Monthly Archives: January 2013

Making the Most of It

As I may have mentioned a time or two, we have been enduring a long stretch of really cold weather.  Sitting around inside the house, though, was getting on all of our nerves, so last Sunday Annabelle and I decided to brave the cold and go for a little ride.

Although she had been home with a nasty cold three days out of four last week, my little girl was more than game to put on her chaps and get some exercise.  Grumpy wasn’t quite as excited.

Ready to Ride

We headed inside the barn to find that Kris had brought Chic along for a little trial run.  As you may recall, Chic is the wonderful horse that Annabelle was lucky enough to ride in horse shows all last summer.  He was literally stopped in his tracks by an infection in his foot last fall, and for a time even his mere survival was in jeopardy.  Chic has been rehabbing in his pasture at Kris’s house in Nampa, and he looked wooly and fat. 

And awesome.

He seemed genuinely happy to see his little girl again, and she was sure delighted to see him.  Kris threw Annabelle’s little saddle on so that we could see how the old boy was moving these days.

Chic's B ack

We led him out in the arena and Annabelle climbed right on.  I was worried that Chic might be a little fresh.  After all, it was only about 5 degrees outside, and Chic had not even seen a saddle for over four months.  Kris laughed really hard at me.

She knows her horse.

You can watch Annabelle trot him around here, if you’d like.

What a wild man!

Even if you know nothing about horses it is easy to observe that Chic is doing great.  He trotted around beautifully for the first couple of minutes, each foot striking the ground with equal force and timing.  It was only toward the very end of the ride that you could see a slight favoring of his bad foot.  I was so happy it almost made me cry.  Chic has a long way to go before he has a show career again, but just to see him be able to comfortably move around was heartwarming.

Annabelle and I saddled up Grumpy and Freckles and rode around in the indoor barn for awhile, then we went outside to walk around the snowy arena so Freckles could get some fresh air.

It was pretty bright out there.

Just do This

Grumpy snatched up a tumble weed from the corner of the pen and he and Annabelle had a nice three or four minute tug-of-war over it.  It was pretty entertaining.

My Weed

Even though she has no winter hair and it was REALLY cold out there, Freckles seemed to enjoy getting outside for a bit. 

It still makes my heart go pitter-patter to even look at her picture.  I just love that horse!

Lovely Miss Freckles

After we finished riding, we headed home for another great adventure: sledding with Grandpa Vernon.  The kids raced out to intercept him when they saw him heading to the barn with the sled.  They were pretty excited.

Getting Ready

Vernon hooked up the sled to his four wheeler, and the fun was on!

Hooking Up

Even though it was still really, really cold outside, Grandpa Vernon was not to be deterred.

They went through the pasture, where Winston promptly took his first opportunity to remove Annabelle’s hat.

Nice Winston

Grandpa Vernon kept on driving.

Across the Pasture

Through the yard…..

Across the Yard

past the orchard…..

Past the Trees

and all the way to the end of the big hay field in front of the house.

Down the Field

And back around again, probably a dozen times.  Even though I knew he had to be freezing, Grandpa Vernon stayed out there with the kids until they were finally satisfied.  The smile never left his face.

Or theirs.

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Grandpa Vernon kinda makes my heart go pitter-patter too.

While all the festivities were going on the dogs ran around with me as I tried to shoot photos.

There were three doves sitting up in one of the trees in the front yard, a few remaining frost crystals decorating their perch.  I think doves are so pretty.

Doves

Thirteen-year old Toby stood nice and still for his portrait.  There is something about the gaze of an old dog that just looks wise.

Old Toby

And at long last I got to capture the true essence of Winston.

Tasmanian Devil

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case I have to agree.  The Tasmanian Devil is surely Winston’s long-lost twin brother.

It turned out to be a lovely day for the whole family, cold and all.

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Red Breasts, Northern Lights and a Happy Happy Horse

Annabelle and I drove up our driveway just before noon today, and as we neared the house I saw several birds perched in the trees in our front yard.

Closer inspection revealed that they were robins.  Lots of them.

Chilly Birds

They were several of the red breasts visible in our trees, and many more perched in the park right across the way.

