Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Monthly Slideshow: November 2011

So maybe the TEAM Rolfs blog has been neglected for a while.

The lack of posts isn't due to a lack of reportable news... there's plenty of fun stuff going on around here.

For example: We've had to do away with the 'democratic vote' in our household for the holidays. This famiy is now run via the dictatorship method.

Why?

Well, quite frankly, it's because at the moment we have five dogs, one bird and six humans living here for the holidays. The animals keep voting against us, causing a tie. It's just not working out very well.

Hopefully the entertaining posts will resume soon (yeah, pretty sure I've said that before) as soon as some of the current stress levels decline a bit and allow us all to enjoy the family shenanagins like the good old blog days.

In the meantime, here is a slideshow I threw together last night. It includes just about every family-related picture I took during the month of November. In order to cut down on the viewing time, each picture only flashes for one second before moving on.

C'mon... give it a try and let me know what you think. Maybe this will be a monthly posting that will continue in future months.

The video is just over five minutes and in my opinion, it's worth five minutes of your time once a month.

Pictures are in chronological order and each date is separated by a black slide listing the date and the events.

This months video features the following people (in no particular order):

Kidz-n-K9's 4H Club, Christy, Dave, Kellie, SVDG Team & coaches Michelle & Fannie, Sharon, Joan, Joe, Valerie, April and a whole lot more!

Here it is:



Be sure to inquire with us if you'd like to be considered for a spot on our new TV channel.

You know how Oprah has her own channel... with shows that seem to focus on all her besties? Probably the world would benefit greatly by watching the TEAM Rolfs channel... with programs based on all our wonderful (and diverse) friends!

~E

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Puddles. Puddles! Puddles?

In case you haven't heard, earlier this year Mikayla agreed to train a service dog for the Summit Assistance Dogs non-profit group.

I proposed we name the service dog "Puddles".

Much like all my other ideas that have to do with dogs, no one else shared my opinion. She was named Ka'ala instead.

I'm pretty sure that might mean "Puddles" in Hawaiian. Don't tell the kids. They'll be pissed.



Ka'ala was a pretty large dog - particularly in comparison to our two pre-existing conditions dogs. One of the many differences between big dogs and little dogs is the size of the input/output. Yeah, you know what I mean.

One time we were planning on being gone for an extended portion of the day, so we asked a friend to come over during the day to let the dogs out for a few minutes. Happy to oblige, she agreed to help us out.

Then I received this text message.


Maybe "Puddles" wasn't quite the right name for Ka'ala.

Anyway, Ka'ala was a great dog who made great progress in her training program, but she had a tendency to bark more frequently than is expected for service dogs. So, she opted for slight career change and is moving on to become a 'scent' dog that will be used to locate drugs and other things that smell.

In her place, we received this little fluff ball. She looks similar to our other fluff balls.



Again, I nominated that we name her "Puddles". This time I had good reason.

Surprisingly, the rest of the family didn't want to apply my stereotypes to this young impressionable puppy. So they named her "Olivia". Purely coincidental... Olivia means "Tiny Puddle" in an ancient Dellorkcir dialect.

Olivia is training to be a service dog for people with hearing disabilities. We'll have to wait and see how it goes... Olivia hardly ever makes a sound, but she has a long way to go for training.

Shifting gears a bit now...

We've been driving a Toyota Camry for a number of years now.
No, it wasn't named "Puddles".
It was, in fact, named "Precious".



The previous owner (a friend and former co-worker of mine) named it "Precious", and all the maintenance records that were provided to us when we bought the car from her were all in a file folder titled "Precious".
So, the name stuck, but we didn't refer to it using that name very often. Usually it was just called 'the gold car', the 'cold seats car' (darn leather interior) or 'the old person's car'.

Anyway, we just sold that car last week. Glad & sad at the same time. The car had 212,000 miles on it... we were responsible for 156,000 of them - and they were all trouble - free miles. Exactly what you want in a car.

"Precious" has been replaced with a Subaru Outback.

Our new ride needs a nickname.

I'm thinking "Puddles".

Submit your nickname recommendations in the 'comments' at the bottom of this post. If I don't get some ideas that are better than "Puddles", then it just might stick... and I'm pretty sure nobody really wants that to happen.





~E

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Kiss My Splash

Mikayla has completed her first season of swimming on the MVHS Swimming Team.

Her final meet was up in Bellingham on Friday afternoon. Tanya and I were able to both be there to emjoy the event.

She was excited to be on the swimming team - partly because she really enjoys swimming and partly because so many of her friends from both 4-H and Gymnastics are also on the swim team.

You can imagine that she's quite the fish - moreso than her father who more closely resembles the Titanic than a fish.

