Hicks House

From Builder Basic to Beautiful

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The Crate Rebellion Continues

Way back when we first had our offer on the house accepted we were confronted with the conundrum of where Chloe would sleep. In the condo we simply put up baby gates locking her in the kitchen at night and when we were out. Her bed was there all the time and she would often choose to sleep there even when we were home.

With the much more open floor plan of the house baby gates were no longer an option so we bought a nice much bigger than she needed crate. Despite introducing the crate while still living in the condo where she was comfortable and moving her bed in there. She was still less than thrilled…

chewed crate

So we reinforced the crate to prevent future chewing and bought her a very expensive nice memory foam bed to make it more comfortable.

All was well with the world for about six months. Then the night time crying began. At first it was only for 5 to 10 minutes when she first went to bed then she would calm down and go to sleep. No big deal I’m brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed then anyway.

Then the real rebellion happened.

Hicks House | Chloe's bed

The memory foam bed died. As “parents” we’re growing increasingly concerned about this rebellious behavior. First a chewed crate, then crying at night, now a chewed bed. What’s next? What if she decides to take up with the hooligan German Shepherd down the street that barks all hours of the night? We had to put our foot down. This diva teenage behavior is unacceptable.

So we made the decision that she would not be getting a new bed. She ripped up the bed she could sleep on the foam scraps just fine. I even had grand plans to make a bed by stuffing a used pillowcase. Then we cracked.

While running errands at Bed Bath and Beyond we ran across clearance dog beds. As ever loving and forgiving parents we caved.

Now Chloe has a brand new pretty pink princess bed…

Hicks House | Chloe's Bed

So what do you think, did we fail as parents enforcing her behavior that all she has to do to get a new bed is destroy her old one. Or is OK because after all she’s just a dog.

Hicks House


It’s Christmas already? But I’m not ready!

This holiday season seemed to come out of nowhere.  I feel like it was just Thanksgiving and now we’re days away from Christmas.   Earlier in the year when we were arranging furniture we had a plan for how we were going to decorate, where we were going to put the tree whether we were going to get a real tree this year to commemorate our first year in the house.  What we were going to send for Christmas cards, all planned out.

It all snuck up so fast we ended up doing absolutely nothing.

No tree – it seemed like way too much work to set it up for only two weeks then have to take it down.

No wreath – This actually did get unpacked and was going to get hung on the front door with a Command hook however the package instructions said to apply in 50 degree or warmer temperatures.  Since we’re hovering around 20 that didn’t happen.

No Christmas Cards – we did order an Elf costume for Chloe and took some sub-par photos with my cell phone and had a plan to take “real” pictures with the camera and order cards but it never happened.

Here's your Christmas Card

Here’s your Christmas Card

I’m looking forward to seeing friends and family over the holidays but as for the decorating … maybe next year.

We did make Christmas cookies for my annual Cookie swap at work. I found This recipe on Pinterest and it looked easy and pretty. I mean it’s sugar cookies how hard could it be?

look how pretty they are!

look how pretty they are!

NOT EASY First off I don’t think I realized just how much flour is in sugar cookies. My kitchen was covered – flour everywhere. Also because I had to make so many I thought it would be easier to make a whole batch of colored dough rather than splitting the batch in half per the recipe directions. That’s all well and good until you roll out your full batch of colored dough and your full batch of regular dough and it takes up the ENTIRE island then you have to pick up one and lay it on top of the other. Never again I tell you… Never again…

I didn’t even attempt the pretty sprinkled edges after that debacle. I was sure it was going to be a complete disaster when I went to cut it into cookie rounds that it was going to smoosh and turn into a giant blob. Luckily that was the only part that went ok. The first batch tasted kind of floury so we topped all the additional ones with extra sugar before baking and that helped.

Not as pretty... but not too bad..

Not as pretty… but not too bad..

How about you did you go all out and decorate for Christmas this year? Or did the late in the year Thanksgiving have you saying “Maybe next year…” like it did for us?

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The Electric Fence Gets Tested

As I wrote about previously in Chloe’s Invisible Kingdom, training on the invisible fence was moving slower than we originally anticipated.  We’ve been trying to get outside with Chloe as much as possible and get her used to using more of the yard that the 6 foot radius her old tie-out stake reached.

She has been timid and uncertain and we have only been able to coax her out either on a leash to walk the perimeter or by playing chase around the yard.  Although she seems to love the chase game she says well within the boundaries and refuses to go towards the edge.  Which is good, but also worrisome since we were uncertain if tempted she would show the same restraint.

Then something wonderful happened, the perfect test to see how she dealt with temptation… there was a cat in our yard.  Without thinking it through fully I put on her collar and let her outside – she took off like a bat out of hell (so did the cat).  At that point we both realized we didn’t have a contingency plan for if she did go through the fence.  Luckily she got to the flags at the edge of the yard and stopped dead, the cat made it safely to the trees at the edge of the neighbors yard.

Chloe wandered back to deck and waited.  Sure enough the cat came streaking from the trees across the lawn and Chloe was off again, going so fast I was afraid she wouldn’t be able to stop even if she wanted to.  As soon as she got to the back corner of the lot she pulled a u-turn back towards the center.  SUCCESS!!! If a cat can’t tempt her past the boundary I feel much more confident that she is getting used to the invisible fence and will soon start to enjoy being out there.


Chloe’s “Invisible Kingdom”

Having raised my doggy child in apartments and a condo for most of her life, one of the big perks of this house for both her and us was the half acre of flat land it sits on.  We would talk about how Chloe was going to love running around outside without a leash.  More specifically what we really meant was “I can’t wait to not have to take her out in the rain or cold”  (I know, I know we’re terrible doggy parents but I swear the colder it is the longer it takes her to do her business).

The first day we moved in we tied and outdoor lead to the deck so that she could go out on her own on the deck and for about 20 feet out into the yard.  Then Ken installed the fence with the help of a power edger and a day off of work we got this:

the fence is in!

the fence is in!

We naively thought that because over the past few years we had trained Chloe to an obedience collar that this fence was going to be a piece of cake.  I mean after all, that was one of the main reasons for getting the collar so that if in the future we were to get an invisible fence she would already be trained to the warning beep and the zap if the warning was ignored.

WRONG!  What we didn’t anticipate was that we had used the collar to teach her to heel, teach her to come and over all behave and never leave our side whether on a leash or not.  That’s all well and good until you walk to the other side of the fence – Chloe tries to follow – gets beeped and her response is to continue running toward you (since we were the idiots that trained her to come with a beep).  Not good.  Especially if you don’t wan’t her to make the connection between getting shocked then getting on the other side of the fence where the shock stops.  After all, if you know that the shock may be worth it to gain freedom.

Chloe is also no spring chicken anymore, she’ll be turning 7 next month and she isn’t as fearless as she used to be.  Our few attempts at taking the leash off and calling into the center of the yard – far far away from the border mind you – have her running back to the safety of the deck once she realizes how far out she is.  Needless to say there is work to be done.  We’re seeing progress though, she doesn’t seem to want to be anywhere near the border and 9 times out of 10 if she gets beeped she beelines towards the deck without sticking around to find out what will happen.  That’s great as long as no one is the yard next door, walking by, walking a dog, kids playing outside etc.

Hopefully soon we will be comfortable leaving her out there without watching like a hawk, and she will actually enjoy it.   Fingers crossed.