Trees of Birds

Although the temperature hovered around 3 degrees, I couldn’t stop myself from trying to get a few photographs.

All of the birds were fluffed up against the cold, making them appear larger than life.  Their brilliant colors stood out beautifully against the frosty blue-gray sky.

Frosty Robin

This duo hung out contentedly on nearby branches.

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I have always heard that robins are one of the first birds of spring.  I sure hope that’s true.

I’m ready for spring.

Interestingly, robins weren’t the only birds in the tree.  This little brown finchy- looking fellow was near the very top of the branches, all by himself.  He was the only one of his kind there.

Brown Bird

And this black-and-white beauty was right in the mix too.  At first I thought it was a magpie, but on second glance it seemed too small.  It was no bigger than the fluffy robins in size.

Whatever it was it was pretty.

Tree of Birds

Annabelle and I were worried that the robins might be hungry.  We came into the house and looked up “What to Feed Robins” on the internet.  We were surprised to see that in the winter they are primarily fruit eaters.  The article we read said that they really liked apples.  And Cheerios.

So we made them a snack.

Robin Food

Since we didn’t have a bird feeder, we just attached the tray to the top of an old milk can and put it out near the big tree.

Here birdy birdy

Several robins returned to the tree after we came back inside, but none of them went down to eat the food.

Damn ingrates.

Shortly after that, Batman went outside with his ‘Wounded Rabbit’ call to try to lure in the neighborhood fox, which both Grandpa Vernon and Daddy had seen lurking around the pasture the past couple of days.  He made so much noise that all the birds flew away.

They haven’t been back since.

Upon re-entering the house, Batman pronounced that he had indeed called in the fox.  In fact, he had called in ten foxes.

Actually, a hundred.

And they had bitten him.  He went immediately into the bathroom and covered his entire right arm in band-aids.   I have currently been unable to verify his injuries.

In other photographic news, we had the most beautiful sunset last night.  The whole western sky was lit up with a bright blaze of color.  It almost looked the Northern Lights.  Except that it was in the south.

Northern Lights

And last but not least, of all the photos I took yesterday one mysteriously did not load from my camera.  I did not, in fact,  find it until today when I was taking a look at the bird pictures.

It is of my mare Spice, immediately after I took the “dead horse” photograph, as she woke up briefly from her nap.

Horsey Smile

I swear she is smiling for the camera.

Categories: Horse Adventures, Life in the Country | 1 Comment

A Dead Horse and the Snow Cat

After my sort-of-whiny post the other day about our long stretch of cold weather, a friend of mine called to empathize with me.  She said that she was getting sick of being inside too, and was making plans to leave the valley for a couple of days for a change of scenery.  Then she said something that really resonated with me:

“Sometimes you have to make your own change.”

Wow.  So simple yet so true.  I decided right then that I would embrace these chilly days of weather in any way I could.

Yesterday morning presented the perfect opportunity.  With temperatures outside  hovering right around zero and lots of humidity lingering in the air, everything in sight was absolutely covered in heavy frost.  It made for some awesome photo opportunities, so as soon as the sun started to peek out from under the haze I put on my snow boots, grabbed my camera, and headed out the front door to try to capture some of the beauty.

The animals were thrilled to have me out and about with them, and they bounced happily around as I crunched through the snow taking pictures of everything in sight.

The first volunteer for my impromptu photo session was Annabelle’s little cat, Ava.  I was sort of surprised when she came bounding over the snow toward me, since Annabelle is really the only person in the family she likes.

But bound she did.

She ran over to one of the fruit trees in the front orchard and sat playing with the frost that drifted lazily down from the tree branches.

Falling Snow

Winston-The-Maniac-Teenage-Birddog helped me out with the next part.  He raced over toward the vulnerable grounded cat and left Ava no place to go but up the frosty tree.

Wheres the Cat

She climbed up and walked carefully along the slippery branches, stopping every now and then to look around at the goings-on.

Frosty Cat in Tree

Eventually she jumped down from that tree and hopped through the snow to the tree next door.

She climbed up and sat for a long time peering down at me as the sky slowly brightened behind her.

Avie in Tree

After awhile she got down and ran away, with Winston in hot pursuit.

