Saturday, April 21, 2012

Update on Kenji

Heard on the Wednesday after taking Kenji to the SPCA that he'd already been adopted and gone to his new home!

Nicky still misses him, but we're happy to know he was adopted so quickly and not in a cage.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

About that "other" thing we had going on...

So about that "other thing". Well I can't recall, but I am pretty sure I've complained on here about Kenji and his peeing and pooping and jumping the fence. Cause it was driving me BONKERS!

Well we decided to give him another chance, thinking we'd spend some of the tax return on getting him fixed, groomed, flea meds, and crating him at night.

We got as far as getting him a crate, which for several days he just squealed in there all night till finally we put the crate in the laundry room. With a quilt over most of it (not smothering him, but enough to make sure he was warm).

Well he was finally starting to get the message, started calming down in the crate at night, Tom took him out more during the day, he'd still jump, but we hoped fixing him would discourage that maybe. We even borrowed a tie-down with about a 15 foot lead on it so that we could stake him out in the backyard on nice days while Nicky was out there.

But then, April 24th, Kenji bit Gabi. He didn't break the skin, but he marked her hand and scared her. They were both literally within arms' reach of me when it happened and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I didn't know what could have precipitated it. He was on the floor between the sofa and the bench that we have as a coffee table. She was behind and bent over him. Did she step on him, did he have a rawhide and she tried to grab it? Was she falling on him? I don't really know. I suspect he had a rawhide because after Tom put him outside Benjamin was lying in that same spot with one. But regardless of why it happened we knew we had to take that seriously and find him a new home.

I tried to ask around at work and the neighbors, but nothing easy came up and time kept marching on. The next weekend I was watching the girls while Tom and Nicky helped Nana move into her new place. (She's finished moving in and now lives only 3 blocks away!) I was changing Lily on the bench, Kenji was lying on the sofa with nothing, no toy, no rawhide or anything. And Gabi walked up to him (right in front of me) and reached to pet him. And he snarled and snapped at her hand. This time he didn't bite her, but that was it. I staked him out in the backyard for the rest of the day. They were both right there, two feet from me! And I knew she hadn't stepped on him or pulled on him or anything this time. He had to go.

Tom and I knew he had to go. It was just a matter of doing it. During the week is just too busy, and then there was Easter weekend, and then finally I found out the best place to take him was the Virginia Beach SPCA. They're a no-kill shelter and had room for him there. So Saturday, April 14th, Nick and I took Kenji, his crate, leash, brush and Advantage flea stuff to the SPCA and turned him over them. There was only a $50 fee to do it, and I was glad to pay it. Everyone there was so nice, and understanding. I'd written up an essay on Kenji's history, habits and why we had to let him go (but why he'd still be a great pet for someone without small kids) for my home-hunting before and I turned that over to them as well. They assured us that a small dog like him would be snatched up super quick and he wouldn't be there long.

Poor Nicky. While Tom and I are feeling relieved to have finally committed to the decision and are enjoying being a one-dog family again (because really, Bobo is the best dog ever, even with his quirks) Nicky has cried about Kenji several times. I feel awful about having to give away his dog, and we hope we haven't scarred him for life. I think taking him with me to the SPCA was a good idea. I'd let Nicky choose if he wanted to go and he did. And he go to see what a nice place it was. But still, it's really hard on him.

So that was our other big thing. Tom and I still feel guilty, but are also resolved that it had to be done. If Nicky had been the one bit, I admit I'd have probably said he deserved it. And if the kids were older I'd expect them to learn to read the dog's body language and act accordingly, and we could work on training him. But I just cannot risk it with two 1 year olds in the house. One slip could be one too many.

By the same token though, Benjamin is a stellar dog for the kids. Maybe it is because Tom and I had him as a little puppy and trained him about biting early on. He has no food guarding or anything like that either. Or maybe it's just that he's big enough that the babies can't hurt him so he doesn't worry about that like Kenji may have. Kenji was only 10lbs, he just looked bigger than that, but he was fragile under all those curls.

Anyway, the deal is done, Nicky is sad, we feel guilty, and we won't be getting another dog till the girls are older.
A happy boy and his happy dog

Loving on Kenji

Kenji home with his boy

Nick's Sixth Birthday: Revenge of the Sixth...

So, it's now April 17th. Must be time to do that birthday post for Nicky's 6th birthday. You know, the birthday that happened on MARCH 17th.

Nicky had a Star Wars themed party, and I must say, it was quite awesome. Kudos to me!

