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Archive for "Babies"

New Pet ID Tags

Posted on April 13, 2016 by under Babies.    

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We got the coolest pet ID tags for Molly and Saki from Tags for Hope recently. They’re made to look like Kansas driver’s licenses and are super cute.

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Here’s how Molly’s looks on her.

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No live action pic of Saki’s because she chewed hers up already. I was so bummed. I couldn’t believe it. Well, I should have known it wouldn’t last but a day.

At least the nice people at Tags for Hope are sending us a replacement. Will need to spray bitters on it so that she doesn’t chew up the second one.

If you need tags for your babies, I highly recommend getting some from Tags for Hope. The tags are high quality and look great, and every tag purchased provides an animal in need with food, treatment, and shelter. It’s a win-win for everyone!

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Freaky Monday

Posted on April 9, 2016 by under Babies, Travel.    

Before I go into my Staybridge Suites review, allow me to tell you the story of how we got there. We’re in the planning stages of our Customer Information System (CIS) replacement project at work and one of the tasks we need to do in this stage is benchmark with other utilities so we can learn from their experiences. Alliant Energy in Madison, WI is one of the utilities we identified for a site visit.

Our site visit team consisted of Kim, Jerry, Mike, Ginger, and me. Kim and Jerry are from Topeka and flew out of Kansas City. They had no issues. Mike hates flying and drove. He had no issues getting to Madison as well. Ginger and I (both flying out of Wichita for obvious reasons) had all sorts of issues.

Since Brian’s office is really close to the airport, our plan on Monday morning was for him to drop me off on his way to work. We are super early as usual so I manage to talk him into stopping at Panera for breakfast. While we’re having breakfast I get this crazy idea to install the American Airlines app on my phone. We usually fly Delta so I only had the Delta app prior. Anyway, once I get the app going I get weird alert message saying I’m flying to ORD which I mistakenly read as Orlando. ORD is actually Chicago O’Hare.

Not realizing that there’s anything wrong with my flights, I think to myself “I really need to tell American that their app sucks. I can’t believe it’s broken the very first time I try to use it.” Then it dawns on me that I should check on my flights just to be sure.

“This app says I’m going to Orlando. Can you please call customer service and find out what’s going on?” I asked Brian as I eat my breakfast sandwich while still messing with the app. “It’s asking me to accept the changes but I need to go to Madison, not Orlando! I can’t accept this!”

Brian found out from customer service that my flight has been canceled. They can get me to Madison via Chicago but I wouldn’t get there until the next day. “That’s not going to work. Our meeting starts at eight o’clock!” Brian and I agreed that this will be easier dealt with face to face so I quickly finish my breakfast sandwich and we head to the airport. In the meantime, I receive a text from Ginger confirming what we just found out.

They didn’t give us any specifics about why our flight was canceled other than “airport issues,” which made me wonder if Kim and Jerry had similar problems. Ginger and I debated whether we should still go considering we may not get there until halfway through the meeting. I tried to call Kim but her phone kept going to voicemail. They were already in the air and enroute. Mike, Jerry, and Kim will be there. We had to get there somehow. Ginger worked with the American Airlines rep at the counter and got us both rebooked on flights via United Airlines. Instead of arriving in Madison at 1 PM as planned, we’re arriving at midnight. We’re missing dinner with our hosts but at least we will get there for the meeting the following day, which was really reason for the trip.

Brian’s handy dandy travel packet that he puts together with a list of alternate flights wasn’t useful in this case. All of the alternate flights listed went through Dallas, which was the issue. None of them worked. Our new flights through United had us going through Denver instead. That was a good lesson for putting together the next travel packet. The list of alternate flights Brian had would have worked if the reason for the delay or cancelation was just mechanical issues but, in the rare event of airport issues, it’s helpful to have alternate flights listed that go a different route and even on another airline altogether (because each airline has their respective hubs which is the route that most of their flights take).

