psa: we rescued a pitbull and she was the cutest pup ever…besides Caya & Inca

A few weeks ago I was looking out the window and saw a pooch I didn’t recognize running around in a neighbor’s yard.  I immediately grabbed a coat, my phone, and a leash and set out after her 🙂  After following her around for a bit and watching her interact with a neighborhood pup who had also gotten out, I ran back home to grab Caya and the two of us led the new pooch into our backyard.  Caya and the new pup got along really well for the couple of minutes they spent in the backyard together 🙂  Brett and I coaxed the new pup into the car and off to the vet we all went!

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At the vet we discovered that this new pooch wasn’t microchipped.  (PSA….get your animals microchipped!)  Animal Control was closed for the holiday so the only other option was to take her home with us 🙂  The next day I was able to call everyone in the area who seemed relevant to our situation.  I learned that Animal Control has jurisdiction over animals found in Champaign County for the first 7 days after they are rescued.  After 7 days, if the animal passes a personality test, the animal is taken to the Humane Society if the Humane Society has space.  Another option was to keep the animal for 7 days, waiting for the previous owners to call in asking about their lost pet.  After 7 days the animal belongs to their new home.  Brett and I decided that we didn’t need this cute pooch to wait out 7 days in a cage at Animal Control and so we settled her into our downstairs 🙂

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Over the course of the week that we had her, the new pooch was named (temporarily) Vara.  The nerd in Brett wanted to name her Var, for the temporary variables (var) that one codes with.  I joked that Var 0 and Var 1 were horrible names for a pup and started calling her Varie.  After about half a day of this her name transformed to Vara since the rest of the pooches in our home end in -a  🙂

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I tested the limits of Vara as much as I could so that I knew I was giving as much information about her personality to people who might want to give her a permanent home.  I played with her and toys.  I messed around with a bowl next to her food while she was eating.  I made loud noises around her, pulled on her tail (gently haha), and messed with her head.  Vara was kind and playful the entire time we had her with us.  Given the lack of information about her though, Brett and I had the plan to keep Vara separate from our pups for the first week that we had her.  When Caya got downstairs one night, Vara was already in her crate for bed and the two of them were wagging their tails so ferociously and whining to play with one another…it was really cute 🙂  Inca wasn’t sure about the new arrival though haha

Vara was so responsive to petting!  When you scratched her back she contorted herself against you every time!  The first time she lowered her haunches as I scratched her back I thought she was going to pee on the carpet!  hahaha 🙂  (she didn’t though)

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Since we kept her downstairs most of the time and crated her while we all slept, I only ever saw the pup sleep once.  🙂  Otherwise she was pacing and playful and full of TONS of energy!

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Vara was definitely a pitbull.  She had all of the distinctive physical traits of her breed.  And you know what else?  She was loving, friendly, and playful, showing no signs of any sort of aggression.  After having her for a week, Brett and I were able to find her a forever home.  She visited her new family for a trial weekend and ended up staying 🙂  Brett and I miss her but we are both so glad that she has a wonderful family to live with 🙂

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a blustery Michigan weekend

Brett and I now have a tradition where we go to Union Pier, Michigan in the dead of winter 🙂  You can see photos from our first trip here and a post about our second trip here.  This time around we were pros…we even had a packing list 🙂  We usually eat a cozy meal in one night and go out to dinner another night.  We like to spice it up a little though and try something different each time.  Last year we went to the casino and spent most of that time in the kid’s arcade area 🙂  This time we enjoyed a trip to a really cool distillery in the area.  Here is more about our weekend…

Brett and I really like this small, 2 room cottage that we have rented for the past 3 years.  It has everything that we need for a cozy and relaxing, Michigan weekend

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Usually we unpack the car, make a quick run to the local grocery store, and get back to our 2 room cottage to rearrange the necessary furniture to set up a Brett worth media area 🙂

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the pups run around and start getting comfortable in their new, weekend space

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and we start using the small kitchen 🙂

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finally some relaxation begins!

