Monthly Archives: June 2011

Westie Wednesday – Nova Has a Spa Day

When Dave brought Nova home a few weeks ago, she was a bit scruffy, ok, ALOT scruffy! Stringy fur, fur covering her eyes and very long nails.  This IS who Nova is.  Katie keeps Nova very clean by giving her frequent baths and she does trim Nova’s nails.  The thing is, no matter how good Nova looks after Katie bathes her, within a few days she looks scruffy again.

Nova LOVES to dig! She always digs in the backyard in Florida, and because the soil is very sandy, Nova usually is sporting a dark sandy mustache and beard.  Nothing has changed since she has been in NJ.  The problem is, Nova is digging in my new gardens, digging some spots in the new grass and worst of all, Nova totally enjoys chasing chipmunks!  This results in her digging HUGE holes in the gardens trying to find them.  Let’s just say, this behavior certainly isn’t Dave’s favorite.  Unfortunately, we have a very large chipmunk population so there is always an opportunity for Nova to hunt chipmunks and find their homes.  All this foolishness results in Nova not only sporting a dirt mustache and beard, but also, filthy paws and belly.

Even though I know her digging isn’t going to subisde, I decided that Nova needed a “spa day”.  I called a mobile groomer and had her come to my house yesterday.  Nova willing (almost too much) went with the groomer while merrily wagging her tail.  She was bathed, nails trimmed, fur trimmed and just pampered in general.  The groomer brought her into the house where Nova happily pranced around so we could see how beautiful she looked.  She was wearing an adorabe pink bow in her fur between her ears, which she took out within the first 5 minutes.  The groomer said Nova was a very, very good dog and seemed to enjoy herself, which I am sure she did.  After the groomer left, Hunter and I kept telling Nova how beautiful she looked.  I was hoping in some way she would understand…….NO digging!

Well, my hopes were squashed.  When  Dave and I took Nova outside last night, low and behold, what was standing on the patio?  Yes, a chipmunk.  Nova took off like a bat out of hell.  The chipmunk gave her a run for her money and finally disappeared down its hole. Nova waisted no time digging like crazy in the mulch and the dirt, while Dave and I yelled at her to stop.  Who were we kidding, she wasn’t stopping for anything.  Dave had to go and pick her up and when he turned around, yup Nova had a face and paws covered in dirt.

Next week………..Musical Chairs

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Westie Wednesday!

I will be writing the weekly “Westie Wednesday” for Katie while she is on hiatus.  Katie is in the process of moving to Virginia to attend Law School in August and going to Paris to visit her boyfriend Bill for about 5 to 6 weeks.

We have the privilege to dogsit Katie’s dog Nova (for Villanova).  I just LOVE this dog!  She has already been here for 11 days and fits in nicely.  Ok, not only fit in, but has pretty much declared herself queen of the house. I must admit I do have a tendency to spoil Nova, as well as play fetch (she fetches not me!) as much as she wants.  Even though my arm may be tired from throwing, and I have many other things  to do, my heart melts at that adorable little face that is intently looking at me saying “please, just one more time”………..the thing is, it is never just one more time.

Nova is a very good dog.  Katie has a done a great job training her to listen and come when called.  I have had very little problems with her not listening (just once when she chased a chipmunk and when she chased a deer….but that’s for another blog). 

 Nova pretty much follows me wherever I go in the house.  This includes the bathroom which I have to shut the door and then listen to Nova’s high-pitched crying. She tends to get underfoot because she wants to walk so close to you.  This has resulted in me stepping on her paw twice (yelp! yelp!), tripping over her and once almost falling down the stairs because she insisted on walking in between my feet.

I am so enjoying having Nova visit.  We and to put our last dog Montana down last August so we have been without a pet since then.  Although I am not ready for another dog yet, Nova fills that need for me on a short-term basis.  I treat her like a grandchild by buying her extra special treats, toys and letting her sit in my lap for however long she wants, even if my leg is going to sleep!

Nova has had several adventures since she has been visiting, which I will be writing about each week. Each day is a journey with Nova, she is so inquisitive (even to a fault) and just a very, very, happy dog.  You never know what is going to transpire.

