Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Oh, The Oregon Coast

Needless to say, we love the Oregon Coast. The day that we spent over there a couple weeks ago it was gorgeous and I managed to get some great pictures. The ocean was very flat for the Pacific so no amazing wave photos but enjoy the ones I did manage to get.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Second Anniversary

Just like our first wedding anniversary we spent our second at the coast. Since the entire time we dated Alex lived at the coast and the first time we really spent time together was on the beach it's just kind of fitting that at least our first two anniversaries have been spent on the sand. Last year you may recall that we had the amazing opportunity to ride horses on the beach and we met a horse named "Eclipse" while we were terribly missing our Eclipse. This year not only did we spend our anniversary with our own golden Eclipse but also Teddy and Kira and Alex's family including his parents, grandparents, his brother and his wife and daughter.
It was a great day, I love spending time with Alex's family especially when there's nothing really going on but "chilling"
The dogs' favorite part though was that we had the beach completely to ourselves after the first half hour of being there. It was a gorgeous day with no wind and very very decent temperatures. It was a nice break from the heat that has been plaguing us over here but was still quite warm.
The shiny things in the sand are small dead jellyfish. Thankfully the dogs showed no interest in them (Eclipse is checking out the water in the above photo, not the jellyfish)
While Eclipse and Teddy had the most fun Kira was talked into running on the sand for a bit.
We love seeing her on the beach since she adores the sand and throws her head back and runs as fast as she can. Her stout little body is so cute when she runs!
Eclipse and Teddy loved that we gave them the freedom to take themselves down to the sand from the picnic area whenever they wanted. Much of the time Alex joined them since he loves the beach just as much as the boys do
Kira stuck much closer to the picnic table since Alex's family has zero qualms about feeding the dogs leftovers, thankfully they were respectful about not feeding Eclipse any table scraps because of his sensitive tummy!
Eclipse and Teddy were adequately wore out from their galavanting on the beach and quickly settled in for the ride home. Our two dogs that are slightly uncomfortable in cars couldn't have been much more comfortable after a day at the coast!

Friday, August 27, 2010

The 6 Month Mark!

We've hit the necessary 6 month mark! Last year I said that I wouldn't apply to raise another puppy until Eclipse was in one placement for a six month period. I figured that the likelyhood of him being in one home for 6 months and then the placement changing was slim. I said that because we needed to keep a spot for Eclipse open in our little two bedroom duplex (probably around 900 sq ft). I knew that if I took on a new puppy and then Eclipse was allowed to come home that there simply wouldn't be enough room. We've finally reached the six month mark almost a year after setting that goal but I'm not applying for a new puppy just yet, although it's potentially coming sooner than had previously been thought.

We figured we'd be in our duplex until this winter or early next year but that changed all of a sudden. There is a family friend that moved to Mexico a couple of years ago right before our wedding but he still has rental properties up here. He had a little two bedroom house for rent we heard so Alex called him and while that house has a renter for it he had a three bedroom two bath house with a fenced yard that he'd like for us to rent and it was within our budget! The great thing is this house is great for us and while it needs work (his son lived there previously and trashed it) it's mostly cosmetic work. It has a large fenced yard for the dogs and we'll be able to put a dog door in for them to potty during the day if we're gone and at night so much less crate time for Eclipse and Kira! The yard does have a giant cement pad that looks like it was a foundation for something previously but next spring the owner is going to pay to get the yard leveled and covered with top soil for a full yard for the dogs. It's great, we love it! Eclipse doesn't get anything special today since our next couple weekends and evenings will be spent working on the new house (staining the whole kitchen and cleaning the cabinet hardware, texturing and painting all the rooms we can get done, fixing up the yard, trimming trees, repainting the deck) and packing the duplex. We're moving in the tenth and the only really important things that need done at the new place is getting the kitchen finished and a fence put up between the garage and the house.

We are being so blessed in this whole situation since we hadn't been planning on moving so soon and so have no deposit saved up. Our friend is being extremely nice though and is charging us an almost non-existent deposit and is accepting the first and last month's rent in two different payments and no pet deposit! The chain-link for the small part of fencing is being given to us by Copper's owners since they have left-over from them replacing part of their own fence and my mom is helping us with sanding and staining the wood in the kitchen and is helping me figure out how to best utilize the 1300 sq ft we now have at our disposal. Our weekend will be busy but I'll try and get some before and after pictures to share.

While the six-month mark has been reached I'm going to give it a month or so for me to decide if I can handle our pets and watching the kids and up-keep of the house and my other responsibilities before adding a very important puppy to mix. The six month marks an exciting change in our lives and I'm happy to be able to share it with you all!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Cuddle Bug

Eclipse is a cuddler, majorly. He, along with Teddy and Kira, is always ready to cuddle with me when I need it. Today I was sick. What made it worse is tomorrow is Alex and my second anniversary (not to mention the 98*!). We're not going horseback riding on the beach again this year but we have plans to go to the beach and celebrate our anniversary along with my brother-in-law's and Alex's grandparent's anniversaries tomorrow as they are all within 8 days of one another. I needed some cuddle time with my Roo so he obliged. :-)
Unfortunately he had to cuddle with my legs only as it was just too hot but it certainly helped!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Behaviour Modification

