What a Roadtrip

We survived!

Ok, from this photo it looks like we barely survived!

Ok, from this photo it looks like we barely survived!

We were gone from Tuesday, Dec. 23 through this afternoon (Dec. 28). We traveled from Central PA to Northern NJ to Southern NJ back to Central PA with a car packed to the brim with gifts, dog supplies suitcases and, of course, two doggies. But we made it. We got to visit both families and while Isaac saw more than his fair share of timeouts (definitely no improvement in that area!), we’re all back in one piece.

As is the case for anyone who has to travel over the holidays, it’s not exactly relaxing. You’re spending two, three, four days in someone else’s home, sleeping in someone else’s bed, eating someone else’s food, etc. It’s 100 percent worth it because it’s simply not the holidays without family, but it is definitely exhausting.

She's pretty much been asleep since we walked in the door.

She’s pretty much been asleep since we walked in the door.

We made the most of our time in New Jersey, that’s for sure. I saw both my mom and dad’s sides of the family, had a wonderful Christmas dinner at my aunt’s house and had plenty of time with Marty’s family. Santa was more than kind to us – and the dogs, too. We really are so fortunate.

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And for me personally, I can’t overstate how much I enjoy being home. I more than just love my parents – I truly enjoy spending time and hanging out with them.

My dad.

My dad.

No matter what else is going on in my life or what else might happen down the road, I’m never more comfortable than I am at my parents’ home so for that reason alone, holiday travel is worth it.

Now we’re back at home and fortunately have a few days of relaxation to recover from the holiday travel!

A Doggie Christmas

The good thing about dogs? They could not care less if you got them one gift or 100. They’re ecstatic either way! So this year I went low-key; just two bags of homemade treats from a local store and one new Nylabone each. Yup, they were more than satisfied with their Christmas gifts.
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And Isaac was more than interested in the gifts Marty and I got each other…

"Anymore gifts for me??"

“Anymore gifts for me??”

He's just so darn happy.

He’s just so darn happy.

All in all, a solid start to Christmas!

A Christmas Survey

I think we’re just about ready for Christmas! Shopping is pretty much done and wrapping is almost complete. As usual, Marty and I (and the dogs!) will celebrate Christmas a few days early; this year we’ll celebrate on Monday, Dec. 22 since we’re leaving for New Jersey for the holidays on the afternoon of the 23rd.

I’ll be sure to post a quick recap of the doggies’ Christmas celebration on Monday night but for now, here’s (what I thought was) a fun survey for the holidays!

Favorite Christmas Movie
I’m going to cheat on the very first question because I have two: How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the cartoon version ONLY) and White Christmas (I may or may not have a crush on Bing Crosby). It’s a tradition that my family watches White Christmas together, so guess what we’ll be doing when we arrive in New Jersey this week?! 🙂
white xmas
(source)

Favorite Christmas Song
Since I have an aforementioned crush on Bing Crosby, just about any of his songs but I love his versions of White Christmas and The First Noel.

White or colored lights
Both! But if I could only pick one for all my decorations (inside and out), I’d have to go with colored. Hard to believe these are now considered “vintage” but they’re the lights my family still uses to decorate the tree.
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Christmas Eve traditions?
I’m pretty sure a lot of families have this tradition, but we always open a new set of pajamas on Christmas Eve (yes, even at the age of 30).

How did Santa deliver gifts?
We didn’t have a fire place growing up so he used the front door of course! 🙂 His presents were always mixed in with gifts from my parents.

Christmas Day traditions?
My dad’s famous French Toast. He only makes it three times a year (Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter) and it’s to. die. for.
french toast

Favorite Christmas cookie?
I guess they’re not technically a Christmas cookie since you can make them any time, but Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies (with walnuts). Growing up I’d help my mom make at least one batch a year. Probably one of my favorite desserts ever, to this day.

Favorite Christmas candy?
Um, I don’t know that there are really any Christmas-specific candies that I traditionally eat, but Reese’s Christmas Trees are delicious. 🙂
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(source)

Eggnog…yes or no?
Yes. I never really liked it growing up and while I hardly ever drink it now, I’m a fan.

Do you send Christmas cards?
You bet! Who doesn’t like receiving Christmas cards?!

What do you want for Christmas this year?
Books. Lots of books and money for books. Since I’m officially done with grad school (!!), I’ve been reading non-stop. Oh, and a CrossFit jump rope so I can practice double-unders and stop doing this to my hands:

Pretty much as painful as it looks.

Pretty much as painful as it looks.

Resolutions…2015 Version

I know, it is isn’t even Christmas yet and I’m already talking about New Year’s resolutions. I honestly don’t know why I bother to make them because, like almost everyone else in the world, I never follow through. For instance, here were last year’s resolutions:

1. Find Snowy her perfect forever home – DONE

Violet (aka Snowy) and her sisters in her forever home.

Violet (Right) (aka Snowy) and her sisters in her forever home.

2. Budget money so we can juggle Lucy, her constant vet visits and any other potential future fosters – Not so much. I definitely paid more attention to my money and where it was going and we were able to afford what Lucy needed, but I definitely didn’t save as much as I wanted.

3. Continue to work on my patience when it comes to Lucy and her stubbornness – Again, not so much. I mean, I guess I worked on my patience but without any actual improvement.

"Keep working on that patience, Mom."

“Keep working on that patience, Mom.”

