Monthly Archives: December 2012

The Eve of 2013

As the sun sets on the last evening of 2012, I am reflecting on some of the important things I want to remember in the next year.  I am not much of a resolution-maker, per se, since I believe our journey on this earth is ever-evolving, and our focus from day-to-day necessarily evolves to some degree with it.

That being said, I have jotted down a few things that I am going to try to keep in the forefront of my mind as we embark on a fresh new year. 

Run your race

Ride your horse

Radiate positivity to all you come into contact with

Rejoice in where you are, but never lose sight of where you are going

Respect the differences in people

Hug your kids

Relish every moment

Live your life

Out the Front Door

Happy New Year everyone.  Be safe in your celebrations.

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Christmas 2012: The Big Day Arrives

It probably comes as no surprise that Christmas Day started pretty early around here.  We had all gotten to bed at a fairly reasonable hour after a lovely Christmas Eve spent with Greg’s family in Eagle.  The kids were wound up and a little hard to settle down, but they were also really tired, which helped to reinforce the admonition they had received from the Elf to “go to bed and stay in bed.”

Together we put out some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies along with a mug of egg nog for Santa, and they toddled off to their room.  Their bedtime passage was eased by the comfort and warmth of new quilts made by Grandma Becki for each child.

Annabelle got a retro-western themed quilt, beautifully finished with the softest red material on the back.

Annabelle Quilt

This picture gives you the general idea.  It was the perfect choice!

Quilt Closeup

Batman’s quilt was in the theme of, well, Batman.  It was lovely too.

Batman Blanket

And featured the same super-soft mink-like fabric on the reverse side.

closeup Quilt

After ensuring that Santa was all set to deliver gifts at an undetermined later time in the evening, I took care of the cookies (with a tot of rum in the egg nog as a digestive) and headed to bed myself.

I awoke at 3:38 a.m. with the sudden realization that Sparkles the Elf had not, in fact, departed for the North Pole as she had promised in her letter and as had been defined in the book she brought when she joined us a month ago.  I sneaked quietly down the hall and made sure she got on her way, than returned to bed.  For another hour and a half of blissful sleep.

Just after five the door of our room flew open, and two shadowy figures descended upon us, squealing “Santa came!  Santa came!”  I mumbled something about waiting ‘til morning, and Batman happily climbed into bed with us, snuggling up against my side and sighing happily under the covers.

Annabelle was not to be so easily deterred.  “C’mon Mom!  Get up!  Get up! Santa came!”

Always watching my back, DH said (with almost as much excitement as the kids) “I’ll get up with you Woogie!” (long ago nickname, I’ll explain it sometime).  Of course I then had to say, “Well, you can’t open the presents without me!” and we all raced to the living room.

My pictures aren’t the greatest so I apologize in advance.

I did manage to get the kids to sit still for one brief moment before they started tearing into their presents.

Santa Came

Santa had done a pretty good job of sticking to their lists.

Batman got plenty of hunting stuff.

Hunting Jacket

Along with a Nintendo DS and the Mario game he had added to his list at the last moment.

DS Game

And Annabelle got a variety of new items for her horse.  This headstall has a matching breast collar, and even though I’m not a big fan of colored tack, I think it is really quite pretty.  With the addition of the new set of leather romel reins from Aunt Kris she has a whole new bridle for Grumpy.

Matching Headstall

The zebra winter blanket will also help to make sure Grumpy stands out from the crowd.  Add on the bright pink bell boots from Grandma Kay and the matching polo wraps from Shawny and Sierra…..well, you get the picture.

Pink Blanket

DH broke our pact to not buy any gifts for each other and bought me a set of saddle bags from Buck’s Bags that included a front holster so that I can carry my pistol when we ride out.  As my good friend and firearm-mentor Christine says, “Nothing bad has ever happened to me while I am riding out in the middle of nowhere, and I intend to keep it that way.”

Holster Bag

There were gifts for the pets.  The Skinny Pigs got a new house for their cage, but they seemed pretty unimpressed with it.


And Winston got a new dog brush, which Annabelle immediately put to good use.

