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Milestone?

Yesterday while Princess and I were out at the barn so she could ride, she took Cowboy’s saddle off and rode him around the pasture bareback for awhile for a cool down.

Then she asked me to open the gate so she could ride him up to the barn and hitching post for his post-ride grooming.

I asked her if she was sure she wanted to do it bareback (she never wants to ride him out there even with the saddle!).

She said “Ya. We’ll be fine. He’d never do anything to hurt me on purpose.”

I believe we have finally crossed the line from “I’m riding him and convincing myself he won’t hurt me” to “He’s MY horse and I love him and he loves me and he’ll never do anything to hurt me.”

She trusts him (and herself!) enough that she’s been working a lot on cantering cross rail courses and has started jumping 2′ verticals (which is very difficult for a mother to watch – just sayin’!).

I like that we’re back at that place.

It makes me nervous when she gets so comfortable – we have the talk often about how you can’t EVER get complacent on or around horses.

But I really like that we’re finally back at that place where she can ENJOY the horses without fear as much as she loves the horses :-)

 

***Someday I’ll post a photo or some videos of her jumping. I’ve taken my camera with good intentions many times, but forget to use it because I’m watching to make sure nothing happens! I’m not sure I’m cut out to be a horse show mom.

Moving Truck

Yesterday, I had a nice chat with the neighbors that live up the hill from us. She said she’d keep an eye on the house while we’re gone for a couple days. She joked that “if I see someone driving cars out of your garage or a moving truck pull in, I’ll call 911.”

I giggled and told her that would be awesome.

Today I had to call her back. Why?

Because we have some friends who are moving back to CO from AZ this weekend. I offered up our house as their “in between” home for the weekend since we’ll be gone.

So there WILL be a moving truck in our driveway and they WILL be driving a car and motorcycle out of our shed (they’ve been storing them with us for the past month or so).

I thought it would be a good idea to ask our neighbor to NOT call the cops on our friends ;-)

It all just made me giggle.

Happy weekend everyone!

Dear Celebrities

1. Don’t TAKE the nude photos of yourself in the first place!

2. Don’t store them on THE FRIGGIN’ CLOUD!

That’s basically what I told my kiddos after they heard the “news” of the Apple security breach on the radio on the way to school yesterday.

The end.

The Ultimate Lesson

Some very sad news out of the area yesterday. Saturday night around 1:00 a.m., a Mini Cooper with 4 teenagers in it ran a stop sign, went airborn, skidded into the forest, and crashed in our old neighborhood.

Two kids died (both went to Palmer Ridge High School).

One kid was airlifted to the hospital and is in critical condition.

The fourth kid, the 17 year old driver, sustained minor injuries and is currently in juvenile detention center on charges of vehicular homicide.

Alcohol and excessive speed are believed to be partly to blame.

There was outrage on Facebook and other social media that the news channels published photos of the wreck and of the two boys who lost their lives.

Some parents said it was disrespectful to the grieving families.

Other said it was necessary for other kids to see what happens when you make those choices.

Still other said that no kids read those pages and wouldn’t see them anyway.

But here’s the thing – there were 500+ comments on one of several articles.

As a parent, I took that opportunity to sit my teenage son down and show him the photos of the wreck. Show him the photos of the wrestler and baseball player who will never be showing up to school again.

I said “Starting tomorrow, there are two fewer students at Palmer Ridge High School.”

He got a little huffy and said “Why do you talk to me like I did this? I didn’t do it!”

Then I got to explain that while I know he didn’t do it, I want him to realize how awful the ultimate outcome of a single bad decision can be.

I told him to think about it in this way . . .

Two mothers woke up without sons.

One mother woke up to a son fighting for his life.

Yet a fourth mother woke up wondering how her son’s life would be ruined forever and with tremendous guilt over what the other 3 mothers are going through.

Siblings woke up without brothers.

Friends woke up knowing they’d never see their best buddies again.

Classmates returned to school today to two permanently empty desks.

Teammates woke up knowing they’d never get to practice or play with two of their own.

 

I asked him to consider this thought:

What if YOU woke up today knowing you’d never see H and H again?

What if YOU woke up today in a juvenile detention center knowing YOU were the reason H and H’s mothers would never see them again?

What if YOU woke up today in the hospital, wondering what the rest of your life would be like if you did, indeed make it?

 

It’s not worth it. NEVER drink and drive. NEVER get in a car with a friend or peer who has been drinking.

If you do decide to take a drink, or your “ride” decides to take a drink . . . ALWAYS know you and any of your buddies can and should call me for a ride, no questions asked.

 

I can’t imagine being one of those four mothers today. My hear goes out to each and every one of those boys, their families, and friends.

 

And to Dude’s geometry teacher, who texts each of his students every Friday with the following message – thank you.

