Monday, May 09, 2011

Mothers Day 2011

I got to see both of my mothers this past mothers day.
The one who raised me and the one who raised my precious Sevy.

Sev and I packed our bags (yet again) and headed up the road Friday evening.
We drove all the way from Columbia, SC to Asheville, NC with both dogs and a truck packed to the brim with camping gear.  We were hoping to get to the Biltmore before dark, but we didn't quite make it.  We ended up pitching our tent in the dark, but that was okay, at least we made it with no doggy throw up accidents!! Molly is doing so much better with her car sickness issues.
We woke Saturday morning to a gorgeous view...the Biltmore estate? NO.  A field full of horses!!..and the Biltmore estates, which is a beautiful location, but I loved seeing all of the horses even better.
We cheered my mother-in-law on as she competed in a 50 mile endurance ride on her sweet horse, Elle.
It was the first ride I've ever had the chance to watch Sue compete in, she and her horse are an amazing little team.
I only wish I had taken my camera!!! I could not believe I had forgotten it!!
Molly was a little hesitant around all of the tall, strange looking, long faced creatures at first...but after awhile she seemed to just as comfortable around them as they were her.
In between ride check-ins,  I took Molly for walks, we played fetch and even introduced her to her first river encounter-where she promptly charged into the water before she realized what it was and then freaked out.
She was such a good little dog, everyone wanted their turn at petting her soft fur. 
Ali was no exception, he always charms anyone he comes in contact with.  He is such a little ham and crowd pleaser.  I think both dogs had a lot of fun and were exhausted on the ride back to Inman, SC on Saturday afternoon.

On Saturday evening, I got to see my mom!  We spent the evening throwing tennis balls and a frisbee for Molly.  We retired to the back porch when the sun went down and just enjoyed the warm weather. 
Sunday morning we woke up and enjoyed breakfast together...breakfast that my mom cooked for us!  It's okay, you can say it.....Bless her heart! I know! However, if you know my father, then you know I've never been allowed in moms kitchen.  Nope.  True story, when I was little I used to try and watch mom while she cooked, dad would come into the kitchen and sternly say "OUT!...out of the kitchen! No children in the kitchen!!" He would say it was because kids have dirty hands and he couldn't trust our hands being clean...but I think he was just afraid mom would make a mistake cooking his dinner if she had us rugrats running around under foot ;-) 
Still, to this day, he gives us the stink eye if we're anywhere near the kitchen when mom is cooking.  Therefore, mom got to cook her own breakfast.  So sad.  It's okay though, because I never really got to watch mom cook, I don't really know how to! So it was probably a good thing I didn't get the chance to cook my mother breakfast for mothers day.
I really do have a great mother and I thank God for her daily.
Yesterday evening our preacher spoke on the importance of mothers passing down their faith and teaching their children about Jesus. 
Sometimes, in my crazy life, I forget just who it was that taught me my morals, who raised me to love the Lord, who first read the Bible to me and who wrestled me into my tights on Sunday mornings so that we could make it to church on time (or close to it).
I am blessed to have a mother who raised her daughter to know the Lord.
I am blessed to have a mother that, even when her daughter pushed every one of her buttons, threw a tantrum, insisted that she knew what was best for her life, and did everything completely backwards from the norm, still loves me unconditionally.

Happy Mothers Day Mom, I love you :-)

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Tybee or not Tybee?

That really isn't a question...just go with it.
Sev and I spent last weekend on Tybee Island, GA.  Well, he spent last weekend...I spent a little more than a weekend, I took Monday off of work (my first vacation day of the year!) to spend a "girls only" night on Sunday.
We seriously had the best time.  We ate a lot (I'm blessed with friends and neighbors that REALLY know how to cook) we lounged around a lot, we soaked up a lot of sun (some of us more than others...poor Sev, he's currently a nice shade of Red), we (us girls) read a lot and we all laughed a lot.
I also....
wait for it....
took some pictures!!

On Friday evening, Sev and I loaded up the car and headed down the road...we were Georgia bound baby!
This would be my first trip to's true what they say, it looks a lot like Charleston.
When we arrived at our destination, we unloaded our car, took a tour of the wonderful house that would be our home away from home and then headed straight for the porch for some card games and relaxation with our friends.

 After some time, it got a little chilly on the porch (well, us girls got chilly...the guys tried to convince us it was warmer than it felt), so we took our games and laughter inside. 

