Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Special Olympics. . . . .

Our group at the 2010 Special Olympics. LILLY did so great on her first trip to Special Olympics.
Us being introduced at the 2010 Spring Games!
Posing for a quick photo before the games begin!
Shakira and LILLY has some true bonding time on the ride over. :)

Last Thursday was my favorite day of the whole year-- Special Olympics!! I am certain that Special Olympics was one of the main reasons I became a EC Teacher. Most of you who know me know that I am NOT at all competitive when it comes to much of anything, however a whole other side comes out when it is Special Olympics. My kids will take home a medal each year--I make sure of it. :)

Special Olympics was a big test for LILLY and she did great! On the ride over to the games she was in the back seat with Shakira, Tara, and Ms. Flossie. As you can see from the picture she spent most of the ride sitting on Shakira's leg. Shakira thought this was absolutely hilarious! LILLY did really well at the games. Of course she was the center of attention for most of the day and she handled the pressure quite well. She had TONS of kids approaching from all different angles dying to pet her. She loved the attention. I must admit there was one event that proved to be rather difficult-- the tennis ball throw! LILLY was certain each kid was throwing the ball for her to get. It was pretty funny.

LILLY was absolutely exhausted when we got back from our trip. She crashed for the afternoon. It was so neat to get to take her with us on our favorite trip of the year. :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

LILLY is amazing, wonderful, etc. . . . .

This a picture of Josh and LILLY. Josh absolutely loves everything about LILLY. He just lights up the moment he sees that LILLY is there that day. He would sit and pet her all day if he could. Too cute!

Sorry for the delay in blogging. Getting back to work and in the swing of things has been crazy! The last few days have been really amazing with LILLY. Yesterday at school was so great. She was a natural in my classroom. She acted as if she had been there her whole life. She was so in tune to the kids and their special needs. In my classroom I have two doors-- one to the hallway and one to our playground outside. Yesterday both doors remained open most of the day and LILLY never went out them without being told. My assistants were thrilled with the fact that they got to interact and pet LILLY yesterday. She did great when they would ask her to do something as well. She seems to really work for about anyone who ask her to. I have several pictures to put on the blog from yesterday and I hope to get them up tomorrow. Unfortunately, today I was out of the classroom again for Teacher of the Year stuff. However, it worked out that I was done around lunch today so I came home and got LILLY to go shopping with me. I had a birthday gift I needed to get and thought it would be great training experience for LILLY. We spent over an hour in Marshalls and LILLY did great! I was so impressed with her. She walked right beside the cart and was really focused on what I was doing. (Probably because she was afraid I was going to step on her again.) The only thing we need to figure out is where she needs to go when I pay-- I couldn't quite get that down today. She wanted to stand and try to back away from the counter when I needed her closer to get everything out of the cart and get it paid for. Overall it was a great trip. I seem to get a little more comfortable each time we go out together.

More pictures to come tomorrow. . . . . .

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Loving Spring Break . . . .

"Please mom can we please go swimming!!"
LILLY is the best beach friend ever. She loves laying under my chair.
LANIE is working hard to win over Amy. I think they are becoming pretty good reading buddies. :)

This has been a wonderful spring break spending time with the dogs, family, and good friends. I absolutely love the fact that my grandparents are sweet enough to let me bring both dogs down here when we come. The dogs truly love spending time on the beach everyday. We all enjoy going down on the beach and watching them run, play, and swim each afternoon. LILLY has been great on our 3 mile morning walks and LANIE continues to keep us all laughing. I now have two very different dogs, but I like to think I just have the best of both worlds!

Monday, April 5, 2010


Here are a few pictures of their fun times today. I think the two of them are loving being sisters. Thanks to Amy for being a wonderful photographer. :)

LILLY is really enjoying her freedom from my waist! This video is of her and LANIE loving the beach today. Be sure to watch the whole thing and check out when LILLY goes completely under the water. Don't worry Terry-- I checked the water for sharks before I let her go in. ;)

What a fun day with the dogs--I love spring break!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Last day of umbilical cording!!

