Thursday, October 16, 2014

I've Been Eaten Up by A Puppy! And Other Things.

Hi everyone!!! I miss you! I miss blogging! I miss my old life!

Here's what I've been doing. I'm not exaggerating.


Basically, now everything is just puppy! My life is puppy! I love this dog so much, but how could we have not realized that a puppy = total halt to life as we know it? I should have learned when at six months pregnant with Noah I said to my best friend: "Oh, don't worry, things won't change THAT much. You'll still see me, I'll just bring the baby along!" Yeah right. Do you think that ever happened? No it did not. Noah wasn't a very "portable" type of baby. Neither is the puppy for that matter.  And she likes to barf in the car.

This whole puppy ownership thing is a bit extreme. Everyone forgot to tell me just how all-consuming this is. At least, if you have a puppy like mine, one who tries to eat every single pebble, wood chip, pine needle, cabinet pull, chair, rug, table, dish cloth, button, zipper pull, hand, leg, foot or face that she comes in contact with. Oh, and given the opportunity, she'll pee on all of those things too.

Today while I was sitting half-naked in my dermatologist's office, waiting for my yearly skin check, (check your skin people!) it dawned on me that puppies are basically ten-month-old babies who put everything in their mouths, and are already able to RUN, but refuse to wear a diaper.

K. Miss you. Gotta go. Byyyyeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!

Just kidding, (not kidding.)  Josie will be up any moment and I've been too lazy to get up and change the laundry for the past ten minutes, so I should probably go soon. Here are some super quick updates:

I promise to quit with the puppy spam soon. The other day I took my big camera out with Josie and I. Here are a few pictures that I took. She looks kind of sad to me, but I assure you, she was thrilled to be out running in the rain on this day.

Noah is slowly becoming less apprehensive about Josie. She's still teething and chewing everything and everybody that she can get her mouth on, but we've gotten better at directing her to "appropriate" chew items.

Josie and Hector. It's complex.

We spend a lot of time in the backyard these days.

Josie won't leave the poor chipmunk holes alone. She's trying to dig into them! This is what we came up with, a tiny picket fence. I need to get a daytime shot of it.

No potty accidents in the kitchen this week! YAY!!!! (The family room is another story...)

(The cats are less scared, more curious these days.)

Beyond the puppy update, things are ok, but there are some stressful hurdles at the moment and I am feeling more overwhelmed and exhausted than I have in a long, long time. I'm not sure if I really want to talk about specifics here on the blog, but rest assured, everyone is totally fine. It's nothing major, just several medium size stressors piled on top of each other creating long days and less sleep. Things always have a way of working out though. Just takes time and problem solving. I have faith life will settle down soon.

Before when I would feel stressed out or anxious, I'd exercise or write on the blog or try to do something creative to manage my worries. Now it's tough fitting it all in. I've made exercise one of my top priorities. This is because it makes your body and brain feel good!

I've been doing Element's Pilates Weight Loss for Beginners DVD nearly each night for about six weeks and LOVE it! To be honest, I only do the 20 minute "Cardio Pilates" workout, and even then, I skip the lunges and squats and still love what it is doing. I skip the DVD's leg work, only because I broke my ACL in half in my right knee during a Teakwondo class in college (don't laugh). I found the squats were hurting my injured knee. Even so, with the ab work and then my own, modified versions of leg exercises, in just six weeks, I've gone down about one size and have taken inches off my waist and hips. Everything just feels tighter and my core is much much stronger. I can plank ! :)

Part of the toning up is probably due to walking multiple times a day with the puppy. We live at the top of a very steep, large hill, so that can't hurt either. And, I've decided to try to challenge myself to not eat after dinner. But really, I'm just too scared to go downstairs after 8:30 at night, in fear of waking up the puppy! That's a good weight-loss tool. ;)
For the record though, my goal was to just keep up with the exercising habit that I began last year, and to make healthy choices. It's not about weight-loss, although that would be welcomed, it's about being healthy.

I mentioned that creativity was one of my outlets. It totally is! I never "create" anything important or of worth, but just the meditative act of cutting and pasting paper and dreaming up cute window decorations has been so nice for me. October is my favorite month, and the BEST month if I should say so! I really wanted to make some decorations for our front windows, just to get everybody in the Halloween spirit. So, over the course of about four days, I spread my paper and crafting tools out on the kitchen table, and spent an hour here , an hour there, trying to make my "Trick-or-Treaters" until they were done. It was a lot of fun, and I'm really glad that I figured out a way to make time for being creative. Nighttime worked the best, but I also asked Jon to watch Josie a couple of times, and he gladly obliged.

