Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Today was a busy day. We started out getting up and I am feeling crummy. Stopped up in the head, a little achey, and think I'm coming down with a cold. :( Headed down to breakfast and ate, and asked Lisa if we could stop by a pharmacy for me to pick up some sudafed for me. Rei was also popping up a lot under the table so asked for some effective ways to get her to go down and stay. We worked on that and learned some good tips there! :)

Then for the morning, we went back to the horseshoe walk and started out walking the bottom of the horseshoe and beyond, doing traffic checks during all along the way. I was really suprised at how this time it didn't rattle the nerves like it did last time with Honey. I think it's because I know I can trust the dog now, having had Honey before. We bopped along very nicely and she really, really did well. I'll be honest, I'm VERY impressed with her guiding work.

After making our way down and back, we got back to the bus and Lisa told me that if I wanted to, she was fine with me doing the horseshoe solo. I said sure and away I went. Rei was spectactular, taking be between two trashcan lids that were only a foot apart and making sure I was cleared of them. There are three areas that there are overhanging branches that are low and they just clear my head in certain spots. This dog has amazing accuracy and hits the right spot every time so that there's just barely enough clearance, but I don't hit anything. She hup'd up nicely when asked to and is very, very good, slowing down at all the rough spots, taking me around the trash cans/lids in the way and so forth. We made our way all the way around and back to the bus. after knitting for a while, Valerie popped in and asked if anyone wanted to join the three that she had to walk all around the horseshoe, and I said sure, so got out again (having to untangle my yarn from the harness) and we took off again, catching up quickly to the group and then Valerie let me take off in front and we were gone.... Left them behind until I got to the sprinklers that were going over the sidewalk and Rei came to a dead stop. Instead of going out into the street and around the car, I waited for Valerie to come up and give the approval. And of course they stopped as I asked if it was ok, so we buzzed on through their and everyone loaded up on the bus to head back for lunch.

We came back and had lunch- minestrone soup and a large salad. Time went by too quickly as we went back to the gthering room to load up again to go to sayville and do country walks. This was actually a new place for me, as I didn't do it last time with Honey. On the bus once we got there, Rei just wouldn't settle down. She was up and down, up and down, and kept walking off towards the front door. I eventually took her out and she did pee, but even with going back in, she was still up and down.

Not too much longer, Valerie had me come out and break her again and then she was my sighted guide over to the pharmacy and Rei went along with too. We picked up the sudafed and headed back to the bus, where Lisa was now waiting. We then breaked Rei again and she did a #2 and harnessed up. We were working on country walks, where there is no sidewalk and the dog is trained to keep you up to the shoulder of the road as close as possible. She did really well, though she was distracted some by the trick or treaters that were now coming out and the dogs on leashes.

It was a little bitter sweet to see all the adorable kids trick or treating. At least Mike gave me a treat and took some pics of the kids and uploaded them into dropshots for me. :)

Here's my kiddos:

Alex has said for the last 3-4 weeks that he wanted to be a lady bug, so here is the lady bug:

and his wings/spots on the back:

Katie was a witch and Meaghan was Princess Jasmine. :)

Alex's school pictures came in too, which were just really awesome- taken by Wibur Tague Photography:

So back to the topic- this evening we had dinner- the whole class went together and chipped in to order pizza for us all and for the evening trainers. We all ate and since Suzi and I won't be attending the subway or city orientation walks, we were not required to attend the lectures. So thus we came back to get some zzzzz's.

From yesterday afternoon, coming home from the horseshoe walk- Rei snoozing with her chin on my knee:

so off until later and hope everyones day will go smoothly!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Trying to catch up...

ok these days have all just been running together!

Yesterday morning we did the backwards P walk again. Rei did really well yet again and her guiding work is just superb. I told Mike tonight that her guide work was just as good as what I remember of Honey's work. Which I'm really, really thankful for, as Honey was just an awesome dog!

So we walked the backwards P again (no rain this time! Yay!) and we were late getting back to the school and rushed to water and break the dogs to get down to lunch. After lunch we met in the gathering room and loaded up again, this time to go to Patchhogue for the afternoon.

We make the 20-30 minute drive there and when it was my turn, I took off down the street and we breezed through to the end of the block (a LONG block) and then headed up to the main street. We then worked our way up the main street to encounter pigeons, other dogs, and passing other guide dogs. She did well with the dogs with a quick "Leave it", but the birds were tough to keep her attention. With a slight leash correction though, she quickly re-focused on her work and was back to weaving me in and out of people and around poles and such. :)

We made it to the corner and then turned toward the off street that the van was parked off of. We made it to that street corner and headed left again, back to the van, and got to the next downcurb and there was a large man in a wheelchair off to our left. Lisa later told me he was very intensely staring at us and was sitting very still, which prompted Rei to jump and bark a couple of times. I quickly did a hard leash correction and told her to "Leave it" and got her to move foward and she then re-focused on the work she was supposed to be doing. I was a little surprised she'd barked at the guy, but then as we were unloading from the bus, she gave out a bark too at the trainer Sebastian, standing in the door. So not sure what her deal is with men. LOL!

Last night we then had three lectures rolled into one, Harness mechanics- teaching us how to take apart and put together our hanress. Then there was the toy lecture of what toys were appropriate and what was not with the do's and don'ts of playing with the guide dog.

Today, we got up and had breakfast, and loaded up in the van for Patchhogue again, this time, after talking with Mike Sargent, there was a person in a wheel chair on the sidewalk. It also came up behind us at the intersection and while Rei jumped a little bit to the side to push me away from it, there was no barking. :) Yay! We then worked the entire intersection, crossing at the cross lights and the pedestrian walk. Ick, those things are hard! Anywho, she did great with the intersection and walk altogether! :)

We were indeed very late coming back to the school, so we went straight to the dining room and had lunch and then went and watered and breaked our dogs. Afterwards, the three of us going home on monday went over to the kennels with our dogs in the van and Lisa ran them in for thier flight certificates and any followups they may have needed medically.

After the vet visit, we headed over to the Horse shoe walk. Rei absolutely did fantastice, taking me around all the objects, and guiding under low tree branches. I really apprecate it,it helps! :)

Suzi and I were in the van at this point and we were really late getting back to a dinner that most everyone threw away tonight. It was just really bad.

Anyway, not much more to share, lecture tonight was how to clean thier ears nd to teach the newbies how to clean up after thier dogs. I skipped out on the poop patrol lecture, since I've gone it before and know how it's doing it.

Here's a couple of favorite shots of Rei from the last couple of days:

tired puppy...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesday- day of Decisions...

We got up bright and early this morning, actually being ready to go outside when the call came to feed, water, and break our dogs. I fed Rei and watched her closely and again, she jumped into the tub and I immediately corrected her and got her out of the tub. No soap this time though, it's now kept up as high/far back as I an on the sink. ;)

We went out for break and as she's shown so far, Rei did an awesome job, getting right down to business and getting it done quickly. We came back in and boy was she ever playful and definately feeling a LOT better and bounding around the room. LOL! :) I took my laundry down and tossed it in before we went down to breakfast. The trainers had thier thier weekly staff meeting from 8-9am, so we had free time to kill. I got my clothes moved to the dryer and dried, so I have clean stuff to wear again! LOL!

While I was in the laundry room, Mike Sargent pecked on the door and said Hi! and asked how I was doing with the new dog. I said pretty good, but that she's really dropping off on her pace about half way through the route. Told him what Lisa and I had discussed and that I knew she'd been out before. He asked me who she'd been out with and I told him and he was like Oh! that's a REALLY nice dog! I told him I agreed, but this pace thing was a problem, her turning it off halfway through the route. He stood there thinking about it and asked again, "You said it's halfway through? when you head back to the van?" and I confirmed. He said he thought it sounded like she didn't want to quit working. He told me to tell Lisa to work Rei a half block past the van, and do the things Lisa had in mind, which was keeping the harness handle taught with tension, where I would feel the pull, so that she would push into the harness more and would then speed up. Mike also said too that he couldn't help today, but that tomorrow he should be able to help with things.

