Friday, April 30, 2010

Staked down

We have wind beyond wind around here today.  We are hanging on.  It is that time of year when it's not really the end of the school year but we all wish it was.  There are no fun summer activities to look forward to yet and school is packed with end of the year learning assignments aka homework.

Jenna was first in  her class in the 1/2 mile run.  She passed two boys at the end to win.  She has always loved to run.  Jenna also finally lost her front tooth.  Rustin 'accidentally' got his fingernail caught under her tooth and popped it out.  The tooth fairy incurred two nights of late fees making this tooth worth 5 bucks.  Jenna is thrilled.  She also played beautifully in her recital last Saturday--O  Come Little Children and Song of the Wind.

Dallin and Landon have been super busy with scouts.  They are both on track to get their Eagle awards by the end of the year if everything goes all right.  Some of these merit badges are a lot of work and require a lot of time.  Right now they are both working on Physical Fitness and music and of course camping.  

Austin is mostly recovered from his surgery.  He had a bit of a setback last Saturday when he was feeling so good he couldn't resist a piece of pizza at a friends house.  Unfortunately, it tore the scab off in his throat and it started bleeding again.  All day Sunday he ate only one Popsicle and Monday he ate only one cup of smoothie.  No fun. He is back to school and is completely caught up with his work.  YEAH!

Ben is still my snuggly boy.  I love it.  He gets to register for kindergarden next week.  Jenna made an entire set of flash cards to "make sure he's ready to go to school."  I had nothing to do with it--I'm not much of a flash card person.  Benson will definately benefit from her tutoring.  He's not terribly interested in reading activities yet which makes me a bit nervous.  Hopefully reading will come easily to him like it did for Jenna and Austin.

Rustin is super busy.  He does a great job.  Our scouts had their entire trailer of equipment stolen so they have a big car wash fund raiser to try to replace tents etc.  And of course he has his hands full trying to keep me sane--with varying degrees of success! 

What's in a name?

For everyone who's not interested in dogs and/or training--sorry.  You can skip this if  you want.  I am going to try to keep a journal of puppy training for a couple of reasons--for fun, to keep myself focused and for future reference.

Our puppy's name Beauregard.  This literally means 'beautiful gaze'  or 'beautiful to look at' in French.  We call him Beau around the house but the kids are very particular to tell people that his name is Beauregard. I am wondering if we should register him with one of those fancy registration names like Beauregard of the Idaho valley or something elegant like that.  I don't know. 

Funny how the simplest things make me so happy...

Beau asked to go outside by whining at the door for the first time.  woohoo!

We still have potty training accidents but it is getting better both because he holds it well and we know when he needs to go out better.  I should have bought the gallon sized pet cleaner solution. 

Beau has been sleeping through the night on the floor of our bedroom.  I know-I know--so much for the 'just for tonight' short term solution to the puppy sleep training.  We have all seen Lady and the Tramp right? 

But he never even asks to get up on the bed and he has never had an accident in our room and he immediately lays right down.  So I'm not complaining.  Molly never slept through the night.  I'm not kidding.  Until we got a dog door when she was 18 months old I got up EVERY SINGLE night and let her out to the bathroom.  I didn't even get up with my babies that long...  But trying to avoid a screaming puppy or pee on the floor is quite motivating.

Speaking of dog doors--I have plans to put a dog door in the family room this weekend.  

I hesitate to even write this because I don't want to jinx anything but... we don't have our yard completely fenced in and Beau has never ventured away.  Did you hear that!?  When I was trying to train the beagle (Molly) to stay home I remember watching a family carry groceries in with their dog just trotting along beside them and seriously feeling my eye tear up with jealousy.  I know we are still in the puppy phase but we have never experienced such a miracle.  A dog that stays home!

Working the training levels:

All training is done with feedings.  We don't just give the dog any of his food.  He has to earn it.  The first day I waited for Beau to sit from being tired of trying to get food from my hand.  I just clicked when his butt hit the flour.  Bingo.  He got that the first day. 

Once he was offering sits continually, I started moving his treats so he would stand up to get them then I started adding the 'Sit' cue just as his butt hit the floor.  We did about 100 repetitions of that.  Very quickly. And then I started saying the cue 'sit' just before he sat.  We did that for the next day and now he is responding to the sit cue in all areas of the house from me or Rustin or the kids.  We haven't tried it outside and we haven't added any other behaviors yet--which is the tricky part. 

We are working on target (my hand) for a treat but haven't really added the cue.  I just started to try to get some downs this morning but it's hard when he's starving.  I used Sue Ailsby's method of putting the treat back and just in front  of his paws.  At first he kept standing up to try to get the treat and I realized that I needed to keep the tread closer to his body on the floor so he would fold in.  Bingo.  But that was luring.  Still need to get him to realize that laying down in the trick.  That's the trouble with luring.  I will try to capture some downs when he offers them when I'm not feeling too lazy. 

Today Benson sat on the floor with a bowl of food and Beau started to mug him for just a second and then he quickly backed up and politely planted his bottom and Benson started dolling out the food. Beau was very polite after that.  This is great because a wrestling session  yesterday ended up with a deep scratch on Benson's ear.  Seriously ouch.  I spent some time having Benson practice being in charge. 

I have a million questions and worries but Rustin reminds me that like Rome, good family dogs aren't built in a day. 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tweens no more!

The twins turned 13 today!

I really can't believe how fast time flies.  Didn't they just look like this???

