Posts Tagged With: kids

Batman Learns to Ride A Bike

Last Thursday I was working hard on a business project for Desperate Hubby.  When I picked the kids up from school that day I pretty much went straight into my office at home and stayed there until chore time.   I took a break to feed the horses and dogs in the drizzling rain, then was right back in my chair at about 5:30.  If I focused I could probably get my spreadsheets done that night.

At about 5:31 Batman presented himself at my office door.   He wanted to go outside and ride his bike.

Batman owns two bikes.  Both are cute little red machines, one has training wheels and he has ridden it for the last year and a half or so, very sporadically.  The other is slightly larger, with no training wheels, and he got that one from his cousin a year ago for his birthday.  He has never even tried to ride it.

I said no.  Daddy would be home any minute and he was going to make dinner.  I was busy, and there was no one to watch him outside.

Batman didn’t care.

“Why can’t I just go outside?”

I explained about the rain.  I explained about the ensuing darkness.  I explained about the mud.

Batman didn’t care.

He said he was going to just ride on the concrete not the mud.  He would wear his helmet and his pads.

He was going to teach himself to ride without training wheels.

Ah, I thought, this shouldn’t last long.  So I said fine, go outside and ride your bike.

I called in faithful Annabelle and asked her to please go out to the garage and watch her brother while he rode on the concrete parking pad, and to report if anything serious went wrong.  They headed outside.

At about 6:15 I decided I had worked so hard on my project that I should probably have a glass of wine.  When I walked into the kitchen I could see Batman outside the open garage door.  He had fallen on the ground; he was not crying, but he was not riding either.  Since it was nearly dark and raining harder than before I convinced him to come in the house and put off his self-taught riding lesson until the next afternoon.

Annabelle was very kind and promised him that as soon as they got home from school the next day she would go outside with him and help him.  Annabelle, incidentally, rides with training wheels too.

Friday was a lovely day, and I had a fun and productive riding lesson with my two beloved mares at the trainer’s in Kuna. I was driving home, pulling the horse trailer (in DH’s truck) when I learned this little life detail:  you can’t trust the computer on the truck to tell you when you are about to run out of diesel.    ‘41 Miles to Empty’ apparently can also mean ‘Forty-one Feet to Empty.’  My drive home subsequently took far longer than I had planned, and by the time I pulled into the driveway at about 3:30 DH had already picked the kids up from their 3:00 school release and they were outside playing.

I immediately spied Batman’s shiny red and black helmet, bobbing quickly down the dirt road.  How cute! was my first thought.  My second thought was, Why didn’t his dad make him change out of his school uniform?

A moment later I realized something else.  Batman was riding merrily along with no training wheels.

Look at Him Go

I unloaded the horses and put them away as my son rode in circles around me.

“I got it, mom!  I got it!!”  Clearly he did.  In less than two hours practice, with no adult supervision, my five-year old boy child had taught himself to ride a bike.


Especially since this is the same kid who regularly refuses to get himself dressed in the morning because he says he doesn’t know how, and who often forgoes an afternoon snack because he is too lazy to wash his hands.

I watched him ride for another half hour or so.  He crashed hard once, but shook it off as though it was nothing.  This is from the kid who puts half a box of band aids over a hang nail and refuses to bathe because there’s a chance they might fall off in the water.

The Crash

He kept on riding well into the evening, coming in the house only when it got dark.  Saturday morning he was up and ready to go out to ride at 6:00 am (this from the kid who kicks and screams every single morning when he has to be at school by 8:00).  I forced him to wait until it was fully light, at about 7:30, and he spent much of the rest of the day cruising happily around the property.

I have no idea where the child got the balance or the fortitude to learn what I think is a fairly complex skill all by himself.  Anyone who has ever seen me run or ski or even walk for that matter knows it wasn’t from me.  DH admits that it took him days if not weeks of help from his dad and older brother to learn to ride a bike.

I guess he’s a happy freak of nature.

