Monday, January 28, 2013

The Puppy Pilgrimage

Friday started off super early for me around 4:30AM. With all the impending puppy excitement I just couldn't stay asleep. I finally made it to Michigan around 11:50PM to freezing cold 18 degree weather. I was starving as my connection in Denver allowed no time to grab any dinner. Of course all the places had just closed because it was so late. I had to wait to hit up the hotel vending machines once I got into my room. The room was okay except they turn the heat off until the new occupants arrive. Which meant it was ice cold & the heater was very slow warming it up! I ended up sleeping in my warm yoga pants, hoodie, &  winter jacket with the hood over my head. I kid you not I was shivering until about 4:30AM when my stomach woke me up growling. Thankfully the hotel offered a continental breakfast that had already started. I ran and ate, & ate, then ate some more. Then I came back to doze off & on in my room. It was hard to really fall asleep knowing I would hopefully see Balto soon.

Unfortunately Jen the lovely breeder & lady who made the donation of Balto got called into work. She ended up being delayed much to both of our dismay. I on  the other hand ended up ordering a pizza because I could see no place to walk to close to eat & once again my stomach beckoned for food. It was an amazing kid-free whatever toppings I wanted kind of pizza. You  mom's out there know what I mean. Once kids arrive and are old enough to eat pizza forget about you ever getting to pick the toppings again. Anyway it tasted great & by the time I finished Jen was on her way to pick me up! It was almost puppy time!!

When I first saw him it was love at first sight I tell you. He was sitting next his brother Riot and was so calm compared to Riot. I got to go with Icon his dad to the park. It was amazing seeing his dad in person & realizing how big Balto would one day become. As well as how smart these dogs truly can be with training.

They played outside in the freezing cold for a while then headed back in doors to warm up. Not sure if the dogs were cold but I sure was by then. Jen took me to a great Mongolian Bar-b-que place to eat & I had a lot of fun. I had fun learning to dump all kinds of different meat & veggie combinations into my bowl. Then watching the guys cook it on this huge grill. It may be my new favorite thing to eat. I'll have to locate a place around our home.
I loved getting to learn about all of Jen's dogs and Balto's parents. Disco is what they call his mom who is a real laid back happy kind of girl Jen thinks Balto get's Icon (dad) looks but Disco (mom) personality. Which will make him a great Service Dog one day. Compared to his brother Riot I could see the difference. I went back to the house and got to see videos of the dogs in action as well as all their awards. It was amazing to think that if Balto wants we could train him to do all kinds of agility & obedience shows. One day we may let Jeremy do some of these things after all the Service dog training is complete.

This is a short video of Icon doing his work. He is amazing!

After watching & looking through everything. Trying to learn anything & everything I might need to know it was time for me to take Balto back to the hotel. He was not to sure in the car ride that I was the one he was suppose to leave with and was worried. But once we made it to the hotel he got over his stranger danger as Jen & I laughingly called his attitude.

I decided to try on his new vest and walk with him some on a leash. We needed to practice for the airport the next day.
He wasn't to sure about either but got the hang of it pretty fast. The next morning arrived super early at 2:45Am to get ready. We headed out around 3:30 to the airport. He did great on the shuttle bus ride over and even better inside the airport.

Looking this cute he charmed everyone we met. Random people would stop and ask us for a picture. No telling were his photo was posted yesterday. We flew on Frontier who was amazing! They never once asked for his paper work since he wore his vest.  They simply ask I keep him under control at all times & dressed in his vest. They upgraded our seating to stretch and we sat next to a wonderful man from Canada. His son has a GSD so he kept loving on Balto who was soon laying on him to sleep. He slept for both plane rides & did amazing! We got all kinds of compliments on how well behaved his was for a 10 week old puppy.

Paul met me at the airport and off we headed to the new beginning for Jeremy & a new life of service for Balto. The boys were bouncing off the walls texting every few minutes for updates of how far away we were from home.Once we arrived they ran out to greet us all. I let Paul bring Balto up so I could try to snap pictures. Well of course he was running around like a crazy puppy so they weren't the perfect pictures I had hoped for but still some great shots.

