One Year Old

Can you believe that tomorrow our sweet little puppy will turn one year old?

If you haven’t read the story of how we ended up with Hadley, you should go back and read it, because it’s a fun one. She was this tiny little mess of a puppy when we brought her home last September, she she immediately captured our hearts.

I have a hard time believing she was ever that small, though she clearly doesn’t because she still thinks she’s about Cullen’s size. She still won’t jump up on our bed without the assistance of a chair, and she doesn’t think she can climb into our car (which is a PRIUS) by herself. But in reality? She’s officially bigger than Ranger now.

She’s not the brightest dog in the world…but we love her.

Our family has gotten a little bit bigger and a lot more chaotic since we got her, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s the big dog we always wanted who loves to cuddle (Ranger is a fabulous dog, but he is NOT a cuddler), and she can keep up with Cullen’s insane amounts of energy.

I’m so, so glad we got her and I still thank Corey regularly for surprising me with her 9 whole months ago.

Happy birthday, Hadley!

Do you celebrate your pets birthdays?

C is for Cookies

So, we have three dogs.

But you knew that, right?

Well, with three dogs running around the house, the only way to keep any sort of order in our home is by controlling them through treats.

Some people call it bribery, I call it behavior training.

Potatoes, po-tah-toes.

Well, our treat jar obviously gets used a lot with three dogs, especially since one of them hates going outside and requires a treat in order to actually go outside ever.

Who is training who, here?

We have a little white ceramic canister that we’ve been using for treats forever, but thanks to our constant treat-grabbing, it’s chipped, dirty, and I was starting to get twitchy having to look at it every single day. So, we decided to grab a new one when we were at Target the other day.

It was super cute, but I’m always intimated by areas with chalkboard paint, because I’m awful at writing with chalk. I could have gotten one of those super awesome chalk markers I’ve been hearing about lately, but I had a box full of Martha Stewart crafting supplies sitting in our guest room from one of the rounds of Creating With the Stars, so I figured I’d try them out on this guy.

I had a ton of stencils and craft paints, but none of the stencils were really well-suited to this particular project. Obviously a little flourish or border wouldn’t really work, and most of the letters were too big to spell anything out. So, I decided to go a little more abstract and use one of the decorative letter stencils to do a “C” – we call our dog treats “cookies” and if we ever change our minds and want to use this for actual cookies, it works too!

It was a very simple project – I used a craft dabber-thingie (that’s the technical term) that I got in my prize package to apply the paint, then I peeled it off…and just like that, I had a cute, customized dog treat container!

And now I don’t have to stare at a plain white, chipped container every day.

Of course, I couldn’t stop there. Now that I had been playing around with it, I couldn’t resist trying another one of the stencils out. I decided to use the old dog treat container – it was already chipped, so if I totally messed it up it wouldn’t be a big deal. And, with a cute stencil it might be salvageable to be re-used for something else.

I went for red this time, and I used a squeegee instead of the dabber-thingie, since the surface area of the stencil I was using was so much bigger. Other than that, the process was the same – stick on, apply paint, peel off.


I’m obsessed with this stencil and I love how it turned out. I thought about doing more all the way around the jar, but I didn’t want to push my luck, so I stopped there. For now, I have the jar sitting on the console by our front door, but who knows where it’ll land eventually…all I know is it’s officially cute again and I want to display it!

Of course, now that I’ve discovered the awesomeness hidden in my Martha Stewart craft box, I’m going to have a hard time stopping myself. No surface in my home is safe from me and my craft paint!

Have you stenciled anything lately?

P.S. This post is definitely not sponsored and the folks over at Martha Stewart have no clue who I am. I just get a bit enthusiastic about new crafting products!

Sparky’s Adventure

Remember this guy?

He’s my class pet at school and I’ve chatted about him once or twice. He comes to live with us over the long breaks, and he’s basically the sweetest hamster in the history of ever. I love him.

One Friday a couple of weeks ago, one of my kids when to get him out of his cage and suddenly, panicked, shouted that he wasn’t there. I came to double check (because, seriously, where else would he be?) and sure enough, no Sparky.

We spent a good chunk of that day looking for him, and I left the cage on the ground with some extra food overnight hoping to entice him back in, but no luck. Though, when I got back to work on Monday some of the food was missing, which hinted that he was still hanging around.

We looked for him on and off all day on Monday (and I sent an email out to all of the other teachers at our school, ensuring that pretty much the entire campus was searching for him!) with no luck.

But then I came to work on Tuesday and found this:

and immediately texted this photo to Corey:

My kids were completely thrilled to have him back, and we spent most of our morning making thank you notes to leave for our sweet janitor. It was a pretty fantastic start to my Tuesday morning, and it made the whole week a little bit better – we even spent more than a few writing sessions over the week coming up with creative stories about how Sparky spent his time while he was free! I’m so glad our little Sparky is home!

Did you have a class pet growing up? Ever have one escape?!

The Ear Saga

I’ve had a few people ask about the full story behind all of the things I’ve been posting about Ranger on Twitter and Instagram this week, so I thought today would be a good day to explain what’s going on with our poor baby.

Ranger has had a cut on his ear that has been there for at least a year and a half. I actually blogged about it way back in July of 2011 when he was bleeding all over our duplex in College Station. We took him to the vet once or twice about it back then, but they told us ears just take a while to heal and there wasn’t much they could do. So, they bandaged him up and we crossed our fingers that it would heal.

And really, it kind of did. It would open up every once in a while, but it always promptly clotted and it was never really a huge issue. It’s been opening up on and off for the past year and a half, and we’ve just been dealing with in the best way we can. But last week, it opened up and got worse. We were concerned, so we called the vet and brought him in on Tuesday afternoon.

