Tuesday, September 20, 2011

All about River!!

So our new puppy River has been with us for 3 whole weeks!! She is happily adjusted to her new home and life. She and Loki get along great; they do play fight- like siblings. They may nip at each other but never anything serious. River got her stitches (from her spaying) out last Monday (Sept.12), we were finally able to give the little girl a bath. Which she needed. She visited the vet and got a clean bill of health, well minus the parasite but that is totally treatable and is almost gone. She goes back to the vet next Monday for another well puppy visit. River likes to follow Loki all over the place. We don't worry when she goes outside as she tends to stay close to Loki. She is still getting used to the leash. However, she can already sit on command and understands "go outside" and "bedtime". She likes her crate. Occasionally she will cry, really howl, but that's only if a) she can see people or b) she is really wound up. Most of the time we can put her in her crate and she is good.
The Vacuum Cleaner = Evil! Yes, puppy is scared to death of the vacuum cleaner. She runs out of the room and trembles. Something must have happened to her before she came to us, but she is young enough we can get her over this fear. Loki isn't afraid of it, she just doesn't like it and therefore barks at it.
River loves to play with toys, especially Loki's. Suprisingly Loki is okay with this. Often she brings a toy to River. This way River is distracted and Loki can get TLC. Loki is still spoiled rotten, we are making sure that we spend time alone with her too. Loki and I still have Loki/Jenny time- where she sits by me and I put my arm around her and rub her chest. Eventually she lays down and rolls over so I can rub her belly.
River is a lap dog...or so she thinks. She loves to run towards us and dive into our laps. Sound famliar? That's b/c Loki used to do that. Loki still thinks she is a lap dog.
Having two dogs is quite the adventure. I have to keep constant eyes on River. Two weekends ago I had to take her and Loki (b/c Loki likes to follow me too) to the bathroom with me as I was the only one home. I am constantly saying "No River!" I so did not miss those rose thorn puppy teeth. Generally where ever Loki is, River is nearby, and vice versa. Whatever River does/gets, so does Loki. We treat them equally. Although Loki doesn't get as many treats as we don't want her getting fat. River, on the other hand, we want to gain weight. Little girl is still pretty skinny. She is gaining though. She is getting bigger too. Pretty soon she will need a pinch collar (or as we call it 'power steering') and we will be able to really start training her. Loki will go through training as well. So far the Monkey See, Monkey Do theory is working quite nicely. Let's hope it continues!

Loki vs. River

Since we now have two dogs I thought I would blog about both of them and do a little Since we Photnowcomparison on the two.
Breed: Labrador Retriever (pure)
Age when adopted: 7 weeks Age now: 5 years
Weight then: 8.2 lbs Weight now: 62 lbs (solid muscle)
Color: Yellow
D.O.B.- February 8, 2006
Literal Meaning of Name: Loki is the Norse God of Mischief
Story behind the name: We were searching for the perfect name for her when I suggested Loki, my parents asked "What does that mean" I explained and we all decided it was perfect for our mischievous puppy
Nickname (s): Lokilu, Little Rodent (dad's nickname),
Fave toy (s): Frankenmoo and Squeaky the squirrel
Song: I like to Move it (this is her theme song), Brown Eyed Girl (this is what I sing to her), and the Nudzzle song (silly song mom sings to her in the morning
Photo on top left is Loki when we first got her Photo top right is Loki today
Breed: Labrador Retriever mix (dad was pure Golden Retriever, mom was Lab mix)
Color: Black w/ white splash on chest
Age at adoption: 9 weeks Age now: 11 weeks
Weight then: 8 lbs (skinny little girl) Weight now: 16 lbs (starting to gain weight)
D.O.B- June 23, 2011
Literal Meaning of Name: a natural stream of water of fairly large size flowing in a definate course or channel or series of divering and converging channels (ty dictionary.com)
Story behind name: Again, coming up with a name was hard. I was really pushing for Sahara (as she was getting really big drinks of water), Dad came up with River b/c she was constantly peeing. River suits her perfectly as she is constantly taking in large amounts of water and then getting rid of it.
Fave Toy (s): Draco the Dragon, whatever Loki has
Nickname: Little girl, River Rat (dad's), River Pup (mine...interestingly enough that was the name of my univerisitys former mascot),
Song: None as of yet.