This is Christie...Hi Christie!!!...her sweet parents own a share of the GORGEOUS house we stayed at and allowed our bunch to take over one of their weeks.
The house was spacious, we all had our own rooms and bathrooms...I wish I remembered to take pictures of the place...but I did remember to take a picture of the elevator!  Yep, the house had an elevator and it didn't take long before we were all taking turns (like a bunch of kids) riding the elevator from the bottom floor on up.


                                                                  Aren't we sweet!?
                                             (please ignore the horrid shine on my forehead, geesh!  You go through out your entire highschool carrier with not a blemish or oil slick one and then BAM! One day you wake up and reality hits you smack in the face-literally.)
 Saturday morning found us lounging on the beach.  We watched a group of dolphins play just a few short yards out from us.  We read beachy novels.  We stuck our toes in the water.  Christie and I took a walk on the beach.  We people watched (WHAT?! Doesn't everyone do that on the beach?) and we worked on our tan.

 **The adorable basket in the picture above was my Easter basket this year.  I have the sweetest Easter bunny :-)...(What? Don't all 27 year olds have Easter bunnies?!)

After our day out on the beach, the girls came back to the house and then took off on a nice-long-bike ride around the island.  The bike I was on did not agree with my overly long legs and awkwardly short torso...but I really enjoyed the ride.  Christie was our tour guide and along with showing us the different attractions, she kept us laughing....(and pedaling...she showed no mercy).

Saturday night we all enjoyed a huge pile of beufort stew (or frogmore stew, or low country boil, or whatever you might call it).  It's one of our favorite meals anytime we all get together, so it only made sense to make it while on our beach trip.  This below picture is after we had filled our plates...I forgot to take a before shot...maybe it was the bike ride that had my tummy growling.
 Emily Ann made tomato was SO good!!  She even made an entire gluten free one for Christie.

 The guys left on Sunday while the girls packed yet another beach bag and headed for the sandy shores.  Below is a picture of the Tybee pier.  The beach house was located just a few short yards down from the pier, so our spot on the beach was pretty proved to be a good spot for people watching.
 We lounged around on the beach most of the day, as a matter of fact we only left the beach because the tide threatened to chase us into the sand dunes.  However, the lounging didn't stop there, we just took up our lounging on the front porch of the house and watched the waves roll in from the safety of a relaxing porch swing.
We finally peeled ourseleves away from all of the relaxing and gave in to our bellies.  We traded our bathing suits for sun dresses and headed to the closest seafood restaurant on the island.

We fell alseep on Sunday night to the news of bin ladens death. 
Monday morning we woke up, and I forced myself to pack my relaxing vaca was coming to an end.  We headed to a local breakfast diner.  It was featured in Southern Living, so we just had to give it a try.  We found ourselves waiting in a line outside until it was time to eat.  The front door was plastered with signs that were very specific to what we, the customers, were expected to do if we wanted to have a meal at the diner.

 On our way out of town we drove into downtown Savannah and took a quick detour on river street. 
 Our weekend vacation was over entirely too soon...I hope to visit again real soon!

Food Frenzy

One of the best ways to wear an active dog out is actually through mental exhaustion rather than physical.  One common misunderstanding in dog owners is that they have to run their dog to death in order to wear them out.  In most dog breeds, it's nearly impossible to physically wear a dog out. 
One old school method of dog training is to mentally challenge your dog through their own natural hunting instinct. 
Basically, you take a hand full of dog food and toss it out into the backyard.  The dog uses their nose to "hunt" the food and in the process they mentally wear themselves out.
After they are finished eating, you have one sleepy pup on your hands!
We use this method with Molly, only we use a Kong feeder.  It's a large red, hollow, Kong shaped, toy/food dispenser.  The bottom of the toy is weighted, which causes the toy to bobble around when Molly noses it or forces it over with her paws.  There is a small hole cut out in the side of the feeder that dumps the occasional kibble out onto the floor.  Molly knows her food is in the toy.  However, she is forced to use her natural instincts and little puppy mind to extract her food.
It literally takes Molly a good 30 minutes and then some, to finish her entire meal...which used to take her all of 5 minutes.  After her meal, she's ready for a nap! She is honestly, worn out from tackling the food dispensing toy.
There is one con when using this method, she sometimes sends food kernels flying all over our floor...however, between she and Ali, I've yet to find any left over after the feeding frenzy ends. (though I do swiffer a lot more now days)
Molly may be smart enough to get the Kong to dispense her food...but the real Einstein award goes to Ali.  That rascal has it figured out...he sits back and waits while Molly spins and knocks the Kong around...then when the food goes flying...he's there quick as lightening.  Such a smart little Brussels.

