Thursday, November 16, 2006

A whole bunch of stuff!!

Yesterday was the big field trip to the Children's Imagine Museum just across the trestle in Everett, and wow, what a place that is. It wasn't here when I lived here last...the closest thing we had was the Seattle Science Center which was kind of a disappointment the last time I was there, so this was a good time. The kids love it, too. Sebastian is begging to go back...and he wants to go THIS weekend, but I told him that he's going to have to wait until December when Grandma and Papa Sal are in from New Jersey, because they'll get a kick out of this place for sure.

This cow was one of Sebastian's favorite parts...it wasn't a real cow, but they filled it with water so it could be milked. It was kind of weird later on in the day when I had a hard time pulling Sebastian out of the Snow Bowling exhibit, and I said "Why don't you go back to milk the cow?" and he replied "I can't, it's out of water." LOL.

Here's the little cafe, filled with fake food and plates, aprons and menus, and a cash register to ring up customers. All of the kids in my group got into this room-it was hard to get them out of here and I'll bet they could have spent all day there.

The kids were all terrific, and I was kind of nervous about that because I had an evil little kid with me on the last field trip I went to when we lived in New Jersey. She was like, a 6 year old drama queen...and I was a bit afraid that I'd get one of those this year, but they were all really neat kids who didn't mind working together to make sure that everyone got to see everything they wanted to see.

Another part they all enjoyed was the rock climbing wall-and they all did really well with it. It's kind of fun to see Sebastian more confident of himself when it comes to physical activities. In fact, he's really grown a lot since he started at this school, he's more sure of himself and has really changed socially. It's funny when we go out because no matter where we go, he runs into someone he knows.

In other news, we have a new critter staying with us. Phil and I have always agreed that our next pet would be a dog. Well, as Phil says: A REAL DOG. We've talked about it and talked about it and talked about it and we've researched breeds and breeders...the whole shebang.

I always figured that it would be somewhere WAY down the road because I have always told Phil that we'd do it after George was gone and somewhere in my mind I was convinced that he was always going to hang around. To be honest, I was also a bit nervous about getting a larger dog. I used to have a black lab named Maddy and she was the most high strung retarded dog you could ever meet, and obedience training got absolutely nowhere with her, so I was kind of worried that we'd go through that whole thing again.

In the end we decided against getting a fancy breed and opted doing a rescue instead, so now Clyde is staying with us. He's an 11 month old German Shepherd mix who was originally surrendered from someone in Eastern Washington. From what I can tell, it seems that Clyde pretty much lived on a field right up until he was about 8 months...and it's pretty clear that he was either not socialized or badly abused because he has some fear and confidence issues, and he's afraid of kids, but I'm thinking that with time, Sebastian will fix that with him. I'm not sure what it is with Sebastian and animals, but they seem to stick to him like glue. I guess raised in a household with pets like ours has really helped teach him about kindness and nurturing, and I think that animals are smart enough to pick up on that.


He's afraid of his toys---he'll play a little bit but if he notices you watching him, he'll run and cower. He's not too keen on men, but last night I noticed that he was at the door with Cassie to greet Phil when he got home from work, and he also laid down on the floor next to both of us when we watched TV, so we're hoping that he will come around a bit more with that, too...especially since it's fun to see Phil so excited about this dog, but he gets sad when Clyde hides from him.

He does like walks, which is great because Cassie doesn't like to go too far beyond the mailbox. Clyde can go and go, and that's exactly what we do, and you'd be surprised what a work out it ends up being!!

After he was surrendered he was adopted by a couple who kept him for 2.5 months. They had another puppy too, but they worked a lot of hours and were often outside the house 12+ hours a day and they didn't confine the dogs, so they'd come home to find their house and everything in it, gobbled up...so they also surrendered him.

What I've learned is that Clyde is not a bad dog, but he has a pretty nifty case of Separation Anxiety. Basically, when I leave him to go to the bus stop or to the store or even to the mailbox, he freaks out and, if left unconfined, would rip the house apart to try to get out to find me.

How the last people didn't figure this out is beyond me, but what we've started to do is to crate Clyde when we sleep as well as when we leave the house. He hates this, and we're going through a lot of whining and barking at night and when we leave, but we're only about 4 days into the crating, and I'm hoping that with a bit more time he'll not only accept it and shut up, but maybe view the crate as a safe place to hide when he gets scared, because the crate will be a lot more convenient for us than his current hiding place-under the kitchen table.

My goal is to get him socialized and confident. He's the sweetest thing-not an aggressive bone in his body. He's housebroken and knows basic commands and he loves treats and takes them so nicely-and he's doing very well on a leash now which is an improvement from the water skiing I did the first day he was with us and hauled me across the yard, lol.

I don't have to worry about him with Cassie or the cats, either. Cassie is 5 pounds versus his 60 or so pounds, and she's already managed to kick his ass all over the house, and the cats, well they've all sharpened their claws on his nose, so it's pretty clear to him who is boss, and it's pretty much everyone BUT him right now, hehe.

The whole household is really into helping him, so the next month will be a very interesting one indeed, but it makes me feel really good to have him here, and I'm hopeful that we can make him happy.

I'll have to post some more pictures later on this weekend, it's truly funny to see him and Cassie standing next to each other. :)

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