Brushing Winston

Once the gifts were all unwrapped and the house (relatively) straightened, Annabelle and I got dressed and headed over to the small town of Fruitland for service at the First Baptist Church, where my brother Rich is the pastor.

Rich’s service was lovely, and his message was right on point.  He talked about the “Reason for the Season” and “Why do we do all this anyway?” (sorry for the generalized paraphrasing, Richie), speaking to the overspending, overstimulation, and general overdoing of the holiday season, with little thought as to the origin of the holiday and the spirit it should invoke. While Richie and I don’t share identical spiritual beliefs, I absolutely agreed with everything he said and I found his message refreshing and well-delivered.  That boy has sure come a long way from the scrawny, shy lad he once was, and I could not be prouder of him.

We returned home to find Batman sound asleep and DH freshly awakened from a nice nap.  Annabelle and I thought that sounded like a good idea, so we crawled into bed and took a little snooze ourselves.  We awoke after an hour, refreshed and ready to move on to the next activity. A short drive to Uncle Doug and Aunt Melody’s and we were ensconced in another family gathering.

This time it was my side of the family getting together, and it was so nice to see everyone in the same place.  Doug and Melody live in the house that my grandparents built over 40 years ago, which was the site of the majority of the family gatherings we siblings remember growing up.  For the first year in at least seven years all of my brothers and sister were in attendance, and it seemed like old times.  We enjoyed a wonderful dinner of prime rib and smoked turkey, along with all of the requisite side dishes.

Aunt Melody presented Annabelle with a beautiful hand-made western belt, which cousin Kelsey beaded and tooled, and had in fact spent all night finishing up.

New Belt

The detailing is exquisite and it looks just lovely with Annabelle’s new buckle.

Beading on Belt

Kelsey even put Annabelle’s initial on the end.  So cool.

The Letter A

After the dinner was over, we drove home in the heavily falling snow.  It was a beautiful end to a beautiful day.

Snow at Home

Last night I sat an drank some ginger tea (oh fine!  it was wine) and reflected on the holiday season and just how enjoyable and rewarding it is to experience it through the eyes of a child.

My children’s Christmas was added to by so many people who went out of their way to remember them, and I want to say big public thank you to all of you.  There is nothing more heart-warming or humbling to a mother than to know that her children are loved by many.  From our dear neighbors and adopted grandparents who got them just the right presents, to a lovely gentleman who knows them only through my blog yet sent them both generous gift certificates, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

While my kids are probably as guilty as any of being overly focused on the gifts and candy and hype, I have also made a real effort to educate them about what a great opportunity Christmas is to try to help those who don’t have as much as we do.

They participated happily in donating money to the Salvation Army at every retail visit, and delighted in picking out “Toys for Tots” and taking food for the canned food drive at school.   We have had many talks about how lucky we are to have all that we have, and while it is a difficult concept for them to understand, I hope they retain a little of that message.  In a world where it is easy to focus on what we receive, I hope that they are picking up on the fact that it is more rewarding to give than to get.

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas.

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Christmas 2012: The Final Countdown

It has been an extremely busy week around here in Whoville.  Sparkles is apparently getting a little tired from flying back and forth each night to the North Pole, and her antics have slowed down a bit from their start of-the-season fervor.

She did find time to pull my “special” (read:  extra-large) wine glass from the china hutch and sit in it.

At least I hope she was only sitting in it.

In my special glass

She helped us to remember when it was time to clean the “skinny pig” cage by donning gloves and a tiny little gas mask which turned out to be a Hello Kitty band-aid.  That elf has something about band aids.

Unfortunately, the hint was lost on the children.  Batman and his darling little friend Ainsleigh, who was over for a play date, simply removed the gloves carefully (without touching Sparkles and risking the ensuing loss of flight) and spent the rest of the afternoon playing doctor. Not kidding.

Ready to Clean

Always one for decorating, Sparkles added another touch to the children’s bedroom with the addition of a string of Santa lights to the bunk bed.

Decorated Bunk Bed

She was perched on the top rung of the bed, sitting atop Santa’s shoulders. If he had had shoulders, that is.

With santa light

She sat on the mantle.

