Sunday, August 3, 2014

New Furbaby for the Parkers

We have decided to adopt Capri into our home.  She came in and just kind of captured all of our hearts.  I am absolutely shocked that we are adopting our first foster dog.  She is a lot smaller than what we had talked about getting...although she is only 4.5 months old and could grow more.  She has certainly grown since we got her.

Now we need to decide if we are going to keep her name.  I rarely call her Capri.  I call her Capresi (cap-ree-see) or little girl.  So now we will probably start the name game.

Jordy likes Mesmerelda, Mezzy for short.  She says, "Because she came in an mesmerized us".  HA!  We will see.  I like Mezzy. 

And I hate to be cliché but she is like a shadow the way she follows me around so that might be an option too.  I remember it taking us forever to name Zoe.  The name the breeder gave her was Latte.  That didn't suit her at all.  We loved the name Zoe from the tv show, Firefly, and that stuck. 

Capri is technically Jordan's dog so she gets the final say on names.  She has talked about naming her Oreo too.  Time will tell.  For now though, we are just enjoying all the snuggles she gives.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Her personality emerges!

Capri has been with us a full week now.  She is really becoming comfortable with our routine and family.  She has discovered our basket of toys and loves anything soft that squeaks.  She also likes rope toys.  She is learning how to play with Zoe.  Capri snatches toys from Zoe in order to get her to play but our snobby 11 year old Sheltie is not having it.  She just lays down at Josh's feet as if to say, "Yeah, enjoy but he loves me best."  Sometimes I will hold Capri back while I play with Zoe to show that she gets turns too but I don't know if that does any good.

Her puppy mentality is great.  She is smart, inquisitive, and playful now that she has been de-wormed and spayed.  If she gets bored, she climbs on tables, desks, and can jump high enough to get on top of our garbage can and then get to  the counter top.  Long walks 2 to 4 times a day and lot of play time with fetch and tug help keep her from this behavior.  She loves to play fetch and is learning to "drop it" when she comes back...after a quick game of tug.

She is learning "down" and "leave it" quickly.  She learned "sit" extremely quickly.  She is struggling with "stay".  Leash training continues to go well.  She pulls on the leash a bit, wanting to follow her nose.  My 7 year old has a hard time keep up with her pace. She is very fast and strong for such a little dog.  I usually walk Zoe and stay ahead of Jordy and Capri to establish the hierarchy (Thanks Liz!).  They walk together very nicely.

She has not snarled at Emily again but Emily needed correction on her behavior towards Capri too.  Now they are buddies.  Emily has a similar energy level to Capri so they make great play buddies.  Jordy had a friend spend the night and there was no snarling or snappy at the new child...BUT Capri was recovering from her spay so she was out of it.

Feeding time has improved.  Capri wolfs down each meal.  We feed Zoe once a day 3/4c mixed with water in the evenings plus treats and chews during the day.  But Capri needs way more than that.  I feed her 1/2c in the mornings and 3/4c at night, plus another 1/4c during training sessions...for a total of 1 1/2c.  I don't think this is enough since she jumps at her food like she's starving. The feeding guide says She should be getting 2 3/4c a day.  I am going to increase it to 1c at each meal time and 1/2c reserved for training sessions.

Although I really thought a bigger dog is what would be next for our family.  It seems like this size dog fits our family very well.  We still haven't decided if we will adopt her.  I am still concerned that once school starts that our schedules will be too busy for such a young and active dog.  However, I have started getting up earlier to walk her so that she gets enough exercise.  I am enjoying my "forced" walks and Zoe is getting a lot more exercise for it too.

Time will tell.  We will need to decide by the end of the week. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Capri Update

Capri is becoming much more comfortable in our home.  She is still have some stomach issues but I hope that the de-wormer and new puppy food will help her.  She is very sweet with both of my daughters and loves to curl up with Jordy for an evening snuggle once she has eaten and had a nice long walk.  She ran to me and sat on my belly to give me very timid kisses when I arrived home today. 

1) Territorial with food and toys and affection. 
Last night, Capri was standing in my lap while I was scratching her back.  Zoe approached us and Capri snarled and snapped at her.  I'm not sure why she did this.  There were no food or toys involved.

I had to return to work today so my husband, Josh, and 5 year old, Emily, were home with the dogs today.  He reported that he was playing with a tug rope with Zoe, our sheltie, and Capri snatched it away.  She did it twice.  On the third try, Zoe let her know that was not cool.  They snarled at one another but she submitted to Zoe. 

They eat separately and out of different dishes.  I'm not sure how to work with a dog who is territorial and protective about their food.  Is there a way to correct this behavior? 

