Sunday, February 25, 2018

Zoo and Our Dog

I really love the Timehop App, every day I open it up to see what fun things happened in years past. Oftentimes there is nothing very exciting there. Other days it is completely full of awesomeness. For example, last year at this time we took a trip to Florida, so there have been lots of fun pictures to reminiscence over.

In addition to the Florida pictures, something else has been showing up with frequency. Apparently, this is the time of year we visit the zoo. After seeing pictures over several days this week I decided it was time to continue the tradition and make a 2018 visit. Last year, we had to go to see the new baby panda. And I was anxious to see how he had grown. So, on Saturday morning, we hired a dog sitter and set out for DC. Much to Luke's disappointment, we opted to drive rather than take the train. It was very hard for him to have a good time after that major disappointment.

This has been the rainiest winter I think I've ever experienced. We often have a lot of rain in early Spring, but this is the first year I can recall so much rain this time of year. Our yard is a mud pit and we are extremely tired of it. However, the day at the zoo was the first weekend day in a while with nice weather and it was wonderful to be outside. And, of course, the pandas did not disappointment. I love them so much! It makes me happy just thinking about it. Kara's favorite area is small mammals, Jack loves the Ape House and no trip is complete for Anna without a stop in Amazonia. We made sure to hit everyone's favorites (except Luke, who only wanted to see the metro train and did not understand why we couldn't ride it home). Regardless, we had a great time! We packed a lunch and enjoyed walking around outside seeing all the animals. It wasn't very crowded and with the exception of the Asia Trail, the animals were active.

Isn't he adorable?

Kara spotted the creature in the tree

This bird flew right next to Kara, caught her a bit off guard, but she recovered enough for a picture.

Other than our zoo trip, it has been a quiet time in our house. Between the new puppy and the near constant rain, we haven't really done much. We have made a new tradition to visit Café Rio on Friday nights, which has been fun. Of course, the tradition is only two weeks old, but so far so good. Although, we may switch it up to Tuesdays because that is cheap burrito/salad day. We certainly love having it so close by, hopefully nobody gets sick of it anytime soon!

As I have mentioned the adjustment to life with a dog has been difficult. I didn't quite grasp the idea that a puppy is a lot like a toddler. And, I knew it would be a lot of work, but I guess I didn't realize just how much. As anyone who knows me knows, I have never wanted a dog. I LOVE traveling and going away on the weekends, or at least leaving early in the day and coming home late at night. We have 4 kids and full-time jobs. Adding a dog into our mix was pure insanity. And, I decide to undo it. I found a rehoming group and posted an ad. Within hours I had many, many interested people. After all, who, other than me, wouldn't want such an adorable puppy? I had the kids on board and Thomas was willing. We convinced ourselves it would be better for everyone, including Gus. He is young and would adapt easily. But, when push came to shove, it just didn't feel right. We have grown attached to our little fluff ball. So, we have decided to keep him. It's only about 12 years of our lives. Ugh!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Kara's Birthday

Kara turns 9 today! For her birthday, she asked for a Harry Potter themed party. We told her she could invite 5 friends. When you have 3 siblings, adding in even 5 kids makes for a pretty big party, at least in my opinion. She tried to be very methodical in choosing her guests. Naturally, there were more than 5 she could think of, so she tried to chose those who she knew enjoyed Harry Potter and to reciprocate with friends whose parties she had recently attended. It was as good a system as any to narrow the guest list. One of her invitees had a brother tag along, so we ended up with 10 kids. Which worked out, because that was precisely how many our "great hall" could comfortably handle.

This was our first party at home since Kara turned 4. She wanted to have a feast, play Harry Potter Scene It and watch one of the movies. For all that fun, we figured we needed about 5 hours. Thomas was in charge of decorating the Great Hall and the wand/owl sort. I was in charge of supplies, food and the other activities. The division of labor worked out well.

The Great Hall complete with floating candles.

Our entryway

The guests arrived at 11 and were seated in the dining room. There, they met Professor Rumblewindow, who was very similar in mannerism to Professor Snape. The kids loved him! He introduced them to the wandmaker who asked each child a series of questions to determine their perfect wand. Once that was done, they looked under their chairs to find the name of their owl taped to the bottom. After they found the matching owls, we gave them a few minutes to practice their spells before the feast.

This party was brought to you courtesy of  Professor Rumblewindow and Professor Wilson.

Luke really liked this part.