So now that we had flights for that evening, there was no reason to stick around at the airport. Brian took me back home (clear across town) before going in to work. I felt really bad because not only was he late for work that day but then he would also have to leave early to take me back to the airport later. Had things gone according to plan, he would have gotten to work on time and not needed to leave early.

Whatever. You just have to roll with the punches sometimes. Back at home, I dock my laptop and start working in the office. I recently got rid of my desktop PC at work so instead of having a laptop and a desktop PC and worrying about the files not syncing (I was having all sorts of issues with One Drive) then I’ll only have the one central repository for my files. Desktop support consolidated all of my desktop PC stuff into my laptop. That morning was the first time I was actually seeing everything together and I was doing some clean up.

Guess what. I managed to permanently delete my entire My Documents folder. It would have been in the recycle bin and could have easily been put back but I’m me. I don’t always screw up but, when I do, I screw up royally. In the process of deleting the folder, there was a pop up alert that appeared that said something like “Some of the file names are too long for the Recycle Bin. Would you like to permanently delete?” Not taking the time to process what I had just read (this would have been my opportunity to say “Oops!” and hit cancel), I clicked OK and plunged myself into the abyss.

To top it off, I somehow managed to jack up my Windows Explorer so I couldn’t even browse the other folders (that I managed to not delete). I chatted with our desktop support guy Seth via Lync. Since he still had my desktop PC, I was wondering if he could just grab the My Documents folder from it and plant into my laptop. No such luck. I think there were too many files for VPN. I really needed my laptop fixed though, since I was going to be away from the office for a few days. I thought I could just go to work and work at my desk the rest of the afternoon until I have to go to the airport. It actually works out better because instead of driving all the way home to get me and take me to the airport then Brian only has to go halfway.

Seth and I agreed to meet at my desk at 1 PM.

In the meantime, I had let the dogs out to go to the bathroom and allow them to enjoy the beautiful weather outside. I didn’t think it would take long to get them back in their crates so I ordered my Uber on my phone and then called them back inside. I was a little bit rushed and frazzled from everything else that had happened that day so I forgot to shut our bedroom door. When Saki came inside, she zipped right past me into the living room. Molly was no problem. I got her bumper collar off her and got her back in crate with no issues. Saki, on the other hand, made me chase her all around the house. I was chasing her around so much I was running out of breath.

I called Brian in a panic, “My Uber is almost here and Saki won’t get in her crate!”

“Leave her,” he said. “I will take care of her when I get home.”

Defeated, I walked back in the bedroom. As I stood there, Saki followed me in. I guess she was wondering why we stopped playing. Anyway, I quickly shut the bedroom door. It’s much easier to catch her within the confines of our bedroom so I took advantage of the opportunity. I managed to get her, get her bumper collar off, and put her in her crate just in the the nick of time. I grabbed my stuff, ran outside, and hit the button to shut the garage door. The car pulled up as the garage door closed.

Whew! What a day! And to think it’s not even over yet.

Back at work, Seth was able to fix my laptop but it took quite a bit of work because I managed to screw it up spectacularly. I really didn’t want to be seen at work because I was in travel attire (leggings and sneakers) and not work-appropriate attire but I did get a lot of work done.

Our United flights to Madison were pretty uneventful. I was a little worried about being stuck in Denver but the rest of the trip went smoothly. We arrived at the hotel around midnight and the front desk rep Nate was super nice.

Speaking of the hotel, I’m going to have to save my Staybridge Suites review for another blog post because this one is super long already. Come back tomorrow for the hotel review and pictures!

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Fort Worth — Down and Back

Posted on March 29, 2016 by under Babies, Travel.    

I missed posting pictures of our trip to visit Sheryll and the kids while they were in Fort Worth a couple of weeks ago. It was a really fruitful trip achieving a couple of objectives: (a) seeing Sheryll and the kids who we haven’t seen in a few years, and (b) testing road trip or potential vacation options with the dogs.

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Since we were doing a down and back, we left really early on Saturday morning. Above is a picture of the dogs watching intently as Brian filled Rex up with gas.

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Molly is like, “Where did daddy go?”

