Where’s The Christmas Spirit?

I don’t really ever write about issues I’m having with Huib, but this one is a bit of a constant one, so I’m hoping that by writing it out, maybe it will stop bothering me so much.

Christmas has always been an exciting holiday for me. I love shopping for that “perfect” gift and then the anticipation of waiting to present it to the particular friend or family member.

I remember Christmas shopping with Mom when I was old enough to understand that Santa Claus was not real. She would have a list of things to buy for this person and that person – often multiple pages long. Dad would drop us off at the front door of the mall and I’d push her from this store to that store, as we searched high and low for the items on her list. Even though I knew Santa wasn’t real, Mom never asked me to pick up my own gifts, she’d leave those items on a separate list for when she’d shop with her friend.

Dad was never one to enjoy shopping, but he’d always take the plunge at Christmas to surprise Mom with something special.

When we were young, Brandi and I used to wake up early Christmas morning, so that we could open our gifts from Santa. Dad would make his usual breakfast of French toast and Mom would patiently listen to us babble about how excited we were about this or that gift. We’d show her all the various features of the new toys and put on a bit of a fashion show so she could “feel” how our new clothes fit. After breakfast, we’d all put on something new and then Dad would start piling presents into the car so that we could begin our three hour drive to visit Granny and enjoy our family dinner.

Now that Mom and Granny have passed away, we no longer have the big family dinners, but Huib and I still get together with Dad and Brandi during the holidays.

Huib has never been overly fond of Christmas. He has always been a bit of a Scrooge. We seem to always get into arguments during the holidays over this. I love shopping for people, he hates the expectation of having to shop and give gifts. I have tried, over the years, to explain how I feel about Christmas and how sad his behaviour makes me, but no matter what, he always seems to ruin the holidays for me.

Being married is a balancing act. Spouses sometimes need to make sacrifices for the other. I feel as though our marriage has been a little too one sided lately in the sacrifice making. I moved away from friends and a place I felt comfortable so that Huib could gain experience working in a small hospital. I spend multiple days a week alone with just the dogs and cats for company, so Huib can get as much work experience as possible through working part-time in two units, instead of full-time in one. And, even though I agreed to move here under the expectation that we would continue to go “down south” every six weeks, I have been patient about the lack of trips we’ve had since he switched from full-time to part-time.

In return….I’ve asked for very little.

I’ve asked him to help me train Rogue and get her into public places when he is not working – something that is not happening nearly as much as I’d like.

I’ve asked him to become more involved in the training I do with the dogs, in an effort to keep things a little more consistent – something he’s said he’d start doing, but has still not done.

And I’ve asked him to stop making promises that he cannot keep – a continued struggle.

Now that it is Christmas time…

I have asked him to help me shop for the dogs, my Dad and sister. I’ve drastically cut down our usual “shopping for” list in an effort to make things a little less stressful for him, but we’re still arguing.

He actually seems even worse this year than previous ones.

I know he doesn’t like shopping for gifts. I know he doesn’t like receiving gifts. And I know he doesn’t like the whole idea of Christmas overall.

But, I wish he’d make a sacrifice for me.

Humour me for once.

I wish he’d embrace Christmas. I wish we could have fun decorating the house together. I wish I could have fun looking for that “perfect” Christmas gift to give him and others, without having him make it really frustrating to do so. I wish it wasn’t such a struggle to get him to help me fill out and send Christmas cards. And, I wish he’d surprise me with a special gift at Christmas, not just buy me stuff whenever he sees I like it. It’s the whole thought behind it that I want, not the gift itself.

I wish he’d be more like my friends’ significant others and just embrace the fact that I like to do things he does not.

Most of all, I wish he would stop being such a Scrooge and ruining Christmas for me.

Huib is honestly the most amazing man in the world, but this is one area I wish he’d attempt to improve.

Pictures with Santa

Today we took the four dogs to get their pictures done with Santa. The money was going to a local rescue group so we thought it was a great opportunity to get some cute pictures.

Canyon was probably the best poser of all four dogs. He did exactly what Huib asked him to do and even gave us a smile to go along with it. aspen was also smiling, but she took a little more effort to get into place.

The labs were not so eager or easy to pose with the Jolly old fellow. they weren’t afraid of him, but they were also not interested in sitting beside him while there were tons of other dogs and wonderful smells to investigate.

