Three Kids and a Dog

Monday, March 20, 2017

Sadie's Training

We've been doing some hard core training with Sadie and it's either worked or she reached one year of age and decided to start being good! It's probably a bit of both, truthfully! But, I have been working with her extensively with a trainer who is tough! My friend recommended him when she met Sadie and learned about some of her antics.

Now this trainer is not for the faint of heart. He's a Vietnam Vet and tough!  He doesn't care if he hurts your feelings or embarrasses you in class. He's there to make sure you get the most out of his class so in turn your dog succeeds in his class.

First, you had better be there early (I've never been so early for a class in my life and it's a 30-minute drive for me!); be paying attention; and you better have done the homework which is at least two 10- minute training sessions every day for the week in between your class.  If you don't, and you're wearing a color like pink, he may yell at you and say "Pinky! What are you doing? We've been over this before!" Note: I never was called Pinky (because I knew not to wear this color to class).

I cringed each time he used Sadie as the example for next week's homework (he loves big dogs and had an affinity for Sadie) including trying to get her into a stand then stay position. He tried. She sat back down each time he go her up. He was sweating and finally he gave up and asked me if I took my dog to Bakers Square before the start of class! 

This isn't your average training class. This is a class where your dog must have balls bounced in front of them while they hold a stay position; food put out that they have to walk by without giving a sniff; and live rabbits that they cannot chase while in a down position. Add in staying in a down while a towel or fake skunk fur on a stick gets dragged over your paws or kids' dancing toys are inches from your nose making a racket and you can see why this is a challenging class for most dogs. I thought, my dog will never do that! Sadie wants to eat the bunnies! But, alas, last week she stayed in a down and ever so gently smelled the bunny without so much as moving. Incredible!

She definitely seems to be more present in her own body and I have more control over her after taking this class. I think it's helped tremendously even though I definitely do not look forward to going! Last class on Wednesday.  I can't wait!

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Middle Child

I am the middle child so I completely get the middle child antics but I will tell you that being a mom of a middle child is tough! I love my middle child to pieces. She is not only adorable but she's smart too excelling in both reading and math within a very competitive school district.

She craves her own time after school - retreating to her bedroom and closing her door to play with her stuffed animals. She's a deep thinker as well looking on the bright side of why it rains or pondering whether there are babies in Heaven. And she loves me... oh so much! I know this because every chance she gets she's smothering me with hugs and kisses demanding my time and attention.

You see she's not the oldest who naturally gets our attention with all of his sports and she's not the youngest who needs our attention and help doing most things. She's our middle - caught in between and she acts like it most days. Ripping toys out of her 3 year old sister's hands and smothering her with a pillow or begging us to buy her a toy at every store we enter - creating a scene sometimes worse than a 2 year old. 

I'm convinced Peyton is going to be a hoarder when she grows up because she has so many little toys and items that she has to have and then forgets about under her bed or in her closet. In fact, just last week, she decided to write me a sweet note at school and I just had to laugh because there she was again telling me she loves me (sweet) and then asking for a toy (is this a joke?).

But, I remember what it feels like to be that middle child and I don't ever want my middle child to feel that way. Another mom told me that she's having the same issue. Her therapist recommended asking them to choose what to do with mom/dad - 1) spend time with them alone 2) go out and buy a special gift together or 3) do something fun with mom/dad. I thought for sure she'd choose number 2. But surprisingly, she said she just wanted time with me. Time that's it. So this past weekend, even though Tom was away and I had 3 kids to get ready for bed and a dog to take care of. I made sure we had 15 minutes extra of reading time together where we snuggled up in her bed and we read. It was nice, she was sweet and appreciative, and that's all she needed to feel loved and to go to bed without complaint. She just wanted to feel loved. Don't we all?      

