Thursday, April 24, 2008

Grade hopping again...

I just found out (officially) that I will be back in fourth grade next year. While, grade hopping is certainly not ideal, there are a couple of pros to this one. First, this year's third grade class is a wonderful class to move with (my kids especially- but I'm partial). Second, I taught 4th grade last year, so I at least know what to expect and a lot of prep work is already done (not quite as much as for third, but that will give me something to do over the summer). Really, I've foreseen that this was a strong possibility since the beginning of the year, so I've felt an even stronger sense of responsibility (than normal) to prepare my students for fourth grade, knowing that I might be their teacher. I think it will work out well.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Best pet product ever!

Now that spring has sprung, we've been trying to get Allie out for walks as much as possible. It's been frustrating though, because it's like we have to re-train her on how to walk nicely on a leash (a skill she's never fully mastered). The beagle in her has her following whatever scent comes her way, and she spends the entire walk weaving back and forth, tripping up anyone who is accompanying her. Passing other pedestrians and especially other dogs has always been a challenge. Fortunately she's never been a barker, but she's so social that she always pulls like crazy, making it nearly impossible to control her. We've watched "The Dog Whisperer" and have tried several of Ceasar's techniques, but have found it difficult to cure her of this behavior. Until today. Earlier this week I took a trip to Petco to purchase a "Gentle Leader."

We have never taken an easier walk with Allie until today. Right from the moment we walked out the front door there was a marked difference. After only about a minute, she had adjusted to the fact that she could no longer pull and control us. Because of the position of the leash on the collar, she was forced to walk in the direction we chose, so she gave up trying. She calmly walked right beside us and there was slack in the leash the entire walk. We knew the true test would be walking by other dogs and people. That has never been easier. She clearly was more alert and interested in them, but did not fight to get closer. I was utterly amazed.

So for all you dog owners out there, if walking your dog stresses you out like it did us, I HIGHLY recommend this product! (End of commercial :-) )

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A new addition to the pond

My bird-geek is showing again. Last year I reported my excitement when the great blue heron showed up in our back pond. Tonight David discovered a new duck out back. (It gets a little old seeing the same old Canadian geese and mallards, so it's always exciting to see something new. ) I quickly whipped out my binoculars and bird book to identify our new friends as Bufflehead ducks. We have a male and female. They're fun to watch because they dive under water in search of food. I hope they stick around through the summer.

The male Bufflehead

The female Bufflehead

(How come in wildlife, the males are usually the more attractive?
That doesn't seem quite fair, does it?)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A little excitement coming home

Last weekend we went up to Andover to attend an Avalon concert at our friends Dan and Angie's church. Afterward, it was about 10:30 when we were passing through the town of Blaine, heading down the highway and we heard some sirens. So we looked all around us and noticed 2 police cars racing down the oncoming lanes. I remember saying out loud, "Oh, I wonder where they're headed." Coincidently, they took the turn around about 20 yards ahead of us to join our lane and then we couldn't see where they went from there. Seconds later, from out of nowhere about 8 more police cars appeared, completely blocking off our two lanes, beginning with the car in front of us. A couple of seconds later there were probably 15 cops out of their cars with guns drawn. At that time we could see that they had pulled over two cars on the side street, each carrying 2 people (I think). At first we were like, "Wow, we get front row seats to see what goes down!" But then we were like, "There are a lot of guns out right now; our position could be a little dangerous." We kind of ducked down in our seats a little (our lanes were completely blocked by police cars; there was no escaping...), but once we realized that the people in the cars were surrendering without a fight I got a little brave and pulled my camera out. You can't see a whole lot, but if you look carefully you can see a couple different officers with their guns drawn. I waited a week to post this, hoping I could find out what that was all about, but no luck. Incidently, when we finally were able to move on, we could see that those first two police cars had pulled two additional cars over that were just out of our sight. In all, they pulled over 4 cars and arrested at least 6 people, I think. I'll always wonder what happened there, but at least I know why I was stuck in traffic for 1/2 hour at 10:30 on a Friday night. There were other people in that traffic jam that probably have no clue.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Spring Break in Denver

We just got back from a spring break trip to see David's sister Julie and her family in Denver, Colorado. Our first day there was beautiful and sunny so we drove to Colorado Springs to visit Balanced Rock at the Garden of the Gods. It was a gorgeous day and such a blessing to be able to spend some time outside after being trapped inside all winter.

David's mom and Dad were able to join us for this trip, so the family was all together for the first time since Thanksgiving '06! We had a great time together and it was lots of fun spending some time with our nieces!

Emily's first time bowling

Here's a cute clip of our niece, Emily's first time bowling. Little ones have it made bowling these days! I'd never seen the bowling ball launcher before; it helped so much that we had to really work to keep up with her score!

Old friends...

I was thrilled to be able to meet up with Kayla, my el. ed. buddy from IWU while we were in Colorado. We haven't seen each other in about 4 years (when oldest Lamb niece, Emily was born). Thanks f0r driving to see us, Kayla! It was great catching up with you!