Holiday Update

I was recently approached by a local paper to write articles for them.  Unfortunately due to declining ad revenues the addition I was supposed to post for didn’t see the light of day.  It did, however, get me in the urge to start writing a little.  The following are some of my musing on the holiday season.

As I sit back in my chair with my value-brand scotch (this economy.  Amiright?) my mind drifts to the season and what it means for me an my family.  This is a special time of year when right about December 12th I start to freak right the heck out trying to sort out all the Christmas gifts I could have just ordered online but procrastinated too long.  I am then forced to throw on a pair of pants and my festive holiday-stained t-shirt and venture forth unto The Mall.  The most holy of shrines in this consumer season.  I have my routine down pretty good.  I have a list.  And if I am lucky I have even brought it with me instead of leaving it on the counter at home.  With (maybe) list in hand I first have to put’er in 4 low and monster truck onto the glacier that was once a parking space.  After removing the crampons from the hike down the mountain I wade into The Mall.  Being stubby as I am gives me an advantage to facing the Christmas crowds.  My low centre of gravity allows me dig under and hip check my way past screaming child and frail elderly alike.  I give a quick salute to the mall Santa.  He is the true hero of the season.  Having that many children sit on an old dude’s lap without anyone getting arrested is really an amazing feat.  I deftly dodge from store to store, my arms weary with the load.  And at each stop I pull out my prayer card.  Not because it is a holy instrument but because I pray every time I swipe it that it still works.  It is amazing but as I make my way back to my truck I find that I have gained Samson-esq strength, carrying what appears to be three times my body weight in toys, booze and discount chocolates (this economy.  Amiright?).  After quickly apply my parking ticket (apparently I was parked in Sherpa only parking) to another person’s window (Merry Christmas!) I pull onto the highway and head for home.  As Mr. Buble reminds me for the 100th time this year that a fat dude in red is about to pull off an astounding amount of B & Es I let my mind drift to the more import parts of the season.  I know that you have been force fed tinsel and good cheer since the day after Halloween but try to remember it is important to celebrate the holidays.  Take any time off you have to really try to connect with your family.  This year I want to spend more time on the slopes telling Lucas to ‘make a damn pizza already!’, and Ben to ‘Stop whining, you are not hurt!’ and of course Tam ‘Yes dear’.  But really, I encourage everyone to connect with loved ones and really make this season one of love and joy.  Put things like job stress, relationship troubles and US president-elect on the back shelf.  Get out, enjoy the amazing beauty we have around us and let that fill your heart with the joy of the season.  And if that doesn’t work, there is always the budget scotch.  Have a Merry Christmas