Kara chose the food: salisbury steak, broccoli with cheese sauce, Kraft macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and rolls. We also had strawberries and Polyjuice Potion (green Hawaiian Punch). We figured there was enough variety that the kids would be happy and they were. After the food, everyone chose a "sorting cookie". It was a chocolate chip cookie topped with an ice cream cone that contained m&m's in the color of their house. That determined our teams for Scene It. Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff teamed up and beat Gryffindor and Slytherin. I'd like to say it was close, because I was on the losing team, but it was a pretty big victory for R & H. Fortunately, most of the kids had fun. A couple of the younger ones (Luke and one other) abandoned the game to play in the basement, which was fine.

Sorting hat cookies

After Scene It, the kids played a game with Jelly Beans, just like Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans, they didn't know what they were going to get. The game had matching Jelly Beans, one was a good flavor, the other gross.  For example white could be either spoiled milk or coconut. The kids loved it! They played for quite a while. Then, we took pictures with our photo opportunity, which I made with templates found at:

Bertie Botts mystery beans.

Kayce was game to give it a try!

This one was my favorite :)

Next, it was time for cake pops. Normally, I would have made them. In fact, I had a plan in place and the supplies to make them designed after the golden snitch. But, there just wasn't time. I had Friday off from work, but as mentioned in the previous blog, I was volunteering at the kids' school. Friday night was time to cash in on one of my Christmas presents--tickets to see Adam Corolla. It was a fun date night, we had dinner at Chevy's and then went to the Kennedy Center. The comedy was funny and the company was fantastic. But, we left at 4:30 and didn't get home until after 11, so there wasn't much time on Friday. Something had to give and we decided it would be the cake pops. I was very glad I ordered them; they came out super cute and the baking pro did a nice Harry Potter assortment in two flavors chosen by Kara. Of course, I forgot to get a picture, but it was money well spent.

You can see them a bit in the box here.

So, the kids had their cake pops and Kara opened her presents. By now it was a bit after 2 and time to start the movie. Kara had chosen The Chamber of Secrets. We let the kids munch on chips, cookies, pretzel wands, little cakes and the rest of the leftover food. I thought we had a ton of food, but by about 3, most of it was gone. Those kids could eat!

Most of the kids watched the movie, but again, a couple decided to play in the basement instead. By the time 4 rolled around, I was exhausted and happy to see the arriving parents. Overall, I would call the party a success. I definitely prefer the ease of simply going to Great Wolf Lodge or a local party place, but it was fun to do. Now, Anna and Jack are saying they want to have parties at home too. Fortunately, October is a long way off and I am guessing they will change their minds between now and then!

Today is Kara's actual birthday. I am home with a "sick" Luke. He did throw up last night, but it appears he just has my weak stomach, because he is completely fine today. Jack threw up Saturday night. Also, not sick. His instance was not surprising. Pretty much anytime he drinks more than a cup of something other than water, he throws up a few hours later. Luke we weren't sure on, so I kept him home. The sick day has been nice, Thomas is going to come home for his lunch break, so that I can bring Kara lunch at school (which I had planned on anyway). Tonight, she has chosen Potbelly for her birthday dinner and a super easy cake, modeled after the one Hagrid made Harry. Should be a fun night. To close us out, a picture of the birthday girl, showing off her wand and owl party favors. (Every wand and every owl were different.)

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Report Cards, Dentist, International Day

The kids and I had dentist appointments on the same day, but at different times and different places. It was a day dedicated to oral hygiene. I was relieved to find that none of us had cavities. We try and stress the importance of taking good care of your teeth, but I think our pleas often fall on deaf ears. Kara is really good at brushing, flossing, and using mouth wash. Jack and Anna are hit or miss. Thomas and I still brush Luke's teeth, so we figured he would be fine. Regardless, I always hold my breath a bit. We walk a fine line between trying to terrify our kids of the consequences of a cavity and making sure they aren't scared of the dentist. But, I figure if they ever do have cavities, I will have some major backpedaling to do. So, I am glad to put that off for at least another 6 months.

The older kids got their second report card of the year last week. Kara got straight As and Jack and Anna made the A/B honor roll. We are mostly proud. Jack and Anna could have easily had straight A's with slightly more work. We don't care as much about the grade as the effort and we feel not all our kids are putting forth their best effort. We really want them to establish good habits now.

