Saturday, February 11, 2017

Training a puppy

It has been one week since we brought Rooney home. It has been a busy week. I forgot how much work a puppy is. After, all it has been almost 14 years since Gracie was a puppy, and I think I blocked her training from my head. I really don't remember house training her. This time around, I did a lot of research before he arrived so I was very prepared.

My research involved reading puppy books, researching how to train a puppy on the internet, and watching you tube videos. The you tube videos actually were (and still are)  a wealth of information. I watched how to bell train, how to crate train, how to stop a puppy from crying in the crate, and how to do sit, stay, and paw.
For the first three days, I cleaned up a lot of poop.  I couldn't get a handle on when he had to go. And he was such a fast little bugger, that I couldn't catch him in time. He didn't have too many pee pee accidents. I was able to stay ahead of that, and as long as I took him out every hour - he didn't have any accidents.
By day four, I was able to finally manage the poop situation and I had somewhat figured out his routine.

In addition, I also am using a clicker. A clicker is just a tool that you use for training. Basically, every time the dog does the desired behavior - you click and then treat him. I like using it because it is consistent. And he got so used to hearing the click - that now when he is going potty, he looks at me and expects to hear the click and get his treat. I also use the clicker for basic training like sit, stay, etc. It is a very effective tool.

One of the most useful things I learned was how to teach the puppy to ring the bell. Basically we hang a bell on the door and every time I take him out, I have him nose the bell or paw at it. And then we go out to go potty. After 5 straight days of doing it consistently - he is ringing the bell to go outside. I have to admit - it is the cutest thing to watch him do it. 

The crate training is going well. He sleeps through the night. The first couple nights, he whined for a few minutes, but then he settled down. Sometimes, when he needs some downtime, we put him in the crate and he naps. My goal was for him to like the crate and not put up a fuss when he has to go in it. So far, so good.

All in all it has been a good week. Unless you want to count the snow we have received. House training is hard work -  but if you add in cold weather and a foot of snow - that makes it slightly more challenging. But, we are getting through it.

So far, Rooney seems like a very relaxed dog. He and Gracie are getting along. He does try to play with her - and if she gets annoyed, she give him a little bark and then he backs down. I actually caught them on the rug together yesterday taking in some sunshine that was streaming through the door.  So they must be taking a liking to each other.

He also likes slippers and shoes. Sometimes he just naps right next to my slippers. And sometimes he tries to eat them. He is a puppy, after all. He can't be all perfect.  Although, he is almost perfection in my eyes. I am completely in love with the little guy.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Welcome Rooney Graber!

We are expanding our family. Yes. That's right. Rooney Graber will be arriving in the beginning of February. We will be the proud owners of a sweet baby puppy.

Let's not forget that we have a dog already. Gracie was our first baby and we got her the year we got engaged. She is turning 14 in March.


Gracie is a cairn terrier. And she is an old lady. Basically she wants to sleep all day. She is, after all 98 in dog years. So- I get it. She is a senior dog and deserves to just hang out and do nothing all day.

We always said that we would get another dog when Gracie is no longer with us. After all, we are dog people. In fact, we love dogs so much that we dog sit periodically. In fact, we were first introduced to the doodle dog when we started dog sitting Molly and  Sam. Molly is a labradoodle and Sam is a schnoodle. We have watched them a couple times per year for the past 5 years. We always love it when they come. They are so fun and they just want to hang out with us. The kids love them too.

Molly and Sam

Anyway, fast forward to the present time. We often talked about what our next dog would be if we ever got another one. And we basically decided that we wanted some type of doodle. We also thought it might be nice to rescue one. Except there was one slight problem. There are not many doodles to rescue. Seriously. I scoured the internet. I looked everywhere. No one just randomly gives up a doodle. And there is a reason for that. Doodles are smart. They are loving. They don't shed. They are sweet. They are good with kids. Who wants to give up that?

So, then I started looking at doodle breeders. You know. Just to see what was out there. And there are many breeders out there. And many types of doodles. Golden doodles, labradoodles, aussie doodles. The list goes on. So many doodles. And they are all so cute. What kind would we pick? Oodles of doodles! So hard to pick just one.

Then one day, my work friend started talking to me about her doodle. She has an Aussie doodle. She started texting me pictures of her dog. And let's just say that it's a good thing she lives in North Carolina. Because otherwise, I might kidnap her dog. He is that cute. I started sending the pictures to Brian. And then all of a sudden we were looking at the breeder where she got her dog from. And what do you know. Her breeder had a litter of puppies born in December and they were ready to be delivered in February!

And then we were picking out a puppy. And then I paid the deposit.


Wait. How did this happen? We still have a dog. Do we really want a puppy? Then that means we will have TWO dogs. Are we a two-dog family?

Well, apparently we are going to be a two-dog family. Here we are. Awaiting our newest member of our family. We will finally have our very own doodle!


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Coat refusal

My kids have coats. Lots of coats. Warm, winter coats that are puffy, and perfect for a cold winter day.

