Abby Sunshine

Duck Toller

2-28-09 Panting Away

Yes, Abby pants. She’s a dog. What would you do if you had just been running like crazy?? – no, not as the person you are, but as a dog? You’d pant, yes, that’s what you’d do.


I found some definitions for the word “pant” and I’d like to think we share this quality with Abby Sunshine in more than one meaning. . .

1. (noun) pant 
the noise made by a short puff of steam (as from an engine) 

When I think of this meaning, I can hear little Abby puffing away, like a little steam engine. She’s actually a lot like  the little engine that could – dogified! (I don’t think dogify is actually a word, but I’m using it to as a way of  making the little engine into a dog). Abby does have an excellent attitude like the little engine in the story. I bet she’d say “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” What about you? How is your attitude?

2. (noun) trouserpant 
(usually in the plural) a garment extending from the waist to the knee or ankle, covering each leg separately 
“he had a sharp crease in his trousers”

OK, this one pertains more to us than Abby. I have yet to see her wearing a pair of pants. What kind of trousers do you prefer? I’m a jeans girl myself. Abby would probably go for more of a furry fabric – maybe corduroy? Other thoughts?

3. (noun) gasppant 
a short labored intake of breath with the mouth open 
“she gave a gasp and fainted”

I haven’t known Abby to gasp and faint, but as you can see in her photos, she does take in her breath with her mouth open. After exercise, her breaths in and out seem to be short. I feel the same myself after running fast. Like Abby, I haven’t panted so hard that I gasped and fainted, though. . . .


4. (verb) pantpuffgaspheave 
breathe noisily, as when one is exhausted 
“The runners reached the finish line, panting heavily”

I bet we all have this one in common. . .what do you think?

5. (verb) pant 
utter while panting, as if out of breath 

Luckily, we don’t pant quite as rigorously as a dog would. Though we can relate to meaning #5, we usually describe a dog as panting while we people are simply “breathing heavily.”

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2-26-09 Breck School

Another impressive time reading A Day With Abby Sunshine. . .

This time, I read to a huge group- 80 kids! We projected the book to a large screen. This way everyone could see the pages and illustrations clearly. With a sizable group, conversing with one another becomes a different game. The kids shared with a partner. During the times we normally discuss things as a whole group, these 2nd graders turned to a neighbor to contribute their ideas. To regain the group’s attention, I simple blew a note on a recorder. . .worked like a charm! This way we got some good discussion, everyone got to participate, and no cacophony (other than my recorder music).

After the large-group reading, I stopped in each of the 4 classrooms to personally check out the creative writing adventures. I could see the creative juices flowing.


These photos capture one of many marvelous conversations with students during this time.




The creative project was to think of a realistic or fictional trick that they thought would be good to teach Abby. I heard so many good ideas. . . .

from teaching her to retrieve a Dr. Pepper from the refrigerator

to jumping to Mars

to playing Beethoven on the piano

to hand stands

to teaching her to cook dinner for us. . . 

The list goes on and on and on. . .these kids were big thinkers!

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2-25-09 Stuck Tennis Ball

Have you ever tried to pick up something, only to find it is glued down? Depending on the situation, this can be frustrating. I am trying to think of a situation when I’ve experienced this, but the only thing that comes to mind is a story of some mischievous teenagers in a mall where they had glued a quarter to the floor, then sat back to watch as people tried to pick it up. They laughed as people struggled to pry the quarter loose.

Abby Sunshine may feel like I am one of those mischievous teens pulling a trick on her, but really it was Mother Nature that froze her ball into the ground. I had nothing to do with it. For the record, I didn’t even know she had a ball in the back yard. We usually keep them in the porch. I guess the detail that I took pictures while she struggled. . . . . oh, don’t blame me, I’m just the photographer.

abby-grabbing-ball-with-mouth1 Here’s how it all started. I was outside playing with Abby when I noticed her awfully interested in a particular area of snow. I walked over to find her chewing on a tennis ball- yes, this is unlike Abby. She would normally bring it to me- suggesting to start a fun game.

abby-crouched-down With Abby’s excited energy, I quickly heard her tell me that the ball was stuck solidly in the snow. She was very interested in getting it loose.

abby-with-ears-flying-high She pounced at it and ran about, looking wild and a little nutty, ears flying high.

abby-using-paws She even tried to use her paws to pry that stubborn, little tennis ball from the snow. “This is ridiculous!” – perhaps Abby is thinking.

abby-howl-barking One last call for help. . . . .yes, that ball was still stuck firmly.

help-me-get-the-ball Now I think she is resorting to the ever popular, “puppy dog eyes,” perhaps pleading for some help to get that ball from snow’s wintry grip.

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2-24-09 Abby Under Curtains

From time to time, it feels good to look out the window and take in what’s happening outside. There can be anything from people passing by to snow falling, or perhaps a squirrel scampering across the yard. Abby Sunshine often chooses to engage herself in this “window watching” pastime.

abby-with-curtain She can get herself in a tizzy if she sees something of particular interest to her. Sometimes we walk to the window to see why she is so enthused. . .only to find nothing out there that grabs our interest. What does she see?

abby-with-curtain-on-head2 I think it’s funny when Abby turns and the curtain is still resting on her head. We know what she’s just been doing.

abby-with-curtain-on-head3 Sometimes the curtain is not even lined up neatly.

