Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring has Sprung!

Tulip tree
Myrtle blooming
Cherry tree
White lilacs

It's the end of March and spring has come...or at least I hope all the beautiful trees and bushes and flowers in our yard means it has come and is here to stay! It's been so exciting thus far watching everything green-up in the yard and bloom. When we first looked at the house, it was already fall and most of the leaves were off the trees, so we didn't know exactly what the landscaping would look like come spring. We have already spent a lot of time weeding gardens and raking leaves left over from the fall, and after our wedding, we intend to expand some gardens and remove a couple ugly bushes in the back. I just love love love gardening! I'm very thankful to my mom for making me help her with our gardens while I was growing up, even when I complained and would rather have been doing something else on the early Saturday mornings. As I've gotten older, I started really looking forward to going to garden centers with mom and picking out our flowers each spring. We would come up with a color palette for the front yard and back yard, and then spend an entire weekend prepping the gardens, planting, and mulching. Some years we would be working in the scorching sun and others we would have sweatshirts on (good ol' Ohio weather!), but I really cherish the times I spent with mom in our gardens. Now with our own house, I feel prepared to tackle weeds, know how to prep the garden soil for maximum flower growth, how to choose hardy flowers that are not going to wilt and die by June, and how to tell just how much water everything needs. I love putting a cute pair of gardening gloves on and kneeling in the grass to get my gloves dirty in the garden :)

Stay tuned for more pictures as our yard shapes up this spring! I may even talk mom into splitting some gardening hours between our houses to swap tips :)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

28 years

Yesterday was my 28th birthday! Wohoo! It was a wonderful day that started with a bike ride in the morning, followed by lunch with some good friends, an afternoon in the backyard watching Leo play with our friends' dog, and I finished off the day with a delicious picnic dinner with my family. It was really a nice, enjoyable day and the weather was beautiful!! A little hot in the sun - 85 degrees - but in the shade of our backyard, sitting on the patio furniture listening to birds is grand.

Next year on this day, I will be celebrating my 29th birthday with my HUSBAND!! Wow!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Dog friendship

They even shared the same stick!
So happy to have a friend :)

We took Leo to Sam's mom's house this weekend to meet her dog, Jax, and have a large place to run and explore. He is such a good dog that we let him off his leash soon after arriving and he didn't try to run off and we didn't have a problem getting him to come when called. That was a big relief because Laura has 20+ acres of land (I think it's something around there) so there was definitely ample land for him to run and not return. But, we didn't lose him and he LOVED Jax and the day was a success.

However, I must say dogs are weird creatures when it comes to socializing. I was a nervous wreck the entire day because Leo and Jax spent 85% of the time wrestling, 12% of the time running full speed through thorn bushes and briars in the woods, and 3% of the time laying on the carpet sleeping, only to recuperate and start wrestling all over again. They were biting each other's necks and ears and flipping each other upside was like WWF wrestling but REAL! Sam kept reassuring me they were playing because their tails were always wagging and there was nothing to worry about, but there were many times where I thought Leo was going to come home with one less ear. And his ears are his best feature! Sam said when dogs are fighting or being aggressive, their tails will drop low and they will bark or have a deep growl and it would be evident they did not like each other, but as long as their tails were still wagging high in the air, they were just having fun. Wish he had told me this before the wrestling started and I tried to leap in the middle of them! Ha!

But, it was a wonderful day for everyone and I am glad to know Leo has a friend :) Now if only we could get his car-sickness resolved before our next hour-long car trip!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Leo update

Leo, Leo, Leo....where to begin. Okay, so Leo has been home almost 2 weeks now and he is definitely finished with the "honeymoon stage" of being a model dog and has now moved on to the "I have trapped you with my cuteness and now I will show you who is really in charge of this house" stage. Don't get me wrong, he is still a sweet dog most of the time, but when he isn't, he really isn't! For example, he is quite calm inside and will lay at your feet watching tv or following you around the house. He doesn't bark and whine or beg for food from the table (he will lay under the table but not sit and be obnoxious). He doesn't jump on furniture or chew and tear at things. He's had a couple accidents inside but nothing major...actually, he has had less accidents than my kids at school! Ha! Just today, one of my students missed the toilet and peed on his pants and underwear, and he didn't have an extra change of clothes, causing me to run all over the school searching in lost and found bins for pants that would fit him and then convincing the student he would have to wear the pants without underwear because we didn't have spare undies at school, and he was NOT a happy camper with that! *sigh*

Anyways, back to Leo, so he is a generally very good dog inside. BUT, and this is a big but, when he is outside in the backyard, he is a raving lunatic that runs at top speeds from one side of the yard to the other, weaving around trees and flower beds, searching Sam and I out to jump on and bite and scratch. We realize he is not doing it to be mean and that he is just overly eager to play, but as I'm applying Neosporin ointment to my entire arm and putting an ice pack on it to keep the bruising down, it's a little more difficult to rationalize his "playfulness." I will say, however, after that incident, while I was sitting on the couch with an ice pack, Leo sat right next to me trying to lick my arm and putting his head in my lap as if to say he was very sorry. We are trying to exercise him a lot everyday with walks and off leash in the backyard and giving him lots of chew toys to see if that helps with the biting, but I'm starting to wonder if we could find a vet to de-tooth Leo like they de-claw cats :) Joking! Well, only partially joking :)

But, Leo is still more fun than not and his pro side of the list still outweighs his con side, so after 2 weeks, we are still dog-owners :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Meet Leo!

Sam and I rescued a 10 month old mixed labrador from an animal shelter over the weekend. Never in my wildest imagination did I ever think I would be a dog owner, but here we are! It's funny because even just 4 months ago when we were looking at the house we bought, our relator said "What a great fenced-in backyard for a dog" and I immediately said "Oh no, we will never get a dog. I hate dogs!" Well, it wasn't too much later that Sam's mom got a new puppy (Jax) and we were visiting her and I had so much fun walking and playing with Jax! My experience with dogs up til that point had been one biting me as a child and another breaking through a fence and charging at me barking and growling while I collected money on my paper route as a teenager. Plus, I thought dogs were smelly and hairy and drooled and seemed to always poop wherever I liked to walk.

However, as I played with Jax, I realized that I might like to have a dog IF and only IF the dog was small enough for me to control and not be frightened he was going to eat me. So, we started taking our time looking on shelter websites and we deliberated about what it would mean to have a dog and not be able to spur of the moment leave for a long period of time but ultimately, we decided the pros out weighed the cons. Sam's requirements for a dog: smart enough to learn tricks, well behaved, and large enough he wouldn't be a snack for other dogs. My requirements: doesn't yappity yap and drive me nuts, active outside but wouldn't ruin our new house inside, and small enough he wouldn't eat me. Leo meets every requirement! Amazing!

We found him at the animal shelter and he was the only dog not jumping up to the window and barking; we walked by and he was calmly laying on a blanket in his room and when we opened the door, he walked right over and sat down. To this day, he still has never barked, so maybe his vocal chords are damaged?? Or he just hasn't found a good enough reason to bark! He is 10 months old and 54 pounds, so a good size dog and will likely get a little bigger. The shelter has him listed as mixed breed, but he definitely has a lot of black labrador in him because he is smart and very well behaved. Sam is using "clicker training" to teach Leo how to behave and he catches on quick! He already makes eye contact when you call his name and he sits on command. Only had one small pee accident in the house the first day he was home and since then has consistently gone outside. He even poops in the spot we took him to originally in the yard where we want him to go! What a champ! Sam said he sleeps through the night in his crate in the office and never whines or barks when Sam puts him in.

So, we are dog owners now and so far so good!