I was inspired by Paper Source's "Halloween Paper Dolls Kit."  They're cute! I wanted to make my own, with a twist. I'm not a huge fan of all the overly- gory costumes out there these days. I wanted to make six trick-or-treaters in more traditional costumes, so I came up with a simple ghost, a pumpkin, a cowboy, a non-spooky witch, a robot and a princess! We still have the children from the nursery school down the street walk by on their class walks, so I wanted to put up decorations that they might enjoy! Here's how they came out:

I liked the finished product, and this time I covered them in clear, matte contact paper. Hopefully they won't fade too much and I will be able to use them again sometime!

A lot of you dear readers, come for the gray hair posts! I'm so sorry that I haven't had anything new lately. Before, when I would post about my hair, I would take time to dry my hair nicely or style it, or I would take a picture right after the salon. These days, I just haven't had the time to get all gussied up. I'm sorry, I do feel badly about this, but again, just like a puppy doesn't stay a puppy forever, one day I will get back to my old hair-self. LOL. That sounds funny, doesn't it? I won't have to rush as much in the morning when Josie is older.

What I do have for you on the hair-front, is this picture of me from today, hiding in my bedroom, trying to be reeeeeeeallly quiet so Josie would nap. I'd been outside three times already, in the RAIN, by the time I took this picture, so I'd say for ME, on a frizz -scale, my hair held up pretty well! I've been using White Hot's range of products and LOVE them still. I think their Shooshing Creme helped me today with all of the rain!

Also, I was sad after I recently trimmed my hair, but glad to get the scraggly,old ends off. They were yellowed and purple shampoos and clarifying shampoos were just not helping. It was time. Now my hair feels a lot thicker to me, and it's growing. Having to grow my gray hair out has taught me patience. If you're doing the same, you probably know what I mean! So now, waiting for the 3" or 4" that I cut off in August to grow back, doesn't seem as upsetting as before I was gray. It's just hair. 
Can you relate? For whatever reason, new trims and cuts, it just doesn't feel so monumental. I'd like to be able to take more things in life in stride just like this! :)

What else........? Let's see........

Did I post the hat that I crocheted? This is about a month late, but for several weeks I was working on a hat for one of my best friends who has breast cancer and is going through chemotherapy at the moment. :(
I really enjoyed making this hat, and I just want to help my friend in any way that I can. Purple is her color! I used a free pattern called "Hope" from Oombawka Design. I added my own flower and leaves.

It's funny because while I was making this hat, two very sweet readers asked me if I ever sell the crochet hats that I make. Thank you so much you guys! I would consider it if I had more crochet time, but at this rate, I'm averaging one hat a month. I'm a liiiiiittle slow. Lol. Maybe sometime though!!! :)

 (Simply wrapped with some tissue paper and yarn.)

I don't write too often about "the saga of the mini-pool!" but let me tell you, it IS a saga! I would have to say, that this small, 18" deep pond, pool, bathtub-thing-a-ma-jiggy, has cost us more money and more head-scratching and more stress than most anything on this 150+ year old house! You just have to laugh because who would have thought a little thing like this could make us so annoyed? It all started when we bought the house in the early springtime, and after the snow melted, found that there were major cracks throughout the pond. And, that the filter and parts of the pool/pond pump were broken. It took two years and three tries with different pool companies and different materials to finally keep this thing from cracking and having the earth collapse in. In the end, the mini-pool had to be totally resurfaced. The old cement walls were sandblasted down and rebuilt. It was an ordeal. We can barely afford a mini-pool. Omg.

Anyway, one of the problems with a mini-pool is that in the fall it fills up with dead leaves and gunk, and in the winter, you have to drain it, but also keep it from cracking. It's complicated. We've found that leaving a tiny bit of water in over the winter, exerts pressure on the walls and against the earth pushing in on it. Actually, we didn't "find" this out, we were told to do this from our pool company, and it did help! We've tried different types of temporary pool covers over the past three years. All total eye sores, most not doing a great job. (Don't even get me started about last year's bright blue tarp idea.)  A custom cover for our oddly "L"- shaped "mini-pool" would run about $1,500, something that none of us really wants to spring for. So, Jon and I figured that we could make our own! And guess what!? It worked!!! A BIG "thank you" to our friends, the "B. family" and to our friend Colonel, who came to help. Here is a picture of just the frames. After this, the individual covers were primed and painted to seal in the wood and brackets to waterproof them a little. Then each frame was covered with a nylon mesh to keep leaves out. So far, they're working great! And, it cost a tiny fraction of having a custom cover made. I was pretty impressed. Good job guys!

I put up some of our fall decorations inside. Hector enjoys them.

