Sunday, December 28, 2008

A little diversion from the usual posts about the two-legged kids...

So - for you that share my love for animals and have them in your lives, this should crack you up... some of you know Libby, my princess of a dog. For those of you who do not know her, she is an almost-2-year-old Australian Shepherd who literally picked me when I thought I wanted her littermate. Anyway, she crawled into my lap that day and has never really left. She jumped right into the top dog spot in our house.

Anyway, she recently learned to climb trees (I think you've all heard that story) and has also been getting out of the fence alot. She goes under no matter what we try. We've put hotwire around the bottom, boards, cinderblocks, etc, etc. But she finds a way. Initially this worked well for her because she would get out, come to the front door and then come in for some quiet family time without the other dogs interfering with her attention. This worked great for about a month. We just got a little routine down: she would get out, the boys would bark, I would open the front door and in she would come.

Well, the past week or two, she has been driving us insane. Sometimes when she gets out, we can't get her to come in. She doesn't leave the yard (mostly, she stares intently at the cat, daring Estelle to move). But she also wants no part of coming inside. Yesterday she spent 6 hours outside, just staring at the cat in various locations of the yard and refusing to let me within touching distance. I was SO mad at her. I was ready to send her away! (And Libby is my favorite dog on the planet! But who can spend that much time chasing a dog around? And we have tried every containment trick that we know.)

So, I finally decided that I would just take her out on a flexi-lead in the front yard and walk her myself. Well, gee, she has now taken this princess thing to a whole new level... I think this was her plan all along. She gets to stay in the living room, she gets human company everytime she goes out and she never has to wallow in the mudpit that sometimes is our backyard. I wonder if she thought I was a little slow since it took me so long to figure out this very simple solution!

I just started laughing yesterday after all of my frustration (and bad words) and then I had this super-simple plan. She's laying beside me on the couch, grinning as I write this. :-)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Merry Christmas everyone!
We hope this Christmas season finds everyone well and blessed! Our year has just flown by. The kids are all four now. (Daniel will be five in February!) Where does the time go?
The kids are all excited to start school next year. They will start full-day kindergarten in August and they would all go tomorrow if anyone would let them. We toured their school recently and were very impressed with all of the staff and the general positive atmosphere of the building. One of our close neighbors will be their bus driver, so that will be very handy.
Maja goes to speech therapy once a week to work on her pronunciation and she’s doing well. As she’s been there for a couple of months now, she’s letting her “true colors” show and she’s not always the sweet, demure girl that her therapist met that first day! She knows most of her letters and all of her numbers. She loves to draw, but it’s hard to get her to concentrate on writing. She would rather just make a shape and call it whatever letter she thinks it should be that day. She’s a “color outside the lines” kind of girl!
Daniel was not prescribed any speech therapy despite his cleft. Everyone at the school that tested them could not believe that he’d only been speaking English for one year. His vocabulary and pronunciation were as good as any American-born four year old. He isn’t quite as excited about reading and writing as the girls, but he’s making progress.
Mali is the ring-leader of the group and always keeps the other two in line…of course, she doesn’t always follow her own rules so well!  She can write all of her letters and knows most of her numbers. She can recognize a few written words and is starting to learn some phonics.
Tony is still working at Harvey/McPherson County Community Corrections and loves it. The State of Kansas has made huge budget cuts this year (including cutting the funding for three prisons and Tony’s job is paid from the same budget as they were), so we are a little worried about that, but we continue to pray that the legislators understand the increased importance of probation, particularly when they are closing minimum security prisons.
Alyssa continues in her position as Admin Lt. at Saline County Sheriff’s Office. This year one of the grants she wrote resulted in the shared Communications Center (dispatch) receiving $210,000 for much needed new E911 equipment, so that was very exciting. Our county’s budget is very tight (whose isn’t?), so the grants are very important to us right now.
This summer we lost our 13-year old Airedale Terrier, Sammy. He is now in doggie heaven, chasing all the bunnies he can find. He had bad hips for many years and had been on medication for a number of years. Medication was no longer enough and we decided to let him rest peacefully. We miss him everyday.
Shortly after that, Alyssa surprised Tony with an early 10th Anniversary present… his name is Kegan and at the writing of this letter, he is a 6 month old, 65 pound German Shepherd. Our vet estimates that he will be a 110 pound adult! Hard to imagine how big that will be … he has already outgrown our other dogs. Tony plans on training him for volunteer search and rescue work.
We didn’t manage to get a Christmas picture done this year, but you can check out the kiddos at if you are online.
Enjoy your holiday season and remember to celebrate the reason for the season – Christ, our Lord!
Love to all of you!!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

November 2007
"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."

~~ Helen Keller

Fun at the beach!

Fun at the beach!

Beautiful sunset with our friends at the lake

Beautiful sunset with our friends at the lake