Monday, September 12, 2011

March to the Arch

Yesterday was September 11, 2011. It was the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Back in July my friend Cindy told me about this event taking place on Sept 11th called March to the Arch. It sounded cool, but I wasn't quite sure that my schedule would allow me to do it. The week before the event, Cindy reminded me and I said "I'm in". As it was the 10th anniversary I really wanted to do something besides avoiding any and all footage of 9/11.
March to the Arch is a 21 mile long walk starting in Chesterfield, MO and ending at the Gateway Arch. I know my limits, so I decided that walking a portion of the 21 miles would be good enough. There was no way I would be able to walk all of it. So the plan was to meet up with Cindy at Art Hill in Forest Park. However upon arriving in Forest Park, parking was insane. So Cindy suggested I park and meet them at Mike Duffy's off of Clayton and Big Bend. I ended up walking from there to the Arch. It was a bit further than I originally planned, but whatever. I'm really glad that it worked out that I started out at Mike Duffy's. I was part of 400-500 people to walk up Art Hill amid all of the flags there. St. Louis did a memorial for the 9/11 victims by placing a flag for each person lost on Art Hill. What made it unique, is the fact that on each flag pole was the name, photo, their age, where they were working and the home town of each person. Words can not describe the emotions and feelings that were running through me when I walked towards Art Hill and seeing the flags in person. Walking up the hill was an amazing feeling and about half way up people started applauding us. I really didn't feel worthy of the applause then, I hadn't walked that far. The people who had started in Chesterfield, were definately deserving of the applause. At the top of the hill a small ceremony was held to place two flags; one to represent firefighters and the other to represent the workers lost. The first few miles weren't that bad. I had a few twinges but I was in continuous motion so it was easy to push it aside and focus on the walk. We were lucky in that we had beautiful weather, a bit hot but nice and sunny. The closer we got to the arch, the harder it was keep walking. I soo wanted to quit at Union Station. I won't lie; I was really tempted to hop on the Metro Link at Union Station and take it to the Arch. However, Cindy and I made a deal; neither one of us would let the other quit early. However, what kept me moving was the the thought of the firefighters and first responders charging into the burning towers, running up stairs amid toxins and smoke. The pain they willingly endured in order to save the lives of others motivated me to keep moving and ensured me that the pain I felt was for them and was worth it. I stayed hydrated (2 bottles of water and 2 12 oz of gatorade), and enjoyed 2 bananas to keep up my energy. I also had some twizzlers for sugar intake. All of that helped, believe me. Keeping hydrated really helped my joints. Once we got to the Arch grounds we followed the Marine Corp. Color Gaurd down to the Arch and were rewared to more applause. This time I felt worthy of it. Once we reached the Arch we were allowed to relax. The guy who started this march gave a short speech and another man sang The Star Spangled Banner and another moving, inspirational song (beautiful voice). Then we all sang America the Beautiful...then we were allowed to touch the Arch. Touching the Arch after that walk was an incredible feeling; I did it! Bad knees and all! I still can't believe I did it. A school bus took marchers back to their cars. It felt sooo good to sit and enjoy the ride. I came home starved, sweaty and exhausted. Most of all proud. Today I woke up with my left knee swollen and my right ankle tight. So I wrapped the knee and put the ankle in a brace. I am achy and sore, but it was worth it. So no matter how much I complain of the pain, I do not regret what I did for a second. I was able to honor those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. So for now I'm "Zombie Walkin" for the moment. I'll be fine in a few days; rest and hydration will help. For more information on March to the Arch, click here http://www.marchtothearch.com/.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


