy.  There are all ready jalapeno peppers growing, the bell pepper and eggplant plants are starting to show blooms.  Fingers crossed!!

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4.  Oh haiiiiiiiii.

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Don’t mind us, we are just 8 weeks old and practically grown!  By Monday, 5 of the puppies will be with their forever homes and my heart will be just broken.  It’s all part of the process.  If you want to read some updates about their lives up to this point, click here or here or here.

5.  The Senate missed the July 1st deadline to vote on student loan rates.  Now, student loan rates are doubling to 6.8%.  What the hell.  Whyyyyyyyyyyy are we continually punishing for earning an education.  Banks get bailed out, people live of off welfare, and now I have to pay 6.8% back on a money I borrowed to pay for some overpriced state credits.  Pssshhhh.

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34 Days

8 Jun

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May 22nd – Week Three:

This week the doodles are getting much stronger.  They are starting to walk around much better, although they still look like drunks stumbling around the whelping box.  They put their front paws waaaaaay out in front of them and then lean into their steps hard.  It really is like watching a toddler learning to walk.  They do a LOT of sleeping.  The only time they get up is really to eat or go to the bathroom, still assisted by mum.  But, midway through week three there is a big change!  One morning we wake up and head to the box and there are a few little peepers trying to focus on us!  Puppies don’t just open their eyes all of a sudden, its gradual.  The corners near the nose open first and you can see filmy little eyes and subtle blinking.  After about a day or so, their eyes are fully open but they still can’t focus on things.  They can follow light, so when one of us walks by, they follow us.  By the end of the week, we find that they are staring at us – they are very, very observant.  Oh, and teeth!  They are most definitely getting in their teeth.  At first, it was just swollen gums towards the back, but sure enough their sharp little puppy teeth are now out in full force.  They are chewing on each other constantly.

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Week Four

Last week, the doodles were only awake for feedings.  They would literally narc out about 5 minutes after they were done eating – sometimes not even that long!  This week, they are staying up for longer and longer periods of time.  About three times a day, we take them out of the whelping box and have structured play time.  “Structured” is really just putting a blanket down in the middle of the floor and letting them explore.  So far, the dominant ones seem to be the big yellow boy (obviously, he is a beast!), the big black girl, and the fluffiest black boy.  The dogs love to bark at each other and at us and at inanimate objects.  Mostly at inanimate objects.  They are really starting to romp with one another, getting bouncier by the day!  Towards the end of week four, we gave them a taste of some canned puppy food.  Boy, did they go crazy.  A little too crazy.

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They are still nursing with Hallie, but we start to soak some hard puppy food in warm water and let it sit until its nice and gummy.  Since their teeth are in enough to handle harder food, we let them go at it twice a day.  They are still weary of water.  They walk up to the water dish and stick their whole noses in, then they sneeze and gag.  I feel horrible because I know exactly how awful it feels to get water up your nose, but its so cute to watch them learning.

They also had their first baths this week!  Since no one wants to hang out with 8 stinker-doodles, we did baths in the kitchen sink.  That way, I was able to set up a drying station on the counter and we could get through everyone quickly.  They didn’t love it….but they didn’t hate it either!  Man, did their curls come out like crazy.  They looked like little poof balls when they were done.

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Week Five:

Hallie is only nursing about once a day, mostly just to relieve herself of milk.  Her body doesn’t understand the weaning process and is still producing milk for eight.  The pups are doing great with the solidish food.  Two of the little girls have all ready been placed with their forever homes and we have another family coming over tonight to pick their puppy.  Two of them all ready have names, “Ally” and “Lucy” (below with the black/white collar).  The pups have finally outgrown the whelping box.  They are able to climb out and often do when Hallie walks by.  Even though they are on solid food, when they get a whiff of mum, they go absolutely crazy.  Now, they are penned in the kitchen and we have started paper training.  They are doing pretty good!  During playtime, its kind of squat-where-you-are and we have to move/remind them to “go on the paper” about a hundred times.  In the mornings, when we venture downstairs, the majority of the mess IS on the paper.  Score.  Their hair is getting shaggier and shaggier by the day and the best part?  NO SHEDDING!  We’ve been checking every day and there is no hair or fur coming off these babies.

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Race Recap: John Thompson Memorial 5K

20 May

On Saturday, May 18th 2013 I finished my second 5K.

And y’all, it was h-a-r-d hard.

Let me start at the beginning, though, as it is a very good place to start.

Around 4 a.m. on Saturday morning, Christina woke up to bottle feed the little fading puppy.  He was not doing well at all and he unfortunately passed away in her hands around 4:30 a.m.  We were both feeling devastated, but I forced myself back to sleep because I knew I needed to rest up.  I had intended to get up around 6 a.m. but instead we snoozed the alarms until around 7 a.m.  We were out the door by 7:15 a.m. and on the road.  The race took place an hour and 15 minutes away at my high school, Neshannock Jr/Sr High School.

