Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Another Bout of Painting

Jeff and I just can't seem to get enough of painting this old house!  When the weekend hit, what did we find ourselves doing?  Painting, of course.  This time it was outside instead of in.  Basically, we have nothing left to paint for the interior.  My husband got it into his head that our deck had to be stained, which it most surely did, especially if you recall the pics from Milton's birthday party.  It was just a little old and worn out all over.  Jeff actually began the project weekend before last, and then he enlisted my help for this past weekend.  It was just not a one-person type of job, so we got to it!


This round of painting, Milton decided early on to self-contain himself.  We think that he smelled the paint and knew that we usually do not want him around while we are dealing with all the gloopy stuff.  He still liked to stick fairly close though.

Deck stain - note the difference

My handiwork - Kermit the Frog green!

Despite the fumes, Milton tried to stay near; you can see me painting in the background there.  Milt likes that flower bed in particular. 

Momma and Milton

Jeff had the innovative idea, via Sherwin Williams, to stain our deck two-tone or actually three-tone.  He stained the boards a sandy color, I painted the rails a bright green, and the top hand rails are stained a darker shade brown.  Of course I was skeptical at first, but it all turned out quite nicely!

Watering the dog

Milt somehow still manages to socialize with us while we are working.

He tried to kiss Momma in between the hand rails. 

The deck is now completely coated with fresh paint; Jeff and I were pleasantly surprised that we actually finished a major project in a mere weekend.  That is quite unlike us!  As I sit here typing this at 9P.M., I am realizing that I do not have a final photograph of the finished deck; however, now that it is newly color-refreshed, I am certain we will be spending lots more time outside, so many more photos will ensue.

Enjoy the spring, approaching summer, weather, everyone!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Puppy Photo of the Week

Jeff and I recently had the below banner of Milt created to fly outside our front porch.

The Milt - Alicia Skinner Photography

She really has gone crazy - Just joking...!  Our good friend, Alicia, had this impressive banner printed to display this past Saturday at the SPCA's annual fundraiser, Strut Your Mutt.  Alicia was the official pet/people portrait photographer for the event.  Jeff and I participated last year when we were actually dogless, but Milt was picked and due to arrive in June.  This year, unfortunately, we did not attend, but it is always a great event complete with a 3K "strut," 5K run, games, and vendors with all sorts of awesome pet products.  Anything to raise money for stray cats and dogs is always a good cause.

If you have been reading my blog throughout the year, you know that this photograph was taken by Alicia when we were trying to win the Doodle Calendar Contest, which we did with Milton becoming Mr. March!  I cannot recommend Alicia highly enough; she is an incredibly talented photographer - patient when taking shots, creative with different poses, and skilled with innovative camera techniques.  If you are thinking about any sort of photo shoot (wedding, baby, holiday, puppy birthday!) in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, you should definitely keep her top of mind.

Alicia Skinner Photography

As I always say (whenever you get me going on the topic of our wedding...), our wedding photographer was far less than stellar, so I plan to engage Alicia for a proper family portrait as we get closer to the holidays.  Now that we are a family of three (Jeff, Milt Dog, and me!), I need some formal photos to display around the house.  When it was just Jeff and me, I felt  a little silly displaying multiple pictures of our smiling faces, but now that we have our goldendoodle, Milt, it seems much more natural to showcase our sweet boy!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Buyer Beware!

When I was a kid, and I got to stay home from school because I was sick, it wasn't such a bad thing.  My mom would dote on me all day long from my vantage point on the sofa plopped in front of the TV.  If it was a Wednesday, my dad would be home too, so the house always had an energy about it.

Yesterday I stayed home sick from school, and it was quite the different experience.  I felt like it was a big, inconvenient break in my agenda -- Milt was supposed to be at daycare, me school, followed by evening yoga.  Instead, I spent the day at home in my pink bathrobe (you know the one I am referring to).  That morning I had awoken with a gurgling stomach followed by the sudden and frequent urge to rush to the toilet.  I'm not one to ever take a sick day (it's too much time that I miss with my kids), but the thought of me running to the restroom multiple times in a period, while the students stopped and stared, was unbearable.  I have absolutely amazing students, but even I would need to comment on that!

