Monday, December 12, 2011

Entering the Modern Era of Technology

In the past three months, I have updated my technology SIGNIFICANTLY. I ditched the Dell...it was never worth all the money I paid for it and snails move faster than it did. I traded it for a nice, new Toshiba laptop...and I am loving it. Takes less than 30 seconds to boot up and does all kinds of fun stuff.

I also upgraded to an iPhone. I did a lot of research and a lot of cost comparing, but finally made the jump. My company is transitioning over to iPhones and iPads...and I think an iPad is in my future. Unfortunately, before an iPad graces my presence...I need to replace the tires on my car. The not so fun big expenditure.

Anyway...I have been snapping lots of photos with the new little toy...enjoy. :)


I was in the kitchen a few weeks ago and looked up and he was actually standing on the sofa table. I stared, dumbfounded. I try to keep something there to keep him from standing on it...but he still likes to look out into his kingdom from this vantage point. As long as he is not standing on my furniture...I am fine with that. 
 "Hurry up and give me the nuggets, lady". Chelsie waiting for her snack (not so patiently) on our way up to an agility trial in East Lansing, Michigan.
 Ace's brother Blue came for a visit..."motivational camp", as my breeder called it. I worked with him for a few weeks to see I could get him to move faster. I am happy to say that he had a great weekend when we went to East Lansing. He lives in Grand Rapids, which is about an hour from East Lansing...and he went home after this trial. His brother misses him...tons of extreme bitey face at all hours of the day and night. Bluey likes to hold things...as you can see in this photo.
 Brothers at their agility trial. Blue on left, Ace on right. Cute little sauce pots, aren't they?
 Torture...being forced to wait for dinner so mom can take a picture. Next to breakfast, dinner is the most exciting part of Acie's day. My dogs eat side by side in a raised feeder, and have from day 1. Chelsie is a pushover about a lot of things...but not her food. The boy has gotten that message loud and clear. :) After he eats, Ace runs to find me..as if to say THANKS MOM FOR FEEDING ME BECAUSE I WAS STARVING. Chill son, you're not starving.
 Life is good in labbie land tonight. After getting home from work, we had family errands...to the dry cleaner, bank, car wash and gas station. Errands followed by a walk and bedtime treats, not to mention that breakfast is all ready for the morning. Yes, life is good in labbie land.
A little nylabone gnawing time before bed. I am biased...but he is a cute little stinker.....


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Stranger Danger

Interesting title. I sort of like it. I promise, it will all eventually make sense.

All is fine here...work is good, busy...which is always good. I am settling into my new job, as evidenced by the fact that I can now stay wake past 7 30. Dogs are good, Chelsie is doing awesome in agility, Ace is well, Ace...he needs lots of reminding about everything and is sometimes off the wall. Case in point...today, while I was putting my make up on (on the bed) he started licking my sweater and getting into my make up. I pushed him over on his back for a belly rub and when I was done, he jumped off the bed and tried to eat his sister...who has stitches in her ear from getting a wart/growth removed. UGH. That was just a small part of our day. Son, you killed me today.

On to the title of the post. The time of year is obvious...the holidays...not to mention the dreaded birthday along with it. The time of year where being single is absoloutely HIDEOUS - and a double whammy at that, with Christmas and my birthday right on top of each other. I so want to just hunker down and completely avoid the very thought of Christmas, however, that is impossible. I keep telling myself that next year will be different, I will be celebrating with someone special...however, that never seems to be the case.

Most of the time, I am comfortable with who I am and where I am...sometimes, I am not. Most days, I can handle it...some days require more effort to get through than others. What I find to be the most exhausting is being my own cheerleader. True, we all have to be our own cheerleader to some degree, but being your own cheerleader all the time is emotionally exhausting.

So...here we go...stranger danger. Today, I decided I needed to go shopping. My goal with shopping was to find a pair of brown boots. I see people wearing them all the time..they look great. I have this vision in mind of what I want them to look like on me. I wear the pants that intend to wear with these adorable brown boots, and off I go...to find these boots that will look great and make me feel good about myself.

First stop...Macy's. I was in there the other night, saw some really great options. Didn't have time to do much trying on, but there was definitely potential. Now, I am a girl who has been schooled by Clinton and Stacy on What Not to Wear...I know you have to try on 50 things to find three great things. Today, I tried on about 10 pairs of brown boots...and wanted to try on about 10 more pairs...however, when you wear size 10 narrow and have calf muscles, your selection of boots is limited. Long story short, I did not find the boots I was looking for. To make matters worse, it seemed like every woman I saw in the mall had on GREAT BROWN BOOTS...and looked great in the out fit they were wearing. I even saw some little tweeny bopper that had the look I envisioned in my head. Feeling very deflated at this point.

So...off I go...wandering around...feeling deflated about the boots...and watching all these couples/families out Christmas shopping. Insert feeling like a million bucks. But I press on...just looking around to see if any item of clothing speaks to me...and none do. Off I go to meet Belinda and the kids...took kids to play area and then off to food court for dinner.

In a conversation at dinner, I relay to Belinda my sob story about how every other woman out there has these adorable boots...even the tweeny bopper...and how they all look fantastic in them and that even if I found them, I would never look as good as some other women I had seen...you know, the size zero and twiggy ones. What we concluded from this conversation was how unhealthy it was to compare ourselves to other people...that we see only our shortcomings and not our good qualities.

I repeatedly find myself in the same situation when it comes to my relationship status...I compare myself to other people...people I know and people I don't know. This does nothing but seed negative feelings. It is not helpful...yet it is a behavior I often find myself trying to correct. Things are not always what they appear to be and the grass is not always greener on the other side. My perceptions of other people's lives may not be reality, rather the reality I have created in my head...and that is the reality that often starts the negative feelings about myself when it comes to being single.