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Molly isn’t much of a lap dog at home but, when you’re driving in the car, she definitely wants to be in your lap. She’s a front seat kind of dog.

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Saki, on the other hand, was quite content at the back of the car.

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Here’s Molly keeping an eye on daddy’s driving.

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Saki and mommy selfie time!

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Saki is such a pretty dog.

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Saki’s turn on daddy’s lap.

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Isn’t she just adorable?

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Molly on my lap.

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I know you’re probably sick of seeing dog pictures but it was a long drive and I had nothing better to do.

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Quick pit stop at the first Texas rest area. It was meant to be a short bathroom break for the dogs and the humans, but we had to take a photo at the rock thing because I guess it’s the thing to do at this rest stop. Anyway, we had to stop a few times for potty breaks making the five hour drive take almost seven hours.

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It didn’t matter how comfy we made the back of the car, they both wanted to be with us.

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It didn’t take long before we were in Fort Worth. We went to our hotel but our room wasn’t ready so we ended up going to see Sheryll and the kids first.

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We hung out with them briefly before returning to our hotel to check in and dropping off all of our stuff. I was pleasantly surprised. We had never stayed at a La Quinta Inn before and didn’t really know what to expect.

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Our room, which was clean and spacious, consisted of a bedroom with a separate living room, and bathroom next to the entry way.

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We had the perfect space for the crates in the bedroom area.

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We loved being able to take the dogs with us.

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There was also a nice walking path behind the property, which was a perfect place to walk the dogs to get them to do their business.

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There was also this cute little bridge.

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Later that day we met back up with Sheryll and the kids, her mom, and her mom’s boyfriend. We had dinner at Dickie’s.

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Their Dickie’s is a lot bigger than the Dickie’s we have here.

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After dinner we went back to her mom’s boyfriend’s house to hang out and catch up some more, and also take a few selfies.

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We had a great time visiting with Sheryll and her family.

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We didn’t stay out too late though because we had to get back to our babies.

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I need to give a shout out to La Quinta for the accommodations. They didn’t charge us extra for bringing our two dogs with us. The hotel rate was reasonable as well. I was super pleased with our experience. I’m likely to stay at a La Quinta again next time that we’re travelling with the dogs.

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Saki liked it so much she refused to leave. LOL.

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Sheryll wanted to make breakfast for us so we went back to their house again the next morning before driving back to Wichita. Sheryll made these yummy breakfast burritos. And then we were on our way back home.

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It was a really short trip but very productive. We thoroughly enjoyed visiting with everyone. Also, we’re super glad to have discovered La Quinta. I can’t wait to take the dogs on a real vacation!

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Our Youngest is Growing Up So Fast

Posted on March 7, 2016 by under Babies.    

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It’s been a while since we gave an update on Saki. She recently graduated from puppy school at PetSmart. She would have finished sooner except we had to move her to another class. We enrolled her in the 2 PM class on Saturdays over the holidays last year. Things were going swimmingly until Brian and I both went back to work and then she started not wanting to pay attention and refusing to perform commands. After a couple of sessions like this, we figured it out. It wasn’t that she didn’t understand the commands. It was because she wanted to take a nap. On every single day of the week, 2 PM is her nap time (since she and Molly are locked up in their crates while we are at work) so, on Saturdays, that’s what she wanted to do as well.

Saki started falling behind since she didn’t want to pay attention in class and I was really worried about her. Luckily, there was another puppy training class at the same location with the same trainer, Mike Miller, on Tuesday nights at 7 PM. Mike was nice enough to allow Saki to transfer to that class. They started later so Saki got to review some of the things that she was already supposed to know. The time worked out better as well. Saki was more attentive and she responded to commands a lot better.

I was really worried about Saki but she seems to be turning out okay. In this aspect, anyway. She still has some behavior issues that I’m a bit concerned about. No dog is perfect, though. Actually, no one is. None of us are perfect. We all have our issues.

