Saturday, March 28, 2015

{52 Snapshots of Life} Week 13: Spring

Of course, the week that the theme is "Spring" it's rainy every day! And chilly! We've had snow flurries and wintery mixes, not very spring-like weather. While rain will eventually lend to some blooms, nothing looks like spring right now. 

Despite the cool air and cloudy skies, today was sunny and working it's way up to 40 degrees. This was perfect because today there was an Easter egg hunt at one of the dog parks! Henri hasn't been to an Easter egg hunt yet! Can you believe it? Three years old and no Easter egg hunt! I've failed him.

I wasn't sure how he was going to be. It's always confusing to me when events at the dog park mean having your dog on leash. How confusing for the dog, to go to the place that it usually gets to be off leash and running free to suddenly be on leash. We went early so that Henri could play a little beforehand, hoping that he might not be as stressed when I put him on the leash. I thought, if anything, we'll find a few eggs and he'll probably be bored so we'll leave. At least we would have had the experience.

Good thing I sometimes hide his toys and ask him to find them. He picked up on finding Easter eggs real fast, especially when we opened them and there were treats inside! Soon he was spotting the brightly colored eggs and dashing towards them, whining at me if I wasn't moving fast enough, hitting them with his nose and then sitting, for his reward. He was having so much fun! Sometimes, he'd sniff around and I'd try to tell him there was no egg there, and he'd find a treat that someone must have left behind. Smarty pants!

I'm kind of obsessed with this tree, so I loved the eggs hiding in it. And, yes, he found the higher one pretty easily as well.

Come on! Let's go find some more!

Here's Henri's haul! Aside from all the treats that we found inside, we also won a few prizes, including 6 dog cookies and a gift certificate from a local doggie bakery and free dog park membership! Awesome!

I'm so glad he had so much fun. I'm pretty excited that the other dog park is having an Easter egg hunt the Saturday after Easter so he can do it all again! I might have to get him a real Easter basket for that one.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Back and Forth and Back Again

As predicted, Spring did not stick around for very long. Monday we had a "wintery" mix which did include snow, ice and rain. Thankfully, while it was still chilly, all the precipitation stopped and it appeared safe to run. The forecast called for thunderstorms on Tuesday so, knowing that the dog park might not be an option, we went for a run. 

Today was pretty gloomy as well. I was still raining overnight and while the sun seemed to attempt to come out in the late afternoon, it never made it. It was still a little chilly, but I'm beginning to love the 30-40 degree weather to run in the best. I know Henri loves it. Too bad for both of us that Spring is around the corner (presumably) and Summer will not be far behind. We'll have to get used to breathing the warmer air and sweating, heat sweat, not just working out sweat. The runs have been much better than last week. Again, I'm hoping it's not the difference in the weather, but I know we will adjust.  

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Happy Birthday, Henri!

It's Henri's Birthday! My boy is three years old! He gets more and more special to me every year so, his birthday seems to get bigger every year. This year I made him a cake and he had a mini puppy party. Of course, there were presents.

It wasn't much of a party, but one of Henri's Sheltie cousins came over to enjoy some cake with him. He also brought a present for Henri.

Henri was clearly more interested in the presents, while Auggie, with his years of birthday experience, was much more interested in the cake. "No, Henri. There is cake. Cake is yummy. It's cake."

"Oh! I see!"

"But, presents!"

"I mustache you, are there more presents?"



He's never had a present wrapped in a box before! I wasn't sure if he would know how to tear it open, but he knew what to do!

"I love presents!"

Happy Birthday, Buddy! 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

{52 Snapshots of Life} Week 12: Green

While the weather is nicer and Spring is in the air (It is now officially Spring), it is not green yet. It probably won't be for awhile. St. Patrick's Day was this week, but Henri isn't Irish and he likes getting pinched so he did not wear green. So, where can we find some green for this week's theme?

When we are running in the neighborhood, I have a marker for when I start to sprint to the end and a marker for the end. These "markers" are green! I think they're for cable or something. There are a lot more than two of them along our route, but these two mean something to us, and I say "us" because Henri knows them, too. He loves when we hit the point where we start the sprint!  A sprint for me is a nice little jog for him. He knows when we're getting close. He starts to look back at me and jumps a little, trying to get me there faster. I do what I can, but I just cannot maintain that speed for long. It helps to have a visual starting and stopping point. They're a little bit of "Green" motivation.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

But I Run

I saw this image the other day and it described today's run perfectly.

I felt so bad for Henri! I knew he needed a little exercise, but I could NOT get my speed up. It wasn't painful. It literally felt like I was trying to move through peanut butter.

I know that I was doing both T25 and running last summer, so I don't know why the extra workout would be slowing me down so much. Maybe it was just one of those days, but aside from Henri not getting much of a workout, we were still outside, enjoying the weather and the time together, and it was still a workout for me!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Trying Again

We tried out yet another new place to run yesterday! I had a roommate that ran several years ago and I attempted to run with her. I failed miserably and only slowed her down, so I quickly gave up. I think I would occasionally go by myself, but I could only do short spurts at a time. We can call it intervals, but I really don't think what I did then could be considered running or intervals. For whatever reason, it seemed like a place that Henri and I would enjoy and it was more than a run around the neighborhood and a little less busy than our other destination running spot, which I'm guessing was really busy with the weather being as nice as it was. What is this 60 degree weather in March?

Henri was, of course, a little weirded out being in a new place. It's like he forgets how to walk on a leash, he's so freaked out by new surroundings, though they are not that different from our every day surroundings. I wanted to take one spin around the lake, just walking, but Henri was whining, pulling in every which direction and turning back to jump at me frantically. The best thing to do was to start running. Bam! Different dog. He's focused. He's paying attention to what I'm doing and where I'm leading. He moves right past dogs lunging and barking at him, I'm impressed by him every time. It's amazing! I don't know how to get that confidence to shift over to the rest of the time.

