Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Christmas was wonderful, but boy am I happy for it to be over. Tonight we'll be ringing in the New Year with good friends, but I thought I'd post some pictures from Christmas while I've got a few free minutes.
Christmas Eve at Bret's Dad's house...

Christmas morning at home....

Mack, who continues to grow at an alarmingly fast pace. I took him in for his last round of boosters today and the vet says he's going to be a very big boy. I'm told that there is a dog that comes into the clinic that looked exactly like Mack as a puppy and that he's a German Shepherd/St. Bernard mix. He's also 130 pounds. Yes, I got a little light headed upon hearing this. Only time will tell, but he's already found a place into our hearts so we'll accept him whether he's Daisy sized or Monster sized.

Late Christmas morning we hit the road and made the drive to my mom's house to celebrate Christmas with my family.

Wiped out, Cubbies style!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Presents Secured

Bret and I took Ryan to see Santa tonight so now we're officially ready for Christmas. Ashley missed out since she wanted to go to a friend's house instead. It's kind of sad when they get older. I'm also afraid that this could be Ryan's last "magical" year. He hasn't asked any questions yet himself, but last week when I went to help his classroom in the library, a lot of his classmates were offering up opinions. I wanted to hush them, but couldn't think of a tactful way to do it. So, here's hoping this isn't our last year...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Attention: Long Lost Blogger Found

It's been awhile. I realize that. Things have been so crazy around here since we got this puppy. It almost feels like we brought home an overly hyper and curious toddler last weekend. Things actually got pretty stressful around these parts.

Mack came home last weekend and by Monday morning he was running a 104 fever and very lethargic. I took him to (a very expensive) vet appointment to find out that his kennel cough had progressed into a secondary bacterial infection. He's been taking antibiotics (which are *so* fun to shove down his throat twice a day) and he seems to be almost over it. His cold like symptoms are still around but I think he's at the tail end of it.

Daisy got sick, too. The same day I took Mack to the vet I brought home some Nylabones for the dogs to chew on. Daisy chewed hers up into chunks and was throwing them up by 4:30am the following morning. We were getting pretty worried about her, praying that she didn't have a blockage. Two days of vomiting later, she had gotten over it.

Mack is doing awesome in the house training department. He's had no accidents in the house over the past 4 days and is the sweetest thing. Daisy seems to be tolerating him for the most part, but when Mack tries to initiate her in play, Daisy goes ballistic on him. We have no idea how to handle that. I know we have to let her assert herself as dominant dog, but my gut tells me that we should only be letting her "respond" to him to a certain aggressive level. We were given the number of a animal behaviorist when we adopted Mack and I'll be calling her tomorrow. Those times stress us out a lot and we really need to figure out how to deal with it if we want Mack to work out.

Last, but not least - we all have horrible head colds. For the last few days I've thought that maybe Ashley and I were fighting allergies, but Bret and Ryan both started getting the whole sneezing, head congestion, stuffy nose thing today. I'm hoping we're over it by Christmas later this week.

Three days until Christmas Eve. How the heck did that happen? It seemed like it was so far away and now all of a sudden it's about to be here and gone. The kids are starting to get really excited. We caved and opened up gifts between each other tonight which made the kids really happy to get a gift each ahead of Christmas.

Thankfully, we're ready for Christmas to come. We're anticipating that it may be a little sad and hard at times since this will be our first Christmas without Bret's mom, but we've worked hard to make sure it's a good one.

If I don't get back here before - Have a Merry, Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Mack came home yesterday morning and things are going very well - busy, but well! Housetraining has been a lot easier than we had expected. He goes every time we take him outside. We found out instantly that he's a beggar the minute any kind of food came out. Funny how he automatically sits on his own when someone has food, but doesn't know how when you ask him to.
He's very playful, which Dasiy doesn't seem to be doing so well with. He constantly tries to engage her in play and her response is to growl at him. I may call the animal behaviorist number they gave us just to see how they recommend dealing with that. I'm not sure if we should let her deal with Mack on her own or if we should keep him away from Daisy. It seems to me that Daisy is trying to teach him manners, but Mack isn't get it.
Still top dog.

I was prepared for a rough night last night, but was nicely surprised that he let us sleep until 6:45am with no accidents. That's huge in my book!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Preparing For Baby

While we anxiously wait for tomorrow morning to come, I'll be busy puppy proofing around here. First on the list was finding a safe place for him to be when we can't be watching him. Not my idea of home decorating, but we don't really have a choice and didn't want to buy 3 different size crates, so that left us with one big one that comes with a partition. See that pretty little tree by the fire place? That would be just one of the many things that's going to have to go.

I don't even know where to begin when it comes to the Christmas tree and the Lego Train. Also, family members can probably expect presents this year with puppy teeth marks.

This plant that I have somehow miraculously kept alive since my mother in law's funeral just screams "Play with me, puppy!" Where on Earth am I going to put this where I won't forget about it?

I may leave this guy out just for some comic relief. If Mack takes on the snowman, who will win?

So as you can see, I really have no idea where to begin. I also noticed him nosing around at the electrical outlets in the visiting room at PAWS yesterday. At least I still have the plastic white plugs to fill those in with from my babysitting days.
Daisy is clearly trying to figure out what is going on here. She's been watching our every move for the past couple of days and keeps going over and sniffing the crate. (She refuses to go in it, though.) I can already see the look on her face when we bring Mack home. It will say, "What in the hell is this and what I am suppose to do with him, huh?!"