I am so happy to report that this is our last day of umbilical cording and boy am I excited! It has been a true learning experience for me and for that I am very grateful, but I will be so happy to allow LILLY to be a more normal dog for a few days. Today was very low key and relaxing. I love Easter at the beach with my family. We just spent the day on the beach, eating a great lunch, and hanging out. We took both dogs for a long walk. LILLY did great and Paul did great working with LANIE. LANIE still struggles on the beach-- she is so focused on the birds she really can't get her mind to settle down at all.

I can't wait to write tomorrow and let you know how our day goes as a normal dog!! I can't thank everyone enough for listening to my stories about our last 14 days umbilical corded together! LILLY is a great dog and my love for her grows each day! THANK YOU paws4people-- I am forever grateful.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Umbilical Cording- Day 13. . . . .

What a wonderful day we had on the beach today! LILLY is a great beach dog for. We took a long walk this morning and then spent the entire rest of the day on the beach. The weather was absolutely perfect. As you can see from the pictures LILLY laid right with me all day as I read, slept, and just rested. It was perfect. I thought it would be much harder to be umbilical corded to her on the beach, but it really wasn't that bad at all. It is hard to figure out where to attach the leash with a bathing suit on though :)

Tomorrow is our last day of umbilical cording and I am so excited to actually get to see her and LANIE actually get to interact, play, and learn to love each other. Happy Easter everyone!

Umbilical Cording- Day 12. . . . .

LILLY's first bus ride was a HUGE success!! Yesterday my class had our monthly trip to the YMCA to swim. She hopped right on the bus and was not afraid at all. She even walked out on the lift as I got my kids on and off the bus. Once we started moving she went right under the seat and laid right down. She stayed under the seat until the bus stopped. I was a very proud mom! Paul was sweet enough to meet me at the Y to watch LILLY while we swam. I have followed all the rules with this umbilical cording, but I couldn't quite figure out how to hold one of my kids and swim all with LILLY attached to my waist. Kyria and I decided it would be best if someone met me there to sit with her. It was so hot in the indoor pool area so Paul was periodically take her outside for some fresh air. I think between the heat and the chlorine she needed a break every once and a while. The bus ride back to school was great too! At least we now know she can ride the bus for field trips!

Right after school we got right in the car to head the the beach! YAY! Spring break-- I thought it would never get here! LILLY and LANIE did good riding down together. There were a few times I think they got on each others nerves, but for the most part they did great! However, once we arrived at Topsail they were wild as can be!!! For the first time since I have had LILLY she truly acted like a puppy!! WOW. . . I didn't think my belt buckle could handle any more tugging. After about 15 minutes both dogs settled down some, but boy were they excited to be here.

They slept great last night. They are well rested and ready to go. I plan on sitting on the beach all day. Let's hope LILLY can settle down pretty quickly so we can both relax a little. I will update later to let you know how it goes.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Umbilical Cording- Day 11. . . .

There is an end in sight with our umbilical cording process. :) I think we are going to make it. Today was somewhat of a breakthrough day for LILLY and I. It almost was if we were in a groove and she finally understood how I moved and how much I moved. It seemed much easier today. I think that is now why I feel like there is an end in sight. I do really appreciate this process and understand why paws4people requires it. I feel certain we will come away MUCH closer because of the challenges and fun times we have had over the last 11 days.

Today was a pretty typical day for LILLY and I. As we walked into school this morning LILLY was prancing. It was so cute. Today was the first day she acted as if she realized and was finally comfortable with going there. She proved her comfort level today even more by using the bathroom twice at school today! We might just be over the "picky pottier" stage. Lets hope?

Tonight has just been lots of packing and organizing for our beach trip. We will be heading out right after school tomorrow. :) I wonder how she will like the sand and ocean? One thing is certain-- LANIE will be sure to show her just how much fun the ocean can be. She LOVES, LOVES, LOVES swimming in the ocean.

Have a great Friday everyone!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Umbilical Cording- Day 10. . . .

