Welcome to my blog and thanks for reading! To find out how my husband and I ended up with 7 dogs, check out The Story of Our Family

Friday, October 28, 2011

Go Rangers!

Gabe wants to see a win tonight!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Definition of a True Friend

I borrowed this picture from a friend's facebook is the caption:

"Lily a 6 year old great dane lost his eyesight due to a rare disease. He became disheartened until he met Madison. They have been together for 5 years and Madison guides Lily by the leash and touches him to make sure he doesn't stumble over anything. The picture reveals how dependent and loving they are to each other."

It's amazing how much we can learn from to love unconditionally, forgive quickly, and how to be a true friend. I've learned a LOT from my dogs and I often find myself thinking that I should be more like them when it comes to being a spouse, sister, daughter, friend, and coworker. I should strive to love my family and friends unconditionally and brush things off when I get mad, especially when it's really not a big deal. 

I know life as a human is much more difficult than a dog's, but I think I would be a better person if I implemented their personality traits into my everyday life. I would like to be loyal like Gabe, happy like Socks, protective of my family like Dakota, appreciative like Jack, affectionate like Chase, enthusiastic like Simba, and loving like Emma. 

I believe that every single dog of ours was brought into our lives for specific reasons and I truly believe that learning life lessons from them is one of those reasons. I've become more patient, relaxed, and responsible, thanks to our dogs. I love my dogs and I know I will continue to learn from them...I just hope that I put what I learn into action more often.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Doesn't This Look Comfortable??

It must have been very comfortable because he laid like that for at least 10 minutes!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Weekend in Review

This weekend was a 3-day weekend for me so I was able to get a lot of relaxing, cleaning, and hanging out time with Chris and the dogs. I was in San Francisco for work last weekend so I needed a little bit of a break and some time to relax.

On Thursday night after work, my friend Amy and I went to Painting with a Twist and painted a picture of pumpkins. If you have not been to Painting with a Twist, you should DEFINITELY check it out! It was a blast and I got a nice fall decoration out of it, which is now sitting on our mantle.

On Friday I bought all the materials I need to make my Halloween costume to wear in a 5K Vampire Run in downtown Fort Worth this upcoming weekend. (pictures to come next week). After shopping, I was exhausted so I spent the rest of the day watching Lifetime Movies with Chris and Gabe.

On Saturday I slept in for the first time in a few months and it was fantastic. I did a lot of cleaning and then went to my sister's house to hangout with my favorite OU fan.

Sunday was another day of relaxing and watching football with Chris. Nothing too exciting, but it was exactly the kind of weekend I needed...especially because yesterday was the first day of the 30-Day Erin Challenge!!! So far I am on's been a little tough waking up so early to go to the gym, but a quick nap between my workout and work helped :)

I'll do a full post on the first week of my challenge next week so stay tuned!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Just To Put It In Perspective...

When it rains we have to wipe off 28 paws...

If the dogs poop only once a day, we have to pick up 7 piles of dog poop every day....that is 49 piles of dog poop a week and that is if they ONLY poop once a day...

In order to take all the dogs for a walk, Chris and I each have to take 2 walks a day... 

At feeding time, we fill up 7 bowls with dog food. That is 49 bowls of dog food a week... 

It's ALL worth it because when I get home from work, I am greeted by 7 wagging tails, 7 dog hugs, and 7 slobbery kisses! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

FAQs About Our Family

Chris and I tend to get the same questions from people who find out we have 7 dogs...most of the questions are similar to these:

How did you end up with 7 dogs?
We didn't plan on having 7 dogs but we are blessed to have such a special family. Read about how it all happened here

Do you plan on keeping all 7 of your dogs?
Yes! We have gotten attached to our dog family and they are attached to us. We would never want to separate any of them from us and the other dogs. We are a family and we plan on staying that way!

Are all of the dogs inside dogs?
Yes...they are very spoiled dogs. They love playing outside and going for walks, but they really love lounging around in the house and hanging out with Chris and I.

How much dog food do you go through a month?
We go through about two 40lb. bags a month and several boxes of treats.

Where do all the dogs sleep?
Chris and I sleep with our bedroom door open so the dogs have free reign of the house. We have a few dog beds in our room that they sleep on, the couch and the dog bed in the living room are usually occupied, and of course we always have a couple dogs that sneak into the bed in the middle of the night. Good thing we have a king size bed!