After the meeting, we met up in the gathering area and Bill Krohl came to speak to us about some of the GDF programs and so forth. We were really late getting out of here and the trainers decided to just go back to St. James again. We got there and I was the last one to walk. We also were getting the same rain that Indiana got 2 days ago and it was wet and raining. Thankfully when my turn came up, it'd stopped for the time being, just the temps were dropping.

I took Rei out and breaked her outside the van. We harnessed up and took off to the sidewalk through the parking lot that we were in. instead of the right, we made a left down the sidewalk and towards the railroad tracks. We crossed over the busy intersection and headed back down the sidewalk and at the first side street, we deviated from the normal route and made a left onto the side street. very quickly we came to two utility poles very close together and in the sidewalk. Rei did an awesome job working me through them and was responding VERY well to my requests to hup up too. She kept a nice pace and was very attentitive since things had been changed up a bit. I kept the pressure on the harness through the handle and she moved very nicely and responded to all my requests. I was very happy and pleased at how the route went. We walked on down a half block past the store, crossed the street and then walked our way back to the van, keeping the same pace throughout the whole route. Lisa said she was really happy with the way she worked and that we had a really good route too. We then loaded up and headed back to the foundation to water and break the dogs and then headed to the dining room for lunch.

We settled down for lunch and Wells Jones, CEO of GDF came down and introduced himself to the group and brought several people from Eukanuba with him that were taking a look at various guide dog schools across the country, planning to set up a beneficiary program to the schools, that with foods purchased, a % of the proceeds were to go to these schools. So we all chatted and so forth until 1pm and we were then headed for the Backwards P walk, which is down the main street of Smithtown, along the main street and through some of the residential area. This is actually a walk that I didn't completely do with Honey. I did the main street part but not the "p" part.

It had been raining ALL afternoon in a pretty steady rain. I got out and it had broke or a bit, but as I got out of the van, Lisa told me it'd started back up again, so we take off and start this mile and a 1/4 walk. We start down to main street and make our way very quickly down the sidewalk, around poles and so forth. She did an awesome job of keeping me clear of things and continued working even though it was raining quite hard by this point. We continued on down to the main intersection and by this point, it was a flat out downpour. This little dog amazed me as she kept right on going and we even had a traffic check as I missed a car that came up from behind on my right when we started to cross a street. But seriously, while she shook herself a couple of times, she sped up readily and willingly, she followed all my commands, and so forth. I had to take my glasses off since they were so wet and covered in rain. I was soooooo glad to have Dad's waterproof jacket and my waterproof rockports to walk in. My feet and body pretty much stayed dry, my jeans and long johns were just soaked though.

We worked our way back to the van through the heavy rains and when I got back and almost to the van, Lisa turned to me and said ok, she did awesome, just to let you know, we do have a back up dog for you. I want you to think about it and let me know what you want to do. I was kind of taken aback and was in deep thought shortly after I climbed into the van with Suzi and now with Pam, who also was out and got soaked too. Valerie took the three of us back to the foundation to get out of our wet clothes and take it easy for the next hour.

I came back, got myself out of the wet clothes I had and was deep in thought about things. What other than the pace did I not like about Rei? Was there any reason to change dogs since she showed me she would speed up when asked and slow down as needed. I really like that she is mature and that she's very independent in personality. She doesn't need my coaxing and excessive loving to gain her trust, keep her working, and so forth, if that makes any sense. She's happy to work and she's content with it since she loves it. She's content to lay by my side and stay with me, yet loves to play when she's done working. I really think she'll fit well in our family. So other than knowing she's going to be a little more work in the beginning, working through the "pack leader" establishment, I really feel that she's a good dog for me.

I buzzed my hubby, Mike, on IM and talked with him at great lengths and he agreed too, that he didn't see the need to change dogs either. After the rest of the students came back, Lisa stopped by and wanted to talk again, apoligizing for the way she said that they had a back up dog. She was really just wanting to re-assure me that if things for some reason didn't work out with Rei, that they did have another dog they thought would work for me and that everything would be ok. I told her my thoughts of Rei and that Mike and I had talked and that I was really happy with the way the day went and with what Rei showed me today and that I really didn't see any need to change dogs. Lisa was happy and said she was more than happy to continue to work forward with Rei and would help me through keeping her up to pace and so forth. :)

We went out for break and Rei did her business quickly and then we went to the front desk to talk with a friend that's on the GDF talk list. :) We chatted for a while until time to go to dinner. a group of us kind of formed and talking until we were called to dinner, thus we all made our way to our tables in the dining room.

After dinner, we had a "secret lecture" about how to do corrections- secret being that we left the dogs in our room, taught by Mike Devlin. It was quite comical seeing Mike being he dog and holding on to the harness for the students to make the leash and harness corrections on him. Suzi caught him off guard and actually pulled the harness handle out of his hands! Oops! LOL!

After lecture, we took the dogs out for evening break and she did business as usual. We all came back inside and I've been updating here and playing for a bit with her. :) I'm super tired and worn out, so going to call it a night. :)

The rest of Monday- Day of second thoughts

Ok, after she ate the soap, we had breakfast and then loaded up on the bus and headed to St. James. A very nice little town, straight sidewalks and the people there seem very nice. Not sure though of how many people were actually residents of the town and how many were actually GDF employees, since I recognized quite a few people from the GDF campus there as people driving cars, riding bikes and so forth. Which is cool that they go through all that to make things as real as possible. :)

I did get a couple of shots of Rei with another pup on the van, and it was pretty cute since Rei put her leg over the other pup's leg.

So we unloaded from the van and took off down the sidewalk. We breezed through a good 7-8 blocks it seemed easily. We made it a good ways down the street. As soon as we turned around to come back, it was like Rei hit a brick wall. She was plodding, wouldn't hup up much at all and I seriously felt like I was dragging her. She had started it just before we got to the turn around point and Lisa asked me what I thought of her pace. I said it was pretty good, that it was ok that she slowed down a little bit as the kids walk slower than I do.

So we tried "hupping" her up, making kissing noises and the whole ball of wax. She just wasn't having any part of it. Which really worried me. Would I be able to keep up with the kids? Is this really the dog for me? There were a lot of questions going through my head. We got back to the foundation and settled in before break. I talked with a couple of people I know as handlers for thier thoughts and they all pretty much said the same thing, that a dog get's bored in surroundings they are really familiar with so she may just be plodding along because of it.

Lisa came to let me know it was time for break and I had her come in and talk with me. I told her that I had some concerns of Rei's pace and such, as well as I knew that Rei had been out before with another handler before me. I asked if Rei was being so slow and knew these areas, since she worked with the other handler in these areas, was she possibly doing this because of it? I asked too if it was possible to go to an area that she hadn't been before to see if she'd be more responsive there. She thought it was a good idea and asked that I not make a decision on Rei right then, to give her 2 days to work with us and then we'd revisit the conversation. I said that was fine. Honestly, I really want this to work out, so I was more than willing to give it a shot.

Then we went out for break and then headed down for lunch. Lisa sat with us at the table and asked me a couple of times if I was ok, as I was in pretty deep thought and rather quiet for what I normally am around the group we are in. Lisa told me that she'd talked to Valerie and Jodi to give them the heads up of our conversation and asked that we work with Rei through today and see how she did. I agreed that was fine.

After lunch, we all loaded up on the van and since about half of the dogs in the class have had some sort of medical issue, we drove over to the main GDF building and each of the trainers grabbed a dog and took them in to be checked by the vet. Rei was one of them to be checked, as since I've gotten her, she's had white, goopy stuff in the corners of her eyes all the time. It's reduced dramatically in the last couple of days, but just to make sure, we got her checked out. Apparently it was also very close to time for her annual shots, so they went ahead and did all of those and drew blood for the heartworm test so that I won't have to do those once I get home with her and not have to pay for it.

