Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Back on Track

Posted by Mandy at 7:56 AM 2 comments Links to this post
The holidays are over (almost.. one more round of Christmas to go for us...) and I can honestly say that I am tired of eating! By the fifth Christmas dinner, five days in a row, I felt like I might develop sudden on-set high blood pressure or Gout from consuming way too much, in much too short of a time span. Each night I went to bed feeling completely sick and vowing to not eat that much again the next time. Each following day, I failed to resist eating ALL of the yummy food, and so suffered again another night of sluggishness and stomach pain.

Now, we are almost done visiting people, and entertaining people, and I am getting back to my normal eating pattern. I've started back with what I call my "feel good" shakes, that I get from the Shake Shack. I have one for breakfast almost every morning and it just starts my day off so well. I've also managed to lose several more pounds since trying them out! So, back on those for breakfast... and I feel the water weight starting to melt away. When you cannot get your wedding rings off after your third day of crazy eating... you know you're eating way to much!

Clayton, the kids, and I headed to Petco when we were visiting my mom for Christmas and picked up two Dog Backpacks to try to drain Brooklyn's - our Pittie girl - energy on walks. So, she and I have been one walking-jogging duo the past couple of days. When she sees the backpack, she just sits down and waits for me to hook her up. It's amazing how it calms her immediately! The one thing it doesn't cure, unfortunately, is her wanting to chase and kill cats. Ugh... this issue is the ONLY issue she has that I have not made a dent in. She's the first dog I've ever had that I have, so far, failed to stop the cat crazies! This might actually cause me to give her back to the pound... it's a serious problem that's taking a ton of time. When I think of all of her progress though.. I just cannot give up on her, yet!

Life is slowly getting back to normal for us here... especially in the eating department. I think back a couple of years ago when we were trying to get pregnant with Samuel and how I used to eat like that several days each week. It was what I turned to when I was sad, frustrated, disappointed, etc. It also became what I liked to do when friends were over or I was happy! I felt so awful, all of the time back then. Low energy, expanding waist-line, and the lack of caring to do anything about it. I don't know what kicked me in the rear after Samuel was born, but I am so thankful to be back to my old self! Feeling good feels good!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I Knew We Should've...

Posted by Mandy at 4:11 PM 2 comments Links to this post
... made Christmas cards this year.

For whatever reason, we never got around to making Christmas cards to send out to friends and family. I would have been okay with this if it were not for the fact that we received a record number of cards from people this year. Our refrigerator is literally completely covered with cards, held by Leap Frog Fridge Magnets, on both of the double doors. It has been so fun to find one or two almost every single day in the mail! Some are from old friends that we haven't seen in a good while and some are from our really new friends - and we were so wonderfully surprised that they thought to send us one! Next year... for sure.. we will be hanging on someone else's fridge! All of you that were so nice to wish us a merry Christmas via cards this year... we will return the favor in the future.

Speaking of having a merry Christmas, I got another surprise this evening when I checked my work email. An article that I wrote around a month ago was purchased by a publisher... HOORAY! They have two more they are reviewing, and they would make it a very merry Christmas if they'd pick up at least one of 'em. I shall wait patiently and see, and try not to get my hopes up too high. You can never tell what these publishers will buy and what they will shove aside.

I've not had as much time lately to devote to writing, but I am making time for it again. Working at home can be extremely tough! I'm still learning the ins and outs of balancing playtime, housework time, cuddle time, and working time. Samuel's now routine afternoon nap is making things a lot easier... but I know plenty of you have had the work-at-home craziness, as well. One day... I will find a system that works.

Any tips for making working-at-home more manageable? Send them my way!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Shopping and Nausea

Posted by Mandy at 7:55 AM 3 comments Links to this post
Yesterday Clayton, the kids, and I headed to the mall to finish up most of our Christmas shopping. It was SO much fun. There is little that I love as much as shopping. It doesn't have to be for me, or for my kids, but just spending money in general gives me way too many thrills. I love that feeling of searching and searching for the perfect gift for "that person".. and then.. you spot it!

"It's PERFECT!! They'll love it!"

Ahh... shopping victory is so sweet.

After buying clothes for the cool teens of my family, and oh-so-classic books for some of the younger ones, I headed to my favorite gift giving, and receiving, store. Bath and Body Works. Oh... How I Love Thee...