Here is a video including a lot of the photos & a couple short video clips from her meets this year.



~E

Friday, October 28, 2011

MVHS Fall Choir Concert 2011

Here is a recording of the MVHS Beginning Treble Choir as they sing three songs for an audience in McIntyre Hall earlier this week.



While I was uploading that video, it came to my attention that the youtube version of the our Homemade-How-To video still has the original soundtrack on it. I thought they impounded the soundtrack, but now it's back... just for your enjoyment.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Homecoming 2011

Tonight is the Mount Vernon H.S. Homecoming Dance.

Mikayla went with two of her long-time friends: Michaela & Jessica.

By all accounts, it seems that they were ready to have a great time!







I might have a video put together shortly that I'll add in a separate post, later.

(Edited to add: Video post is now online. Click here.)

~E

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Horse Riding for City Slickers

Alexia had an opportnity to enjoy a sunny Sunday at Lang's Horse and Pony Farm this last weekend.

She nominated me to be the official photographer / videographer for the event. I was pretty proud of that and had a good time watching her show off her city-slicker horse skills.

Here is some video footage for those of you that couldn't be in attendance.



After watching the video, you may be wondering why she selected ME to be the videographer. I think her choice boiled down to three simple facts:
1) She knew I'd be willing to stand out in the cold and rain if that is how the weather turned out (glad it didn't),
2) She figured that if the weather wasn't nice and I wasn't already signed up to record the event then she wouldn't get to ride at all until some future weekend, and
3) If the weather was nice she probably figured I'd announce an impromptu "Family Hike" event. Of course that doesn't happen when there is already something on the calendar... like horse riding.

In all honesty, it was really nice to watch her ride. She has pretty good skill (all of which came from time spent at Lang's) considering she only gets to do it once in a great while.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Puyallup State Fair 2011

We are proud to announce that we have once again survived the canine 4-H competition at Western Washington's State Fair in Puyallup.

After months of work, both girls were excited to be a part of the competition:  THREE days worth of competition, in fact.

You know what that means?  Yep:  Dogs, dogs, dogs and then more dogs.

Of course, it also means days upon days of scones, krusty pups, slushies, strawberry lemonade, roasted corn on the cob, strawberry shortcake, late nights, early mornings, hotels with pools and continental breakfasts.

Day 1:  Agility
Mikayla and Josie spent the day on the bench in the dog barn awaiting their turn to run the agility courses.  She did the Jumpers course and also the standard course, earning blue ribbons in both.

Here are a couple pics and a video.  Please excuse the poor video quality.








Grandpa Dave & Grandma Margie came out to wish Alexia a Happy Birthday and to hopefully see Mikayla and Josie in action.  Unfortunatley, she didn't get her turn in the ring until late that night.


Day 2: Knowledge Bowl
Mikayla completed on the Skagit team in the Knowledge Bowl contest.
Knowledge Bowl is like a traditional game show where two teams compete against each other by answering Canine-related questions to earn points.  The team with the most points advances to the next level.

Are YOU Smarter than a 4-H'er?







Alexia and I spent most of these two days just trying to stay out of trouble since the Dog Barn Lady has a tendency to track my every move... and then report it over the loud speaker in a negative fashion: "No Chairs along the chain fence." "You cannot sit by the fire extinguisher." "No stepping over the chain fence." "Parents cannot handle the animals." You get the picture.

Day 3: Obedience & Showmanship
Both kids & their dogs were on the bench this day since both were competing.

This year the judge was very strict and very few blue ribbons were awarded. Unfortunatley, none of them were awarded to M or A. Regardless, we're very proud of the kids and their dogs. They all put on a great show and performed very well (in our opinion).











Did you notice Alexia's dress? Well, upon our arrival at the hotel (right about 10:15 pm the night before) we discovered that Alexia's outfit for the showmanship competition was going to be enjoying some quiet time back at home, right where we left it. We ended up at the nearest Wal-mart at 11pm to buy the only piece of clothing that was suitable for the competition standards.

There aren't many pictures from the kids during their competitions because 1) the lighting is really bad so most of the pics I took are really blurry, 2) they look a lot like the pics from the last few years anyway and 3) you know by now that I'm usually banished from the barn when the girls are competing so I don't distract the dogs.

Ya know... 'cuz they're my besties.









Grandpa Dave, Aunt Rachel, Aunt Dawn and Cousins Gavin and Aleigh took advantage of the fantastic weather and were able to watch most of the competition - a good thing since I wasn't able to get any videos.

All in all, we all had a great time at the fair and we hope to return next year.

Both girls are moving up to the next level of complexity for next year so there's a lot of hard work in store for them over the next 10 months until County Fair.

