Saturday, October 30, 2010

31 for 30

A few of my friends have been talking the last couple of days about how their children with Down syndrome has a sixth sense.

C could probably qualify as having a sixth sense.  When he was younger, he'd give everyone hugs (and kisses--which are VERY wet).  A few years ago, probably when he was in kindergarten. He stopped hugging everyone.  That was partly because of his interpreter, she would encourage him to shake hands instead.  But now, C is very picky about who he hugs.

One summer day, about 2 years ago.  We were at a t-ball game.  C left the game and went to sit next to a lady who was sitting in the stands.  By the time I got to him, she was in tears.  She told me that C had come up to her and given her a great, big hug and then sat down next her.  She said that she had been having a very bad day and that she needed a hug.

So, if you get a hug from C, you are extremely lucky.:)

Friday, October 29, 2010

31 for 29

Well, considering this is the first year I've done the 31 for 21 posts, I guess I've done pretty good.  Maybe next year I'll do better.

Last weekend, we (DH, C, Raine and I) went back to Oceanside to be recertified for public access.  We passed!!!  We drove down Thursday.  Had a workshop on Friday.  Then drove back on Saturday. 

One of the first things C signed when we got there, was Nanny's S's name sign.  He kept asking for her.  Her boyfriend (is he a boyfriend yet?) has some competition there.:)

One the way home, we brought a dog back who was being released from CCI's program and being place as a pet.  She was raised as a puppy by my sister (my sister is the one who "introduced" us to CCI) and was actually being place with a friend of mine.  Because "S" was a pet dog, we let C hold her leash a bit when we took potty breaks.  We were still trying to get C to hold Raine's vest handle, which he doesn't really want to do.  He wants to be in control of the dog, not us.  He really liked holding "S's" leash and was a little upset when we left her at her new home.

This past week, one day, I put a different leash on Raine's flat collar (our leashes are blue and C is not supposed to hold it) and gave the leash to C.  He had a ball leading Raine around the house and giving her "commands."

He would take her up to a light switch and say "pu."  The first time, Raine just looked at him like "what do you want me to do?"  Then I'd hear "BA"  (That's my name.:) )  So I went over and told Raine:  "Push."  She got up on her hind legs and pushed the light switch.  C praised her and then, for about 5 minutes, walked her around the house, opening drawers or cupboards and telling Raine to "pu" and she'd push the drawer or door shut.  C has said "pu" before (when we're pushing him on a swing), but it's nice to know that he hasn't "lost" that word.

I think I'll put that leash on Raine more often this week.  This leash, we can actually put on Raine's vest, maybe C will hold this leash out in public better than the harness.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

31 for 13

I know...I have been skipping days in the 31 for 21 posts.  I wanted to post this yesterday, but it wasn't ready.

Yesterday was Renee's funeral. 

One of my friends ordered tulips for us to send to Renee's family.

When one of our children dies, or sometimes we have lost one of our "sisters," we send tulips.    We do this because of  an essay that was written a number of years ago.  This essay has been passed around among people who have a loved one with special needs.  Today I'm going to share this essay with my readers.

(If this is too small to read, click on the picture.  It will open it in a new window and then you can zoom in to read it.)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

31 for 10

This is a picture from a year ago.  If you look closly enough, C is looking at a caterpillar on his hand.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Renee...You will be greatly missed.

I am sorry to have to report, that Renee died early yesterday morning.

Renee was a sweet little girl, who fight long and hard against the cystic fibrosis. One of the things she really enjoyed doing (and she did it well) was swimming. Her mom was always so proud of her accomplishments. She will be greatly missed by many people. My thoughts and prayers continue to go out for Renee's parents and brother during this time. I love you Geo.

When C was about a year old, I found a support group of moms with children with DS. This group started on ivillage and has broken off to other support groups of the years. But many of us still keep in touch with each through Facebook and the T21 groups. So Renee's death has affected a great number of people.

One of my friends posted on her blog yesterday about the closeness of us women. I could never say it as well as she has so I am going to post a link to her blog instead.

For My T21 Sisters

Some of these women I have met in real life, but most I have not. But, I do feel very close to them and when one is hurting, I hurt for them.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Please pray for Renee...

Renee is a little 10 year old girl.  She has Down syndrome and Cystic Fibrosis.  Renee is one sick little girl and needs your thoughts and prayers badly.  She's been in the hospital for most of the last two months.  It started with an infection in her lungs.  They ended up needing to place a feeding tube.  Now she has been intubated and is on 100% oxygen.

Her mother, Georgianna, on her FB page, says:  "We are running out of options, Renee is doing very poorly. Please continue all the prayers you can for her."

Please pray for Renee, her parents and her sweet big brother.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


When C was about 18 months old, he suddenly become deathly afraid of the water. He hated baths and showers. I signed him up in the mom & tot class. The first year we sat on the side of the pool. He wouldn't even touch the water. (The pool's water started out at an inch and then slowly got deeper.) C really liked to watch the divers and other swimmers but he would not get in the pool. The next year he would finally get in the water, but it couldn't go past his ankles.

Each summer, I would sign the kids up for lesson. They would take lessons all summer long. And each year C progressed a bit more in feeling comfortable in the water. Of course, since we didn't do swimming in the winter, it would take C half of the summer to catch up to where he was at the end of the summer before. We finally got to the point where he enjoyed baths again. And C slowly got to the point where he would allow the water to get to his knees, then his waist, and finally he is up to his chest.

Last summer, C actually swam. So that is my picture for today.

C is telling us to "watch" him. That is why he keeps waving his finger.:)

And of course, this picture says it all!!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October is Down syndrome Awareness Month

Some of my blog friends do a post each day during the month of October.  They call it 31 for 21.  I'm not a very eloquent writer.  So I won't be writing something each day. Instead, in honor of C and all others with Down syndrome, I'm either going to post a picture each day of C or post a poem or saying that is dear to my heart. 

Of course, since I didn't think about this until yesterday, I won't be doing 31 posts.  But I'll do as many as I can.:)

This picture is from C's surgery last Friday.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Definition of a broken record:

This was a conversation that I had with M this morning (who is 3 turning 9, she says).