The stranger danger for me this time of year is comparing myself to those cute little families who seem to have it all...when really, that may not be the case. I am certainly envious, there is no question of that. But I can't help wanting to be one of those cute little families. And some days, it is harder to remain positive than others. This year, I forced myself to participate in the holidays. I put up and tree and decorations on the inside and even dragged several of my outside decorations. Its a lot of effort for just one person, but I am very, very glad I did it.

This year, I will be thankful for my family, my health, my job, a roof on my head and food on my table. For my two furrry companions who love me unconditionally every day. For my friends. For agility. For soccer. For the ability to be able to push myself in the gym....the list could go on and on. I will celebrate with family and hopefully start some new traditions. I will wish for what I think I want, but be greatful for what I have. For me, stranger danger is allowing myself to want what I think others have and then feel inadequate or like there is something wrong with me because I don't have it.

Thankfully, most days, I can overcome my stranger danger. But for all of you out there, hug your partner tonight and tell them you appreciate them. While they probably have annoyed the hell out of you at some point today, be thankful that you have found your partner to journey through life with, and celebrate that partnership this holiday season. Don't let your perceptions of my so-called "freedom" become your strager danger.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

21 mos





















































































































































Today, little Acie punk is 21 mos old. Happy 21 month birthday to my spicy little sacuepot and his litter mates...Ella, Libby, Blue and Lily, the little flower.

For his 21 month birthday, little punky boy gave his mom 5-6 contacts this weekend in his standard runs. Before this weekend, he had been COMPLETELY blowing me off, leaping off the contacts with reckless disregard for his command to stop. He has to wear the collar of shame, as gramma calls it...meaning, he now wears a collar during agility so that when he disobeys his "spot" command, he gets the walk of shame off the course held by the collar of shame. This weekend was our first trial with the collar on and all in all, it went pretty well. We are still learning...one day, we will get it.

His sister was her usual flawless self. She got a little caught up in the chute and by the time I figured it out, I was pulling her off a jump because she was a little further behind that I expected.

Tomorrow, I will get up and go to work to pay for dog biscuits and agility...and the dogs will stay home and recover...REALLY???

















Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Broken Glass Ceiling

For the past 2 days, I was very fotunate to attend a "Women In Leadership" conference sponsored by my employer. Planned by 2 females on our executive council (ie, the executive council reports directly to the CEO of the organization), no expense was spared and no detail over looked. Case in point - they had a gift for us at the end of the conference - it was a Vera Bradley cosmetic bag, luggage tag and coin purse. As I said, no detail was overlooked - Vera Bradley was chosen because it was a company owned by a woman in our Indiana service territory.

We were fortunate to have a number of terrific speakers on hand - including the attorney general of Illinois Lisa Madigan (www.illinoisattornetgeneral.gov) Connie Lindsey, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Norther Trust and the current President of the Girl Scouts of America (http://www.girlscouts.org/who_we_are/leaders) and the former chief of staff for the first Lady Michelle Obama. We also heard from the Dean of the School of Business at Notre Dame, Dr. Carolyn Woo, a member of our Board of Directors.

All of these women are amazing women in their own right - passionate about what they do and believe in giving of themselves to help create more opportunities for women. In my professional career, I have been fortunate to have never had to wonder if I would be held back because I was a woman - I have always felt that if I worked hard and did the right things, that those opportunities would be there for me. To date, this has been the case. But there are a lot of tough situations for women in the workplace - how their co workers perceive them (male and female) achieving balance personally and professionally and taking risks were among the topoics we spoke about.

We also had the gift of hearing from our chairman of the board, as well as our CEO. Our CEO is an awesome leader. He very personable (I know him on a first name basis), very humble and has displayed the ability to make some diffucult decisions in the best interest of the company. I feel very fotunate to not only have a job, but to be working for a company with terrific leadership.

What I took most away from the conference was that occassionally you have to take risk to get potential reward and that finding where your yin meets your yang is key. Dr Woo spoke of leadership in three words - self, others heart. In a nutshell, to be an effective leader, you have to care and nurture yourself, have the capacity to care and nurture others and do everything with passion in your heart - whatever it is. Don't feel guilty for setting limits and enforcing those limits.

All in all, it was a great two days. Last night, a group of us gathered to go out and ended up at a dueling piano bar....transportation for the evening was a Hummer Limo...cost was negotiated by one of our Supply Chain people (who negotiates contracts on a daily basis) So 10 of us rode around in a white Hummer limo that probably could have fit 10 more of us! Just for clarification...this bill was footed by the 10 of us. :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Another little black dog....

...to play agility with!

Last night my first night with my new agility charge, an over the top, bursting with excitement black lab named Tequila. Unfortunately, Tequila's mom, my friend Suzi, had a horrible accident a few weeks ago on the agility course. While planting for a turn to change directions, she snapped her heel bone and tore her achilles tendon away from the bone. Apparently, this is not an unheard of injury, that is seen in tennis players who stop and pivot and move forward with great force.

Suzi had surgery 2 weeks ago and will be non weight bearing for another 6-8 weeks. Full recovery time 6-8 months. In the interim, I have agreed to work with T on the agility course and run her in some trials. Last night was our first night working together and it went very well. Many people would find Tequila to be too much for them - she is a lot of dog, but she is a lab who is just excited to be there. She is very well behaved on the course and stayed with me quite well...in fact, our instructor told me to "demand" more of her.

My own two dogs did very well last night also...poor Chelsie still can't get her handler to get her into  the correct end of a U shaped tunnel (where they can see entrances to both ends and I have to send her in the correct end) but she still comes over and jumps on me and gives me kisses after...I hug her, tell her I am sorry and get out the bounty - which, lets face it, that is really all she cares about.

My next trial is this upcoming weekend and first one with T will be the weekend after Thanksgiving. :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Life is Good in the New Hood....

Hello readers! It has been awhile since my last update...so here goes.