On Friday, I attended my 3rd International Day at the kids' school. It is held every two years and is a definite highlight for everyone. There are six areas in the school and each is a designated country. The kids walk through and learn about the country through different activities, crafts, foods, etc. This year's theme was the Winter Olympics, which was smart and well-timed (purposefully, I am sure) to get the kids excited about this year's games. I walked around with Jack's class. Since Anna is also a fourth grader, she was on the same rotation. But, since she is in a different class, she had a different chaperone and was usually in a different spot. But, I still got to see her a bit. And, when we went to Kara's classroom, she gave the speech for her class (which she had memorized). It was about a treat found in Russian bakeries, then her classmates passed out donut holes (half the students give the lesson to the travelers in the morning and half in the afternoon, the kids not remaining in the class are traveling). It really is a super fun event and it takes a ton of work on the teachers' parts. The classroom decorations are generally very elaborate. Some of the teacher's dress up and all plan a good activity. My first year, I went with Anna's class. Two years ago, I was with Kara, and this year was Jack. I feel fortunate that my kids get to go to such a nice school and that I am still able to participate in some of their activities. And, with Luke starting in two years, I still have three more International Days to go before they all graduate from Elementary School.

One hallway

Kara and some classmates.

Anna practicing the luge

Jack "ice skating"

Sunday, February 4, 2018


On July 24th, I started my new job. After almost 7 years of being a (mostly) stay-at-home mom, I returned to the workforce. I've written about this in bits and pieces before, but today, I am dedicating the blog to my work pursuits. This is mainly because I just returned from my first work trip. But, before I get to that, some general thoughts. Since it has now been 6 full months, I feel that is long enough to have an informed opinion.

Overall, I enjoy my job. It is stressful at times and it has made our home life more hectic. But, I enjoy being in an office again and contributing to a team. My coworkers are nice and easy to work with and my immediate supervisor is fantastic. I kind of like the work I do. I like my main job, but some of the ancillary duties are frustrating and difficult. And, they take up far more of my time than they are supposed to. In some ways, this is good, as the days go by really quickly. In other ways, it is frustrating and makes me pretty unhappy at times. I do think I am really good at leaving it all at the office. When it is time to leave, I shut down my computer and figure I will face whatever it is the next day. Of course, being a double income family again has definite perks; we are still careful, but we also have a bit more freedom.

One of the drawbacks is occasional work trips. They will decrease in frequency the longer I am there, but I do have to go to several trainings in my first year or two. The first of which was this week. You may recall the horror over (so, I ended my writing mid-sentence last night and I have no idea what horror I was referring to--although, I'm super curious).

The first day of the orientation was in DC. I drove up on Monday night with a few of my coworkers so we would be ready to report early on Tuesday morning. The first day was listening to high-ranking people talk about the organization and provide different perspectives on a wide range of topics. It was a good information and there are lots of interesting jobs.

The second day we took a bus to Quantico. We got to do some simulators, one with weapons on a convoy and the other shooting various weapons. I learned that ammunition is incredibly expensive. We had lunch at a mess hall and sat with Marines nearing the end of their 6-month OCS (or, whatever the Marines call it). The food was surprisingly good. We did a tour of the base and I learned that Quantico is far more extensive than I realized. I previously thought of it solely as the training base for the FBI, but it is a huge Marine installation with a vast amount of land. After we wrapped up at Quantico, we got back on the bus and headed for Norfolk.

In Norfolk, we toured the Comfort, one of two Navy hospital ships. It was most recently deployed to Puerto Rico to serve those impacted by hurricane Maria. They were there for something like 53 days and saw a couple thousand patients, all completely free of charge (well, free of charge to the patients anyway). It was pretty cool to be on a floating hospital. We were given our tour by the head nurse, and he walked us through the ship in the same way a patient being seen would view the ship. It is impressive what they can do and the tour was very informative.

We also went to an E-2 Squadron. I didn't know anything about E-2s, so that was also excellent. Finally, we toured an LSD ship and it was fun to be aboard a Navy vessel again. All of this was to give us an idea of the big picture, to see how our small part as acquisition or personnel law attorneys fits into the overall mission.

