Friday, December 31, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
Christmas Eve morning I got up early to take the dogs for a hike. I figured that a nice long hike combined with the nice long romp in the snow the day before should be enough to keep them happy and fairly mellow through Christmas day, where they would have a decided lack of outings. I am happy to say that it did! We stayed fairly local and hit up one of our fave new logging roads that we found. This road has plenty of little off shoot "trails" that I'm looking forward to exploring this winter. We were out for about three hours and I did a little over six miles. And once again, who knows how many more miles the dogs clocked in, with Bess putting in the most. The "trail" that we chose had some good climbing sections, so we were feeling the burn for part of it.
There were lots of great views that made for a breath taking morning.
We were high enough up that there were some interesting effects from a combination of really low lying clouds and fog. I told Bess that it was steam coming from the mouth of a monster that ate naughty little dogs who took off chasing deer. She wasn't phased. And yes, we did see deer and the dogs did give chase, with Bess being the most staunch follower.
After our hike I popped in A Christmas Story and wrapped all my presents. I have no idea why, but I really dislike wrapping presents. I enjoy buying gifts for people, but i hate figuring out how to disguise them. I have been known to deliver gifts in the bag in which I bought them. Yes, I'm sometimes that bad. Usually only to good friends who are understanding or family members because they're blood and have to put up with it.;o) Regardless, I put off my wrapping until the last minute. After that it was time to clean myself up, feed the pooches, and begin the Christmas Eve chaos!
We started the night at one of Adam's aunt and uncle's houses. They were hosting the giant extended family gathering. There's lots of food, lots of family, and lots of presents. I really enjoy the majority of the gathering. Everyone has a great time. The only problem is the present unwrapping part. I believe that shortest amount of time that it has taken to get through it all that I've been there for is three hours. I'm not exaggerating even a little bit. And I think that was short only because we had to cut out early because we still had to head down to my parents' who are over an hour away. The present opening is a very involved process. In part because there are a lot of people. The other part has probably to do with process itself. The presents get opening in order of age starting with the oldest. For each round, each person may only open one present at a time. We all draw names ahead of time, so it's not like we have to buy presents for everyone, but generally everyone has more than one present to open. It usually takes over an hour to make it through the first round. And it's understandable since the person buying the gift obviously wants to see the person opening their present. Understandable. But the length of time that it takes to open presents has gotten out of control. I would rather spend more time visiting with people and just chilling than sitting uncomfortably packed into an area for several hours, while waiting my turn. Thankfully we always head down to my parents' afterwards, so we usually cut out early because we don't want to arrive at my parents' after midnight or later.
So, we cut out early again this year because we were originally trying to make it to my parents' for my family's little Christmas Eve tradition. That was a no-go. It took too long. And we came home to a little bit of diarrhea in the house that needed cleaning up. Once we got the dogs loaded up we were on our way!
I think I've mentioned it before, but Heffner at least doesn't always sleep terribly well in places that aren't home. At my parents' especially he seems to be more "alert." Probably because every time we spend the night there it's because we're doing something exciting the next day. Also unfortunately, Adam is a really light sleeper. To the point where he can't handle sleeping in the same room as the dogs. So he slept in my sister's bedroom (she had to work all night) and I slept in the spare bedroom, on the floor with the dogs. Heffner enjoyed this immensely because he could get up during the night and lick my face or just plain dangle his lips over my unsuspecting self. It's a good thing he's cute! While trying to get him to lay back down on his bed, he usually decided that I was actually trying to get him to high five me. So there was a lot of pawing involved as well. The end result? I didn't get a whole lot of sleep that night. But it's Christmas Eve and I usually don't sleep well that night any way.;o)
When we got up in the morning, we had a leisurely time of opening stockings, eating breakfast, and then opening presents. Bess promptly took over my sleeping bag once I got up. We thought she looked pretty cute and Adam put a blanket over her and tucked her in. Much more cute in real life than in the picture!
Our entire Christmas day was quite full. We had my family's Christmas morning. Then we loaded everything up and headed to the house of some very good friend's of ours for Christmas breakfast part 2. That was kind of a last minute addition and we had exchanged presents earlier. They had more delicious food and we enjoyed just hanging out and chatting. Then we headed home to drop off the dogs and the loot thus far. Once the dogs got their breakfast, they were pretty happy to just pass out and get the sleep that they had mostly missed out on that night. From there we headed to Adam's parents', who thankfully only live about a mile from us (and for those of you who shudder at the thought of having in-laws that close, I am very happy to say that they're good in-laws and it works out very well). We had a lovely Christmas breakfast part 3 with some more present opening. Phew! By the time we wrapped up all of that, I think it was about 2:30pm. Which gave us just enough time to go home and get cleaned up for Christmas dinner at my aunt and uncle's!
It was a very full day, but I was really happy to be able to see everyone and it made the day that much more special. One of my cousins deployed today, so it was especially nice to see him before he left.
And if you're wondering if Santa was good to me this year, he most definitely was! Hubby scored some serious bonus points on his gift. He got me jewelry. But not just any jewelry. He got me the kind of jewelry that makes my heart go pitter pat.:)
I was really excited because the pendant and pin that he got me just happened to match the pair of earrings that I bought at last year's national specialty!!
