Monday, November 19, 2007

Peanut Butter Update

In case you were wondering, Peanut Butter the dog has stayed in the backyard since I wrote about this. Our overgrown pup really just needs a little T.L.C. and a lot of patience. Thanks to all who have expressed concern and support.

There's No Such Thing as a "Free Weekend"

When I looked at the calendar about a week ago I noticed that this past weekend was relatively free. We had one thing written in on Saturday, and it was literally free; meaning it was an event that had no fee associated with it. It was a play performed by the Piwacket Theatre for Children. They put on a silly version of Treasure Island that the kids laughed about for most of the rest of the day. I love free family fun.

As expected, however, the weekend did not remain free. Not in either sense of the word. It got busier and more expensive as we inched closer on the calendar. We received an invite for a Friday night Happy Hour to celebrate my brother-in-law’s birthday. It was at his house so it was free; however, it also required us to hire a babysitter, which was not free. It was a fun evening, though, and in my opinion worth every penny of babysitting money for an evening of adult interaction.

It also turned out that Sunday was the meeting day for a group we recently joined. It’s called G.I.F.T. (Getting Interracial Families Together.) G.I.F.T. is a social group for families of mixed race, whether by marriage, birth or adoption. They have fun monthly outings for the whole family and just started a monthly “Parent Chat” just for the adults. It’s a great way for our kids to see other families that look like ours, and for my husband and me to talk to other parents of transracially adopted children. We met at a place that was something like a mild version of Chuck E. Cheese. They had a huge climbing area, an arcade area, even a bowling alley, and they surprisingly charged no admission. That’s right…it was free (except for the arcade games, of course.) However, we met up with the group right before dinnertime, and the kids were not shy about expressing their hunger as we were leaving. Since we were about 35 minutes from our house, we decided to stop somewhere to eat on the way home. This dinner was decidedly not free.

So, as you can see, try as we might we can’t really have a free weekend. Not one without event or appointment; not one without spending money. But I guess that’s only to be expected around here. I hope your weekend was good!!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Peanut Butter on Trial

Our new dog is really just a big puppy. I specifically wanted an older dog in order to escape certain puppy behaviors. We were told when we brought her home that she was about two years old. We got pretty used to having older dogs in our lives, which is why I thought a two-year-old dog was perfect. But apparently it takes particular dogs more than a couple of years to outgrow some of their puppy issues. Thankfully she is housetrained and does not chew on furniture, which are the two major behaviors I wanted to avoid. Still, she does jump up on people that come into our house, she nips at us playfully (and sometimes painfully), and she just has SO MUCH ENERGY!! We have a retaining wall in the backyard – over four feet tall in some sections – and she can clear it from standing with a seemingly effortless leap. That’s when my husband started worrying about the fence.

When we moved into our house there was a wooden privacy fence on each side of the yard, but it tapered off as the yard went up a hill. There was nothing to keep dogs, or children for that matter, inside of our yard. We needed to extend the fence but decided that we could use a 4-foot rather than a 6-foot fence for the hill to save money. The steepness of the hill made jumping from an angle much more difficult. Besides, our dogs were getting older. After seeing Peanut Butter’s gazelle-like abilities, however, we were wondering if we had made the right call four years ago. But after almost two months with us, she has not attempted such a jump.

Which is why were surprised on Halloween night when our next door neighbor came to tell us that our dog was in his yard. As difficult as it might sound for a 65-pound dog, it turns out that she found a space to go under the fence; a space we had known about but had never thought possible for her to fit through. The next day that space was filled with a couple of leftover retaining wall stones and we figured she was stuck in the yard. But she apparently enjoyed getting out of our yard so much that she was desperate to try it again. She found a section of the original fence where the wood was nice and brittle, and she dismantled it board by board, making a mess of the fence and injuring herself in a few places in the process.

She created a spot just big enough for her to get her paws up and hoist herself over into the neighbor’s yard. They do not have a fence across the back of their yard so she is free to move about the neighborhood once she’s over. It wasn’t terribly difficult to get her back home, but I did have to load Banana and C.B. into the car to find her. My husband re-attached the boards as best he could that evening after work, but the next day she did it again. My husband went on the search this time. He found her much farther away from home, across the major street in our subdivision. He repaired the fence again, this time using stronger wood and better screws, and so far it is still in tact. Yet we find her over in that area pretty much every time she goes out. We are able to reprimand her when we catch her in the act, but I have to make an effort to keep an eye on her when she’s outside. Which truly is an effort because I have enough to keep an eye on inside the house.

With four kids and one on the way it’s foolish to think that I can handle a dog that won’t stay where she belongs, so this is a probationary period for Peanut Butter. I feel bad about it because she is such a sweet dog, and for the most part a good dog, but chasing her around the neighborhood with little ones is something I simply cannot do. We just purchased a training collar and will use it to help deter her from going anywhere near the fence. If that doesn’t work, we may have to reassess our need for a dog. Please say a little prayer for Peanut Butter. The poor thing doesn’t even know she’s on trial.

Monday, November 05, 2007


It’s getting to be chilly enough at night to sit around a fire! We finally got around to putting together our outdoor fireplace and last night we tested it out. I love the smell and sound of a fire. The kids enjoyed snacking and listening to Dad’s scary story “based on actual events”. It was nice and relaxing for all of us. Click here for the photo set.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Hooray for Halloween!

The kids had a wonderful time on Halloween night. We put out the jack-o-lantern they designed with their dad…

In case you can't tell, the pumpkin is puking his guts out. Get it? Sweet, huh?

They got into their costumes…

Banana wore a Piggy costume my mom made 10 years ago for Miss M. We couldn't get a single picture of her smiling. I'm pretty sure she didn't care for the hat.

At the last minute, Miss M decided on Princess Fiona. You’ll have to imagine her with green skin. I just couldn’t get that green makeup to look right!

C.B. was the Green Power Ranger...

... and Big D was the Red Power Ranger.

They went out in search of treats with their dad for about 2 hours; first in our neighborhood, then near Grandma and Grandpas house. Even the Banana kept up with the rest of them the whole time. She looked like she was going to fall asleep standing up by the time the night was over, but she made it through the whole ordeal. I asked the kids to brush their teeth twice that night before bed and said a little prayer that they would all sleep in the next day. Halloween is exhausting!

I am actually thinking “Hooray” that Halloween is over. Call me a scrooge, but I am always ready to put away the costumes, the decorations and even the candy by November 1. I actually did take care of most of that yesterday. We packed up the costumes and took down the decorations. But the candy is another story. I put the kids’ candy bags on the scale and they weighed about 3 pounds…EACH! That’s 12 pounds of sugar in our possession right now. Does anyone else think that’s an insane amount of candy?

I have a plan for the candy this year, and so far the kids have been agreeable. They are going to pick a certain number of their favorite things (I haven‘t come up with that number just yet), and we will be taking the rest to a food pantry. Kids are really empathetic when you explain that there are kids who don’t get candy on Halloween, much less any other day of the year. I also think there must be a teeny-tiny little part of them way deep down inside that recognizes that TWELVE POUNDS OF CANDY IS JUST TOO MUCH!!!!!