Monday, December 27, 2010

Winter Solstice Eclipse

IT was a dark and cold night. Seriously cold! But since we were having a lunar eclipse on the VERY same day as our Winter Solstice, and that would not happen again until the year 2094 (figured I might be busy that day) I thought I should watch it. Even take a few pictures.

But after I took a few, I FROZE my fingers. I ran in and warmed up by the woodstove but they hurt as they thawed! I'm a baby, so that was it for me. I think the temperature was -7.

It was such a beautiful experience to watch the entire eclipse happen. Our girls went down on the lake with the neighbor kids and took their sleds to play in the unique moonlight. Michael and I sat in the yard and watched the display while we talked about Christmas plans.

Just a lovely, lovely night.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

We Wish You a Pixie Christmas

Pixie was asked to come and be one of Santa's elves at our annual Christmas Comes to the Kenai event. It is the kick-off of the holiday season, the day after Thanksgiving.

We took her in the mini van, and she did very well. When we got there, I didn't know we were going to be inside! But she let me lead her in and get her settled. She had her picture taken with around four hundred children. And she posed with Santa and the other elves. She was so calm and sweet. She wore her hat and wreath and didn't even try to eat them. Much.

On the way home she got a few bites of candy cane. She considered it a good day's pay. :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Our Family Christmas Card

Merry Christmas to all our friends and family! And of course to my blogger buddies, you guys are the BEST!!!! I'm sorry I have been a bump on a blog lately. I am going to visit everyone's blog and see what you have all been up to. :)

Merry Montage Christmas
Shutterfly has classic, elegant Christmas invitations for your party.
View the entire collection of cards.

May your season sparkle with joy and happiness. Praise the Father for his gift of his Son.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I'm Thankful

I keep thinking I will have time to post some pictures of all that we have been up to lately..but then its another day, another late night and, well you know how it goes. So I decided to just do a quick post about a few things I'm grateful for right now. I have a smooth round stone in my bathroom, in a pottery crock with some other stones and water in it. The stone says "Gratefulness". Its just a simple reminder to myself to ALWAYS remember my simple (and profound) blessings God has given me.

SO just twenty quick things I'm thankful for RIGHT NOW in my life.

* My goofy, fun, complicated, wonderful, loving, HUSBAND. Love him so much.
* My three spirited, opinionated, loving, smart, active, crazy KIDS. They crack me up.
* A tiny little spunky cute miniature horse, who has helped to heal my heart in many ways.
* Tastefully Simple's Oh My Chai tea. Heaven in a cup, and I'm not kidding about that!
* Woodstove and lots of kindling that my hubby chopped for me before his trip to S. Dakota
* Being able to homeschool my girls, and the neat experiment we did extracting DNA from an COOl.
* Folding laundry with the girls today, and suddenly all squealing and piling on my bed.
* Canned salmon in the pantry to have in the winter months ahead. SO yum.
* Warm boots when I go out to feed my horses in all this SNOW.
* My mom, who came over tonight to watch a movie, after we went out for pizza on a wim.
* Chena's experiences on her new basketball team, playing for my old high school. Nostalgia!
* My grandmother's dress that she wore to my wedding..she's gone now but I have that dress, and it still smells like her house. That dress has so much meaning for me.
* Friends who show me the true meaning of friendship and loyalty, and those who do not. Both.
* The new Taylor Swift song, Speak Now, which reminds me of what a goofy girl I once was at a certain somebody's wedding.
* Pizza boxes that burn quickly in the woodstove, destroying the evidence of ordering out. :)
* Chena playing the piano and singing yet another Justin Beiber song to me..
* My clean van. And also when its a pigsty.
* My lipstick, Wet and Wild 505A. Which is not made anymore, by the way. I'm making it last!
* Celebrating 16 years of marriage to my sweetie.
* Blue toenail polish with silver sparkles on top, applied by my fashionista daughters.
* Eggnog. It just came out on the shelves for the holiday. Mmmmmm.
* My new fleece sheets. Seriously cozy. And I'm waaaaay into cozy...
* A camera at least as fast as my daughters on the basketball court.
* Reading Treasure Island aloud to my girls on the couch, and doing the pirate accents. :)

What's on YOUR list of "I'm thankful" this year?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mini in the Mini Van!