After all the chaos and excitement of Christmas Eve and Christmas day, we were pretty much spent on Sunday. We slept in and just basically bummed around the house. The dogs had been so worn out by all the exercise and comings and goings that they weren't even being obnoxious about not getting to go any where. They would get up and follow me to each room when I would move, but that was pretty much the extent of it. It was a nice lazy day!
They did get one special treat yesterday that they were very excited about. This year, when my dad went hunting he got an elk! I told him ahead of time that if he got anything I would take absolutely anything that he didn't want and I gave him a lengthy list of the parts that he might not think about that the dogs would love. Well, once they took it to the butchers to portion it out, we got a few bags of random hunks of elk meet and lots of BONES! I had pulled out two of the big bones to thaw so that the dogs could dig into them. They'd been sitting in the freezer for about a month and a half to freeze off anything that the elk might have that wouldn't be good for the dogs (I did a little reading on that since I wasn't entirely sure what to do with wild raw game). The dogs were pretty excited about their bones.:)
The blankets are there so that they don't make a bloody mess of the carpet. Clean up is so much easier when all I have to do is throw the blankets in the wash!
And to end our lovely weekend, we got up early and met up with my dad for a little playing in the snow! The conditions were great with new snow on the ground and even more snow gently falling while we hiked around. And because I've already been quite wordy and still have quite a few pictures to share, I'm going to leave you with some of the pictures from today.:)
P.S. Remi's mom, the boots that Bess has on are from Dog Booties.com. They hold up really well! I've mentioned a few different booties that I've tried with them in this post. The Ultra Paws boots are the ones that Heffner is wearing and they are also holding up really well.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
What you can't tell from the pictures (but is evident in the video) is that Bess, my normally more than eager to whip me around dog, was not really into it. It actually got to a point where Heffner was doing all the work. Bess gradually started lagging behind to a point where, due to the neck line, Heffner was basically hauling me as well as Bess. She has NEVER been like that! I was shocked! Normally I hook the two of them together because Heffner will actually stop and has enough weight to basically force Bess to stop as well. This time around you would have thought that Heffner was my primary puller and Bess was the one who needed encouraging to move forward. Not sure what the heck was going on there. She just really wasn't her normal self today.
I have a feeling that it has to do with her going through a false pregnancy. Her falses are nothing compared to what they could be. Her teats get a little swollen and there are some minor behavioral changes. The weirdest of them that has been fully manifesting whenever we're out and about, is that she roots around the bases of trees. I'm not entirely sure why, but I think maybe it has something to do with making a nest/den for the pups? She does this every cycle. She goes about it with a mindless fervor that is something else to watch. But terribly annoying when she has booties on and she's digging in dirt and we are surrounded by trees for three hours. Once I let them both off leash (I tried having just her hooked up to me for a bit to see if maybe she'd perk up by herself, but no go), she started going after the trees. So generally Bess was acting off today. On the up side, we all got some great exercise! I did 7 miles in almost three hours and who knows how many miles the dogs racked up! Now on to the rest of the pictures!
Here's Heffner waiting for Bess to resurface from inside the tree so that he can pounce on her:
We found an ungroomed side trail where the snow was a little deep, but the dogs loved romping in the wonderful powder.
And here is a perfect example of Bess and her trees! I thought it was actually pretty cute the way that she was peering out. It made a perfect little house!
It seriously weirds me out when one of the dogs goes on alert and I can't hear or see anything! ARG! If they both do it, I usually preemptively grab their collars in case a deer or something is coming our way and I just don't know it yet.
And this cheeky little bugger followed us (at least I'm pretty sure it was him the whole time) for almost our whole trek! At one point he landed on the trail and Bess went running up to him only to come up short. They had a stare down and then Bess did something that I haven't seen her do when she comes across something to chase. She turned around and trotted back to me. That combined with Heffner not even wanting to chase after the crow gave me a creepy feeling.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Just a bit ago, I was sitting on the couch and Bess immediately came up and curled up against me. Not just a casual lying next to me to be near me. But a "I would crawl into your skin" to be nearer to you, kind of snuggle. She can be very intense about her snuggling. The moment was just perfect. She fits herself so perfectly into the fold of my legs. And she's just so happy and contented to be there. I usually have an arm lying on her. If I pick that arm up, she immediately raises her head and looks at me. I'm not sure why exactly, but I think that part of it is her craving every possible physical connection to me that she can get. Or maybe that's just me anthropomorphizing things. It's just one of those perfectly sweet moments where I just want to hug her closer. She's so soft and loving. And her affection is so complete. Those are the little moments with her that I treasure.
