Sunday, January 11, 2015

On Naming our Dog

Mr. Lock and I don't really have serious discussions about baby names.  We have always been the type to jokingly say we'd name our kids "Ektorp", after the name of our IKEA couch.  That's the sort of way we discuss naming future offspring.  In very silly ways.

Now that we're married, and are settled into our home, we sometimes toss around more realistic names which can be very fun.  I've always been name obsessed, so I enjoy these moments very much.

While we aren't needing to name an actual human baby yet in our lives, we have made the choice to add a puppy to our home.  I've mentioned this briefly in a couple of past posts.  My best friend being a veterinarian, and my love for my parents' dog, has really led me to wanting to be a dog owner.  I appreciate the company of a dog for times when I am home alone (even though I am 29.5 years old, I am still not a huge fan of being home alone), and I am a pet lover.  I'm a caregiver, I have a lot of love to give, and having a pet feels right to me.  Mr. Lock is on the same page, he is really excited to own a dog of his own, and he is looking forward to teaching our dog to catch a Frisbee, and to playing with it at the park near our home.  Getting outside and enjoying the fresh air is so much more common with a dog in your life, so we are both looking forward to that.

This is really our first serious naming decision!  This is good practice before we have to agree on the name of a tiny human.  We have thrown around a variety of options.  We did agree on a name if we end up with a male puppy -- we like the name Gryphon.  We are old time friends from the University of Guelph, and Guelph's mascot is the Gryphon.  The breeder we are getting our puppy from also happens to be in Guelph!  So it seems meant to be, and we think the name is super cute for a boy dog.  So, boy dog = Gryphon.  Done.

The thing is, we will actually most likely be choosing a female dog.  My family has always had female dogs (including my aunts and uncles in that), and of the Wheaten Terriers I have known before, the female ones were of a calmer temperament.  I think I'd prefer a female.  In the litter, there were 3 females and 2 males born so we will have to see which dog just seems to be "ours" once we get to pick our puppy at the end of January.

Female dog names seem harder for Mr. Lock and I to agree on!  We have a few categories of names we are considering.

First Category: Winter/Christmas names

The puppies were born December 7th, and finding that out felt like a special Christmas gift!  We have been toying with the idea of giving her a winter/Christmas name to commemorate her birthday.  Some names in the running have been Holly, Ivy, or Clementine.  Of those three, Mr. Lock and I really only agreed on Holly.

Second Category:  Irish names

The soft-coated wheaten terrier was originally an Irish breed.  We think it could be fun to go with an Irish name for our pup.  We were looking at some of the names that have a fun/unique Gaelic spelling.  We don't want to pick a name that could be a future child's name for ourselves or our friends, so that's why we are choosing names that could be unique/different. We think that works best for a dog.  Our favourite Irish name right now is Caoimhe - which is pronounced "Keeva".  We would spell the dog's name Keeva; but for ourselves we would enjoy the unique Gaelic spelling, haha.

Third Category: A play on "Wheaten"

Wheaten terriers start out with caramel-coloured fur, which fades to a blond "wheat" colour over two years.  It could be cute to name the dog something that goes with this theme.  Maybe a grain name like Barley.  We also have been considering the name "Willow" -- which alludes to the actor Wil Wheaton.  Many years ago, when he was first on The Big Bang Theory, the character Sheldon said the line "Fetch me Wil Wheaton!".  This always made me laugh, and knowing that wheaten terriers were a dog breed I liked, I used to joke that I'd name my dog Willow, call her Will Wheaten, and then when you said that line, the word "fetch" would be so funny since it is also a dog term.  The joke has lost its lustre after this many years, but sometimes I still go back to liking the name Willow since I was thinking about it for years.

I think the front-runner right now is Keeva, to be honest.  It is really growing on both of us, we seem to agree on it.  We like that it isn't a potential baby name for ourselves or our friends.  So, we may go with:

Boy:  Gryphon
Girl: Keeva

However, we are also waiting to see what name jumps out at us after we actually pick which puppy will be ours.  We may meet her (or him, keeping my mind open), and feel like one name works better than others.

