Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy Snow Patrick's Day

Saint Paddy's is always one of my favorite holidays--everyone wears green, there's a feel of spring in the air, and everyone has a jolly good time celebrating their actual or pretend Irish roots. This year, however, we woke up to six-ish inches of snow and yet another snow day for the DC region.

Don't worry, he's wearing his green collar so he can't get pinched

Happy Saint Patrick's Day, I hope your celebrations are livelier than ours (although Charlie is pretty excited about the snow)!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Jamaican Babymoon, Mon

After considering many fabulous looking locations, we ultimately decided to head to Jamaica for our final vacation before baby boy makes his appearance this summer. We chose Jamaica for several reasons: short flights, an abundance of all inclusive options, and a promise of a good time.

We chose to take a private shuttle directly to our hotel since the cost was comparable to the shared option, but we wouldn't have to stop at multiple resorts along the way. Our driver did stop so that we could check out his favorite spot along the way though:

Our resort was in the town Runaway Bay, which is about an hour drive from the main airport on the island. After an early morning flight (6 am, yikes), we were just ready to get to the hotel and relax. And eat (mostly I wanted to eat). Luckily, the hotel did not disappoint once we finally arrived.


The resort was huge, although we opted for the 'exclusive' package that gave us access to adults only restaurants, pools, bars, and beach section. The main thing our exclusivity got us was better beach chairs and drinks brought to us on request, aka the important things.

The view from our room was pretty fantastic, including plenty of ocean. We even had a view of the wedding chapel, where we spied on a couple of weddings from our balcony:

We spent the majority of our time enjoying this view however:

The main goal of our babymoon was to relax and enjoy ourselves before life becomes constantly chaotic and crazy. So we didn't do any excursions or tours, but we made up for it with plenty of naps, fueled by sun, jerk chicken, and delicious drinks (yes, mine were non alcoholic, much to the confusion of many a bartender and waiter).

Rocking his purple armband and sunburn

Obligatory feet by the ocean shot 

Baby bump alert!

As much as I loved getting away from the cold and snow for a while, I was is ready to return home to our little pup and get our lives ready for baby!

I do miss this view though 

Have you been to Jamaica? Did you enjoy all the delicious rum?

*sorry for the wonky text justification, I cannot for the life of me figure out how to correct it on my mobile device!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Charlie: 7 Month Update

So, I kind of made a  huge announcement and then dropped off for a week, sorry about that and thank you for all the kind words! I have a good reason though-we went on a lovely and relaxing babymoon (post coming this week) and I am not together enough to actually schedule any posts beforehand. I'll work on that. In the meantime, please accept my apologies and an update on our adorable pup.
His Favorites: going anywhere in the car, destroying his fabric toys, spooning and/or sleeping on us, looking at himself in the mirror (I'm still hoping to snap a picture of this happening because it is so hilarious, we like to make up things he's thinking while he's staring at himself)
Napping on my lap
His Least Favorites: being brushed (he's learning to tolerate it since we try to do it every day to cut down on the excess hair around our house), being wrapped up in blankets, being blown on
Failed selfie attempt on a snow day
Personality: I was afraid that neutering him would change his personality, but almost a month post op he is still the happy, energetic pup we love. Now that he has matured ever so slightly, we are able to enjoy him much more, rather than worrying what ‘bad’ thing he’s going to do next. He makes us laugh on a daily basis as his fun personality continues to develop.
We have a running joke that Charlie is actually part cat due to his many feline-like habits. He always wants to chase birds (although his breed was created for hunting ducks), he stretches and puts his paws up on us as cats do when they want to be picked up, he likes laying in the sun, chasing things, and gets spooked very easily.

New to Him: The biggest thing was definitely the surgery to have him neutered. We have also been working really hard on fully housetraining him. He uses puppy grass when we’re at work and I think he is so accustomed to using it throughout the day, he developed a preference to it over going outside. We’ve cut off access to it while we are home though and he has adjusted rather quickly. He still doesn't understand that he actually has to bark when standing by the door so we know to take him outside.

The oddest new 'habit' he has picked up is lifting his poop. He doesn't do it every time and we don't know why he thinks he needs to lift his leg, but it gives us a good laugh just because it is so bizarre.

Happy Monday and a fantastic week to all!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Pre-weekend Update

I'm excited to share...

...we're having a baby!

As if buying a house and bringing home a puppy in a matter of months isn't crazy enough, we decided to ad a baby into the mix. That's just how we roll (do people still say that? Am I already embarrassing my kid by using outdated catchphrases? May as well get used to it).

I plan to share more about my pregnancy since all things baby are currently taking over my life (not to mention my body), but  hopefully I won't let it take over this blog too!

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Ten Things That Are More Difficult with a Dog

As much as I love Charlie (I think that is evident from all the posts and pictures I put on here), there are many ways in which he makes life more difficult than pre-puppy days.