The rest of us meandered down the road to the horse pens, and I saw a sight that nearly took my breath away.

Is she dead....

My pretty little bay mare, Spice, was lying in the snow, completely motionless.  Her mouth was slightly open, and I could see her teeth shining through her gaping lips.

I really thought she was dead.

I watched for a few moments, and after a bit I could see her flanks gently heaving. She was just sound asleep.

As the dogs and Ava and I continued our ambling photo shoot, the next place Winston chased Ava was to the top of the post above the dog kennel.  She actually spends a lot of time up there.

I guess she likes the view.

Cat on Post

We wandered down the lane and toward the front of the property.  I wanted to get a shot of the chain link fence covered in frost.

Frosty Chainlink

Along the way I stopped for a picture of the snowy pasture.

Snowy Pasture

We headed back up toward the house with our ancient schnauzer Maddie slowly leading the way.

Maddie Snowy Road

I got a photo of Toby-The-Old-Man-Dog sniffing around the front yard.  I really don’t know what he was expecting to find in all that snow.

Old Dog in the Snow

I took some pictures of driftwood and bushes…..remember the “Flying Pig” from our Stanley camping trip?

Flying Pig in Snow

A couple of the big trees in the front yard looked pretty against the blue sky.

Frosty in Blue

And I loved this cool shot of the same tree from the other side with the sun shining through it.

Frosty Tree

It was pretty amazing to me that during  the hour I was outside the light changed so dramatically, and the hue of the sky varied completely depending on the direction of my camera lens.  It was so engrossing that I never even felt the cold.  Mother Nature sure is a fantastic artist.

Embrace the moment, my friends.

Categories: Horse Adventures, Life in the Country, Random Musings | Tags: , | 4 Comments

The Coolest Mom Ever!

I mentioned in my blog yesterday that the kids had enjoyed a “Snow Day” after last week’s big storm when all of the valley schools were closed.  What I didn’t mention was that the reason they enjoyed it so much was because of the heroic efforts of Miss Torrie, who is Batman’s pre-school teacher and also undoubtedly the coolest mom in the world.

Miss Torrie’s subdivision sports a long hill that in the summertime ends in a drainage area for the irrigation waters.

On a snowy day, though, the hill is an awesome source of fun for any kid who is lucky enough to have a sled and some snow pants.

And in our case, Miss Torrie.

SAM_1485

When the school closure announcements came over the television that morning, it wasn’t ten minutes before I got a text from Miss Torrie telling me that I was welcome to bring Annabelle over with Batman, since the kids were going to play in the snow.

That worked out great for me, since I had a webinar to attend that day and I figured that Annabelle would have more fun spending time with the other kids than trying to peel me out of my office chair as I sat for a two hour lecture.

Play in the snow around here means that the kids go outside, usually by themselves, and try to make a snowman or pelt each other with snowballs.  If they are lucky that day, (and my kids are certainly luckier than most) Grandpa Vernon will get out his four-wheeler and pull them around the property on their sled.  I try to avoid actual snow involvement if possible, preferring to stalk the children with my camera and take pictures of them trying to entertain themselves.

Miss Torrie’s is a whole other story.  Little did I know that “playing in the snow” at her house means loading up a dozen or so kids and driving them to the snow hill down the street, then supervising them for the entire morning, taking awesome pictures while caring for ages three to thirteen and still getting in a few sled runs herself. 

Lunch was a quick run back to the house for pizza delivery, then the kids were loaded back up in the car for another few hours of sledding.

Racin' with the big dogs

And pictures of such a fun day I was sorry I had missed it.

the ride

This is Annabelle with little Miss A, our friend that comes to visit us a few afternoons a month.  Isn’t she darling?

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The kids had the best snow day ever, even when Annabelle got wiped out by a strange boy and ended up with a black and blue lip and a sore mouth. She righted her hat and kept on going.

He looks sorry, doesn’t he?

annabelle after getting wiped out

Zach had a little accident himself and ended up with a bloody nose.  Poor little buddy.  He even had a real tear.

the nose bleed

He was fine and right back at it again within minutes though.