It was a long 3 days, with lots of traveling and mandatory socialization, but it was worthwhile and I enjoyed it. At home, Thomas had no trouble managing without me, although, I am sure he would prefer not to. It was nice to pick up the kids from school on Friday. They were as excited to see me as I was to see them.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Quiet January

Since we got a puppy, we haven't done much of anything. I still have some major regret over our spur-of-the-moment decision, but Gus is adjusting well. He sleeps a full 8 hours and is close to being housebroken. He can sit, lay down, shake, and come. We take him to puppy training classes, which is helpful for novice pet owners like us. So, it is going as well as one could reasonably expect. But, it still kind of stinks. Like today is going to be beautiful--temperatures in the 50s and sunny. Much nicer than any other weekend weather we've had in at least a month. But, we are kind of stuck at home. We can't leave him for more than a few hours and I'm a bit over it. The kids didn't let us sleep in much, but it is even worse now with the dog. He sleeps in his crate, but we have to let him out around 5:30 (the kids occasionally slept until 7) so there is no more leisurely weekends laying in bed (yes, until 7 is pretty leisurely, 5:30--not so much).

So, what are the positives? There really aren't many. I would have gotten rid of him weeks ago, but the kids and Thomas wouldn't get on board (to be clear, I knew someone looking for a puppy who would have provided him a great home, it wasn't like I was advocating to dump him at a shelter). I didn't want to hear them talk about the dog I got rid of for the next 40 years. And, like I said, he is a good dog and sometimes when he isn't hyper I enjoy sitting with him and petting him or working on his training. I like that he doesn't shed. And, sometimes, I do look forward to coming home and seeing his happy face. But, mostly it sucks. I do not recommend puppies for busy families, actually I am not sure who I would recommend a puppy to. I am also disappointed with the kids, I feel like the older 3 are big enough to be doing more for Gus, but the burden is carried largely by Thomas and me. Perhaps that is bad parenting on our part, but we have so many battles we already have to fight.

In other news, Thomas got a new car. It is a Honda Clarity and it is very nice. Hopefully, we will enjoy it for a long time. It is a plug-in hybrid, and since it is pretty much just for local driving, Thomas may never have to buy gas again.

Thomas and I saw The Greatest Showman yesterday. I thought it was pretty good, but Thomas hated it. I think Anna would have liked it, but she will have to wait for it to come out on video, since I didn't like it enough to see it in the theater twice.

Gus' favorite thing to do is play with his brother, Bear.

Kara and Gus. He has gained 8 pounds in 3 weeks. He's going to be big!

Monday, January 1, 2018

2017: A Year in Review

2017 was our most eventful year in a long time! We took many trips: Florida, Williamsburg (twice!), Philadelphia, Lancaster, and for Thomas and I--New York. I started a new job and Luke began daycare. Jack played a season of baseball. Anna started piano lessons. The three older kids acted in a school play. We got a puppy.

We spent a lot of time at Six Flags, but not as much as we did in 2016. We weren't going to renew our season passes for 2018, but we had so much fun at the New Jersey park that we really wanted to go back. And, they were so cheap ($52/each) that we couldn't resist. I've written about our other trips, but I will say that New York was a definite highlight and as a family, it is hard to beat our spontaneous trip to Florida. I can't imagine we will ever make such a big trip on such short notice again!

The biggest change was me returning to work. It has been 5 months and so far the transition is better than I expected. I miss seeing the kids in the mornings, but our morning nanny is so wonderful that the kids don't seem to mind. And, the early start means that I am home by 4:30, so we don't miss out on much afternoon/evening time. Thomas is home even earlier and is able to greet them shortly after they get off the bus. Obviously, the biggest impact is on Luke since he has to go to daycare. But, there is an awesome program near our house and he has been very happy there. I think he would rather be home, but I also  think it is probably better for him to be at daycare. It was hard for me to find ways to entertain and provide stimulation, especially now that his naps are so short, or completely foregone.

For New Years Eve, we had our traditional cheese fondue. During dinner, we discussed the highlights of the past year and what we are looking forward to in the next. Here are everyone's favorites:

Kori and Thomas: seeing Hamilton in New York
Anna: being Tweedle-Dum in the school play
Jack: riding the tallest roller coaster in America (and one of the tallest in the world)
Kara: going to Philadelphia, and specifically the Franklin Institute
Luke: riding the Metro train

I'm super shocked that no one chose going to Harry Potter World, but maybe that was because we went in February and it was too far removed from memory. It was a pretty awesome family vacation where Kara gained some roller coaster bravery. Seeing their faces in Diagon Alley was priceless. And the frozen butterbeer--I'm itching to go back just thinking about it all!