"Mom, can I wear my new dress?"

"No, M."

"Mom, can I wear my new church dress?"

No, M."

"Mom, can I wear my new dress that you bought me?"

"No, M."

"Mom, can I wear my new church dress.  The one you bought me?"

"No, M."

I swear, this went on for at least 10 or 15 minutes.  I'm sure she thought I didn't know which dress she was talking about.  By the end of the conversation, I was laughing so hard, I couldn't answer her.

So, what is a definition of a broken record?  A three year old who won't take no for an answer!!!

****Disclaimer:  The reason M could not wear her new dress (she actually has three new ones I bought at Deseret Industries for less than $10 total--so cute) was because we weren't attending church today.  Instead we watched General Conference on television.  Instead, she had to wear a play dress.  Next week she'll get to wear one of the new dresses.

October update!

I can't believe that it's been a month since I last posted.  I keep thinking about posting, then get busy doing other things and then I forget!!!

We finished up our canning fruit.  This year I did peach jam, bottled pears and peaches, and made salsa.  Salsa was a first time for me.  My sisters and I did the salsa together one Friday.  It was fun!  I think we are planning on doing salsa again next year.  Hopefully my garden boxes will be in place next year so I can plant tomatoes and do pizza and spaghetti sauce also!!!

The primary children had their program last Sunday.  That is one reason I have been so busy since I get to write program (with the help of the children) and organize the practices, etc.  I'm so glad it's over!  The kids did great!!  We teach them a song in ASL each year.  I always hope that C will start signing along with them.  This year he did sign more during the practicing.  But he was being stubborn the day of and wouldn't even stand up when the other kids did for the songs.  But he did say his part.

The song the kids leaned in ASL this year was "I Know That My Savior Loves Me."  It's a beautiful song--both sung and signed.

We are trying to get back into a decent schedule for homeschooling.  We tend to start later than I want to in the morning and end up working until 4:30 in the afternoon on our school work. 

K started orchestra last week.  She wanted to take orchestra at the junior high this year.  But we found out that she needed at least a year of either private lessons or orchestra at the elementary school.  So, we compromised and K is taking orchestra at the elementary school.  Next year, she'll be able to enroll in orchestra at the junior high.  She'll probably take a couple of other classes also.  She is keeping busy with skating also and is really enjoying it.

C is progressing in his math!!!  It's so nice when he understands a concept.  We started over in Saxon Kindergarten and he is whizzing through most of the book.   C is still struggling with shape names.  But he likes to look for different shapes around the house when we talk about the shapes.

C hasn't been able to wear his hearing aids for a while because he's had an ear infection.  Friday he had surgery.  He had tubes put in both ears.  He also had tubes placed in his tear ducts.  His eyes are always watery and he is constantly rubbing them.  We brought Raine with us to the hospital.   She was with us in the waiting room, etc.  The anesthesiologist was very impressed when Raine opened the door to the operating rooms. 

Raine, of course, couldn't go back to the operating room.  We had brought a lap top and had turned on "Cars."  So the anesthesiologist took the laptop back with him.  That worked well, since later a nurse said C didn't even notice when they put the mask on him and he fell right to sleep without any fighting.

DH took Raine when he had to run home, so she was not in the recovery room right after the surgery.  C was very agitated, hitting the nurses and trying to rub his eyes (he wasn't supposed to).  All he wanted was his dad, and kept signing for him.  DH made it back in time when they transferred us out of recovery so Raine was there.  Caleb got to have her up on the bed with him and between her and "Cars" he was a lot calmer.

N and J are working hard on their reading and math.  This year they are doing Zoology 3 .  They are excited about the experiments.

M is constantly asking, "Can I do my preschool box?"  She is also doing a few workbooks to start practicing tracing.  She is right there during school time listening and soaking everything in.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Busy Day...

In a nutshell, I biked two miles, bottled 24 bottles of pears, mowed the lawn (before the garbage truck came), and took the kids to the dentist.

My legs and feet hurt!!!

I've semi-restarted my triathlon training again.  I stopped exercising during the summer.  I really want to do a triathlon.  (And if I lose 20 lbs, that would be nice also!:) )  I've semi-started, because the rec center is closing it's pools for two weeks starting next Tuesday.  So I'll be focusing on the biking/running for two weeks and then I'll add in swimming.  It'd be nice to be able to do a triathlon next May.

I'm done with pears.  Next is peaches.  I'd plan on doing apricots also but I always forget about them until they're out season.  My sister told me today that apricots are early Aug.  Since we were in California then I couldn't have done them anyway.:)

C did great at the dentist.  (Which means we don't need to take him to the hospital and sedate him for his cleaning, etc.)  He let the hygenist clean his teeth AND let the dentist examine them, etc.  I did bring Raine with us but C did so well she didn't need to visit during the cleaning.  Maybe just having her there made the visit easier?  The sounds of the electric toothbrushes, water pick (is that what it's called?), and the suction thingaling didn't phase her at all!

The next test is the ENT.  He doesn't really care for this visit either because the dr usually needs to clean his ears out under a microscope.  But we need to get ear tubes put in before winter.

Tomorrow, my sisters and I are making salsa!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Home with Raine...

We have been home for over two weeks with Raine and I think we are getting into a routine.

The first week was very low-key. Except for walks, we didn't take Raine out in public. C is getting better at helping to take care of Raine. He helps brush her and he feeds her every day. Raine is learning the sign "sit" and C is starting to use it more when talking to her.

The first outing with Raine was to Pack Meeting for cub scouts. C didn't want to sit by Raine. (Of course, because I wanted him to.) He went to sit by Dad, when he arrived, so Raine got turned over to Dad.:)

The next outing Raine came along with us, was when we went to This is the Place Heritage Park. DH's work had reserved the whole park for an employee/family fun day. Since C never wants to walk with me, DH got to hold Raine's leash all day, and I got to watch all the other kids. I'm glad that we made the effort for DH to be certified. Of course, I forgot the camera so we didn't get any pictures. The kids had a lot of fun. They got to ride horses, make candles, pan for gold, ride a train and gather candy that was shot out of a cannon along with other activities. The company provided lunch and snacks.

