Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Captain and Squirts win the challenge...

You might recall this post from a couple of weeks ago about the big challenge facing The Captain and his side-kick squirks.

Well, I'm back to report that The Captain and Squirts won the battle against "World's 'Tuff'est Soft Dog Toy." One night a couple of days ago, Otis stayed up late chewing on this thing. I woke in the morning to a green fuzz covered bedroom. He chewed a hole through one of the ends of the bone, and it exploded all over.

Here's The Captain enjoying his win!

Playing in the woods...

The other night, our family went playing in the woods. Cooper and Otis are little acrobats! They love being off leash and running around, so it's a lot of fun watching them just be dogs and be free.
Such a happy boy.

Sniffing out the trail...
And some action shots of Cooper Joe jumping over a log...




And seriously, you'd think I'd learn that you can't take a video with the camera sideways! But it's a really quick one. Our boys are agility champs! Look how fast they run and just through the woods.

video

Otis and Cooper are big brothers!

Otis' and Cooper's biological daddies have been busy at the farm. Three litters of puppies were recently born and are now for sale. And Otis and Cooper are related to all of them in some way. Lucy and Red Dawg are Cooper's parents. Spike and Angel are Otis' parents.

They are so cute! You have to check them out.

http://www.s-dstables.com/Puppylitterpage.html

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Done and Done: #20 on 101 in 1,001

I finished reading one of the books on my list, Eat, Pray, Love. I have mixed emotions about the book. Like for example, even though it's a memoir, it's so unrealistic that people can just leave and travel around the world for a year. Granted, it would be an amazing opportunity to have. I liked that she found a spirituality that worked for her, and that spirituality helped her become a happier, more balanced person. I liked the short chapters, and I like that each chapter was a different story, so it was pretty easy to read at a slow pace (which is great during the semester). My favorite part about the book was some of the quotes I could pull out it. Some of the quotes were beautiful, some of them I could really relate to. I marked them up as I read the book. Here are some of my favorites:

"...God is not merely a blinding vision of glorious light, but He is, most of all,...the love that moves the sun and the other stars."

"Never forget that once upon a time, in an unguarded moment, you recognize yourself as a friend."

"When I realized that the only question at hand was, "How do I define pleasure?" and that I was truly in a country where people would permit me to explore the question freely, everything changed. Everything became...delicious."

"There is a reason they call God a presence -- because God is right here, right now. In the present is the only way to find Him, and now is the only time.

"At some point you have to stop because it [time] won't. You have to admit that you can't catch it. That you're not supposed to catch it. At some point...you gotta let go and sit still and let contentment to come to you."

"Faith is belief in what you cannot see or prove or touch. Faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark. If we truly knew all the answers in advance as to the meaning of life and the nature of God and the destiny of our souls, our belief would not be a leap of faith and it would note be a courageous act of humanity; it would just be. . . a prudent insurance policy."

"We have hands; we can stand on them if we want to. That's our privilege. That's the joy of a mortal body. And that's why God needs us. Because God loves to feel things through our hands."

"God dwells within you, as you."

"Over the centuries, people have tried to hold on to that state of blissful perfection through all sorts of external means -- through drugs and sex and power and adrenaline and the accumulation of pretty things -- but it doesn't keep. We search for happiness everywhere, but we are like Tolstoy's fabled beggar who spent his life sitting on a pot of gold, begging for pennies from every passerby, unaware that his fortune was under him the whole time. Your treasure -- your perfection is within you already."

"But it was pure, this love that I was feeling. It was godly. I looked around the darkened valley and I could see nothing that was not God. I felt so deeply, terribly happy."

"The Yogic scriptures say that God responds to the sacred prayers and efforts of human beings in any way whatsoever that mortals choose to worship -- just so long those prayers are sincere."

"People follow different paths, straight or crooked, depending on which they consider best, according or most appropriate -- and all reach You, just as rivers enter the ocean."

"The hub of calmness -- that's your heart. That's where God lives within you. So stop looking for answers in the world. Just keep coming back to that center and you'll always find peace."

On love...
"It's still two human beings trying to get along, so it's going to become complicated. And love is always complicated. But still humans must try to love each other. We must get our hearts broken sometimes. This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something."

