Nella IV | month two

Posted on 12/30/2016


It's hard to believe that we have had Nella with us for two months! It feels like we have had her forever. I admit, I was nervous about how well Scout would accept her into our family, and how the added stress of training and having a puppy would be for Caleb and me. The puppy horror stories freaked me out - destroyed shoes, non-stop barking, peeing in the house... I knew things like that would drive me crazy! But we have been lucky and Nella has been a fairly easy puppy (so far, fingers crossed she stays that way! Knock on wood!). She continues to sleep thru the night, loves her kennel, has yet to even nibble on pair of shoes (or anything else she shouldn't be), I think I have heard her bark like maybe five times total (we have to teach her to 'speak' ...not sure how that will go!),  and is pretty much totally house trained.

Scout and Nella continue to get along well, and while Nella certainly some added work to our lives, she is also fun to be around. She is very smart and catches on to things quickly, and we learned a lot with her in puppy kindergarten (which she finished up with this month)! One interesting thing is that prior to getting Nella, we were told she would quickly learn that when her cape was on she was working, and when it was off she was not. I thought that idea was weird - how would a dog understand that difference? But this month it became obvious that Nella clearly understands that when he vest is on, she needs to be on her best behavior! She is night and day different when she is working, and when she isn't - it is so adorable!

I don't want to downplay the work of having a puppy but really it has been quite easy and a really fun experience so far. Nella started losing some of her teeth this month, and is a serial toy killer (as I like to call her), but her destroying all her Christmas toys in 2 days was really the hardest thing for me this month. I was pretty annoyed that some of the 'extra tough' toys I got her lasted less then a day - but we have found some that she can't destroy so we will just stick with those from now on! 

Really the most notable things- 
*Nella is great at fetch! She will run, get something and then 'drop' it, it's adorable
*Her 'wait' is getting longer and longer
*We practice 'here' when she plays with Scout (her biggest distraction) and she has been rocking disengaging and coming to play with us lately!
*She knows that she isn't allowed in our room and will sit by the door instead of coming in. (Prior to getting Nella we decided that our room would be only Scout's space so we never let her in there)
*Nella loves Kongs! They are such a great distraction for her, I love them too! :)
*Working tires Nella out. Which means she always needs a nap when we are doing being out... it's pretty cute, we can always count on her passing out when we get home from a trip out with her.

*as always, all options are my own*

Nella IV | month one

Posted on 12/04/2016

Have you met the newest member of our family yet? 

But she's just not a new pet, because we are: 
!!! Kinda crazy, right?! 

Meet Nella! She came to us on November 3rd, which means we have had her one month! 

My hope is to write a post each month to track her time with us, which should be around 20 months. So I figured I would first answer some questions that we get about her frequently, since we have gotten quite a few questions about the process. Plus that cute face! Can you even resist?! 

To start with- we got Nella at exactly 8 weeks old, and we will have her until August of 2018. Then she will go to "college" or advanced puppy training in California. Hopefully, she will do well and will become a service animal for a person with disabilities. If she does not meet the standards (they are of course very strict so it's very possible she will not - anything from a medical issue to even if she just doesn't wan't to work, she would be not move on in training), we will have the option of adopting Nella, or possibly have the option of recommending an adoptive family of someone that knew her as a puppy. (This is one of the first questions I asked, as it was really important to me that she would go to a great home no matter what- and the waiting list for adopting change of career dogs is so long, it's actually closed! So no matter what Nella will never go without a home that will adore her!)

Starting the week after we got her (seriously, 4 days after) we started taking her to puppy classes, and will continue to do so. By the time we turn her in, we will have to teach her a quite a few commands but nothing specialized, she will learn those in college! One month in, and Nella has already been to 6 puppy classes and is doing great! We also have to crate train her, which has been a total breeze. She loves her crate, goes in on her own when tired to nap, and has no problem spending a few hours durring the day there (when we walk Scout or if we go out) and has slept thru the night (9pm- 5:30am) since the first night we got her! That was our happiest surprise, since many people told us to prepare for night time potty breaks, but she never needed them!

What about Scout?
Nella and Scout get along great. We've made sure to keep Scout's routine the same, and she has been fine. We don't let Nella in our room, and she isn't allowed on furniture so Scout can always get "away" if she needs a break, but we try and be really aware of that as well. Scout is an adult, and doesn't want to spend 24/7 with a puppy - totally understandable. However, they are quite happy playing together from time to time and get along amazingly well. 

