1/26/2015

Pooch Pals


I'm a big fan of the Today Show and watch it religiously each morning as I'm getting ready for work. They recently added a new "cast member" named Wrangler, who is a sweet yellow lab that is in training to become a seeing eye dog. Naturally, Today has been doing more features on dogs and how to know when you're ready for one, whether to adopt or buy from a breeder, how to care for a dog, etc. 

My wheels started spinning this morning because the topic was how to know when you're ready for a dog. I will be honest and say that I don't know that Josh and I we're 100% ready when we got Murphy. Only because we had planned to wait until the spring after we got married to get a dog, but instead adopted Murphy in October, just a month into marriage...I really had to do some sweet talking to bring that buddy home;) I found Murphy on our local animal shelters website and fell IN LOVE the moment I saw his picture. Josh and I set up an appointment to meet him on a Friday and adopted him on Sunday. 

What we did on Saturday is the most important part. We researched, looked at our budget and income and did our best guesstimate to think how much a dog would cost each month/year, and once we came to the conclusion we were going to go back and adopt him, we went to the pet store and stocked up on everything we needed for him. 

I think far too many people like the idea of a dog, but don't truly evaluate their situation for getting one. Some extremely important things to keep in mind before getting a dog (or any pet): 

1. Does your work schedule allow for you to spend adequate time with your dog. 
Many people work crazy hours, I know that I'm one of those people. But it is vital to make time for your dog. Taking them to the park, vet, to obedience classes, to socialize with other dogs...it's all so important. One thing I'm always reminded myself of is that Josh and I are Murphy's life line, he depends on us for everything. So we can't leave him in the house and never take him out for exercise and expect him to not be hyper, we can't leave for hours or days at a time without a plan to have him fed and kept on a consistent schedule, they are completely dependent on their owners and it's only right to make sure you have the time to dedicate to your fury pal. Each week we look at our schedule and the weather and try to figure out a few times that we can get Murphy to the park. If we have a week that is extremely busy we make sure to take him in the front yard, or go in the back yard with him, and facilitate play time so that he can burn some energy off...even if we look like crazy people running in circles in the front yard chasing our dog...anything for the Murph. 

2. Prepare your home before bringing your dog in. 
We went and got a bed, toys, blankets, water bowl, food bowl, leash, collar, harness, and researched what vet we would take Murphy to before we ever brought him home. Bringing your dog home for the first time is going to be difficult on your dog, so do whatever you can to make the transition as easy as possible. Give them their own space and give them things that are solely theirs, such as toys. We also put away things we thought he might be likely to tear up when first bringing him home. Set your dog up for success, it will be easier on both of you! 

3. Have a money plan. 
As soon as Murphy became a Colvin, we started putting money away in our savings account for any expenses that may occur concerning him. (Little did we know the fiasco we'd have just two months after having him with his fudge eating on Christmas day...I can safely say we hadn't put quite $1,500 in our savings account solely for Murphy before our first emergency vet visit, ha!) There are so many times when things are come up unexpectedly with your dog that you'll most likely need an astronomical amount of money to cover. I always prepare myself before his annual vet visit, because I can almost always guarantee we're going to rack up a pretty big bill. It's also good to do as much research on your dog as you can beforehand to know of any illness or condition they may have. For example, Murphy has terrible, and I do mean terrible skin. He also has pretty nasty allergies, the little guys nose is always running. So we know we will more than likely  have to make a visit or two to the vet in between his yearly appointments to get his skin under control, which of course includes needing of number of medicines and ointments. But we knew that when we adopted him...poor guy has some gnarly looking fur when we adopted him ;) Did I mention that Murphy is also allergic to fleas, so ONE...literally one flea bite sends him into pandemonium and all of his fur practically falls out...and you guessed it, that always requires a trip to the vet. Also remember that things like heart worm medicine and flea medicine are needed monthly, so you to need to budget for those things. And if your dog is like Murphy and needs fancy food and six hundred vitamins a day, more money needs to be budgeted. 

4. Have a vacation plan. 
I think my biggest worry when we got Murphy was leaving him to go on vacation. We've got our fingers crossed he can take a beach trip with us this summer, but there are always time that we have to leave him. If you know Murphy, you know that he's not a huge fan of anyone coming in the house when we're not there, even if he knows them. So we have an automated feeder (that we did tons of research on, so important!) that feeds him while we're gone and we put out a massive water bowl. We also put away things in the house that he might want to tear up after he's been alone for awhile, and we set up the living room as dog friendly as possible. We put his blankets out and make sure all of his toys are out and that he can get to them. We really hope he gets to the point that he's very comfortable with my parents coming over and they can take him out for walks while we're gone, but for now we're doing well with having them coming over once a day while we're gone just to check on the buddy. 

5. Take time for your dog and shower them with love. 
I'll be the first to admit that Josh and I are certified crazy dog people...I mean, we washed our cars yesterday and drug Murphy's huge bed onto the front porch so that he could lay in his bed and be outside with us. We both really love that dog of ours. If you take anything from any of these tips, just make sure to spend time with your dog, give them attention, scold them when its necessary but praise them when they do something good. Please don't adopt or buy a dog if you're just going to leave it in a fence, or chained up or in a cage all the time. These animals depend on you for love and for attention, so give it to them. Sure, Murphy is so spoiled it's not even funny, but to know that we can give him a home outside of the shelter and he can be loved and take endless trips to the park, makes my heart sing. 

I think it's fairly obvious after this post that I am a total dog lover and would love to give every dog in the world a happy home :) Unfortunately, that is not the case, so instead I just pep talk everyone I know into adopting and being prepared when they do decide to get a pet. 