Categories: Kids Are Funny Creatures, Life in the Country | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

A Day of Firsts

Yesterday was a big day around our household. It heralded many Firsts, including…..

First day of School for both kids.

First day of Kindergarten for Batman.

First day of me working for reals in our office with Desperate Hubby.

First day of me sitting at my new office desk.  (Which was my BIRTHDAY PRESENT from Desperate Hubby, by the way.  Oh, sorry, didn’t mean to yell.  It’s just that…..really hon?  A DESK. Why not an IRON.  Or a VACUUM CLEANER?!).  But it really is a pretty nice desk.

We had spent quite a bit of time preparing for this day of Firsts.

In the past few weeks we went shopping for polo shirts and khaki skorts and pants.  We took the polos to be embroidered with our school logo at the uniform shop.  We bought new backpacks and got those embroidered too.  We made two or three more trips to get all the school supplies listed on the class lists.

Oh, and Desperate Hubby went shopping for a desk.  Did I mention that it was my birthday present?

The night before school started, both kids got to choose their dinner meal.

Annabelle predictably chose chicken and noodles, (hold the chicken) served over mashed potatoes (if you are wondering what that looks like, it is basically wide egg noodles cooked in chicken broth, served over well-buttered mashed potatoes.)

Batman, also predictably, chose Rainbow Trout.  Of course, Rainbow Trout is not always easy to find in the grocery store around here, so he had pan-seared Swai, a type of catfish which is very easy to find in stores around here, and which he believes is another name for Rainbow Trout.

I’m gonna be in big trouble when that kid learns how to read.

The dawning of the day of Firsts came all too early, especially for Batman who customarily stays up later than me and Annabelle and then usually sleeps until 8:30 or 9:00 in the morning.  Despite getting to bed at an early hour, it took my little boy a bit to wake up for his 7:00 am breakfast call.  That is until he came to this realization: “I can’t believe it is my FIRST DAY of kindergarten!! I am SO EXCITED!!”

We got ourselves dressed and headed down the road to the nearby school.  DH even accompanied us, another first.  Before going inside, we paused for a couple of photos.

Batman appeared cool as a cucumber on the outside, but his face in this picture told the truth.  I think he was just a little bit nervous about his First day.

Here We Go

DH took this picture of the three of us together.  Yes, I am fully aware that my midriff is showing in this picture.  And yes, I am also (all too) aware that…..40…. is too old to be showing your midriff in pictures.  Or really anywhere else for that matter.

Unfortunately, I cannot figure out how to digitally erase the pale white area peeking out below my sweater, so there you go.

I really need to learn how to use Photoshop,

First Day Smiles

Once we were inside the hallowed hallways, the kids’ personality differences manifested themselves immediately.  Batman walked confidently, albeit quietly, into the classroom and greeted his teacher.  Annabelle clung to my arm and pleaded with me to stay with her as long as possible.

Batman sat right down in the reading circle with his teacher and listened attentively as she began to explain the daily routine to all of the children.  He is in the very back of the picture, sitting underneath the blue board.

Batman Contemplates

I stayed with Annabelle until the final bell rang, and she at last let go of my arm and agreed to sit in her assigned seat and stay there.

Annabelle is Fine

As I left the school, I couldn’t help but reflect on how different this drop-off was from the previous year, when Annabelle tried to pull away, sobbing, from the kindergarten teacher’s hold and I cried all the way home.  Another First.

I went to the office for a few hours to get acclimated to my new list of duties, rode my horse, went to the store, then headed back to the pick up the kids.

They were all smiles.  Batman talked non-stop about a new friend he had made, a girl no less, named Claire.  He said he loved school and had learned a bunch of new stuff, though he could not remember what it was.  Annabelle had enjoyed her first day too, getting caught up with friends from last year and marveling that  her new teachers were so very nice.

The kids had a snack and we filled out the paperwork that had been sent home in their backpacks.  It was a perfectly peaceful ending to the day of Firsts.  Then the afternoon suddenly got more interesting with a call from Grandpa Vernon.