The rest of our night was spent trying to potty train with some failure/success. Then we put everyone to bed because this mom was beyond exhausted! It was an amazing day we will never forget. We are so blessed by the donation from vom haus Huro (Jen) that she will always be in our lives. We can't thank 1 Boy 4 Change enough for their role in making sure Jeremy received the best puppy possible at no cost to our family but a plane ticket. Our new Journey has begun & we are all still smiling from all the puppy kisses. If you want to follow along please do so on our Facebook page at Jeremy's Journey to watch Balto go from cute cuddly puppy to a handsome smart service dog. Our miracle has happened & we are so thankful that God brought all these amazing people into our world. We can't wait to see what he has in store next for our family.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sleep & Puppy Brain

I woke up way to early this morning with Mr. Balto the puppy on my brain once again. More exact the trip to go pick him up. We are now four days away from me flying to Michigan to pick up the cutie. At church yesterday I got to tell about all the training & costs we are about to embark on again . I think it freaked me out! I know in the end the cost will be worth the independence Jeremy gains. But right now I'm a little over whelmed with thinking about the training & expense that is about to start all over for a second time.

Unless you've trained a service dog it's hard to explain the amount of hours that go into that pups everyday life. From the time I wake up and get him uo to go out to potty on a leash not just shoo him out the door, he is learning. It's fun but also a lot of pressure to get it right. This time around there will be no third chance should Balto not be able to pass his tests.This time Balto will just come home and live out his life with us , should this happen. I think the realization that we are about to invest all this time & money again has finally hit home.We are blessed with some help with the training costs , but a lot still comes out of our pocket.Anyway that alone has me up at 4:45AM thinking about it all this morning when there is no school & I should be able to sleep in a little. I keep looking at the latest picture we received last night & smiling. He is so cute we can hardly wait to get our hands on him for all the puppy kisses . We will get to have him for ten weeks before he goes to Nevada for his full time training. For that I am so excited!

Those wanting to help along the way still can do so at anytime. We have left open our Fundrazr Page that you can donate to at anytime. Or you can help my sanity by uttering our names in your daily prayers as well. I am a firm believer in the power of prayer.I know God knows exactly how this is going to all play out, so I just have to trust him. Remind myself daily that one more minute of worry will do no good.That worrying whether or not Balto cries on the plane trip will do no good. He will either sleep , lay quietly , or cry- how can worrying change any of this? It can't period. I am going to work on just enjoying these up coming weeks. The laughter on all the boys faces that only a new puppy can bring. Be on the look out for a lot of puppy updates after this weekend when I bring him home. There are sure to be quite a few adorable puppy pictures. Please say a prayer for our whole family that this new journey goes smoothly for all of those involved.

Monday, January 14, 2013

I Know He Can

Knowing that we are now so close to getting Balto just makes everyone in the house excited! From the minute I let go and let God take over what direction we should go towards in continuing the process of Jeremy's Service Dog, it's just been to easy. I know without a doubt all the prayers late at night with tear filled eyes after we lost Banyan were heard & answered. They were answered in God's perfect timing. He knew exactly when to have the Carswell family step into our lives. He knew exactly when I would be open to letting another wonderful puppy into my heart. I think Jeremy would have been ready the first time they asked to help us as soon as we lost Banyan. But God knew my heart wasn't ready just yet, that I needed to grieve the loss. Faith that it would all work out has always been my thinking from way back in October 2011 when we decided to enter this crazy Service Dog world.

We haven't been handed everything, we've had some wonderful people step up and donate a lot to make Jeremy's wish for a Service Dog come true. But we've also struggled to find the funds at times to pay for things. We've done fundrasiers, so, so, many of them that I am exhausted. We've done the good old fashioned asked your parents on both sides to help in some way. My mother in law makes amazing quilts we can auction & my parents are blessed to be able to help financially at times we most need the cash quickly. By no means has this been a one man show of me getting this dog for Jeremy. It's been a God thing from day one!

Our latest news is as of Sunday we have purchased one plane ticket to Detroit, MI for me to fly to pick up Balto. Although I am thrilled to get to go meet Jen his lovely breeder and her family, I'm not going to lie at the panic it caused thinking where does the money come from? Once again I prayed that God show me which path to take, fundraise on short notice or suck up my pride & ask for help. I did the later and my wonderful parents answered the call again. I can only hope when my children are grown with families of their own that Paul & I are blessed enough to be able to help out when they call. We also had 1 Boy 4 Change 
 step up and say they will help with our hotel accommodations. This is a huge relief off our shoulders as traveling to pick up Balto had not been in the original plans. We had prior commitments to our budget this month that include propane which is a necessity & a truck repair. Thankfully God provided again on the large ticket items when we asked.