SAM_1481

Most of the gang assembled for a group photo.  Pretty impressive undertaking, Miss T.

the gang

When I arrived to pick up the kids, they were all just arriving back at the house.   It was 4 p.m. 

Miss Torrie fed everyone a snack, then she had to deal with this.

The After-math

The kids were exhausted and oh-so-happy when we got home.  Miss Torrie is my hero.

She wouldn’t even let me pay for the kids’ pizza.

SAM_1429

Thanks for all the awesome photos, Miss Torrie……I know where I’m heading the next snow day!

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Winter Doldrums

If you are one of the millions of people not lucky enough to live in our beautiful Idaho valley, you are missing out on a winter wonderland.

A winter wonderland that has overstayed her welcome, in my humble opinion.

A measurable snow storm is rare enough in our area that we still rejoice at the first flakes, and delight in the snowman-making and frolicking that takes place if the fluffy whiteness actually accumulates on the ground.

Occasionally a winter inversion will even make for some pretty sunrise photos.

Snowy Morning

We got snow here in the valley between Christmas and New Year’s Day, and it was really fun.  We played and played in the snow, built snowmen and had snowball fights.  Then that snow kind of melted, until last week, when we got a major storm.

The snow was still fun then.

Batman, being the master of comic relief in our family, loves to run and “trip” in the snow, falling face-first in the powder with a squeal, then rolling around and around screaming “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

Batman in Snow

Winston is always happy to add to the show, bounding around and around and up and down, jumping over Batman when he falls down and generally being a big goofball.

Winston Bounds

Of course, he can also be the sweetest boy sometimes.  Notice how he is trying to twist his mouth around to pull off Annabelle’s glove.

Snow Winston

We played in the snow every day for the first few days, and the kids even got to enjoy a “snow day” last week when Annabelle’s school shut down due to the big storm.

All that was still pretty fun.

Batman got to spend lots of time doing one of his favorite activities:  helping.

After I shoveled the driveway and sidewalks after each snowfall, he would take the shovel and move impressive amounts of snow around on the long gravel drive in front of our house.

Put your body into it

He shoveled several large areas in the front of the driveway until they were completely clear.  While those areas were not necessarily expanses that needed to be snow-free, his effort was remarkable nonetheless.

Got a Job to do

At first, when the cold snap hit, Annabelle and I continued our normal routines.  We rode in the indoor arena where Freckles lives even when the temperature hovered in the single digits.

This is when something happened that I never thought I’d witness.

Annabelle asked if we could please quit riding.

She was so cold that day she didn’t even help me get the horses unsaddled, and sat shivering in a chair covered up with someone else’s horse blanket until we were ready to leave.

She gave up

That was almost two weeks ago, and it was the last day we rode.   Since then, even taking care of the horses has been a challenge.

Grumpy is breaking in his new pink blanket from Santa Claus (on top of the two he was already wearing) because he was shivering in his hairless splendor.

New Pink Blanket

Spice has icicles on her whiskers.

Spice is Frosty

Reno’s mane and forelock are tipped in fine white frost in the mornings.

Reno is Frosty

Our dining room sports a four-wheeled hose reel that contains the equipment we use to fill our horses’ water tanks, since the heater in the tack room cannot keep up with the sub-zero night-time temperatures.

Hose Reel

Even Toby-The-Old-Man-Dog has deigned to join us in the house a few times to warm his frozen bones, a move that is pretty much unprecedented in his thirteen years with our family.

Of course, who wouldn’t want to warm up on a Dora comforter?

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The snow still looks pretty from some angles.

Snowy Landscape

But the many consecutive days of below-freezing temperatures have left the roads in our small town still ice-covered and treacherous for driving.

To add insult to injury, the pipes in poor Desperate Hubby’s office have frozen solid.  Because the owner of our office complex is an absentee landlord residing in sunny Mexico, we have been unable to come to an agreement regarding the $500 or so it will cost to thaw-out said pipes.  In the meantime, our office resembles a sauna, with two space heaters keeping the mercury at around 90 degrees as DH tries to initiate the thaw on his own.  Sheesh.