He had his two friends from next door come first. Then later, my friends from work came with their 2 year old. None of his little friends came from his class, but that's probably to be expected since I didn't know any of them or their parents.

First off, the invitations were super cute.

Then when the kids arrived I had a whole itinerary worked out for them.

First they had to prove themselves to be fearless warriors by using a blaster on the mockups of two of our Sith enemies: Darth Vader and Darth Maul. (Who were hung up on the side of the barn for the party.)

Darth Maul, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Darth Vader, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Upon proving their mettle, they were each awarded with a Star Wars tattoo of their choice to recognize their warrior skills.

Next they had to learn to use the force. To do this, they had to learn to use more than their eyes to see. They were each blindfolded, spun around and had to let the force guide them to pin the lightsaber on Yoda. (This was taped up on the outside of the dining room window. I wrote each padawan's name in sharpie on the lightsaber and we used a piece of double sided tape.)

Pin the lightsaber on Yoda, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Upon completion of their training in using the force, they were awarded their Jedi weapon, the lightsaber. The padawan who was closest to having the lightsaber in the right place, got to choose first. Yes, I made 8 of them. Turned out perfect as each kid got to take one home and that left Nick, Lily, Gabi one each - and one each for Tom and I :). I used the instructions I found here.

Pool Noodle Lightsabers, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Once they had all chosen, and decorated, their lightsabers (with blue and red glitter foam star stickers) they were turned out to the backyard for training. Unlike Luke Skywalker, whose remote would zap him periodically, the targets for our lightsaber practice were 20 blue balloons that were released into the yard. The idea at first was to try to keep them up in the air, but with a nice breeze blowing them all over, it quickly changed to wacking the balloon targets till they all popped.

When their lightsaber practice was over, it was time for them to receive their first mission from the Jedi Council.

Even now, as we celebrate Nick's birthday, up in outer-space is a terrible weapon, the Death Star. The Empire has brought this weapon and now seeks to use it to destroy Planet Earth! In order to save the planet, the Jedi Council has sent our padawans a scale model of the Death Star, and if they can use their Jedi powers to destroy the model, it will in fact, destroy the full size Death Star that is threatening to blow us all up. But a regular lightsaber will not do it (we actually tried it with our lightsabers, but alas, the Death Star's force-fields were too great). So the Jedi Council sent our group a very special lightsaber from their archives. It is the Golden Lightsaber, and it will take all our skills and concentration to use it to destroy the Death Star! (The Golden Lightsaber turned out super cool and I LOVE it. It was just a broom handle we used to use to block the sliding glass door. But add some silver and gold duct tape, and VOILA!)

Death Star and special Lightsaber, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

So we all took turns with Golden Lightsaber. And eventually we were successful! We destroyed the model of the Death Star, and in doing so, we released the treasures of the Empire for our Jedi to enjoy. It also made the real Death Star in orbit around the Earth explode in a spectacular display! Unfortunately it was very cloudy and so we couldn't actually see the explosion.

Mixed in here and there we also ate pizza, pretzel lightsabers which were dipped in colored candy melts, chips and then of course we had a lightsaber cake! Oh, and there were presents too. The kids were really great and knew that the little padawan was going to be arriving after his nap, and so they collected a whole cup of Empire Booty from the Death Star for him. I don't like doing too much candy in a pinata (too boring in my opinion) so it was full of red "lightsaber" crystals, diamond rings, silver, blue and red mardi-gras necklaces, Star Wars notebooks and confetti, glow sticks, and some fun size M&Ms.

The Awesome Lightsaber Cake! (That I made. Using rice crispy treats, icing, edible spray paint, metallic silver sprinkles, and edible black glitter gel.)
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

May the Snacks be with you!
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Then since we just had the neighbor's kids, we let them watch some Star Wars (episode 4) and chill out for a while. Instead of the party lasting from 2-4pm it went on till I kicked out the neighbor's kids at about 7:30.

All in all I think Nicky had a great time at his party. I'm so glad he chose to do this instead of Chuck E. Cheese!

Friday, April 06, 2012

We're fine!

Just in case anyone is worried after hearing about the F18 crash in Virginia Beach, it was far from our house and my work and we're all fine here!

I still owe you a post about Nicky's birthday and the other thing going on. I haven't forgotten, just have been crazy busy!

But Nana is all moved into her new place, Nicky even spent the night there last night! That was fun for Tom and I, and I'll bet Nicky had a ball too.

Looking forward to some R&R this weekend, and maybe I can do those posts too!