Here are some pictures that make me smile. 
Little man not only steals Molly's food, but her chew sticks too.  He hasn't quite figured out that Molly is larger than he is...and in some cases, so are her toys!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Wait For It

I love working with Molly.  She's a lot of fun to work with, one of the easiest dogs I've tried to "train".
Yesterday we starting working on the "Wait" and "ok" command.
Molly already knows "Sit" "Leave it" and "off".
I started with  her tennis ball, she lovees her tennis ball.
After we played fetch for a while (to relieve some of her pent up energy) I took her ball and made her sit.  I sat her ball a few feet in front of her and said "wait" while holding my hand out in front of her.  She hardly moved, but when she would I would make a noise and say "NO".  Before long she was sitting and waiting.  I then clapped my hands and said "Okay!" and let her retrieve the ball.  She seemed to like the new game, so we played for about 15min.  Once she had the whole "waiting on the ball" concept down pat...I moved it up a level and grabbed her bag of treats.  Below are pictures of Molly demonstrating the "wait" command.

(See the little brown dot on the floor, it's a treat)
                                                                   Wait for it.
                                                  Trust me, the treat was gone in seconds.

I broke a milkbone in half and started all over.  I love these pictures, I wish I had used the video option on my camera, but I didn't...sorry.  However, you can still see the frustration and yet determination in her face.
She kept moving from side to side and would flop down on the floor some too.  However, she never once tried to snatch the treat before I said "Ok".
                                                            Wait for it.
                                                        Still waiting...
                                                 Oh the misery! She flops herself down in front of the treat.
                        Snout inches away...but she waits.  Head resting on her front paws....oh the temptation!       

                                           She scoots her way back beside me and looks up.
                            "Pleassse say "ok" please say "ok" pleassse oh please oh please"
                                      "Maybe I can just stretch towards it....just a little"

                                          "A little bit more...."

"Oh for the love of Pete!...I can't take this anymore!!"


                                                                  ...and it's gone.
                                                               What a good girl!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Toy Trouble

One problem with a large breed puppy....they can get to things that little dogs can't reach. 
Molly has a toy basket, it is a hand-me-down from Ali (who rarely, if ever, has the desire to play with toys anymore).
Molly is all about the basket.  It does not matter where I place the basket in the house, she finds it and (if she can reach it) brings it back down to her level.
I caught her in action here:

                                                     "There has to be a ball in here!"


                                                              "Where is the ball?" 

"It has got to be in here...somewhere!"

She soon realizes I'm in the room.  She knows she is busted.

She still has time to locate her ball...I'm too busy snapping pictures.
I get left with the mess of toys to pick up.
Don't look so smug Molly.

(PS. No I do not have a rug that changes the time I finished picking up her toys, she had already run from the sunroom to the living room with her ball)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Puppy Problem Numero Uno

**Warning: This will be nasty, if you're not a dog lover or have a weak stomach, read no more! However, if you can handle it, continue can laugh at me later.**

The day we brought Molly home was such an exciting day for me.
I got home from work, jumped into Sevs truck and we headed to the farm to pick up our pup.

After saying goodbye to the sweet breeder and Molly’s littermates, we loaded our new puppy into the back seat of Sevs truck and headed down the road. The farm where we got Molly was in the middle of nowhere. No sooner had we pulled out of the dirt driveway and onto the dirt road, Molly began to panic. I quickly realized...Molly had never been in a car before! Uh oh.
I climbed out of the passenger seat and into the back seat of the truck. I scooped my long legged puppy up and placed her in my lap. I tried to calm her down and reassure her that the world was not coming to an end. Sev eased the truck down the dirt road and soon we were on interstate 20. Sev had just signaled his way over into the far left lane and was passing a few other vehicles when I looked down at Molly and saw "the look".

The look that every dog makes when they are about to....

throw up.

She was panting, drooling and within seconds she was making the gagging noise I'm all too familiar with.

I didn't have time to stop and think, I cupped my hands together, shoved them under her nose and watched as she deposited a pile of warm, wet, digested dog food, into my hands. Gross! (I warned you).