The worst part is you are at home on a weekday, which is kind of like a mini-holiday, but you don't feel well -- vacuuming, dusting, and mopping just have to wait.  Poor Milt couldn't even fathom why it was 2P.M., Momma was still in bed, and we hadn't even taken our daily walk yet!  I felt bad for my boy.  I invited him up onto the bed, and this time he stayed around for a solid two hours.  He is not a cuddly one up at the head, but he prefers to lie at my feet and stretch out.

Sweet boy napping with his Momma

What is the "Buyer Beware!" bit of this post all about?  Well, in addition to being sick, with what I think was a 24-hour flu bug or a reaction to the triple-washed salad that I deemed safe not to wash again but maybe I should have, I was injured at the dog park!  On Monday, Milt and I went for a post-work trip, and I completely blanked that the park is always closed on Mondays.  Thankfully though, the water portion was still available, so we went over for Milt to have a dip.  Lots of other dogs were there, but one woman arrived with her new schnoodle puppy.  She was black/white and super cute, but the woman kept her on the leash because she was uncertain how the pup would interact with the big dogs.  This leash was a retractable, but instead of like a nylon material, it was made out of wire to prevent puppies chewing.  Well, that puppy ran around and got tangled around my leg.  The woman said a terse, "Sorry," but I reached down to grab at my shin.  You might think, how bad could that possibly hurt, well look:


It is like a barbed wire cut, and it is still quite tender.  I have been nursing it with aloe vera, and I am sure that it will eventually heal, but I am a bit nervous about scarring.  Point being, I do NOT recommend wire retractable leashes -- they are a danger!

Have fun this weekend, everyone, and stay safe!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Big Brother

A Wednesday post...?  How peculiar.  Yes, yesterday I missed my standard Tuesday posting because I had 95 research reports sitting on my chest.  They were weighing on my shoulders, hanging over my head, and directly in front of my eyes.  Am I now completely finished with grading those papers?  No, you always have those few outliers - late papers, waiting to print, and carefully tucked away somewhere.  Will I get them all read?  Yes, of course, however, it is just like writing this blog - to read the papers, I need a steady eye and a clear head.  That doesn't always happen when I want it to! 

Well, Jeff and I are considering, moderately heavily( whatever that means!), in getting the Milt Dog a baby brother.  We figure that we are wild about the Milt and wouldn't it be even nicer to have two doods scampering about and kissing our faces.  We would like to rescue a pup, but our latest attempt to do that did not turn out in our favor.  Back in March, Jeff and I tried to adopt a foster F1 doodle living in southern Louisiana.  She had been abandoned by her family, covered in mats, when they could no longer afford her, and she was currently living with a foster family.  One evening, I spent a solid hour filling out a rather lengthy application answering questions like, "What is your potty training philosophy?" and "If you were to die, who is next of kin for your dog?"  I had some really solid answers too.  Then we received an email that despite a strong application and an entertaining blog, the foster parents had some hesitations due to the comment that we were in the process of building an 8-ft. fence and might occasionally leave the dogs together outside (afternoon workdays) when we were not home.  This was deemed as "dangerous" and, they basically left it as a we'll call you situation, and, guess what, they never called...!  Oh, well.  We plan to try again next summer when I have a big chunk of time to assimilate a puppy into our home and get him or her acquainted with the Milt Dog.

I think our puppy lust is the main reason why we love to baby-sit over dogs.  Jeff and I like to watch Milt interact and see how he handles sharing his toys, food, and our attention.  So far, so good, but he certainly has his moments.  Recently, my good buddy, Lindsay, asked us if Leo could sleep over as she was working extremely late into the night.  We jumped on the opportunity and enjoyed every second of it.  These two goldendoodles have a pretty normal relationship of Big Brother, Little Brother.  Basically, Milt likes to boss Leo around by taking his toys, eating his food, and occasionally placing Leo's entire head in his mouth when he gets agitated with him.  Likewise, Leo enjoys antagonizing Milton by barking loudly, stealing his prized toys, and running, jumping where Milt is not allowed to go or simply can't fit.  These two have something special.