Once all the dogs were looked at, it was so late that it wasn't going to be worthwhile to drive the distance to Patchhogue. So the trainers decided to go back around to the back of the GDF property and do a group obedience session. Which quite honestly, was VERY oool and worked on things I wouldn't be able to do on my own.

They lined all 12 of us up along the curb and we all had to tell our dogs to sit and stay and make a long leash and go to the end of it and walk around and keep the dog in the stay. Then we went back to our dogs and had them do a down and stay and do the same- going to the end of the leash. Now this doesn't seem like much in level of difficulty, but when you put 12 dogs side by side and there's leaves blowing across the ground, sticks EVERYWHERE, and telling them to stay is quite a challenge! LOL! Rei did pretty well as did quite a few of the dogs. A couple had some practice sessions coming thier way, but we made it through. :)

We then did a down and stay and the recall. This is where you walk to the end of your leash and call your dog to you. Easy enough right? Ok, now we did the same but every other person recalled their dog, the others had to keep thier dog at the stay position. It was quite interesting for the 2 people who had dogs of the same name. LOL! Again, Rei did really well.

Then the real test came. We put our dogs at a sit and stay at our sides and the trainers walked by shaking leaves and throwing sticks down in front of our dogs, and again we were to maintain the sit stay position. Since a lot of the dogs went for the sticks that were tossed in front, we worked on that a good while and then Valerie went and got several food dishes with some food from the kennels that were very close by. Boy that was some serious distraction, being it was within an hour of feeding time too! YIKES!

So they laid the bowls down and we had to walk past the bowls, keeping the straight line to the curb of "crossing the street". Rei seriously drooled at the thought of a bowl of food being there for her. Each person walked thier dogs past and to the up curb and then made the left to cross a second "street" past another bowl to the up curb. I'll be frank, I was worried. This dog LOVES her food! LOL! But she did well, and it got easier with each bowl we passed, telling her to "Leave It!"

After this, we loaded up on the bus and they drove us around to the student quarters and we stayed in the gathering area. They then had us go by table down to the dining room and taught us how to seat our dogs at the tables with us. Then we were released one by one to go to our rooms and settle in for the evening.

At break time, we took the dogs out and Rei did her business fairly quickly, but I could tell she wasn't feeling well. she wasn't very responsive and was just downright grumpy. We all then took our dogs with us for dinner and it was really nice, and the dogs were all actually very calm and laid quietly under the tables during dinner.

After dinner, we had the grooming lecture, which we went down to the grooming room and Mark, the apprentice, showed us how to groom the dogs and so forth. Since Rei was being grumpy, she actually kind of nipped at me about brushing her back leg. I'm wondering though if it was probably where she got her shots earlier in the day and with the way things have been the last few days with her, if she'd just had enough.

After lecture, we had our last break and Lisa suggested that I take her to the room and let her chill for the night. Lisa also came by and said that when I came back to the room, that I should let her off the tie down to fully wind down. I went down to the tv room with Suzi and watched the first quarter and about 2/3ds of the second quarter of the Colt's/Titan's game and then came back up and let Rei off the tie down.

I talked with Mike for a good while and then it was time to call it a night, so put her back on the tie down and headed to bed.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Soap eating dog....

Ok, I'm calming down now. LOL!

We are feeding our dogs in the bathroom, where we can put he stainless steel bowl on our bathmats so that if they spill water, there's not water every where- or at least that's the theory. ;)

Anywho, I've been feeding Rei, with her leash on so I can grab her if needed. I have her sit at the door as I scoop out the food, leash laying on the ground/dragging by her and she sits/stays until I blow the whistle to eat or call her to drink. And being the Lab, she tears to her bowl and within seconds, the food is GONE.

So lets back up to yesterday... I took a bath the night before and yesterday morning, I feed Rei and since I was running late, I leave her scarfing down her food and came out and put my shoes on. I finish up and look into the bathroom and she's standing in the tub, checking things out. I tell her to get out of there not thinking anything of it and we go about our business.

This morning, I take my shower and I'm like hmmmm, where's the soap? I know I left it here on the soap rest. I climb out of the shower, all wet, and grab a new bar of soap off the sink and unwrap it and proceed with my shower. After getting dressed, I feed Rei as usual and I'm standing there at the sink, combing my hair - trying to multi-task, which is pretty much what I do all the time, being a mom of 3 kids. LOL! So I hear her leash jingle and I turn to see Rei standing in the tub and looking at me. Right behind her head is the soap rest and NO bar of soap. Immediately I realized what had happened to both bars of soap! LOL!!!!

I got her out of the tub, put her on tie down and rushed to the hallway and got Lisa to ask her if it would hurt her. She said no, but to keep her on leash and stand and watch her from now on when she's eating and that she may have some loose stools, but she'll be fine.

Good golly, I'm gonna have to watch this girl like a hawk, just like I do Alex! LOL! :) We're learning! :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Oops, I had planned to write about this link and got tired doing so on the other post and forgot to erase the link.

Mike sent me this link from MSNBC, which is about a service dog in training being denied access to a hotel in Indianapolis.

Mike commented to me that maybe Suzi and I could organize a protest when we got home. LOL!

An excerpt from the article:

Preston explained under Indiana Law, service and guide dogs are allowed in public places. The law also applies to dogs in training.

"The law is very clear that says someone who is training an assistance dog has to be given the same accommodations as someone with a disability that has an assistance dog," said Preston.

This type of stuff just infuriates me! Here is the link to thier "contact" us page... Send an email of your thoughts to this company for not following the law and for thinking they can avoid answering for thier actions...

off to bed now! :)

Sunday of the first weekend at GDF

We got up bright and early again and made our way out to the break area. Rei of course did her business quickly and we were back inside. Still we have not taken our dogs to the dining room with us, so put her on tie down and headed down for breakfast. We had english muffins, eggs, bacon, and cooked potatoes for breakfast.

Since we were running a little later, we quickly headed to the gathering area to load up on the bus and loaded up in the bus and the van. We went back to Kings Park again for the U shaped walk we did yesterday. Suzi and I stayed on the van and chatted until it was our turns and I worked on some knitting. When it was my turn, I put on my walkie talkie with the neckloop and we went out to the road and breaked Rei.

We harnessed up and headed down to the path and went full out. :) It was soooo awesome yet again. She didn't even pause for the monument this time and we blew around the path in quick fashion. :) We did have to stop once as she started acting like she needed to go potty, but she only quickly peed just a tiny bit, but we went on and was good.

We got back to the van and she quietly laid down and was good until one particular pup came on the bus. I wonder if they were kennel mates or something because each time we've crossed paths with this other pup, she has literally tried to pounce on her and wanted to rough house and play. So we got the dogs separated from their playful antics and she settled down and we chatted with those around us until it was time to head back to the school. We got back and watered and breaked the dogs again . Then we put them on tie down and headed down to a lunch of ham/cheese sandwich, chips, and a pickle.

After lunch, I was just feeling really tired, so I came back to the room and called Mike quickly, getting to talk to the kids too. :) Suzi and I planned to meet up at 3 to work on InDBA stuff some more and I decided to lay down and take a nap. It felt soooo good to get in a 2 1/2 hr nap in, waking up not too long before 3pm, so headed down to the snack room with my tablet and pen, a can of coke zero and some snacks. :) Suzi came down soon and we talked and worked through the retreat stuff for InDBA and before we knew it, it was 4:30 and time to go feed, water, and break our dogs and head to dinner.

We did so and dinner was rigatoni noodles in meat sauce with broccoli. After dinner, I went and got Rei out of the room and decided I'd take her back to the snack room with me since she'd been on the tie down all afternoon. Just before I clipped on the leash, she grabbed her nylabone, which is very well roughed up by now, and I asked her if she was going to take it with her. She wagged her tail and moved to the door as if to answer me and say she was indeed. I was thinking of taking it with us anyway so she'd have something to do while we were sitting down there. So I opened the door and told her to sit, as every other time she's then dropped the bone. Well, she kept it in her mouth and we made our way out the door, bone coming with. LOL! We get to the first door and she does her sit on command and we head on down to the snack room, she carried her bone the whole way. LOL!