Monday, April 21, 2008

Poor Little Guy

My little man Cooper is sick.

Over the weekend, things just didn't seem quite right with him. I'll spare you the details, but I thought he was quickly reverting back to an un-housebroken dog. Then last night he started puking. This morning, my motherly instincts kicked in and I figured I better take him in to the vet...I thought he had to have some sort of infection.

And I was right. He has an intestinal infection and the beginnings of a urinary tract infection.

Two sets of antibiotics and more-money-spent-than-I'm-willing-to-admit-on-my-blog later, we were on our way home. And hopefully we're also on our way back to a healthy, happy little man.

Oh, yea...I thought it was funny that they prescribed amoxicillin to a dog. Just like a real boy!

I really did it this time..

Today, I really ran five miles. I mapped my route before I ran. I'm actually very happy that I found that map of paved trails in Shakopee. I did a new route taking a paved trail that I've never been on before, and I never knew such a great running trail existed within running distance of my house. It goes through this wetland conservation area, complete with boards and diagrams explaining how they're conserving the wetland. The route is mostly flat, has bridges boardwalks, woods and water. It's definitely my favorite new route. And it's such a peaceful trail. I love when it's just you and Earth and God! I know I'm going to have some fun times on this trail in my years to come.

According to the map and Dave (he used this for his 14 mile run yesterday), if you keep running, it connects to a nearby retail area where there are a couple of restaurants, and then if you go farther, you can go all the way to downtown Shakopee. That's pretty exciting to me, because I thought that if you wanted to go to anyplace besides Wal-mart from my neighborhood, you had to drive because we're surrounded by busy roads...and that was one of the things I disliked about the location of where I live. Not anymore!

Anyone that wants to go on a run, bike ride or Rollerblade excursion with me, let me know!

And I finished my run in perfect time! I grabbed the dogs to take them out quick, because storm clouds were rolling in....right after we got outside, it started pouring on us and hailing. Fun, fun. I'm really glad I made it home!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

5 Things You Should Expect to See at an Earth Day 5K

Rachel, Melissa, Rob and I ran an Earth Day 5k. It was probably the most interesting race I've ever been to. We put together a list of things you should expect to see at any worthwhile race.

5. Runners.

4. Runners wearing jackets, hats and mittens.


3. Giant white dogs that look like baby polar bears


2. Runners carrying a dog in a kennel bag.


1. Runners pushing a cat in a cat stroller.



And don't forget to pick up the garbage after you run. It's good to save the Earth.


Earth on 3. Earth on 3.
1, 2, 3, EARTH!


Woo woo.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

No more excuses...

I've been really good at making excuses to refrain from running for the last week! Today, I didn't have any decent excuses left.

1) I'm not on vacation anymore.
2) The wind isn't blowing 40 mph.
3) The TV show I needed to watch (American Idol) didn't start until 8.
4) And I'm tired of being lazy and using the "I'm too tired and worked too hard at work today" excuse.

So today I manned up and did my run. Unfortunately, I remapped my route on google, and what I thought was 5 miles was only 3.45 miles. Honest mistake, I swear.

And so tonight, as I think about future runs and the need to find new, longer, pedestrian-friendly routes, I unknowingly embarked on a journey to find a map of paved trails in Shakopee. My Google search skills were MIA. It took me an hour. But I found it. And I'm really just blogging this post, so that I can't conveniently lose the map....unless some evil webmaster decides to change the link.

Now I can have sweet dreams of running all the way to downtown Shak-town on sunny, warm weekend mornings. Woo woo.

WTSDT vs The Captain and Squirts

The Captain and and his wiggly side-kick, Squirts (aka Otis and Cooper), are facing a big challenge. While in Kansas City, we came across a dog store that sells the "World's 'Tuff'est Soft Dog Toy." Like a lot of dogs, Otis and Cooper love to destroy practically every dog toy we give them, especially stuffed toys. Within minutes of receiving a stuffed toy, the seam is ripped out of the toy and the stuffing explodes all over the living room floor like Mentos submerged into a 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke. (And if you haven't seen the video, you need to follow the link and watch!)

Anyway, I fell for the "World's 'Tuff'est Soft Dog Toy" promise and bought the toy. Who wouldn't after reading the description?