In the bottom picture Dallin and Landon are sharing a bassinet with plenty of space.  The doctors think Dallin and Landon started to have twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome at the very end of the pregnancy.  Thankfully this didn't happen any earlier--Dallin especially had a rough start but was able to go home with us after three days.  Interesting trivia fact--Dallin and Landon had monochorionic but separate amniotic sacs--that means that they had separate inner sacs but one single outer sac during pregnancy. 

You can't see it terribly well, but Dallin was super pale in color (not getting enough blood) and Landon was bright red (getting way too much blood).  That's how we could tell them apart at first.  Looking at them today It's hard to imagine those tiny beginnings.  These two boys have blessed us in more ways than we can express and we are excited to have teenagers in the house!

What were we thinking!!!

I knew I would say this but I forgot how exhausting a new puppy is.  ugg.

Potty training stinks.

The kids slept on the floor by the pup for the last two night but last night everyone was ready for their own beds.  What to do...

 Last night I broke the *this dog will never see the inside of a bedroom* rule and put him on a mat on the floor next to my bed (when exhaustion kicked in at midnight...).  He whined for a second and put his paws up on the bed but I pushed him off once and he didn't ask to get up again.  No accidents during the night but I took him out three times.  Tonight I am going to try to get him to go back to sleep instead of getting up. For the next couple of nights I will have him sleep on the floor next to my bed but then hopefully to the crate without crying all night... 

Crating  would have been easier for Beau  if he had spent time in the crate with his litter mates.... so we will work  on it gradually.

I forgot that I love training.  I don't know what it is--something about learning to communicate with a creature.  And dogs love people...

Training:  we are using regular puppy kibble and we are training during meal times.  We have lots of offered sits now.  Beau does great with the "Puppy come game."  I also started working on targeting today as well as clicking for sitting politely to get dinner from my hand.

Tomorrow all my puppy-sitters go back to school so we'll see how it goes!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Here we go...

Oh yes.

After much discussion, debate and research...

We are now a dog family--again.

We went to check out the litter (--the fourth time for me but the first time for Rustin) fully intending to pick a cute little golden retriever female, but the dogs told us otherwise.  Actually, one little cutie in particular helped make our decision.

A cute (and big)  ivory golden retriever boy attached himself to Rustin.  It was actually really interesting to see.  The other puppies bounced around jumping on our legs and jostling to get the best scratch...  One puppy just glued his eyes on Rustin and followed him patiently.

I have to say I was  impressed with the little guy's taste--I generally follow Rustin around myself...

The clencher for me was when the little three year old grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and drug him across the floor.  He just looked up at her--not a growl struggle or whimper.

At home for the first night, Jenna has willingly taken on the roll of 'little mama.'  She is currently sleeping on the floor next to the kennel in the family room.  I have declared that we will have no dogs in the bedrooms.  It's just too messy.  And I am anticipating Golden hair...

There was a little whining in the crate tonight at first but I snuck my hand in the side door and scratched his soft puppy hair until he fell asleep.  Two minutes.  Honestly.  I am beginning to realize how seriously hard Molly (our last dog--beagle) was.  We endured HOURS of whining and howling that only a fellow beagle owner can appreciate.

Anyway, tomorrow will start some basic training from my favorite training method of course!

And I went back and read the early days of Sue's assistance dog's training.

I am excited to work with a dog that is a bit easier to train and I can't wait to put all the blood-sweat-and-tears knowledge from past experience to work!  Of course, in the realm of dog training I am completely a novice but hey--it's all fun.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

T and A

Otherwise known as Tonsillectomy and Adnoidectomy.

Austin had surgery this morning.  We are hoping this will end several years of untreatable sinus congestion/infection like it did for Benson last year. 

Austin did great even with the IV start--his most nerve-wracking part.  They sprayed his skin with a numbing spray and then a little bubble of lidocaine and Austin really didn't feel much of anything.  When he got back to the room, he just turned from side to side while we listened to the wailing children in the rooms around us. 

Once we got home, the soreness kicked in and even a chocolate popsicle couldn't help.

They gave us a new medicine that we haven't ever used before.  It is VERY concentrated Oxycodone hydrochloride--Austin only takes 1/4 of a milliliter.  That's about 10-15 drops.  And it has no taste at all.  Awesome!  Once the medicine kicked in we (Austin and I) took a long nap.  

Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Not quite done yet...

I am writing about Mia again because I am not quite done being happy for the addition of a little one...

It's not that this baby is any more precious than any of our other babies.  It's just that the unexpected and delightful arrival of this one reminds us that our Father above trusts our family to raise and nuture little spirits; and that He really does have a bigger picture in mind.  I am convinced that this little spirit was specifically intended for Beck and Jer. And through this experience I am even more excited to see what other little bundles lay in store for all of the rest of my family...

Becki's husband wrote a great post over at CJane's blog
You should check it out!

We are doing great around here. Just a couple of updates.
Jenna has a loose tooth that makes her IQ score drop at least 20 points.  She won't let me pull it.  Believe me--I've tried.

Austin gets his tonsils and adenoids out next week.  We are hoping for a sinus-infection-clearing miracle like it was for Benson a couple of years ago.

Dallin is way taller than me.

Landon's taller than Dallin.

Austin is only two inches behind me--5'3".

This will be our last week with a teenage-free home.  Is that happy or sad?  Not sure yet!

All four boys need new shoes (we've already super-glued them twice...).  And so does their dad.  Sounds like a date night night huh!   
(because there won't me much left for me after spending a small fortune on feet!)