As we near the end of the long Thanksgiving weekend, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on just how much I have to be thankful for. Our weekend has been packed with activity, and we made a conscious effort this year to try spend the long Thanksgiving holiday in celebration of the things that make our life so very wonderful.
Of course, I am first and foremost grateful for my wonderful family. My children have brought immeasurable joy to my existence, and I say thank you every single day that I was bestowed with the honor of playing a small part in the raising of the three wonderful girls that came into my life through marriage, and then further blessed by the birth of my own two little miracles later in life. Hali, Hana, Sami, Annabelle and Zach are truly the lights of my life.
My husband, Desperate Hubby, also occasionally known as Greg, is my rock. He is my best friend and my biggest fan, and while we have our occasional differences of opinion, he is generally quick to see the light and come around to my way of thinking (love you, hon).
Outside of my immediate household, I also have a lovely extended family. My siblings are all close enough for the random and highly enjoyed visit, and my husband’s family reminds me of how important a parent’s caring and love are to a healthy and happy life.
My network of friends is a treasure, and I am so grateful for the support, guidance, nagging and motivation they offer me on a continuing basis. Without them I wouldn’t know where to send my kids to school or when they are too sick to go there; I wouldn’t have started riding again, and definitely would never have had the confidence to embark once more on my beloved sport of horse showing; I wouldn’t have the motivation to write, either, or spend a night every month shooting guns. Whether I see and talk to my friends once a day, once a week, every quarter or even every few years I always come away from the encounter enriched. Thank you friends.
So, you ask, how did our family spend the weekend celebrating what we are thankful for?
It will come as no surprise and Annabelle and I spent the majority of it riding our horses. We warmed up on Wednesday with a ride in the indoor arena at Lucky Run, then on Thanksgiving Day we explored the BLM land south of Kuna, taking our new horse, Freckles, out for our first-ever trail ride with her. She was fantastic. Despite her somewhat diminutive size, she walked at least twice as fast as Grumpy, a fact which delighted Annabelle since she got to spend a lot of time trotting.
We climbed to the top of a large hill and spent a few minutes looking all around the valley. It was beautiful.
Of course, being that it was Thanksgiving Day, Annabelle spent quite a bit of time eating. As she rode. She’s a good multi-tasker, that one.
I took lots of pictures of Grumpy and Freckles together. Despite his reputation for not really enjoying the company of other horses, Grumpy seems to have an affinity for our pretty sorrel mare.
DH and Zach spent Thanksgiving Day preparing for a hunting trip. Batman has become absolutely obsessed with hunting since Daddy went away for a few days earlier this month on a deer hunt. We have heard of nothing else for weeks.
This is how he arranged his bed while Daddy was gone.
Note the hunting clothes hung carefully beside the hunting magazines and the contract from Daddy promising to take him hunting below. I am not exaggerating about him being obsessed.
When we went to enjoy the Caldwell Downtown Christmas light display, we waited in line for the kids to get balloon animals.
Batman chose a red dog.
Which he turned into a deer immediately upon our arrival home. He did this whole makeover entirely on his own. I kid you not. I was impressed.
Note that he created, specifically, a Whitetail.
The day of the big Thanksgiving hunt was Saturday. Annabelle and I were headed out to ride our horses again, and the boys were off to the Sweet/Ola area to hunt for birds. Batman was dressed in his entire hunting outfit, literally from head to toe, by 8:00 a.m. I had to feed him his breakfast because he refused to take his gloves off. Seriously.
Batman has been acquiring hunting gear since he took up the idea of going with Daddy a few weeks back, but he has been storing said gear in his “Hunting Suitcase” because “You can’t wear it if you’re not actually hunting, Mom!”
He was so excited to see it all put together that he stood on the toilet in the powder room admiring himself for quite some time before he would join us for ham and eggs.
He did insist that I take this special photo of his “Hunting Headlamp” attached to his “Hunting Hat.”
When breakfast was finished, the boys headed out. They spent several hours hunting in the Montour Wildlife Management Area, where DH estimates they hiked at least three miles, up and down hills, with Batman working his way through thigh-high brush and weeds. It rained lightly almost the entire time.
DH had Batman walking behind him for safety, and every so often he would turn around and say “You okay back there, Bud?” Batman always had a big smile on his face, and his reply was always the same. “Yep! We’re still hunting, right dad?”
They paused for lunch around noon, and you can see how happy my baby boy looks. Almost as happy as old Toby, who is sure that Zach is going to drop that ham sandwich any second.
Right near the end of the day, the hunters were successful. They shot a quail just as they were leaving the area to head for home, and Batman was ecstatic about cooking and eating their kill. Sadly, DH made the mistake of leaving the quail on top of his workbench momentarily when he went in the house to change his shoes. This gave Winston the Maniacal Bird Dog the perfect opportunity to grab it.
As Annabelle and I drove down the driveway returning from riding, we were greeted by the site of Winston running as fast as he could away from the garage, frantically chewing and swallowing what looked like a bunch of dead feathers while he glanced furtively over his shoulder. The look on DH’s face when he walked out into the garage a second later was really priceless.
All told, though, the hunters had a wonderful time together, and I am sure they will be spending many more fall and winter days out in the field. As soon as I buy Winston a shock collar, that is.
The highlight of our Thanksgiving was, of course, the time we spent together. On Friday the older sissies came over for the afternoon, and we were all very excited to see them.
They had an olive wearing/eating contest with their younger siblings. I’m pretty sure Annabelle won that one.
I briefly channeled Martha Stewart when I made a Cheesecloth-Covered-Wine-and-Butter-Basted turkey.
It turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself.
We all had a wonderful day together, and it was a great reminder that the most important things in life aren’t things. They are the relationships we share and the memories we make with all of those we love.
Happy Thanksgiving weekend everyone.