Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Let it Snow!



If only Lucy were this easy to find in the snow!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Does Black Friday Count as Exercise?

The turkey was delicious.  We ate, the dogs ate, we all had our tryptophan and carbohydrate high and subsequent comatose state.  Our week had started off with snow that prevented us from doing some much needed Thanksgiving preparation shopping.  We made due (for the full story of  the melt-down, click here) and were acutely aware that a pomegranate-free thanksgiving does not a hardship make.  We were truly grateful for the bounty and provisions we had.

Now, as we stare down the week after the feast, I find myself asking, "Does Black Friday Count as Exercise?"  Actually, we celebrated Black Friday with more eating, rather than shopping.  So I suppose the obvious answer is NO!  With the cold weather, we didn't make it our for our annual neighborhood walk nor our attempt at throwing a football(usually we give up on this front as my children have inherited my sports abilities and settle for throwing tennis balls for the dogs - usually into the neighbors' yards by mistake)

 *******************************************************************
We have a lot to make up for in the fitness department.  This, combined with the unusually cold weather, brings me to a debate for which I struggle to find a satisfying answer:  Dog Clothing.  I am still a BIG dog person, and my natural tendencies follow in accord.  Big dogs don't wear clothing.  Self-respecting ones, at least.  Somewhere along the line I think we have begun to see Lucy as one of the big dogs. 

I subconsciously throw food scraps to all the dogs as I cook, and frequently have palm-to-forehead moments when I forget to downsize portions for Lucy(What?  Oh, you can't swallow a whole kiwi slice.  Sorry.).  I'm not the only one to forget the size issue.  Sometimes Lucy herself needs reminding that she is a *little* dog.  She really isn't thrilled about the new puppy food we tried, and is always trying to sneak a taste of the big boys' food.  She fetches better than they do.  When she experienced her first snow this year, we had to call her in.  She was having so much fun, I think she forgot that she was a *little* dog(and turning blue).  She was just a girl, playing outside with the boys and kids and having a ball.   

Fact of the matter is, little dogs do get cold so much easier than big dogs(have you seen the awkward shakiness?)  There is only so much indoor play can provide.  They still need to get out, explore, and exercise.  This being our first cold season with a little dog I find my thoughts trailing to what I used to classify as the dark side... little dog clothes.  Previous judgement aside, maybe little dogs need those little booties to keep their tiny feet warm.  Perhaps those sweaters were more than tacky decorations. 

I will continue to deliberate as I eat my salad.  Yes, it has dressing.  Don't judge me!  Ugh.  Must. Get. Out.  Brrrr.  Stay tuned for possible pictures...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I started out to write something very poetic about what Thanksgiving truly is, but I got distracted.  It's okay, it wasn't very good, anyway.  I started looking for a photo.  Actually, it was that photo.  You know when you can picture a specific photograph in your head, but have absolutely no idea where to find it?  Well, I had the perfect one in mind for today. 

My middle son, Nick, {{loves}} Thanksgiving.  He loves turkey and family-togetherness.   I could remember a picture of Nick, lusting after the Thanksgiving turkey.  I just couldn't remember what year it was.  As I began to search through folder after folder of digital pics, I found it; it was in 2006.  Then I got distracted and accidentally closed that window.  ("crap" doesn't make for nice Thanksgiving talk, so let's just say I said, "Oh, feathers!")   Of course, I was in no way paying attention to the year, and went back to look in 2008.  Oh, it was there.  Hmmm... I thought Nick was younger.  I checked 2007; there was a Nick and Turkey picture there, too!  That was definitely the one I was thinking of.   But even that looked different from what I had first found.  I continued to dig, and it turns out we have three such pictures.  I also found that although Nick must have felt a tad too old to make the "turkey face" last year, his avidity for that turkey could not be hidden.

2006

2007

2008

2009
I think everyone was supposed to be smiling for my mom's camera(to my left) but Nick's attention was diverted elsewhere!
I am thankful that you stopped by to visit us here at Two and a Half Dogs!  I hope your turkey is moist, you're surrounded by loved ones, you get to see the whole parade or big game, and your day is filled with every reason to be thankful!

Have a great weekend, friends!
~Heather

Monday, November 22, 2010

Please Don't Eat the Baby!

Baby Madelyn and Jack
They both love bubbles!

Check out those teeth!

Here's wishing you a week filled with all the bubbles you can catch!

~Heather

 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Flashback Friday : Get your own dish!

The grass is always greener over the septic tank
~ A quote by Erma Bombeck that has always left me in stitches.

Isn't that the truth?  Why is it that many of us perceive what others have to be the all-sufficient?  We chase after the image of what we think they possess, only to realize that there was much below the surface that was hidden from view.

We have dear friends who were our inspiration, in part, to consider a yellow lab in the first place.  We used to live close enough to dog-sit for one another on strictly bi-pedal trips.  They have a yellow lab named Salish, who is a couple of years older than Jack.  They, too, felt one dog may be lonely and fell in love with a little Beagle they adopted and named Daisy.  Daisy *loved* food.  Anyone's food.  People food, other dogs' food - you name it, she was game to try it. 

