Friday, July 31, 2009

SEA Horse Show

We had lots of hot dusty fun at the horse show! I enjoyed seeing how all of our horse club members have come so far with their horses, and they show such neat teamwork. Our horse club, the North Wind Riders, had the best placings in the whole show. Cool!

Chena and Penelope entered lots of classes. Chena did mostly English classes, with lots of jumping (of course!) and Penelope entered Mukluk in Halter Geldings, and Summer in Western classes and trail class.

It was especially a HUGE treat for us, because Lex was home to see his sisters do the show! He has finished his four year tour in Germany, and is on his way to Korea next. He is amazed at how his sisters have grown up since he went away. We were all SO happy to have him there!!

Another WONDERFUL part of the show is that Michael's dad, Grandpa Jim was here from Washington!! He is a horse trainer, he breeds cutting horses, and we call him our "walking horse encyclopedia" because he is such a wealth of knowledge. I enjoy him so much, and Michael and I sit and pick his brain for hours on various horse topics.

Penelope and Mukluk in halter class

Chena and Whisper, in a cloud of dust. Kind of ethereal, huh?

Some of our horse club buddies

Chena in Western class on Whisper

Penelope in Trail class

Penelope and Mukluk with judges. She won sixth place with our little boy...

Lex and Chena

Horses lined up for judging

Penelope riding Summer in a Western Pleasure class

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Best Day

Tell me something, when you get hooked on a song, do you start by loving the music, and THEN the lyrics, or do the lyrics grab a hard hold of your heart and pull you right into loving the tune?

For me, its usually the song, and then I realize I love the words too. But not this time. I bought a new Taylor Swift album, and was listening it to the first time when these words fell softly over me like a welcoming rain, and I fell deeply in love with this song. In fact, its the one you are hearing right now, on my blog. Its about mothers and daughters, and its so beautiful. Its a daughter singing about her mother. It makes me want to cry. And draw my children to me and hold them close on the couch. I don't know why exactly, except somehow it makes me feel wonderful and terrible all at the same time. It makes me search my past, my present, and my future with my precious children.

I want to be such a good mommy, and stumble along doing whatever I can. But I fail. Sometimes I could just kick myself, when at the end of the day I realize I have not been gentle enough, or patient enough, or at some point I completely lost it over something dumb. I forget to really "hear" what they are saying, and I want to really get it, you know? I want to remember what its like to be ten and twelve, and put myself in their pink polka dotted shoes, so I can truly understand. To climb a tree with them, to hear their thoughts from their point of view. To climb into their tent in the backyard at night, and listen to their secrets about boys. To feel the tender aches that they feel, and to remember how vulnerable they are to my sighs, frowns, or admonishments. To give out more praise than points to ponder.

We sure have some great times together. They are some of my favorite people. Nobody can be as silly as I am, except my children. They get me. I hope and pray that when they are all grown up, they will look back, as I do in my memories with my mother, and treasure those off beat moments of us just being us.

I am crazy about my three children, and someday, I hope they will say they had the best days with me.

The Best Day

I'm five years old its getting cold I've got, my big coat on
I hear your laugh and look up smiling at you I run and run
past the pumpkin patch and the tractor rides look now, the sky is gold
I hug your legs and fall asleep on the way home

I don't know why all the trees change in the fall
I know you're not scared of anything at all
don't know if Snow White's house is near or far away
but I know I had the best day with you today

I'm thirteen now and don't know how my friends, could be so mean
I come home crying and you hold me tight and grab the keys
and we drive and drive until we find a town, far enough away
and we talk and window shop 'till I forgot all their names

I don't know who I'm gonna talk to now at school
but I know I'm laughing on the car ride home with you
don't know how long its gonna take to feel okay
but I know I had the best day with you today

I have an excellent father
his strength is making me stronger
God smiles on my little brother
inside and out he's better than I am

I grew up in a pretty house and I had space to run
and I had the best days with you....

there is a video I found from back when I was three
you set up a paint set in the kitchen and you're talking to me
its the age of princesses and pirate ships and the seven dwarfs
and daddy's smart and you're the prettiest lady in the whole wide world

now I know why the trees change in the fall
I know you were on my side even when I was wrong
and I love you for giving me your eyes
staying back and watching me shine and didn't know if you knew
so I'm taking this chance to say that I had the best day with you today

Monday, July 20, 2009

Life, Love, and Changes

I know that life is about changes, but I have never been good at them. I am a sentimental fool, to a fault, and I'll keep a gum wrapper for 15 years if it has significant meaning! Yep, that bad.

So, you can imagine how it feels to me when I lose one of my animals. It hurts. I mourn, and it takes a long time for me to feel like life is okay again. But life is about changes, even when you love something. God stretches us until we think we will snap, but at the same time he holds our hand and lets us slowly catch our breath before he stretches us again in another direction.

All this to say that we are selling one of our horses.

I really love this horse. She has been a great part of our family, and I will not let her go until another family falls in love with her and shows me that she will be dear to them as she is to us.

As you can see, Winter's Whisper has kept us busy! And we have kept her busy too.

Here is a picture from Saturday's horse show. More on that later....I have lots of pics to share.

