Monday, April 20, 2009

Lots of photo opportunities!







So, we spent Wednesday through Friday at Pokagon State Park for Greg's vacation. The weather was beautiful! Perfect camping weather (in my opinion). It wasn't too hot, too cold, no bugs and no other campers!!! We were one of 3 families (retired couples) that were out there. So, we pretty much had the whole park to ourselves. We had a wonderful time! Delaney did end up feeling under the weather and we ended up in the ER on Thursday night, but on the positive side, we got lots of camping in and enjoyed ourselves immensely. Plans are already in the works for future trips. We would like to get a pop-up for ourselves, since we borrowed Greg's Grandma's camper this time. Hopefully, next year we can look in to getting ourselves something small that we can pull with the Suzuki. The dogs had a great time too. We really are looking forward to the camping thing with them as well. Such a great time to be able to bring out whole family (minus Eddie and the sucker fish) with us camping and not have to worry about spending tons of money or where to take the dogs.


Delaney loved the playground equipment. She was particularly fond of the twirly slide.

She loved taking Garrett for walks. He is such a good boy. Anytime she would get too far behind him, he would stop and wait (not so patiently) for her to catch up.




Greg was the master of the fire for the few days. Unfortunately, it had rained for 3 days prior to camping, so the wood was just damp enough that we had to use a whole container of starting fluid to get it going. But, it worked and we had a charcoal grill to cook on...so no biggie.

How awesome is this RV??? Perfect size for the 5 of us (including the dogs). Delaney got the "master bedroom" in the back to herself and Greg and I slept in the loft above the drivers seat.





Delaney pushing Minnie Jo in her new stroller from Grandma and Grandpa Shepherd for Easter.







Daddy's girl for sure... she spends lots of time snuggling with Daddy in the chair or on the couch. Our night time routine is to get jammies on then she sits with Daddy in the chair to "relax" before she goes to bed. Delaney and I were reading her Easter cards from last weekend. She loves cards! Every morning she goes through her Easter cards and looks at the pictures. A child that actually likes the cards and not just the presents! Brilliant...










The below picture is of Macie and McCue and their first jumping lesson of the year. The did great! So proud of both of them.
This picture is of the same day of lessons. Emily was there to watch Macie and McCue and she decided to take Delaney for a little walk through the barn. Emily is wearing her sling in this one from her recent injuries with her horse. She is mending great and should be riding again sooner than they had originally expected (not that I am surprised!).


Overall, we had a great vacation week. We accomplished quite a bit outside on Saturday and got most of my cool season veggies planted. We'll see if anything decides to cooperate so we can have some cheap veggies to eat soon! We did get the Japanese Silver Grass divided as well. What a project!!! I have invested lots of cash over the years to all these great perennials and have yet to divide any of them to take full advantage of why I bought them to begin with. That particular grass is the pride and joy of my whole garden. I love...let me repeat... I love this grass. It has been a perfect specimen since day one. It is tall without being obnoxious, it has great sound when the breeze blows through it, it is gorgeous in the fall/winter, it isn't invasive, but still grows and is perfectly round. So, why wouldn't I want to propogate it and get more of it. I'm terrified of killing it. I love gardening, but do have a terrible fear of killing my precious plants that I have painstakingly doted over for years. But, my justification is this... if I don't divide this grass, it will eventually die. The center has already started to die out and eventually without division it will kill the whole plant. And...if I do happen to kill it by dividing it, I can easily buy another one and start all over. Instead of halving it, I ended up quartering it. I didn't realize how HUGE this thing was until Greg and I started digging it up. I broke my awesome composting pitchfork trying to get it out of the ground. But, it's out and is in 3 other locations of the yard. So far, so good... I am on pins and needles waiting for all 4 plants to get new growth on them, so I can deem it a success and take on other perennials in our yard. I'll take some photos of them once they start to grow so I can show off my mad gardening skills!




