This blog was written two weeks ago and I forgot to publish it. More details about the new puppy. Enjoy!
Last week we adopted a 9 week old black labrador retriever mix. Her name at the time was Tina Turner. We named her River. River likes to drink mass amounts of water and she also pees a lot. This is how she got her name. She is 10 weeks old and gets her stitches out on Monday, which means then she can get a bath! Yay! Puppy is smelling a bit funky. Loki was groomed on Friday so she is all sweet smelling and fluffy. River and Loki are getting along better. They are playing and chasing each other a lot. It is a bit of a mad house here. River thinks everyone is a living chew toy, so we have to have something nearby to offer her as an alternative. I haven't had an opportunity to upload photos of her yet as whenever I get home from work, River takes up all of my time. Today I honestly felt like a stay at home mom to two kids. I can trust Loki, but I can't let River out of my site. I have only gone to the bathroom alone when River is a) being watched by Mark or is b) in her crate. Wherever Loki goes, River goes and vice versa. Last night, toys littered the living room and I had two crazy dogs nipping, chasing, "talking" at each other. River is doing a lot better in her crate. She only cries in it when she can see us, or when she knows you are in another room and could therefore potentially let her out. Right now I am hiding out in my room. River is sleeping in her crate, and Loki is out cold in front of my tv. I wanted to watch the baseball game and play on facebook in peace. Not possible with a 10 week old puppy who is into everything and peeing every 15 minutes (so it seems). I will post more pics of her soon. Now it is time to wake the baby up to go outside and play a bit. Then bed time for both of us. I love having 2 dogs, but at times they drive me crazy. I love my Lokilu and River tho.

10 years later

T/m is the 10 year anniversary of 9/11. 10 years ago, it was Sunday night and I was recovering from knee surgery I had had on Friday. Mom was helping me get comfortable for the night at the hotel we were staying in; I was a new student at SMS, but I wanted mom around to help me for a few days while I got back on my feet. My biggest worry for the next day; how I was going to a) make it all over campus on crutches and b) make it to all of my classes. I had no idea of the horror that awaited. I woke up September 11, 2001 around 8:30 AM, my first class wasn't until 10 AM, but showering was going to be an ordeal. I remember coming out of the shower and seeing smoke coming out of a building on tv. I asked mom what was on TV, at the time she thought it was some action flick. It wasn't until we were sitting down to breakfast we relized it was live tv. We saw the second plane approach, I remember saying "There's another plane" and watching it crash into the tower. I still went to class, one let out early, I got out in time to see the towers fall. I remember that all of my classes except for math were either cancelled or let out early. My math professor was horrid, we asked him "Do you know what is going onout there?" and he replied "That's not important right now, this class is important" and kept us the entire time. I was in shock. Then I heard that a plane had crashed into the pentagon. I wanted mom to call my dad and brother and have them leave St. Louis. I didn't know what was going on, but I wanted my family out of a major city. Mom said they were fine where they were, St. Louis wasn't big enough to warrent an attack. I heard later that a friend of mine's father was supposed to have been in the pentagon that day, but for some reason (I forget) he wasn't. I remember worrying that my friend in basics was going to be called out and sent to war. I see now it was an unreasonable fear, but at the time I wanted all of my friends and family in one location: I don't know for sure, just somewhere safe. I can still close my eyes and see that second plane crash into the tower, and then see the towers fall. There is a movie out based upon the heroic actions of some of the firefighters on that day; I haven't watched it. I can't bring myself to. I close my eyes and change the channel whenever images from that day come on. T/m I am joining my friend Cindy Almon at Art Hill for March to The Arch in rememberance of those lost that day. The plan is to walk from Forrest Park to the Arch...we shall see how far I can make it. I have seen pictures of the flags that are on display at Art Hill, it is a sight to be seen. T/m is not going to be an easy day. My thoughts and prayers will be with those who lost loved ones that horrible day. Our flag is already on display out front. I will never forget the horrors of that day. I will never forget the emotions of hopelessness and sadness I felt that day. I will never forget 9/11. I hope and pray that one day justice will be served for all those who lost their life then. Until then I will continue to support our troops and remember. Always remember 9/11.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Meet Puppy Noel pt 2