My blog has been dormant for quite some time, and life has been moving way too fast. Here we are at Halloween already?

Yesterday we took our miniature horse, Pixie, to a Halloween Carnival, to promote our pony ride operation that our horse club was doing.

My horse trailer was put away for the season. Besides, its soooo big for such a tiny bit of Pixie dust. :)

So, I decided to take her in my mini van. After all, it seems so fitting, doesn't it? Now with horses, and plans, its best to be just as ready to NOT do something, as you are to do it. So I decided to give it a try, and if it didn't work or she got upset, we would just leave her home.

It worked! She loaded up, right in the middle section, with the girls just holding onto her from their seats. We put a tarp on the floor, a hay bag in there, and had a shovel to catch any tiny road apples. Off we went! It was only a six mile drive, so it was a nice test to see how she would do. She stayed very calm, and seemed to enjoy her outing.

When we got there, she didn't want to get out! A crowd started to gather as she stood and peeked out. Finally we brought a pony over, and she whinnied a greeting and was persuaded to disembark from her carriage.

We had a lot of fun. She was petted and hugged by close to five hundred children in costume. Their hats, wings, tails, swords, balloons, bags, and noise didn't bother her at all. She was sweet to each and every one of them, and I think she was getting a kick out of it all.

Some new friends:

Me and my Pixie, at the pony rides.

Monday, September 27, 2010

"School Pictures" for Penelope

As many of you know, I have an annual tradition of taking my children's pictures out in the woods near our home. Always in the fall, because fall is my favorite season..and also because I simply cannot resist the simple but profound beauty in the brilliant colors of autumn. I am drawn to it like a moth to a flame, and wish I could somehow stop time and stay in this season for a year or more. The air is clean and crisp, the sky is a blue that defies description, and the woods is afire with the yellows and reds and oranges of summer's last breath. The air smells of cranberries, dying devil's club, mushrooms, and the winds of change. Its intoxicating! Really! Our lake lays calm and submissive to what comes next, cold in its depths but with recent memories of splashing children and long evening canoe rides.

Its my happy place, being out in the woods and taking pictures of my children. I stop and think of what they looked like this time last year, in their pictures, and marvel at the changes. I love their goofy grins, serious faces, or perfect poses. As I snap away, I wonder what shots will end up being my favorites, huge on my wall or on a canvas...I never know which ones will capture my heart and attention, and best CAPTURE, snare, hold down, just for a moment, who they are at that very second in time, at that age of their life.

I took Penelope's pictures already, and have yet to do Chena's. Following are some of my favorites of Penelope. She is 11, nearly 12. She is spunky, opinionated, fun, goofy, joyful, sometimes passive-aggressive with her sister, and serious when she wants to be. She loves animals, especially dogs and horses. She has a passion for her Rat/Fox Terrier, Pluto, and her bunny, Mossy Meadow. Penelope is super smart, with an amazing memory..and she loves absorbing new facts and applying them. This of course makes her a joy to teach! She has two pen-pals, and takes them quite seriously, writing them letters, sending them treats, and decorating their letters and envelopes with a dedication to her art. She has a knack for catching the "joke" in everything, and is so clever at puns and plays on words. A "wordy girl" like her mama, I think. Penelope is generous, forgiving, and has a sweet soft side..tender and kind. Did I tell you she is an amazing cook? This past year she has excelled in the kitchen, and now she can make whole meals when I'm not even home to supervise.

Penelope is changing so fast, before our eyes. She just outgrew my shoes..and is getting taller by the day I think. I asked her to wear her hair in french braids for these pictures..and I think it was just because I know this might be the last time she wants them. Just look at my "baby" in these pics. Oy.