LILLY is a superstar! She worked hard again today. We had a super busy day at school. It was a full moon and boy did we know it in my classroom-- several seizures, lots of extra adults, a pulled out feeding tube, and a fire drill to mention a few things. Of course LILLY stayed right with me the whole time. She looked up at me several times today as if she was begging me to let her lay down! After work I had a facial appointment and LILLY went right in and laid under the table for the entire hour. My grandmother and I then ran by the grocery store to pick up Frosty Paws and a few other things to celebrate LANIE'S 4th birthday. :) LILLY was great in the grocery store--- she needed a few reminders to help her not eat the many things on the floor, but other than that it is getting much easier to take a dog shopping.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LANIE!! We attempted to take a picture of all three dogs eating their Frosty Paws, but all of their eyes turned out super freaky-- so no picture tonight.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Umbilical Cording- Days 8 & 9. . . .

We are getting there! Umbilical cording is much harder than I expected. I am very used to doing my own thing each day and having a dog attached to me sure prevents that at times. :)

Yesterday was great. I was off work and basically just hung around the house all day. LILLY loved having a little down time too. I spent most of the morning running around organizing things around the house. Every time LILLY laid down I moved to another room and she had to get up and move with me. At one point yesterday I had all three dogs (LILLY, LANIE, and BRADIE) take a 2 hour nap with me! I was pretty impressed with that. We spent the afternoon exercising-- we met Amy, Alli, and Chase and walked through the park for an hour. LILLY did much better at the park this time. She was totally focused on me and wasn't near as excited this time. Once we got home we then took LILLY and LANIE for a 2 mile walk in the neighborhood. So all in together LILLY walked for 1 1/2 hours yesterday-- she was exhausted last night!

Today was back to work for LILLY and I. She did good running around like crazy with me at school for the morning. There are times you can tell she really wants to stop and interact with the kids, but being attached to me makes that a little more difficult. I will be anxious to see how she interacts with the kids once she is done with the umbilical cording. We had a staff meeting this afternoon and she slept beautifully through the whole thing. Once we got home she "helped" me cook dinner and then it was time to vacuum. I have quickly learned that vacuuming is NOT her favorite activity. She is scared of it and hates to follow me around while I do it. I feel certain she will stay far away from the vacuum once she has a choice. She is now laying at my feet sound asleep. I LOVE HER!!!

On a more serious note please click on the link below to read about another paws4people dog ELLIE and her little girl Amanda. They were kicked out of a store earlier this week and the situation is getting some much needed media attention. YAY for Amanda's mom and fighting for what is right!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Umbilical Cording- Day 6 & 7. . . . .

Whew. . . . . .we made it through our first weekend "umbilical corded" together. I must say it was a little tougher than what I expected. I have now realized that the weekends tend to bring more challenges than our typical week days. I will say we made it through and I do believe we are stronger and more bonded because of it! :)
Saturday was a nice relaxing day so Kyria, Paul, and I decided to take the dogs to the park. I was determined to walk both dogs by myself at the park. Well for those of you who know and love our dear LANIE you know how much she loves the park, therefore me walking them both by myself didn't happen this trip. LILLY was also pretty excited about the trip to the park. She did good, but needed constant reminders to focus on me. I must give Paul some props because he handled LANIE beautifully in the park. :) He was so patient with her. I know deep down he really does love the dogs.

Saturday night Paul and I were guest speakers at a True Love Waits conference. We had committed to this night long before LILLY was scheduled to come to us. It was a sit down dinner for mothers and their sons. It was really a nice program and set up. LILLY went right in and straight under the table. Paul was up socializing and saying hello to everyone while LILLY and I just waited at the table. When it was time for us to get up to speak LILLY came out from underneath the table and most everyone was shocked! They truly had no idea she was even in the room. While we spoke she stood up on stage with us. This was a real tough thing for her. The speakers were right in front of her. She never really got settled the whole time we were speaking. As soon as we were done speaking right back under the table she went! To make the whole situation even more of a challenge-- while we were eating I dropped my entire cup of salsa on the floor right beside of LILLY. So when we got up to go to the stage she had to walk right over the food on the floor. She did amazing!! YAY!