After a mere five minutes I was literally nauseous from smelling way too many fragrances. From some funky winter peppermint scent - ugh... - to a delicious Karma Cleanse -ummm..... I was all sniffed out by the time I grabbed every gal in my family their goodies. I managed to make it to the checkout counter pushing a double stroller (with only one tot in it) and carting all of the lotions, body washes, hand soaps, and lip glosses I could carry. Oh the pure merriment of purchasing girly feel-good products. I am still shocked that I bought all of that stuff and not one ounce of yumminess for me. (Perhaps I will unwrap some in one of my own Christmas packages!)

We made it home after many, many hours of shopping, eating, playing, and spending right up to our allotted budget on Christmas gifts. I was so excited over the entire event. The kids were great, Clayton didn't get stressed out and start rushing me, and I got to get almost everything I wanted for everyone I wanted to buy for. Again, I say, sweet shopping victory!

The best part of the entire day came when we unloaded our bags into the living room and sorted through them. I got giddy all over again when I'd run across a forgotten bought present for "just the right person." I was so excited that I immediately sat down and wrapped six packages and stuck them under the tree with the others.

Knowing that having a tree stocked full of gifts is *not* the important part of Christmas fills me with guilt over the pleasure that sight brings me. I justify it to myself by looking at all of the name-tags on the presents and seeing that none of them currently show my name under "To:"

Monday, December 15, 2008

Debate: Most Harmful Parenting Style

Posted by Mandy at 7:14 AM 12 comments Links to this post
In the parenting group I attend twice monthly, we've been discussing different parenting styles. There are typically three styles of parenting that we all can fit into: Permissive, Authoritative, Authoritarian.

Permissive parents would be those in which strive to be "friends" with their children, have little to no rules and do not provide consequences when rules are broken. A common phrase of the permissive parent would be, "Aww... it's okay, they're just being kids." This phrase could be applied as easily to accidentally spilling a cup of juice as it could be to them punching their friend in the eye.

Authoritative parents would be considered the "middle ground" parents and the type that is deemed most healthy for children. Parents in this group know how to pick battles, how to be attentive but not overly protective, know how to let children fail without making them feel like failures, and also stick to their guns on important issues.

Authoritarian parents would commonly be those in generations past, but many parents today still use this method simply because it was what was taught to them. These would be "I'm right and you're wrong" parents. No explanation for "being in trouble" is typically seen as necessary from parent to child, children's emotions are often overlooked or deemed unimportant, and parents in this category can often be verbally, emotionally, and physically abusive. (not always.. but it is common.)

So, up for debate today: Which extreme parenting style, Permissive or Authoritarian, is most detrimental to children long-term? Is being allowed to live without rules and consequences more harmful once you become an adult than never learning how to make mistakes without being extremely hard on yourself? Is having your way most of the time going to make your life harder as an adult than having your self-esteem constantly beaten down?

What do you think?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Giving God the Glory

Posted by Mandy at 5:18 PM 0 comments Links to this post
I had to post this because God is so amazing. So amazing it almost makes me laugh.

After having three really busy dog training weeks, I was a bit upset to find that last week resulted in zero training sessions. Zero, zilch, nada...

Today, I was feeling particullary upset by my lack of work, despite more advertising than ever at vet's offices, and I just said out loud, "God, you led me here... help me out!" You see, I fought the idea of starting Canine Corrections from the moment people started hinting at it. I just did not believe in myself enough, and I did not believe anyone else would believe in me either. God kept sending me one problem pound puppy after the next and he kept helping me turn them right around and get them into simply fantastic homes. A few times, on my way home from the pound, with an insane pooch tethered to a bar in the back of my van, I'd shake my head and tell God, "You better be with me when I get home... I don't think I can handle this one." He always was.. from second one.

So, I finally got up enough courage to start my own dog training business. It got off to a great start with much interest, support, and appointments. Now, my first round of pups are doing so well.. I'm seeing much less of them! Though this is GREAT news... it also means work has slowed down. (hence my fisted prayer earlier today...)

So, a mere hour after speaking like a fool to the Almighty, I met with some of the Humane Society ladies to help out some up and coming people in Warren with grant money information. As soon as I got there, the newbie asked, "Hey, aren't you the dog trainer that I heard about at the vet?" One thing led to another, and now I have two sessions already booked with her! She even gets a nice discount because she's doing it for foster dogs that they cannot place due to behavior problems. (boy.. I've had my share of those!)

