Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Partying Sans Milt (kind of)

Every year our friends, Alan and Alicia (the photography couple!), throw a huge Halloween bash at their house!

A body bag to greet upon arrival
Another ghoul in the corner

A butler to serve you

A little surprise amongst the tea set

No Halloween party would be complete without the Sam Adams Halloween mix
Delectable cupcakes

Our scary contribution
This was my first year attending, and I wanted to get a costume on the cheap because just like my wedding dress, I am only wearing it once!  This is our first year with the Milt as well, so his costume was top of mind too!  One of my best friends came up with the brilliant idea of incorporating our dog's costume, the frog, into our costume.  See the below:

I (a princess) kissed a frog (Milton) to get my prince (Jeff)!

Initially I asked if Milt could join the party, but for various safety concerns (for the Milt), it was decided against.  The photograph made our costume even more amusing than having the Milt live.  If you still need an idea for your own Halloween costume, see the below:

Note the "bun" in the oven!

Honey Boo Boo's mom made it out for the occasion

PB&J Time!

A family affair!

My hubby...

Halloween was a blast.  The holiday trifecta has begun!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Puppy Photo of the Week

Bright and early tomorrow morning, 4:30A.M. to be exact, I am embarking on a grand adventure with 88 seventh grade students.  Yes, that is correct.  Along with 10 other chaperones, I will be spending five solid days on an island off the coast of California learning about ecology, the environment, and sustainability.  My balmy days will be filled, morning to night, with hiking, swimming, snorkeling, rope climbing, and mainly monitoring all of my little charges.

Milton modeling the pirate bandana our students will be wearing

It will be an experience for sure - one that I will reminisce over fondly once I am back home snug in my own bed.  Am I excited?  Well, yes and no.  I will certainly be missing my Milt and, of course, Jeff, too.

The Milt hates to miss out on a good time!

Not to disappoint my readers (or me!), Jeff will be posting for me while I am stranded on this island of no Internet or cellular device capability.  It is a primitive trip; we are embracing nature!  So as usual, please look for my posts throughout the week.  If for some reason, you do not see one, know that it is Jeff's faux pas and not mine!

Have a fantastic week everyone; I hope I do too...!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Seasonal Treats

Milt is like a child to us, so when he has been a good boy, I like to reward him.  This is especially true when Milton has been home alone bored all day while I am at school.  A housebound dog necessitates a trip to Petco after work to alleviate some of the stress after a long, hard day of solitude.  On that note, all Halloween toys are 50% of at Petco, so get them while they are hot!

Maybe your pup needs one of these too - only $5!

After a good ten minutes of indecision, Milt finally decided on Frankenstein.  This monster is the ideal toy because his body is a tennis ball, and he has long legs to tug on - a winning combination!

Two terrors playing together!

Cuddling up with his new purchase

If you are a major fan of the holiday season, Christmas toys have already hit the shelves too, so get going. Does anyone know where I can purchase a pair of reindeer antlers for Milt to wear in our holiday photo?  Our doodle's first Christmas will be a special one!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Puppy Photo Album!

Milton is still on a steady schedule of three days daycare, two days off and loving it!  In the early morning, the Milt drags Jeff inside daycare and leaves him without a backward glance.  Likewise, when I pick him up, he runs out, hardly looks at me, and hops in the car promptly shutting his eyes and falling asleep for the short ride home.  Why is the Milt dog so tired?  What goes on at daycare?  Well, here's a little explanation gained through a conversation I had with a daycare employee taking home his dog, a medium-sized Rottweiler, at the end of the day:

Me:  "Oh, what a cute dog!  I noticed you training her yesterday when I picked up Milton.  You are really working hard with her.  Does she ever play with Milt in the yard?"

Man with Rottweiler:  "No, my dog doesn't like to 'wrassle.' "

Uh huh, and that is why Milton is always filthy towards day end and needs the daycare people to hose him off, brush him out, and cage dry him.

Getting down and dirty

Exploring the playground

Sweet boy

When I pick up Milton, I inevitably ask:

Me:  "Did Milton need a bath today?"

Most of the time, I get this response:

Heather, Daycare Lady:  "Yes, he got really dirty today.  Your dog sure likes the mud."

To this response, I always assume Heather thinks I am upset that my dog was filthy when, in actuality, I do not like when the conversation goes something like this:

Me:  "Did Milton need a bath today?"

Heather, Daycare Lady:  "No, he actually stayed pretty dry."

Me:  "Oh." [In my head, silently to myself - "Then he must not have had much fun..."]