Yet, for some reason, one of my children has has decided to veto those warm coats. Even if it's 20 degrees out. My one child, (Maddie) argues about wearing those lovely, warm coats.

Is this too much to ask for my kid to dress like this everyday?? Apparently, it is.

This is what I hear on a typical morning:

"It's hot on the bus."
"I am not outside except to get on and off the bus, so I really don't need a coat."
"My big coat doesn't fit in my locker."
And my personal favorite:
"I have a high body temperature, and I am never, ever cold. EVER."

So... what's a mom to do?

I basically stopped trying to get her to wear her puffy coat. Instead, she wears a light, fleece jacket. And, then there is silence. No arguments.

It's like bliss people. Pure bliss! A quiet morning with no arguments. Why, yes please. I will take that every single morning.

We did give her a warning that if the bus ever broke down and she had to stand outside for whatever crazy reason, that she just kind of might be cold in 20 degree weather. But, wait. I forgot. My daughter has a "high body temperature, and she is never, ever cold. EVER."

So, I guess she will be fine. Because, you know. She does have a high body temperature. Somehow, she must of inherited that trait from the hot blooded relatives that I didn't know we have.

The coat argument is an argument that I just don't care to fight anymore. If she wants to freeze her little tushy off in her light-weight jacket - then so be it. And she will never admit to me if she is freezing. So, I win. She can suffer in silence.

WINNING, people! I am winning the coat argument!

The other day I realized that my daughter is not the only one that refuses to wear a coat.
I was volunteering on Friday night for 6th grade activity night and I happened to be working the door.

Let me tell you that 98 percent of those kids that entered the building on that cold chilly 25 degree night did not have a coat on!

What to the what???
It's true.
No coats.

And then it all made sense.
How did I not know that ALL the 6th graders are hot blooded. And never, ever cold. EVER.

Duh. It took me this long to figure that one out. But, now I know.

A day in the life of a mock juror

Yesterday I had the opportunity to be a mock juror.
I never even knew opportunities like this existed until 2 weeks ago.

My phone rang one evening, and it was a company that I am registered with to do random market testing. I have done projects with them in the past, but they have been minor projects and I hadn't hear from them in a long time. (Usually the projects consist of some type of survey or taste test.)

This time, they were asking me if I wanted to participate in a mock jury project. It was an all day project on a Saturday, at a local hotel, and I would be paid $225 for my time. They would also feed me breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack.

$225? And food?

Well, sure. Why not? I didn't have anything going on this particular Saturday, and it sounded like it might be an interesting experience.

So they asked me a series of questions to see if I would qualify. (I did).

I received instructions on where to go and what to do, and then all I had to do was show up.

I arrived at the hotel at 7:30. (I actually didn't have to be there until 8. But if I arrived before 7:30, my name was entered in a drawing to receive an additional $75. Unfortunately, I didn't win). Anyway, we had to fill out some questionnaires. After all the paperwork was completed we were moved into another room where we received further instructions.

After the instructions, we were presented the case by the attorneys. I have to admit that I was fascinated. I had expected the day to be boring and long. But, it was really amazing and very interesting. I personally have never served on a jury in real life. So this opportunity actually made me realize how cool it would be to be part of a real jury.

After hearing the case, we then had an opportunity to break into groups, and we actually had to deliberate and come to a unanimous agreement just like a real jury would.

Due to confidentiality reasons, I cannot disclose the name of the marketing company or what the actual case was about. But, I will tell you that I was riveted, and intrigued most of the day. I wasn't bored. In fact, I was fascinated by the details of the case.

When the day ended, I felt like I had completed my civic duty in an odd, sort of pretend way. I would definitely do this again, if I ever have the opportunity. I felt like it was a true learning experience. I felt privileged that I was able to know and understand the details of a real case that will go to trial someday. I also felt like my input will ultimately help the attorneys in preparing their case for the trial. It was...awesome.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Exercise and such

It was a year ago when I started to do more cross training. You can read about that here.

I am happy to say that I am still doing cross training. I am still taking classes, and when my schedule allows, I try to do some type of Boot Camp or core class.

That explains why my running mileage for 2016 was lower than normal. I spent a lot more time cross training and was running less miles. But remember, the cross training ultimately helped me in my runs. So, even though I only ran 851 miles for 2016, I was okay with that because my runs were more efficient.

I also spent time in 2016 running with a group of women who are fast. They are much faster with me, and because of that, it was making me run faster. So, the combination of cross training, and faster runs has been a good challenge for me.

Today, I tried a new boot camp class. This one was 30 minutes. I have to admit, I really like the 30 minute class. It feels like an express class. I am getting my workout in, but it isn't taking a whole hour. Because let's face it...sometimes an hour is hard to fit in. And sometimes I don't want to work out for an hour. Anyway, this 30 minute class was tough. It is hard to believe that something can be so hard for 30 minutes. But the reason is because you are constantly moving and there is little rest time. Today's boot camp consisted of kettle balls, medicine ball figure eights, TRX straps, squatting in one position, and other fun hellish activities.

