Monday, August 30, 2010

Doggie Splash Day!!

On Saturday, we took Titus to his first Doggie Splash Day.  This is where the city pool opens up just to dogs and their owners for a few hours before they drain the pool for the season.  I cannot even tell you how much fun this was!  I love swimming and I love dogs.  Getting to enjoy both with lots of other folks who share the same loves was just a really great experience.  I hope we get to go every year!
This was Titus' first time in an actual swimming pool.  He has always been very fearful of jumping into the water- he would much rather run in.  Well, he definitely had to get over that fear at the pool.  If there were steps into the water, we never found them.  Most likely people were crowded around them and let their little dogs stand on them.  Anyway, Josh had to push Titus in the first time.  I guess there's just something about the unknown depth of the water or something.  It didn't take long for Titus to overcome his fear.  After a few timid jumps, he really started enjoying it.  In fact, he insisted on getting out of the pool after retrieving his ball everytime just so he could jump back in.  It was great!  After 2 hours, Titus was completely worn out.  I was too!  You see, it's very hard for dogs to get out of water where they can't touch the ground and push themselves up.  I actually had to push Titus out of the water each time- remember he weighs almost 100 lbs.  What a workout!  The best part of the day- I even got Titus to jump off the diving board twice!  I'd say he definitely overcame his jumping fear.
On top of all that, we actually made the 10 o'clock news Saturday night, and part of my interview made it into the Sunday paper.  Here's the link: Abilene Reporter News
Here's a short video of Titus socializing.

What a fun morning!  (More pictures on our flickr page...)

Monday, August 23, 2010

First Day of School

Well, opening chapel is over, so the school year has officially begun.  If you went to a Christian university, you know all about how big opening chapel is.  ACU is no different.  We begin with the faculty walking in in their regalia.  Here is Josh walking in:

Then comes the parade of flags.  It starts with a flag from each country that has a student attending ACU.  Then come the state flags from USA.  Of course TX is saved for last and the flag carrier must wear boots, a cowboy hat, and wave that flag proudly.  Every other flag is lowered as the TX flag passes by- this is some serious TX pride!  Here is a video of the end of the parade of flags: 
Parade of flags, TX pride

Opening chapel would not be complete without speeches, traditional songs, scripture and prayer.  It really is neat to be a part of this ACU tradition again.  Plus, this year we have a new university president, so he was inaugurated today as well.  Overall, a great morning at ACU and a great start to our 2nd year working here.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Winding down

I really, really hate to face it, but summer is in fact winding down.  Freshmen show up this weekend and school starts a week from Monday.  Stores are about to get crowded, streets will become more hazardous, and our work schedule will get more hectic.  Sure we've been working all summer, but it's been a nice slow pace and a nice 8-5 schedule.  Pretty soon we will be waking up earlier, working longer hours, and Josh will work from home again.  Sigh... I will miss summer.
About a month ago, Josh mowed a nice walking path through our property.  I have really enjoyed walking Titus each morning before work.  I'm afraid it will be too dark to keep this up once school starts and we leave home earlier- not to mention the days are getting shorter :(   I guess we'll just have to walk double in the evenings.  I've thought about walking by flashlight in the mornings, but I'm a little worried about stepping on snakes and scaring skunks.
Another downside of summer ending is that I can no longer get away with wearing these to work.

These are the Tevas I'm wearing today.  My friend Shelly bought them for me for my birthday and I love them.  They look cute with anything pink, peach, or brown.
Yes, I will indeed miss summer.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Titus firsts