On the mantle

And hula hooped.

Sparkles Hula hoops

And one particularly busy day she parked herself in a large vase of flowers.  Where she sat all day long,

In the Flowers

The children were extremely alarmed when they awoke the next morning for school to discover Sparkles in EXACTLY THE SAME SPOT.  Luckily I knew enough about elf-lore to explain to them that, on occasion, an elf will just return to same spot the next morning if he or she found that spot particularly comfortable.

That seemed to satisfy them.

We’ve enjoyed two school recitals this week.  Batman played Rudolph in his pre-school play.  It was pretty darn cute.  Don’t you just love the matching outfits?

Zach's Program

Annabelle sang and danced in her kindergarten program.  I commend the kindergarten teachers, who not only taught sixty kids a half-dozen songs in both English and Spanish, but provided costumes for each child and taught them an elaborate dance routine as well.

All lined up

It was awesome.

Annabelle's xmas program

One of the kids’ favorite activities was the Christmas party at Batman’s school, which Annabelle was privileged to attend as well. The kids all enjoyed a visit from Santa, who gave them the most perfect gifts.

Annabelle got the Baby Alive she had added to her list at the very last moment.

Sissie and Santa

And Batman got a toy hunting rifle that fires little foam darts.

Batman and Santa

He was over the moon.

Batman Rifle

A big thank you to Miss Torrie for the awesome Christmas program and for putting on such a great party for the kids.  She continually amazes me with her dedication, creativity and generosity.

As if that wasn’t enough for one week, yesterday we had my favorite Christmas activity of all.

The Christmas visit with the big sissies.

It was a day of mishaps for me.  I forgot to buy the green beans (we had plenty of food anyway), dropped a brand new (open)  bottle of O.P.I. “Big Apple Red” nail polish on our white bedroom carpet (it came completely out with hairspray, rubbing alcohol and water – who knew?), burned the brownie snowman to a fragrant crisp (luckily I had another mix of gingerbread on hand),and forgot to add two cubes of butter to the corn casserole (it turned out fine anyway).

But that all pales in comparison to forgetting to take a group photo of the beautiful sissies while they were here.  I would say “what was I thinking?” but obviously I wasn’t.

I did get a picture of the roast beast.  It really was delicious, if I do say so myself.

Roast Beast

And of the Frosty gingerbread cake (which was the third one I made this week, you’d think I‘d get it right!).

Frosty Cake

I got a picture of the cousins, all wearing their finest Groucho Christmas mustaches.

Groucho cousins

It was a fun afternoon with food and family, original and adopted, and my picture digression was partially saved by this wonderful gift from the big Sissies.  I have to say this is the coolest present I have ever gotten.

Such a Cool Gift

I just love those girls!

As for today, Christmas Eve, we awoke to a final communication from Santa, delivered via the ever-present elf, Sparkles.


I removed the letter from her felty little arms, and read it to the children.  It went something like “Remember that I am still watching you today.  Be good.  And go to bed early.  And don’t get out of bed or I will skip your house.”

I have displayed the letter prominently on the refrigerator as a friendly reminder to the children.  I’ll let you know how it works out.

For all to See

As for the rest of the day, Annabelle and I are headed out for a quick ride this morning.  Batman is watching deer hunting videos with DH, and this afternoon we will pack up and head over to Eagle for another family gathering.  The family get-togethers are truly my favorite part of Christmas.

So until tomorrow…..just remember……..

The big man arrives

he’s still watching!

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Christmas 2012: The Funniest Blog I Never Wrote….



First of all, I would like to say that this picture has absolutely nothing to do with the following piece, which I will also wholeheartedly say is the funniest thing I have ever published in this blog.  Or anywhere.   Unfortunately I had nothing to do with writing it.  Other than providing the material, that is.

Well, actually, I guess the picture does correlate a tiny bit to the material, because it was taken on a field trip with Batman’s Pre-school class, headed by our beloved Miss Torrie, when we were caught in an unexpected rainstorm at the pumpkin patch.  I chose it because I imagine it closely resembles the look on Batman’s face as he contemplates our family life.

