Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Bulldog Expertise & Baby Preparation

You can read my other pregnancy-related posts here....if you're in to that sort of thing:
Our New Life
It's a Boy!

In early 2012, when Brian and I decided to get an English Bulldog, we were prepared.

Brian researched the raw meat diet.
We watched every episode of The Dog Whisperer.
Brian downloaded the "Mastering Your Leadership Skills" training video.
I read all three books that Cesar Millan wrote.
We were experts on "calm, assertive energy" and "no touch, no talk, no eye contact" and "exercise, discipline, and then affection." (Cesar-isms for those that don't know).

I'm pretty sure we have 5,000+ pictures of Otis as a puppy and I even ordered prints.

Pippa, on the other hand.....

Few pictures taken, no prepping done, no raw meat diet given, no Dog Whisperer episodes re-watched.

The good news is she's been extremely healthy so far, she's very well-balanced,  and she has surprisingly less quirks than Otis.


When it comes to having a baby, we've taken the Pippa-approach.

Zero prep.
Zero planning.
Hoping for the best.

I think Brian and I were so caught off guard by this pregnancy in the beginning that the first couple months were just spent coping. The next few months were easier. I was barely showing, feeling the same, and life just went on like normal.

I thought I would feel the need to prepare more these last 8 weeks, but....nope.

I still haven't done anything.

Here's my list of things to do:
Set up crib and car seat - can wait until November
Pack hospital bag - can wait until I'm in labor
Decide baby's name - can wait until baby is born

While I'm certain our child will be the pride and joy of our lives, I really don't want to become immersed in all things baby-related. At least not right now. Not when I have 8 more weeks to procrastinate.

Plus, we're already experts on bulldog rearing, and it's more or less the same thing....

....minus the raw meat diet.



Monday, September 28, 2015

Cake Batter Cookies & Pumpkin Spice Cookies

I've been on a  cookie making kick lately. I don't think my co-workers are complaining...they've been reaping the benefits!

When I was house-sitting for my parents earlier in September, I rummaged through their pantry to see what I could bake. I was pretty limited, but they did have a box of cake mix, chocolate chips, and peanut butter chips.

My roommate in college used to always make cookies from a box of cake mix, so I Googled the recipe and they turned out really good!

Cake Batter Cookies
1 Box Cake Mix (any flavor)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 cups chocolate chips (I used 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup peanut butter chips)

Mix all ingredients. Using a tablespoon, drop cookie dough onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 7-8 minutes. I prefer mine a little undercooked, because they get firmer once they cool.


I was on the search for Nestle Pumpkin Spice baking chips this season, but couldn't find any at Target or Kroger. Not many stores carry this limited-edition flavor, so I broke down and ordered them on Amazon. They were twice as expensive as a normal bag of chocolate chips ($9/bag on Amazon), but I desperately wanted to try them, so I splurged.


I used the cookie recipe on the back of the bag, and I think they turned out great.


They really taste like a cookie version of pumpkin pie!

The pumpkin spice chips would also be good in the cake batter cookie recipe. I think I'll experiment with that next!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Fifty Shades of Brown

I really like the color brown, especially when it comes to decorating our house.

I bought a new rug for our kid's room, and Brian noted that it looks exactly like the brown fur blanket on our bed.

Um....yeah. I stick with what I like.


Brown everything.

Our back bedroom has been mostly storage since we moved in this house three years ago, but we tackled it this weekend and cleaned it up a bit. It was my Sunday project.

Here's what we started with:
(Not pictured: a very messy closet)

Those boxes in the floor are car parts for Brian's Mustang that he bought but never used.

When I asked him if he was going to use the parts or sell them, he said if he sold the parts he might as well just sell the whole car and buy a Porsche.


Luckily we had two additional volunteers that wanted to help us clean the bedroom:


Their main jobs were to smell, taste, and destroy, as needed.

So basically they were not needed. ;-)

We cleared out the room except for the big pieces of furniture. We still need to assemble the crib, but other than that, I'm not really doing much for that room. There's a chair, there's a dresser, there's a rug, and there will soon be a crib.

This is not going to be some Pinterest-worthy nursery, but I don't think our son is going to care.

He's going to have two awesome, toy-stealing dogs instead.


All you need in life is love and bulldogs.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Life Lately

I went to Morganton, NC last weekend to visit my BFF, Erin.


Morganton is a charming, little mountain town and I just loved it! The weather was a bit cooler and it was really great being in the mountains this time of year.



They had a festival downtown with lots of food, craft vendors, artists, and furniture makers. We ended the night with a great country concert.


The only downside to going out of town for the weekend was that I drove back on Sunday and immediately had to go to Durham. I'm house-sitting for my parents all week and keeping four dogs - my parents' dog, my sister's dog, and my two crazy dogs.

It's been a pretty long stretch away from my other half....

Distance makes the heart grow fonder. :)

I'm still pregnant. Not much to report on that front. 