Happy Thanksgiving!

This weekend was Thanksgiving here in Canada. My step-dad and sister came to visit. Huib has been working a lot this week, so it was really nice to have the company of family. Today we had turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, turnip and corn. It was absolutely delicious!

With it being Thanksgiving, I thought I’d share five things I’m most thankful for.

1. I’m thankful for Huib. He has been an important part of my life since 2000, and I couldn’t imagine being without him.
2. I’m thankful for my dogs. They bring me smiles and laughter each day.
3. I’m thankful for family. Even though we’re a little dysfunctional, I know they will always have my back.
4. I’m thankful for my friends. Each one has added something special and unforgettable to my life. Even those who have moved on, have left me with lessons I would not have learned without their presence.
5. I’m thankful for the challenges I’ve been given in life. I think that if I had not had to deal with some of the “special” circumstances in life, I would not be the person I am today.

If you feel like it, please share five things you are thankful for in the comments section.

2011 Winter Fun!!

We finally found our camera and got a chance to load the pictures onto my laptop so here they are!

My friend’s 12 year old son came to visit for a couple weeks at Christmas and enjoyed using Aspen as his pillow for sleeping.

Caleb thought Canyon might want to share his crate, but he was wrong lol!

Here’s a couple pictures from my two night stay at the timmins & District Hospital. I was lucky to have my sister and Huib stay with me, so Cessna didn’t have to leave. she was such a good girl, sleeping on my bed in the Emergency Department the whole time.

Here’s a couple of pictures from our walks down the road near our house that only has someone living at the very end. The trail where these pictures were taken is a snowmobile trail just past the house.

the rest of the pictures are ones taken behind our house as we walk towards the lake which is about a 3-5 minute walk from our back door.

We were beginning to wonder where all the trees were going that had been cut down by beavers. the chunks of wood they leave behind are absolutely huge!

I wonder if they realize it’s the lake they’re standing on…

Christmas 2010

This year my friend and her son came to visit for the holidays. Caleb came on the 17th and is staying until after new Years, but his mom arrived on the 23rd and left on Monday. It was an eventful few days, full of memories and first time experiences.

Here are some pictures of Caleb posing in different kid’s rides during our visit to the North Bay mall for some last minute gifts.

Taz isn’t much into the whole Christmas thing so instead of buying her a gift we took her and Caleb dog sledding near Timmins. Dog Sledding Adventures is run by a man named Shane who has about 21 greyhound like huskies. I cannot totally remember the breed or if they are actually husky greyhound crosses, but if anyone knows from the pictures please let me know. Shane started his dog sledding career in Whistler as a guide and instantly fell in love with the sport. When he decided to move from Whistler back to the Timmins area where he grew up, he made an agreement with the company owner and brought about 6-10 dogs back. The snow conditions on Friday were on the faster side so Shane only hooked up 7 dogs to our sled. We had – coconut (leader), Shooter, Mr. Penguin, Dora, Doughnut, Madison, and Mr. Deeds – most of our team were from his Adam Sandler crew. The dogs were extremely excited about the upcoming run so barked and whined constantly until they were hooked up and told to go. It was amazing to see how focused they get and then as the run goes on how tired they become from the concentration. Each of us got a chance to ride in the sled while Shane directed the dogs and taught us all the necessary commands and features of the sled itself. Then Shane stood off to the side and let us take one another for rides during the next 45 minutes. In total we spent 2 hours with the dogs and it was amazing! Shane told me that the next time I came to bring Cessna and Canyon and he would hook them up with his dogs to the sled and I’d see how well they took to the exercise. It wasn’t overly expensive and I had so much fun that I will for sure be returning later in the winter.

My sister and step-dad came over that evening and we had dinner and opened presents. Brandi had to work all weekend so we had our Christmas get together a little early. At first Brandi wasn’t in a great mood, but as the evening progressed her mood improved. Dinner was delicious and dessert was even better – Caleb and I made both a plain and a toffee chip cheesecake.

This year for Christmas from Brandi I got a Tassimo coffee maker, season four of Dexter, a Glee calendar, Starbucks coffee, and an I.O.U. for pajamas. I absolutely love my coffee maker and can’t wait until we get some cappuccino, hot chocolate, and latte pods for it. Dad gave both Huib and I a hundred dollars and Taz bought us the game Rock Star Life. Huib and I decided not to buy one another gifts since there tends to be more sales during the weeks after Christmas and it’s more fun to go on shopping sprees.

