Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Our Lil Show Dogs

For the past two years, Mike and I have made our way north to High Springs for the annual Mutts and Pups Dog Show to benefit the High Springs Farmer’s Market. This is no ordinary dog show- oh no, with categories like Best Smile, Best Trick, Best Kisses, Owner-Dog-Look-A-Like, and more- any and all dogs have a real shot at realizing their inner champion, pedigree or not!

Stella and Yeller have always fared well at this show. Yeller has placed second in the Best Smile competition two years in a row, and Stella, the defending Best Kisses champion and an Honorable Mention as Best in Show under her belt! (er, collar.) So this year, we knew we had to come in for our third year with our heads down and our game faces on, prepared to fight for our titles.
This is us in preparation for the competition. Clearly you can see the determination in our eyes, and the eyes of our dogs.

As the beginning of the competition drew near, we gave our dogs some pep talks and some booty scratches for luck, and then it was time to line up. Mike and Yeller were up first in the Best Smile category. Yeller gave his widest smile, Mike lifted him in the air like the show dog that he is, put him down, gave him snuggles- he pulled out all the stops.
 But the competition was fierce. Following Yeller, a Pomeranian stepped into the ring. Known for their perpetual smiles, this Pomeranian tripped us all up by glaring, rather than grinning, at the judges. Yes! One down. Next up- Big White Dog. Big White Dog had a large smile on his face while standing in line, intimidating the other competitors- dogs and owners alike. We squirmed. We fretted. We gave Yeller lots of hugs. But in the end, Yeller prevailed and took the First Place blue ribbon in Best Smile!!! We were so proud and excited that he’d jumped up in the rankings!!

But alas, we hardly had time to celebrate before needing to line up for Stella’s category- Best Kisses. Up against three other dogs- a Jack Russell, a Chihuahua, and an indeterminate Little-Bitty Dog, Stel stood out as the only big dog in the mix. We entered the ring, I stooped down… And Stel attacked me with kisses! Not in her usual fashion- she generally jumps up on me and knocks me over. But I believe she was just watching out for the new white maternity shirt I was wearing. We watched as the other dogs took their turn in the ring, an held our breath as the Jack Russell kissed not one, not two, but THREE of its family members. Stella looked concerned. I looked concerned. I petted the lil white stripe on her head.

At last the judges submitted their scores, and the time had come to announce the winners. Stella and I entered the ring, wide-eyed and big-bellied. As the third and second prize were announced, we breathed a little easier- I knew she’d placed somewhere, after all! And here we were, First Place Best Kisses for the third year running!!! We were so excited as we tied on her blue ribbon, and beamed at our TWO Show Dog Champions!

After their categories were over, we reviewed our loot- dog treats, discounts for haircuts and canoe trips (Canoe trip anyone? We got two gift certificates!) We also won a $10 coupon for The Station CafĂ© and Bakery, and went for a celebratory lunch of turkey clubs and ice cream cones (the dogs feasted on a few choice bits of bacon from our sammies.)

All in all, a fun, successful family day at the dog show- and all for a good cause! All you dog lovers, we invite you to join us next year… Although, I’d stay away from Best Kisses and Best Smile competitions. We’ve got those locked up! :)

A couple more pics:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

....And This is All I Have to Report

  • My bestie just got into her first-choice grad school!! Congrats Nat Baby! (And congrats to me too, since she'll just be in Ft. Lauderdale and I can still see her!)

  • I am not sleeping well. Either I can't fall asleep until 1am, or I go to bed early only to wake up (or be woken up) in the middle of the night and not get back to sleep, or I have RIDICULOUS dreams that wake me up.

  • We attended Troy's fabulous 40th birthday- a Mad Men theme. Pics of myself have been untagged on Facebook due to the fact that in my opinion I appear to be the size of a small house. And PS: Maternity dresses are not as flattering as I'd thought them to be. But, I did thoroughly enjoy my Italian sodas provided by the lovely Mrs. Bleeker and candy ciggies, which were one of my favorite childhood treats. Seriously.

  • Mike Baby and I booked our "babymoon!" We are headed to the Florida Keys over Memorial Day weekend- we'll be camping at Bahia Honda state park for 2 nights, and recuperating from camping at the lovely Hawk's Cay resort for 2 nights. There's a pool and a day spa, so I'm sold.

  • Our other travels this year include a free weekend in Amelia Island that I won at a trade show (yay!) and an Orlando weekend for hang-gliding (Mike) and Universal for the unveiling of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (for me.) Can't wait!

  • My sis is bringing me Girl Scout cookies tonight. Hence, I have not been posting my Cookie Cravings postings. I am pretty sure that I don't need to bake any cookies with the amount of Thin Mints headed my way. :)

  • I leave for Nashville on Sunday for the Southeast Tourism Society's Spring Meeting, where I will graduate from my 3-year Marketing College Program and be an official TMP- Travel Marketing Professional!

  • I also get to go to the Grand Ole Opry and see Trace Atkins and Luke Bryan for free. Oh, and eat barbecue. And probably wear my cowboy boots.

  • Next weekend Stella will be defending her Best Kisses Champion award for the third year running in the Mutts and Pups Dog Show! Wish us luck!

  • I celebrated St. Patty's Day with a Shamrock Shake from McDonald's; a green O'Douls and chicken zingers from The Red Onion; and hanging with Lauren, my lovely neice Hannah, and my handsome nephew Halen. Having the beer-and-wings flavor combo after 3.5 months without was absolute bliss. Baby, I miss wings-and-beer nights at Clubhouse/Gator Tales so much! You're my favorite drinking buddy ya know!

