Saturday, January 28, 2012

Introducing River!

This is River. He is a seven week old future guide dog!  Raising a service dog is something that has been in the back of my mind for a while, and last year, I finally completed a puppy raiser application for Leader Dogs for the Blind in Rochester, Michigan.  There was a 6-9 month waiting list for a puppy, and right before Christmas I got a call asking if I could be ready to receive a German Shepherd puppy in a few weeks.  Of course I said yes! So, yesterday, Mom and I made a trip to the Leader Dog kennel to pick up this adorable ball of fluff!

Raising a service dog is very different from raising a pet.  There are certain toys he is not allowed to play with (such as tug ropes and tennis balls), and certain games he is not allowed to play (like, fetch).  He is never allowed off leash and also, has to be trained to relieve himself on command.  Perhaps the most well known, and most fun difference, is that he needs to be used to going anywhere a human can go.  This means we have access to places you would not normally see a dog so he can get used to the sights, sounds, smells, and distractions of everyday life.

We had our first outing last night when we visited the Walker family.  River was a little intimidated by their St. Bernard's barking, though we were no where near them, and wasn't too sure about the vacuum cleaner. But He had a blast playing with all the kids!

So what are we working on now? Top priorities include being quiet in his crate, house training, and learning to chew on appropriate items. (Not my fuzzy pink slippers!) We have also started learning basic obedience commands.  Using marker training, River has learned sit, and touch (touching his nose to my hand) in one day!  Other things he learned include where I keep his bag of kibble and how to tip over the garbage can... no, I didn't teach him those.

Stay tuned for more on River's progress. 
...I think I'm in for a year of adventures!

Sledding Done Right

First, make friends with someone who has (or has access to) a good sledding hill.
This is more easily said than done, but I've been blessed with some good contacts :)

Next, wait for snow.  In Michigan it may come as early as Thanksgiving, or as late as January, but the fun is always worth the wait!
And by "good sledding hill" I mean a hill with an iced starting ramp and big bon fire warming area!

And is lit all the way down the hill, through the woods, and over the neighbor's driveway :)

Mr Reiche and Lydia make the inaugural run

And Mom went down a few times too!

Now, you can have fun with all sorts of variations. You can ride single, double, or even tripple!
Be warned, its hard to stay on when you are the one on the top!

Mary Ellen and I decided to ride double and tape the ride.  Here's a glimpse of the fun!

Thank you for the wonderful evening Mr. Reiche!
Happy winter everyone!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I'm still here!

No, I have not fallen off the face of the earth, died of some strange disease or been abducted by aliens, I promise!  Between School, Thanksgiving and Christmas, Clay coming home for the holidays, an interesting trip to the doctor's and catering a wedding reception for a friend, I've been concentrating on keeping my feet under me and my focus on what is right before me.

Obviously, it wasn't the blog.
Here is a quick update on what it was :)

School: Yes, I've finally finished!!!  My official graduation date was January 2nd, though I cannot take the national exam until May.  I am so glad to have all that over with!

Doctor's appointment: After a couple years of worsening fatigue I finally went to see a trusted functional medicine doctor near us.  He put me on the infamous "Candida diet" (otherwise knows as the canteatit diet) due to, among other things, adrenal fatigue, digestive issues and gluten intolerance.  (Gluten? REALLY?!?!?! Of all things, it had to be gluten, didn't it?) It has been an interesting journey through the land of rice cakes and almond butter, not to mention French fry and ice cream cravings, but I have learned much about myself and my health through it.  ...and lost a few pounds in the process.

Christmas: Yes, on the Candida diet.  (wasn't as bad as it sounds.  I'm thankful for that healthy dose of creativity I have!) Mom made me some buckeye type cookies (with alteration) that I could eat, which made my day, and, Clay was home!  That made for some happy times, to be sure.  And I have to add, I think he looks real good with a goatee!

Wedding Reception: Before Christmas a friend asked if I would coordinate the reception at his wedding in Travers City.  I agreed, and spent the next few weeks making lists, comparing prices, making phone calls, baking cookies, and learning all sorts of interesting things.  (For instance, did you know there are about 30 cherry tomatoes in one pound?) I am happy to say that the wedding was beautiful, the reception went well and no one left hungry! (sorry, no pictures, I was kinda busy...)

Now: Now? I'm job hunting, attacking my enormous sewing pile, preparing for a new four legged addition to the family (more information coming soon!), and learning to rest in more ways than one.  But, more about that later.

...That is, if I don't fall off the face of the earth, die of some strange disease or am abducted by aliens...