Thursday, April 23, 2009

Finally! Agility Class has begun....

After five straight weeks in a row of being cancelled due to bad weather, Chance's agility class started yesterday. Boy oh boy was it fun! I will have to bring my camera next week....

There are 6 other dogs in his class: two Labs, a Labradoodle, an Australian Cattle dog (I think), a dachshund, and a Golden Retriever. I was surprised that the majority of handlers there were women. There was one older couple and one young couple. Also a pair of sisters. Everyone was really nice.

Leslie, our teacher, has been teaching and competing in agility for 10 years. Wow! I honestly didn't know it had been around that long. She is wonderful. She's very patient and informative. I really like her.

Chance did really well. He liked all the equipment and took it all pretty much in stride. The only parts he's a little wary of are the weave poles and the tunnel. But by the end of the class he was doing both with some encouragement. I guess most dogs don't like the weave poles, so we are going to do more work with them next week.

If anyone doesn't know, agility is an obstacle course that your dogs runs while you direct him to the next piece of equipment. There's lots of running for people, and lots more for the dog! It is timed and I think dogs are also allotted points for how they hit the obstacles. Also, in every competition, the course is a little different.

It was so interesting to see how to teach your dog to do different obstacles. The weave poles were particularly interesting to me. If you've never seen it, you've gotta. It's amazing! I'm sure there's tons of videos on YouTube (I can't figure out how to post videos on here). There is a set of poles, I'm guessing at around twelve. They are all in a line and the dog has to start at the right side and weave between each pole. They do this at a running pace in competition, and it's just incredible to watch! Dogs are so athletic! Anyway, one method to teach them this is to pull the poles apart a bit and have the dogs run through a channel in the middle. Then you gradually push them together and apparently the dog just begins weaving automatically. Cool huh?

The other really cool one to watch is the A-Frame. There are boards angled about five feet or so up and down in an "A" shape. The dog runs up and down as fast as he can. Chance loved this one and has no qualms about it whatsoever.

Boy howdy was he fun to watch! He just soaked in all in. He really loved it. And so did I.

It's fun to see how putting him in these classes has helped in so much to come out of his shell. I wouldn't believe he was as shy and fearful as he was if I hadn't witnessed to myself. It has given him so much confidence. And it's been a really bonding experience. It's also been really fun to learn something new and meet new people.

I just love that dog so stinking much! He's amazing!

I can't wait for next week.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A HUGE Victory

We just received word that Wes' brother, Bryan, just won an AVP Young Guns tournament last week. This is a huge accomplishment in the volleyball world and man oh man are we proud of him! Winning a Young Guns tournament doesn't put you in as an invited member of the AVP, but it does allow you to accumulate points for your ranking. Which in beach volleyball, is a big deal.
He has worked so hard and stayed so dedicated to his dream. And now he is starting to see the fruits of his labor. Boy howdy is he talented and we know he's going to go far. We can't wait to go out to CA and see him play soon! Congrats Bryan! You deserve it. Can't wait to see what you do next!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Easter Week

Our Easter was really fun this year. We had so much fun hunting for candy-filled eggs with the boys. They really got into it. I loved the squeals of excitement and the hustle bustle of finding the eggs. But the most fun part was doing our best to have a gospel-centered Easter, filled with all kinds of methods and activities we tried to teach our boys about Easter and its meaning and Christ's love for all of us.
The most fun activity for them were felt board stories. Boy oh boy they retained tons of information, much more than I would have guessed. And it melted my hear to watch Kolton tell the stories to Micah. What a sweet moment it was!
The one I would not repeat, or at least I would tweak, was the "Jerusalem Dinner." I thought it sounded fun and neat to try foods that Christ may have eaten at the Last Supper. I set a goal to try cooking a new food from a different country once a month, and I figured this could count. So off I went to the store to buy lamb, barley, dried figs, and various cheeses, fruits, nuts, etc. I even made some unleavened bread. Well, the lamb and barley ended up being Chance's dinner for the next week. (He was definitely happy I made it) And everything else was nibbled a bit and then thrown away. But all in all, it was fun to try something new (even if it was gross) and kind of visualize a little more what it may have been like in Old Jerusalem. I feel like we learn better when we try to live things or model them, rather than just reading.
The other thing the boys loved was role-playing the parables. I got this great book from Deseret Book called, "A Christ-Centered Easter" and it was just filled with many wonderful ideas and traditions about how to remember Him and incorporate not only the crucifixion and Gethsemane, but the entire week preceding the resurrection. I would highly recommend it to anyone. It's good some good ideas and insights for all ages, and it also helped me come up with my own.
I so appreciate and love my Savior and all He's done for me. I love Easter and the special times we have throughout the year to remember and honor Him. I feel his love daily in my life, and I rely on it many, many times throughout my day as I do my best to raise a family and grow together in the gospel. I hope I can pass this love and appreciation and understanding on to my children. It truly is such an amazing blessing.
The rest of Easter was filled with a few egg hunts for the kids. And even one for us. My cute parents decided to organize a flashlight hunt for us older kids this year. It was so much fun! Thanks Mom and Dad.
I got some darling Easter outfit for the boys, but I somehow forgot to get a picture. I will post one soon.
Happy Easter everyone!

Kolton's Birthday Party

Kolton had his family birthday party today. It was so fun! Boy oh boy was he excited! Here is a picture of his cake. He was absolutely insistent upon Lightning McQueen. Little did I realize that the pattern was 6 different colors using the same 2 tips in each color. I only had one of each, and it wasn't too much fun using the tip, cleaning it, switching it, cleaning that, switching mom who've made this cake know what I'm talking about. But boy howdy did it turn out cute! He was so happy. So worth it! (PS - can you see what's wrong in here? This is for you, MacKenzie! My brain was so fried after all the switching and cleaning that I spelled "Birthday wrong! My dear, sweet hubby didn't point it out until after I'd rinsed leftover frosting down the drain. Oh well, what do you do?)3 generations of Stewart boys. All the same bright smile.
Sweet baby Abby taking it all in. She is such a darling, easygoing little gal. She loved eating the wrapping paper and watching the action all around her. Kolton was all over unwrapping presents this year! Man oh man that boy was on a mission! He sure loved all the fun gifts he got. Thanks everyone!
I didn't take this picture, so it's a little our of focus. Our camera is kinda tricky. But I had to post so you could get a look at these cheeks. Classic! (notice the tantruming Micah in the background)
We had so much fun! Thanks to everyone who came! Kolton definitely had a Happy Birthday!


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