We have been in the new house for 2 mos now. It is awesome...I am loving it. Totally worth the stress of moving. I had been looking at new cribs for awhile..wasn't too serious about it, just kind of kept my eye on what was out there and all this fell right into the place. It is perfect in every way...the increase in square footage is in all the areas I live in - plus, I now have first floor laundry. I went from 1200 square feet to 1900 square feet - key is that the 1900 square feet is extremely functional. Some of my favorite things about the new place....

Bigger master bedroom
Bigger master bath - with huge walk in closet (ALL MINE) and linen closet
Bigger, open kitchen with countertop bar
Dining room (which I did not have at the other house)
Bigger living room
FIRST FLOOR LAUNDRY CLOSE TO THE BEDROOM
Master bedroom not off main living area
Upstairs office
Oversized garage
Smaller front yard, flatter back yard

The pooches are loving it as well...we had virtually no transition issues to the new house. This was not the case when Chelsie and I moved into Meadowhurst. Acie has even come out of his crate - he has been out for a month now and no issues.

All in all, it was a great move. I also started a new position the week after I moved, so life around here has been a little stressful. I do like my new job and am learning a lot, but my brains are scrambled at the end of every day.

I promise to post some pictures soon and to deal with the new template...but for now, I leave you with this recent photo of the little punk.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Catching up...

Hello faithful readers..I have been slacking. Packing and moving has literally wiped me out. :)

So a lot has happened since my last post...as I type, I am officially homeless! My parents have been oh so kind to take us (and a lot of our crap) in. My dad was joking that the dogs and I would be livng out of crates and cardboard boxes, and holding signs that said "will weave for dog biscuits". :)

Seriously, it hasn't been that bad. I am at the end of week 2 with my parents and probably have another 7-9 days with them. I close on the new house Tuesday, take possession on Friday and the movers are dropping my stuff off on Monday, 8 29. A couple of rooms need painted so we are going to do that before all my stuff comes...I am carrying around 8 gallons of paint (5 gallons actual paint, 3 gallons of primer) and have a bunch of paint supplies in the car as well. My parents sitting room is loaded with CRAP...funny story about the CRAP. In the CRAP was a bag with about 15 tennis balls - I don't let wild thing play with tennis balls because he destroys them (he is classified as a "powerful chewer"). So I had a bag with a bunch of tennis balls in the CRAP..and somehow, wouldn't you know..he managed to find them. The dogs are doing ok...little Chelsie Belle gets nervous when mom leaves, but they have gotten pretty spoiled here. Chicken and green beans at every meal isn't so bad.

Mom has gotten spoiled too...probably the best thing is the fresh tomatoes my dad picks off his plant in the morning for my lunch. Clean sheets two weeks in a row, plus, I am taking advantage of the fancy front load washer and washing all my delicate stuff  - wait, lets get this right...gramma is washing it. :) After two weeks of living here, I can actually locate just about any piece of clothing I might want to wear...both upstairs bedrooms looked like the wrath of God with a doorknob on it, as my grandma used to say. But I fixed that tonight. I did earn my keep today though, helping my brother out. :) Physical labor...and I am exhausted.

So that is our story..the next time I come to you will be from the new place...the one with a walk in closet, counter top bar, dining room, first floor laundry and a whole bunch of other fun goodies....

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Whilrwind

It has been a whirlwind of a few weeks around here. I figure by the time the house selling and buying process is over, a total of about 6 weeks will have passed. It isn't any wonder I have a headache.

Inspections on both homes are complete and all went well. I have received my request for remedy from my buyers; the work is minimal and somewhat irritating actually, but whatever....I have an estimate and will call in the morning to get the work scheduled. I on the other hand, lucked out...my roof is being replaced under an insurance claim, as are the plumbing boots and gutters. :) I am also getting a credit for a couple of windows rotted out and getting some venting fixed. The one remaining item we have yet to have remedied is related to the structure where a piece of wood has come loose. They have agreed to have a structural engineer come out and look at it. My gut tells me it is normal for a house of this age and that if there were indeed structural issues, they would have shown up in other places in the inspection. However, I am not willing to take a risk with such a big issue, so we are going to get that worked out. The seller has been very reasonable in all this, and the realtor understands my concern and is also reasonable as well.

I ordered my moving supplies today...boxes of all sizes, tape, tape dispenser, foam and these really cool labels that are very brightly colored and clearly tell the movers where things should go. I have a moving co compning out tomorrow for an estimate. My buyers want to close a week ahead of the original contract, so if I can find a moving solution that includes storage at no extra cost, I will rip the band aid off, pack up and go stay with my parents for 2 weeks. My seller would not move the close up, but I have no problem doing so as long as it doesn't cost me $$. The best deal is a closed deal. :)

On a lighter note, last week was my cousin's annual visit with her kids. Her kids are growing up..Amanda is now 15 and Jenn is 13. Amanda graduated from COPS kids camp last year, and is currently is Utah on an Outward Bound trip. (they have to dig a hole to "go" in the woods and bury it...apparently is it called "grooving" - can't wait to hear her stories about that!!) Jenn still has one more year after this but I don't see her "grooving" in the woods. It was a fun filled week...as usual, it went by too fast. I was so tired last night I went to bed at 7 and got up at 7 this morning - I was in a hotel room in PA for work. Hilton Garden Inn beds ROCK. :)

So that is the story from here. One last little tidbit of info...I entered Acie punk in his first trial. He will make his debut in Zanesville in September...assuming he lives long enough. One more greeting like he gave his sister tonight and he might get punted back to his gramma Ellen in Michigan. I keep telling him that chomping on his sister's neck is not an appropriate greeting and that his behavior pisses her and I off. Does he care? Not at all. :) He is a MAMA'S BOY...100%. He cares about me and me only..his behavior is nothing other than jealousy and wanting all my attention. He follows me around...where I am, he is (secretly, I love it). As much as I rag on him, he tries hard. :) He will be very excited to meet one of his new cousins this weekend (from the litter I posted about earlier). He will see his uncle Sniper this weekend (Morning Star's Hit that Target) and his newest cousin, Stinger (Longlesson's Heat Seeking Missile). I am hoping that they wear him out. :)

Hope everyone is well!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Its Official..