Admittedly, the unseasonably cold weather is not without its merits.  I have finished all my accounting updates for the company and already submitted our books to the CPA to get our 2012 taxes prepared.  My home office is looking lovely (if I do say so myself) due to the amount of effort I have devoted to the makeover and subsequent revamping of my filing system and supply storage.  The company’s national and state licensing was renewed well before the due date, and I have responded to the half-dozen or so inevitable requests for additional information in a very timely manner.  I’ve even cleaned out and re-organized our pantry.

So the time spent waiting out the weather has not been wasted.

But still,  I am ready to be done with this ultra-cold weather.  I want to ride my horse and run outside and do all the stuff that we generally take for granted year-round here in our lovely state.

So snow and sub-zero temperatures go away. Come back again……next year.

Snowy Face

Categories: Horse Adventures, Kids Are Funny Creatures, Life in the Country | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Blanket Clip, A Broken Arm and A Brand New Space for Mama

Well, we have officially wound down our Christmas school break and 2013 New Year festivities here at the flats. It was at once a quiet and eventful three weeks here in the country.

Some of our activities weren’t all that different from the way we regularly spend our days.  Annabelle and I spent a fair amount of time riding, as usual.  She made full use of all her new pink items on Grumpy.

He looks pretty handsome in pink, no?

Blanket Clips….

One of the problems, though, of being a dedicated winter rider is that if your horse has a lot of hair, like Grumpy, and you like to do a lot of loping, like Annabelle, you can easily get your poor pony too hot.

See, she’s going so fast she’s a blur. Oh wait, I just don’t know how to use my camera in low light.  That’s the problem.

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But she did get poor Grumpy awfully hot and sweaty.  When that happens to your mount and it is really cold outside, you need to spend lots of time walking them around and drying them off to make sure they don’t get sick from being chilled.

Annabelle finds that part of riding pretty boring.

As an alternative, you can clip off some of said pony’s hair so that they don’t get so hot in the first place.  One of the most common winter horse-haircuts is called a blanket clip.  You basically shave the parts of the horse that are covered by his warm winter blanket so that when you ride him (without the blanket, obviously) he doesn’t overheat.

Auntie Kris was game to give it a go, so she started clipping away.

Kris Clips

Our initial foray into the world of blanket clipping was not very pretty, as the only clippers that Kris could readily lay her hands on were no match for the thick thatch of fur the our Grumpy was sporting.  We only got a bit done on each side before we had to give up for the afternoon.

He ended up looking a little……mangy?

Left Side

So the next day Auntie Shane came to the rescue with her big, strong, sharp clippers.  She made short work of finishing up the haircut.

Those are Clippers

When it was all done, Grumpy looked much more symmetrical.  But not really any happier.

Seriously Dudes

He did stay much cooler during his rides, though.  Thanks aunties!

Broken Arms……

OK, this title is a little deceptive.  Nobody in our household actually broke their arm (or arms, thank god!) during the vacation.  But one of Batman’s friends at school did.

So Batman, being the empathetic little tike that he is, adopted a “Sympathy Broken Arm.”

He came home from school one day and insisted that his arm hurt “really, really bad.”  So daddy had to fashion a sling for him out of two Harley Davidson bandannas.  Or some such thing.

Note the look on intense sympathy-pain on Batman’s face.

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Batman wore the sling for three days and three nights straight (yep, you read that right….he slept in it).  The only time he took it off was when he went to play with the kid who had the actual broken arm.  Then he would wear it over to school in the car, remove it before going inside, and replace it immediately upon being picked up in the afternoon.

Notice that the sling is on his (dominant) right arm.  He ate, wrote and performed all other activities left-handed.  It was pretty darned impressive, if you ask me.

Then yesterday, out of the blue, Batman announced that his arm felt better.  I removed the sling.  Batman wadded it up in a ball and threw it in the corner of his room and hasn’t spoken of it since.

A Brand New Space for Mama

Now to the good stuff.

Since we moved into the wonderful old farmhouse we are happy to call home a little over two years ago, there has been a room in the back southwest corner that has been, well, lets just, multi-purpose.