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Meet Mack

Meet the newest member of our family. We officially adopted Mack today. Tomorrow he will see the vet at PAWS to be ok'd for neutering. On Saturday morning, we'll pick him up and bring him home.
Bret and I went and spent some time with him this afternoon. He's really a good little pup. He's already got quite the cute little personality. We took some pictures and video for Ashley, who still has yet to meet him. With volleyball practice and school going on right now, she's never home during their visiting hours. The excitement is really killing her.
Upon spending almost and hour bonding with him today, we've come to the conclusion that he looks an awful lot like Daisy. It's almost like looking at a baby version of her. While I don't want him to get big too fast, I'm looking forward to seeing just how much he ends up looking like Daisy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Puppy Update

We are super excited! The puppy is ours. I called the shelter just before they closed today to see if the first hold ever came in to adopt him. The lady said no one ever showed up and that he was ours to adopt now. We'll go in tomorrow to finalize the adoption, but it will be a day or two before little Mack can come home since he has to be neutered first.

Then the fun begins! We can predict that Daisy will probably be extremely jealous, but Mack is still small enough that she can assert herself as dominant dog. Our hope is that she will be a tremendous help in training him because she doesn't put up with crap from other dogs.

It's nice to have some time to get prepared for him, too. We've already been out shopping around for dog crates and other essentials. The fact that we don't have a puppy in our arms right this minute means we don't have to go out and spend a fortune in a hurry.

Now I've got a day or two to learn as much as I can about puppy training. Any suggestions?

Waiting Game

Since returning Luke to my aunt, we've been looking into adopting a new dog. We've made a few trips to the animal shelter and have come up with nothing...until now. Last night we put a hold on a 4 month old puppy and now we are waiting to find out if he'll be ours.
There was already a 24 hour hold put on him by another person and they have until this afternoon to decide. We were told that holds are put on dogs all the time only to have no one come back and adopt them, so we took the fact that they didn't adopt him on the spot as a positive (and hopeful) sign.
I've tried to stay calm and not get too excited, but he's just so stinking cute!
This may be the longest day of my life.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

One Year, And A Life Time Ahead

A year ago today, I embarked on a life long journey. I became a nonsmoker. So many times I had tried to stop smoking and had failed. This time was different. This time I had an army of supporters - family and friends - both online and off. This time I had Chantix, my miracle drug. The drug that helped me to finally kick the habit. One year - the longest I've ever been able to quit in my 12 years of smoking.

Besides taking Chantix, the one other major reason why I believe I have been so successful with this quit is because my husband quit as well. We stuck in there together and are all that more successful because of it. His one year anniversary will be next Wednesday.

It's amazing how great I feel today. I can take a deep breath and not feel like my lungs are going to explode. I will never miss smelling like an ashtray - and kidding myself when I thought that spraying myself with a yummy smelling spray could hide that smell.

I no longer feel the guilt that I use to feel when I thought of the years I was robbing myself of. The years that I might not have had if I continued to be a smoker. The years of my children's (and grandchildren's) lives that I might have shorted myself of.

Tonight I asked my daughter, who was the one that was always on me to quit, if she knew what tomorrow was and she had no idea. Another person might have been disappointed, but I was glad that she had no idea what I was talking about. I was glad because cigarettes are so far from her life now that it doesn't even register to her anymore. Glad because by quitting, I have probably made it more likely that she will never pick up a cigarette herself.

I did it! And I will continue to do it - for myself and for my family.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Haven't Laughed This Hard Since...

Oh my freaking hilarious. I'm laughing at this so much, I'm crying! You have got to watch this - you'll be rolling on the ground about 1/2 way through it!

Click here!

Downtown Chicago 2008

We made it safely to my mom's house last night after dropping Luke off to my aunt's new house last night. The kids are sad that Luke is gone and are now begging for a new dog to replace him. We were able to take their minds off of missing Luke by taking them downtown for the day. We had a lot of fun seeing the sights and are now back at my mom's until we leave for home tomorrow. We ended up taking over a hundred pictures, but I didn't think anyone would want to sit through that many - now matter how good looking we are! Ha! So here are some of my favorites...
Just outside of the train station. Same place, same picture, every year.

We took a carriage ride around the city. Here are my mom and Ashley.

Ryan thought Festus, the horse who pulled our carriage was pretty cool.

After our carriage ride, we walked over to the Daley Plaza to see the pretty tree outside.

We then made our way over to Macy's food court for lunch where we spent a fortune to eat. Then it was time to head on up nine levels of escalators to see the Macy's Christmas tree. But first we stopped off at FAO Scwartz so Ryan could look around and beg for toys. In fact, he's still smiling here because he thinks he's going to be able to talk us into buying something.

By the time we made it all the way up to the tree, he knew our "No's" were for real.

He was able to get over it, though.

The day was winding down but we still had some time left and none of us had been to Millenium Park yet, so we went to check it out.
The Bean is just plain awesome. We could have spent hours there having fun with our reflections.

Ryan holds up the bean.

Ryan really wanted to go ice skating, but seeing as he's never attempted that OR rollerblading/rollerskating before, I pretty much told him we'd take him to our local rink to teach him. which means I've got some pretty painful falls to look forward to in the near future.

While waiting for the our train to board, we were a little freaked out my this abandoned paper sack. I took a picture in case the train station was no more by the time we got back to my mom's.

I think it's time to see if my brother's got any beer around here...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Santa Claus Parade

Instead of battling the crazy crowds at the stores this morning, we went and watched Ashley and her school's band march in the Peoria Santa Claus Parade.
My little street bum.

Bret & I.

Ashley's school band approaches.

Unfortunately, Ashley and her flute were on the opposite side of where we were standing so I wasn't able to get a picture of her.

Remember McGruff, the crime fighting dog?

Ryan's favorite float.

Santa arrives.

We're off for a weekend in the windy city...