We are moving. :) We will be in the new house on 8/26.

What a whirlwind week. We are all exhausted. But I am very happy with my purchase. Inspection on my current home Monday, we are still trying to finalize inspection on the new house. I will take some photos of some of my favorites things during the inspection. :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What's up with us?

Dear readers,

Mom says she found us a new castle...but we can't make an offer on it until we sell our old castle. So...the castle is up for sale, mom is constantly cleaning up after us, taking the crate up and down and brushing us a lot. Oh yeah, we have been shipped to gramma's a lot too - 4 people have come to look at our house since it officially went on the market last Friday.

So...here is the link to our castle. :)

http://cbrmls.columbusrealtors.com/Pub/EmailView.asp?r=406370182&s=CBR&t=CBR

Here is the link to what mom hopes is our new castle.

http://www.kingthompson.com/property/details/28889/MLS-211023830/4761-Coolbrook-Dr-Hilliard-OH-43026.aspx?SearchID=86269&RowNum=1&StateID=41&RegionID=0&IsRegularPS=True

We have been very busy....but happy. More to come on what we have been up to later.

Love,

The Labbies

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Getting Old...

I think I am getting old. I did a particular exercise in my workout on Monday as of this this Wednesday evening, I am well aware of my glut muscles. Some serious glutial fatigue going on - I could hardly even run the dogs at agility last night.

Getting old sucks.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My two favorite yard decorations...

Photos taken June 2011.

 Ok, I am biased, I am their mom....but aren't they two of the cutest little stinker bugs?? I sent this photo to the man that owns Ace's father - when Ace matures and fills out, his body structure will be very similar to his father. (Cody - registered name "Lime Creek Code of Honor")
They look like they sort of like each other?

Friday, May 27, 2011

A bit of perspective...

Tonight, I decided I need a buckeye sundae from Greaters (peanut butter chip ice cream, with whip cream, hot fudge and chocolate sprinkles.....YUM!). As I walked in, a dad with three little boys walked in ahead of me. They were SO excited for ice cream - they talked about what flavor they were going to get and were in awe of the line that had formed behind us (it was pretty long) They were really good in a somewhat long line - and lucky for them, the teenagers that run this Greaters have it down. They can move people in and out of that place like its no ones business. Did I mention these were three of the CUTEST little boys out there?

As I waited in line and watched them, I reflected on how something as simple as ice cream with dad can be so exciting to a little kid. While they will remeber the big things they did with their dad (vacations, etc) I am guessing that these little boys will remember going to get ice cream with their dad for many years to come. It was obvious this was not their first dance, and it seems like this might be a special treat for dad and his guys.

It reminded me to stop and look at the little things in life and how much those things really mean. We all get so caught up in our every day life that I think we sometimes lose perspective of what is important...I know I do.

Friday, May 13, 2011

One year later...

This weekend marks the one year anniversary of Chelsie's return to her agility competitions. After a long, long...LONG rehab, May 15, 2010 was a glorious day in her world. We didn't get a q on that first run, but she had a great time, ran beautifully considering she hadn't trialed in almost 10 mos and all her friends gave her a great cheer.

One year later, life is a little different in our household. Ace is no longer the little flea he once was - although still a flea in Chelsie's eyes, I think she is learning to love him and would miss him if he wasn't here. (Ok, maybe that is a stretch). But as I watched them play today - her submissively on her back while he pulled on the neck she never grew into - I came to the conclusion that sometimes...not all the time, she likes him. Me too, little bean...most of the time I like him too.

One year later, we have adjusted to a 2 dog household. I think the hardest thing for me is not to humanize Chelsie's emotions. She is to the point in her life where she, for the most part, does not care where I am. She doesn't have to be right next to me all the time. Ace is still in that phase where he is wherever I am - and don't get me wrong, I am ok with that, as he is still a puppy and still should be supervised pretty much 100% of the time. But because he is always so close to me, I am definitely cuddling with him more, petting him more, handling him more. Add to that it is the time of the year where it gets hot and when it gets hot, Chelsie won't sleep on the bed. She still always gets first dibs on everything...but it is still a little difficult for me to reconcile in my mind.

One year later, we can all actually lay on the bed in harmony - with Ace touching Chelsie...at least for right now, until she gets down and goes to her cool bed. :) I have to hand it to her...whatever she has said to him about that bed, he gets it. I have never seen him lay on it...and if I did, I would kick him off and tell him that's sissy's bed.

Tomorrow, we will be going to Cleveland. We will see all our friends and have been invited to Ace's littermates house to swim in her amazingly awesome pond. At the end of the day, I will have 2 happy, tired puppies - who will be ready to go back to the hotel and crash with their exhausted mom. Yes, one year later life is different...but I could never imagine having another dog before now and could not imagine having any other dog besides my little Acie.

I promise to take pictures and post them. :)

Some oldies but goodies....



 The three photos above are from Chelsie's first run back last year....I took an extra few seconds to love on her and let her know how proud of her I was. :) Her friends were still cheering for her. :)
One of Ace's first few days at home. He was a fast learner...he saw the big puppy laying there so he assumed he could lay there too. :) Approximate age in this photo is 8 weeks.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Better Blogger? Maybe not so much....

Um yeah, think I am falling a little short in the blogging arena. :)

So let's see...what has happened since my last post...ah, yes, Ace's family was here. 5 labs in the castle, an agility trial and a week of recovery. :)

We had a great time with Ace's siblings. I wasn't quite sure how they would all do in a confined space - I was most worried about Chelsie and Amber, Ace's mom. Chelsie gets very protective of Ace around other dogs when she thinks he is being picked on...god forbid should she play with him, but she gets all protective if she thinks he is the kid on the playground getting beat up. Ace's mom is a little snippy - meaning that she is not shy about curling her lip up and telling everyone to buzz off. Those 2 have had meetings of the mind before, so I wasn't quite sure how it would go in the black dog's territory with all the little yellow fleas around. It went fine.