Monday, March 06, 2017

Science Fair

Austen and Peyton decided to do the Science Fair this year. Now the science fairs these days are a lot different from the science fairs of our days as kids. First, it's completely voluntary. Second, there are no winners or losers! Everyone wins! And lastly, it's more research based. For example, you can't do the actual experiment during the science fair. They want you to display your results of the experiment at the fair so you have to get a little creative with how you're going to still make it fun for the kids instead of just boring them with data.

Tom being an elementary science fair winner himself took this on quite well and both kids enjoyed working together - especially when it came to performing the experiment. They decided to see how much weight certain bridges could hold. So they built their bridges, set up the experiment and videotaped it. See below!

Austen enjoyed presenting. Peyton got bored after awhile but they both decided they wanted to do the Science Fair again next year - just not with each other!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Happy 1st Birthday Sadie!

One year ago today, the puppy that healed my heart was born. She's done a lot (of damage) since we brought her home at 8 weeks from escaping her crate to eating her own toys and having to have surgery for it to reaching over the seat in the car and ripping out Peyton and Hailey's bows in their hair (and trying to eat them) to eating our woodwork on our windows and stairs.

No children are alike and the same goes for dogs. I like to believe that Sadie chose us because no matter how bad she was she knew we would always love her and not give her back. She was meant to be ours.

So at one year of age, she weighs in at 97 pounds. Yes, 97! I almost fell over when I saw that number on the scale. The average female Berner is about 90 pounds. Adler at her heaviest was about 84. Sadie at one year of age is 97! She is a bigger dog - longer, taller and fuller than Adler, but 97 pounds! Hailey doesn't stand a chance walking next to her!

She loves munchkins/donuts and cheese, but as you can guess she really doesn't discriminate. She's a cuddler too which means she'll just plop the full weight of her body down on top of you no matter where you are sitting - the floor, the couch, etc. She also loves going for car rides but she's a little too crazy in the car. The kids can't be eating food in front of her or she'll try to jump the seats. And Heaven forbid you try to leave her in the car. In fact, we bought a mesh barrier between our second and third rows which she tore down within a few minutes so we decided to buy a grate that goes between the seats. That lasted longer but last weekend while we were inside at Austen's baseball practice she managed to rip that down and hop over two rows to the front seat where she devoured at least half of a box of munchkins.

Despite her puppy antics, we still love her and haven't banished her to the backyard yet (we can't do that either because she digs holes in our yard)!

Anyway, Happy 1st Birthday to our Sadie!

Sadie on her birthday enjoying her new Octopus toy!

The destroyed box of Munchkins

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Austen's Florida Soccer Tournament

At the airport headed to Florida!
I'm a little late on posting this week because I just got back this morning from a long weekend spent with Austen in Florida. His traveling soccer team had the opportunity to play a few games down there over Presidents' Day weekend so he and I made the trip together.

We left early Friday morning which meant missing some school but he has worked so hard this year at both school and sports that Tom and I thought he deserved a reward and a break. We arrived in time for lunch and a little pool time before the rest of the team arrived to go to Benihana for dinner!

Saturday morning we didn't play until early evening which was great because it was so hot. So more pool time with teammates and then off to the first game. It was a battle from the get go with our team playing in the second highest division (out of six or seven divisions) of the tournament for U10. The other team, used to the Florida heat, scored first but our team rallied to win the game 3-1. Off to a team dinner after which the kids definitely enjoyed.
A quick team picture before their first game
 Sunday we had two more games at 10am and 2pm. Right in the middle of a very hot day. The boys were dying early against a very skilled Florida team and lost to the team that eventually won the championship. During the afternoon game, we just wanted the boys to finish strong with a win and after being down 2-0 in the first half, the boys rallied once again to bring home a 4-2 victory. Back home they celebrated with ice cream and then a 7 hour pool party with pizza (and sushi for the parents!).

Monday was a free day since they didn't make the final so off to the Everglades and the beach.

It was a solid performance for their first true out of state tournament and the bonding that occurred is something that will only strengthen the team.

Great time. Go Wizards!

The Wizard Lizard (the van they took to games)

Football in the pool!