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Bike to work year

As some of you know I ride my bike to work. I have been doing this for over a year now. I really enjoy it and it saves us a ton of money. Here are some of the pearls of wisdom I have learned over the year.
First off I will let you know my cycling style. I ride about 4k a day (2 to work and 2 back home). Second is I ride in almost all weather conditions. That is the type of riding I will be talking about commuter riding in all weather.
Let’s go over some of the gear you will need starting with your bike. Currently I am riding on a $50 walmart special and while it has served me well, you may want to invest a little if you are riding all the time. My bike is really starting to show wear and it just isn’t really meant to last. You also want to find a good all around bike. If you by a skinny tired road bike it will work great on dry, clean roads but as soon as you hit rain, gravel or snow (yes you can hit snow) you are in trouble. Also, a huge tired mountain bike is great for getting through the slick and loose stuff but you have to really work a lot harder to move those big soft tires up a hill. Also, you are really going to want a few gears. I really don’t see the need to have more than 15 (I typically only use about 5 of mine) but you need some. Those fancy classic cruiser bikes may look cool (I am taking to you, artsy hipsters!) but if they don’t have gears you will find yourself walking your bike. Go to your local bike shop and tell them what you are doing with your bike. They should be able to show you a few good commuter bikes that should let you ride almost every day. As for bike accessories I highly recommend some lights. I don’t ride much at night but during the winter I have had to be at work early. You really need both a headlight and a taillight to be seen. Some nice LED based lights work great and last a long time between battery changes. I, personally, am not a big fan of mud flaps. I find they get in the way more than they keep you dry but give them a shot if you like. I also don’t use a bag rack on my bike. I just use a backpack but if you have to haul a lot of gear to and from work you may want to invest in a bag rack and maybe some saddle bags. You want to have more space than you think you need. Buy a really long bike lock. A long lock works best in case you ever need to lock to a tree. I just use a bare metal chain and a pad lock. It works well. That pretty much covers it in the bike department. On to all weather clothing.
You have to be ready for all weather conditions. Let’s start from the bottom and work up. I use a simple running shoe for riding. It works well and is comfortable. I also have a change of shoes at my office because while running shoes go great with a bike they don’t go well with a tie. Also, your shoes may get wet so always have a spare pair. That goes for socks too. Throw a spare pair in a desk or a locker at work. In the summer, wear shorts when you bike. If you are wearing pants, you have to make sure they don’t get into your front sprocket (gears) or you will tear them and jam up your bike. Wear tight fitting pants (shudder), tuck your pants into your socks (shudder) or use a Velcro strap to keep them away. I know that all of these solutions aren’t the most fashionable but it is better than going through a pair of pants every week. In cold weather I also wear long johns. Your legs will get pretty chilly without them. As with most things, dress in layers on top. I wear just a t-shirt in the summer but in colder weather I either wear a hoodie or my winter jacket. Be sure if you are wearing heavy clothing you can unzip as you go. My ride to work is always way colder then my ride home. If you are really sensitive to cold weather you may want to wrap a scarf around your face or get a mask. You want to find a good pair of tight fitting glasses. Try not to get a pair that is tinted too dark. You need to wear them in many different weather conditions. Cold air, snow (yeah, snow, for real) and rain are really hard to see in without glasses but you don’t want them too dark or you won’t be able to see. Top thing off always with a helmet. This is very important and if you don’t wear one, you are just asking for a brain injury. I also have a thin toque. You don’t want anything too bulky because it makes it hard to get your helmet on over it so a nice thin toque is your best option. If it has rained, there is a good chance you will get a bit muddy riding in. If your workplace has a shower, use it. Don’t shower when you leave the house, just shower at work. Otherwise pack some pit stick and you change of clothes. Wash your face and arms at work and re-pit. You may also want to pack a sweat towel if you are up hill to work.
So now you have your bike and you are dressed, what is next. Well you are always going to want to pack a change of clothes or store a set at work. Weather can change quickly and because you don’t have a car to whip home quickly in, be prepared! Don’t forget a second set of footwear. Like I mentioned above your feet will eventually get wet. Depending on the length of your trip you may want to pack some water with you. One thing I recommend leaving at home is your MP3 player. If you are riding a bike trail it might not be an issue but if you are riding on the roads you really want to be able to hear what is going on around you. I use my ears a lot when riding on the streets. People don’t generally pay attention to cyclists so you always have to be responsible for your own safety.
Weather is your biggest challenge when riding. There are a few things to be aware of. When the roads are wet be sure to slow down a bit. It is amazing how a little water affects your traction. You can also ride in sub-zero temperatures but be very aware of ice. If you hit ice on two wheels you will go down, fast. I have ridden to work when it is snowing but if there is more than a skiff on the ground you may want to walk to work. Also, be aware that after a snow, the plows rarely go near the bike lanes so you have to keep an extra eye on the vehicles around you. When ride a bike you save a ton on vehicle costs. Start a cab fare jar where you put in $10 a month. That should give you more than enough for those rare times you need to call a cab. Also, learn the bus schedule. Many times in bad weather you can use the bus to get to work. Cheaper than a cab and in this city they are never crowded. When riding in town, share the road goes both ways. Drivers are supposed to share the road with you but you also don’t own it on a bike. Get over when you can and let drivers pass you safely. You are a slow moving vehicle so yield the road when possible. Also, unless you make direct eye contact, assume drivers don’t see you. Make sure you error on the side of caution. You saying you had the right of way doesn’t do you much good when you are in traction.
So that is my biking run down. The last thing I want to say is that ANYONE who is able to walk, can ride to work. You may almost die the first week. You will wheeze. You will sweat. But if you try it out for one week, it will become bearable. After 2 or 3 weeks you may even enjoy it. I am a perfect example. I am over weight (obese by Wii standards!) and I basically get no other real physical activity, and I can do this. By riding to work, I save us $300 a month car payment, $25 a week in gas, $100 a month insurance, $20 a month maintenance. Bike tires cost pennies to repair and I can do it myself. I am also almost carbon neutral (I breathe pretty heavy). So if you are trying to save money, get fit, be green or just because I dare you to, get out and ride. There really isn’t an excuse. Please post comments or questions below. I am sure there are things I missed but I am happy to answer questions.