2) Too smart for her own good.  Capri figured out how to open Zoe's food container and the garbage can lid.  We moved the container and turned the garbage can around so the latch is against the wall.  Easy fixes.  She also opened a kitchen cabinet and tried to use boxes in the cabinet to get up to the counter.  I couldn't believe it.  We have had to be very vigilant about food.  On the plus side, my daughters are finally consistently cleaning up after themselves and eating only at our kitchen table.  We do have to keep all the chairs pushed in or Capri climbs on top of the table.

1) Walking on Leash.  Capri enjoys being outdoors a lot.  I think she must have some kind of hound in her (beagle?) because she is extremely sniffy.  She constantly has her nose to the ground.  We are working on staying close on the leash and 'heel'.  She is very motivated by kibble but still jumps for it.  We started with very short walks in our front and backyard.  Every walk has been a little farther and a little longer.  Tonight we were able to go to the end of the street and back.  We even did a little jog.  I've noticed that when she is bored or under walked she starts to look around the house for things to get into. 

2) Potty training.  Capri is doing great with this!  She has already started going to either the front or back door and either scratching or jumping at it.  She almost immediately goes potty after doing this. We are sure to take her out immediately after any longer stays in the crate (over night or if we all run out to the store for a bit). 

3) Crate Training.  She doesn't LOVE her crate but I think she recognizes it as a safe place.  We do feed her in there so that she doesn't feel like she has to protect it from Zoe.  

All in all, I think she is doing great.  I am certainly surprised at myself.  I thought Josh would be the one taking the lead on everything but he has deferred to me as I have been reading about fostering, common health issues with fosters, etc, etc.  I never would have thought this was something I would do or love doing.  I never had dogs growing up.  In fact, I didn't have a dog until I moved in with Josh and his Aussie, Dingo.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A foray into doggy fostering

Do not, under any circumstances, make promises to your children unless you are 100% sure you will see it through.  Beyond the inevitable tantrum that will ensue when you break the promise, you have made a chip in the trust your child has with you.  I'm guilty.  We all are.  Promises are a binding contract with your child that you will see something through.  It could be a trip to the park, a toy, a new book. 

In my case, it's a dog.  My oldest daughter, Jordan, has been asking for a dog since she was 5.  At the time, I was taking courses for my masters degree, Emily was still in diapers, and we knew Josh wouldn't have a job much longer.  It was definitely the wrong time to add a fur baby to our family.  So we told her when she's 8 AND can prove she can handle the responsibility of a dog.  She jumped for joy.  I swear if the kid could accurately use a calendar she would have developed a count down.  She constantly asked how many years, how many months until she turned eight. 

The first year, she didn't bring it up as often.  The fateful day was far away and we were all busy with life.  The second year, she started to really notice different breeds of dogs at the park. After she did a community service project at school to help abandoned animals, she informed us she wanted to rescue a dog from a shelter.  But her 8th birthday was still a year and a half off. 

About 2 months after she turned seven, Jordan began to really discuss wanting a puppy versus a juvenile or adult dog.  We spent time discussing the demands of a puppy, and a senior or adult dog.  We discussed sizes of dog.  We started adding more responsibilities to Jordan's chores.  Picking up toys, maintain her room, feeding Zoe, our sheltie, taking her out in the backyard.  Walking with her on leash with an adult. 

Jordan will turn 8 October 4th this year.  She has proven to us that she is ready.  I'm not delusional.  I know that Josh and I will still be the ones, at first, to establish routines and care.  Although we met several dogs at local shelters that were sweet and got along with the kids and Zoe...most had health issues we weren't prepared to take on.  Jordan said, "I want to put the dog's needs before my own.  These dogs need to find a home that can care for them just right." 

This summer, several of my friends started to help out at a local rescue and fostering dogs.  Their experiences were so heart warming.  Their children loved on the dogs, learned about their care, and got to be part of the help the dog learn to be a family pet.  It seemed really rewarding. 

Our family discussed the pros and the cons.  The kids were part of the decision.  I worried that we would bring in a foster and they wouldn't be able to let go when the time came.  The girls decided they wanted to try it anyway.  We chose a dog that was coming in on a transport from Alabama.  Jordan said, "I know she might not stay forever Mom.  I like knowing I saved a dog.  Either we will be the right home or we will find her the right home."  I am constantly amazed at this kid's generous heart.

Capri is 20lbs soaking wet.  They say she is 4 months and a border collie mix but I am skeptical.  So far she doesn't behave like any of the herding dogs I've had.  But she is still adjusting to a new place.  I've never owned a beagle but sometimes she looks a bit like a hound to me.  And it might explain her longer body and freckled nose.