Do all the dogs get along?
Surprisingly, they all get along! Sometimes they will get on each other's nerves, just like any brother and sister will, but we are lucky to have dogs that can all happily live in one house.

How often do you need to dust and vacuum?
I try to dust and vacuum every other day. A few months ago, Chris bought a dog grooming kit to shave the dogs and it has tremendously decreased the amount of dog hair in our house. Luckily, I LOVE to's like therapy to me, so I don't mind all the dusting and vacuuming! 

Isn't it expensive to take care of that many dogs?
Yes it can get expensive at times, but Chris and I have become quite the experts at working the system. The dogs were spayed/neutered at low cost clinics, we take them to low cost vaccination clinics for vaccinations and heart worm tests/monthly heart worm medication, Chris washes/grooms/trims nails at our house, and I found out early on with Gabe that it is best to have pet insurance for a large dog, so we were able to save about $5600 when getting both of his knee surgeries. We also plan on getting their teeth cleanings at a low cost clinic for only $100, which is a great deal! 

How are you able to take them all on walks?
I usually take Gabe and Jack together and then I come back and switch them out for Chase and Dakota, then Chris takes the other dogs. It's not complicated at all and they help us get our daily exercise! Sometimes we like to load them all up in the car and take them to a fenced in field about a mile from our house to run around and during the summer we take them in shifts to the lake to let them swim. Like I said earlier, our dogs are very spoiled!

**Feel free to ask me any other questions! I obviously love talking about my dogs!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The 30-Day Erin Challenge

Starting on Monday, October 24, I am starting the "30-day Erin Challenge". This is a list of five goals that I would like to accomplish within thirty days. Four of my goals are health and fitness related and one is a goal that I would like to do for others.

Here are my 5 goals:

1. Workout everyday: I've never been one to  get into a strict workout routine that I actually follow for 30 days straight. I've started workout plans like P90X and Jillian Michael's "The 30 Day Shred" but only make it until about 2 weeks before I get bored. I've followed training plans for triathlons before but even those I didn't fully stick to. During my 30-day challenge, I want to workout for AT LEAST an hour every single day. On most days this will consist of me attending an early morning workout class at the gym. I know that I need to let my body rest at least one day a week, so on those days I will have an "active rest" day. So I can go for an hour walk those days, take a stretch class, hike for an hour, etc.

2. Bodypump Twice a Week: Strength training is my weakness. I have no problem  running and biking to get my cardio in, but I have always had trouble getting motivated to strength train. I realize that strength training is essential for healthy bones as I get older and for revving up my metabolism, but I've never gotten into a consistent strength training schedule. The gym I attend offers Bodypump classes (a group class that consists of using barbells and hand weights) on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I've attended the classes several times but it has only been once a week for the past couple of months. During my challenge, I will be attending Bodypump on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 5:45 am.

3. Try Zumba and attend at least once a week: I've always enjoyed dancing for fun, although I lack coordination, I'm pigeon toed, and I have very awkward dance moves. However, I always get VERY sweaty when I dance and I really enjoy myself and better yet, I know I am burning lots of calories. I've heard great things about Zumba and my gym offers several classes a week. My goal is to go to Zumba at least once a week during my challenge, have fun, and learn some new moves.

4. Follow Weight Watchers Diet: I'm not a Weight Watchers member but I do know how to track points, how many points I am allotted, how the program works, etc. I've followed the diet off and on and every time I am doing it, I have lost weight, but after a couple weeks I get bored with it and give up. I would like to drop about 10-15 pounds and tone up all over, so I need to focus on portion control, mindless snacking, eating late, eating junk food (Mexican food and pizza are my weakness) and eating too many sweets. I think that by following the Weight Watchers program for the 30-day challenge will definitely compliment my workout schedule and hopefully it will be a good start to my overall health and fitness goals.

5. Volunteer for a Holiday/Seasonal Event: With the holidays right around the corner, I would like to help out those in need in the DFW metroplex. Every year I try to donate to canned food drives, Christmas gifts for needy children, etc. It is so easy to donate items and money though, so this year in addition to donating items I want to donate my time. I am in the process of finding a charity in the area to volunteer with for a day or maybe even two around Thanksgiving time and hopefully I can do the same around Christmas.