I've learned over the years that faith is a funny thing , at least to  me. I always try my best to believe that what I "want" to happen will if I only trust in God's perfect timing. Now as I have gotten older ( 40 in like 4 weeks , ekkk!) I've learned to have faith that what I "need" God will provide in his perfect timing. It's not always what I "want" that happens. That I have to open my heart up to him , turn over the drivers controls and be patient. Sometimes this is easy & sometimes I feel very frantic. But I think this is how God teaches us his love and generosity are always there if we put our trust in him. Now I'll be leaving the end of January for a super fast trip to Michigan. I'm excited to get one whole day with all of Balto's family. His mom, dad, & grandpa. Jen will answer any question I ever had about German Shepherds and I'll love to fly home with a cute cuddly puppy for Jeremy.

It is my faith sometimes as small as a mustard seed I'm sure that has me so thrilled & thankfully to God that everything is falling into his perfect place for Jeremy.

After we get Balto home I'm sure I'll worry again about his training & the cost of our next big adventure in early April. Taking him to his puppy raiser & trainer in Nevada. But for now I'll enjoy this wonderful peace of mind that God has provided me as I sip my coffee this Monday morning.

Little guy is actually quite big! He weighed in this week at his 8 week Vet check at 15.3 pounds- YIKES! But oh he is so cute!

A new blue service cape was given to us as a gift for Balto. It worked out well in timing as I need one to bring him home on the plane from  Michigan. It most likely won't be worn the whole time he is being trained since his organization Michael's Angel Paws has a specific vest for the SDIT. But it's a very thoughtful & a great starter vest . This way he get's use to wearing something on him all the time.

Have a great Monday everyone & may you take a moment to look around at all of God's blessings in your life today. However big or small they may be.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Chilly Runs

Maybe all I needed to have a great 7  mile run was 23 to 26 degree weather outside with sunshine?? Who knew when I woke up to a good layer of white frost & some snow that today's long run would be a PR for me? I got layered up and headed off to meet up with our local Wear Blue runners on the trail. We all were bouncing around trying to stay warm until it was time for the circle of remembrance. We read the names of the Fallen and chatted for a couple of quick seconds then took off!
Although it was a freezing 20 something degrees ( we all had different temps on our cars) the sun was shining & it was a beautiful day to run. I put my music on and took off about 2 or 3 minutes behind the main body. The first 1.8 miles where brutal especially to my hands. I had on my fingerless gloves because I knew around mile 4 I'd be to hot for anything more. That meant my hands were numb & frozen early on in the run. I hit the 2 mile mark and BOOM!! My legs kicked in my lungs felt great & my hands defrosted. That was all I needed, I took off! For once I was in the front of the group running feeling good. It almost all came to a dead halt when my silly ipod quit on me at 4.02 miles, uggg! I thought I had it charged up but I guess not. Thankfully I just kept singing the Colbie Calliat song Brighter than the Sun that it had died during. The sun was  making it a great run so why not sing about it-lol

I hit Mile 6 and was thinking to myself I still feel good- fresh legs-YAY! Then around 6.58 my hips started having a slow ache but not to bad. At that point I just start telling myself how fast I'm going & how I can finish no problem. Then I DID! 7 miles in 1:04:21- YAY ME! I know it was a flat run today with no challenging hills . But sometimes a girl just needs a good easy fast run to keep her spirits up. I was also smiling because we had three new smiling faces show up to run in blue. It didn't matter that it was cold they came out & made the effort. It was a great day to run! I hope you all got outside today.

Finally a good run that I could smile about.

New faces in blue today.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Puppy Dog Dreams & Aching Shoulders

This week has been a little bit of everything going on as we jumped back into our school routine. Getting all four boys moving on Monday was not to much fun. We had all really enjoyed the two weeks off for the holidays. But off they went & off I went to get my sweat on really good! Back into full on training with my first run looming in March. I jumped in with a really hard arm/shoulder workout then hit up the gym to do some elliptical time with pull-ups.