It was weird pulling into that parking lot for the first time in 11 years.  We arrived about 20 minuteStartingLine2.JT5Ks prior to start time, so I hurriedly put my race bib and chip on and hit the bathroom.  Then, I found my people near the concession stand:  Christina, my mom, my sister, my brother, and my sister’s boyfriend were all huddled around talking.  I scanned the crowd, relieved that I didn’t recognize a single person.  I stretched out as we examined the race map.  The cross country trail is not something that I even knew existed when I attended school at NHS.  With the passing of one of our beloved biology teachers and cross-country coaches, Mr. Thompson (who we all lovingly called Mr. T), the school district breathed new life into the old trail.  They now host this annual 5K race in his honor.

As we lined up at the starting line, I hung near the back of the crowd with my sister and her group of friends.  My brother was lost in the crowd, hanging close to the cross country kids.

I was glad to be out of ear shot of the current cross country coach, who gave a speech to all the runners.  My mom and Christina told me afterwards that he was explaining how difficult the course was, with plenty of hills and winding, newly mulched trails.  He even said something like: “This is a difficult race, don’t expect to beat your 5K PR today.”   I’m glad I missed that reality check because I probably would’ve used it as an excuse not to push myself.

The horn blew and people st1stLoop.JT5Karted moving!  We started near the entrance to the football stadium and ran towards the high school.  Then, we made a loop around this big grassy field where the sports teams sometimes practice.  It was really surreal for me, running on the outside of windows which I used to stare out of. We looped back around to the starting line (below) and then ran past it, behind the field and entered the trail.

As soon as my feet hit the grass, I got a little worried.  Pretty different than the concrete which I’m used to.  I was relieved that the trail was entirely in the shade as it wound through the woods.  There was more winding than I thought was even possible.  I had no idea the woods were that deep!

As we entered the trail head,  I could’ve sworn that I was in the middle of a pack.  But then, as I started running I realized that I was completely alone in the woods.  I had a few minutes where I freaked out, worried that I had fallen behind significantly and hadn’t noticed.  Was I in last place?!  Calm down, you’re fine.  

During mile 1, I just decided to relax and enjoy my solo run through the woods.  There were a decent amount of hills during the first mile.  I ran up the hills in short quick steps and cheered myself on down every hill, catching short glimpses of runners brightly colored shirts in the distance.  I was thankful that no one caught up to me!

When I got to the aid station, I was worried.  It felt like I had been running a heck of a lot longer than I actually was.  I actually tried to run through the aid station, which was a first for me.  I think a few tablespoons made it into my mouth, but the rest was down the front of my shirt.  It cooled me down, so no complaints!

After the first aid station, the course sort of flattened out.  While I was thankful for the flatness, this was about the time I started feeling really strained from the newly mulched trail I was running on.  At one point right before the mile 2 marker, I started walking.  It felt like I was sinking into the ground, not quite as much as walking on sand.  I decided I would exert less energy if I just kept jogging because my feet wouldn’t touch the ground as much.  So that’s what I did.

Right after I passed the mile 2 trail marker, I passed up a slow moving cross country boy.  That made me feel awesome!  Then, around mile 2.5 I passed up 2 more!  Booyahhhhh.  The course looped back around and then you hit the same water station, but from the opposite side.  This time, I slowed down and drank all the water.  Exactly what I needed!

When I emerged from the trail, I could see Christina and my mom waiting for a glimpse of me.  I knew I was almost to the finish line.  Now, I had to run parallel to the football field, around the end zone and into the fence.  To get to the finish line, you had to run 3/4 lap around the track.

Of course, my little race buddy was waiting for me!

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At one point he said to me: “Let’s sprint it out!” and I thought “Um, little dude, I am going as fast as my legs can carry me!”  I finished in 39:13, about 3 minutes shy of my current PR.  I remember glancing up at the race clock as I neared it and feeling disappointed.  I ran more than I had in the Ole 5K and damn it if I hadn’t pushed myself harder.  I mean, I felt exhausted.

Then, Christina and my mom came up and gave me a hug and told me how good I did.  I didn’t beat my previous time, I told them.  Then, Christina told me what the coach said at the starting line.  The difficulty level of this course was much higher than the one I had run in May!  When I heard that, I felt really great about my time.  I may not have set a new PR, but I was pretty darn close to at least matching it!

Not too shabby for my first trail RUN, let alone trail RACE.

After the race, I grabbed a banana and a blueberry Nutrigrain bar and collapsed in the grass.  Once I felt like I had recovered a little, I forced my family to take pictures with me because guess what:  it is also the day I graduated with my masters!  I skipped the commencement ceremony to run the race, so we had to get a few choice pics.

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I promise, they actually do love me.

Then, we packed up and headed back to Pittsburgh.  About 15 minutes later, my mom called me.

“Guess what I just did?” she laughed.  “Um, just picked up your third place medal!”