C and N's cub scout den went fishing yesterday at the city pond. Since I was helping out by driving, we brought Raine along. She was very interested in the ducks. So was C. He kept casting towards the ducks hoping to catch one. N was very serious about the fishing. Unluckily, he didn't catch any fish. (I wasn't too disappointed by him not catching any, we had no way to take it home.)

Tomorrow, the kids get to go to the dentist! They are so excited!!! I'm bringing Raine along with us. Hopefully, Raine will help C be comfortable in getting his teeth cleaned. I think he has a bad cavity though, so I have already schedule an appointment at the hospital next month to get any cavities filled.

Raine DOES NOT like the Dremel that we use to file her nails. DH and I are wondering how she will react to a the sound of the dentist drill. I'm hoping that we can test her tomorrow and see how she responds to the drill, etc.

C has been asking for Nanny S for the last 3 weeks. Every time he sees a plane, he'd sign her name. About a week ago, she came over. C was so excited to see her. DH and I wondered if he thought she had been on the plane the whole time since she had left California. S played with the kids for a while. She had brought a friend, (a boy!) and the kids had fun playing with them. When she left, C was in tears. It was very sad to see. We were able to take the opportunity to have C cuddle with Raine.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Graduation was great!! It has been a really special day. I can’t believe that we are done and on our way home. We have met some very special people who have all become part of our family; both the other recipients and the trainers, staff, and volunteers of Canine Companions.

We started out the day by returning Raine to the trainers at 9:30. Then we had a brunch with the puppy raisers for all the graduate dogs. We got to meet the puppy raisers who had Raine. The L family—It was a husband and wife and two sons, and grandma.

They are a wonderful family. It was so neat to meet them.

During the brunch there was a slide show of the “teams.” We also had a chance to publicly thank the puppy raisers.

After the brunch, the puppy raisers go to go see the dogs. We (the “graduates”) went to the hall where the graduation ceremony was being held. There were a lot of dogs around. I mentioned yesterday that there were 47 dogs being turned in. There were also puppies of various ages. C did not want to go into the building. He wanted to stay out and pet all the dogs. :)

The ceremony was very nice. They had a video of the interviews we had done a few days ago, with pictures that had been taken throughout training. C had signed “I love Raine” (with prompting—from dad) during our interview. They showed that at the end of the video. I of course started bawling and had to ask for some tissues from someone.

They also showed a video of all the puppies being turned in today. They called it matriculation. After that video they had the puppy raisers bring the dogs up onto the stage as they read their names, where they were from, and how many puppies they had raised. One man had raised 16 puppies!!!

Another thing the staff member from CCI mentioned during graduation was the fund raising that goes on for Canine Companions. CCI does not receive any grants. All of their money comes from fund raising. This year Legoland is donating money to CCI that comes from their “green” program (the recycling that is done at the park.) The money they are donating is only from 5 months of this year and it will go to the November 2010 graduation.

At the end of the ceremony, they announced each graduate (or team). We came up on stage and the puppy raiser handed off the dog to us. Of course, there was lots of pictures taken. There was graduation class speaker. She did an amazing job. I’m hoping to post her speech on here in a couple of days.

Afterwards, we took some pictures of our puppy raisers, or rather C did. (He loves to take pictures. I’m going to have to go through and weed out the people we don’t know.) We didn’t get many pictures, because our battery died.

We are now heading home, with an extra body in the car.:) I can’t wait to see my other kids. I’ve missed them so much. I was going to start school up Monday, but I’m thinking we need some time to get into a routine with Raine a bit first. So, I guess we can always finish up history from last year this week, and start up school next Monday.

And, I have to mention, we went to an In ‘n Out. We actually have a few up near us that I didn’t know about, but I have some friends from out of state who just rave about this place. So I broke my diet, and we ate there for lunch/dinner today. They are really good hamburgers and the shakes are delicious (which is too bad, since I shouldn’t eat them), but I don’t know if I would say they are the best hamburgers ever. (The price was great though!:) And I like the fries.

Friday, August 13, 2010



Hanging out with our new dog!!

First night home! (sort of, LOL)

Field Trip to Home Depot.

Play Time!



C's art project.



One of the few times C actually walked with me!

Carousel ride at the mall.

Helping out with the filming!

Interview Time!

Our Team Trainers!
Patty, Julia, & Becky

Some down time!

Public Access Test

Bath Time!
Now she's all pretty for graduation.:)

C really missed Nanny S.  This morning he told his dad that he wanted to go on a plane to get her.  He wandered around for most of the day signing her name and looking for her.  It's a good thing she lives across the street from us.  We can go visit her next week.:)

For those interested, CCI has 47 puppies being turned into tomorrow!!!  They already have about 30 here in the kennels being trained.  I was told that about 30-40% of the puppies make it all the way through for placement with a recipient.

Graduation is tomorrow.  We will be heading home, hopefully, by 4pm at the latest.

This has been on of the neatest experiences that I've had in my life.


We have public access....

Photos to come later!  :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010


This morning, we had the written examination. I thought that this test was part of the public access test, but I was wrong.:) This is CCI’s way to see if we are responsible enough to take care of our dog.
The public access test was after lunch. It was short and sweet, except for the temper tantrum that C performed for us at the end of the test. This mall has a carousel and C rode it on Tuesday. We had told him that he could ride it again, but we had to go outside to and outdoor “restaurant” for part of the test. C was very upset that we were going outside. Then he started hitting Nanny S. To keep a long story short, C did not get to ride the carousel.

We won’t know until 11:00 tomorrow morning on whether we passed or not.

We had a short lecture today on “Going Home”. I have a letter that I’ll be sending to my family and friends near us about the rules of interacting with C’s new dog. I’m going to try to email it tomorrow.

I neglected to talk about the meals here. There are volunteers that bring in a HUGE lunch each day. These meals have been delicious. The lunch yesterday had a Hawaiian theme so the volunteers wore Hawaiian attire and gave us leis. Another time, one of the volunteers brought flowers to place in vases as centerpieces. The flowers have lasted almost a week.

Some of the meals have been:

mac n cheese
sandwich wraps
chili—this was the best chili I’ve ever tasted
lettuce salads
fruit salads

Tomorrow we are supposedly eating lasagna. Too bad I can’t eat it.:(

(I have actually been very good at staying on my diet!!!)