Lastly, I thought I would address the one question that we get asked the most, all the time in fact. Which is how hard it will be for us to turn her in in 20 months. It's hard when people ask how we could possibly "give her up" - but what I like to say is this. I am a high school teacher. I spend years with students, teaching them, caring about them, and ultimately, at the end of our time together, I hug them and tell them I love them, and say good bye and good luck - and that's what I want for them. And that's what I want for Nella. We are not "giving her up" - just passing her on to the next phase of her exciting life, where hopefully she will achieve great things. 

In future months I'm sure I will just post cute pictures, but hopefully this answered some questions people may have about what we are doing! If you have other questions, please let me know :)

**Everything is my own experience and does not necessarily reflect the views of CCI. All opinions are my own, etc.**

september 2016 | bathroom before + after

Posted on 9/11/2016

I wasn't planning on re-doing the bathroom right away (thought it was certainly on my list).  There was really nothing WRONG with the bathroom.... it actually looks better in the before picture, really. The problem is, I am picky, and I hated everything.

So.... I was telling my Aunt that I wanted to paint the tile. And she said... "I don't think that is tile." So ten minutes and quick consult with Tyler later it looked something like this:
and the this:

which lead this THIS - which looks terrifying, but it's not mold (thank god), only old glue - which I had to scrap off ...  yuck.

So, at this point I decided I wanted to put shiplap up! But first I had to take out the sink, and toilet, you get to the walls.

And this is when I realized in renovating things, one thing just leads to the next!

I thought that taking out the sink would be easy, it was NOT.
But I got it done with a hammer :)

Then the deconstructed sink sat in my hallway for a few days while I was like "WTF did I get myself in to?!"

But at this point I had NO sink, and my walls were half way I had to move forward, there was no going back! (I really did question my sanity.)

Then I headed over to home depot, and got them to cut some plywood into 5.5 inch strips- which I then primed and painted over the course of about a week...
Once they were done, one Saturday it was GO TIME, now or never, no more messing around! (my Dad was heading out of town and I knew I would need his help!)
So we made a last minute decision to switch out the toilet (so glad we did my new one is so fancy, it was a push button instead of a's the little things.)

And then we laid the floor ("we"= Caleb)

While he did that I had a slight breakdown because the living room looked like this:

While I put together the new vanity, from IKEA.

Then we hit some plumbing roadblocks, and we stayed looking like this for about a week. The next Saturday we woke up and I told Caleb hell or high water we were finishing the bathroom.

And an entire day later....we did!
*cue angels singing*

And we were DONE!
Thank god I only have one bathroom.

august 2016 | I bought a house! : "before pictures"

Posted on 8/18/2016

Once upon a time, (last February specifically), I decided that it was a good idea to think about buying a house. I am settled into my career, knew the area I wanted to live in, and was tired of renting. Scout is fine in an apartment, but I wanted her to have a yard to run and play in, and I was ready for some stability (I've moved every year- sometimes multiples times a year- for the past ten years). The rental market in the Portland Metro is brutal - a one bedroom rent is averaging 1,400/month, which was quickly becoming to expensive for me. It made sense that a mortgage may actually be cheaper, or at least the same price.... 

I talked to my parents, went to a class on home buying, got my finances in order, and started looking at neighborhoods. Then I started looking at houses ...and I looked, and I looked and looked. And made offers, and I even got three accepted offers.... and had to end them... due to rotting floors, roofs, etc. I was open- and excited- to make some changes to any house, but was not interested in houses that had not had water turned on for 5 years, for example! I am more into cosmetic changes, and was not interested in structural changes.

When June came around, I felt that I was never going to find something. I had a lot of trips planned, and Caleb and I started to look at apartments, or maybe even living in an RV - we even went to look at them and though we could probably do it. Then on a one day break between the Redwoods, and leaving for Washington DC, there was an open house I went to. And my parents went later that afternoon. We all loved it- so, not really expecting that I would actually get my offer accepted, I made an offer, and it got accepted!

So... 48 (but who is counting!) days later, I got my keys!

(& stay tuned for more pictures, because I thought it would be fun to share - I started to tear up the carpet aprox. 15 minutes after I got the keys!)