Saturday, June 30, 2012

Fun in the Sun

Like many newlyweds, we started our marriage off in a tiny 1 bedroom apartment.  We quickly realized that was not enough for us and moved to a three bedroom and then moved across the world to Japan, where we finally had our own home.  Upon moving to Japan, we decided it was time for a pet.  The plan was a cat, but after going to a pet store out in town we immediately fell in love with the little chocolate lab that we now call our own.  Neko was a wild, energetic, and fun loving puppy who got all of our love and attention.  It was life before children.  We went on nightly walks, attempted runs, and brought him on weekly doggy play dates at the beach with other dog owners.  But suddenly it began getting warm and even more suddenly I was pregnant.  Dima deployed shortly after, and all of Neko's fun times ended.  Walks became more and more difficult as I developed round ligament pains and Neko was now almost 100 pounds.  Beach dates were sadly too much of a hassle, as most of my time would be spent chasing him down and that was an adventure I didn't want to go about alone.  Life for Neko was not the same, everything was changing and Daddy was gone.  Just when Daddy came home, we brought a baby brother home and Dima deployed just a week later.  Needless to say, Neko didn't get the love and attention he needed.  He began calming down and has actually been the sweetest of dogs lately.  He loves his little brother to death and I know he will love his new brother in just a few months.  
Neko most days, lazily watching his brother and hoping he will drop some food

Now that Zach is older, we don't yet have another baby here, and the weather was beautiful, we decided Neko deserved a day for him.  And what better place to do that then at the dog beach?  We arrived to an empty beach which was exactly what we needed.  It had been awhile since Neko had been to the beach and Zach can prove to be a bit difficult in the water.  He is quite fearless and will literally dive under if we let him! The quiet beach was just what we needed to focus on our boys.  There was plenty of room for Neko to run around while we played with Zach!  Neko is a typical lab- large and really stupid.  But among many other things, he is a water lover.  He may not enjoy baths in the front yard, but he loves swimming in the water and he immediately dove right in.  Of course, we brought a squeaky ball with us for him to play "fetch" with.  And I say "fetch" because it really just involves us throwing the ball, him getting it, and then running away as we try to get it back.  But in any case, he had a grand time splashing around and running in the hot sun.  Zach loved it too, he got to splash around in the little tide pools the beach had, and had great fun laughing at his brother as he dove and swam in the water.  We stayed for over an hour and played played played!  Both boys got exhausted from the fun of it all, so at that point we packed the car up and headed home for lunch.  The dog beach was a huge success and I cannot wait to bring them back again.  Neko was a great dog and I'm so proud of him.  I am loving this stage of dog-hood.  He is not a puppy, but isn't a lazy old fart yet either.  He is simply fun loving, but not in a wild way like his old way!  
Neko ready for the ride!

Riding shotgun with daddy

Playing in a tide pool

He would not let go of this squeaky ball!

Zach trying to get Neko to come

Typical lab photo

Watching his brother's every move

Couldn't be happier

Cooling down in a tide pool

The empty beach

The water was the perfect temperature

Sit, stay, GO!

Gotta get that ball!

Swimming back to shore

Gotta love labs

Licking the salt water off before round 2

Zach laughed the entire time

He couldn't get over that his doggy could swim

I love this shot!

When we got home, we ate our lunch, put Z down for a nap, and then headed out the door again for the pool.  Gosh Zach is spoiled!  We went a bit further today to get to a pool with a kiddy pool for Zach.  Zach loved it, but unfortunately wanted nothing to do with his floaties and simply wanted to dive under the water.  Needless to say our trip was short, but fun all the same.  

We went home and had dinner followed by another exciting summer activity- homemade popsicles!  I made healthy peanut butter fudgesicles (with no sugar and using almond milk) that were just begging to be eaten.  Zach had never tried a popsicle before, so we knew this was an outdoor photo-worthy opportunity.  He loved it and eventually took the popsicle from me to hold it himself.  He got just a bit dirty in the process and may have ruined his onesie, but it was worth every bite and stain to watch him devour his first popsicle! 
Hey this stuff is pretty good

MMMmmm give me more!

Forget it just give me the whole thing!

Mom's been holding out on me!

More more more!

Now that's food

We got so much crossed off our list this week and are glad to report that many more are in the works this week!  This Stepanoff Summer Sixty has proven to be a great idea and I'm so glad I started it!

Stepanoff Summer Sixty Checkoff:

o  Beach
o  Dog beach

o  Make popsicles