Thursday, December 23, 2010

White Out!

You have to love Minnesota weather. Or at least pretend that you do. I honestly do not mind the weather here. I can take it or leave it. However, I have never seen so much snow in my life in one month let alone one day. The big snow storm that many of you were aware of that happened 2 weeks ago was the 5th largest snow storm in Minneapolis history.

Alex and I finally decided to break down and buy a snowblower. There is no way we could have gotten out of house. By the time Alex finished the sidewalks and moved on to the driveway, the sidewalks were covered again. It has proven to be a fun but very useful toy.

Cider loved the snow we got before because she could still run around in it and quite frankly, so could we. Unfortunately, the snow is so high now that we cannot get in. So her freedom to run has been limited to the length of her leash. She just got licensed so now we can take her the dog parks around the city and let her run around.

Alex pretends to not be obsessed with the puppy, but he absolutely adores her.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Jail Break!

Cider is growing very fast and getting smart. Since we can't trust her yet to roam free in the house due to her nasty biting/chewing/nipping and potty habits, she is confined to the kitchen with gates. The gates have now become her newest toy. Since she is much bigger and stronger she is actually able to crawl and jump over the gate.

As a temporary fix, Alex tried to put the cage in front of the doorway. That didn't stop her either. He has since rigged up a plexi glass cover so her little paws can't use the grating as a ladder. That stopped her for awhile too, but if she wants over she will get over. She proves that when there's a will there's a way.

Back to the cage . . . with her newfound skill she easily scales the side of her cage. She has been caught standing on the countertop (we think she jumped from cage to countertop). We have moved the cage to the middle of the kitchen, where she will simply sleep on top of her cage.

I have begun to wonder if there is some cat in her too . . .

Monday, December 20, 2010

Every beagle needs Woodstock . . .

I absolutely love spoiling Cider. It is so easy when she looks at you so innocently. Plus if it prevents her from using Alex and I as human chew toys, then bring on the toys. I found a very large Woodstock at the store and thought she had to have it. After all, every beagle needs their trusty sidekick, Woodstock. I loved her reaction and watching her carry Woodstock around.

It is amazing how quickly dogs find that special place in your heart. I thought for a long time after we said goodbye to our family's beagle, Tootsie Roll, that I could never love a dog the same way again. However, Cider has made it easy. At the same time it is a different love. Joe and I enjoyed the fun part of Tootsie Roll. We didn't do the hard work of training her and taking her to the vet and to the kennel. Sure we helped out but nothing in comparison to what our parents did for her.

Now Alex and I are doing the hard work of raising a puppy. I find myself calling my mom often and asking if what Cider is doing is normal or should I be concerned. Although Cider is part beagle, she is very different from Tootsie Roll. Then there are those moments, when she does things that the T. Roll did and it makes me smile. Partly because it is silly but also because it brings a little bit of my Tootsie back to me.

For example, why do they insist on putting their heads on the cold hard floor. Shouldn't this be reversed? (I am pretty sure I have a picture of Tootsie doing the same that I'll have to find.)

Rub-a-dub-dub Cider's in the tub!

*I was talking recently to a good friend, and it became quite evident that I am obsessed with our puppy. This blog has already shifted to be about our adventures with Cider. So get ready for more of our very loveable and absolutely adorable puppy!*

Cider's first bath was memorable. She also was being an absolute gremlin. We put her in the cage for a timeout which she proceeded to pee . . . a lot. Then she rolled around in it. Seriously?

It was late at night but Alex ran out in hopes of finding dog shampoo at our local Walgreens and CVS. He struck out at both places because they were closed. So Pantene Classic Care would have to be used. Not ideal or recommended but we had no other choice at that point.

I am guessing because of the Lab in her, she handled the water quite well. She only tried to escape once, but I think it was because she was getting cold.

While I don't recommend using Pantene on animals, it did leave Cider with a lot of fluff (volume) and smelling fresh.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Snow Cider

We received our first snow fall a little later this year in mid-November. I think the totals were about 6-8". We only had had Cider for a week. As I mentioned, I wish we had a bit nicer weather longer so she could enjoy it more, but that will have to wait until April or May.

Cider did not know what to think of the snow at first. We had a bit of a difficult time trying to get her out in the morning. After Alex and I suited up in our snow gear and were able to play with her in it, she seemed to enjoy the snow.

She really enjoyed running around in it with us.

It is amazing how quickly they find a spot in your heart. I absolutely adore love our little Cider/Gremlin.

She was definitely tuckered out after running around in the snow. Of course, so were we. :o)

I am not sure who enjoyed the snow more . . . Cider or Alex?

