The Secret Motivation to Spring Cleaning

Spring better be here…because yesterday I got really sick of looking at my winter coats and boots and brought every single one of them up to our storage unit. Our storage unit is only one floor above us but I really do not want to go up there to drag those babies out again. It’s time for leaving the house jacket-free and flip flops, don’t you think?
I usually spend my only day off cleaning the condo, grocery shopping and doing laundry. This Monday I knew that I had to do some spring cleaning, but when you only have one day off a week, who really wants to spend the day cleaning the floor of your pantry, behind the couch and your cabinets? I know that was the last thing that I wanted to do. Somehow I found the motivation and gave myself a little incentive for completing the job.
I promised myself a little shopping trip afterwards.
Now, technically the actual shopping trip I made was to KMart to pick up a new trash can. That’s not exactly what I call a fun afternoon of shopping, but that will come. I told myself that if I cleaned out my closet to a nearly bare state, I could go buy myself a few pieces of clothing to replace the old ones. That’s a fair trade right? I ended up donating three bags worth of clothes. I will admit that it kind of sucked to “throw out”, or rather give away, some perfectly good clothes, but the fact is, I didn’t wear them. And I gave away a few winter jackets so I can buy a new one next year…
So if you are ever feeling like cleaning is the absolute last thing that you want to do, promise yourself a shopping trip. It works.
Alternatively, I did not promise myself any more cookbooks if I cleaned out my cookbook cabinet. This is out of control…and this isn’t even all of them. I do use them, which is a good thing, but I thing I need a break from purchasing any new ones in the near future.
Reddick wasn’t too pleased with my cleaning day. He laid around giving me this look all day. Eventually we were done and headed off to the dog park…not before doing my first Insanity workout though. I’ll share more on that later!

Cherry Blossoms and Dress Hunting

It’s been a great week. My sister was in town for the past seven days and even though we both had to work our butts off all week we still managed to sneak in some fun. Friday night I picked her up from the metro and we headed over to White Flint Mall to begin our bridesmaid dress hunt. We needed some fuel so we stopped at the Cheesecake Factory for some drinks and food. Sorry, I haven’t taken pictures while eating out in awhile, and don’t really plan to again any time soon…but we’ve all been to the Cheesecake Factory. The food looked awesome and tasted awesome. Now that I work in a restaurant, I honestly don’t know how they manage to work a menu that large. It’s still baffling me.
Anyways, after dinner and sweet-talking the waiter (he was African and I was totally looking for travel tips for our potential honeymoon) we headed out to the ghost mall that we call White Flint. There were maybe five people walking around and two of them were reading books by the elevator. I do love DC, but the shopping is sort of awful around here. We headed to Lord and Taylor, Ann Taylor and William Sonoma. William Sonoma does not have bridesmaid dresses, but they do have a sharpening stone that I desperately need. We didn’t find anything that we liked and left empty handed. No progress, but we weren’t that discouraged.
On Saturday we decided to take Reddick down to the Tidal Basin to walk around and look at the Cherry Blossoms. (Should they be capitalized?! I vote yes. They are cool and important.) Of course, I knew the city would be a mess with the marathon and spring break crowds, but we drove down and managed to find a parking spot in about fifteen minutes. It was such a beautiful day and everyone was out to enjoy it.
After that we headed to a St. Patty’s Day BBQ but headed home early because I had to work at 7am. Luckily I was able to get out early and enjoy brunch at Founding Farmers with my sister and a friend. Then we headed to a much better mall, Montgomery Mall. At least we knew we would have some luck with Nordstrom…and we did! We found four dresses are are right along the lines of the colors that I want. We are definitely making progress and I hope to get some dresses ordered soon to send out to my bridesmaids.
Did everyone have a good St. Patrick’s Day? I hope so! I know my mom did…it was her birthday! Happy Belated Birthday to my mom from all of us in DC!