Good luck girls!

~E

Thursday, September 15, 2011

September Birthday Extravaganza!

September is a big birthday month in our family.

Not just this year... every year.

Labor Day weekend we found ourselves driving over to the Tri-Cities to meet up with Sue & Steve as well as other extended family & cohorts for a Birthday celebration.







We didn't necessarily stop to smell the roses, but we did head to the park for a little rock climbing along the Columbia River.





We came back home and kicked off the new school year before launching Alexia's birthday party at the Woodland Park Zoo... with a few of her friends.







Can you say "bunch of monkey's"?



We had a good time at the zoo - but it sure brought back memories of "The Mother Who Saved Mother's Day".
Finally back to the house for dinner, cake, presents & a slumber party!



Happy Birthday Alexia!

Next on the family calendar: Swim Meets & State Fair!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Back To School: 9th & 5th

We made it through the first week and a half of school.

Mikayla is now in 9th and in High School.  She's also been enjoying swim team, in addition to all her other activities.



Alexia is now in 5th grade and in Mr. Capper's class.  She's really hoping her grade can get to enjoy Mountain School like Mikayla did when she was in that grade.  Plus, Alexia is excited to take advantage of the 5th Graders Ski Free program up at Mt. Baker this winter.



September is a month full of birthdays and State Fair activities, so stay tuned for more adventures!

~E

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Back to school haircut and other news


Mikayla started Swim Team this week (so far so good!) and is attending the Freshman Orientation at the high school on Wednesday.

School doesn't start here until the Wednesday after Labor Day... so she's not quite done with Vacation Mode yet.

She'll be quite busy once school starts:  homework, swim team, gymnastics team, 4-H and training the Service Dog.  I have no doubt she'll still have time for facebook and America's Got Talent.

Alexia is also enjoying gymnastics - and devising plans to aquire a horse.  Or a hamster.  Neither are on my 'Approved Pet' list.

She's also working on a plan to follow in her sisters footsteps by training a service animal.  You shouldn't be surprised to find out she's expecting to up the ante... and train a miniature service horse for the blind.

You think I'm joking?  Think again.

In other news, Tanya's 2011/2012 First Graders have thier first day of school tomorrow, Alexia has a birthday coming right up and everyone is getting excited about the 2011 Puyallup Fair of course (please stop by to see us... you know we'll be within shouting distance of the dog barn... on selected days).

~E

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Alexia took over the pony rides at the fair today.


You'll be glad to know we all survived the 2011 Skagit County Fair.  All day, every day, four days.

The girls all did a great job in their events and both have earned the opportunity to compete at the Puyallup Fair in September! 

Both girls spent the first two days competing and showing their dogs in the Dog Barn and the ring.  On days #3 and #4, the kids had the run of the fair while Tanya helped out the Superintendents to keep the events on track.

Instead of paying for pony rides, Alexia somehow managed to negotiate a win-win-win deal.  She spent hours helping younger kids mount and dismount the ponies, led the ponies & kids around the circle and then helped load the ponies into the truck at the end of the night.  In return for her services, they let her ride the ponies whenever there weren't others waiting in line.  Plus, they gave her $5 and told her they'd be pleased to have her helping out next year.

Most of the pictures are still on the camera - but here are a few from Day #1 & 2:






Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Third Not-Annual Father's Day Hike

The entire family came along for an awesome hike on Father's Day!

We had a blast at Fort Ebey State Park, and you can read all about it over on the Big Rock Excursions blog!




My apologies that these posts aren't in chronological order.  Just trying to keep up... stay tuned for more dog stuff to come soon.

~E

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Horse Camp 2011

The girls both started off the summer right by enjoying a week of fun with horses at Lang's Horse & Pony Farm Summer Camp.

Friday was the last day of camp and the campers put on a horse show to show off their skills.

Here's the video that we took during the event.  Grab some popcorn... it's rather long.



I expect this next will will involve some training on 'how to sleep in'.

~E

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Service Dog Now In Training!


Today was the first day of the kid's summer vacation.
The big event for the day was the drive to Everett where they picked up Ka'ala.
No, it's not a disease... it's the Service Dog that Mikayla is now responsible for training... for the next 10 months.
She's a Labradoodle... hypoallergenic / non-shedding.
Apparantly, she's also going to be 'big'.  Of course, next to the other pets we have, a box of Cheerios is considered big.  No one will give me an estimate on how big she's supposed to get.  That probably means somewhere between the size of a two-person cooler and a small pickup truck.

Stay tuned for more exciting summer adventures of the three girls and four dogs!

What am I doing this summer?  Well, that's still TBD but I'm praying that it does not involve building a taller fence.

~E