Oh yes, could you please tell me a few of your favorites, to help me decide what to send to the grandparents, etc? (and if you are ONE of the grandparents, please tell me what you like!)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Its Not Fair

Okay Moms, you know how to respond to that. After all, don't our children whine "its not fair" every once in awhile? And we have the standard "mom" response, don't we? All together now..shout it out in unison... LIFE'S NOT ALWAYS FAIR! See, I knew you had that one in your mommy bag, ready to pull out at a moment's notice.

And, I know it too. But I'm still struggling with losing my Mukluk, and its not fair. Its not fair that he was only three, and I thought I had so much time with him and now I don't. Its not fair that he's gone, and I'll never see him again. Its not fair that I feel like I got punched in the stomach when I think about it.Its not fair that all the tricks and games, and fun things I taught him will never matter again. Its not fair that I'm left with a broken heart and an empty feeling. Its not fair that I can't look out the window in the morning and see him standing at the gate waiting for me to come and see him. Its not fair that there will never be another Mukluk, and it really is as unfixable as it gets.

But life isn't fair. And there are far greater disasters in the world than this. And real tragedies. I have friends suffering far more agonizing losses in their lives right now, than a pet horse. And I need to get a grip and shove it all back into perspective and move on.

But in the interest of keeping it real, I'm just simply not "dealing" and the only shoving I'm doing is to stuff my emotions and try not to show my children how sad I feel. How much I miss him. Because I don't want to make their grief worse, and in fact I do what I can to distract them and keep them busy and happy. I can do that. But...

I'm just kind of shut down. I feel knocked flat, defeated, deflated and probably a host of other d words. When you choose to love fully, you choose to take a pretty big tumble when they suddenly go missing from your world. Mukluk was "just a horse". I must say that a hundred times a day, but its not sinking in.

I kept finding myself driving out to the mini farm where I bought him. Where he was born. Where I first fell for him. And its been good for me out there, because I can get some mini hugs, and just hang out in a place where they understand what the expression "a fool for minis" means.

And it was there, the other day, that the owner of the farm suggested I "borrow" a mini for awhile. Just pick one. Take one home. Do some training, playing, and just take off the "vacancy" sign on the mini corral. And I thought about it, went home and thought about it some more, and then decided to accept her kindness. So I took my trailer, and went and picked out a "loaner" mini to bring home.

Her name is Tiny White Lightning. She is a yearling pinto filly. A real sweetie. She has settled in and is doing great here, and we all are enjoying having a mini to hug, and brush, and play with. The first time I sat down next to her and hugged her, I wanted her to "fix" me, and make all of this sorrow go away, but she can't do that. And its NOT FAIR to expect it. She can, however, make me smile..make me laugh, and give us all a good dose of cute-ness to carry us through the day.

I know the next question..and the answer is that someday I will have another mini. And no, I don't know if it will be her. Because I definitely have some things to work through first. In the meantime, she's pretty darn easy to have around. :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Loss Too Big for Words

I am quite simply, heartbroken over the loss of my miniature horse, Mukluk. There are no words.

So I just wanted to share some images, unspoken stories, and memories that he gave us in his short life.

That is all.

(please scroll down and pause my music player, as there is music on the slideshow)

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Friday, August 13, 2010

August..What the HECK?

No way. SHUT UP! It can't be August already!! I am not sure what I did in July, yet. I'm not ready for that month where people start saying "back to school" all in one word, and leaves start to turn..well, a color other than green (can't bring myself to say it yet). I'm so not ready. *stomps feet in a pile of leaves*

This week has been crazy busy, but that's how I like it when my Michael is gone away for hunting season. He will essentially be gone for the next two months, so we try to stay busy and distracted and time goes faster.