Next stop, the rest of your life

Hello again great mass of readers. I know you have been waiting with baited breath for a new post. Anyway I want to talk about how the whole birth of my son went down. It was the most amazing thing to ever experience. Here is the basic timeline and what happened.

Oct. 12 @ 10:00 – We went to the hospital to have gel applied to help start labour. This does not put you into active labour like oxytocin does. This gel just helps the process get going if your body is ready. The doctor told us it normally peaks around 4-5 hours so if you feel it, come back in around 15:00 or 16:00. She also said that if we didn’t feel anything we should come back to get checked out around 18:00 or 18:30. After she finished the procedure we left the hospital.

Oct. 12 @ 11:00 – Headed out to lunch at Tims then went for an hour long walk along the Okanagan Lake front. Tam didn’t really feel much action. After the lake front we wandered around Wal-mart for about an hour.

Oct. 12 @ 15:00 – Headed home. Tam still didn’t really feel anything. She bounced on her ball for another hour or so. Still didn’t feel anything so we went for another walk. At this point we really didn’t feel like anything was going to happen.

Oct. 12 @ 17:30 – Had a nap.

Oct. 12 @ 18:30 – Went back to the hospital for our 18:30 check up. Tam still didn’t feel anything but they hooked her up to the non-stress test machine (NST) and it showed she was having very mild but regular contractions. She still couldn’t really feel them but they showed up on the monitor. The doctor wanted us to stay the night in case she did go into active labour. The doctor was concerned about Tam’s sugar levels going out of whack because she had gestational diabetes. We thought we were going to spend the night at the hospital and go home the next morning. We were told to go out, have some dinner, relax and be back by 22:00.

Oct. 12 @ 22:00 – Settled down at the hospital. Put a movie into the laptop and tried to get a little sleep. We were pretty bummed at this point because nothing seemed to be working.

Oct. 13 @ 24:00 – Tam starts to have some regular cramping. Contractions starting.

Oct. 13 @ 02:00 – Contractions in full swing. It is about now we realize baby is on his way.

Oct. 13 @ 04:00 – Tam has a shot of pain relief. She says it didn’t really help with the pain but it did help her relax and sort of snooze between contractions (which are about 90 seconds apart). I call the grandparents to let them know the process has started.

Oct. 13 @ 04:30 – Nana Mercer and my sister-in-law Sonia show up. Sonia is my helper in the delivery room. Tam’s is coping with the pain by using gas. The gas is modern laughing gas. Tam said that it didn’t really do much for pain but you have to breathe in a particular way for it to work. She said this really helped her focus on her breathing and helped her keep her mind off the pain.

Oct. 13 @ 06:30 – Grandma Nunes and Auntie Em roll in. They help establish Camp Babe’s Acommin in the hallway. Normally you are not allowed to wait on the maternity floor while there is a birth in progress but it just happened that we were the only ones in labour at the time so it wasn’t a big deal.

Oct. 13 @ 09:00 – Doctor comes in and breaks Tam’s water. Things get real painful and Tam is really for an epidural. The epi goes in at 09:30 and it wasn’t a moment too soon. Post water break contractions were extremely painful.

Oct. 13 @ 14:30 – Doctor comes back to check on Tam and she is fully dilated. We had been watching a movie and relaxing most of the afternoon just waiting for things to happen. Pops Mercer got a kick out of the fact we had time to watch a movie while in labour. We start pushing.

