To use a favorite Otis phrase- this weekend was “literally epic!”
On Friday afternoon we hit the road for the 3.5 hour drive to Kennewick, WA. We arrived at our best friends’ house around 8:30pm. Otis and Eli took to the basement to concoct LEGO masterpieces. Amelia and Lucy immediately donned princess dresses and began tending to their menagerie of stuffed animals. The parents capitalized on this rare gift of demand-less, squabble-free time and enjoyed some wine and beer and catching up. We let the kids stay up way past their bedtime in the name of Slumber Party!
On Saturday morning I left Brad and the kids with Jodi and family and headed off to meet up with 4 of my students at Mid-Columbia Ballet in Richland. You see, after years of dreaming of starting a dance class for kids with special needs, I was finally beginning my training. We attended a training with the incredible Rebecca Rogo, founder of INCLUDE (Inspiring, with no Challenges or Limitations, the Universality of Dance Experiences).
What an inspiring day! We watched 11 children with special needs interact, follow directions, stand on one leg, create, and dance, dance, dance. So many smiles! I am so incredibly excited to bring this program to the community of Vancouver. One of the aspects that is truly genius in this program is it’s use of Dance Partners. High school students from the ballet program dance alongside children with disabilities such as autism, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy. The obvious benefit of this is the ratio of instructors/assistants to students. Many of the students have their own Dance Partner and at the most there are 2 students per Dance Partner. But the true impact extends far beyond the impact on the INCLUDE students. Through their use of dozens of Dance Partners a year as well as the creation of their sensory friendly performances, the INCLUDE program demystifies disability. It is easy to be afraid or wary of things we haven’t been exposed to. By bringing the special needs community into their school, Mid-Columbia Ballet is educating so many people and creating friends, advocates and champions for those with special needs.
Stay tuned for the launch of INCLUDE at Columbia Dance!
After our training finished I grabbed the family and we hit the road to Spokane. You see, the second leg of our trip also had a purpose. It was time for the Moore family to rescue a new dog!
Our rescue beagle Lani passed away 2 years ago. As some of you may recall, Lani was found in West Virginia, abandoned with her new litter of pups. She was starving and even in foster care they couldn’t fatten her up because with her litter in the house she wouldn’t stop producing milk. Brad and I took this terrified beagle with sad eyes in as a foster pup and adopted her soon after. Over the next 10 years she moved cross country and became a big sister to our two human babies.
Well our family has missed having a dog these past few years, Miss Lu in particular. So after Christmas we began searching for our next four-legged family member. We quickly learned that finding a rescue dog suitable for a rambunctious home with a 2 and 5 year old was going to prove quite tricky. Most of the rescues we read about needed quite homes without little ones. So I reached out to an old friend of mine. For 11 years I saw Phillip twice a year when he be would travel to Marin to fit my students in their pointe shoes. I knew, from Facebook, that in his retirement he was volunteering at the Spokane Humane Society so I figured I’d ask him to be on the lookout for a rescue that would thrive in our chaotic house.
As luck would have it, his good friend Stephanie was fostering a mama dog named Ally and her 11 puppies for Must Luv Boxer Rescue. Phillip connected us and we got our application in right away. The pups are called the Preschool of Rock.
Hendrix, Benatar, Joplin, Ozzy, Bono, Tina Turner, Freddie Mercury, Joan Jett, Sting, Stevie Nicks, and Bowie are pretty much the cutest pups and they were being raised by a lady who owns a dog training business. Ideal!!! So I starting tuning in to the weekly live feed on the pups and as cute as they were, Brad and I were once again drawn to the mama. Stephanie put mama Ally around kiddos and reported back that she did great and that she thought she’d be an excellent family dog. And so that is who we headed out to adopt this past weekend. We stayed with Phillip and Sally Saturday night and then headed out Sunday morning to collect our new family member and head out on the 6 hour trek home.
The kids adored her immediately. She was a trooper on the 6 hour drive home and she slept seamlessly in our house the first night. Our Ally Zeppelin Moore is a keeper!
So yes it was quite a weekend! Excited to start these new chapters!