Hoover here…once again the parental units were too busy to write at Christmas so I am jumping in to wish you a Happy Valentines Day.  I don’t know about you but I am a hunt and peck typist and we basset hounds hunt with our noses.   Needless to say 2011 was a very busy year for the Harris’- I’ll now attempt to recap it here for you.

Last year began with a move to our new house on January 1, it was a cold and windy day; I did my part by staying inside and keeping warm.  We did not just move -we built a new house!  When push came to shove I shoved my snout into the conversation and said “Look I’m not getting any younger and with my hip dysplasia a zero entry home would be just what this old dog needs.”  Kevin and Joy agreed and thought Grace might benefit from a house with no steps too.

It’s an awesome house in Johnston on the north side of Des Moines.  The school system has been great and it’s super close to Childserve where Grace goes to get all of her therapies.  We are just a few blocks from an ice cream shop, Kevin and Joy have this ridiculous rule that we have to walk down there in order to get ice cream.  Fortunately they get me an ice cream cone; the kids in the northern burbs apparently have never seen a dog eat an ice cream cone before so I’m always a hit.

Our new home came with a deflector shield, which I am not particularly fond of.  I can no longer run out of the yard to great the people coming to see me.  What is really puzzling is that people can come and go without a problem. The force must be stronger in them.

We sold our old house,  it was a good little house in a nice neighborhood, with lots of old trees, and great neighbors.  I do miss my neighbor Suzi next door, I am happy that I still get to vacation with her from time to time while everyone else travels.

Grace has been going to preschool and is doing great! She has many new friends and gets good reports.  We are all really happy about how easy the transition was for Grace; it has taken the rest of us some time.

Grace receives weekly therapies in Speech/Communication, Occupation Therapy, and twice a week Physical Therapy.  One of Grace’s physical therapy sessions is in a 94-degree pool, I wonder if they would let me in for a swim?  Wait can basset hounds swim?  I’ve never tried, hmmm.

Last spring I had a lump in my tail removed the procedure nearly became a tail-ectomy; rest assured the tail remains and still wags without a problem.  I did have to wear the cone of shame for a few days.

Grace completed her second season of ballet with Dance Without Limits and just began her third, you can watch videos of her dancing on my website at www.hooverspad.com (shameless plug).   Dance Without Limits is a dance program put on by Ballet Des Moines for children with special needs.  Grace loves ballet, as soon as we get to the studio she will barley stand still long enough to get her outside clothes off before making a beeline for the practice studio.  Thanks to Chloe, Jill,  and Jacque for being Grace’s big ballerinas and for Ann and Monika for making this program happen.  There is something about Dance Without Limits that we can all learn from, this program was started with the belief that everyone should have the opportunity to dance; and then something was done about it.  If only that simple principle was applied to everything in this world we live in.

There is a new addition in the house; Graham David was born on December 7, 2011.  Graham came into this world with a full head of hair weighing in at 7lb 1 oz and 20 inches long.  Apparently he gets the spare bedroom, I was really hoping I would get it all to myself.  I’ll sure there will be plenty of stories to share next year about Graham, I’m hoping I can quickly train him to open the closet door to get me a treat.

Now that Joy is home on leave with Graham I don’t get to enjoy my naps on the couch, I can’t wait for her to go back to work.  It was however handy one day to have her home when one of Grace’s nurses was using my kong (round hard rubber chew toy) on her back.  Since it was mine I promptly went to get Joy let her know that something was wrong.  I was like Lassie but nobody was in danger.

Joy is thankful that the Iowa caucuses are now over as Kevin is no longer arguing with the political TV commercials.  The truthiness (the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true) of the advertisements really bothers him.

Joy is still working at the Iowa Department of Public Health as the Modernization Coordinator. Kevin continues with Iowa Health System supporting the medical records system for the clinics.

If you’re ever in Johnston and want to see the new house or meet Graham  – please feel free to stop by.  Kevin and Joy would love to see you, and they will give me a treat!

Happy Valentines Day!

Hoover (Kevin, Joy, Grace and Graham)