Cider quickly turned into a bunny and learned that hopping in and out of Alex's footsteps made it easier to maneuver through the snow.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cider and Leaves

Fortunately, we had one beautiful day outside to spend with Cider before the snow came. We needed to rake the million leaves in our yard, so it was fun to get some pictures and video of her playing in them.

She is quite fascinated by the camera. She likes to get up close and personal.

Alex was using the leaf blower which she had no idea what to think of it.

She didn't understand the concept of fetch. She was much more interested in keeping the ball to herself and chewing on it.

Pretty puppy . . .

Sleepy puppy . . .

I am certain that Cider has some Lab Retriever in her because she loves to pick up sticks and carry them around. Even ones bigger than she is . . .

Since we had a large pile of leaves, why not throw the pup in? She seemed to be enjoying playing with Alex.

Wish we could have had a few more pretty days. April cannot come soon enough!

Sweet and Sassy Cider

It didn't take long after we arrived back from our honeymoon before I began looking for a puppy to adopt. Ever since we moved to Minnesota, I have been aching for the unconditional love and companionship that a dog gives its owner. Alex had hesitation and wanted to wait until after the wedding. I reluctantly agreed. In all honesty, now having a puppy, there would have been no way that we could have trained a puppy and planned a wedding.

So the wedding was over and I had a big void in my life, so I immediately began searching rescue group websites for puppies for adoption. I came across a group called BARK. They were holding an adoption event at a local Petsmart. I saw Cider on the website and definitely wanted to meet her. So Alex and I went to check out the event.

She and her brothers were all crazy puppies. They were called the Halloween puppies, named Cider, Jack (o'Lantern), Spider, Tricker (Treat) and other seasonal names. Once I picked her up, I knew in my heart, that she needed to come home with us. We left to check out another adoption event, but I couldn't stop thinking about her.

If we agreed to adopt Cider, that meant we would come home with her that day. I was a little nervous. Nothing was ready at the house and we didn't have anything for her. After a quick call to my parents, who told me, we'll never be ready and that they knew we'd be bringing home a puppy, we decided to take a leap and adopt Cider.

So we signed the check and she was handed over. We dropped her off at the groomers in the store so that she could get cleaned up while we frantically ran around getting food, cage, toys, collar & leash, etc.

She made herself at home and settled in quite nicely.

I did a little research about her story. Cider, her mom and siblings were found and rescued by BARK from a pound in Kentucky where they were about to be put down. They made the long trip to Minnesota. She is definitely a beagle mix. The big question is the mix. I am pretty sure there is some labrador retriever in her. The rescue group expected her to get to about 36-38 pounds. At 3 months, she was 14 pounds and she is getting bigger everyday.

Making herself comfortable.

All tuckered out with her Clifford.

So happy to be home!

Hawaii 5-0

Alex and I were ready to get on our plane headed to Hawaii the Monday after our Wedding. We couldn't wait to begin our week of long overdue rest and relaxation. Alex posted photos on his flickr page that summarize our Honeymoon quite well. However, I thought I would include a few things that I thought he missed.

Alex and I were so excited when we arrived to Hawaii. We just got off our 8 hour flight and our retrieved our luggage. We had a lei greeting. We got on the shuttle to our hotel, were taking in the sights, when another shuttle ran into us. This required both shuttles to stop and Hawaii-5-0 to come and see what the fuss was about. Needless to say, the exhaustion took over and I was annoyed. Especially when our shuttle driver said that another shuttle was coming to pick us up, in 30-45 minutes. Excuse me? Fortunately it was resolved before then, so we got back on our shuttle, and were off.

We stayed on Wakiki beach for a few days and were able to explore the streets in addition to the beach. An interesting point of interest was the Duke Kahanamoku statue. Locals and visitors pay respect to the local hero by leaving their leis at his statue. The Duke was an actor, local businessman, and lawyer. He was also a 5 time Olympic medalist in swimming and is credited for the spread of the sport of surfing.

Before we left for Kuaui, Alex and I went snorkeling in Hanauma Bay. It was the first time I had ever been snorkeling. When I put my head under the water, there was a fish looking right at me, which freaked me out. Once I calmed down, and figured out how to breathe under water, it became a memorable experience. I had never imagined so many different colors and patterns of fish were possible.

Once we arrived at the Grand Hyatt in Kauai, I checked out all of the activities at the resort. I wanted to for sure make a lei and learn how to hula. Alex was a good sport and made a lei with me. Unfortunately, we weren't able to learn how to hula because another activity conflicted. Oh well . . . next time.

