Friday, November 30, 2012

The Year of the Cracken

So, uhm, this little badass turned a YEAR OLD on Monday. And yes, I'm just posting about this now. Blogging fail :P

I can't believe she's that old already! Where has the time gone? I could type out a long, flowery, sappy blog post about how much she's grown this year, and all the stuff she's learned/taught me, but I made a couple videos earlier in the week that say all that for me :) They are both set to music, so make sure and turn your speakers up!

First, here's a slideshow of photos of her from birth to now:

Say it with me: awwww!

Now, here's a video with pictures and video footage showing how far we've come this year:

In other news (!!!!) Ember weaved 6 straight poles this morning!  After less than a week of training! Gotta love 2x2s :)

I was a little bit worried earlier in the week when we couldn't seem to progress past the poles being a foot apart. But after begging some friend for advice, and messing around with things on my own, we managed to break through the plateau (I hope!) yesterday. This morning she weaved 6 straight poles at least ten times in a row, with confidence and happiness! It made me so happy to see her figure it out :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


A few weeks ago, I was approached by and asked if I would be interested in a free $50 coupon to their website if I would review my purchase experience on my blog.

Free dog toys and treats? Uh, yes please!

A few facts about

  • They offer free shipping for all orders over $49!  I most definitely used this perk in my order... my total was $49.16 :P
  • They carry all the big brands of toys (including KONG, Chuckit!, Planet Dog, JW Pet, and more), dog food (including Orijen, Wellness, Taste of the Wild, Royal Canin, and more), and pet health supplies (including Cosequin, K9 Advantix, Frontline, Nupro, and more).
  • They even offer subscription-based ordering if you want/need it! I can see how that would be really useful for purchasing items like dog food, supplements, or medication... things that you need on a consistent and renewing basis. 
  • Through their program, Mr. Chewy To The Rescue, proves their commitment to working with shelters and rescues to provide aid to dogs in need. sent me my $50 promo-code almost immediately after I enthusiastically emailed them back  agreeing to do the review. Then came the hard part..... trying to decide what to get!   With over 140 brands of toys, treats, grooming supplies, pet health products, and food (for both dogs and cats), this was no short order.

I eventually settled on these products after much deliberation:

I placed my order on November 14th, and it shipped the same day. I just received my package today (the 21st), and so far, everything looks great!  Ember was very excited when I opened the box. She kept getting in the way of all my pictures ;)


So far, everything looks awesome! It arrived in great condition, and the box was well packed with lots of paper to keep everything from jostling around.  And the best part? sent me EXTRAS of some of the things I ordered!  For example, I ordered one KONG Ballistic frisbee, and they sent me a pack of three! 

Overall, I would give my online ordering experience from 5/5 stars!  I've broken down my rating criteria below:

This one is a no brainer. The selection of products on is enormous. With over 140 brands, it was almost overwhelming trying to figure out what I wanted to order. 

Ease of Ordering uses the normal online-ordering model. When you've decided to purchase an item, you add it to your online "shopping cart" and pay via credit card. It was easy and I encountered no problems with my order. The promo-code they gave me worked fine, too.

Quality of products
I was familiar with many of the brands offers, so I had an idea of what to expect from my order. All my items arrived as described and in perfect condition. They were well packed as well, which I was glad to see, as poorly-packed boxes are a pet peeve of mine. 

Speed of shipping
My items shipped the same day as my order, and arrived in one week. Can't beat that, especially for free shipping! 

Overall Experience
My overall online ordering experience was extremely positive. It was easy to order, my items were shipped promptly, and the people at were very pleasant to deal with. A total win in my book!

Interested in ordering something for yourself?  If you use my referral code, ELEM1388, you'll get 10% off your first order! Plus, they will donate $10 to Best Friends Animal Society. 

Thanks for everything,!

Friday, November 16, 2012


A little bit later today, me, hubby and the girls are headed to one of my favorite places on earth:  Joe's family's vacation house in Sunriver, Oregon. Since my birthday is next week, we're treating it as kind of my birthday trip :P  Hurray for birthday funtimes!

Cute, but completely unrelated picture of Ember.
I am SO excited, as I haven't been there in awhile. Sunriver is near Bend, so there's lots of fun stuff to do.  Internet connection is a bit spotty, so I probably won't post until next week. But expect pictures!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ponies, Pizza and Pics

On Monday, I had the pleasure of photographing one of my favorite horse/rider teams, my good friend The Sprinkler Bandit and her awesome old red man, Cuna. I hadn't "shot" them since May, and it was great to see them in action again... even if it was freezing cold and snowing!

They are completely adorable together, don't you think?

A few more shots from our session:


After I had taken enough photos to fill up 95% of my memory card, I put my camera away and grabbed my riding helmet from the car. TSB had another horse to ride before we could go get pizza for lunch (as per tradition), so she had the brilliant idea that I could tool around on Cuna while she rode her. 

Uhm, ermagherd

Yeah, I got to ride the Giant Red Bambi. Ex-racehorse and certified badass. nbd. 