Every week I will update my progress with the 30-day Erin Challenge. The last day of the challenge will be Monday, November 21. That following Thursday is Thanksgiving which means I will be running the Thanksgiving Half Marathon in Fort Worth! This will be my second half marathon...the first was in 2006 when I ran the Cowtown Half. I still have some work to do but I'm hoping my workout and diet will help me feel like I am in tip-top shape for the race...and then I can eat LOTS of turkey :)

I'm really looking forward to starting the 30-Day Erin Challenge and maybe I'll continue to do a challenge every month and add five new goals!

Stay tuned for weekly updates!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sweating Like a Dog

I've read several articles lately that discuss how dogs are the best workout partners because they keep you on a consistent schedule and won't let you bail, they are ready to go any time, and even their enthusiasm will improve your workout. Studies have even proven that dog owners are more likely to workout more and lose more weight than those who don't own a dog.

I believe this to be totally true. Gabe has always done a great job at getting me out of the house to get in at least a 20 minute walk a day. If I haven't taken him for a walk, he will stand by the front door and stare me down until I get the leash out. For the last couple of months I've been taking Gabe and Jack for about a 20-30 minute walk every night (or I TRY to go every night) and when we get back I take Chase and Dakota for a 20-30 minute walk. Chase will NOT let me come back in the house until I take him, so he is another great workout motivator for me. Chris is responsible for walking the other dogs, but they are usually content with laying in our bed and on the couch by the time the sun goes down so they aren't very good exercise motivators!

In addition to our nightly walks, I usually take Gabe for a quick 15 minute walk once I return from my early morning workout classes. As soon as he sees me walk in the door at 6:45 in the morning with my running shoes on, he knows he is going for a walk and if I can't take him for whatever reason, he makes me feel guilty about it until our night walk. Gabe is our only dog who will get anxious and start to pace around the house if he doesn't get a good walk in every day so I try my best to get in a couple walks with him on a daily basis.

Before Gabe's first knee surgery I took him for short runs with me, usually about a mile or two. He really loved running and I loved taking him with me because it would totally zap his energy for several hours. It's been almost 2 years since Gabe has been my running buddy and I'm ready for him to join me on my short runs again but I'm still a little nervous because he had his second knee surgery in May. I'll probably give it another month and see how he handles half of a mile and then I'll increase it to a mile if he doesn't show any signs of being sore.

I've never been a fan of running with other people but I LOVE having Gabe run with me...he always has a huge smile on his face and he pulls me along for the first half of a mile because he is so excited to get going. At the end of every walk and run, Gabe is always so happy even though he is obviously tired. Before we go inside the house, I hug him for a while and thank God for my favorite workout buddy.

Check out this article that talks about the health benefits of having a dog!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Weekend in Review

It's Monday and the weekend went by too fast like always...On the bright side, OU beat Texas...Boomer Sooner!!! 

Besides the victory, we had a great weekend. On Friday Chris and I grilled out and enjoyed a lazy movie night with the dogs. We watched True Grit, which we both liked although we weren't quite sure what all the hype was about. On Saturday morning Kathleen came over bright and early and we ran in a festive Fall-themed run. Kathleen ran a 5K and did an awesome job! She got one of her best times and we were both very excited about it. I did a 10K because I am training for a half marathon on Thanksgiving morning, so I figured this would be a good halfway point in my training. I got my best time and later on when I got home I looked at the results and found out that I got 2nd place in my age group! 

Kathleen came back to my house and we watched the OU/TX game and afterwards I took a much needed nap with the dogs. By the time I woke up, Chris was coming home from his baseball games that he was coaching. We ate dinner (and a really delicious piece of chocolate fudge cake) at home and decided to have another movie night, which was perfect because it turned out to be a rainy night.We watched Unknown with Liam Neelson. We both really liked this one because it was suspenseful and hard to guess what was going to happen. 

On Sunday morning we went to church and afterwards went to my parent's house for lunch with my brother, his girlfriend, my sister and brother in law and my adorable nephew. When we got home I took the dogs for a walk before dinner and we enjoyed another lazy night at home, snuggled up with our dog family.

Next weekend I will be working in San Francisco so it was nice to relax and spend most of my time with Chris and the dogs. Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Messy Mutts

Several times over the last couple months, I've come home from work and there is trash scattered throughout the living room and a trail of trash that leads to the pantry door, which is where the trashcan is. Without a doubt, I know it is Gabe...partly because the only other dog that stays in the living room when we leave is Jack and he's just too sweet of a boy to make such a mess.