Apparently our neighbor had spotted an injured crow out in the pasture earlier in the day.  He said the crow was unable to fly, and if we wanted to the kids and I could retrieve it and try for a better outcome than we had enjoyed with Perry the Pigeon (my very first blog, in March or so of last year).

The kids had been hounding me to take them swimming at the ‘Y’ like “All the kids in the after-school program get to!” so I thought a half-dead crow would be an excellent distraction.

Annabelle was out in the front yard giving her a cat a bath (yeah, it was as funny as it sounds, but probably not to the cat) so Batman and I grabbed a large bucket and headed down to meet Vernon.

Grandpa Vernon just hates it when I take his picture.   But I don’t care.

Grandpa Vernon

We walked to where the bird had wedged himself up against the fence, and Grandpa Vernon picked him up.

Lifelike but Dead

Unfortunately, Charlie the Crow (as I had already mentally dubbed him) had already passed on to that big tree in the sky.  Although he looked remarkably intact, he was deader than a doornail.  Whatever that is.

Initial Exam

Batman was intrigued with Charlie.  He held him in his gloved hands and examined him at length.

Then he asked if we could keep him.  He was very disappointed when I said no.  Grandpa Vernon told Batman to go and put the dead bird in the dumpster.  Batman eventually complied, but not before taking Charlie down to show his dad, who had just arrived home from work.

After the viewing, Batman took Charlie on his last flight toward the bird’s rusty metal grave.  Charlie swooped and soared once more, though probably in a way he could not have managed in real life.

Flying to Dumpster

Then Batman put Charlie on the ground and further replicated the flying pose.  He was pretty fascinated with the dead bird’s wings.

Flying on Ground

When he was finished playing with the corpse, Batman unceremoniously tossed Charlie in the dumpster, sparing nary a glance over his shoulder as he ran back toward the house.

After dinner, baths and more stories (Annabelle read to me this time, since she’s back in school now) I tucked the kids into bed and contemplated the day of Firsts.   It had been a successful day all around (unless you consider the point of view of Charlie the Crow and possibly Annabelle’s cat).  While I wouldn’t consider it a wildly exciting day by any means, it nonetheless was a positive, measurable and smooth passage to a slightly different stage of life.

Here’s to a lifetime of happy Firsts.

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

Batman Buys a Pool

Sunday before last was planned to be a quiet and relaxing day around here at the Desperate Household.  After a busy Saturday and a late Saturday night, we all slept in to some degree, and Desperate Hubby and I were sitting around drinking coffee when the kids finally rolled out of bed around nine.

They immediately started with the usual round of questions…..”What are we going to do today……where are we going?  What do you meaannnn we aren’t doing anything?”

I was somewhat less than inspired about making a big plan for one of my rare unscheduled summer days, so I was happy when Desperate Hubby took charge of the conversation.  “What do you think we should do today?”  he asked.

“Go get a pool! Go get a pool!” Batman loudly suggested.  Batman’s sister jumped up and down excitedly squealing “YESSSSSS, a pool daddy.  A pool!!”  The kids have been waiting patiently through the preceding hot summer afternoons for the day when we had enough free time to get a pool to put on the back porch. They remember the pool of last summer rather idealistically, since it had lasted only a few days before Winston popped the supporting ring that kept the sides up and we had to dispose of it not long after it was filled.

DH looked at Batman for a moment.  “Well, where are we going to get the money to buy a pool?  Do you have money for a pool?”

Batman went silent, and I could just see the thoughts running through his head.  I have before mentioned Batman’s very un-child-like capacity for collecting stuff, from leftover live fishing worms (with which he started a worm farm on his dresser that outgrew two aquarium structures until I finally disposed of it after the third time I found worms crawling down the carpet in the hallway), to maps, to old purses filled with hunting calls and an entire suitcase of camouflage hunting clothes.

Another thing Batman collected, I knew, was money.  Like everything else he gathered, he was both thorough in his acquisition skills, leaving no stone (or jeans pocket, as the case may be) unturned in his quest to add to his stash, and vigilant in keeping his loot under wraps.  At the age of five he doesn’t totally understand the concept of money, but he does know that it buys stuff, and he has been saving money for a boat, one penny, nickel and dime at a time.