Today was filled with various activities. We started off the morning by going to church. LILLY was an "angel" during the lesson. She laid right under my feet and only moved when the mood changed in the room. She looked up to me as if she was asking "what should I do Mom?" Once I shook my head at her she immediately laid right back down.

After church Kyria and I headed to shop for a little bit. LILLY was great! However, at one point during our shopping experience I stepped right on her poor little paw. She sure let me know in the middle of DSW that it hurt. I felt so bad! I will say that she was much more aware of where I was stepping from that point on. :)

Now the real challenge of today was a trip over to Paul's parents house for a family birthday party for our sister-in-law. Paul's brother and his wife have two small children and they also had some friends in town with a baby. So LILLY quickly got to meet a 3 1/2 year old, a 14 month old, and a 10 month old. Of course they all had lots and lots of toys and balls that were going in every direction. This was super hard for LILLY and myself. I had to learn really fast when to correct, when not to correct, what to say and when to say it. Those of you who really know me know that I don't have a lot of "dog sense" and that was evident tonight. It was almost like speaking a different language. I think at one point LILLY was certain she would rather have a different mom who truly understood her. However, with Kyria's help we worked through everything that got thrown our way tonight. I feel certain I learned a lot tonight and I know I have a lot more to learn, but at least we are doing this together. For that reason I know LILLY and I will come away from this whole experience with a bond like no other!

Tomorrow is a teacher workday and I have taken the day off. So LILLY and I can simply sit back and recover from our crazy weekend! Have a great night everyone.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Umbilical Cording- Day 5. . . . .

LILLY's first day at school was wonderful! She did so great. Add ImageJosh absolutely LOVED her being there. He has always loved the dogs, but he seemed to really enjoy LILLY. She is much "softer" than some of the other dogs and I think the kids really appreciated that. They all seemed to enjoy her. I am excited to finish up umbilical cording to see how she really interacts with each kid when she isn't tied to my waist. As you can see from the picture she got right in the ball pool today. There were over 1,000 balls in there and it only took a few times of saying "no" and she left them alone. Today was a half day for students-- we then had a staff development to attend. Our PE teacher walked up to LILLY to say hello a little after the meeting had started. He was dressed in shorts, a bright blue hawaiian shirt, and a huge straw hat-- this was something LILLY really wasn't sure of. She gave a few barks to let me know-- everyone in the staff meeting laughed. After the meeting we went back up and meet the PE teacher again. This time she was fine and sat there to let him pet her.

After school we went to the Shoe Show warehouse sell. LILLY was perfect there. She barely needed any reminders the whole time we were there. We had to sit and wait for some shoes for over 10 minutes and she simply laid at my feet. In my world this was amazing!

Our first trip to the grocery store was a little more challenging. She still did good, but I must learn to give her a little more attention and direction in situations like that. I really didn't even need anything specific at the store I just wanted to go when Kyria was in town to help walk me through the process. :)

Our last adventure of the night was a trip to Red Lobster with The Swiger's and CAYLIE. Let's just say my first restaurant experience had me a little more worried-- and to add to it all we had two dogs to get in the restaurant and under one super small booth. Kyria helped me through it all and this too was also a huge success. LILLY was really excited her other service dog friend CAYLIE decided to join us, but was great about settling down quickly once we got to our seat. After some coaching, I figured out how to get her whole body under the booth we did great. I didn't even think another thing about her being under there. Getting out was no problem even though there were TONS of people waiting in the lobby.

Another great day for us! I must say that I think settling down quickly and simply laying at my feet is one of LILLY's best qualities. As I sit here and type she is directly under my feet sound asleep-- I think we just might have worn her out today!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Umbilical Cording- Day 4. . . . .

Another amazing day with LILLY! I really can't believe how wonderful this whole process has been. LILLY again laid under my feet all day at Teacher of the Year Interviews. You could really tell she was much more at ease with the whole process today. I have often heard people say how they bond with dogs, but I have never really had that experience. I must say that this situation with LILLY just might be a little different. I can already tell our bonding has begun!