We didn’t do too much during the weekend, but enjoyed one another’s company and exercised the dogs. On Saturday we took everyone for an hour and fifteen minute walk and then yesterday went for a two mile walk in the opposite direction. Taz really enjoyed seeing our home and the areas around where we live. Right now it’s beautiful up here – tons of snow and animal tracks everywhere.

We really enjoyed having Taz and Caleb here for Christmas and hope they’ll join us again next year.

We Were Spoiled!

Hi there everyone…it’s Cessna here. Mommy said I could use her laptop for a bit to tell you all about what her and Santa brought us. We had a very good Christmas this year and in my opinion were quite spoiled!

I got –
• a purple bowling pin shaped Kong Genius
• a red Kong wubba
• a large orange Zanie’s Ripstop training dummy (for retrieving while swimming)
• an eggplant from the Zanies Giggling Veggies group of toys
• a purple Jolly ball (which Daddy is going to attach a rope to, so I can swing it around)
• a package of rollover training treats
• a Skinneez bear that holds a plastic water bottle
• a package of Bison treats and
• a little tennis ball on a red rope

Picture of Cessna’s presents in a pile.

Phoenix got –
• a red tube shaped Kong Genius (the vet told Mommy he can eat hard treats now)
• a red Kong dental stick (so Mommy can put peanut butter or Kong stuffing on it)
• 2 pig skin rolls
• A package of Northern Biscuit treats (wild trout flavor)
• A package of Performatin treats (salmon and rice flavor)
• A fuzzy fleece blanket that has a horse on it and
• A medium roll of chicken and veggie flavor deli Fresh

Canyon got –
• A blue bee hive shape toy with holes in either end for filling with peanut butter or cookies
• An Air Kong spinner
• An Air Kong dumbbell
• A green Tough By Nature Chompion (looks like a rubber dumbbell that you can put kibble sized treats into the ends and has knubs for massaging the gums)
• A Nylabone wishbone
• A Nylabone Durachews Plus
• A green pepper from the Zanies Giggling Veggies group of toys
• A stuffed bone that has different coloured rings to remove
• a red stuffed soccer ball that squeaks
• two tennis balls on a blue rope
• a bull’s winky and
• a package of Rollover training treats

Picture of Canyon’s presents in a pile.

Aspen got –
• a brown stuffed bear that makes a honking sound
• a stuffed turtle that squeaks
• a blue stuffed rhinoceros that squeaks
• a purple stuffed elephant that squeaks
• a tomato from the Zanies Giggling Veggies group of toys
• a brown stuffed lion that squeaks
• a red rubber ball that squeaks
• an Air Kong football and
• a bull’s winky

Picture of Zanies Giggling Veggies – a red tomato, a green pepper and a purple eggplant all with smiling faces & limbs.

As you can see we were pretty lucky dogs! Our cousin Dawsen is visiting for the weekend so we haven’t gotten a chance to play with too many of our toys, but he leaves tomorrow morning and that’s when the fun will begin. By the way, he was also pretty spoiled by Mommy, santa and Auntie.

Our Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,
Since I am the more intelligent of the crew – at least that’s what I think – I offered to write our Christmas wish list.

I’ve been a very good girl, guiding Mommy wherever she wants, taking care of the others – Canyon can be such a bully to Aspen sometimes! – and trying to listen when Mommy asks me to help with special tasks like putting our toys away or standing with her while she lets the others out at night. There isn’t a lot of things I’d like – unlike some dogs in this house, Canyon should really stop being such a greedy boy! – so I’m really hoping you’ll be able to help me out. I’m really a big fan of playing tug, swinging toys around so they hit the others in the head, fun treats and trying to figure out how to get things out of a toy, so here are just a few things I’d love this year.