And yes, I let her sleep with me…sssshhh, don’t tell Dave, he is in Florida with Hunter and told me he definitely IS NOT letting the dog sleep in bed.  Well, we will see what happens when  he gets back, but for now I get to spoil Nova any way I want 🙂

Long Overdue Gym/Diet Update :)

I haven’t written in 2 weeks so this is long overdue.  We had a family situation that knocked me out of the loop for a while, but I am back.  The situation slowed me down a bit but not terribly.  I went to the gym on 6/7 and 6/9.  Although I worked out hard, I didn’t work out at home so hence, I did not lose anything.

This past week I got back on track by going to the gym 2 days and working out at home.  Also, I watched my eating better.  When I have stressful situations going on I tend to overeat which is probably why I didn’t lose any weight in addition to the lack of extra exercise from the week before.  But, this past week I watched my diet, worked out at the gym and walked on my treadmill at home and used my punching bag.  When weigh in came on Thursday, with my breath held, I found out I lost 2 lbs.  I was very excited because I really didn’t know what to expect, yet knew I was back on track.

It is so hard losing weight and exercising.  There is so much going on in life that I know for myself, I am worrying about others and not myself.  Once I focus again, I usually get back on track.  I knew this journey was going to be hard but I haven’t gained any weight which is a plus.  The losing is now slow but as I understand, that is the way to go.

Paris is in 3 weeks and I have bought some new clothes that are 2 sizes smaller than what I was.  I am thankful for this, but will still continue to workout and diet until I get on the plane.  I intend to enjoy myself in Paris as I know Katie’s boyfriend Bill has much in store for us.  I do know and am ready to get back with the program once I return home.  This process is far from over.

Basically, nothing in life is easy, but with hard work you can transform yourself and not only to lose weight but to get healthy which by far is the most important thing.

The Calming Effects the Pool has on Kids with Autism

Our pool has been opened since April 18th.  After a rocky winter, it was time for Hunter and Hayley to get outside.  Their favorite thing to do is swim in the pool.  Even though it was still chilly outside, the pool is heated and the kids don’t mind the cool air so both have been swimming since April.

While Hunter and Hayley are in the pool, I collapse in a chair and am able to breathe again.  The water has such a calming effect on them but especially for Hayley.  She has a swimming program in school so Hayley knows how to swim and dive off the diving board.  The one problem is she has no fear so I need to keep a close eye on her.  Hayley could have been having tantrums in the house yet when I say “who wants to go in the pool, Hayley starts running for her bathing suit.  When we get up to the pool Hayley immediately dives in, she is instantly calm and in total bliss.  She loves to swim underwater, I think it is the pressure the water puts on her body that Hayley enjoys.  Hayley is very sensory oriented and even out of the pool she will ask for pressure on a certain part of the body, usually her head.  Now don’t get me wrong, if I bring out the wrong color ice-pop, she WILL freak out, pool or no pool.

Hunter loves swimming too. He taught himself to swim when he was a toddler.  He is not a big diving board person so he doesn’t jump in the pool often but he loves to swim and play chasing games in the pool with Daddy.  It’s exciting because this is the first year that Hayley wants to participate in these games and actually laughs and has fun appropriately.  This is a HUGE step for her. It is the little milestones Hayley makes that can make me cry, but they are tears of joy.

Last Sunday was a tough day for Hayley so I brought them in the pool. It wasn’t the best weather, but I was desperate.  Little Nova got to go to the pool too, although she chased squirrels instead of swimming. Hunter spent most of his time in the hot tub playing with his dinosaurs and Hayley, after jumping and diving in the pool about 100 times, laid on her big sunflower float and fell asleep.  Now I was in total bliss.

I am thankful we have a pool and are able to keep it opened for an extended period of time.  It is very hard to find things for kids with Autism to do that they really, really enjoy.  Sometimes if it’s really hot I will float in the pool on a noodle but would rather sit and read. 

 It is the times when I watch Hunter and Hayley playing in the pool that I see typical children playing, not ones that have a disability.  I take these times and savor them……….

Hunter’s first wedding

On May 28th, friends of ours from church got married.

Back in February they told us that they were going to be married in May and they would like to ask Hunter to be the ring bearer.  My first thought was “what are you guys crazy” asking Hunter to be ring bearer had its share of risks and were they or even us, ready for them.  Hunter’s Aspergers has him look at the world in black or white, no gray area at all.  He is rigid in his ways and definitely resistant to any type of change, so when the day comes, he may perform or he might not, period.  Any type of change during the rehearsal or ceremony could absolutely have Hunter going off the deep end.  So after taking a deep breath I told them to go ahead and ask Hunter.