After looking at it, the vet told us that he had a bad ear infection that would require him to be put under to fix – they said that while he was under for the ear infection, they could also stitch up the cut. We agreed, left him there over night, and planned on picking him up in a few days.

Well, the next day we got a call that he was ready to come home. We were surprised, but headed to the vet to grab him anyways. We got the poor thing four steps into the house before he shook, opened up the cut, and started bleeding all over the place. He was home less than 3 minutes before Corey had to turn around and take him back to the vet.

Hadley sat at the door and cried for about 10 minutes.

The vet told us we could get him back for real on Saturday, since the stitches should have a good scab by then, so on Saturday afternoon after running some errands we went back to the vet to pick him up once again. As soon as he came out from the back, he saw us, got very excited, and shook.

Blood. Everywhere.

They immediately took him back once again (we went with them this time because Ranger wouldn’t let us leave his sight), and put some super glue on the ear to hopefully stop the bleeding and prevent it from happening again. They recommended that we get some liquid bandage stuff at the drugstore and keep an eye on him, and assured us that they didn’t think it would be a problem.

We got him home, applied the liquid bandage and…he shook.

I’m not even joking, there’s blood on my ceiling.

He was home closer to 10 minutes this time because we tried to figure out a way to stop the bleeding on our own, but in the end we realized it just wasn’t going to heal properly if he was at home with the other two dogs, playing and shaking constantly. So…Corey took him back to the vet.

This time? I sat on the floor and cried with Hadley.

We don’t know for sure yet when he’ll be able to come home, but the vet wants to make sure that it’s as healed as possible before we try it again. Apparently ear injuries are very difficult because of the blood vessels that are in the ear – he said they’re always a pain to figure out how to fix. We’re hoping that the stitches end up being an okay solution and once he has a chance to heal up a bit we’ll be good to go.

Really, I’m just hoping we get to bring him home soon. And that’s where we’re at right now – between Hadley’s ears being cropped and all of this with Ranger, we’ve been dealing with doggy ear issues in our house almost non-stop since September, so I’m just a little bit ready for this to all be over.

Have you ever had a problem with your pet that just wouldn’t go away?

I Swore I’d Never Do This…

You know how there are those things in your house that are in no way pretty or fun to look at, but they’re functional and kind of necessary so you deal with them? You know – things like toilets, trash cans, and televisions. Well, this is one of those things. I swore up and down for years that I’d never have one of these in my house. But I caved…

Yup, we got a doggy door.

If you’ll remember, our back door used to look like this after we replaced our original door (which is the one that’s BACK on now) with a door Corey’s parents gave us.

I loved all of the natural light, and it looked fabulous, but there was a small issue…

Our dogs had completely and totally destroyed the outside of it with their scratching. Honestly, it was my fault because I rushed through the job originally and didn’t prepare the door properly, but in the end I just couldn’t handle the scratches. I’d been dying to either fix the door or go back to the original one…and then we got Hadley.

You see, this dog loves to be outside. She’s obsessed – which is weird for us, because neither of our other dogs are huge on hanging out in the backyard (especially Cullen, who would never go outside if he could help it). We weren’t used to getting up and letting the dogs out as often as she was wanting to go outside and, lest you think we’re just lazy, she was so bad that she would frequently ask to go outside less than a minute after coming in.

It was annoying, to say the least.

So, we finally broke down and decided to get a doggy door so that she can go in and out as she pleases. I hated the idea of ugly-ing up our dining room, but in the end, functionality won out.

I’ll admit, I was surprised at how easy it was to install the door – I’d imagined it would be some huge ordeal, but all it took was an afternoon and we had a brand new (or, not at all new, but different-looking) door!

First – we tested out the size of the door to figure out how big of a hole we needed to cut, then Corey traced the door with a pencil and got to cutting.

And soon? There was a giant hole in our door.

Not gonna lie – at this point, I was a little freaked out. There’s something slightly disconcerting about having a hole in the door you’re planning on hanging in the back of your house. But, I powered on and got ready to paint the door. We decided not to paint the outside of the door yet (though I’m sure we will in the future!), and we wanted the inside to be black again, since we loved the look on the other door.

This time, though, I took a few precautions and prepared the door a bit more than I had the last time.

I used liquid deglosser to wipe the door down before I did anything – I didn’t see much of a difference after doing this step, but I’ve heard it’s what you’re supposed to do, so I did it. The idea is that it cleans the door off really well, and it’s supposed to cut down on some of the grime that can build up and help the paint stick better. I also primed it with Zinsser Bull’s Eye primer, which is the only primer I will ever use.

A coat of primer and two coats of paint later, and we were good to go. Corey installed the doggy door (all there was to do was put both pieces in and add some screws – no problem!) and then installed the actual door.

And just like that we had a new(ish) door with a doggy door that would hopefully make our lives a lot easier.

The dogs weren’t so sure about the doggy door at first…

But with a little coaxing and a ton of treats, they got the hang of it!

We’ve had the door in for a few weeks now, and the dogs absolutely love it. Cullen (of course) won’t use it unless forced, but that surprised no one. Hadley and Ranger, though? They use it all the time, and Corey and I no longer have to argue over who has to go let the dogs out.

And, really? In the end, it doesn’t look nearly as ugly as I thought it would.

We still have a little work to do to the door – there’s a weird glass enclosure over the window that has blinds built into it, and I hate the look of it – but I’m pleasantly surprised by how it turned out. And, really, even if it was super ugly, the added functionality is enough to make me completely and totally love it.

Have you ever done something in your home you swore you wouldn’t? Anyone else have a doggy door and love it?