So we settled down and Suzi brought her pup with and the two of them settled down by our feet and we continued to work through the rest of the retreat stuff. We made a really good plan for the weekend, meals set, and so forth. We also have a list of stuff for each of us to do and accomplish, so we have a good plan of action in place as well. After we got all this worked out, we planned out the meetings for InDBA for all of 2009, and Suzi will be reserving the meeting dates at Crossroads in Indianapolis for these dates for our general meetings. :)

So we continued working on all of this stuff through 8:30 break and just took the dogs out again and Rei did her business quickly. We came back in and I'm here listening to the podcast from church and typing up this post and will soon type up the stuff for the retreat and meetings to disperse soon.

Not real sure what we have on the agenda for tomorrow, but we'll find out soon enough. :)

Night all!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday of the first weekend at GDF! :)

I the alarm didn't work right for some reason and no one knocked on my door as I'd asked, so I was a little late getting up and ready this morning. I did get up and showered though, fed and watered Rei, who has had a running track record of sitting and DROOLING steady streams from her mouth to the floor. This is the only time I see it, but boy she drools when there is FOOD involved! LOL!

After getting her fed and watered, I took her out for break and golly I think she's been the fastest dog of the East. LOL! Seriously, she doesn't mess around if she needs to go and she lets me know if she's done by coming back up on the curb. I'm talking out do the job and we are out and in in 5 mins tops! :D Yay!

So come back in and put her on tie down again and head down for breakfast. It was good with bacon, egg, english muffin, and a hash brown patty. After breakfast, I make my way back to the room and get my stuff together to take to Kings Park, for our first Harness walk.

I have to note here that the differences in classes are just phenomenal. So far we have not taken our dogs to the meals with us, where on the my class with Honey, we took the dogs to the dinner table with us the next day. Also with this class, it's been a lot more protected and strict about things. With my class with Honey, we were given harnesses to keep and take with us from that 2nd day as well, not the case in this class, which is ok, but I'm really surprised at the difference in things.

So we load up on the bus and in a van and head to Kings Park. It was a really nice day, not too cold and not too warm but was very windy. The trainers each took a person out and we all hung out on the bus and chatted. Rei kept looking out the window, front feet on the wheel well, the back on the floor so she could see what everyone outside was doing.

When they got back, I asked if we could sit outside with our dogs, and the trainers got the lawn chairs out and then we had the fun of keeping our dogs out of the sticks, from eating the leaves, and digging in the ground. They were just being goofballs. LOL! As you can see here, there's another pup and Rei both getting into trouble, noses into the grass and rooting...

Now we are being good doggies, as we were corrected and told to "LEAVE IT!"...

Suzi went with her pup for her walk and then Lisa came and grabbed me. We started out trying an 18" handle since I'd had a 17" one with Honey (Rei being smaller than Honey), but since it felt like I was pulling yet still we switched to a 19" one and it felt good, I wasn't pulling hard on her harness just to stand correctly, so we took off.

Man how I've missed that sense of freedom and being able to look up and stretch out the legs and just go. Rei had a pretty good pace, being a little bit quick but she soon settled down to a good pace and it was so enjoyable to be able to hold a conversation with Lisa and relax about not running into things/tripping on things. We trucked it up to the first bend quickly and came upon a commemorative marker and Rei stopped dead in her tracks. Lisa figured out what it was, had me drop the harness handle and went up to the marker, which resembled a tombstone, and sat upon it and called Rei to her. Rei went bounding up to inspect it, seeing that it wasn't harming Lisa and once she was able to see that it wasn't hurting anyone, she was fine and we moved on, and was back up to pace again and made our way around the loop and back to the bus. :) It was exhilarating! :)

After loading up on the bus, I worked on some knitting as we waited for the last person to finish up with her trainer and then at that point, everyone was loaded up and the bus made it's way back to the school. We all went in and watered and breaked our dogs, which Rei again did her business in record time and we came back in. I put her on the tie down and got my stuff together to go out to lunch and to the mall with Suzi and a couple that volunteers thier time to take the students out on the weekend. Another student and his volunteer were wanting to go to the restaurant, so we all carpooled in a GDF van and headed to the Smithhaven Mall area and went to this really good Italian restaurant. The food was soooo fresh and yummy, and thier bread was to die for! :)

After we finished our meal, we headed to the Mall and Barnes & Nobles, looking around there and then we walked down the mall for a bit. The other student wanted a starbucks so we camped out there for a bit as several drank thier coffees and we tried to chat amongst all the noises that were happening.

We made our way back to the school and I came in and fed, watered, and breaked Rei and came back in and laid down on the bed, just to get off my feet since my knees were hurting with the impending weather change that we are having now. Next thing I know, Lisa is knocking on the door and asking if I'd heard the announcement for dinner. I'd fallen asleep in those few minutes.

Went down for dinner and it was baked chicken, mixed vegetables, corn bread, stuffing, and ice cream for dessert. After dinner, a group of us got to chatting and it was quite comical, as four of us were retrains, a couple having had several dogs, and then two new ones. We were sharing stories and things that will happen while having guide dogs and boy it was a fun group. :) We all realized at 7pm, that we hadn't watered our dogs for thier 6:15 water break so we all took off for our rooms and did so. Then Suzi knocked on my door and the group was going to re-convene in the rec lounge downstairs, but take our dogs with us too to continue talking. We did so and it was quite fun, and again funny conversations and hysterics ensued with the lively group that we have here. :)

It was quickly 8:30 break time, so we all headed up for that and we went out for break and it was pretty awesome, we were the last one out and the first one in! Whoo hoo!

I have to say though, I'm soooooo thankful that GDF has thier break area covered now (it didn't used to be before the new building) because it was raining in a pretty good downpour. We made our way back in and I uploaded the pictures and now have you up to date on what we are doing here. :) Not sure what we are doing in the morning, as right now we are getting super heavy rain, hard enough I can hear it on the roof, which means it must be pretty loud!

Well, I've stayed up too late the last couple of nights and its 10pm, so going to call it a night early and get some zzzzz's!


Friday afternoon/evening stuff

Upon going out for break just before lunch, we went out and Rei did#1 pretty quickly, as she hadn't gone that morning. So as we were headed in, we had a back up of dogs at the door to go in, so I went to have her sit and stay. Again she is refusing to sit for me when I say SIT! I'm thinking man, how am I going to get through to this dog and I absolutely hate yanking on that leash to correct her like I'm having to do to make her sit and as I was being instructed to do. So I go through the serious of commands, no, correct, command again and we'd done this three times and each time she was backing up on me.

Valerie, who'd been working with another person and thier dog, came up and said Hey, couple of things happening here. First off, I was pulling back to make the correction, which was causing her to back up, that I needed to pull straight up when doing a correction. Secondly, she said try changing how you say the command to sit. Instead of saying SIT!, real quick and sharp, she said to enunciate and draw out the "s" sound and with a sharp ending on the "t", as in SSSSSSSSSSIT! I give it a try, and what do you know, she plops right down in a sit! LOL!

So we head on in to the room and I think now in the last 24 hrs, she's only not sat for me twice when doing it this way. We are doing almost no corrections anymore, which is making BOTH of us a LOT happier. :) I feel quite like a horses butt though, having been yanking the poor dog's head off, but now we are making some real progress! :)

After lunch, we met up in the gathering area to do bus work, outside walks, and for those to finish stair work if they hadn't gotten it yet. Suzi and I went and hung out in the leather lounge so we could chat and after Suzi did her outdoor work, they came in and grabbed me to head up to the front to do the bus and van work. We head up to the gathering area and find a seat. Lisa took us both onto the bus and the van and then went and did the walk down and around the block behind the school doing leash guiding. She came back and we went in and it was time for feed/water/break.

