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Daily Life

It’s Cold in the Barn!

You never know what’s going to happen each year when it starts to get chilly out and you need winter gear for the barn and the barn babies.

Water Troughs
We drained them, cleaned them, put the tank heaters in, and actually remembered to plug the heater in last night. Got down to the low teens. Will they work this year?
Yes! Unfrozen water for the big barn babies :-)

Heated Cat Dish
Will it work? Lots of reviews and live people said they seem to have to buy a new one every year, even if it’s unplugged all summer. Did it work?
Yes! Unfrozen water for the little barn baby :-)

Warm Cat Bed
Will Kaboodle be warm enough since he’s by himself? Keira was convinced he was going to be cold out there last night. She said his fur was cold when she went out to feed the horses (I told her it’s his coat – of course it’s cold!). She said he’d be chilly sleeping. I told her no way – he has a cat crate covered in 4 layers of sleeping bags with 2 fleece blankets inside. Was he warm?
Yes! In fact, he wasn’t even in the barn this morning when I went out to feed! He came sauntering in the cat door and rubbed up against my leg. I picked him up and he was so warm under is coat that he warmed up my cold hands :-)

So ya – it was wet and cold yesterday and last night. Everyone is warm and fine . . . all is looking good for the rest of winter.

Bring it on, Mother Nature!

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!

boys

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!

girls

 

Life is good :-)

Unexpected

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.

Summer!

Time to put up something else :-)

We’ve been enjoying every single second of summer so far! I’ve got lots of photos I’d like to share . . . but haven’t had time to download them.

In short (or not) . . .

Keira – horse shows, riding in our very own arena out front, playing with the horses and kittens, summer swim team with friends, friends staying over, trip to Breckenridge with a friend. Did I mention horse? She’s having a great summer so far!

Jason – baseball, baseball, hanging out with friends, getting grounded for getting home late, baseball, baseball, learning how to drive a stick shift, volunteering to go on every errand so he can drive the Audi now that he’s figured it out, baseball, baseball. Have I mentioned baseball? He’s FINALLY back on the field and having a last! We’re headed to Phoenix this week for a tournament.

Jodie – work, mom taxi, work, mom taxi, muck stalls with Keira, mom taxi, sort and price items for Boy Scout garage sale, mom taxi, mom taxi, mom taxi. 63 more days of mom taxi before Jason gets his license. I. Can’t. Wait. I might even be more excited than Jason is about it . . . and he’s pretty darn excited!

Dan – work, work, work, watch Keira ride, work, watch Jason play baseball, work work work. Business is good and he’s keeping busy – even hired a couple more people last week!

Jared – wait, what?! Jason’s coach is staying with us for the summer. He’s here from Texas for the summer to coach the team and needed a host family – so we gave him Grandma’s room and the truck’s spot in the garage for the summer. While it’s different having a 24-year old in the house, it’s been great. Shakes things up a bit. AND he gives Jason a ride to the baseball stuff . . . I just have to pick him up. So there’s that added bonus. Very nice kid! He’s only been here a week, but we’re enjoying having him around.

So there you have it – our first 10 days of summer break in a nutshell (Seriouly? Only 10 days?!).

I hope you’re all enjoying summer as much as we are!!!

Why I Know What 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. Look Like

I’m a planner . . . duh. I like to know what’s going on. If I don’t, our controlled chaos quickly turns into just chaos . . . I do not do well with chaos (or crowds . . . but that’s a different story!).

We’re celebrating our 20th anniversary in Hawaii – leave on the 11th. Taking the kiddos for a 6-day trip (yep – quick, but will be fun!). We’ve got just enough planned to see and do things while still allowing A LOT of down time to just be and enjoy.

We don’t get to our rental house until probably 9:30 p.m. Thursday night. We’ll be up early Friday for our drive to Hana (the only day we can do it).

Now that it’s only a week away, my brain has started to “work” (another word for “wonder” or probably more accurately “worry”).

I’ve been up every night this week wondering and thinking about how will this work? Where is that? What will be do?