  • This morning I ate Krispy Kreme for breakfast. In line, I asked, "do ya'll have fat-free milk?" which was met with a blank stare, followed by: "Uh... no. But you wouldn't really be here if that mattered, would you?" For some strange reason, that made my hot glazed donut and whole milk chaser that much tastier. Why, no I don't care about fat free dairy products! I'm preggers!

  • Name Wars 2010 is still raging in Casa Herchel. Seriously, if anyone has a half-decent boy's name suggestion that isn't James, and isn't picked off the Gator Roster, please email Mike about it and let him think it's his idea. I'm not ready to wave my white flag just yet.....

  • ...But I might be on April 20th- the date of our next ultrasound! This will be the sonogram that will determine Sprout's sex- should we choose to find out. The deciding factor will be the state of Name Wars at the time of my appointment. If we can arrange a peace agreement by finding out, then so be it- but if a compromise is reached before then, the mystery will remain.

  • My sister is bringing me girl scout cookies tonight. I actually didn't realize until I was halfway through typing this sentence that I've already told you that. Either I've got preggo brain somethin' fierce- or those cookies just mean that much to me. I'll let you decide!

  • My coveted baby bag is on sale, but thanks to my office' awesome per-diem travel reimbursement policy and my impending work trip, I can't get it this week. I'm currently accepting donations toward said coveted baby bag. Ya'll saw it, you know it's perfect for Sprout. I accept cash, check, and condolences. Because if it sells out before I get it, I will certainly need to be consoled. :(

  • ....And that's all I have to report, folks. Stay tuned for more from the wonderful world of Tammydom!

Friday, March 5, 2010

My Need For Retail Therapy Led Me to a Crib...

So, this was just a horrible, awful, no-good, very bad morning for me. Stella Puddin', my precious, darlin' boxer, needed a manicure and so we traipsed off to the vet for our 8am appointment in high spirits- girls about town, getting our nails done! Well, we sat in the waiting room for 30+ minutes waiting to be seen; at one point, a vet tech came to try and take her "to the back" for her nail trim, but I kindly reminded them that Stella is what the call a Level Two nail-trim patient- ie, she really effing hates it. The last time we were there, the vet tech specifically came and got me to be in the room with her to help calm her down. So, Miss Vet Tech says we'll be waiting a little longer so we can get into an exam room. She was quite pleasant about the whole situation and apologetic about our wait thus far.

Ten minutes later, a woman that I will henceforth refer to as The Old Redheaded Cruella came out and called Stella's name. She led us to a scary exam room at the very end of the hall, and without even introducing herself to my lil Puddin' Pie, without a single word of reassurance, proceeded to attack my poor baby with nail clippers! Well, that just wouldn't do at all! Stella was so frightened she would barely even let me near her for kisses, and for a dog who is the 3-time Best Kisses Champion in the Mutts and Pups Dog Show, that is just nearly unheard of. The Old Redheaded Cruella curtly informed me that owners generally make animals more nervous. And I curtly retorted that I was in there because last time they couldn't keep her calm without me. So The Old Redheaded Cruella left the room in a tizzy, saying that she was going to find an assistant to help her out.

Ten minutes pass. Twenty. I'm now crying, I'm so anxious and upset by the way she treated Stel, and how we're now left alone in this horrible, unfriendly exam room. I mean, there wasn't even a jar of treats on the counter! WTF?! So at the urging of Mike Baby, Stella and I hightailed it out of there in a hurry. After a few minutes of sobbing in the car over the whole ordeal (thanks, pregnancy hormones) I decided it was my duty to call them up and give them some honest, constructive feedback. So I phoned the office to explain to them that while the first tech was clearly in the right industry and had a great attitude, The Old Redheaded Cruella was far better suited to be relegated to doing paperwork. In a basement. Far from human contact. (and if you're wondering if I actually said that to them, the honest answer is yes. Hey, it may inspire her to make a career change.)

So needless to say, I was in a right state when I got to work this morning, and it was high time I do something to cheer myself up and turn this day around. So I did what any normal expectant mama would do- I bought nursery furniture!

Now, we'd been planning on buying our crib this weekend anyway, and I ended up finding a GREAT deal online. The crib we chose was listed at Wood You for $399, plus we'd have had to pay tax; I've seen it for as low as $289 at The Babies' Room and even for $249 at Babies R Us. But we got ours for only $229 on with free shipping and no tax!

We chose the Davinci Emily crib in Espresso, and I can't wait to get it here and see how it looks! It got lots of positive reviews on every site I've seen, including Consumer Reports. It's solid New Zealand Pine, and will come with the toddler bed conversion kit; rails to convert it into a full-size bed when Sprout gets bigger come in a $100 kit. So hopefully it'll be the only bed frame we ever have to buy for him/her! I think it'll look great with the All Creatures Great and Small bedding, don't you??!

I'm getting excited! All we need now is a dresser/changing table and a glider and we'll have all the furniture purchased. Here's hoping we get good deals on those items too!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Me and a Straw.

I just felt the following things all within 3 seconds:

Anticipation- tap-tap-tapping on a straw to remove the wrapper.

Despair- straw bends dangerously at a particularly enthusiastic tap. Certain I broke the straw.

Jubilation- open straw to discover it’s a BENDY STRAW!!!

Happy Thursday.  Hope yours is filled with as many small delights as mine is. :)