Oct. 13 @ 15:24 – Baby Nunes is born! It was totally amazing. My wife did such an amazing job through the whole process. It just blew me away how strong she was during the whole thing. The doctor really didn’t think she would have a natural birth but we proved her wrong! (The doctor was worried the baby would be too large to delver without a c-section). He was 8lbs 6oz and was 21 ¼ inches long. Because Tam didn’t push for very long and because he had pooped before coming out he had some mucus in his lungs so he didn’t cry much. He mostly kind of grunted.

Oct. 13 @ 16:00 – Camp Babe’s Acommin rushes into the room. Nana and Grandma rush in. The whole room is just buzzing with people. It is pretty amazing.

Oct. 13 @ 16:45 – Mom feeds for the first time. They get the hang of it pretty quick.

Oct. 13 @ 17:30 – Moved to post partum room. More Aunts, Uncles and friends show up. It is all pretty cool and everyone is pretty impressed.

Oct. 14 @ 10:00 – Mom and Dad survived the first night and also come up with a name. We say good morning to Benjamin Christopher!

Oct. 15 @ 12:00 – Ben comes home!

So that is the basic run down. I could go into much more detail but that is how the labour and birth basically went down. I cannot express how proud I am of my wife. She was totally amazing though the whole process. She was so brave and so focused. She never once said she was scared or worried. She was just all about finding her zone and staying focused.

I also want to say a huge thank you to Sonia for helping me out in the delivery room.  She allowed me to stay focused on my wife through the process and also made sure there was always some one with her.  I was able to get a bathroom and food break in once and a while.  She also did a great job of snapping Ben’s first photos.  Thank you so much for all your hard work and help.

We are settling in fairly comfortably and we are all getting used to each other. Every day things seem to get a little easier and we understand and learn a little more. There will be many more Ben related posts to come and I look forward to sharing my stories with the world.

Nunes/Gough Baby Pool

Nothing like mixing the birth of a new child and gambling!  Hey-oh!  But seriously it is very cool that my cousin and I are expecting child and we have the same due date (or rather she is expecting and my wife is).  Anyway our families put together a baby pool for guessing due dates.  Here are the complete standings:

Name Baby Nunes Baby Gough
Grandma Nunes Oct. 14 @ 0300 Oct. 17 @ 0900
Grandma Bain Oct. 10 @ 0500 Oct. 09 @ 0400
Grandpa Bain Oct. 12 @ 0923 Oct. 12 @ 0645
Grandpa Nunes Oct. 16 @ 0100 Oct. 17 @ 0500
Shelly & John T. Oct. 10 @ 1035 Oct. 10 @ 1300
Gary T. Oct. 11 @ 2230 Oct. 14 @ 0745
Dianne T. Oct. 20 @ 0645 Oct. 22 @ 2350
Auntie Lisa Oct. 07 @ 0230 Oct. 11 @ 0130
Auntie Emily Oct. 08 @ 0300 Oct. 12 @ 0300
Momma Leah Oct. 10 @ 1730 Sep. 30 @ 0400
Pappa Brad Oct. 07 @ 1800 Oct. 10 @ 0300
Pappa Ryan Oct. 12 @ 0800 Sep. 29 @ 2000
Gr. Grandpa T. Oct. 08 @ 0255 Oct. 06 @ 0255
Doris Oct. 11 @ 0415 Oct. 13 @ 0330
Jason Oct. 13 @ 1500 Oct. 14 @ 1600
Ray & Bean Oct. 12 @ 0600 Oct. 12 @ 1200
Uncle Scott Oct. 11 @ 2100 Oct. 02 @ 1100
Marci Oct. 08 @ 1000 Oct. 05 @ 1200
Amie Oct. 08 @ 0725 Oct. 07 @ 0655
R & M Sewell Oct. 16 @ 0135 Oct. 15 @ 0215
Eddie & Brain Murphy Oct. 11 @ 0526 Oct. 17 @ 2016
Anne & Tom Foltyn Oct. 14 @ 0425 Oct. 18 @ 0325
Dale & Chelsea Oct. 18 @ 0200 Oct. 18 @ 1526
Mamma Tamara Oct. 19 @ 1900 Oct. 20 @ 1300
Anutie Sonia Oct. 12 @ 2400 Oct. 14 @ 1601
Uncle Josh Oct. 15 @ 2400 Oct. 13 @ 0400
Nanna Mercer Oct. 09 @ 0228 Oct. 10 @ 1301
Pops Mercer Oct. 12 @ 0928 Oct. 16 @ 2400

The winner is the closest person to the date and time without going over.  For all other rules please contact my mother.  Good luck!