And, what people are most looking forward to in 2018:
Jack: Can't decide between the cruise and starting his last year of elementary school
Anna: Going on a cruise
Kara: Having Thanksgiving on a cruise
Luke: Riding the metro train
Thomas: Celebrating our 15th anniversary
Kori: Going to Six Flags New Jersey and riding their awesome roller coasters

It's always fundue with this crew

On to our annual "report" on the kids:

Anna has made great progress this year. She had a strong finish to 3rd grade and was excited to begin 4th. We had a tumultuous summer while she was trying to decide if going into the STEM program was the right decision for her. Ultimately, she decided to return to her home school and is very happy with her decision. She made straight As on her first report card and was selected to join the math club. She is also in the gifted reading program. She started piano lessons about a month ago and is doing well. Her violin lessons last year helped her with some of the basics. Hopefully, she will enjoy piano more than she did violin and the lessons will continue throughout the year.  She still loves to play with Littlest Pet Shop and has a new found love for American Girl. Anna also really loves to read, in fact, she spent her Christmas money on books. My three words for Anna are: inquisitive, argumentative and helpful. Thomas said: impulsive, helpful and smart. When she grows up she wants to a veterinarian or marine biologist.

Jack also had a strong academic year. He was selected for the gifted program in math and added into the reading portion when he reached 4th grade. He is also in the math club and really enjoys school. He is very competitive and if his teacher has a prize for the first one to accomplish something, Jack is extremely motivated. He was the first to memorize some math facts and won a calculator. He is currently fighting for first in some other math game. He is an introvert and generally prefers to be inside with a book then outside with friends. He loves Star Wars and Disney Infinity. For the most part, he is easy-going (at least with Thomas and me--maybe not as much with his sisters). He rarely complains and does pretty much whatever we ask when we ask it. He is very sweet and kind-hearted. He still loves history and is always up for a trip to a battlefield or other historical site. My three words for Jack are: quiet, kind and smart. Thomas said: quiet, confident, and smart. When he grows up he wants to be a lawyer and then become a politician.

Kara is enjoying third grade. She has her two best friends by her side, which made the transition easy. Like her siblings, she is a good student who enjoys school. She is still high-spirited, but has done a lot better controlling her frustrations as the year progressed. She loves to be helpful and is always asking if there is something we need, especially if it involves cooking or baking. She still loves playing with Littlest Pet Shop and being outside. She is an expert on her pogo stick. Like Jack, she is competitive and has a strong desire to exceed expectations. She can spend hours on a project, although she can also get very frustrated if things aren't going the way she wants or expects. When I started work, I asked the kids to make me something to decorate my office. Kara was the only one who was interested and spent hours making me a pointillism picture. She is very sweet and thoughtful, for Christmas she spent hours in her room working on surprise gifts for us, including a very clever ornament that has all our names.  My three words to describe Kara are: emotional, loving and determined. Thomas said: temperamental, hard-working and sensitive. When she grows up, she wants to be a lawyer or an author.

Luke is the perfect baby of the family. He loves his siblings and they are still very patient and kind to him. They are (almost) always happy to entertain him if Thomas and I are working on something and need a few minutes of peace. Anna and Kara frequently fight over his attention and have to be reminded that he is a person and not an object (thus, he cannot be "stolen" by your sibling). He is very lovable and makes friends wherever he goes. His teachers at school adore him and always seem genuinely happy when he arrives. They have made it a point to tell us how smart he is. Luke can also be a bit stubborn. More than once, he hasn't had a "project" for the day because he refused to cooperate. One day, that meant he would only write his name as ekul. Which, to be honest, I found pretty funny. After all, the kid is 3, if he wants to spend his work time writing his name backwards, I say, go for it! Luke only has one volume--loud! He loves to have light saber battles with Jack. My three words for Luke are silly, loud and funny. Thomas said cute, loud and rambunctious. When he grows up, he said he wants to be Spiderman.

Gus is pretty new to our family. We've only known him a week. But, my words for him are silly, loving and immature. When he grows up, I want him to be housebroken (sooner rather than later, please).

Thomas had a good year at work. He continues to receive great reviews. He was happy to go to lots of baseball games.  Although Jack didn't want to continue playing, he really loves going to games with Thomas and the two were able to take in several Nationals games. He is hoping to score All Star tickets in July. With me going back to work, he changed his schedule to arrive home a bit earlier. He has taken on all homework responsibility, which has made my life pretty pleasant. He is always looking for ways to make my life easier. Even with the new dog, he has taken over nighttime duties. When I protested, he admonished that I needed to let him do something nice for me. I am not sure why he thinks I deserve it, but I am very thankful for a husband who is so loving and kind.

