Saturday, June 28, 2014

Meet Bruno

Meet Bruno, the newest member of our family. We picked him up on our way home from a quick beach vacation in South Carolina with the boys. He comes from an amazing breeder, Trailhead Cane Corso.

Bruno didn't think much of the long car ride home. He did manage to sleep in his basket a few hours, but mostly wanted to be in my lap. The back of the Tahoe tends to be a rough ride, and he was a little motion sick at the start. Josh said that just means he will fit right in.

It took him a few days to feel up to exploring, but he's quickly acclimated to his new home. He's trying to take charge, as his breeder warned us he would. He has learned to like his crate, though that did take about a week. He's sleeping through the night, which is awesome. He's eating well and doing pretty well on the house training (a few accidents here and there, mostly the humans fault for not paying close enough attention to the signs). He's adapting to a very noisy and chaotic house with three boys home from school for the summer and their CLS workers coming and going most days of the week. He's learning to like the leash on our walks, but he's still not a fan of the little yappy dogs who live down the street and have an invisible front yard fence. They're scary, he says. But I'm sure it will be the other way around one day soon ...

Now that Bruno is setting in, we've moved on to basic commands like sit, stay, come, and down. He likes the training treats we picked up, so it's been pretty motivating. We're having to work a little harder on keeping him from being spoiled. He keeps climbing up onto the couch when no one's looking, though he does know better as he hops down when he sees you coming. He also likes to sit on my lounge chair on the back patio, but Buster always did that, too. We'll do puppy training classes a little later, once he's old enough to actually benefit from the efforts.

We are so excited to have a new member of our family. Well, some of us are. Connor has loved helping to "train" him him, particularly being the one to hand out the puppy treats. He's been a big help taking him out back to potty and also cleaning up the back yard on occasion. Sawyer doesn't mind the puppy, as long as he's not nipping at his toes. Xander is taking a little more work, as his first instinct is to shout "No, Bruno!" any time he sees the puppy. In fairness, the puppy is usually nipping at his feet, too. But even when he's not, Xander still wants to correct him. We have to offer lots of treats during these times, too, to make sure the puppy knows he's not doing anything wrong just walking by the kids.

 It will be an adjustment for all of us, having a puppy in the house. I think the twins miss having an adult dog who left them alone for the most part. But Connor is very excited to have a puppy to play with. Mommy will love having someone to keep her company in the long hours she keeps at home while Josh is at work and the boys are at school.

Welcome home, Bruno. Welcome home.

First Ever Family Vacation

It's only taken us eight (or nine) years ... but we finally took our first ever family vacation, without the very helpful grandparents who usually invite us along on their vacations. Our destination was Folley Beach, South Carolina.

The car ride was a little long (about 9 hours), but the view when we pulled into our hotel parking lot was well worth the wait. The Atlantic Ocean reaching up into a beautiful blue sky with white clouds and bright sunshine. We left early after Daddy arrived home from his fire shift, and drove until late afternoon. We checked in, found our swimwear, and immediately made our way out to the beach.

The boys LOVED it.

Normally we visit the beach in December, when the water and the air temperatures are mild at best. They are sometimes downright cold. Not this time. The air was warm, and the water was warmer. It was a perfect summer evening at the beach. The crowds were thin (it was a Wednesday) and the tide was out.

Sun, sand and surf ...

We spent the next few days soaking up the sun and the water, both on the beach and at the outdoor swimming pool. The boys were happy in both places, though given the riptides, it was much easier at the pool.

There were some challenges, of course.

Even giving up the gluten-free-casein-free diet a few months back, feeding the twins is always a big one. They're incredibly limited in what they will eat, so our restaurant options were few and far between. We managed to get by with some pizza, chicken fingers, french fries and Cracker Barrel. And Arby's, several stops at Arby's.

Sleeping was also an issue. The boys don't do a lot of it, so it made for some short nights and early mornings. We also had to worry about the noise our two little boys make for our hotel neighbors, whether it was the vocal stemming or the stomping or the banging on the headboard.

And the long car rides, which speak for themselves.

After we finished our time at the beach, we spent a day traveling. We drove through historic Charleston, enjoying a scenic drive along the Battery and through historic downtown and the market. We had a late breakfast at a Cracker Barrel in Mount Pleasant, and then Connor and Josh took a tour of the U.S.S. Yorktown and the others at Patriot Point. The twins and I relaxed under a shade tree with our screens, iPads for them and a Nook for me.

And on our way home, we made a very special stop. We picked up our new puppy, Bruno. His breeder was located in rural South Carolina. New puppy photos are here ...

The rest of the beach photos are here ...

Memorial Day Weekend

Nothing says summer quite like a long weekend at the lake. The boys and I went to visit Grandma and Grandpa at their cabin on the lake for Memorial Day weekend.

The weather was still mild, and combined with recent rains, that made the lake a little cooler than normal. It, of course, did not stop the boys from jumping in. Because going to the lake means getting into the lake.

The boys and I left early. I signed them out of school after Connor's recess, per his request that he get to stay for that part of the day. And we got to spend three nights and nearly four days visiting and enjoying the beautiful weekend.

One of my favorite things about the lake is this view. Sunset over my favorite giant tree in the field. This photo was taken from the wrap around deck (the same on the towels are hanging on above). But it's also the view from my upstairs bedroom.

Visiting with family. Cousins playing together. Good food on the grill and good times. Days on the water swimming and sunning. Bicycle and three-wheeler and Ranger rides. Nights by the fire and s'mores.

The beginning of summer ... and lots of great summer memories growing up.

The rest of the Memorial Day weekend lake photos are here ...