Batman determined this saving goal one weekend after fishing with his daddy from the local shore while his sister and I were enjoying a trip to Las Vegas for a horse show.  Desperate Hubby reported that Batman looked longingly at all the people floating around the lake in their fishing boats that afternoon.  Father and son talked about the boats: what kind would best suit them; where they would go with it;  what fish they would catch.

Then he ended that conversation with these words of wisdom for his father: “You know dad, if you keep giving mom all your money for those stupid horses we are NEVER gonna get a boat.”

So he started saving.

He had steadfastly refused to consider using his money for anything up to this point; no matter how much he wanted something he would not break into his bank.  So it came as a great surprise that Sunday morning when he said “Yes, I do have money for a pool.  I will get it out and see if it’s enough.”

So he did.

First we counted the paper money, which Batman refers to as “Cash.”  He had accrued an astounding $30 in ones, fives and a single ten-dollar bill, a little of it birthday money that hadn’t made it to the bank but most undoubtedly appropriated from around the house as it sat momentarily unsupervised.

Next we went on to the coins.  I showed him how to count out the quarters, and he sat patiently on the coffee table painstakingly stacking little columns of four.  I added the money from the laundry jar that sits on a shelf above the washing machine to his pile so he had quite a load to sort through.

Counting the Quarters

When the counting was complete even Batman was surprised at how much he had accumulated:  $42 in quarters alone.

All Counted

When all the money was separated out and counted it added up to nearly ninety dollars, almost enough to pay for the hard-sided pool that I had found on-line at a clearance price in several stores within a few miles from us.  Satisfied that Batman had exhibited financial maturity by agreeing to use his money for something that he really, really wanted, DH told him to bring the “Cash” and put all the rest away and keep on saving.  At first I thought “How sweet!” and then I realized that hubby just didn’t want to deal with the change.  Still, it was nice.

The happy trio of daddy, son and daughter left on their quest, coming home over an hour later with not the hard-sided pool we had agreed on, but a duplicate of the blow-up pool from last year that had been trashed so quickly.  Seems we were not the only family thinking of cooling off in the 100 degree-plus temperatures forecast for the coming week.

Still, the kids were happy.  They immediately got suited up in preparation for a full afternoon of swimming.

Waiting for fill

They waited impatiently as the water slowly lifted the plastic ring that provided wall support for the pool.

Will it ever be full

When the pool was finally full, they jumped in to the cold water with all the enthusiasm you could imagine.  They wore their vests.

Love the vests

And shared the float tube.

Double Float Tube

The cold water took its toll rather quickly, so mid-afternoon Annabelle took a break from swimming to ride Grumpy around while she warmed up.  She caught him, booted him up, fashioned reins out of her lead rope and got on all by herself while I watched from the shade of the back porch.

Pool Break

Then she trotted him around and around the grass until the most surprising thing happened.

Daddy came out to swim.

Daddy Floats

Having daddy join them in the pool reignited all of the initial enthusiasm the kids had started with, and it wasn’t long before they were all playing like wild monkeys.

Sissy Jumps

It took Batman a while to get his nerve up to jump, but when he did he was unstoppable.

Batman Launches

The kids had a wonderful time swimming in the pool that afternoon.  By the next day the water had warmed up considerably, and Batman and his sister had fun for the next several afternoons swimming in the pool and watching Winston jump in and out of the increasingly murky water.

Sadly, this year’s pool soon met the same demise as last year.  Batman’s hard-saved-for investment lasted only about ten days before our crazy bird dog Winston created a tiny hole in the upper ring, either with his toe nails or the collar that Annabelle had accidentally left on him, and the pool now lists dramatically to one side with only about ten inches of dirty water inside.

Not to worry though.  Knowing that this would be the likely outcome, I ordered a new, much more durable, hard-sided pool with a filter to be delivered to our house.  It arrives today.