I could tell by the tone in her voice that she wasn’t joking, but I didn’t understand.  She told me that I placed third in my age group!!

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Not in a million years did I even expect that. To the point that I was all ready on the interstate by the time they announced my name!  That made not setting a new PR feel like no big.  I’ll take it!!  My very first medal ever. In my life.  In 29 years of living without a trophy or medal or athletic accomplishment.  Ironically in the place where I would’ve won a trophy had I been involved with anything.  Its funny how life works, huh?

Here are some of my final thoughts on the details of the John Thompson Memorial 5K:

PRICE:  $20 which benefitted the NHS cross country team.  In addition to a really nice shirt (as far as race shirts go), we got swag bags with random goodies.  I don’t know how I would’ve lived without the Giant Eagle jar opener or the Avon bubble bath or the sweet Noga Ambulance water bottle.  But, stuff is stuff and it was free!

PARKING:  Parking was in the stadium parking lot, obviously free and plentiful.

PRE-RACE/POST-RACE GRUB:  The concession stand at the football field was jam-packed with goodies:  Dunkin Donuts bagels and donut holes, bananas, apples, oranges, NutriGrain bars, and candy galore.  I grabbed another NutriGrain bar for the road. 🙂

TIMING:  The race was chip timed by SmileyMiles.com and the results were posted within a day or two.

WEATHER:  Gorgeous.  It was mild, in the late 70s.  Since the race was primarily in the shade, I wasn’t effected at all by the heat.  The blue skies sure didn’t hurt, though!

5 Thing Friday

8 Mar

Boy have I been busy lately!  I’ve been pulling longer hours at Changin’ Time, working on some new marketing projects and taking over her♥ hours so she can finish our kitchen.  I’m also in charge of planning the business conference for an association we belong to.  On top of that, we are trying for labradoodles this summer!  It’s not like any one of these things is particularly hard, it just feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day.

Meals have been quick,  easy, or ordered in.  Shame on me, I know. Even the Fish Friday series on the blog has been a dud because we really have found no reason to sway from Holy Angels, which we will be having again tonight.  Its hard to find motivation to attend another fish fry when Holy Angels’ is sooooooo good.  ♥

Instead of a Fish Friday post, I thought I would take some time to mention a some new-to-me things that I’ve tried this week.

1.  One of the items in our CostCo haul this week was almond butter.  I normally avoid the non-perishable sections of the store because it seems like too much to purchase for just 2 people.  But, I couldn’t resist:

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I’ve been eating more bagel thins and bananas because of my running, so this will be a nice, healthy treat.  I had some on my banana today and I give it two thumbs up!

2. Since I’ve given up Diet Coke for Lent, last month I purchased a case of SanPellegrino.  Then I realized SanPellegrino has way more sugar in it than I need.  While discussing this with a nice lady at basketball practice, she suggested that I try some sparkling water with fruit essence.  (At CostCo, I found a few options near the Perrier from both Nestle and Deer Park…which coincidentally is also owned by Nestle.)  I bought the Deer Park based on price and size, which comes in four different flavors: lemon, orange (today’s pick), lime, and berry lime.

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The lemon is HORRIBLE.  I don’t know what the hell kind of lemon essence that was supposed to taste like, but ew.  The other three are great.  It has been quite an adjustment for me because SanPellegrino is just so darn sweet and sparkling water has got quite a bite.  But, I know its better for me!

3. Inclines.  Somehow I thought that running on the treadmill without an incline was going to translate into running outside with no problems.

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Yeah, so this week has been interesting.  I’m adjusting and tomorrow is supposed to be semi-warm, so we’ll put it to the test!

4.  Chief and Hallie tied twice this week.  If all the jungle juice goes according to plan, we will have our first litter of champion-bred F1 labradoodles in May.  I am nervous because this will be Hallie’s first litter of puppies.  I am excited because she was seriously so great with Liberty’s last pups.

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She was like the cool aunt that plays all your favorite games with you and takes you to all your favorite places and teaches you about life and then sleeps over your house because you begged and begged her to and does all the cool stuff again the next day.  I’m pretty sure she’s going to be an even better mom than Liberty was (not that she was winning any parenting awards).  We shall see.  🙂

5.  On Sunday, ABC premiered a show called Red Widow.

While I had very little desire to watch it, there just happened to be nothing else to watch or do.  Turns out, it wasn’t that bad.  It follows a wife/mom whose father is a Russian mobster.  Her husband joins the family business and smuggled marijuana into the country, but accidentally gets mixed up with a crimelord.  Someone executes the husband and the wife not only has to repay his debt to the crimelord, but take care of her grieving family, fend off a curious FBI agent, and try to solve her husband’s murder.  Since they cancelled GCB and football season is over, I’ve been looking for something to do on Sunday nights.  Hopefully ABC doesn’t pull the plug because I could potentially enjoy this one.

My life is so very exciting.

 

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