Severyn couldn't contain his laughter, or his amazement that I knew what was coming before she actually threw up. We were still in the left lane on the interstate, switching lanes was not yet an option as we had cars beside us and directly behind us. Sev rolled down the window and I prepared to...well I can't really think of a proper way to describe what I was intending to do, but you get the picture...then I thought better of the idea. I realized one of three things would likely happen.

One-the digested dog food would fly back inside the window and I would have an even bigger problem.
Two-the car behind me would forever hate me.
Three-my wedding ring set would fly off of my wet hand as I flung my hands out of the window.

None of those options were actual options in my mind. So I patiently as I could, hands cupped together, digested dog food oozing between my fingers, and one sick puppy laying in my lap. Severyn passed the cars beside us as quickly as he could, turned off onto the next exit and pulled over onto the side of the road. I did the best I could to wash my hands with a cup of water and napkins from the glove box. Needless to say I was disgusted.

We headed home as quickly as possible.

We made it a block away from our house when I was lucky enough to be the recipient of yet another heaping handful of doggy throw up. Again, there was no time to think, cupped hands and quick reflexes left me with the prize.

It's a good thing I love my dogs...and have a strong stomach when it comes to anything dog related.

Huh...maybe I should have been a vet after all!

Stay tuned, that was just puppy problem number one...puppy hood is anything but easy.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dog Blog

Just about everyone that knows me, knows my love for dogs. 
I'm not sure where my passion for the animal comes from, but I've heard stories about my mother gathering all of the neighborhood dogs up, loading them into my grandmothers car and then pretending to drive them around-while safely parked in the driveway of her childhood home.  She grew up with dogs and in return I grew up with dogs, mostly labs and a handful of mutts.  When my father finally put his foot down and allowed us to have no more dogs, I simply went to my grandmother and explained why owning a dog was very necessary.  Between the ages of...oh maybe 9 and 20...I had talked my grandmother into bringing home over 9 dogs (possibly more...actually probably many more).  I believe we had some form of every breed known to man. 
As fate would have it, I married a man that shares my love for dogs.  For our one year anniversary we brought home our wild man, Ali.  He's part Brussels griffon, part human.  Basically he's the ruler of our household, all 7 pounds of him.
Since we've had Ali, I've rescued, fostered and re homed a handful of other dogs-2 of them with the intention of keeping but ended up finding new (read: better) homes for...which was really okay with me, I knew that even though their forever home was not with me that I had still saved a pound puppies life and they were better off.
However, I always yearned for my "big dog".  I told anyone that would listen that I would live on a farm someday and have my "big dog". 
Well, I don't live on that farm just yet, but last month Sev and I welcomed that "big dog" into our life.

Meet Molly
I honestly can't say how many hours (read: time I should have been working or spent cleaning my house) researching breeds. 
I started to feel that familiar tug on my heart every time we passed a dog on the street.  I would try and squelch my "big dog" desire by walking Ali but after a short block or two he reminded me that I worked for him, not the other way around and he ended up in my arms.  He just isn't all "dog"...and I wanted a DOG.  A dog I could walk, train, play fetch with, take to the park, take hiking and just do general "dog" things.
Severyn came home a little over a month ago and informed me that he would be graduating (for sure!) in exactly one year from this coming May.  I had tried telling myself that we would wait until he was finished with school and were tucked away in my dream farm house, before we got our big dog.
The more I tried to talk myself into waiting, the harder it became.
Shortly after my father informed me that he would be giving up our shared hobby of dirt bike riding.  I was beyond crushed, words can't really even describe how sad I was (still am).  I loved (love) the sport, but I knew-deep down-that my riding days were over.  I just can't see enjoying the sport without my riding partner, my dad.
I decided if I was going to give up my bike, I was going to have to take on a hobby that I loved/enjoyed just as much.  That hobby being hiking and camping...and that included my big dog!
I continued my research, called numerous kennels, vets, breeders, dog trainers and family members...and decided on a breed.  Sev and I visited a local litter of pups on a Wednesday.  I made Sev promise that we would not take a puppy home that same day, I reallllly wanted to think about everything just one last time.  I walked away that evening with my heart in the palm of a puppy paw.  By Friday I had written out an entire schedule proving that we could take proper care of a puppy.  I could walk her in the mornings before leaving for work, Sev comes home for lunch so he could let her out during the middle of the day, he is also home most days before 4pm so she would not be left alone for long. 
On that Friday Sev helped me pull the "big dog" crate from the attic, we assembled it, filled water and food bowls, grabbed a package of dog treats and went to pick up our puppy.