Chena won the blue ribbon for English Equitation! I'm proud of this powerful team, my daughter and this mare.
I will keep you guys updated as I struggle with this change. Life, love and changes. They combine beautifully to help make us who we are.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Home and Away

Busy every day, but I promised myself I would not be a "bump on a blog" this summer, so must try to post more often!

Chena did her first exhibition run of pole bending, on Summer, and had a wonderful time. They knocked one pole down, but his turns and flying lead changes were pretty nice, and he is ready to learn. Its a 45 minute haul in the trailer, to get to the arena where they run, so we will just go once a week until fall.

We had a great time in Talkeetna when we flew there for a camping trip. Its such a fun, beautiful, and quirky little town. Of course, when you have a CAT for the town mayor, that's saying something.

Our tent was in the prettiest meadow of flowers, right next to where we tied down our Cessna 180. We like to camp near the plane.

The girls played under the railroad bridge, in the Susitna River.

We had fun walking around the town, eating icecream (it was HOT) and seeing all the historical spots. Plus people watching is a blast in Talkeetna...all the locals are pretty colorful characters! I thought this was a funny sign: Moose Gift Store. Come in and Browse. Hee hee!

and I love to look for humor around me, just bits of human nature..which provide a giggle and a grin, and capture it with my camera. This man and his little girl were so cute going by me!

I took some fun pictures of the girls out in our yard a few days ago. I got the idea from my friend Carole at Carole's Thoughtful Spot. She had her American Girl dolls all lined up in front of the tv. We had nicer we opted for out on the lawn swing! The girls dressed up as their favorite American Girl dolls. Penelope wore a "Samantha" outfit, and Chena wore a "Kirsten" outfit. They just put them together themselves, but looked quite authentic.

Here's the dolls: Molly, Elizabeth, Kiya, Nellie, Ruthie, Nicki, and two minis.

and ya know I cannot resist a fun play with photo editing..

The girls and the dolls:

Chena and I went on an overnight horseback/camping trip to the Caribou Hills. Its a popular spot for winter snowmachine riding, and many people have cabins there..but no homes. We went with our horse club up there. Its about three hours from home, the furthest I have ever trailered our horses, but it all went pretty well. On the way there, 15 miles up the gravel road, I got the flattest tire you ever saw in your life. We had to unload the horses, unhitch the trailer, and fix the tire. It was a big pain, but it all turned out okay..thanks to some awful good samaritans who helped me loosen the lug nuts. I could not even budge them! Glad for the helpers...we re-hitched the trailer, loaded the horses back in, and continued up the dusty road.

The trip was a blast! Chena and I had a wonderful time together, riding and laughing, and racing each other. It was gorgeous weather, and we all loved it. There were 13 of us on the ride, and a lot of different horse breeds and personalities. My horse, Whisper, was raring to go, and she ran my legs off. Such FUN!

Caribou Hills is a high forest fire area. I love the contrast between fireweed, and fire-eaten in this picture.

Blurry with smoke, but the sky was so vivid it was stunning.This is at midnight.

Happy Trails and THE END

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Independence Day!

Sure was a wonderful Fourth of July! This was our 12th year of hosting our family picnic, and we just love it so much. Its amazing to see how all the children are growing and changing, and its important to me that they get together with their cousins and just have plain old good fashioned FUN. It tickles me to no end to think that someday when they are all grown up, they will have fond memories of picnics at our house, the same way I have terrific memories of yearly picnics at my aunt's house when I was a little girl.
We had volleyball, a sawdust money pit, egg hunts for the toddlers, waterballoon tosses and fights, sack races, guess-the-watermelon-weight contest, pie-eating (and smashing all over your face) contests, basketball games, wild rollercoastering, our personal petting zoo, and much more! It was so much fun to run around from one thing to the next, with my camera clicking like crazy, all the while making sure everything was running smoothly. Its worth all my organizing each year, because when it all goes off as planned its such a huge blessing to just be with my fantastic family and friends year after year at this event. I absolutely love it.
I wanted to get pictures up right away, as we have so many relatives in the states who cannot make it to all the picnics, and so guys.......this is for you! I would label each picture but it would take forever, so if you want to know who somebody is, just email me or leave it in your comments. I *think* I know everybody who was here!! LOL. Don't quote me! The little ones change so much, I spend lots of time connecting faces to their parents, and trying to remember each adorable smile!
So there you go. Sorry you missed it, my dear ones who may be reading this blog and feeling homesick for Alaska....we missed YOU TOO! Sorry you could not be here to see the whip-cream-covered toddler faces as they battled for pie eating victory, or cousins tackling cousins as payback for a shocking waterballoon full in the face, or babies falling asleep in the hammock in the shade, or little girls in matching skirts giggling wildly when a mini horse licked their sticky fingers, or a kiddo finding a dirty candy-containing egg from LAST year's hunt, or Sammi's cute new Jack Russel puppy, or "sparkler" decorated pretzels, or camera wars, or parent-child waterballoon teams, or the most adorable flower-smelling (no picking, mama said!) one year old, or the smoky face of Uncle Beaver as he managed three grills at a time, or all the sawdust-covered kiddos looking for shiny change, or the sack-racers tumbling over the finish line, or the whirlygigs on top of the cupcakes, or the shower cap on Mom's head as she fought like crazy but lost in the pie-eating contest! So there you go, world's longest sentence but hopefully it made you want to fly up and join us next year. We miss each and everyone of you.