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2-21-09 Cool down, Abber

It seems to me, that Abby more often gets warm rather than tired after our exercise. She begins to pant, slows her gait and seeks a place in the snow to rest. With roads, driveways, etc., being clear of snow, one would think she would chose a dry, warm place. We humans might, but she doesn’t.

abby-getting-hot Here Abby has slowed to a stop after our game. She is standing there looking at me. She knows if she brings the ball to me, she will get excited to have another throw, then if I throw it again, she can’t help but chase it! So rather than dealing with that, she stops short and gives me a signal that she’s done.

abby-laying-in-snow Ah, yes, a nice comfortable place in the snow. She has chosen to keep the ball in her mouth for a few more moments- to keep that wonderful dog-spitty ball pleasure as long as possible. Doesn’t she look relaxed?. . .left front paw curled under her body. . . . How would you lay for a quick, relaxing break?

abby-licking-snow Little Abby is thirsty! I had better get that dog some water. She has started to lick the snow. Snow will not hydrate her, so next stop, the water dish!

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2-20-09 Amazing Animal

If a ball takes a high bounce, Abby will often be right there to catch it. If you gently toss the ball to Abby, she will often catch that, too. She’s very fun in this way. On the videos page of this website, you can see a clip of Renae tossing a ball for Abby- and, of course, she catches it like there was nothing to it!

When she was outside fetching I caught one of her frisky stunts, with my quick camera finger.

abby-jumping-to-catch-ball Lookin’ good, Abby Sunshine!

After a nice game of fetch, Abby will often give me a signal that she’s ready to be done. Here’s how I would describe what I see. . . . .she slows down a bit, she has a calm expression on her face, she seems very relaxed. . .or this could be my imagination. Anyway, here she is shortly before retiring from the fetch game.

abby-running-with-ball Good game, Abby.

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2-19-09 Abby and More Shadows

I know we’ve talked about shadows in the past, but I couldn’t resist these photographs. Abby and I were playing outside. Conditions were great for her favorite game of fetch- note the clean roads and nice weather. When I say nice, the temperature is 16 degrees, so some of you may scoff at that. These days are super for Abby. I bundled up and Abby always wears her fur coat, so there was really no talk of weather. We were focused on our walk, and on the game of fetch. I must admit, I feel good getting a bit of fresh air myself. How do you feel after you’ve been playing hard outside?

abby-and-big-shadow I like this visual. There is little Abby Sunshine, a mere 35 pound medium to small size dog. And connected to her is this great, ginormous shadow! What is she? Clifford in disguise?

abby-afraid-of-her-shadow Yikes! Doesn’t Abby look like she’s startled by her own shadow? It seems like she turned, saw that big thing and is getting ready to run.

abby-wide-open-mouth-and-ball I guess it’s all about the tennis ball. Abby probably doesn’t care about any big shadows, or words like ginormous. She basks in the simple, dog pleasures of fetching a ball and adjusting that big retrieve in her mouth as she brings it back for one more throw.

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2-18-09 Artistic Abby

Abby Sunshine likes her ball. This photograph was taken while Abby was playing fetch on an ice skating rink.

Which artistic style do you think captures Abby? Which really fits her personality?

abby-sunshine-with-ball Photograph

abby-sunshine-with-ball2 Pencil Sketch

abby-sunshine-with-ball3 Painting

abby-sunshine-with-ball4 Fresco

abby-sunshine-with-ball5 Emboss

abby-sunshine-with-ball6 Tiles

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2-17-09 Abby Cyphering Pages

I’ve just added some new daily fun on the dog blog! If you notice on the right side of the screen, under “Abby Pages” there are some new pages to check out. We’ve created daily thinking problems that we call “Abby Cyphering.” We chose to use the word cypher as it means: 

To solve problems in arithmetic; calculate. 

Although another definition refers to cypher as:
The mathematical symbol (0) denoting absence of quantity; zero.
(hint- this does not mean all math problems will have answer 0 just because that’s another meaning of the word cypher)
These daily activities involve math and they involve Abby Sunshine. Have some fun with them. Right now we have three pages, for Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2.
Check it out!
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2-16-09 President’s Day

Let’s stop and think for a moment about our lineup of presidents. Who were these people? What were their stories? Though Abby Sunshine may not be able to relate (since she is a dog) we can think about it. Many of the presidents had a dog as a pet in the White House. In fact, it’s a current news event that the Obama family plans to adopt a family dog. I wonder what type of dog they will choose?? What qualities are they looking for? How many presidents have had dogs for pets? I do not know, do you? 

The Presidents

Incumbent President of the United States of America.  Read his full biography.
44 of 44

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    • The White House
      1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
      Washington, DC 20500
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