Miss Torrie is coincidentally also the interviewer in the following family analysis, provided to us in a single laminated sheet at Batman’s Pre-school program this week. 

Batman was asked the following series of questions.  His answers are, I believe, self-explanatory and require no further introduction or discussion.

Me and Daddy

1. What is something your dad always says to you?

Get dressed

2. What makes dad happy?

When I smile

3. What makes dad sad?

When has a day off from work

4. How does your dad make you laugh?

When he tricks me and makes funny jokes

5. What was your dad like as a child?

He played games

6. How old is your dad?


7. How tall is your dad?

As tall as the half-wall at Miss Torrie’s

8. What is his favorite thing to do?

Go to work

9. What does your dad do when you’re not here?

He goes to work

10. If your dad becomes famous, what will it be for?

For doing computers

11. What is your dad really good at?


12. What is your dad not very good at?

Riding horses

13. What does your dad do for a job?

Make money

14. What is your dad’s favorite food?


15. What makes you proud of your dad?

Because he catched so many birds

16. If your dad were a cartoon, who would he be?

Probably Captain America because he likes to fight and he’s good at fighting

17. What do you and your dad do together?

We go hunting

18. How are you and your dad the same?

We have the same longest hair

19. How are you and your dad different?

He has hair on his body and I don’t

20. How do you know that your dad loves you?

Because he tells me

21. What does your dad like most about your mom?

That she works on the computer

22. Where is your dad’s favorite place to go?


Me and Mommy

1. What is something your mom always says to you?

She says I’m goofy

2. What makes Mom happy?

Cleaning up my room

3. What makes mom sad?

Mom is never sad

4. How does your mom make you laugh?

When she makes funny faces

5. What was your mom like as a child?

I don’t know she never tells me

6. How old is your mom?


7. How tall is your mom?

She is too tall for my arms to reach

8. What is her favorite thing to do?

Work in the office…because she ALWAYS does that

9. What does your mom do when you’re not here?

Probably working in her office all day long

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?

Riding horses

11. What is your mom really good at?

She’s really good at working on her computer. She is really good at riding horses too!!!

12. What is your mom not very good at?

She’s not very good at fixing stuff

13. What does your mom do for a job?

I don’t know what my mom’s job is, but I know my dad’s job….(it’s makin’ money)

14. What is your mom’s favorite food?


15. What makes you proud of your mom?

For printing out pictures

16. If your mom were a cartoon, who would she be?

A girl super hero

17. What do you and your mom do together?

I ride horses together with my mom

18. How are you and your mom the same?

We have the same color of hair

19. How are you and your mom different?

I have short hair and it is kind of pointy, mom has long hair

20. How do you know that your mom loves you?

Probably because she tells me

21. What does your mom like most about your dad?

That he makes more money to buy more horses, but I don’t really want a lot of horses because we don’t have any more pens.

22. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?

To go riding at Eagle Island

Thank you Miss Torrie for the invaluable glimpse into our family life as interpreted by our youngest member.  It makes me laugh and cry all at the same time. 

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Christmas 2012: The Elf “Makes Friends”

As the days progress towards Christmas, our resident Elf, Sparkles, continues to amuse herself around the house.

One day last week she made a jump rope zip-line and slid toward the tree.

Headed for the Tree

Well, actually she WOULD have slid toward the tree if she weren’t, well, stapled to the jump rope.  Ouch!  She still smiled though.  Happy little sucker.

Jump Rope Zipline

Another day she wrapped the kids’ bedroom door and perched on the large bow in the middle.  Batman was pretty impressed by that one!

Wrapped the Door

She looked pretty happy sitting there on that ribbon. Well, except for the bondage-style arm ties.  (I read about those in a book).

There she Sits

One day she gathered up a whole bunch of the kids’ stuffed animals and put them in Winston’s crate.  Apparently she was not aware that he often pees in there when he gets excited.   She locked the door and made the poor things listen to her read a story.

Reading to the Animals

The kids really, really loved this trick.  They arrived home from school to find sitting on their bed……a Christmas tree!

Sparkles was perched on top, and below she had provided both kid-friendly ornaments and two small strings of lights.