Batman doesn’t even have to pay for it.

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

Rain, Reining and Roses

Saturday was the first Snake River Reining Alliance Club show of the year.  Annabelle has been anxious to go show again after having to sit around without much riding for a whole week in Vegas, so she was looking forward to getting out in the pen herself.

The day dawned a little gray but pretty warm.  We loaded up early and headed over to Kuna to the Lucky Run Arena.  As we arrived, it was easy to see the show was a big success.  The large parking lot was filled with every description of trailer, and I thought to myself “it’s gonna be a long day.”

We had a several-hour wait until our class, which we spent by industriously eating donuts and talking to all our friends who were also hanging around.  A steady rain had picked up shortly after we got inside the arena, and we tried to wait it out before we got our horses out of the trailer and saddled.

Finally, after Annabelle asked me for the forty-seventh time when she could get on Grumpy, I acquiesced and we headed out into the drizzle to get saddled up.  It was immediately apparent that I had not packed warm enough clothes or coats for us.

It was windy and miserable, with the rain varying from a light drizzle to what my friend David Duckett describes so eloquently as “a cow peeing on a flat rock”.  Except he doesn’t say peeing.

It's Cold Out Here!

We tried to ride around outside with the other riders for a while, but eventually it was just too miserable, and we sat inside with everyone else waiting for our classes to come up.

We were muddy and cold, and our horses were definitely not the picture of show-ready that day.

We're Wet But Ready

Auntie Shane is such a funny girl!

Bunny Ears

Just before her class came up, Annabelle went back outside to lope.  You can actually the rain falling in this picture, but she was not to be deterred.

Raindrops are Falling

I was not as hardy or dedicated as my daughter in my rainy-day warm up routine, so when I entered the arena to school Freckles in the green rookie class she was…..let’s just say ‘not quite mentally prepared’. She spooked from the judge, swished her tail, and carried her head like a 14-hand giraffe for a bit, then settled down into her work.

Once she got going she was actually pretty good.  We were the first out in our class of 16 horses, and the judge must have seen something she really liked in my diminutive red filly, because she marked us a 70.  While I was thrilled with the score, I really did feel it was a bit generous, and I saw several horses follow us that I was sure would mark better.  Somehow, though, our number held up through the class and Freckles won her first reining money:  $49.70.  Yahoo!

Have I mentioned that I love this horse?

Here is a video of our run:

When it was Annabelle’s turn, she headed out all smiles.  She had been waiting all day to go show, and she was ready.

Despite the rain, she had succeeded in loping Grumpy until he was pretty tired, and he was definitely not in the mood to go out and be shown.  Annabelle had to work pretty hard at getting him through the pattern. The other kids had some problems with their patterns too, though, and in the end Annabelle and Grumpy did come away with the only score of the day, and an automatic first place.

I was really proud of her because she didn’t give up when she had some  problems getting her spins or her back-up at the end of her run.  That girl does have perseverance, no doubt about that!  I’ve had a problem getting her video to upload, but she did a great job of keeping her horse correct and honest through the pattern.

As soon as we were finished showing we loaded up and headed home, but not before Annabelle gave Grumpy his cookies as a reward for a job well done.

He Earned his Treats

DH had been home with Batman all day, and I knew they were ready for some female companionship in the house.  On the way home I called to see if we needed anything from the store.  “Nope”, he said. “I’ve got it handled”.

We walked in the door, still cold and very hungry, to find a large bowl of delicious home-made guacamole on the table.  There was already a glass of wine poured, and DH was in the middle of making fish and chips with fresh cod, paired with some special crunchy fries that he had just found the recipe for that day.

The food was awesome, but that wasn’t all.  The boys had picked me up a dozen red roses at the grocery store while they were there.

Just because.

The Roses

I love my life!

Categories: Horse Adventures, Kids Are Funny Creatures, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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

GSSHA Show #4

A couple of weeks ago Annabelle had her final Gem State Stock Horse Association show for the season.  She was excited, even more so than usual.  We had just returned from our trip to Seattle, and my little cowgirl was anxious to get back in the saddle.