Poor Chelsie was just beside herself...she had this look on her face all weekend that said...My god, when are they leaving??? Not soon enough for her. It didn't stop her from rocking the house at her trial though...she was only 5-6 and her 1-6 was handler error. Handler saw off course jump out of corner of eye, over reacted and pulled her off a jump. Oh well. She got her treat bag dumped on the ground after her run, that is the no 1 priority for her!

I would like to proudly introduce MACH MORNING STAR'S AMBER WAVES! Amber got her MACH on Friday afternoon...was 1 second short on Friday morning! Ellen hobbled around the course in a well deserved victory lap, and it was a beautiful, beautiful run. Amber had a great time. :) See photo below.

Judge Christie Bowers (the judge we got our MACH under) Amber, Ellen, and judge Don Farage. Brittany, if you ever have a chance to run under either of these judges....THEY ARE AWESOME. If you picking between 2 trials and one of them is judging, pick that one. :)

And, for good measure, a photo of mama Amber and one of her babies. Hard to say which one this is because there was no collar, but if I had to guess I would say it is Blue (aka, Blue Collar boy). Pink collar girl (Lily) and green collar boy (Ace) were really the only ones that wore colored collars when they were this small. Libby was much smaller and lighter in color, so by process of elimination, this is likely Blue. I love this photo.

On another family front, Ace and his siblings welcomed 11 new cousins into the family on April 28/29. Amber's sister McGhee gave birth to 11 pups over a period of 24 hours, causing poor gramma Melanie (her owner) great stress. 6 boys and 5 girls, all healthy, all doing well. According to Melanie, the first puppy, a boy, came out butt first...and apparently there is a "great deal of bitching by all if someone gets pushed off the faucet". According to Melanie, McGhee is a very good mom. There was about a 7 hr break between puppy 5 and 6, and the remaining puppies were born within a span of 6 hours, the last 3 being about 30 minutes apart. Initial estimate of litter size was 10-12 puppies. One of these puppies will be going to live with Ace's Uncle Sniper. He will go home over the 4th of July and will be in town at the end of August at an agility trial. We can't wait to meet him.

A Passle of Puppies

McGhee and her 11 bundles of joy.

As it has done the entire month of April here in Ohio, it rained all weekend Ace's family was here. April has been a record setting rain month, and those of us that live in Ohio can certainly vouch for that. Today was the first day we have seen sun in a week, and won't see it again until Sunday/Monday. Everyone's grass, while very green, is very overgrown. On a positive note, I busted my can on Saturday to get my flowers in the ground ahead of the rain all week - it was well worth it. I will try and take some photos...treated myself to a new wind chime at Kroger tonight that matches some yard decorations I got. Hopefully, my yard will be burgeoning with color in a month or so. Pictures to follow. Because of the rain, we have not been able to start the spring softball season, nor have I had my inaugural trip on the water. I hope to change the latter this weekend and the former on Monday...but given the forecast on Monday, I am not holding my breath.

Still working out with my trainer....some days are easier than others, but most days I think my heart is going to explode and feel like lactic acid is oozing out of my legs and booty. :) I like the way my clothes fit, although I did nothing for that tonight by eating a pint of Graeters Buckeye Blitz. It was worth every calorie.

I hope this post finds everyone well. I will try to get some more recent photos on here. :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Recent Photos & A Big Upcoming Weekend...


Ok, Mimi....here are your recent photos of little Acie boy. :)

Big weekend upcoming! This weekend, we are showing at a three day trial in Zanesville. Ace's breeder is coming down from Grand Rapids to show his mom (Amber) and is also bringing his brother Blue and sister Libby! So...the phrase "more lab than living room" will take on a whole new meaning this weekend! I have seen Blue a couple of times since bringing Ace home, but have not seen little Libby since I picked Acie up. Libby is definitely the runt, tipping the scale at a mere 34 lbs. I promise to take pictures.

It is a big weekend for Ellen and Amber - they are 14 pts away from their MACH. I know they will do great...I hope the do it early in the weekend - Ellen's foot still isn't quite right and there is a good chance I will get handed Amber's leash after the MACH run.

Also, we wish the BEST of luck to our friends:

Sally & Aussie - one QQ from MACH 3
Jan and CJ - one QQ from PAX
Ellen & Cailin - less than 20 pts from MACH

We can't wait to celebrate with you and cheer you on in your victory laps.

More photos to come from this weekend...be sure to check out the video below of Ace's Wednesday night adventure with Scoobi the kitty.


 Mom and Acie at the CATC trial in April. :)
 Um, hello - I am walking you, not the squirrel. He has some, um, distraction issues - birds, bunnies and squirrels in particular. In his quest to "see" them, he gives not one care to the fact that he might rip your arm off in the process....
 Bird, squirrel and bunny alert. He did however come back and sit when I called him...
 An oldie, but one of my favorites....Chelsie, pre MACH and pre torn ACL...
And still smiling...loving her mom, loving agility and loving her new 16 inch jump height. My loyal, obedient, trusting girl. You are the BEST Chelsie Belle, every run with you is so special and I am so proud of you for coming back like the great dog you are!!!

Acie & The Moveable Toy

Grampie calls kitty the "moveable toy". Acie and kitty's adventure tonight....


video

Monday, April 18, 2011

CHECK...one off the list

I have decided there are a few things I am going to do this summer, whether or not anyone else wants to do them with me. :) I am going to keep the list to myself and I will share with you as I accomplish each event. :)

First order of business...a game at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. It was a gorgeous night and I went with 2 people I met at my conference I am here for. We are about 5 blocks from the field, so we could just walk. The weather called for some potential showers, but mother nature was in a good mood for a change. The Reds gods, however, were not in a good mood, they lost 9-1. You know its not your night when 2 of your 3 hits come in the bottom of the 9th. :)

Even though the Reds lost, it was still fun...nice to be outside in the fresh air and think about what it would be like to play in a facility like that. :) Check one off the list. Stay tuned for other activities coming off the list. :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Begging and Pleading....