Batman and his sister had a ball decorating their very own tree, and now they enjoy looking at the lights at night while they fall asleep.  Or wrestle.

One day Sparkles must have been feeling lonely, because she took it upon herself to “make some friends.”

Making Friends

Her little marshmallow people were pretty cute.  I especially loved the hair.

In other Christmas news, Batman has finally stopped writing Santa letters.  In a transition apparently inspired by the Elf, he is now spending his time wrapping every empty box he can find in the house and putting them under the Christmas tree.  So far he has gone through four (or five, I lost count) rolls of office scotch tape and several different types of paper.

He’s very through.

Now that's some tape










His sister announced to me on the way to school this morning that she didn’t think she wanted horse stuff after all.  She wants a Baby Alive.

All I can say is that’s pretty unfortunate.

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Winter Fun

We have had just a couple of skiffs of snow over the past two weekends, and the kids have taken full advantage of the chance to play outside.

Of course, they were properly dressed first (at least when I got the camera out).  I don’t know why Batman has his tongue sticking out.  He wouldn’t tell me, and after taking three more identical pictures I just went with it.

Brother is Ready

Annabelle was much more cooperative for the pre-snow photo.  On a side note, I am happy to report that after an hour or so of rolling around in the snow, her filthy riding jacket was so clean it looked *almost* like I had washed it. 

Sisters Ready Too

The event started with the obligatory snow angel.

Batman Angel

Batman was very pleased with his.

Batman is Proud

Sissie did one too.

Snow Angel

Since there wasn’t enough snow to do anything else the loving siblings then proceeded to chase each other around the yard and push each other down.  That’s how Annabelle’s coat got clean.

The Chase is On

THE END of Day One.

Day two of snowfall, this past weekend, offered just a teensy bit more snow, enough that the children felt obliged to make a snowman.

Since I was busy in the house, they had to do it all by themselves for the first time ever.

I was impressed they remembered how to roll the big snowballs.

Go Batman

They kept at it….. (Batman did a lot of managing)

getting Started

and finally got a two-tier snowman in place.  Annabelle did the decorating all by herself, which I thought was pretty impressive. 

Batman passed the time by looking for some change he dropped in the snow.  I’m just kidding. I really have no idea what he was doing.

Almost Finished

The finished product was pretty darn cute, if a little frowny faced.

The finished product

Later that day Batman and his father went duck hunting.  Are they just adorable or what?  I sure do love my boys.

The Hunters

The hunters apparently did hit one duck, but it fell in the water down a slope so steep that poor-old-man-hunting-dog Toby fell down and could not retrieve it, and Winston the maniacal-teenager-hunting-dog was too moronic inexperienced to go bring it back.  Ah well.

Happy Winter from Frosty!

Mr. Snowman

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Pony Rides $1….uh….50 cents?

The kids and I had a rare free Saturday yesterday, and we decided to take advantage of it by going for a little ride at Eagle Island.  This ride was special for me and Annabelle because Batman had decided to accompany us.  His participation in equine activities has always been sporadic, and the time between his rides has grown greater and greater over the past months.

Annabelle was, as always, eager to show off her riding prowess, and she wasted no time in planning how the day would evolve.  When we discussed horse assignments she volunteered to ride the pony and let her brother ride Grumpy, as the pony had not been ridden for a couple of months and she was “a lot better rider than her brother.”

We caught the horses, and I saddled Reno first.  After I lunged him around for five or ten minutes I thought he would be safe for her to climb on.  She mounted up and started trotting him around in small circles, bending his head and bridling him up to get him to listen to her.  All seemed like it was going well, but I watched carefully for several minutes before I went back to saddling.  I knew the pony could be fractious after time off, and it was a cold winter day out there.

I was on the other side of the trailer removing mud from a less-than-thrilled Grumpy, and  I kept glancing  around the corner to check on progress.  At first, Reno seemed pretty compliant.

After about ten minutes though, I heard an alarming sound…..kind of a yelp/scream from my little girl.  I rushed around the trailer just in time to see her launched off the back of the little black bastar bad boy and land on the frozen ground on her back.