Finally started documenting with bathroom selfies. Only 2 months to go!

That pretty much sums it up. Just hanging out this week with a bunch of dogs.

Four dogs for seven consecutive days.

When I was in Morganton last weekend, Brian stayed home with our bulldogs. One in particular really tested his patience while I was gone....


So I think Brian is enjoying his quiet week without me, Otis, and Pippa. ;-)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Food Truck Rodeo...from Hell.

Brian and I (and Otis and Pippa) went to our first (and last) food truck rodeo on Sunday.

I didn't take any pictures at the event, but here's one I found on Google that pretty much sums it up:


Warning signs that should have told me it was a bad idea from the very beginning:
- The rodeo was in Durham, a 30 minute drive from our house
- Brian was already hungry and slightly irritable before we left home

After meeting up with some friends, we drove to Durham's Central Park and found a parking spot about a half mile from the rodeo.

As we're walking to the food truck area, both dogs pooped on the sidewalk, thus forcing me to use the only two poop bags I brought along in the first 5 minutes. (There's so much social pressure these days to pick up dog poop. Lord help me had they needed to poop again that afternoon because I would have been bagless.)

Once we finally made it to Central Park and were in the throes of the rodeo (see picture above for reference), there was no turning back.

It was absolute hell.

Every man, woman, and child wanted to stop and meet the bulldogs, which was to be expected; however, it's always a bit overwhelming when 100+ strangers surround you and your dogs.

People were trying to take pictures with the dogs, as if our dogs were going to sit still for longer than one second. Some brilliant folks were leaning down to pet the dogs while holding food and drinks in their hands, and Otis literally started drinking the soda out of one man's cup.  A few people brought their children to meet the dogs and would ask - as the kids are already petting the dogs - "Are your dogs good with kids?" (Um, those waters have not been tested, but we'll find out soon enough.)

Brian waited 30 minutes in line for a sub-par burger, while I held the dogs over in the eating area, praying they wouldn't poop again and mingling with a hundred bulldog-loving strangers.

I'll stop here and interject that the dogs were well-behaved, minus the soda drinking, so I was very pleased. That's the only positive memory I have to share with you.

Once Brian finally got his burger, I had lost my appetite and didn't even want any food. The dogs and I just needed water....desperately.

Brian paid $4 for two bottles of water, which I selflessly gave to the dogs because they were dying of thirst. I started to feel faint at this point, so I handed off the dogs to Brian and went to go buy another bottle of water.

Unfortunately,

1. Not a single food truck had a line less than thirty people deep.
2. It was eighty-five degrees outside and the food truck generators were pumping out even more heat into the mob of people.
3. I was about five minutes away from passing out due to dehydration.

I made my way back out of the crowd, found Brian, and told him we had to go somewhere else for water. I was dying at this point! The dogs were also fading quickly in the heat.

It was at this time that I began having a panic attack because...OTIS ALMOST DIED.

Otis has an elongated palate blocking his throat, so he has difficulty breathing on a good day. The combination of excitement and overheating caused his throat to swell and he started making the characteristic "roaring" noise that is common when a bulldog is in distress and cannot breathe. It's terrifying.

Overheating in bulldogs is potentially fatal and I was amazed at how quickly it came on. Otis was fine one second and then unable to breathe the next.

Here's a video highlighting the dangers of heat stroke in a bulldog:


So yeah, the rodeo sucked.
Otis almost died.
And I never even got food from a food truck.

I can now mark "attend a food truck rodeo" off my list of 101 things to do and add it to my list of things I'll never do again.




Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September Goals


This month is the calm before the storm that is October.

I think I will be able to relax and enjoy September, while continuing to put off doing anything baby-related since it's still several weeks until crunch time.

(Brian and I have not done anything to prepare for this baby, which I'll probably write about in a separate blog post.)

Goal #1: Write blog post about being the most unprepared mother in the world.

In all seriousness though, I need to develop a plan....for my blog. A schedule, perhaps. I need to be more intentional with my content, how often I post, etc. (Goal #2)

Goal #3: Continue working out at the gym 3-4 times/week. Back in July, I was thisclose to freezing my gym membership until after I had a baby, but then I realized I needed to stay in good shape. My internal organs are currently being squashed, especially my lungs, and I have a trip to Colorado coming up in a few weeks. I usually wouldn't be worried about the high elevation, but I can barely breathe down here at sea level, so I'm going to need all the oxygen I can get.

Goal #4: Read many books. This one should be fairly easy because I am house-sitting for my parents for several days this month. I'll have a lot of down time in the evenings to sit outside and read. Tonight I will finally finish reading Stephen King's "The Shining." I'm excited to pick out new books for this month.

*EXTREMELY IMPORTANT PORCH UPDATE:
I decided to put off our porch makeover this month and save that task for October. October is great for mums, and burlap, and pumpkins, and festiveness. I think I'll appreciate a porch makeover more in October. So it shall wait. Our porch will look crappy for another four weeks and that will be that.