After the interviews today I had about 2 hours to come home and work around the house. Poor LILLY just follows me everywhere-- doing laundry, emptying the dishwasher, folding clothes, etc. What a trooper!
Then it was off to our fun part of the day! We got to go and babysit precious little Chase. When Allison called to ask if I would mind watching him I was so excited. Of course I said I would love to as long as she didn't mind if I had a dog attached to my hip. Thank goodness Allison is a laid back kind of mom. :) Chase is almost a year old and boy did he enjoy LILLY. I wasn't sure how LILLY would do with an active 11 month old, but yet again she impressed me beyond belief! She was so gentle and good with him. He crawled all over her and she never even moved. Chase then decided it was time to read some books. I thought he wanted me to read to him, but oh no--- as you can see from the first picture Chase wanted to read with LILLY! The only small issue we had was LILLY was truly in awe of all of his toys that made noise and sang. She loved, loved, loved, them! Then it was bath time-- I thought to myself-- how in the world will I bathe a 11 month old with a dog right beside of me! Well it was simple-- LILLY laid down beside of me the whole time I gave Chase a bath. To me that is simply amazing.

Tomorrow will be back in the classroom-- YAY! Should be a fun day. :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Umbilical Cording- Day 3. . . .

Could it get any better? After much waiting I finally have the dog of my dreams! Now don't get me wrong-- I do love LANIE dearly, but she is just not the working dog I have always dreamed of. LANIE is the dog who loves to make us laugh and lay around on our leather couches and for that we are grateful for what she contributes to our family, but LILLY is my "working partner" I have wanted for so long! I truly have the best of both worlds.

LILLY had another great day at Teacher of the Year interviews. I never imagined she would do so well with this task. She literally lays under my feet from 8:00-3:15. Most people have no idea she is even under my feet. She seemed to be more at ease with me today too.

After leaving the interviews we had to go visit Ella. Ella is a little girl that I tutor once a week. I had emailed her mom to let her know I would have LILLY with me today so when I arrived Ella was so excited to have a dog come to her tutoring session. She worked so hard for me
today--she got to read to LILLY which she loved! Next we did Math. Ella hates to subtract. I promised her if she got the answer right she could give LILLY that number of treats. I have never seen her get so many problems right!

We then had to run over to Starbucks to meet Karen and Fiona for a little meeting about various paws4people things. LILLY laid under the table just like she should the whole time!

Finally, we made our last stop of the day-- Shakira is a student in my classroom. She had surgery today and is staying in the hospital overnight. I met Flossie, Emily, and Tara over at the hospital to go see her. This was my favorite part of the day with LILLY. As you can see from the picture below she did so well visiting with Shakira. She jumped right up on the bed like it was nothing! She laid up there with her for quite some time. It made my heart so happy. :)

I couldn't have been a prouder mom today!! I must say there is only one thing that drives me a little nuts about LILLY-- I have decided that she is a "picky pottier." So far she only use the bathroom in our back yard at home. I have no idea how she holds it all day!

I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings for LILLY and I. . . .have a great night!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Umbilical Cording- Day 2. . . .

LILLY is GREAT!! When I say great I mean great. Today I had to interview lots of people for the new Teacher of the Year for Cabarrus County. LILLY sat under my feet from 8:00-3:15. Several teachers came and had no idea she was even there! She was so quiet and everyone loved having her there. She has two more days of the interviews so I can only hope that Wednesday and Thursday go just as well. After that long day we ran by both the bank and the post office. We had no issues at all. I couldn't be more proud!

Once we got home I decided to attempt to take LANIE and LILLY for their first walk together by myself. For those of you who know our dear sweet LANIE you realize what a challenge this could be--- but it wasn't at all. Super easy. They walked beautifully together around the neighborhood. Of course we couldn't have a normal walk for our first walk together. We ran into several neighbors (including Justin-- those of you that know him will smile at this). I even stopped to talk for about 10 minutes. LILLY just laid down to wait, while LANIE just stood there. Since their behavior was so good-- they got to play ball for a while when they got back.