We did so and went down for dinner and then went down to the leather lounge for our evening lecture. The lecture was about Straight line and conditioning, meaning explaining how they conditioned the dogs with positives and praises first and then trained them to follow the imaginary straight line down the middle of the sidewalk. Dan gave the lecture and while he's a great guy, it seems he's really nervous. :( A couple of the other more experienced trainers seem to step in and really override him a lot, even devaluing him even more, which is a little disheartening. As a result, Suzi was unable to hear, not much was repeated and so forth, so it was a little frustrating to me, for her. But they did come up to us after the lecture and went through things again to make sure she understood.

After lecture, Suzi and I went to the snack lounge and talked to great lengths about quite a few things and in general. :) Then I came back to the room and checked some emails and tried to start this post, but was too tired so figured I'd finish it later.

Friday, October 24, 2008

We've had a good morning this morning. We met in the leather lounge after breakfast and they talked to us about activities for the day. They told us they'd split us up into our groups and we'd work on obedience with our trainers. Which was definately good for Rei and I. She is definately being a knucklehead right now about the sit command and the stay command. I've been giving it to her and she's just acting like I've said nothing... So getting a little more forceful about it now. I don't like being that way, but until we get it, I'll do it.

We then went downstairs with Lisa and worked on obedience, where she worked with us on the sit/stay, walk away and come back and then bring them to heel. Then we repeated with the down/stay. After this, we did a sit/stay and had them Come on command. The other thing that I'm having to stay on top of with her, is not swinging out when she sits. Boy I told Lisa I sure realize how easy I had it with Honey now. LOL! But that's ok, we'll get there soon. :)

We all then came back upstairs and Lisa and I talked for a few minutes about tips on working with these things and she asked if I wanted to go ahead and so the stair work. Said sure and we went and worked on those, which a few of the things were forgotten, so was good to do the work again. :)

So we are back here in the room and waiting for lunch. :) Suzi and the others in our group will be doing thier stair work now. Rei is snoozing here by my side and I'm seriously considering setting the alarm and taking a nap. LOL!

Day 2 with Rei. :)

Well, we are up and moving, I'm still pretty groggy. LOL. Guess I'd better get me a Coke Zero early this morning!

Lisa has already came by and had me feed and water Rei and she is on the tie down now, at Lisa's instruction, until they come get me to take her out to break.

Ok, they just called! bbl...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dog Day evening! :)

It has been such an awesome but a roller coaster of a day. :)

We were told our dogs before lunch, Suzi and I worked on InDBA stuff, and then we met our dogs about 2pm.

Rei came in and bounded up to me licking me in the face and taking all the loving she could get from the get go. :) She's a beautiful, sleek black lab with a more boxy head of the English labs that I love so much. :) They left us to bond and she was soon on her back taking all the belly rubs she could get. :)

And here she is:

She is considerably more strong-willed than Honey was, but that's ok. :) We are going through that learning each other/testing phase right now, but seeing improvements each time we head out of the room. We've been to the leather lounge twice and as anyone who's done this, knows it's pure chaos when you put 12 dogs with thier new handlers in a big circle in one room. LOL! The second time though, was a little better and Rei is starting to listen a little more. :)

We came back to our rooms and left the dogs on tie down and had dinner, which was again really good. It was mediterranean salad and chicken flautos and mocha ice cream for desert. :)

After dinner, I came back here and loved on Rei some more, taking her off the tie down, which she promptly came and laid between my feet and rolled onto her back. :) Then we made the second trip to the leather lounge. While I remember most of the stuff, I'm struggling with that footwork. LOL! As most of us retrains grumble about when back in class, from what I hear.

After lecture, we came back to the room and I called the kids to tell them good night and they came and got us to break the dogs individully. Rei must be feeling pretty comfortable with me, as she quickly did number 1 and after just a little be more went ahead and did #2 also. :) Which is great, as I remmy being stressed that Honey hadn't done #2 for 3 days. LOL!

We came on back in and I've let her loose and she's laid quietly and snoozing at my side. I uploaded the pics and doing my post here for the night. I really, really feel good about this. She's very smart and I think once we get through this learning stage, we are gonna be an awesome team!

Well, Im about to drop, so going to sign off and call it a night. Later all!

Kacie & Rei

I have a sex, name, & breed!!!! :)

We get our dogs here in the next hour and a half!!!!

They brought us together in the leather lounge and I know now that I am getting:

A female black lab named Rei !!!!!

I can't wait to meet her, I'm more excited than ever!!!!!!

Doggy update...

Went to breakfast, had an egg, french toast, and sausage links. Yummy~ :)

Jodi came in and gave the announcements for the morning, they are going to do some more short handle walks, as they are still trying to make final decisions on who they are giving to who and she said hopefully by lunch they can tell us who we are all getting. :)

So the countdown is on!

Thursday morning- It's Dog Day! :D

Wow, I slept really hard last night! Feeling pretty good this morning as I'm up and moving and actully feeling pretty excited now! :)

I'm off to get my shower and head to breakfast. I'll update more later! :)

Morning all!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

We have arrived! :)

My morning started bright and early, with Dad picking me up at 5:30. I arrived at the airport and there were massive lines for all checking in. Went inside and got in line to check in my bag and had my boarding pass. I finally got my bag checked in and the clerk gave me the baggage ticket and I took off for security. Good golly, I've never seen that long of a line as many times as I've travelled. They were lined up all the way back to the split of the concourses and information desk, and 3 lines thick too.

So I waited my turn and after 20 minutes of inching my way up to the TSA officer and when I got there, I hand her my id and my envelope with what I thought had my boarding pass too. She opens it and says you need a boarding pass. I said that's all the clerk gave me, and she said sorry but you have to go back. So I grumble under my breath, ok how can I get through, as there was this mass of people behind me. I squeeze my way through and go back to the counter and got my boarding pass that the clerk had kept and then had to get back into the line again and wait my turn again. This time I get through, go through security and head down to the gate.

Since I only had 45 mins between flights at midway, so I asked for assistance. Got the the gate counter and she gave me pre-board pass and took me to the pre-board seating area. I sat there and the guy kept getting on the PA and talking about various things. I couldnt understand him and so he calls something and then calls business class. There was 4 other people sitting in the pre-board area so thought I was ok, by not going yet. Then they call the first group and I was like CRAP! I get up, get my stuff and walk up and by then he called the second group. After they all went through I said, I think you may have already called the pre-board call. He's like yeah, here you go, pick any seat but an exit row. So I was on my own to find a seat.

I make my way down to the ramp and get in line. The plane was packed and they were asking for people to take standby offers. I find a seat about halfway back and over the wing. As I got on I said again to the flight attendent this time that I needed assistance at Midway. She checked on it and said they'd have someone for me. The flight was good, really quick too. We land in what seemed up and down and I wait my turn to make my way down the aisle. Golly it's irritating the number of people that darted out in front of me thinking I couldnt see them! grrrrr....

Anywho, the attendent told me as I got to the flight deck that they had a person right there outside the door to help me. I took her arm and thankfully I kept asking because I had to go from gate b2 to b17, and it was a bit of a hike and through a bunch of people. The person took me to a seat, took my boarding pass and got me another pre-board pass and actually went to the person that did the boarding and notified them that I was there and needed assistance. I made a run for the bathroom and came back to board just a few minutes later. I was the first one on the plane this time! LOL!

So the flight from Midway to Long Island was pretty good, a bit of turbulence but not much problem at all. The landing here was actually harder and rougher than it was at Midway, but not bad. :) I got through to baggage claim and Lisa Harvey met me there. It was good to see her again, as she'd worked with Honey and I when I was here before. We talked all the way to the school and caught up on some things. :)

I got here just before lunch, so basically came in and threw my bags down and went to the dining room so they weren't waiting on me. We had soup and salad for lunch and met some of the other people on class.