There are also cold cereal, muffins, doughnuts, chips, soda, fruits, juice, cookies, pastry, bagels, and popcorn available for breakfast and snacking through out the day.

The volunteers here at CCI are amazing. They come in to feed the dogs and clean the kennels. They bathe the dogs, etc. And then of course they do the lunches during team training. Also, the puppy raisers are volunteers. There will actually be a lecture tomorrow on puppy raising.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Today was an easy going day again.

The lecture this morning was on advanced training the dogs.  This would work if you wanted to train the dog open the door and get a soda or something else specific out of the fridge.  They talked about how you need to really think through each step when training something very complex.

The trainers also talked about specific toys that we should and shouldn't use with our dogs.  Our field trip today was at Petco.  We need to get C's dog a kennel, so we took an opportunity at looking at the different kennels to see which one we actually wanted to buy.  We also, looked at prices for the different toys.  The only thing we bought was a couple of ID tags for Misty and dog #2 and a "long line" leash.  We are going to use the leash to play fetch with C's dog at the park.  Whenever she is not in our house or backyard, she needs to be on a leash.

We had practice time after the field trip.  Today, one of the trainers worked with us in playing fetch, and how to use a long leash, etc.  C actually had fun.:) Yeah!!!  C is starting to interact with his dog more which is nice.  Of course, today, he wanted to play with every dog but his.:)

C is still having a difficult time following directions, etc.  (Which is really nothing new!)   We have been trying to make things less stressful for him.

Quick side note--

I haven't mentioned anything about any of the teams.  I have been trying to respect their privacy.  I just wanted to mention one person.  L.  She is a special ed teacher and is getting a facility dog.  She will be using her dog in her class with her students.  It has been extremely interesting to speak with her and ask for her suggestions helping C learn, etc.  In her class they have been using the iPod touch as assisted learning devices for students.  L used one of the iPods with C has he interacted with her dog.  It was very interesting.  And C seemed to understand that he was telling the dog to sit, etc.  I'd like to try again tomorrow to see if he'd understand using it to ask for food for himself or for a toy or something similar to that. 

I have always been against getting C an ALD for various reasons.  One, we were focusing on verbal skills and ASL.  Two, the ALDs are so expensive and bulky.   But an iPod is so much smaller and can do so much more.  We can add pictures of ASL signs, they have learning games we can add, etc.  L explained how we can still encourage C to sign and verbalize along with using the iPod.  (C's speech pathologists have talked to us before about ALDs--I have just always been--no.)

DH and I are definitely going to be discussing this further.

(Back to training update.)

Right now, C is watching a movie while DH and I are relaxing/napping.  Tonight, we (the teams) are having pizza night.  And we need to study for the written part of the examination tomorrow.

Wish us luck.:)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


This will be a quick post.  Luckily, we've had an easy day.:)

We had a lecture on canine health today with vet technician.

Then we went to the mall to have our practice certification test.  The trainer talked about the different things we need to accomplish in order to pass.  After going through the practice test, I feel a lot better about Thursday.  Of course, on Thursday, we will also be taking a written test.  We found out today, that this test is not open book (unlike all the quizzes) so we need to do some serious studying before Thursday morning.  We need to get at least 90% on the written test in order to receive certification.   (I think it's 90%.)

After lunch, we had a conference with the vet technician.  We also had some "interviews."  One is for the video they have been making for graduation.  C had fun helping with the cameras.

While we were waiting for our turn with the various conferences/interviews we were able to practice with the trainers on commands we felt we need to work on.  DH also took a nap on the training room floor with our dog.

After we were done for the day, we went to the beach again.  This time we made sure that we wore swim suits.  DH had bought C a bucket and shovel; he was so excited when he saw his toys and had to show EVERYONE his green bucket.  It was cute.

It was nice that today was such a low key day.  C is starting to get very tired and stressed out easily from all the lectures and practicing.  He is starting to interact with his dog better.  He is getting really good about giving pets when she completes a task.

Thankfully, tomorrow will be another low key day.:)

Monday, August 9, 2010


Monday...we started out our day with new commands.  We learned:

tug--to pull open doors, pull things across the floor (like a laundry basket)
back--for the dog to back up in a narrow aisle
out--for the dog to go through the door first (the service students use this command, DH and I probably won't use this one)
push--push drawers in, push buttons to open doors, etc
behind--for the dog to walk behind you

We practiced these commands for a while.  Then we went on our field trip.  This time we went to a place called "Joe's Crab Shack".  We practiced walking and dealing with distractions.  Our dog fails every time the trainers drop food in front of her.  DH has been practicing with the dog whenever we eat and also at other times of day.  (The dog really likes to eat the leaves out in the play yard.)

After lunch, the trainers talked a bit about teaching new commands.  They explained how to use "go to" in teaching the dog to find someone in different parts of the house.  It's kind of complicated to explain but it will be fun to do with C.  They also talked about teaching the dogs "snuggle" (when you teach the dog to lay next to someone in a certain position) and "crash" (when you teach the dog to lay on top of a person)  Crash is a good command for kids who need sensory input.

We ended early, so that we could practice on commands that we needed to work on.  DH and I didn't really do any practicing.  We talked about which commands we wanted to work on.  Tomorrow we will have a lot of free time in the afternoon so we will do a lot of practicing then.

OK, I said that I would announce which dog we got....(drum roll, please)'s Dog #2, she's a female golden.

I'm finally posting some pictures!  YEAH!!!

Hangin' out in our dorm!

One of the many positions to play the Wii...

Maybe this is a better way...

I guess I need to stand up!!!

At the beach!! (This was Wed, Aug. 4th)

My pants got wet!!!

I need my sandals off!

Jumping waves!!!

Time to chase the seagulls!

C and Nanny S.

Family Trait!

Playing tag with Dad.
(I think DH is trying to figure out how to get up the stairs!)

Taking a break!  (It didn't last long.)

Mom trying to play tag!!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


We didn't have training today but they have the day marked in our folders so I'll tell you about our day.