In all fairness, it had been a week since he'd been at the dog park and we'd run Sunday and Wednesday. I'm sure he had a lot of energy stored up and sometimes it translates to nervous energy, but he really is a bit of a baby, too. 

The good news is that, not surprisingly, I can now run the very same path that I once could not. It took about ten years, but I figured out the breathing thing and I have a little more speed, seeing as how I have a dog pulling me along with him.

Friday, March 13, 2015

{52 Snapshots of Life} Week 11: Travel

One of my goals when I started "Six Legs Are Better Than Two" was to take Henri different places, different states, and run. This is still something I would like to do, but there is one problem. Henri hates new places. He is anxious and he can't relax. We have gone to stay overnight at family's houses and about halfway through the second day, he might lie down and nap, but I'm sure that's just because he is simply exhausted from the activities I give him to keep his mind off the fact that we are not home, not to mention the pacing. So, there have been no family vacations since we've gotten Henri because I can't leave him for very long either. There has been one overnight stay and Henri was able to stay home with his favorite uncle staying with him. He was okay then, though he was looking for us once it got late and it was time for bed. 

We're working on all of that, but needless to say, "Travel" was a difficult theme for us. Where does Henri travel, when he's not traveling himself along the paths that we run on? Ninety percent of the time, if we are getting in the car to go somewhere, we are going to the dog park. Henri knows this. He doesn't like when we have to stop at the red lights along the way, no matter how much I explain to him the complete disregard for safety in running a red light. 

All of that snow we got last week has melted, thanks to the suddenly sixty degree weather. On top of that, it has rained. There is absolutely zero chance of escaping the dog park in some semblance of clean. So, that is where we find ourselves this week. Travelling home from the dog park, not clean.

Luckily, a lot of dirt just falls off of him. Sometimes I can run him around the park a few more times and he will look better, if we can find a safe area to run, but I think that's asking a lot this week. You know what else Henri doesn't like? Baths.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Spring Is Here!

This might be a little premature, as it is only the beginning of March in the Midwest, but even so, spring is here! Today was beautiful! Sometimes, you just don't know around here. You can look outside and it looks nice, but then you walk outside and it's just not what you thought it would be. I walked out from work and I was not disappointed. You could feel the warmth of the sun and the wind was blowing just the right amount. If I wasn't planning on taking Henri for a run, I would have changed my plans.

It's weird to be running in a t-shirt and capris when just a few days ago I was wearing layers and snow was lining the paths. I've gotten so used to running in the cold and cooler weather, it's going to take a little bit to get used to the heat again. I'm not complaining though. Henri might be a little, but we'll work through that. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Puddles and Cuddles

The temperature is back up in the 40's. The snow is melting. Spring is on it's way (Maybe?). The problem is that we got our biggest snow last week and now it's melting everywhere. Well, not everywhere, because we still have lots of sidewalks covered with snow. The dog park has become a mud pit. This makes it very difficult to exercise an active pup! I knew we could drive down to the park near us, because the park district cleared the path there, but I thought we'd adventure out to our new park and see what adventure we could find there today. 

The answer is...puddles.

I didn't really expect that. It's really difficult to run through a puddle without splashing your running partner, which Henri did not really appreciate the first few times. In all fairness, he was spitting water up behind him, big puddles or not, so my running socks and my knees were splattered with muddy water.

I feel like I struggle with the run every time we are there and I'm starting to wonder if it's just a harder run. I always have an excuse for why it's hard. I have chili cheese fries belly. I did an Insanity workout beforehand. It's really, really cold. It's hard to run in puddles (I am rather inexperienced with them and I was doing my best to splash the least amount possible). Today, after returning home and drying Henri's underside off (and he LOVES being dried off with a towel), he quickly settled in for a nap. Maybe it is actually just a harder path.

I even got some post-run cuddles! How many running partners don't care if you're hugging while you're still sweaty!?! 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

{52 Snapshots of Life} Week 10: Mischief

There is no shortage of mischief when it comes to Henri, especially when we are stuck inside for most of the week with snow and below freezing temperatures. There were two toys that saw their end this week (temporarily as I will restuff and sew them so Henri can do it again). There were many, many games of Keep Away or Henri's absolute favorite, "Am I going to leave it or am I going to dive for it at the last second because I'm a dog and I'm much faster than you, so there." He always wins that game. There are always many opportunities to capture stuffing spread throughout the living room or a sideways glance as his mind calculates the amount of time it will take you and himself to get to a toy. I decide to make my own mischief this week.

Lots of snow and a winter hat that I really wanted Henri to wear equals and mischievous plot to take him out and set him up next to some evergreens. Since one of the toys he killed this week was his abominable snowman, that prop and the opportunity to make him look like Yukon Cornelius was lost. That probably wouldn't have worked anyway as Henri doesn't really enjoy things on his head, a difficulty I run into when trying to come up with amazing Halloween costumes. Getting him in a hat was going to be hard enough, adding props, next to impossible. 

I have to admit, I didn't think this would go well. I thought that the time it would take for me to grab my phone from putting the hat straight on his head and his ears through the holes (Because his ears are pretty much what makes this work) would be too long and I would have lots of pictures of a hat over his face, or Henri shaking his head. Aside from the crazy lens flare, it told out pretty cute! I don't think he minded having a hat on as much as he thought he would...or at least it was worth the treats. Henri had his opportunity to show his mischievousness during this little photo shoot, don't you worry!

And that's what he thinks about wearing hats. 

Mischief managed.