We gotta love our dirty, little doodle!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Puppy Photo of the Week

This past weekend, Jeff's brother Jeremy came into town, so we needed to show him a good time, and, of course, the Milt had to be included too!  Our goldendoodle has really introduced us to the world of outdoor dining.  That night all of us dined at a local restaurant that has a terrific patio area peppered with picnic tables and space heaters because it is finally that time of year in Dallas when sweaters and boots are making an appearance.  Milton and his little buddy, Leo, cozied up under our table while the night marched on by them.

Sweet boys

That evening I was the first to drive home at the modest hour of  midnight.  These two party animals napped and saved up their energy for a much later night out.  Sometimes, Milton puts his Momma to shame by how much more fun he is!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My Favorite Street

Recently I was driving down a busy street in Dallas, and while stopped at a traffic light, I happened to gaze up to see this sign - Milton St.!  I could not believe my eyes; I had found a street named after my boy.  Me even observing a street name is rather odd because I am quite unobservant, so of course, I had to snap a quick photo of it!

Lately I have grown a bit more curious about the name, Milton, beyond just good, old Milton Friedman.  My interest was recently sparked by a writing assignment that I gave my 7th graders to research their first, middle, and last name.  This assignment has been heavy on my mind as I am currently working on grading all 94 of those papers.  Yes, you heard me right - 94.  Oh boy.

So what else did I discover about the name, Milton?  Now with a name like Milton, we rarely meet any other living Miltons (animal or human).  Delving a little deeper into the name, I found that Milton has English roots and means "mill town" or "town in the middle."  Pretty cool, huh?  When I was younger, I discovered that the name Heidi means "battle maiden," and I really was not too exited after that...  Check out the popularity trend of the name below:

Popularity of name Milton

As you can see, Milton really began to tank in popularity after the year 1880.  Too bad.  We are attempting to bring it back!  The awesome thing about the name "Milton" is it can pass for either a first or last name.  Other popular Miltons include John Milton, a poet, who wrote Paradise Lost, Milton Bradly game company, and Milton Berle, an American comedian.  That's all I've got, folks.  I will note that whenever we tell people Milton's name, they are quite amused by it.

Milton was a pretty big name to grow into

We think the Milt is living up to his name just fine.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Doodle in a Dog Park

Another routine Jeff and I are attempting to cultivate is the weekend dog park/Starbucks jaunt.  The dog park has been on our radar since long before we actually brought the Milt home, but first we needed to wait on vaccinations, and then we were worried about our unregistered dog roaming about.  The conundrum with registration is the City of Dallas charges $30 for registration if your dog is unneutered versus $7 if he or she has been fixed.  So we have been stalling until we neuter the Milt (usually done at about six months) before we register him.  Due to this, there is always the threat of dog cops picking us up at the park, but I think it is highly unlikely!

This dog park is situated on White Rock Lake (manmade of course - it's Texas!), and it is conveniently located only about 15 minutes away from our apartment.  The lake is just about nine miles around, so it is fun to go and swap out on the Milt - one of us will walk or jog while the other keeps an eye on Milt's shenanigans. 

Weighing in at a proud 47 lbs., Milton more than qualifies!

Milton would appreciate the privilege of associating with everyone at the dog park, but sadly the small and large dogs are split up, for good reason, of course.  Milton does spend an awful lot of time goofing around!  I wish I had more pictures of other dogs playing with him, but I felt a bit awkward snapping up close pics with my big honking camera with all the other dog owners co-mingling in such close proximity.

A face off is about to occur

Poor Milton obviously did not get his way
More than anything, Milton loves getting good and dirty at the dog park, just like daycare.

Muddy socks
Happy as a pig in mud

As content as a clam in water

Milton is beginning to like chasing after a tennis ball more and more.  Jeff contributes to that by only allowing Milton to play with his tennis balls during "fetch and catch" practice.

The throw (notice the ball in the top right corner), and the chase begins!

Milt's after it, running hard.

Circling around for the kill (note the awed onlooker in the background)
Skillful pickup (that man is still rubbernecking our dog's agility!)


Sweet happiness - a dog and his ball.

Besides the walking path, the other main benefit of this park is the ability for the Milt to splash around a bit!  Full-blown swimming is just not a passion yet for our dog.  We think he's getting there though - soon enough.

My two boys

Placid puppy in pristine water

Quite frankly, I'd like this dog park routine to start picking back up.  As Jeff is always reminding me, "The family that runs together, stays together."  I suppose watching the Milt run around counts for something too!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Puppy Photo of the Week

Every night our family has a little routine.  About 15 minutes before we are all about to hop into bed, either Jeff or I take Milton out for his final walk of the day.  We go down the stairs, cut through the parking lot, wander about the gardens, take one, hopefully, two bathroom breaks, and wrap around to the pool.  To Milton, this pool stop is the equivalent of a bedtime bath.