Molly is kind of a bitch. Well, she literally is; but she’s also a bitch in another sense. When Saki tries to love on her and be friendly, she’ll randomly snarl at her and pick a fight. Most of the time it’s uncalled for but sometimes I wonder if it’s in response to Saki’s attitude. Saki can be a bully. She already knows that she’s much bigger so she likes to pounce on Molly and body check her. Sometimes it’s nice and playful and sometimes it’s rough. I bet that can be annoying to a senior citizen dog like Molly, which doesn’t really do anything to improve her bitchy attitude. It just makes it worse.

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Here’s Molly’s adorable RBF.

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Saki got spayed last week and I was hoping that would slow her down. It only lasted a couple of days. Even though she’s still recovering, her energy is back in full force. Brian says it comes in bursts now so rather than being super hyper 100% of the time, she has a few moments of calm in between bursts of energy. She still has a lot of energy, though. I’m hoping that she’ll start to calm down because that will be the key to her and mellow Molly getting along.

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The dogs usually play with our neighbors dogs, Nikki and Ellie, but we’ve been keeping them apart so Saki can take it easy and recover quickly. Well, the weather was super nice the other day and the dogs missed each other so much they were anxious to play together. We let them and I think Saki overdid it.

We noticed some blood clots in her stitches that weren’t there before. It was probably too soon. No more playing and rough-housing with the other dogs again for a while. They’re not going to like it but Saki just can’t resist being all wild and crazy and she’s liable to hurt herself if we don’t stop her.

By the way, I found this really cool site last night when Brian and I were shopping for a new harness online for Saki. She’s quickly outgrowing the one that she has now. I didn’t want to buy the wrong harness, have her outgrow it, and have to buy another in a couple of months so we wanted to figure out how big she will get as an adult dog. Puppy Chart lets you do that. They have info on just about every breed imaginable. You just input some information such as your dog’s birthday and their last known weight and it will estimate how big they will get over the next couple of years. It’s pretty neat.

If the site’s prediction proves to be accurate then Saki will top out at about 18 lbs, which is perfect for me. I’m not really a big dog person. I was hoping that she wouldn’t get any bigger than 25 lbs. If she stays under 20 lbs then she’s technically still within small dog realm. She’s gigantic compared to Molly but still quite small compared to other dogs. I may just get my wish after all.

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The Trip Home

Posted on February 12, 2016 by under Babies, Travel, Zumba.    

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The ship looked so empty on debarkation day.

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No more Zumba banners and window clings.

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Even thought Brian and I didn’t have a flight until 3:45 PM that day, we got up early anyway. We had a nice leisurely breakfast and then went down to CafĂ© Promenade so I can have one more Creamice Mocha.

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This drink is so delicious. I wish that I would have discovered it sooner than halfway through the cruise.

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Anyway, the valets picked up our bags the night before and we were pretty much all set so we went ahead and got ready to disembark the ship at eight o’clock. We thought it would take a few hours to get off the boat and go through customs. Little did we know that our stateroom attendant hooked us up with these special, VIP tags that worked like magic. There were tags numbered 1 to 45 – the higher the number the later it would be before your bags would be delivered to the baggage claim/staging area. I think we were supposed to be number 15 according to Guest Services. Somehow, we ended up with these “Suites/Pinnacle” tags in our stateroom which we were grateful for because that mean our bags would be ready at the baggage claim area by 8 AM. “Suites/Pinnacle” had priority over all the numbered tags.

You basically had two options, you let the valets take your bags the night before and then they put it in the baggage area for you or you lug your bags with you. The downside of letting them valet your bag is that you’re at the mercy of their schedule, which meant the higher numbers would be ready last. Some people don’t want to wait to they decide to cart their bags with them. Brian and I only had carry-ons but I remembered that the elevators only go down to a certain floor on debarkation day and you have to take the stairs all the way down. I told Brian that I didn’t want to lug my bag around so if he insisted on taking our bags ourselves then he would be carting both carry-ons. Plus, I told him that we should use our ultra-special bag tags.