We were able to kennel our dog, because we were leaving for several hours today.  We drove down to San Diego.  We were going to church to a deaf congregation.  We left a little early so that we could stop off at the San Diego Temple

You can see this temple from the freeway.  It's a beautiful temple.  It has all stained glass windows.  (I love stained glass windows, I really want one in our house.)  I bet the windows are gorgeous inside during the day.

We were able to take some pictures.  The temple is being painted, so half of it was covered with scaffolding though.

We are planning on coming back in a year or so with the whole family.  It will be nice to get pictures of the family in front of the temple.

We did get some pictures of  C and us.

Except for going to church, this has been a laid back day.  I'm glad; C needed a break from all the training.  And so did we.

We have been having issues with C wanting to use our leash (and be in control of the dog, of course.)  We kept giving him different kinds of leashes but he kept complaining and wanting our leash.  (I thought maybe he wanted a blue leash like ours.) He didn't want any of the leashes we tried.  Finally, we gave him a choice of 4 leashes.  A striped 3 foot (the service students get these), a retractable leash, a 2 ft blue leash, and a 4 ft blue leash.  I thought he would choose a blue one since that is the color we use.  But he choose the striped one.  We can actually shorten it to lease than 3 ft if we want to.  Now the rule is, if he pulls on the dog, we take the leash from him.  We can't have the dog getting confused by C pulling it a different way.  The other kids have  striped leashes also, so maybe that is why he choose that one.

We had mentioned to the trainers that C didn't really seem to want to brush the dog or play with it, etc.  They said it could take up to year for C to really bond with the dog.  Today at dinner, I went to sit down.  I had the dog lay down, and then C wanted me to move.  So we started rearranging ourselves thinking that C wanted to sit next to the dog.  But no, it was just that I was going to sit between him and Nanny S and he wanted to sit next to her. LOL  (For my parents "LOL" means "laughing out loud.")

I'm glad that I'm announcing which dog we were assigned.  I'm getting kind of tired of saying "the dog" all the time.:)


Thanks for the comments!!!!

Saturday was a low-key day in regards to training. (Luckily!)  I think everyone was tired, including the trainers.:)

Saturday, we had a lot of practice time.  They also had a professional photographer come in to take some pictures.  Of course C wasn't cooperating again, so I'm not sure how many pictures she got of us.  She did get one of me and the dog that I know of. 

The trainers split us up into groups.  They rotated us in going to the "play yard" to show us the rules.  While they were rotating us through, they also had us practice the retrieve commands ("get" and "give").  We also did some practice outside walking with C using his leash which is attached to the dog's vest.  They were also teaching us at the same time how to "shadow" commands with C giving commands also.  Basically the child is supposed to say the command, i.e. sit, fetch, etc and you say the command right after him so the dog learns to listen to the child.  I talked to one of the trainers about which "signs" to use with C so he can say the commands also.  She showed me the signs that they teach the hearing students.  We are going to use some of them and some will be ASL signs.

One of the commands that they trainers had us practice was "speak".  It took a bit of time to get C's dog to speak--but when it finally did, C started to say "woof"!!  Neither DH nor I have heard C say "woof" before.  I need to ask my other kids if they have heard him say it.  If this is the first time that C has said "woof" then I am super excited to hear a new word from C.  This is one of the reasons we wanted the dog, to see if it could help C become more verbal.

We went on a field trip to Lowe's also.  This was one of C's was most difficult times during the day.  At first, he didn't want to get out of the car, so I called his bluff.  DH and Nanny S stayed outside the car with the dog, and I got back in the car with C.  I started the car and put it in drive.  I didn't go anywhere, but the minute C saw that I was ready to leave, he decided he wanted to stay with dad, and was willing to get out of the car.

We practiced walking around the store.  The trainer would have us practice dealing with different scenarios.  Interacting with friendly public (who wanted to pet the dog, etc), walking with a shopping cart, noisy cart coming near the dog, etc.  We also practiced putting the dog "under" a table.

We had two lectures yesterday.  One was with just the skilled companion teams.  The trainer talked about how it was ok to drop commands that we would never use in our personal situation.  The other lecture was about following a daily routine: feeding and toileting at consistent times, exercising every day, practicing commands a bit each day, and grooming the dog everyday.

Then we went on a walk, so we could practice dealing with other dogs out walking.  We had our play yard time after the walk.  Our dog was more interested in eating the leaves then playing fetch.  I got to learn how to PRY it's mouth open to get the leaf out.  Fun, fun, fun!! (Yuck!)

We finished early, at 3 pm.  We had talked about going to the beach, but ended up walking down to the park instead.  C and his dad had a good rousing game of TAG while the dog and I took pictures.:)

I didn't post yesterday because we spent about 2 hours trying to figure out how to get a medical release form sent to our kids' sitters.  Their cousins have strep.  Our kids are starting to get sick too.  And since I had neglected to sign a release before we left, we had to do that last night.  The last report I've gotten is that so far our kids are just semi-sick.  None of them have had fevers, etc; just sore throats.  I might call their pediatrician's office tomorrow to see if they should be tested for strep anyway.

I have been informed that I messed up yesterday.:0  So, I'm going to close the poll tomorrow and let you know which dog C has been assigned.  I won't give the name, just the gender and color.   Maybe I'll go look at the poll and see if anyone has changed their vote!

Friday, August 6, 2010


Thanks so much for the comments!!  I know people were probably reading, but since I can't see you read I thought maybe no one was.:)

We were busy again today.

We only had one lecture though.  Most of the day was spent in learning new commands, practicing what we knew, having a "conference" with one of the trainers, and of course our first field trip.

C had a lot better day.  He didn't complain too much about staying in class.  And when he and Nanny S were in class, they played with some file folder games and colored dinosaurs.  During the lecture they did leave for about an hour.

The commands we learned today were:


"Car" is for getting in and out of a car of course.  And the trainers talked about how to tether the dog in the car, etc.

