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October, 2016:

Oh Jim!

When your girlfriend is a fan of the show The Office and you need a last-minute Halloween costume?

Three-hole Punch Jim – BAM!



The “real” Three-hole Punch Jim for comparison – I think Jason nailed it :-)


Guys and Girls

When Jason’s friends come to spend the night, I have a patriotic parking lot outside and a lineup of giant sized tennies by the door!


When Keira’s friends come to spend the night, I have a backyard full of giggly girls and horses outside and a lineup of riding boots and helmets by the door!



Life is good :-)

No Capes!

Last weekend, Keira went to a horse show at a local barn. It was a great show! There were some very high level riders and horses there, and it was great for her to see that and compete against them. Even with all of that, it was a fun laid back show as well. They had a Halloween Costume class, which girls and horses always love!

Keira “dressed” Remi up as a giant Beenie Baby – and she dressed as a Beenie Babie riding him. She loves having fun with her horses! while they were in the warm up arena waiting for the costume class to start, she decided to pop him over a small cross rail jump :-)



He’s such a good boy and so tolerant! You’d never know he was just 5 if someone didn’t tell you! There were super hero horses (red and blue capes), princesses (giant white dresses with flowing capes), unicorns . . . lots of fun costumes. So fun!

Yesterday, she had a lesson with her Western instructor (doing it all with this smart guy!). They had a Halloween party with all of the girls and their horses. Keira was riding Remi around the arena while the other girls finished costuming and tacking up their horses. Remi was doing great – UNTIL – a horse with a black cape came walking in.

Remi FREAKED. Started galloping and hopping around – Keira ended up bailing (no tack!). So thankful for Amara and teaching the girls emergency dismounts  . . . but Remi is still tall and she fell hard, even when under control. He was about a foot from stepping on her – and in about 1.5 seconds I thought “If he steps on her, we’re done with horses. Everything goes.” Of course he didn’t and of course we aren’t. But JEEZ!

He stopped being a freak once she was off. She got up and did the body check – sore back and sore elbow, but other than that, she’s fine. Luckily the arena is quite cushy with all the sand!

I asked her if she wanted to continue or go home. She said nothing. She was M.A.D.! She stomped him over to the trailer – with purpose, I might add (if you’ve never seen a girl in a pig costume mad at her horse dressed as a Beenie Baby – oh my is it a sight! LOL!). She took off her costume, saddled him up, and took him back in the arena. And boy did he learn that if his girl falls off, the next 15 minutes will not be pretty for him. She lunged him until he was sorry and rode him like there was no tomorrow – making him do anything and everything.

Then she got back into the Halloween Party mode. For the rest of the lesson, he was funny! He kept his eye on the horse with the black cape. He never flinched again, but he certainly knew where that horse was at all times!

They played bobbing for donuts – they had to walk under a rope that had donuts swinging from it and get one in their mouth without using their hands.

If this isn’t the face of a horse who really has no clue why he did what he just did and is forever sorry he threw his girl, I don’t know what is :-)


He is soooooo looking right at me! I can see his eyes saying “I’m sorry! How is this? Am I standing still enough? Is this good? Is she still mad at me?”

What we learned today?

Red, blue, white, and green capes are OK. Black? Not so much.

Always trust your mother’s instinct. I did not feel good about her getting on him bareback yesterday. No clue why. He responds so well when she’s tackless – such great communication between the two of them. But I just didn’t feel good about it. I asked her multiple times if she was sure and did she want to put the saddle on and if not at least use the bridle so she has some head control. She said no no no. Next time I might tell instead of ask. I’m not sure what’s more difficult – watching your baby get thrown off a horse or watching your baby get back on!!!


I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions because, quite frankly, how often do we actually follow through? This year, I made one. My resolution was to do things that have more of a direct impact on people.

We’ve always donated our time (youth sports, scouts, yard cleanup, etc.), material items (coats, clothing, etc. to charity), food (always part of a food drive), resources (monetary donations where appropriate). While all of that is fine and dandy, I didn’t feel like it was enough – I wanted to make more of a direct impact without relying on someone else to decide who gets the clothes or how the money is spent.

It took awhile, but in September I found my thing. I love to drive and I have a flexible work schedule since I work for Hubby at home.