 We woke up to super cute pictures of Balto on Monday so I keep looking at them & dreaming. We are all so excited for him to arrive that it's hard not to stare at those pictures. Jeremy is finally smiling all the time again when we discuss puppy training. Something that had been missing up until Christmas Eve. We had a little cash left on a Petsmart card that had been used for Banyan so we decided to hit up the store for Balto. We grabbed him some treats & fun toys. We did choose the toys from the clearance bin since I figure the sharp puppy teeth my kill the toys quickly. Then we hit up a cute little puppy boutique called Bark Avenue to get his food. We don't want his tummy to get upset so for the first few days we will keep him on his food. Then I think slowly we will start transitioning to a grain free that is easier to find. Most likely I'll check with his puppy raiser to see what brand is available where she lives. His new handstamped name tag has been shipped to go on his new collar we picked out.It's all coming together nicely.

Isn't this the cutest face you ever seen?
Right now we hope to have him home in our arms anytime after January 23rd.

Now back to my tired sore body. After Monday came Tuesday and running around my neighborhood with my friend Teresa. You think what's so hard about that? Well we live in a neighborhood that has hills a lot of hills! My hamstring where screaming at the end of just four miles folks. Did I forget to mention the cold drizzly rain that was falling on the 40 degree morning. I know, I know, I live in WA so what do I expect? I did the run added my miles and called it a day after doing my push ups for my challenge. Then today came and we did a leg day. My shoulder pain actually required Aleve all day today but I knocked out a few pull ups anyway after our speed work. This was in addiction to the 180 squats, 180 walking lunges, 40 kettle bell swings, Abs, & Spiderman planks-YIKES! At the time it made me tired but now it makes me cringe!

I have been able to stay right on track with my clean eating as well this week. Twice now I have been caught in town after long hard workouts with out enough protein, EKKK Thank goodness for Safeway! I ran in both times grabbed a yoplait vanilla greek yogurt & a 6oz Silk chocolate milk. Then I trotted back out to my van and sat there eating with  my finger as the spoon at times. Yes folks, when my blood sugar crashes it crashes hard! I am not above using my fingers to scarf down the yogurt. After talking with my workout buddy she said she did the same thing leaving wal-mart. We decided if we are going to keep up these really hard long workouts we need to carry more food on us forsure. Hopefully I am not caught again with just almonds in my purse- because that just didn't cut it today.

Now that you know the fun & the crazy I hope you still come back for more. We should be getting more puppy pictures to share soon as well as a concrete arrival date. Have a blessed rest of your week & don't forget to get moving ! 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Go This Way...Which Way?

This morning found me getting ready to head out to Dupont, WA to run in my blue. Today started the bringing back of the 6 mile route. I was all psyched up & ready to RUN!! My legs felt fresh after taking Friday off & I had three of the ladies joining me. Turned out we actually had our fourth show up when we arrived! I knew that last time I tried to run the 6 mile route I got lost. So I mentioned this before hand & the route marker for the day in laughter was like " there is no way Amanda you can possibly get lost today." -HA! I explained that really I had blonde roots under all the red hair. After the circle of remembrance Ashley & I took our time getting off. We where a good 5 to 7 minutes behind our group. Mr. Route Marker jokingly said " I'm behind you , I'll keep you on route.". I stupidly believed him-haha

Off Ashely and I go following the normal 3.2 mile markers until we see on the ground a chalk arrow pointing for the 6 milers to go straight. Yeah we went straight & we should have gone left...... I saw Mr. Root Marker yelling but with my ipod on I thought he was saying " Yay- your not lost!"-wishful thinking. As I get chugging along I think how I miss the hills, I know WHAT? But the normal route has a couple of good hills I have gotten use to running. As I circle & head back the way I came I was so glad I had Paul's Garmin on to keep my pace & miles. I get back to the start & keep running. Why you may ask? It was only 4 .12 miles I had gone-Say What?? I realized then that I should have done the regular route then added on the last little bit to get 6 miles done like all the normal running people who didn't get lost.