I'm really excited, and am enjoying this whole process leading up to bringing our puppy home!  It's an exciting way to expand our family, and prepare us for the responsibility of parenting one day.  I'll probably be one of those crazy puppy parents who will start sharing a ton of photos of our dog.  I think it will actually make for some very cute blog fodder!

Friday, January 02, 2015

Goals for 2015

I am the worst with resolutions.  I like to try to come up with some, but I never really remember them.  I generally lead a life I'm happy with, though, so it really doesn't negatively effect me.  I will write down two goals I have for the beginning of 2015 anyway!

1.)  Painting our House/Decluttering

We will have lived here for a year as of February 7th.  This means we will be submitting one last report for anything we'd like our builder to repair before the 1-year anniversary.  We have some nail pops in the drywall and a couple of other little things, but mainly we've been happy with this place.  After the 1-year stuff is repaired, we would really like to paint the main areas of the house.  Builder's paint is very low-quality and gets marked up easily.  I'm also tired of the house being all the same, off-white colour.  It will be nice to paint and spruce up the walls, then finish some of the decorating we've been holding off on knowing we'd have to move things around again to paint.

Decluttering still needs to happen around here, too.  We have a huge pile of empty boxes in our basement that we just left there after we moved in.  Time went by pretty quickly and we never broke down the boxes for recycling.  We really need to work on reorganizing our space down there (it's an unfinished basement, but I'd like it to be a bit more organized for storage).  We also need to deal with some messy areas in our home office and guest bedroom (which has become quite the drop spot for things I just don't know what to do with!  Oops!).

2.)  The obligatory fitness goal.

I belong to Goodlife Fitness, and I've been proud of myself for going to the gym with my friends fairly regularly for the Body Pump class.  I really enjoy the class, and it is a great way to lift weights since I'm not confident enough for weight training without the guidance of a trainer.  Before my wedding, I was on a roll and was actually going to the gym 2 - 3 times a week (Body Pump, Zumba, and one more day just to go on the elliptical or treadmill for 45 minutes to an hour).  My goal is to get back to at least a regular twice a week gym schedule; but even better would be adding that third work out each week.  I would like to go to Body Flow (the yoga/pilates/tai chi class).  If I could do Body Pump, Body Flow, and an additional cardio work out I would feel really great.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Reflecting on 2014

Tonight, as the house is quiet following quite a fun and festive New Years celebration with our best friends, I'm feeling reflective.  I guess a "new year" does that to you, even if you previously thought you really wouldn't bother blogging a reflection post.  Ah well, here I am!  2014 was quite a special and important year for me.

Our home was finished being constructed and we were able to move in on February 6th.  Our journey into home ownership has been such a positive experience.  We have loved living in our neighbourhood, and our place has felt cozy and right for us from the moment we got the keys.  We've been enjoying picking out some new furniture and decor, and have been able to host some nice gatherings with our friends and family here.  We hope to do a lot more hosting in the coming years, as the space continues to come together.  In 2015, our goal is most likely to paint over the horrible builder's paint in the main areas of the house.  It will be quite the interesting process as we try to pick out paint colours for such large areas of the home!  I also hope to hang some more pictures, and to get an overhead light for our dining room area and a nice, large mirror for above a buffet storage cabinet we have in that room.

Mr. Lock and I enjoyed events leading up to our wedding, and were overjoyed by how perfect and special our wedding day was on May 24, 2014.  Just two days before that, Mr. Lock turned the milestone age of 30.  Sometimes when I think back on my earlier 20s when I was so eager for marriage and domestic life, I am thankful in the end for the direction my life went.  Mr. Lock is such a fantastic husband.  He is kind, fair, accepting, helpful around the house, and is an excellent cook.  I am very, very lucky and I am thankful every day!

In the summer, we enjoyed our honeymoon vacation to the East Coast of Canada immensely.  What a beautiful place to be!