I signed on to be a volunteer driver for the American Cancer Society. Basically, once you’re checked out and approved, you volunteer your time, car, and gas to drive people to their appointments when they have no other means to get there. They may be elderly, they may not have a car, they may not have family with a flexible schedule (every day for 8+ weeks is a lot!), or they may be too sick to drive themselves or take public transportation. Does it really matter why? They need rides to treatment, period.

I’ve experienced a lot of “unexpected” in the past 8 weeks:

  • Making new friends. When you spend an hour or more in your car with someone a few days a week, you can’t help but get to know them. I’ve made a wonderful friend in patient A and found my new grandpa in patient B :-) Both amazingly wonderful people who’ve had something awful thrown at them.
  • Realizing the effects of cancer on people. I drove patient A to her very first appointment and to her last. Witnessing the changes in her has been eye opening – and heart wrenching – and a blessing. My life is easy and wonderful. There are SO many more important things going on out there than any problem I might run into! So so many.
  • Seeing the best in people. How patient A can genuinely ask me how my evening or weekend was every single time when she’s sometimes feeling so terrible is beyond me. How patient B can be so happy and upbeat and tell me he always looks forward to my rides while going through something so yucky is uplifting.
  • Receiving genuine thanks and gratitude from people who I’m simply providing a ride to. I’m taking them to the most awful part of their day and sometimes seeing them at their worst, and they welcome me with a smiling hello and thank me – profusely – every single time. Amazing.
  • Feelings of heartbreak when a patient cancels their rides, permanently. There are no words.

When I signed up for this gig, I had no idea how wonderfully fulfilling, life-changing, and heart-breaking it would be.

It’s the unexpected things . . . every day . . . that we need to embrace.

Feel like volunteering? Check out the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program.


Long long ago (1975ish) in a land far far away (Minnesota), my Mom got a dresser from my Great Grandma – because Great Grandma had an extra one and Mom needed one. It had been used and had oil stains on the top, so Mom said thank you, took the dresser, and painted it white so Pat and I could use it in our bedroom.

My bro Pat around 1975ish – with the newly painted dresser (I wish I still had those piggy banks!). And yes, I do believe that Pat, in all of his 1970s coolness, is indeed wearing a short-sleeved turtleneck shirt.



I saw this dresser every now and then at Mom’s house. I wanted this dresser. I’ve always wanted this dresser. I never got the dresser.

Until last summer. I spotted it in a crawl space under Mom’s stairs. She agreed that I could have it, and she sent it home with a friend of hers who was driving to Colorado Springs.

This is what it looked like when I got it.


A little worn, and definitely used, but Keira loved having it as a nightstand in her room – and also as a place to store American Girl Doll clothes :-)

I finally got around to having it stripped, sanded, and stained – back to the most natural state we could. I got it back a couple days ago and absolutely love it! Especially the top drawer with all the fun grain.


I’m hoping that some day down the road one of my kiddos will want to have this awesome dresser!

Homecoming 2016 – 1 of 2

While I was gone last week, Jason went to his first of two Homecoming dances this year. He actually decided to ask a girl from another school! He asked her friend to get her to Serrano’s so he could surprise her. Knowing Sarah loves The Office and Dwight in particular, he got a little creative :-)


I love that he drew a beet – hee hee!

They certainly looked cute together! I have to add that I love that she wore a dress she already had instead of buying another.


Jason was happy as a clam to go to her homecoming dance as well, because his friend he’s had since he was 8 months old (yep, they went to daycare together!) goes to the same school and is part of the same squad :-)


I love that Jason and Travis still hang out together and have so much fun together!

Of course the guys always have to get a guys being cool photo!


I love this pic! Looks like they’re having so much fun!

Another of my favorite thing about Jason and his friends? They know what’s up. This is how every event should be – a group of friends getting together to have fun – and maybe a couple of them go as dates and having matching dress and bow tie 😉


And when one of the squad owns a drone? Well then you get fun pictures of the entire group from above!


Jason said they had a blast, which I don’t doubt for one minute. They started their day at noon with the guys playing football and the girls doing “whatever it is they did” as Jason put it. Then the guys got ready at Connor’s house. They met the girls at Fox Run Park at 4:00 for pictures. They had a potluck dinner at one of the squad members’ houses. Then they piled in 3 cars and headed to the dance, where they had 4 hours of awesome funness!

Ah – to be in high school again :-)

Looking forward to Homecoming 2 of 2 this weekend at Jason’s school! The bonus is, Sarah knows some of the kids in his squad because she played soccer with them when she was younger – so yay!