Going at it.

Leo is allowed on the bed in his house, and he likes to make himself right at home in our house.  Milton, who is almost never permitted on the bed, cannot understand why this pipsqueak is always breaking all the rules.  If Leo is up on our bed, Milt is heaving his whole body up there to try and knock some sense into that boy.

That little guy also likes to burrow under things that he knows Milt can just not do.

All holed up

Quite pleased with himself

Milt, infuriated, and somewhat stuck

Despite their silly quarrels, the boys still make quite the team.  They are both "ferocious" watchdogs.  

Defending our honor

Leo and Milt might be the Odd Couple, but they certainly keep each other occupied throughout the day.  Even though Leo annoys Milt and Milt beats up on Leo, they share a sweet camaraderie together.  Hopefully, Leo and Milt's antics are a true-life example of what our life could be like with two dogs rather than just our one special dood.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Puppy Photo of the Week

Jeff, Milt, and I are a happy trio who all co-exist in the same bedroom.  Jeff and I take the bed, and up until December, Milton was always in his crate.  Now, he is crateless, and I think loving it...  One of the main reasons for having a crate, though, is to create that den-like atmosphere where a dog feels cozy and secure.  Something tells me that Milt might be missing it for that reason.


Whenever we are in bed for the night, Milt Dog likes to lie down right next to the windows and sneak behind the curtains.  He tries to stay hidden and out of sight, out of mind.  Perhaps it is a hint for us not to disturb him.  We think it is pretty darn cute.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Summer Lovin'!

When Jeff and I were looking for a house, I was very adamant that I wanted a pool.  I grew up on a lake, swimming whenever it was hot, and now living in a state where temperatures peak in the low 100s, I was emphatic that a pool was a necessity.  There were an awful lot of naysayers who said that a swimming pool would be full of maintenance, too costly, and a detriment when we finally want to sell and move on.  I tuned out all the Negative Nellies and kept on looking.

Turns out, we did not land a house with a pool, but it was not for any of the reasons detailed above.  It was much more wrapped up in the fact that we bought an old house in the heart of Dallas, and the majority of these houses (except for our lucky dog of a neighbor right next door!) do not have the lot size to support a pool.  Being the good doggie parents that we are, we chose a yard for our boy instead of a lusciously refreshing swimming pool that I could be floating in as I type this.  Oh, dear...

Despite the lack of a pool, summer is in the air, especially in our backyard.  We might not have a grand indoor swimming pool with deluxe water slide and 10-jet jacuzzi, but we do have one of these.

Check it out.

I know what you are thinking - this is sad and strangely pathetic.  Well, this big blue pool fits in our yard, we can store it away when we are done with it, AND it is still large enough to fit both Milt Dog and me.  Our goldendoodle feels pretty darn lucky to have his own private watering hole out back.

Once Milton gets even one paw damp, he likes to go roll about and get all that wet off.


Then, of course, he likes to go and get all that dirt off. 

A chocolate pond

Our pool becomes a muddy mess that eventually requires two people to pick up and dump out, if we can.  If not, we start bailing with buckets until we lighten the load.

Once Milt has been properly hosed down following his mud bath, he can just kick back on our deck and dry that big 'ole belly.


It is not exactly Owasco Lake, where I grew up, but water in the backyard is still a little piece of home, and Milt's love of water certainly takes after his Momma Dog who got it from her dad when she was a little girl.

Yesterday, April 17th, was the two-year anniversary of my dad's death, and Jeff and I chose to remember him by attending mass and eating a memorial dinner of two of his favorites - cheesesteak subs and caramel sundaes from McDonald's.  My dad instilled in me many, many things, but a love of water tops the list.  I am glad to know that I am passing this appreciation along to the Milt Dog.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Shearing a Big 'Ole Sheep (Goldendoodle!)

Jeff just couldn't take it anymore.  The boy we love more than anything was looking a little too much like a mop to him.  Jeff thought all that fur was weighing him down much too much, and to quote him, "Milt was looking like a 'saggy pants' everytime he went to go catch the ball; it was like his britches were about to fall down."  So, that was that - a haircut was decided upon. 