Edit (Oct. 6):  I have crossed out any guesses who do not qualify anymore.  We have a few off the list already.

Edit (Oct. 8):  A few more people have fallen off the list.  Also, due to internet chatter, I suspect we will have a winner on the Gough side soon!

Edit (Oct. 9):  Congrats to Leah and Ryan!  They had a baby girl around 1800 last evening.  I don’t have a name, exact time or weight but will post as soon as I know those details.  The unofficial results says Grandma Bain is the closest prediction.  Congrats to Grandma Bain and good luck to the Gough family!  Please send pictures soon!

Edit (Oct. 23):  Well the race has come to an end.  I guess mothers really do know best.  Congrats to the new Grandmothers.  May they spend their winnings wisely (on their new Grandkids!)  Keep checking back to my blog.  I will have a post up soon about the whole experience and my first few weeks as a father.

Baby’s Room Transformation

So we are getting pretty close to being ready (as we can be!) for baby.  Part of this process was getting baby’s room together.  We had a room that would work but we weren’t big fans of the colour and the carpet was over 15 years old (and looked that way).  So it was my job to transform the ‘meh’ room into the ‘Awwwe!  That is soooo cute!’ room.  Here is that process.

This is the first coat of primer.  The original colour was a deep blue so it was hard to cover over.  In the end I did three coats of primer and two of the paint.  Also notice I have removed all the electrical face plates.  In the end I put in all new plugs and switches with the newer ‘square look’ sockets and switches.  The original ones had paint on them from a previous paint job.

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I had also removed all the old carpet and baseboards before painting.  Trash from the spikey carpet things is in the closet.

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After two more coats of primer the blue was almost gone.

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First coat of green looked nice.  Our bulldogge Ivy was a great help.  She played foreman at the door.

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The client and his/her vessel inspecting the project.  A two kick approval was given.

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My helpers making sure I was on track.

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Second coat of paint is now done.

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New flooring goes in.  Big thanks to @SheldonPearce and Josh Mercer for lending a hand.

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Baseboards and vent grate when in.  Thanks again to @SheldonPearce for finding me the baseboards.

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Mamma with all the baby loot from her shower.  Thank you to everyone who attended.  We have so much stuff and everyone was so very generous

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Crib and dresser look great.  Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa Nunes.  Also a big thanks to Nana and Pops Mercer for the stroller, car seat and playpen.  I am sure pictures of those will show up very soon.

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Installed the closet organizer and put the original baseboards back in the closet.

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Thanks again to Nana Mercer for the bedding, mobile, window valance, laundry hamper and wall hangings (not shown).

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Little shelves were grabbed at Zellers and fit just perfect under the window.

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The project is pretty much at an end.  We just need to hang a few things on the wall and it is done.  Once again a big thanks to those who helped out.  I couldn’t have done it without you.

Baby Updates Right to Your Phone!

As most of my very dedicated readership knows (readership.  Bah ha!) I am having a baby.  As it is getting close to baby time many people are asking how they can get information about what is going on.  While we will be contacting some people by phone it is just too busy to call everyone.  But now, through the wonders of modern technology, you can get breaking news right on you mobile phone.  If you have a cell phone that can send and receive text messages you can get the latest play by play about what is going on with our birth.  To do this you need to get yourself a Twitter account.

Twitter is this new(ish) thing on the internet and it does a bunch of amazing things.  For the purpose of Baby Watch ’09, we are going to use it to get messages from me as labour/birth progresses.  Don’t worry though, you will not be getting any graphic details.  So lets get set up with Twitter!

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First go to Twitter.com in any web browser.  Click on Sign up now.

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Next, sign up for the service.  There is a one page form you fill out.  It is pretty basic.  Because it has been so long I can’t remember but you may have to check your email once you sign up for a confirmation email.  But regardless it will tell you what you need to know.  Now go back to twitter.com and sign in.  The sign in button is at the top right of the main page.

