Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Well, the Paul household has been busy and bustling!  I think the bit of Spring weather we had last week really motivated us, because we're really tackling some projects.  Some of them require professionals, but others are all us. 

We are sick and tired of the back yard looking the way it does.  The ground is torn up from dogs, there are concrete slabs from the previous owner, the fence is falling down, and grass won't grow because of the beautiful magnolia.  It's kind of a wreck, and it's an embarrassment when we have guests over.  So, we've called in the professionals.  We have a wonderful plan for the back yard, and we're replacing the fence.  Actually, the fence is almost completely replaced already, and the yard already looks much improved.  Hans has been tweaking and improving the deck he built last Summer, and the changes are certainly making a huge difference.  I can't wait to show you how the yard looks when it's completely done, and I suspect it will be magnificent!

With all that going on, I've been super busy with the business.  Actually, Hans has been busy with Impawsible Pups too.  While I've had a busy season of training, he's had a busy season of building dog beds.  We've really only focused on one design so far, but we'll be adding more soon.  So far, though, aren't they amazing?
You can find this bed and other colors at our website:
I've also started selling a line of toys and leashes, and I'm quite pleased with how they're doing.  I must take a moment to thank my SIL, Luther Liz, for introducing me to my favorite line of toys.  She just happened to buy a really awesome toy for Cody, hoping he would like it.  Not only did it quickly become one of his favorite toys, it also became every other dog's favorite toy.  Plus, it stood up to just about everything.  When people started asking me where they could find one, and I had no idea (other than somewhere in MN), I decided it was time for me to carry that line.  That has been a good decision for so many reasons.  Plus, it gives me a good excuse to get toys for Cody.  You know, so he can "test" them.  It makes me happy.  :)

Hmm, what else?  All the fosters have been doing well.  With the warmer weather, we've been walking everyone more.  What's my favorite thing about the walk?  I get to spend time with Hans.  The biggest problem with being so busy is that we haven't had as much time for each other.  We're both working 12-13 hour days (luckily some of his work is at home so the dogs can get out and play), and when we're finally together we typically just want to sleep.  Last night, for example, I was so tired I didn't even want dinner.  I read for 45 minutes and then just crashed.  Sleep was good.  The walks in the morning, while only about 30 minutes, allow us to chat and catch up on the day.  I love that.  It's special, and I appreciate every single walk we have together.

Lastly, I'll leave you with a quick story as to why Hans and I are "angry" with his mother.  On Sunday, Hans and I were picking up supplies at Lowe's.  As we were walking from one store to the other, I got side tracked by washers and dryers.  You see, our washer is on its last leg, and we really need a larger washer anyway.  I've always loved the washers without center agitators, so I thought I'd just see what they run.  Well, while I was walking through, Hans' mom called.  By the time I was ready to head on, Hans was still talking to his mom, so I decided to waste more time by looking at more washers and driers.  As I was looking at a washer/dryer combo that was WAY out of our price range, a sales person came by and asked if we were in the market for a washer / dryer.  I told him no, but that we would be soon.  He then informed me that the really expensive washer / dryer (the one I was drooling over) was on sale through the weekend for $600 off!  That made the nice washer / dryer the EXACT same price as the less wonderful model.  So, ten minutes later, after Hans had gotten off the phone with his mom, we were purchasing a washer and a dryer...something that never would have happened had we not been delayed by Hans' mom calling.  In all honesty, I'm thrilled.  This washer is so much larger, so it will be able to truly handle all the animal bedding (not to mention our bedding).  I suspect it will save us a good deal of money simply because we won't have to do as many loads (not to mention the time it will save us too).  So, while Hans may have called his mom on Monday to tell her she was in trouble, I'm currently jumping for joy, waiting for my washer and dryer to arrive.  HURRY UP!

Ok, this blog post has gotten long enough.  I hope you're all doing wonderfully!  Have a Happy Wednesday!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring Is In The Air

The weather is warmer, the birds are singing, and I am HAPPY!

For the past few mornings, Hans and I have been enjoying the warmer temperatures by taking the dogs on walks through the neighborhood.  To be honest, I enjoy afternoon walks better (it's even warmer, and the sun is brighter), but I have been loving the fact that we can even get out.  Just a few weeks ago it was too cold to consider!  I LOVE hearing the birds singing in the morning.  I LOVE seeing the blossoms on the trees.  I LOVE not having to bundle up is sweatshirts and coats!

