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Tuesday, February 07, 2017

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks!

Well, Smitty isn't exactly an OLD dog--a little over a year. But since we are unsure of his whereabouts for the first year of his life, it seems he picked up some not so socially acceptable habits out there on the streets. (Hey, if you didn't have any food, you might eat poop too!)

We have had Smitty for five months now and it has been full of ups and downs. More downs than ups. There was the time I tried to find him a new home; he chewed up a rug or two; then chewed up some shoes, then chewed up a cat toy and had explosive you-know-what in his crate and I had to take him to the vet ER on a Saturday night. There was a lot of chasing after him to get things out of his mouth. And the barking. Oh, the barking.

Every day I asked myself, "WHAT HAVE I DONE?"

It's kind of like skiing. If you have never skied your entire life, then age 40 is not the time to start.

But then, a miracle. I went away to Savannah on a girls' weekend and came back to a brand new dog! Well, he looked the same. And I DO like the way he looks. But he acted like the dog I had always dreamed of!

And it is all thanks to the e-collar. Fine, it's a shock collar. But I felt the shock and it's nothing. But it was enough to completely transform our dog! At least I hope this is for keeps. It's been about three weeks so I figure I am not jinxing it by sharing it with my dozens of readers.

Anyway, life with Smitty is so much better now. He is a pleasure to take on walks. He lays around when he's in the house. He only barks when necessary. And if he does start to chew on something, we just say, "No" and he drops it. HE. DROPS. IT.

Oh, and we only had to use the e-collar for a little bit. He still wears it just in case but we rarely need it. He is totally my favorite kid.

Here are some pictures and a video of Smitty. In the video, Gus is trying to show how well trained he is. Now if we could only get him to stop eating his poop...

After playing at the dog park and after his post-dog-park bath (which I gave him all by myself!)

Thursday, January 05, 2017

And the Mystery Reader is...


Gus was SO excited when the mystery reader was revealed at school today and it was his big brother! He shrieked, "LEO!" and ran over and gave him a hug. (It worked out to have Leo do this because Gus started back to school two days earlier than Leo after winter break.)

I won't get into the long journey it has been to get Leo to a place where he could read a whole book, especially in front of a group of five year olds! But let's just say it was a journey and it was long. Which I guess I already said. And now Leo is an amazing reader!

Was he completely appropriate during his mystery reading time? No.
Did he stick to the script? No.
Did he read awesomely? Yes.
Is awesomely a word? Probably not.
Is Gus wearing a pajama top at school? Yes. Have to pick your battles.
Am I doing that annoying thing where I ask myself questions and then answer them? Yes, but I plan to stop after this one.

Leo was so impressed with himself: "Let's talk about what a good job I did being the mystery reader." That discussion turned into a business idea: Leo plans to have a store where he reads to kids all the time. And he will give them treats too. I said he will have to charge enough to cover the cost of the store. He changed his plan and said he will read to the kids in the woods.

So when he is a grown man luring kids into the woods with books and candy, we can say this is where it all began!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Drama Dudes

A couple of weeks ago I posted some videos of Leo's acting debut. (Be sure to check it out again because I added some background info!) We were all raving over Leo's performance, and encouraging him to leave school and become a child actor. But then we figured maybe he should do at least one more play first, and have more than one line so, you know, he can build up his portfolio.

So inspired by his big brother's accomplishment, Gus too took to the stage in a compelling performance as a shepherd in The Christmas Nativity at his preschool Here, I will post the show in its entirety. Be sure to watch for Gus's cute group line! Oh, and please disregard the cell phone that rings constantly. (Seriously???) Below the video of the play, please also enjoy two songs that Gus' adorable "Young 5's" class performed that day.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Dinosaurs Before Dark

Leo caught the acting bug and participated in his first play/musical! He was not one, not two but THREE different characters! (Okay, most of the younger kids were three parts.) Leo was a tree, a baby dinosaur and an Iguanodon. He had one line (see below). 

The play was through Off Broadway Children's Theatre. But the great thing is, the director came to his school for practices. So two days a week for three months he stayed at school an EXTRA HOUR! It was a win win and obviously, all that hard work paid off. Such a cute show, based on the first Magic Tree House book (one of Leo's favorite series).  He is already signed up for the spring semester play--The Jungle Book! 

Saying his line!! He got a laugh! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Back in the Saddle

When I posted this blog about Gus learning to ride his bike back in March, I thought that was it. I thought that was the bike riding blog. He learned. He rode. He was a bike rider. I even confidently said "once you learn, you never forget."

But apparently you can forget. Whether it was the long, hot summer or a bad fall down a hill, Gus DID NOT know how to ride his bike anymore. We tried a few times but were unsuccessful. And I'm not exactly up for bending over and holding on while he rides.

Luckily, Frank is. He took him up to the Sweet Apple Elementary parking lot and practiced for a long time two weeks ago. And he got it. Then Frank came home and took off Gus' beloved Balance Buddy and he rode in the cul de sac.

Last weekend we tackled the Greenway (side note: Frank and I always accidentally call it "The Greenbelt" from our Austin days).

video video

He's still a little shaky on down hills but this time I really really think he will never forget! (As long as we keep rolling through the winter!)

Oh, and as I went to post this blog, I saw a draft of a blog that I never posted from October. So, this will be a little dated but bear with me:

Gus had planned to be Luke Skywalker for Halloween. Then one day he mentioned something about a pirate zombie and I stupidly said, "That would be a good Halloween costume." And Gus surprised me by responding with, "What? No! I already have a Halloween costume! And it costed a lot of dollars. Someone would have to be an idiot to buy another costume."

Hmmm...sounds a lot like his dad!

Okay, back to Gus riding his bike :)

He looks like a ten year old riding a toddler bike in this pic!!