Thursday, July 30, 2015

Cooper (Our Border Collie puppy) today 7/30/15

Here's Cooper... what a cutie!!  I love the one ear up one ear down look!!!! He's the best!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

For the love of Cooper...

Thought I'd share an update of our new puppy Cooper.  He's just about 4 months old....& just about  30 lbs! Having a border collie is AWESOME & EXHAUSTING!!!!! He's really a wonderful puppy, let me get that statement out first BEFORE I tell you how exhausting taking care of him is at times.  LOL! First up the good....  He's so smart & house training for the most part was a breeze.  He sleeps thru the night just fine & he's a sweetheart.  He's the "star" of his training puppy class, & he picks up on new instruction easy.  He loves being by your side & doesn't run away from you if(he accidentally) gets outside with out his leash on.  He comes right back to you.  He requires lots of walks (I'm putting this in the plus column because I need the exercise)   NOW...ways he's a handful.... he wants your attention CONSTANTLY!! Which is hard sometimes.  He gets into stuff a lot! He requires lots of walks (I'm putting this in the handful column as well because sometimes I just don't wanna! LOL) He's a vacuum cleaner & every paper, coin, rubber band, etc that he finds laying around... he will try to eat! He takes the remote every time you leave it anywhere in reach of him...."the I have the remote game" he plays several times a day is so annoying.   It's hard to remember in the moment when you are doing something that Cooper will probably get that thing you've left a little too close to the edge of the table.... it's very frustrating.   He's so smart that if you deviate your instruction of a lesson in the least little way he thinks it's a new one.   For instance I wanted him to learn to wipe his feet when he came in from being outside, so we got this "dirty dog" mat for him to use.  Well when Brian started training him on this, he made up this little song... "Wipe your paws, Wipe your paws" & said it in this cutesy little sounding voice. (he's probably going to hate that I'm sharing BUT now if you don't sing it in the same little tone I swear he won't wipe his paws,  plus it's kind of embarrassing singing it in front of house  He's too smart for his own good sometimes.   Also it's so true what they say about Border Collies that if you don't give them a job,  they will find one you don't like.  (like... digging in the sofa for lost treasure,  etc.)  BUT..... If I could go back in time knowing everything I know about him we'd still jump at the chance to have him in our life.   The joy he brings outweighs the exhaustion.   He's a sweetie & the fact that he loves us unconditionally is such a wonderful feeling.  I love him very much, but part of me will be happy when he outgrows some of these puppy (Oh God... I hope they are just puppy) "issues".

Friday, July 24, 2015

Scariest 20 minutes

Yesterday Brian, Emily & Cooper (our dog) went for a walk.   Emily needed a little encouragement to go cause she wasn't really feeling like it.  But since she hadn't done a lot that day except indoor stuff... Brian & I encouraged her to go on & go.  I told her that if she wanted to come home before them she could.  Being ever so mindful that Emily needs to have those "independent" moments... though not thinking about it getting dark.  Anyway.... my hip was bothering me so I decided to stay home.   Brian calls me just as it was starting to get dark out & says Emily should be getting home any second as she decided to head back.  I said, OK?  But its dark out?  I asked which way they had gone in the neighborhood & he said to the right of our house.  Emily is way more familiar with the left of our house part of our neighborhood.  Anyway that's when I started to get a little worried.  Especially when I look down our street & don't see her.  Also Brian said he had snuck around a side street & ran to try and catch up to where she should have been.... uh oh.  Where's Emily?  panic starts setting in... I couldn't stay home & do nothing so I decided to start walking in the direction of where she should be.  I didn't see her, & then I ran into Brian & said, You didn't find her? NO....  P A N I C is really starting now!! I know it might not seem "rational" to be so worried so soon,  but you know your children & it wasn't like Emily to not be where she was suppose to be.  We knew that either she had gotten herself lost or something else happened.  We didn't really want to think about what else could have happened.   We probably knew it was the first thing, rather than the other but you never know & every second we didn't know where she was, was torture.   Anyway... Brian says I'm heading home to get the car.  I follow right behind to go home incase she called.    All the while... praying praying & praying!  "Please God... let her be ok" Over & Over!  I knew that if Brian was worrying too.  I was not being the "paranoid one" this time.  It was even scaring Brian.  Anyway.... about maybe 10 minutes later (which felt like an hr) Brian calls to say he has her.  But then he hangs up on me.  So not what to do.  I was immediately relieved a little but still a bit scared cause he had hung up on me.  About two minutes later he calls me back & says he has her.  She got her self lost & just stayed put.  Which was probably the right thing to do we both tell her.  It ended up fine & it was definitely a "learning" experience for all.  We won't let Emily walk home alone again (especially at night) UNLESS she has her phone & definitely knows exactly where she's going.  Brian had gone over with her before she left him how to get back BUT when it got dark I think she got a little mixed up.  Emily was definitely scared.  She was very thankful to see Brian.  She said she was worried about us being worried about her.  Such a sweetie.  But I could tell she was really scared- plus she said it was the most scared she had ever been.  I knew it from the look in her face she meant it.  We ended up having a conversation & sharing our stories of when each of us had gotten lost too. or our siblings did.  That it was actually a very common childhood thing to experience even if it's a scary one.  As I always say... You learn most when you make a mistake & boy did we all learn some lessons.   Next time we will all be prepared & I said next time you'll take Cooper with you too.  I asked her would it have been a little less scary if Cooper was with you & she said yes.  Ok.. no dark, only with her phone, instructions, & Cooper until she's more comfortable with it.  I think a map might be a good thing as well.  To get her more familiar with the "side streets" in our neighborhood.  We also explained what to do if more time had passed.  To keep walking til she found a major street & find a business & ask to use their phone.  Any which way she walked that would have eventually happened. etc.  Over all it was probably a good thing in the end.  I good lesson but boy were those minutes of "unknowing" scary!!!!! I hugged Emily extra extra long last night & even when she gave me a hug before bed, her hug to me seemed to be extra long too. I LOVE YOU Emily...but don't do that again, my heart can't take it!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Pocono Vacation Pictures Part II