Then this.

I ran to my baby girl, who was actually crying.  She has been bucked or fallen off of more horses than most children her age will ever ride, and she almost never cries.  So I was really mad at that pony.

I got Annabelle up and asked if she was all right.  She answered in the affirmative, but made it clear she wasn’t getting back on.   After a long hug and quick check of body parts, she trudged off to get some grain in a bucket so we could catch Reno.  He has proven on more than one occasion that he enjoys a little freedom now and then, and it is almost impossible to catch him when he’s on a rampage.

I tried though.

He ran.

And bucked.

And ran some more.

He's Off

Although I knew I wouldn’t likely catch him without the grain, I couldn’t stop myself from chasing him.  I tried to head him off by jogging around the side of the horse trailer, where Spice was tied rearing and bucking in place from all the excitement.

Reno was thinking about running me down when suddenly Annabelle appeared behind him, rattling the bucket.

The pony screeched to a halt and his entire demeanor changed.

He turned and walked calmly to my now-smiling little cowgirl.

Who is the most forgiving person on the planet.

She patted him on the nose and said “Good boy Reno!”

There was no talk of cancelling the ride from any involved party, so we carried on with our plans.  I got Spice and Grumpy saddled, and we loaded up and headed for Eagle Island.  We decided en route that Batman would ride Reno, since the pony is always a perfect gentleman on the lead line, and Annabelle would regain her composure on her trusty Grumpy.

When we finally got on the trail it was a beautiful ride.  Although we are in the depths of winter, there is plenty of wildlife to be seen at the lovely state park.  We saw several blue herons, and the kids marveled at their long wing spans.

We even saw a heron sitting in a tree along the river.  I had seen them on the ground many times, but I had never before seen one in a tree.  It was pretty cool.

We stopped after going through one of the many gates we had to pass to take a photo of the team.

And speaking of wildlife, one of the funniest moments of the ride was an encounter between Winston and a big flock of geese sitting in a field.

Winston looked at the geese for a long time trying to figure out what to do.

He finally talked himself into approaching the flock, and moved toward them cautiously.

Batman was beside himself with excitement.  All ride long he had wanted nothing more than to “catch a bird” to take home to daddy.  Although he has gone hunting a few times, I don’t think he has the concept that you have to actually shoot a bird to capture it.  He was sure that Winston would catch a goose for us, and that it would be “the PERFECT PRESENT for daddy!!!”

Winston wasn’t so sure about that.  One of the geese honked at him, and he turned around and high-tailed it back to us.

We laughed at him for a while, and when it was apparent that he was not going to approach the birds again we started to walk back down the trail.

Suddenly the crazy dog got a flash of inspiration, turned around, and took off for the birds at a dead run.  He ran right into the flock, who took flight at a leisurely pace.

The geese in the park are so used to dogs that they glided only about ten yards away and landed again.  Winston was so proud of himself that he didn’t care if the birds actually flew away.  He returned to us wagging his stump of a tail and smiling with his whiskery face.

He is a funny dog, that one.


Before we got to the trailer, we had one more gate to go through.  Unlike all the other gates, this green metal swing gate could be opened and closed while on horseback.  Annabelle was intent that she was going to do it herself.

Because she had been planning on riding Reno, she was not wearing her spurs, so she had to work hard to get Grumpy sidled over so she could reach the locking arm.  I asked if she needed help.  You can guess the answer.

Got the Gate

When she got the gate unlocked, she swung it wide so that Batman and I could pass through.

Batman waited placidly for his sister to maneuver the gate.  He was disappointed that we had not “caught” any birds, and he was ready to get in the truck.


After we passed through, it took a while for Annabelle to get Grumpy side-passed over and to where she could shut the gate.  I asked again if she needed help, and she said “NO MOMMY! I can do it myself.”

She shut and locked the gate all by herself, and rode smiling over to resume our trek.

I know she is my daughter and all, but dang she is cool.

Once we got the horses loaded and climbed back in the truck, the cold and activity took its toll on four-year old Batman.  He fell asleep before we hit the main road and although I know he must have been roasting he slept for the entire 45 minute drive.