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You will now be at your twitter home page.  You first need to follow me.  Click on the Find People link in the top right corner of your twitter page.

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Make sure you are on the Find on Twitter tab along the top and then type nimrod108 in the search box.  A list of names will show up.  Look for me.  I am the funny digital face on the purple background.  It will also say Brad Nunes under nimrod108.  Click the Follow button.  Now you are following me.  Next we have to set up your cell phone to receive updates.

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On your twitter home page, click the settings link.  Find the devices tab along the top.  Enter your cell phone number in the mobile phone box.  Make sure you check off the box that reads ‘It’s okay for Twitter to send txt messages to my phone.  Standard rates apply.’  If you don’t check that box you will not get my updates.  Twitter will then ask that you send a txt message to a number.  This step makes sure you are the one holding the phone.  This prevents someone from setting your phone up so you get slammed with messages.  Once you get tired of getting my updates you can come back to this page to remove your phone from the service.  Twitter does not charge for txt messages.  Your cell phone company may charge you.  It depends on your plan.  Most of the time it is not more then about 25 cents per message but many plans include at least a few a month and I promise not to send hundreds of them.

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Now that you have a phone registered from Twitter you have to tell it to get my updates.  From your twitter home page, click on the following link.  In the list look for my name.

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Because I can’t follow myself we will pretend I am WilliamShatner.  You will notice a little phone icon across from my name.  It may be a bit hard to see on some screens but it looks like a little phone in a little circle.  If you click on it, it will turn green.

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Once the icon is green, that means anything I say on twitter will get sent to your phone.  Messages will come from a funny looking number (21212) but they should say my name at the start of my message.

So that is how you follow me on twitter and get those updates on your cell phone.  If you are friends with me on Facebook I will also be updating my status as things progress (twitter does that for me as well!) but you will have to refresh the page to see any new updates.  If you have questions or have any comments please post them below.  I do check them and it makes me feel special.

Zen and the art of dog training

This is a bit of a two part post;  one about dog ownership and the other about dog training.  First lets talk about the 2 dogs I own.  My wife and I have an 8 year old black lab named Sadie.  She is great at fetching and pants a lot.  She is also great at shedding but we love her just the same.  Sadie was about 2 years old when she came into my wife’s life and about 5 or so when she met me.  She is fairly well trained but also fairly stuck in her ways.  Our latest doggie addition is Olde Kingdom’s Poison Ivy (or just Ivy).  She is an Olde English Bulldogge from Olde Kingdom Bulldogges (http://oldekingdombulldogges.canadianwebs.com/index.html).  She was loving birthed by my bother-in-law and sister-in-law on March 16, 2008.  I cannot tell you how awesome this dog is.  She is so friendly and just wants to love everything.  She is also very smart and loves to work.  As a side note there are brand new puppies available for sale right now.  The first litter was born last weekend (7 puppies!) and their other female should give birth this weekend.  Again these are amazing dogs bread by a fantastic and loving breeder.

The interesting thing about Olde English Bulldoggs (as opposed to English Bulldogs) is that Olde English Bulldogges are a recreation bread started in the 70’s.  These dogs are much more healthy then the English bulldogs (which normally suffer from breathing and back issues).  They are normally taller and don’t have quite the squished in face of the English.  They also tend to have more energy.

We have been taking Ivy to many different training classes over the last year and a bit.  It started with basic obeisance but then we move into rally training.  Rally is a lot of work with the dog at your side.  You walk with the dog and have them do different heeling exercises.  She doesn’t do a bad job and if we had the time to practice with her on a regular basis she would be quite good at it.  From rally we also moved onto agility.  This is when you send your dog flying through an obstacle course.  They go through tunnels and over jumps.  Ivy loves this.  She goes bananas through the course.  We take the course through Country Canine (countryk9@telus.net) in Kaleden.  Cindy is amazing to work with and will help you with pretty much any dog.

If you follow my wife on facebook she has a ton of pictures of the dogs on her profile.  My sister-in-law is also on facbook (Sonia Watson-Mercer) and she would be happy to answer any of your ‘Oldie’ related questions.  Here is also another site with some information on the dogs:  http://www.canadasguidetodogs.com/bulldogge.htm