Milt never breaks routine and consistently climbs down to always the first step of the shallow end where he promptly sits and then slowly begins to lie down.  He will stay like this taking it all in for about five minutes, and then he climbs out all ready to go home.  This is obviously Milton's sweet and simple way to decompress after a long, hard day of playing and sleeping.  Personally, I think Milton is pioneering doggie skinny dipping.  Dogs are just like humans in even more ways than we realize!

Late night dip

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Calendar Boy 2013?

The Milt and I are proud members of the awesome doodle website - Doodle Kisses (  DK's slogan is, "Where Doodle Owners Can Connect," and that is certainly the truth as I have met two very good Dallas friends through this site.  The website features photographs and videos, blogs (I post there too, and it is a wonderful support system!), upcoming events, and my favorite, discussion forums and groups.  These forums have been amazingly helpful in answering some of my most pressing, embarrassing, ridiculous questions regarding the Milt.  Such a vast collection of doodle owners provides a wealth of knowledge for all of us newbies. 

Every year DK comes out with four doodle calendars - doodle puppies, goldendoodles, labradoodles, and mixed doodles, from photographs that the members submit.  As soon as I caught wind of the calendar frenzy, I wanted our Milton in!  The only trouble is this contest has some very strict rules regarding the pictures because high quality must shine through.  Of course I have a million and one photos of the Milt, but many are full body with a distracting leash amidst a messy background.  The calendar is looking for glamor shots - landscaped up close facials that would ultimately make for phenomenal calendar spreads.

So, what is a girl to do?  I enlisted the help of my good friend and star photographer, Alicia.  She and her supportive husband, Alan, met the Milt and me one afternoon at a local park where we shot and shot again for a solid hour.  Alicia's patience and Milton's concentration (due to all his daddy's training) were both outstanding!  We arrived home, and Milton took a very long nap which tends to prove that sometimes mental stimulation can be equally as taxing as physical.  To check out Alicia's other amazing photographs and perhaps book her one day soon, please visit the site below:

Now scroll on down through Alicia's handiwork, and please do send some positive thoughts our way that one of the below will be picked for the upcoming 2013 Doodle Calendar!  The results should be known in just a few more weeks...!  Milton has been waiting in eager anticipation - no, wait - that's me!


My personal favorite

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Halloween Arrived Early this Year

This past Saturday, my doodle friends and I, with our respective doods, of course, attended Barktober Fest 2012 at Fort Woof in Fort Worth.  As can be imagined with the crisp fall weather (temps in the 50s), the Halloween spirit, and dogs on parade, it was a magical morning!  Here is our little party:

Leo the Lion and Lindsay

Hops the Bucking Bronco (Thuy)

Newton the Monster (Thuy)

Milt the Frog (me!)
Fort Woof is a tremendous dog park with a common middle ground flanked by separate small dog and large dog play areas.  The event was nicely organized with adoption dogs and lots of vendors giving out free swag, like all-natural dog food, doggie disposal bags, and even pig ears! 

Our crowd spent some time in both play areas.  Milton was lucky that his mid-size weight allowed him to play in both; however, I did swiftly kick him out of the small dog park when he latched on to another little dog's frog costume and proceeded to run him around.  I don't think Milt liked the frog competition!

Milton and Hops fooling around with a pretty cool boxer onlooker

A delicate flower

A turtle waddling along
Leo battling a bumble bee

Sometimes the humans dress up too!

The highlight of the event was when a couple of our dogs participated in a "Stupid Dog Tricks" contest.  It was actually commented by a local radio celebrity, T'he Great Gordo!  Thuy and I felt pretty professional as we coaxed our dogs into the ring.  The bad news was we could only showcase one trick, and our dogs have such a vast repertoire.  Actually, I think it's more like we need to show all of the tricks together to achieve the wow value!
The dogs practicing before they go on!
Thuy picked "sit pretty" for Hops which required him to sit up on his hind legs.  Likewise, Milton performed his trademark "crawl," but once completed the commentator remarked, "I hope you folks didn't spend too much time teaching your dogs these tricks!"  Needless to say, Milton and Hops would rather wrestle than perform.

We didn't stick around long enough for the Costume Contest, but we did catch a glimpse of a dog obedience school performance.  The show consisted of the dogs perfectly parading around, and the below shows the dogs' amazing ability to sit still while festival goers ran around attempting to distract.  After Milton's lack of heel at the festival, Jeff and I are really seeing the need to up training in this area!

Perfect concentration
Overall, Barktober Fest was the perfect way to spend the day.  The cold weather precluded us from eating lunch out, but I think all the boys were quite tired, including this one!

Sleepy frog
Something tells me we just might become regulars at this Halloween doggie festival!  Good thing I bought the Milt an extra-large costume to store away for next year.  Happy Early Halloween, everyone!

Three girls and their boys