After lunch, I came back to the room and unpacked my things, caught up on some emails, buzzed Mike for a bit and then decided to lay down and take a nap. I slept for about an hour and a half until Dan knocked on the door and took me on the tour of the building to make sure I knew where things where, the fire exits and so forth. :) It wasnt long after that it was dinner time! Dinner was good with a side salad and beef stew and broccoli and rice. We had ice cream for dessert and it was of course yummy!

Lecture was at 6:30, so came back to the room for a few, called home to tell the kids good night and then headed downstairs to the bereavement lecture. It was really good and helped a lot. I was able to say a lot of things and feel like I got a lot off my chest and was able to talk to actual people about what had happened. I also said out loud for the first time, really to anyone that I felt guilty over retiring Honey, as though I let the Thomas' down in doing so. I can't describe the weight that feels like it's been lifted now from my shoulders.

Amazingly, we talked until almost 9pm and everyone is heading to bed. I'm really tired, so think I'm going to go raid the snack basket for some comfort food and get my jammies on. Will probably ball this skein of yarn I brought with me and then call it a night and while I didn't think I was on the plane, I think I am truly ready for Dog day tomorrow and that I can now say that with some excitement. :)

Night all!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Last post from home!

I have everything ready except my tolietries I need to use in the morning. :) So I'm set to go. :) Talked with Suzi tonight, and I was all excited because rumor was the dogs were going to be given to the handlers tomorrow afternoon, but apparently that isnt the case, it'll be Thurs morning. Which honestly, probably is for the best anyway- get that greif lecture out of the way and then meet my new partner. :)

I finished the little scrapbook I made for the puppy raiser and hopefully can get the school to send it to them. :)

Alright guys, this is it. I'm heading to bed to get up EARLY in the morning and start this journey again! :)

Later from NY!

Monday, October 20, 2008

It's about here.

Well, we are down to the wire. Monday and Tuesday, and then up bright and early Wednesday morning to head to the airport at 5:30am. I fly out of Indy through Midway, Chicago and then on to Islip in NY.

I'll be honest, there's been a lot of emotions, thoughts, ponderings and all. I'm excited, elated, but nervous and worried at the same time. I'm elated and ready for the new dog. However with the discussion of greif lectures on a couple of handler email listserves, I'll be frank, I'm downright a little scared of what emotions are going to surface when I'm there. Mike keeps asking me if I'm ok and I know I'm feeling very reserved, withdrawn, and very emotionally and physically drained these days.

I have been really busy late, and am super behind on emails and such, so if I haven't answered your emails, I'm intending to do so VERY soon, please bear with me. I'm packing right now for myself and for Meaghan to go to Aunt Nancy & Uncle Mike's, along with trying to prep as much as I can for Mike, stuff for our annual Halloween party. We did a lot this weekend, and are busy yet but made good progress.

We finished off the soccer season yesterday. Yay! And for the afternoon, we are ALL tired from a busy and long week. So we all laid down and took naps until time to get ready for church. After church, we went with Amy and Mike to Pizza King for dinner, and then went to Walmart and let the kids pick out pumpkins. We then went to Lowe's, looking to get some styrofoam for making some tombstones, after Mike had seen a video on You Tube, but we decided against it as the kids began to melt down, I was losing my patience with them, and cost factors too, since funding is far less than comfortable at the moment. So we headed out of there and for home, getting the kids to bed and we talked for a while, winding down, spending some time together, and just trying to get a feel for what we wanted to accomplish for Sunday.

We got up Sunday morning, having slept in a good bit, and Mike, Alex, & Meaghan went outside and began working on finishing up the outdoor decorations and such, as well as cleaning up the garage which was quite a mess. Katie and I stayed inside, as I cleaned up/picked up inside the house as Katie worked on finishing up her homework she had for the weekend. The little ones soon came back in and were getting hungry, I wrapped up with what I was going for inside and Katie finished up her homework.

We then fixed lunch and all ate, followed by naps for Meaghan and Alex and Katie, Mike, and I went back out to the garage and continued on cleaning things up out there. We got the bikes moved to the shed, the garage pretty well cleaned up. I cleaned up the clutter of sewing stuff I had, moving the tall filing cabinet that Dad and Sue had given us a while back over in between the two shelving units I have and putting all that away in there, as I'd wanted to do for a while now. Mike went through and cleaned off the work bench and we got the floors mostly cleaned off. We moved the patio set and glider into the garage for the party and put the hose reels away too.

Before moving the patio table into the garage though, we put it on the driveway and while Meaghan and Alex were napping, we let her clean out and carve her pumpkin, since she had her christmas program practice at 4pm. She did so, carving a skeleton face on her large pumpkin. Then about the time she was wrapping up with that, Meaghan and Alex woke up, so they came out and joined in, cleaning out thier pumpkins to be carved. Then it was time for Mike to take Katie to practice, so he took off and I moved the gutted pumpkins inside to the island and cleanned up outside. Mike got home and moved the table on into the garage.

I worked on carving Alex's pumpkin, which was a "Mad Mummy" and then we ate dinner of leftovers from the pizza last night and some heat and eat chicken nuggets. I later tonight carved Meaghan's pumpkin- which she asked for Jasmine first, from the movie Alladin, and next for a mermaid, but I told her she had to pick from the booklet of templates we have. Which it now makes since that she picked the "viper" as the bad guy, the evil Jafar, turn's into a snake and looks very similar to the design that we carved her pumpkin into.

I promise, I'll post some pics soon of the house, the pumpkins and so forth, as I'm uploading the 400+ soccer/pumpkin pics now. LOL! Will go out tomorrow and take pics of the house, now that things are all done outside. :) So look for picture posts tomorrow evening or Wednesday. :)

Speaking of pictures, I will be taking the nikon camera with me and plan to take pictures of my new dog and of Suzi's new dog if she allows it. I too will be journalling my experience while in NY and hopefully with as much detail and ferver as I was able to before. :) I hope to share with everyone what all is going on, and will do my best to keep things up to date on here, much better than I've been doing lately about home life!

Well, it's once again super, super late, (stayed up and finished Meaghan's pumpkin, just about finished one of 2 booties for Amy's baby wee welcome set, and updating here) so I'm going to sign off for the night and get some zzzzz's before Mike wakes me up in the morning.

Hasta luego....

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Super sore... :(

Ok, my tumble yesterday was a painful one. I'm definately sore today and the shoulder, knee, and hand are making themselves well known. I think I'm ok, just really sore, but Im sure feeling it. Just praying for God to heal me quickly before I take off next week for GDF, especially since all of this is on the left side- the side the dog is on and the hand I use to hold the handle.

Talked with Suzi today, and it is confirmed, we are definately going to be flying home together! :D I'm stoked and excited! It's pretty cool, that we get to do this together and we are both planning to work on some InDBA stuff while we are there and with no distractions other than our dogs. LOL!

We wound up staying home today- Meaghan taking a nap since she was just in RARE form today and melting down at almost everything. I knwo it did her some good to take the nap, I could have used one and about to head to bed here in a few minutes. Hoping to get a nap myself tomorrow!

We went to Great Banquet tonight and it was cool to see Mike and Amy there! :) I had a bunch of people come up and say they were praying for us and excited for me to go get my new dog. :) I feel so blessed to have the Great Banquet family, my GDF family, my DB family, and our other friends and family too! They have supported us, pulled us through rough times, and gotten me wherever I've needed to go in a mere moments notice! THANK YOU all for that!

alrighty, my eyes are too heavy and the yawns are coming steady now. I'm off to bed!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Home from the dr.

We went and while the dr. said everything was normal, adenoids are healing well, he went ahead and "sucked" out Alex's nose/sinus' with the little suction tube thingy he had. Alex thought it was funny and tickled. :) Dr. Phillips said that he was really, really congested, so he suctioned him out to help him breathe a little better.