Pocono Vacation in Pictures Part 1

Pocono Trip Summer 2015

We just got home from a lil' less than a week at the Poconos. My mother n law turned 75 in March and wanted as her present from her son's (she has three) that they & their families & herself go somewhere together.  So the three sons pitched in to make it happen.  We were there from Saturday July 11th til Thursday July 16th.  Our family was going to stay til Friday but we had to get Cooper out of the kennel before 11 on Friday & didn't want to get stuck in traffic & miss getting home on time so we ended up leaving on Thursday night.  Jim's family (Brian's youngest brother) owns a timeshare & was able to book the condo we stayed at & were kind enough to share it with us.  Our family were kinda "tag-alongs". It was nice, because it took a lot of the "planning/stressing", not to mention "hotel" expense out of our hands.  We were extremely grateful to them for letting us stay there.  Brian/Emily/& I haven't really been on any kind of family trip all together since a quick weekend trip to Boston a few years ago so on top of being able to spend time w/ Pat & our brothers' families,  it was just nice to have any kind of "family" vacation for our family.   My mother in law Pat is a very "outdoorsy" type.   She loves nature, traveling & doing hikes.  It's a trait that runs in all three of her boys as well.  So this trip consisted of a lot of hiking, trails, water falls,  & nature.  We even managed a little rafting on the Delaware River. It was really nice.  I enjoy the outdoors too, but maybe not quite as much as they all do.  Mostly because I'm not in the greatest of shape at the moment which made some of it a bit hard on me.  (This trip was a good reminder for me to get myself in better shape....which is a lot easier said than done.)Pat had arrived on Friday & stayed with us at our home in NJ & drove up with us to the Poconos on Saturday.   We got there in the late afternoon on Saturday & decided to take it easy that first night so we just ordered a pizza for dinner, & did a little grocery shopping for anything we still needed to pick up for the week.  On Sunday.... Rob (The middle brother) would be arriving with his family of 5.  They would be there from Sunday to Thursday.  Their 3 boys are heavily involved in sports & this was what they needed to do to make it work.  We were just grateful they could make it!  It was really nice seeing them.  They live in Ohio & we don't see them as much as we would like to.  Anyway... we had decided that each of the families would make a meal.  This way not one family was doing everything & we didn't have to eat out every night.  On Sunday Debbie (Jim's wife) made chicken parm, with spaghetti & Italian bread, Monday I made BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, & corn on the cob and Tuesday Eileen (Rob's wife) made turkey taco's!  Everything everyone cooked was delicious!!! It was a great idea & everyone felt like they pitched in & yet, could take it easy on the nights when they didn't have to cook! Brilliant! LOL!   For my part,  it was the first time I made pulled pork sandwiches,   I was relieved when they came out really good!!  I tend to get nervous when I have to cook for a lot of people.. you know will there be enough?  Will everyone like it?  Etc.  I'm not used to cooking for so many people.  But it all worked out.  I made a really simple pulled pork recipe using of all things.... ginger ale! It was super yummy & moist... if I do say so  Anyway... On Monday we decided to go rafting, since all of us couldn't fit on one raft.   We split the families up... Brian, Emily & I went with Rob's family in a raft (8 people)& Pat & Jim's family were in another (6 people).  I think everyone had a good time,  I know our raft had a lot of fun!!! We sang songs, & laughed a lot! We tried our best to find any "white" water we could!! Which was hard to do,  lol.  The water was very calm! It wasn't the most exciting of water rafting but it was still a lot of fun!!  We sang (& tortured our kids with a bunch of songs they didn't ie: Gilligan's Island theme songs)& rowed & rowed!! We all stopped 1/2 way up the river trip to this little island & had a picnic lunch.  We called it Monkey Island.  Cause the night before Rob & John (our nephew) were sharing a story about their recent trip to Nicaragua & about a little island called Monkey island that was about the size of this one.  Only 4 people were the actual rowers in each raft! Our group got a little competitive when for a brief bit,  the other raft was beating us!! LOL!   We blamed it on the fact that at that point our youngest nephew Mikey got out to swim & was hanging on to the back of the raft & dragging us down, so we lost some ground.  