Monday, August 29, 2011

Lilah & Sadie in Training

Lilah Ann, love of my life, #1 favorite dog is 2 years old. When we got her I didn't have anything really to do but train her, especially while Greg was in Europe. Now I won't go so far as to say that she was "the perfect puppy", in fact Coop will attest to that not being the case. But she did listen, she learned how to lay down, to wait, to sit, to drop, on & on. Well then Sadie Mae came along (the sweetest little lamb) & we were exhausted to begin with. At first we remarked how quiet she was, never barking even when Lilah did...Famous last words. One morning we were walking them before work & Sadie had something to say to everybody, every thing & every other dog on the street that day. My favorite is the fervor with which she barks at dare they cycle in her presence. Mean while Lilah was regressing from her otherwise relaxed, accommodating personality...not sleeping through the night, unabashed barking fits, accidents...the list goes on. At the old place it was ok, because honestly we weren't overly concerned about upsetting any neighbors (the couple next door stopped talking to us anyway - I suspect it's because of the dogs & their rude barking) & nobody lived above us. Now we're surrounded by homeowners, in beautiful condos & the condo association has rules, ESPECIALLY about adorable little puppies with loud mouths! AND, the girls haven taken to sleeping only until about 4:30 AM, even when they're in their crates, waking us up whining & crying to get out & go outside. Finally, we lost our back yard in the move, which means not only when they wake up at 4:30 am needing to go outside we have to get them all harnessed & leashed up & get ourselves presentable, but even at normal hours we're forced to walk them at least a few times a day, which given their manors these days virtually guarantees embarrassing barking, and other dog owners looks of "oh my rude". SO it has to stop.
  • Step 1: quit it with the barking so that we can take nice long [polite] walks. 
  • Step 2: walk them long enough & give them enough interaction that when they come inside, and especially when its time to sleep, they're all out of energy & are able to sleep through the night. 
I've read several doggy books including The Loved Dog, How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood & Beyond & 30 Days to a Well Mannered Dog, and all of these books together with some online resources have super advice about how to squash some of these unpopular behaviors. This is probably the point at which I need to say that I (even more than Greg) am totally to blame for their behavior, because it's been a free for all for a long time - especially since Sadie joined the family, so even though I've read a lot & done my homework, the training methods don't work if you don't use them. Ok. Blame assigned. NOW, accepting responsibility...I am going to finish 30 Days to a Well Mannered Dog & make a concentrated effort to employ those tactics & a combination of other things I've learned to help address & hopefully eliminate the sassy barking & unpredictable sleep patterns.

Some things I've just read about on line seem like they might be particularly I'm going to try them. One is naming the behavior of barking "Speak" so that they know what "Speak" is & I can tell them "No Speak" when I'd like them to shut their little yappers! While we definitely need to get this whole barking & sleeping thing under control, we'd love it if they could get comfortable with being home alone & out of their creates during the day...with both of us back to school, they're in their crates for even LONGER each day. We'd also still like to train them to sleep in their own bed, and not ours (or their crates) at night. I said, Step 1...SHHHHHHHHHHH! Step 2...SLEEEEEEEP! Step 3...THE WORLD! Ok, Go...

Puppy lovin',

PS - Last night they slept through the night, our bed. Sigh.

Friday, August 19, 2011

best. week. ever.

Ok I'm going to be a little indulgent for a moment & say I JUST LOVE when things go my way! Greg's home moving us out of our dearly loved but completely dysfunctional garden apartment in Lakeview...The only thing we'll miss about that apartment is the backyard & garden. We found a beautiful apartment in a neighborhood called Buena Park. It's very close to the beautiful Lake Michigan lakefront & conveniently located just NORTH of fun/crazy Wrigleyville/Lakeview.  While we're giving up our own private garden, we're gaining lots of room, including room for a dining room table & a beautiful upgraded kitchen!

Some other positive developments in Latchland....I got some exciting news from the bridal salon I've visited about  a dress I have a crush on, we heard back from a potential caterer about a wedding menu that may just change my whole life & I've started designing what I think will be an awesome design piece for the wedding (& later, our gorgeous apartment). Like I said...I just LOVE when things go my way.

And, just because I'm totally hopelessly over the moon in love with my pups, here's some weekend puppy love!