So our new baby is called Tina Turner for now. We will be changing her name to something that fits her personality better. What that name will be, I have no clue. So for now we call her the baby. Since we met baby on a Monday I suggested the name Luna which is Spanish for moon. Lunes is Spanish for Monday, so Luna for short. Other name ideas: Sahara (if she drinks like Loki does- that's her name for sure), Raine (it might rain t/m), Madrid, Dakota, Jubilee, Arizona, Pandora, and Persephone (Perrie for short) - in keeing with the goddess names. Now will we pick one of these names? No clue. Watch we come up with a name not even mentioned. We usually let our animals name themselves as dictated by their personalities.
Ex: Climber-adopted at shelter, cat was climbing the gate to get eye level with us
Sparkle- her eyes sparkled at me when we adopted her
Shadow- silly girl scared herself when she saw her reflection in the dishwasher
Loki- she was/is constantly mischievious.
Hints as to her personality: very curious, loves belly rubs, loves to be craddled like a baby, gives kissies, loves to play hard, was very sleepy/calm when we met her and when Loki met her.
What does that mean? Not sure. However, baby will have a name soon enough. Mom took a lot of pics when she and Loki met, so those will be posted on facebook soon enough. I can't wait until she comes home and joins our family! And now the Noel family is a family of 6!!

Meet Puppy Noel!

It's official! We are adopting another dog! She comes home t/m. About a month or so ago, mom decided she wanted to adopt another dog. Dad finally agreed/ caved (however you want to look at it) So began the great search for a puppy. Mom wanted a chocolate labrador retriever, she didn't care if it was a pure bred or not. Dad still wanted a pure bred. So I began looking on the internet for puppy. Eventually, dad decided that adopting from a shelter was fine. It was decided that we would not get puppy until mid- August. This would be after mom and dad's Canadian vacation and boyscout camp. However, after some discussion, we decided to adopt a black lab puppy instead of a chocolate. As soon as I changed the parameters of our puppy search, I came upon Patti LaBelle on Adoptapet.com. Patti was a black lab mix puppy, solid black and absolutely adorable. I immeadiatly texted mom and told her I had found our dog. Mom e-mailed the shelter, which is located in St. Charles, stating that we wanted to meet Patti. So that afternoon mom picked me up from work and we drove to Five Acres Shelter, formerly the St. Charles Humane Society. We arrived there and saw some black lab puppies hanging out in the back of a truck with some people milling around it and talking. We initially went over to the truck and met Tina Turner, a black lab mix with a splash of white on her chest. When mom picked her up, she grunted...Loki grunts all the time! We learned that Patti LaBelle was inside, however someone had arrived a few minutes before us and had picked Patti. So we went back outside to take another look at Tina. Within a few moments we knew this was our puppy. She was a black lab yes, however unlike our previous Black lab Shadow; Tina had a splash of white on her. Which made her different and we didn't feel like we were replacing Shadow. Tina loves to be held/cuddled like a baby. I held her while mom filled out the application. Then we had to head home not knowing if we would be approved. The next day, mom got a phone call stating that granted our dog, Loki and the puppy got along, Tina was ours!! Unfortunately, Tina didn't have all her puppy shots yet. So we would have to wait two weeks before we could set up a meet and greet between Loki and Tina. Fast forward 2 weeks to August 29th (today), we had an appointment to meet with puppy at 5:30. I was so worried that the two would not like eachother; I was worried that Loki would eat/ attack the baby. However, when mom and dad took Loki to meet Tina, they ignored each other! Tina was more interested in sniffing his foster dad's shoes and Loki was more iterested in the foster dad. Tina and her siblings were fostered at a home instead of staying at the shelter. Loki didn't even react when dad picked up Tina an cuddled her. So that made it official. T/m morning they will spay Tina and she gets to come home at 5pm!!!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