I had to laugh as I left that meeting. God was so in my face - it was just so obvious! To top it off, I got a call this evening for another appointment as well.

I just wanted to publically give God credit and thanks for today and for the past year. He knows everything that he has done.. and I know all too well everything I have *not* done. It's awesome... once you FINALLY let go, put yourself out there, and accept that you may end up looking like a fool.. God does show up. Trusting him to show up is the hard part!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New Fosters Pictures

Posted by Mandy at 3:06 PM 6 comments Links to this post

Here our the two newest babies of the family.

The first one is the "horse" I spoke of yesterday. She is a brindle colored Pit Bull. She is SUPER sweet! She loves the kids, loves other dogs... but not so hot with the cats. I'm working with her on it. If the cats are simply by her, she's fine. However, if one makes the mistake of running past her... her strong prey drive kicks in and she simply wants to catch them and probably mangle them. So, I'll probably be recommending a home with no cats for this girl. Other than the cat issues, I've seen no others. Today we went for a jog together and she barely pulled on the leash at all after the first few minutes. (she pulls A LOT at first.. working hard on it! She's much improved already.) I can see that she is really going to turn into a fantastic pet for someone. So far a name for this powerful yet gentle girl escapes me. If you'd like to help name her, drop me some doggie girl name ideas in the comments! I don't do 'silly' names so please avoid "Cookie, Princess, or Tiny." She needs a big dog name that still sounds sweet... any takers?

The second is the one we've had the longest. This is Lilly. Though I'm not certain of her breed, she resembles a Chihuahua. She is only around 4/5 months old and quite the little squirt. She is likely to grow to be a bit bigger than a standard sized Chihuahua, but I cannot see her getting past the "small" size. Lilly is SWEET. No other word can describe her. She's just a jolly, happy-go-lucky, ready to go everywhere you go, kind of girl. She is in love with Samuel and follows him everywhere, tail waggin'. I cannot picture a wrong family for her. As long as she gets plenty of exercise and attention... she'll be happy as can be!

Both of these dogs were rescued from our city pound. Both would have been put to death simply due to overcrowding... please help find homes for these sweet girls so that I can go rescue more before their "time is up." They will be be put on the national websites.. but word of mouth is helpful as well. A friend of mine helped find Lilly's brother a home within the first week I had him simply by asking people in her office if anyone knew of someone looking for a puppy. ANY help you can offer is greatly appreciated.

Interested in adopting either pooch? Drop me an email at pupfostermom(at)gmail(dot)com.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Rescued a Horse Today

Posted by Mandy at 11:31 AM 2 comments Links to this post
Today I went to the pound and rescued a wild horse... I mean a huge dog. She is a Pitt Bull Terrier that appears to be pure-bred and has been in there for around two months. She was SOOO excited to get out that she nearly drug me down the driveway! I ran her around the pound area for a while to try to get SOME of her energy out and then opened the back hatch of the van. To my shock she leaped right in and lay down on the towel I had for her! She looked completely relieved to be going away from that place. (away from constant concrete, freezing weather, and barking dogs...)

Realizing that she is definitely the strongest, though not the largest, dog I've ever rescued, I had to devise a plan for what I would do when we arrived home. She had to know from second one that she is NOT in charge.

Clayton took Samuel into the house and I opened the back of the van. She tried to leap out and I blocked her..making her calm down. After several minutes she finally sat down, gave me eye contact, and her body language obviously changed to show she was calmer. Then I called her out. After that she actually walked fairly well on the leash, considering she's likely never been on one. She was really excited to meet our dogs and they all got along really well! She is super playful, silly, and sweet. I think I need to hook her to the van and let her run about 15mph down the road for about 10 miles to make up for all of her confinement at the pound. She definitely wants to RUN.

So, I have pics of two new foster dogs to show soon. One is a puppy, her name is Lilly. She is SO SWEET and very cute. The newest is the one I was just discussing. I'll have to work with her for a bit before I'm ready to place her for adoption. Lilly has been with us for two weeks and is coming along wonderfully. She's typically the picture-perfect calm-submissive girl. Her brother was with us for a short time before he was adopted... now we just need to find her a good home. She's a great "portable pet" since she LOVES being inside, and LOVES riding in the car. She would do great with someone that wanted a pup to cart around everywhere.