These shots were from a Salish and Daisy visit when we were still a single BIG dog family.  Daisy was quite interested in what Jack had to eat.  To add to the comical irony, Jack had the water dish, Daisy had the food!







For the record: although Daisy was small, we never considered her a little dog and always enjoyed her company. 

Have a great weekend, folks!
~Heather

Monday, November 15, 2010

Can I Help?

Yes, I realize that our grammar friends out there would say it's may I help.  However, when it's a dog who wants to be involved it is a question of ability, not permission alone.  We have been blessed with dogs who really, really want to help.  When we are planting things in the yard, our dogs happily begin to dig alongside our handiwork.  When we clean off the patio table for dinner, Lucy has jumped up on it to see what she can do to help.  Whenever I cook, three sets of eyes follow me around the kitchen letting me know that if there's anything they can do (say, help polish off the scraps) they would be more than happy to oblige.  I do believe the dogs are in earnest.  Although they are often guided by there stomachs, they show a genuine desire to be a contributing member of the pack.

The drawback, I suppose, to being offered this help is that the dogs are always in the way.  I would love to utilize their help (if I could just get them some opposable thumbs, I have a mountain of laundry ...) but for now, they tend to get tripped over more than not. 



In the kitchen, ready for action.

If looks could talk!  Jack is such an expressive soul.
We are finally building our over-hang outside.  It has been a plan in the works for years.  When finished, it will provide sheltered out-door living space for both the quadri- and bi-peds of the household.  Here are the extra "helpers"...


Do you know where the on button is?


Are you sure I can't help?

Friday, November 12, 2010

That Doggy in the Window


Anyone who has ever had a cat or dog and a reflective surface must have wondered what said animals are thinking about when they gaze at their reflection.  I don't get the impression that they recognize themselves, or else Indy has some serious self-loathing issues.  But with Lucy, I'm not so sure.  At first she would growl and bark at her reflection, but now she simply stares.  I don't know, maybe she is smarter than the *BIG* dogs who voraciously defend us from the identical dogs on the other side of the glass.  It seems she's found a way to coexist with that little white doggy in the window. 

I hope I can have that same *little dog* attitude about myself.  Sometimes we are smartest when we can look at ourselves and not attack what we see, but rather have the courage to take an honest look at what's really before us. 


Have a great weekend, everyone!
~Heather

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Smile!

There's a framed picture hanging in our kids' bathroom.  (Many moons ago, it was hanging in my husband's childhood home.)

It says, "You don't have to brush all your teeth, just the ones you want to keep".   Apparently it made an impression on him - he is the king of dental hygiene!  It has even impacted our kids so much that when the vet made a comment about Jack's plaque, they sprung into action.  (Alex and Dad ultimately ended up in the roles of dental assistants)

Through the years, we have tried to brush Jack's teeth, but the boy is a *freak* about it.  He has always had a very nervous personality.  He doesn't like the rain, or most forms of water(loves ice, go figure!); he is petrified of the vacuum cleaner(but attacks the lawnmower?); and he is adamant about nothing touching his teeth(other than food or a tennis ball!).  We have tried so many dog toothpastes and different style brushes, as well as every chewable treat on the market that claims to conquer this ivory assailant.   Our vet strongly encouraged we try, try again.

For better or worse, Jack was going to have his teeth cleaned.  In the end, I think he only lasted through one full side of the cleaning, but that was enough for now.

Not...going...to...open... mouth


what's in there?

you can't make me

open

snarl...

No animals were harmed in the filming of this sequence... although a human or two came out with a few chomps and scratches.  Oh, and Jack's teeth are beautiful(well, the left side for sure!) :D


Have you smiled today? 


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Sting

Lucy's new 'thing' is getting up where the food is.  She would have made a great circus dog, because she is quite good at balancing on her hind legs and walking around like a meerkat when meals are being prepared.  We use her full name, which at this point is simply, "Lucy, NO", and bat her away.  We caught her a few times this summer on the outside table, for which we scolded and shooed her.  But inside is a different matter.  Outside could be a casual, "Oh, I thought it was part of the deck railing...", but inside the dogs know who eats where.

Last week, Lucy hopped up on the kitchen table.  Just like, "No big deal, I can do it so why shouldn't I?".  *Girl!*  She was promptly put in her box for time out while my Danny Tanner-esque hubby could bleach down the whole table.  On family game night, we had left a community bowl of chips out.  Apparently, Lucy considered herself part of that community.  We assured her otherwise; back to the box. 

I don't know if you have kids like this in your family, but mine are wanderers.  Many meal time conversations go something like this:

Me: (noticing there's a mostly full plate and an empty seat where a child once was)
"Umm, Nick?  Where are you?"
Nick:  rushing back to table "Oh, yeah, right.  Sorry Mom."
Me:  "Yeah, come finish"
notice I am missing someone else...
"Zack?!?"
Zack: crickets chirping
Me: "Zack!"
Nick: "Oh, he left."
Me: "Left, where?"
Nick: crickets chirping
Me: "I guess if you're not hungry for your dinners you must be too full for dessert"
Both boys: out of breath, rushing back to the table "We're here!"
Nick: "I just went to find Zack"
Zack: "What are we having again?"