When we first moved in, it was a guest bedroom with a desk in the corner for my little “office.”  When we moved the big bed out of that room for Annabelle to use, we filled up the space with a treadmill that my in-laws generously donated.   Along with boxes of junk, pictures, broken things and stuff that I just couldn’t find any other place to store.

This is what the room looked like after I cleaned it up a bit following the holiday.  Yes, that’s right, after I cleaned it up.

Just a corner

That is the little corner where I sat to write my blog, pay bills, work on my memoirs and all the other interesting stuff that keeps me at my desk for pretty much every waking moment of my life (according to Batman, at least).

For some reason, (I assume it was the same temporary madness that has always overtaken me with the excitement of the impending New Year), I told Desperate Hubby that I wanted to clean the office out over our break.  We could move the treadmill next door, I told him, to the room occupied by the Skinny Pigs and the forty-four plastic totes of toys that Batman no longer plays with but refuses to get rid of.  I could put up some curtains, maybe slap on a little paint, and make the southwest room a respectable office.

DH was surprisingly amenable to that idea, but I think it was because he had forgotten how heavy the treadmill was and how it had taken three grown and crying men to get it down the hallway and into the room in the first place,

Nonetheless, one afternoon after Christmas when we girls were out riding our horses, Daddy and Batman managed to remove the treadmill from the office and hang the curtain rods I had procured from our nearby Wal-Mart.

Then the kids and I got to painting.

Little Van Goghs

Of course, even with the painting in process, the room looked quite a bit worse before it started to look better.

Did I mention it was really messy?

Messy Space

I worked on it off and on this week after the kids went back to school, and yesterday I proclaimed it finished.  Well, almost finished.  When I put our actual family pictures in the frame on the wall it will be finished.

Looks much better, yes?

Mamas New Office

I had space on the far wall to hang a print that had been sitting on the floor for months since I had gotten it framed.

Other side of Wall

And I even ordered a little buckle holder so that I could get my old trophies out of the cardboard box in our storage shed.

I need to show this picture to Freckles so that she can see there are three available empty slots.

Room for More

I love my new office.  I can just sit in here for hours at a time and play solitaire on the computer and enjoying the ambience.  I mean work.

It probably won’t really improve my writing any, but it definitely adds to my mood when I’m doing it.  It’s amazing what a little time and three trips to Wal-Mart can do.

Categories: Horse Adventures, Kids Are Funny Creatures, Life in the Country | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

New Year’s 2013: Party Like a Kindergartner!!

New Year’s Eve 2013:  The best New Year’s celebration I have ever had…..starring my 4 and 6 year olds????

Yes.  Hard to believe maybe, but true.

I have not stayed up until midnight on New Year’s Eve for the past several years.  With the addition of our beloved wee ones to our schedule, sleep is even more precious to me than ever before (and it was ALWAYS precious).   I am hard pressed to stay up past ten (OK, nine, truth be told) on any given night.  New Year’s Eve included.

Unlike a lot of our (younger, hipper, more energetic?) parent-peers, Desperate Hubby and I don’t often indulge in an evening without our children.  We have had a babysitter no more than a handful of times since the kids were born, both due to availability, and because we honestly enjoy spending time together as a family. We each experienced more than our fair-share of single adventures in earlier years, and we genuinely enjoy being with our kids as much as possible.  Call us weird….we probably are.  Well, yes, we are.  Very weird.

Anyway, for the welcome party for 2013 we had the rare opportunity to blend time with both our friends and our precious children.

I must digress here for a moment.

As some of you know, Desperate Hubby played with a rock ‘n roll band for many years before I met him.  He continued to play with the band after we married for the majority of weekends until little Annabelle was a year old and Batman was five months away from joining us.  Then, after twenty years of playing guitar, traveling, and singing with his closest buddies, DH hung it up.

He sold every guitar he owned, the band trailer, all of the PA gear, and countless other music accouterments.  He was done.  Just like that.

I have asked him many times over the past five years if he missed the band.  The answer was always the same:  I miss the guys, but I don’t miss the lost weekends, the smoke in the bars, the Friday afternoons setting up when I should have been working….you get the picture.

A few months ago that all changed.