It never ends. We've made long strides with Eclipse's leash reactivity but since I usually walk him early in the morning (before 7 a.m. now) we rarely encounter other dogs for him to react to. Saturday was a different story though. We walked by a house down the street that has a corgi mix tied outside at all times. This dog has a big bark and a longer line now and really freaked Eclipse out by charging at him. Unfortunately I didn't know the people had put a longer line on him so we hadn't crossed to the other side of the street. Eclipse got so riled up! For the next 200 feet or so he kept turning around and looking, FYI I'm going to project human thoughts on him, presumably to make sure this dog wasn't going to come "get him".
He's obviously very stressed in the below picture and his body language and looking back weren't the only clues. After that he urinated 6 different times, defecated twice (once less than solid), and was very cautious walking by every fence we passed.
These are the two big male goldens that he first reacted to so long ago. He's still not a fan of being around them, from 50 feet away he'll stand at "attention" and look at them then turn around quickly and walk as fast in the other direction as the leash and I will let him. As he's walking away he offers pacification signals, sniffing the ground, exploring the fence, etc. Once we get a little ways away and let him off leash he's happy as a clam and frolicks to his heart's content!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Just Being

Saturday morning Eclipse and I ventured out by ourselves with no cell phone, no time frame and no worries at 6:30 a.m. We "enjoyed" a walk to the school for Eclipse to have some time to let loose!
I love seeing him just be a dog!
No stress
No anxiety
No pressure
No training
Just being
Just me and my boy
Enjoying an open field
No cares in the world
Other than being together
Remember every now and then to just be

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Gluten Free Chinese Food?

Note for my new followers: I, along with four others in my family, have an autoimmune disease called Celiac's Disease. I'm sure many of you have heard of it. Essentially if we eat gluten (the binding protein in wheat, rye, barley and some oats) our immune systems attack our small intestines. Other parts of our bodies can also be attacked causing headaches, fatigue, joint pain, rashes, fainting, extreme stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, etc. Over time if someone with Celiac does not eat gluten free their body experiences more and more harm from itself which can lead to other autoimmune diseases and thyroid conditions amongst other things. My twin sister and I were diagnosed when we were only 1-year-old but due to lack of knowledge about Celiac's Disease 21 years ago we have eaten gluten our whole lives, until last winter that is. We've struggled at times to remain gluten-free and are still learning what all has gluten in it. To be safe I usually stick to things that are known to be gluten-free such as unaltered meats, fruits and vegetables as well as things that specifically say that they're gluten-free.

As you all know, I have weaknesses. One of them being adorable dogs that I can train or cuddle or look at. Another is food, which explains part of the reason for my current battle with my weight (up 50 lbs from my lowest ever weight four years ago, 40 lbs from my wedding two years ago). My weight is affected not only by my love of food but also by depression, my suspected thyroid condition (that I still have yet to get re-checked! I better get on that!), and from eating gluten despite Celiac.

You see, when we realized that my Celiac was likely the cause of my extreme 8-week-long illness in November/December last year I decided to just cut out gluten. Little did I know what all that would entail. I've ignored my body on a number of occasions since then and have seen and felt not only physical but also emotional repercussions. I've indulged in pizza, cheese bread, pie, cake, a simple sandwich, burgers with buns, and who knows what else. When not indulging in gluten-filled deliciousness I indulged in other ways. Did you know Skitt1es and St@rbursts are gluten-free? As are L@y's potato chips? So are potatoes, pudding, cheese, chocolate! amongst other delicious not so good for you items? Needless to say my want for gluten re-directed itself and fueled my love of sugar, salt and calories to a higher than ever before level. One week I decided I was going to only eat things that are naturally gluten-free meaning fruit and eggs for breakfast, salad and fruit for lunch and salad and meat for dinner. I didn't admit how many calories cheese has in it so I used it quite a bit and I wasn't using g-free r@nch to my horror but in that one week I lost 5 lbs! Being so restricted on my diet was hard though and I quickly slipped back into eating half a bag of L@y's at a time and have a candy bar a day and drinking soda. Thankfully without the gluten influence I've only gained back 1 pound but I'm still far, far from where I am comfortable being.

With some changes that Alex and I have made recently I've decided to get out of my "funk" and venture beyond salads and nachos (oi, the calories in those things!). I love Chinese food! Beyond just the pan fried noodles Chinese food is full of gluten. Soy sauce has gluten in it. You know how many Chinese dishes have soy sauce in them? All of them, other than maybe rice. Friday I decided I was going to make a g-free dinner, something with taste in it as I believe part of my longing for candy is the lack of varied tastes in my diet. So my online search for something fun and tantalizing to make began(of course I ignored the g-free cookbooks I have). At only the second site I visited I came across Sesame Chicken. For real? I couldn't believe my eyes, g-free sesame chicken! Could I make it? I didn't care if I could, I was going to try, if it turned out awful we could always eat a salad.

We ventured to the store and got all the ingredients needed, some of which were difficult to find, and I got started. Oh, it was so fun! I borrowed my mom's wok and felt like I was actually cooking something, not just heating up chicken, turkey or beef! You see, I'm not a cook. I find cooking to be boring. Stirring and flipping and peeling and seasoning, blah. This was fun though! Seeing it come together and smelling it actually begin to smell like real Chinese food was amazing! I invited Coreena over to try it but she didn't come, then I invited my older sister and her two children who have Celiac over but they didn't come. That left a ton of delicious food for Alex and I.
So it didn't turn out quite like the picture on her website but I didn't mind, I'm under no illusions that I'm a chef! Let's just say it was so good we couldn't stop eating it and ate way more than our stomachs could comfortably handle! I'll definitely be venturing out to try more recipes soon!

Next time, though, I'll be sure to give us much smaller portions so we don't fill ourselves to exploding! Hopefully eating tasty g-free food will limit the amount of not so healthy calorie-packed treats I want which in turn with regular exercise (walking the dogs in the mornings, using my parents' exercise equipment and my newfound joy of jogging [albeit jogging, walking, jogging at this point]) will help me to shed the extra weight healthily and consistently. A great motivator is seeing photos of myself, while I don't post most of them, be assured, they're not "pretty"! Enjoy your gluteny-goodness, or your g-free treats, whichever way you roll!