• A Kong Genius toy – as I said I’m pretty smart, so think this toy would be fun for me
• A Jolly Ball for playing tug & retrieving when swimming in the summer
• A large size Kong so Mommy can fill it with peanut butter or wet food
• A stuffed toy that I can shake around & tease Canyon – I really do enjoy teasing that guy!
• Busy Bones – these are my favourite to get when the others get their stupid rawhide rolls, don’t know why they like those things…
As you can see Santa I don’t really have a very long list, but if you aren’t able to get some of these then I won’t be upset. Mommy told me there are dogs out there who don’t have homes or families who love them so I don’t mind if you put a little more effort into helping them this year, rather than getting me all I ask for.

Guess I’d better move onto the others so they’ll stop breathing down my back – this typing thing is really hard, not sure how Mommy does it for so long.

Phoenix has also been a very good boy. He is a lot older than me so can’t help Mommy as much as I can, but he really does try and watch her for me so I can get a little rest without worrying. Phoenix was Mommy’s guide before I came and she says he was a really great friend – he taught me how to guide Mommy without my harness, which I guess is pretty cool. Phoenix got sick a couple weeks ago and doesn’t seem to be eating the same kind of food as we do anymore – he gets the really good stuff that comes out of a can, I’m so jealous! – so I guess I’ll suggest some more suitable gifts for him – since he really doesn’t seem to realize he has to be careful, that’s what I hear Mommy telling Daddy. Phoenix also can’t run around or play as much as I can so some of the toys I like wouldn’t be good for him, but he does like food. Here are a few things I think he’d like you to bring him Santa, if you can manage it.

• Wellness soft treats – Mommy can break them up so he won’t get them stuck in his lungs, that’s what I heard Mommy tell someone the vet is worried about
• A really soft fleece blanket for him to use when he is in the truck or visiting people with Mommy – as I said he got sick a couple of weeks ago so things are really kinda different around here
• Deli Fresh treats – they are soft & Mommy seems to give them to him when we get other ones
• A large size Kong for Mommy to fill with peanut butter or wet food

Phoenix also likes it when he gets new collars or bandannas so if you think there’s one he might like Santa, then please get him that as well.

Now it’s time to write Aspen’s list for her. Aspen is a little boring if you ask me, but she’s really good about taking care of Phoenix when Mommy needs me to work for her so I guess she’s okay. Aspen doesn’t really play much like Canyon and I do, but she seems to like food, swimming, playing fetch and rolling around on Mommy and Daddy’s bed with a stuffed toy in her mouth. Here are some things she asked me to write for her.

• An air Kong toy – she says she isn’t picky, but loves chasing & squeaking them when Mommy or Daddy throws it
• Any really soft stuffed toy that squeaks – she’s really gentle with her toys, unlike Canyon and I, so ones that are meant for puppies would be okay
• Anything edible – Mommy says she is a lab in a golden’s clothing, not sure what that means…
• A large size Kong for Mommy to fill with peanut butter or wet food – as I said before, she loves food

Aspen is a really girly dog – unlike me – so if you see anything a girly dog would like then it’s perfect for her.

In my opinion Canyon’s been a naughty boy! He always picks on Aspen and doesn’t seem to always listen to Mommy like I do, but I guess I’ll give you his list and let you decide. He isn’t a picky dog – unless it comes to food – but he absolutely loves balls, toys that squeak and to play fetch. Here is his list – personally I think he’s being a bit greedy, but here it is anyways.

• A treat ball – Phoenix doesn’t like it when he plays with his
• A Kong Genius toy – he claims he’s just as smart as me, but we’ll see who’s smarter…
• An Air Kong toy – like Aspen, he enjoys squeaking and chasing toys that Mommy & Daddy throw for him
• A Nylabone – not sure why, but he seems to like those
• A stuffed toy – I told him to ask for this so he would stop stealing Aspen’s toys
• Squeaky tennis balls – as I said he loves balls!
• Rollover treats – Mommy seems to use these & other yummy treats when she teaches him new things

I refuse to write anything further for him because I just can’t stand him!! He doesn’t seem to care that there are dogs out there without families like ours. Wonder where he thinks Auntie Brandi’s new golden retriever, Dawsen, came from…. Just so you know Santa, Dawsen was adopted through Golden Rescue and I’m sure he’d also love some new toys and treats if you can manage the additional weight in your sleigh. Dawsen doesn’t have a lot yet, so anything you bring him would be great!

Well that’s all for now Santa, but we do have two cats named Logan and Laya who share our home so if you see any good cat treats or toys they might like then please add them to our wish list.