Tuesday, April 14, 2009

20 Months?!

How can this be possible?? 20 months old?! Just seems so old to me. No longer a baby for sure, definitely a toddler. Complete with opinions, temper tantrums and whining. But, what else comes with being a toddler? Glorious things... kisses (for us, dogs, cat, baby and even the fish), hugs, talking, "running" (which actually just involves wiggling your butt faster and swinging your arms), laughing, animal noises (the newest and greatest party trick), independence, "snoring" on the couch with daddy, cooking food in your kitchen and having us taste it, dancing, stealing anything within your reach on the table, playing in the bath tub, and a multitude of other delicious things Delaney does that Greg and I adore.
Even the temper tantrums I find entertaining. They are obvious reminders that she is an intelligent independent thinking little person now instead of just a sweet baby that sits quietly and plays with toys. There are days I long for that again, but there are definite advantages to her getting older.
The diaper bag doesn't have to weigh 37 lbs anymore (more like 32 lbs now!), we can take 1 or 2 diapers instead of a whole pack for a 2 hour outing, snacks aren't quite as messy anymore or require silverware, sippy cups can go empty and we can buy milk wherever we are going, and she can carry her own toys out to the car.
We had a wonderful Easter and a great visit with our friend's little boy from Seattle. If I can remember to bring my camera, I will get photos of both uploaded. I am also working on getting pictures of my scrapbooking on here as well.
I acquired a new lesson person last night. So, that puts my current count at 9! My goal was 10 for the summer. I haven't even advertised yet! My awesome friend, Livvy, designed a logo for my business to put on cards, shirts and flyers. As soon as I get some things made up, I'll post for your viewing pleasure.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Jumping Lessons Day: 1

Yesterday was day one of my newest endeavor... jumping. Personal trainers have nothing on a riding instructor. Truly, I haven't felt this sore for years. We worked on 2 point position the entire lesson. And...wow... my thighs and calves felt like jello after about the first 20 minutes and I rode for about 75 minutes total. It felt great, but was a horrible realization of how terribly out of riding shape I am. I have been kicking up the riding the last few weeks, but not this kind of riding. I had to shorten up my stirrups by 4 notches on the left and 5 on the right. Guess Delaney isn't the only one with one leg shorter than the other.

McCue has jumped in the past, but I was not the one to teach him or do any formal lessons with him. Macie is planning on taking McCue to fair this year for hunter under saddle and jumping. This is my very first time of doing jumping lessons. I have taken him and other horses over cavalettis, but never actual jumps.

Joy is my dressage/jumping trainer. She is truly one of the most experienced horse people I have ever been around. Her talents are many and her horse knowledge is priceless, but you would never know it by talking to her. She is a great example of what "horse people" should be. Humble, patient, positive, encouraging, without ever talking down to her students. She brings the language down to the level of the students.

We started our lesson with going over some single cavaletti focusing on correct 2 point position, speed control and not falling off! I have been posting too high and need to focus on posting lower and letting McCue determine how high I should be posting. I do feel like that was going better by the end of the lesson. My other problem is turning off the "horse trainer" in me. More than once, Joy had to remind me to leave McCue alone and just ride. She said my only job (at least to begin with) is to just be "neutral". I need to be in a position that I don't hinder him from doing his job and figuring out the puzzles that we are jumping. He and I are truly learning this together. What a blessing to have Joy to help us learn these very important foundations. So many riders I know never learn to do these things correctly or safely. Joy makes our lesson so easy, that we cannot do anything but the right movements. She makes a set of grids that leads us through the jumps without having to question anything but just sitting there and going through.

McCue is learning to pick up his feet, strengthen his topline, be more flexible and be bold enough to go through these series of jumps/puzzles. I can see where these lessons will be incredible for his confidence. He has come a long way from the unconfident nervous horse he use to be. He questioned some of the bigger cross rails we went over and tried ducking out at the last minute, but Joy quickly nipped that in the bud and put a cavaletti down so it would be a mild barrier from ducking out. Could have possibly been a disaster if I was by myself and didn't know how to correct that.

So, my assessment of the lesson was very positive and tons of fun! I can see why riders get addicted to jumping. I have been doing so many controlled disciplines, that it feels good to do something really fun for both of us. HUS and dressage are great for his and my foundations to be ready for jumping, but wow, what a rush when we went over the first substantial cross rail that made him tuck up and actually launch himself over. And, because of Joy helping me with my 2 point position, I felt very confident going over.

I always knew McCue and I had big things ahead of us together, but never thought we would be doing jumping. Him, at 12 years old, out of shape, slightly a chicken about new experiences, and an open show phenom....and me, a 32-yr-old wife and mommy who hasn't rode much in the last few years and has been very comfortable with having my "horse experiences" from a teaching view. The last 9 years has been an incredible journey together, this is sure to only make it better...