Dear Mother Nature,

Obviously, you are not over it yet. Something must have really irritated you today...you couldn't make up your mind earlier this morning whether to allow the sun to come out or allow the clouds and rain to take over. You teased us...some sun, then clouds and repeated the process until about 3 PM when you settled on rain - windy rain at that. You are still aggravated with us because you are huffing and puffing like you want to blow my house down...and it ain't warm air you are blowing either, sister.

Can we settle on a truce? I am tired of being chilled to the bone and having nasty weather. Maybe could we start tomorrow? It is supposed to be our inaugural trip of the season in the boat...but at the rate we are going, the trip will be blown out before we even start.

I am begging and pleading with you...please let spring show up soon.

Very Sincerely,

A freezing camper in Columbus

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

14 mos...

Today, little Acie pup is 14 mos old...I can hardly believe it. He is sweet and spicy, saucy and sassy, spirited and spunky all in one.

He has quite the little personality...ALL BOY!!! He is pretty good most of the time, but still likes to get into things...he hasn't quite figured out how to be a little more sly when he hasn't something he shouldn't. He really wants to play with his sister, but his play turns more into harassment and usually results in him getting the spray bottle method of discipline. :) He tries really hard in agility, but is a little distracted. :) Ok, a lot distracted. However, he is still a very young dog and will hopefully grow out of it. Once the game of agility clicks with him...look out. Every thing he does, he does with great gusto. :)

Ace's top ten at 14 mos:

1. Breakfast is still the most important priority in the day.
2. He LOVES his frisbee.
3. He is still a CHAMPION car rider.
4. He loves going out and doing his "practice" at his sister's agility trials and in our basement.
5. He has turned into quite the snuggler and literally gets into his sleeping position by laying on top of me and rolling down into the final sleeping position.
6. He has improved dramatically in his pedicure behavior.
7. He has successfully learned to beg...hard for him because he has a really long, unstable body.
8. He loves to have his belly rubbed.
9. He has springs for back legs.
10. He is very jealous of any other dog that has his mama's attention...including his sister.

So happy birthday little buddy...I can't believe you have been home for a year. You make me laugh every day and are the cutest little stinker I know....

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Happenings and Such...

Well, it seems I have failed miserably in my attempt to be a better blogger...here is a snapshot of what is going on in our world.

1. Mother Nature continues to be a craba**. We are so tired of cold, rain, snow, hail and whatever other weather incident out there exsits. Need some sun...pronto.

2. We finally got out of preferred Open purgatory in agility. We are now back in excellent, which means we are running with all our friends again. Looking forward to a 3 day trial this weekend in our own backyard.

3. Pups doing well. Acie continues to grow up and into his own little personality. He is a little turn head sometimes, but he is so darn cute it is hard to get mad at him. Case in point...last night, he snaked part of my avocado off the counter when I went to check on the chicken. He walked into the living room licking his lips and I knew what he had done. Chelsie really likes the new method of discipline I have started with Ace...the spray bottle. I ask him when he is harassing her "Are you supposed to be doing that?" Usually picking up the spray bottle is all I need to do. I am not sure Chelsie has been feeling well as of late..she is actually engaging her brother in play. This is good for my guilt, but not good in the sense that there is more lab than the living room can handle.

4. My trainer continues to kick my fanny...twice a week at 6 30 AM. If I am not in need of a lung transplant when I am done, he is not doing his job, according to him. No worries there, Casey....I am looking for 4 more lungs after 30 minutes. Your filty 40 the other day that is a precursor to the filthy fifty? I might even need 6 lungs after that. My clothes certainly fit better, that is for sure!

5. I continue to be amazed at what a difference paint makes. I painted the top half of my kitchen and my bedroom this weekend. It was just the change I needed. Much thanks to Maggie for the assistance on the bedroom today. It looks fabulous.

6. I have been house hunting as of late thinking I might want some more space. Looked at an AWESOME house on Friday with one huge problem...the pool. Case in point...there was a garden of mulch and rocks 18 inches from the edge. Um, hello? Not to mention a tree in the yard (and the neighbors yard for that matter) right over the pool that was dropping red things. In my prior life, I was a pool man (we had one growing up) and I know how much work they are in the best planned circumstances. Add to that there was an attempt to keep a tree WAY too close to it...I took a look at it and asked my dad "Um, do you see any other possible places for the roots of that tree to go other than through the side of the pool?" He said no. My realtor accuses me of hating trees because I cut them down. :) I do indeed cut them down...but in my defense, the first one was making a mess out of my walkway (roots lifting it) and the second one was just out of place. I mean, come one...who has a Christmas tree at the end of their driveway???

So that is the 411 of what has been going on there. Mama Nature needs to get over it...it is April and the boat needs to go in the water. Not to mention I don't want to freeze for the first session of SB....and my house needs some fresh air going through it.

Hope everyone is well. :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

This and That...

We have not been up to much around here...I guess the biggest thing that has happened since my last boy is that little Acie was offfically freed of his burden of manhood. Theoretically, that is supposed to help settle him down, but I am convinced it had the opposite effect! Chelsie too. I emiled my vet and told her as much, and her response was "So he is recovering well?" Um, yeah. He woke up recovered. It has been 5 days and his wounds are healing nicely - he was stictched up from the inside out, with dissolvable stitches in his britches and his outer layer of skin glued together. Minus a little razor burn and a few little scabs, he was fine. :) This was the extreme opposite of our last experience with dog surgery...which was Chelsie's ACL. Getting males neutered is MUCH less invasive than females spayed. My vet says his goods were very firmly attached and quite large.....