Here she is meeting Zoe for the first time.  After this initial greeting they have pretty much ignored each other.  She is a very nervous and timid dog.  She rolls over to show her belly for everyone.  She is very attached to Jordan and I.  I think because we were the ones to pick her up from the transport.  She is very nervous around Josh.  She belly crawls towards him but she does go to him and sat with him for a long time last night.  However, she shows her belly almost the whole time.
It seems like she was probably in an outdoor kennel.  She really loves being outdoors.  She stalls when we try to come back into the house and cowers like she thinks she shouldn't come in.  She has had loose stools since eating our kibble and vomited a bully stick.  I'm going to give the food another day or so to see if she adjusts to it.  I have no idea what she was eating before we got her. 
She seems to really love being around the kids.  She growled at Emily twice but I think Emily might have squeezed her too hard while hugging.  She growled at Zoe twice. Capri had a chewy and Zoe went over to see what was going on.  I have been isolating them for meals.  She was afraid of the vacuum machine when I needed to do some cleaning so I put her in her crate while I finished up.  She likes her crate a lot and is responding very well to crate and potty training. 
She had two accidents in the house.  The first was stool and I think her meal just went right through her.  The second was pee but the girls took her out of the crate while I was in another room.  They didn't take her right outside like we had been doing all day.  It was a good lesson for the girls.  Jordy had to clean up the mess and we discussed why a routine is so important.
So we have learned a lot.  I am showing Jordy the proper way to dispose of her poo when we walk.  She doesn't want to do that part but I told her its part of the having the dog.  You have to be willing to do the not so fun stuff.  Today we are going to give her a bath because she still smells from the transport.  We also need to get her a chewy and see what other toys she might like.  She doesn't seem to like any of Zoe's.  Zoe didn't seem to mind sharing and they didn't growl at each other over sharing toys or the two doggy beds we have in the living room.  I do sense a little bit of jealousy for attention but no aggression.  They walk beautifully on leash together. 

Time will tell.  I'm hoping she comes out of her shell with some consistent TLC and a routine.  I have to got back to work on Monday.  She will be home with Josh and Emily all day since Jordy has summer school.  Fingers crossed!  This wasn't an easy promise to keep.  Although we promised to adopt a dog when she turns 8, this is teaching us all so much about generosity, caring for the less fortunate, and the power of love. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Get fit and get to the fair!

With the Kids

The Florida State Fair started last Saturday.  We took the girls for the first time last Sunday.  You would have thought I had told Jordan Santa Claus was coming for a personal visit.  “I just can’t believe I am finally going to get to ride a Ferris Wheel!” she squealed with excitement.

Luckily it was the first armband day because the girls wanted to ride all the kid rides which were between $3- $4 each.  Each ticket is a dollar.  It was a relief not to have to negotiate rides according to a budget. 

Saturday - February 16 - Open at 9 AM

Midway opens at 10 AM

4-H & FFA Day – FREE Admission for 4-H and FFA Members with identification or jacket.

Adult Admission - Ages 12 and over $12

Children Ages 6-11 $6

Children Ages 5 and under are FREE


Since there are only a couple days left…I suggest heading out there for some family fun!

Get Fit as a FamilyThere are many ways for you and your family to get out in the community and do something to be fit together.  And it can be fun.  Use your chidren’s natural interests to choose activities.  Our girls love the feeling of flying.  A bike ride is the perfect choice to get them that feeling and help them get some exercise.  We throw their little bikes in the back of the car, hit a local park, and let them ride while we walk along side.  I look forward to the day when we can all ride together. 


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What's That? Wedensdays

Gifted Girl

My six year old qualified for gifted services this year.  It's very weird to be a teacher of gifted students and have the added perspective now of having a gifted child.  What's weirder is that, for now, I am her teacher because she attends my school.  Once a week, on Wednesdays, she comes to my classroom with my first grade student (that's right I only have 2 on Wednesdays!).  The three of us have decided to study dinosaurs. They both have a natural curiosity and fascination with the giant lizards who lived millions of years ago.  Can you blame them?  I'm learning it's a great science fueled topic!

Gifted children ask questions.  All children ask questions but gifted children ask pointed questions in vast quantities.  They want to know how everything in the world works.  My husband and I have always encouraged this questioning spirit because we want our kids to love learning; and what is learning if not the constant seeking out of new information. 

