Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bear - Toy Sniffing Dog - UPDATE

Five minutes after my last post I went out into the garage to discover that our utility sink had overflowed. I was out there not even 10 minutes cleaning it up when I heard loud squeaking in the house. I came inside to see that Bear had obviously overcome his fear of the Christmas tree and opened two of the other dog toys!!!!!

Now the crazier part about this whole thing is that we have a bunch of Christmas presents under our tree (thanks to my wonderful mother in law, Jane, sending us presents for us to open on Christmas!!)!! Did he open any of those? Nope. He crawled behind those (because I put the dog toys in the very back) to pluck two of the remaining 4 wrapped plastic dog toys. Unbelievable.

Bear - The Toy Sniffing Dog

Bear is a "special" kind of dog. And when I say that I mean if he were a person he would most likely have a significantly below average IQ. Significantly. That being said, he does have ONE amazing ability. He can sniff out a new plastic dog toy ANYWHERE.

Once I bought a few new dog toys and had them on the kitchen table in a plastic bag. He ran over and plopped his little butt down and stared at the table. Then at me. Then back at the table. I figured he must have seen them. So I gave him ONE squeaky ball (it came in a pack of 4). I threw it and while he was chasing it into the other room, I quickly put the other ones on top of the fridge so they couldn't be seen and returned to the table before he did. He came back to the table, stopped, and dropped the ball. He then looked up at the table and sniffed then started sniffing around the floor like he was a hound dog. He proceeded to go straight to the fridge, sniff upwards, then plop down again and stare at the top of the fridge. It was the weirdest thing.

Then last year for Christmas I got the dogs each a stocking with toys in it (yes that's what people without kids do - buy their dogs toys!) and put it in the closet. I left the room not thinking anything of it and when I returned, there was Bear plopped in front of the closet door staring at it like he had X-Ray vision. It was crazy. I thought no way does he smell the toys and opened the door to see what he wanted. He went straight for the bags and shoved his little wet nose in there and grabbed a toy.

This pretty much happens anytime I bring home a toy.

So this year I got them a couple dog toys out of the dollar section at Target (my favorite place) and decided to hide them and outsmart the little guy. I've had them hiding in the guest room closet wrapped up in a bag for a couple weeks, and he hasn't suspected a thing. Today I decided to wrap them figuring if they were wrapped up maybe he wouldn't smell them either.

I went into the room where the toys were hidden and even closed the door so he couldn't see what I was doing. I could hear him sniffing under the door but I just kept working away. Unfortunately when wrapping the third toy I accidentally pushed too hard on it and it squeaked.

You would have thought there was a hunk of steak in the room because Bear began whining and pawing at the door so frantically it was unreal. Once I finished wrapping them and opened the door he flew in and began sniffing the ground where the toys had been like he was a drug sniffing dog. I ran out to the living room to put the toys under the tree before he could see and I thought I had gotten away with it. He came out of the room after a few minutes, went to the trash can and sniffed (where I had disposed of the baggies the toys came in), and then went straight to the Christmas tree and began pawing the toys! This is what he does when he wants something....
First - he hunts and finds it

Then since it's a little too scary too get it himself (our only saving grace) he looks at you for help.

If you don't respond quickly enough he thinks he communicates what he wants just by sitting.

So I decided to let him have one early (because I'm a sucker and he's so pathetic when he sits there and stares at me). What a little stinker. Here's a video of him getting it and opening it.

He may not be a smart dog but he sure is a happy one....and he sure can sniff out plastic squeaky dog toys!!

Here's the last video of him playing with the toy (still has wrapping paper stuck to his face) while Gracie (our lazy dog) just watches the crazy hyper "special" dog. Yes I love my dogs this much.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Main Event

Those of you who know me well know that I pretty much LOVE the color green. So much in fact, that in college, Janelle threw me a surprise "Green" birthday party (for my 20th birthday!). Everyone dressed up in green, decorated the house in green, and had lots of other fun green things. To date, it is still one of my most favorite birthdays ever!

So when we were discussing paint colors for the house (to cover the baby yellow color) and Derek suggested green, it didn't take me even a second to agree!

Last week we were fortunate enough to have a break in the weather so they could come paint the house. It ended up taking a bit longer since it was still so cold and the paint took much longer to dry. But after about 5 days it was done and the house no longer looked like one out of an abandoned scary movie! Whoohoo!!

So here they are....the complete outside change pictures! We'll attempt the landscaping in the spring. Until then this is the finished product...

One of the first outside changes (and one of my favorites!) we made was to get a new mailbox since the "before" one didn't have all the address numbers on it, didn't close, filled with water when it rained, and was covered in moss!