Ultimate Construction: Each toy is made with two layers of industrial grade luggage material and 1 layer of soft fleece on the outside. All of these layers are sewn together to make one super strong layer of material. Each toy is sewn together with 2 layers of cross stitching and then 2 layers of linear stitching. After the toy is sewn together an additional piece of black trim is added to cover the four rows of stitching. This extra piece of black trim is sewn with 3 linear stitches to give the product a total of 7 seams.

So we gave the dogs the toy, and amazingly after three days the only damage is to the black trim (which Otis proudly shows off in his photo). We've yet to see spewed stuffed toy guts strewn across our living room floor (graphic, huh?) Stay tuned to see who will win the battle between the "World's 'Tuff'est Soft Dog Toy" and the Captain and his wiggly side-kick, Squirts!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Road Trip

The road trip to Kansas City was a success. Although snow seems to follow us where ever we go. Yes, it was snowing in Kansas City...not much, but snow to say the least. It made for a very cold outdoor baseball game. To give you an idea of the cold, here's what I was wearing: a long sleeve shirt, a t-shirt, a sweatshirt, a fleece jacket, and my jacket. Oh, and I can't forget the gloves, hat and blankets (well, and shoes and pants too). And I was still freezing! Despite the coldness, it was fun. We also went to the famous BBQ place Arthur Bryant's and to a mall and saw this kind of crazy guy make fudge. Since we were only there for 36 hours or so, that's pretty much our whole trip. Here's some pics from our road trip.



The "St. Louis Arch"

Joe Mauer on the awesome jumbotron

At the game

Jim and Aimee


Dave and Aimee having fun in the toy store


Driving home

Friday, April 11, 2008

Weekend Update...

First, this ended up being no big deal (well, for me in Shakopee...but people up north got pounded pretty hard). I'm glad that Ms. Spring won that battle against Mr. Winter. But really, Mr. Winter really needs to go hibernate for the next 6 months (6 month minimum).

Second, the boys are here on another camping adventure. Try to find them running around if you can on the web cams.

Third, we're going to be leaving in a little bit to go here to go here. Aimee invited us to go for Jim's birthday as a surprise, and so Dave surprised me too. We're only going to be there for 1 day, but I'm hoping we have enough time to find some good BBQ. I'm planning on taking lots of pictures for the blog, since I neglected to use the camera on our last trip when we went there.

Are my links annoying you?? Too bad. You're going to have to follow them to understand the story. Or stay tuned until I post the pics, I guess. lol.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Only 7 more days of washing dishes by hand...

Our dishwasher broke seven months ago. My dad came over and took a look at it. There wasn't anything obviously wrong that we could easily fix, so it's become a great storage spot for our dish drying rack.

Then today, I got the call. Dave found us a deal on a dishwasher. Our seven months of washing dishes by hand is only going to last seven more days. Next Thursday, our new dishwasher is going to be delivered and installed, and the old one is going to be taken away to the dishwasher graveyard.

This is definitely exciting news. For as I type, my hands are bitterly dry and irritated from another night of washing dishes.
And it's another item done on my 101 in 1,001 list! Woo woo!

Seriously, Mother Nature??

Is this a sick joke?? The National Weather Service issued this winter storm watch. Earth to Mother Nature...it's SPRING.

For some reason, I doubt Mother Nature reads this blog...


WINTER STORM WATCH
Issue Date: 404 PM CDT WED APR 09 2008
Expiration: 700 AM CDT SAT APR 12 2008