And finally, here are a couple photos from our backyard this week. I just can't get over how beautiful the leaves are right now. It's amazing! Fall is incredibly beautiful, isn't it? 

Nothing else is very new. Noah only has school two days this week due to conferences and teacher in-service days, and we have a full week planned. Wednesday included hosting a playdate, Jon home painting our storm windows so that they can go up soon, and my Dad coming into town and going out to dinner. Today we are hosting another playdate, then have plans with friends to go to the cider mill, and then parent-teacher conferences. 

Oh, also, I know I have said in the past that I rarely watch television, but whilst trying to get the ironing done over the weekend, I looked for something fun to watch from our cable's "On Demand" section. Have you ever heard of the History Channel's show: "The Curse of Oak Island?" Oh my gosh, it's gripping! At least to me. They have the first season up on On Demand at the moment, and the new, second season begins on November 4th. (Oh! You can watch the full episodes of last season online here!)

Basically, two brothers and their team hunt for ancient treasure in the north Atlantic on Oak Island. There is a long history and  back story with legends of pirates, possible Knights Templar, and they have found hidden tunnels, boobie traps, and ready...COCONUT FIBER from the 13th century! (That might not make sense but go watch the show!) Anyway, the only show I follow is Madmen and that won't come back on for a while, so my new show will be the next season of The Curse of Oak Island. It's great!

And that's the scoop folks! I'll be back with more soon. Until next time, thank you so much for reading and for all of your nice words in comments and letters. Gosh I love you guys. :)
See you soon!!!


Valerie said...

Hi Lauren,
Josie is SO cute! Sounds like she is keeping you extra busy. =)
Loved reading your update.
Think of you often and your adorable kitties. =)
Blessings and Sunshine,

Lauren said...

Awww, hi Valerie!!! :)
I think of you often too. Sending you lots of wishes for a wonderful weekend.
Thanks friend! (>'-')> <3

Fifi said...

Hi Lauren. I've not checked your blog for a few weeks because I just discovered Pintrest so got a bit absorbed. I see you've got yourself puppied! I did the same about 7 years ago. One day a chilled double cat lady, the next minute an obsessed puppy owner. My cats were disgusted at first, my Hector-a like Jet protested by camping on the rockery for two weeks. They just accept him now, smells and all. Josie looks very sweet, I guess you won't get moulting with her being part poodle? The piddles and chewing does stop but feels relentless at times.
Your garden looks lovely, those autumn colours! I love autumn with its mists and atmosphere, I usually ramp up the reds in hair at this time of year, but this time I'm having to resist. That's when I remembered your little blog for some grey inspiration. Thanks again. X

Lauren said...

Oh Fifi,

I loved reading your thoughtful comment so much. Thank you for your encouraging words about living through "puppyhood." Now I will remember YOUR words when I'm feeling overwhelmed. It does seem like the piddles and chewing is going on and on.

You sound just like me! A double-cat-lady in a peaceful home, and then BAM! Puppy crazy! :)
I'm glad to hear that it all works out, even for sweet sounding Jet. I'm sure, someday when cats and dog alike become friends, i will be taking many-a-cute photo of them together.

Thank you also for your nice words about my fall colors. I'm so sorry that you are needing to resist your reds in your hair at the moment, but.....maybe this is a great reason to treat yourself to some reds and other war, tones in the form of jewelry, clothing or other accessories! ;) Have fun with it!!!

Fifi, I'm so glad that you stopped by. Thank you again, your comment really did help me. I read it a few times. So thank you!

You take care, stay warm and hang in there!!! :)

cbartlett said...

You are such an inspiration to me! I originally discovered your blog on Pinterest months ago looking for courage to deal w my gray! I have since told all of my friends and coworkers (I am an art teacher) about your blog. Glad to see you are being creative w all of the cool things you are making...keep it up!
Thanks for your great blog,

Lauren said...

Dear Caroline,

Ooooh, what a sweet comment. You just made my heart sing! \('-')/ It's so nice to hear that somebody notices my little, creative endeavors. I know they're not much, but they mean a lot to me. Being an art teacher (WOW!!!) I might guess you understand that for some of use, we don't feel quite right without a little artistic outlet in our lives.

Thank you so so much for telling your friends and coworkers about me. I feel incredibly honored! I'm really glad that the blog was able to help you and I hope that your gray journey is going really well. I could never have successfully grown out my own gray hair, without friends like you. My readers really helped me too. I'm so thankful that we all have each other to send support and encouragement.

Thank you again Caroline. It's wonderful to meet you and I appreciate your thoughtful comment!
Lauren (>'-')>