"Get," "give," and "hold" is for when the dog picks up an object from the floor and gives it to the person.  These are commands that C can help with.  Whenever the child gives a command the handler is supposed to say the command first since the dog is trained to respond to the adult.  We practice with our dog picking up things off of the floor, telling it to give  to C when C would start to take it, and then C would give it to one of the trainers.  C wasn't supposed to do the last part of course.  He just thought that since the trainer had put the object down on the floor, that they were supposed to get it back.  It was kind of cute.:)

The lecture was on safety in public and at home.  It was also on how to act in public with the dog.  In the folder they had given us before this week, was a list of things that we were supposed to do and not do in public to be a good team.  I'm thinking that this list is what we'll be tested on on our final field trip/testing next Thursday.

We went to a restaurant for our first field trip.  We will go on 4 more field trips and then of course the public test.  While we were waiting for our meals, one of the trainers came and put some chicken on the floor near our dog.  We are supposed to keep our dog from getting food from the floor when it's dropped.  DH wasn't quite fast enough in stopping the dog from getting the chicken.  We are supposed to grab the mouth and fish the food out of its mouth, and DH didn't quite get the chicken out.:(  (thumbs down!)

The afternoon was when we actually did the "get" sequence of commands.  We also practiced with trainers on the commands we needed extra work on.  The three trainers leading the class did one on one "conferences" with each team.  This is to let us know what things we need to focus on, etc.  It's a very low key meeting.  The main thing the trainer wanted us to work on was working with the leash in making it fluid in switching hands, etc so that the leash becomes automatic and we don't have to think about what we are doing with it.  We also talked about how the dog seems a bit confused when DH and I switch off on the dog.  The trainer suggested that the person getting the dog interact with the dog to get the dog's attention on him/her.

For my own personal goal for the weekend, I plan on working on keeping the dog close to  me when we are working.  She is supposed to stay within 12 inches of us, and I'm not very good on that.  The other things I want to concentrate is correcting it correctly, and working on "side" and "heel".  This isn't something that the trainer suggested, it's just what I know I need to work on to become a better team.

We do have a class tomorrow, but not Sunday of course.  We will have a lecture and another field trip.  I have been trying to take pictures.  But I'm not posting any of them until next Friday, when we can say which dog we are getting.  I was thinking of posting other pictures, maybe on Sunday I'll be able to get to it.:)

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Thanks for the comments yesterday!!:)

Today was a harder day for C.  Because we have been practicing more with our dog, we need C around so we can practice with him in the threesome, also.  C did not want to come into the room.  Then, once we were in the room, the trainers gave us a leash and vest so that C could help.  But then he was very angry that it was not blue.  Or he might have been angry that he wasn't the only one holding a leash.  So DH and Nanny S had to take him out.  It probably took him 30 minutes to settle down.  Since we are now expecting C to stay with us in the room, hopefully tomorrow will go better.:)

Today we learned:

wait (again for going through a door)

(Yesterday, along with all the other commands we also learned "step" and "stay".)

We also had lectures on "Canine Learning Theory" and  "Groomer".  So we got groom our dogs.  They took pictures and video during the grooming and also while we practice walking through doors.  Since C was having his tantrum when we were "walking through doors" one of the trainers played C.  I wonder if that will show up in the pictures for graduation?

I'm going to keep this short and sweet since we are supposed to be relaxing with the dog and C etc.

Remember to comment, especially my family!!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


C was prematched today.  So we started the morning with C in the training room for about 45 minutes.  They took photos and video.  CCI will be making a video to show at the graduation plus we will be getting a copy of the video (I think) and a photo cd to take home.  We did take some pictures.  But, I'm not going to post them here yet since I'm not announcing which dog C has.  Since it is only a prematch, it might change over the next week.  I will announce the dog next Friday, so the poll will go until then.

It's going to be hard to talk about the dogs without giving you a hint about which dog C has though.

After the prematch, C went back to play with Nanny S on the Wii, and we learned some more commands.  Actually, we learned a lot more commands.  I'll see if I can remember them all.:)

hurry--the toilet command :)

(I did pretty good, I remembered all but 3!:) )

We also had two lectures, one on "Resistance" and the other on "Canine Behavior"

After the lecture on behavior we got to watch the dogs play together.  The trainers would let two dogs out at a time so that we could watch them play.  And the trainers would explain out to calm the dogs down when they were getting two rough, etc.  When they are with another dog, we need to watch them, we can't just let them go out in the yard and play. 

Basically, we will need to always watch the dog even when it's not "working" so that it doesn't get into things it's not supposed.

After talking to the trainers, DH and I decided we needed to stop the licking by the dog.  C loves it when dogs lick him, and he tried to get every dog he interacted with to lick him.  The trainers said, that we will not be able to train the dog not to lick other people, if it can lick C.  So we are now correcting the dog to lick whenever it licks C.  And C is being told, "no licking."

After we were done for the day, we ate a snack and took C to the beach.  He had A LOT of fun and got very wet.  When we were last at the beach 4 years ago, C barely touched the water.  It was really neat to see him jumping the waves and diving (yes, I said DIVING) into the water.  (For those who don't know, C has been extremely afraid of the water.  He is getting better, but it has taken over 8 years-he is 10-to get to the point where he will play in water above his knees or even deeper.)  I would post pictures, but my battery died, and they are all on Nanny S's camera.  I'll try to download them in a couple of days.

Now, we are back in the room watching "Fantasia", eating popcorn, and hoping C will fall asleep soon.

Tomorrow, will be our first all night with the dog.

PS--please leave a comment!  It'd be nice to see who is reading this blog.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


C spent the morning playing a little Wii, then going to the park to play.  But on the way to the park, he was sidetracked by the horses next door to CCI.  These are therapy horses and C was fascinated by them.  So he and Nanny S never did make it to the park.:) 

(On a side note, if anyone can tell me how to put the little faces on here, please let me know. Thanks!:) )

DH spent the morning doing more rotations with dogs and listening to a lecture on motivating our dog to obey the commands.

First we learned the command "Let's Go".  (We actually only have 4 commands:  "don't", "sit", "down", and "let's go".)  We practiced walking around the room with "carpet dog" while telling the dog "let's go", etc.  Then we practice on the real dogs.  We practice with Dog #3, a black female.  She kept nosing my hand.  That's was difficult because the trainers had said not to pet the dog while walking with the dog, and she obviously wanted me to pet her.  I kept moving my hand trying not to encourage her, the trainers probably thought I didn't like her nosing me.