As mentioned, there were a lot of changes for me this year. Sometimes, I feel true regret over my return to work, but mostly I am happy with the decision. The paycheck has provided us with more financial freedom and I like feeling intellectually challenged. It is fun to work in a building right next to Thomas'. Sometimes, we even take a quick walk (it's a 7 minute loop around our buildings) if one of us needs to clear our head. It has been a good crutch for me to have Thomas there, I frequently (like, multiple times a day) call him with questions and he is always patient and helpful. It would be much harder without him there. I still have to fight the negative self-talk over being so much older than my senior colleagues (my two supervisors are a bit older, but literally every other lawyer in my building is much younger). I frequently have to remind myself that the 7 years I stepped away from the workforce were both necessary and productive. But, it is hard to think of where I could be compared to where I am.

That concludes the annual year in review. There is a lot to look forward to in 2018. I expect Gus will make the most changes, at least I hope he will. Luke turns 4 this year, which is pretty crazy. I always think of 4 as that turning point from toddler to kid. He even picked his own birthday spot this year---the gymnastics center. Some of the birthday places fill fast, so we recently started talking to him about his birthday (which is in March). We told him his choices were the gymnastics center, a party at home, Great Wolf Lodge or Pump it Up. He thought by choosing the gymnastics center, it meant we were going right away. Like after nap. He was mighty disappointed, but we have it reserved. Not for the time we wanted, despite booking 3 months in advance, but we get to have it on his actual birthday, which is pretty cool. Kara's birthday is next month and she wants to have a Harry Potter themed party with a few friends. She wants to watch a Harry Potter movie and eat Harry Potter themed food. Should be fun! We have a big cruise planned in November, but may have to cancel to pay for a fence.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Our New Puppy!

The title of this post are three words I never thought I'd write. Ever. Sure, we've thought about it, even discussed it on a superficial level, but we always firmly settled back on no. We have four kids, why the heck would we add more chaos to our house? We like to travel. We take frequent weekend trips. Jack is allergic to dogs. We both work, it wouldn't be fair to the dog. There were so many good, and completely valid, reasons to say no. Yet, somehow we have said yes.

Our neighbors decided in November to adopt an awesome puppy. He is an Aussiedoodle, half Australian Shepherd/half Poodle. That makes him an "Einstein of dogs" (or so the literature says). He is low shed, and fairly hypoallergenic (thanks to his poodle genes). I've been super excited for them. I've looked at the pictures of the litter, checked out the breeder and had one of those superficial conversations with Thomas, where we concluded it doesn't make sense for our family to adopt one. Kayce and her sister decided to adopt litter mates. However, the breeder was in Ohio. So, they arranged to meet in Pennsylvania. There was another Marylander taking a third puppy and they planned to meet on December 23rd.

But, the third person never showed up. On the morning of December 24th, we met Kayce's puppy, Bear, and he was adorable. The softest dog we've ever felt. And, very sweet. She told us the sad story of his abandoned brother and we thought maybe. As we drove to Mount Vernon, we talked and decided we'd throw caution to the wind and take him...maybe. We weren't 100%, then we heard someone else might be interested and they needed an answer (not in a used car salesman way, but we still felt burdened to make an immediate decision). So, we said 100% yes. And, I've regretted it since.

He's a great puppy, but he's still a puppy. He peed 5x in the house before 10am on Wednesday morning. We watched YouTube videos and learned some house training tricks. Then, he "only" peed in the house 1x all of Thursday, 2x on Friday, yet somehow has managed to go 3x already this morning. I feel like we are back to square one in that area. For some reason, he is waiting until we come inside to pee and peeing much more frequently (like we did with our babies, we are keeping track of food input and output). And, of course, we are losing tons of sleep since we have to take him out in the middle of the night. Puppies are just so much work! Oh, and that doesn't even count the money. Not just what we paid for him, but his crate, x-pen, toys, vet visit, etc. Why oh why did we agree to this???

On the positive side, he has a sweet personality and is good with the kids. He has already learned "sit" and (kind of) comes when we call him. And, Jack shows no signs of allergic reactions. I think once we get out of the puppy stage, he will be a great addition to our family. But, this puppy stage is not fun. Fortunately, I think it is pretty short.

Bear and Gus (Gus has the blue collar)