Shortly thereafter I changed positions and went into our office area. Bess lay down on one of the dog beds and Heffner picked up a chew toy. He has this habit of preferring to chew on his chew toys while they are some how on me. I'm sure many of you know what I'm talking about. If I pick it up and hold it for him to chew on, all the better! As I'm sitting on the floor reading a book, he drops the chew toy in my lap and looks down at it. All the loose skin on his face falling forward and big floppy ears hanging in a most adorable manner. That look in and of itself was priceless. So I picked up the chew toy and held it for him, knowing exactly what he wanted. Overly indulgent I may be at times, but I do enjoy these little moments that are particular to each dog. Heffner is so gentle while he's chewing on it. It's almost akin to a self soothing act that I'm a part of. Instead of sucking on something or idly chewing, he's brought me something that we can "both" interact with. Or at least that's how I like to look at it.;o)
Like I said, I don't know what it is that's got me pondering these little things and enjoying them more than I normally would, but these are the moments that make my relationship with my dogs all the more richer. They're special. They're unique. And in their own ways, they're very tender. These are the moments that are often impossible to capture in a picture or on video. The feelings going on at the time can't really be captured on either.
This time of year I think it's especially important for us to slow down in our busy hectic lives and catch those special moments, imprint them on our memories, and savor them as they're happening.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
I could have posted these pictures yesterday, but I was in a rather foul mood. It all centers around my truck. I took it into the shop to have the weird grinding noise looked at. It turns out that I had a bad wheel bearing and the whole wheel was actually loose. As in, if I had continued to drive on it, there was a chance that the wheel would have just come off. Yeah, not good. The unfortunate part of it all was that they didn't have the part in stock and were going to have to over night it. In the grand scheme of things, this was a very minor problem. They got me that day, figured out what the problem was, and were going to have my truck back to me by the afternoon of the next day. I really can't complain too much. Oh, but I'm going to any way.;o)
The part that sucked so much for me is that I'm taking the majority of this week off from work. I had grand plans of going on long hikes with the dogs every other day. And on the days that we weren't hiking, we were going to be on the mountain. Specifically today was supposed to be a mountain day. That obviously didn't work out. I got the biggest rental car that they had, which was a Rav4. Technically in an emergency I'm sure that I could get both dogs in there. But not ideal. And it was a rental. And it was spotlessly clean. No amount of time with my dogs inside of it was going to leave it in the same condition that I got it in. Therefore, no hiking yesterday and certainly no mountain time today. So I was annoyed that I had two "wasted" vacation days.
The upside though is that I didn't drive my truck until the wheel literally fell off. And I did get two days of being a lazy bum and had a good excuse for it. But I tell ya, taking the dogs for a run last night was unpleasant! Especially since my preferred way of exercising them involves them being off leash so that we can all be happy moving at our preferred speeds. Yes, they were in fine form last night. They both wanted to run like the dickens. Bess was ready to go tearing off after anything that moved, regardless of the fact that she was ripping my arm out of it's socket in the process. Squirrels were in abundance. Heffner was posturing at anything in the distance that could possibly be another dog. And they both had the insane need to hurry up and first catch, then pass anything that was moving ahead of us. Needless to say, I got a heck of a work out!
Saturday, December 18, 2010
We're currently on our last movie of the day, The Santa Clause, but I'm taking a little break to update some stuff. That way I can just hit the sack when the movie is over with. I gotta tell ya, laying around in your pajamas watching movies all day is exhausting!;o) That and I made the coffee waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay strong this morning (after over filling the coffee pot with water and then cleaning up the ensuing mess), and have been jacked up on that for most of the day. A little caffeine goes a long way!
Friday, December 17, 2010
And the dogs posing with their wonderful, custom ornaments!
Tonight we met up with some friends and saw Tron Legacy in 3D. I was looking forward to seeing the movie even though I'm not a super huge fan of the original. I definitely enjoyed it!
Tomorrow's task? Christmas Movie Marathon 2010!:) That's right. A whole freaking day of watching nothing but Christmas movies. Here's this year's line up:
George Balanchine's The Nutcracker
The Year Without a Santa Claus
Santa Claus is Comin' To Town
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
Frosty the Snowman
Frosty's Winter Wonderland
A Charlie Brown Christmas
A Garfield Christmas
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Classic Holiday Stories
The Happy Elf
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
The Santa Claus
I'm super excited! But I better head off so that I can finish getting things ready for tomorrow.:)
Thursday, December 16, 2010
My original grand plan was to put one of the dogs in the sack and try to pose them in some sort of cute manner. Or just a picture of each dog in the sack. It was one of those ideas that sounded good on paper, but the actual logistics of getting either of my dogs into the sack was a whole different story. Needless to say, it just wasn't happening. Adam thought that maybe a picture with the dogs sniffing (more like bombarding!) at me inside the sack would work. That, again, sounded good until we actually tried it. The shot would have been all dogs and very little sack. And me trying to breathe through the material and the suffocating lips! On to take three! Have the dogs sitting on either side of the sack and call it good. And that's where we ended up.:)
Tonight's get together of my bunco group went well for those who showed up. Unfortunately we had several people who last week said they were coming that just didn't show up tonight. One person texted because they were running late, but ended up not being able to make it. In all, a whopping three people showed up. For those who came, we enjoyed ourselves. If I had known that so few people were going to make it, I wouldn't have stressed so much today about getting together food and drinks for the intended amount of people. On the up side, I was able to get a run in with the dogs.:)