We then went to chik-fil-a and Anne Marie was needing something to eat, since her blood sugar was all wonky. Meaghan had a major meltdown leaving there, resulting in my pulling her out of the van and in the flailing she was doing, she caused me to trip as I was making my way back up to the sidewalk. I landed HARD. *sigh* I'm sore in the shoulder, I think I broke a blood vessel between my first and second fingers, as it puffed up immediately and kinda turned bluish, but went down fairly quickly. I ripped 2 major holes in the left knee of my jeans and golly did I have a mightly scrape. I'm waiting to take the jeans off and see what kind of black and blueness I have there. ;) However through it all, while Meaghan did kinda skin her knees, I did manage to keep her from being scraped at all and she wasn't hurt at all.

We got home and it wasn't too long until Mike got home and we worked on putting up almost all of the Halloween decorations. Will try to take pictures tomorrow of all that.

Alrighty, gotta get kids to bed so ttyl!

Wow, it's been C-R-A-Z-Y

We have had an insanely busy and crazy time lately!

Soooooo, back to Alex's surgery. He finally improved and by Friday night he slept through the night for the first time. You talk about one TIRED mom and dad too. By Thursday night I had Mike getting up and soothing him back to sleep, as I got the impression he was waking more and actually getting up because it was me, where with Dad, he knew he had to lay back down and go back to sleep, so think that was part of the success for a full night of sleep on Friday night. I was still po'd at the doctors office, as I'd called and no one returned my call. Then Friday night, I called the on call dr- had him paged, and again NO CALL BACK! Grrrrr, I didn't push it because after no responses, I'd asked the mom friend of mine that has been through this and she made some suggestions of Ocean Spray instead of the Afrin they'd given us and it worked immensely better. Then reading through the sheets, it mentioned giving sudefed, so Mike picked up some and that made a world of difference too.

I stayed home with Alex during soccer on Saturday morning, and Alex was not happy about that, but got him busy around the house with me and he was ok with things. Also, the Women's banquet was that weekend. I went to the Saturday evening meal at 5:30 and stayed through the night activities until about 10:30 pm. Came home and Mike and I crashed hard and we got up and worked on stuff around the house that was desperately needing done. We then had closing ceremonies for GB and after that, went to Bible Study and visited for a short while before all headed home and crashed.

Then I found out from email, that my "partner in crime" and good friend, my treasurer of InDBA, Suzi, got the call too to go to NY and receive her guide dog as well!!!! Oh man, you talk about me being estactic! We get to be on class together and while I haven't confirmed it with Suzi, my understanding is we are actually flying home together! :) That'll be a sight- two ladies with thier guide dogs walking through the airport! LOL!

So on Monday, I was back and forth on emails with GDF and catching up on things. I also called the doctors office AGAIN for Alex and again, no call back. GRRRR..... We were busy all week, as we had Meaghan's class at the library on Tuesday. Wednesday was soccer practice, Thursday was Katie's Open house at the school. Friday and Saturday, I had my first Partners in Policymaking Class! VERY cool! Met a lot of real neat people and learned a LOT of good things and did a LOT of networking too! Kind of excited about going to NY, so I can use the down times to get some planning done for InDBA and hoping Suzi will be willing to join me in some of that and possibly hash some things out for our weekend retreat we'll be having next summer! :)

Over the weekend, I thought I saw some really bright green yucky stuff from Alex's nose Friday morning and then Mike said he was draining green Saturday. Yesterday morning, Alex woke up and it was then draining pretty clear on the left side. Ever since his surgery, he's had not out and out bleeding, but just general bloodiness in his nose, particularly the right side. It's been this constant trickle of blood, and it'd be caked all over his nose area when he'd wake up in the mornings and from naps. It'd really start up after using saline spray in his nose too, and then last night, looking up his nose, I have no clue how he's breathing. the whole inside of his right nostril is just clogged with bloody gunk and the left wasn't much better.

So this morning I called the dr's office again, and basically made it known that I was NOT happy that my calls hadn't been returned and that I'd greatly appreciate it if someone would call me back about my son's bleeding nose. About 20 minutes later, I got a call from the nurse and she said they wanted to see him, so we are headed to an appt at 1:30, which isn't too far off, so I need to get moving nad make sure Meaghan and I are ready when Anne Marie gets here with Alex.

This week though is going to be busy, as tonight we plan to work on getting our Halloween decorations up. I got all the stuff out of the boxes and laid out that goes inside, and then laid out all of the outdoor stuff, except a couple of things. Also got the spikes put into all the pumpkins and those are ready to put out too. :) Tomorrow we have Meaghan's library class- take the books to the library to donate, and then tomorrow night is the GB gathering. Wednesday night is the LAST soccer practice! Yay!!! Thursday night Mike has Big Fish- Men's ministry Dinner, Friday night Alex gets to go play at Grandma and Grandpa's. Saturday is the last set of Soccer games. YAY!!!! And while the soccer league is having thier end of season bash, we are going to go to church and spend an evening together as a family since I'll be leaving for NY next Wednesday. I'm hoping maybe we can go get some pumpkins and carve those and play games together for the evening. Sunday we'll have Bible Study group too and I may have a baby shower. I have to double check on that since the momma went into labor and delivered early! So not sure what is up with that...

Alright, it's time to get my butt in gear, so will update once we get home from the dr!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Update on Amy...

I don't have any official details, but did get a note from Holly's hubby of the following:

Amy and baby and daddy are okay. Holly got home around 3:30 and said that the baby was born around 1:00 AM, Oct1.

About 9 pounds... double chin and fat rolls on legs and arms :) A bit of "epeezyotomy".

Wednesday afternoon

After talking with a mom friend that has been through this stuff with several of her kids and the last one back in February, she let me know that the codiene still tastes nasty with flavoring and that for her kids, it caused them to wake up and such. She also suggested using Ocean spray mist for his nose instead of the Afrin, that the Afrin tended to dry up and not work well, especially if they are especially congested. She mentioned that with her kids, keeping them on a tylenol/motrin rotation worked much better and also worked through the scab fall offs around day 5 too.

So he had Motrin at 6am, told him he didn't have to take his yucky medicine anymore if he'd take the yummy stuff, so he readily took a tylenol tablet at 9 and he thought it was great fun to squirt his nose several times with the Ocean spray that we had from when he had the croup earlier in the year. Then he was happy to take the motrin again at noon and spray his nose again just before lunch.

Since he had wet through his pull up last night, I stripped his bed and have been working on laundry today since it was piling up from being busy with him the last few days. So stripped his bed and told him he was laying down to take a nap and gave him the choice to sleep in Katie's bed, in the room with Meaghan or in his bed. He said he wanted to sleep in his bed, so we made up his bed with his favorite sheets and microfiber blanket. He helped me make it and then climbed up there on his own and I gave him a tylenol tablet at 2 and he took it no problem and sprayed his nose again, laughing about it. :) Then he laid down on his own and I think he was out cold in less than 2 minutes w/o a fuss!

I'm seriously debating whether to sew bags or to take a nap. Im leaning towards setting the timer for an hour and having Katie (who had a half day today) wake me up when it goes off and then work on sewing bags.

I'm just relieved I'm starting to get my kid back!

Wednesday morning

Ok Im up and moving... a bit. Just got Katie out the door and LOTS on my plate today.

No sooner than I'd posted on here, he woke up screaming yet again and sitting up truly in a panic. I went in the room saying he was alright and he calmed down and laid back down on his pillow and then after a few minutes closed his eyes. I told him I'd be back in a minute, went and got a blanket and pillow and when I came back he was starting to get upset again and told him I'd lay there on the floor in the room with him. I did so and we both fell asleep.

Then about 4am, he was crying and fussing again, laying on his belly and off the pillow, and I could see that his bed was wet. turned up the light a little bit and he'd leaked through his night time pull up. So got him down out of bed, saying a few times "Alex, this is Mommy" and he woke up enough that he didnt freak out. Then I laid him on the blanket I had and he was upset. Got him out of his wet jammies and pull up and tried to get him to take some motrin, since it'd been 5 hrs. He immediately crawled under his bed and out of reach. I told him ok, come here and lay down on the blanket and pillow and didn't push the motrin. He laid down and promptly fell back to sleep on "my" bed. LOL! I grabbed his pillow and another blanket and laid down beside him.