Last game - it was hot!
They won! A come from behind victory!

The Everglades was a fun trip to see the Alligators - we saw about 6-7!

Games are over now it's time for the beach - Deerfield Beach

Monday, February 13, 2017


Lately, Hailey has been obsessed with Mickey Mouse. Not Minnie. She couldn't care less about her. Mickey. She says she wants to be him for Halloween next year.  She has also been telling me she wants to go to Disney World. I told her she went when she was 14 months old and I am not going back there...ever!

Of course when she asks you every day, you make a far off promise to go sometime soon like okay maybe Disneyland this summer when we are in California. I could stand maybe 2 days there for Hailey wrapped around another trip. Done. Then there's the Disney cruise. The one everyone says is great for kids AND for the parents because we'll finally get to have time alone while on vacation. Sounds divine. They're already booking spring break 2018 cruises so why not. Check.

However, both of these vacations seem so far away when you are three and you want to see Mickey Mouse now so I booked Disney on Ice tickets for today. It is a rite of passage too. Austen has been 3 times and Peyton twice now. Hailey was very excited and when we pulled into the parking lot and I proclaimed, we're here, she looked at me wide-eyed and asked, "We're at Disney World?!" Uh, no. But, we will see Mickey.

She was so excited as we made our way to the stadium, talking a mile a minute. She picked a Finding Dory light up wand and a big Mickey Mouse lemonade before we found our seats. Mickey was on first. She loved it. But as soon as Mickey left and the princesses came out, she could've cared less. (Note: she's so not into Disney princesses.) She reminded me of Austen when he went to see his first movie, "The Princess and the Frog," and he kept asking where did the frog go when he wasn't in a scene. Well Hailey kept looking for Mickey except when Finding Dory came on. She did enjoy that skit. Good thing Mickey and friends came back out at the end and oh, that Frozen used bubbles for snow - she loved that part too!

Now, I know I need a lot more Mickey at Disneyland and maybe by 2018 she'll be more into princesses!

Sunday, February 05, 2017

The Things My Girls Say...

It's been a pretty funny week.

First, one evening I'm in the girls' bathroom blow drying Hailey's hair by Peyton's sink since the hairdryer is on Peyton's side of the bathroom and all of a sudden Hailey starts saying:


I didn't get what she was talking about until she starts pointing to her sink then Peyton's sink. Sure enough Peyton had globs of pink toothpaste in her sink and all around it while Hailey's was spic and span. I couldn't help but laugh because Hailey sure does have Peyton's number. She's clearly the messiest out of all 3 of my kids. In fact, Tom has a quarterly clean out with her that takes at least 1-2 hours because she just throws stuff under her bed - anything from church bulletins to restaurant menus to little pictures of animals she has cut out. I hope it's true that messiness is a sign of intelligence or at least great creativity otherwise I see her future being on an episode of "Hoarders!"

Second, I'm volunteering in the library for Peyton's class this past Thursday when her teacher approached me and said, "Peyton, just makes me laugh with all of her talk about Donald Trump. You have a very liberal democrat on your hands," she tells me. Luckily, I'm pretty sure her teacher is a democrat so I don't sweat it too much although I've told Peyton she can't talk politics with her friends at school. It's not like Tom and I are die hard politicians who talk about politics all that often at home but the way Peyton talks you would think we do. She told her friend across the street who had a Trump sign in their yard as well as her classmates that Trump hates girls so we shouldn't like him. And, then she proceeds to tell her class that Trump is keeping families apart because he won't let some people back in the country. Yes, Tom and I were talking about that because my college friend has an Iranian-born wife who was traveling and couldn't get back in the country and I don't feel like I should have to hide what's been going on in our country from my kids. I wish she didn't talk about it so much at school but she's taken such an interest in Trump and politics. Who knows - maybe she'll be working in Washington, DC, one day. 

It does make me laugh though. My girls are clearly not afraid to share what's on their minds.