So I finally took some work time off this morning to take care of my details and hopefully get some sleep tonight :-) Just a few things I’ve had on my mind:

  1. Did we get all of our reservations in order? Why yes – yes we did! I just checked everyone of them and confirmed :-)
  2. Did we end up with the Jeep with 2 doors or 4? My reservation shows 2! Yep – we got 4. Hubby changed the reservation, and I just didn’t get the new one.
  3. What is the address of the rental house? How do we get there from the airport? Hubby got that confirmation and the details earlier this week – and I now have them, too. Whew!
  4. OMG! We’ll get in there pretty late! We’ll need stuff for our road trip on Friday morning. Where will I ever get that stuff Thursday night?!?! OMG OMG OMG! Safeway. Yep. Safeway. 5 minutes from the rental house and open 24 hours. It’s been 20 years since we’ve been there. The place has changed. Not EVERYTHING closes when it gets dark 😉 Crisis (and hungry teenagers) averted!
  5. Should I call the orthodontist and have them check Dude’s permanent retainer? He said he’s been getting a space in his front teeth ever since they replaced it. Is that right? Shouldn’t the permanent retainer keep his teeth together? I mean, I paid all that money for a pretty smile! Yes – nothing to do with Hawaii. But when it’s 2:30 a.m. and you’re tired and your brain is working, this kind of crap joins the party.

So there you have it. A few of the things that have been keeping me up at night this week.

All taken care of.

Now I can relax and sleep and try to contain my excitement at spending our 20th with Hubby in Hawaii and showing the kids where “it” all started :-)

What I See

A couple weekends ago, Princess and I went up to Breckenridge for a day of snowboarding. Hubby was on the east coast stuck in a snowstorm, and Dude stayed home because he had too much homework (yay for responsible teenager who may or may not have used homework as an excuse to be home alone all day).

The early morning drive was beautiful, and Princess snapped this photo as we came over Wilkerson Pass:

MoonWeb

 

I posted the photo on Facebook – loved the amazing moon and giggled at the fact that I’d looked at this photo so many times and hadn’t noticed the giant elk right next to the road! A photographer friend commented that I should “Crop that down to exclude the road and balance the moon and elk into opposite corners and that would be really nice.”

MoonWebCrop

 

I agree. It is really nice that way. Moon. Mountains. Trees. Blurry elk from moving vehicle.

But I still like the original better.

MoonWeb

In the original, here’s what I see:

  • The size of the prairie. What a panorama you get to see every time you travel west over Wilkerson Pass.
  • The seemingly never-ending road that winds down Wilkerson Pass along the prairie all the way to Hartsel. You can see for miles!
  • A cell phone photo that Princess took out a dirty window as we drove 65 mph down the road. What a wonderful day we
  • A giant beautiful moon that we’d been commenting on for the past 45 minutes – since we started up Highway 24 in Manitou Springs.
  • A giant beautiful moon that had us so distracted that we missed the giant elk on the side of the road. I giggle when I think about how many times we looked at this photo to check out the beautiful moon and snow-capped mountains and didn’t see that giant elk.
  • The snow-covered prairie and amazing snow-capped mountains in the distance. The trees are just a small part of the photo.
  • The vast blue morning sky as the sun rises above the mountains in the east behind us.
  • The memories a Mom and her teenage Princess made on a day trip to Breckenridge to snowboard together.

Yes – the cropped photo is nice, but I’ll keep my original uncropped memories.

It’s all a matter of perspective.

Mountain Therapy

I’ve said it many times – a little mountain therapy goes a long way! I love where I live. It’s beautiful. It’s peaceful. And there are so many ways to enjoy every day.

I dare you not to have a good day when you see this out your back door on cool winter mornings:

Sky

 

Views like this on your way to the mountains for a day of snowboarding make the 5:00 a.m. alarm worth it:

Sky02

And looking at this out of my home office window makes it pretty easy to work:

FrostyTrees

I’ve been a lot of places, and can’t think of one that has such stunningly beautiful blue skies 360 days a year:

Sky04

Sky06

 

Spend hours at the barn watching your daughter do what she loves? Sign me up! Can’t beat this amazing background:

Horse

 

Watching your son enjoy the sport he loves, in JUNE? Yep!

JBoard

 

And the sunsets, whether it be while driving home:

MirrorSunset

Or enjoying happy hour on the deck:

Sky05

 

A little mountain therapy goes a long way.

Wag more, bark less!