Gloves and all.

It was a fun winter day.  We all appreciated the fresh air and relatively moderate temperatures, and it is always rewarding to do a physical activity with the kids.

So remember, we offer pony rides…..

……..with a 50% discount if you have good insurance.

Categories: Horse Adventures, Kids Are Funny Creatures, Life in the Country | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Stone Cold Killers and Pink Polo Wraps

Despite it being a chilly weekend around these parts, our family got outside on Sunday to enjoy some of Idaho’s winter splendor.  After a lovely holiday dinner with friends and neighbors on Saturday night, Annabelle and I met up with our friend Kristi on Sunday morning for a nice ride in the Eagle foothills.

We saddled at home before we left, and Annabelle made sure I wrapped Grumpy in his new pink polo wraps that she had received the previous evening from friends Shawny and Sierra.

They looked splendid.

Look at that Pink

Kristi shot this picture as we walked along the sandy trail toward Rocky Canyon.  Then she posted it on Facebook.  Then I liked it so well I stole it for my blog banner photo.  Thanks Kristi.

Yes, that would be snow on the side of the road.

Riding with Kristi

When we got to Rocky Canyon we all posed for a quick picture before heading back down toward the trailer.  Those polo wraps really stood out in the great outdoors. 

Isn’t Kristi just the cutest?

A and K Rocky

Of course I made Kristi take a picture of me and  my little girl.  If we look cold that would be because we were.  Our ride took us about two and a half hours, and we were plenty ready for some hot chocolate and a late lunch at Bardenay after we finished.

A and M Rocky

In the meantime, back on the flatlands, Desperate Hubby and Batman had a little adventure of their own. 

They went hunting.  And got a beautiful rooster pheasant.  It looks alive in this photo, but it was actually dead. 

By then, anyway. More on that to follow.

2012-12-09_13-45-18_174 (1)

Batman insisted on carrying the rooster in his “bird pocket” all the way back to the car.  DH said he was sure that the bird weighed nearly half as much as Batman did.


DH told a really funny accounting of the hunt, featuring a lot of anecdotes about hunting with two geriatric dogs (Maddie and Toby), who are both hard of hearing and don’t see too well either.  The dogs kept running off in the wrong direction, and DH would have to chase them down on foot since they couldn’t hear him calling.  At one point Maddie left with another hunter because she thought he was DH, and my poor hubby had to chase her down for about 200 yards to get her back with the right group.

Batman told a story himself, but it was disturbing in a certain way. 

He said that Toby had chased the pheasant out of the bushes, then daddy shot him.  About this time in the tale he started laughing so hard it was difficult to understand him.  The bird, he said, was not dead yet.  Toby eventually decided to bring the bird to daddy, and when daddy finally got the bird out of Toby’s mouth it was still alive.

Batman did a little demonstration of a clacking beak, and he said it seemed like the bird was trying to bite them.  He was still laughing pretty hard.  I said “Well, what did daddy do then?”  Batman doubled over  with laughter as he said “MOM, DADDY took the bird’s head and TWISTED it.  It made a crunching sound, and then the bird was dead!!!”

That sounded a little gruesome to me, but then I’m not that much of a hunter.  I said to my precious, sweet little four year old boy, “Wow.  That sounds pretty intense.  Was it gross?” 


I didn’t have any further questions after that.

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Christmas 2012: The Elf is a Busy Girl

It has been a busy week around our household.  In addition to our regular hectic schedule, Holiday Parties, preparations for Santa, and just general Christmas craziness, we have had our hands full keeping up with Sparkles. 

I’ve highlighted a few of the inventive little Elf’s activities here for your review.

On Wednesday, Sparkles wrapped the kids’ entire bunk bed in Christmas paper.  Batman was the first one home from school that day, and he just stood and stared.

And stared.

Baman just Stares

He was happy to discover that Sparkles had added a small gift for both he and his sister to the top of the package.  She had also suspended herself below the new Christmas puppies with a ribbon harness that upon closer inspection looked suspiciously like a noose.