We met Auntie Kris out at Lucky Run for a little practice on Friday afternoon. Batman was very excited to see the lovely Ms. Kristi, who he blushingly calls his “girlfriend.”  She was sweet enough to let the kids “help” her do some of her chores.

Check out Batman’s outfit.

No, I did not dress him. But apparently I did let him leave the house that way.

hs Helping Kristi

Once the wash rack was clear, the kids started in on Chic.  When he was all scrubbed up Annabelle wanted to clean his feet.  Look how he is standing there…..his foot resting so the kids can work on it.

hs Wild Chic

It took them quite a while, but Chic never moved once.  What an awesome horse he is.

hs What a Good Boy

Saturday morning dawned bright and clear.  We were up early and started our drive over to Ontario by about 6:30.  The kids ate McDonald’s pancakes in the car on the way over, so they were all fueled up for the day.

Batman burned off a little of his extra energy by doing an Olympic Gymnastics impression on the rails of the warm up pen.

If they ever let four-year olds who wear “Disney Cars” pull-ups and cowboy boots into the Olympics, Batman has a great shot.

hs Batman Swings

Annabelle calmly trotted Chic around the warm-up pen.  She is getting pretty comfortable with this whole horse show scene by now.

hs Warming Up

I tried to talk my little diva through her pattern one last time, but she just said “Mom, I know what to do!”

Famous last words, but we’ll get to that in a moment.  She didn’t really want her picture taken either.

hs Pretty Picture

But I had to keep taking it, because she was wearing another beautiful new shirt that Auntie Shane had gotten for her.  It was pink snake-skin, with a rhinestone collar and French cuffs.

I don’t think I have ever seen a cooler horse show shirt.  I’ve sure never worn one.


When it was finally her turn, Annabelle walked Chic calmly into the pen.

hsReady to Go In

And then she did her pattern.

Well, half of it.  She forgot one circle.  Other than that little detail, though, her performance really was great.

Chic ran down and stopped like the World Champion he is.

It was beautiful.

But short.

You can watch it here.  It only takes a minute.

Annabelle and Chic, Gem State Stock Horse Association Show #4

When Annabelle came out of the pen she was beaming.  She didn’t realize that she  had forgotten part of her pattern.  I told her she did great, with that one little hiccup.

She thought long and hard about it.  Then she said “Well, that’s not that big of a deal is it?  They will still give me a good score, right?”  I told her I wasn’t sure about the Little Buckaroos Class, but in the big kids’ classes they would give you a zero for missing part of the pattern.

Annabelle was horrified. “A zero!?  Just for forgetting a circle? That doesn’t seem like THAT big of a deal!”  I laughed really hard, then told her not to worry about it.  I have messed up more patterns in various types of horse shows than many people will ever run in their careers.  “It happens to everyone,” I told her.

She was relieved.

After the show as over we hung around for a while.  We chatted with Auntie Kris, who was kind about the mishap and reassured Annabelle again that pattern hiccups happen to everyone.

Kris was showing her pretty bay mare Sally, who seemed to enjoy her new role as a hackamore horse.

hs Auntie Kris

We stopped by Jerry Vincent’s tack trailer to check out a different saddle for Annabelle, since hers wasn’t fitting any of the horses very well.  We didn’t bother getting Chic undressed all the way for his fitting.  His fly sheet hung around his neck like a scarf.  He didn’t care though.  He’s very secure in his manhood.  Well, gelding-hood I guess.

Chic is Draped

Jerry very kindly let us trade the saddle in for one that fit both Annabelle and Chic better.  Of course, I forgot to take a picture of it.  But it’s really cute.

We drove home from Ontario happy.  Although Annabelle did not win her class on this day, she still took first place in the Gem State Little Buckaroo Division with her three first place wins in the previous shows.

She doesn’t know that though.  She thinks it is all for fun.  I am trying to postpone for as long as possible her realization that she is actually competing with her friends out there.