They did ask him and he was clueless to what a ring bearer was or a wedding for that matter.  They patiently explained everything to him, to which he asked “can I carry Pikachu? He was told he would be carrying a pillow with the rings on top and that he could have Pikachu at the reception.  Then he wanted to know if he could walk down the aisle like a penguin because he always wanted to be a penguin (you know, tuxedo = penguin). They said no he would have to walk normal but could be a penguin at the reception all he wanted.  After taking this all in he said yes he would be ring bearer.  I just kept thinking, they do not know what they are in for.

When the time came near, I brought him to be fitted for his tuxedo.  He did very well at the fitting but I was really leery about Hunter wearing all those clothes plus real shoes.  Boy, I thought, I am in for it.

The rehearsal came and Dave took Hunter as I had to stay home with Hayley because she was receiving therapy.  When Dave got home from the rehearsal, he immediately asked for a glass of wine and collapsed on the swing on the patio outside.  I asked Hunter how it went and he said ok.  Then I asked Dave.  He said it wasn’t horrible but it was as we thought, Hunter was not keen on all the changes that came and went.  The wedding party decided early on that Hunter would not be capable of standing with the wedding party up at the altar for the ceremony.  Hunter would walk down the aisle and sit with me in the front (although I really should be on the bride’s side of the church, I got to sit in the front row  next to the grooms immediate family.)  Anyway, Dave said Hunter accepted this pretty well, but then came the pillow…. Hunter for whatever reason got quickly attached to the pillow.  He was told that when the pastor says it is time for the exchange of rings, he would walk up to the best man and hand him the pillow so he could retrieve the rings.  Hunter flipped out! “I AM NOT GIVING UP THE PILLOW”!  The Pastor told him that he didn’t have to give up the pillow, just make-believe.  Then Hunter thought the rings would actually be on the pillow, when told no, that the best man will have the rings in his pocket and they would be making believe, Hunter yelled “ITS A FAKE!!!”  Dave got Hunter calmed down and said now was the time to practice the processional.  Hunter did extremely well walking down the aisle and sitting next to Dave.  When the Pastor said it was time to exchange the rings, Hunter marched up the steps, got in front of the best man and yelled “YOU ARE A PILLOW SNATCHER!!!”  Once again he sat next to Dave, who by this time was sweating profusely, and Hunter calmed down.  Dave said to me after he got home “tomorrow is anyone’s game.”

The next morning came and we dressed Hunter in his tuxedo.  He looked so adorable.  I was really surprised he didn’t complain too much.  The thing that was most uncomfortable for him were the shoes.  He has never worn dress shoes before.  I will say by the time we got to the reception that day, Hunter was sporting some mean blisters (yet he didn’t really complain), surprise, surprise.  He was a little tough when pictures were taken before the wedding, but he got through it.

The wedding started and the bridesmaids came down the aisle.  It looked as if Hunter was speed walking because he was right on top of the last bridesmaid and she had to keep looking back to be sure Hunter wasn’t going to step on her dress.  He sat down next to me and I praised him.  Hunter sat very quietly during the ceremony and I whispered what he needed to do when the ring exchange was announced.  Now like I said before, Hunter is not used to any type of dress clothes or shoes.  He had on tee-shirt, white shirt, tie, jacket, pants with clips on the side, socks and dress shoes.  Well what I didn’t realize was that little by little Hunter was becoming “Un tucked it”.  So as he walked up the stairs to the best man, his pants started to fall down!  He grabbed the back with one hand and handed the pillow to the best man with the other.  You could hear the chuckles in the crowd.  The lady sitting behind me tapped me on the shoulder and said “there always needs to be a light moment in a wedding”.   Hunter came back to sit with me and said “I saved my pants in the nick of time”.  I was very, very proud of him and how her performed.

Once at the reception, Hunter took off the shoes, jacket and tie and danced the afternoon away………..holding Pikachu and making believe he was a penguin.

Dave helping Hunter get dressed

Hunter in his Tuxedo

Hunter and Daddy

Hunter and Hayley (she did excellent by the way)