Thankfully, I managed to hold Jeff off until Milt's first birthday.  I was adamant that his lovely locks needed to grow long until then.  I was waiting for them to touch the ground!  In all seriousness, both of us were beginning to feel a little bad for the Milt.  Despite it only being mid-April, we still have days that can reach up to the 90s.  As the chief walker of Milton, I was seeing first hand how the heat took its toll on him each time we would be out and about on one of our daily jaunts.  I mean, Milt Dog is not much of a walker anyways, but throw in that heat, and it gets a little ridiculous.  Milton is a big fan of walking, sitting, and lying down.  Once he is laid out, and I back-step to coax him up, he promptly rolls over for a little belly rub.  It is a bit humiliating for me.

Instead of getting Milton cut at our daycare, Jeff thought it would be more economical to order his own clipper, at about $200, and get to work.  To cut a dog Milton's size, it can run about $65 per trim, so we assume it will all even out in the long run.  I know that our friend, Thuy, cuts her doodle, Hops, at a salon where you pay something like $20 and use all their tools.  This is a fun idea too; I think I would have preferred that option...

Pretty nifty

Jeff got the idea for this clipper from our friend, Lindsay, who is always knowledgeable of the latest and greatest doodle gadgets.  If you have the hankering for one, check it out at Amazon:

Andis UltraEdge AGC Super 2-Speed Animal Clipper

Andis Small Pet Clipper Combs 9 Piece Set

The clipper (two speeds!) was very easy to manage, with no fear of cutting Milton.  We also bought a set of combs, containing the longest comb of 1.25", so that we could still keep his fur fairly long.

 Jeff was itching so badly to cut our goldendoodle, that he couldn't even wait for the weekend.  He dug right in this past Tuesday night.  All last week when I was writing about Milton's birthday party, whenever I took pictures of Milt, I made certain to focus on his head to not give the surprise of his brand new haircut away!  I felt like I was trying to hide a baby bump...

First, we washed the Milt, in his new kiddie pool, to make certain that he was nice and fresh.

Daddy Dog washing

Momma Dog got right in there too.

Next up, we gave him a good brush out to try to untangle some of those nasty mats that seem to develop behind his ears and under his armpits.

Wet boy

Jeff tried to get a few out with a giant pair of scissors!


Milt likes to be rewarded between unpleasant activities.

Gnawing on his antler

Finally Jeff got to the real cutting after about an hour into this endeavor.  At first, we were not having much success because the comb was so long, but we started lifting the fur up and holding it at an angle to allow us to reach down further and lop more off.


Both Jeff and I got after it!  At first we chained Milton up to our weight stand to keep him still, but although, he was bored, he was not terribly scared, so he eventually just laid on down for us.

A massacre of hair...!

All over...

...the floor

Jeff even sacrificed his brush to the cause to try and chunk out some of that hair.  All in all, it took my poor husband about a total of 2.5 hours cutting time to try and get the Milt's hair under control.  Here is the finished product!

He is a little choppy in spots...

Since the initial cut, there have been many, many touch ups.

What a little trooper!

Although I was very hesitant to let Jeff cut Milt because I liked his curlicues, Jeff did a really nice job.  At first, post-cut, I was nervous to pet Milton because I really think he shed at least a solid pound of fur; he came out looking pretty skin and bones to my eyes.  We were both frightened that he would come out like a skinny white rat.  After about a week now, I have become more used to his new physique, and he looks pretty darn good.

If you are having difficulty telling the difference between his old cut and his new, here is a little comparison.

A couple of months ago


The one area that I am still a little concerned about is his chicken butt.

Bow legs

I think Jeff cut up the sides just a little too much, but oh, well.  We have quite a few years to perfect the Milt's cut.  When I asked the employees at daycare what they thought of Milton's new hair-do, they began to laugh and said, "That's a funny haircut he got." 

We'll get it down eventually.  The main thing is that Milt is nice and cool for the hot Texas summer.  Not to mention, that hopefully our house will stay just a little bit cleaner with less fur balls rolling around and leaves fluttering off his fur.  It's a win-win situation for all!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Puppy Photo of the Week

Recall the famous idiom - "When the cat's away, the mice will play."  In my situation, that translates to, "When Jeff's at yet another bachelor party in New Orleans, Momma lets Milton get away with things."