Mikes alarm started going off at 5:30 and woke me up since I had my hearing aids in yet to hear it. Alex fussed a bit in his sleep and I went and asked Mike to get him to take his medicine. He had to fight with him a bit but got him to take it about 6am, and he was screaming. So I took him and we laid down in my bed and both of us conked out hard until Katie came and woke me up at 7:30.

He woke up shortly after and is on his second bowl of cereal. I got some tylenol down him easily a few minutes ago and did his ear drops and we are trying Ocean spray intead of the Afrin at the recommendation of a friend who's been down this road several times. We'll see if there's any improvements there.

Come on Baby Girl!!!!!

Holly- Amy's sister IM'd me from the hospital tonight (Tues night), saying that they are at the hospital and that Amy is in labor! Whoo hooo!

Apparently her water broke at 1am this morning and as of 9pm ish, she was at 8cm's and about 75% effaced, so not much longer! :) I'll update once I get stats! :)

Amy & Paul, thinking of you guys and hope all goes smooth! HUGS!

Im a really frustrated mom ATM...

Post surgery, Alex has done pretty well in the waking hours, though today he was getting into trouble already, so the plan is to send him back to preschool tomorrow.

But as for meds and emotionally, we are having some real issues. I can't get him to take this codeine at all, well except the one time this afternoon I asked him if he would take it, I'd give him some ice cream. Did this and he took the codiene so fast I've not seen him take any meds that fast. But that is the only dose of codiene he's had since yesterday afternoon, though it's the 4th try at giving it to him and 3 of the 4 resulting in him spitting it pretty much all back out.

If he's up and awake, he's pretty good about taking otc motrin so for daytime we are good. Tonight however, was not fun and I don't think it's over yet, even though it's almost 1am, since he's wailing and fussing every 20-30 minutes yet.

After Mike got home, I went to bed and slept for 3 hours since I was up until 2am last night and got up at 6:30 this morning. Alex took all of a 20 minute nap today, which will be explained in the next discussion after the meds. I woke up at 8pm, where Mike was just putting the kids to bed, and stayed up so I could give Alex his midnight dose of something, since Mike gave him otc motrin at 7:30.

Well it wasn't long and at 11, Alex woke up coughing, sputtering, and crying in pain, moreso than he had last night, so I tried the codiene route. First mistake there... I asked him if he'd take the codiene if I gave him some more ice cream. Well he was sleepy and didn't give a bunny's butt about ice cream. So tried talking him into taking it. he hemmed and hawed and didnt want it- wanted to watch tv. I took him into the living room as he was fussing and crying and was trying to keep him from waking up Mike and the girls (thank goodness that when well, our kids can pretty much sleep through bombs going off).

So tried to get him to take it and no dice. So tried holding him and making him take it, of which he promptly threw his head back and spit it all out and it ran backwards and around his eyes. So I put him down and ran to the kitchen to get a wet paper towel to get it out of his eyes and the stickiness off his face and he wanted no part of that. *more screaming here* Since that was a bomb and not knowing how much he actually got down him for sure, I now couldn't give him any tylenol. So I said come on, you are going back to bed, which was met by another fit and screams of "I want to watch tv!!!!"

I get him in bed and since Alex has always been so good at taking medicines, espeically the children's tablet motrins and tylenols, thought I'd try a motrin tablet. So I get one and give it to him to take. He plays with it, and so forth, and with having the lights down, I couldnt see him very well at all. Post coming up next about this issue... I thought he'd taken the tablet as he laid back and pretty much went to sleep or seemed like it. I left the room to go say goodnight to the couple of people I'd been talking with before all this started, only to be jerked to attention by his screaming and crying again 5 minutes later. I went back in and he's coughing and sputtering yet again and he has that tablet in his hand. Arrrghhh.

I try coaxing him and getting him to take it and he hems and haws around with it, which with crying he woke Mike up who came in and tried to help too. Finally I had enough and was frustrated enough I put the ultimatum on him to put it in his mouth or else. And I was ready to follow through if he decided to call my bluff if I needed to, as I was fed up. (Trust me, I've been VERY cautious these days of what I say I'll do, as he's been testing how far he can go and has been calling my bluff a lot lately). He put it in his mouth, but then wouldnt do anything with it. It wasn't an easy melt tab so it sat there as he fussed and cried some more. He wouldnt do anything with it and screamed all the more, which brought Mike out of bed again as I was getting a dixie cup of water. Mike takes off back to bed, and Alex continues to get madder. Since he's screaming and his mouth is wide open (he's trying not to bite the tablet) so I stick my finger in and crush it against his teeth, then tip his head back and pour some water in, of which he had to swallow it and then he realized it was gone and began to settle down, though he was still upset.

Now for the sleeping thing... Since the recovery, where he woke up to Mike and I being nowhere around and 4 nurses holding him down and shoving a needle into his ankle, he has been absolutely been paranoid of going to sleep and if someone touches him while asleep or groggy. Yesterday and today I moved him after he fell asleep, as he went to sleep on his belly and was whimpering in pain, so moved him off his face and propped up a bit. When I took a hold of him, it resulted in an immediate screaming fit and him fighting me, not realizing it was me and trying to get away.

He has always been really good about laying down for naps and going to sleep right away. Right now, he's doing everything he can to keep from going to sleep. Whining and crying he doesn't want to take a nap, doesn't want to sleep and so forth, even though he's just plain exhausted. Then after all the med thing tonight, he was still upset and I stood there and rubbed his back and so forth and he settled down and closed his eyes. I went to leave the room and he immediately began to scream. Then we repeated this, where he actually dozed off, and I made it halfway to the playroom and he started screaming again. So I went in and sat down on his floor and while he was just soooo worn out, he kept fitfully waking up and looking panicked and upon seeing me sitting there would settle back down and doze off again. it took 45 minutes for him to truly fall asleep and up until about 5 minutes ago, he would wail and cry out every 20 minutes or so.

So I'm really frustrated that he is just scared to death right now as a result of all this and is scared to take the medicines, which he's always been so good about. :( I'm not mad at the nurses or anything, they were doing what they were supposed to and had to. I'm just worn out and frustrated as a mom because I don't know how to make it better for him. I'm also really frustrated with Dr. Phillips office as I called and left a message on his nurse's voice mail at 1pm and didnt hear a word back from them.

I called because Alex is just soooooo congested/stopped up in the nose. He seems ok beyond the nose, from what I can tell, but there's just clear snot completely blocking his nostrils and running down his face. We are supposed to use the Afrin to help as a decongestant, but there's so much gunk there that there's no way it's even getting up into his sinuses to help with that. The aftercare sheets say not to blow his nose until the surgeon says it's ok. Since I don't know how well things are and how they did the turbinate reduction (didn't think to ask what method Dr. Phillips used in the after surgery meeting) I'm afraid to try to put a bulb syringe up there and suction things out. The sheets also mention that you can use sudafed, but these sheets seem to be geared more towards adults than kids, so I'd called to try to get some suggestions on what to do with this nasty nose. I now want answers on what we can do on the meds front too, since the codiene works best for him, but he won't take it.

Mike told me, and I agree, to call Dr. Phillips office in the morning and if I don't hear back from them in an hour after calling, I'm going to call our ped's office, since she knows we can be trusted and is down to earth and all about keeping the kids comfortable. He's gonna need something tomorrow at preschool, thats for sure!

Alright, enough ramblings from the frustrated Mom. I think I may wait on that second post too on the lights til morning as well, as I need to be smart about this and go get in bed until 6:30 when Mike leaves for work. He gets me up so I can make sure Katie is out the door for school.

Will update tomorrow!