Even though we didn't do anything but walk around (this time! bahahahahahaha), it was still freaking awesome. I didn't want to try much more because my legs were exhausted from running in the agility trial all weekend... plus I was in slippery yoga pants. I figured it was best not to push it. But Cuna was very well behaved for me. Plus, he's freaking huge and gorgeous. His neck looks even longer from up top.  And he is so responsive... not like the school horses I've been riding for the past few months :P. Maybe next time I will remember to bring my breeches and perhaps I'll be brave enough to try a trot or something ;) 

Thanks, TSB for letting me ride him! It was awesome!  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Agility trial weekend, part one!

This past weekend I headed back down to Boise for my favorite trial of the year, Boise Agility Runners and Climbers' (BARC) fall NADAC trial.  This trial actually marks me and Cedar's two year anniversary of competing in agility!

Thanks to The Sprinkler Bandit for all the pics!
Once I get all my videos uploaded, I'll do a more in-depth post about the trial itself. So today, I'll post about the other fun stuff Ember and I did on our "vacation!"

Who, me?
I had the privilege of staying with my friend and agility instructor for the trial weekend. Not only was it great getting to hang out with her, but it was fun getting to play and train on her agility equipment :P.

Got scope? 
Both Cedar and Ember got in some really good training this weekend.  It was great to see that all the training I've been doing with Ember in my tiny backyard translate so easily to bigger spaces, longer sequences, and more distance.  She did some really awesome and exciting work with me. She read my front/rear/blind crosses beautifully, jumped like an absolute star, and even started to get some good distance the more we worked at it. She is so awesome and such a team player :)

In addition to working on sequences with jumps and tunnels, we also started her on 2o2o, the teeter, and did the first little part of 2x2 weave pole training. She doesn't turn a year old to the end of the month so I won't be pushing the weaves with her just yet, but it was fun to see her start to figure it out and really drive out and find her entries. What a good girl.

She certainly has toy drive, which makes training her a lot easier :P

The first night we were there, Mary had us practice our 2o2o position on a board with some wire guides to help her practice the proper position. Ember was a little bit rusty, but caught on really quickly to what I was asking her to do. Within a session or two, she was running full tilt down the board and slamming into 2o2o with tons of enthusiasm. What a good girly!  After she was solid on that, we moved to the teeter. She did really well with it overall, even though she found it a little bit scary. After just a few sessions, she would do a half-height teeter and hit/hold her 2o2o position with enthusiasm. She was a little bit unsure about the tipping, but got better every session. 

One thing I really love about Ember is how much of a thinking dog she is. She will try something, and if it doesn't go great, you can see the wheels turning in her head. The next time we try it, she does better.... or at least will try different things. She is really great that way... and it sure makes training fun. She isn't afraid to offer different behaviors to try and figure out what I want her to do. She seems to really enjoy training with me. 

And yes, the feeling is mutual :)

Later this week:  posts about the agility trial, Cedar's training, and a fun day involving pizza, photography, yoga pants, and a certain Giant Red Bambi.  

Monday, November 5, 2012

Awesome Product Review: Rush To Tug Agility Leads

These leads are one of my favorite products that I've discovered in the past few years. Owned and sewn by a friend of mine in Alaska, Rush To Tug makes a variety of fleece leads, collars, and dog toys.  I've purchased three of her martingale leads over the past few years, and they are ALL awesome... very consistent in quality and I LOVE how many customization options there are.

When ordering your new lead (or collar), you can either pick from designs that Reesa has already developed, or order a custom product in the colors, ribbons, and font type/colors of your choice.   She has a huge selection of different colors of fleece, ribbon, and thread. I've gone the custom route for all three of my leads, but the ones she has pre-made are pretty cool, too.  If you're into having your dog tug on their leash like some people are, these work great for that as they are soft and sturdy like a tug toy. Kind of the best of both worlds :P

Because Ember will hopefully be competing in agility next spring or summer (OMG!!), and she's been doing so well in her training, I figured it was time she got her own custom lead just like her big sister, Cedar. I chose light green, royal blue, and yellow fleece for the leash portion,  light green fleece and royal blue ribbon for the martingale portion, with multi-green thread for the embroidery. Pictures really don't do it justice... it's awesome!

Reesa, the genius behind RTT, is great to work with if you have questions, and she ships incredibly fast! I got my newest lead in four days from Order to Delivery, shipped from Alaska to WA. Can't beat that!

Anyways, I'm not getting paid or compensated in any way for this review. Just thought that y'all might be interested in a product that I happen to really like and use often! If you're looking for a new lead for your dog, whether for agility or just for fun, I'd highly recommend checking out Rush To Tug :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Alphabet Drills Video

Here's a short video of Ember and Cedar working through a modified version of the letter "O" out of Nancy Gyes' Alphabet Drills book. I changed it just a little bit to add in the table, because it's what Ember is currently learning AND Cedar needed a refresher :)


I feel pretty good about this video. Ember is doing great. She is SO responsive and really gets a kick out of agility. Cedar did pretty well on this exercise, too, and it was a good refresher on tight turns and mixing up collection and extension. I am, however, a little disappointed in some of my handling. I am late a few times, pretty obviously, and my flaily arm is back. So I need to work on that.  But, we haven't been practicing agility much over the past few months, so a bit of rustiness is to be expected, I guess ;)  I am excited to train more over the winter and get Ember going on contacts and weave poles, as well as do a better job of proofing Cedar's weaves.

Onward and upward!
Related Posts with Thumbnails