Many sloppy kisses and tail wags from a very good girl


A Wonderful Week

This week has been a busy one. Huib and I picked Aiden up in King City on Tuesday and headed off to Kirkland Lake. We looked at several houses while there and both Aiden and Cessna got a good run Wednesday morning. I think Aiden is going to start refusing to come visit us soon, as every time he comes we end up going on a long drive…lol! On Thursday Aiden went to school with Huib, it was his final day of school and Aiden was very well behaved – I think it helped that he didn’t get much sleep the night before…lol! On Friday we went to see Phoenix’s foster mom and then headed to the “All About Pets Show” in Mississauga afterwords. We met up with another foster mom and her daughter who were watching our little chocolate man. We thought the drive to Kirkland Lake would be too much for him so decided to see if a friend would take him. He got lots of different experiences and was a very good little house guest – at least that’s what I was told…hahaha!

The show was great, we saw lots of different cats, dogs, and birds. The boys (Aiden & Reece) and Cessna were really good. They got lots of treats and we even bought our cats a new litter box that looks like a doll house. Reece seems to really like bigger dogs, he tried to curl up with every one at booths where we stopped to talk to the exhibitor. On Saturday we went to Ren’s Pet Depot to buy the dogs each an Easter present – Aiden & Cessna got a squeaky tennis ball with a colourful canvas swirly tail (sort of looks like a comet), Aspen got a squeaky tennis ball with colourful little canvas ribbons, Phoenix got a toy that has two squeaky tennis balls connected with a canvas strip and Reece got a toy that looks like a fox skin with squeakers at the head and tail (called a Skinneez). They were all spoiled and have been playing with their new toys all weekend – except Cessna’s got killed in a game of tug so we put Aiden’s away before it met the same fate…lol!

Aiden will be staying with us until Friday or Saturday, so lots of time left for snuggles and long walks. He is such a bouncy guy, so full of personality and affection. His heeling seems to have improved a lot, but his energy level seems to have gone through the roof  He never needed as much exercise as he does now, hopefully he goes to a family with a lot of property or who loves to be outdoors or it might be an interesting placement. No matter what though, he will always be welcome to come home, whether it be for a visit or forever.

The upside to our long trip to Kirkland Lake is that we found a great house (lots of space inside & a large yard). We made an offer on it and after a bit of back and forth we settled on a purchasing price. As long as we are able to sell our current place within a month’s time then we will be moving in around June 18th! I think the dogs will love their new home and the cats will not know what to do with all the space they have to run.

Santa Paws Has Come & Gone

Our house was full of excitement on Christmas morning, not with the excited screaming of children, but with the happy curiosity of five dogs waiting patiently to see what was in their stockings. Over the past month Huib and I have done a lot of shopping for them all, filling their stockings with toys, treats and other things we knew they would enjoy. With this being our first and only Christmas with Aiden we made sure to spoil him and to make it a memorable day for us all.

We got each dog to lie on a red blanket with their full stocking in front of them for a picture and then emptied it in front of them for another. Each dog was very interested in what their stocking contained and each dog found at least one thing inside that they wanted to check out immediately.

Aiden’s stocking contained: 2 stuffed toys that squeak (a person wearing a santa hat that said naughty on one side & nice on the other; an organge monkey with a santa hat), 3 ginger snap cookies, a bone filled with beef rollover, and a new Frisbee for the summer. He was of course interested in the treats, but after having one he took the orange moneky and ran down the hall squeaking it as he went.

Cessna’s stocking contained: a naughty or nice person (same as Aiden), a small orca whale that she can play with in the water, a treat dispenser called a chill pill, a small football, 2 cinnamon bun cookies, a package of snausages, and a stuffed frog that squeaks and has rope arms and legs. She was most interested in the cinnamon bun cookie and ran off to the bedroom to eat one when she was done.

Phoenix’s stocking wasn’t as full as the others, but he was given a new bed for Christmas and absolutely loves stealing the toys from the other dogs so we weren’t as concerned. This year his stocking contained a new treat ball (he now has 4 different ones) and a stuffed turtle that squeaks and wears a santa hat. Of course being his usual food motivated self he was eager to have us fill his ball and was off pushing it up and down the hallway with the others not far behind.

