Monday, June 27, 2011

Mondays with Marin- The School Edition

For three weeks now, Miss Marin has been attending classes. Her new Sunday activity is obedience classes at Petsmart.

We talked with the trainers about a month ago, brought Marin in for a little parent/teacher conference, and all agreed our girl was eligilbe for the intermediate class! What a genius! We couldn't have been more proud. Evan and I were fairly smug that whole week leading up to the first class. We had been such awesome dog parents that we skipped the beginner class entirely. Marin is a champ at sitting, laying down, staying and she can even charm a stranger with her shake.

MD on her way to class.

At the first class, we shared how we wanted Marin to become a Canine Good Citizen at the end of her training. In our minds, we were winning Dog Owners of the Year.

And then it happened...

Marin lost her mind, forgot all her "rules, boundaries and limitations," and went barking bonkers.

Jesse the Weimaraner, Bentley the Llahso Apso, and Chloe the mutt were peacefully laying down as the trainer explained our first lesson,  but Marin was barking, no- howling. At everything.

Imagine Petsmart on a Sunday. Weekend errand runners. Dogs everywhere.

Marin's uncontrollable urge to "speak" set off an explosion of yapping, barking, meowing.... utter chaos.

I was beside myself with embarrassment. Evan was sweating profusely. We were both staring holes into the floor. We kept trying to get Marin to stop.... lost cause. The trainer finally ended our misery and called break time.

We slunk into one of the cat product aisles (aisle of shame) and debriefed. "What happened to our perfect little angel?" "Are we gonna get kicked out of class?" "Why is it so unbearably hot in here?!"

The patient tranier came over and comforted us. She assured us it was normal, the barking didn't bother her and that we needed to calm down. Marin was just overstimulated. Reward good, calm behavior and wait until the loud, bad behavior stopped.

Easy for her to say. She wasn't the owner of the barking pariah.

I'm not sure how that first class ended. And we definitely didn't learn anything. I was too busy thinking of ways to escape than to pay attention to how to "sit with distractions."

We came home totally defeated. I think we both lost sleep wondering if our perfect dog had just morphed into a Dog Whisperer case.

After some practice and lots of prayer, Marin and I braved the next class. I wasn't sure how I was going to handle the chaos and embarrassment solo, since Evan had to work, but I was at least prepared to handle it.

The trainer was prepared too.

She had chew sticks, the dog version of cheese whiz and lots of distractions for Marin. As soon as she started barking at something we just gave her something to eat to change her focus. Worked like a charm.

Now that the barking was under control, I could actually see the smart side of Marin again. She picked up on the skills faster than the other dogs and was very eager to please. She is learning a lot of useful things like going to her bed, leaving treats on the floor until she is allowed to have them, and spinning in a circle.

Evan and I learned our lesson too. Never before has "pride comes before the fall" been more real or more mortifying. We have a good dog. She's not perfect. And that is okay.

Tiring her out before class. One-eared wonder.

Maybe some day she'll be a Canine Good Citizen and show the world how awesome pit bulls can be, or maybe she'll just be our sweet, lovable girl with a penchant for barking.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Love in a Jar

My friend Hayley sent me this idea while Evan and I were engaged. If I can find the original blog it came from, I will link it here. The idea is simple, find a jar and throughout your first year of marriage write little notes about why you love your spouse and drop them in the jar. On your anniversary, you get to dump them all out and read them!

Evan and I really enjoyed our love jar. We kept a pen and note pad on our dresser throughout the year and we wrote down funny moments, inside jokes, sweet things the other one had done....things we wanted to remember or tell the other person. Last week we got to laugh a lot and cry a little as we read through our first year together.

I'll share a few...

"We don't get good night's sleep right now. Too much tossing and turning and considering the other. We're two weeks in or so."

"I love you for not staying mad at me when I made you put back the avocados because they were too expensive. $1.79 each."

"I like not having to text you that much. Living with you makes that unnecessary."

"I love when you sweet talk flight attendants on our way to California and manage to get everyone free drinks!"

"I love having real conversations with you about our struggles, what we want to work on as individuals and getting to do it together."

"Remember when I had the hiccups and you scared me so bad I cried?!"

We talk often about living a simple life- one that is focused on the things that really matter and not cluttered with the unnecessary. This little project/game/whatever you want to call it fit in well with our motto. This was just about us, our year, and what the Lord had done, plus this precious, personalized gift was totally free. We even borrowed the jar. (Thanks Phillip.)

I love extravagant things every once in a while... and I'm holding out for a great anniversary getaway one of these years... but this was perfect. Just the two of us, reading our notes, eating year-old cake and laughing.

And just in case you think I'm overly sappy, Evan liked it so much that he suggested we do it every year!

Friday, June 10, 2011

One Year Anniversary

Sunday will mark our one year anniversary.
One year.
Of being married.

Is that possible?

This past year has been wonderful.  I woke up this morning and just laid in bed thinking through all the perfect moments, vulnerable conversations, funny memories, and overall sanctification that Evan and I have shared over the year.

There have been brief, fleeting moments this year when I felt like an awesome wife... I have managed to cook a decent meal, make the bed, "spot clean," throw in a load of laundry, feed the dog, and be a good listener all in one day.

Those are the days that I think, "Yes, of course, he loves me. Who wouldn't? I am amazing."

More often though, I am what I don't prefer anyone to see. Stressed out. Cranky. Emotional (blame the meds). Not a neat freak... not even a clean person really. Forgetful. Lazy. The list goes on, but I think you get the picture. The point is, Evan sees all of this.

These are the days that I think, "Why would he love me? I am a mess...just like our house. I'm not even particularly fond of myself."

It is in those moments that I realize what a treasure I have been given.
I have a man who loves me for me, yes. But it's more than that. He loves me despite me.

He loves me because he's been loved, saved, redeemed and transformed by Christ into a guy who can look beyond the crying, stressed out wife in front of him and see her heart and just hug her. Snot and all.

As I sit here and think about this milestone in our marriage, I am most grateful for a Gospel that affects real life, real people. I'm thankful for a God who loves reconciliation, who saw fit to save us while we were still messy, and longs for a deep, intimate relationship with us. He paved the way for beautiful marriages by showing us how to love. How to sacrifice. How to forgive. I would seriously botch this thing up if it weren't for Him.

And I know I am beyond blessed to have a man who loves the Lord enough to pursue his wife when things are perfect and even more so when things are not perfect.

Evan, I love you with my whole heart. Thank you for marrying me, for loving me and for making me laugh. Thank you for loving the not-so-put-together version of me. You are my best friend and I wouldn't want to eat a year-old cake topper with anyone else!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Mondays with Marin 3.0

Well, Marin lives in a new house on this lovely Monday.

She is also a new breed of dog.

Meet the Terrier Mix.

She got in on the moving action... literally.
Our sweet girl needed a new identification on her paperwork to be able to live in the apartment complex. Praise the Lord all the details worked out.

This first week in our house, Marin and I got to bond all over again since Evan was at work and I'm on summer break! We ran errands together, ran around the new neighborhood, and even made curtains for Evan's new office.

How am I supposed to work with this cutie in the way all the time?
Marin is adjusting well to her new place and "broke in" our new rug right away. Good thing we love our Terrier Mix!!