We were having one of such evenings last week where I had given up trying to get people to finish their food.  I must not have had dessert for bribing.  Zack had wandered away and left his plate on the table.  A while later someone said, "Oh, no!  Lucy's eating from Zack's plate!"  We shooed her off, and my husband said, "In the box!"  My wheels were churning; I had to find a way to teach her not to do this, not just keep throwing her in the box. (plus, I was almost out of bleach)  What if, instead of the rapturously wonderful food that is normally on the plates(stop snickering!), there was something awful instead?  That's it!  We needed a sting operation.  The Agent?  Cayenne pepper!

I generously sprinkled the edges of the food with the deterrent.  I instructed the kids to let Lucy out of the box, and just act normally.  (No you can't coax her up to see what happens!)  We didn't want her to get in trouble - or to get sick, that's why I only sprinkled the edges.  We just wanted to go about our business and let her learn her lesson once and for all.  Eventually we stopped staring, waiting for her to take the bait.  The boys scampered off to play Battle for Middle Earth upstairs, Alex settled in to knit and watch t.v., and I came out to my computer(shocking, I know).

"Oh!  Mom!  Lucy's on the table, and she's eating the food!", Alex suddenly cried from the family room.  In retrospect, I did hear that familiar dog-tag jingle coming from a higher-than-normal altitude in the kitchen, but as all too often, I was absorbed in the world of the intangible.  I was almost too shocked for "back in the box".  How could the sting not have worked?  "Mom!  Lucy ate around the pepper.", Alex incredulously observed.  Mouths gaping, we stood there examining the plate.  Yup.  Lucy had skipped over the peppered edges of the stroganoff, and devoured the center. 

To her credit, Lucy has not gotten up on the table since then.  Perhaps the stroganoff was a deterrent in and of itself(yeah, not what I had envisioned when I started cooking dinner that evening...)  Perhaps Lucy had taken a bite of the *seasoned* portion, and then quickly ate the center of the dish to get the taste out of her mouth.  Who knows.  Here's to hoping for no more hopping up on tables, and perhaps to a new stroganoff recipe.  Anyone got a good one?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Flashback Friday: Lost Dog

Indy's a pretty easy dog to figure out.  When he has gotten out in the past, he hasn't gone far; he knows who feeds him.  In fact, if we have ever wondered, "Where's Indy?", there's a good chance the answer has been connected with food somehow.  (Have I found a kindred spirit or what?)

One day we found him - he had hit the mother lode! Although I think he jumped about a foot in the air when we tried to pull him out of the food bag, I do remember him continuing to eat as much as he could as quickly as he could, even whilst he was being lifted out of the bag.

Indy hits the jackpot

Here's wishing you a jackpot weekend full of everything you treasure.
~Heather

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thankful for the Right to Vote

Have you voted today?  Your voice is important.  Your opinion matters!  Do your research and have your say.  You even get a cool sticker!

Edit: You used to get a cool sticker... I went to my library to deposit my ballot, fully expecting to see a sweet elderly lady or two manning the ballot drop box and holding a roll of "I Voted" stickers, but alas, none were there!  I went in to my library to see if perhaps it was a little too chilly and the volunteers were there... but again, disappointment.  Maybe we need an initiative to bring back the stickers

Regardless, I am thankful for the right to vote.  That is the main objective.  Still, a sticker to show your patriotism is kinda nice.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Thankful...


Last year for school, our family made Thankful Calendars.  Starting November first, we wrote down one thing we were thankful for on each day.  The first few days are always easy to fill - God, Country, Family... in fact, it was hard not to rush into the next day's space!  Some days were harder than others, trying to move beyond the obvious.  But when we kept pursuing it, better and more heartfelt thanks began pouring out.  Our attitudes changed just a little bit. 

Sometimes when life is just not going the way you want it - jobs, relationships, over-all plans - it is the best time to count your blessings.  Okay, you don't need to include that crappy job or the current set of burdens you are shouldering, but perhaps you'll find some other 'gratefuls' that you had overlooked or taken for granted.

One of my favorite movies of all times is White Christmas.  When Bing Crosby sings the song, Count Your Blessings, to Rosemary Clooney in the lodge, I melt every time.   Can't you hear him now...

When I'm worried and I can't sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings

When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep counting my blessings

I think about a nursery and I picture curly heads
And one by one I count them as they slumber in their beds

If you're worried and you can't sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you'll fall asleep counting your blessings

This year, I can't print out my Thankful Calendar fast enough.  (Even as I'm writing this my son, Nick, said "eewww, Lucy has worms again!")   I am in need of shifting my focus from life's current circumstances to all the blessings that I can claim.  It's more easily said than done, but more easily done when you have a Thankful Calendar and you take it one day at a time. 

What are you thankful for?