...HEAVY SNOW AND GUSTY WINDS WITH SIGNIFICANT LATE-SEASON ACCUMULATIONS LIKELY ACROSS THE REGION THURSDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH FRIDAY NIGHT.... THERE REMAINS UNCERTAINTY ON EXACT PRECIPITATION TYPE DURING THE AFTERNOON IN PORTIONS OF EASTERN AND SOUTHERN MINNESOTA...INCLUDING THE TWIN CITIES. HOWEVER...THE PRECIPITATION IS EXPECTED TO BE ALL SNOW BY THURSDAY EVENING. THE PRECIPITATION SHOULD LAST THE BETTER PART OF THURSDAY NIGHT AS WELL AS FRIDAY...WITH THE PRIMARY TYPE BEING SNOW. THE ATMOSPHERE APPEARS CONDUCIVE FOR THE SNOWFALL RATES TO BE HEAVY AT TIMES...INCLUDING WITHIN THUNDER SNOW. BY FRIDAY NIGHT.... WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...SNOWFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF SIX INCHES OR MORE IS BECOMING INCREASING LIKELY. IN ADDITION TO THE SNOWFALL ACCUMULATIONS AND THE HEAVY SNOWFALL RATES...GUSTY NORTHERLY WINDS MAY LEAD TO BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW...PRIMARILY IN RURAL OPEN AREAS. THE HEAVY SNOW IS IN RESPONSE TO A LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM MOVING FROM THE CENTRAL PLAINS THURSDAY TO WISCONSIN ON FRIDAY NIGHT. A WINTER STORM WARNING MEANS SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW... SLEET...AND ICE ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. STRONG WINDS ARE ALSO POSSIBLE. THIS WILL MAKE TRAVEL VERY HAZARDOUS OR IMPOSSIBLE. CONSIDERING THE LATE SEASON NATURE OF THIS STORM...ENSURE YOU AND YOUR FAMILY ARE STILL PREPARED FOR WINTER WEATHER.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Cooper is so big..

He was such a cute little puppy...and he still is...

Before...playing with the tennis ball bone at 3 months...

After...playing with the tennis ball squeaker at 8 months...
The toy actually fits in his mouth now.

Dancing with the Stars, Biggest Loser and Idol, oh my!

Tuesday nights were made for tivo. Unfortuneately, we don't have a DVR at The Balow Bunch, so I spent the night flipping channel and probably missed the best parts of all the shows. But I did watch this...the girls on The Biggest Loser kicked some serious dupa tonight! I am so excited that both of them made it to the final. And I really want a girl to win The Biggest Loser this season!!

So I followed Alison Sweeney's plea and went to nbc.com to vote for the third finalist. And I still voted even though it took me 20 minutes to find the link to vote. I made it easier for you. Go here. And even though I voted, I don't even know I did it right. Are we voting for the third finalist or are we voting for the one to be eliminated? Every week, the contestants are voting people to be eliminated, so why does America vote for who gets to stay for the finale?? It's not very clear. I think NBC and The Biggest Loser need some help from a communications professional (i.e., me).

Here's the boys watching TV on the couch with me...

And when they got bored, they started wrestling...

Monday, April 7, 2008

A Glimpse of Heaven...

As I sit here eating my chicken-flavored enchilada Smart Ones, I reminisce about my hour-or-so glimpse of heaven over the weekend. On Saturday night, Dave and I went to one of the best authentic Mexican restaurants in Minnesota, El Loro.

Yes, as we enjoyed each other's company, tortilla chips with special white sauce (aka ranch dressing) and salsa, seafood enchiladas and jumbo gold margaritas, I definitely got a glimpse of my perfect heaven.

Muy delicioso...

Two good quotes...

Yesterday, there were two memorable quotes that I'd like to share...one was from church and the other from my niece, Emily.

Sunday's sermon: "God works through love, not fear."

Here's some background info on Emily's quote...to give you some context. She and her family just got back from Mexico...she speaks Spanish because she goes to a Spanish immersion school. First, she said she wants to go to Mexico with just me. So then I asked her if she wants to go with me to North Carolina and see the Ring Boy.

Her response: "I can't go there, because I don't know the language."

Apparently, with her limited travel experiences, she's under the impression that every place speaks a different language.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Oh, what a glorious day!

Today was a beautiful, beautiful day! Here's what I did to enjoy the beautiful, warm, sunny weather...

1) Met Melissa, Jordan and Precious at Sunset Pond with Cooper for a walk.
2) Took Otis and Cooper on a walk around the neighborhood.
3) Ran with Dave for 2 miles....then I turned around to go back home (cuz I only had to run 4 miles), while Dave continued on for another 10 miles.
4) Took Otis and Cooper on another walk around the neighborhood.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Thank you, thank you...

If you've visited my blog this week, you probably noticed the fantastic new banner I have on top of my blog. I love it! My SIL Katie made it for me. And if you're ever in Wilmington, NC and need a photographer she's the one to call!