Elf brings Gifts

The kids exhibited great self control by leaving the package intact, puppies included, until their dad got home from work.  Then they ripped it into a million pieces and took the stuffed dogs to bed with them.

The next morning we woke to a sight I found quite disturbing.

Elf Eats Oreos

The Elf had discovered my secret stash of White Fudge covered Oreos (and by secret, I mean secret…. I even forgot where it was for a couple of days).  She opened the package and ate several of the cookies, leaving crumbs scattered around the festive dishes she chose to eat on.

The evidence was irrefutable.  She even had a big chunk in her mouth.

Notice how she is avoiding my gaze in the picture.  Definitely guilty.

Elf with a Mouthful

The next day the Elf got into more trouble.  Apparently channeling Batman, she got a box of Hello Kitty band-Aids out of the bathroom and covered herself in them.

Elf in the Bandaids

When I mentioned to Batman that Sparkles was trying to be like him he became very indignant.  He said she was nothing like him.  The band-aids that he covered himself with on a daily basis were completely necessary. 

She was just playing.

Then he carefully picked up every piece of band-aid refuse and carefully placed it in a Ziploc baggie.  Under his pillow. 

I wish I was making that up, but I’m not.

Batman Cleans Up

Yesterday Sparkles pulled off what was probably her coolest stunt yet. 

She turned the coffee table into a sledding hill.

Elf on the Hill

The ski hill was complete with shrubbery that looked remarkably similar to the tree outside our front door.  It also had a cool stencil on the bottom with a picture of Santa.

When I brought the kids home from school they ran into the house to see what Sparkles had done.  Before I could stop him, Batman ran his finger through the spray-on snow that covered the hill.  The he licked it and said “It tastes really good!”

Apparently the snow was non-toxic, because he seems fine today.

I thought Sparkles looked super cool in her little toboggan at the top of the mountain.

Elf Top of Hill

In other Christmas news, Batman has amended his Santa Wish List yet again.  This time he has added a Nintendo DS to his list.  Santa is still considering whether to make the change.

Annabelle is still content with her wish for All-Things-Pink for Grumpy.  Sorry Grumpy.

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Annabelle’s First Buckle

Annabelle was awarded her first buckle this past weekend at the Gem State Stock Horse Association annual awards banquet.  Despite having won a few prizes over the course of the summer, and just recently getting her first check, winning your first buckle is something special.


The best part about her winning the buckle was that it was a total surprise to her. I knew that all the kids in her class received a buckle, and because she was the year-end champion that her buckle might even be special, but she had no idea she would get an award at all that evening.

All summer long I have tried to make her horse shows about competing only against herself.  I have told her that showing is for having fun, and that her goal should always be to do her very best for that day, and that she should strive to better her performance each time she goes to the pen.  She has taken that to heart, mostly, and while she always asks her score after a run, her next question is usually whether that score is better than her score at the last horse show.

When we got ready to go the banquet on Friday, she told me “I won’t get an award because I messed up my circles at the last show, but it will be fun to watch anyway.”  I didn’t correct her. 

The banquet was long, and my little daughter was almost asleep in my lap by the time they announced awards for her class.  She perked right up, though, when they called her name. 

Friends Kris and Alayne helped to install the new hardware at our table.

Buckle Installation

And she posed proudly for a picture so we could email it to Daddy.


I think she had just as much fun watching Grandma Kay get her Champion buckle and posing with her and Sierra for her winning photo.

Grandma Kays Buckle

Annabelle’s new buckle is absolutely beautiful, and she is very proud of it.

First Buckle

The buckle is made even more special by the fact that she won it on her beloved Chic, technically owned by our friend Kris Troxel, but Annabelle’s true soul mate.  Chic is currently recovering from a joint infection that in all likelihood will end his show career forever, so the fact that Kris allowed Annabelle to ride him all summer and they won this award together is all the more poignant and special.

I have to once again say a big thank you to the “village” that helped to get my little girl through her first show season.  Kris provided the largest piece, literally and figuratively: the horse, and Shane dressed and tacked her up.  To all the others who sat in the corners at the shows to help with pattern memory, who encouraged and prompted, were friendly and helped us find our way, a big thank you.  It was a great year.

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