New Look

So I was bored and decided to change things up. Wonder if anyone will notice the changes besides me? Oh well. I think all the littel changes I made are more me. I stuck with the water background and colors; I am obsessed with water.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Highlights from NVC

The drive there:
Cindy and I rocking out to her Disney playlist and chatting about all sorts of things.
We saw a UFO!
The conference:
Learned a lot of new stuff that I can take back to my students
Howl at the Moon!!
The drive home:
Cindy and I rocked out to my Boy Band playlist. Cindy's highlight- O-town! My highlight- Backstreet Boys!
Saw a sign for Churchill museum (this will be a road trip later) in Warrenton, MO...although I don't think the museum is about our beloved Region 8 Director Jenn Churchill :(
"Hot Tasty Butts" very interesting billboard

NVC Day 3 & 4

Saturday, July 30th:
Saturday morning came waaay too early. And the rain continued until mid morning. Unfortunately, Fenton didn't get a lot of rain. The morning at breakfast, it was acknowledged that Section 49 was the section to party with!! Yea! Saturday I was in APO Leads training all day. We got out for lunch and then right back to it. I was able to leave my training session early so I could attend the Region 8 meeting. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to talk about something at the meeting or not so I asked to present first and then get out. It turned out I didn't have to talk, but it was still good that I only missed a few minutes of the meeting. There was a lot of important information discussed. Our meeting actually finished up earlier than our allotted time due to the genious thinking of Katrina and Jenn G (they insisted on typing up an itinerary with time slots- which really helped us move along) Our fabulous Region 8 Director, Jenn Churchill wasn't and still isn't a fan of it, but it worked really well. So we had time to chill before the banquet that night. The banquet food was good; we had steak (thank you Bob London!) and veggies. Our dessert that night was layered chocolate cake. We had been served dessert at our two previous lunches as well (Carrot Cake and Chocolate Cake on Friday and then a Banana Nut Cake on Sat). After the banquet we all treked over to Bdubs yet again. But first I stopped by one of the Board of Directors rooms and got a much needed glass of wine (thank you Bob London again!!). It was really hot and humid on the patio at BDubs. It felt just like St. Louis. Except this night there were no occasional drops of rain like there was on Friday night. I got a loud "Heeey!" when I walked out on the patio...this was the standard greeting to every new brother who came outside. Former president Maggie Katz got the loudest greeting. I got to hang out with a brother from Arizona and talk with Maggie. After BDubs the room to be in (hey Section 49 had a rep to protect) was Cindy and Cindy's room. Cindy, Jenn G, Bill, and myself stayed up till 4 AM that night/morning. I finally collected on the back massage that Bill owed me from Nat Con. It was great to just hang out and talk with everyone.
Sunday, July 31st:
Again morning came too early, even though we didn't have to be at breakfast until 9...staying up until 4 didn't help ;) My alarm on my phone went off and I should have gotten up and been downstairs on time...however I ignored it and slept a little longer. I still managed to walk (or stagger per Bill) in around 9:15 AM. I hadn't missed anything and I wasn't the last one in either. Our last activity before the conference ended was to think of the next big thing for APhiO. We had to come up with ideas of what the fraternity should do; my group had two really good ones. 1) Horton 1- a private jet for the National Board (we didn't present this to the group but it was liked by members of the board) and 2) an alternate APO spring break. The APO spring break would be gathering students from all over to one area to do a big service project all week. Our idea was voted number one and will be looked into!! All too soon it was time to pack up, load up my SUV, and head home :( NVC was a lot of fun and I am really glad I was able to go. I enjoyed my vacation and my time with my brothers. I can't wait until the next time I get to see my alumni brothers! Regionals in Fort Collins, CO? I don't know yet, but we shall see!