The first time this happened was a couple months ago and the next day I took Gabe for his morning walk. He pooped in the grass next to the sidewalk so I bent over with my little baggie to pick it up...low and behold there was something in his poop that ABSOLUTELY should not have been. I won't elaborate because honestly the thought of it makes me gag and it's safe to say that I did not let him lick me for quite sometime after that. 

When I came home a couple weeks ago and found this mess, I scolded Gabe and because of his lack of respect for me, he jumped in my face and barked. Maybe he was mad because he didn't find anything good in there this time...he obviously didn't want to eat anything healthy because he left baby spinach laying all over the dining room. 

We have been making a point to push the trashcan to the back of the pantry, under the shelves so Gabe can not raid the trash. But he has figured out that if he pushes the right door of the pantry hard enough, the left door will pop open, so even though I haven't come home to any more messes, the pantry door is always wide open. Smart dog. 

Maybe it's time to invest in a lid for the trashcan??? 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Happy 5th Birthday Gabe!

Gabe is 5 today! We've already done some celebrating with new toys and bones (he has to share with his brothers and sisters) and lots of treats this morning. Tonight we will go for a long walk and Gabe will get to watch his favorite shows on tv. I'll probably sneak a little chicken broth on his dinner too ;).

Happy Birthday Gabe! Here's to many, many more! I love you :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sister-Sister Fun Fun

My sister, her husband, and my adorable nephew moved to DFW from Austin in August!! They live a short walk from my parents house and about a 25 minute drive from our house. AND they have a pool.

This is what happens when us crazy sisters hangout:

This is what happens when we include the dogs:

Since they moved back I have been able to see my sister and nephew at least once a week, we meet during my lunch breaks, have sleepovers, watch movies, play Just Dance, have picnics in the park, dress up my nephew in chicken outfits and take him to the pumpkin patch....

I LOVE having them here :)

I Want To Wake Up In a City That Doesn't Sleep

In August, Chris and I took our first vacation together in over a year and a half. Summer baseball season finally slowed down for Chris so we made the last minute decision to take a trip to NYC and New Jersey before Fall baseball started up in September.

We flew into Newark, NJ and Chris's best friend picked us up and we went to the Jersey Shore and stayed in their beach house. The house was right on the water and even though the water was pretty chilly, the weather was perfect for relaxing on the beach. We lounged most of the time we were there and we even hit up the boardwalk one night where we ate the BIGGEST pizza ever (they call it pizza pie). We also visited our favorite MTV Jersey Shore spots like the Shore Store (the tshirt shop) and the Jersey Shore house where the cast lived for two seasons. We drove by their favorite club, Karma, and planned to check it out the next night but due to Hurricane Irene, we decided to leave the shore and head to NYC before getting caught in all the evacuation traffic.

I haven't ever been to New York and since Chris grew up there I was SO excited to check it out. Our hotel was in the heart of Times Square so we were in the middle of all the action. We spent most of our time in NYC walking around  through Central Park, the Harbor, Greenwich Village, Midtown, Chinatown, etc. We ate at a different diner for lunch every day and usually had pizza for dinner. For some reason being in NYC made us both crave breakfast food (french toast for Chris and pancakes for me) and pizza. One night Chris's best friend and his wife went out for dinner with us to an Italian family-style restaurant. We had SO much food and sadly a lot of it went to waste because we didn't have a place to put it in our hotel room.

Thanks to Hurricane Irene, our flight was rescheduled two days after we were supposed to fly home. The weather never really got bad where we were, just some rain and wind, so we were able to enjoy ourselves. When the hurricane came through we watched movies in bed and had a "Hurricane Pizza" delivered for dinner. We decided to spend our extra two days of vacation visiting with Chris's aunt, uncle, and cousins on Long Island. Luckily his grandparents from Florida were visiting for the summer so we were able to have a great time with them. Chris took me to one of the towns he grew up in and we saw his school, the little league baseball fields that he played at, and we even ate pizza (surprise surprise) at a cute little pizza place where he used to go with his baseball team after their games. After that we went with his grandparents to Port Jeff, a really cute town on the north side of Long Island where the ferry runs to and from Connecticut. Next time we go to NYC, I would love to spend at least a night in Port Jeff.