1. Sleeping-this is probably our fault for letting him sleep on the bed with us from a young age, but we just couldn't say no. Now Charlie owns the bed. His preferred place is right in the middle, stretching his legs as far as possible. When that gets old, he plops down on top of one of us, usually when we're completely zonked and he lands in the most inconvenient place possible (ie: a sore arm, full bladder, or groin). And sleeping in is a thing of the past since he paws at my face (only mine, not Brian's) as soon as it starts getting light out on the weekends.

2. Painting my toenails-I actually woke up half an hour early this morning so that I could paint my toenails before a certain pup would be out of bed and insanely curious about what I was doing. Plus, with all the dog hair floating around, I had to make sure to stay in a closed room to limit the possibility of hair landing in my freshly painted toes. Oh, the things you take for granted.

3. Taking a shower-he either wants to be in the shower with me (and then drink soapy water and make himself sick), or he whines incessantly outside the door until you let him in.

4. Doing any sort of home improvement project-we have been trying to paint and decorate our house, but it is so much harder with Charlie wanting to sniff and explore every single thing we do. Plus he thinks drywall dust is a magical treat that falls from above and doesn't understand when we yell at him as he tries to eat it.

5. Watching a movie or tv show without interruption-whether he wants our attention to play, we fear he is getting into something, or he needs to go outside, our tv time (and dinner time and free time) are never just ours anymore. One more reason to be thankful for our dvr and the ability to pause live tv.

6. Keeping our house clean-it's a constant battle against dog hair on the floor, on the furniture, and on our clothes.  Except the dog hair always wins. Always.

7. Being spontaneous-we can't really take a weekend trip or attend a last minute happy hour anymore (although if we're being honest, we didn't do that a whole lot before). We always consider how such plans will affect Charlie and whether they really need to be done before committing.

8. Buying any decor for our house-since Charlie is still very much a puppy with some of those terrible puppy behaviors, we have to find things for our home that are indestructible or easily replaceable. Charlie is a chewer and is particularly fond of all things bedding: pillows, sheets, and blankets are his guilty pleasures. So, when buying linens for our brand new bed, we went for cheap and functional, knowing it will most likely end up stained and with bite marks until this phase passes and we can replace it.

9. Opening the freezer-Charlie loves ice, so much so that of you open the freezer drawer he comes bolting towards the kitchen, regardless of where he was or what he was doing. It's actually pretty adorable, except when you just want to get some ice without being accosted by a very excited puppy.

10. Leaving him-I mean, who wants to be away from this??

Even with all these difficulties, I wouldnt change a single thing.

How does your pet make life more interesting?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Redecorating: Picking the Perfect Bed

After realizing how crazy expensive furniture can be, we knew we had to prioritize what we wanted to buy lest we completely deplete our savings. I wanted to start in our master bedroom. Brian wanted to start with a dining set. So, we started with the bedroom. Just kidding, we bought both at the same time, but I'm going to start with the bedroom since it's what I wanted.

For our bedroom, I wanted a real, grown-up bed. Our previous bed was a mattress and box spring that sat on a cheap metal frame. Absolutely devoid of style and functionality since it actually rolled all over our hardwood floors thanks to the casters. The metal bed was necessary though because Brian can't fit his ridiculously long body on a queen bed without laying diagonally and thus entering my precious sleep zone. I was ready for an upgrade. A California King sized upgrade.

I started gathering inspiration and pinning all sorts of beautiful upholstered headboards.

DIY Tufted Headboard via Schue Love

Not only are these beds gorgeous (what I wouldn't give for that Modshop one, I'm obsessed you guys), but, as I explained to my husband, these would also be practical since you can lean against them to read or lounge in bed. He wasn't buying it. He hates upholstered headboards. Reluctantly, I gave up my dream and searched for something that would work with both of our styles.

I've always liked sleigh beds and I thought this one's simple design could work for years. Unfortunately, I was afraid that the curved design would take up too much space in our cramped room, so it was eliminated rather quickly.

I really liked the simplicity of this bed's design. It can work in any house and could work for many years to come, I don't have any experience with Macy's furniture though, and I wasn't sure the quality was as good as others we were considering.

This traditional style would fit right into our house and wouldn't go out of style any time soon. Unfortunately, this bed is about double the others we were considering, so we would have to live with it for a really, really long time.

So, what did we choose?

The Hudson bed from PB (not that you can tell that from this terrible picture)! While the cost was really hard to accept, we tried to keep in mind that we would be using this bed every. day. for many years to come. 

And Charlie approves, so obviously we made the right choice!

How do you handle differences of opinion on design with your partner?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Furniture is Expensive

When we moved from a ~800 square foot apartment to a three bedroom house, we knew we would need to buy some new furniture. My parents had always given me furniture (they're antique dealers, so they always had something) or built me pieces, so I was excited to buy new furniture for the first time ever. Until I saw the prices of new furniture.

Who knew furniture was so damn expensive? Obviously not me, since I was appalled by some of the prices I saw out there.

This table starts at $2025 on sale. It is made from lovely reclaimed materials which is awesome and beautiful, but that price hurts!