In September, I began teaching kindergarten.  This was the grade I went into this career hoping to teach one day, so it felt very special to have that dream realized.  It was a very challenging transition, in the end, and I had many moments of frustration as I adjusted to a much different educational world than the grades I had taught before (grades 1 - 4).  Kindergarten is certainly a very unique grade.  I have since learned more about the age group I am working with, and my confidence as a kindergarten teacher is returning.  I do love the age of the children, and my students are so sweet and are learning so much!  I am actually happy to return to work on Monday!  Shocking as that may seem to some people, haha.  But I do love my job!

2014 was certainly a year to remember.  As we move forward to 2015, I'm excited by the prospect of adding to our family (hopefully!  Though I don't want to jinx myself so I may not talk much about that until it happens, haha).  We shall start with adding a fur-baby, a Wheaten Terrier/Poodle Cross which we should be bringing home from the breeder in February!  We haven't "picked our puppy" yet; but the litter was born December 7th, and mid-January we should get to go and pick the one we will be calling our own.

Thanks for a wonderful year, 2014.  You were very good to me!  Cheers to another wonderful year in 2015!  My 30th year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy Holidays!

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas, and a happy holiday season!

December 19th was the last day of school before the winter break.  This year, with Christmas Eve on the Wednesday, I haven't really felt like I've had a break!  We had such a wonderful time celebrating Christmas, but it feels like it is all I've been doing.  Even with some time to relax Sunday to today, it has still felt like this winter break is going by VERY quickly, and has been VERY busy.  I'm enjoying it; but I will admit, I prefer when Christmas happens right away on the winter break from school.  That way, New Years comes up quickly too, and there is actually time AFTER New Years to relax.

My Christmas was wonderful, though.  We saw my mom's side of the family on December 20th.  My cousin is currently pregnant, and it is very exciting for our family to welcome a new baby.  She found out just before our party that she is having a girl, so we cannot wait to spoil her baby when she is born in May.

December 21st, we went to Quin's & Mac's house for our Sitcom Group of Friends' Christmas get-together.  Quin did a great job preparing appetizers, and we enjoyed relaxing together and seeing one another before the holiday craziness with our families began.

This year, Mr. Lock and I spent Christmas Eve with his family and then Christmas Day with mine.  Both events were really fun, we had great food and received plenty of fun and useful gifts!  Everyone was very generous.  We are actually getting a puppy (more on that later!), so many of our gifts were PetSmart gift cards -- which is SO appreciated!

On Boxing Day, we went to my grandparents' house to spend time with my dad's side of the family.  It was good to see them, and we played our favourite card game (Canasta) and had MORE delicious food.  While I would have liked to see a white Christmas, the clear weather for travelling was appreciated.

On December 27th, we went skating at a rink that Mr. Lock's godfather rents every year.  Then, off to their home for a potluck dinner with lots of my in-laws friends.  MORE delicious food and treats; good thing we spent an hour skating, hopefully we burned some calories!

I've now been trying to accomplish a few tasks around the house; and clean and prepare for our New Years Eve celebrations!  This year, our Fancy Dress House Party is at our house.  It is really fun to be hosting.  I'm excited for ringing in another New Year with our best friends.

I'm just glad I have amazing Norwex products to make cleaning my home a project I actually enjoy! haha.  I'm off to dive into that job now...

Have a Happy New Year, friends!

Monday, December 08, 2014

New Car!

I am getting quite excited!  While I am of course disappointed that I was in a car collision, a silver lining from the experience is that I'm getting a brand-new car this week!  I've never had a brand-new car, and Mr. Lock and I decided (since my insurance settlement for my car was quite decent) that we could afford to get me one I really like, and that's a slightly larger size than the two, small cars we had before.  We just feel it makes more sense to have a vehicle with some additional trunk space available, and if we are fortunate enough to start a family of our own soon it will be wonderful to have a more spacious vehicle.

We decided to go with a 2015 Hyundai Tuscon.  Mark has a Hyundai, and I really like his car.  The Tuscon comes with some great features (without even having to go to the most expensive trim level), and it was really comfortable to drive.  I've decided to go with a blue colour, as my previous car was gray and I just felt like a fresh start with a colourful change!