Jordan and her classmate  wanted to become experts on the Stegosaurus.  We started out by figuring out what they already knew.  Next, I have the kids ask as many questions as they can about the Stegosaurus so that while we read books, watch videos, and look at pictures...we can answer our questions.  Some questions they came up with:
  • How did the Stegosaurus grow its plates and spikes?
  • What were the plates used for?
  • How did the Stegosaurus stay cool?
  • How big did the Stegosaurus grow?  How big was a girl? boy? babies? eggs?
  • What predators did the Stegosaurus have?
  • How did they defend themselves?
  • Why did they live in hot places?
  • What did they eat?  how much did they eat?
  • Where did they sleep?
  • Did they live in herds or alone?
  • Did they migrate?
These are straight from their mouths...a kindergartner and a first grader.  I was impressed.

As a parent, I'm excited that my daughter gets a chance to learn about a topic she is interested in.  A child's natural curiousity is a great place to start when you want to enrich your child's learning experiences.  They don't need to be in a special program to get this either.  If you notice your child has a special interest; race cars, horses, the Titanic, WWII, dinosaurs.  Start googling the topic with "for kids" afterwards.  Find kid-friendly documentaries on Netflix, go to a museum or exhibit, attend a race.

  • Keeps a kids mind active versus passive
  • Exposes kids to new ideas
  • Allows to kids to see multiple possibilities
  • Adds excitment to weekends and summers

Here are some tips on developing your child's curiosity:
  • Keep an open mind
  • Relentlessly as questions
  • Never label things boring
  • Develop the mantra that learning is fun
  • Find a new topic that you know nothing about

Wild Wonderment

My friends and family who know Emily, my 4 year old, know that she is a wonder to us all.  It's kind of hard to peg her behaviors down.  She loves My Little Pony...obsessively.  She loves to play with water.  She will disappear into her playroom and create these epic tales about her ponies; either re-enacting episodes of MLP or creating new ones where the story lines criss cross. 
She has a million different faces for a multitude of emotions.  She expresses complex emotions with a squish of her cheek, an upturn of a corner of her mouth, an arch of an eyebrow.  It's amazing to watch. 

She is still potty training. 

She asks questions too but not with the voracious appetite for answers as Jordan.  She asks more to create a conversation with you.  She enjoys one on one time much more than group activities.  After a short while in a group, loud noises begin to aggravate her.  I haven't figured out if she has auditory sensitivities or just a control freak.  LOL!

So...she is my What's That? Wednesday.  Emily is my puzzle because she keeps her thoughts to herself.  Jordan just tells you exactly what she is thinking all the time.  Emily rarely answers a question directly asked to her and avoids confrontations at all costs.  It will be interesting to see how this manifests as she gets older.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

It's really been too long since I've posted.  Life has been busy.  My first year as a gifted/math teacher is wrapping up.  It was a crazy adventure and I am still learning a lot about these strange and wonderful kids.

Jordan will start kindergarten in the fall.  I'm sad and very excited for her.   Emily will go to preschool three days a week or half days.  She is very excited. 

But here is what is weighing heavily on my mind this beautiful May Saturday.  I start cleaning up the kids playroom this morning.  I'm getting lightheaded as I bend over to pick up what seems like thousands of lego and velvet playset peices...when I realize...we have too much stuff.  When did they get so much stuff?!  I look around and realize I didn't buy most of it.  Most of it has come from birthdays and Christmases.  Now I'm thinking this is a double edged sword.  On one side, I'm grateful that my girls have people in their lives who love them and are generous with them.  On the other, I seem to be the only one cleaning these things up. 

I also realize...I'm a horrible example for how an organized person should be.  I pile things.  I know what is in all my piles but these are hap-hazard and all over the house.  I look at pictures of IKEA catalogues where everything is labels and neat...I grow frustrated and envious that there are people out there who are so naturally good at organization. 

I have attempted in the past to get organzied and to downsize.  How many Nora Roberts novels does a girl really need to have on hand?  Why am I holding on to a pair of jeans that fit before I had kids (those will never fit me again)? 

I lack the motivation to get started and cringe at the thought of trying to get my head-strong, heels-dug-in five and three year old daughters to lend a helping hand.  If they don't comply and I really do have to pitch their princess dresses....will I really be able to do that?  Am I so materialistic that I wouldn't see it through?  I hope that I have the resolve.

Parenting is so much more complex than anyone could ever warn you.  Especially when you have a five year old who really should become some kind of FBI negotiator. I find myself staring at her and asking myself if I'm smart enough to outwit her.  Then I shake it off and remind myself I am the Mommy and if I am strong...mean what I say, say what I mean...she will be a strong, independent, disciplined woman.  I want that more than I want to be lazy.  I just need to be reminded periodically.

Mommia we go again...