Monday I took Duvall to Ridgeway Farms, a riding stables where we like to hang out. Its about 40 minutes from home. Chena rode him and did some of the jumping courses there for awhile. We got him settled in his stall, and then we drove on out to Sterling, where we picked up a new miniature horse, Stormy Night's Delight "Stormy" to bring home for me to do some training with. He is recently gelded, and still acting a bit like a stallion, and I told his owner that I would do some clicker training with him to settle him a bit. He's a super cutie. :)

Penelope worked with Carhartt at home on some on-leash heeling, and learning to sit each time she stopped, with him beside her. It went very well. He was picked up by his family that evening, so now we only have Pluto at home. From four dogs down to ONE! That's wild. Before long we will have our three again, and then in mid November we will add 1-11 puppies..if all goes as we hope. If I could pick the magic number, I think I would choose 4.

Tuesday I worked with Stormy a bit in the round pen, and got him introduced to the other horses. He met Mukluk, with both of them on lead ropes, then one tied and the other loose, and then finally face to face and both loose. I wanted to determine which one would be dominate and bossy, and who would rule the pecking order. At first Stormy scared Mukluk, but he quickly bounced back and remembered that he can even boss around our full size horses, so he turned the tables and now he's in charge in mini-land. :)

Mukluk and Stormy getting to know each other, face to face! (waaaay face to face!)

We had a meeting at the homeschool office, and we picked up our brand new laptop we are leasing for the school year. Yippee! The girls picked out some movies and books to get started with in the new school year, as well.

Wednesday we went back to Ridgeway stables with the trailer. Chena rode a new horse she is helping to train, an Arab named Topanga. She's a beauty! After she worked with her, Penelope had her lesson on Topanga as well. I see a real friendship in the works for those two! She hung out by her stall for a long time after she put her away. Chena got Duvall out, and rode him for quite awhile. She was trying him on some bigger jumps. She did great! I was supposed to do some dressage on him, but time got away from us and it was time to head out again.

While we were there, one of our friends at the stables was getting all dressed up to have her senior pictures taken with her horse she boards there. I could not resist following the photographer and grabbing some shots of my own. Her dress was super duper cute, and she even did some jumping. Interesting riding attire...I love it!
This one I had to change to black and white...she looks so ethereal to me in it.

I drove over to see Dandelion, which is near Ridgeway Farms. I miss her SO MUCH! I don't know if she is quite ready to be bred yet, but getting close. I told her to "get it on" so she can come home! LOL. I'm pretty sure she winked at me.

Back at Ridgeway, we hooked the trailer back up (I had to drop it to run errands) and loaded Duvall. It was around 5 pm and barrel racing/pole bending started at 6:30 at the rodeo grounds. Chena wanted to run Duvall so we headed that direction, so we could have time to warm him up.

She had a great time, and improved on her times in both events. We are not serious barrel racers, its just for fun...and she likes to do it once in awhile. They have it every Wednesday night, all summer long. Most are competing for points, to win saddles and other awards at the end of the season. But there are a few, like us, who only show up a few times a summer. Everyone has a good time, and cheers each other on!

Here's Chena on Duvall doing barrels...
And pole bending...

I visited with my horse buddies while we watched our girls ride. One of my friends said she was going team penning the next night, there at the rodeo grounds. I had heard about it, of course, but never really considered doing it. Well, she told me I would LOVE it, and she worked hard to convince me to try it the next night. I finally said okay. She even said she would pick me and my horse up and bring us.

So Thursday night, she picked us up with her trailer, loaded Summer in with her two horses, and off we went. I was nervous as heck. I had never done it before, and everyone else had been doing it all summer. My horse had never chased a cow! I had no idea what to expect. I got there, tacked him up, and then headed out into the warm up arena. After I had galloped around a bit, did some circles and got him warmed up, I was not as nervous and I was raring to go!