I should be hearing from the dealership tomorrow that the car has arrived, so hopefully I can pick it up in the next couple of days!  I am really excited to drive something so new, and to have heated seats this winter, and to be able to put a USB key of awesome music in my car to listen to on my drive to work!  It can be so fun to have something new!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

My First Car Accident

A blog can be a great place to write about first time experiences, sadly this one isn't a happy one!

The most important thing is that there were no injuries at all.  I feel I need to say that before I even document my experience.

So, we had terrible weather here earlier this week.  After a dry, fairly easy drive to work the weather turned very sour and the drive home was quite slick.  It was wet, snowy, icy... just terrible driving conditions.  I pride myself on being a very, very safe driver so I was trying to be extra cautious of course.

I didn't take my usual route home, as I was worried that the on-ramp to the highway could be slippery and I didn't want to have issues with cars going too fast on the highway.  I decided to head over to another major road, hoping it would be plowed or at least well-traveled and a little safer.  Along that main road, I felt that I was in bumper-to-bumper traffic.  This made me nervous because with all the stopping and starting, I didn't want a rear-ending issue to happen.  It was taking a long time to crawl along, so I decided to head West on a well-known street and work my way over to another major road that would lead me North to home and close to my neighbourhood.

I was driving along West-bound, and as I approached the intersection I merged into the right turn lane so I could continue on my journey North.

At the same time, a car made a left turn into a plaza... all I remember is thinking "No!  I won't be able to stop!" (no room, slick conditions), as I pumped my break and just braced myself for the impact.  The car had cut through two lanes of traffic to turn into the plaza, and I had merged to the right turn lane (as you do when you are going to turn right at the upcoming intersection), and it was just wrong place, wrong time.  Also because of the weather conditions, I don't believe the car turned as quickly into the plaza as they may have on a dry day (the driveway was a bit uphill and was covered in snow).  I couldn't swerve around them, because of the full lane of traffic in the lane left of mine.

Anyway, I collided with the other vehicle.  The front of my car hit the back, right side of their car near their back tire (my car was much smaller, theirs an SUV).  There was no visible damage to the exterior of their car, the front of my car is quite squashed.  I wasn't travelling fast or dangerously, the air bags didn't deploy or anything like that.

We were able to pull into the plaza to exchange information.  My car was drive-able, and later that night Mr. Lock and my dad went back to the plaza to drive my car back to a body shop up here.  (I had Mr. Lock meet me at the plaza after the accident occurred as I was so shaken and needed his support).  I've made my insurance claim, and now am just waiting to hear what the estimate is and all that.  I had insurance coverage for a rental vehicle, so I got one so that I could drive to and from work this week.

It was such a scary experience.  I was in so much shock, and then was sobbing uncontrollably that night.  It wasn't my fault, the weather conditions were horrible and there were so many collisions on the roads that night... plus, the person should have been extra careful about making a left turn into a plaza (especially not at lights or from a left-turn lane or anything; cutting through traffic to turn left when the weather is so horrible for one of the first times this winter?  Not a very safe decision).

The thing I have to remind myself is that a car is just an object though, this is why we have insurance, and the most important thing is that absolutely no one was injured in any way.  It will continue to remind me of why I drive so carefully; and while we cannot control the other drivers on the road, it is important to personally remember to be cautious in a vehicle, especially in poor weather.

It was a first, and it is not an experience I would like to relive any time soon!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The One Where I Think I Was Supposed to Recap My Honeymoon 2 Months Ago...

I believe about two months ago I said I'd come back to write about my honeymoon!  Well, I certainly followed through on that didn't I?  Ah well, teaching Kindergarten is sooo exhausting.  By the time I am home, it is hard to do much other than relax with my feet up in front of mindless television.  However, here I am, so let me tell you about our trip!

