Saturday, March 14, 2015

March Break - woo hoo!

I am officially on March Break, and I am so glad! haha.  I love my class, but teaching kindergarten is exhausting, and a break is lovely!

I'm going to have a real "staycation".  Actually, it is mostly just "stay" with very little "cation".  Not many plans at all, but at least that leaves me open to making plans if anything comes up.  I am going to have a lovely afternoon tomorrow with my friend's daughter as an early celebration of her birthday.  Tuesday evening, I'm taking in a viewing of the new Cinderella movie with some friends.  Wednesday, a co-worker may come by to meet our puppy and chat over coffee for a bit.  I also hope to do some decluttering and reorganizing in our guest room and home office... both areas need some TLC, as they have become quite the "drop spot" for a variety of items, and we need to make better use of some storage areas in those rooms.

I'm glad for a week to spend time training the puppy, not feeling rushed in the mornings to get out the door, and to just relax and refresh!

In some ways, I cannot believe March Break is already here.  We are heading into the spring (yay!), and into the last 3.5 months of this school year.  It's amazing how time flies!

For now I'm going to focus on having a relaxing week, and I'm going to try to hope this particular week doesn't go by TOO quickly!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

On Being a Puppy Parent

Our puppy, Gryphon, has been home for a just over a week now.  We have been enjoying his presence immensely, though it is worth noting that puppies take a lot of WORK.  However, we figure this is good practice for parenting one day, haha.

He's been settling in really nicely.  The first day, he was shy and timid, but would cuddle with us and it was all very cute and sweet.  He seemed to learn quite well that first weekend to go to the back door for us to let him out for the bathroom.  In a week of bringing a new puppy home, we've only had about 3 accidents inside -- and all of them we can pinpoint to our error of not reading his "signs" at that moment (he isn't trying to sneak off and hide and "mark a spot" or anything like that).  My aunt recommended that we put some bells by the backdoor and train him to ring the bell if he needs to go out.  We ordered some online and put them up on Friday.  He's already ringing them when he wants us to open the door most of the time.  He is one smart puppy!

This week, the more comfortable he became, the more bold he became with things like CHEWING.  Fortunately, he mostly goes for his toys (we made sure to have an abundance of choices so he can chew away!).  This past weekend, he started to gnaw at other things (such as the legs of our ottoman in the family room), however we are still watching him closely so we are able to redirect him fairly quickly to a toy instead.  When he is energetic, he seems to think we are puppies too and tries to dive at us to play with us.  We are trying to give him lots of exercise outside to curb some of that behaviour... make sure he has proper outlets for his energy.  He isn't being "aggressive", he's just being a puppy!  We will be sure to sign him up for some training classes after his next set of shots, which can happen after next weekend.

He's sleeping really well in his crate.  We give him play time, and then he also spends time crated so he learns that's where he is to sleep and that it's a secure and safe space for him.  Also to save our sanity, haha.  He will nibble less once his adult teeth come in and his gums don't bother him as much.

We feel pretty good about our puppy parenting so far... it's a fun new adventure for us! 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Oscar Night 2015!

Today is one of my favourite days -- Oscar, Oscar!

I love watching the Academy Awards, and if you've been reading my blog in the past few years, then you might recall it is a HUGE tradition to watch the show with my family, and bet on the winners!  We all fill out a ballot, and I even have a special folder for keeping past ballots.  I've been a lucky winner before, but this year I'm not so sure how it will go!

I haven't seen that many of the nominated films, unfortunately.  We just haven't been going to the movie theatre as often.  I did see The Imitation Game, which was very good, and Gone Girl, and maybe some of the films nominated for other awards but not Best Picture.

I'm torn for Best Picture between betting on Boyhood or Birdman.  Both seem to be winning at other awards shows, and both have a good shot this year according to the "experts".... I may end up voting for Birdman since it won at a few awards that are usually quite "telling" for who will take home Best Picture at the Oscars.  Boyhood won at the Golden Globes, but Birdman did better at some of the other awards (Screen Actor's Guild, Director's Guild, and Spirit Awards, for example)... bah!  It is tricky this year!  Maybe we'll all be in for a surprise and a completely different nominee will take home the golden statue!

Neil Patrick Harris is hosting this year, and I think he will put on an excellent performance.  I adored Ellen DeGeneres hosting last year.  I've seen NPH host the Tony Awards, and he does a fabulous job and I love his sense of humour... so I think we'll be in for an entertaining night.

I'm off now to make my Oscar Night Cupcakes (nothing fancy, but it's just tradition that I bring cupcakes over on Oscar Night, haha).  I am really looking forward to another fun night with my family, with our little competition making things a bit more fun. ;-)

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Puppy News!

Meet our boy, Gryphon!



We are so excited to have "picked-a-puppy"!  It was not an easy process!  They are all too cute.  When we got there, there were two boys and a girl to choose from in this litter.  In my mind, I was looking at the female and trying to decide if she was a good fit for us.  I had it in my head that I wanted a female dog because that's what my family members have usually had, so I am used to females.  However, the female was very blah... she was cute, but didn't show much personality and I was having trouble connecting with her.

We put all three puppies on the floor at the kennel, and the female along with one of her brothers were mostly playing with each other and were hiding under a bench.  They weren't showing much interest in the toys the breeder had around.

Then, this little guy caught our attention.  He was exploring more, and was trying to play with a ball, and he was actually coming over to see us... not just hiding away like his brother and sister.  He had some spunk and energy, and when I bent down to call to the puppies he crawled right up onto my lap.
It felt like "Take me home!  Take me home!"

I picked him up, and he cuddled into my arms, and I said to Mr. Lock -- "What about this guy?!"

He wasn't the original puppy we were looking at, but then he totally chose US.  We are so excited for when we get to bring him home!  We thought it was going to be this weekend, but after a vet visit last Monday (at 8 weeks old), it was discovered that his lower canines are "impinging on his upper palate".  So, he is going to have a dental procedure this Wednesday.  Hopefully it means we get to bring our pup home on Valentine's Day.  What a sweet gift!

P.S. There is a chance his bold personality means we have a bit of a strong-willed and crazy dog coming our way, but we will work hard on training, and love our crazy guy no matter what!

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!