Since we were there on our honeymoon, the Grand Hyatt gave us a complimentary cabana right on the beach. All I kept thinking was that I could get used to this life.

When we toured the Napali Coast on the catamaran, we sailed out to the Forbidden Island and did a little bit more snorkeling. The fish were not as exciting as the Hanauma Bay. However, there was a monk seal swimming around and I was able to catch a quick shot of him, swimming below us.

On the drive in and out of our hotel, there was a stretch called the "Tunnel of Trees." I felt like we were in a movie. It was beautiful. They are Eucalyptus trees that were planted over 150 years ago.

Towards the end of our honeymoon, we drove to the North Shore of Kauai. We found the Wai' oli Hui'a, which I affectionately named the green church. Pretty sure, if we got married in Kauai, I would have had our wedding here. It was such a cute place inside and out. It was established by the American Christian Missionaries in 1834 and is the oldest surviving church building on the island.

Needless to say, we were both very sad to leave the islands. It was an amazing trip with so many new memories made by us together.

Although, we were being silly here, I actually did cry when the plane did lift off. I would go back to Hawaii in a heartbeat.

On a side note, we had a 2 hour layover in Honolulu before we headed to San Francisco. I was amused by the bathroom signage. They dressed their little people in Hawaiian clothing.

Going to the Chapel

It is hard to believe that it has almost been 2 months since Alex and I tied the knot. I could remember every detail so vividly for days and weeks afterwards, but now it is starting to become a blur. Thankfully we had an amazing photographer that captured the special moments of the day and some of my favorite memories. Many have seen the pictures on our photographers blog, Kelly Brown Weddings, but I thought I would share some of those special moments that I will treasure forever.

1. The moment that our florist, Eric, dropped off my bouquet. One of the reasons I decided to use Eric and Floral Logic, was because he said he would personally hand me my bouquet. All of the planning was starting to fall in place. The moment brought me to tears.

2. Of course, getting into my dress. Wow! I felt like such a princess. I still have a hard time believing that it is me in these photos.

3. The moment my dad walked into the room and was brought to tears. I will remember that forever.

4. Alex seeing me in my dress for the first time. He was speechless.

5. The last few moments with my dad before walking down the aisle. It all happened so fast. I just wanted a few more seconds to take a deep breath and take it all in. However, the doors swung open and the Wedding March began . . .

6. The kiss! We were announced husband and wife . . . FINALLY! All of a sudden all of the heartache, disappointment, tears and stress melted away.

7. Our cake . . . not only did it taste good but it was absolutely beautiful. Again, Eric from Floral Logic outdid himself.

8. Cutting the cake and sharing a piece with my husband.

9. Eating a delicious dinner with my husband at our sweetheart table surrounded by our closest family and friends. Listening to all of the beautiful words spoken by my dad, Alex's brother and my MOH, Annie.

10. Dancing with my husband. Our song was Dave Matthews Band's "You and Me."

11. Dancing with my dad to our Alma Mater, the O'Neill Brother's "Notre Dame, Our Mother."

Practice Makes Perfect

The week leading up to the wedding was stressful, fun and memorable. It began with the arrival of my fabulous MOH and cousin, Ann. She surprised me with a "Bride" sweatshirt which I loved. For the first time since getting engaged, I finally felt like the "Bride." Planning the wedding for a year in a completely different state than your mom and MOH does take a bit of the "fun" out of the whole process.

After Ann arrived, it was time for the arrival of tBotB. We decided to have fun in the airport while waiting for Joe and decided to make him a sign. He wasn't impressed and actually walked right by ignoring us. However, he had a smirk, so I knew he secretly enjoyed the attention.

We ran around doing errands for most of the week. I wanted to get everything done before Friday, so that we could enjoy our pedicures and manicures and relax at the Rehearsal. We got all dolled up and headed down to Edina, for a very relaxing spa morning followed up by a very delicious lunch. Then it was time to practice!

Joe was a very good sport about standing up on my side for the ceremony. It was a bit non-traditional, but at the end of the day, I want to be able to look back at our wedding photos in 50 years and see 2 people that I know will still be very special to me.

We actually got to sign our marriage certificate that evening. I wasn't ready to sign my new name "Emily Jane Hallinan Mavridoglou." Yes. I kept my maiden name. However, I have moved it to my middle name. I just couldn't part with Jane or Hallinan. They are both very special names to me.

After the Rehearsal, we headed over to Stella's restaurant for a very lovely evening shared with our wedding party and family.

My one true love.