Pictures to come, once I can snap a few!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Guitar Hero

Posted by Mandy at 9:53 AM 3 comments Links to this post

If you know terms such as "star power ready," "YOU ROCK!" "50 Note Streak!," and "Hot Start!" then you have joined the many many people, such as my family, that has become addicted to Guitar Hero.
As a very early Christmas present, to himself, Clayton brought this game home for Wii last weekend. I looked at the price tag, raised an eyebrow, and threatened that, "This better be the best game in the entire world."
Thankfully for my husband, it possibly is! I'm not a 'gamer' but this is so much fun. Clayton likes for us to play in the same band, but I enjoy competing against each other much more. Amazingly, I typically beat him... which eventually frustrates my man. I suppose that men are assumed to be better at all video games, especially "guy games", but this time around I'm actually whooping his hiney. He would beg to differ... but come on over and watch us in action if you'd like proof.
What I've found so strange about this game, is how it actually brain-washes you into believing you are the Guitar Hero. You hear songs on the radio and become convinced that you could actually play them if you had a guitar handy. After playing a few songs in a row, you get into a Rock Star zone... you really believe that the fake people cheering on the game are cheering specifically for you. You, ummm.. I...., become a bit arrogant at your fancy guitar playing talents after you, umm.. I.., play a song fifty times in a row to finally get a 99% accuracy score. Oh yes... I am so gifted. A muse perhaps...
Soon we shall have to have a crew of people over for a Guitar Hero face-off. I know a few of you have guitars of your own you could bring... and Michael claims he can now play on 'expert' level. I shall never believe that until I see it! (I just started trying 'medium' and even moving up to 'hard' will be many moons away.)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Christmas Countdown!

Posted by Mandy at 10:05 AM 5 comments Links to this post
I cannot believe that my calendar already reads December 2. Only 23 days until Christmas! I am so excited... Christmas is such a wonderful time of year, for so many reasons. The most important, of course, is that we are celebrating Jesus's birth. How amazing that Christ himself came into the world as a weak, helpless, and humble newborn. The faith that those who worshipped him there in the manger must have had, to know that he was the Savior, is hard to imagine. Can you picture yourself bowing before a newborn baby, basically born in a barn amongst animals? Can you imagine the smell that must have been in the air with huge animals like Ox there? Could you have gone there, looked at the face of this small infant, and believed that he was, indeed, Christ?

On a lighter note, a few nights ago we decorated the church for Christmas. Christmas trees, lights, ornaments, ribbon - it turned out to be quite a beautiful sight! After our hard work we retired to what we call the "Cool Back Room" to scarf down pizza and visit with each other.

Michael brought up a really fun topic: "What was the best gift you ever got for Christmas when you were little?"

Thinking back to what the #1 favorite gift I received as a child was harder than I thought it would be. I finally remembered what it was, though. A doll - a Baby Alive to be exact. I had begged for this doll with blue eyes and curly blond hair for months and months before I unwrapped her on Christmas morning. I can remember how thrilled I was! I tore open the box that had been her home in the store and immediately filled her bottle with the fake formula she came with, put one of the few diapers included in the package on her, and sat to cuddle and feed my oh-so-loved baby. I could not wait to change the wet diaper that followed. I'm not sure any other gift ever compared to her. I loved her so much that my dad actually still has her, safely stored away. (Isn't it funny how we parents can become even more attached to our children's favorite toys than our kids are?)

Our discussion then changed a bit into: "What was the gift that you always wanted but never got?"

I had to think REALLY hard on this one. Then, I remembered. A telescope.

Oh, how I begged and pleaded for a telescope. For some reason, one never showed up on Christmas day. I had forgotten my past obsession until last Christmas, when Uncle Steve gave the kids one! I think I was more excited than they were! My old feelings of longing came right back to me. It is time to pull it out now that the sky is so clear on these cold winter nights, and the bugs of summer are gone.

So, can you answer those two questions? (some of you will have to think back farther than I had to!) What was the best thing you ever unwrapped on Christmas morning as a kid? Was there something that you REALLY wanted but never got?

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