Hm, what else. I got a personal trainer last week...one of my old softball buddies got one and looks amazing. I have been writing down everything I eat...its amazing how you ask yourself "Do I really want to tell Casey I ate that?" My main reason for getting one is to have more efficient and productive workouts - and after 2 visits, I definitely have those. Its amazing how the right exercises can leave you huffing and puffing like you would not imagine. :) I keep thinking about the skinny jeans I finally had the courage to buy and what I want my booty to look like in them. I will also be in much better shape for wakeboarding season, which is just around the corner.

Next weekend is an agility trial in Zanesville, and then off to visit Dallas for the weekend to see my friend Lara and her kids. So we have a few things going on around here, but nothing too exciting...which is a good thing.
Hope everyone has a good week. :)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Dear Mother Nature....

Dear Mother Nature,

I am not sure who messed in your cheerios, but I am willing to go the extra mile to make it ok for you. You have punished all with your annoyance...snow, rain, ice, stupid people on the road - I get it. You are mad. But can we kiss and make up? Maybe with some sunshine?

Very Sincerely,

Freezing and Tired of the Inclement Weather in Ohio

Monday, February 21, 2011

On the road again...

Happy to report that no one has injured anything and needed to go to the vet and that no one has eaten anything they shouldn't have. I used some peanut butter kongs to distract the both of them while I dragged the suitcase out. They didn't even notice. I guess I don't feed them enough.

On another good note, Chelly was 3-4 this weekend. The one run she messed up was my fault...I was super irritated with myself. She had a fan club on Sunday morning - one of my co-workers lives in Indianapolis and came to watch. This was the first time we had been to this trial and it was nice. The ribbons were black and red and had a checkered flag theme. :) The leash posts had little race cars glued to the top of them. Chelsie ran jumpers while my friend was there and ran it PERFECTLY! Since moving down to preferred...she is 8-8 in her jumpers courses! Std, well that is a different story but we will be back in excellent after our next trial.

Home on Wedensday morning...lord willing, I will be able to walk them outside when I get home!!!

Little Acie cuddling with his brother Blue at ~ 7 weeks old in the breeder's backyard. I know this is Ace because of the white spot on his paw. That was how they told the boys apart. :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Oh Dear...

It was an interesting few days at my house...and I am not even there!

On Sunday, Acie's birthday, I admonished him for licking the couch - which sent him right to licking his paw. I happened to notice the pad on the back of his left leg was in miserable shape...the top of it was just hanging off and it was red and irritated underneath. Imagine a blister where the skin has been torn away a little and you are afraid to rip it off for fear of great pain. Swell. His other one was red and inflamed, but not torn, and the dew claw on that foot was red and irritated as well. Me being the pet owner of the year, I have no idea how it happened, but am fairly confident that whatever happened, happened a few days ago.

Did I mention I was off to Miami, Fl on Monday?

So super parents to the rescue...they come and take Southpaw (my new nickname for him in his injury period) to the vet. I had made cupcakes for Acie's class on Sunday night, but given that he had an open wound on his foot, I opted not to take him to class because it would have been a mess if the skin had ripped off his paw. I put the cupcakes out for my mom to take to the vet - and off I went to the airport.

About an hour later, I get a call - Ace got some ointment and a bandage on his foot, which he promptly removed during the 10 minute ride home from the vet. My mom returned home to one pissed black lab - I had left with the suitcase and gramma had left with Ace - she was pissed. She knocked the stainless steel trashcan down, which thankfully I had just emptied, but had gone gounter surfing for the cupcakes. Ate 9 of them, white cake and chocolate frosting, paper and all. A pissed lab was now a bloated, farting, pissed lab.

Meanwhile, mom re-wraps Ace's foot and gets out the inflatable ecollar, puts it on him and puts him in the car. She puts Garbage Gut in the car too, and off they go. Chelsie farted the whole way home and Ace had the bandage and Ecollar off by the time they got home.

I am happy to report that as of today, all are doing better. Ace went back to the vet and they removed the hanging flap of skin on his pad and he is doing fine - he doesn't run away from grammie when she goes to put the ointment on it. Chelsie seems to have freed her system of the cupcakes, and the labs haven't been put up for sale yet by their grandparents. Ace did get into a match with grampa about who was going to sit in his recliner...grampie won that battle...but Acie won the bed war. Gramma heard him chewing on his bandage on Monday night and brought him into bed with her, grampie and Chelsie. Grampie decided he was not going to fight for allocation of space...so he went upstairs while mom and the labs took over the king size bed. :) Just when you all thought Big Bill was tough...he is really a sucker for the dogs. :)

Two more days everyone...then I will be home to deal with it all...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy First Birthday Acie Pup!

Today...little Acie pup was one year old...I can't believe it, time has gone by so fast. A year ago today, I got an email that said "Puppies are here" and that if I wanted a yellow male, one was here. My life hasn't been the same since.

Happy birthday little buddy, I have enjoyed every minute with you. You test my patience, melt my heart, rattle my ear drums and keep me warm at night. Think maybe you could back off your sister for me too???





Monday, February 7, 2011

Cabin Fever

So it is snowing again here, after all the ice we had last week. I am still not 100% convinced that all the ice is gone, and my precious little black labbie does not do ice. Her good leg will always be at risk of tearing her ACL, so I see no need to risk it. Consequently, we all have a little bit of cabin fever, even after the ride in the car while mom saw the chiropractor and did her butt kicking 15 minute work out.

All this makes for one loud yellow dog and one annoyed black dog. No worries, dear Waffle, if you don't think she has become less tolerant in her old age, think again. I saw a lot of her "pretty face" and heard the irritation in her throat tonight. So I took the little guy downstairs for his "practice" - where we work on some basic agility stuff. He LOVES to go downstairs to work - and I love that about him. I am pretty sure it has more to do with his food rewards than it does with pleasing his mom, but hey, we will go with it.