I have wanted barrister bookcases forever. They were originally used by lawyers to store their legal volumes (why normal bookcases didn't work, I don't know), but the style and practicality (less dusting!) is what sold me. Plus these are named Atticus, which makes me happy and reminds me of my favorite book, To Kill A Mockingbird. At $1600 though, these will remain a dream for quite a while longer.

I just love this style of chair; it's classic and a bit feminine while still being functional. With each chair costing at least $330 though, my dream dining chairs were out of grasp.

The awesome thing about this media center is that the faux drawer fronts slide together to hide your television when you don't want it seen. We actually saw this piece in person a few months back and were impressed with the ingenuity, even if the style or size doesn't fit in our house. Plus, at a whopping $4900 (on sale from originally over $7000), there is no way we would be bringing this thing home any time soon.

After getting a reality check about furniture prices, we decided to prioritize what we wanted to invest in immediately and what could wait a few months (or more).

Are you shocked sometimes by the cost of furniture or am I just cheap?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Dear Winter,

We need to talk.

There's a car under there somewhere.

Things just aren't working out. I think we should see other people.

This took Brian two hours. Husband award for sure.

Also, it's not me. It's you. Definitely you.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Puppy Parent Woes

This was a difficult week for us as puppy parents; we took Charlie to the vet to get neutered.

See his shaved leg where they put the IV? Breaks my heart!

Although I am definitely pro-spaying and neutering pets, I had a lot of anxiety about having Charlie undergo the procedure. I was afraid, of course, that there may be medical complications, especially since he had to be put under general anesthesia. And I was afraid (and sad) that we would be leaving him at the vet overnight. He has never spent the night away from both of us and I thought he might be scared or resentful that we 'abandoned' him.

I was also afraid that having him neutered would fundamentally change his personality. I love that he is ornery and playful and happy and I didn't want those things to change.

Luckily, my fears have turned out to be unfounded. Charlie physically handled the surgery wonderfully and had no complications. He is obviously a bit groggy and not as active since coming home, but he has moments he wants to jump and play. He still seems to love us despite what we just made him go through. 

Most importantly, he is happy, healthy, and back at home.

Did you have anxiety about getting your pet fixed?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Finding the Light

As I posted a while back, one of my Christmas dreams came true when my father in law and husband installed a light fixture in our living room.

I still love it, but it is past time to find a replacement fixture for this space. I can't say I have a ton of experience shopping for lighting fixtures, so I am turning to you to guide me in the right direction.

Our house is fairly traditional, as are most of the furnishings, so most contemporary styles won't work. Our ceilings are also on the short side--8'--so a flush or semi-flush mount are probably going to be the our best options since we don't want to run the risk of running into it (Brian hits his head on lights all the time). We also want to avoid the 'boob light'. You know what I'm talking about:

Home Depot - definitely mammary-esque, no?
With these requirements in mind, here are a few I'm liking:
Murray Feiss from Amazon
I like the oil rubbed bronze finish, the low overall height, and the simple design. My main worry is that it only uses two bulbs and I'm not sure that is enough for the entire living room.
Progress Lighting on Amazon
This light fixture is borderline modern or transitional to me, but it's not so much so that it will be out of place in our home. The simple design is perfect for our living room, but I fear the shade will really hinder lighting up the entire space.
Sea Gull Lighting from Home Depot
I love this pendant style of light, even though I don't think it works for our living room at all since we have zero room to let the light hang from the ceiling. I'm hoping we can find somewhere else in our house to incorporate this classic style though.
Hampton Bay Light from Home Depot
This light has good reviews, is very inexpensive ($30?!), and would fit the style of our house. I just worry that it might look a little too cheap.
Where do you go for lighting fixtures? Do you find searching for the right one as overwhelming as I do?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Charlie: 6 Months

So, I haven't posted a Charlie update in quite a while. The truth is, now that he is a little older, he isn't changing very much and I thought weekly updates might be a little much. But, I couldn't just stop updates completely, so here is Charlie at six months. A lot of Charlie since I have some catching up to do.

Trying to fit in a tiny dog bed at Christmas

His favorites: ice-he has a Pavlovian response whenever we open the freezer, playing with other dogs, chewing all the things, chasing birds

Meeting one of my FIL's cows-the cow licked his nose right after I took this

His Least Favorites: getting his nails clipped, people going by the house, unexpected noises

Tollers are supposed to love the water, so we tried in Tennessee (above) at my FIL's house and at a local park (below) to get Charlie to swim. He would only go so far as putting in his legs, but we couldn't blame him, it was cold.

One of my favorite pictures

Personality: Charlie is playful, happy, and stubborn. He is friendly with people and other dogs, unless they are coming by his house. He's become quite the watchdog and little protector of our house. He still hates when either of us leaves and whines and watches out the window for a while after we leave, but he is getting more accustomed to his crate.


Getting some of his excess energy out New Year's Day

New to him: our twelve hour road trip at the holidays (which went surprisingly well), learning the speak command, catching things in his mouth

Bounding through the snow

This face

Love from Charlie!
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