I ran my laps to make up the difference as best I could to complete 5.98 miles this day. I was laughing so hard at the fact that I managed to get lost that it didn't hurt at all. My girls where laughing because it turns out two of them got turned around as well and had to do the same exact thing! See we start together but we all keep our own  comfortable running pace. So we all eventually separate. It was a good fun run with a couple moments of DUH??? But I am glad to say I think my mind & body are back in the game! We are 8 weeks out from our first ever 15K & off to a good start. 

I also have been taking my nutrition & clean eating seriously. My juicer has been great! Today was 16 ounces of melons, kiwi, coconut water,& mint-YUM! I even made sure to stay on track last night for pizza night-GO ME! My body is in shock & I am having a few gut issues. But it's all good getting rid of all the yucky toxins for sure. So this is my accountability check-in for the end of my week. Here is a quick over view of my exercise.

Monday: 3.25 miles
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 45 minute interval workout &  10 extra pushups for a challenge I'm doing
Thursday : 3.25 Miles , 25 Burpees, & 15 push ups
Friday: rest
Saturday: 5.98 miles, 20 push ups, need to do the 35 burpees still, yuck!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Popsicle Toes & Hands

With the passing of the New Year meant my "break time" from my super hard training & clean eating was over. Man how I enjoyed those two weeks of not feeling guilty if I popped a Christmas treat into my mouth or missed a workout. But oh how my body is paying for the time off now. Now don't get me wrong I worked out and still ate relatively healthy compared to most. But the increased intake of sugar & BAM my mind is saying today on the start of day two w/out it- "please find sugar, please find sugar. Chocolate I want chocolate!".
We all know what our weakness's are in our eating habits. Mine has been and always will be sugar! I have a very bad sweet tooth. So much so that I have to make sure not to keep ANY easy to grab treats in the house. I make sure to only buy candy if the boys are getting a treat the day of and a single serve portion so they eat it right away. No leftovers for me to sneak later. So to help keep me accountable as I struggle through the next two or three weeks of my body thinking it needs all that processed junk I will write it out here. If you see it & my running partners see it then it makes me feel guilty if I sneak a cheat. I mean I am only human & when a chocolate fix calls, sometimes I answer :0/.

Thankfully today I had a run set already with the girls. Because let me tell you we woke up to beautiful sunshine but 24 degrees outside, brrrrrr!! We met in town at the trail head and off we went. I had every intention of running 4 maybe 5 miles today. But at around 1.75 miles I turned around due to Popsicle feet & frozen hands. I had my gloves on but they didn't seem to help at all. I stumbled at one point because I couldn't feel my feet from the pads to the toes! I know if it had been a week or a few days before a big run I would have powered through the pain. But I let my mind jump into my head and end my run at 3.25 miles. I did enjoy chatting with Ashley while we ran back, so that alone tells you I wasn't working hard today, uggg We managed to do our 15 push-ups when we got back to the trailhead. I just finished my 25 burpees- yes we are doing them everyday this month to get back in the swing of things. I even had my lunch planned out so I was prepared food wise.

Half a piece of left over baked chicken, steamed green beans & roasted sweet potatoes - YUMMY!

But I am not even going to pretend that day two of eating clean and working out like I should has been easy . it's only 1PM in the afternoon and I am already wanting a snack, not going to happen but still- my body is just all out of whack!
Thankfully while I was in GNC yesterday they had a fabulous deal on this blender/juicer.

I had been needing a new blender for awhile but wanted a juicer as well. This little dandy thing was marked down 75% if you used your GNC Gold card which I just happen to have-YAY!
I already used it this morning to make my yummy chocolate, banana, PB2, protein shake. Now I have made a Safeway run and have stocked up on all kinds of fresh fruit & veggies. In an hour I will be trying out the juicer for my afternoon snack. Not only will I get a tasty drink that will fill me up, but it will have a ton of healthy nutrients my body needs. What I also love about this little gadget is all the extras it came with & it takes up like zero counter top space! If your looking for a small affordable blender/juicer then I recommend running out to your GNC before the sale ends.

Now that I ahve been all accountable for today , I promise I am done whining for now-haha I'll try to BLOG it all back in on Saturday. I'm suppose to run 6 miles for the first time in 3 weeks-YIKES! It's suppose to be cold & rainy :0(  Let's see if I can get my mind over all the yucky talk and let my legs do the job. I know they can, but sometimes my brain just won't shut up!