Titus experienced a bunch of firsts during our camping trip last weekend.  I think I'll give you more details about our trip through the eyes of the dog.
1.  For the first time ever... Titus camped in TX.  HUGE difference from camping in Washington or Oregon.  Instead of snuggling up next to me at night to stay warm, he hardly slept at all because he was too hot.  His constant panting only added to our discomfort.
2.  For the first time ever... Titus encountered an armadillo!  I've been waiting for this moment since we moved to TX.  I was hoping it would happen at home where he would be free to chase it and play, but oh well.  Watching the armadillo run was pretty funny.  Titus could have easily caught it if he hadn't been on a leash.  Armadillos were pretty common at the park, so maybe he'll get another chance in the future.  We had 2 at our campsite one night, but Titus was resting in the tent and missed both of them.
3.  For the first time ever... We swam with Titus.  Yes, we've taken Titus to the lake/river for years, but usually we just wade around and make Titus do all the swimming.  We might take a quick dip to cool off, but water up in the north can be pretty cold for any real swimming and TX waters are pretty murky.  At this park, there were several natural spring pools that were very clear and cool.  We spent 2 afternoons just swimming around to avoid the heat- it was wonderful!!  Let me tell you something- swimming with Titus is hilarious.  He didn't know what to think of us being in the water.  Most of the time he would just swim around us in circles and go back and forth between me and Josh.  He also got very concerned when Josh would float around on his back or on his stomach.  If Josh put his face in the water to watch the fish, Titus would swim over and paw/scratch at his back.  Oh, and forget about going under the surface!  Anytime Josh would dive down, Titus would go to the spot he last saw him and swim around in tight circles until Josh resurfaced.  It was too funny!  It was almost like he had some kind of rescuing instinct, but it was not accompanied by any real skill.  In the future, I might try working with him to see if I can get him to dive.  We'll see.
4.  For the first time ever...  Titus swam with a life jacket.  I know, I know- he's a lab, he can swim just fine on his own.  I agree- Titus is an excellent swimmer and can't help but be in the water anytime he sees it.  We bought him a life jacket a few years ago when we got the canoe.  At the time, we didn't know how well he would tolerate staying in the canoe when he could easily jump out and swim instead.  We figured if he jumped or fell out, he would be stuck swimming until we could reach shallow enough water for him to jump back in.  If we were in the middle of a lake, he might have to swim quite a distance and get very tired.  Anyway, after a couple of canoe trips and only 1 fall/jump out of the canoe, Titus grew quite content with laying down and enjoying the ride.  We never even used the life jacket.  Then one time while we were dogsitting, the other dog decided the life jacket looked like a good toy, and he shredded one of the straps.  I just got around to mending it this summer, so we were back in business.  We knew this camping trip would be very hot and that we would spend a lot of time in the water, so we brought the life jacket along.  I'm so glad we did!  With the heat, lack of sleep, a good amount of walking/hiking/swimming, Titus was one tired pup.  It was obvious that we were working him too hard by the last day, so we tried the life jacket.  He definitely seemed more relaxed with it on since he didn't have to work as hard.  Unfortunately, I think we waited too long to try it out because...
5.  For the first time ever...  Titus actually got too tired to swim.  It was crazy.  We were in the water and he just made himself a bed in the weeds and watched us.  He whimpered and whined for a while- it was so pathetic.  He wanted so badly to swim with us, but he was just too exhausted.  About every 20 minutes or so, he would jump in and make a lap around the pool to make sure we were ok.  Then he would get back out and go back to his bed of weeds.  Poor guy.  He was also so tired that he gave up being obedient on Sunday afternoon.  All he wanted to do was lay in the car or the tent and rest.  Of course we were trying to pack up the tent and load the car, so he was in the way.  At one point, he wouldn't get out of the car at all.  I tried pulling him out and he growled at me.  It was funny and frustrating at the same time.  He was such a tired, grumpy, old dog.  I'm sure if he had gotten sleep at night, he would have been just fine.  He has pretty  much slept non-stop since we got home.  Poor pup.
6.  For the first time ever...  Titus got to sniff/lick catfish and white bass.  We never caught these fish in the north.  I think Josh enjoyed fishing for something other than trout.  We took the canoe out Friday evening, Saturday morning, and Sunday morning.  We saw heron, vultures, eagles, waterfalls, and of course fish.  The river was very slow moving, so paddling was pretty easy and peaceful.

I think that about wraps it up.  I really hope we get to visit Colorado Bend State Park again, but I think we'll wait until early fall or late spring so that we can actually sleep at night. 
*Remember to check out pictures by clicking on our flickr link toward the top right of this page*

Monday, August 9, 2010

Colorado Bend State Park

We just enjoyed an amazing weekend at Colorado Bend State Park.  This beautiful park is only about 3 1/2 hours from our house, and it is one that I hope to visit many more times.  We brought our canoe with us and spent many hours on the Colorado River.  Josh got to fish, we saw some great waterfalls, we swam in multiple spring-fed pools, we hiked some fun trails, and enjoyed a relaxing campsite.  The only downside was that it was so hot at night that we barely slept at all the whole weekend.  We are so exhausted today, but it was totally worth it.  Check out our flickr page for pictures...

Monday, August 2, 2010

How much wood...

So we have decided to try heating our house during the cold seasons by installing a wood burning fireplace insert.  Josh has been working so hard this summer to clear a bunch of trees and dead wood from around our property.  (Just another excuse to play with the tractor!)  Last week he filled 11 pallets with firewood and moved them into one of our sheds.  The remaining branches were placed into piles that have been growing bigger and bigger as the days go by- until this last weekend when Josh rented this fun toy.


This wood chipper was fun and powerful!  We spent several hours Friday night and Saturday morning whipping through piles of wood.  Mom was here visiting for a week, and she got put to work too!  Josh spent several more hours working without us on Sunday.

We started with this...

Added this...

And ended with this!

That was just one of our piles!  It really was amazing to watch huge piles of branches get turned into small piles of mulch.  I think I had a little bit too much fun helping because I am actually looking forward to when we get to do this again (we still have lots of wood to get rid of).  I think next time we'll wait until it's below 100 degrees though!