Molly is a Shepadoodle.  She is half German Shepherd, half Standard poodle.  She does not shed a bit of hair.  I'm talking, you can take your hand and firmly grasp her fur, yank it and nothing, not one hair, will be left in your hand.  She is a combination of two of the top three ranked most intelligent dog breeds, of course I think she's smart.  She will be a big dog, but she has a lot of the "lazy" poodle in her as well, so she's great indoors.  So far she has been fairly quick at picking up basic commands.

However, all of that being said...puppies are hard work!  They take a lot of time, dedication, patience, guidance and attention.  Molly is a lot of fun, but a lot of hard work too.  She is all puppy and likes to test my patience, but luckily I prepared myself for the challenge and so far everything is going okay.
I'll probably start blogging a good bit about Molly, the good and the bad. 
A "puppies first year" kind of thing.  Maybe along the way I can connect with others that decide to "take the puppy challenge"...or if you're even thinking that a puppy may be in your near future....well....I can give you one trillion good reasons why you NEED a dog, just ask my grandma, cousins, family and friends. ;-)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Wouldn't It Be Nice...

if I posted pictures!? Sorry, again no pictures...but if you like, you may read on to hear about my weekend.

As soon as I returned home from work Friday afternoon, I met Sev at the door (he had just returned from dropping our pups off at the kennel) and we headed next door to our neighbors.

We quickly loaded up the car, packed it full mind you (this is where pictures would really come in handy) and then five of us loaded in and headed down the road to Charleston.
We had big plans and we were ready to get the show on the road! (what does that mean exactly? show on the road?? Whatever it means...we were ready to go!)
Along the way, we munched on white trash (powdered sugar, peanut butter, chocolate chex mix) and passed the time by talking non-stop (shocked? hello-I was in the car!).

We arrived in Charleston just as our hosts were arriving home with pizza.  We unloaded the car, ate pizza and just enjoyed time with our friends.  We played a few rounds of catch phrase and laughed hysterically well into the night.
Christie graduated from College of Charleston and pretty much knows all there is to know about downtown Charleston.  I thought I knew plenty, but she quickly proved that just being from South Carolina doesn't mean you know all there is to know.  The atmosphere was fun, we stayed just a few short blocks off of King street...which meant, we got to walk everywhere.  That is one thing I love about Charleston, you can walk or ride your bike to pretty much anywhere you want to go.  Saturday morning we woke up to the Charleston sun peeping through the blinds.  We all threw on our bathing suits and headed out the door.  We had a beach party planned and the bus that would take us to the party location, the Windjammer, was scheduled to leave by 11am.  We walked a short distance to the bus stop and boarded our ride. 
We had the best time at the beach.  It was all you could eat BBQ...and it was all I could do to STOP eating the boiled peanuts.  Christie and I participated in a water balloon toss, where we lost after I managed to catch the balloon only to have it burst all over me in the process.  We watched a few tug of war competitions and played a little corn hole.  The girls walked down to the ocean, stuck our toes in and then ran back to the party, the water was still a bit too cold.
We had fun and I soaked up too many sun rays, by the time we returned home, I was sporting a lovely new tan line. 
After the beach party, we didn't have much time before we were scheduled to attend the 2011 Charleston Affair alumni party.  The girls rushed to take showers, fix our hair, fuss over what dress looked best on some of our sun kissed (read: burned) bodies, and then pose for pictures.  We then rushed the guys to get ready.  When the last tie had been tied and the last picture had been snapped...we took off on foot and headed to the College.  It dropped all of three rain drops on us the entire walk, we were relieved as all weekend the news reports kept saying there was a possible tornado threat. 
Sev and I had fun meeting new people, mingling with our friends and trying to pretend we knew how to dance.  I tried to learn how to shag, but I seriously give up on ever learning that...again, just because you're from South Carolina, doesn't mean you can do everything southern. 

We slept in on Sunday and then walked down to King street for some quick shopping and then lunch at the kicken' chicken.  We headed home shortly after lunch, unpacked the car, dropped our luggage inside the house and then Sev and I quickly took off to retrieve our furbabies.  When we returned home our sweet neighbor Rachael invited us to dinner, she is an amazing little cook and we love dinner invites from her!  After dinner we hung around for a bit, trying to soak up the last few minutes left of the weekend.

Today, I'm exhausted...but I can't complain.  I love spending time with friends and laughing the weekend away.