Daddy wouldn't like this...

Milton and I had a delightful weekend together - taking long walks, splashing in the kiddie pool, and throwing polka dot pig back and forth and back and forth.  Even though we had an awful lot of fun together, we seem to have even more fun when that Daddy Dog is around.  Jeff arrived home Sunday afternoon, and Milton was quite pleased to see him.  Me too.

Friday, April 12, 2013

How to Throw a Doggie Party: Presents Galore

Let me tell you.  That Milt is one heck of a lucky boy!  At his party, we figured that one or two people might arrive with gifts to give our goldendoodle.  Well, turns out our friends have a true knack for purchasing puppy gifts galore.  Our boy certainly has an awful lot of new toys to play with for months and months to come.

Some dog

The kickoff to Milt's party was when our friend, Anny, who mind you just underwent a double lung transplant, sent him a rather hefty box from Petco filled with multiple rawhide bones (a couple were chicken barbecue flavor!) and a monkey squeak toy.  I would show you what is left of one of those bones, but I think you would be appalled...  We should have known there was more generosity to come!

Another neat gift was a bag of homemade dog biscuits from our friend, Jenny.  They are all natural and smell just like peanut butter.  The treats are super tasty too; I tried one!  Jenny is our "pregnant friend Jenny" who simply amazes me with both her crafting and culinary skills.  I think I am busy, but then I look at all Jenny does, and I feel like I need to get hoppin'!

Yummy with a lovely presentation

Some dogs dislike toys, but Milt is certainly not in that camp.  Originally, we kept his toys pretty basic; Milt enjoys a good found stick or cut log from outside.  I think he really got into toys, and subsequently got the gimmies, after multiple trips to his buddy Leo's house.  Whenever he would arrive, Milt would rush past Leo and go straight for the living room floor where there is always a wide array of toys to choose from.  He would hunker down with two or three of them in his paws and just get to chewing!

So far, out of all of Milton's presents, a pig, yes a pig, has been the Milt's toy of choice.

Pink Polka Dog Pig - a gift from Jeff's cousins, Lily and Colin

We seem to find this pig positioned around the house in the oddest places; he is really quite lifelike.  The pig is actually super cute, although it makes the most terrible oinking noise!  In all honesty, depending on how you grab it, it really squeals.  Jeff and I are pretty smitten by it too.  If we are playing fetch with Milt with a different toy, and he catches sight of this one, he absolutely must have it.

Here are a couple of other neat gifts, just in case you are attending an upcoming doggie party, and need a good idea for a present:

Three Dog Bakery - They look just like Oreos!

Bones, bones, and more bones!

A pretty nifty seat cover

A real live elk antler from my friend, Danielle!

If you are an avid reader of Goldilocks and her Doodle (I know there are some of you out there!), you might frequently see comments left by a certain "Queen Goob."  Goob has been a reader of mine since the very beginning.  What is this "Goob" code name for, you might ask.  Your mother?  Best friend?  Archenemy?  No, no, none of the above.  Goob is just a big time fan who has been with me from the beginning.  She is a fellow doodle older of a big black dood, Stanlee.  He is quite the handsome guy and both of them reside in Florida.  One of my favorite times during the day is when I am driving to work, and I hear a little ding from my cell phone, signifying that Goob commented on my post.  Ah, sweet pleasure!

Well, Goob, being the good friend she is, sent the Milt a "little present" from his pal, Stanlee.

Milt's second ever package to be delivered in the mail!

Feeling around

Wow, what a guy that Stanlee is!

He even wrote a note and signed it himself!

Trying out his new tennis ball

Playing with the Daddy Dog when he got home from work

Neither Milt Dog nor I could ask for better friends than Stanlee and Goob!

To all Milt's friends (ours too!), thank you so much for joining us at our doodle's first birthday party!  For all of my readers, this ends the week-long chronicles of "How to Throw a Doggie Party."  I hope you enjoyed them, and you are now inspired to throw one of your own!

The tag Lily made for the party treat bags - thank you one and all!