I hope everyone has a great Monday! My Pandora is set to the John Mayer station and it's nice and sunny outside, let's keep our fingers crossed it's the combination for a solid start to the week! 

1/22/2015

Viva Las Vegas

 images via google 
Happy Thursday everyone! It's been absolutely beautiful the last few days around here. We've definitely been spending as much time as possible outside and taking Murphy to the park. That kid loves him some park time. 

So, last night Josh and I made a super fun decision...that decision being, taking a trip to Las Vegas this summer! I was SO nervous to hit the "BOOK" button but oh my goodness, I am so excited! Josh has never been on an airplane before and I can't wait for him to be able to do that summer. What prompted this trip was that Brooks and Dunn and Reba are coming to Caesear's Palace this summer and if there's one thing that Josh and I love, it's concert and if there's another thing we love, it's country music...specifically Brooks and Dunn and then Reba. 

We've got the trip booked for June and we're staying at The Venetian. On the agenda is some pool time, Vegas sight seeing and we're taking a bus tour to Hollywood one day and I truly can't tell you how pumped I am for that. We haven't been on an actual "vacation" just to two of us, without family, for any length of time since our honeymoon and this is biggest trip we've booked as far as length, going to the West Coast and getting on a plane together. Ah! So darn excited. And it goes without saying, that I'm so looking forward to seeing Brooks and Dunn and Reba...so much country music goodness. 

If anyone has been to Las Vegas and has any tips or tricks that we should keep in mind when we go, I'd love to hear them. And, if there's places we must see or shop or eat while we're there, tell me! 

Let the countdown begin!

1/16/2015

Bridal Shower Inspiration


I have the true and pleasure and honor of being in one of my best friend's wedding in April as her Maid of Honor. Hers is the very first wedding I'm a bridal attendant in :) One of her best friend, Sarah, is her Maid of Honor and Sarah and I chatted over coffee over this week brainstorming for Mackenzie's shower. 

We first picked out the invitations and then went from there to have our color scheme nailed down. We want to do something very pretty, feminine and classic. For decorations we're going to do a lot of fresh flowers and candles. Of course we'll have engagement pictures of Mackenzie and Sam scattered throughout the house and a pretty banner to hang from the mantel piece. Sarah and I are going to try our hand at the cupcake bridal gown and fingers crossed it turns out well! I've also got a few other ideas up my sleeve, but don't want to give anything away too early, just in case the bride reads this ;) 

Mackenzie is a gem and is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet. I can't wait to shower her with love in anticipation for her wedding day. Mackenzie has truly let the Lord lead her regarding her relationship and it is a true blessing to watch His story unfold for her and to bring her Sam. The next few months will be full of wedding goodness to celebrate this sweet friend and I am so very excited! 

I've thrown one other shower before, but it was at a cafe in town so we didn't decorate much and had the cafe do the food, so I'm excited this go-round to be hosting at my house! I think Murphy might have to spend the afternoon in the backyard while the house of full of ladies, we know he can't keep his paws off the ladies ;) Literally, always pawing at people and trying to get in their laps, ha!

Happy Friday, I hope you're weekend treats you well! Tomorrow is Josh's 30th birthday, so we'll be celebrating all day long! 

1/06/2015

A Better Version


2015 has started off pretty swell...which I am so thankful for! My spirit, attitude, mind and heart have been quite happy since the year started. Granted, we're only six days in, but it doesn't hurt to start off on a great foot and keep the ball rolling the rest of the year, right?! I've been deep into Bible study and I've been craving the Word...craving to be in it and learning it and studying. It's been awhile since I've had the craving, and my goodness it feels good to be learning and listening to the Lord. It's no surprise to me that when I'm drawing closer to God, I can feel the contentment of my heart growing.

We were in the gym last night and Josh said "This year I want to be a better version of me. I'm tired of standing still." Yes, absolutely yes. I loved that. Bettering yourself, without feeling like you need a complete life change resonates so much with me. I'm ready to use the days and months of 2015 working on a better version of myself...like spending my time wiser, increasing my time with the Lord, soaking in time with the ones who mean so much to me, being diligent about how I spend my money and being conscience about saving....all things to better myself, not totally change myself. I really dig that. 

Josh reminded me last night that the Bachelor season premier was coming on. I checked the TV guide to see how long it was...and would you believe it was THREE HOURS?! Three hours that I would normally sit down and waste watching that show...but last night was different. Instead of parking it in front of the TV investing in the lives of others why they make snotty comments about each others dresses and hair and blah blah blah...I got my first piano lesson from my husband. When talking about our goals last week, I told Josh that I'd like to attempt to learn the piano, so last night my first lesson took place. And after my lesson was over, I had a ridiculous dance party in our bedroom to Fergie...and it was great. And I was so glad that I didn't waste three hours watching mindless TV. For me, that's what this year is about time well spent. I have a bad habit of wasting time...watching TV, on social media, you get the picture. But this year I am trying my darnedest to spend my time wisely. 

Another activity I really enjoy is cooking. The last half of 2014 I hardly cooked at all. Josh did most of it and I can't remember the last time I had looked for new recipes, even though it's one of my favorite things to do. So I got in the kitchen last night and cooked my homemade chicken alfredo...it's Josh's favorite dish and it truly has been embarrassingly long since I made it. I put on my apron and got to chopping, stiring, mixing, slicing and sauteing. My heart was happy and content moving around my kitchen, flour all over my apron. 

These are the moments, friends. These are the moments I refuse to let slip by me in 2015. I'm embracing them all. 

Wishing you a very happy Tuesday!