4. Take the dog(s) for at least six walks a week; we all need to watch our weight and Lucy always has energy to burn off! – Sort of? Since getting Isaac in August we’ve walked at least 14 times a week and same when we had Buddy, but Lucy has definitely not gotten as many walks as she needs. And now she’s fat(ter).

Buddy, always up for a walk.

Buddy, always up for a walk.

One out of four. Pathetic.

I have a lot of non-dog resolutions rattling around in my brain for the upcoming year but this is a dog blog. So in keeping with that theme, here are the resolutions I will make and may or may not achieve:

1. Shift into a career that allows me a more “regular” schedule to continue fostering and allow me to help SNORT in more ways than I am currently able.
2. Keep on top of cleaning! That means vacuuming, dusting and even just keeping the dogs themselves cleaner (wiping paws, more baths, etc.).
3. Continue fostering.

That’s it. Not exciting but with effort, all three are doable.

Trust Your Instinct

Just an interesting little note from my morning walks with Isaac. We walk pretty early (7:15ish) but not insanely early. However, because it’s December, it’s definitely not completely light out at that time, especially on overcast days. We rarely run into other people and almost never see another dog (the lack of other dogs is ideal!) so it’s generally just me and Isaac.

"I love me a good walk!"

“I love me a good walk!”

So, sometimes when I see someone in the neighborhood that I don’t recognize while we’re on our walk, I’m a bit more on guard. And whoever said dogs can’t pick up on the emotions of their owners is dead wrong.

For instance, one morning last month we were walking down an alley when a very large African American man came walking towards us. First things first – I am an unbiased as they come. I grew up in a diverse area and I could not care less what color a person’s skin is. However, this guy had an odd gait, was WAY bigger and stronger than me and I could think of no real viable reason in my head he’d be walking down the alley away from his home at 7:15 in the morning dressed in sweats. And Isaac – who loves almost all people – just wasn’t that friendly to him. In fact, if I remember correctly, he actually growled at him. He didn’t lunge or make a move but I firmly believe he could tell I was a bit uncomfortable and reacted accordingly.

Then, this morning, a young white man in pajama pants, earrings up the wazoo (again, just a description, I’m not being a prejudiced jerk – people are allowed to have earrings) and a ski cap on was walking toward us. Ends up he lives in the house where two murderers used to live just a few months ago (not his fault, I know, but still skeeves me out). He wanted to pet Isaac and I let him, but Isaac’s ears were pinned back the entire time – a 100 percent clear sign Isaac wasn’t completely on board with this guy. Definitely NOT how Isaac greets 99 percent of people.

"I'm a nice guy...most of the time!"

“I’m a nice guy…most of the time!”

Really, this is a completely random post but the subject popped into my head today when Isaac reacted strangely for the second time in a month to random people. I think it’s fascinating that Isaac either did not like those people all on his own or he picked up on my uneasiness. I tend to think it’s the latter which is all the more fascinating. It makes me think twice about how I react to and around my dogs.

I must say though, having Isaac with me on walks makes me feel incredibly safe. He is strong and he can obviously tell when I’m uncomfortable. Not the worst walking buddy to have!

The Survey of Fours

Another survey! I know, a cop-out but I love reading these kinds of surveys so hopefully some of you will, as well.

Four names that people call me other than my real name:
1. Katie (because my real name is Kathryn)
2. Kathryn Anne (my FULL real name)
3. A not-so-nice name my brother still calls me on occasion (rhymes with “witch”)
4. Nothing else I can think of.

Four jobs I’ve had:
1. Babysitter
2. Camp counselor
3. Ice cream scooper/take-out window girl at Friendly’s
4. Sports Information Director (various places)

Pretty much my favorite dessert ever.

Pretty much my favorite dessert ever.

(source)

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:
1. Clue
2. Robin Hood Men in Tights
3. White Christmas
4. Pretty Woman

"Tight tights!"

“Tight tights!”

(source)

Four books I’d recommend: 
1. Bet Me
2. The Great Gatsby
3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (really, the entire series)
4. Chronicles of Calvin and Hobbes

Four places I’ve lived:
1. Morristown, N.J.
2. Ithaca, N.Y.
3. Easton, Pa.
4. Selinsgrove, Pa.

Four places I’ve visited:
1. Bahamas
2. Stone Harbor, N.J.
3. Salt Lake City, Utah
4. Poconos

Four places I’d rather be right now:
1. Bed
2. On the beach somewhere warm
3. In N.J. with my family
4. On the couch with the dogs

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Four things I prefer not to eat:
1. Brussels sprouts
2. Spam
3. Oysters
4. Black licorice

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Wine (pinot grigio, to be exact)
2. Chocolate
3. Brownies
4. Chocolate chip cookies
5. Chocolate frosting (I couldn’t stop at four)

Yes, please.

Yes, please.

(source)

Four TV shows I watch:
1. Modern Family
2. 24 (does it count if it’s no longer on?!)
3. Say Yes to the Dress
4. What Not to Wear

Four things I’m looking forward to:
1. Officially graduating from Kansas State with my Master’s in academic advising
2. Christmas with my family
3. The birth of one of my best friend’s baby
4. A CrossFit competition? A half-marathon? One or both of those things will happen!

Four things I’m always saying:
1. I love you, too.
2. I love you, be good (to the dogs)
3. I’m tired.
4. Come on, Isaac.

Sometimes he likes to dawdle on walks.

Sometimes he likes to dawdle on walks.