To top it all off I also decided to work in the yard some. I don't know if you have ever tried to pull weeds with a dog attached to your waist, but it is a challenge! LILLY wanted to eat every weed I pulled! However, I must take a second to brag on LANIE. While I worked in the yard she stayed on the front porch all by herself for over 30 minutes! Another dog even came out across the street and she just barked. Never broke command. This is HUGE for her!

This has been the best day I have had with my "2" dogs in quite some time. I am interested to see what Day 3 of this process holds. . . . . have a great night everyone!

Monday, March 22, 2010

First Day of School. . . . .

LILLY had her first day of school today! Kyria brought her to my classroom around 11:30. Of course when she walks in things couldn't have been any crazier! We had a class full of kindergartners, one student not feeling well, tons of extra adults, and the list continues. I was so impressed with how she handle all the new things and stress of it all. She did great meeting each one of them and really enjoyed it. :)

Well if I have ever wondered if LILLY liked me I sure found out today! She went nuts when I finally came over to say hello. It was actually a little bit too nuts. We will have to work on that some, but it was nice to know I was loved.

About 1:00 Kyria encouraged me to start the "umbilical cord" process. So for the next two weeks LILLY is attached at my hip-- literally. This experience should be interesting to say the least. I never realized just how much I move until I try to do it with a dog attached to my hip!

Well its off to cook dinner with LILLY. . . . wish me luck!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

LILLY. . . .

Well-- she is here!! I couldn't be more thrilled. In my opinion the transition between LILLY and LANIE has been really really super smooth. Yesterday LILLY spent most of the day looking at LANIE like "whoa-- what have I gotten myself into??" However, this morning they started playing together and the rest is history! It is like they have lived together forever. Thank goodness BRADIE is here as well. She is the true pack leader of the group. Earlier today LILLY and LANIE were playing hard core for about 10 minutes and then BRADIE walked right up in the middle and made a small groan. Instantly both LILLY and LANIE went and laid down! Now if I could just get Kyria to leave BRADIE here too we would all set. ;) As most of you know that will never happen.

Today we also took LILLY to her first movie at Concord Mills. For those of you that live in the area you know that Concord Mills is super crazy on the weekend. She did great! She did take a step back and stare at the giant train going through the middle of the mall, but who wouldn't stare at something like that?? The highlight of the whole movie was how great LILLY did. It was amazing-- she was so quiet you would have never known she was there. The movie itself was really sad and depressing. So if you want to see a movie that will just put you in a sulky mood go see Remember Me.

I can't wait to see what the next few days is like with LILLY. She is already starting to follow me around a little. We will begin our umbilical cord process on Tuesday so that should really start the "bonding" process for us. I am looking forward to it! I will keep everyone posted on our progress. She will go school on Monday to meet my students for the first time. Exciting times ahead!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

FINALLY. . . . .

After many, many, many, many, many months of waiting I am happy to report that LILLY will be coming home to live with us on March 19!!!! I honestly cannot wait. It seems like we have been waiting FOREVER!! So here is a quick run down on how our little family feels about LILLY coming home:

Candace-- I am thrilled beyond belief. I have waited a long time for her and I to begin working together. I feel certain she and I will be able to touch many, many lives.

Paul-- I think deep down he is excited too. Of course he would never verbally admit this-- if he did we might all know that he truly does love the dogs. :) He is amazing and super supportive of every crazy idea I have!

LANIE-- Well I think she just might be the most excited. She will finally have a sister and playmate. So much of her time is spent trying to get Paul and I to play with her, so we think having a live in playmate will great for her! I must admit she is quite used to dogs coming and going at our house. I wonder how long it will take her to realize that this one is staying. . . . . forever. :)

Can't wait to update you all when LILLY actually arrives!! Oh yeah-- I am pretty excited about Kyria and Jeremy coming too!