We told Mikey he had to get back in so we could kick it up a notch... lol!   We ended up passing them & never looking back.. lol!  Not that it matters in the least but... we smoked them!!! HeHe!  It was fun!  The only little downside was that John was not feeling his best... he still had a bit of lingering upset stomach from his Nicaraguan trip.  But he was a real trooper & took it easy & made it down the river just fine.  We all went back to our condo &  ate the pulled pork which was cooking all day in the crock pot & watched American Ninja Warrior on television!! I think maybe some people played a game too.   It was a fun day! We weren't sure what our plans would be for Tuesday because they were calling for rain.   It was an annoying rain cause it was very intermittent. Each family kind of did their own thing that day....  Rob & his family + Pat ended up going to Camelback & zip-lining.  Our nephew Patrick & his mom Debbie stayed at the condo to work on Patrick's school assignment, Jim & his two other kids went fishing & Brian, Emily & I did a little exploring & had lunch at this great place called Dale's!! Super Yummy!  Recommend it if you are near Camelback Ski Lodge! We all got together that night at Rob's condo for taco's & a rousing game of Apples to Apples.  Emily really enjoyed that game, a possible Christmas idea!  Everyone seemed to have a good day, well except I'm not sure if working on a school assignment was Patrick's idea of fun! Poor Patrick. Wednesday we planned on doing a little hike with all of us.  (Various family members did a few little hikes on a few of the days thus far) while some of us would be getting showered & stuff... but this was our "first" organized hike with everyone... but when we woke up on Wednesday it was raining pretty heavily which put a crimp in the early day hiking plans.  Jim/Debbie & family decided to get in a little outlet shopping since there was a big one near by.   Our family hung at the condo until the rain subsided & then we went w/ Rob's family to hike some water falls which were about a 1/2 to 3/4 hour away.  So much fun!  We had no idea what to expect but the waterfalls were really cool, we even saw a bunch of deer on the hike up to the falls, & lots of people were even swimming in them.  Our adventurous nephews were over the moon I think & Bryan our one nephew even went across a big log that had fallen over the river & sat on it!  He seemed to be quite happy out there! I was happily surprised that Emily was having so much fun on this hike as well!! She didn't complain at all & actually was enjoying it a lot!! Emily usually isn't much of a nature it was great to see her having so much fun outside!  Everyone enjoyed themselves, & I think my husband Brian was really happy!  He really enjoys hiking & I think he liked that we were all there together doing this.  I was too.   Everyone got back together Wednesday night & we cooked up burgers, brats, & sante fe green pepper sausages on the grill & had an outdoor bbq at the park/swimming pool area at our condo resort.  Afterwards we went back to the condo & some of the family played another game of Apples & Apples.   Brian, Rob & I opted out this time to let the others who didn't play last time get  a chance to play... we had a nice time chatting though.  Around 10pm we said our good byes to Rob/Family as they would be leaving the next morning.  Thursday morning was a quick breakfast of dunkin donuts, & coffee.  (& Just for fun... I threw in a little emotional breakdown) I can't really explain it I think I just needed a good cry I suppose. I got over it fairly quickly though. Anyway...   Jim & his family went to do zip-lining in the morning after breakfast,  while our family went to see another lil' water fall near the condo called Buttermilk falls.  Afterwards we played mini golf & had a quick lunch of pizza.  That afternoon we ended up going to Dingman's Falls with everyone except Debbie & Christopher who were really wiped out from the zip-lining. Who could blame them?  I would probably have been too tired too.   Anyway... we ended the day by taking Jim/Debbie & everyone out to dinner as our thank you to them for sharing their time-share with us.   It was our way of saying thank you!  We left soon after dinner (ofcourse we couldn't resist an ice cream invite from Jim/Deb & boys!!) But after that we got on the road.  We were really missing our new puppy Cooper sooooo much!! We could not wait to pick him up on Friday morning!   Jim/Debbie & their boys along w/ Pat would be leaving on Saturday! We had a great time & most importantly I think PAT had a great time & Birthday present!!!!! Which was the most important thing!