Brian was really glad that he listened to me as went down the stairs from Deck 3 to Deck 1. Since we went down early, the line moved pretty quickly and we were off the ship in no time. When we got to the place where they line up everyone’s luggage, there were only a dozen bags or so there but we easily spotted our bags. We used our red luggage for this very reason.

Several people got off the ship before us, and I think there were seven other ships disembarking that same day, so the line through customs had already started snaking. After grabbing our bags, we asked one of the port staff where we should go and she told us to stand by the red pole. It just happened to be the end of the long line. There were a handful of people getting in line so we let them get ahead of us and then fell in line behind them. We started to follow the line as it started moving but then the lady walked toward us and asked us to follow her. She then lifted one of the barricades and told us to go through and wait right there right in front of one of the customs officers’ stations. We were called up to next so we effectively bypassed the customs line altogether. I’m convinced we got special treatment because of our special “Suites/Pinnacle” bag tags.

It only took about 30 minutes from the time we got in line for debarkation to get off the ship, completely through customs, and out to the shuttle pick up area. It was amazing. I’d never gotten off a cruise ship that quickly before. And then, as luck would have it, our ride to the airport showed up within a couple of minutes and then we were at the airport by quarter till nine. The crazy part is that our flight wasn’t even until later that afternoon.

Anyway, they’re a lot stricter at the Fort Lauderdale airport than in Wichita. They had this Delta attendant there who did nothing but point people to the security line and/or make them check the size of their carry-on against the metal carry-on measurement stand. Brian’s duffel was just a tad too long. We tried to explain to the lady that we carried both of our bags on during our arrival flights and they fit with no problems but she was not having it. She wanted Brian to take items out of his duffel until the bag would fit. There was no amount of stuff we could take out that would make it work because it was the shape of the bag that was the problem and we didn’t want to hassle with trying. Since we were early, we decided to just go to the desk and pay to check our bags. We figured that while we were doing that we could see if we could get on earlier flights home.

The lady at the Delta desk was a lot more helpful and pleasant than the first woman we encountered. She punched some keys on her computer and broke the news to us.

“If I type fast enough,” she told us, “I can get you on the 9:45 AM flight.” It would cost $50 each to change our flights, plus $25 for each of the bags, so we’d have to play $150 total; and we only had a split second to think about it.

Brian and I looked at each other and were like, “Let’s do it!”

She quickly took our payment, printed our new boarding passes, tagged our bags, and placed them on the conveyor belt behind her. I was a little worried that our bags wouldn’t make it on our new flights since we were cutting it so close but she reassured us that our bags would make it.

At the end of our transaction she was like, “It’s 9:08 now so you better hurry because your flight is boarding.” With that, we quickly said our thanks and skedaddled to security.

Security was long and cumbersome per usual but, lucky for us, our gate was close by. When we got to the gate, they were boarding Zone 2, which just happened to be our zone so we fell in line with everyone and got on the plane. We didn’t have to wait around at the gate, which is just the way I like it.

This plane wasn’t as nice as the plane that we flew in going to Florida. There were no free inflight games but the flight seemed to go fairly quick and we were in Atlanta in no time. I think we were 10 minutes early actually. We had a decent layover length before getting on our flight to Wichita. That flight went smoothly as well. We were either early or right on time. We landed shortly after 2 PM. Our bags safely made it and were one of the first few to hit the baggage claim carousel. Our ride home was already waiting for us so we got in the van and were home by 2:30 PM or so.

Brian and I were completely amazed because our original flights wouldn’t have put us back in Wichita until after 9 PM. We got on the flights that, just the night before, Brian told Missy and Todd they wouldn’t be able to make. Crazy!

Things seemed to be going perfectly our way until we got home and found Molly had been badly hurt. She and Saki got in a fight the day before that resulted in Molly getting staples on her head. I guess the reason why things worked out for us and we were able to get home early is that the universe wanted us to quickly get back so we could take care of our poor baby.

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It wasn’t fun coming home to a $175 vet bill but we were grateful to be back early to be with our beloved dogs.

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