Thursday, April 29, 2010

Happy Adoptiversary Max!

Nearly a year ago on May 1st 2009, Jason and I drove to the Dogs Trust center in nearby Sadberge hoping we would be returning home with Max, a 2-year-old crossbreed who came to the Dogs Trust shelter as a stray. I still remember the feeling as we drove there hoping to pick him up. Over the couple weeks that we met with the staff at Dogs Trust and went through to process of applying to adopt Max I never allowed myself to get attached to the idea that we were taking him home. I didn't want to get my hopes up and risk having them crushed if something went wrong and we couldn't adopt him. The night before we were scheduled to go pick him up we went to the pet store to buy him some bowls, toys, a leash and some dog shampoo as he was still filthy from the time he spent as a stray. However, I wouldn't even let Jason take any of the tags off the new toys or packaging off the leash until the ink was dry on the adoption papers and I was sure we were bringing Max home.

It is a bit pathetic to say, and Jason still makes fun of me for this, but that day as soon as we had Max in the car and were pulling away from Dogs Trust I began to cry. It was a cathartic moment, he was our perfect dog and he was coming home with us. After a couple weeks of suppressing my emotions and trying not to get attached to Max I finally embraced the feeling that we were about to embark on a journey that would change both our lives and Max's for the better.

The first thing on the agenda (after a bath of course) was to fatten him up. When we brought Max home he was barely 40 lbs and so skinny that his ribs were clearly visible.

This was the first night we brought him home. Soooooo skinny! I can't believe how lean he was, especially his legs and chest!

Today Max weighs a bit over 50 lbs and our vet says he is at his ideal weight. As he gained weight we saw him transform into a completely different dog.

Comparing these recent photos with the photos above you can see how he has filled out in the chest and legs and no longer has ribs poking out!

Oops, someone forgot to tell Max he's no longer the dainty dog we brought home a year ago!

Early on we also learned a very important lesson, Max was going to require more than your run of the mill toys. He was on a mission to destroy every toy we gave him. Luckily he focused his energy on the toys and never on our furniture or belongings.
He was able to gut this stuffed penguin in a matter of seconds.

We had to opt for only tough rubber toys, and his favorite is his yellow ball which you see in nearly every photo of him on the beach! That is no tennis ball (he can easily shred those in just one trip to the beach) this is a solid rubber ball and the best £6 we ever spent since it seems virtually indestructible.

If you have been reading my blog for the past year, you probably feel like you know Max. He has a very unique personality and he endears himself to all he meets. 

He also has some peculiar sleeping positions. Like this one...

... and this one...

Yes, it seems wherever Max goes a bit of comedy seems to follow

Furry, fast and funny but above all Max's favorite thing is to be close to us.

Happy Adoptiversary Max!
Over this past year you have made our best moments even better and our worst moments bearable. You know when it is time to play and when I need a snuggle and kisses. You have brought so much energy, laughter and love to our home.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Kitchen Remodel = DONE!!!

Wow, this has been such a big project and I am amazed with the results. Here are some before and after photos.

I didn't take a ton of "before" pictures but here is one photo I took while Leeimi was helping us paint. You can see the old cabinets and the old blue walls. I love blue, and actually the paint color we chose "frosted steel" is slightly blue but the old blue was just a bit too much. The old cabinets were a really cheap vinyl covered chipboard and they showed every finger print and the finger prints were impossible to wipe off.

Ta da!!! I love the new color and the cabinets make such a difference. We also removed a cabinet that was to the left of the oven on its own, it kind of got in the way and made the wall a bit closed off. I think it looks so much better without that cabinet and since we gained another shelf on each of the overhead cabinets we made up the space there.

Here you can see the new cabinet doors on the left, and one of the old doors on the right. They didn't even have nice handles, just these plastic slats across the top to pull out.

The old drawers and base unit doors, and that shade of blue

The same area shown above with the new drawers and cabinet doors!

The new doors weren't going to fit our old cabinets because the old cabinets were much shorter, so we bought new wall units and installed them ourselves. 

Here is a closeup of the new wall units. The area on the far right of the photo is where there used to be a single cabinet, I think it flows much better without it there.

I also got some new canisters for the counter, I wanted something with a bit of color but nothing too bold or modern. I love these little crocks with their green lids!

We had an empty wall so we decided to put in some shelves to create a bit more storage. Its a great place to display my nice wooden salad bowls and to keep pasta, flour, sugar, olive oil and of course a candy jar and Max's cookie tin there on the bottom shelf.

I am so thrilled with how this turned out and even more proud that we did all of the work ourselves. It was kind of an intimidating project but we learned a lot and feel like DIY experts now!

Friday, April 2, 2010

East Candy Gripe

I love Easter candy, especially Starburst Jelly Beans, marshmallow Peeps and most importantly Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs.

Here, Easter candy is all chocolate. Instead of Easter baskets, kids get Easter eggs from friends and relatives which are big hollow chocolate eggs that usually come with a piece of candy in the box. They come in a ridiculous amount of packaging that is twice the size of the actual chocolate egg. Usually they have a couple pieces of candy or a little toy or prize in the box as well. I think they are a bit ridiculous. I could never eat that much chocolate.

This is representative of typical Easter candy in the UK. The large boxes are the Easter Eggs, then there are of course Cadbury Creme Eggs and Cadbury Mini Eggs. I can eat maybe one creme egg, and I'm definitely a fan of the mini eggs (you can get the creme eggs and mini eggs in the US) but every supermarket in the UK has at least one entire aisle stacked floor to ceiling with boxes upon boxes of various Easter Eggs from all the major candy companies. There are Mars bar eggs, KitKat eggs and Cadbury's makes several different kinds but the big eggs themselves are pretty much all the same, just a milk chocolate shell. The only thing that changes is the extra little pieces of candy that come in the box or little toys and trinkets. At least they are cheap, right now ASDA is selling most of their Easter Eggs for £1 each.

I am really missing American Easter candy this year, I really should have had someone ship me over some Starburst Jelly Beans, Peeps and Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs. I miss the vast variety of chocolatey and fruity candy available at Easter time in the US.