After 30 minutes of boot camp, I decided I wanted more, and jumped in on a group exercise class that involved a LOT of cardio and jumping.

I think a nap will be in order for later today.

One of my goals for 2016 is to continue with my cross training, and really try to suck it up and do the harder  classes so I can become stronger. Another goal is to run a half marathon. I didn't run a half in 2016. So, I would like to run two this year and get back to my routine of running a spring half and a fall half.

What exercise are you doing? Whatever it is, make it work for you! It's all about being healthy and feeling good.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Resolutions and running recap

I am not one to make resolutions for the new year. The reason is because resolutions tend to fail.
Just look at all those people who join the gym in January. Where did they all go after 2 months?

Anyway...since I am not making resolutions, I am going to make goals.

I think that's a more realistic. Goals can be met over time. And  they are more reasonable and they don't overwhelm me. I can meet a goal on my timeframe and not get all stressed out.

One of my goals for this year is to blog more. I kind of fell of the wagon. And I realized that I miss blogging. I like writing. It gives me an outlet. Plus, it's a great way to look back and see what happened in life (almost like a journal).

Running recap - I added up my miles for 2016. I ran 851 miles. This was lower than last year.
However, I didn't run any half marathons in 2016. In fact, I only ran 3 races and they were at the tail end of the year. And I did a LOT of cross training.  So, I guess I am okay with my lower mileage.

I would like to run a half marathon this year, since I didn't run one in 2016. I need to get on that and figure that out!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

My Pillow Fail

I am sure you all have seen the My Pillow commercials. After all, the owner of My Pillow is ALWAYS on TV raving about his pillows and how great they are. The owner personally guarantees that it will be the most comfortable pillow I will ever own. I will admit I have gotten sucked in many a time to the infomercial. I mean, who doesn't want a great night's sleep where your head is aligned with the rest of your body? I mean, that's not too much to ask. Right?

The owner of My Pillow

I had always thought about buying the pillow. But then the price point stopped me each time. I mean really. Who pays that much for a pillow? I am all about buying the $5 pillow at Target. Those $5 pillows have served me well over the years, and I have no guilt about throwing them out when we need new ones.

Anyway, somehow a few weeks before Christmas, I stumbled upon QVC. And there he was! The My Pillow man. He was on QVC talking up his pillows again. I admit it. I got sucked in. I watched. I watched some more. I decided that this would be a great idea for a Christmas present for Brian. After all, he had gotten sucked in to watching the infomercials with me too. I knew he would appreciate getting a My Pillow.
What man doesn't want a My Pillow for a great night's sleep??!!

QVC happened to have a reduced price, plus it was on EZ Pay. I figured, "Why not?" I called the number. I ordered it. And bam. My Pillow was on its way to my house.

As promised, it arrived 3 days before Christmas. Two pillows came in the package, and I wrapped both of them and put them under the tree. I secretly couldn't wait for Christmas morning and to try it out that night. I was ready for my great night's sleep!!!

Christmas came, and Brian opened the pillows. I was so excited that he would be jumping for joy. But, alas. He did not jump for joy. He kind of looked at me like I had 3 heads. "What's the matter?" I asked. "You have always wanted a My Pillow. We watched the infomercials together and always talk about it."

He raised his eyebrows at me, and said, "I think it's YOU who wanted the My Pillow. But, thanks....this is....great."

Mmmm. Maybe my choice of Christmas present for him was not so great after all. But never mind. He would change his tune as soon as he slept on it that night and got "the best night's sleep ever!"

I set up the pillows on our bed. They seemed rather puffy. But that's okay. I was sure they would be great.

That night, we went to bed. When I first put my head on the pillow, I felt like it was fat. My head was up higher than the rest of my body. I actually like a flatter pillow. Wasn't my head supposed to sink into this pillow? It wasn't doing that though. I tossed and turned and tried to get comfortable. I finally fell asleep, and I woke up with my back hurting. This wasn't how this was supposed to be. Maybe I just had to get used to it. I didn't want to tell Brian, so when he woke up, I asked, "Did you have the best night sleep ever?"

He looked at me strangely and said, "Sure honey. It was...great."

I didn't dare admit that my back was hurting. It had to be from doing something at the gym. It  couldn't be the pillows. After all, these pillows are guaranteed to have my body in alignment. How can my back be hurting? A few more days went by and my back kept hurting. I didn't want to admit it  - but it had to be because of the pillows.

The turning point came a week later. Brian woke up and announced that his back was hurting.

I almost laughed with relief. "My back is hurting too!" I said. "I didn't want to tell you because I thought you liked the pillows, so I was just going to live with it. But if your back is hurting - we have to send them back!"

And with that, we packed up the two pillows in a box and I sent them back to QVC.

And then after that, I marched myself to Target and got 2 more $5 pillows. Merry Christmas Brian!
Needless to say, we are both enjoying our $5 pillows.