We had the lecture next and then did another rotation of dogs.  This one was Dog #4 and was a black male.  He was a bigger dog.  About the size of our Misty, but his hair is longer.  I think he was a good dog.  He obeyed and didn't get distracted at all.  Of course, he had gone through one rotation already with a different team, so he knew to be good.

After lunch, we did another round of rotation.  C was in the room with us, because we had been told yesterday that they wanted the kids then.  C and Nanny S had fun coloring while we worked with Dog #5, a golden male.  He is a big dog.  I was using my left hand to walk with him, and wasn't very good in correcting him.  I've been switching back and forth between hands since C doesn't and won't walk on just one side of me.  Then I can switch between sides.

Next, we did ANOTHER rotation.  This time C got to walk with us!  At first he was really excited and walked really nicely with me.  Then when it was DH's turn to walk with the dog, C wanted a turn.  He was really mad at not having a turn and wouldn't walk by the dog anymore.  C has asked for turns when he's been in the room during other rotations.  One thing the trainers stressed during this rotation is that with the kids, it was ok for them to pet the dog when it's walking, etc.  But, when we need to give it a new command, we need to stop C from petting the dog, give the command, praise the dog when the command is completed and then let C pet the dog again.

C is a really good distractor to the dog.  At one point the dog was on the floor in a down position (lying down) and C had been petting it.  I was supposed to get the dog to sit, and she wouldn't because C was right in front of her and she just kept inching toward him.  C wasn't petting her, but obviously, she wanted him to.  I kept correcting her, and she wouldn't sit.  Obviously, we will need to make sure C is distracting our dog before giving it a command.

The dog we worked with in this rotation was Dog #1 again.

After this rotation, they had the skilled companion teams sit on the floor and they did a visit with the dogs again.  They again wanted to see how the dogs were interacting with each child.  I will say here, that one of the skilled companion dogs will go with an adult as a facility dog. 

C loved this part of course.  The first dog that came to us, licked C's ear. (YUCK)  After that, C tried to get each dog to lick his ear. 

So that is our day.  The trainers are meeting tonight to decide on a tentative placement for the teams.  We might find out tomorrow morning, or they might choose to do some more rotations first.  Of course, the placements tomorrow could change even up to the day before graduation. 

We aren't supposed to speculate.  DH doesn't have a feeling on which dog he thinks C will get, and I'm not going to vote.  But DH did tell me where he thinks one dog will go (to another person in the class).  I'll let you all know tomorrow if he was right.

One more thing.  On the poll, I numbered the dogs we worked with 1-5.  I didn't number all the dogs.


I added a poll.  This will be hard for you since I can't post the dogs' names on the blog.  Later, I will give the run down of our day, and maybe that will help you choose a dog.  I will not be saying our opinions.  DH has no opinion, he says.  And I'm not trying to set my heart on one.


Monday, August 2, 2010


Well, it has been a long day.:)  We started at 9am.  There are twelve teams training.  Most of us are skilled companion dogs.  There are 7 children here, including C.  That's nice, since C has some friends to play with.  C and one other girl were the only two that would need breaks from the room.  The other kids are happy playing/coloring next to their parents.  One of the girls also has Down's syndrome.  She is a few months older than C, but a good head taller!

The morning was spent in team orientation and canine orientation.  We also got to work with "carpet dog"  They were teaching us how to discipline the dogs when they don't respond to commands.  C was with us for the first 30 minutes, which was good.  It gave Nanny S a chance to hear the rules, such as don't go near the kennels and stay out of the other training room (where they train the younger dogs), etc. 

C spent the rest of the morning playing with one of the work boxes I had brought with S.  They had fun playing with the play dough I think.

A side note on the work boxes.  I brought 5 half size file boxes full of different small games (such as UNO, Go Fish, etc) coloring books, paints, play dough, beads, bubbles etc with us.  These are actually boxes that I have made for M, my 3 yr old.  She gets to use one of these boxes each week, while I do school with my other kids.  C also, plays with them when he is done his other school work.  M loves these boxes and asks to do them every day.

Back to CCI---

After lunch (which was delicious by the way, the volunteers brought in Mexican), C got to meet all the dogs.  There are 14 dogs.  So two won't be place this session.  And that's if we all graduate (crossed fingers here).
There are 5 black dogs and 9 golden ones.

Next we had our first rotation of dogs.  This is when the trainers would bring out a dog for each team and we took turns telling the dogs to sit and down.  And we also didn't the don't command.  One team would work with a dog, and then the trainers would get a new dog for the next team.  So each dog was only out once.  The first time dh and I worked with Dog #1.

After the break, we did a 2nd rotation.  That time, we worked with Dog #2.

After C met the dogs, he stayed awhile in the room during the first rotation, but then S and he left and went to play with the Wii.  He is actually, a good tennis player.  We should try him out on a court when we get home.

 Then, we were basically done for the day.

We do have to take the quiz still.  Hopefully, C falls asleep soon, so that dh and I can work on it together.  Right now, C is watching "Dinosaur".  It's one of his favorite movies, but he keeps having us fast forward to the parts he likes.LOL

Sunday, August 1, 2010

We're HERE!!!!

We arrived about 4 pm.  Once C saw where we were at, he signed "dog."  Then he noticed the horses.:)

The caretaker took us on a tour of the dorm, showing us where to keep our food, etc.  He said this is the biggest team training class.  I'm not sure how many rooms there are, but there are also, two teams that live nearby.  C really wanted to go see the dogs, but of course he couldn't.

We unpacked and rested a bit.  Then we had dinner.  C and Dad went to the park, while S and I talked a bit about how it will go with her and C tomorrow.  Most of tomorrow will be spent in lecture time, although, we will be working with our first dog in the rotation tomorrow afternoon.

Even though it's only 8pm, it is 9 pm MDT so, we are going to bed.  I'm fighting a cold still.  I'll be glad I'm over this.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

St George

Well, we left 3 hours after my goal time, but we have finally arrived in St. George.  C wasn't too happy about leaving his siblings at their sitter's house.  He wanted to stay with his uncle.  But we bribed him with a Nintendo DS.