It was a TOTAL BLAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot say enough how much fun I had. We rode, wild and fast, and rounded up cattle, (they wore tags, and we had to "cut" out the cows and drive them into the pen, by their numbers.) working in teams of 3. Summer did a great job, for his first time, and he was not afraid at all. We had a "draw" so we didn't know who we would be riding with each time. Or what cows we would be cutting out of the herd. I felt like a kid again, riding the way I used to ride when I was fearless and free. And shouting and hollering at the cattle! It was a rush, I tell ya. I can't wait to go and do it again.

Now its Friday night. The girls were invited to a sleepover, and I was invited to my mom's house for pizza and hanging out. It was great, but I came home early. Its been a busy week and I'm tired! (and a wee bit saddle sore..) So I'm munching on Poppycock (popcorn treat) and contemplating bedtime since its after midnight. Tomorrow is my niece's 15th bday, a bowling party (or a beach party if its not raining....fat chance!) in town. I have to pick up the girls on my way. Sunday we are bringing Duvall home, because we have a horse show on Wednesday. Its our last one this summer!
And I leave for Portland and the AMERICAN IDOL CONCERT in one week!! Its in all caps because I'm SO stinkin excited!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Here, There, and Everywhere...Pets

Its pretty funny right now, around here. We have extra animals, and some of ours are in various places. Its kind of hard to keep track of everyone! So here is the rundown on the Litzen Zoo:

Dandelion (Pembroke Welsh Corgi) is at a friend's kennel being bred for possible November puppies!

Charlotte (Yellow Lab) flew out to our lodge with Michael, and wont' be back until end of Sept!

Pluto (Rat/Fox Terrier) is home.

Duvall (Arabian horse) is at a stables in Soldotna so we can do some jumping and dressage.

Mid Summer Night's Dream (Quarab horse) is home..and missing Duvall.

Mukluk (mini horse) is home and missing Duvall and harassing Summer.

Stormy Night's Delight, a friend's miniature horse, is here for a month or so while I do some training with him. He needed a mini friend for awhile too. (will have pics of him soon!) He's so cute!

Carhartt, a friend's Wolf/Akita/Husky dog, is here for two weeks while they are on vacation.

Remember Carhartt? We got him as a foster puppy, then adopted him out.

When we had him:

And NOW!

All the other pets; bunnies, cats, and frog, are here at home.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Random Summer Moments

What have we been up to? I have to look at my pictures to remember! Summer is going too fast, as always. Its been kind of a rainy summer, quite cool and windy too. But we don't seem to have slowed down much, we try to ignore the weather and just go and have fun anyway. Here are some pictures from summer so far, just random shots of moments in time that I didn't want to forget.
Penelope and Mukluk at the SEA horse show. I like how Mukluk's french braids turned out.

Dandelion among the clover. A weed among

Chena on Mid Summer Night's Dream, in English classes.

Chena and Duvall in Western classes at the SEA Show in Soldotna.

Duvall's pretty mane, ready to go for the horse show.

Friends who came to stay for a week! Such fun we had with these wonderful guys. We don't get to see them often enough, so getting to have them here was AWESOME.

Chena and Charlotte leaving in the float plane, on the way to the cabin overnight.

One of our hay crew, during haying week. I got to drive the truck and trailer, while the crew slung bales on the back. We got over 300 bales, and it feels so great to have our hay for the winter! Its always an adventure, and this year we are done so early. Its awesome.

We spotted these guys near the side of the road, on Turnagain Arm. Its cliffs on one side of the road, and water on the other.

Midnight (that's right!) at the float pond.

Penelope out "mudding" on the flats, at a beach near us. A favorite spot to go!

Mt McKinley, from the plane as we flew to Fairbanks. It was so very clear that day. Spectacular sight.

Drive in dog wash. Poor Pluto.

Wow, her hair is getting so long! She let me put some of my favorite Pansies in it.

The girls, getting ready to head out to the hangar, for a "sleepover" at home. :)

Seldovia boat harbor. The seagull posed just for me, I think.

A flowering onion. So pretty! I love taking pictures of unusual flowers.

Me and the girls on the Fourth of July, in Seldovia.
I love that place!