Because it really is all for fun.

Thanks again to Auntie Kris for sharing her awesome ride Chic, and Auntie Shane, who once again contributed most everything that my daughter was wearing.

You guys rock.

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These Things Happen in Threes

It is said that bad luck happens in threes.

I publicly humiliated myself recently by admitting to an incident that happened to me and my bay mare regarding an overhead roll up door.

About a week after that, I dropped my brand new camera on the concrete outside my sister’s garage after capturing on film the wonderful day my kids and I had sledding behind the four wheelers after a first-day-of-spring snow storm. It did not fare well.

After those two incidents happened, I remarked to my friend that I was certainly hoping there would not be a third incident.  She was supportive; she said “I think you can count the overhead door accident as two incidents – one for the door itself and one for the saddle. There are your three.  I think you are good.”

I appreciated her positive attitude, but I wasn’t so sure.  I am not overly superstitious.  But I am superstitious.

Today was a beautiful spring day in Idaho.  The sun shone.  The birds chirped.  The maniac bird dog puppy ran around crazily with all manner of our personal belongings in his mouth.

Horsecrazy rode her wonderful horse Grumpy for a good couple of hours.

Annabelle grumpy

We got out my pretty, sweet bay mare, Spice, and Zach rode her. I took them both on a nice trail ride around the property.

Kid on Horses

On the way back we ran into our neighbor Kay.  She is married to Vernon, who most recently helped us in capturing the escapted Little Black Pony Reno.

We love our neighbors.  We stopped to visit.  Annabelle grew tired of the talking and went back into the pen to lope around some more.  Zach had to stay with me as I was leading his horse.

Annabelle Lopes Grumpy

After Annabelle and Grump had loped for awhile I saw them meandering around the arena.  Then I saw them wander into the pen next door, through the not-very-wide-gate.  I talked some more.  Then I heard a big crash.  I looked over in horror.

Annabelle was still on her horse.  But she was crying.  She was crying very loudly.  Then she jumped off her horse.

I noticed the saddle was missing a very important piece.  The entire right stirrup.

Saddle on Grumpy

I ran to my baby daughter, worried her foot might be somewhere with the missing stirrup.

She was fine.  The gate was fine.

The Offending Bracket

She had caught the stirrup on the bracket of the gate. It had torn the entire right fender off of the saddle.

Gate 1, Saddle 0.

Annabelle was very worried that she was in trouble.  I assured her that accidents happen and she was not in trouble.  She was still very worried.  She thought her saddle was ruined forever.

It did look pretty bad.

Broken Pieces

I did the only thing a mom could do.  I loaded up the kids and the broken saddle and drove to……..

Bob Bean in Door

All the way Annabelle cried off and on.  She asked me to tell her all the stories of the silly things I did with horses when I was younger.  That took pretty much the whole trip.  I did some serious editing.

Bob was very sweet to my little girl.  He told her that he had seen full grown adults do far worse things to their saddles.

bob Holds saddle

He worked on her saddle for about fifteen minutes.

Bob works saddle

And handed it back over, just as good as new.

He charged Annabelle a quarter.  She didn’t have one, so she still owes him.  He gave her and Zachary some candy.

We love Bob Bean.

And we are very glad the third thing wasn’t so bad after all.

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First Day of Spring…..Sledding?

Yesterday was the first day of spring, but you wouldn’t know that by looking out our back door.  This is what the view was like by mid-morning.  The pastures and trees were covered in a couple of inches of snow.

Snowy Landscape

The little baby tulips by the barn were frozen.

Tulips in Snow

Nothing was safe from the sticky white stuff.

Jumpy in Snow

At about noon Aunt Susie called and invited us to a sledding party. Yippee!

We headed over to her and Uncle Lonnie’s after the kids finished pre-school.

First we got the four wheelers out of the garage.

Susan and Annie

Then Uncle Lonnie attached sleds to the back of each of them.

Lonnie Prepares

We loaded up and the fun began!

First the kids rode together.

