dog training

Does It Feel Different?

Before we got married I had a lot of friends tell me their experiences of the whole wedding thing (because the wedding is very different than theΒ marriage and I feel like in this day and age with the wedding business and pinterest we sometimes forget that). I would say that it was about 60-40 on people who told me that they felt different after tying the knot. I was surprised by the friends who said it didn’t feel any different, but yet at the same time I wondered if I would fall into that category. I mean, let’s be real — Michael and I have been together for 6.5 years, we’ve lived together for over 5 of those years. We had a honeymoon phase, we had a rocky phase, we had the “we’ve been together for a long time now” phase. Then it was the wedding phase.

The wedding phase was the planning part (which was 14 months after we got engaged) and the wedding instead. I would have liked a shorter engagement butΒ C’est la Vie….This was a strange time because it was all very new, it was VERY stressful, there was a lot of anticipation and just a lot of unknowns.

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The wedding day itself was very surreal and mostly a blur of chaos and a roller coaster of emotions (which also surprised me – again, we’ve been together for so long already!). Did I feel any different after we said “I Do”? Nope, not really. I guess I felt calmer and more relaxed. I could stop PLANNING everything. That was a huge relief.

Then we went on our honeymoon. It still didn’t really feel “real.” Basically it was like we were on a really nice, long vacation. A dream vacation, really. But we were so busy splashing in the ocean, laying on the beach, and exploring Maui (and eating A LOT) that I don’t think either of us really put much thought into the fact that we were now married or that anything should feel any differently.

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(He slept on the beach a lot. I read and swam.:) )

Maui was great, don’t get me wrong. But I started to get a little homesick for my fur-babies. We both missed Bella terribly! She was staying with her foster mom and having a great time, especially with her dog Kona, Bella’s BFF. Bella was on a puppy vacation!

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Now that we are home I’ve been kind of taking it easy and trying not to plan or do too much (trying to hold onto that Maui bliss as long as possible). I am starting to ruminate on what I want to do, though. Now that I don’t have to do ANY wedding planning anymore (YAY) I can get a hobby! It was astounding just how much time the wedding planning took. Between meeting vendors and just all the details, any free evening or weekend was booked with that stuff. It really does take over your whole life, even if you try to avoid it.

I’d like to get back to Bella’s training. Sadly we didn’t have tons of extra time to work on tricks and training for her. Now that we have more time I want to get back at that. I especially want to get her to the dog park at least once a week to get more socialized. She’s doing so much better than when we first got her but she still gets skittish and nervous with a lot of other dogs.

I’d like to get into gardening. Specifically I think I want to try growing succulents. I saw so many amazing succulents in Hawaii and that’s something that we CAN actually grow here in Oregon (wish I could grow some plumeria and palm trees but I guess I’ll settle for this…).

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A friend has actually started growing succulents and offered to give me some of her cuttings and I really want to try it. I hope I can make it work. I’m okay with growing vegetables but not really flowers…time will tell!

Another goal for this winter: Michael has agreed to take a dance class! I am super excited about it and will be looking for classes soon. I took a ballroom dancing class ages ago and learned all the basics! I definitely need to re-learn it. I’m more interested in learning maybe salsa dancing or something along those lines.

Yoga. I need to get back into the groove of that and I’d like check out some local studios. I take yoga at my gym and it’s not quite the same experience as doing it at a yoga studio where that’s the only thing they do. I never really get that blissful, enlightened feeling while people are dropping weights and grunting and talking loudly right outside the yoga room at the gym…

Volunteering. I miss it! I used to do it a lot. Before I met Michael, in fact, I volunteered at a cat shelter every weekend. Michael and I volunteered together at The Pixie Project and it was a lot of fun. Now that I have some free time I’m going to start up again.

After being back for a bit I went out with my cousin Anna for a beer. We saw a band at an Irish pub here in Portland and then met up with some of her friends. This was the first time it kind of felt DIFFERENT. I was talking to someone that didn’t know me or Michael and I had a moment of pause when I almost said “my boyfriend Michael” then corrected myself and said “my husband”. And it felt WEIRD. Very weird. I am not used to it yet. πŸ™‚

Okay married folks, did you feel any different?

Notables

How was everyone’s Halloween? Did you survive the candy holiday? Did you eat too much of it or do you have a success story to share?