Board

Day To Day

I keep looking at the blog thinking I have nothing to blog about, but then realize I have a TON to blog about but am not willing to take the time to do it :-)

Spending a couple days shoveling/snowblowing/plowing out from the storm.

Making sure the horses are warm and fed and not trapped in the barn with their snow drifts.

Keeping the kittens warm and fed and watered and safe in the barn at night.

Working.

Going on Girl’s weekend with Mom.

Carting Jason to baseball and friends’ houses and movie nights.

Carting Keira all around northern Colorado looking at horses.

Trying (and failing) to keep up with the house chores.

Hangin’ out with the fam relaxing every now and then.

Some day I’ll get around to posting pictures of all the goings on, but right now, life is happening and we’re enjoying it :-)

Happy winter!

Acclimation

4 months ago, we started with this:

Then the neighbor’s cat “disappeared” a couple weeks ago, and the voles were immediately running over our feet in the barn.

So we got these guys:

Kittens

Which made the voles disappear from the barn (not the yard) almost immediately, even though they’re not hunting yet.

But then this guy showed up:

Coyote

Bad cell phone photo from afar . . . but it’s a young coyote. Broad daylight. Alone. In the area out front that we mowed, so he has nowhere to hide. Just hanging out.

(We hear his buddies every night – love the sound of the coyotes!)

Why do I LOVE that this guy’s out there?

Because we have a major vole problem . . . like huge vole problem. And he eats them. Keep eating Wyle E.!

But he will also eat these guys given the chance:

Kittens

And we can’t let that happen! Just look at those faces!!!

We’re in week 2 of barn kitty ownership. They’re growing, but still tiny. We’re following MS’s four-week “recipe” for training barn cats . . . teaching them that in the barn is safe and where their food is and where their bed is and where FUN is because we play with them daily.

They’ve been locked in their “room” in the barn for the past week. We play with them multiple times a day.

It’s week 2, so we let them out IN THE BARN, but put them back in their room at night. We’ve only been letting them out supervised because our barn is less than kitty tight – lots of spaces for them to escape! But today, I let them out for awhile in there unsupervised (we’re on hour 2). Princess texted me from school reminding me to put them back in their room – she’s convinced they’ll get out and get eaten by our friend in the front yard.

If one or both DID get eaten, I would be sad first, then mad. Free barn kitties are only free until you take them to the vet for their shots . . . and when it’s multiplied by two, OUCH!

Please dear coyote, stick to the voles and leave our kitties alone until they’re bigger and can help you hunt those nasty critters!

A List

  1. There are worse things to do first thing in the morning than take care of horses and play with kittens.
  2. Late October rain, oh how do I love thee!
  3. Times are changing! Hubby is gone for the week and both kiddos spent all of last night doing homework. I got to do whatever I wanted – by myself! I liked it for about 5 minutes. The rest of the time was just weird.
  4. Palomino ponies love to roll in the mud on a gloriously rainy day.
  5. Owners of palomino ponies who love to roll in the mud on a gloriously rainy day do not appreciate the grooming afterward.
  6. My Highlander had this horrible smell the entire drive home from town last night – like a hot burning smell. All gauges are normal. Engine looked fine (but did smell when the fan turned on).
  7. I’m not in the mood to deal with a broken vehicle – so I will drive the truck until Hubby comes home and we decide what to do.
  8. I thought I’d hate having to drive the kids to and from school every day. Wrong! I love it! It’s so fun to see all the high school kids enjoying the days as they should. Homecoming week has been especially fun to watch.
  9. It’s frustrating having to wait weeks to get a quote on ground leveling for the arena.
  10. October is not a good time to need to buy hay, but we need to buy hay to get through winter.
  11. Horse shopping is fun, stressful, and incredibly educational.
  12. Large thoroughbred horses will act like they’re freezing to death in 45 degree weather, but find it absolutely acceptable to stand out in the rain and get soaked once you put a waterproof blanket on them.
  13. Irish coffee on a rainy Thursday morning – yum.
  14. I scheduled Senora Boedie and Kaboodle to get their booster shots . . . on Friday, November 13th. Great idea to take a black cat on a car ride on Friday the 13th???
  15. I love that my kiddos are old enough to have real conversations and joke around with us :-)