***Have a great weekend. Make good choices in everything you do. Until we meet again on Monday.***

National Dog Day

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for some happy news in a drama-free day :-)

Here’s Duma . . . March of 2008 at 4 months old, doing her best to convince me that she had nothing to do with what happened in the bathroom . . . and the hallway.

It’s August!

Baseball is over – we’re taking fall off

School has started – middle school and high school this year (yes . . . really!)

I love my new convertible – it has a bigger engine than my FunRunner and uses the same amount of gas as my FunRunner. I don’t care. It’ll be put in the garage for winter in a couple months, so I’m drivin’ it, baby!

Dude is sick – heading to the doc in an hour (yup, missed the 3rd day of school!)

Cowboy is awesome – he and Princess are really bonding well and getting to know each other’s riding style

Princess is working hard – she gave up swimming for fall so she could ride 3-4 times a week to get ready for a special show in September. She’s cantering over cross rails in the pasture – woot! A far cry from the fear of even getting on her horse and walking in April.

My sliding door sucks – it was a custom door, it was expensive, it is still not installed properly, and the company is really unresponsive

Cool Chicks Camp – is this weekend: I. Can’t. Wait!

We’ve been enjoying our evenings and family time – a nice break from the awesome fun crazy that was our summer :-)

There – all caught up. Happy end of August, everyone!

$60,745 – Revisited

Originally posted February 7, 2013

Last night, while sitting at the Y for swim team lessons for the bazillionth day/hour in the past year, I got tired of working, reading, playing Scrabble.

So I built my dream car.

It’s only $60,745.

I’ve wanted this car since I was 25.

In my mind, it’s kinda like a tattoo… I wanted it when I was 18, but waited until I was 25. I still wanted it, so I got it.

I’ve wanted this car since I was 25. I’ve waited until I’m 40 and I still want it . . .

Somehow, I don’t think this will end as happily as my tattoo hold-out did.

——————————————————————-

Um – it turned out :-) This beauty is now living comfortably in my garage, right behind my Highlander. Woot woot!

It is not new and it cost nowhere NEAR the price in the title . . . but it’s beautiful and fun and shiny and fun and awesome and – did I mention fun? Now to figure out how to keep a black car looking clean when you live on a gravel road!

Progression

My Princess has always loved horses . . . always. Always wanted to go on trail rides, wear a shirt with a horse on it, watch horse shows and movies.

In 2012, I finally got her hooked up with some lessons. She LOVED it! In the past two years of riding with the same trainer, she’s (we’ve) progressed through so much!

 After a summer of a few lessons in a Western saddle, she was ready to move to English. Here she is riding in one of her first English lessons in fall of 2012.

Of course, when your trainer is an English jumper, you naturally learn how to jump on your horse, which then leads to horse shows :-)

 Here she is in September 2012 looking as cute as ever in her little English outfit. We bought the helmet and borrowed the rest from Amara. Didn’t want to spend moolah if she wasn’t going to like this!

She started off small trotting over piles of poles on Shadow. OMG she was so friggin’ cute!

After a winter with a few lessons, she was ready to get after it! She really enjoyed the horses and the English riding, so we went to Miss Amara’s Horse Ownership 101 class. We learned tons (that we did NOT yet want to own a horse) and met Prince, the new Arabian that was possibly going to live at Amara’s. Princess fell in love – she and Prince had an awesome bond – and we decided to lease Prince for the summer. Lots more riding and lots more fun! We learned a ton about horses and horse care and everything else.

We also took the plunge and bought Princess her very own English starter saddle complete with bridle, leathers, and irons.

She rode Prince in shows in the summer of 2013, progressing from poles to the walk/trot flat classes and cross rails.

Getting higher and higher! Prince was an awesome horse for Princess. He loved to ride and jump, but he also had a mischievous side to him. He knew what he was doing, so every now and then he would just do this thing and Princess would hold on for dear life. In fall of 2013, she had a pretty scary ride on him where she almost fell off when he refused a jump at the last minute, but she hung on and he helped her stay on and all was good.

Prince started getting more and more spooked and crazy with the other girls (he was always great with Princess – she loved him and trusted him fully!). Since he wasn’t our horse, it was Amara’s choice and decision to send him to another home. He just wasn’t safe enough for her students. Princess was sad, but she got over it when Miss Amara invited Princess to ride Sunny (Amara’s show horse) in a special show at an Equestrian school.

We were so proud of her! She did great riding against all of those riders who go to boarding school at this Equestrian school with very expensive horses. A couple 2nd places and a 5th place!

 

 

The bonus was that her riding confidence and skill was getting much better. The non-bonus was that now she wanted her own horse.