I did okay regarding Halloween candy. This year was pretty low-key. Instead of celebrating at my friend’s house we stayed home. We had leftover stew and passed out candy to the trick-or-treaters. We used to have TONS of kids. Each year it’s less and less. Michael bought a bag of candy from Costco and we ended up having almost half of it left over. I had four pieces of candy, was over my calories for the day but still under 2,000 for the day. Not too bad! Of course I’ve been eating the candy ever since….But still within my daily calories. I won’t lie, I may have substituted some healthy snacks with candy…

I wasn’t sure how Bella would do on Halloween. It seemed like a recipe for disaster. She’s anxious with new people and strangers that come to the door; our doorbell is obnoxiously loud; and I thought the kids in costumes might scare her. Actually Bella did well! She barked at the first group of kids but then she did okay. She only barked one other time at the youngest and smallest kid that came to our door, which sucked because I felt badly for the little girl! I was glad Bella chilled out and did well.

This post is a roundup of some things I’ve talked about recently. Here goes:

Acne

Last we talked, I was considering accutane and lots of readers weighed in with their experiences. It was pretty mixed but leaning more towards the positives. I was still undecided. Increasing my acne medicine and taking antibiotics for almost 2 months cleared it up. I also changed my birth control to one that is supposed to help acne. So far so good. I’m not going to do accutane any time soon. I want to see if this current stage of no breakouts will stick around for awhile.

The Pets Adjusting

How are the animals adjusting? We brought Bella home on October 3rd and it’s been a little over a month now. We’ve had some really good moments where Fat Kitty seemed like was adjusting. One particular evening I sat on the bed with the kitty and Bella laid on the floor in front of us and the three of us watched TV for a long time without any hissing or growling!

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We’ve also had some low points and sadly, Fat Kitty is still bent out of shape and posturing. He paces in the hallway or sits in the office doorway where his food is and hisses at Bella. Bella will lay down in the hallway on the other side of the dog gate and just look at him.

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The most recent news was that Maya came out from under the bed and stood motionless in the bedroom. Bella came right up to her and Maya didn’t seem bothered in the least. Maya didn’t run or hiss or look scared! That was great. Bella also lost interest in Maya quickly because Fat Kitty is the one she wants! He’s made it this way with his hissing and growling at Bella. SIGH. The above picture is of Fat Kitty looking at Bella’s tail.

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I guess it really will just take time!

Bella’s Training

Bella is SO smart! I love how quickly she catches on to things. We’ve been working with a trainer and each week we have homework. We’ve mastered “Leave It” and some of the other commands. One thing we worked on was her sitting and waiting until I put her food dish on the floor and tell her to eat. She does it now without me even having to say “sit.”

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We’ve had 2 sessions with the trainer so far and they have gone great. It’s so much fun training Bella! It’s cool to see her catch onto it so fast.

We are currently working on a few variations of “Leave It.” The first is putting her on the leash and going for a walk and if she sees something she shouldn’t play with, we say “Leave It”, click the clicker and give her a treat as we walk past it. Then she gets another treat is she keeps “leaving it.” This will be really helpful in the future when she gets near the kitties. I’ve used it a few times now when she got too close to Fat Kitty. She wasn’t doing anything to the cat, mostly just curious, but I could tell Fat Kitty was going to get pissy and I stepped in.

The other variation is an eye contact exercise. She sits in front of us, then I hold a treat in my hand up high away from my face. I just stand there until she breaks the stare with the treat and looks at me. Once she looks at me I click the clicker and she gets a treat. It’s already working much better! She doesn’t quite “GET IT” but she’s looking at me faster than when we first started the exercise. At some point I will be able to tell that she gets that she’s supposed to look at me before she gets a treat.

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Another fun exercise we have to work on this week is telling her to go to her bed. We put the dog bed on the floor and stand near it. Whenever she goes and sits on the bed, she gets a click and a treat. It’s supposed to train her to go to her bed when we tell her. This will be helpful when we have people over and she needs to Β calm down.

Wedding Stuff

I got the dress! And it was a big relief. One more thing to cross off the list. I’m currently talking flowers with several different florists. One is a family friend and the others are just local florists. I don’t imagine we’ll make a decision on that any time soon.

Also, still haven’t gotten engagement photos done. It’s been cancelled three times now. Once due to illness, twice due to inclement weather. It’s like we’re cursed. I’m really getting annoyed at this point! I’m ready to get the pictures done and move on to the next step: the save the dates! Come on weather! Improve for us!

So that’s about it right now. Life has been extra busy lately it seems. What’s new with all of you?