I also love the fact that we found this in our magnolia tree:

Yes, things are going quite well.  Hans and I are getting ready to do some major yard repairs, and that really has me excited.  I can't wait to host a summer barbeque! 

I hope it's as wonderful where you are as it is here!  Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hello All!

Finally, I'm back!  I must admit that, while I've been super-busy, I also haven't been much in the mood for a blog post.  I also haven't been reading blogs, nor have I been on Facebook much.  So, I'm going to give y'all this post for a nice little update.  Honestly, so much has gone on in the past two (three?) weeks, that I'm doubt I'll get to most of it.  However, I'll at least fill you in on all the big stuff..

Spring Cleaning
Hans and I finally got the house clean.  Well, aside from tidying up our room a bit, that is. You see, when we moved in I was running Impawsible Pups AND working a second job, and Hans was working his 9-5 at TIV AND running The Sound of Music.  Basically, we were both working long, exhausting hours.  Taking the time to properly organize things just didn't happen, and things basically just got shoved into random places.  Once time opened up, there just always seemed to be about 1,000 other things to do, and reorganizing just wasn't happening.  Last weekend, though, enough was ENOUGH!  I'm so proud of us.  We now have a clean, organized basement and closets, and because those few things are organized, everything else works out much better.  Like I said, we still need to tidy up our room, but that will come in time.  I'm just happy we're clean enough for me to have a clean office!

St. John's Men's Chorus
Last Monday was quite exciting.  I must admit that one of our reasons for doing such thorough cleaning was because we were planning for some very special guests.  Finally, after years of waiting, St. John's Men's Chorus came to sing in VA.  Hans and I enjoyed a wonderful night of beautiful music listening to a fantastic choir.  Hans and I both attended St. John's, and we met in Chamber Choir (the SATB choir), so this was quite a special treat.  What made it even better was that my dad got to hear the choir.  He was never able to get up to MN to hear our choirs sing while I was in college, so I was thrilled that he'd get the chance to hear how wonderful of a choir I'd been in (while I obviously wasn't in Men's Chorus, I was in the SATB equivalent, and the director is the same. It counts.)After we listened to the concert, Hans and I were honored to serve as a host family for two of the boys.  We kept them only for a night, a sophomore and a freshmen, but it was wonderful to have them here.  I just wish I could hear them sing again.

You Make Me SICK!
One of the hazards of going to different houses to train dogs is the sickness factor.  People are so much less-likely to cancel an appointment due to illness when they don't even have to leave their homes.  Luckily, I seem to have a pretty tough immune system, and while people around me have taken ill (probably because I'm carrying the bugs), I've stayed pretty healthy.  That is, until this past week.  I was feeling good, although a little tired, all week.  Wednesday morning I woke up tired and cold, maybe even a little foggy, but still pretty good.  I even managed to get a good deal of work done on Wednesday.  I noticed that my mood was kind of off, but I attributed that to a few not-so-great things happening that day and the fact that I was REALLY tired.  I had dinner, and then off I went to my last appointment for the evening.

I did notice that dinner wasn't sitting particularly well, but I figured that was the price one paid for eating upset...indigestion.  As my lesson went on, I realized I should probably get home, and the sooner the better.  The lesson wrapped up fairly quickly and off I went.  On the way home, I started to feel even worse.  I felt supremely tired, and I was really cold except the heater made me feel sick.  I came home, ignored the dogs (unheard of), and bee-lined for the ladies room (TMI?).  Unfortunately, I didn't feel any better after leaving.  I collapsed on the couch, but after about 10 minutes decided it was time for bed. Within the hour the sickness had set in.

Yep, I was officially sick.  I don't think I've ever been so sick.  I was so cold, and I couldn't stop shivering.  Hans put a space heater in the bathroom to keep my shivers to a minimum, and he put a heating pad on the bed.  I was up every hour, and saw more of my dinner than I'd ever care to see again (TMI again?).  At one point I simply curled up on the bathroom floor.  I wanted to cry, but I was afraid that would bring on the nausea again.  By Thursday morning, I was feeling minimally better, but I was still miserable.  By Thursday night, I was drained.  Most of the nausea had passed, but I was running mid-grade fever, and simply moving my head to the side made me ache.