Puppy Puberty

You laugh, but I think it’s a real thing.
Reddick is approaching his second birthday and I think something has gotten into him. In the past few weeks he’s managed to destroy four remote controls and chew up all of my patience. He barks when he’s bored, angry, lonely, irritated or just when he’s sitting. He always wants to be chased and even after a two hour run at the dog park, still yearns for more. I love him, but we’ve hit a bump in the road.
Right now though, as I’m writing this post, he looks like a little angel.
We love Reddick more than anything and we like to think that we did a good job in raising him, but clearly some things have failed. Here is a list of things that I think we did right and wrong when raising our little guy.
What we did wrong:
  • We should have done more brain exercising than physical exercising. We are very dedicated to making sure that Reddick gets enough exercise to keep him healthy and lean but to also release his bundled up energy. We should have spent an equal amount of time working his brain. Dogs get really worn out doing mental exercises, just like they do with physical exercise. I want to take 15-20 minutes a few times a week to work with Reddick on learning new commands and working that brain of his.
  • We should have taught him “heal” right off the bat. Here is a blonde-moment, I never understood what it even meant until a few months ago. Too many times did we go out and let Reddick take us for a walk than the other way around. Now he’s gotten used to walking side by side with us, but for awhile he was dragging us along for most of our walks. He loves walking and running and now it’s a little more comfortable for both of us.
  • We should have designated a place for him on the couch. (Although, I’m almost positive this would never work.) We all love to snuggle, but it’s a little frustrating to have company over and Reddick immediately wants to sit on their lap.
  • We should have done more barking training. His barking is really his biggest flaw. He mostly only does it when it is just me and him and he’s bored. He hates when I just sit on the couch to work on my computer or watch tv. As soon as I do, he stands right in front of me and barks until I get up. What I need to do is ignore him and let him forget about how much it annoys him, but living in a condo and having neighbors all around me make it a little hard. I’ve thought about a barking collar again (a spray one) or breaking out the spray bottle again. He grew out of it before, so let’s hope that this is part of his maturing and he also grows out of this stage.
What we did right:
  • Teaching him to play fetch. He loves tennis balls and will do almost anything to get a hold of one. If there is ever a day that we don’t want to go running or go to the dog park, all we have to do is take him out back and play fetch with him. It is such a great way for him to exercise for a few minutes or even a few hours. Some of his proudest moments are when he’s playing fetch with me or a complete stranger.
  • We kept his crate. He is crate trained and hasn’t spent that much time in his crate, but it’s a great thing to have around. I think he thinks of it as his bedroom. Sometimes he just goes and sits in there for hours, like it’s his little corner of our condo. If something comes up (like him chewing remotes) we have the crate to put him in if we need to step out for a few hours. Slowly, he’ll gain the right to be out on his own again when we are gone.
  • We keep a lot of toys on hand. Dogs need a variety of toys. Sometimes we put some away so he forgets about them and when it comes back out, it’s like a new toy again. His favorites are his bones and the Kong. Having a toy that hides treats is the best thing ever. It keeps him busy for a long time.
  • We taught him to run with us. For the days that we do want to get out and run, it’s a great thing to have a dog that will run alongside you. Reddick is fast and when he gets going, he doesn’t like to stop, so it’s great for the both of us.
  • We socialized him very early. We try to take Reddick to the dog park at least three times a week. He is one of the most friendly dogs you will ever meet. It was important to socialize him with dogs of all sizes. He prefers dogs that are smaller than him but is still really good around bigger dogs, too. The important thing is to let the dogs do their thing. They are going to jump on each other and growl, but that is their way of playing. They need to get it out of their system.
  • We keep human food out of his reach. He’s curious when we are eating, but doesn’t really “beg”. It’s not perfect, but its better than having a dog bark and whine while we eat. We do give him some human food, but it’s not an every day thing and it’s not like we are feeding him Big Macs. He loves carrots and apples. He’s even eaten some of my leftover salad.
  • We drove around with him. Reddick was going to work with me until I went to school, so that means that he was commuting with me to work everyday, too. Now he is pretty stress-free in the car and sleeps most of the time.
I’m sure I could go on forever on the do’s and don’ts of raising a puppy, but given the recent craziness at our house, these are a few that seem to stick out. On top of the fact that he’s almost two, there have been a lot of changes in our house recently that I’m sure has gotten him worked up. MJW has been traveling a lot, my hours are wacky and Reddick is used to a certain schedule. Regardless, Reddick is still our responsibility and we owe it to him to make sure that he is raised correctly. We are all going to work really hard to overcome his flaws and make sure he lives the most perfect puppy life ever.

Puppy Love

Look who wants to say hi!

He looks so stoic and mature. My little boy is growing up.
One of the cool things about going back to school is that you get to meet new people. While we’ve learned that I might not be a class favorite to some, I have been lucky enough to meet a few people that have become really great friends. While we have all become close another discovery has been made – our dogs are meant for each other.
This is Lillian, Reddick’s new friend. She’s the cutest little beagle. While you might not be able to tell from their facial expressions in these photos, we’re convinced they love each other.
This one has to be my favorite.
There is nothing better than meeting a good match for your pup. Sometimes when it’s too crappy to bring them outside or we’re just tired from a long day at school, we just bring the dogs together and they wear themselves out. They make a mess, but I think a lot of you can understand how awesome it is to wear your puppy out.
Love is in the air.

Reddick’s New Life

Until yesterday, I felt a little bad for leaving Reddick alone all day. While he has graduated from being crated all day and has free reign of the living room, it still must suck being here alone all day. He’s been so good. Like, almost too good. I’m so surprised that he hasn’t completely destroyed something at this point. I won’t work him out in the morning because I really think that it just makes him crazy. We spend the afternoon at the park once I get home.

Anyways, I felt bad until yesterday because yesterday was my first Friday home with him and I got to see what he does all day. I’m crazy jealous.

I cleaned my cabinets, did laundry, vacuumed, moved furniture and the kid didn’t budge. If only we could all take day long naps…

Reddick’s First Swim

Well, he’s no Michael Phelps…(from MJW)

He gave it a good shot, but our boy is not a great swimmer. It was a little cloudy today, so instead of going to the pool as planned, we went up to a trail that runs along the river in hopes of getting Reddick in the water. I’m sure he would have rather stayed home and done this all day.

