Thursday, November 20, 2008

Way overdue for an update/ Wendy

well, it seems that I am way overdue for an update around here. If I still have any readers after this extended silence, I'll do my best to bring you up to speed. :)

We moved back to Athens offically at the beginning of June. I missed Asheville (and the lovely mountian climate) alot this summer! Mid-June, we drove to VA for a family vacation in Williamsburg, and we had a great time! However during our trip, our 15 year old Belgian Sheepdog, Wendy suffered a stroke as she was being boarded with the vet. I have to wonder if the stress was too much for her given her age. :( Wendy came home, but her health declined alot after the stroke, and mentally she was not the same dog.

In August we began a educational adventure- virtual public schooling! How does this work? Well, much the same way that college level distance learning does...however the younger the child, the more hands on assistance and teaching the parent must do. For example, S is in 6th grade. He is pretty self sufficent- attending online classes that make use of web conferencing software, completeing and submitting his assignments online, etc. D, who is in 3rd grade, still needs quite a bit of teaching, especially in subjects like math. But both boys are doing very well, and flying through the curriculum. D had advanced an entire grade level in math by September, and S has just completed an entire grade level in math this week..the week before thanksgiving. Granted, I've been encouraging them to focus alot on the math, as it's been a weak area in the past..but man oh man!

However we discovered in August that it was impossible to get any serious work done with Baby J at home. He was far too distracting. Cute toddler antics trump the boys interest in schoolwork any day! (Not to mention, both boys and I have we couldn't make that arrangement work at all no matter what we tried!) So right after labor day J began attending preschool at a local church and he's loving it! He goes to school from 9-12 Monday through Friday. We get alot done during that time, and finish the rest during his afternoon nap. We save late afternoons and evenings for extracurricular activities. Both boys are in martial arts, and a fine arts progrma that meets on Thursday afternoons. I'm looking for another social outlet for them...cub/boy scouts maybe? 4-H? I'm not sure. Suggestions are welcome! :)

We've battled almost chronic illness this fall since J has been in preschool. Cold upon cold, ear infections and stomach bugs. I'm hoping that all settles down soon as his immune system adapts to all the new germs he's around. Speaking of J, he turns 2 this I suppose I can no longer call him Baby J.

And lastly, I mentioned earlier how our belgian sheepdog Wendy had been in declining health since her stroke in June- this afternoon we went to the vet because things had really gone downhill the last week or two. He confirmed that she was in kidney failure and was severely dehydrated. There was nothing that could be done to correct or help support her kidney function at this point. And given the cognitive problems she had suffered since her stroke, her chronic and painful skin problems she'd been having, and her terrible arthritis, we decided if was time to release her rather than allow her to continue to decline and suffer needlessly. Making that decision has got to be one of the hardest and most gut wrenching choices a pet owner must make. We are all grieving her loss deeply. None of the boys can remember a time in their lives without her. The older two boys are taking this very hard, and J is confused. He asks "Where Ninny?" (his version of "Wendy") and says "cry?" when he sees the tears falling. I suppose he will forget about her altogether soon enough...though the rest of us never will. She was an amazingly smart and loving dog. She was adopted from a dog rescue as a middle aged dog, and quickly won our hearts and the hearts of just about anyone who got to know her.

So I want to end this post by honoring Wendy- who was the smartest dog I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Wendy girl, I love you more than words can express. You have been my friend, playmate and protector of my children, guardian of our home. You were the 4 legged vaccum that never let food thrown from a highchair hit the floor, and you sounded the alarm whenever anyone dared knock on our door. You were truely a member of of our family, and your absence will leave a painful hole for us. But I hope that where ever you are now, there are sunny days with grassy fields full of squirrels to chase and lots and lots of tennis balls.