Both dogs went to the vet on Friday and got a clean bill of health. :) That made for a very happy mom. Also, the appointment has been made for THE OPERATION...March 1, Ace will officially be freed of his burden of manhood. Wonder what I am going to blame for his bad behavior???? :)

This weather has to give...hopefully, we will be able to at least walk outside soon. I have some nice warm clothes, but I don't do ice either....and my dogs are going nuts. Hope everyone else's weather is a little better!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Trapped

Mother nature has been very crabby for the past couple of days here. In this instance, the predictions of the weather people were absolutely correct - everything they said would happen, did. Ice, followed by freezng rain/sleet and then snow. Doesn't that sound like fun? I did heed their warning and prepare for Armageddon, and in this case, it is probably ok that I did. Here are some photos of our adventure during the last 2 days.


What I woke up to Tuesday morning. I worked from home both Tuesday and today.

 Fell on my booty trying to go down to get the mail. Suffice to say, I did not venture out to get the mail today and my trash can is still at the curb from pick up yesterday morning.
 Truly a sign of progress. She was there first, resting her head on my feet. He got up, nicely, quietly and his booty was touching her booty. No dirty looks, no one started biting anyone else and no one got insulted and got down. The small things we celebrate.
Do you have to work on the computer mom? Really, I don't like computer work. Yes, Acie, I do...someone has to make money around here to pay for dog biscuits and agility.

I do plan on going to work tomorrow, lord willing. Something made a noise at 4 30 this morning that caused the black and yellow security forces to be on alert - and right as they were off scaring it away, the power went off until 10 30 this morning. Let's just say that it was a tad bit chilly in the house...heater ran for 20 minutes to get back up to 68 degrees.

Headed to Miami for work on 2-13, and no, not Miami of Ohio. Looking better every day. Stay warm and stay safe. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Some photos....

So...what have we been up to? And why haven't I been blogging? Well, we have been up to quite bit..in fact, the last two weekends I have had no plans - which has been amazing! We trialed like MAD to get to our MACH, went to a few FB games with some friends (Penn St and Michigan), traveled for work, traveled up to Michigan, Christmas, more travel to Michigan...and now just trying to re group. So...in no particular order...here we go....


 Baby Ace at 5 mos - taken at the Cleveland trial in May. Lord, was he cute...a holy terror, but cute. How has he changed? Primarily, he has gotten darker - and he does listen better. Like all men, he has selective hearing.
 This picture is priceless to me. Taken by Virgil Smith of Pawprints.
 Ellen, my breeder, sent me a CD of photos and videos from the first 8 weeks of Ace's life...this was on there. How can you not love this face? (he thrives on that by the way - you can't yell at me cuz I am too cute. Yes, little buddy, I can.)
 Love this picture...captures the spirit of my little girl when she is on the agility course. Taken at the Cleveland trial site, sometime before her MACH.
 Ace was about 6 mos old in this picture. He wanted the ball and told me about it. After he yelled at me, it got put away. One of the hard and fast rules in this household it that you DO NOT bark at your mom for a toy.
 Ace and his littermate, Ella (MS Total Elation) in October. Lee and Ella live about 15 minutes from the trial site in North Olmstead and invited us over for a swim and a BBQ. She has a pond on her property and they had a geat time - although Ace nearly drowned. He latched on to a wire in the middle of the pond that usually held the fountain, which Lee's hubby had taken out to repair - he would not let go and was clearly getting tired. We had to get in the paddle boat and go out and force him to let go. It was terrifying.
 Which one is Ace? In December and January, I had the opportunity to show Ace's mom, Amber, for my breeder. She was recovering from a broken foot. Amber was just a few pts away from being invited to AKC nationals - and by the time Ellen realized it, it was too late to get the points. I had told Ellen I would have gotten the points for her. So...I went and ran her. We finished our short time running together 22 pts shy of MACH - we got three QQ and 106 pts. For 2012 nationals, we got half the QQ needed (6 needed) and 1/4 of the pts (400 needed). She is an awesme dog and was a blast to run. Not many dogs will run for another handler, let alone run as awesome as Amber did for me. More important, she had fun. Oh yeah, who is who? Ace is on the left, his brother Blue, is on the right. Ace is a bully bruiser...and Blue-y is a lover, wants to cuddle all the time.
 Seriously...what did you do all day while I was at work making money to pay for dog biscuits and agility?
 Take a guess on who this is....ok, its Blue. He is significantly lighter in color than my little wild thing. :)
 Ace, Blue and Mama Amber. Amber is barely 20 inches tall and 45 lbs...petite. The sire of this litter was black, Amber is a dark golden...and look at these boys, esp Blue! And only one black puppy in the whole litter...go figure. These puppies are nice size, as they have small lineage - Cody, the father, is about Chelsie's height and about 8-10 lbs heavier. This is on the small side for a male. No complaints from me.
 Ah, the fun ones....at the beginning of the run for all the marbles, our MACH run. I always bend down and kiss her and rub her back - I nuzzled her nose for a few seconds longer on this run. Key to note Bill and Maggie in the background. I think they were more nervous than I was. :)
 I can do it mom...just give me the signal! I love this photo...it speaks volumes of our relationship and the trust she has in me...
 We did it! The judge, Christie Bowers, is a good friend of mine...she really wanted to be standing on that course when we took our victory lap. It was meant to be. I love Chelly in this picture...I did it mom, I did it!
 Love this picture too...so, so proud of her.
This was on the CD my breeder sent me. Hours old in this picture...his mom's paw protecting him.


video
Our MACH run. I still remember it like it was yesterday....

Ok, all for now...I am working from home tomorrow...in case anyone hadn't heard, the Armageddon is coming tomorrow....

Monday, January 31, 2011

Happy Birthday Chelsie Belle!

Today, my little Chelsie Belle is 9 years old. I think I am ready to pick up my blogging again and couldn't think of a more appropriate first blog. Happy birthday Chelsie girl, you are the best girl in the whole world.