Libertie’s stocking contained: a stuffed bear wearing a santa hat, 3 ginger snap cookies, a brown leather collar, a rope toy, a squeaky tennis ball, and a bone filled with turkey rollover. She quickly ate a ginger snap cookie and then took her teddy to show her brother. Sadly teddy lost his nose within only five minutes, but she still loves to play with him just as much.

Aspen’s stocking contained: a brown leather collar, a knuckle bone, a rubber toy called a Little Devil that you can put treats into, a blue stuffed penguin that squeaks and wears a santa hat, a stuffed duck that also squeaks, and 3 ginger snap cookies. She swallowed 2 of the ginger snaps whole and then went off with her Little Devil.

All in all our dogs were spoiled. Some were given a little more than others, but in the end it all seems to even itself out as they all share and all get a variety of things throughout the year. Just looking at the money I spend each year on my dogs for Christmas makes me wonder what I will be like when I have children to spoil as well.

A Jam Packed Weekend

What an exhausting Easter weekend! We started our weekend off by attending the All About Pets Show at the International Centre in Mississauga and finished it off yesterday with a long, but enjoyable trip to Fairview Mall in Kitchener.

Our trip to the show was fun, but overly exhausting for Cessna and Aiden. The crowds were huge and people kept stopping us to ask about Aiden and Cessna. I have never said “please don’t pet my dog” so many times in a day, thankfully our fellow fostering friend also took the liberty of asking people to STOP! Petting Cessna! Cessna is a good girl and rarely reacts to people paying attention to her, but I still feel it is important to educate the public on the importance of ignoring her. Aiden on the other hand just couldn’t get enough attention and thanks to our fellow fostering friend my husband and I were able to continue walking while she worked her way through the swarming puppy lovers.

Our first eventful moment at the show came when we got through security and Cessna saw a St. Bernard who she felt was getting too close to me so barked and growled at it. How many times do I have to remind you Cessna that you are not a big dog so challenging a dog over twice your size is not recommended! Next we came upon the Golden Rescue booth where we stopped to chat with another fellow fostering friend and Aiden decided “oh this golden looks like my Aspen so why don’t I chew on it”. The golden was so easy going with our little monster, it just rolled over onto it’s back and proceeded to play with him. The rest of the dog area was passed through without any further adventures.

But, then came the bird section…oh no! Cessna became alert and my husband said “keep her tight” without any explanation, so I did what I could, but Cessna still managed to jump up towards a bird that was sitting on a man’s finger. Luckily my husband was prepared for this and grabbed her in time! Who knows how expensive that bird was… We kept walking and Cessna again became alert, this time instead of a bird, it was a big turtle! Cessna and Aiden were quite intrigued by this “moving rock” and stood there watching in complete amazement.

Saturday was spent entertaining my family. We had a wonderful time chatting and the time just flew by. Everyone had arrived around 3:00pm and no one left until 9:00pm which is a record for such a gathering. I guess our first attempt at entertaining the family was a success…wonder when the next time will be… The dogs were all so good and well behaved, you would never have known there were four wandering around the party room. The little ones, Biinizi (1 ½), Nevaeh (2) and Harrison (3) loved to go up and check out each of them…good boy Phoenix, even though you aren’t a huge fan of kids, you were so patient with them! After everyone had helped with the clean up and left for home, the dogs all passed out on the couch and chairs and Aiden climbed into his crate and wasn’t heard from again until 7:00am. Sunday, not a day of rest, we set off for Waterloo for a visit with our friends Jess and Jetta. After chatting for a bit and having some pizza we decided to take Cessna and Jetta to a local dog park that we’d never been to…not a great park. Jess and I stood by the entrance gate chatting while my husband walked around taking random shots of the dogs. After about a half hour or more of trying to keep the beagle looking thing off Jetta, Cessna decided it would be a good idea to get into the middle of an argument that a big yellow lab and a big unfixed golden were having…wise idea girl! Thankfully Huib was quickly there to help her out of her mess…hmmm…I wonder why none of the other dog’s owners were there to help him? Well that ended our dog park trip. The end of our long weekend was spent at Fairview Mall walking around with other puppies and their families. Even though it was 3 hours, it was probably one of the most interesting trips I’ve ever been to at a mall. We learned lots and had some good conversations. Hopefully we can do it again sometime soon!

After such a long jam packed weekend it has been decided that today will be our “day of rest”.