Happy Friday,

Monday, August 15, 2011



Greg after a big slip in the mud
Since my last post we've worked our way in to what promises to be a VERY busy month of August. After returning from UNC - Chapel Hill we both came down with colds (boo), and even though we weren't feeling ourselves, we still managed to enjoy Lollapalooza for Coldplay on Friday night & Foo Fighters on Sunday night. My friend Kent often says there's a long list of things you can do in Chicago that you can't do ANYWHERE else, & the longer the list gets the more impossible it becomes to ever leave Chicago. Lollapalooza was one of those experiences. We sat on our blanket in Milllenium Park & watched our city light up with the sounds & sights of Coldplay. One of the highlights was Coldplay covered Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" as a lead in to their tune, "Fix You".  Another highlight was surprise VIP tickets for Sunday for Foo Fighters...But I will say, free drinks + torrential downpours + sticky/slippery mud makes for a very interesting VIP tent... But we managed. Here's a video of Coldplay from Friday! Enjoy!
We also managed to pack in a full day of registering for wedding gifts on Saturday. First of all...I was completely unprepared for the exhaustion that would result from registering. There were times the both of us were just wondering around, aimlessly...confused about what to get & where to find it. We managed, but I've had to make some changes online. One of the biggest challenges was the formal china. WHICH OF COURSE is where they start you right the most intimidating section. I was only able to pick some once I spotted another bride & her mom trying out different napkin rings & table clothes...I solicited their help & then Greg & I finally made our decision. Even though everyone says not to bother with china, I'm excited about the formality & tradition of it. Speaking of formality, after we were ready to stop registering for the day we had lunch in the Walnut Room at Macy's on State Street downtown, which is famous for its over the top Christmas tree during the holidays. I'm so glad we registered in a department store, in downtown Chicago & had a sit down dinner in an historic old dining room like the Walnut Room...I'll be adding that experience to the list of experiences you can't have anywhere else. & We'll definitely go back this Holiday Season to see the tree - Maybe to celebrate 1 year since the big engagement!? Speaking of the wedding...Mom came back for round 1,234,789,876 of dress shopping...we had some success, but no purchases have been made. Looking forward to trying on a special sample I've been crushing on online...Fingers crossed! 
Sadie...Diggin in her back yard!
Finally...after more drama than I can even think about, we're finally giving up & leaving our Lakeview love nest. I'm most definitely sad, especially for our sweet pups who will lose their backyard to play in. And for my garden...Those sunflowers are JUST about to bloom, & we just harvested our very first home grown Morgan tomatoes . We haven't officially found a place yet, but we're hoping to get word from our rental agent today. We're optimistic that we'll get the place we love & begin taking the steps to move. & HOPEFULLY for the last time for a while. Of course I've already got all kinds of brainstorms, projects & to-do lists compiling in my noggin...Starting with curtains for some very big, beautiful windows! I found a great how-to post at Young House Love for no sew curtains....I think I'll be following this blog a lot in the next few months. This'll mean retiring the old To-Do In Lakeview list & starting fresh with a new list of projects & DIY's. Stay tuuuuned! 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Where'd July Go?

Taste of a Chicago Dog
Well...It's AUGUST! I just realized I haven't blogged since June 24th when Ash Mat had just left! Probably because it's been unbelievably busy for the Latchford-Morgan Duo & Company. First I attended my first Chicago Gay Pride Parade with much fun! Then Mom & Dad Latchford came for a 10 day visit. The first part of the trip Greg & I worked while Mom & Dad stayed home with the pups. We had good weather that week so they got to enjoy the back yard quite a bit. Greg & I were happy to come home to sleepy, mellow pups! Mom, Meghan & I did a little wedding dress shopping with some success...but we still haven't bought anything, so stay tuned. We also went to the Taste of Chicago, The Grant Park Orchestra's Independence Day Performance, & hosted some friends for a 4th of July Backyard Barbecue - complete with a Cornhole Tournament!
Grant Park Concert
Sadly all things must come to an end, and in addition to my parents leaving, Greg left the following day to go back to Utah for the last 2 sessions of Horizons. LUCKY for me I had Zeta Tau Alpha's National Leadership Conference coming up so I had lots to look forward to. I was invited to NLC to attend the advisors academy, but I was also surprised to be presented with the Della Lewis Hundley Founders' Grant for Graduate Education. It was a thrill & I am so honored!
Drinking from the Old Well at UNC
Towards the end of July Greg came home & we both traveled with Sigma Chi to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill where we helped host Sigma Chi's Balfour Leadership Training Workshop. UNC was beautiful & it felt great to be back in the Southeast again...I'm beginning to feel my heart strings tugging me in that direction...maybe after graduation. We had a great week with our Sigma Chi family & were sad to leave North Carolina, but we couldn't WAIT to get back to Lilah & Sadie & FINALLY be in the same city together for a while. We've got BIG plans this August...starting with some apartment hunting, registering for wedding gifts, Lollapalooza, My Mom's return to Chicago & buying a wedding dress...hopefully I can mark that one off my Summer To Do List this month! Happy August everybody!

Summer lovin',

American Pie...I mean, Cake

Whilst Blog Browsing some time ago I stumbled across a post about layer cakes, which I immediately dismissed as something I'd never do successfully. As Independence Day approached, I was at a loss for ideas for a Yankee Doodle Dessert Table. What I HAD was 2 boxes of cake mix, enough icing for a wedding cake & 2 boxes of food coloring...So I decided to try my hand at layer cake!I made both boxes of cake mix, and divided it up into 3 pans. I colored 1 of the pans red, and one blue...leaving the other white of course! After baking & cooling I leveled out the cakes, iced between the layers & stacked them! Topped off this 3 story treat with some red & blue sprinkles & served it up to my 4th of July guests! Next time I think I'll try to tall, skinny Rainbow Cake...that looks like my kinda dessert!