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For breakfast this year we used a new pancake mix that we bought over the holiday break with our families.  They were sooo good!  I think I’ll have to go ahead and figure out how to make sweet potato pancakes from scratch now 🙂

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One of my favorite parts of the weekend are our walks in the snow 🙂  Champaign has had a lot of snow this year too but there is something really delightful about walking through the small community in MI in the snow!

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Since the weather has been so dreadfully cold, the waves on Lake Michigan were frozen for at least 100 feet off of the beach!  We spent some time each day exploring the frozen water until someone started shivering and we needed to go back to warm up 🙂

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Once back to the cottage, Brett made sure that everyone was roasty-toasty warm!  🙂

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Lunch was usually fun snack/healthy items.

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While in Michigan, we try and buy at least part of our groceries locally

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We usually eat one dinner in, another dinner out, and then decide on that third dinner when the time comes

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That tiny kitchen has most of what we need for cooking for the weekend.  There isn’t an oven though, and this year I decided to experiment with cinnamon rolls in a skillet (more to come on that soon…eep!  Teasers!)

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This year our new activity was to visit a local distillery.  The Journeyman Distillery was really fun, the atmosphere was great, the tour was awesome, and we got to taste all of the yummy liquors that they distill 🙂

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Back to the cottage for more snuggles

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and more snow walks!

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we even found a lost pair of boots in the snow!

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Brett and I like playing board games too during our relaxing weekend.  This year we played Agricola 🙂  This is my favorite board game at the moment…it takes a bit of time to set up until you have memorized all of the rules but Brett and I figured it out and played a few games over the weekend.  Such fun!

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…and you just can’t have a cozy, snow filled Michigan weekend without a few cozy fires 🙂

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On the drive back we experienced really cold temperatures (the car thermometer later showed -1 but I don’t have proof of that haha), lots of wind…

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…and evidence of the winter storm that has been occurring over the past weeks

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We all made it home safe and sound though.  I absolutely love this tradition of ours…I hope we make it up north next year too!

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DIY dog bed cover

Our pups love to chew on dog beds if they haven’t received enough exercise over a couple of days 🙂  We haven’t had to replace one in a while but let’s just say that Brett and I have bought our fair share of puppy beds 🙂  The current favorite bed was a simple egg crate covered in a cozy top and durable side fabric.  I think we got the bed on sale at Petsmart.  Over time the zipper was a little wonky and the sides were starting to spew tiny bits of foam from the occasional nibbling.

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Eventually, I took off the outside covering and just wrapped the egg crate foam in a blanket for the pups but I knew that this wasn’t a permanent solution.  Well, now the bed is fixed and covered in a brand new dog bed pillowcase of sorts!  I found a video tutorial here on making an envelope pillow case.  Brett and I picked out a really cozy fleece fabric.  I cut the pieces and started sewing up the back flaps.

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Then the two back pieces were placed good side down, on top of the large top piece to pin it all together.  As soon as the fabric hit the floor though, the dogs kept coming and laying on it!  I literally could not pin the pieces together without Brett distracting the pups for me.  I guess the fabric choice was a hit?  🙂

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Once all of the pieces were sewn together it made a kind of wrapped up pillowcase where the place to insert the pillow was in the back, through overlapping flaps.  This way I didn’t have to worry about incorporating a zipper but the pups also wouldn’t have easy access to the insides of the dog bed.

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With the egg crate foam inserted into the new dog bed cover, the puppy bed was done!  From now on we are not buying dog beds….you can get an egg crate foam mattress pad for pretty cheap…I am cutting those apart and making the covers myself!

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The pups love it 🙂  I texted pictures to my dad and he said that he wanted two 🙂

snapshots of holiday craziness – Christmas edition

I know that Christmas is now over and everyone is back home but I thought that I’d fill you all in on some of the fun parts of our festivities 🙂  We had a great time relaxing with my dad…and getting ready for all of the craziness of the Christmas holiday.  We saw family, had some fun around Southern Illinois with Brett’s family, and tried to keep the pups out of trouble 🙂

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