Since Thursday, things have gotten better.  Friday I was able to go out, but after 4 (maybe 5) hours I was done and collapsed in my bed with a splitting headache.  Hans was wonderful taking care of me through all of it.  Yesterday I felt well enough to go to adoption stand, although I took a few breaks to rest my head. Hans, however, had taken ill that morning.  OH NO!!!  Luckily, Hans' sickness wasn't nearly as bad as mine, and we're both feeling better today.

Today, I'm finally starting to feel back to normal.  I'm eating more than saltines, although my food is bland and small.  Hans I took the dogs for a walk, although we also slept in EXTREMELY late.  I ended up losing a grand total of 7.5 pounds while I was sick, although now the scale is showing about 6.5 pounds lost.  Like I said, I really wasn't feeling well!

Now it's time to return back to the real world!  More updates will come again soon, and hopefully I'll continue my regular blogging!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I've Been Missing

Hello all! 

Yes, I know I've been gone for a very long time.  Please excuse my absence.  Things have been CRAZY around here.  I promise I'll be back soon for a proper update (and trust me, it will be a long one), but for now I just wanted you to know that I haven't forgotten about you.  I have lots to share, and I want to make sure I'm able to give you my full attention.

Thank you for understanding!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Song Contest

How do I explain Song Contest?  It's something that so few people have ever heard of.  Trying to explain it to Hans left him staring at me like I had four heads.  Oh well, I'll try to explain it to all of you.

All schools have school colors.  My school's colors were Green and White.  However, at my school each CLASS also had their own colors.  These colors were chosen by the class when they were freshmen.  The colors could not be the same as any other class colors.  When I was a freshmen the colors were Blue & Green, Purple & Yellow, Black & White, and Pink & Navy.  We were Pink & Navy.

Then, each Spring, the classes would come together for a competition...Song Contest.  Each class would perform for eight minutes, and their performance must include one slow song and the Alma Mater.  Classes would take popular songs and change the words to make them about our high school.  The classes are then judged by three judges who can only identify the classes by their class colors.

While this is a decent description, it can't convey the feeling.  The feeling of excitement and nervousness coursing through the students as they wait to hear who is the winner.  The feeling of camaraderie between students.  The excitement in the audience.  The pure enjoyment of the evening.  A simple explanation certainly cannot do the evening justice.  The best way to explain Song Contest is to actually go to it.

So, that's what Hans and I finally did on Friday.  We attended the 60th Annual Song Contest.  It had been 7 years since I'd graduated and had last attended a Song Contest, and it had been 10 years since my class first won at the 50th Annual Song Contest.  I was so excited.  The highlight of the evening was when the alumnae went on stage to sing the Alma Mater.  I'd been dreaming of that moment since I was 17, and I was so excited to be able to go up there.

As I walked onto the stage, who should I see but four ladies I hadn't seen since high school.  We had our greetings, and then we decided to meet up at IHOP afterward.  Seven years had passed since I'd seen these girls, and our lives were quite different.

At first I felt a bit out of place.  All these girls who I'd studied with, gone out with, laughed with, were studying for their Masters and Ph.D. in fields like psychology, biomedical engineering and electrical engineering.  I felt like that girl who'd barely finished high school.  All I had was a college degree in music.  How could I measure up?  Then I realized something.  It dawned on me.  Hey!  I own my own business.  I love what I do, and I'm quite good at it.  I'm married with a home, and I love my life.  What do I have to feel bad about?  NOTHING!  As a matter of fact, I had quite a lot to feel happy about.  Yay!

So, all in all a wonderful evening.  I think the right class won.  I got to see a bunch of old friends.  Plus, I finally got to show Hans what Song Contest is all about.  I doubt I'll go every year.  Not having a particular class to root for kind of takes away the excitement.  However, I do know I'll go back at some point.  It was too fun to not return.  Until then, I'll carry the memories of Song Contest with me.  I'll use those memories as a reminder of what once was.  I'll remember it as a happy time in my life, but something that is in the past.  Something that has shaped my future and made me the woman I am today...a happy, successful woman with a wonderful family and fabulous friends.