Kids go By

Then by themselves.

Zach Flies By

Annabelle Alone

The only sound to be heard over the whine of the four wheeler engines was “Faster!  Faster!  Faster!  Let’s go faster!”  These kids are little adrenaline junkies!

After awhile the cousins arrived and joined in the fun.  It was twice as much fun with four of them.  Even Potus the Beagle joined in a for a  few laps.

All The Kids

When we first started it was pretty snowy, but as the afternoon wore on it became increasingly muddy.

Annabelle didn’t care.

Annabelle on Belly

I am sure I had as much fun riding the four wheeler as the kids did being pulled behind it.  Zach bailed off the sled about halfway through to ride on the front with me.

Mm and Kids in Mud

When we finally called it quits two hours later we were shocked by how dirty Annabelle was.

Annabelle in Mud

She was a pretty good sport, but I think she was really really cold.

We all went inside and Aunt Susie made us hot cocoa and pizza for dinner.

On the car ride home Zach said “Aunt Susie is a good girl, isn’t she mom?”  I said “Yes, she is. She’s a very good girl.”

He thought for a moment.  “She’s a really special girl isn’t she mom?”


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

Organizing Batman

Before you proceed to read this post or look too closely at the pictures I’d like to say a couple of things.  First, I am not a hoarder.  Really.  Second, although I’d like to say otherwise, these picture are actual pictures of our playroom, which was formerly my three year old son, Zachary’s (aka Batman) room.  The pictures are not staged or retouched in any way.  This is really what the room looked like after Batman and his sister left for pre-school this morning.  Third, I keep a relatively clean house.  Most of the time you won’t find an errant shoe in the living room, let alone, well, this.

Batman made the decision a couple of months ago that he wanted to sleep in his older sister’s room.  Since his older sister is only five and doesn’t have a well defined sense of her personal space yet, she okayed the idea.

On a pre-school morning much like this one, I moved Batman’s toddler bed into his sister’s room and reorganized the toy cubbies neatly in its place.  It would be easier to keep both spaces clean, I thought, if the toys lived all in one room and the other was just for sleeping and watching Scooby Doo re-runs.  Unfortunately, I underestimated the destructive power of my two little angels.  Since the play room wasn’t very well set up for storing toys in specific places, stuff just got tossed around.  And tossed around.  And tossed around. Both Batman and his sister are very good at remembering that ONE SINGLE TOY THEY JUST HAVE TO HAVE which unfortunately is usually buried at the bottom of the pile, only to be unearthed by a major expedition involving tossing everything in the entire room.

So, after a few weeks of (sort of) trying to keep it clean and organized, and then a few more of trying to ignore the space when I walked by, this was the appearance of the room this morning.


Seriously.  I didn’t do a thing but take the picture.  This is what if really looked like.  I’m not proud of it.  But obviously I have no shame.


After dropping the wee ones at preschool this morning, I made a stop at the local Super WalMart for some supplies.

I bought six really big clear stacking bins, and a couple of little ones. And a box of black trash bags.  Then I went to sorting.  Once I determined the major categories of mess (Balls, Trucks, Dolls, Baby Blankets, Books and Stuffed Animals) I dug in.  It was a couple of hour long process. And very incremental in its momentum.


I found some interesting things along the way.  Including but not limited to:

A fork

5 quarters

An empty (thank god) plastic bottle of chocolate milk

4 shoes with no mates

I filled a black leaf garbage bag to the hilt with broken toys and ripped out pages of coloring books,  and removed two empty boxes which formerly housed diapers.  When I was all done, it looked like this:


Pretty spiffy if I do say so myself.


And I am just certain it will stay looking like this. Because of the bins, you know.  The bins.  Now that there is a proper place for everything it will all stay in its place.  Right.  RIGHT?! I can just hear my friend Shane snickering from here.  And saying “Let’s just see it in a week!”

She’s probably right.  She always is.

Next I tackle the office.

Categories: Kids Are Funny Creatures, Uncategorized | Tags: , | 3 Comments

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