I was (and still am) very excited about having a mailbox with our name on it! Tif was cute enough to take a picture of me with it when she was here. Even though it's taped off for the plumbers in this picture I still love it! :)

Next up we have the front door. We decided the mustard yellow beer bottle glass door needed to go! We replaced it with a much nicer one!



Here we have the garage doors...Before....


And finally the WHOLE front of the house!!!

And AFTER....

So that is the majority of the "before & after" pictures. There may be a few more to come but those are the main events! :)

It's so amazing to me that we own this (GREEN!) house and have been so blessed to be able to make so many wonderful changes and upgrades to it. We have been blown away by God's goodness through this house and this whole experience. We are also especially grateful to our families who helped make this possible as well. Without their generosity and help emotionally, mentally, financially, and physically we wouldn't have been able to do what we have with this house and FINALLY have a HOME to call our own! We are also so thankful for all the support and prayers from our family and friends as well. We know we could not have done this without all of you and we are so grateful for each and every person in our lives and the special role each of you have played in making this house our home.

"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy." -Philippians 1:3-4

*A special thank you to our parents Jim & Jane Clark, and Craig & Michele Wollitz. Without all of you our dream would not have become a reality. We love you and will be forever grateful for all of your help involved in this home!

Chimney Sweep Specialist

I have meant to write about our chimney cleaning experience since it was done last month but somehow time continues to escape me!

Once we closed on our house and realized that the fireplace we hoped to be using in the near future probably hadn't been cleaned since the house was built in 1963, we decided to find a chimney cleaner. I researched a few and found out that there are actually companies out there that will charge a little less but not do a complete job leaving behind harmful and flammable substances that can still be a fire hazard. Knowing how old our house was and guessing how dirty the chimney was simply by how dirty the fireplace was, we figured ours would be a big job. I ended up contacting two different companies. The first told me they clean the chimney but not the fireplace. (What?!) So I would have to shovel out the massive pile of who knows what in the fireplace, not to mention the huge heatilator blocking the entrance and then they would come and clean the chimney. Um...that didn't sound so great especially coupled with their expensive price.

The second company I found (Chimney Sweep Specialist) responded much more quickly to me, were incredibly friendly, and told me they include cleaning the fireplace. I knew right away they were a much better option. And I couldn't have been more pleased. They were extremely friendly, professional, quick to respond, and did an excellent job. They even helped take the heatilator out of our fireplace AND kept everything clean in our house! They went above and beyond and we were pleased to use them to replace our damaged damper as well. This is really an excellent company and if we ever need anything done again or fixed on our chimney we will no doubt call them. I highly recommend calling them if you haven't had your chimney cleaned recently. It sure is getting to be lovely "fire in the fireplace" weather!
p.s. They also do lots of other things such as duct, roof, window & gutter cleaning as well as others! Check out their website for more.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Master Bathroom

Here's a fun "before and after" of our master bathroom!!! This is one of my very favorite comparisons!! Enjoy! :)



Sunday, December 5, 2010

Before and After Pictures!

Here are finally some before and after pictures!!!!! Hope you enjoy them even half as much as I do!!!

Here are some of the beautiful "before" lights that were up in the house.

Here are the "after" lights that Derek worked hard at installing! We did all eight ceiling lights all the same.

These are all the pretty "before" outlets and light switches...

Thirty five outlets and 17 light switches later, Derek and I consider ourselves electricians now...

This is one of my favorites....the living room "before."...

In progress....

And the living room "after."....

There are lots more to come!!!

But for now, I'm off to help Derek install a new garage door...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Update on Renovations!

It's been awhile since I've written and that's been because we have been BUSY with fixing up the house. It has been some loooong hours but they have been SO worth it! We have done a lot of work and it's so fun how much things are coming together and becoming nice and home-y. My parents came up and helped TONS which was such an added bonus. They painted, scrubbed, cleaned, and helped in so many ways. We are finally moved in now and our first night we spent here was on Thanksgiving which was so perfect as we are so thankful.

Here are a few pictures of the work in progress over the past few weeks. More updated and finished "before and after" pics to come soon!! (I've taken all the before, now I just need to take the afters)

The dogs helping me move things from the apartment to the house.

Derek changing out all the ceiling lights...he made a great electrician!

More moving with the dogs...they warmed up to it eventually.

Parents visiting.

Our lake at the end of our street. So beautiful!

Scrubbing the fireplace to get it ready to prime and paint.

Dad painted our room and took THREE coats to cover the previous color!

Mom and I painted the inside of all the kitchen cabinets....tedious!

Our roof getting replaced. We had nine people up there at one time working!

The very happy and tired homeowners!!