It started with a cheap acoustical guitar ordered from Mexico, via eBay.  Then a few afternoons playing along with satellite TV.  Before I knew it DH was practicing with the band again, then just a few weeks ago they had their first real gig.

That led to the next gig: a private New Year’s party at the home of our good friends, Tami and Larry.  They really are good friends; in fact, they are the couple that introduced me to DH. I love them for that, and for many other reasons.

I was thrilled.

In addition to the opportunity of spending time with people we hadn’t seen enough in the past few years, this was also a golden chance to let the kids experience Daddy in a whole new light.  They both enjoy watching DH practice, and Batman has an unerring ability to remember both tunes and the words to complex melodies. He can play the guitar pretty darn well for a four-year old, and loves to listen to Daddy rehearse.  He was beside himself about the opportunity to watch Daddy play.  His sister, on the other hand, wanted to dance.  And dance.

I was excited for the party too, but I was realistic.  My kids are, for better or for worse, very scheduled humans.  They awake at about the same time every day, and go to bed at about the same time every night:  7:30 or 8:00.  Which is, if you are not well versed in time sequences, four to five hours before the New Year rolls around.

I planned to bring the darlings to the party, let them watch a set or two buoyed by the music and the attention, and head for home by 10:00.

As has happened many times before in my life, I had no idea what I was in for.

We arrived at the party early; by 7:30 there were just a few people there.  Both kids were tired and a little cranky. Annabelle and I had been out riding our horses that afternoon, and a few hours in sub-freezing temps takes a lot out of anyone, especially a six-year-old (serious tactical error on my part).  Batman was tired too.  We have had many, many parties in the past two weeks, and he is a man who lives and cries by his bedtime routine, if you get my drift.  By the time we were there for fifteen minutes I was just praying they made it through the first song.

Then, friends showed up.

Auntie Kris was there first.  She took both kids around to get some snacks.  And shared an excellent bottle of red wine.  Not with Annabelle.  With me. That was my first and last cocktail of the evening, but it sure did make my night.

Cheers

Then Karen and Lenny showed up.  Lenny is an original member of the band, and Karen was one of the first “horse show people” to welcome me to Idaho.  And the kids LOVE her. (I do too!)

Dance with Karen (606x800)

Aunt Susie and her friend Leonard weren’t far behind.  Batman adores his Aunt Susie.

Leonard’s pretty cool too.

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Auntie Shane and David were soon to follow.  With homemade pot stickers.  I didn’t take a picture of the pot stickers.  But I ate them.  They were delicious!

I am seriously enamored of them.  Both the pot stickers and Shane and David.

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The kids danced.  And laughed.  And played music.

DH knelt and let Batman play along on the guitar.  I love him.  Both of hims.

Helpin Dad

Did I mention they danced?

JUMP

And danced.

That's Dancing

And I am so sorry to break it to you over social-media, but Kristi……you have some serious competition.

Look out Kristi

There were a couple of disturbing moments……

This is Fun!

and…..

He's a Natural

so I’d just like to say to John Booe, if you truly do have a couple of extra drum sets on hand…..may I suggest Craigslist?

We were treated to some awesome crooners.  Lenny’s voice is….unparalleled?  Yes.  That’s it.  I could listen to him sing forever.

Lookin Good

And Rarig….no words can say.

Rarig Croons

DH, John (who I am punishing by withholding his picture on account of the drumming thing) and Jay…..you sound awesome too.  I know I am prejudiced, but I am really not one to offer gratuitous musical comments.  You are incredible.

Really.

The kids and I even got a rare photo together.  Though Batman was obviously so embarrassed he couldn’t bear to look.

And Annabelle could only spare a glance.  The other way.

My Babies

I was so proud of DH.  The band sounded great, and the kids were seriously in awe of him.

DH Plays 2

When midnight suddenly rolled around nobody was more surprised than I.  The kids were still going strong, and the evening had positively flown by.  We all energetically counted down the seconds to the New Year (with varying degrees of accuracy) and toasted with our sparkling cider, then walked through the snow to our truck in the single-digit degree weather for the drive home.

I can honestly say it was the best New Year’s celebration of my life.

Happy 2013.

Categories: Kids Are Funny Creatures, Life in the Country | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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