We waited to go on our honeymoon until the summer, since we got married during the school year.  We had weighed our options, and we decided that what was most "us", and what would allow us to have the most time together, would be a road trip honeymoon rather than flying to an Island vacation for just a week.  Neither of us had ever been to the East Coast, so we decided to go ahead and see our own beautiful country!

We spent two and a half weeks travelling.  We first went to Quebec City for a couple of nights.  It was nice to see it, and the Old City is so beautiful, however it was SO rainy that it was hard to really enjoy our evenings there.  We did have a great day of sightseeing, but it ended very rainy, wet, and chilly.

After that, we were off to New Brunswick!  It was such a beautiful province to drive through.  We decided it was our favourite in-land drive.  There was NO traffic, AT ALL, anywhere.  It was amazing how fast we could travel place to place in New Brunswick.  We stayed in Fredericton, and then at a small motel near the Hopewell Rocks.  We then met up with Dr. McVet and her husband to visit the Hopewell Rocks for the day.  We walked the ocean floor, and stayed to see the high tide as well.  Here are a couple of our pictures:

The Hopewell Rocks before we went down to walk the floor ourselves.

A few hours later when the tide had come in!
Such an awesome transition to see!  It was really fun.  When walking the ocean floor, it felt prehistoric.  The water was also so brown, it was like chocolate milk.  Very interesting!

After New Brunswick, we met up with the rest of the Sitcom Group of Friends in Halifax, Nova Scotia for the August long weekend.  We had a wedding to attend, on a boat!  On our first day in Nova Scotia, we visited Peggy's Cove.  This was such a beautiful place, and I felt like I could lounge in the sun and watch the tide roll in for hours.  Then, we explored Halifax and had a fantastic time at the Hat family's wedding (pseudonym, obvs).

Peggy's Cove, NS
Following our weekend with our friends, Mr. Lock and I took off on our own again and we spent two nights driving along the Cabot Trail.  This was probably our favourite part of the whole trip.  The Cape Breton Highlands National Park was beautiful, and the drive along the coast was gorgeous!  We decided that while New Brunswick was our favourite in-land drive, Cape Breton Island and Nova Scotia generally was our favourite coastal drive.  We both agreed that we would love to go back to the Cabot Trail one day, and spend more time hiking and visiting the beaches there.

A view from a look-out along the Cabot Trail.
Our next stop was Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.  We took the ferry across from Nova Scotia to P.E.I.  It was really awesome because we actually saw a pod of Pilot Whales while we were on the ferry.  We otherwise saw next to no wildlife on the entire trip!!  Which was quite surprising!

Prince Edward Island was very nice, very small, very quaint.  However, we didn't feel blown away by it.  We found that it was difficult to see much without constantly having to pay again.  We had to pay a Provincial Park fee to see Cavendish Beach, but we only had a day of touring so we weren't stopping at the Beach for long... then we had to pay a DIFFERENT Provincial Park fee to visit L.M. Montgomery's homestead/inspiration for Anne of Green Gables.  The red sands were really interesting to see, and we had some of the most delicious food of the whole trip while in P.E.I.  We just found it a bit dull for us compared to the other provinces we had visited.

Cavendish Beach, P.E.I.
We took the huge Confederation Bridge to drive back into New Brunswick as we headed back home.  We spent one night in Moncton at the New Brunswick Casino Hotel.  It was pouring rain, so we never really saw Moncton.  We did drive the Magnetic Hill which was very, very cool to experience.  I know it's an optical illusion, but it REALLY feels like your car is rolling uphill, and quite fast.  I took a video and it is amazing!

We drove to Montreal the next day, just to spend a night there to break up the drive, and then we ended our honeymoon by spending time with Mark's family at the cottage they rent to the North-East of Toronto back here in Ontario.

It was such a wonderful vacation and honeymoon.  We spent quality time together, experienced the beauty of the Eastern part of our country, and even spent special time with our best friends and Mark's family.  It was a perfect honeymoon, and one day I do hope to go back and visit the East Coast again.

P.S.  The photos in this post were all our own, I'm pretty impressed with how gorgeous they turned out!