We said no to her own horse. But I did buy her new boots and chaps and show clothes as a consolation ;-)

Then, she had her accident while riding with a friend. I wasn’t sure if she’d ever get on a horse again! To my semi-surprise, the day doc said she was allowed on a horse, she got on. She was nervous, but she got on. She did it. She wanted it. She was scared, I could tell, but she pushed through it and did awesome! After a couple months of timid riding and seeing if she really wanted to do this, she was back at it, trotting off the lunge line and doing her own thing.

So what did we do? We bought Princess her very own show horse! She deserved it. She’d wanted one for so long, this “horse thing” was clearly not going away, and the perfect horse came up for sale at the most imperfect time ;-) But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do no matter the timing.

Princess and Cowboy are a great pair. They work well together, they get each other, and he is very gentle with her when he feels her nerves getting the best of her and she needs him to help her out. They’ve gone to a few shows this summer, back to walk/trot and piles of poles. And they’re winning.

She’s working hard toward a special show in Boulder in September. She and Amara set a goal of her to get comfortable enough at the canter so she can do the walk/trot/canter class instead of just walk/trot. Princess has set her own personal goal of wanting to jump in the cross rails division instead of piles of poles. She even decided to skip swim team in August and September so she can spend more time practicing with Cowboy. I’m so proud of her determination! Truthfully, the walk/trot/canter could happen in September. I’m not so sure about the cross rails. But I’m so proud of her for wanting to work hard enough toward her goal that she’s giving up her other love, swimming, for a couple months so she can give it her all.

And do you want to know the real point of this story? I was going to tell you that all of her stuff is for sale on eBay and at Miss Amara’s barn right now. She’s grown out of 2 pair of riding pants and 2 show jackets as well as her first saddle. I’m sentimental and usually keep the first of everything, but a saddle does not fit nicely in a Rubbermaid bin ;-) So it’s for sale. While she’s progressed through her riding levels and grown out of many sizes, I’ve progressed through the need to keep every first thing.

Although, I’m secretly hoping one of the jackets won’t sell so I can keep it. It would be fun to have her first tiny English outfit to show at her graduation! :-)

Get Your Kicks . . . Day Ten – San Bernardino to Cedar City, UT

Thursday, June 19, 2014
395 Miles

Day One    Day Two    Day Three    Day Four    Day Five    Day Six    Day Seven   Day Eight    Day Nine    Day Ten

Day Ten is what I call Half Ass Haul Ass day. We’re officially off of Route 66 and on our way home, but there are a couple detours I want to make on the way.

But first, before we get to any fun stuff, I just have to say WTH California? Oh. My. GAWD! What is UP with the 100% complete inability to drive?! Not one person has any friggin’ clue how to drive on the Interstate. It is MADDENING! And it was seriously every friggin’ car with California plates. Yes, I know we’re in CA, but there are just as many out of state plates on I-15 as there are in state plates. And even when we got out of CA into Nevada and then Utah, the cars with CA plates STILL had no clue! I was hoping it was maybe just those that LIVE in CA . . . but nope, it’s everyone.

Now that that’s over, let’s move on :-)

Our first detour was to Hoover Dam. I’ve seen it many times over the past 18 years, but Princess had never been there (Dude still hasn’t!). Every time I see this I STILL can’t believe how much water people use without giving it a thought.

 

Princess had no clue what to expect. She kept wondering how a dam could be worth driving that far for – she’s used to seeing the dams we have here in CO to create our reservoirs. All I could say was remember how big the Grand Canyon was compared to other canyons you’ve seen? It’s kinda like that.

 

It was CRAZY hot out, so we drove across the dam first. Then we took a tiny walk out onto the dam just to say we did. When we left, we made sure to drive over the bridge of awesomeness before pulling off to get our official picture of Welcome to Nevada – they didn’t have one of those when we entered the state the first time!

 

Then, back to Las Vegas to cruise the strip – at 2:00 in the afternoon. Cuz THAT’S a great time to drive down Las Vegas Boulevard. One MILLION degrees! We drove from the far end all the way to the welcome sign, where we dutifully waited in line and chose the person who we thought was least likely to run off with our camera to take a photo of us.

 

Princess thought all the buildings were really cool and huge and giant and colorful and can’t even imagine what they’d look like at night all lit up :-) We drove all the way back down Las Vegas Boulevard so she could see the other side. At the end, we decided to make Dude a little jealous and stop at the Pawn Stars pawn shop for some photo ops!

We didn’t take the time to go in because we wanted to cruise to Cedar City. The rest of our drive was uneventful. Pretty. Different. Never been there before. One of the best parts? 80 mph speed limit on the Interstate :-) I hung out in the right lane going 90ish and was getting passed constantly. This is my kind of place (take THAT California!).