Monday, August 08, 2011

NVC Day 2

Day 2, August 29th:
Day 2 had the convention in full swing. Breakfast was served b/t 7-7:45. After that we had open houses for the different programs: Scouting, Risk Management, Membership Development, Leadership/ Service, Alumni/ International Relations, and 2 others. We were encouraged to attend 4 and get an idea of what each one was doing. I got some great ideas from each one. I also learned what each one program was working on. After the open house we had our solo workshop for the day (the program directors and their staff had a lot to do that day and needed the time) and then the rest of the day was free time! Translation: (for me at least) Pool Time :) I attended a Risk Management workshop, and really got a lot out of it. It was a really good workshop and I'm very glad I chose to attend it. The National Office also had an open house 3-5.
I got about an hour in the pool (which felt wonderful) and the hot tub (awesome). Cindy and I hung out and talked. After pool time we went to the Open House at the National Office. This was my second time visiting the office, and yes I signed the wall once again :) I also got to tour the office, which is awesome. It was Cindy and Erin's (my roomie) first time there. I did pick up souvenirs. They were having a sale so I got a Volunteer Staff polo, a fitted t-shirt, and something for my dad. I love visiting that office! Maggie Katz the former National President was there. I left my camera at the hotel, but Cindy and Erin brought theirs so I have proof that I was there.
After visiting the National Office we headed back to the hotel to change and then I headed off to Howl at the Moon with Jenn G, Emily, and Scott. Howl at the Moon is a dueling piano bar in Kansas City, MO. We were only 15 min or so from KC. Jenn G won a free happy hour for 100 of her closest friends, and she decided to redeem it while all of her alumni brehtren were in town :) It was awesome to go into a bar and be able to breathe! It was smoke free!!!! The smokers had to go outside! We got two one dollar drinks, and free snack bar. It was really crowded at the bar, but it was worth it. The piano players were all very talented, all of them could sing, play the piano, drums, and guitar! Other brothers joined us later on. I got to sit at at table w/ some really awesome brothers (Cindy, Jenn G, and Bill) for a coupla hours. You wish you had friends cool as me :) We left Howl around 11ish, and headed back to the hotel. After a brief stop at Bdubs (yes we went here every night), the hang out place that night was mine and Erin's room. Oh and that night, it rained!! It was the first rain I had seen in 2 weeks, so I was excited.

National Volunteer Conference 2011- Day 1

A week ago I had the hgreat opportunity of attending Alpha Phi Omega's 7th Bi-annual National Volunteer Conference. This was my second NVC and I had an absolute blast. It was also my first vacation since Nat Con in December. It was only 4 days but it was great! I took Thursday and Friday off from work so I essentially had a 4 day weekend. I got to hang out with some really awesome brothers I haven't seen since Nat Con. I also got the opportunity to gain new skills and learn new information to bring back to my section. So here is what went down:
Day 1: August 28th
Got up finished packing/ doing laundry. Got my nails done with mom. While I got a pedicure mom did some final grocery shopping. Mom and Dad left for a 2 week road trip to Canada and the 5 great lakes on Friday. Cindy was my carpool mate and got to my house about 3ish. We hit the road and enjoyed Disney music all the way down :) Independence, MO was our destination. The funny part about the drive was that Chad and Katrina (who was supposed to ride down with me, but there was a change in plans) actually left my house a half hour before Cindy and I took off and we still beat them there! We made really good time and got there about 6:30 PM. We checked into the hotel, checked into the conference and then met up with some other brothers, Jenn G, Bill, and Abigayle. We went over to Buffalo Wild Wings (Bdubs) for dinner. Good thing too: I was starving! After dinner we returned to the hotel and went to the main conference room for our opening speaker and a networking activity. Our speaker was a former FBI agent and spoke to us about Cyber security. It was very interesting and I learned some new things. Our networking activity split us up in groups based on our professions. Well my profession (Receptionist/Admin Asst.) wasn't mentioned, so I went to the group that was closest: Construction ( as my company builds modular buildings). Our first activity was to make hats out of construction paper. Ours were Construction Cones, thankfully we had some crafty people who made them. The challenge was which ever group got done first, got ice cream first from our ice cream social. We were third. It was entertaining and fun. After the activity we retreated to Cindy and Chad's room and hung out for a few hours. All in all Day 1 was pretty good :)