I was very sad to go back home...I really loved New York and wish we could have stayed longer. But of course once we came home to all the wagging tails and dog kisses, I was happy to be back.

Side note...thank you so much to my parents and our neighbors/friends Casey and Shannon for helping us out with the dogs!! It's so nice knowing they are in good hands :)

Here are a few pics from a fabulous vacation:

That's a giant pizza pie!

The view from our hotel room!

You can't visit the Jersey Shore house and NOT fistpump!

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

This post is LONG overdue. Anyways, here it is:

In July, three of my girlfriends and I went on a five day all-inclusive trip to Cozumel, Mexico. It was just the vacation I've been wanting since the last time we went to Cozumel in 2006. We had a great time lounging on the beach, floating in crystal clear water, snorkeling, kayaking, going on a catamaran boat snorkeling tour and beach party, dancing the night away, eating a LOT and sipping on delicious frozen drinks! Lots of fun and ridiculous memories were made and I can't wait to do it again!

Here are just a few of the pics from the trip:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

40 Paws and Ten Wagging Tails

We've had 10 dogs at our house since Saturday and it's going to be that way until Friday night. Yes, 10 dogs. We have our 7 dogs, plus our rescue dog visitor, and we are dog sitting my parent's 2 dogs while my parents are in Vail enjoying weather that is a whopping 40 degrees cooler than what we are experiencing here in Texas.

I was a little worried that Brody (rescue dog visitor) would not get along well with my parent's dogs, Patch and Mollie, but they have been playing non-stop since Saturday. They play tug of war, chase each other, snuggle together, and they even share their food with each other. One of them even managed to bring a giant beetle into our house, killed it, and left it on Chris's pillow. I got a really good laugh when Chris got in bed and found the dead beetle laying on his pillow. I have a strong feeling that the prime suspect is one of these two:

Most people probably think that they can't handle 10 dogs, but it actually hasn't been hard at all. Luckily they all get along pretty well and they are all very good dogs. Yesterday, I dumped Brody's food on the living room floor by accident and it was cleaned up in just a couple minutes by all the dogs. No need for me to clean it up myself!

For the most part all the dogs just lay around the house, with the exception of Mollie who likes to make laps around the living room and kitchen, so it really hasn't been hard to handle the 10 dogs...there is lots of love and happiness that comes with them all being together in our house and Chris and I have had many good laughs thanks to these crazy pooches!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Finally Slowing Down

These past few months have been crazy for me! Here is the shortened version:

June 5-8: Went to Austin to welcome my precious nephew Barrett Ryan Qualley into the world!!

June 11: Sprint Triathlon...beat last year's time by 5 minutes!!

June 18: Saw Chelsea Handler and her comedian's stand up tour with my girlfriends...HILARIOUS!!

June 25-26: Went back to Austin to see Barrett because I can't go very long without him!!

July 1 - 4: My sister, her husband and Barrett came up to DFW for a family 4th of July weekend!

July 9: Another Sprint Triathlon: I got 2nd place out of my age group and Paige got 3rd!!!

July 12: Went to see Britney Spears in was my fifth time and I'm NOT ashamed of it!!!

July 18-22: Went to Cozumel with 3 of my girlfriends and had an awesome time!! We snorkeled, kayaked, went on a boat ride/snorkel trip/beach party excursion, and ate a LOT. More pictures to come!

July 23: My sister, her husband and Barrett came back up to DFW so my brother could meet him for the first time! (he was gone all summer working as a camp counselor)

July 24 - 31: Recovering from vacation in Cozumel :)

Today: Took Gabe this morning for his final check up and xrays on his leg...he is PERFECT!!! I took him for a 5 minute celebration walk before leaving for work. Once it cools down and isn't 100+ outside, Gabe will be my running buddy again, I CAN'T WAIT!!! Now he can stop being such a couch potato and run off some of his extra weight :)

On another note...Chris found this cute guy hanging out, in the 100+ heat, at one of the baseball fields he was coaching at. We've been trying to find his owner by posting on the internet, calling local shelters, and getting him checked for a microchip but we have had no luck. He is 33 pounds, about a year old, house trained, gets along with the other dogs, and he is VERY happy! He needs a new home because Chris and I are at our limit with dogs. If you live in the DFW metroplex and are interested in giving this guy a loving home, please let me know!! We love having him as our guest but he needs a furever home :)