We pulled into Cedar City around dinner time and were DONE. We put on our suits, played in the pool for awhile, then went back to the room and watched a movie on our last night away from home.

Day Eleven was our final drive from Cedar City to Colorado Springs – 634 miles. Very uneventful and still surprising to me how different Colorado looks on the West side of the mountains compared to when you get into Eagle/Edwards/Vail.

We LOVED our trip, but I have to say it was GREAT getting back to what was familiar. We LOVE Colorado Springs and the terrain and the views and the weather and everything else.

Home Sweet Home :-)

Get Your Kicks – Day Nine – Barstow to San Bernardino (and Santa Monica)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
131 Miles

Day One    Day Two    Day Three    Day Four    Day Five    Day Six    Day Seven   Day Eight    Day Nine    Day Ten

Day Nine – our last day heading west! We got up and on the road pretty early. No alarms were set, but we were all itching to get going because – SANTA MONICA PIER! Princess and I grabbed Starbucks while QT and Ed gassed up for the drive. Our first stop was at the Route 66 Museum. I give you one guess which day of the week the museum is closed. Yep – Wednesday! So we walked around and looked at some of the stuff outside. Loved the old Studebaker!

After that, we pretty much cruised I-15 to San Bernardino. Not much to see on the way, so we arrived at our destination, the Wigwam Motel, around 10:00 a.m.

Our plan was to drop QT and Ed’s vehicle and camper, unload the FunRunner, and all 4 of us and the dogs drive the FunRunner to Santa Monica. Can I just say the owners of the Wigwam are AWESOME! They had one of our “rooms” ready, so they gave me the key and let us have it. We unloaded the FunRunner, locked up the camper, and away we went!

Of course traffic through LA was horendous, but we made it. Finally – the end of Route 66!

Princess had never seen a pier, and she thought it was especially cool that there was an entire amusement park right on the pier.

But what she was MOST interested in was THE OCEAN! I’m not sure if you know this, but Princess is part Mermaid. She LOVES the water! When we went to Atlantis last year over Thanksgiving, she wasn’t allowed in the water because of all the stitches and staples from her horse riding accident. She was awesome and didn’t complain, but boy was she disappointed she couldn’t play in the water. So the first thing she and I did was walk down to the beach so she could check out the ocean.

Glasses on. Hair still in a neat bun. Clothes dry. “I’ll just get my legs wet” she said. OK! 47 seconds later, this is what I see.

Having never been in the ocean, she had no clue about the undercurrent, even in shallow water. She was wiped out and soaked from head to toe! “Well, since I’m wet, I might as well swim!” And swim she did. She had a blast playing in the water, and I had a great time watching her enjoy it so much! This was probably the highlight of her trip :-)

After she was sufficiently water-logged and ready to leave the water, we caught up with QT and Ed, who had been wandering around on the pier. It was warm out, but the air still was chilly for a wet girl. So she and I walked a few blocks to the pedestrian mall and headed into the Nike store. We found some shorts and a t-shirt, which she changed into in the fitting room. Then we tracked down a guy who worked there, told him she was wearing what she wanted to buy, had him scan the tags right then and there, gave him the moolah, and we were off :-) Dry and happy! But hungry, apparently! We caught up with QT and Ed back at the pier and grabbed some bean and cheese burritos from the food truck. Yummy!

Of course the drive BACK to San Bernardino was even worse than the drive to Santa Monica. Traffic was absolutely terrible! Back at the ranch, Princess ran around with Max and got rid of whatever energy she had left.

Ed and I got out our lawn chairs and relaxed with some wine and whiskey.

Behind us . . . the NBC Nightly News crew! They were doing a story on Route 66 and our Wigwam Hotel owners. Our mini brush with fame. Check out the story here . . . at 2:08 our very own Max has a cameo as does my FunRunner.

After everyone got unpacked and settled and had a few minutes to relax, we were back at it again. It’s amazing how some wine and whiskey can convince you that setting out for even MORE driving at dusk to find a giant orange is a good idea! But we did it! And who couldn’t resist going to a town called Rancho Cucamonga? Bono’s Historic Orange. This orange was built in the 1930s and was a roadside stand where Route 66 travelers could get fresh orange juice.

Of course chicken and horse had to make an appearance!

And seriously . . . who could drive by a place called The Crazy Chicken without stopping for a photo op?!

In her road-tripped induced dilerium, Princess thought it would be the funniest thing ever to wear her horse head in the car and wave at people as we sat at stoplights. Love her sense of humor!

When we got back, we all congregated in our Wigwam and traded photos from the trip before heading to bed. The only plan the next day was to high tail it to Cedar City, UT. I hadn’t expected there to be any photo ops, but believe it or not, we found some! Check back to see what happened on Day Ten of our road trip!