He played for 3 hours.  The last hour and half was spent watching a Loony Toons movie on Dad's mp3 player.  I had buried the headphones in the back of the suburban so C was only able to watch the movie; but, do you really need to hear Bugs Bunny?

DH and I (and S, our nanny) listened to the "The Westing Game."  We had downloaded some audio ebooks from the library last night.  We have "The Rescuers", "Swiss Family Robinson", and "Robin Hood."

S also got to play Mario Kart with C.:)

Tonight, we are visiting with a college roommate of mine.  I haven't seen her in years.  I won't say how many years ago, that we were roommates.:)

Tomorrow, we are leaving, bright and early for OCEANSIDE, CA.

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Word on Privacy...

My sister, who has been a puppy raiser for CCI, was asking me if she could share this website with her CCI friends.

I don't mind at all if anyone wants to share this blog. Since, I did not make the blog private, I knew that people I didn't know might visit the blog. In fact, I hope that people will share the blog. I would just ask that if you know my family personally, please use the initials of our names. Also, please refrain from posting any personal information, i.e. birthdates, address, etc.

Thank you.

I appreciate it.:)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

C's Dog

In April 2009, I started the process of applying for a skilled companion service dog for C from Canine Companions for Independence.

We had to go through several steps but we are finally on the home stretch. For the first two weeks of August, dh, C, and I are going to Oceanside, CA to be trained for C’s dog. And hopefully, at the end of the two weeks, C will graduate with a companion dog.

There were seven steps for us in applying for a dog. First, I had to fill out an online form. Second, they sent me a 14 page application. It took me 3 months to fill this out. DH and I wanted to make sure that we felt comfortable in getting a dog for C. Part of this form had pictures of C and our house and yard. The next step was a telephone interview with someone from CCI and dh and I. That interview lasted about 1 hour.

The 4th step was the medical/professional form. We had C’s pediatrician fill out this form. This happened in Sept or Oct of last year.

Fifth was the personal interview. We had to fly to CA for this part of the process. C hates flying. We almost missed our flight home because he kept saying he needed to go potty. J CCI only does the interviews 4 times a year. We could have done this in December, but K had a ice skating show the same day, so we had to wait until April. We found a babysitter for the other 4 kids and just dh, C and I flew to CA.

The personal interview lasted about 6 hours. They did a mini-class the first few hours. We also had a chance to practice with “carpet dog” and a real dog in giving commands. There were about six trainers in the room watching us work with the dog.

After lunch, we had a tour of the facilities and our personal interviews with a couple of trainers. The interview lasted about an hour.

The 6th step was being put on the waiting list for a service dog. I thought we’d be waiting close to a year (although, I never asked how long the list was)—but we got a phone call the beginning of June for team training in August.

I’m so excited and nervous for training next week. Both dh and I will be trained and certified as facilitators of the dog. But the dog will be C’s. And, even though we go to team training, that is not a guarantee that C will for sure get a dog. Although, I am not too worried about us not making it. I’m more concerned about not passing the public certification.

C doesn’t really understand that he is getting a dog. He did have a lot of fun at CCI playing with all the dogs there in April

Our Family

Here’s a short introduction to our kiddies. Have fun getting to know us!

K is our oldest daughter. She is 12 years old. She likes to ice skate (some days more than others J ). This summer she is also learning to play tennis.

K is very creative. She likes to sew—she’s made doll clothes by hand, and is learning to sew on a machine. She also likes to crochet. She loves to draw and sing.

She is a great oldest daughter—is willing to help me around the house and with her siblings.

K is very compassionate—she cares deeply for others.

C is 10 years old. He is our oldest boy. He loves animals of all kinds. He will give people hugs when he knows they need some loving. He loves to play video games—especially Lego Star Wars, which is also one of his favorite movies. But then he loves many different movies, Looney Toons, Disney cartoons, and many others.

C is doing very well in swimming—he has come a long way from the time that he became afraid of the water when he was about 2. We couldn’t even do baths/showers when he was little. Now he is up to his chest and letting his teacher float him on his back, etc. In 2 ft of water, he can swim on his own. But he doesn’t trust himself to swim on his own in deeper water.

C also loves gymnastics.

C loves his siblings—especially his little sister M. He watches out for her and gets mad at his other sibs when they are teasing her.

C has special needs. He has Down syndrome. He is also hard of hearing, has profound verbal apraxia, auditory processing disorder, and a mild traumatic brain injury. Because of his disabilities, C is non-verbal. But, he usually gets his point across quite well. J

N is 8 years old. He likes to go to cub scouts. He loves to play spies and with his Legos. N’s favorite food is enchiladas.

N is the one that looks the most like dh. He is doing great in swimming this summer. He loves to do gymnastics and can climb the rope which is probably 30 ft high (I think that’s how high it is)!!!!

J is 6 yr old. J loves to help whenever he can, even if the person doesn’t NEED help, J loves to help. The boy in the movie “UP” could be J’s twin brother. He is a go-getter. He works really hard at learning new things. He loves school and wants to learn Latin this year along with K and N.

J is so excited to start Tiger cubs in the fall. He loves swimming, gymnastics, and playing goalie in soccer.

M is 3 ½ yrs old. She is very petite. She has the genes from both of her grandmothers. But she is a dare-devil. She tries to do everything her big brothers are doing, including trying to climb trees and monkey bars.

M also loves gymnastics. She practices on the bars in her closet. She loves to do “school” with the rest of the kids. Every day she asks to do her “preschool boxes” and “when do I go to gymnastics?” She started swimming this summer and loves it.

M’s favorite word is “favorite.” Everything is “my favorite…”

Well, that's the kids in a nutshell.:)

Monday, July 19, 2010


I have never written a blog before. When I read other people's blogs, I'm in awe with how eloquently written they are. I have had this blog site for over a year and never posted because I didn't know what to write. I guess I'll just jump in and get my feet wet.

My dh M and I live in Utah. We have 5 children, K who is 12, C who is 10, N who is 8, J who is 6, and M who is 3. My two girls are my bookends: the oldest and youngest.:)

I think, instead of writing about everyone all at once. I do a little bit each day.

So, goodbye for now.