We walked for about ten minutes before finding a good spot that you could walk right into the water.

Reddick was not having it. Treats and all, he was not getting in the water on his own.

He seemed a little curious…but still, not the excitement we had hoped.

Go save Dad? Nope. Just watching from the shore.

Finally the boys went off on their own and had a little success in their alone time.
Yes, MJW and Reddick are so amazing that they can walk on water. I’m a lucky girl.
 At this point, we were ready to just drag him in. He can’t learn without getting out there and giving it a shot.
Minor success. I wish I had a video camera. Reddick’s swimming form is hilarious.

Suddenly another couple and their dog showed up, offering to help get Reddick in the water. This was definitely our best shot. He was chasing after the other dog and finally getting all the way in.

After his little swimming lesson, He hung out in the sun giving us all nasty looks.
I hope he forgives us.
I know he had fun. He was pooped and passed out with the other boys as soon as we got home.

Another Pupdate

I hope that everyone is staying safe and sound while it seems like this entire side of the country is under a tornado warning.

I’m pretty much banking on the fact that our power is going to go out. It goes out on beautiful sunny days. We don’t stand a chance during a tornado watch.
Before I get to another beloved puppy-post, I’ll share with you my post-workout dinner. Tonight I did 20 minutes on the eliptical and a leg workout for 40 minutes. It was great! Until the thunder came and I jetted back upstairs…
Dinner was an egg and avocado pita with left over Barilla Summer Tortellini Salad. It’s all gone, so I hope I make it to the next round so I can make some more! Sorry for the blurry pic…
Reddick has been ridiculously good lately, so I thought he deserved another update on the blog, another Pupdate, as I like to call them. (I will call him a puppy until he’s an old man, just a heads up.)
Speaking of age, it’s safe to say that Reddick is one year old! I can’t believe it.
He’s been coming to work with me a lot lately, and sometimes we are blessed with moments like these.
Reddick and Chaka aren’t exactly best pals, but we’re making progress. I don’t blame Chaka for not wanting his crazy, hyper puppy self running all over the office. She’s a good mentor, whether she knows it or not. If only she would teach him how to not storm the UPS man every time he walks into the door. I swear him and Reddick have this crazy bond going on (or it could just be the biscuits he stores in his pockets).
In order to keep things sane, Reddick and I gate ourselves in my office. He tries his best to sneak out. Today he learned he can literally run through the gate. I hope he forgets by tomorrow.
Eventually, he does wear out. He is still the best cuddler around.
He’s loving the dog park and making new friends. He could play fetch for hours.
He also loves making a mess of my car.
What I am loving lately is his perma-grin. He’s always smiling! Well, he’s really just hot and adapting to this heat, but I like to think that he’s smiling.
I still can’t get enough of him doing this…
The chair is absolutely destroyed (from him jumping on and off) and full of dog hair – but who cares? He looks so darn cute up there.
Have a good night everyone!

I wonder what he’s thinking

He looks so deep in thought, doesn’t he? I’ve realized that Reddick likes to do this a lot when he has the house to himself. There isn’t much to look at outside that window other than the back of the Giant Supermarket, but I’m sure he finds something to keep himself entertained.

It’s a good thing we don’t really like that chair because now it’s covered in dog hair.
I feel like things have been really crazy the past few months and a lot has been on my mind. Can you believe February is halfway over?? I think it’s so crazy. Sometimes I’m a little envious that Reddick gets to sit in this quiet and peaceful condo by himself all day relaxing and (maybe?) thinking. What I would do for five minutes like that…
Hopefully an upcoming trip will relieve a little tension. Today I planned a trip to go down to Florida next month. I am really looking forward to taking a break from the craziness here. I am going to fly into West Palm Beach for a meeting for work and then drive to Orlando for a few days. After that, I’m spending a good solid seven days with my mom, aunt and little cousin in Clearwater. I am going to do all that I can to actually make it vacation, and not spend all of my time working. Hopefully after that little trip, I’ll feel refreshed and a little more relaxed.
Not all of us can always plan a trip to Florida to relax. Here are a few things I do when I need a break during the everyday “normalness”:
  • Workout. I think the best workouts always come after a bad day.
  • Relax in the sauna.  We are so lucky to have a sauna in our building. I always feel so refreshed after I go in there.
  • Go to the library. I love the peacefulness of the library. Everyone is quiet and concentrating on something. I could browse through the books for hours and hours.
  • Take a bath. I feel like I never take as many baths as I should. They are so comforting and might even help me sleep better at night. I feel like the whole condo gets quieter as soon as I sink into the tub.
  • Nap with Reddick. Dogs sleep a lot and sometimes you just have to crawl up next to them and doze off with them. The world will still be there when I wake up. It’s ok to take a little break.
What do you like to do to relax and take time to think?